Good Music We Can Know

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Jungle Drums in the Primordial Wasteland

I'd like to present to you all a piece of work that I've recently completed: a three-part video suite, comprised of re-edited dinosaur claymation videos, salvaged from my elementary school library and transferred from VHS tape.  Intensively sound-designed and re-scored to be saturated with Exotica, library, and cosmic synth music. 

I won't lie to you-- I do have lofty aspirations and intellectual arguments for this work.  I hope that it functions as more than a nostalgia-steeped supercut for the Exotica-niche (in many ways, it is better served as a real-life installation-video piece, where one may be more easily encouraged to experience the work in an immersive fashion, rather than the immediate-gratification environment of a youtube video).  While those aspirations are true and earnest and hopefully not too tiresome, I want to say that when making this kind of work, the most important guiding principle, for me, is to create provocative entertainments.  (In the vein of Jodorowski's midnight movies, or 2001:A Space Odyssey, among many, many others., which were for thinkers and stoners alike, or even for the thinking stoned, a not-rare but too-rarely mentioned or respected type.) 

Which is to say, I hope for the viewer to be able to participate in the fantasy, illusion, or distilled nostalgia whilst allowing for engagement in something like a personal examination or philosophical critique (pseudo-science/infotainment as a coded language of poetics or propaganda, the timeless past as an exoticized temporal fiction, the primeval as a twin to the post-apocalypse and manifestation of a human longing for annihilation or nonexistence, the constructed narrative of the dinosaurs as a sort of martyr-allegory in humanity's modern creation-myth, memory fragmenting and purifying fact into surreal new forms which are crumbling and unstable, etc., etc., blah blah blah)

So I hope you enjoy, and don't feel that you have to think too hard unless you want to.  If you're extremely generous, you'll pull them up on a big screen and settle into them like a movie.  Or just click and watch, and have my gratitude for your eyes.

With all that ado and nothing more, I'd like to present to you:

Millions of Years Ago: A Primeval Bolero in Three Parts
Concerning the Origins of Man and the Savage Early Days of the Earth
For the Edification and Pleasure of the Audience: In Order to Please the Eye and Excite the Imagination

(click the images to link to videos)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Hypertension Functions: Flash Strap & William Onyeabor, a love story

Over the summer I was contacted by Luaka Bop with regards to our mutual appreciation of the fantastic Mr. William Onyeabor.  I learned of their long-in-the-making plans to release a deluxe, remastered Onyeabor compilation.  We spoke on the phone, and I was treated to a fascinating tale, outlining a recent Luaka Bop expedition to Enugu, Nigeria to meet Onyeabor and learn something, anything, about the elusive figure (much of that tale is satisfyingly laid out here, thank goodness, and I highly recommend the read).  In their bold, egalitarian magnanimity, they invited me to contribute to a newspaper project, one part of the elaborate panoply of Onyeabor items which have exploded onto the earth as accompaniment for the comp album.  I was to write a news story, covering the return to Enugu of Nigerian scholars from their studies abroad in the USSR.  I wrote it, made it as strange as I could, and the other day I finally got to see it in print.  Pretty cool.

 You can read the whole paper, which is chock full of weird pseudo-journalism, metatextual reportage, Onyeabor referentiality, and actual information, if you purchase it here.  It's only five bucks.  But what I really do have to recommend-- if the means are available to you and you have the inclination-- is that you procure the grand, magisterial comp, Who Is William Onyeabor? particularly on vinyl, which comes in the form of a 3LP monster-- not only does the vinyl sound amazing, it also features several tracks that aren't on the CD/online version, including a revelatory remaster of "Jungle Gods," which I for one have never before heard without cataclysmic scratches and pops (it bears mentioning, though, that all the remasters presented are truly heroic).
I'm spinning it right now on my Dual 1019, that funkelectro sound like warm African air just pouring from the speakers and filling my explorer's room, and I'm a very pleased head-with-ears indeed.  (The vinyl reissue of Good Name, if you can get it, is just insane, also-- the original cover art is gloriously reproduced-- and I hope it's followed by many more Onyeabor LP reissues.)

I'm not trying to shill, it just makes me very excited to see Onyeabor being presented to the world in a major way, and very relieved to see that it's been done so well-- the whole thing is such a labor of love and a monument to mystery.  And I'm happy to have been a part of it, in my small way, and I wanted to tell you all about it.  Anyway, may you all explode like atomic bombs today.  Hiya hiya hiya hiya hiya.