Pharr3ll: Very courteous, has large diamond on finger which appears to be yellow. Had some great shiny patent leather Japanese Air Force One-inspired kicks. (BAPEs.) Said that he told Heidi Klum where to get gold fronts for her Halloween outfit.
Mr. S. C4rt3r: Very courteous, put on a pair of fresh tube socks and drank tea with honey. His bodyguard is the largest human being I've ever seen.
I heard three new N.3.R.D. tracks from Fly or Die, the best called "Don't Worry About It." I also heard a K3lis track called "Honey Tea," or something, and it sounded good. The best track Hugo played for me was "Nuclear Letdown" by Sierra Swan, which is due some time next year on Atlantic, he says. Angry new wave blocks covered with overgrown synth bass vines. Unexpectedly sweet chord changes in what might actually have been a bridge. Imagine that Kenna's unsentimental, younger sister is obsessed with Siouxsie Sioux. Produced by Ch4d Hug0. (UPDATE: These tracks never came out, time passed, and then Swan reappeared as a Fiona variant.)
All participants friendly and garrulous. Almost too easy. Odds are that there will be serious cock-punching disappointment today as part of the Pharr3ll meeting. How could two days in a row go well? They can't. Pusha T from Clips3 showed up playing his new album so loud that I thought he was working in the studio. Nope, that was just him driving down Princess Anne. (UPDATE: That "new album" was part of what became "Hell Hath No Fury.")
Here is an essay on Language poetry and poetics by Joshua Clover.
Joshua Clover's chapbook & CD, "Their Ambiguity," is out now through Jeff Clark's Quemadura Press. It is a cut-up of Situationist film scripts and other texts. I don't recognize all the sources. It seems likely many of the words are Clover's own. The accompanying CD contains both readings and music. (I recommend Clark's book, "The Little Door Slides Back." It is made of words and makes me high with delight.)
Here is a sample from "Their Ambiguity":
"Monumental the lacunae between illbiquitous promenaders down to the Square past the Open 24 Hours as social forms of grieving we are prohibited this is the remix the new glitch has been recalled melancholy of luscious Pictober the fall of the phenomenon into the iris back with another one of those Return of the Flaneur as hardcore Autumnophage echolocation always places you in a different country the cure is beats per minute bad year in Brooklyn Bombs Over Baghdad the negative needs no introduction and/or here we go!"
Radiohead's "Meeting People Is Easy" is the anxiety of fame not accepted: Inside the shaky, sub-advert imposed text frames, you can see the traditional fan movie they're too selfish and embarrassed to give their fans. They pretend they don't need it and choke, too scared to bust the Michael Snow they've convinced themselves they're making.
1. December 4th, produced by Just Blaz3. Mr. Carter teaches himself to ride two-wheeler by age 4. Mother narrates. Song is heat.
2. My First Song, produced by Aqua. Bananas.
3. Moment of Clarity, produced by Marsha11 Math3rz. Mr. Cart3r would rhyme like Tal1b Kw3li if it weren't for the money, he says. Annoying beat.
4. 99 Problems, produced by R1ck Rub1n. This song gave me a haircut. Good like grab-your-pantleg-and-beg-you-to-stay good. Imagine early 80s Rub1n melted down into one beat. Metal. Hip-hop. Yes.
5. Dirt Off Your Shoulders, produced by T. Mosl3y. Get ready for the new dance craze, almost as good as the Shovel. Beat = Sterno + yule log.
6. Change Clothes, produced by Phar3ll. Annoying.
7. What More Can I Say?, produced by The Buchanans. I know this sample, but I can't place it.
5 other tracks, unheard, include 2 by Kany3 W3st, another by Phar3ll. No Dr. Dr3, no Pr3mier.
Mr. Cart3r: charming! tall!
"Boy In Da Corner" has been scheduled for US release: January 20 on XL/Beggars. It is time to dust off the World's Famous Supreme Team sample: "I like the way you talk."
How much would you pay to hear Dizzee read the news?
I loved Tim's remix of "White Flag" but I thought my reaction might be nothing more studio-itis, i.e., being overwhelmed by the wind $50,000 speakers push. But back home, the original version of "White Flag" sounded dishwater weak. The balance of surrender and pride and the lovely chromatic kicks are soggy with Producer's Milk. Tim wasn't just trotting out the doorknockers and Triton patches reflexively. His remix serves the tune by drying it out, laying ultrahard bang science under the voice like a steel bedframe. (And he solo'd out the brilliant string arrangement, which is submerged in the Enigma/Sting murk of the original.) Tim's astringent bump takes the pong off Dido's wrapped Grandma pocket caramels and leaves enough blank space to bring out the grain of her voice. And I thought he was just phoning it in! (When I cried Uncle and drove home exhasted and a little baffled by US 1, Tim was beginning to fuss it up with some extra keys, but I bet he thinned it back out by the end.) Maybe he really should just produce everybody's records.
First day: Scheduled to hook up with Tim at 2 PM. Seven hours pass. We finally connect at The Hit Factory in Aventura. I hang from 9 to 10 with Jimmy Douglass. He remembers me from five years ago and says “Aw, you shoulda had me mix your band’s record.” (Don’t rub it in, hombre!) He tells a funny story about playing “Get Ur Freak On” for Alan Parsons at a 5.1 surround sound convention. Who knew there was such a thing? He is mixing the new Missy album, which he is due to master in New York the next day. “Pump It Up” is liquid fire + Trouble Funk sample. Missy: “I love my gut, fuck a tummy tuck,” with Nelly being exactly like Nelly. Jimmy plays me a 5.1 mix of the “Toys” song about her Butterfly vibrator. It’s cool taking the Stereo Dragon ride but I can’t imagine people going to the trouble of installing a system like this. Maybe in the car. Jimmy thinks everyone will have a 5.1 system soon. There are apparently two code protocols for 5.1, like Beta and VHS. One is SACD and the other is something else. I don't think either of us is sure about this.
The Tim interview has a tricky fuse. Bzzft. I say that I don’t like being kept waiting and Tim says he can give me 30 minutes. Oh, that was worth flying down for. He is in the middle of remixing Dido’s “White Flag,” which I end up loving. Give her the millions, I say. The interview ends up flowing, a perception confirmed by his engineers. Tim sings Bonnie Raitt. Many songs are deemed the “illest song ever,” including “Who Can It Be Now?” and “Love Is a Battlefield.” Someone brings me a Coke, because I am falling asleep. My jaw still throbs from the tooth extraction last week. I feel like God’s voodoo doll, like Keith Talent in London Fields. The air conditioning is turned down to 40 degrees, I think.
Tim’s engineer is Demo Castellon, who’s been with him since Under Construction. I don’t know if he tracks or just edits, since Jimmy is still on board. Demo, short for Demacio, looks about 20, and is wearing a full basketball uniform. He is incredibly fast in Pro Tools and very sweet. Tim wears a Yankees grey jersey. He is eating salad and bananas. He eats the banana in 12 seconds.
Second day: He has flown to Atlanta for a Cee-Lo video shoot. We have agreed to meet at night at the Hit Factory for the start off the LL Cool J session. After spending the day being unable to raise up his assistant on the cell phone, I show up at 10 PM. The security guard tells me Tim is not coming. I leave and watch the Yankees game. The lion’s share of three days has been melted down for two hours. Whatevs.
Back at the Turnberry, I rediscover Mad About You on cable. Interesting pacing of the dialogue, lots of dips and noise, an almost improvised feeling. There’s a strong dynamic between the two of them. (Where did they go, those two?) Wonder if some of the reality TV wave begins with a show like this and Seinfeld, where the mundane is the focus, the accuracy of the emotional and psychic landscape. This runs all the way through to Lost In Translation. See a commercial for the Indiana Jones DVD set, and it feels like it’s 5 million years old.
The salads down here are death, watery iceberg lettuce and dressings that slime the situation without adding an actual quality. Steak is really the only thing to fuck with if you leave New York. I am becoming Dr. Schultz, some New Yorker provincial who can’t leave Tribeca because of the sandwiches at Columbine (the store, not the high school). Waah waah I’m a big baby.
Marlins fans are so balanced. They’re not nearly as belligerent about the World Series as I am. After I start throwing around stats and praising Clemens, the lady at Thrifty say “It’s just a game,” and I think, “Christ, she’s right. I didn’t even care about the baseball season a month ago. I didn’t even know who Aaron Boone was.” Error Boone, more like it!
Movies watched in hotel room: Tuskegee Airmen with L Fishburne (good), that weird domination sex movie with Rosie and Dan Ackroyd, part of Matrix Reloaded before I fell asleep, and part of Glitter, which goes beyond my expectations. Carey is so unskilled that the movie is more unreadable than unwatchable. What is the mood supposed to be in any given scene? Unknown. Much time is given over to this sour, depressing thread about her ex-boyfriend Dice being murdered and her mooning about, sort of crying. It seems her entire approach to acting was making sure she could get Worked Up enough to Cry. The logical leaps are so enormous they resist analysis. Instead of milking the tension inherent in the quest for stardom, Carey just becomes one, in approximately two scenes. She doesn’t even pat herself on the back for striving. She just kind of forgets what parts are necessary for a movie to feel like a movie. It also looks and sounds like it was made in 1978, which is very surprising, maybe even deliberate, which just torques up the weird factor. What it resembles most is an attempt to make a classic bad 70s movie, maybe without telling Carey.
Check the new Aggressive Klassik Rock Klown freeware used to generate Queenan's review of the new Stones coffee table book in the New York Times Book Review. If you're pressed for time, you can duplicate Queenan's methods at home: Forget the Stones' killer disco singles ("Miss You," "Undercover of The Night") and assert their musical conservatism as self-evident. Ignore the non-blues genres the Stones have pilfered and imply that rock itself is a static, closed practice (like shuttlecock). Rank Mick Taylor's more visibly chopsy genius above Keith's less visible syntactical genius. Make fun of Brian Jones for the wrong reasons. Allege that the making of Backstreet Boys records is not a complicated, detailed process. Snap on a music writer for the sin of loving the Stones in public (possibly because they got the gig you didn't). Insult Sheryl Crow for no apparent reason, and then create a false battle between Justin Timberlake, R.E.M. and Stones for a crown of your own devising. Collect check!
Things that we previously thought nobody would ever say out loud ("Arnold wins!") are now things that actually happen. Jean Baudrillard is officially out of a job. (Link courtesy of Jay Babcock at Arthur Magazine.)
Jessica Hopper writes:
"The night before last, I was out on my bike, outside the local radical arts/commie group house art gallery spaces-place, which is conveniently located above the upscale velvet roped Booty Club-Lounge (not its real name) and 3 dudes in a parked Cutlass next to where I was unlocking my bike and 2 dudes were smoking a joint and the dude in the passenger seat was, with Temptations style hand motions in play, singing along to "Prototype." He turned to his boys and said "This is my shit, this is my shit". he turned to me and said "You know, I love my gangsta shit, I am a gangsta AFICIANADO, but, you know, this is about love, this is real. Live in My Lap, that's real love shit.". I put my hand on my heart and made a little thump-thump, which is emo-sign language that I picked up at some Thursday show or soemthing, and I said "I love this record too. I like the Big Boi side a little better." Then the guy in the backseat tried to buy my bike from me."
Chris Lee and I were having a discussion yesterday at "rehearsal." It seems that our band, The Sands, has hit a roadblock: We must write songs and play them over and over so we do not make mistakes. The getting together and playing the songs over and over seems kinda old, because we're kinda old. So, like a perfect sneaker that never tastes the pavement, this could be a poster band that never plays, never delivers stupid between-song banter from the stage, never grows old, never makes a terrible seventh record. Just three perfect posters, stuck way up high on buildings to haunt Bloomberg in his sleep. I know all too well what happens when an actual band puts up actual posters. I don't want to go through that again. "What it is is illegal."
I got a package today from Finnish artist Outi Heiskanen, who I met in Finland earlier this year. She wears a small, conical white hat like a mid-level wizard and her hair is large and frizzy and white. (She ends her letter with a Xerox picture of her head, signed "Hi—it's me the baboon!") Her art is killer, a combination of dry-point, watercolor and various printing techniques. The content is like 60s children's books (Leo Lionni, Steig R.I.P., etc.) reclaiming their subconscious through Finnish mythology. (I know nothing about Finnish mythology, but she said the babies and old men are central to Finnish myth.) Her granddaughter Siiri Nordin was in a pop band called Killer, whose CD she included, along with twelve tiny yellow chicks (not real) in a plastic box.
Outi says she was part of the Finnish equivalent of Fluxus. I could not understand the name of the group, so I can't really corroborate this. She has a room dedicated to Buddhism in her house, which is dark and red and very soothing to a hand-wound New York headcase. Her contribution to the Night Train exhibit at the Kiasma in Helsinki is still up. Start the virtual exhibition ("full version"), and then click on the left-most yellowy-green room, which is roughly in the top center of the floor plan. (The title "Summer Night" will appear at left when you roll over Outi's installation.)
Alerts@allhophop.com just told us that this is the first time in history black artists have owned the Billboard Top 10. (I haven't fact-checked this.) Interesting that black artists also have 5 of the Top 11 - 20. Xtina makes it 6, if you feel that way:
1 "Baby Boy," Beyonce Featuring Sean Paul
2 "Shake Ya Tailfeather," Nelly, P. Diddy & Murphy Lee
3 "Get Low," Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz Featuring Ying Yang Twins
4 "Right Thurr," Chingy
5 "Frontin'," Pharrell Featuring Jay-Z
6 "Damn!," YoungBloodZ Featuring Lil Jon
7 "P.I.M.P.," 50 Cent
8 "Into You," Fabolous Featuring Tamia Or Ashanti
10 "Where Is The Love?," Black Eyed Peas
11 "Unwell," matchbox twenty
12 "You & I," Santana Featuring Alex Band Or Chad Kroeger
13 "Here Without You," 3 Doors Down
14 "Crazy In Love," Beyonce Featuring Jay-Z
15 "Can't Stop, Won't Stop," Young Gunz
16 "Rain On Me," Ashanti
17 "Thoia Thoing," R. Kelly
18 "Can't Hold Us Down," Christina Aguilera Featuring Lil' Kim
19 "My Love Is Like... Wo," Mya
20 "The Remedy (I Won't Worry)," Jason Mraz
So Luke Vibert has his own "Red Hot Car" now. This means he's discovered dancing is not just for the little people, having a hit would help, or both. (He maybe noticed Junior/Senior's theory that dancing + cartoons = ka-ching, as realized by Shynola. Happy to see Shynola website updated. That was killing us, the lack of an update.)
Short of impeachment proceedings, it’s the best thing you’ll see all year.
Would you like to watch The Slits trash a car? I would.
1. Beyoncé f/Jay-Z “Crazy In Love” (Columbia)
2. The New Pornographers “The Laws Have Changed” (Matador)
3. Panjabi MC “Mundian To Bach Ke” (Sequence)
4. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Maps” (Interscope)
5. R. Kelly “Ignition (Remix)” (Jive)
6. NU “Any Other Girl” (Adventures In Music)
7. Panjabi MC “Jogi” (Sequence)
8. t.a.t.u. “All The Things She Said” (Interscope)
9. Christina Aguilera “Beautiful” (Jive)
10. Outkast “Hey Ya” (Arista)
11. Deftones “Minerva” (Maverick)
12. Killer Mike “A.D.I.D.A.S” (Epic)
13. Kylie “Slow” (EMI)
14. 50 Cent “In Da Club” (Interscope)
15. Go Home Productions “Making Plans For Vinyl” (gohomeproductions.co.uk)
16. Postal Service “Such Great Heights” (Sub Pop)
17. Kelis “Milkshake (DJ Zinc remix)” (Arista)
18. Sean Paul “Like Glue” (Atlantic/VP)
19. Justin Timberlake “Cry Me A River” (Jive)
20. Ghostface Killah f/Jadakiss “Run” (Def Jam)
21. DJ Bobo “Chihuahua” (RCA)
22. Pink & William Orbit “Feel Good Time” (Columbia)
23. Go Home Productions “Ray of Gob” (gohomeproductions.co.uk)
24. Dido “White Flag” (Arista)
25. Johnny Cash “Hurt” (American)
26. Lil Jon & East Side Boyz “Get Low” (TVT)
27. DJ Shadow "Walkie Talkie" (MCA)
28. Junior Senior “Move Your Feet” (Crunchy Frog/Atlantic)
1. Jay-Z The Black Album (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
2. Led Zeppelin How The West Was Won (Atlantic)
3. Deftones (Maverick)
4. Junior Senior D-Don’t Stop The Beat (Crunchy Frog/Atlantic)
5. Liz Phair (Capitol)
6. 50 Cent Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ (Shady/Aftermath)
7. Outkast Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Arista)
8. Dizzee Rascal Boy In Da Corner (XL, UK)
9. Jay-Z The S. Carter Collection (no label)
10. Justin Timberlake Justified (Jive)
11. King Sunny Ade Best of The Classic Years (Shanachie)
12. Fountains of Wayne Welcome Interstate Managers (S-Curve/Virgin)
13. Coldplay A Rush of Blood To The Head (Capitol)
14. Missy Elliot This Is Not A Test (Elektra)
15. MU Afro Finger and Gel (Output)
16. Queens Of The Stone Age Songs For The Deaf (Interscope)
17. A Frames A Frames 2 (S-S)
18. Odd Nosdam No More Wig For Ohio (Anticon)
19. Kenna New Sacred Cow (Sony)
20. Music In My Head Volume 2 (Stern’s)
21. Panjabi MC Beware (Sequence)
22. Mr. Dibbs The 30th Hour
23. Thermals More Parts Per Million (Sub Pop)
Philip Sherburne is responsible for a new-ish Picadub mix up at Beta Lounge. (Search for “Picadub,” and then select the 9.25.03 show.) The Picadub mix released earlier this year would be the mix CD of the year if it wasn’t available exclusively in “Der Freundchen Schlossinger,” or wherever the fuck it was sandwiched/enclosed/embedded. (You need to appreciate click-clack crabwalk boogie music to fully enjoy yourself with the Picadub. I know you do.)