My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

tag: current activities

Late Early Punk (or Early Late Punk)

Dreaming of early Billy Childish

Hilobrow.com update: My piece on the 1970 film Colossus: The Forbin Project will be online soon as part of the Klaatu You series, in which writers “revisit their favorite pre-Star Wars sci-fi movies.” But first, I’ve got another short essay due up. The series Cabona Your Enthusiasm contains 25 posts about participants’ favorite punk songs (from between 1974-1983). I selected a very early Billy Childish track, “Dreams of ’63,” from the 1979 debut album of his band the Pop Rivets. None other than Mike Watt (of the Minutemen) has contributed to the series, along with personal favorites Deb Chachra and Douglas Wolk. Here’s the great lineup. Several of the posts are already online:

Mimi Lipson on Flipper’s “Sex Bomb” | James Parker on The Jam’s “Going Underground” | Dan Fox on The Cramps’ “Human Fly” | Adrienne Crew on Bad Brains’ “I and I Survive” | Devin McKinney on Romeo Void’s “Never Say Never” | Deb Chachra on The Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love” | Mark Kingwell on The Demics’ “New York City” | Jessamyn West on Dead Kennedys’ “Kill the Poor” | Douglas Wolk on The Homosexuals’ “Soft South Africans” | Josh Glenn on The Freeze’s “This is Boston, Not L.A.” | Stephanie Burt on Sorry’s “Imaginary Friend” | Luc Sante on Public Image Ltd.’s “Public Image” | Miranda Mellis on X-Ray Spex’s “Oh Bondage! Up Yours!” | Adam McGovern on The Clash’s “Washington Bullets” | Mandy Keifetz on Germs’ “Forming” | Gordon Dahlquist on The Sex Pistols’ “Problems” | Anthony Miller on The Soft Boys’ “I Wanna Destroy You” | Deborah Wassertzug on The Mekons’ “Where Were You?” | Tor Aarestad on Gang of Four’s “Return the Gift” | Marc Weidenbaum on The Pop Rivets’ “Dream of ’63” | David Smay on The Rezillos’ “(My Baby Does) Good Sculptures” | Vanessa Berry on The Cure’s “So What” | Chelsey Johnson on The Slits’ “Typical Girls” | Lynn Peril on Crass’s “Smother Love” | Mike Watt on The Dils’ “You’re Not Blank.”

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Forensic Sci-Fi

Looking back to the future before Star Wars

Very excited to be writing a piece for the hilobrow.com series Klaatu You, in which contributors were invited by website editor Josh Glenn to “revisit their favorite pre-Star Wars sci-fi movies.” I’ll be writing about Colossus: The Forbin Project, the 1970 film directed by Joseph Sargent (perhaps best known for The Taking of Pelham One Two Three). Up top is a photo of some of the accumulated old paperbacks that sit behind my synthesizer, including the original D.F. Jones novel and one of its two sequels. And here’s the list of Klaatu You entries (some already published, many scheduled for the rest of 2020) as it stands:

Matthew De Abaitua on ZARDOZ | Miranda Mellis on METROPOLIS | Rob Wringham on THE INVISIBLE MAN | Michael Grasso on THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN | Gordon Dahlquist on 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY | Erik Davis on DARK STAR | Carlo Rotella on THE OMEGA MAN | Madeline Ashby on KISS ME DEADLY | Adam McGovern on SILENT RUNNING | Michael Lewy on THIS ISLAND EARTH | Josh Glenn on WILD IN THE STREETS | Mimi Lipson on BARBARELLA vs. SINS OF THE FLESHAPOIDS | Vanessa Berry on THE FLY | Lynn Peril on ATTACK OF THE 50 FOOT WOMAN | Peggy Nelson on SOLARIS | Adrienne Crew on LOGAN’S RUN | Ramona Lyons on THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH | Kio Stark on THE STEPFORD WIVES | Dan Fox on FANTASTIC PLANET | Chris Lanier on IKARIE XB-1 | Devin McKinney on IDAHO TRANSFER | Mark Kingwell on THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO | Luc Sante on THE TENTH VICTIM | William Nericcio on DEATH RACE 2000 | Rob Walker on CAPRICORN ONE | Gary Panter on ANGRY RED PLANET | David Levine on THE STEPFORD WIVES | Karinne Keithley Syers on ALPHAVILLE | Carolyn Kellogg on IT CAME FROM OUTER SPACE | Sara Ryan on ESCAPE TO WITCH MOUNTAIN | Lisa Jane Persky on PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE | Shawn Wolfe on ROLLERBALL | Gerald Peary on CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON | Wayne Chambliss on THEM! and PHASE IV | Seth on WAR OF THE WORLDS | Matthew Daniel on FANTASTIC VOYAGE | J.C. Gabel on INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS | James Hannaham on FROM HELL IT CAME | Lydia Millet on VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED | Alison Fensterstock on ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW | Susannah Breslin on A CLOCKWORK ORANGE | Seth Mnookin on NUDE ON THE MOON | Kevin Obsatz on DEATHSPORT | Erin M. Routson on WESTWORLD | Adam Harrison Levy on BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES | Chelsey Johnson on THE BLOB | Heather Kapplow on SPACE IS THE PLACE | Marc Weidenbaum on COLOSSUS: THE FORBIN PROJECT | Katya Apekina on A BOY AND HIS DOG | Tom Roston on SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE | Vicente Lozano on DAY OF THE DOLPHIN | Neil LaBute on 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA.

Check out the series at hilobrow.com. I’ll note here when mine goes live.

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Method to Their Moiré

I have an essay on Raster-Noton in a new Red Bull Music Academy book.

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For a few months there’s been a small note in the Current Activities part of this website’s left-hand sidebar mentioning something cool due out toward the end of the year. It isn’t my Aphex Twin book for the 33 1/3 series, Selected Ambient Works Volume II. That’s due out February 13, 2014. No, this is an essay I have in a forthcoming book from Red Bull Music Academy. The book is For the Record: Conversations with People Who Have Shaped the Way We Listen to Music. As the title suggests it is a compendium of new conversations between musicians — excellent pairings (and threesomes) that highlight parallels and contrasts. I used to love assigning these sorts of things when I was a full-time music editor. I think my favorite I ever put together was, back in 1993, asking the music critic Martin Johnson to get Randy Weston and La Monte Young in a room to talk about the blues.

In addition to the conversations, For the Record features introductions to all the involved musicians, and for my part I wrote about the pair Carsten Nicolai (aka Alva Noto) and Olaf Bender, who together run the Raster-Noton record label and in the book talk shop with Uwe Schmidt (aka Atomâ„¢). It was a pleasure to spend time luxuriating in their work, which often whittles the rhythmic intent of techno down to myriad displays of patterning. In addition to discussing the Raster-Noton label, the piece covers their work individually (such as the parallels between Nicolai’s music and his Moiré Index and Grid Index design books), and their Diamond Version band, which has released music on Mute and opened on tour for Depeche Mode. The For the Record book is already out in Germany, and arrives in the U.S. in November. In early December I’ll post the text of my Nicolai/Bender piece on Disquiet.com.

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Here’s a full list of the conversations in For the Record:

João Barbosa x Kalaf Ângelo x Mulatu Astatke

Bernard Purdie x Jaki Liebezeit

Martyn Ware x Nile Rodgers

Kerri Chandler x Patrick Adams

Gareth Jones x Metro Area

Carsten Nicolai x Olaf Bender x Uwe Schmidt

Benny Ill x Moritz von Oswald

Lee “Scratch”Perry x Adrian Sherwood

Matias Aguayo x Sly & Robbie

DJ Harvey x Ben UFO

Cosey Fanni Tutti x Nik Void

Modeselektor x Mykki Blanco

Erykah Badu x The Underachievers

Just Blaze x Paul Riser

Robert Henke x Tom Oberheim

The full list of essay contributors is as follows. Great company to be among:

David Katz, Philip Sherburne, Sheryl Garratt, David Stubbs, Peter Kirn, Richard Gehr, Lee Smith, Melissa Bradshaw, Derek Miller, Anthony Obst, Rich Juzwiak, Ruth Saxelby, Lloyd Bradley, Gerd Janson, Bill Brewster, John Doran, Drew Daniel, Joe Muggs, Jordan Rothlein, Will Lynch, Marc Weidenbaum, Rachel Devitt, Jeff Mao, Andrew Mason, Paul McGee, Alfred Soto, Simon Price, Phillip Mlynar, and Marisa Aveling.

And there’s video documenting the book’s design and production by Chris Rehberger’s firm, Double Standards:

More on the book For the Record: Conversations with People Who Have Shaped the Way We Listen to Music at rbma15.com.

(Photo of — from left to right — Schmidt, Nicolai, and Bender by Dan Wilton. It appears in the book.)

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Litquake Appearance on October 18

I'll be rambling on about manga or my beloved TRS-80. I probably won't be funny.

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On October 18, a Friday, I’ll be participating for the first time as part of Litquake, the big annual literary festival here in San Francisco. The event is being held at the Cartoon Art Museum downtown. It starts at 7pm and has a suggested donation of between 5 and 10 bucks.

The event is titled “Comics on Comix,” but I was told in advance, when I was invited to participate, that the fact that I am not a standup comic is fine. I was also told I don’t have to talk about comics, that it’s OK to talk, more broadly, about science fiction. I’m still sorting out what my spiel will be about. Right now the two top plans are: (1) things I learned about manga in Japan, a snapshot of manga at the height of its recent U.S. popularity, or (2) a memoir-y cultural map of science fiction touchstones in my hometown, a kind of proto”“geek culture thing, a snapshot of that world circa 1979. Either way, the talk won’t be directly related to Disquiet and ambient music, but if I do the manga idea, there will be material about visual representations of sound, and if I go the 1979 route, there will be much reminiscing about my TRS-80.

That Friday we’re up against Mary Gaitskill, Anne Perry, and T.C. Boyle, among other luminaries, but if you can make it, that would be great. My fellow event participants are Joe Klocek, Michael Capozzola, Karen Macklin, Tom Smith, and Mike Spiegelman. Should be a lot of fun.

More on the event at litquake.org.

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