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June 2004 Blog

WWW jahsonic.com

Part online encyclopedia, part music criticism, part blog, JahSonic.com is a fabulous example of hybrid academic/popular discussion of music, culture, subculture, cultural studies, art...you name it. I particularly like the page on subculture. --Jean Burgess via http://mstu2000.blogspot.com, MSTU2000 Music Subcultures and the Media, The University of Queensland, Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Blogs I Read

  • http://www.sauer-thompson.com/conversations/ Philosophical conversations between two Australians Trevor and Gary, covering a wide range of philosophical topics.
  • http://www.bekkoame.ne.jp/~aabb/plus9.html A daily, art-related, weblog from Osaka, Japan.
  • http://www.geocities.com/headlobe/Blog.html My dear friend Dominique's blog
  • http://www.mixoftheweek.com Pre-recorded, weekly mixes of soul, house, techno, dub and other groovy sounds. Consistent high quality.
  • http://www.novaplanet.com/radiolive/novalive.asp Not a blog, but the best radio-station in the world, broadcasting from Paris, Europe
  • http://www.woebot.com Very good music blog.

    2004, Jul 01; 01:25 :::: language

    Verbal Behavior (1957 - B. F. Skinner [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Verbal behavior is a classic work and one the most neglected and underrated scientific texts of century, erroneously believed by many to have been conclusively demolished by Noam Chomsky (whose work in competition with Freud's is possibly the most overrated). Skinners analysis of verbal behavior differs from other accounts both in psychology and linguistics in being entirely naturalistic and free of the quite far-reaching metaphysical assumptions about 'meanings' and 'rules' inherent in traditional approaches. The latter focus on an idealized and abstract entity (grammatically correct language) which does not really exist, whereas Skinner analyses the verbal behavior actually performed by people. He demonstrates that a large amount of linguistic phenomena can be interpreted and explained by the principles of operant conditioning which have been demonstrated in laboratory experiments and he explores the consequences of this analysis for problems normally only addressed by philosophers, such as the nature of meaning, the social aspects of language, the possibility of a private language and the nature of thinking. Many philosophers will surprised to learn that some of the best ideas of the later Wittgenstein can be found more clearly and elegantly expressed by Skinner. --Germund Hesslow via Amazon.com

    2004, Jun 30; 16:12 :::: Lyotard

    The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979) - Jean-Francois Lyotard [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    This ponderous mix of the philosophy of art, science, and politics leaves you with a headache and the irrelevant conclusion: "Let us wage war on totality; let us be witnesses to the unpresentable; let us activate the differences and save the honor of the name." Huh? This conclusion has as much practical value as the entire book.

    Lyotard seems to think that scientific validity is something similar to government legitimacy, and is thus based on doctrines, dogmas, and the degree to which people subscribe to them. He thinks such validity can be created and undone with what he calls "language games." Economically advanced societies are under what he believes to be the language game of "performativity" which, in common sense terms, means the desire to be efficient. Lyotard theorizes and philosophizes in such general terms that his postmodernism bears striking resemblance to the "totality" and holistic perspective on which he would wage war. No, Mr. Lyotard, all scientific theories are not created equal, not equally valid. And this postmodern masterpiece seems less relevant every day. --unraveler via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 28; 19:31 :::: music

    Louden Up Now (2004) - !!! [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    There's been a buzz about !!! Chk Chk Chk for a while now and thankfully their debut full-length album, Louden Up Now, doesn't disappoint. Like Electric 6 promised with "Danger! High Voltage" or to some extent the Scissor Sisters, their style is somewhere between dance music, guitar-rock and disco. All of the songs here have a sturdy rhythm section of drums, bass and choppy guitar with everything else given free reign to go off and be progressive. The vocals are loud and edgy with more than a hint of wryness in the lyrics. On "Pardon My Freedom", a foul-mouth rant about freedom of speech (or possibly Tourette's Syndrome), he quips "tell the Christians I'm taller than Jesus" whereas "Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard" likens the former mayor of New York to the dance-hating preacher from the film Footloose (complete with quotes from the title song).

    Louden Up Now is very accessible while remaining excitingly different and packed with surprises. The band amply demonstrate a "karazzee" sense of humour and irreverence to music yet never fall foul to the trap of becoming a gimmick or novelty act. --David Trueman, amazon.co.uk

    2004, Jun 28; 14:06 :::: censorship

    Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy: A Guide to America's Censorship Wars (1993) - Marjorie Heins [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Heins has been on the front lines of the "wars" as director of the Arts Censorship Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. She uses many examples to identify the legal themes and strategies of the adversaries, to elucidate the importance of artistic free expression, and to explain why suppression will not solve the problems that beset society. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

    With great courage and skill, Marjorie Heins has kept the First Amendment and cultural freedom alive in America today. Her book shows why she deserves a major chapter when the next history of the First Amendment gets written. --Catharine R. Stimpson, University Professor, Rutgers University

    In 1989 strange things began to happen in these United States. Musicians and music store owners were charged with crimes for singing songs or selling tapes and records. The U.S. Congress passed a resolution condemning a major museum for permitting a display that "encourages disrespect for the flag." The federal arts funding agency was accused of blasphemy for assisting artists whose work dealt with religious themes. And so "censorship" became a key word in political debate. In Sex, Sin, and Blasphemy, the founding director of the ACLU Arts Censorship Project discusses the most hotly contested censorship issues. --Book Description via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 28; 12:28 :::: James Joyce

    Ulysses (1922) - James Joyce [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Ulysses has been labeled dirty, blasphemous, and unreadable. In a famous 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolsey declared it an emetic book--although he found it sufficiently unobscene to allow its importation into the United States--and Virginia Woolf was moved to decry James Joyce's "cloacal obsession." None of these adjectives, however, do the slightest justice to the novel. To this day it remains the modernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. It is funny, sorrowful, and even (in a close-focus sort of way) suspenseful. And despite the exegetical industry that has sprung up in the last 75 years, Ulysses is also a compulsively readable book. Even the verbal vaudeville of the final chapters can be navigated with relative ease, as long as you're willing to be buffeted, tickled, challenged, and (occasionally) vexed by Joyce's sheer command of the English language.

    Among other things, a novel is simply a long story, and the first question about any story is: What happens?. In the case of Ulysses, the answer might be Everything. William Blake, one of literature's sublime myopics, saw the universe in a grain of sand. Joyce saw it in Dublin, Ireland, on June 16, 1904, a day distinguished by its utter normality. Two characters, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, go about their separate business, crossing paths with a gallery of indelible Dubliners. We watch them teach, eat, stroll the streets, argue, and (in Bloom's case) masturbate. And thanks to the book's stream-of-consciousness technique--which suggests no mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river--we're privy to their thoughts, emotions, and memories. The result? Almost every variety of human experience is crammed into the accordian folds of a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimental work but the very last word in realism.

    Both characters add their glorious intonations to the music of Joyce's prose. Dedalus's accent--that of a freelance aesthetician, who dabbles here and there in what we might call Early Yeats Lite--will be familiar to readers of Portrait of an Artist As a Young Man. But Bloom's wistful sensualism (and naive curiosity) is something else entirely. Seen through his eyes, a rundown corner of a Dublin graveyard is a figure for hope and hopelessness, mortality and dogged survival: "Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland's hearts and hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybody really?" --James Marcus, Amazon.com

    Ulysses is one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century. It was not easy to find a publisher in America willing to take it on, and when Jane Jeap and Margaret Anderson started printing extracts from the book in their literary magazine The Little Review in 1918, they were arrested and charged with publishing obscenity. They were fined $100, and even The New York Times expressed satisfaction with their conviction. Ulysses was not published in book form until 1922, when another American woman, Sylvia Beach, published it in Paris her Shakespeare & Company. Ulysses was not available legally in any English-speaking country until 1934, when Random House successfully defended Joyce against obscenity charges and published it in the Modern Library. This edition follows the complete and unabridged text as corrected and reset in 1961. Judge John Woolsey's decision lifting the ban against Ulysses is reprinted, along with a letter from Joyce to Bennett Cerf, the publisher of Random House, and the original foreword to the book by Morris L. Ernst, who defended Ulysses during the trial. --Book Description via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 27; 23:32 :::: Jay A. Gertman

    Bookleggers and Smuthounds: The Trade in Erotica, 1920-1940 (2001)- Jay A. Gertzman [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    This is a wonderfully conceived and splendidly executed history of the most important formative period of American erotica. Here, thanks to Gertzman's scholarship, the reader will find information available nowhere else: on marginal publishers and sexy books, and on the police and officials who tried to suppress them. The book chronicles investigations and campaigns by assorted smuthunters such as the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, the Post Office, ambitious district attorneys, and the FBI. Gertzman breaks out the huge volume of erotica from underground presses into useful categories, and discusses each in detail, having drawn on neglected archives and hard-to-find resources. For all its careful scholarship, the book is a fine read. The discussion of Samuel Roth, perhaps the most notorious of all American pornographers, is itself worth the price of the book, because it allows Gertzman to speculate on the essential value of pornographers to a culture. --Joseph Slade via amazon.com

    The author tackles the question of why people who distributed books which were banned or critized as pornography were often Jewish. He has done his homework, digging up prominent examples, and makes comparisons between the other kinds of dirty jobs immigrants and their sons did, and the publishing and selling of smut. Sometimes, this "smut" was great literature; sometimes it was just plain curious and brought in good money during the depression. You get to know some of these men pretty well. You do not like them much, maybe, but you do understand. The author does a good job of explaining the career of the most famous of these publishers, a very complex and haunted man you diskike, but feel sorry for too. --Adele Greenberg via amazon.com

    Why did I write this book? In downtown Philadelphia in June 1960, a "raiding party of five county detectives"--followed closely by TV reporters and their cameras--visited my uncle Ben's book shop. Bail for the clerk, his brother Isadore--my father--was set at $500. Isadore was seen on the local TV news that night trying to move the NBC microphone far enough from his face to wave the police off the premises; he said they were "hurting his business." "The books sold," said the Assistant District Attorney, "Would arouse any man, unless he were made of stone." But plenty of copies were available in any event, and could always be safely purchased at the local department stores. My uncle was just a businessman, but he sold material which could be seen as sexually explicit and therefore harmful. He was a "pariah capitalist," and had developed a certain range of talents and a healthy amount of chutzpah. In _Bookleggers and Smuthounds _I try to describe the reasons for prosecuting this sort of businessman, and how these "bookleggers" of the roaring twenties and hungry thirties distributed the wide range of materials they did. As I studied the interaction between the bookleggers and the smuthounds, I become convinced of a salient fact: publishers of erotica and the moralists who attacked them during the mid-twentieth century had (as they continue to have; see my Epilogue) a subtle symbiotic relationship. As good businesspeople, erotica distributors necessarily appealed to prurient fascination. Because they invited their clients to indulge curiosities which kept intact the association of sex with obscenity and shameful silence, the blunt fact of their existence provided the anti-vice crusaders with the public enemy they needed to show how fascination with sex was indeed a vice exploited by people with contempt for purity. One bookseller above all shouldered the burden of being a "dirty books man," and accumulated the emotional scars of being a pariah capitalist. This was Samuel Roth, the first to publish an unexpurgated edition of Lady Chatterley's Lover in America. My final chapter is about the way this complex individual advertised his books, defined himself, and defied authority. I hope to show, by describing his career, the conflicted motives and psychic pressures of dealing in erotica in the interwar years, when books were still a chief means of communication, and when it was "sex o'clock in American literature." --Jay A. Gertman

    2004, Jun 25; 23:54 :::: Diana Russell

    Against Pornography: The Evidence of Harm - Diana E.H. Russell [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    I bought this book two years ago, when I was feeling particularly troubled about sexism and misogyny in our society. I wanted to read up on the subject of pornography in order to acquire a stronger foundation of arguments against it, should I find myself in a discussion on the topic. However, this book did not supply me with any useful information whatsoever, instead, reading it, or rather viewing the pictures included in it, proved a traumatic experience.

    The books main content is a collection of pictures - of cartoons and photos, most of which show women being sexually degraded or tortured. These pictures are collected from old editions of porn magazines, mainly from the seventies.

    I showed the book to a male acquaintance with whom I had had arguments about pornography (he took the view that there was nothing wrong with pornography). He said he never saw anything like these pictures before; he agreed that they were nasty and kept his view that 'normal' porn is all right.

    Therefore, this book does not say anything about the majority of porn, and the information contained is of no use in acquiring knowledge and arguments about pornography in general.

    In addition to this, the pictures were so horrible and upsetting that I was unable to forget them for a long time. In fact, I felt tormented by the memory of the terrible scenarios portrayed and grew very depressed.

    So if anyone considers reading up on pornography: There are better books around, which are more informative and which are not merely aimed to shock.

    I regret having bought this book and decided to write this review in order to warn others. --kayseven via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 25; 21:44 :::: Shere Hite

    The Hite Report (1976) - Shere Hite [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    This book has received praise from media and institutions all over the world. For example, Reuters has remarked that it 'has left an indelible mark on Western civilization.' Others, including the prestigious Frankfurter Allgemeine, have called it 'legendary'. The London Times has listed it as one of the top one hundred key books of the twentieth century. It received the distinguished service award from America's largest organization of sex researchers and counselors, AASECT (American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists).

    Why? Because it was the first and still in many ways is the only book to 'make the case' for the beauty and pleasure of clitoral stimulation for female orgasm. It galvanized and helped create a cultural revolution, documenting in women's own voices and with statistics (based on its own independent sample of over 3,000 women of all ages and walks of life) that almost all women can orgasm easily and efficiently with clitoral or exterior stimulation of the vulva -- and going on to question why this is not considered a 'normal part of sex'? Why is there no word for this, i.e., why is this 'act' never shown in films or pornography (where the focus is almost always on coitus, bondage or fellatio)? Yes, this is a feminist analysis of 'sex', stating (it was the first to do so) that our definition of sex is a cultural and historical phenomenon, not simply a 'biological inevitability.'

    Read this book if you want to understand anything about female sexuality. --World Media Opinion, via amazon.com

    Featuring a new foreword by the author, this is the classic feminist analysis of sex that galvanized a cultural revolution. Originally published in 1976, The Hite Report revealed the most intimate sexual feelings of 3,000 women: what they like and don't like; how orgasm really feels, with and without intercourse; how it feels to not have an orgasm during sex; the importance of clitoral stimulation and masturbation; and the greatest pleasures and frustrations of their sexual lives. The most shocking revelation was that orgasm is simply and easily achieved with the right stimulation, and that sex is a cultural institution - not just a biological one. Hite explains in her introduction that while society has in theory made great strides with regard to female sexuality since the book's first edition, the dissatisfactions with their sex lives some women voice today are reminiscent of the issues raised in the 1970s.. --via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 24; 22:35 :::: Jeff Mills

    Choice (2004) - Jeff Mills [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Tracklisting Disc 1

    1. Slick – Space Bass - click to listen
    2. Teddy Pendergrass - The More I Get, The More I Want - click to listen
    3. Sinnamon – Thanks To You - click to listen
    4. Chas Jankel – Ai No Corrida - click to listen
    5. Geraldine Hunt – Can’t Fake The Feeling - click to listen
    6. Goldie Alexander – Show You My Love - click to listen
    7. Montana Feat. Goody Goody – Esto Parese Amor (Club Mix) - click to listen
    8. Deodato – Keep It In The Family - click to listen
    9. Starflight – Dance To The Beat - click to listen
    10. Gerardo Frisina – Mas Eu Quer Ser - click to listen
    11. Jackie Moore – This Time Baby - click to listen
    12. Boys In Shock Feat. Carol Leeming – Give Me Back Your Love - click to listen
    13. Denroy Morgan – I’ll Do Anything For You - click to listen

    Disc 2

    1. Telex - Moskow Diskow - click to listen
    2. King Sun – On The Club Tip - click to listen
    3. DJ Q – We Are One (Carl Craig Remix) - click to listen
    4. Blake Baxter – Sexuality - click to listen
    5. Insync Vs Mysteron – Audiable Illusion - click to listen
    6. Change – The End - click to listen
    7. Ramirez – El Ritmo Barbaro - click to listen
    8. Florence – Analogue Expressions - click to listen
    9. Bandulu – Serial Operations - click to listen
    10. Neil Howard – Indulge - click to listen
    11. Silent Phase – Meditive Fusion - click to listen
    12. Joey Beltram – South Pacific - click to listen

    --Azuli Flyer [link to promo company] [Jun 2004]

    Snatching the best 45 second segments of records at breakneck speed, Mills slender hands flicker atop mixer's consoles at synapse pulsing speed, causing untold waves of euphoria across the globe and often in front of 1, 000s and 1,000s of people. In fact it would be impossible not to talk about the man in little more than clichéd superlatives. It would be suffice to say that as both an artist and a DJ Mills is unassailable and in a league of his own. If Mills played golf he'd be Tiger Woods. If he chanced his arm at racing motors then Schumacher would be choking on his fumes. Yet Mills remains as driven today as the first time he had a go on his older brother record decks. His seemingly unquenchable thirst to push forward as an artist, deejay, composer, record label manager and conceptualist are the result of a punishing schedule that few could keep up with, let alone maintain. And still he continues to pursue the musical dream within, travelling the world, producing, creating, deejaying and raising the stakes. Revered and respected by his peers, clubbers and music lovers alike he has made the dance an artform. A means of intellectual expression as well as an elevated rush of bassline reaction. From party loving hedonists to pontificating theorists, Mills communicates from the dancefloor to the art gallery at the flick of a switch.

    It was perhaps somewhat prophetic that the first record Mills and 'Mad' Mike Banks released on Underground Resistance was the vocal house anthem 'Living For The Night' (1991). A mantra for the life he has continued to lead since the early 1980s, surviving on snatches of sleep between planes, trains, hotels and clubs. "Post Final Cut (Mills late 80s industrial band), at the beginning of UR, I think I must have slept about 4 hours a night," recalls Mills. "I never went home. We were in the studio constantly and my parents became really concerned about what I was doing." From here on sleep remains a luxury that Mills has had little time for.

    From such a long history and knowledge of music Mills's influences stretch far and wide. For many Jeff Mills equals techno but as you are about to see from this fine genre spanning collection of personal inspirations, Jeff Mills is much more than that. From funk, boogie, soul, jazz, experimental electronica, house and well techno (why not) Jeff Mills has focused his own kaleidoscopic prism into a well-honed beam of electronic futurism. Just as Mills and Banks had sharpened their musical and business acumen from the musical legacy of their harsh Detroit surroundings so does this collection highlight the vibrancy, warmth, funk and feeling that emanates from a hard city full of soul. To grasp the future you need to understand the past…--from the promo company

    2004, Jun 24; 21:54 :::: Frankie Knuckles

    New Reality (2004) - Frankie Knuckles [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Frankie Knuckles A New Reality transpired as a reflection of his touring, and the transformation he felt post 9/11. The observations around the globe, peoples need to party & enjoy life, their need to escape, and also connect with other. Knuckles has taken that global information and created a mixture of house and soulful R&B. Knuckles brings back his team Engineer Dave Sussman along with arranger Danny Madden, programmers and Keyboard players Eric Kupper, Alex Schantez, and Peter "Ski" Schwartz for strings. Nicki Richards, known by superstars from Janet Jackson to Sting as the girl to get on backing vocals is featured on tracks such as "Matter of Time", "Journey", "I’ve Had Enough", "The Bumpkin Song (Gimme Gimme)". To take you further on this Journey thorough time you will find "Hit the Flo", co written and engineered by Satoshi Tomiie, which features CeCe Rogers on vocals.

    The first single "Bac N da Day" is the first time Knuckles and Jamie Principle have collaborated in almost 20 years and is mixed by the Cleptomaniacs, Brian Tappert and John Julius Knight. To round out this package, Knuckles has discovered yet another new talent in Japan piano player/ writer Daisuke, who wrote and performed the track "Emotional Energy". The album is full of surprises and will appeal to lovers of Dance and Electronic as well as R&B! --Album description via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 22; 13:50 :::: The Wire

    The Wire [Amazon.com]

    THE WIRE 245 (July 2004)
    1. IN THE MAGAZINE: JULY ISSUE (on sale from 17 June)
    On the cover: Alvin Lucier... On the eve of the UK Feedback: Order from 
    Noise tour, Christoph Cox talks to Lucier about a career dedicated to 
    exposing the relationship between music and the physical and the 
    Plus:  Damo Suzuki, Ellen Fullman, Devendra Banhart, Sunn O)))’s 
    Invisible Jukebox, Bark Psychosis, Dengue Fever, Mark Leckey and more
    ALBUMS: !!!, Chris Abrahams, Absolut Null Punkt, ASK, Ai Aso, Milton 
    Babbitt, Devendra Banhart, Steffen Basho-Junghans, Greg Bendian’s 
    Interzone,  Beyond Sensory Experience, Black Dice, John Cage, Vinicius 
    Cantuária, Chris Cundy & James Dunn, DAT Politics, Baby Dodds, Double 
    Leopards, Electric Masada, Errorsmith, The Eternals, Morton Feldman, Luc 
    Ferrari, Flinn-Eisenbeil-Wren, Gál, Gang Gang Dance, Michael Gira, Philip 
    Glass,  Milford Graves/John Zorn Duo, David Grubbs, Keiji Haino, A Hawk 
    And A Hacksaw, Glenn Jones, Locus Solus, Richard H Kirk, Klaus Lang, 
    Robert Marcel Lepage, Masada String Trio, Matmos, Kaffe Matthews/Mandy 
    McIntosh/Zeena Parkins, Norbert Möslang, Paul Panhuysen, Evan Parker & 
    Eddie Prévost, Eddie Prévost Trio, The Residents, Sandoz, Janek Schaefer, 
    Sieg Über Die Sonne, Slowblow, Space Machine, Yumiko Tanaka, Simeon Ten 
    Holt, Alexander Tucker, John Tilbury & Eddie Prévost, The Vandermark 
    Five, Various: Kompakt 100, Vetiver, Greg Wall, Bill Wells, Brian 
    Woodbury Variety Orchestra, Sandoz, Katsura Yamauchi, Zu & Spaceways Inc and 
    BOOKS: Derek Bailey And The Story Of Free Improvisation by Ben Watson; 
    Sonic Alchemy: Visionary Music Producers And Their Maverick Recordings 
    by David N Howard; The Collected Essays Of Milton Babbitt edited by 
    Stephen Perles ; Freedom Is, Freedom Ain’t by Scott Saul; Sonata For 
    Jukebox: Pop Music, Memory And The Imagined Life by Geoffrey O’Brien; Stand 
    And Deliver: Political Activism, Leadership And HipHop Culture by 
    Yvonne Bynoe
    LIVE: Throbbing Gristle, London, UK; Amplify, Cologne, Germany; 
    Triptych Festival, Glasgow, UK; Festival International De Musique Actuelle De 
    Victoriaville, Victoriaville, Canada; Lydia Lunch, Birmingham, UK
    CROSS PLATFORM: Mark Leckey: the British artist puts the sound of the 
    street into art galleries with his SoundSystem sculptures. Plus: 
    Reviews: Treble exhibition in New York, HipHop cover art book, The Black 
    Rider, Shadowtime opera, Sonic Youth DVD; The Inner Sleeve: David Toop on 
    Han Bennink’s Solo; Go To: Our monthly Net trawl
    ..................2. SPECIAL EVENTS
    The Wire is sponsoring a number of tours in the UK Contemporary Music 
    Network's 2004/5 programme, including this month, Feedback: Order From 
    Noise featuring Alvin Lucier, Otomo Yoshihide, Nicolas Collins, 
    Toshimaru Nakamura and others. 
    * CMN www.cmntours.org.uk

    2004, Jun 21; 21:51 :::: pornography

    Fanny Hill or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1749) - John Cleland [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    First published in London in 1749, the story of a country orphan's initiation into the urban world of prostitution offers a remarkably frank portrait of sexual awakening of a young girl and the society around her.--Ingram

    Fanny Hill, shrouded in controversy for most of its more than 250-year life, and banned from publication in the United States until 1966, was once considered immoral and without literary merit, even earning its author a jail sentence for obscenity.

    The tale of a naïve young prostitute in bawdy eighteenth-century London who slowly rises to respectability, the novel–and its popularity–endured many bannings and critics, and today Fanny Hill is considered an important piece of political parody and sexual philosophy on par with French libertine novels.

    This uncensored version is set from the 1749 edition and includes commentary by Charles Rembar, the lawyer who defended the novel in the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court case, and newly commissioned notes. --Book Description

    The wellspring of all erotic fiction. How can anyone give less then 5 stars to a classic of its stature...especially such a classic with so many naughty bits. Of course it was written by a man...geez guys look at the first author on the list. Ok ok so maybe the 5th time you hear Fanny rapsodize about "from his prodigious size I feared he would rip me asunder" it starts to get a bit old (or maybe not for some), but on the other hand, this is the erotica everyone grew up on before the days of xrated magazines. Just think...a naughty book your grandmother couldn't disaprove of...she probably read it too. --anonymous via amazon.com

    Question: What does John Cleland have in common with D. H. Lawrence, James Joyce and Aristophanes?

    Answer: The Comstock Law

    All four writers (and a host of others) have had their novels banned in USA for years under the Comstock Law of 1873. Officially known as the Federal Anti-Obscenity Act, this law banned the mailing of "lewd", "indecent", "filthy", or "obscene" materials. The Comstock laws, while now to some extent unenforced, remain for the most part on the statute books today. The Telecommunications Reform Bill of 1996 even specifically applies some of these outdated and outmoded laws to computer networks (without much success, it is noted).

    So what's my message here? Simple - if we continue to allow censors to dictate what we can and cannot read, we stand the chance of being robbed of some of the world's finest written works - and we're not talking exceptions here. Consider, for example Candide, Voltaire's critically hailed satire - Jean-Jacques Rousseau's autobiography Confessions - Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Boccaccio's Decameron - Defoe's Moll Flanders, and various editions of The Arabian Nights. All were banned at various times in the US. That noble book 'Ulysses' by James Joyce was recently selected by the Modern Library as the best novel of the 20th century yet, like Aristophanes' Lysistrata, Cleland's 'Fanny Hill' and Lawrence's 'Lady Chatterley', it was banned for decades from the U.S.

    Fanny Hill is no longer distinguished for the once-shocking treatment of the sexual activity of one 'loose' woman. Now that we're used to hearing and reading about sex, it's apparent that the novel is memorable for better reasons: namely, that Cleland was a masterful writer whose intelligent descriptions take us bodily into the world of his characters. The book's moderate language on an immoderate subject make it a unique, original work - a triumph of passion and eroticism over sterility.

    The next time you hear that something has been censored, question whether it is really to protect public morals (where the pornography of senseless war, and starvation appear to be more acceptable than freedom of sexuality), or whether it is to protect the censors' own frustrated identities! Fanny Hill is yet another powerful reminder that all the censors have ever succeeded in doing is to ban outstanding literature in the name of public morality. --From porn to classic in one easy step, Graham Hamer via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 20; 16:01 :::: nude

    Mademoiselle Strip-tease (1957) - Pierre Foucaud

    This is the first movie that Radley Metzger distributed in the U.S. and it is the start of Metzger's company Audubon pictures.

    2004, Jun 20; 11:31 :::: Marilyn Manson

    The Golden Age Of Grotesque (2003) - Marilyn Manson [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    The Golden Age of Grotesque was inspired by the seamy underside of Weimar Berlin, circa 1930. The album is constructed along the lines of Alice Cooper's 1975 gem, Welcome to My Nightmare, dipping in to the same cabaret of Cooper's "Some Folks." Unlike Cooper, however, this is no comic nightmare. "This isn't a show / This is my f*cking life / I'm not ashamed / You're entertained," Manson snarls in "Vodevil," making it abundantly clear that the singer was born in the wrong time and place and is more at home among the absinthe-drinking revelers in pre-Nazi Germany. The album possesses a dark, accessible beauty rather than the twisted industrial dissonance that pervades much of his earlier stuff. "mOBSCENE" is a thumping rocker that features a deranged cheerleading squad. "Ka-Boom Ka-Boom" is a rousing stomper that Manson penned in response to an exec's complaint that the new songs didn't rock. Its simple yet seditious chorus decries, "I like a big car, 'cause I'm a big star / I'll make a big rock & roll hit." Since 1998's Mechanical Animals, Manson's albums have become progressively more tuneful, and Grotesque continues the trend. --Jaan Uhelszki

    --Marilyn Manson - Guns, God And Goverment World Tour DVD (2002) - Marilyn Manson [Amazon.com]

    Manson has never been afraid of layering his lyrics with esoteric concepts, to help the listener navigate the territory being explored by Manson.

    Decadence [...]:

    As a philosophy - the idea that we are all inevitably and ultimately doomed, so the purpose of life becomes the pursuit of pleasure and experience regardless of the consequences. As culture - art or literature obsessed with erotic extremes and morbid moods, and concerned with beauty or impact rather than morality. As a person, someone prone to self-destructive self-indulgence, leaving the individual morally weak and phisically unhealthy - but creatively inspired.

    Grotesque [...]:

    Derived from macabre and sexual art found in ancient Greek and Roman excavations by early archeologists, who dubbed such obscene yet appealing imagery 'grotto-esque'. Grotesque later became a catch-all term for anything that was both compelling and repellent - anything so disturbing or ugly as to become fascinating.

    Vaudeville [...]:

    Though derived from a medieval French term, vaudeville came to describe the popular variety shows that had their heyday in the USA in the early 20th century, where entertainers would perform light-hearted skits and sketches to entertain working Americans. The term 'vaudevillian' means anyone who works in vaudeville, though can also describe anything that is colorfully over-theatrical with a slightly sleazy spin.

    Burlesque [...]:

    Vaudeville's more disreputable cousin, burlesque shows aimed at a more adult audience with programmes featuring smutty comedians and scantily-clad girls. While cinema spelt the end for vaudeville in the 30s, burlesque survived into the 50s by showing more skin, and burlesque theatres became the forerunners to the strip joint. The expression 'to burlesque something', means to mock it in a vulgar fashion.

    Dada [...]:

    A movement founded during World War One motivated by those who felt that art seemed empty and meaningless in the face of so much horror and death. Dadaism is art as nonsense, and nonsense as art. It was surreal, whimsical and nihilistic, and aimed to destroy the boundaries between artist and audience. Dadaism prefigured modern art and was an influence on punk.

    2004, Jun 18; 14:35 :::: aggression

    Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls (2003) - Rachel Simmons [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    There is little sugar but lots of spice in journalist Rachel Simmons's brave and brilliant book that skewers the stereotype of girls as the kinder, gentler gender. Odd Girl Out begins with the premise that girls are socialized to be sweet with a double bind: they must value friendships; but they must not express the anger that might destroy them. Lacking cultural permission to acknowledge conflict, girls develop what Simmons calls "a hidden culture of silent and indirect aggression."

    The author, who visited 30 schools and talked to 300 girls, catalogues chilling and heartbreaking acts of aggression, including the silent treatment, note-passing, glaring, gossiping, ganging up, fashion police, and being nice in private/mean in public. She decodes the vocabulary of these sneak attacks, explaining, for example, three ways to parse the meaning of "I'm fat."

    Simmons is a gifted writer who is skilled at describing destructive patterns and prescribing clear-cut strategies for parents, teachers, and girls to resist them. "The heart of resistance is truth telling," advises Simmons. She guides readers to nurture emotional honesty in girls and to discover a language for public discussions of bullying. She offers innovative ideas for changing the dynamics of the classroom, sample dialogues for talking to daughters, and exercises for girls and their friends to explore and resolve messy feelings and conflicts head-on.

    One intriguing chapter contrasts truth telling in white middle class, African-American, Latino, and working-class communities. Odd Girl Out is that rare book with the power to touch individual lives and transform the culture that constrains girls--and boys--from speaking the truth. --Barbara Mackoff, amazon.com

    2004, Jun 18; 13:40 :::: erotica

    Vintage Erotica Anno 1950 (2003) - Various [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK] VINTAGE EROTICA ANNO 1950 20 Years before the rise of 1970's hardcore films in the U.S., the commercial pornography produced by the French unleashed a new era of Erotic Cinema. Suddenly, unlike the common "stag" films of the time, scripts, multiple camera angles, and title credits were introduced into erotic productions. These extended 15-minute films were intended for private viewing in the back rooms of stores, in homes, and at local brothels. The themes of many of these films were bondage and burlesque; images similar to those produced by Irving Klaw in the U.S. The main difference being that in France the filmmakers would show on-camera sex, and nudity. These films stand out, not only for being ahead of their time, but because they transcend the standards of much of what is being produced today.

    2004, Jun 18; 13:38 :::: erotica

    Vintage Erotica Anno 1940 (2003) - Various [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Compared to the 1930's compilation, this DVD shows more strucure, in that individual film clips can be selected and there is a progression from mild to 'wild', and a wonderful photo gallery that shows women always are women, with no changes in equipment. In addition, the clips show clearly that current erotica shows no great leaps in technique and variety than what was done long ago by your grandparents, etc. The clips are a bit uneven, but probably the sourced materials are not in pristine condition. In America at that time, erotica ('smokers') were done by professional camera men, as they were the ones who had access to the necessary equipment, using their friends. The clips in this DVD are French, and the actors are ordinary people and many would consider most of them as a bit plump. But, they seem to be having a good time. As an addition to a bit of history, this DVD is good and a bit better than the 1930's DVD. This DVD is for those who wish to relive history and not for those who want crisp color and crystal clear shots. The musical sound track on this DVD could have used a bit more variety and pacing. The music recycles, and sometime the tempo changes during the film clip to another sound track which didn't have to happen. --anonymous via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 18; 13:20 :::: erotica

    Vintage Erotica Anno 1930 (2001) - Various [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Well, here it is. Amazon's first XXX video. It may be listed as simply "Erotica", but it includes full XXX pornography. I'm amazed that this is marketed at so many mainstream stores because if they watched it, they would probably pull it from the shelves. EVERYTHING is shown throughout this video. Full nudity, oral contact, explicit penetration, climax shots, and most anything else that you'd imagine. Mind you, I'm not complaining, just a bit surprised. This video is a collection of 23 short films from the 1920's and 1930's and the entire video is almost 2 hours long. The only audio is a soundtrack of music set to the short films. The first few films are tame and simply show nudity, but then things start getting explicit. Although the women aren't always the best looking (some are though) and the film quality leaves something to be desired (what do you expect from the 20's and 30's?), I found these videos to actually become quite a turn-on. If you like classic films of erotica from the early days of movies, then this video is definitely for you! Just so you know ahead of time, there are 2 scenes where there is some man to man homosexual activity. Otherwise all of the other scenes are straight or woman to woman. I enjoyed this video and if you are into this type of production, you probably will also. Happy viewing! PS - For your sake, I hope you don't spot your grandparents in any of these videos...HA! --anonymous for amazon.com

    2004, Jun 17; 09:06 :::: Coldcut

    Harmless Presents Life:Styles (2004) - Coldcut [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    1. I Want You Back - Bobby Shad and the Bad Men 2. Can I Get A Witness - Barbara Randolph 3. Do Your Thing - Chosen Few 4. La Drogue - Richard De Bordeaux & Daniel Beretta 5. Disposable Society - Esther Phillips 6. So Hungry So Angry - Medium Medium 7. Easy Winners - Cornershop 8. It's Yours - T La Rock & Jazzy Jay 9. There's A Break In The Road - Betty Harris 10. Soul Sister - The Gaylads 11. Hernandoz Hideaway - Archie Bleyer 12. Taxi Nocturno - Axel Krygler 13. Another Thought - Arthur Russell 14. The Long Wait - Morton Stevens 15. La Gigouille - La Formule Du Baron 16. Power - The Temptations 17. The Only Way is Up - Otis Clay

    2004, Jun 17; 09:06 :::: 4 Hero

    Harmless Presents Life:Styles (2003) - 4 Hero [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    1. Can You Feel It - The Voices Of East Harlem 2. With Pleasure - Pleasure Jammin 3. Capricorn Rising - Richard Evans 4. Baltimore Oriole - Lorez Alexandria 5. Sunshine - Nancy Wilson 6. It's Your Love - Ethel Beatty 7. Metropole - Cesar Mariano & CIA 8. Evil Vibrations - Mighty Ryeders 9. Kickin Back - Patrice Rushen 10. Butterfly - Kimiko Kasai With Herbie Hancock 11. Won't You Open Up Your Senses - Horace Silver 12. Music Is My Sanctuary - Gary Bartz 13. You Caught Me Smiling - Sly Stone 14. I Love Every Little Thing About You - Syreeta Wright 15. I Love You - Weldon Irvine 16. No Ifs, Ands Or Buts - Debbie Taylor 17. Remember To Remember - Rick Holmes 18. Les Fleur - Ramsey Lewis

    2004, Jun 17; 09:06 :::: Kenny Dope

    Life:Styles Kenny Dope (2003) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    01. Jackson 5 - I Am Love 02. Ellen McIlwaine - Jimmy Jean 03. BT Express - Energy To Burn 04. Jayme Marquess - Berimbao 05. Gentle Giant - Procolmation 06. Sathima Bea Benjamin - Africa 07. Doris - You Never Come Closer 08. Tyrone Washington - Submission 09. Phil Upchurch - Blackgold 10. Penny Goodwin - Too Soon You're Old 11. Bobby Vince Panuetto - Good Bucks 12. Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings - The Dap Dip 13. Stark Reality - All You Need To Make Music 14. Black Sabbath - Warpigs

    2004, Jun 17; 16:45 :::: art

    Matthies Grunewald, The Temptation of Saint Anthony (Detail from Panel from Isenheim Altarpiece), 1515

    Matthias Grünewald (c1470-1528) is one of the greatest figures in German Renaissance art. The visionary character of his work, with its expressive colour and line, is in stark contrast to Albrecht Dürer's.

    His real name was Mathis Gothart Niethart. A seventeenth-century writer mistakenly identified him by the name Grünewald, his real name was not discovered till the 1920s. He was born in Würzburg in the 1470s. He served as court painter and engineer to two successive archbishops of Mainz from about 1510 to 1525. He left this post apparently because of Lutheran sympathies. Grünewald died in Halle in 1528.

    The greatest of his works is the Isenheim Altarpiece, completed 1515, now in the Musée d'Unterlinden, Colmar. It contains his most famous images: the Crucifixion, the Temptation of St Anthony, and the Resurrection.

    See also: Early Renaissance painting --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthias_Gr%FCnewald [Jun 2004]

    Mathias Grünewald belongs to the family of Bosch, Brueghel and Schongauer. His paintings are born of the mystery of the supernatural, and exhibit teeming life and hideous, demonic creations, as we see in these details from The Temptation of Saint Anthony. One of the nine panels Grünewald executed for the altar piece of Issenheim, this painting reprises a favorite subject of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the hermit saint assailed by the entire arsenal of infernal monsters representing every weakness, every ugly human failing. It is a subject rich in implications for the fantastic, staging the drama of the double, the riddle of the hallucinatory or altered state of mind, and, not least, the problems of evil and of guilt. The theme would be revived in the nineteenth century, the golden age of the Fantastic, most notably by Flaubert. It would then tempt, in its turn, numerous book illustrators. --http://www.skidmore.edu/academics/fll/janzalon/grunewald.html [Jun 2004]

    2004, Jun 16; 12:16 :::: freak

    Freaks: We Who Are Not As Others - Daniel P. Mannix [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    "The true freak, however, stirs both supernatural terror and natural sympathy, since unlike the fabulous monsters, he is one of us, the human child of human parents, however altered by forces we do not quite understand into something mythic and mysterious, as no mere cripple ever is. Passing either on the street, we may be simultaneously tempted to avert our eyes and to stare; but in the latter case we feel no threat to those desperately maintained boundaries on which any definition of sanity ultimately depends. On the true Freak challenges the conventional boundaries between male and female, sexed and sexless, animal and human, large and small, self and other, and consequently between reality and illusion, experience and fantasy, fact and myth." Leslie Fiedler, Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), p.24.

    2004, Jun 16; 00:08 :::: prefix
    Prefix Meaning Examples
    a,an lacking, not, without atypical, anonymous, anarchy, apathy
    ana up, back, again anachronism, anagram, analogy
    anti against, opposing antithesis, antisocial, antiseptic
    arch, archi chief, first architect, archetype, archbishop
    auto self automatic, auto-intoxication
    dia across, apart, through, between diagnose, dialogue, diameter
    en, em in, among, within enliven, empathy
    epi on, outside, over, outer epidermis, epitaph, epilogue
    eu good, well euphony, euphemism, eulogy
    hetero other heterogeneous, heterodox
    homo same homogeneous, homonym, homograph
    hyper excessive, over hyperactive, hyperbole, hypercritical
    hyp, hypo under, beneath hypodermic, hypotenuse, hypocrite
    in, il, im, ir in(to), within, not, opposing inspire, imprint, irradiate, infamy, inefficient, illegal
    macr, macro long, large, prominent macrocosm, macrobiotic
    meta, met change of, over, beyond metaphor, metabolism, metaphysics
    micro small microfilm, microscope, microbe
    neo new, latest of a period neon, neologism, neophyte, neocene, Neo-Hebraic
    orth straight, right orthodonture, orthopedics, orthodox
    para, par beside, beyond, variation paradox, paraphrase, parenthesis
    pro before, forward program, produce, provision, progress
    proto first proton, protozoa, prototype
    syn, sym, syl, sys together synthesize, symphony, synchronize
    tele far, distant telegraph, telepathy, telescope
    thermo heat thermometer, thermonuclear
    topo place topography
    zoo living zoology

    2004, Jun 15; 22:29 :::: happiness
    'All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' --Anna Karenina (1877-1888)

    2004, Jun 14; 18:48 :::: Eskimo records

    PARADISCO 3000 presents CHICAGO BOOGIE (3000) - Various(CD)

    01. Virgo - Ride 02. Master C & J featuring Liz Torres - Face It 03. Electra - Feels Good 04. Club Ice - Manhassett 05. Jeanette Thomas - Shake Your Body 06. Master C & J featuring Liz Torres - Can't Get Enough 07. Mr Fingers - I'm Strong 08. Adonis - We're Rocking Down The House 09. Six Brown Bros - Battery Acid 10. Steve Poindexter - Happy Stick 11. Kasso - One More Pound (Frankie Knuckles remix) 12. Nightlife Unlimited - Peaches & Prunes 13. Liquid Liquid - Optimo 14. Frankie Knuckles - Waiting On My Angel 15. Fred Brown - Roman Days 16. Steve Poindexter - Computer Madness 17. Disco D - Beat It 18. Virgo - Free Yourself

    Following Ivan Smagghe’s superb ‘Death Disco’ mix extravaganza, those purveyors of quality dance music at Eskimo give us a taste of the windy city via Amsterdam’s Paradiso club. Chicago Boogie is exactly that, a sweaty romp through some of the most seminal cuts in house and acid house music’s formative years and a healthy nod to the party spirit that helped put Chicago and House music on the map. Compiled by Amsterdam based Antal and All Out K (both founders of Holland’s highly regarded Rush Hour distribution) this CD also provides an insight into their six year running ‘Paradisco 3000’ monthly residency at the Paradiso club. From the bonafide classics of Virgo’s ‘Ride’, Mr. Fingers ‘I’m Strong’ and Adonis ‘We’re Rocking Down The House’ to the acid house underground anthems ‘Computer Madness’ by Steve Poindexter and Six Brown Bros ‘Battery Acid’, Chicago Boogie is a carefully crafted mix of what dance music is all about.

    Culture Club vol.2 (2004) - Glimmer Twins and TLP

    Once again Ghent based Culture Club comes up trumps with their second outing… re-utilizing the perfect combination as for the first volume: 1 shiny disc compiled & mixed by the Glimmer Twins, who now are on full throttle, blending the old & the new, the light & the dark into a mindblowing mix of epic proportions… Which makes them one of the hottest dj duo’s around!!!!! Same as in the club, TLP gets the second slot, but as always he delivers the goods big time, with his own approach he melts the latest r&b anthems with old school funk/disco<:A> tunes over house / soca beats while never forgetting his fascination for ragga & rootsmuzik… Welcome to the ultimate party CD, definitely will be in an endless loop on many car/bar stereos over the summer…--http://www.news.be [Jun 2004]

    Culture Club 2 (2004) - Glimmer Twins

    CD1 – compiled by The Glimmers
    1.Coloursound – Fly With Me 2.Body Talk – Controversy 3.Yello – I Love You 4.Basement Jaxx – Yosaxdub 5.Polyester – Culture Club 6.David Guetta & Barbara Tucker – It's Allright (Preaching Paris) 7.Bobby O – I'm Still Hot For You 8.Mu – Let's Get Sick 9.Headman – It Rough (Chicken Lips Trax Dub) 10.Pleasure Zone – Fantasy 11.Traffic Signs – The Big Fake 12.Wee Pappa Girl Rappers – Heat It Up 13.Fast Eddie – Yo Yo Get Funky 14.Sly & The Family Stone – Dance to the music 15.Dirty Minds – I'm For Pleasure 16.Seduction – Groove Me 17.Mylo – Drop The Pressure 18.Primal Scream Feat. Kate Moss – Some Velvet Morning 19.Front 242 – No Shuffle 20.Neon Judgement – TV Treated (Tiga's Treated Vox) 21.The Stone Roses Vs. Grooverider – Fools Gold (Grooverider's mix) 23.Simple Minds – I Travel 24.T.C. Matic – Putain Putain

    CD2 – compiled by TLP
    1.Dawn Penn – You Don't Love Me (No No No) 2.Ackie – Call Me Rambo 3.Nel Blanco – Jumpin 4.Timbaland & Magoo Feat. Sebastian & Raje Shwari – Indian Flute 5.M.O.P. – Cold As Ice (Album Version) 6.R. Kelly (ft. Busta Rhymes & Baby) – Thoia Thong (R. Kelly Remix) 7.Lil Kim (Ft. Sisqo) – How Many Licks? 8.Lucy Pearl – Don't Mess With My Man 9.Diana Ross – Upside Down 10.The Roots – The Seed (2.0) Ft. Cody Chestnutt 11.Crooklyn Clan – 2 Minute Bangaz 12.Joe Budden – Pump it Up 13.Dj Kurupt - On Fire 14.LLorna – Papi Chulo 15.Kevin Lyttle – Turn Me On 16.Missy Elliot Ft. Busta Rhymes – Pass That Dutch 17.Lynn Collins – Think 18.Rob Base & D.J. E.Z. Rock – It Takes Two 19.Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F 20.Salt N. Peppa – Push It 21.Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam 22.Robin S. – Show Me Love 23.DJ Chuckie – Da Party Crasher Part 1 (Extended Version) 24.MAW feat. Puppah Nas-T & Denise – Work (Work The Walk Mix) 25.Angie Stone – Wish I Didn’t Miss You 26.N.E.R.D. – Provider

    2004, Jun 14; 08:31 :::: grotesque

    The Stones of Venice (1851-1853) - John Ruskin [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    John Ruskin, Victorian England's greatest writer on art and literature, believed himself to be an adopted son of Venice, and his feelings for this beautiful, melancholy city are nowhere better expressed than in The Stones of Venice, a collection of essays first published between 1851 and 1853. This abridged edition, which contains Ruskin's famous essay "The Nature of Gothic," captures the essence of his masterpiece, offering readers a marvelously descriptive and discursive tour of the glorious city of Venice before it was transformed by postwar restoration. As Ruskin wrote on his second visit to Venice in 1841, "Thank God I am here, it is a Paradise of Cities." --via amazon.com

    John Ruskin and the Grotesque

    2004, Jun 13; 18:00 :::: jazz funk

    Sun Goddess (1974) - Ramsey Lewis [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Many of the incursions of accomplished jazz musicians into so-called "crossover" music like jazz-funk resulted in mediocre recordings. Some producers attempted to provide funk environments for sophisticated musicians without thinking through the implications. The musicians themselves were no less responsible for rising to the bait. Even artists of the stature of Sonny Rollins experimented with funk concepts: The Cutting Edge (1974) and Nucleus (1975), both produced by Orrin Keepnews for Milestone, were simply grotesque. Both albums are disorderly and self-indulgent attempts at some kind of highbrow free-funk, effectively resulting in a noisy nobrow anarchy. Herbie Hancock was to make even worse pseudo-jazz-pop for CBS in 1979 and 1980.

    Ironically, Ramsey Lewis, most of whose early piano trio contributions to jazz had been unremarkable, found in jazz-funk a medium through which he was able to create a work of singular genius, albeit with the aid of the well-seasoned White brothers, Maurice and Verdine, of Earth, Wind and Fire. Sun Goddess stands not only as a prime candidate for the best jazz-funk album ever, but as an example of the realms jazz musicians could have explored in the 70s had they taken the possibilities of jazz-funk more seriously.

    The jazz-funk albums that fell flat did so on account of either their intentional seriousness or their desire to be some sort of pop music for thinking people. Good jazz-funk albums were successful because they were built on irony and absurdity. Herbie Hancock had not only understood this, but had created the landmark recording that defined jazz-funk sensations with Head Hunters in 1973.

    Ramsey Lewis took it to another realm. To single out a track for discussion would threaten to fragment the continuous experience of the album. But perhaps unavoidably one must mention the extreme oddity of "Tambura", which stands alone as an almost ridiculous exercise in grandiloquence, and yet emerges as an engrossing, perfectly constructed electric sound event. There is something in the funk that resides in nothing else, and this album captures it. --cootiesjazz.com [Jun 2004]

    2004, Jun 12; 15:45 :::: Nietzsche

    The Gay Science: With a Prelude in Rhymes and an Appendix of Songs (1880s) - Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Nietzsche called The Gay Science "the most personal of all my books." It was here that he first proclaimed the death of God -- to which a large part of the book is devoted -- and his doctrine of the eternal recurrence. Walter Kaufmann's commentary, with its many quotations from previously untranslated letters, brings to life Nietzsche as a human being and illuminates his philosophy. The book contains some of Nietzsche's most sustained discussions of art and morality, knowledge and truth, the intellectual conscience and the origin of logic.

    Most of the book was written just before Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the last part five years later, after Beyond Good and Evil. We encounter Zarathustra in these pages as well as many of Nietzsche's most interesting philosophical ideas and the largest collection of his own poetry that he himself ever published.

    Walter Kaufmann's English versions of Nietzsche represent one of the major translation enterprises of our time. He is the first philosopher to have translated Nietzsche's major works, and never before has a single translator given us so much of Nietzsche. Book Description via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 12; 14:55 :::: fashion

    Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli (2003) - Dilys E. Blum [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    If you're a fashionista who's not a babe, you look for clothes that create attention all by themselves. That was the secret of Elsa Schiaparelli, the Italian designer who gave women unusual textures, eccentric patterns and surprising shapes influenced by the Surrealist artists in her circle. In Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli--a winking reference to her most famous perfume as well as to her designing audacity--Dilys E. Blum celebrates the couturiere whose achievements have long been eclipsed by her rival, Coco Chanel. A frustrated sculptor, Schiaparelli invested many of her garments of the 1930s and '40s with an architectural quality, from aerodynamic, back-swept bustles and overskirts dramatically curved back over themselves to stiff, fan-shaped peplums. She created a hat in the shape of an upside-down shoe, made comfy leopard-skin booties, and incorporated such novelties as monkey fur and Rhodophane, a transparent man-made fabric. Her clothes were worn by Mae West and heiress Millicent Rogers, by Helena Rubenstein and French film star Arletty. At her most eccentric, inspired by the artist Man Ray, Schiaparelli produced suede gloves with red snakeskin fingernails. At her most practical, she designed a daring (in 1931) silk tennis costume with a divided skirt. More than 300 stunning photographs, both vintage and contemporary, and a detailed yet lively text made this book a must for anyone interested in the history of fashion. A coordinated exhibition of the same title is at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, through Jan. 4, 2004, before traveling to Paris. --Cathy Curtis, amazon.com

    Surrealist fashion designer Schiaparelli (1890-1973) gifted 71 of her own designs to an installation that Marcel Duchamp put together in 1942. In this exhaustive overview of Schiaparelli's design career, Blum presents that Duchamp collection (which now resides at the Philadelphia Museum of Art), along with 88 models and 5,800 original sketches donated by the designer to the Musee de la Mode et du Textile in Paris. Representing pre- and post-war designs, the book mixes new color photos of garments with documentary and fashion photos from Schiaparelli's lifetime. Blum, the Philadelphia Museum's curator of costume and textiles, organizes her work chronologically and thematically. She opens with the Roman-born Schiaparelli's first big success, a 1927 bowknot sweater that became one of her most copied designs, and ends with Schiaparelli's designs from the '50s, which includes a pair of sunglasses with the lenses trimmed with long blue eyelashes. This beautifully designed, large-format book with 306 illustrations would make a wonderful gift for anyone interested in the glamour of early 20th-century fashion. --From Publishers Weekly

    2004, Jun 11; 13:02 :::: science

    New Science: Principles of the New Science Concerning the Common Nature of Nations - Giambattista Vico [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Giambattista Vico, the Italian philosopher, lived from 1668 to 1744. His "New Science" is gradually being re-established as one of the most significant "humanist" achievements since the Renaissance and the greatest work of Italian philosophy. This book represents an attempt to provide a comprehensive science of human society by decoding the history, mythology and law of the ancient world.

    "My imagination grows every time I read Vico as it doesn't when I read Freud or Jung."-- James Joyce

    That Vico is largely unknown, even by the so-called experts teaching in our universitiues, while mediocrities and worse of the past half century are lauded and taught widely is yet another indication that our educational standards are dumbed down considerably. Vico is difficult to read, and we are increasingly an intellectually lazy people who prefer simplistic platitudes that sooth our postmodernist prejudices.

    I give this Penguin edition only a 4 not because New Science is not itself a 5 or because the translation itself is weak, but because Vico requires copious notes. Most who read this work will do so on their own, and they need considerable help unless they are already as well read in the Classics and works of the Medieval and Renaissance eras as was Vico himself. Perhaps soon we will see an edition that meets that need, which also might encourage a few more to teach Vico, before we fall into the re-barbarism. --review via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 11; 12:15 :::: sociology

    The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge - Peter L. Berger, Thomas Luckmann [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge is one of the most significant books of social science ever written - ranking with and beyond Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Emile Durkheim's Suicide, and more recently Walter Truett Anderson's more popularized take off of it entitled Reality Isn't What It Use To Be (1990). It has spawned a whole new cross-disciplinary school of social science - social constructionism. Originally written in 1967, the book was way ahead of its time with what now is called "postmodernism;" although neither of the author's views necessarily fit this term. In the arts and humanities, it resonates with the philosophy of 17th century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico's [Giambattista Vico (AD 1668-1744) -- recognized that language shaped genius and not the reverse, well known for the New Science and On the Study Methods of Our Time. --wikipedia.org] book New Science ("the true and the made are convertible"), with the plays of Italian Luigi Pirandello (Right You Are If You Say You Are and Six Stories in Search of an Author), and with novelists Fyodor Dostoevsky (The Divine Inquisitor) and Robert Musil (A Man Without Qualities).

    The sociology of knowledge a la Berger and Luckmann is not about the history of ideas, the economic origin of ideologies, the social process of education, the study of intellectuals, religious Gnostics, or secret societies, or social theories per se. Rather, the intriguing concern of the authors is what they call everyday knowledge or common sense knowledge that is constructed at different levels of society all the way from language, to family history and memories, to children's folk tales, proverbs, and legends, to workplace and professional ideologies, to formal theories and paradigms, and finally to what they call symbolic universes or over-arching world views. Again, this is reminiscent of Vico who wrote: "common sense is judgment without reflection, shared by an entire class, an entire nation, or the entire human race." To Berger and Luckmann reality (that which we can't wish away) is unknowable except through the prism of experience as interpreted through social enclaves or what they call plausibility structures.

    Berger and Luckmann base their work on a set of fundamental propositions: (1) Man's consciousness is determined by his social being or by his "seat in life." (2) Knowledge must always be from a certain position or social location. (3) "What is truth on one side of the Pyrenees (mountains) is error on the other" (Blaise Pascal). (4) Consider social facts or institutions as things (Emile Durkheim). And (5) the sociology of knowledge must concern itself with everything that passes for knowledge in society.

    Berger and Luckmann proceed from these propositions to discuss society as objective reality and society as subjective reality. They discuss three self-validating "moments" that construct our knowledge of reality: (1) externalization or projection (society as a human product); (2) objectivation or reification (society as objective reality); and (3) internalization and role alternation (man is a social product). The authors maintain that social institutions are perpetually precarious because they are humanly constructed, not biologically given. Human culture, produced by institutions, replaces instincts so well that culture is taken for granted as the same as our physical nature. As Berger and Luckmann put it: "man's relationship to his environment is characterized by world-openness." The authors don't mean that man is plastic, but that he is moldable within unspecific biological constraints.

    Berger and Luckmann synthesize the views of a wide range of philosophers and social thinkers into an original product, in true constructionist fashion. But their systematic "theory" is not totalistic or totalitarian as is the theoretical systems of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, revolutionary thinker Karl Marx, the theory of evolution of Charles Darwin, or any other "know it all" system. Their approach reminds one of the classic parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Each blind man finds that they are touching or experiencing different parts of the body of the elephant and thus are led to think that the elephant is thin like a tail, or flexible like the trunk, or round and solid like its leg, or immovable like its torso. Only with Berger and Luckmann's approach the blind men may find that the elephant is hollow or man-made as in the fictional character of the wizard in the children's story of the Wizard of Oz. To Berger and Luckmann the world is a Hollywood stage front, a Russian Potemkin Village, but not a delusion. The authors explain that the next generation forgets, or is led to believe, that the social world is given when it was produced or manufactured. But it isn't manufactured mechanistically but is dialectically or interactively produced. The social order can be maintained by various techniques including intimidation, propaganda, mystification, or the manipulation of symbols (symbolic action). However, man is not a passive, but a reactionary creature that will not merely swallow social reality whole but will also often try and alter it. As the authors state man produces society, society becomes an objective, coercive, and reified (as in deified) reality, and, in turn, man becomes a social product of his own creation. Man experiences alienation when he forgets he created society or when he is powerless to control what he created. Man experiences what is called anomie when social worldviews no longer reflect reality.

    Berger and Luckmann's book is highly readable but the terminology may be foreign at first and thus intimidating for some. If one wants to read a popularized version, Walter Truett Anderson's Reality Isn't What It Used to Be may leave one thirsting to read Berger and Luckmann's seminal book as well. Other books to explore might be Jodi O'Brien and Peter Kollock, The Production of Reality; William G. Roy, Making Societies; Walter Truett Anderson's sequel The Truth About the Truth; and Peter Berger's book on the social construction of sacred religious knowledge entitled The Sacred Canopy. And for a "light" introduction one might read Peter Berger's other classic entitled An Invitation to Sociology. But if you like reading a book that has depth of thought and classic understandings, don't miss reading Berger and Luckmann's The Social Construction of Reality first hand. --Wayne C. Lusvardi via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 11; 11:12 :::: Raymond Williams

    The Sociology of Culture (1982) - Raymond Williams, Bruce Robbins [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Raymond Williams helped to establish the field of cultural sociology with Marxism and Literature and Culture and Society. Continuing the work of those studies, The Sociology of Culture offers debate on the origin and evolution of culture. It defines sociology of culture as a convergence of various fields and explores ways in which culture is socially mediated. --Book Description via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 10; 00:40 :::: King Tubby

    Blackboard Jungle Dub/Scratch Attack (Jp [IMPORT] - Lee Scratch Perry [Amazon US]

    It was around 1974 when Lee Perry issued his 'Blackboard Jungle' dub album on Upsetter. It is probably King Tubby's first dub album, although it was only a very limited pressing, and was quickly changing hands for £20.00 or more. The music included is all from the early 70's. and included dubs of the Wailers 'Kaya'. 'Keep On Moving' and 'Dreamland', Junior Byles 'Place Called Africa' and 'Fever', plus two cuts of the title track also known as 'Bucky Skank'.--By Dave Hendley & Ray Hurford [With thanks to Colin Moore], (C) Small Axe 1979 http://www.rayx.freeserve.co.uk/King%20Tubby.htm [Jun 2004]

    1. Scratch The Dub Organizer 2. Who You Gonna Run To 3. Tighten Up 4. Serious Joke 5. Little Flute Chant 6. When Jah Come 7. Stratch Walking 8. Come Along 9. Bush Weed Corn Trash 10. Curley Dub 11. Blackboard Jungle Dub (Ver. 1) 12. Rubba, Rubba Words 13. Cloak A Dagger (Ver. 3) 14. Dub From Africa 15. Dreamland Dub 16. Pop Goes The Dread Dub 17. Fever Grass Dub 18. Sin Semilla Kaya Dub 19. Moving Forward 20. Blackboard Jungle Dub (Ver. 2) 21. Kasha Macka Dub 22. Setta Iration Dub

    2004, Jun 09; 22:17 :::: Curtis Jones

    Whatever [EXPLICIT LYRICS] - Green Velvet [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    This is the latest chapter in what could be titled 'The Many Faces Of Mr. Jones'.

    Chicago's self-confessed "regular, straight-up house head," Curtis Jones, records house music under his Cajmere guise, and lets out his wild side when he becomes Green Velvet. The hair turns green, and the luminous wraparound shades go on. Green Velvet does techno with a punk attitude, performed with all the warped sense of theatre of one who didn't quite make it through drama school. However, he of the bright green mohican has a degree in chemical engineering. There's certainly a lot more going on here than meets the eye.

    This is smart, thought-provoking material for the twisted. The sound is raw and hard-edged, and Velvet makes no compromises. Tracks like 'Stop Lying' and 'G.A.T. (Great American Tragedy)', are brutal pieces of electronica with plenty of shouting and swearing. If a band like Rage Against The Machine played techno, they might hope that the result would sound this good. There's anger behind the energy, and a ...you I won't do what you tell me' attitude. Although Velvet may be fuelled by angst, his music is enquiring, as well. Curtis shouts on 'G.A.T.', "prove that I'm free by not f***ing with me," and it sounds like a perfectly reasonable request.

    It's not all quite so harsh. ' Genedefekt' bumps away on a wave of abstract electronica over a tough bassline, and 'Sleepwalking' almost has a pop edge to it. The first single from the album, 'La La Land', is a slice of pure techno-funk with a booty shakin' bassline. Probably the most dancefloor friendly track on the LP, it's an observation of chemical recreation in clubland. Get on the dancefloor, listen, then wonder what he's really going on about. It can be a bit dark at times.

    With the possible exception of the infectious 'La La Land', this album isn't exactly easy listening, even for techno fans. Curtis gives a voice to all those odd little thoughts that come creeping in unexpectedly, stirring things up at quiet times. It's usually at just those times, that so much madness makes such perfect sense. --Karl via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 09; 22:17 :::: culture and technology

    Culture and Technology (2003) Andrew Murphie (Author), John Potts (Author) [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    "...Culture and Technology appeals to both undergraduate and postgraduate students....a sophisticated text..."--Darren Tofts, The Electronic Book Review --This text refers to the Hardcover edition, Review

    About the Author
    Andrew Murphie is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

    John Potts is Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications at Macquarie University. We are 'going virtual' in more and more areas of our lives - from shopping to education, filing systems to love affairs. How can we assess the relationship between technology and culture when culture is so imbued with technology? This clear, concise and readable text aims to offer the student a one-stop guide through this complex and slippery terrain. Introducing a wealth of theoretical perspectives in a lucid and engaging style and covering a range of topical, challenging and intriguing examples - from cyborgs to digital art - it will be an essential text for everyone wanting to make sense of crucial forces of change on contemporary culture. --Book Description via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 09; 22:17 :::: micro house

    Rhythmogenesis - M.R.I. [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    On Microhouse

    The idea of house being micro is rather unappealing to me, like it's been co-opted by molecular scientists, or maybe its being shrunk back down to size by people intimidated by the generous, hedonistic, larger-than-life extraversion of its provenance.

    I like my house macro: a big heart, a big kick drum, a big celebration.

    I suspect that the desire to shrink house music, make it manageable, make it tiny and controllable, may have an oedipal aetiology. That is, house is the teacher, the ancestor, the father of techno; and it dominates the landscape, towering above electronic dance music. This general perception of house as a father, the poundingly male rhythms underneath the ecstatic female vocals, and, perhaps, above all, the sexual confidence of all classic house unconsciously reminds us of our own fathers, with whom of course we could never compete, underendowed as we were in every way. What better revenge on the father than to shrink him (and perhaps his member) down to minute proportions? If we make the kick drum smaller, the hat tiny, each sound microscopic, we may then study the father with all the anal sadism of a scientist, between the speakers, away from the dance floor, away from women, away from mother above all: there are no ecstatic female vocals in microhouse. Learn his ways, perhaps; win back our mothers.

    And yet, as is the way with unconscious phantasy, the spectre of the enemy remains embedded in the solution: and in microhouse, the enemy is the bassline. It looms large behind the neurotic, finicky, asexual loathings of the rhythm, the shadow of the father, looming at the door, to catch the child engaged in sexual misbehaviour. No wonder, then, that microhouse sounds so paranoid and neurotic. --http://espressowerk.blogspot.com/2004_06_01_espressowerk_archive.html#108676085061594327

    2004, Jun 09; 21:58 :::: sociology

    Penguin Dictionary of Sociology, The (4th Edition) - Nicholas Abercrombie (Author) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    About the Author
    Nicholas Abercrombie is a senior lecturer at the University of Lancaster, England.

    Stephen Hill is professor of sociology at the London School of Economics.

    Bryan S. Turner is professor of sociology at the University of Cambridge, England. This fourth edition of the well established The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology has been substantially revised to reflect the newest trends and challenges within a rapidly evolving discipline. Designed not just to give simple definitions, but to provide a general analysis of sociology and prescriptive information, it includes crucial and timely issues such as ageism, sexism, employment, globalization, risk society, the mass media, migration, and nationalism, as well as detailed coverage of:

    --Book Description via amazon.com

    2004, Jun 08; 18:14 :::: paganism

    The Enlightenment: The Rise of Modern Paganism (1995) - Peter Gay [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Nowadays, the Enlightenment is often judged harshly for its simplistic optimism. Peter Gay revisits the sources to show that the Enlightenment's increasing scientific method and belief in reason marked the beginning of the modern age.

    2004, Jun 07; 20:04 :::: sound

    Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Voice, Sound, and Aurality in the Arts (1999) - Douglas Kahn (Author) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    "Sound saturates the arts of this century," writes Kahn, a professor of media arts at the University of Technology in Australia, in an illuminating but densely theoretical study of sound in 20th-century literature and art. Kahn begins by considering the early experiments at the Cabaret Voltaire of dadaist poets Richard Huelsenbaeck, Marcel Janco and Tristan Tzara, whose poetic and "musical" performances were intended to achieve a Rimbaudian "alchemy of the word." He then analyzes how noise in the form of screams and bomb blasts function in such prose texts as Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front. But the artistic hero of the book is John Cage, whose monumental works with water provide the theme for the central portion of the book. Kahn devotes considerable energy to arguing that Cage's Water Music of 1952 was at least as revolutionary as his silent pieces. "Pollock's dripped and poured paintings and Cage's water sounds," he writes, "heralded a larger concurrence of fluidity, water, sound and performance" in the arts for years to come. This leads to a discussion of postmodern American composers, including LeMonte Young and Tony Conrad, who chose extreme amplifications of noise to bring the auditors back to "silence" once their ears stopped ringing. As for the "meat" part of the title, it comes from another source of theoretical inspiration to Kahn, William Burroughs's idea of "schlupping," defined as the sound of "soft innards being sucked out of a body," which is how the reader may feel attempting to get through this incisive but difficult book. -- Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

    This interdisciplinary history and theory of sound in the arts reads the twentieth century by listening to it--to the emphatic and exceptional sounds of modernism and those on the cusp of postmodernism, recorded sound, noise, silence, the fluid sounds of immersion and dripping, and the meat voices of viruses, screams, and bestial cries. Focusing on Europe in the first half of the century and the United States in the postwar years, Douglas Kahn explores aural activities in literature, music, visual arts, theater, and film. Placing aurality at the center of the history of the arts, he revisits key artistic questions, listening to the sounds that drown out the politics and poetics that generated them. Artists discussed include Antonin Artaud, George Brecht, William Burroughs, John Cage, Sergei Eisenstein, Fluxus, Allan Kaprow, Michael McClure, Yoko Ono, Jackson Pollock, Luigi Russolo, and Dziga Vertov. --Book Description, amazon.com

    Douglas Kahn is Director of Technocultural Studies at University of California at Davis. With research concentrations in auditory culture, the history and theory of sound in the arts, and new media arts, he is the author of Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts (MIT Press, 1999), coeditor of Wireless Imagination: Sound, Radio and the Avant-garde (MIT Press, 1992), and editor of an ongoing book series, "Auditory Culture", from MIT Press. His catalogue essays, journal essays, book chapters and magazine articles on contemporary media artists, sound artists and musicians have appeared internationally, and have included writings on Christian Marclay, Paul DeMarinis, James Tenney, Joyce Hinterding, Nigel Helyer, and Rosemary Laing. He edited a special issue of Leonardo Music Journal on Australian new music and sound art, and organized "Audio Ideas", a symposium and performance series on post-techno electronic music, at Artspace Sydney. He produced radio art and "new documentary" for ABC-Radio (Australia), was a frequent commentator on national radio in Australia, and collaborated with Frances Dyson in writing and media production through the company Liminal Product. He has a Ph. D. in art history, an M.F.A. in "post-studio arts" (Cal Arts), and an M.A. in experimental music composition from Wesleyan University, where he studied with Alvin Lucier and Ron Kuivila. --Center for Audio Recording Arts, School of Music, Georgia State University

    2004, Jun 07; 19:23 :::: music technology history

    The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (2003) - Jonathan Sterne [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    "Jonathan Sterne’s The Audible Past boldly stakes out a largely neglected but important topic, the history of sound in modern life."—John Durham Peters, author of Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication

    "Jonathan Sterne confronts what is certainly the most challenging topic in the study of auditory culture—what happened when modern technologies came crashing into ways of sound making, communicating and listening—with outstanding results. Through disciplined arguments bolstered by plenty of original research, and with refreshing critiques of many cherished notions, The Audible Past forms a basis from which to address central questions of communication studies, musicology and music history, film sound and media studies, perception and culture, all those areas where listening and sound impinge upon cultural history and theory."—Douglas Kahn, author of Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts --From the Publisher

    "Jonathan Sterne’s The Audible Past has come along to set the record straight on the cultural origins of sounds and systems, machines and the mechanisms of culture. He’s come here to give us the lowdown on how the technology evolved. Think of the book as a kind of sonic map of the origins of the way we listen to things around us, as a primer for the sonically perplexed."—Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid About the Author

    Jonathan Sterne teaches in the Department of Communication and the Program for Cultural Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. He writes about media, technology, and the politics of culture, and is codirector of the online magazine Bad Subjects: Political Education for Everyday Life.

    The Audible Past explores the cultural origins of sound reproduction. It describes a distinctive sound culture that gave birth to the sound recording and transmission devices so ubiquitous in modern life. With an ear for the unexpected, scholar and musician Jonathan Sterne uses the technological and cultural precursors of telephony, phonography, and radio as an entry point into a history of sound in its own right. Sterne studies the constantly shifting boundary between phenomena organized as "sound" and "not sound." In The Audible Past, this history crisscrosses the liminal regions between bodies and machines, originals and copies, nature and culture, and life and death.

    Blending cultural studies and the history of communication technology, Sterne follows modern sound technologies back through a historical labyrinth. Along the way, he encounters capitalists and inventors, musicians and philosophers, embalmers and grave-robbers, doctors and patients, Deaf children and their teachers, professionals and hobbyists, folklorists and tribal singers. The Audible Past tracks the connections between the history of sound and the defining features of modernity: from developments in medicine, physics, and philosophy to the tumultuous shifts of industrial capitalism, colonialism, urbanization, modern technology, and the rise of a new middle class.

    A provocative history of sound, The Audible Past challenges theoretical commonplaces such as the philosophical privilege of the speaking subject, the visual bias in theories of modernity, and static descriptions of nature. It will interest those in cultural studies, media and communication studies, the new musicology, and the history of technology. --Book Description, amazon.com

    2004, Jun 07; 19:12 :::: Guy Debord

    La société du spectacle/Society of the Spectacle (1967) - Guy Debord [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Few works of political and cultural theory have been as enduringly provocative as Guy Debord's The Society of the Spectacle. From its publication amid the social upheavals of the 1960s up to the present, the volatile theses of this book have decisively transformed debates on the shape of modernity, capitalism and everyday life in the late twentieth cenlury. Now finally available in a superb English translation approved by the author, Debord's text remains as crucial as ever for understanding the contemporary effects of power, which are increasingly inseparable from the new virtual worlds of our rapidly changing image/information culture. --amazon.com editorial review

    But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, the appearance to the essence... illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness. -- Feuerbach, Preface to the second edition of The Essence of Christianity via Chapter 1 "Separation Perfected", La société du spectacle/Society of the Spectacle (1967) - Guy Debord [Amazon.com]

    2004, Jun 07; 17:36 :::: music

    Rare Grooves Reggae By Nova vol.2 (2004) - Various Artists [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    1. Intro (Sur La Route De Mandeville) (Jamaica) 2. Rockers 3. Unchained (Extended Version) 4. I Worry 5. Black Gold & Green 6. Monkey Jo 7. Yesterday 8. Blood Dunza 9. Burn Nanylon 10. Don't Try To Use Me (Disco Version) 11. Groovy Situation 12. Groovy Dub 13. Cassius Clay 14. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner 15. Blue Danube 16. Nice Time (Last Night Blues) 17. Guerilla Priest

    Le second volume de Rare Grooves Reggae, sélectionné par les explorateurs sonores de Radio Nova, vient de paraître. Anthologie résolument différente, elle permet de naviguer entre le toast de Dennis Alcapone dans un hommage au plus grand boxeur de tous les temps ("Cassius Clay"), les premières revendications rasta de Ken Boothe ("Black Gold & Green", 1972), les voix dorées de Don Carlos ("Nice Time") et Sylford Walker ("Burn Babylon"), la gouaille de Dillinger ("Rockers", calqué sur son mythique "Cocaine") et un feu d'artifice signé Lee Perry dans un morceau antiterroriste ("Guerilla Priest", 2001). Une preuve de plus que les sons de l'île ont influencé toutes les musiques actuelles, que ce soit le trip-hop, la jungle, le rock ou la techno. Universal Music, France, http://www.novaplanet.com/commercial/novarecords/rgreggae2.asp?l=212&t=54

    2004, Jun 07; 15:40 :::: Where Music Will Be Coming From - Kevin Kelly

    Technology is changing music. But then again, it always has. The invention of the piano 300 years ago centered Western music on the keyboard. Electricity's arrival in the late 19th century enabled the duplication of performances and, later, the amplification of instruments. With digitization, the pace of upheaval has further accelerated. Digital file-sharing technologies -- Napster and its offspring -- are now undermining the established economics of music. And everything we know about digital technologies suggests that Napster is only the beginning. --Kevin Kelly, New York Times Magazine, March 17, 2002. [...]

    2004, Jun 07; 14:49 :::: music

    "Melody Maker" History of 20th Century Popular Music (1999) - Nick Johnstone, David Reynolds (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Ever since 1926, 52 weeks a year, during war and peace, and throughout the ages of Be-bop, folk-rock, punk, new romanticism, dance . . . Melody Maker has served as the forum for popular music. Nowadays, everyone knows how life-changing Charlie Parker, The Beatles and Bob Dylan were; but back then it was the job of Melody Maker's hacks to tell you--as it happened. And these contemporary reports from the front-line are what give Nick Johnstone's book its edge.

    The writing was on the wall as far back as 1955, when Stanley Dance became the first journalist to mention rock'n'roll in Melody Maker. Initially the paper was dismissive of the new music, its jazz snobbery refusing to yield house-room to rock'n'roll. But by March 1963 The Beatles had achieved their first cover, and the paper was asking "Is Liverpool Britain's Nashville?"

    Half the fun, of course, comes from seeing just how wrong they often got it at the time. Thriller, the best-selling album of all-time, was simply dismissed: "not a good LP"; while Fleetwood Mac's multi-million selling Rumours was written off as "full of stereotypes, easily assimilated formulae and bland techniques". So they got that right then!

    Then in 1993, having struggled through the awful 80s (23 Skidoo, Dali's Car, Rip Rig & Panic), Melody Maker wrote enthusiastically about Oasis: "a proper group with guitars and choruses and mountains of moments that leave you wide-eyed and yelping". You can almost feel the relief. --Patrick Humphries, Amazon.co.uk Review

    2004, Jun 07; 14:29 :::: music

    Evolution of Modern Popular Music: A history of Blues, Jazz, Country, R&B, Rock and Rap - Mark Vinet [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    To be on the cutting edge of the music and entertainment industry, one should possess an in-depth knowledge of the evolution of modern popular music, as well as its history, roots, and traditions. Music lovers of all ages will enjoy this engaging overview of pop music from its historic roots to today’s chart topping styles. Discover how the changes in recording technology have influenced the music we buy and listen to. Experience a wonderful and fascinating musical odyssey while exploring dozens of idioms including blues, folk, ragtime, jazz, big band, spirituals, blue grass, Tejano, Cajun, musical comedy, western, gospel, country, skiffle, rock and roll, R&B, soul, funk, Motown, hard rock, disco, heavy metal, reggae, corporate rock, punk, worldbeat, new wave, grunge, new age, easy listening, techno, rap and hip hop. A spotlight shines on hundreds of influential artists, songwriters, performers, and music legends such as Louis Armstrong, Robert Johnson, Bing Crosby, Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, John Coltrane, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Beatles, Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, B.B. King, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Led Zeppelin, Bob Marley, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Bee Gees, Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Prince, Madonna, Nirvana, Garth Brooks, Metallica, Shania Twain, U2, Celine Dion, and Eminem.

    2004, Jun 06; 13:57 :::: WWII

    D-Day is June 6, 1944

    In military parlance, D-Day is a term often used to denote the day on which a combat attack or operation is to be initiated. By far the most well-known D-Day is June 6, 1944 - the day on which the Battle of Normandy began - commencing the liberation of mainland Europe from Nazi occupation during World War II. This article discusses the general use of the term D-Day. Refer to the Battle of Normandy article for a description of the events of June 1944. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D-Day [Jun 2004]

    2004, Jun 05; 19:31 :::: Willem Frederik Hermans

    WF Hermans , Het Hoedenparadijs (1991)

    The Dutch writer Willem Frederik Hermans (September 1, 1921 – April 27, 1995) is considered one of the three most important authors in the Netherlands in the postwar period, along with Harry Mulisch and Gerard Reve.

    His oevre includes novels, short stories, essays, and philosophical and scientific works.

    His style is existentialist and generally quite bleak, and his writing style is quite unique in its short and pointed sentences, especially in Dutch. There is no doubt that he was influenced by World War II and the German occupation of The Netherlands between 1940 and 1945, and his longer novels (De tranen der acacia's and De donkere kamer van Damokles) are set during the war. Even his more upbeat writings (Onder professoren and Au pair) can have a strange, existentialist twist to them.


    2004, Jun 03; 19:56 :::: literary criticism
    This is the story of one computer professional's explorations in the world of postmodern literary criticism. I'm a working software engineer, not a student nor an academic nor a person with any real background in the humanities. Consequently, I've approached the whole subject with a somewhat different frame of mind than perhaps people in the field are accustomed to. Being a vulgar engineer I'm allowed to break a lot of the rules that people in the humanities usually have to play by, since nobody expects an engineer to be literate. Ha. Anyway, here is my tale. --Chip Morningstar How To Deconstruct Almost Anything: My Postmodern Adventure, June 1993, http://www.fudco.com/chip/deconstr.html [Jun 2004]

    2004, Jun 03; 08:47 :::: lesbian

    Nightwood (1936) - Djuna Barnes, T. S. Eliot [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    Nightwood is not only a classic of lesbian literature, but was also acknowledged by no less than T. S. Eliot as one of the great novels of the 20th century. Eliot admired Djuna Barnes' rich, evocative language. Lesbian readers will admire the exquisite craftsmanship and Barnes' penetrating insights into obsessive passion. Barnes told a friend that Nightwood was written with her own blood "while it was still running." That flowing wound was the breakup of an eight-year relationship with the lesbian love of her life. -- Amazon.com

    "Djuna Barnes understood obsession, particularly erotic obsession. . . . Nothing is minimal in [Nightwood]. Passion rules. Anyone who has gone out of his or her way to walk past a lost lover's house, who has called the phone number only to hang up when the receiver clicks hollowly--that person knows the shameful secret that Djuna Barnes treats in such vivid detail. What we have lost sometimes defines us. . . . To have been madly and disastrously in... --The Modern Library of the World's Best Books

    Admired by T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Graham Greene, and Dylan Thomas, Djuna Barnes was the most influential and prolific female writer in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s. The Modern Library is proud to include--for the first time--her most critically acclaimed novel, Nightwood, which was praised by The Washington Post Book World as "a masterpiece of modernism." Dorothy Allison, author of the National Book Award-nominated novel Bastard Out of Carolina, has written an Introduction especially for this edition, in which she defends Nightwood as a lesbian classic.

    First published in the United States in 1937, Nightwood is a novel of bold imagining and passionate, lyrical prose. Described by the author as the soliloquy of "a soul talking to itself in the heart of the night," the novel creates a dreamlike world in which time ceases to exist and in which human beings transform into animals. At Nightwood's center are the love affairs of Robin Vote--a character based on Barnes's lover, Thelma Wood. Robin marries Felix Volkbein, an eccentric aristocrat, whom she meets in Paris, and whom she abandons years later for the American Nora Flood. But Nora cannot contain Robin, either, and Robin in turn deserts her for the larcenous Jenny Petherbridge. Rich in irony and symbolism, Nightwood brilliantly depicts the all-consuming power of erotic obsession in language that twists and turns, drawing the reader into a labyrinth of meaning and revelation. This edition also includes T. S. Eliot's Introduction to the 1937 American edition.

    Elizabeth Hardwick wrote, "Djuna Barnes is a writer of wild and original gifts. . . .To her name there is always to be attached the splendor of Nightwood, a lasting achievement of her great gifts and eccentricities---her passionate prose and, in this case, a genuineness of human passions." --Book Description

    2004, Jun 02; 21:37 :::: George Clinton

    Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome (1977) - Parliament [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    On this follow-up to Mothership Connection, George Clinton uncharacteristically sticks to the same funk-disco formula. Unlike most sequels, however, this 1977 work is nearly as compelling as the original. Check your brain at the door while Clinton feeds you infectious dance rhythms and irreverent lyrics that fuse anthemic chants with bizarre fairy tales and stream-of-consciousness ramblings. On "Wizard of Finance," Parliament returns to melodic 1960s soul while Clinton's hysterical lyrics are backed by soulful doowop-style vocals. "Flash Light" became a huge dance-floor hit but actually pales in comparison to the rest of the grooves. With talents including Bernie Worrell, Maceo Parker, and Fred Wesley on board, it's no wonder the profunk forces defeat the antifunk contingent. --Marc Greilsamer, amazon.com

    2004, Jun 02; 20:53 :::: kitsch

    Stolen Kiss - Jean-Honore Fragonard, (1732-1806), French painter

    Fragonard first painted in a style suitable to his religious and historical subjects. After 1765, however, he worked in the rococo style then fashionable in France. These later paintings, the works for which he is best known, reflect the gaiety, frivolity, and voluptuousness of the period. They are characterized by fluid lines, frothy flowers amid loose foliage, and gracefully posed figures, usually of ladies and their lovers or peasant mothers with children.

    Fragonard was a prolific painter, but he rarely dated his works and it is not easy to chart his stylistic development. This particular painting is a detail from a larger painting which is in the Hermitage in Petersburg. Fragonard may have executed this copy himself, for it shows his delicate coloring and spontaneous brushwork which gives the picture an irresistible verve and joyfulness. As always with Fragonard, more important than the subject matter are the soft tones and colors of the palate.

    What do these aspects say about the self-conscious image of French aristocrats on the eve of the revolution? Can this picture be analyzed in terms of the mores of contemporary French society? --http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/his/CoreArt/art/anc_frag_stol.html [Jun 2004]

    2004, Jun 02; 14:13 :::: Victorian era

    Exposed: The Victorian Nude (2002) - Alison Smith (Editor), Robert Upstone (Editor) [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

    The epitome of high culture or an assault on public morality? The nude figure was one of the most controversial issues in Victorian art. It was also one of the most conspicuous categories for the visual image at every level, from elite paintings for the Royal Academy to mass-produced photographs and magazine illustrations. Exposed: The Victorian Nude provides a fascinating overview of the nude figure-both male and female-and the intriguing role it played in Victorian art. While it concentrates on painting, sculpture, and drawing, this beautifully illustrated reference also explores the depiction of the naked body in other media-including photography, popular illustration, advertising, and caricature-and discusses the issues of morality, sexuality, and desire that are relevant even today. Since nudes were an important subject for most Victorian artists, Exposed: The Victorian Nude showcases dazzling artwork from such legendary masters as Millais, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Whistler, and Sargent, as well as pivotal figures of early English modernism. Cutting across the conventional categories of style and period, this guide offers a fresh, engrossing vision of Victorian art and culture unmatched anywhere else. --Book Description

    2004, Jun 02; 00:01 :::: art

    'The Go-See', 1999 - John Currin (oil on canvas 111 x 86cm Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York)

    In 1998, Currin began working on a series of female nudes with elongated bodies and limbs recalling the distinctive manner of the Northern Renaissance painter Lucas Cranach. -- the Whitney Museum of American Art, http://www.whitney.org/information/press/130.html [Jun 2004]

    2004, Jun 01; 23:32 :::: art

    Venus Standing in a Landscape (1529 - Lucas Cranach the Elder, Wood panel, H 0.38 m; W 0.25 m

    Lucas Cranach (1472-1553) was official painter to the prince electors of Saxony, painted Luther, and alongside Dürer and Holbein, was one of the three great painters of 16th century Germany. He excelled in mythological and allegorical painting, and devised a new iconographic image; a single woman in a landscape. The small Louvre painting, with its fine detail all by Cranach's own hand, shows a graceful Venus wearing a wide-rimmed hat, bejewelled necklace, and holding a transparent veil in front of her. The Gothic town in the background, reflected in the water, is evidence of his mastery of drawing and his deeply poetic sensitivity to landscape. The winged serpent holding a ring in its mouth is Cranach's seal and is skilfully merged into the stones on the ground. --http://www.hermitagemuseum.org/html_En/03/hm3_3_1_9a.html, [Jun 2004]

    2004, May 31; 16:32 :::: art

    The Prix Ars Electronica is a yearly prize in the field of electronic and interactive art, computer animation, digital culture and music. It has been awarded since 1987 by Ars Electronica (Linz, Austria), one of the world's major centers for art and technology. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prix_Ars_Electronica [May 2004]

    In 2004, the Golden Nica, the highest prize, was awarded in six categories: "Computer Animation/Visual Effects," "Digital Musics," "Interactive Art," "Net Vision," "Digital Communities" and the "u19" award for "freestyle computing." Each Golden Nica came with a prize of 10,000 Euros, apart from the u19 category, where the prize was 5,600 Euros. In each category, there are also Awards of Distinction and Honorary Mentions. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prix_Ars_Electronica [May 2004]

    I was on the Digital Communities jury this year for Ars Electronica. Thanks to the two jury pre-selection and final jury process, we were able to spend a lot of time on the 60 or so entries that were selected from hundreds of submissions by the first jury. We had an awesome jury. The final jury was me, Andreas Hirsch, Shanthi Kalathil (co-author of Open Networks, Closed Regimes: The Impact of the Internet on Authoritarian Rule), Jane Metcalfe (co-founder of Wired), Dorothy Okello (Coordinator of the Women of Uganda Network), Howard Rheingold (the Smart Mobs guy ;-) ) and Oliviero Toscani (The guy who made the controversial Benetton ads). We gave our two Golden Nica cash prizes to Wikipedia and The World Starts With Me. I'm sure everyone knows Wikipedia. The World Starts With Me is a project from Uganda. --Joi Ito http://joi.ito.com/archives/2004/05/05/prix_ars_electronica_prizes_announced.html [May 2004]

    May 2004 [...]

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