Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Jeff Buckley & Elizabeth Fraser - All Flowers In Time.mp3
[Edit: It breaks my heart to remove this link. It is the most downloaded file on this music blog, and one of my favorite songs by either artist. For a quick fix, go find it on YouTube. If you Google the song name + MP3, you will probably find another active link someplace else.]
Sunday, January 25, 2009
I stumbled upon his CD at the library last month, and finally got around to listening to it all the way through. It was breathtaking. Here's the highlight.
Henry VIII - O My Hart.mp3
(It's obvious where Dead Can Dance was getting much of their inspiration back in the 80's.)
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Today's offering is from my self-released 1994 EP Bake Sale, originally released under the moniker Wix. Made entirely with an Ensoniq ASR-10 that I had just recently learned how to drive under the influence of a fat, sticky dime bag.
Wix - Hyphereiod.mp3
Wix - Rockin' For Myself.mp3
Includes illegitimate samples of Led Zeppelin, Meat Beat Manifesto, 808 State, Prince, Brian Eno, Porno for Pyros and Gipsy.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Here's the part of Obama's speech to which I am referring:
We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness. (Emphasis mine.)
I'm just sayin'.
Nicolaides, according to the New York Times, was busted and thrown in a Thai jail for three years. The English teacher was not guilty of selling drugs, murder, or even purse snatching. He was thrown in jail for... wait for it... "insulting the Thai monarchy" in a novel. (His book, which sold only 12 copies, is now of course writ large for the entire world to see.)
Just imagine what it would be like if every American writer, comedian, actor, entertainer, musician, and average joe was thrown in jail for insulting President Bush over the last eight years. We'd all be in jail by now!
I credit Aaron Sorkin for reminding us, during life under this least popular president in U.S. history, to be mindful of showing respect to the office if one must take umbrage with the person holding it. I really love that particular duality. It allows me to rant and rail against the stupidest person to ever set foot in the White House without insulting the office he represents.
I don't think such a distinction exists in Thailand, where one must constantly live in fear of what my father used to call "a knock on the door in the middle of the night." This doesn't excuse the Bush Administration's countless crimes against our Constitution and citizenry since 2000, but let's at least admit that they could have gone much, much farther to punish their political foes.
Still think I sound like a hick?
So I take yet another sigh of relief to live in such a great country, especially now that we have the opportunity to wash away the stains of six years of supreme neo-con rule. May the coming residents of the White House undo the damage done and make this country an even better place to live and a beacon of hope to the world.
...but if you want to insult Obama and his Administration between now and then, that's OK too.
Monday, January 19, 2009
I don't think anybody can make Peg a better song, but it's always fun to hear and old favorite in a new context.
Steely Dan - Peg (Jason's Bootleg House Remix).mp3
Made with an Akai S-2000 and Cakewalk.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Election Night Mania.mp3
I recorded these sounds of victory and celebration coming through my open apartment windows with my Mac just an hour or so after the final election results became public.
Then I wandered outside, and it struck me that I've never been witness to something like this before in my life: People were shouting and waving their arms, hugging, wandering into the street to shake hands with strangers in their cars, and (of course) getting quite hammered. (At the time I lived on a corner near three bars and one very busy street.)
I think the Obama victory in November will be seared onto the national consciousness in a way that only a transformational moment can be. It is probably trumped in recent history only by 9/11. The current generations hold these two moments of history in their minds apart from any other.
These are our versions of JFK's assassination, of V-Day, of the Pearl Harbor attack: every one of us remembers exactly where we were and what we were doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001 -- and now I think the same can be said for the evening of November 4th, 2008.
This weekend's inauguration is a wonderful crown on Obama's amazing victory, and hopefully a new opportunity for America to rediscover its greatness.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
So there I was, perusing today's fresh kill at Real Clear Politics (love them), when I found myself sucking in the angry, angry vitriol from the good boys at the National Review. Jay Nordlinger's meandering whine-fest (titled Cheney’s a Monster, W.’s Stupid & Palin’s a Bimbo) serves up the cliched, but tried-and-true biased liberal media is brainwashing America shtick, decrying the "Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher mentality" that is destroying our country's sense of correct-ish political trajectory. (We're supposed to be center-right, right?)
Nordlinger is clearly not paying attention to his subject. His biggest whine is that liberals are referring en masse to Sarah Palin as a "bimbo." He goes on to bat away at this straw (wo)man, describing Palin's life and circumstances as being about as far from a bimbo as one can get. Fair enough, but the "Saturday Night Live, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher" giggles are not exactly coming from Palin's (ahem) sex life.
Did Nordlinger not see Palin's interview with Katie Couric? Hasn't he heard her run-on sentences and string of consciousness obfuscations? Is he completely unaware of her unsavory power grabs and family feuds back in Alaska? Did he not see her give an interview in front of a turkey slaughter-fest? What about the $150,000 spent on clothes and accessories while America sank into a recession? Who can forget her "real America" comment that she was forced to eat? Or how about the fact that she's always trying to sound smarter than she really is? Does he really think that her biggest problem is that people think she's a bimbo? Really?
The truth is not that Sarah Palin is a bimbo, for that would be far too interesting. Sarah Palin can be summed up in one word: she's just plain tacky.
Finally, let's not lump Jon Stewart in with the lefty crowd too fast. He makes fun of stupid people, or smart people doing stupid things, no matter their political affiliation. Don't believe me? Watch last night's episode where he dinged Hillary & co. for the love-fest on the Hill that was her Senate confirmation hearing. Stewart actually got out Ken & Barbie dolls, pretended that they were Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, and made them do mashy-face and doggy style (with Hillary as the top, of course). That's funny! He was making fun of liberals! And he'll probably do it again! Shocking! (That feeling at the base of your cranium is called cognitive dissonance there, Nordlinger.)
Stewart is quick to admit that he is childish about what he does, but is just as quick to point out that he is a comedian and not a real journalist. Sure, he's probably a screaming liberal in real life, but he's an equal opportunity mocker when it comes to putting on a show. He points and laughs at what is clearly laughable, and we laugh along. He even makes fun of himself. The last thing he does is pick on conservatives and leave liberals alone. Far from it, and Nordlinger should know better. One wonders: has he even seen an episode of The Daily Show?
Nordlinger did get one thing right, though. W. really is stupid. That's just how it is. You don't need a liberal to tell you that.
But when something fantastic happens -- like when a jetliner crashes into the Hudson River and no one is hurt, God gets the credit. "It's miraculous," one survivor is reported to have said, that they made it safely to a rescue boat.
When someone's life is saved after being diagnosed with a deadly disease or condition, the doctors and thousands of graduate students and researchers working tirelessly in laboratories usually do not get the credit. And when an airplane crash lands safely, the pilot and all the people working at the airport don't get the credit, either.
It makes me sick that people automatically credit divine intervention for their good fortune. I mean, fine -- if they really want to, whatever. But those pilots and air traffic controllers didn't come down from on high and save the plane from behind a cloud -- they are real, human, and deserve our profound and heartfelt thanks for making this crash landing go exactly by the numbers. At least give them some of the credit.
If human fault is found to be the source of the crash, then that's another story. But until all the details are revealed, let's at least give cursory thanks to the human beings who are the true heroes of the day.
In My Life, written and recorded in December 2001 under the name Caspian, was definitely one of my favorite pair of songs to produce. They just fell into place after a six-month dry spell, and the label I was signed to at the time liked them enough to release them.
The pair was featured as a 12” vinyl-only release on Cosmic Flux Records in 2002, and the original version was later released on a Nikki Beach compilation.
Caspian - In My Life.mp3
Caspian - In My Life (Higher & Stronger Mix).mp3
I had turned my back on drum & bass around 2000, and this was (I think) one of my better stabs at 2-step (in the original), and straight-up, San Fransisco-style house music (in the remix).
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
It gives me no small pleasure to watch him eat his words in 2009. Things have gotten worse, not better, and it's happening on the outside -- in the real world -- as much as it's happening inside the minds of the American public. Even outgoing US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson insists we're in the middle of a worldwide economic crisis. Heck, he even has a good idea what caused it in the first place.
But Forbes writers Brian Westbury & Robert Stein skip merrily ahead and assure us that the worst is behind us. While they may have some iffy data to convince themselves (and probably my father) that things aren't as grim as the media (and what they call "conventional wisdom") convey, I remain unconvinced and unamused.
Their circus of logic comes to a climax when they argue that "the decline in gasoline prices alone is saving consumers $410 billion in annual expenditures. In size, on an annual basis, this is similar to the government 'stimulus' measures now under consideration."
What exactly do they mean by this? Are we supposed to swallow the insinuation that the stimulus package shaping up on Obama's desk is superfluous in the light of the savings Americans are getting at the pump? Please. Like Phil Gramm, these two clowns are so far out of touch with reality that it bends the mind.
Half a million people lost their jobs last month. Unemployment is now at 7.2%, the highest its been since 1993. Over a million homes have been lost to foreclosure since the housing crisis hit back in August 2007, according to CNNMoney.com. Economists warn that we could be headed for the worst recession since World War II. Every news podcast I hear has one economic expert or another singing variations of the same tune: "The worst in recorded history," "Getting worse, not better," or my other favorite, "Much worse than initially thought."
How can Westbury & Stein maintain a straight face while telling us that things aren't really so bad? Do they honestly think that the scores of families now struggling with foreclosures, unemployment and financial ruin will be OK because they just saved $30 at the gas station? Or maybe -- and this is an even more chilling possibility -- things have gotten so bad, even the slightest hint of a hint of an uptick is enough to drive economic observers into an orgy of optimism that eclipses even Barack Obama's.
Either way, I'm not happy. Turn it down to seven, guys. People who stumble upon your article while waiting in line for unemployment benefits -- probably the same people who also just lost their homes -- won't share your enthusiasm. Nor are they likely to share your belief that this whole mess is in the process of fixing itself, and that further government intervention is a bad idea. (I'm not kidding about this point - they really do insist that Obama's proposed stimulus plan will do more harm than good in the long run.)
I'm all for rallying the troops and getting America excited about a turnaround, but we risk alienating our disaffected if we slam on the gas too hard. Let's work on cautions optimism, at least until we start seeing some real honest-to-goodness turnaround. Anything less will smack of classism and economic Marie Antoinette-ism, attitudes we cannot bear at this fragile point in our history.
Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls (Extended Dance Version).mp3
There's even an extra verse with new lyrics that's not on the original!
Getcher 80's homo on.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Anyone under 25 will probably won't know what the hell MIDI is, but us old school cats all have fond, fond memories. It was the coolest skill a starry-eyed 12 year-old could have, and all he (or she) could think about when wandering through a music store filled to capacity with electronic gear. (I even remember hearing an early techno song from back in the day called MIDI Rain.)
So a friend and I were dinking around in my studio when we realized we could send the MIDI outs from my drum machine to my keyboards, with amazing results. There are no recorded drum sounds, but if there were, you would notice that they coincide with the keyboard hits. That’s how I got the keyboards to sounds so random, yet repetitive.
Jason Herrboldt - Chemical Suit (Compressed).mp3
Made with a Roland Juno 106, a Yamaha DX-7, a Yamaha drum machine (don't remember which model), and a Tascam 4 track.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
In this track -- created on a Mac with Twisted Wave -- I tapped Future Sound Of London, Coil (of course), Aphex Twin, and the Climax Golden Twins. The goats and church bells are courtesy of a random Google sound effects search. The kickass backwards robot Lord's Prayer at the end was made with a totally fun program called Speak To Me.
Jason Herrboldt - Let Your Worries Go 1478.mp3
Friday, January 9, 2009
Oversimplification for me is paramount when attempting something on the scale of the Riemann Hypothesis. I may have 18 months of calculus under my belt, but I feel like a 2nd grader trying to grasp trigonometry when faced with math of this magnitude and stature.
The Riemann Hypothesis (henceforth RH) has been captivating (and infuriating) mathematicians for 150 years. It's hard to overestimate Riemann's appreciation for the beast he was to unleash upon the world. If you had a dollar for every published paper that began with the words, "Assuming the RH," well, you'd have a bunch of money by now.
If by some feat the RH is proved not true, dozens and dozens of correlated theorems and conjectures in the fields of mathematics and physics will absolutely fall to pieces. It would be like biologists suddenly finding out that there never really were any dinosaurs.
My curiosity was first piqued last winter when I came across The Riemann Hypothesis by Karl Sabbagh. It was readable enough, but pales in comparison to Prime Obsession. I'm glad I read it, though. I never would have sought out Derbyshire's book otherwise.
The thing I really, really loved about Prime Obsession was the clarity with which the material was presented. Derbyshire assumes the reader possesses no math expertise above the elementary calculus level, and reduces intimidating equations to friendly stories. I think anyone with more math under his or her belt than myself would be bored to tears, but it was just the perfect fit for me.
If you put a gun to my head I suppose I'd allow that I'm attracted to the problem of the distribution of the primes because it seems to offer a philosophical window into an otherwise tough-as-nails discipline of mathematics. There's almost something mystical about this problem, and about analytic number theory in general. It's like ducking behind the curtain of creation and peeking at the wires that make everything go, the same wires that were put in place before anything else came to be, it seems.
As an example, the RH quite possibly shares a very deep connection with certain aspects of quantum mechanics; particles tend to align themselves up in a manner not unlike the distribution of primes on the number line. If that's not enough to make your head spin, then I suggest you are not a true geek. Do not collect $100. Go to straight to Hot Topic.
Anyway, it's a great ride. I highly recommend Prime Obsession for anyone who loves math but is afraid of it at the same time (like me). I kept turning pages and whispering shit like, "What? Wow. No way. Really?"
I sincerely hope that this RH nut is cracked sometime before the current generation of mathematicians fades away... and before I do as well, I suppose. I don't want to die before the mother of all math cliffhangers is resolved.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Drone Bros really brought the freakshow to the dance floor by looping and pitching everything completely out of proportion with I Can't Wait, thus making a 12 year-old me quite happy. And that vocal "uh" sample - the very meaning of iconic.
Nu Shooz - I Can't Wait (Long Dutch Mix).mp3
This is also one of the first remixes I ever heard. Finding the vinyl 12" one day after getting out of Jr. High was like being touched by the hand of the remix god.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Check out the bonus beats edition of my bootleg Cure remix:
The Cure - New Day (Bootleg Remix Bonus Beats).mp3
And on the mixtape side of the street, check out some sugar-coated, broken beat goodies and golden jungle oldies here.
Friday, January 2, 2009
Sylvian, now in his fourth decade as a recording artist, is easily one of the most prolific and original musical artists of our time. He first came to my attention in the late 80's, well into his solo career after Japan's 1983 disintegration. I bought and memorized every minute of Brilliant Trees, Gone To Earth, and Secrets of the Beehive. I think it's fair to say those three albums defined and inspired my musical career more than any other.
Back in the day a friend of mine got his hands on a rare extended version of Sylvian's Taking The Veil, the breathtaking opener from Gone To Earth. I only heard it that one time in 1990, then not again until last year when I stumbled upon it while trolling for mp3s on Soulseek.
David Sylvian - Taking The Veil (Mendelsohn Mix).mp3
I reproduce it for you here now. It's a wonderful re-invention of an already stunning accomplishment in songwriting and production. I have a hard time remembering that it was released in the mid-80's. Had I never heard it before, I would have a hard time assigning it a year, or even an era.