Favorites 2014

In past years I rolled my eyes at you when you said how great music sounds through headphones. I was wrong to do that. I am sorry.

In addition to converting to headphones, music still filled the air in our house this year. Judy has been learning guitar. That has been fun. For some reason there was somewhat less new music around our place to check out. Still, there are a few standouts, and even a few groups that we found so impressive that they lured us out after dark to hear them live.

Real Estate – Atlas (2014 Domino).

ATLAS

ATLAS

There is an unforced earnestness to each beat, note, and syllable that makes this collection of songs feel not only brand new, but also somehow like an album that’s been around a while. This is the best of 2014 and is Real Estate’s strongest LP. Along with the rest of their catalogue I will continue to enjoy it for years. All three of the band’s records have a wistful summery feeling that I think a lot of people pick up on and dig. What it is: That feeling that something wonderful is happening, and you have not processed how important it will be to you in the future. You know that something wonderful is going to end – soon – and that the freedom that comes with that something wonderful is evaporating.

REAL ESTATE

REAL ESTATE

I never read a better description of the record’s (and the band’s current) summertime vibe than this one by Pitchfork’s Jason Greene: “The once-ideal pool party band … has turned to soundtracking the cleanup: Everyone’s gone, the sky’s threatening rain, there are cigarette butts floating in the pool, and we’ve all gotta work tomorrow.”

This is music to play as you head happily home or toward a loved one you are eager to see. A song and a sentiment so simple and so beautiful – this makes me shake my head in wonder:

Horizon by Real Estate.

Dum Dum GirlsToo True (2014 Sub Pop Records).

TOO TRUE

TOO TRUE

Dee Dee Penny is the radiant face and the main songwriter of the Dum Dum Girls. Combining an assured and silky delivery with her searching lyrics she often brings to mind a range of singers from the girl groups of the 60s. Few acts can claim the successful synthesis of musical and personal styles created by the band. Together they wed great, introspective pop songs with a cultivated and sincerely detached, great, dark collective image. The comportment and the look of the band are consistently darker than the actual music which often has more in common with straightforward, skilled, cool rock-and-roll than any goth-y post punk. Dum Dum Girls never disappoint, and I knew right away that this record with its short, to-the-point songs and driving pop rock would be one of my favorites of the year.

Phenomenal pop songs, these were highlights of the band’s terrific live set at The Waiting Room in Omaha in October.

Rimbaud Eyes by Dum Dum Girls.

Girls Intuition by Dum Dum Girls.

St. VincentSt. Vincent (2014 Loma Vista).

ST VINCENT

ST VINCENT

Is anyone else challenging the ideas and limits of rock music as successfully as Annie Clark? The new persona is a trope. Like David Bowie’s creations Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust, she’s playing a far out, (and, one supposes, a temporary,) character. Aside from her current incarnation as the transfixing silver-haired, vinyl-clad high priestess of white spirits, there is her jarring music.

She is a fearless and often brilliant experimenter, and has always zigged when one expected that she’d zag: unexpectedly slowing things down a beat, going a half note sharp here or there, blasting trumpets when you expect a gentle flute. There is so much to be impressed by – in what seems on the surface to be over-the-top there is an agonizing restraint.

She is astonishing live, and KILLED it at Omaha’s Sokol Hall in April. These songs are from a concert in Berlin earlier this year. They are a trifle rough, but worth it to catch her mystifying presence in performance.

I Prefer Your Love by St. Vincent.

Huey Newton by St. Vincent.

Also loved:

BeverlyCareers (2014 Kanine Records).

This band provides the low-glamor, tossed-off fun of magic marker ‘tattoos’. It is in super-heavy rotation at our house. This music is huggable.

Honey Do by Beverly.

CaribouOur Love (2014 Merge Records).

Beat heavy, generous with hooks and groovy elements of disco. Dan Snaith is Caribou, and may be the best in the business in the dreamy, neo-psych, electronica game. Test him.

Silver by Caribou.

D’Angelo and The Vanguard – Black Messiah (2014 RCA).

Fantastic. And it’s a little time machine. Like it’s R & B brethren from the 1970s, (and VERY much like the records of Prince!!) it is funky and fun, straight up sexy, soulful, and sonically weird and experimental.

Till It’s Done (Tutu)  by D’Angleo and the Vanguard.

Hundred WatersThe Moon Rang Like a Bell (2014 OWSLA).

Absolutely beautiful. Fans of Bjork, Cocteau Twins, and Hammock – plug in. Like looking down from a great height through the clouds at the rolling ocean.

Out Alee by Hundred Waters.

Temples – Sun Structures (2014 Heavenly Recordings).

Psychedelic music weaves its way organically into so many different genres – it is a vibrant part of rock, folk, soul, funk, and electronic dance music. Temples are not really pretending to break any new ground – they have generously acknowledged their many influences – and here prove that psychedelic rock remains fertile creative ground. Temples’ consistently successful new iteration of the tradition of psychedelic rock music sounds to me like creatively joyful homage. They are big and getting bigger.

Representing the super-psych-a-licious sides of predecessors The Beatles, T. Rex, The Shamen, and Pink Floyd:

Colours To Life by Temples.

TheWar on DrugsLost in the Dream (2014 Secretly Canadian).

Hippy please. This release got a reputation for being a redux 70s/80s classic-rock record, and I am disappointed to report that may have had the effect of causing me to delay giving it a serious listen. The rep is understandable, but this record is SO much more. It has marvelous ambient stretches and multi-layered production that provides surprises upon each new listen.

The Haunting Idle by TheWar on Drugs.

Warpaint – Warpaint (2014 Rough Trade).

Dreamy and dark. Like a marijuana-fuelled Radiohead record, Warpaint will reward you if you like the kind of expansive and patient music of Massive Attack, or the soundtracks for films of David Lynch. It is composed and more of a grower than their immediately likeable previous record, The Fool. Spacious and mature, Warpaint delivers the same commitment and energy as ever and they come together powerfully.

Drive by Warpaint.

Given more time, these may find their way into the favorites list:

Haunted HeartsInitiation (2014 Zoo Music/Dream).

A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Sea When Absent (2014 Lefse).

TV On The RadioSeeds (2014 Harvest).

Thurston Moore The Best Day (2014 Matador).

14 Dec 2014

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Judy is checking books off her reading list

J’s been checking books off her reading list:

Maybe because I’m supposed to be writing a research dissertation right now that I am in the mood to read fiction. Maybe it’s human nature to want to do the opposite of what you’re supposed to do, which for me is to read when I’m supposed to write. In my defense, I have a pretty good introduction completed. The methodology section is mostly wrapped up. Even my Appendix A is in good shape. It’s the literature review. The storyline. The creative part, I’m having trouble with.  In that sense, I’ve always been more of a consumer than a producer. So to make myself feel better and more productive, I thought I’d write a literature review for my Weekly Reader friends.  Nothing special, just books off my list available at the library when I was looking for amusing diversion.

images-1Shanghai Girls– Good historic fiction about two Chinese sisters who are young and pretty models living a life of high fashion, fabulous clubs, and famous friends, in the “Paris of Asia” in the late 1930s, until they find out their father married them off to pay his gambling debts. Life’s cruel to them from that point on as the story follows them from the Japanese bombing of their city, across the sea to their months in internment once reaching the U.S shore, to finally making a home in LA with the strangers that are their husbands. Glimpses into the Chinese culture were fascinating, even if the story itself had one disaster after another too many in my opinion.

images-2The Middlesteins– A family, each member with his or her own neuroses, centered around the mom, Edie’s, obesity.  And of course, Edie’s appetite represents more than a hunger for food. It’s a yearning for love and comfort in all forms. Each character in the story has an obsession, something that could be seen as ugly about them. At the same time all of them are loveable to someone, in some way. Edie, who’s husband leaves her because of her weight and her unwillingness to take care of her health, finds love and romance with a Chinese chef who needed someone to cook for after his wife died. He is delighted with Edie and her appetite and cooks her all the dumplings she will eat. Edie’s daughter, Robin, is an alcoholic. Her daughter-in-law, Rachelle, a control freak. Her son, Ben, a pot-head…and so on. To haul out an oldie, but a goody…the Middlesteins put the fun in family dys-fun-ction.  If you don’t see a tiny bit of yourself or your own family in the characters of this story, then lucky you.

imagesPotboiler– I admit it, I read this one because of the name. What a great name for a mystery. The beginning of this book was fantastic. Two college friends work for the college newspaper. One known as the scholarly one, the writer, and the other is the businessman, the advertising chief. Both of them are in love with the same girl. Writer waits for the relationship to unfold, but in the meantime, Businessman and Girl fall in love and get married. That’s the beginning of the end of the friendship. Writer goes on to publish one novel. It was a minor literary success, but it sold badly. He becomes an adjunct professor at a no-name college on the east coast. There is a waiting list for his class because of his modest fame, but the truth is he has not been able to produce more than a few strained pages of drivel here and there since his first novel. He’s struggling just to pay his bills. Businessman becomes a best-selling crime novelist making millions and lives in LA. Writer’s jealousy killed what was left of the friendship.

Twenty years later, in the present day, Businessman dies in a boating accident and his body is lost at sea. After a month, the search is called off and his widow (remember, Writer was in love with her) calls and asks him to come for the memorial service. While in LA, he sleeps with the widow, steals the last unpublished but mostly finished manuscript of the dead husband, goes back home, rewrites it a little, sells it with a three-book deal, makes millions, and goes on a cross-country book tour. He avoids the widow for as long as he can. He’s sure she’ll put two and two together, or probably already has. When he finally sees her, she doesn’t say a word about the theft except congratulations on his success. Then they shack up.

Now Writer has two problems:  First…he cannot figure out if she really doesn’t know he stole the book, knows and doesn’t care, or knows and is planning on using it against him somehow in the future. Second…he’s got publishers breathing down his neck for his next book and he’s only realizing now, that he’s not a very good writer. He cannot come up with the next story line. He’s desperate. He’s mining students’ old papers for ideas, ready to plagiarize again. If you’re the reader, you’re also thinking he may have a third problem… the husband’s body was never found !

It was at this point I said out loud “This is a GREAT book.” And that’s exactly when it went south too. For me anyway. Read on if you want. But don’t expect more of the same.

So…what have you been reading?

 

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The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

The Chaperone
j:
My latest read was The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty. It spans almost the whole 20th century about the life of a woman who came to the Midwest from NY on an orphan train. She has, at first, a lucky then very disappointing early life and marriage. She has sort of resigned herself to living out the rest of her unsatisfactory existence after her sons go off to college, when she is given the opportunity to chaperone an over-the-top precocious 15-year-old to New York. She takes advantage, and has her own adventure that determines the rest of her life even when she returns home  to the Midwest. It was a really good story. I’ve decided it would make a terrific mini-series and yesterday on my run I was making casting considerations for it in my head.
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Riots

In the summer of 2012 a solo road trip led me south and included a couple of nights in Tulsa, OK. There was much to learn about Tulsa from its musical traditions to its oil-rich, Art Deco architectural history. What stuck with me was an informal, private, nighttime walking tour led by the writer and editor, Michael Mason.

HEAD CASES by Michael Mason

HEAD CASES by Michael Mason

Tulsa is to Mason what Dublin was to Leopold Bloom. He is a remarkable observer, an enthusiastic gatherer of stories, and is the author of Head Cases (2008 Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a book about brain injury and its aftermath. He is also the editor and founder of This Land Press, an impressive new media company that promotes independent journalism. http://thislandpress.com

We visited several sites that were a part of the city’s complicated racial history, and walked through the Greenwood District, a fairly sprawling area of several dozens of blocks. I learned that in 1921, the Greenwood District was the most prosperous black community in the United States and was home to over 10,000 of Tulsa’s 100,000 residents.

The time and place were coiled with complex, pervasive political and racial tension. In late-May 1921, a downtown encounter between Dick Rowland, a 19-year-old black male shoe shiner, and Sarah Page, a 17-year-old white female elevator operator precipitated a monstrous eruption of violence and destruction.

By some accounts, Rowland stumbled as he entered the elevator and instinctively but innocently clutched at the young woman’s arm for balance. By other accounts, he touched Sarah Page without having stumbled. Other accounts have Dick Rowland accidentally stepping on Page’s foot. By all accounts, there was contact, and Sarah Page cried out. There is further speculation that the teenagers not only knew one another, but that they may have been romantically involved. An investigation was mounted. It is generally accepted that whatever happened when Sarah and Dick were alone together in the elevator, it was not assault. No charges were pressed.

Already buzzing, racial tensions escalated. The incident was immediately sensationalized and a combination of skewed newspaper articles and public conjecture led to a chain of intensifying ‘retaliatory’ actions. Dick Rowland was detained by white authorities, and was held at a courthouse rather than a jail. Menace brewed. There was talk of lynching. Rumors and presumptions spread rapidly. Whites began mobilizing against black citizens who became protective. There was a standoff at the courthouse and the taking up of arms fanned the sparks of anxiety and anger into fire.

Within hours, the entire Greenwood neighborhood came under assault by a white group. Over the course of several hours there were open gunfights, machine gun and sniper fire, mass looting, and even aerial firebombing from a biplane. The fires and the riots that were a part of the assault resulted in at least 39 official deaths, (other death total estimates reach up to 300). There were hundreds severely injured, and ultimately there was the displacement of thousands of black families, (notably displaced were a number of families of distinguished black veterans of the First World War.)

TULSA - 1921

TULSA – 1921

By the time the Tulsa Race Riots ended, 35 city blocks were destroyed, burned to the ground. The reasons for the explosions of racial animosity obviously are extremely complicated – but the impetus for the episode is simple to track down – it all started with contact between two kids. It started with a touch.

A quick Google search will reveal to anyone interested that this type of racially motivated attack has scores of examples around the US in the early twentieth century. Florida, Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas – on and on. The scales are different, but the vile hearts of these matters are similar.

For me, stories like the Tulsa Race Riots lend perspective and context to a number of contemporary issues and events. That walking tour with Mike Mason taught me much more than just about an isolated, two-day incident in his beloved city’s history, and I have often called back upon its memory. This has been especially true as I have reflected on two very different concerts that I attended in the past year, between December 2013 and October 2014. I have thought of the group of white Tulsans who attacked a thriving neighborhood of thousands of black citizens because of a touch, and I have asked myself, “What would those people have made of the men on stage at the two recent concerts I attended?”

For reasons I cannot grasp, I continue processing the experience of seeing Jay-Z and Timbaland perform an arena show in Lincoln, NE, in December 2013. For weeks after the concert, and to some degree still, it has been a baffling study of the power that artistic experiences can have on individuals.

HOVA

HOVA

I like his music well enough and I think he is a gigantic talent, but I would not be considered a big fan of Jay-Z’s. I certainly don’t “follow” him or his career. I am aware of some of the unavoidable biographical and gossipy headline aspects of his life, but only very peripherally. (I am even aware of a sensationalized incident that occurred last spring in an elevator between Jay-Z and his sister-in-law, the singer and model Solange Knowles. That is a different deal.)

I was shaken by his concert last December, and especially by the riotous actions of the crowd. I have seen some anarchic audiences. As one comparison: I saw the Dead Kennedys in 1985 and Jello Biafra, their singer, had unleashed his special, infectious brand of punk savagery – he had the thrashing crowd going bonkers. The anarchic spirit of the concert-goers seeing Jay-Z some thirty years later made the DK crowd look like denim- and leather-clad mouseketeers.

Two main things: First, Jay-Z is riveting. His generosity and authority as a performer are almost unbelievable. The other thing, though, was the crazily hedonistic free-for-all dancing in the audience. Sure, there were lots of people sparking weed, and I saw a lot of beer and Hennessy poured at the arena’s many bars, in fact, I had a couple cognacs and Buds, (but no bud.) This was not impulse fueled by drugs or alcohol. The abandon was fueled by the music and the beats and the attitude of the performer. The party was on.

There was no support act in the traditional sense; instead a DJ spun a mix of classic and contemporary hip-hop for about an hour, gently increasing volumes and bumping up the low end. I was a guest at the concert of my friend Eric and his sons, Davis (12) and Jack (14). We were able to talk to and hear one another easily through the DJ’s first forty-five minutes as the audience was getting loose. The DJ’s effect was perfect, organically whipping up the feeling of anticipation and excitement. Everyone was smiling.

Then it got loud. Jay-Z took the stage, the lights in the arena went dark, and the air filled from all directions with smoke from expensive dope. The stage show was clean, angular, and bright – lots of white with black accents, lots of high wattage, and hundreds of shiny metal cubes, stacked and connected, rising high above the stage. There was fast-paced video projected on huge screens behind the stage and the DJs. People started dancing, dancing like I had ever seen.

It was not a concert to sit through. We were close to the stage and two rows behind the first balcony rail. Eric’s boys knew almost every lyric and they danced unselfconsciously, rapping along with Jay-Z, bopping their heads and throwing their hands in the air. Directly in front of us on the railing were young (twenty-something) women who appeared to have just met at the concert. They were wild, wild, wild.

What were the boys making of the girls dancing in front of them? It was bacchanalian. The moves unapologetically and undeniably simulated sex. For me, it was refreshing and a bit disorienting to see people just getting nuts – having their own brand of fun and not giving over any energy to judgments. And it was not just the girls in front of us; they were exemplary, but it was the whole place. As Timbaland himself noted on the microphone, “Y’all’re live as shit!”

When one looks at film of Sinatra or Presley or The Beatles sending audiences into frenzy, the frenzy was projected back to the performers. Likewise, when metal fans go fist-pumping, hair-whipping cuckoo, as they did, for instance, when I saw Metallica in 1989, the projection of most of the energy is directed back to the stage and the performers. Not so with masses of the Jay-Z crowd. Some of that raw energy surely made its way back to the stage, but in a way that I never had experienced, the energy created by the performance was mainlined by young members of the audience who were dancing and then projected to other audience members more than it was back to Jay-Z.

Srsly. FrnZ.

And as I have gone over that evening in my mind, in addition to wondering what Jack and Davis were thinking of the whole experience, I have thought again of the group of white Tulsans who attacked a thriving neighborhood of thousands of black citizens because of a touch. What would they have made of the man on stage? What would they have done when they saw the super fit black girl and the curvaceous blonde girl grinding and pouring beer into one another’s mouths?

The other bookend: A few weeks ago, Dave Chappelle took the stage at the Rococo Theatre in Lincoln with a lit cigarillo between his teeth. How raw and pointed his performance was. How smoky. How far we have come.

DAVE CHAPPELLE

DAVE CHAPPELLE

Chappelle deserves credit for undertaking the presentation of the complexities of race and the differences between people with more intelligence, daring, and hurtling humor than anyone alive. He is a riot. I think there is confusion about how funny he really is. Are his intentions political? Are they meant to provoke thought? Or are they meant to give people a license to laugh at ideas that they could never fundamentally advocate? For instance, when he tells a story about a confrontation he had with a lesbian couple whose child goes to school with his child, is he making fun of lesbians because they are different from him? Or is he actually making fun of people who think it is okay to make fun of people who are different?

His set on a recent Sunday in October, one of eight sets he performed over four nights in Lincoln, was a master class in contemporary stand-up comedy. Chappelle is in his early-40s, like Jay Z, and is likewise at the pinnacle of his super-compelling powers. (Unfortunately, Chappelle’s DJ, unlike Jay Z’s, was a soggy dud. SO contrived, SO forced, the DJ’s efforts to pump the crowd up had the opposite effect of boredom.)

Some things he is not. He is not overtly instructive in the way that George Carlin was. He is not ferocious like Richard Pryor or Chris Rock. He is not a stage-stalker. He paces, occasionally bending over, laughing at his jokes, doing his own thing at his own pace. Cool. He is more a detached and high-personality housecat than a panther. Chappelle quickly overcame that weird and uncomfortable DJ intro, and his story-driven observational bits had everyone smiling ear to ear when they weren’t washed over with laughter.

Reflecting on his show, I thought again of the misguided past represented by scores of despicable actions visited upon minorities, not just the Tulsa Race Riots. What would the twisted lynch mobs and white-hooded ghouls have made of the man on the stage? How far we have come.

How far have we come?

This Could Be Anywhere by The Dead Kennedys from Frankenchrist (1985 Alternative Tentacles).

DEAD KENNEDYS

DEAD KENNEDYS

Kill the Poor by The Dead Kennedys from Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables (1980 Cherry Red).

99 Problems by Jay-Z from The Black Album (2004 Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam).

Hello Brooklyn 2.0 by Jay-Z from American Gangster (2007 Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam).

Close to the Edge by Mos Def from Chappelle’s Show (2003 Comedy Central).

20 nov 2014

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Fall / Break

There is no way of telling people that they are all walking around shining like the sun…

– Thomas Merton

Hastings College, Nebraska – October 1983.

Mike was a friend, but he mostly went his own way. His long-lashed eyes he cast downward at least as often as casting them up. Already slender, he made himself still smaller by keeping his arms confidently tight to his trunk, and perhaps by hunching over a bit like someone purposefully lurking in a dark alleyway.

He lived alone and spent most of his time alone. Some things were easily observable about him – he was creative, smart, and easily bored. Then there were things about him you couldn’t quite square up – he was alternately blasé and then quietly dramatic. He often seemed intensely confused and took great pleasure in confusing others. With just a smile he could give you a conspiratorial thrill that would make you so happy – yet the smile might be likely to also confound you.

For a certain type of person, Mike was a tastemaker. He was an early-80s punk in attitude and appearance – a snarl never far from his lips – a shaved flop haircut hid his handsome and angular face – safety pins in his clothes and earlobes – Kool smoke swirling about him, a delicious fog.

Mike was a campus exotic. A person bedeviled by the insistent light of nonconformity that burned so brightly from within, in spite of his own shading protestations of normalcy.

Insistent light in autumn.

Insistent light in autumn.

With a group of theatre students that I counted as my closest friends, I had rehearsed Macbeth for weeks and performed four shows for audiences when fall break came around. The leaves of the campus maples and crabapples had begun their glorious transformation to the colors of straw and blood, and bright warm days shortened then jelled into brisk nights.

For most Hastings College students in 1983 fall break meant heading home for a few days or a quick vacation. For theatre students it meant sticking around a mostly deserted campus with the intention of catching up on studies. Instead, it actually consisted of a lot of sitting around smoking cigarettes, hanging out drinking coffee, shooting the bull, listening to music. Probably with my group of friends we busied ourselves attempting to strike a casual balance between laughing a lot and complaining about being misunderstood.

A long way to fall.

A long way to fall.

If you’ve ever practiced anything, you know that rehearsing is not typically a glamorous endeavor. Unless you are playing a lead role you must be prepared often to simply be quiet – to silently stand or sit – watching and listening to action you are not a part of, but of which you will become a part.

Fall break was a bit like that in 1983, not much action. They were lazy days on campus with few people around, no classes, and very little structure. Mike was edgy and extra bored with the time on his hands and little to stimulate him.

He was playing the role of Lennox, a Scottish nobleman and an eventual messenger of most urgent and bloody news. He was especially good in his critical scene that opened with Lennox running toward an opening in the curtain. Forcefully shouting his line while still offstage Mike burst through the curtains that led to an open and fenceless balcony. Swirling his cape with a flourish, Lennox was supposed to rush onto a seven by eight foot platform, nine feet above the stage. There was a lot of backstage time before that scene…. So, how does one scratch the unreachable itch of boredom?

This is true…

A couple of hours before the final pick up rehearsal of Macbeth, our friend took a hit and half of acid. Things went a little wobbly early on in rehearsal and then all to hell when Mike took the stage for his big

scene.

His entrance in Act III, Scene IV was wildly purposeful, and his speech was grave, rambling, and accusatory. That evening, he would not deliver all of his lines.

ACT III, SCENE IV. –- Forres. A Room in the Palace.

Enter Lennox and another Lord.

(Mike had serious momentum gathered as he broke through the curtains.)

LENNOX: My former speeches have but hit your thoughts,

Which can interpraahhhhhhhhhhhh!…

The rubber sole of his suede boot had become tangled in his waving cape and he was not able to plant his front foot. He went flying off the platform, landing on his hip with no attempt to break the fall. His body hitting the stage made a horrific sound – really more of a noise – a powerful splatting slap.

EMTs learned his name as they surrounded Mike, checking him out on the stage floor in the theater. As they loaded him on the gurney and rolled him toward the ambulance, they asked him lots of questions, trying to calm him. They wanted information about how the accidental fall happened.

Disoriented from the shock of horrible pain and the acid effects, Mike mostly rocked to and fro on his side, moaning, clawing at his tunic.

EMT ONE: (Insistent.) What happened in there, Mike?

EMT TWO: (Urgent.) What caused you to trip, Mike? Mike, did you just trip?

MIKE: (Suddenly clear. Intense.) NO. I’m not tripping. I’m NOT tripping.

But man, was he ever.

We listened to a lot of rock and even folk rock in those days, but the influence of punk and post punk music on me was more intense in many ways. It is not very surprising that the music I liked so much, (The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees,) would come to influence not only my taste, but other musicians I would grow to also love. Much of that is due to the times I spent with Mike. He had cool music going all the time.

So, speaking of tripping, I would not have predicted how much I would come to love the synth and computer generated music of trip hop that made the scene in the early 1990s. But man, do I ever.

Dig these tunes and forget that extra half a hit. (Links are underlined in italics.)

AlphaSometime Later by Alpha, from Come From Heaven (1997 Melankolic / Virgin Records).

Somewhere Not Here by Alpha, from Come From Heaven (1997 Melankolic / Virgin Records).

Soul City by Bowery Electric, from Lushlife (2000 Beggars Banquet).

What Your Soul Sings by Massive Attack w/ Sinéad O’Connor, from 100th Window (2003 Virgin Records).

Protection by Massive Attack w/ Tracey Thorn, from Protection (1994 Virgin Records)

Black Milk by Massive Attack w/ Elisabeth Fraser, from Mezzanine (1998 Virgin Records).

beth gibbons

BETH GIBBONS / Portishead

Only You by Portishead, from Roseland NYC – Live (1998 Go! Discs, London).

Pumpkin by Tricky w/ Alison Goldfrapp, from Maxinquaye (1995 Island Records).

Bloodstain by Unkle, from Psyence Fiction (1998 Mo’ Wax).

Polaris by Zero 7, from Simple Things (2001 Palm Pictures / Ultimate Dilemma).

Destiny by Zero 7, from Simple Things (2001 Palm Pictures / Ultimate Dilemma).

Thank you Mike.

21 oct 2014

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