Sunday, February 29, 2004
In-depth dept

Interesting look at the maelstrom that was Yugoslavia c. 1999 by Peter Liotta including a portion devoted to:

Rockin' the Myth: Music As Political Force

(prepare to scroll)
Revisionists Sing New Blues History: a NY Times review of Elijah Wald's new book on Robert Johnson

(via ArtsJournal Daily)
The Must (or You Really Should) Read This Dept.

The Music World Explodes in Anger

There are millions of people playing music in the US alone. Most of them you have never heard of, whether they make a living from their music or not.

Here's a nice tribute to a man who found his niche in one of those real-life geographic communities that continues to live for the music that brought them all together.

Compare and Contrast Dept.

While some of our music heroes, due to massive corporate undulations, media mergers, and strictly regulated play lists in the very corporate sector that once provided a helpful boost for their previous success by prescribed format play, have lately been obliged to waste their lives away with pince-nez on nose and handheld calculator in hand, reading through broad-reaching corporate fine-print contracts and toting the bottom line figure for those fiduciary agreements that will place their once great hits into the strictly regulated play lists piped in to the American shopping malls of the 21st century (the economy-minded box stores, the frugal food marts, and the dollar shoppes where welfare moms buy school clothes for their kids). We know they engage and agree to this interchange not from any real kind of fiscal self-interest on their part, but rather solely to reach the greatest number of people with their art, of course we accept that is their reasoning. Because they know full well that 90% of the people are at the bottom of the economic pyramid, and so are determined themselves not to add to that number themselves, this form of broadcast is merely looked upon as a convenient avenue to keep their sounds in front of the public in some way or act as a reminder of great hits of bygone eras and so freshen the public mind, and perhaps by providing a backdrop to the "glitzy" shopping mall mentality that will also make the shoppers there in some way receptive to the purchase of another eventual greatest hits compilation. This is not a way to make real money in the short term, but merely another way of spreading themselves far and wide, gathering a little here and a little there, and wise and shrewd it is to not profit from the fruits of solely one money tree, but to continue prospering and be supported if only so slightly at everyone else's expense.

There is music from other areas to listen to and learn about as well from people and places you might never have heard of.

Rock n Roll's Real Outlaws

(This article doesn't mention that Robert Plant made his way onto the performance roster at a Festival of the Desert in Timbuktu, all so that he might sing the music he's known for best, and carry his important message from the West, "I believe I need a suck". Well, that's rock n roll to lay it on the line like that, isn't it? As he is by all accounts the very definition of rock n roll, and the English are known to be gentlemen wherever it is in the world they might go or ever have gone, the tour promoters and music recorders there decided to let the philistines come. Although, I admit I've been wondering a bit lately how it is some pop musicians have at last found the time and interest to begin acting on their urges to participate in the world music phenomenon, but I'm not really surprised by any of this.)

Friday, February 27, 2004
Friday Reading Room on World Music

Let's go thru the old musty bins of things that are yellowed, tattered, and dogeared:

Music appropriation or approbation (an oldie, but it's still a topic of discussion)

The Cambridge Companion to Blues and Gospel
(an old book alert)

Refried Elvis: The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture

Technobeat. Nice resource! Bob Tarte examines and describes the here and now of world music releases. (And still does!)

Thursday, February 26, 2004
It's a very small world we live in: our little global village (with a little bit about music):

"Genghis Khan has been revived as a cultural hero in Mongolia, admired because he united all Mongols. The top rock group in Ulan Bator is named after the Khan, and its leader has declared that the group will "conquer the world with Mongolian rock music."

The emergence of "world music" as a category in it's own right, and a steady stream of ethnic"break-outs" from specific music traditions into mainstream rcck culture underscore the importance and vibrancy of local cultural traditions. A world of global villages is quite different from the one anticipated by McLuhan and the other telecommunications visionaries of the past two decades. It is less a melting pot, more a cultural minestrone. This may have surprising and dramatic consequences in a number of areas. For businesses, it may require a fundamental redefinition of marketing strategies, as international markets become ever more fragmented into cultural units. For governments, the rise of global villages may, in the long run, lead to the redrawing of national borders along cultural lines."

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Shameless self-promotion subsection.

A singer of tango from Montevideo, Uruguay.

Vayo: Al Filo de la Noche

(Did you know that Argentina and Uruguay have argued for years over which side of the basin boundary it was that the tango really originated? I didn't until recently. Everyone admits the real origins are nearly lost to time, but currently, the trend among music historians is to begin re-exmaining the mythology that the tango originated in brothels and to look farther afield. Those researchers might indeed find roots elsewhere or determine the tango originated in brothels, but in the meantime it keeps them off the streets and out of trouble.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Good News Tuesday

It's Fat Tuesday, if I haven't misread my calendar and today is full of good news from Olga in New Orleans:

(Featuring DJ Logic, Robert Belfour, Jimbo Mathus and more)
Dare You to do it Again
Release date February 24, 2004


Clarksdale, MS February 24th, 2003 —. Granddaughter of the late great Sid Hemphill and five-time winner of the WC Handy Award, Jessie Mae Hemphill still carries on the tradition of Northern Mississippi hill country music and remains a mainspring of inspiration for a new generation of blues players. A stroke in 1993 left Jessie Mae is partially paralyzed on her left side and unable to play guitar so a string of guitar players from around the country were lined up to do the honors.

Jessie Mae lent her voice and tambourine to a host of friends, including Robert Belfour, Jimbo Mathus, DJ Logic, Kenny Brown, Cedric and Garry Burnside, Papa Mali, Chris Chew, RL Boyce, Tramp Camp, Sharde Tuner & the Rising Star Fife and Drum Corp, Kenny Kimbrough, Steve Gardner, Ruthie Foster, Cyd Cassone, Greg Humphreys, and Eric Deaton.

The album will be exclusively distributed by Redeye USA and features an enhanced CD with an extended DJ Logic remix, photographs, plus an 8-minute video of behind the scenes footage.

All proceeds from the sale of the album will go to the J.M.H. Foundation, conceived as a 501©(3) nonprofit vehicle to draw public attention to the hill country blues music indigenous to the Northern Mississippi region. More information about the J.M.H. Foundation is available at www.jmhemphill.org or email info@jmhemphill.org.

You guessed it -- I'm encouraging everyone to buy this new one by Miss Jessie Mae:
Dare You to Do It Again.

(What do you suppose that check you just got from the RIAA is for?)

Why there's kantrie music on all the airwaves (Cleah Channel, of course. But the forced mass feeding of everyone in the nation on a bland diet restricted to corporate menus and cooked up by the tastebudless honchos at the cowboy channel means resentment is growing apace). Clear Channel, I don't have to say it, you know it.
New biography on impressario Peter Colmore also illuminates the music scene of East Africa.
Still pounding out copy on music with significance dept

Here's my look at the charitable world music release, Drop the Debt!

(published this morning at PopMatters)

(Note to internal editor: watch that repetition. makes you sound like you're trying to get a message across or something.)

Just a little less freelance work dept

US embargos extended to editing articles
Book Tours that work dept.

Author Joan Morgan talks with young people in Mississippi about her new book When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost
which can't help but address hip-hop.

Tuesday morning reading circle continues traveling

the strange loop of tension between classical and pop:

The New Yorker's Alex Ross, Listen to This

(via hbd)
Monday, February 23, 2004
News from long ago and far away dept

How it is some music lives on and is re-interpreted: critic takes notice when a modern composer gets the symphonic treatment.

(via AJD)
An interesting phenomenon, people who want to teach about music:

And are willing to provide a study resource with sample pages
Sunday, February 22, 2004
Rather than writing about a hot salsa band I've come to love, I satisfied myself today looking at a still picture from a scene in West Side Story posted online by Kenan Herbert, which got me started thinking about .... myself, of course .... and music and songs (which means I can write about it here) .... and:

[thereafter followed a long rambling narrative that just talked about people and ideas long since dead, and a story I've decided no one would have too much interest in even hearing about in these modern times. My memory project, and my blog, so I deleted it as of Feb 23].

Charlie Bertsch, English prof., punkster, emp-presenter, and more sometimes yields to temptation and ponders how programmed we all are from birth.

He also writes occasionally about music on his personal blog, De File, like this juicy cherry on Da Beatles (permalinks don't work, Cholly; forgive me, I'm quoting the whole post)

February 12th, 2004

We Can Work It Out

The words of that Beatles' song are going through my head. It's such a strange pop song for a twenty-something to write and sing: middle-aged marriage counseling instead of delirious abandon.

I suppose you could argue that Paul McCartney was middle-aged before he was middle-aged. Not only that, you could make a compelling case for him identifying with middle-aged, working-class masculinity of previous generations more fully that with that of his own generation. So many of his songs are nostalgic for an England that's "pre" something: pre-60s, pre-WWII, pre-WWI -- you name it.

The most interesting part about "We Can Work It Out" from this perspective is the way that Paul's stanzas are complemented by John's bridge, a test-run for "A Day in the Life" or the lyrical counterpoint in the chorus of "It's Getting Better All the Time." It may have been a "Paul song," but John's presence is very strong.

This gets me thinking about John's experiments with a melancholy confessional mode from 1964 onward. "Here I stand, head in hand," and all that.

Throw in George's Eastern self-help lyrics and you have rock as therapy to a degree that was, as far as I can tell, unprecedented.

I'd really enjoy a book about the intersection of rock and therapy in 60s bands. There's enough in the Byrds and the less-famous American psychedelic bands to bridge the Atlantic. Throw in the R.D. Laing-influenced therapeutic philosophy of The Who's Tommy and Mick Jagger's sneering denunciation of "Mother's Little Helper" and you have enough material for a rich study.

As you might imagine, both from what I've said here and what I've written elsewhere, I'm a lyrics man. Like my daughter, I've never been one of those people who tunes the words out. If the words aren't compelling, I have a hard time committing fully to a band. The intriguing aspect of the hypothetical book I just laid out is that it would permit insights into classic rock that would be hidden in music-centered approaches.

It's funny. I started out today trying to write an allegory and ended up with a book project. I suppose there's an allegory to be discerned in that trajectory too, but not one that I'm motivated to extract at the moment.

Saturday, February 21, 2004
More horizontal death throes of an invasive species

Yesterday, on Friday, the first checks to consumers from the CD price-fixing settlement case were mailed. You can believe them when they tell you that your check is in the mail.

How many CD's are you going to buy with your very own $13.86? If you're planning to earmark that money towards buying only 3/4 of a CD that has an RIAA label or one that is stamped with an FBI insignia, please do us all the favor of explaining why and provide your real name in the comments box. Thanks.

Old news Dept:

Real true tales from the wild west: one way to get your favorite records played on the radio.

"In 1987 a troubled young man carrying a handgun walked into his local radio station in Denver, Colorado, and took the disc and producers hostage. Cowering and terrified, they asked him if he had any demands that they could try to satisfy. The answer they received was unexpected: he wanted them to play records by a four-piece Mancunian band called The Smiths, whose lead singer, Morrissey, liked to pose for press photos sitting next to graveyard headstones that bore his name. For more than four hours, the airwaves of the American Midwest were filled with songs such as Half a Person or Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now."

(Where else, but from a UK paper.)

The background to another famous Mardi Gras Song, the surging lift of "Carnival Time"

Which is [aren't you getting sick of just hearing about all of them yet] another story of a rip-off.
From NY Times Opinion Feb 21, 2004

"The psychology of the recording industry, like that of book publishing, is now so dependent on blockbuster sales that the idea of profitability based on modest sales across a diverse catalog has nearly vanished. The business depends on the hundred-year flood, not a steady rain."
"What happens when people get swallowed up by beauty -- that is, by good art -- is not exactly clear."

(From the Great NPR Program You Never Heard)

"Beautiful music's all around us in the world -- and so is stupid, fake music. We all know that. And it's the same in all the other arts -- beautiful novels, stupid novels that make you furious at wasting money; beautiful architecture, stupid architecture; beautiful paintings, stupid paintings. And to make things worse, we know from experience that it's not always easy to tell the difference. How many of us realized right from the beginning that those miserable punks the Beatles were in fact real artists? Or that tortuously self-conscious, sentimental rhetorician William Faulkner? Art breaks all walls down, all categories. Good classical music and first-rate jazz have more in common than good classical music and bad, or good jazz and bad. How do we know the difference?

"Enemies out to confuse us are everywhere: dumb teachers, smart businessmen fobbing off trash on the pretense that it's art. What should we look for? How can we be certain that it's not all a con?"
Saturday reading room is open

(Whew!) World music fan? Check out this series of Class Notes from Johnny Ray's own cramped and inkstained aching fingers.

"#5 Representation, Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Migration"

and (an oldie but goodie)

"The Two Way Afro-Caribbean Music Connection" by John Cho
Surprise Saturday

Sister Rosetta Tharpe nice biography!
Friday, February 20, 2004
Uh-oh Dept

"The Grammy's Most Revealing Moment"
A great article that captures the magic of a recording session: the story behind the studio session of that wonderful Mardi Gras anthem, "Big Chief"

(you've already read it at that Beethoven joint, TMFTML)
Part of the American Memory Project, field recordings and writings about music far back in the day: Hispano Music & Culture from the Northern rio Grande (The Juan B. Rael Collection)
Thursday, February 19, 2004
I've been hearing about Whispering Bob since the late '60s, I swear. Now I've read about him and know who he is, ancient of days UK radio master.
Afropop kicks out the jams with online world music radio: The Hip Deep Series
The tempest in a tea cup simmers down

This early morning's communique is from Martin Gordon, recording artist, who was caught in the cross fire of controversy -- glowing reviews lifted from a magazine, and then posted as consumer reviews at online merchandisers. In clarifying to everyone's satisfaction that he is not the culprit, he also goes on to say he doesn't approve:

"As a songwriter I have had to deal with more disappearing credits than the
government of Libya and I in no way condone the practise of claiming
something created by another as one's own. As an artist I’m grateful for any
positive exposure in whatever form but I don’t go so far as espousing the
“any publicity is good publicity“ adage and I find this particular matter
cause for some concern. I am not the person doing the postings, and all I
can do is let it be known that I do not approve, that it has undesired side
effects and that the person responsible should not be anonymous, and these
actions I have undertaken. Not being the poster, it is unfortunate that I
wasn't contacted earlier in order to provide some feedback about it, but
c'est la vie, as Samuel Beckett was so fond of saying when in his cups.

I would also note that every single review quoted on my website is not only
credited to the reviewer AND publication but that there is also a link
provided to take the reader directly to the source. This is an extension of
the philosophy that leads me (by way of example) to include
pictures of the musicians that I work with on my recordings in the CD
booklets and give co-write credits on songs where others have been involved
in the creation. It's only common sense, to quote myself".

Martin Gordon


(Note: This post originally appeared Tues Mar 09 01:45:25 PM
but to keep the appropriate remarks together so readers might better follow the thread, it's been re-installed here)
Tempest in a tea pot dept, pt. 2

More on appropriation without respect or decorum and the emotional fall out resulting from such misappropriations.

Here's an excerpt from an exclusive interview (previously unpublished) via email (7-9-03) with the musician involved in the 2-18-04 post below. (It turns out, he is also a published writer himself.)

Hi Barbara

I found some baboon-free space and here is the result. Do mail more Qs as you need.

All the best


BF I think a musician has the potential to bring a lot to the subject when writing about music. How and when did you get started writing about world music for World Music Charts Europe. Also, are there any other places you publish in Europe on world music (if so, any links available?)

(MARTIN) I began to write for the WMCE (www.wmce.de) when I was asked to help an on-line record shop review their entire catalogue. I reviewed about 1000 CDs per week for about three months... The company were specialists in world music, and it was a natural development to bump into the WMCE people, especially as they're based here in Berlin. I write regularly for the WMCE - a monthly review of WMCE contributors airplay-based top 20 - and sporadically for a number of print magazines and newspapers (Folk Roots, Songlines, the Mix, the Independent, the Daily Telegraph and a number of others). My most recent piece is for the UK print quarterly Songlines, which comes out in August 2003, and tells all about the Berlin world music scene.


BF Can you tell us something about what World Music Charts is, how long it's been around, how it's put together, and why it's important?

(MARTIN) It's been around since 1991 and collates airplay returns from approximately 50 radio presenters from twenty-three countries scattered around the world, from afar afield as Moscow, Istanbul, the Caribbean and Canada. In order to contribute, a presenter has to have a regular show and the parent broadcaster must be legal, paying airplay royalties to composers and performers. The charts are published monthly - via the Internet, which gets about 15,000 direct hits, via direct mail-out to about 900 professional media outlets and it's also printed in various newspapers and magazines - this runs to about 3.4 million copies.

* ** * * * * * * *

Here's a sample of his latest world music review there.

You know, I'd cut and paste it directly here, all 50 words of analysis that include a cross cultural examination of art (he mentions Magritte), pop cultural reference (he mentions that body builder) and half a sentence devoted to beer, but I read and understood the intent of the remark following (which is similar to but not as legally binding as that little copyright mark on the bottom of magazine and newspaper pages):

Audio courtesy of Gift Music GmbH. Any reproduction, publication, further distribution or public exhibition of materials provided at this site, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited.

* * * * * * * * * *

(Did you read it? I mean his review. And what do you suppose that "strictly prohibited" part of the last sentence means? Anyway, I'll bet he wishes he wrote well enough that someone would want to plagiarise his stuff. Or as a musician revisiting '70s pop, to make music that more than one person would want to write about after hearing it)


Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Another look at the blues and where they came from:

Tempest in a tea pot dept. As promised, the flaskaland exclusive on appropriation without respect or decorum and the emotional fall out resulting from such misappropriations.

The following is a test of your moral stature. This is a thought-provoking scenario during which you will decide how you will act and who you want to be if you decide to write about music and music culture or even become a musician yourself .... there will be a number of questions.

Boys, girls, so you want to be a music critic? You're smart enough to write so you already know it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, right? But you feel strongly about music and think you might have some insights and enthusiasms you'd like to share with the world. So you decide to take a risk.

Let's pretend a pop musician sends you an email out of the blue to solicit your interest in his project and then sends you a record to review. What would you do?

Let's pretend you oblige because you're a nice guy, and cover the record. And then you even go out of your way and do an interview and get it published somewhere. You're not making a penny from any of this, but that's just how it is at the moment. The musician posts links to your work on his own website, which is the only permission of use he has been granted, so that must mean he likes the review, too.

But do you think that musicians really have any respect or appreciation for what you've done? Yes? If you do, you're probably wrong, you know. That's because you exist only to help them out in some way when they need it. And your reason for existing is now nearly over.

It's only a record review, and everyone, including the writer, knows it. And reviews generally have a limited life span.

But what if someone then takes your work and uses your review in their press kit without recompensing you in any way -- to publicize themselves and the record they're selling. That seems to go with the territory. Even without asking you, that's to be expected. This form of use benefits only the musician and the label in providing them with free publicity. The writer benefits in no real way.

But what if someone takes your review and reduces your stature. Let's pretend someone takes your review, strips your name off it, and publishes it as a review on Amazon. That makes it look like it's something that an anonymous Amazon music reviewer has supposedly written.

How would you feel about that? It's not really plagiarism (no one is assuming credit for your work). What would you call this if it happened to you? More importantly how would you feel about it? Granted, we all know we live in a cut and paste world, but still -- that's not very respectful, is it?

Boys, and girls, this is a little-bitty, teensy-tiny let's pretend story, right?

Matt Cibula wrote a very positive review for PopMatters and then went on to interview a pop musician, and now Matt says he's disappointed. His review has shown up a number of times on Amazon. The first few times, individual paragraphs were lifted and appeared as individual "reviews". He asked Amazon to remove them and they did. Now it's back again, this time lifted ver batim nearly in entirety and labeled as coming from "a music fan from Windhoek, Namibia". And exactly the same review has been cut and pasted on CD Universe. Who's putting it there? Not Matt. Not me. Who could have done this, and why? There are only suspicions.

Matt wrote me this morning: "I reviewed his record when no one else did, I interviewed him for another website when no one else did. Part of the reason I didn't consider this record for my top ten list is that I stopped listening to that record when I suspected that martin might have been behind the first theft of the review. (the bigger reason: there were at least 12 better records last year, if not 22.) if it wasn't him, then it's disappointing anyway, because it means that I've been turned into an advertisement without my permission."

This goes a bit deeper and wider than that. What is the emotional toll? Matt says, "It has, however, made me MUCH less likely to ever go out on a limb for an artist again; from now on, I deal with labels, through websites or magazines. and from now on I trust NO ONE."

Can't say as I blame him. Gentle reader, we don't know who did this. Why would someone do it? Just because they can? Do you think the person responsible for doing this stands to profit in any way or make money from these actions? If they are in fact gaining financially, do you think they're donating it to charity? .... No?

How about this next question: Do you think they'd be likely to move so much as an inch to help another human being in any kind of way?

Boys and girls, stealing has serious consequences (say: con-see-kwen-ses) because it hurts everyone. Stealing causes big problems for a family or a community (even an internet community) and seriously impacts future relations with others.

We've all encountered sociopaths -- we might know people who cheat, lie, steal, and generally mess around with humanity. They are always unfazed by the adverse effect their actions have on others. We can shake our heads in disbelief, and can't understand how it is someone we trusted, maybe even a friend, can do that to us, or do that to anyone. Their actions say they regard us poorly.

In thinking about them, we realize we'll never know what makes them tick. But because we sense that something is different, or wrong about that person, we'll simply avoid them in the future. The limits to trust have been damaged, and without trust there is no relationship.

So they might not remain our friends or associates after we discover that about them. But that doesn't bother the cheat, the liar, the thief, or the philanderer. They've sought you out and already exhausted what you can provide them with; they just move on to the next bunch of prospective victims.

We, however, are not so inclined to be so charitable in the future. The thief lives only for himself and prospers from his self-seeking opportunism. He might actually be profiting greatly and wallowing in splendor or living in a stingy, greedy, and selfish world all of his own, but either way it's hard to feel much compassion for him now. In stealing from one, he has stolen something from everyone.

He's influenced a once generous person who reached out in genuine kindness into acting less generously with anyone ever again in the future. Therefore, the thief has stolen from everyone, but he likely doesn't care.


[updated Thurs Feb 19, 10:08 PM

The reviews pointed to in the post above have been removed from both CD Universe and Amazon (Who, I am told, "takes accusations of plagiarism very seriously.") So if you want a synopsis, visit rockcriticsdaily and read all about it, read all about it, read all about it under 2-18 'NOT WHAT'S MEANT BY QUOTING 'LIBERALLY']
Tempest in a tea pot dept.

Coming later today, a flaskaland exclusive on appropriation without respect or decorum and the emotional fall out resulting from such misappropriations:

subtitled why people who steal are socially retarded moral dwarves.
the growing world of the blog, where controversy is given high esteem in its social value

The article below is an extremely well researched vehicle that explains the current state of the transparency in the blog universe for working journalists, who are obliged by the real world of employment pressures to consider censoring themselves, even when the topic is completely out of field and like a hobby:

When Journalists blog, editors get nervous

Karen Mann, an interactive news producer for The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., who also writes on technology for the newspaper, writes a personal blog about music, Mann's World. She says, "Since the N&O has a full-time music critic, I don't often have the chance to write music articles, so I decided to do this both as a creative outlet and to have an online place to show my work to magazines I'm pitching."

Her supervisor knows about it, "and his reaction was, if I'm not profiting, and I'm not in direct competition with the paper, it's OK." Mann is, however, "very careful about the language I use in my [blog] entries. There have been times when I've toned down the language just in case one of the higher-ups here sees it, which can be frustrating."
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
We get guidance from wherever we can sub-section

PopMatters music critic Peter Su on writing and reading about music: "I try to remember what Robert Penn Warren said about good short stories, that, no matter 'how trivial its subject matter, or how cranky its end, we feel that an interesting mind and temperament has made contact with life. Even though the point of the story, stated or implied, may be contrary to our personal conclusions about things, it enlarges our own sense of human possibility, for good or bad.' "
Saturday, February 14, 2004
H is for Hearts Day Dept.

Not strictly speaking hearts and flowers, but I published some thoughts recently on musicians whose names begin with H.


Howlin wolf
Friday, February 13, 2004
Somewhere, beyond the grey skies dept.

New North American world music coalition is forming and gaining strength as you read this sentence.

Go read some more about them and explore their links, as this sounds very promising.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Shameless self promotion dept.

Chinese Music was one of the biggest and most pleasant recent listening surprises for this writer.

Thai Music found its way as the soundtrack for most Vietnamese restaurants and sandwich bars throughout the South Seas, so I was a little more familiar with those tones.

There's also a dash of some Texas Music.

All aurally scrutinized, sonically examined, and an attempt to translate the music experience for readers by yours truly.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004
A discussion that looks at the balcanization of music genres with a quick skim over one of the reasons that might be happening.


Stupid house: Ishkur's online guide to electronic music (www.ishkur. com) says stupid house is interchangeable with Nu-NRG and is better known as UK hard house. "It's just retarded," says the guide helpfully.

Dark ambient: Ambient music is soothing, sweet and pretty. So dark ambient is scary with creepy sound effects. Watch out behind you!

Neurofunk: Also known as futurestep, this is what happens when electro meets drum 'n' bass. "This stuff f----ing rules," says Ishkur.

Folk metal: Yes, really. A sub-genre of black metal, its best-known (well, it's all relative) exponents are Skyclad and Waylander, says online encyclopedia wikipedia.org.

Neo-classical metal: Traditional metal with a twist. It's heavily influenced by baroque music. If Bach, Vivaldi and Paganini had turned it up to 11 this is what they would have sounded like. Possibly.

Monday, February 09, 2004
Politics in Pop (Brutal Honesty Dept.)

Technology - Internet Report

Qaeda Sympathizers Turn to Rap to Battle 'Infidels'
Mon Feb 9, 6:06 AM ET Add Technology - Internet Report to My Yahoo!

By Miral Fahmy

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda's newest weapon against the West is a violent English-language rap tune urging young Muslims to wage holy war.

The song is being broadcast on the Internet in an attempt to lure music-loving youth into the terror network, which is blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities and other bombings around the world.

Titled "Dirty Kuffar" or "Dirty Infidels," the song is performed by a London-based group which Islamists said was deeply sympathetic to Osama bin Laden (news - web sites)'s network.

A music video accompanies the catchy yet violent lyrics, belted out by the group's lead singer Sheikh Terra -- rap lingo for terror -- and the Soul Salah Crew, a take-off on gritty British rappers So Solid Crew. Salah means righteousness or piety in Arabic.

The song calls on Muslims to wage jihad, or holy war, against "Crusaders and apostate Arab rulers," saying they will be "thrown inna fire."

"Be prepared for the battle with the infidels," it says.

The video, which uses footage from news agencies and television, opens with images of a U.S. soldier killing an Iraqi man and then cheering.

"Dirty Kuffar wherever you are; From Kandahar to Ramallah; OBL (Osama bin Laden) Crew be like a shining star; like the way we destroy them two tower ha ha," one singer raps in front of images of the September 11 airliner attacks on New York's World Trade Center.

Another frame shows the balaclava-clad Sheikh Terra, brandishing a pistol and a Koran, while denouncing a long list of Arab and Western heads of state -- mostly from countries that have cracked down on militant groups -- as "dirty infidels."

In the video, al Qaeda's second in command Ayman al-Zawahri morphs into a lion while President Bush (news - web sites) becomes a chimpanzee. Saudi Arabia's King Fahd turns into a devil and Egypt's "apostate" President Hosni Mubarak (news - web sites) becomes a vampire.

The video also shows Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites), reviled in the Middle East for his hardline policies against Arabs, turning into a pig. Palestinian President Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) is labeled a traitor.

Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) is not spared -- a text reading "Allah doesn't protect tyrants" is superimposed on images of the bushy-haired Saddam shortly after U.S. troops captured him in December.

"Send 'em home in body bags," reads another blurb above images of U.S. troops in Baghdad. A U.S.-led military force toppled Saddam in April.

Reuters received a copy of the video from the Committee for the Defense of Legal Rights, a London-based Islamist group headed by Saudi dissident Muhammad al-Massari.


Sunday, February 08, 2004
Saturday Reading Room is Still Open

James Russell unearthed Alan W. Pollack's mammoth musciological study on the Beatles.

(That should keep you out of trouble today.)

If you need more to do, check out the Introduction to American Music Archives, which promises to become more laden with juicy material as time goes on.

(via Stevie Nixed)
Saturday, February 07, 2004
Destination Planet Earth Dept.

Did you miss this two-night concert review of David Bowie at LA's Wiltern Theatre? You shouldn't have, this is how concert reviews should be written -- with joy and fear of falling into the abyss and trepidation and an honest sense of awe when the band is right.

Bowie: Night One

Bowie: Night Two

[comment added to text 02-17-04 because I'm having problems with the comments boxes again and I don't want to lose this lovely response which I forwarded on to the author of the concert reviews, the Princess of the Verbal Punch, Ms. Margaret Cho. Besides if it's posted here, you might just read it. Maybe I'll do this with all the comments fit to print, because that's what blog experts recommend and, well, look at the title, it is my blog afterall.]

Feb 11 2004, 09:15 pm

I really enjoyed reading your review on David Bowie's performances. I got to say your review was less of a "review" than it was, at one point, a poignant poetic verse paying homage to a great man's exisitence.

If it is true that God is within us and that we are all a reflection of God's creation, then David Jones is the greatest example of God on earth in that he expresses that inexhaustible creative life force within us so exquisitely and powerfully; making life worth living for him, and I'm certain, for a great many Others.

I saw him -front row-at the Wiltern on Saturday, and though I am still grieving the fact that he did not take the rose that I kept on trying to hand to him (what the hell was I thinking anyhow), I experienced God in the most amazing way I believe one is supposed to: through the inexhaustible life force of music and song, and David Bowie.


Friday, February 06, 2004
Salon's mood piece of the day Bands on the run

"You see what I mean. "Bands Reunited" is a basic-cable bonanza for music fans, reality fans, and anyone who's ever stumbled across a long-forgotten eight-track or cassette and wondered what happened to the group that recorded it. Similarly fascinating sagas are already in the can detailing the rise and fall of Extreme, Berlin, queeze and the Alarm. Of course, plenty of shows (VH1's own "Behind the Music, "for example) already chronicle the rise of famous bands.

A show documenting their fall is long overdue. When people make the journey from world tours to working day jobs, there's guaranteed to be drama, wreckage, lessons learned, and human interest in spades. And, with so many expired acts awaiting postmortem, it looks like this is a show that will go on. And on."

Wednesday, February 04, 2004
This is not Johnny Horton dept.

Criminal defense attorney Greg Westfall spends his days in the law offices of Westfall Platt & Cutrer defending criminals, and his nights writing songs about them.

Attack of the phonies overpowers culture.

After being immersed in a current culture of lies with a national history of lying cowboys, a college boy decides that people today aren't what they seem, and they even prefer listening to phony baloney music.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
egomaniac I am, I forgot to mention my comments on Lightnin Hopkins.
Here's the yin and yang today in 3,000 words more or less.

the world in yugoslavia: that mad philosopher boris kovac

seeing how the world plays here (i.e., in cincinnati u.s.a.

"He was not simply describing the music, but he fashioned a type of writing that was itself an artistic performance about music."

Symposium on Black Music
Monday, February 02, 2004

Palgrave / St. Martin's Press, The FADER Magazine and The Black Rock Coalition present:

A special event to celebrate the release of Rip It Up: The Black Experience in Rock and Roll edited by Kandia Crazy Horse -- a new book featuring essays, photos, and original interviews with artists such as Slash from Guns n Roses, Lenny Kravitz, and Vernon Reid from Living Colour.

"What a terrific book! As exciting as it is valuable, Rip It Up is the most uniquely satisfying volume on music my eyes (and heart) have seen in YEARS."
-- Richard Meltzer author of _A Whore Just Like the Rest

Live Performances:
Chocolate Genius
Apollo Heights

And to congratulate the writers and contributors:
* Greg Tate * Barney Hoskyns * Paul Gilroy * Andy Gill * Dalton Jones * Vivien Goldman * Bill Millar * Mike Ladd * Darryl Jennifer (Bad Brains) * Sacha Jenkins * Lorraine O'Grady * Jennifer Rice * Lester Bangs (well) * Barry Walters * Mark Anthony Neal * Vernon Reid (Living Colour) * Harry Allen * Darrell McNeill * Lenny Kravitz * Knox Robinson * Jon Caramanica * Amy Linden

Tuesday February 3, 2004, Doors 7/Show at 8

CBGBs, 315 Bowery (at Bleeker St)

$10 cover at the door

Compiling the best online articles about music so there will be more of both in the future. In periods of drought, the reader will be innundated by my own blogs on the matters.

07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002 / 08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002 / 09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002 / 10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002 / 11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002 / 12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003 / 01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003 / 02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003 / 03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 / 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 / 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 / 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 / 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 / 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 / 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 / 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 / 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 / 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 / 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 / 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 / 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 / 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 / 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 / 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 / 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 / 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 / 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 / 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 / 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 / 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 / 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 / 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 / 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 / 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 / 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 / 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 / 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 / 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 / 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 / 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 / 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 / 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 / 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 / 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 / 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 / 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 / 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 / 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 / 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 / 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 / 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 / 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 / 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 / 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 / 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 / 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 / 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 / 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 / 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 / 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 / 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 / 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 / 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 / 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 / 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 / 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 / 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 / 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 / 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 / 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 / 09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009 / 01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010 / 04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010 / 11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010 / 12/01/2010 - 01/01/2011 / 01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011 / 07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011 / 10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011 / 01/01/2012 - 02/01/2012 / 08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013 / 09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013 / 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013 / 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013 / 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014 /

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