Sometimes when I go exploring for music I find something I like but it’s a complete mystery how it came to be. I can’t tell you much of anything about this artist — only that he’s German, he’s repped by a company in the Netherlands, and his genre is house/electronica. And that’s it, apart from the fact he’s got more tracks you can listen to on SoundCloud. My favorites so far are this faintly retro piece embedded here (on SoundCloud at Only You) and Fade — both make fairly mellow listening. His more popular works are a little more aggressive, like Gunshots and HWAH.
Caught a late summer bug, not firing on all cylinders. Here’s some assorted odds and ends that caught my eye between much-needed naps.
That’s enough to chew on for now. Hope to check in Friday if I shake off this bug.
There aren’t enough words to describe this genius who can do so much with a lone string. Brushy One String is the stagename of Andrew Chin, son of Jamaican musician Freddie McKay. McKay died in 1986 in his late 30s, leaving behind a body of work representative of the rocksteady (ex: Rock-a-Bye Woman) and reggae genres. While Brushy inherited his father’s musical talent, he’s parlayed into an interesting Rhythm-and-Blues-meets-Roots-Reggae crossover. Check out his website when you have a chance.
Way Up There
I-Spy: Cyber Edition
You’ve probably heard about the alleged hacking of a NSA server and the subsequent attempt to auction contents from that server. Edward Snowden offered his perspective on the situation — I’ve Storify’d the tweet thread for your reading ease.
The disclosure and attempted auction were likely done by Russia for political reasons given the timing. Hacking and accessing the contents of the server should be expected — it’s ordinary spying, same as the U.S. does. But the revelation is a new tack; Snowden suggests it’s a warning to the U.S. about potential future disclosures. Read the thread for yourself.
I don’t think this hacking and disclosure happened in a vacuum. There’s a much bigger game to puzzle out — add the meeting between Russia and Saudi Arabia to “achieve oil market stability” as well as Russia’s express interest in Saudi Arabia’s plans to build as many as 16 nuclear reactors. Factor in a change in relationship between Iran and Russia now that Russia has deployed long-range bombers from Iran for the first time against ISIS. Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran have some of the largest proven oil reserves in the world, all three in the top 10 and in Saudi’s case, influence over OPEC. Is Russia preparing for asymmetric economic pressure?
That’s it for now, still Tuesday in the next time zone. Let’s see if I can make it over the hump earlier tomorrow.
While philosopher Slavoj Žižek isn’t everybody’s cup of quirky tea, he’s got a valid point in this video.
The right-wing has abandoned its claim to be the Moral Majority.
Don’t mistake this as a validation of the Democratic Party here in the U.S.; they are only earning a majority in terms of politics, and in no small part by being the “Not GOP” party. With its leadership cozying up to war criminals, climate denialists and fossil fuel-based polluters, and general denigrators both of human rights and the public commons, they are not the Moral Majority by default.
But an unorganized left in this country rejects the right-wing’s ethical decay implicitly underpinning the Republican Party. The left rejects those values which undermine democracy — misogyny, racism and marginalization of other minorities, the ongoing subversion of individuals’ rights to promote the interests of corporations.
A true Moral Majority won’t support a social contract undermining democracy by limiting life, liberty, and happiness’ pursuit to a narrow few. It’s well past time for the broader left to coalesce into an organized entity based upon the belief that all humans are created equal and deserving a more perfect union.
Zapped by Zika
Wheels and steals
FiveBooks.com interviewed former state department official and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Jennifer M. Harris, about geopolitics. She discusses the topic and offers five book recommendations about the same. Harris is the co-author of recently released War by Other Means: Geoeconomics and Statecraft. Given her work as U.S. National Intelligence Council staff followed by work on economics under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, this interview might offer a preview to future statecraft.
It’s still Friday somewhere according to my clock. Try French performer Zaz, stage name for Isabelle Geffroy. If you like this ditty, preview more of her work on her channel on SoundCloud.
It’s been a hectic week here; next week doesn’t look any better, but I’ll aim to be here on Monday. Have a relaxing weekend!
Looks like it’s going to be a thing this week, covering women in sports. This is a marvelous example of covering a female competitor, this short film profiling U.S. Women’s Individual Foil fencer Nzingha Prescod — it’s about her and her approach to her sport, period. Does she sound like somebody who doesn’t care about the results of competition, like she’d rather have narrative surrounding it?
Her next match is tomorrow at 8:10 a.m.; I wish I could catch it live online.Another example of crappy coverage comes from BBC — can’t imagine why the UK became so white nationalist, can you? Let’s not note the countries or the individual competitors, let’s point out their attire and hint at religious and political positions at the same time. What garbage.
If you’re not already familiar with ‘male gaze‘, it’s time for a primer on this concept first theorized 41 years ago by Laura Mulvey. I don’t know if I can even call it purely feminist theory any longer though it arose because of feminism’s emergence. The way content is constructed can be political, and the way we view it can also be political; if content can be constructed for the male gaze, it can also be constructed to perform for political ideology. What we see in the BBC’s photo is both a political and sexist statement — the bikini-clad woman preferred over the fully-clothed woman whose attire has been mislabeled (it’s not a burka), the lack of identity in either case. These women are figures to be looked at for visual enjoyment and not in a manner which satisfies women but a male gaze with a particular ideological slant.
The problem with NBC’s constructed Olympic coverage is that the corporation believes it has created a ‘female gaze’ product — but women don’t feel immersed in the sports they are watching, continually disrupted by the inauthenticity of the content they are viewing. It feels forced, like we are supposed to care about the content presented apart from the actual sports on the screen based on a third (and likely straight male) party’s expectations of the female audience, but the mediation and curation process interfere with our autonomy in viewing. We feel a jarring disconnect from a state of attentive viewing into a state of critical viewing — we’re left unsatisfied.
I don’t think men are feeling any better about the content they are seeing because it fails to serve their gaze in a manner which they have always expected from the male-led sports and entertainment industries.
It’s so damned easy to fix, too.
The one entity finding a silver lining in NBC’s coverage of the Olympics? Netflix, which blames flat subscriber growth on the games’ broadcast. Hard to argue with this based on anecdotal evidence; everybody who ordinarily binges on Netflix programming and shares the experience in social media during cooler months is now complaining about NBC’s programming.
One for the road
Looks like the FBI hasn’t found an app for that yet — remote surveillance on smartphones, that is. Isn’t that interesting?
Off to cook dinner before the nightly Olympic debacle begins. Wonder what fresh hell the taped delayed coverage will bring?
Friday jazz comes to us from vocalist and bassist Esperanza Spalding, one of my personal favorites. She’s the first jazz musician to ever win the Grammy Award for Best New Artist, awarded only a handful of months after this featured performance from 2010.
My favorite tune of the three she performs here is Apple Blossom — it never fails to make me sniffle. Spalding plays more than just the double bass; sample her more progressive work on electric bass here. Want something a bit more traditional? Try her upbeat bluesy rendition of On the Sunny Side of the Street. Or maybe a little pop rock slice with her tribute to Stevie Wonder, Overjoyed.
Wheels and steals
Consumer Reports said it generally supported the settlement, but urged “regulators to wield robust oversight of Volkswagen to ensure that the company implements its recall, investment, and mitigation programs appropriately” and it called on “federal and state officials to assess tough civil penalties and any appropriate criminal penalties against the company in order to hold it fully accountable.”
Because opening ceremonies begin tonight at the Rio Olympics, I’ll leave you here. Catch you Monday — have a safe and restful weekend!
Crazy stuff happens when there’s a full moon like last night’s. Crazier stuff happens under heat and pressure. Brace yourselves as the heat dome slides from the southwest to Midwest and east this week.
Stay cool — I’m considering popcorn for dinner at the local cineplex this evening until the sun sets and the temperature drops outside. Dinner tomorrow and Friday might be Jujubes and Good-and-Plenty.
This won’t be everybody’s cup of matcha and may not offer an optimum listening experience for most business offices. Today’s kick-in-the-seat to start the week is a Japanese rock genre at the intersection of glam rock and black metal. Visual kei rock combines glam’s signature elements with black metal’s dark, heaviness. Some say punk influences visual kei but I really don’t see or hear it. Depending on the song, death metal is far more likely to leak through both in sound and appearance.
For a little lighter variant — more pure metal than glam or black — try this live performance from Vistlip. The relationship between visual kei and both anime and video games is quite obvious. Want a little estrogen-loaded visual kei? Try exist trace’s Daybreak; it, too, is not as dark and heavy, though the band can still hammer really black tunes.
Now that the kick in the ass has been locked and loaded…
Including today, that’s the total number of days booked as in session on the U.S. House of Representatives’ business calendar for July, of which only six days have events scheduled.
Can’t see anything farther out. And of the events booked so far, nothing appears for the benefit of the Flint Water Crisis. Roughly 8000 lead-poisoned kids completely forgotten.
Michigan’s state house has a mess of stuff on the calendar, but none of it clearly marked in reference to Flint Water Crisis. I imagine that hack Rep. Pscholka may have something buried in the items labeled “zero budget.”
Whenever I get really upset with the condition of our state and federal governance, I can just take a look across the pond. The back-stabbing drama surrounding the future leadership of the Conservative Party and the Prime Minister’s office looks like a mashup of House of Cards and Game of Thrones minus dragons. I’ll let Christoph Waltz speak for me about the resignation of Ukip’s Nigel Farage this weekend. I fear, though, that U.S. politics will take the Brexit debacle as a prompt going into the general election.
• Limit DSRC to life and safety uses only. The auto industry plans to take spectrum allocated for safety of life and monetize it with advertising and mobile payments. This compromises cybersecurity and potentially violates the privacy of every driver and passenger.
• Require automakers to file a cybersecurity plan before activating DSRC systems. This plan should not only show that auto manufacturers have taken appropriate precautions today, but explain how they will update security over the life of the vehicle.
• Data transparency and breach notification. Auto manufacturers must inform purchasers of DSRC-equipped cars what personal information they collect and how they will use that information. In the event of a data breach, the manufacturer collecting the information must notify the customer.
Man, even in this heat this snowball just doesn’t want to stop once it starts rolling down the hill. At least it’s a short week. See you tomorrow!
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
Pro patria mori.
— excerpt, Dulce et Decorum Est, by Wilfred Owen
This week has been a long death march. Death to optimism, death to pre-existing notions of political parties, death to futures defined by progressive visions.
Ironically, the march led to today’s 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme — the beginning of World War I and the bloodiest day in British military history. The battle lasted five months and cost a million soldiers’ lives. The British suffered 60,000 casualties on the first day alone as they fought alongside the French against the Germans.
Among the British dead were black soldiers from Britain and British West Indies, and Indian Army Calvary who came from what is now India and Pakistan. The British recruited from South Africa, Egypt, China, and more to replace their losses as the Somme continued.
One hundred years later they have forgotten all of this shared pain and history, along with Winston Churchill’s post-WWII vision of a unified European family, a Pan-European Union which the United Kingdom, United States, and Russia supported.
On that bright and cheery note, have a little Death to Jazz — music which never dies.
Australians went to the polls on July 2nd for this year’s federal election. They didn’t torture themselves with a year or more of campaign crap, thank goodness. I can’t tell you much of anything about this election except that like the US and UK, there are two major parties running neck-and-neck — the Liberal/National coalition and the Labor party — while the world might hope for Greens to succeed. At least Aussies have more than two major parties to choose from even if they are more colorful than any of ours. Putting aside my flippant attitude, this election has serious consequences for the globe given the need for Australia’s climate change research in spite of its excessive reliance on sales of coal as well as its creeping authoritarian approach toward the internet and surveillance. What policies will the next Aussie government pursue?
Don’t forget about China
Fourth largest by area, second largest by GDP, and first largest by population, let’s not forget about China!
It’s a long holiday weekend here in the U.S. If you don’t have plans, here’s a few tips.
Holiday mode commences in three, two, one — boom! Because nothing says freedom like incendiary devices at close range!
Summer bug laid me up. I’m indulging in the audio equivalent of tea with honey, lemon, and a shot of something to scare away the bug. A little cello playing by Yo-Yo Ma never fails to make me feel better.
This sweet video is enlightening, didn’t realize Ma had an older sister who was an accomplished musician at a tender age. Worthwhile to watch this week considering the blizzard of arguments about immigrants and refugees here and abroad.
And then for good measure, a second favorite added in the mix — Yo-Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman together, performing Beethoven’s Triple Concerto Fantasy.
There. I feel a little better already.
Probably better than frustrated House Democrats led by Rep. John Lewis who are engaging in a sit-in protest on House floor demanding a vote on No-Fly-No-Buy gun control. If you want to watch the action, you’ll have to check social media. It’s said House GOP leadership ensured CSPAN cameras were shut off.
Diesel do you
Sigh, cyber, sigh
Did you know Led Zeppelin is being sued over Stairway to Heaven? Allegedly a key riff in the famous 40-year-old tune was stolen, violating copyright. Forty years. ~smh~
Going back to a recumbent position. Stay braced for the outcome of the sit-in and Brexit vote tomorrow.
This end-of-the-work-week observation is a little different. I’ve posted some not-jazz jazz for your listening pleasure. This piece called Ball and Chain is performed by a loosely joined group of people who worked on development of a subgenre of jazz during the 1990s. It’s called M-base — short for “macro-basic array of structured extemporization” — which relies on improvisation along with non-European elements as jazz does. But its artists’ deliberation in composition combined with a more contemporary flare set this style of music apart from other jazz.
Sample a couple more pieces with a little extra estrogen — Cassandra Wilson’s vocals in You Don’t Know What Love Is, and Geri Allen’s keyboarding here with Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington performing Unconditional Love at a recent Jazz in Marciac festival. Wilson and Allen have both been members of the M-base collective, along with Steve Coleman, Robin Eubanks, Graham Haynes, and Greg Osby. I recommend searching out each of those folks in YouTube to explore their continuation of M-base in their work.
That’s enough to get you through your Friday evening nightcap. You’ll probably need one after this stuff.
The share [of strokes] attributable to pollution has been estimated at 33.7% in countries with low and middle income against only 10.2% in high-income countries in 2013, up sharply since 1990.
Yet most of the EU has done virtually nothing to eliminate the recently discovered emissions controls cheating vehicles from the road.
Living in a Digital World
Economics of a different kind
That’s a wrap on this week. I’m fixing myself a stiff belt and shuffling off to bed. Catch you Monday, the Fates willing and the creek not rising due to climate change.