The Onion On My Internet Belt

Archive for the ‘Essays’ Category

Rant, directions, and the mix for 5-5-17

I’m going to start with a rant so skip to the next paragraph if that isn’t your style. First off I’m in a foul mood because of the vote yesterday in Congress to move ahead with 45s disastrous “health care” bill. You see those pictures from after the vote? All old white people celebrating. The greed, hatefulness, and vast hypocrisy of it is staggering. I would shout more about it but I have a strong suspicion that if you are reading this you are in the choir already. Second, there is a process my place of work does once every few months and yet my coworkers can’t figure the fucking thing out. They literally have a 9” x 13” piece of paper covered in wonderfully precise instructions and act surprised EVERY TIME when I point out they are doing it wrong. Plus side: This is the very last time this process happens on paper. Next time there will be a whole new set of questions but at least 1500 less papers to shuffle.

I like media studies so here is a thing that occurred to me just a few days ago. The marketing juggernaut that is Disney/Star Wars has new fodder these days. As such there are a lot more images and merch from the franchise around. One interesting side effect of merchandising the Star Wars movies is that on balance there are more images of evil than of good. My guess is that since the bad guys all wear masks, it is easier to license a mask than someone’s actual image (you know, a real human being’s face). I find it at least a little dark amusement that the push to make the most cash by a giant company normalizes images of evil as commonplace. Thought experiment: How much more often do you see Darth Vader or a storm trooper instead of Luke, Leia, Finn, Poe, Han, or Rey?

In a scant eight days I am taking part in the MS Ride again. If you enjoy the weekly mixes a good way to show it is to donate to my fundraising efforts. Some of you loyal readers/listeners have already and I do vastly appreciate it! My fund raising page is here. I am very pleased to say I have raised $878 so far.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… originally mixed the week of 5.5.17

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Mrs. Cold – Kings of Convenience – Declaration of Dependence.
Mrs. Jack’s Last Stand – Adrian Legg – Guitar For Mortals.
Miss Gradenko – The Police – Synchronicity.
Look At The Lady – Trip Shakespeare – Are You Shakespearienced?
Mr. Soul – Buffalo Springfield – Retrospective: The Best of Buffalo Springfield.
Mr. Bellows – John Mellencamp – Mr. Happy Go Lucky.
Mr. Nichols – Coldcut with Saul Williams – Sound Mirrors.
Mr. Jones – Elvin Jones – Poly-Currents.
The Gentleman Is a Dope – Count Basie & Sarah Vaughan – Count Basie/Sarah Vaughan.
Sophisticated Lady – Billie Holliday – Compact Jazz Billy Holiday.
Oh Lady Be Good – Benny Goodman – Rare Recordings: 1935-1936 [Live].
Tally-Ho, Mr. Basie! – Count Basie & The Kansas City 7 – Count Basie & The Kansas City 7.
Lady Day And John Coltrane – Gil Scott-Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.
Little Miss Lover – The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Axis: Bold As Love.
Lady Cab Driver – Prince – 1999.
Blood, Milk And Sky (Miss September Mix) – White Zombie – Supersexy Swingin’ Sounds.

Guest Post! Kara talks music.

Today I’ve got something different for you: A guest post! My friend Kara and I have been talking music via twitter for years. When I posted my recent mixes of strange things I had come across in the previous year, Kara asked to chime in and I was glad to hear her thoughts. So, without any further ado…

Stuck in a Post-punk Rut
By Kara Martinez Bachman

I’ve been following Cory on social media for many years. Throughout those years, he’s always impressed me with his interest in–and passion for–music. Whether he’s sharing Twitter photos of the vinyl he’s spinning that day or blogging his latest music playlist, Cory stands out in my mind as a real music aficionado.

Recently, one of his blog posts caused me to ponder my music tastes of late, and truly realize how as each year passes, I become more and more resistant to new music. Cory impresses me with his willingness to stretch his tastes into various genres, and with the breadth of his collection, spanning from pop to classical.

He made me ask the question: why am I so set in my ways?

I, too, still own some of my old vinyl. I’d made the dire mistake of selling most of it off for a quarter apiece sometime in the late ‘90s (Why? WHY?), but I’ve still got a hundred or so of the old records that were either too obscure or too unpopular for the garage sale bargain-shoppers to snag (oh yes indeed, they went after my Prince and U2 with a vengeance).

100_1720

When I recently spent some time sorting through and reading the liner notes on the old albums of thirty years ago, I was struck by how little my tastes have changed over the years. Back in the ‘80s and early ‘90s, I’d always loved what was on college radio — XTC, Siouxie and the Banshees, The Cure. Now it’s called “post-punk,” but of course, back then, we just called it “good.”

I’m not sure what attracted me. I could relate to the sometimes tech-infused melancholy of Dark Wave, and loved the aesthetic of the British New Wave and New Romantic movements. I enjoyed the popular and sometimes-maligned stuff (Duran Duran, Depeche Mode) as well as the lesser known aspects that lurked at the edges, at least here in the U.S. (think Echo and the Bunnymen, Aztec Camera).

As I looked over these old records, I realized how little has changed. I don’t have the time to listen to music much anymore. As a writer, I can’t work with the background distraction of music. But when I do, the playlist is sure to be from the more calming side of the old Dark Wave genre: Cocteau Twins. The Cure. New Order. Perhaps some Morrissey tossed in for good measure.

100_1721

Unlike Cory–who has obviously stayed open over the years to a wide-ranging, eclectic playlist–anything “new” on my playlist somehow hearkens back to the same styles I used to love.

For instance, I’ll listen to Muse, which often has a symphonic post-punk sound and sometimes reminds me of Queen. I’ve enjoyed The Killers, which — let’s be honest — may as well be The Cure had Robert Smith been born into Mormonism. In perhaps the weirdest of the recent choices, I’ve got music by Adam Lambert, who at times feels like a fun throwback to the over-the-top pop years of the 1980s. Likewise, I actually like a few songs by Pink. But sadly, that’s the extent of my interest in this decade’s music.

In every case, I find my tastes looking back in a straight trajectory to the late 1980s. Never looking forward, and rarely glancing to the side. As I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate jazz and blues more, but I’m for the most part an old fogie. Kinda closed, and jealous of those who can stretch themselves into the nooks and crannies of music instead of always walking down the same exact aisle.

100_1726

I wish it weren’t so. I wish I could embrace the new, or, at least, the “new to me.” But I’m set in my ways. I’m like the older people we grew up with, who tuned into the “golden oldies” stations that reminded them of sock hops. Except for me, the sock hops would be all-ages local punk shows, or high school dances where everybody flooded the floor when “Don’t You Forget About Me” came on.

I’m not ashamed of my penchant for nostalgia, but recognize its limitations. I wish my playlist were more inclusive. A little more like Cory’s.

Kara Martinez Bachman is author of the new humor essay collection, Kissing the Crisis: Field Notes on Foul-Mouthed Babies, Disenchanted Women and Careening into Middle Age published by Quill Driver Books. Her work has been heard on NPR radio and has appeared in dozens of publications, including The Writer, Funny Times, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Find out more by visiting Karamartinezbachman.com.

Sharks, Clay, and the mix for 1-15-16

Among many things, growing up and into adulthood means watching your heroes die. I remember when I heard the news that Hunter Thompson had committed suicide. I was reading “The Great Shark Hunt” but could never turned another page it that book.

Yesterday I was turning over a metaphor in my mind. Humans have a long history of being described as clay. In that mode, we can harden and shatter, we can be watered down to nothing. We can be formed, added to, subtracted from. I pictured many forms of clay, started as figures, and as they aged, pieces were removed and at the same time pieces were added but these simultaneous tasks left each figured deformed but not lessened. I turned the lights off on this workshop when I considered the accelerating deformity of my own clay form.

Both David Bowie and Alan Rickman died this week, both at age 69, both from cancer. I am saddened by this news as I found their complexity, pathos, and influence to be compelling.

Meanwhile, in a midsized town (for middle southern Minnesota), at the age of 92, my last grandparent is dying from an infection in his foot. My Dad called last night to tell me the news. Now it’s lessening options and waiting.

Electronic hard scrabble bass noise. Come get some.

Listen to and/or download this podcast! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… Originally mixed the week of 1.15.16

NOTE: New “The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” podcasts are generally posted on Fridays. The show archives are around ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.

Song – Artist – Album
Saints Row the Third – Malcolm Kirby Jr – Saints Row: The Third [Soundtrack].
Ignition Full Thrust – Debonaire & Exzakt – 25 Years Strong.
More Lazers – edit – The GTame Is Not Over / More Lazers single.
Beauty Of The Unhidden Heart – The Glitch Mob – Love Death Immortality.
The New Soma (Bass Science Remix) – STS9 – Peaceblaster (The New Orleans Make It Right Remixes).
Timestretch (West Coast Lo Fi Remix) – Bassnectar – Timestretch.
Encom Part 2 (Remixed By Com Truise) – Daft Punk – TRON: Legacy Reconfigured.
Sweden – Two Fingers – Stunt Rhythms.
Difference (Featuring Franky Perez) – The Crystal Method – The Crystal Method.
Crunch Rhythm – Two Fingers – Stunt Rhythms.
4 bit 9d api+e+6 – Aphex Twin – Syro.
Anvil Vapre (Second Scepe) – Autechre – Tri Repetae++ [Disc 2].

Cusp

Good news, everyone! The laptop I use for mixing and music storage is back up and sounding like it should! It took many hours but after a massive uninstall/reinstall, I’m back in business! NB: The real credit goes to my wife, Mary. She did the real heavy lifting here when I reached my point of utter frustration.

In the meantime I have built up somewhere between 8 and 12 mixes either ready to stitch together or on the cusp of being ready. That means the only impediment to your hearing them is the time needed to do the final run on each (which is between 45 and 90 minutes per mix).

So, music again soon! Will I owe you apologies for mixes that are too clever for their own good? Maybe. Will you get that apology? Maybe not. I’ll consider your interest piqued.

Are there other things I could ramble about? Yes! Am I going to? No!

I’m as shocked about that as you are.

Here is a picture I set up some time ago, but the theme of Star Wars Mania is apropos my current gaming obsession.

 

july 27 2008 2737694532_324ae3d9c7_b

That armor’s too thick for blasters!

Holding Pattern

Another week gone and yet no mix for you to download. I’m sure you are cursing me for how many garments you’ve rended and need to replace, as well as the dental bills from your gnashed teeth.

A feeble ray of hope! I’ve figured out a good way (ie, least amount of fussing with various bits) to move files around so I can mix on a machine that sounds like it should. The issue is the same one that drove me to get a laptop to start with. I don’t want to sit isolated in a room in the basement mixing. I find it to be depressing and if feels like punishment. But the ideas keep piling up and if I don’t do something with them I get antsy.

In the last couple of weeks I absorbed a collection of records from my friend Shannon that highlight why I like having all this aging and soon to be (if not already) obscure equipment around the house. The records were relics from her folks and brothers. In the pile (around 70 records of various vintage and widely ranging condition) there were three real treasures. Two were 78 rpm discs of her Dad singing. He was dabbling with music degree early in his college career. The other was an LP on which her very recently deceased brother had played. I was able to translate the 78s to digital, but I have to hold off on the LP. My cd burner* is in a bad way and I am hoping to replace it soon. So the times I sit and look at that stack of obtuse dinosaurs that make up the mixing equipment and wonder why I spend so much effort with an arm in the past have a balance in events like this.

*I am intrigued by the idea that I’ve seen the entire cycle of home audio cd burners come and go being both an early adopter (’97 with a first generation Philips single speed burner) and now late to give it up (Tascam CDRW900 that needs replacement with a mkII version).

There has also been a recent spike in interest in what I know about records. I’m not exactly sure why but I do like helping by knowing the good weird stuff.

Discovered early this week that there is a mouse, possibly several, living in the garage. At least they aren’t in the house. I also discovered that if I want to use the box joint jig that I got last Christmas for my router that I need to buy two router bits. It says so right on the damn box and has all this last year. Sigh.

This year I thought I had gift giving solved in a beautiful way. My plan was to make charitable donations for folks to causes that I thought would be meaningful to them. Turns out this idea of less commercial excess, less aggravation over both list production and retrieval, less crap to find a place for, and (most importantly) the chance to do good, is almost impossible to pull off. It feels a bit like a chapter out of a Kafka novel. Next year I figure I either have to be aggressive to the point of undoing the hoped for ease of the experience or just keep my mouth shut altogether. I’m sure there is a lesson in all of this for me but it has yet to sink in.

How about a strange little song I put together by special request that fits the holiday season? Who Gave That Kids So Many Drums?

And lastly, an old picture I took that I like.

Jan 13 2009 pivot 3293331902_ac7a662f7f_o

Pivot (Jan 13 2009)