mr. zilla goes to town

Monday, February 28, 2005

Portishead - live!

Portishead haven't played a live gig in seven years but they came out of their quasi-retirement last weekend to help Oxfam Make Poverty History in Bristol. If you missed the event the first time (and, alas, around 5.999 billion of us did) you can still watch the webcast here. And it's not just Portishead but also Massive Attack, Robert Plant, and Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz fame, to name a few.

Hot stuff for a teensy £4.50 / USD 9 / AUD 11 donation!

super sunday

Its a good day to begin with when the Irish beat the poms and you tip 6 from 6 in the first round Super 12, but these were just background noise.

Yesterday I hopped on the bus down to London to have lunch with one of my best mates from DC, in town briefly to buy tea on her way home from a quick trip through the Czech Republic, Hungary and Switzerland. A Malaysian lunch in Notting Hill was followed by a wander through Westminster to watch soldiers with swords, shiny buttons and silly helmets shout at each other. This flowed seamlessly into a few pints in a pub by Liverpool Street Station take the chill off, and by then I'm sure it was some kind of eponymous affinity that led us into the Drunken Monkey up the street in Shoreditch for wheat beers and yum cha. However the final stop for the day was always (at least with me at the helm) going to be Plastic People's biweekly brokenbeat Sunday night, Co-op.

Plastic People is a pretty bare bones basement bar - my initial attempt at a drink went something like this:

Z: Vodka cranberry and a white russian thanks mate!
Barguy: Sorry we don't do white russians.
Z: Oh no milk eh? No worries, black russian then.
B: Sorry we can't do black russian either.
Z: No Kahlua?
B: No Kahlua.
Z: How about a vodka and OJ?
B: Errr...


I managed to sort the transaction before it degenerated into a Monty Python cheese shop style escapade, but for all that the venue isn't special, the Co-op music is - five quid for a couple of hours of Domu and I. G. Culture is full value for money in my book. A deeply diverse crowd, a pitch dark dancefloor, packed out by 9.30pm, and sinfully syncopated beats as broken as the English hopes of a respectable rugby season. Good times, even though we had to miss the final hour and leave the club at 11 to be able to make tube connections across town. Good times, even though I had to stand frozen on the street for a half hour late bus back to Oxford, and stumble through the door sometime after 2. Good times!

Saturday, February 26, 2005

odds of a feather

So apparently Hunter was on the phone to his wife when he took the lead pill and left the rabbit hole. The story also mentions it was something he'd been planning for some time, making final arrangements of his estate and so forth. So Max Cannon's Red Meat strip of late December is a little eerie.

From big things, little things grow



Another of the great genre-bridging organic/electronic fusion acts floating my boat these days are Finnish collective Nuspirit Helsinki.

Via 3hive, I just discovered that before there was Nuspirit, there was a Giant Robot. Its always fun - although not guaranteed to be pleasant - to delve back into the pre-breakthrough material of artists you like. As you might expect, based on the few tracks I've listened to (and there are plenty for download) the work is a little more sparse and coarse, however there are a couple of great electro remixes in the promo vinyl section. Recognize (Kiva for a few seconds less mix) from their 1997 debut is great melancholic ambience that reminds me of... who? I can't quite put my finger on it. I want to say Smashing Pumpkins in their (rare) quieter moments but that's not right. Maybe its just a reflective mood not a memory this track is creating. Anyway, enjoy Giant Robot... and seek out some Nuspirit Helsinki in a record store near you.

reality bites

One of the lovely things about pubs and bars here compared to the US is that they're not blighted with telescreens from which the Department of Homeland Security watches your every move.

In other words I was in front of a telly last night for the first time in a few weeks, and saw an ad for this show:

Channel 4 is to broadcast what it is styling a Guantánamo Bay-style reality show that will examine the effects of mild torture on seven male volunteers.

The Guantánamo Guidebook will recreate some of the practices used at the US naval base where hundreds of so-called "enemy combatants" have been held without trial or access to lawyers for nearly three years.


I can't even remotely imagine any US cable or network channel daring to offend the government so by producing or showing something like this.

Unless it was actual live footage from the real thing.

Then it would rate higher than NASCAR...

Thursday, February 24, 2005

lets try that again!



right click to download refry (40MB/128kbps)

You would not believe the fiddling about in getting Traktor to write this to the wav correctly for burning this morning.

Meanwhile, the snow is coming down sideways today - from both directions, simultaneously. As I'm leaving for work at lunchtime it has a habit of turning briefly to hail-like snow grains too.

Ms Z's rowing team scored a 'bump' in the Torpids Regatta yesterday, which means they caught and tagged the boat in front of them. If they can keep up this form and move up two more positions in the next three days of competition, they'll be head of the river in their division. Since the last time I came down to see them compete one of their rowers was knocked into the river by her own team mate, it's probably for the best that I can't get down there mid afternoons for the race.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

tracklist

1. Peter Sellers as Major Bloodnok - Honorbound [BBC]
2. The Avalanches - Undersea Community [Rex Records]
3. Whitest Boy Alive - Inflation [Kitsune]
4. Skeewiff - O Skeewiff Where Art Thou? [Jalapeno Records]
5. Royksopp - Eple [Wall of Sound]
6. Vikter Duplaix - Looking for Love(58th St mix) [Hollywood Records]
7. Tate's Place - Burnin' (Jazzanova mix) [Jazzanova-Compost Records]
8. Santa Esmerelda - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood [Maverick Records]
9. Fauna Flash - Ten [Compost Records]
10. Yukihiro Fukutomi - I Am [Jazzanova-Compost Records]
11. Aromabar - Cupid & Orlando (Jazztronik remix) [Infracom]
12. Force of Nature - Loopaddiction (Jimpster remix) [Freerange Records]
13. Shakedown - Lovegame [Kitsune]
14. Quincy Jones / Echo - Where's Eddie? [Concord Records]

the transition from tracks 2 to 3 is quite squibbed, so I've taken the mix down to fix it... ugh.. back up soon!

web, cam

Sure its remained overcast and the temperature a constant 0-5 degrees celsius for 3 months, but I think it's now officially winter.

45 on the dime

So in my random surfing of London clubs, coming across a mix comp where the top three prizes are scoring a set at Ruby Lo on a Wednesday night is pretty neat. Especially when you consider Ruby Lo is the joint where Ninja Tune host their regular Solid Steel sessions.

Yippee, says I, boy have I got a mix or two I can send in... uh oh... comp rules say the mix has to be 30-45 minutes long... shortest one I've got is about 53... bugger! (For a minute I looked at chopping the tail off one, but on investigation, they would all sound just like a mix with the tail chopped off. And not even an interesting wriggling tail to look at while the lizard runs away.)

So a sleepless night ensues when the deadline for mixes is this weekend, meaning I really have to get it into the post Wednesday to make sure, and a job interview on Tuesday afternoon prevented me turning my mind and ears to it in any comprehensive way till about 9pm tonight (Tuesday) night...

It's a bit of a headbend to throw together a mix for a competition, its not something I've done before. I mean, you always want mixes whether live or on CD to sound good, but in this instance, you can imagine there are guys out there tricking it up for all they're worth... so do you get bent out of shape trying to come up with challenging mixes and then pulling them off? well yeah, probably just a little... plonking down 45 minutes of four on the floor straight house probably isn't going to be too exciting or prove much...

So anyway have a listen, pressed for time I've cheated a little and grafted 10 minutes of previous material on the front end and 5 minutes on the tail, but in the guts there is about half an hour of juicy juicy jazzy broken beats - material I was starting to work together for a "breaks vs broken" effort which I'll now go back to the drawing board for - plus a bit of my favourite Bill Killin' music... tracklist to follow... I might see if I can tidy up one or two bits in the morning before burning and mailing it... anyway enjoy!

right click to grab some refried beats! (40MB/128kbps)

zzzzz

PS many flurries of snow today, even blizzardy on and off this afternoon, with more predicted. Ms Z, who is spending the next four days competing in a rowing regatta, unimpressed.

Monday, February 21, 2005

RIP Hunter

If you're feeling melancholy, listen to Hunter talk about Nixon's Spirit, on Paul Oakenfold's otherwise unremarkable Bunkaa.

I prefer to think it was an accident, or that he'd like us to think it an accident...

Hunter S. Thompson: ...I've invented a new sport. It's called Shotgun Golf. We will rule the world with this thing.

Bill Murray: "Mmhmm."

Hunter: "I've called you for some consulting advice on how to launch it..."


Just a mishap on the road to a new revolution, that's all. Because I can't bear the idea that Raoul Duke himself pulled his plug and became a casualty in the culture war he fought all his life.

May his funeral offer a proper 9-iron salute.

Friday, February 18, 2005

cash for comments

With a ton of generosity going to Tsunami aid, its good to see other places and other issues havent been forgotten around the blogosphere. Go make a comment on this post over at Queensland economist John Quiggin's blog. For every comment, Professor Quiggin and co-donors including me will donate a total of $1.80 (or more by the time you read this) to Doctors Without Borders for long-term work combatting AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

the cheerleader for dear leader

If you graze on the liberal US political blogs at all no doubt you've been following the Jeff Guckert/Jeff Gannon story.

If you're coming late to the story, you only have to check out this video (at Toolz of the New School, via The Brad Blog) of the syncophantic questions he's been putting in the White House press room to get some idea of the degree of whoring going on. And that's before you get to the revelations that Mr Guckert/Gannon was (or still is?), in fact, literally a man whore as well. Irony is dead, but God isn't, according to The Editors:


The story is not that Gannon is a hypocrite for promoting an anti-gay agenda. The story is not even that the White House gave such access to a reporter for a dummy news service operating under an assumed name, and may have used him to expose Valerie Plame. This is not the story.

The story is that God exists.

Think about it: what are the chances that a media whore like Gannon would turn out to be an actual whore? It's impossible. It boggles the mind how infinitely unlikely this is. It's like if you found someone pirating CDs, and it turns out he actually had a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder and sailed around the Caribbean saying "arrrrrr!" and plundering booty. You wouldn't believe it. But there it is: impossible, but true. Impossible truths are miracles, and only God can work miracles. Ergo, God exists. Q.E.D.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Re: Relief

Graham has thrown up some worthy questions about tsunami relief and donation fatigue so I thought I'd respond fully here.

I think he's right to be concerned about compassion/donation fatigue. Particularly amongst corporate donors, many of whom have probably already exceeded their annual budgets for such.

On the other hand, I am sure there are many hundreds of thousands or even millions of people who donated to the cause who have never donated to an international humanitarian cause or organisation before, and the first step is always the toughest one there. Larger scale modern day NGOs have marketing and supporter relationship departments every bit as committed and professional (and more ethical and probably more creative) than Coca-cola. Last time Oxfam GB here contacted its donor base (those giving a fortnightly or monthly direct debit) on an "up-sell" campaign, it increased its annual donations by over 2 million pounds.

In response to Graham's thoughts about tsunami relief being merely fashionable. I'm all in favour of people having the best and most informed intentions behind their donations. However I think the detatchment and abstraction of humanitarian donations from a case-by-case motivational impost into a broader cultural coolism, would itself be fantastic. I mean look at the synergies with the decline in smoking in the last 20 years - there's all this extra discretionary cash floating around in the community, as well as a vacuum with a formerly cool behaviour. Similarly what if buying an annual present for a kid in the third world (say, a donation covering a year's water purification tablets for a child in Sudanese refugee camp) became as natural and expected as buying your own kids' Christmas presents?

I am such the ideas man...

Monday, February 14, 2005

cutting Rupert's rug

Please give a warm welcome the United States' newest media baron... the Minister for Truth, Donald Rumsfeld!

The U.S. military is to beam its own news coverage to millions of Americans.

Moving on from its phase of embedding journalists, or as some would say, 'a policy of restricting and controlling the flow of information,' the Pentagon will now produce and disseminate the news itself. It will be beamed to the public at no charge. The service will emanate from what is known as the Pentagon Channel, an internal public relations television unit within the Department of Defense. It was set up nine months ago.

The government-run TV service will be channeled to the public through EchoStar Communication's Dish Network which will offer the Pentagon Channel to its more than 11 million viewers on a no-cost basis. Programming will appear on the network's public interest channels and will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Where is this going to leave the Fox News Channel if the regime cuts out the cheerleading middleman? I mean why lick the cow when you can drink the kool-aid for free? (via rts)

that valentime again

So, Valentine's Day eh? how's it working out for ya? Seriously, you wonder exactly who this is for? It seems that lots of single people desperately seek out dates or get depressed about not having one. Everyone who's married or in a long term relationship, well, every day is like valentines day isn't it? Or is that just us here on planet zilla? So it is just the people in the first flush of infatuation who get the greatest mileage from the day and keep Hallmark afloat?

Ms Z and I had an early evening date which included a fantastic dinner, a couple of drinks and some awesome tunes mixed together by An Up And Coming International/Local DJ. We actually had plans to leave the house for all this until we realised we didn't need to bother.

Part of the set went something like this:

Dmitri From Paris - Your Life (DJ Afro remix)
Bebel Gilberto - Close your eyes (Faze Action remix)
Jazztronik - Song for Bebe (Sunaga T Experience's Jet Set Mix)
Zero 7 - Distractions (Bugz in the Attic remix)
Tate's Place - Burnin' (Jazzanova Remix)
Fauna Flash - Ten
Force of Nature - Loopaddiction (Jimpster's House remix)

(NB: I gotta stop there and put on the record, Fauna Flash are some hot shit. Around December 03 I heard a track or two of theirs and put their album Fusion in my amazon.com wishlist to remind me to pick it up, and promptly forgot about them until I was browsing the same list just before Christmas 04. As you do. Not long ago I realised that I actually had this album, overlooked amongst the 100 gigs of tunes on my backup hard drive. If you too have this album doing the equivalent of lying around the house propping up furniture, dust it off immediately and get it into your ears.)

Anyway after this fine early evening assignation, Ms Z departed with her sketch book to go draw pictures of some naked person I've never met. Just your typical valenties day!

exsecrecy



Secrets... we all have secrets. Without them I don't think we're quite human. But go over to postsecret and see a DC-based art project comprised of secrets never before shared.

rugby roundup

Shock and dismay aplenty here over England's 18-17 loss to France in yesterday's Six Nations test match. No team has scored a first half try against the French in the past two years, but England completely dominated and ran in two by applying some sound backline basics and angled running onto the pass. Unfortunately the wheels came off in the kicking department and the poms missed six of their seven penalty attempts. By the second half the English had lost their momentum as the French seemed to inexorably claw their way back into the game courtesy of the boot of scrum half Dimitri Yachvili, who put away six of eight attempts from all over the park.

Still I don't think you can place all the blame with the two English goal kickers. A case in point: with under a minute left to play and a point behind, watching the English fullback, flanked on either side by his wingers, take a catch in wide-open broken play and immediately roost the ball far downfield and into touch - not just failing to maintain possession, but kicking beyond any possibility of retreival and putting the full-time scoreline in no doubt. Poor composure, and the epitomy of England's second half. Former England players on the BBC commentary team Austin Healey and Martin Johnson were apoplectic at the outcome, it was truly music to Australian ears.

The French on the other hand have now won 2 from 2 despite being extremely average in both games. I think the ability to graft hard or lucky wins when out of form is a sign of a solid team but their chance at the championchip certainly isn't an open road.

Wales continued last week's good start with a six try, 38-8 demolition of the hapless Italy; the kind of scoreline against the Italians necessary to prove your continuing credentials. The leeky lads showed both flair and structure in the back line, the amount of dummy running going on put me in mind of Rod McQueen era Brumbies teams; they may be five years behind the times but they're running fast. I think their defence is vulnerable though and we could see it carved open in the coming weeks.

Ireland too are on song with a confident 40-13 win over Scotland, and while Wales are playing their hearts out I would say Ireland are looking the more complete side and front runners at this stage.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

a night with hitch

Michael Totten's night on the turps in DC with Christopher Hitchens and some Iraqis.

At one point, apropos of something I can’t remember, Ahman said to me: “I can tell you in one sentence how my country feels about your country.”

“Really?” I said. “Can you really boil it down to one sentence?”

“Yes,” he said. “And it is this: Thank you for coming, now please leave and take us with you.

I laughed because it seemed totally contradictory and totally right.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

over 8 billion served

Hey I just took a look at the textureDJs.com site stats for the month of January and there were over 8 gigs worth of the three free mp3 mixes downloaded (and who knows how much more of the live streaming - I don't get stats on that). Way to go all you discerning downloaders. As there is plenty more bandwidth where that came from, I'm expecting to upload a mix sometime in the next few weeks from my colleague over in Washington, so stay tuned for more.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

catch up

I feel like posting here has been a bit light lately. This last week, I've been a bit surprised how much of my time is being taken up by a part-time job that's only about two days a week. I guess I shouldn't be - I've also been chasing down avenues for full-time daylight work and shmoozing and pimping myself on the DJ front with some limited success. It feels like if only I was more busy, I would have more spare time...

Ducked down to London again this morning to pick up some new turntables; I've officially given up hope of seeing the one I sea-freighted over on departure from DC. Picked up a great deal on a pair of year-old Stanton STR8-80s that even including hiring a car to go get 'em and getting some new stylii I'll still have saved a bunch of these overinflated pommy pounds. Still it will serve me right if the damn turntable from DC arrives on Monday.

Next cab off the rank this afternoon is the opening double header of the Six Nations rugby, Scotland v France and England v Wales. Wales have been semi-decent against South Africa and NZ over the winter so we'll see what they can do against a rebuilding England. After last year's clean sweep France are probably the form team still, but I would have to give Ireland (playing Italy tomorrow) a good chance at going top this year.

Shit, I just forgot Paris is an hour ahead and the game's about to start, I better get out the door and down to the pub...

Continued.

Two games that both turned in the final five minutes. When you don't really have a dog in the fight you can't ask for more than that. France were lucky to get away with a win with a try from a charge down after a dogged Scottish performance. But far more memorable was the Welsh victory in Cardiff over England. Playing on a home ground that favoured the home team at every turn -- from the particular twisting impact of roosted Welsh touch-finders, to the soft new surface giving no traction to the powerful English scrum -- Wales exuded hunger at every turn. Absolute standout players for the match were the Welsh inside centre (Henson) and their No. 8 (Owen).

Enjoyable close results, but this is not to say the game wasn't occasionally punctuated by shithouse northern hemisphere thinking. Such as failure to put together more than half a dozen phases, admittedly not helped by a quick-to-whistle NZ referee, and field goal attempts from both teams while attacking inside the 22. Still you who am I kidding about not being partisan, its always enjoyable to see the underdog get up, not to mention someone handing it to the poms. Sing with me and all today's leek-bearing ninnies in the Gardner's Arms now (to this tune): You can stick yer farkin chariots up yer arse, you can stick yer farkin chariots up yer arse...

Friday, February 04, 2005

targetted aid

So no doubt you've seen the banner up there in the top right for the Make Poverty History campaign. Yesterday Nelson Mandela was down in Trafalgar Square talking about the campaign and very publically putting the call out to G8 leaders to come onboard.

Now you might think that the achieving Millenium development goals, the eradication of preventable poverty, debt relief and might be high on anyone's list of causes deserving of your time and interest. But then you're probably not a member of the Marquette College Republicans mentioned in the SMH:
A U.S. university in Wisconsin has blocked an attempt by Republican students to raise money for a group called "Adopt-a-Sniper" that raises money for US sharp-shooters in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The students were selling bracelets bearing the motto "1 Shot 1 Kill No Remorse I Decide".


What a horrorshow, for college wingnuts to romanticise and turn into fashion the kind of role that tends to find returning veterans with a serious case of PTSD.

I served with "B" 1/12 1st Brg. (Airborne) 1st Cav 1965-1966. I did some sniping with a 30.6 hunting rifle. I went after enemy snipers and killed 2. I fought in Happy Valley 10/1965, Ia Drang valley 11/1965, Bon son 2/1966 and several firefights in the central highlands of Vietnam. Today I suffer from PTSD. When I went to war I thought it would be like a John Wayne movie. Most of my army friends died in Nam. Most of my high school friends died in Nam. Today I hope that your worst experience is training...

...Today I am unemployable because I am 56 and have PTSD along with 2 heart attacks and a recovering alcoholic. I did not lay down and die in Vietnam and I am not going away now. I would like to campaign for the rights of those of us who gave and continue to give. That night I lay with the bodies of solders that died horrible deaths I ask God why I was spared. Today I work with alcoholics who want recovery and that is what God wants me to do. Today I am unemployed, broke and doing something important with my life.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

table the timing

Rubber Hose via Atrios:

what will happen when u.s. forces do pull out? unless there is a pre-publicized timetable for leaving, whenever the u.s. leaves, anti-american forces (whether the present insurgency or their successors) will claim that they caused the u.s. to leave and claim victory.

almost everyone believes that u.s. forces will leave iraq someday. but if they leave without a clear pre-existing timetable, we are setting up the insurgency for the same P.R. coup that hezbollah got out of the israeli withdrawal from lebanon.


manifesto of the mash

DJ Food, DJ Food, DJ Food!!



No, I don't mean vinyl smeared with peanut butter, but Strictly Kev from Ninja Tune's DJ Food and his sixty minute, hot as mustard Raiding The 20th Century: A History of the Cut Up. Grab the mp3 file here.

Not just wicked cuts but some interesting historical context, from the avant garde roots of the electronic re-organisation of sound, to the BBC radiophonic laboratory, to Grandmaster Flash. Have a listen!

recaffeinated

More by accident than by design, in the last two or three months I've become quite decaffeinated. Apart from a small cup of black tea with breakfast some mornings, I think I've had probably three or four coffees, and perhaps an even lower number of cola drinks. After probably ten years of functioning thanks to daily morning coffee and daily afternoon coke I was quite surprised by this turn of events.

I thought there were no side effects to going off the jiggle juice until I completely forgot about this situation and had a cappucino around 6 o'clock last night.

Blink blink.

It's now 5.30am and not even the first few chapters of Amin Saikal's 1980 book on the rise and fall of the Shah have been able to put me under!