Adidas and Nike are in a foot race to see who can perfect a knit—not sewn—shoe that will wastes less material and doesn’t need as much cheap labor to make.
Never Forget - “In 1975, in Cambodia, there was a regime so evil that it created an antisociety where torture was currency and music, books, and love were abolished… ”
A Voyage to the Sun - “In a sealed chamber in the desert Southwest lies the heart of a machine that could change the world. A machine called Z.”
The Suicide Catcher - “In the rapidly modernizing, constantly churning city of Nanjing, China, there is a bridge where many come to end their lives. Most end up in the Yangtze River, but some are pulled back from the brink by an odd and unlikely angel.”
The Flight Of the Fluttering Swallows - “It is estimated that unaccompanied child refugees from North Korea number nearly 10,000 in China, but only about 100 of them have made it to the Promised Land, South Korea, in the last five years.”
The Man Who Wouldn’t Die - “Olympic hero Rulon Gardner has fallen off trucks, tumbled off tractors, and gotten stuck in a baler. He has been impaled on an arrow, broken his neck, and gashed his knee clean to the bone…”
The Man Who Sailed His House - “Two days after the Japanese tsunami, after the waves had left their destruction, as rescue workers searched the ruins, news came of an almost surreal survival: Miles out at sea, a man was found, alone, riding on nothing but the roof of his house.”
The Fast Track to Dharma - “60 Degrees Straight Down, Mind the Boulders and Avalanches. A postcard from La Grave, France - alpinism’s new lost horizon.”
The World’s Luckiest Village by Michael Paterniti - It was a tiny town of farmers, a village where everyone knew everyone and nearly all struggled to make ends meet. But then, a few days before Christmas, they won the largest lottery in the history of Spain. The entire town. All of them.
The Last Meal - “A two-ounce songbird. A lemon-sized tumor. An imperial appetite for death, flesh, and the immortal gesture. It was time for dinner.”
The Greatest Chef In The World - The true tale of the alchemical miracles and transcendental gastronomy of Ferran Adriá, the world’s greatest chef.
The Panoramic Book
Or, The Horizontal Scroll, depending how you look at things.
Images via the Princeton University Library Blog: “The graphic arts collection holds a scrolling panorama made up of 12 unsigned, hand-colored etchings, with a narrative in verse, attributed to [Thomas] Rowlandson and titled Mister O’Squat.”
I’ll Be Around
Today is a great friend’s birthday, and I’m not sure there’s a better track to wish him a ‘Happy Birthday’ with.
Matt and I have seen Gov’t Mule perform several times, in several places. He once interviewed Warren Haynes, and another time he interviewed Matt Abts. I once interviewed Danny Louis. We were geekily protective of the recordings of those interviews. When we shared an apartment in Northampton, Gov’t Mule albums were on constant play in our kitchen. We once drove from Amherst, MA to see Gov’t Mule in Albany, NY. It was a trip that involved: First, coasting on fumes with the engine off to the nearest gas station to refill the tank. Second, having dinner with my brother at his college in Albany and basking in the glow of a much nicer dining hall. Third, when we were trying to drive to the show, we could see the Palace Theatre, but for the life of us could not find the right road to turn down. We ended up consulting a parking lot attendant who was missing either an eye, or a limb, and while he was also lacking a considerable number of teeth, we can never remember what the other ‘missing feature’ was. It was eery. The show was great.
Another time we saw them in Springfield, MA, at The Hippodrome. That was scary in a much closer-to-home sort of way, but far less eventful. We were right at the front of the stage, though, and that was fantastic.
Seven years back, minus a few months, Matt called me from another Gov’t Mule show. The only thing was, at the time, I was hiking the Appalachian Trail so the call went to voicemail. What he probably didn’t know at the time (and really, how could he have) was that the day I got that voicemail was a day I could use that sort of pick me up. I was sun burnt from top to bottom, my arms a particularly warm shade of red. It was one of the hottest days I had hiked at that point, and the rocky Pennsylvania section of the trail was still exposed to the sun in a cloudless sky as the slow awakening of Spring had yet to provide much in terms of foliage. I had reached this shelter that was, more or less, a converted garage with a big sunlight in the roof, and for the first time in days, a few bars of cell service.
When I checked my voicemail I had this song playing back to me, introduced by a shouting Matt saying ‘I hope you can hear this’ and then - the way I picture it - holding the phone up to record the song in a prominent, but not too prominent, manner that allowed him to capture the music without being ‘one of those people’ who hold their phones up at shows. Or maybe he did, which wouldn’t surprise me either because he’s the sort of person who would betray his well-earned music geek credentials to do that sort of thing for a friend.
To this day, whenever I hear this song I’m taken back to that spot on the trail, and for all those reasons, this will remain my all time favourite Gov’t Mule song.
Artist: Gov’t Mule
For the sake of scraping the bottom of the rabbit hole a bit more, I saw Kria and Tare perform at Hampshire in 200(6)?(7)? with Mk. I seem to remember liking the show but can’t for the life of me recall a single instant of what it sounded like. What I do remember is listening to Harvest as I drove my friends Sean and Emily there….
In any case, another good one from Scott.
Play a quick little game of ‘follow the musical synapses’ with me … It’s like a choose your own adventure book, but musical and Youtube-powered.
Funny story about choose your own adventure books: When I was ten - twenty years ago - we moved from Connecticut to Massachusetts. During that process I somehow had packed up a choose your own adventure book that wasn’t mine. I had checked it out of the Montville, CT library. When I realised this, at the age of 10, I did nothing about it, and just put it on my book shelf. I must owe a ton of nickels in back fines.
I should sort that out next time I’m home.
Artist: Kría Brekkan
Song: Uterus Water
This is round two of ‘Scott’s random adventures with Icelandic musicians’. I’m calling this a rabbit-hole post, and essentially will walk you through both coming across this song and where it went from there.
I grew tired of what the radio was spitting out earlier this evening, so I decided it was posting time, and dutifully hit ‘next’ and landed here.
On ‘Uterus Water’. Yep, not much you can say about that except that the title somehow fits perfectly with what I’m hearing. Of course none of us can remember what or whether we could hear anything in utero, but you’d have to think if you could hear things, it might sound like this song. This is what Brekkan wrote about the inspiration and creation of the song:
Early this year I was sick for weeks coughing bad air out of my lungs cause of all the smoke from the fire cumulating in the old electricity. The waters of our insides had already dried up in the heat and would not become of much use to bring the flames braking out down. That night outside wind blew unruly. I was staying in an apartment of a friend who was gone and had a song to make for children to go to sleep to. I crawled onto the floor and created Uterus Water with the instruments i found around me like shelter.
I think the explanation confuses me more than it helps.
The artist - Kría Brekkan - is from Iceland, and was once married to one of the members of Animal Collective (not from Iceland, but rather Baltimore). I like Animal Collective quite a bit, and I like the side project of Animal Collective’s Panda Bear even more. This strikes me as closer to Panda Bear’s music than to Animal Collective (Panda Bear favours the ambient to the more upbeat work of Animal Collective). So I wikipedia-ed to see if, perchance, Brekkan was married to Panda Bear (Noah Lennox). Nope. She was married to Avey Tare (formerly David Portner). See the little rabbit hole this is taking me down? Well try and keep up.
Tare’s work doesn’t do it for me. It sounds too much like I can hear the pits and pops of the electricity behind the electronics, and that gets in the way of the music. That could just be my taste.
Want a fantastic, more slow-paced, cover of My Girls? Try Taken By Trees’ My Boys. Taken By Trees is the solo project of Swedish singer Victoria Bergmsan, formerly of The Concretes. I never knew of The Concretes, but am listening now and like about half of it.
Grizzly Bear is not part of Animal Collective, but ought to be based on the name alone. Perhaps it’s better to see Grizzly Bear as a bridge between Animal Collective and fellow Brooklynites Caveman, musically speaking, but I could be off on that.
That Caveman video linked to there is for a song called Easy Water. Very uteran as well.
I think I’m done for now.