Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Walking around the headland, eyes on the water, the rocks lining the point, occasionally on the path in front but not often enough as something seems to have lodged itself in the palm of my foot. It can wait. Nick breaks into a trot and I follow suit, past the normal jump off rock, past the folks who don't know any better with no real idea of just how strong that current they're about to jump into is, folks with no more idea than I have but folks who don't have someone who knows better to follow, someone lit up by surf like this, surf far beyond my comfort zone, my capabilities, but surf I have every intention of launching myself into just as soon as I've scrambled across the rocks after Nick, who knew exactly what it would be like today long before he got on the plane to come up here, whose 6'3" six-channel AB has been chosen exactly for this sort of day. A no-nonsense surfboard for no-nonsense surf and a no-nonsense surfer who knows exactly what he's getting himself into and what he wants to do once he's there, and me behind him, ducking through the scrub and across the rocks, still overwhelmed by the piece of fibreglass and foam under my arm, my first custom, a board I hadn't expected to push for months.
I knew it would be like this too, knew from the charts and from the early I had at home this morning at a beachbreak that's always got a dozen people out even at six am but was deserted this morning, just me and six feet of straight swell, giving me some confidence to deal with this afternoon because I'd paddled out when others hadn't, and felt comfortable and focused but known that beachbreak was not what it was about, not really, not in swell like this when where you really, even if you don't, where you really want to be is at The Point.
Almost at the rivermouth, we follow wet footprints off the path through this odd little blob of national park down through the bush and onto the boulders, not stopping to watch the sets heave onto the rocks, picking our way across them, boards under arm, trying not to rush, a recent trip to get sewn up after launching into the water too early at the front of my mind and a quick glance at my foot finds it covered in blood, a 20 cent-sized piece of skin flapping under my big toe but it'd have to be a lot deeper than it is to be worth turning back for even as I watch someone probably someone who knows this place a lot better than I do scrambling out of the ocean with two pieces of cleanly snapped surfboard, session over before it's even started because this is really heavy, and jumping off the rocks isn't just jumping off the rocks, it's years of timing the sets and knowing the tides and there's a break in the waves that lets me pick my way from dry rocks onto the slippery barnacle-encrusted half submerged ones and overcome the knowledge that this wave bearing down on me will snap board and bone because it will also get me out into that mess of whitewater and somewhere, some half a kilometre back around the headland if I'm lucky into the takeoff spot and I'm in the water, scrambling to find purchase in the boiling bruised surface, bubbling and hard to paddle through, Nick in front of me, duckdiving wave after wave, both of us paddling away from the rocks but not wanting to get too far into the impact zone, not wanting to be anywhere near these waves when they stand upright and break, and we're paddling, and duckdiving and paddling and being swept down and the set's dying and I'm paddling to get beyond the break and round the headland and into the lineup and there with blue water in front and behind.

It's crowded, but unlike when it's half this size the crowd is not entirely unwelcome, people in the water looking each other in the eye not to stare each other down but to acknowledge that we're out here in the water dealing with this and not standing with the dozens on the headland as witnesses, but part of the spectacle, in the arena and people are smiling and nodding like they never do when the surf is not heavy, not of such consequence, but no-one is sitting on their boards, we're all paddling against the sweep, the bastard current that runs down every point break on this bit of coast whenever it's big, and there's a whistle and everyone's heading out to sea, towards this straight blue slab of energy that's sucking and lifting the water and the surfer furthest inside is wheeling around and paddling and the wave is already throwing wide open when he goes and we're over the back and looking for the next one and forgotten while he's in the barrel of his life or being dragged towards the rocks underwater but he'll be right and Nick is going and someone else is going and I'm furthest inside and this thing bearing down is my wave and it's why I'm here and I turn and paddle as the wave stands straight up and the bottom drops out and instinct takes over and I'm on my feet willing the rail of my board to stay in the face and looking down the line as this thing throws way out over my head and there's no way I have anywhere near the speed to come out of this and I'm straightening out, trying to outrun the lip, crouching, swallowed by the whitewater and coming up seconds later reeling in my board in time to get under the next wave and the next, paddling towards these huge caverns, lines of swell that have marched across thousands of kilometres of ocean only to hit this spot and turn themselves inside out, unloading down the boulder strewn point, take us with them if we're lucky and have known what we're doing our whole lives or giving us the most ridiculous hiding and two hours later we're back at our desks quietly buzzing and trying not to make a deal of it to the people in the office who couldn't make it out or stayed on land and watched because I know I got lucky today, got my waves and didn't get held down too long, didn't get wailed or have my legrope snap or board break and am back and can wonder how long this swell will last and what it'll be like in the morning.
Someone's talking about a nightsurf down the coast, if the cloud stays off there could be enough moon and it's one more thing to get excited about but I can't, but the next night we're on it even though it's cloudy we stand on the hill watching these perfect waves stack up and the swell's dropping and we know it's dropping and that's not really a bad thing not at night anyway, not when it's this dark and going out is just stupid and pointless but even in the dark those lines of whitewater breaking so perfect and even, stacking up like I'd scarcely have believed I'd see with my own eyes when I was growing up far from here and fuckit we're out there, the three of us in the dark in the middle of the night because come dawn there'll be the most ridiculous crowd all over this, and we're being swept past the rocks and there's a set and I'm watching a wave break, no idea weather I'm in position or what I'm doing so I dive and as I do so realise I could have gone so the next one no matter what and there's a wave out of the blackness and I'm far too late and get pitched and come up bummed I missed it but stoked, stoked to be in the water in the dark with two friends who would rather be nowhere else than here in these perfect little waves in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

But sometimes, like having spent most of a day trying to think of ways to report the horrendous state Sumatra finds itself in, there's just nothing left in the tank.

People, even people my age, and a significant number of them at that, really do go to bed at 8.30 here. I can't get my head around this.
How can you possibly organise yourself into bed that early? I spose if you're getting up at 4.30 then it's a necessity, but still.
Herewith my problems with having a full time job, more than one hobby, and a blog about music.
Problem A) put best by this chap - "Hot shit rains down from all directions. And it's all happening so fast that most critical apparatus just spins in circles muttering about fertilizer brands."
Problem B) Off I set to write about something great I've just listened to. The new Slope album, say. Make ancillary mistake of reading something like this first, which, instead of being inspiring, brings to a jerking halt any thought I had something to share.
I don't know the A Frames yet, and they will never play on the Gold Coast, but this makes me think they are my new favourite band. "Walden Parking Lot"? Hats off, Yancey.
Problem C) Getting up at 5am to drive for half an hour through the rain, paddle half a kilometre across a notoriously sharky* seaway, walk another kilometre past already crowded first TOS sandbank, then surf for two before work doesn't make me want to do anything more than go to bed at 9.30 so I can do it again tomorrow.

*I'm not making myself sound tough. It just is. Couple of colleagues from work saw a hammerhead shark today, right just now for serious, while having a quick surf at lunchtime.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Making a life-changing move somewhere I never, ever thought I could possibly end up took a lot of time, energy, and, went initial thinking, a lot of the inspiration for this blog.

I'm trying to avoid the cop-out that would be calling my new home a cultural wasteland. It might not have much of the sort of culture I'm enthusiastic about, but that doesn't make the Gold Coast any less interesting, and there's always pockets of your sort of sanity wherever you go. Even if there isn't (and there is), there's always the internets. Really though, not having much common ground with most folks here doesn't have a whole lot to do with not writing. I came here to follow a part of my life that has nothing to do with music, and makes thinking about music hard, harder than I was realising it already was to make what I wrote about worthwhile; something I was feeling I didn't have a handle on where I was.

Increasingly, this blog was feeling like so much air. Things happen that you should be caring about, but we're not given time to make up our minds about what's right, and decisions are made by people who should, but consciously don't have our best interests at heart before you've even begun to process the issues and it's already happened; a thousand sermons from the mounts of Blogville being what they are and nothing else. But that's part of the fun I guess. Right now, the ocean is distracting me from this sort of fun, and despite surfing in it being the greatest expression of living-in-the-moment-ness I know, I don't know how interesting that is to write about.
Thanks HG, ES and JJJS for the prod though. It could be.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Tamas and I are playing a late set this Friday at Revolver. Go see Fat Freddy's Drop and Shapeshifter at the Prince then come and have a shuffle in the front room with us.

Monday, December 13, 2004

As it manages to every year, Meredith proved to be the best music festival ever in the history of music festivals this last weekend. Despite the worst weather they've ever had during set-up and the gigantic tent-destroying, road-washing-awaying, biblically-proportioned storm on Friday night which had hundreds of folks sat in their cars outside the farm for hours while organisers wondered where they could put them all without getting everyone bogged and those of us already on-site battened down hatches and wondered what the hell we'd got ourselves in for, every band hit the stage on-time, and those who managed to get in front of them were rewarded with some standout performances, particularly from Ground Components, who played their hearts out as the storm eased off around midnight.
Were then blessed with blue skies and heat for the rest of the weekend, somehow mercifully being missed by two seperate electrical storms which came through around sunset on Saturday, leaving everyone wondering who the Dirty Three had called to make their set such an experience.
I'm eternally so-so about that band but always end up captivated by their live show, not so much by Warren Ellis' visceral stage presence or the way he uses his violin to wrench sounds from deep in his guts, but more by the way Jim White tethers their sound. His ebb and flow gave the screeching histrionics of Ellis and guitarist Mick Turner a sliding, shifting base that occasionally gave way beneath them as they picked over the possibilities each song provided. He had appeared earlier for M Ward's sloppily fantastic set of gravelly-voiced blues, one of the highlights of the day, more entertaining even than Sage Francis inspiring hecklers, clearly upset that by all appearances someone's dad had been let on stage to hector them about their uselessness and sing New Kids On The Block songs at them.
Dallas Crane were also upsetting, but only because mainstream success seems forever out of reach. Why they're not as successful as Jet is a crime, proof possibly that you can't be an incredible band and rock the leather jacket/aviator sunnies look, you've also got to have youth and good genes on your side to make a real impact. Still, that band has no weak link. Not having heard much in the way of live music this year and being able to see several acts trading in a similar sound on the same day I was really struck by the difference such concepts as 'musicianship' and 'chemistry' can make. Young Heart Attack, who played a few bands earlier in the day, were similarly loud and leather-clad, but despite the right posturing and energy to burn they just didn't shake me; their loudness seemed to lack focus and sounded tired. Dallas Crane by contrast were a ball of momentous momentumn; one killer riff after the other, the drummer absolutely rock solid, the harmonies fantastic, the whole band just cooking in a set that still wasn't near the best I've heard from them, and looking around the crowd as thousands of people pumped fists in unison and shouted 'See you in Hell!' was truly heartwarming. But then, travelling into the country with thirty of your closest to spend a weekend sitting in the sun watching music at a festival where the organisers give the overwhelming impression that actually, they're more concerned with your good time than selling you a beer for eight dollars, ones heart was warmed often.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Harrumph. So that article was written by SMH's environment writers, who've been pushing this barrow for some time, but it was MY story, goddammit.* Just because it was a thought that no-doubt occurred to pretty much everyone, it doesn't in any way excuse the fact they totally should have credited this blog for their inspiration.
Still, seeing one of those green bags on the cover of the paper's A3 section last week did at least prompt me to resume normal services here at TLATR HQ, if not start pitching story ideas to that section's editor.
My November slid by in a few short weeks of getting on and off aeroplanes, broken up with a particularly nasty flu, but though December is shaping up as far more eventful, damned if I'm letting it go without being blogged about, vastly underprepared though I am for it to be this time of the year already. You say it every year until you realise you say it every year and you stop, but my don't they go by faster and faster.
Still, there are new songs that kill, different things to be grumpy about and amusing club-related anecdotes sure to please the reader still disposed towards casting an eye over this page, and it's you out there that make it all worthwhile.
The jetsetting part of last month saw Tamas and I make our first combined foray into the world of interstate DJ superstardom with a couple of gigs up in Sydney at Trevor Parkee and Nathan Mclay's nights, which went good and will be blogged about in the not too distant future. There was also a short trip to Queensland for the purposes of attempting to dramatically alter the course of my life, but it hasn't yet amounted to much so isn't worth commenting on at this juncture.
Still, word. There will be more of those here soon.

*The October 02 post. I can't be arsed turning on the thing that gives each post its own URL, but it's down the page there somewhere.

Monday, November 29, 2004

short loud shouts.
"... So here we are with high education, long life, stability and fairness. That suggests that there is no need for enmity. No need for false populism. No need for malevolent division or unnecessary division. There is certainly no need for yellow journalism and false populism. And we have another advantage - all this remarkable technology. It doesn't make us think any faster, but it allows us to get the nuts and bolts of life into place a great deal faster than ever before. That means we have even more time to educate ourselves, to live, to be stable, to be fair, and above all to think and to discuss and to argue.

We've never been so free and so available for serious, prolonged, in-depth, complicated public debate. Never before.

And so it is rather surprising to look back at those astonishing moments in the second half of the 18th century when Pitt and Burke and Fox in the British Parliament took hours and hours to debate ideas; and the philosophical, ethical underpinnings of those ideas ... They themselves and most of their political friends were going to die young. They didn't have much time. Most of them would be dead before they were 40 or 50. A few made it to 60. And they had to write everything out by hand. And yet they found days and days to debate ideas. And had time left over to carry out a political revolution. Now, here we are living to be 80, 90, 100 and yet, we are virtually incapable - with the exception of periodic meetings like this - of devoting our public life to lengthy debates about ideas. And a growing percentage of the space occupied by the media is reduced to phrases of three or four words which don't contain verbs.

Or they are only verbs. An increasing percentage of our media experiences are devoted to little more than primal shouts. Shouts repeated again and again and again. Pulse news, pulsation. Pulsations as opposed to arguments or thought. Clips which are mere seconds long, repeated endlessly, so short and so endlessly that they become interesting in the sense that they are so uninteresting.

Endlessly repeated tiny little fractions of ideas. The exact opposite of a public discussion or debate. Fractions of ideas, shouts completely unattached to context, completely unattached to the possibility of establishing whether what is being discussed has any relationship to truth or to history or to anything else. These short loud shouts are little more than emotion; or the scripted facsimile of emotion. And so nuance becomes more difficult. Manicheanism becomes increasingly prevalent. We are presented with black versus white, good versus evil. Are you for or are you against? Three words in favour, three words against."

John Ralston Saul, March 20, 2004

Thursday, November 04, 2004

On the nail.
(courtesy Crank Crunk)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Shit. shit shit shit.
I have been more desperately nervous than I could have imagined today. Oh please, make it right.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Posted by Hello

If you're not going to the races (why not?) on Melbourne Cup Day but feel you'd be remiss in your duties if you didn't go out and drink, it could be worth considering the following; particularly if you're not averse to nodding your head, possibly even tapping your foot, while doing the above-mentioned.

Roger Yamaha from Turntablelab is being brought out for something insufferably dull like a Vice party (on the strength of his metal mixtape), but he's playing the next day with the Cut Copy DJs, Friends Electric, and me. Monk One says 'In a perfect world, we would all be able to hop a solar-powered interplanetary space-yacht to go skiing on Venus, sniffing microfiltered poppy resin and dancing with pneumatic holo-bot strippers as he plays', so probably he's pretty good.

APPLEJACK | St Jerome's | Cup Day 2nd November | 12pm - 12am
Bring the whole family, BBQ served all day. Entry is free.
Of all the new releases I've come across in the last couple of weeks by far and away the standout has to be Alex Attias' Mustang album on Compost. Peshay's LP Jammin, the excellent Unclassics compilation and Dimitri and Joey Negro's new set for BBE are all great and will hopefully be the subject of entries in the not too distant future, but I always had a soft spot for that lovable Venitian stoner. While I was in London his records on Visions, especially as Freedom Soundz, were right up my alley - usually because of the way he programmed his drums, admittedly; there being something in his snare patterns I really, really enjoyed mixing with - they were always the focus of a track no matter what else was going on or who was singing on it and I liked that. His Beatless albums on Ubiquity were also nice, so Attias's solo album was much anticipated by this scribe, and christ is it awful.

I will give him the first track.
Help Me is a killer. The production faultless, Colonel Red's vocal superlative. Proper, hugely funky future soul that really moves. The rest of the album, save one or two tracks with those nice drums of his; an appalling morass of overwrought, nigh hysterical bombast, heavily chopped orchestral samples flying everywhere and hideous operatic pretensions that bring to mind that big blue alien type Bruce Willis goes to hear sing in the Sixth Sense. It's a bad joke, but funnier still was chatting to a friend who works for their distro out here, describing how earnestly the folks at Compost are hyping this. Apparently this is where the label is going. Having had their distributor (another one!) close on them they're changing direction, and that direction is harder, darker and 'more cinematic'.

If people hear Going Home and assume it's what nu jazz is about (there's even a track called Future Jazz, like it's some sort of definitive stamp on the genre) then God spare all who fly its flag.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

For sure it's worth getting all het up about Talib and Mos' new solo records and their respective so-soness, but where's the blog love (or hate) for Ali Shaheed Muhammad's LP? Okay not every track is a killer, (why, when a producer not known for churning them out wants to make a club banger, do they have to announce the track is a Club Banger with the same tired shouty chorus on an otherwise fine song? Why not just do it with a really funky beat? And while I'm at it, those synthesised strings! Gaaaaaahh!!)
but I'm liking this a lot. From the opening chord of Lord Can I Have This' it had me. Lucy Pearl didn't shake by any stretch and I was not expecting this to be great - so nice to have the back of mind hope it could be proved right. Beats on tracks like Elevated Orange (chorus aside) and Family are so nice you can almost forget the album has Honey Child on it.

Thanks guy

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Posted by Hello

I pretty much dismissed Spacek outright based on desultory live performances they'd delivered in support of Mos Def and (I think it was) Rae and Christian, or Stereolab or someone, in cavernous London venues. I remember thinking while watching them there were probably some good songs buried beneath the muddy squelch of sub-bass and non-existant middle or top end sonics in their charmless big-venue live sound, but there seemed to be a lot of acts peddling dubby downtempo with a soulful crooner out front at the time, and they didn't seem overly good at it.
Having been knocked sideways by Steve Spacek's vocals on a couple of recent records, I may have to revisit this opinion - his track on Troubleman's Time Out Of Mind and an excellent SA RA remix just picked up on Sound in Colour.
His appearance on the Troubleman album is a no-brainer, a fabulous cut on an album that's very close to my favourite of the year (Jazzy Jeff's too, apparently), a wistful torch-song replete with swooning strings and shoop-sha-doops over a lurching, tripping-down-stairs on the third kick-snare-rim beat that sucker-punches me every time.
Then I heard the SA RA mix, wandering into Central Station on a lunchbreak to find J'nett unpacking the first boxes of a new shipment with the sort of timing that always seems to happen to everyone else.
It's quite similar to the Troubleman track; Steve's woozy, smoked-out vocal riding a bulbous, subterannian bassline clattering around and straining your subs while these ridiculously summery muted horns bring in the chorus. The beat is super-nice, but Steve's vocals, on both tracks, are awesome; so similar yet there's a detachment in his delivery on Without You and a contrasting closeness on Simply So that both devastate in such intriguingly subtle ways. Why has it taken so long to hear him working with producers like this?

And then there's this. Lazy folks and sales sheets have a point with the Outkast comparisons, there being more than an odd The Love Below moment. Unconditional love for this record right now, and for some reason released in Australia a month before the rest of the world too! If Plant Life don't blow up something's gone terribly awry; their album is a balm for trouble brows and no mistake.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

If you've come across any Australian blogs in the past week you'll be aware we had a federal election last Saturday, and the bad guys won. Again.
There's been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth on the left about how this cold-hearted, lying economic rationalist could have swept to power so convincingly one more time.
Though trying to hold onto some sembance of hope we all saw it coming, but a lot of folks, like my mate Hammy here, are taking it pretty hard.
The thing is though, even though there was a country-wide swing to the right, it's worth remembering that it wasn't that big of a swing. Not really. A look at how the votes were split indicates the number of people voting Liberal and Labor is actually a lot closer than we're led to believe, so I don't think there's a reason to pack your bags for New Zealand just yet.
Also, as Doug at Serepax pointed out, Family First - the Christian Right party that insists it's just a coincidence all their candidates are Christian and who look like holding the balance of power in the Senate - are certainly homophobic single-parent bashers, but might not be quite as rabid as feared. Still, the fact that, as Hammy notes, we're now paying for Labor's cowardly allocation of preferences to thwart the Greens, selling their faithful down the river in the process, doesn't change.
Interesting to see the pull-out posters in the paper earlier this week, showing maps of how each electroate voted in bright blue and red. The predictability was incredible - all the suburbs you think of as working class were won by Labor, all the upper-class suburbs won by the Libs.
I'll get back to posting about music soon. It's just that I don't know if what I've got to say about the new Talib Kweli is that interesting.


Thursday, October 07, 2004

Going it alone this Saturday night with Mr Jigga at hot new city club VQ (disclosure - haven't actually been there yet, deemed hot by my editor). As well as the Jigga, Jase Knipe is also playing so come by and say hello if you're in town; should be a fun night.

In other news, just found out Stereolab have cancelled their national tour. Something to do with the festival in Brisbane that was bringing them out. A bummer.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Especially right now there are far more important things to worry about, but sometimes you do wonder. Was made aware of this through clippings we get at work from media monitors.

B-to-the-E, Budweiser's newest entry in a long line of innovative beers by
Anheuser-Busch, is a distinctive new product for contemporary adults who are looking for the latest beverage to keep up with their highly social and fast-paced lifestyles.
As the industry leader, Anheuser-Busch is the first major brewer to infuse beer with caffeine, guarana and ginseng. Well balanced with select hops and aromas of blackberry, raspberry and cherry, BE will offer a lightly sweet and tart taste - a great mixture of beer and new flavors for adults to enjoy when out with friends at a club or at a bar after work with colleagues.
Brewed at Anheuser-Busch's Houston brewery, BE will be packaged in a sleek, slim-line 10-ounce can with stylish graphics. Pending formal government approval, BE will be launched in multiple phases throughout the year in markets across the country.
"Contemporary adults thirst for variety and what's new, and our B-to-the-E delivers a beverage that is true to their lifestyles and range of drinking occasions," said Pat McGauley, senior director of New Products and High End Brands, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "Our new B-to-the-E provides caffeine, guarana, and ginseng in a great tasting beer."
BE will be priced slightly higher than Budweiser and marketed through local print
advertising, point-of-sale materials, bar and club promotions and online
programs. BE will contain 6.6 percent alcohol by volume.
"We created a great new drink that's outside the boundaries of the taste adults would expect from a traditional beer," said Nathaniel Davis, brewmaster, Anheuser-Busch, Inc. "With B-to-the-E, we've come up with a beer that has a taste with a 'wow' factor at the finish."

B to the E. Contemporary adults. Wow factor.
A thought: Why not, if beer sales are on such a downward turn in the States, start selling drinks for people who don't drink beer? Or do they really think introducing a beer that will appeal to a total of nobody who drinks beer is a sure-fire winner?
These people should be too ashamed to draw their paycheck.

Through this article I also learned that not only are Anheuser-Busch the biggest brewers in the US, they're also one of the largest theme park operators. Their chain includes Seaworld, Sesame Place and Busch Gardens. And here was me to whom the thought that Duff Gardens was based on reality never occurred.
There are two Busch Gardens theme parks, but having looked at their site I'd have to recommend Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The Howl-O-Scream ride looks hot.

There's a lot hot in Florida right now. Poor buggers living in that part of the world have had a pretty rough go of it due to the weather lately, which has has brought up some thoughts around global warming, and who's likeliest to actually initiate meaningful action.

In meaningful terms*, those with most to lose from the increasing effects of global warming are insurance companies. The storms in Florida made this clear and if you look into it you'll find most insurance companies have been making provisions for this for a long time. In fact if there were still any doubt global warming is a reality it can be found in the research done by insurers and underwriters. Global warming has these corporations as worried as youd hope and we're already seeing them hit with much higher premiums for natural disasters in areas their research shows will likely be most affected. But what's more worrying to these monolithic firms than large-scale natural disasters? The possibility we'll catch on, and just stop insuring. In all likelihood, people who live in areas likely to be badly affected by extreme weather will scale down. Like folks in countries such as the Philippines, they'll construct housing from cheaper materials and may choose to personally own less in the way of consumer goods. May. It's unlikely, but people may start to reassess what's valuable to them if their house has been swept away.

Anyway. Fantasizing about the collapse of the insurance industry through consumer disinterest and shared appliances is perhaps indicative of th fact I possibly don't spend enough time looking for the latest beverage to keep up with my highly social and fast-paced lifestyle.

* terms meaningful to those who make decisions for us and base those on fiscal concerns, as opposed, say, lives lost. They're not my terms, don't hate me.


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Took the week's pile of dance singles for review to fill in for holidaying regular singles reviewer (one 'Forest Bump'), a marginally more interesting experience than you'd bargain.
Standing in elevator flicking through what it was I'd actually picked up, the first time I'd given thought to this cheaply packaged format in some time. Pouting young airbrushed RnB princess, flick, pouting young RnB airbrushed prince, flick, awful-looking trance from someone with a name like Darude, flick, Brio from Rio ..? flick, surly bloke holding a gun, flick, ooh, the new Pete Rock single, wonder if there are any decent remixeoh.

Posted by Hello not the beatnuts.


Saturday, October 02, 2004

Having played basketball in decently competitive leagues in good teams for 15 years I'm aware it's not a sport I'm good at. Like with surfing, which I've been doing my whole life; I have my moments, but they're not exactly many and often. For some reason, especially given how rarely I do it, snowboarding has never given me cause to wonder why I bother. The way you're supposed to move on a snowboard makes inherent sense. Something of a pity, as despite friends and industry hookups who can sort cheap gear and lift passes, it's not by any means a cheap pursuit. Tho it's continued into Spring to be the best season since the last best season anyone can remember, I've been really slack at getting into the mountains this year, but the few days had have been really good, including last Monday's split late arvo decision to drive to Mansfield, crash in a cheap motel and be on the hill first thing for a cloudless, warm day on snow mushy enough to give you confidence to try anything.
First thing and halfway up the chairlift from the carpark, a text message appeared from a friend stuck in workaday Melbourne wondering if I'd noticed the apparent latest trend for using a major supermarket chain's green shopping bags as handbag substitutes. I had.
In an effort to promote their doing something for the environment, supermarkets now sell these sturdy green bags, presumably made from recycled plastic, and are encouraging customers to forgo plastic bags for them. For some reason, this initiative has been an astounding success. Retail chains have tried this thing before, but never has such an initiative been so popular. These bags are on the arms of everyone. Young and old and guys too, Coles' bright green shopping bags are suddenly the must-have accessory. Huh? For some reason I find this more baffling than other trends, as its germination has no logic. Why does everyone, and it really does seem to be everyone - was talking to a friend who runs a farm outside Ararat and apparently country folk are even hip to this - feel the need to show the world they're doing their bit for the environment by using a gigantic supermarket chain's plastic bag substitute to carry their stuff, even when not going to or from the supermarket? Or does it have nothing whatsoever to do with showing you care, being just a trend like any other? Any thoughts?
This is made more interesting due to the federal government rejecting a proposal which would have required supermarkets charge a nominal fee for plastic bags, despite polling showing the majority of us would accept the charge with no problem. It's amazing environmental issues have no mandate on either side of politics. Actually it's not amazing at all - while GDP continues to be the barometer of a country's wellbeing, conservation initiatives will never be seen to have anything other than a negative impact on our economy (and therefore on the country's general health).
So yeah, it was a good day, and driving back from the mountain in a friend's brand new second hand car (excuse to take the day off work being he needed to 'break it in') listening to DJ Rels Theme for a Broken Soul, towards the end of the album I couldn't help but feel the only reason we hadn't put something else on was duty to how we felt about Madlib. I should at least be enthusiastic about this record, but for some reason I'm not feeling it, and feeling guilty, in a silly way, for saying so. Are you allowed to not be that into something Madlib does? I haven't checked the rules lately, but I don't think you are.
Like most people who like music I'm fascinated by Madlib and was surprised and pleased and felt fuzzy and warm towards the first Rels 12", buying it off an equally excited Jean-Claude without really listening to it when he pressed it on me in If Music last year.
For fans of his who haven't been exposed to broken beat, his Rels tracks might be a bit of a puzzle, but for someone who DJs this music more than anything else at the moment there aren't many tracks I'd play to a dancefloor. Wait, there aren't any tracks I'd play to a dancefloor. Folks in London was stoked Madlib was doing broken beat when Brownswood dropped, the record even trading a nice line in jazz-beard myth due to the title, referring to Gilles Peterson's old house, allegedly now unlived in but used solely to house his collection. Stones Throw getting the record distributed by Goya - a brave and noble (but slightly silly, you'd think if you'd dealt with them) move - at least ensured it would be noticed by the right target audience, but if most folks who bought Brownswood were asked, they'd probly admit they too wouldn't have if it'd been just another Goya white label. Once the excitement wore off it dropped out of people's charts pretty quick - like me I don't think many other djs would've once put it in their record bag since the first week after buying it, and it's the standout track on the album.
Riding one groove is no bad thing, but to these ears it's not much of a groove.
I feel far too undergunned to get into a debate about whether Madlib's all that and don't even think it's worth starting, but suffice it to say this is not his most rewarding release.
Feel very similar thoughts towards Diplo's album Florida which I've only recently caught up with. He's another producer who seems to come at hip hop from a different sensibility to a lot of other producers, and he works hard to make things sound like it. The first track proper of the album is built around the same string sample as used by Jazzanova on Another New Day (anybody?) and that's nice, and Martina Topley Bird is on it too and that's nice also, but I just haven't found it engaging as a whole, and I can't help feel more than a little churlish for not finding more to like from these well-regarded undie heroes. I'm the first to admit I'm one of those people who follow trends, and if a reviewer or magazine I respect says someone is great then I want to believe they are, and with that in mind I really want to support these releases. It's just they're not much chop. Diplo especially (with the exception of the single, which is really hot, and the track with P.E.A.C.E on it,) coming off like Kieren Hebden or Manitoba on an uninspired day, especially odd/disappointing if you've heard one of his mixtapes, which don't give me pause to think anything negative, relievingly living up to all the hype (I reckon).
Am interviewing Diplo next week - wonder if I'll have the balls to get his opinion on any of this.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

P.King has graciously deigned to give the love and the rough mix odyssey it's world premiere tonight on 106.7 PBS FM. Thanks mate!
If you're in Melbourne, he'll be playing it midway through his Radio de Janiero show, around 11pm tonight. If you're somewhere else, it streams live from the site (check a world clock).
We're doing the late shift at Republika this Saturday so come and say hello if you'd like a real copy.


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