JahSonic's Blog

Previous Months

A daily Weblog recommending not only CDs but books and films too.

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May 2003

2003, May 31; 18:00 :::: paraphilia
  • Lovemaps: Clinical Concepts of Sexual/Erotic Health and Pathology, Paraphilia, and Gender Transposition in Childhood, Adolescence, and Maturity by John Money [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    This is the most accessible of John Money's books. It is the real "Venus and Mars" book about relationships. Dr. Money has a long history of solid research and writing in the field of sexology that predates Comfort and others. His intense intellectual power limits the audience to those willing to struggle through complex descriptions of very complex concepts...you see our sexual brain is not so simple as to be covered in the prime time attention span of 30 minutes. If you take the time with this one, I am sure you will come away with more than that which the 10 most popular lay books out there COMBINED have to offer. This is the REAL truth, and not in a fancy package...all the best to Dr. Money...former student and author, Kenneth Giuffre MD, "The Care and Feeding of Your Brain", Career Press 1999. -- kenbrain@neurostuff.com
    2003, May 30; 23:30 ::: gay
  • Paris Is Burning (1991) - Jennie Livingston [VHS, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Paris Is Burning closes with two neon-lit boys holding each other on the streets of Harlem. One looks into the camera and asks, "So this is New York City and what the gay lifestyle is all about--right?" This documentary takes an honest, humorous, and surprisingly poignant peek into one of America's overlooked subcultures: the world of the urban drag queen. It's a parallel dimension of bizarre beauty, where "houses" vie like gangs for turf and reputation ... only instead of street-fighting, they vogue their way down makeshift catwalks in competitive "balls." The only rule of the ballroom: be real.
    In surprisingly candid interviews, you discover the grace, strength, and humor it takes to be gay, black, and poor in a straight, rich, white world. You'll meet young transsexual "cover girls," street hustlers saving up for the big operation, and aging drag divas reminiscing about the bygone days of sequins, feathers, and Marilyn Monroe.
    Made in the late 1980s, this fashion-conscious film shows its age less than you'd expect. It's still a great watch for anyone interested in the whole range of humanity, or anyone who's ever been an outsider, desperately wanting something the world hides out of reach. --Grant Balfour for amazon.com
    2003, May 28; 11:36 ::: vamp
  • Vamp (1986) - Richard Wenk [DVD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Campy, trampy and vampy, July 12, 2002
    I will admit that this is not the best movie ever made, but it certainly is my favorite. Grace Jones always looks like she would rip your skin off with her teeth, bit by bit.
    The first thing you notice is how surreal the background gets after dark. I love the humor in this movie. I think this movie should be rated as the best cult film ever. The lines are delivered with comic expertise. For anyone who loves vampire movies as much as I do, you will love this movie. Not a scary movie for the squeemish, but extremely entertaining. Once it gets dark, beware. Snow and his followers will get you, if the vampires in the club don't.
    My favorite line in the movie (it was hard to choose) is the one that A. J. delivers when he says, "formica, go figure". If you see the movie, then you will understand the meaning of that line. Another great line was when the little rich friend asks one of the waitresses what time she gets off. She states in a very husky voice, "3:30". He then says, "can I watch?"
    Lots of tongue in cheek, and even a bit of romance towards the end. This is a fun movie for people who don't take vampires seriously. --Mickey Buell for amazon.com
    2003, May 28; 11:02 ::: evil
  • The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History (1997) - Howard K. Bloom [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    The "Lucifer Principle" is freelance journalist Bloom's theory that evil-which manifests in violence, destructiveness and war-is woven into our biological fabric. A corollary is that evil is a by-product of nature's strategy to move the world to greater heights of organization and power as national or religious groups follow ideologies that trigger lofty ideals as well as base cruelty. In an ambitious, often provocative study, Bloom applies the ideas of sociobiology, ethology and the "killer ape" school of anthropology to the broad canvas of history, with examples ranging from Oliver Cromwell's reputed pleasure in killing and raping to Mao Tse-tung's bloody Cultural Revolution, India's caste system and Islamic fundamentalist expansion. Bloom says Americans suffer "perceptual shutdown" that blinds them to the United States' downward slide in the pecking order of nations. His use of concepts like pecking order, memes (self-replicating clusters of ideas), the "neural net" or group mind of the social "superorganism" seem more like metaphors than explanatory tools. --From Publishers Weekly
    2003, May 28; 10:32 ::: memes
  • Thought Contagion: How Belief Spreads Through Society (1999) - Aaron Lynch [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Why do certain ideas become popular? The naive view is that it's because they're true, or at least justified. This fascinating book, influenced by evolutionary biology and epidemiology, is the first full-scale examination of some of the other reasons. Consider Aaron Lynch's example of optimism--it may not be true or warranted, but it tends to prevail because optimists tend to have more children to pass along their outlook to. Sometimes, Lynch points out, there is a paradoxical but predictable expansion-contraction pattern to the social spread of ideas. If nothing else, lobbyists need to look into this stuff to see which side their bread is really buttered on. Warning: this book is densely written. But it's worth the wade. --Amazon.com
    2003, May 28; 10:19 ::: musique concrète
  • Messe pour le Temps Présent (1967) - Pierre Henry, Pierre Colombier [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    French composer Pierre Henry was born in Paris in 1927. In 1967, along with Michel Colombier, he composed a piece titled 'Messe Pour Le Temps Présent' for a ballet by Maurice Bejart. Henry commissioned Colombier "to recreate the sound textures and violent atmosphere of certain American films." The result, a combination of Colombier's psychedelic rock influences and Henry's additional off-the-wall electronic effects, has achieved legendary status and has been sampled heavily in recent years. In 1997 the French label Philips Music Group released remixes of pieces from 'Messe Pour Le Temps Présent' as a double CD album and as a 12" / CD single ('Psyché Rock'), with remixes by the likes of Fatboy Slim, William Orbit and Coldcut. Unfortunately Pierre Henry was less than impressed by these modern renditions of his classics and refuses "to be associated with the remixes".
    2003, May 27; 10:02 ::: Beat
  • On the Road (1957) - Jack Kerouac [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    On The Road, the most famous of Jack Kerouac's works, is not only the soul of the Beat movement and literature, but one of the most important novels of the century. Like nearly all of Kerouac's writing, On The Road is thinly fictionalized autobiography, filled with a cast made of Kerouac's real life friends, lovers, and fellow travelers. Narrated by Sal Paradise, one of Kerouac's alter-egos, On the Road is a cross-country bohemian odyssey that not only influenced writing in the years since its 1957 publication but penetrated into the deepest levels of American thought and culture. --Amazon.com
    2003, May 27; 09:26 ::: Counterculture
  • Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960's and 70's - Peter Braunstein [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    This deep and detailed work examines the many elements of the American counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. Its underlying theme is the rejection by mainly young but also older people of prevailing political, social, and cultural norms through experimentation with drugs, sex, music, and identity to construct alternative ways of life. The 14 essays, written by academics and journalists, are arranged into sections covering cultural politics, racial and sexual identity, the media and popular culture, the deconditioning of the human mind through drugs and feminist consciousness-raising, and alternative visions of society based on technology and communal living. Each section opens with a brief essay covering the major themes appearing in its chapters. Editors Braunstein and Doyle, who are both journalists, open the work with an excellent essay critical of both romantic and conservative views of the 1960s and stressing the need for strict historical analysis for a better understanding of the period. Particularly good essays include David Farber's study of drug use and David E. James's chapter on film. This is not an easy read, but it marks a major reexamination of the period. --amazon.com
    2003, May 26; 17:26 ::: ontology
  • Towards the Semantic Web: Ontology-Driven Knowledge Management - John Davies [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    With the current changes driven by the expansion of the World Wide Web, this book uses a different approach from other books on the market: it applies ontologies to electronically available information to improve the quality of knowledge management in large and distributed organizations. Ontologies are formal theories supporting knowledge sharing and reuse. They can be used to explicitly represent semantics of semi-structured information. These enable sophisticated automatic support for acquiring, maintaining and accessing information. Methodology and tools are developed for intelligent access to large volumes of semi-structured and textual information sources in intra- and extra-, and internet-based environments to employ the full power of ontologies in supporting knowledge management from the information client perspective and the information provider.
    The aim of the book is to support efficient and effective knowledge management and focuses on weakly-structured online information sources. It is aimed primarily at researchers in the area of knowledge management and information retrieval and will also be a useful reference for students in computer science at the postgraduate level and for business managers who are aiming to increase the corporations information infrastructure.
    2003, May 25; 13:19 ::: slave
  • Slave (1977 - Slave [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Where do I start? These guys were genius' to be as young as they were to record music like this. You can't forget the bicycle horn they used on a few of there songs (very unique). "Slide", in my opinion was their best song. Whatever you do, get this Cd before it's no longer available...and hope they put the other albums on cd. --Randy D. Smith for amazon.com
    2003, May 24; 19:35 ::: lounge
  • Exclusive Blend V.1 (Blow Up Presents) - Various Artists [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Originally conceived as a mod club, London nightspot Blow Up spearheaded pop's brief flirtation with mod at the beginning of the Nineties that spawned bands like Menswear and inspired Blur's Parklife. However, as well as resurrecting old classics from the likes of The Who and the Creation, it also managed to forge a unique sound all of it's own, mixing easy listening into the trademark brew of mod and pop. One of the most important achievements by DJs Paul Tunkin, Andy Lewis and the Karminsky Experience was the rediscovery of rare Sixties library music. This album is packed with such rare and previously unheard music from the likes of easy listening masters as Keith Mansfield and Alan Hawkshaw of The Mohawks, as well as plenty of funky instrumental numbers and sitar grooves. If this doesn't make you want to don your sharpest Sixties garb and shimmy with the best of them, then nothing will. --Amber Cowan for amazon.co.uk
    2003, May 24; 17:22 ::: camp
  • 40 Success En Or - Dalida [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Been playing the following tunes in constant rotation:
    9. Il Venait d'Avoir Dix-Huit Ans 18. Paroles Paroles (En Duo Avec Alain Delon) 20. Gigi l'Amoroso
    Dalida is the princess of gawd, the queen of kitsch, and the empress of camp! I just love her! She is one of the best representatives of the French pop-music tradition in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Her first songs are romantic, albeit corny, melodies with a nice mediterranean or big band background. You can just imagine her on a black and white TV screen, with too much make-up on, acting out the words of her song, with a look of amourous longing on her face. Then the sixties, when almost all her songs are translations of English hits from the same period. But for me, it is the hits of the 70s which really get me singing and dancing. I remember listening to them on the radio when I was a kid, and they bring back so many memories. The beat is fun, a bit disco-ish, and the words to the songs are sometimes as funny as they are sad. Looking back now, and knowing that Dalida eventually committed suicide because she felt under-loved and under-appreciated, the words from some songs seems to take on a different meaning. Although not all her songs are as magnificiant as Bambino, Parole Parole, or Gigi L'amoroso, the collection is quite a pleasure to listen to, especially if you can understand the texts. I would recommend this to any fan of French-pop music. --dzintars for amazon.com
    2003, May 24; 09:06 ::: movie
  • L'Appartement [1996] - Gilles Mimouni [DVD (PAL) Amazon UK]
    Starring Vincent Cassel, Monica Bellucci, Romane Bohringer, Jean-Phillipe Ecoffey and Sandrine Kiberlain. L'Appartement is a stylish and sexy combination of love story and thriller in which one man is caught up in the passion driven fates of three beautiful women. Max, the romantic protagonist, is planning a marriage, investigating a murder, chasing after a lost love and getting bizarrely entangled with a mystery girl. Switching between time, women, chic cafes and beautiful Parisian apartments, Mimouni's film makes the most of its deliriously romantic setting whilst effortlessly unraveling an intricate and unpredictable plot which playfully ties its lovelorn characters up in knots as it races along to a heady conclusion.
    2003, May 23; 12:25 ::: mondo
  • Mondo Cane Collection [DVD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    In 1962, MONDO CANE became a huge international sensation even garnering an Academy Award for Best Song. A collaboration between Italian directors Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi, it was an unprecedented collection of footage depicting taboo behavior from around the world. Shock after shock, real and staged, filled the screen appealing to voyeurs of the Now Generation. Mexican cops dressing up like hookers -- cut to backwards footage of a pig's journey in a German slaughterhouse, and so on. For years from all over the world countless freak shows followed. By the late '60s, the Mondo Movie was a firmly established, money making genre. http://www.pimpadelicwonderland.com/eye.html
    2003, May 21; 00:00 ::: love
  • Public Image Ltd. - Greatest Hits So Far [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten made a definitive break from his past when he reclaimed his real name--John Lydon--and formed Public Image Limited. He was no longer a token punk rocker, but an artiste reveling in his newfound auteur status. The first six songs of this collection feature this vision of the group: hard, uncompromising, idiosyncratic tunes that turn pop music inside out with devastating results. "Public Image" is the residual fury of the Sex Pistols' breakup rendered with spiky guitars and Lydon's patented snarl. "Careering" and "Memories" are skeletal art rock based on the atmospherics of dub music and perverse dance grooves. But by the Bill Laswell-produced "Rise," PiL was no longer a group but Lydon's personal pop vehicle. The music became increasingly accessible, allowing for "alternative" hits such as "Seattle" on college radio and other tunes that, while enjoyable, do not challenge the status quo as advertised. --Rob O'Connor for amazon.com [...]
    2003, May 21; 21:01 ::: Matrix
    The most curious feature of Warner Bros' official Matrix Web site is not the handful of jaw-dropping "Animatrix" clips, but the collection of high-quality philosophical essays by heavy hitters like Hubert Dreyfus, Colin McGinn and the cognitive science superstar David Chalmers. These essays, which hash out Descartes, Mahayana Buddhism and the proverbial "brain in the vat" problem, are all the evidence you need that the Wachowski brothers' original 1999 film has vaulted into that curious category of Big Think mainstream sci-fi films -- and that they want the "kickass" sequel to extend the beard-pulling. -- Erik Davis in Salon [...]
    2003, May 20; 15:23 ::: dance
  • Things to Make & Do - Moloko [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Prior to "Sing It Back" being remixed into an Ibizan pant-swinging classic, Mark Brydon and Roisin Murphy were, of course, best known for being the acceptable face of comedy trip-hop. Therefore, anyone expecting Things To Make And Do to be full of handbag-circling, dancefloor stormers is in for a bit of a shock. You see, Moloko are an experimental pop band and not the disco stalwarts their success implies. Unfortunately, this often involves being as irritating as possible. Take "Indigo" for instance, a song so lyrically unhinged it makes "Lily The Pink" seem profound; or the snappily titled "If You Have A Cross To Bear You Might As Well Use It As A Crutch"--an anarchic showdown between Gilbert & Sullivan and Joy Division that's just plain daft. Murphy's voice still resonates like a loved-up Fenella Fielding--all trembling operetta meets pussy-cat growl, but Brydon's rhythmic quirks and off-kilter sounds are perfunctory, often bordering on the puerile. It's not all bad: "Absent Minded Friends" sounds rich and sentimental, while the languid bossa vibe drifting through "Being Is Believing" is Kate Bush in all but name. Ultimately though, the faults here far outweigh the virtues. --Paul Tierney for amazon.co.uk [...]
    2003, May 20; 12:10 ::: witches
  • Haxan (Witchcraft Through the Ages) (1929) Benjamin Christensen [DVD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Witchcraft through the ages is explored with dark wit in this silent classic. Writer-director Benjamin Christensen uses a historical study of witchcraft as a jumping-off point for a fascinating film that is part science, part horror, and part social commentary. This Criterion edition uses a beautiful print, a rearrangement of music from the original Danish premiere, and the original Swedish intertitles (with subtitles). Goodies include commentary by Danish film scholar Casper Tybjerg, the option of watching a narrated version without intertitles, and test shots from the film. The test shots, in particular, give insight into the early filmmaking process, as when Christensen uses his own image to try out (and reject) a flying effect. This is a worthy edition to the collection of fans of horror films, silent films, and film in general. --Ali Davis for amazon.com
    Description Grave robbing, torture, possessed nuns, and a satanic Sabbath: Benjamin Christensen's legendary film uses a series of dramatic vignettes to explore the scientific hypothesis that the witches of the middle ages suffered the same hysteria as turn-of-the-century psychiatric patients. But the film itself is far from serious-instead it's a witches' brew of the scary, gross, and darkly humorous. [...]
    2003, May 20; 11:58 ::: transgression
  • Abnormal: The Sinema of Nick Zedd (2002) [DVD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    My money was well spent on this fascinating DVD which includes alot of entertainment.
    I was particularly impressed by the diversity of the soundtrack music. The Swans are featured in two films, Go to Hell and Kiss Me Goodbye and the impact of this music is stirring.
    The Dream Syndicate supply the music to a film Zedd collaborated on with R. Kern called Thrust In Me.
    The excerpt from War Is Menstrual Envy likewise features outstanding music as does Tom Thumb, a recent digital movie by Zedd featuring the eerie and chilling sounds of Copenhagen's ANK as well as an appearance by Steen Jorgensen of Sort Sol.
    Original music supplied by Lydia Lunch with the help of Thurston Moore, Jim Sclavenous and Pat Place featured in The Wild World of Lydia Lunch is much better than the repetetive sounds one hears in Kern's movies, though both are good. Comparing Zedd to Kern is like comparing apples to oranges.
    Additionally, the rare interviews with Zedd, including a short doc on his noise unit Zyklon B are excellent.
    The sounds produced by this short lived "digital hardcore" unit are way more exciting and innovative than stuff one usualy hears and the visuals are riveting. Nick Bohn was some kind of musical genius with the sequencer, producing amazing white noise harmonics with Zedd in Zyklon B.
    The best stuff on the DVD are the colorful visuals and rare outtakes utilizing some of the most extraordinary underground personalities I've ever seen. --E. Ganji for amazon.com
    2003, May 20; 11:52 ::: sex
  • Kern Noir: Photographs by Richard Kern [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Born in 1954 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, the turning point of Richard Kern's life happened one afternoon in 1971, when he was picked up by a carload of hot, young, scantily-clad New York City glam girls while hitchiking after a day of skipping high school. He was captivated. The end result has been more than two decades of hard, sexually blunt work, starting with early projects like the Cinema of Transgression films made in collaboration with a crew of Lower East Side denizens Lydia Lunch, Nick Zedd, Sonic Youth, and Karen Finley. Kern's recent work has concentrated on the photography of women, and has appeared in Hustler and Barely Legal, as well as in the art monographs New York Girls and XX Girls.
    2003, May 16; 21:14 ::: philosophy
  • Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness - Henri Bergson [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Bergson, all the rage in the early 1900's, has now been rediscovered, thanks in part to the work of Deleuze et al. Time and Free Will is a great exemplar of Bergson's work and his idea of the duree and the spatialization of time. Bergson presents to the reader an energetic flux which is the precondition of our more vulgar concept of time. With this flux, the past is pulled along by the future and presented to consciousness in the present as a heterogeneous conglomeration, inseperable and uncategorizable. It is this work which inspired the stream of consciousness novelists, especially Proust. But the most remarkable element of Time and Free Will is its demand on the reader to live the duree, to return to the duree and forget oneself in it. The goal is freedom and authenticity and this can only be achieved when letting oneself go, flying like a bird, and despatializing time. This book does not only open the door to phenomenology, but it also contributes in a significant way to french existentialist thought. -- anar_schizo@hotmail.com for amazon.com
    2003, May 16; 14:07 ::: language
  • Home Of The Brave: A Film By Laurie Anderson - Laurie Anderson [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Smoke Rings 2. White Lily 3. Late Show 4. Talk Normal 5. Language Is A Virus 6. Radar 7. Sharkey's Night 8. Credit Racket
    Laurie Anderson's "Home of the Brave" is more experimental and less overtly musical than the more well-known, "Strange Angels" album. The artist blends her performance art presentation skills with a wildly experimental musical score to produce a unique landscape of sounds and lyrical images which some listeners will find challenging. However, if you are willing to let yourself go and enjoy it, you will find yourself well rewarded for your faith. There are plenty of funky, singable hooks in "Home of the Brave", such as the infectious chorus of "Language is a virus". However, this album is also chock full of unusual sounds and experimental instruments which may lead the timid, pop-oriented audience to squeal, "This is music?!" More adventerous spirits will gleefully respond in the afirmative. Laurie dons a suit of triggers and plays an electronic drum set by dancing and pounding on parts of her body. Guitarist Adrian Belew plays his guitar with various household items, and at one point creates a sound somewhat like an elephant's roar. The most unusual effect on the album is created using an electronic violin and bows strung with taped sound samples. Love it or hate it, the resulting sound is indescribable, and unforgetable. Few artists are capable of this level of experimentation, and even fewer are this successful. This album, as experimental as it is, is perhaps most impressive in it's consistency. Laurie Anderson fans will be hard-pressed to find a "dud" in the bunch. Considering the high-wire act that this album represents, that is no mean feat. --brucewh@pacbell.net for amazon.com [...]
    2003, May 14; 11:10 ::: money
  • Money's Too Tight (To Mention) - Valentine Brothers [CD, Amazon UK] [FR] [DE] [US]
    1. Money's too tight (to mention) (mixes)
    Formed in the late seventies in Columbus, Ohio, the Valentine Brothers were John and William 'Billy' Valentine. Billy had a jazz background working with Young-Holt Unlimited and they toured with a production of 'The Wiz'.
    They signed to the Source label for their self-titled debut album in 1979 which was produced by Richard Evans.
    In 1982 the brothers worked with producer Bobby Lyle on their next project First Take which was released on the Bridge label and became a cult album on the soul scene.
    Two further albums were released in the eighties and Billy Valentine co-wrote/produced 'You Make Me Want To Love Again' with Leon Ware for Con Funk Shun.
    2003, May 13; 10:55 ::: proto-disco
  • LTG Exchange - LTG Exchange [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Waterbed 2. Waterbed (2) (Part 2) 3. Saint or sinner 4. I like what I like 5. Keep on trying 6. Give it love 7. Tsen si yen yen 8. Trouble on the run 9. My love 10. Corazon 11. Young mother's love [...]
    2003, May 13; 09:58 ::: brasil
  • Cidade de Deus (2002) - City of God [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Meu nome e Ze Listen Listen 2. Vida de otario Listen Listen 3. Funk da Virada Listen Listen 4. Estoria de Boca Listen Listen 5. Na rua, na chuva, na fazenda - (Casinha de Sepe) Listen Listen 6. A Transa 7. Metamorfose Ambulante 8. Nem vem que nao tem 9. Preciso me encontrar 10. Alvorada 11. Convite para Vida 12. No caminho do bem 13. Morte Ze Pequeno 14. Batucada (remix by DJ Camilo Rocha & DJ YAH, of original music by Antonio Pinto and Ed Cortes)
    In telling the story of two friends from a tough Rio de Janeiro barrio whose lives can never seem to escape the favela where they were born and raised, the acclaimed film by Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund has drawn comparisons to such modern touchstones as Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas. Taking his inspiration from the filmmakers' daring gambit to cast real people in the roles and the film's '60s-'70s milieu, composer Antonio Pinto (assisted by partner Ed Córtes) has concocted a smart, rhythmically intoxicating cocktail of Brazilian jazz and samba, shaken with a little '70s American funk and R&B and served with cool, tropical flair. Those various styles often melt into each other with a liberating sense of postmodern possibility, giving listeners an experience that's as exotic as it is deceptively familiar, the worthy equatorial flip side of David Holmes's jazz-funk collaborations with Steven Soderbergh on Out of Sight and Ocean's Eleven. --Jerry McCulley for amazon.com [...]
    2003, May 12; 12:00 ::: science
  • Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy - Manuel Delanda [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Delanda is certainly not the least controversial of Deleuzeans, so I imagine some folks will dislike the (sort of) analytic flavor of this work. Nonetheless it gives--or makes a painfully valient attempt to give--what a lot of 'clarificationary' work on Deleuze ultimately fails to provide. A solid, relevant reconstruction of Deleuze's world without all the cumbersome jargon that bogs down the more continental reconstructions (e.g., Badiou's "Clamor of Being"...really an excellent book, but rough-going in the prose department). Delanda takes his by now standard fascination with complexity theory and other cool stuff and mines Deleuze's works for its scientific & mathematic underpinnings. John Protevi's "Political Physics," another book in this series, could be seen as an intro. to this book--not to downplay the significance of Protevi's work. Where Protevi explored the possibilities for Deleuzean applications to complexity, Delanda actually applies it, fearlessly, using the analytic style, I imagine, as a way to not cower in the face of some of Deleuze's absurdities. This work should be hotly debated, but it should be deeply appreciated as well, for the age of freeplay is waning, and now that the fog is clearing it really is time to figure out what the hell Deleuze was talking about.
    This is first on my list of Deleuze commentaries, and it stands as a powerful independent work in its own right. Read it. Delanda rules. --christopher chrappa for amazon.com
    2003, May 12; 11:04 ::: science
  • Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World - Kevin Kelly [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    In many ways, the 20th century has been the Age of Physics. Out of Control is an accessible and entertaining explanation of why the coming years will probably be the Age of Biology -- particularly evolution and ethology -- and what this will mean to most every aspect of our society. Kelly is an enthusiastic and well-informed guide who explains the promises and implications of this rapidly evolving revolution very well. --Amazon.com
    2003, May 10; 16:49 ::: comedy
  • Better Off Dead (1985) - Savage Steve Holland [DVD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    Lane Myer (John Cusack) is stuck in a personal hell. A compulsive, adolescent Everyman growing up in Suburbia, USA, not only does he fail to make the prestigious high school ski team (again), but his beloved sweetheart, Beth, also leaves him for Roy, the team's popular, arrogant captain. If this isn't bad enough, he's stuck with a mother who frighteningly experiments--rather than cooks--with food, a brother who builds rockets out of models, and a best friend so desperate for drugs that he settles for snorting powdered snow. Faced with these prospects, Lane opts to end it all ... until he comes up with a ridiculous plan to gain acceptance and win Beth back. Director Savage Steve Holland warps this simple, clichéd premise, letting his wacky imagination twist it into a fairly original, slightly dark, and completely hilarious '80s teen comedy. Not as serious a "suicide-attempt" movie as, say, Harold and Maude but just as funny, the film's more a collection of screwball sketches than a narrative. Holland livens the high jinks with surrealistic fantasy touches, including Jell-O that crawls, a hamburger that sings Van Halen, drawings that mock its creator, Japanese race-car drivers who only speak Howard Cosell, and a psychotic paperboy seeking blood over a missing $2. Cusack puts the whole thing on his shoulders and carries the insanity with another one of his touching, obsessively romantic performances, which, along with Say Anything, The Sure Thing, and One Crazy Summer, made him the quintessential (and appealing) personification of lovestruck adolescence and suffering. --Dave McCoy for Amazon.com [...]
    2003, May 09; 23:59 ::: sex
  • The History of Sexuality: An Introduction - Michel Foucault [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    In "The History of Sexuality", Foucault enlightens us with sexuality as a tribute benefiting from knowledge and power. Sexuality before the 18th century, was in a sense, located in the body and the flesh. There was no established fetish. Sex had not come under the scrutiny of science (psychoanalysis). Sex was just sex; for procreation and physical enjoyment. When the confessionals started to become a ritual in religion we see a shift or rupture in history. Priests in the middle ages became concerned with what people did sexually. It was the confession that would free, but it was the power that reduced an individual to silence. Thus the titillating game began and repeated and repeated. Freud and his psychoanalysis came along, which defined and categorized sexuality and its dysfunctions. Psychoanalysis became a scientific confessional. Thus society has become a singularly confessing society; Western man has become a confessing animal. Foucault then begins to posit anchorage points in institutions such as in the home; anchorage points which standardizes roles of family classification. It's roughly 160 pages long and readable. This was probably my favorite of Foucault's work. --warmsticky for amazon.com
    2003, May 08; 21:19 ::: dub
  • Dread Meets Punk Rockers Uptown - Various Artists, compiled by Don Letts [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Bag A Wire Dub - King Tubby 2. Fade Away - Junior Byles 3. Marcus Garvey - Big Youth 4. Fisherman - The Congos 5. Rush I Some Dub - Tappa Zukie 6. I Need A Roof - The Mighty Diamonds 7. Black Harmony Killer - Jah Stitch 8. Train To Zion - U Brown (Dicomix) 9. King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown - Augustus Pablo 10. Two Sevens Clash - Culture 11. Wear You To The Ball - U-Roy 12. Pure Ranking - Horace Andy 13. M.P.L.A. Dub - Tappa Zukie 14. Police And Thieves - Junior Murvin 15. Deuteronomy - Sylford Walker 16. The Tackro - Lee Perry & The Upsetters
    For all the acres of music press newsprint whipped up by the British punk explosion, in late 1976, actual quality punk rock records were scarce. The movement--the fashion, the attitude, the sense of rebellion--had arrived long before the record companies could capture it on vinyl, so London's Roxy club catered for the discerning clubber with another edgy rebel sound: dub reggae. Compiled by the club's rastafari DJ Don Letts--a future Big Audio Dynamite member, and one-time manager of punk-reggae maidens The Slits--Dreads Meets The Punk Rockers Uptown showcases a selection of the era's breaking Jamaican sounds. There's a wealth of bona fide dub classics here, in the shape of King Tubby's "Bag Of Wire Dub", Augustus Pablo's "King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown", Lee "Scratch" Perry's "The Tackro", and The Congos' "Fisherman". The most intriguing tracks, however, are those included as a signpost towards punk's evolution: see Junior Murvin's "Police And Thieves", later to be covered by The Clash, marking punk's shift away from posturing white guitar rage, and towards defiant, anti-authoritarian multicultural statements. Dreads Meets The Punk Rockers Uptown is a period piece, sure, but it sounds fresh even now. --Louis Pattison for Amazon.co.uk [...]
    2003, May 07; 22:01 ::: french house
  • Super Discount (1996) - Various Artists [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Le Patron Est Devenu Fou! (The Boss Has Gone Mad) - Minos Pour Main Basse (Sur La Ville) 2. Prix Choc (Price Shock) - Etienne de Crecy 3. Super Disco - Alex Gopher 4. Soldissimo (Super Sale) - Air (EDC Remix) 5. Affaires à Faire (Bargains Galore) - La Chatte Rouge 6. Tout Doit Disparaître (Everything Must Go) - Minos Pour Main Basse (Sur La Ville) 7. Tout à 10 Balles (Everything At 10 Francs) - DJ Tall 8. Liquidation Totale - Etienne De Crecy 9. Les 10 Jours Fous (10 Days of Madness) - Mooloodjee 10. Destockage Massif (Massive Stock Clearance) - Alex Gopher 11. Fermeture Definitive (Closing Down Sale) - Mr Learn
    Don't listen to what has been told by in the only negative review this record had here in AMZ (it was written by an English and they usually don't like whatever come from Europe or US..even if it's really good). SuperDiscount has already deserved its place as one of the best compilations about the new French sound, and you can listen to it in the trendiest clubs of the planet from Ibiza to NYC, from Tokio to Milan. The best track,imho, is Etienne De Crecy's one but all are funny and it's impossible not to dance at.... --joaquim57 for amazon.com [...]
    2003, May 06; 10:25 ::: bad
  • Born Bad V.6 - Various Artists [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Jailhouse Rock 2. Beat Out My Love 3. Fourth Dimension 4. Oo-Ma-Liddi 5. He's Waitin 6. Dirty Robber 7. Yum Yum Yamaha 8. Mini-Skirt Blues 9. Hipsville 29 B.C. (I Need Help) 10. Green Door 11. Pretty Plaid Skirt (And Long Black Sox) 12. When I Get The Blues (Strangeness In Me) 13. Golden Boy 14. Get Off The Road (& Spoken Intro) [...]
    2003, May 05; 14:50 ::: black
  • Black Chord - David Corio, Vivien Goldman [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    From jazz, blues, hip hop, and reggae to African rhythms, gospel, and contemporary R&B, "The Black Chord" pays homage to the legendary and current superstars of Black music. Stunning photographs and a provocative consideration of musical theory combine, and the result is an unprecedented view of popular culture and its antecedents.
    David Corio's photos capture the major talents of black music: Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Barry White, Missy Elliot, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs, Al Jarreau, Salif Keita, Courtney Pine, Chaka Khan, Isaac Hayes, B.B. King, Miles Davis, Fats Domino, Patti Labelle, and many others from a diversity of musical styles. Goldman traces the musical thread or "black chord" that connects these artists and the influences that music and Black performers from different countries, cultures, and periods have had on the evolution of musical expression worldwide.
    Chapters include an exploration of the different genres of music-from blues to rap and beyond-and their history, a look at sexy soul music and its appeal, and an interpretation of the impact that newcomers like Puff Daddy and Brandy have had on the contemporary music scene. [...]
    2003, May 05; 14:19 ::: Jackie Mittoo
  • Champion in the Arena 1976-1977 - Jackie Mittoo [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Champion Of The Arena 2. Hot Milk 3. Darker Shade Of Black 4. Drum Song 5. The Sniper 6. Peace Treaty 7. North Of The Sun 8. Jumping Jack 9. Super Charge 10. One Step Forward 11. Ram Jam 12. Brain Mark 13. In Cold Blood 14. Earthquake 15. Atom Sounds 16. Death Trap 17. Clean Up The Arena [...]
    2003, May 05; 13:54 ::: dub
  • Wild Dub - Dread Meets Punk Rocker - Various Artists [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    1. Jah war - Ruts 2. Bankrobber (dub version) - Clash 3. Wild dub - Generation X 4. Immigrant dub - Basement 5 5. Turn to red - Killing Joke 6. One of the lads (dub version) - 4 Be 2s 7. Typical girls (Brink style dub) - Slits 8. Private armies (dub version) - Goldman, Vivien 9. Red beat - Red Beat 10. Death disco - Public Image Ltd. 11. Where there is a will - Pop Group 12. Bloody dub - Stiff Little Fingers 13. Private life (dub version) - Jones, Grace [...]
    2003, May 05; 09:28 ::: sex
  • Sexual Behavior in the Human Male - Alfred C. Kinsey [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    These three reprinted books contain most of the published statistical data taken from the original interview schedules used by Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues from 1938 to 1963 to gather sexual histories. Except for two topically focused books published by other authors after Kinsey's death, the ideas and data in these books represent the bulk of Kinsey's intellectual and empirical contribution to sex research. It is appropriate that they be reprinted in 1998, the 50th anniversary of the original publication of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. It was with this first book that knowledge about sexuality garnered from a scientific survey burst into the consciousness of the American public. This book and its companion, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, published in 1953, introduced a new way of thinking and talking about sexuality to American (and world) culture.
    The practice of sexuality was quite varied in the United States before the publication of these books, but it was largely unrecorded, at least by scientists. Before the late 1940s, the sexual lives of most people were shaped by personal experiments, isolated sexual encounters, uninformed gossip, media sensation, and moral condemnation (not necessarily in that order). The national myth was that most people were obedient to a traditional set of sexual rules and those who were not were relatively rare and defective in morals or willpower.
    It was against this background of repression and prurience that Kinsey asserted the right of science to speak about sexual behavior. As a scientist, Kinsey spoke and wrote plainly, using language about sexuality that was rarely heard or read at the time. The facts reported in the book on men's sexual behavior were at fundamental variance with the myths. Kinsey reported that the practice of masturbation was nearly universal among men (90 percent did it), that homosexual relations were widely experienced (37 percent had done it once), that premarital sexual relations were common (most college men did it), that half of married men had had extramarital sexual relations, and that oral sex was routine in deed if not in public discourse (70 percent of educated husbands said they and their wives had done it).
    But it was not only these facts that evoked a powerful negative response from traditional figures in churches, legislatures, and the press. The book also had a strong reformist tone, with Kinsey arguing, completely in the American grain, that progress in dealing with sexual problems could only be made by objectively uncovering the facts of sexual life. That the reported sexual practices of American men differed from moral expectations was (in Kinsey's interpretation) evidence of the power of sexuality and not a mark of moral decay. The problems associated with sexuality were a consequence of social repression, not inherent to sexuality itself.
    The controversy engendered by this first book caused Kinsey's second book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, to be eagerly anticipated by his critics, his defenders, the media, and the public. Its publication in 1953 was met with an equal if not greater storm than the publication of the book on men. Kinsey's evidence suggested that women were less behaviorally active than men in all aspects of sexual life but that they were still more sexual than traditional views allowed. However, the focus of the media on the statistical findings about sexual practices among women (what we now treat as "factoids") made the second book appear entirely similar to the first (by this time both books had become fused in the public mind and in the media as the "Kinsey Reports").
    Contrary to this view, it is evident from a careful reading of the book on women that Kinsey had moved from his thinking in the book on men to a more nuanced view of sexuality. The book on men is severely masculinist in its perspective, using men's sexual lives as the primary model for what is considered to be sexually normal. The sexuality of the human male was characterized by novelty in practices, variety in partners, a quick and urgent response to sexual stimuli, and a search for orgasm as the primary source of sexual pleasure. Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, based on approximately 6000 interviews, is a retreat, at least in part, from all of these assumptions. Two important changes in Kinsey's thinking are apparent: women and men are more alike in the biology of their sexuality than he had previously thought, and women's sexuality and, on suitable reflection, men's sexuality seemed shaped, not merely repressed, by social and cultural forces. Increasingly, it was clear that the two books were works of social science, not biology.
    The negative reaction to Kinsey and his works in the 1950s frightened off providers of funding and researchers in the field of sex research. As a consequence, the Kinsey studies were used as flawed report cards on sexual life in the United States well into the era of AIDS. The studies were particularly deficient in their sampling methods, and it was obvious to researchers at the time that they did not accurately measure the sexual life of American women and men. As science, they were important first steps but incomplete in scope and method. The findings were limited to white, better educated, less religious, and largely youthful women and men from the northeastern United States who volunteered to be interviewed about their sexual lives. We now know that the effect of volunteer respondents was to inflate the reported levels of some aspects of sexual behavior. The interview schedule and the interviewing were of high quality, but they could not correct for biases in sampling.
    A proper historical understanding of Kinsey's purposes should focus on his explicit desire to understand sexuality by using objective tools of science and on his scarcely concealed desire to reform what he saw as the repressive character of sexual life in the United States during the period before the Second World War. This goal of sexual reform was scarcely unique to Kinsey -- only his scientific methods and the connection he made between science and sexual reform were special. The findings from Kinsey's work and the attitudes the work expressed quickly filtered into reformist groups that strove to change laws about sexual behavior, to free public speech about sexuality, to advance family planning through birth control, to promote sex education, and to reduce what they saw as hypocrisy about sexuality in American culture.
    The association of Kinsey with sexual reform has recently made him the target, both as a scientist and a man, of attacks by conservative groups. John Bancroft, the current director of the institute that Kinsey founded, has written a spirited and important defense of Kinsey in the introduction to the reprinted edition of Sexual Behavior in the Human Female.
    The third reprinted book is quite different from the other two, but it emphasizes the continuing utility to historians of the entire collection of Kinsey's interviews. This book presents the marginal tabulations of all of the interviews gathered by Kinsey and his colleagues (including those conducted after Kinsey's death in 1956) and makes them more useful by excluding certain groups that surely skewed the findings of the original report on men. Funding from the National Institute of Mental Health in the early 1960s presented an opportunity for all the 17,500 original interviews to be placed on computer tape. Of these interviews, 14,000 are treated as a "basic" sample of persons who were noncriminal; those of persons with criminal histories are treated separately. In addition, a separate sample of persons with extensive homosexual histories was selected from both the criminal and basic samples.
    Kinsey and his works are now part of the story of the "American Century." Sensitive use of the archived interviews by historians as well as Kinsey's own life and views may offer us further insight into the sexual aspects of that story and the ways in which our sexual past has shaped our sexual present. -- Reviewed by John Gagnon, Ph.D. (From The New England Journal of Medicine ® February 18, 1999 The Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.) [...]
    2003, May 01; 09:51 ::: mulatto
  • Clotel, Or, the President's Daughter (1853) - William Wells Brown [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    The first novel published by an African American, Clotel takes up the story, in circulation at the time, that Thomas Jefferson fathered an illegitimate mulatto daughter who was sold into slavery. Powerfully reimagining this story, and weaving together a variety of contemporary source materials, Brown fills the novel with daring escapes and encounters, as well as searing depictions of the American slave trade. An innovative and challenging work of literary invention, Clotel is receiving much renewed attention today.
    William Wells Brown, though born into slavery, escaped to become one of the most prominent reformers of the nineteenth century and one of the earliest historians of the black experience. This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition reproduces the first, 1853, edition of Clotel and includes, as did that edition, his autobiographical narrative, "The Life and Escape of William Wells Brown," plus newly written notes. -- [...]
    2003, May 01; 09:51 ::: bitches
  • Bitches Brew (1969) - Miles Davis [CD, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    The revolution was recorded: in 1969 Bitches Brew sent a shiver through a country already quaking. It was a recording whose very sound, production methods, album-cover art, and two-LP length all signaled that jazz could never be the same. Over three days anger, confusion, and exhilaration had reigned in the studio, and the sonic themes, scraps, grooves, and sheer will and emotion that resulted were percolated and edited into an astonishingly organic work. This Miles Davis wasn't merely presenting a simple hybrid like jazz-rock, but a new way of thinking about improvisation and the studio. And with this two-CD reissue (actually, this set is a reissue of the original set plus one track, perfect for the fan who's not so overwhelmed as to need the four-CD Complete Bitches Brew box), the murk of the original recording is lifted. The instruments newly defined and brightened, the dark energy of the original comes through as if it were all fresh. Joe Zawinul and Bennie Maupin's roles in the mix have been especially clarified. With a bonus track of "Feio"--a Wayne Shorter composition recorded five months later that serves both as a warm-down for Bitches Brew and a promise of Weather Report to come--this is crucial listening. --John F. Szwed for amazon.com
    2003, May 01; 09:34 ::: jazz
  • Visions of Jazz: The First Century (2000) - Gary Giddins [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    As Gary Giddins makes clear in his introduction to Visions of Jazz, he's not attempting to draw a canonical line in the sand: "Everyone has his or her vision of jazz, and this is mine." Modesty aside, though, it's hard to imagine a critic with a more encyclopedic grasp of detail, or a more lucid, funny, and appropriately musical style. Weighing in at almost 700 pages, the magnificent Visions of Jazz consists of 70 profiles, beginning with a dual portrait of blackface pioneers Bert Williams and Al Jolson and concluding with the klezmer-infatuated clarinetist Don Byron. These sketches mingle musical, biographical, and cultural insights--indeed, one of Giddins's great gifts is to break down the very distinction between such categories. Yet Giddins is hardly an unhinged generalizer, and he loves to zero in on a particular chorus and disclose its charms on a bar-by-bar basis. The pinnacle of this musical microscopy occurs in his Dizzy Gillespie essay, with an almost biblical exegesis of 64 measures from the 1989 version of "Salt Peanuts." But even in these nuts-and-bolts passages, Giddins is always accessible, combining precisely the right proportions of edification and old-fashioned entertainment. The only problem with Visions of Jazz, in fact, is that it makes you so itchy and impatient to hear the music. Fortunately, Giddins has taken care of the problem by curating a companion disc called (you guessed it) Visions of Jazz. This isn't, it should be said, a predictable journey from one jazz milestone to the next. Instead he's assembled a delightfully idiosyncratic anthology, which testifies to the music's irresistible pulse and all-American parentage. --James Marcus for amazon.com [...]

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