Tennage

I don’t like making lists, mostly because I’m lazy. But I’m also accustomed to finding new artists and digging around in a way that doesn’t call it quits on a year and close the book once December rolls around. And I disagree with the peer review qualities that making year-end rankings puts on people’s opinions.

But I’ll always give in with a little arm twisting, so here are some of the things from 2005 I liked, in no particular order. Let me know what I missed out on and check out some of these if you can.

Albums

Sufjan Stevens – Come On Feel The Illinoise!
Recloose – Hiatus On The Horizon
Matias Aguayo – Are You Really Lost?
Kraftwerk – Minimum-Maximum
Fantomas – Suspended Animation
Ellen Allien – Thrills
Bun B – Trill
The Black Dog – Silenced
Kelley Polar – Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens
Isolee – We Are Monster

Compilations

Clipse – We Got It 4 Cheap Vol. 1
VA – Minimize To Maximize
Oxford American Music Issue CD
UR Presents Galaxy 2 Galaxy A Hi-Tech Jazz Compilation
Can You Jack? Chicago Acid And Experimental House 1985-95
VA – Kompakt Total 6
VA – Spectral Sound Vol. 1
VA – Tsunami Relief
Big Boi Presents…Got That Purp Vol.1
VA – Choubi Coubi (Folk And Pop Songs From Iraq)

Singles

Ying Yang Twins – Wait (The Whisper Song)
Various Production – Foller / Home 7″
Pan Pot – Popy & Caste
Exercise One – Easy Things
Dandy Jack aka The Latin Elvis – Refried EP
Alex Smoke – Ok Remixed
Vivianne Projects – Strangers
Salif Keita – Yamore (Luciano Remix)
Repeat Repeat – Blippy
Nathan Fake – Dinamo / Coheed (Remixes)

Mixes / Live Sets

Richie Hawtin – DE9 Transitions
Ewan Pearson – Sci.fi.Hi.fi. _

Lexicon Devil: Swearengen

swearengen: v, tr.

1. To declare or affirm solemnly by invoking a deity or a sacred person or thing.
2. To utter or bind oneself to (an oath).
3. To say or affirm earnestly and with great conviction.

A friend left me with a heavy secret the other day and sealed the deal by looking me in the eye and saying “swearengen.”

In HBO’s Deadwood, The Old West pinkie swear is a spit shake. Mr. Wu and Dan, Al’s flunkie, seal deals with Swearengen slick-palmed, so we did too, with an oath of “swearengen” in Wu’s Chinese accent.

Well Well Wellington…

Cruising through James Agee’s greatest hits, I found an essay he wrote for Fortune‘s August 1935 issue, titled “Saratoga.”

Surprisingly, it concerns Wellington Mara’s father, who was then one of the major bookmakers, as well as the an owner of the New York Giants. This was before all betting was parimutuel and you could shop your horse picks to different bookies while at the Spa. Here’s what Agee has to say:

Tim Mara is a large, curly-headed, thick-fleshed Irishman with the wide, relaxed, dimpled, big-mouthed, and keen type of Irish face. Timothy James Mara’s life is too colorfully involved to bear writing on a thumbnail. He was born forty-eight years ago in Greenwich Village; sold papers, Madison Square programs, candy in a Third Avenue Theatre; was a Ziegfeld usher; sold lawbooks. Became a bookie in 1910. Of late years has been in and out of bookmaking. Some of his avocations: customers’ man in Wall Street for Al Smith’s pal Mike Meehan (1927-30); coal business (Mara Fuel Co., still listed); liquor business (Kenny-Mara Importers Co., 1933, still listed; a Scotch labeled Timara); owner of New York Giants (football, he has never played the game). He has been often in court, most spectacularly in a row over what Gene Tunney owned him for Build-ups, political lubrication. Has two sons: John, president of the Giants, and Wellington Timothy, who is at Fordham. He is a fight promoter (Schmeling-Baer, the second Ross-Canzoneri); plays golf; has never driven a car since, twenty years ago, he was in a bad accident; has a place at Lake Luzerne, near Saratoga. He is variously known about the tracks as (a) just a big good-natured guy and (b) the ultimate truculent mug. But everyone agrees that as a mental mathematician he’s second only to [Long Tom] Shaw and, as a bookie, among the most imminently successful.”

pp 103-104, James Agee: Selected Journalism

Selected Journalism and Agee on Film have been collected into a handsome Library of America edition, which will no doubt torpedo any remaining sales of the University of Tennessee edition. But shelling out thirty bucks isn’t such a bad idea, so long as some of the standout essays from Journalism, “Cockfighting,” “Roman Society,” “The American Roadside,” “The U.S. Commercial Orchid” and “Saratoga” remain.

From the Archives: Listener Defined Noise

Wighnomy Brothers
“3 Fashmich” (FAT 019)
Freude Am Tanzen (Germany)
March 2005

Someone’s had a baby! I’m not sure which Brother’s spawn is staring out from Fat 19, but he says hello on the first bit of the A side, and is the namesake of the main track, “pele bloss” (“pele only”?). It’s a fairly straightforward number with an acid thwomp in the mids and a nice flutter. I haven’t been playing that track as much, instead the B1, “freiekksemplar,” a bare chug-a-lug wrapped around the smiley critter above. The breakdown near the end, one of several, has a disembodied, random piece of sampling, “Alfred Lord Tennyson reads from his own poems, first the ‘Charge of the Light,'” just after which the spare beat comes back briefly. The B2, “caput 1” is described as “omar sharifs winterm‰rchengewand,” which Babel Fish calls “winter fairy tale garb,” and is a short vocal sample where someone, presumably Omar Sharif, talks about dancing. That’s about all I can get without much German.

Tomas Andersson
“Washing Up” (BPC 108)
BPitch Control (Germany)
May 2005

By some cosmic hilarity, both this record and the Saddam Hussein in his underpants on the front page of America’s favorite despot showed up on Friday morning. The record went on first, then my coffee nearly came out my nose when I saw the paper. Like the Hasselhoffian Recursion, I was shocked and hypnotized, paralyzed for a good six minutes while the two scoured my soul. I snapped back into consciousness when the needle hit the label, averted my eyes, and tried to get on with my life.

The Tiga remix, on the side pictured, strikes me as do papers who won’t print the actual pictures, rather pictures of citizens reading papers who do. The original is still visible, yet your criticisms or analyses over the legitimacy of the act of printing are thrown out because you printed it anyhow. Now the photo has no mystique, and is not suitable for home display. A shoddy effort, adding some congas, a vocal sample and calling it a day.

Thee Wilde Billy Childish Interview

This interview took place last year a few days before Billy Childish and the Buff Medways came to America to play two dates, one in Long Beach, California for the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival, another opening for Modest Mouse at Radio City Music Hall.

Believe that at the height of Modest Mouse’s recent popularity, at a concert heavily promoted by K-Rock, the Medways put the zap on a lot of young minds.

NP: This is the Buffs’ second or third time here, right?

BC: I think it’s only the second, I’m not quite sure. We used to come quite often but then our bass player couldn’t do much, and we’ve got a new bass player who is a fireman who can’t do too much. You know, because we’re not a professional group, which is sort of like our saving grace but also causes a few problems, because we don’t do touring really, even in the Headcoats we didn’t used to really do touring, I don’t really sort of like see much sense in it. Its usually to make agents a load of money and sort of like promote yourself and seeing as we’ve never ever promoted ourselves, you know, we actually play to earn some money, and to enjoy it, but most groups just do things to become, to promote themselves, and we’ve never done that.

NP: It seems like these one offs that you do, to come over and do a couple of shows in a couple of weeks or a week are a lot more healthy than a regular touring schedule.

BC: Well yeah, really, for those reasons, people do it because they’re promoting themselves; we don’t do promotions because it’s boring. We’re not in music as a career. It’s something we do because we enjoy it. And when we don’t enjoy it we don’t do it.

Continue reading “Thee Wilde Billy Childish Interview”

Most Recently Added

Matias Aguayo: Are You Really Lost?

Aguayo is one half of Closer Musik, whose “One Two Three-No Gravity” has endured as a pivotal track played at moments at the club when you reenter reality and look around at what you left. Dan Bell put it on his 2003 The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back! album, but I remember it best from Michael Mayer’s Volume gig, where he and Superpitcher introduced the Kompakt sound to New York.

While “The Green & The Red” remind me more of something Perlon would release, Aguayo’s solo production brings to mind Kevin Saunderson in the Reese & Santonio period, organic, bodied basslines, full production, especially on the breath-boxed “Drums & Feathers” and “So In Love.” Other standouts on this record are “Radiotaxi” and “New Life,” which keeps reminding me of a “Kiko and the Lavendar Moon” sounding song I just can’t place.

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Digable Planets: Beyond The Spectrum: The Creamy Spy Chronicles 2005

Reissuing your 12″s as an album is a good way to remind people how you tweaked them a dozen years ago. Indeed, if you missed these guys the first time around, or never looked before Blowout Comb, this is an essential record. It’s hard to imagine they’ll reinvent themselves or even continue in such a strong fashion after a decade-long layoff (I saw them live in a “teaser set” this spring and it stunk) so maybe it’s better to live in the past.

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Various Artists: Famous When Dead IV

I can’t think of a label more consistently on top of dancefloor tastes than Playhouse. If we’re just talking albums, in the recent past they’ve put out Isolee’s We Are Monster, Captain Comatose’s Up In Flames and Melchoir Productions’ The Meaning — two and a half blockbusters (sorry Cap’n). “Scrapnell,” Isolee’s wet-with-reverb surf-techno joint makes it on here, as well as his mix of Recloose’s “Cardiology,” both examples of how dance music succeeds when it works outside of structural constraints. Tiefschwarz’s remix of Spektrum’s “Kinda New,” Fabrice Lig’s “Meet U in Brooklyn” and Max Mohr’s “Old Song” work in a traditional manner. This is essential listening if you don’t have it separately on vinyl. Plus a great nod to Jim Phillips’ Santa Cruz Speed Wheels hand.

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Supergrass: Road To Rouen

This band had me when they were In It For the Money, and there are a few songs on this record worth listening to for that sort of aggressive Britrock harmonizing (“Tales Of Endurance (Parts 4, 5 & 6),” “Roxy”). They’ve diverged into two nasty camps, it sounds like, an Elliot Smithy bareness (“St. Petersburg,” “Sad Girl” and “Low C”) or a Led Zep-lite (“Road To Rouen,” “Coffee In The Pot” and “Fin”).

Nice work, but not as cohesive or engaging as previous projects. Great Kraftwerkian cover art, though.

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Dungen: Stadsvandringar

I was disappointed by this, because I expected a reissue from a younger band to be more aggressive than Ta Det Lungt, Dungen’s first record to gain appeal here in the US, which bored a hole in my head when I first heard it. I find myself loving the 30-second vocal jam “Stadsvandring Del 2” and bassline driven “Vem Vaktar lejonen” but skipping the Jethro Tullish flute numbers.

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James Zabiela: FOUR.2 mixes

So everything is topsy-turvy again. Minimal is maximal. Sasha’s acolyte plays the Wighnomys, Vector Lovers, Luciano, John Tejada, Ken Ishii, Egoexpress and more. At some point you just stop labeling and enjoy things as they come your way, and here they are, in five quality mixes.

Why We Do

There’s no need to over-analyze why people love sports, or what sports bring to their lives. Here’s what I hope will be a long series of everyday incidents; good, human examples.

It was early evening on Seventh Avenue, older man wearing a Chad Pennington jersey overtaking a mother and boy on the sidewalk. The boy is wearing a Ty Law jersey.

“Ty Law, good game today,” the dude said, addressing the kid the way a teammate would address another.

It’s tough to describe the look on the kid’s face. It was a mix of pride and surprise. He was just beaming. His mother leaned down and asked what the man had said, and as he explained in a small voice his smile passed to her and they walked on.