"Skill Not Gamelan"

"Skill Not Gamelan" [mp3 removed -- later version is on bandcamp]

All sounds except the percussion were made with the modular synth, recording a few bars at a time and then overtracking them. (The percussion is from the Battery kit I made of samples from the Sidstation a while back.)
These are my self-made patches, ranging from bassoon sounds to bells to "fuzz bass." Once the sound is nailed down, MIDI parts are played in Reaktor or Cubase that attempt to exploit the best of each patch. Results are unpredictable once the MIDI lines start getting added, which makes writing the parts fun.
At this point many Eurorack-style modules are a mix of analog and digital sound generation. Most of the sounds here originated with a wavetable VCO, which uses digital waveforms. The bell-like sounds are analog, with some FM synthesis and filtering.

Update: As a bleeding-edge constituent of the cv/gate revival I should mention that those MIDI patterns trigger the synth with this.

elite secession

It's refreshing to hear statements such as these coming from the political right:

Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?


Almost all conservatives who care to vote congregate in the Republican Party. But Republican ideology celebrates outsourcing, globalization, and takeovers as the glorious fruits of capitalism’s “creative destruction.” As a former Republican congressional staff member, I saw for myself how GOP proponents of globalized vulture capitalism, such as Grover Norquist, Dick Armey, Phil Gramm, and Lawrence Kudlow, extolled the offshoring and financialization process as an unalloyed benefit. They were quick to denounce as socialism any attempt to mitigate its impact on society. Yet their ideology is nothing more than an upside-down utopianism, an absolutist twin of Marxism. If millions of people’s interests get damaged in the process of implementing their ideology, it is a necessary outcome of scientific laws of economics that must never be tampered with, just as Lenin believed that his version of materialist laws were final and inexorable.

The American Conservative, where this article by Mike Lofgren appeared, is a "paleocon" magazine: it also opposes U.S. imperial adventuring, earning the epithet "isolationist" from the intervention-minded left. Empire-building, U.S.-style, isn't so much about acquiring treasure by force -- if it were the Iraqis wouldn't still be controlling their own oil reserves -- as it is maintaining a "permanent war" infrastructure to bleed taxpayers. It's part of the same pathology Lofgren describes, "whereby the rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its well being except as a place to extract loot." Fracking is another example: the barons who are profiting from this treat the U.S. heartland as a third world country to be drained and poisoned. What the hell, they aren't going to live in these regions.

transcendent mundane

Have been noting postpunk, psychedelic, or other countercultural-type songs appropriated for bourgeois advertising. Not very many so far -- I need to watch more TV -- but it's always startling to hear how shamelessly these sentiments are repurposed.

bow wow wow's "i want candy" used in verizon cell phone network commercial

beatles' "All You Need Is Love" used in Blackberry commercial

human league's "don't you want me" used in mop commercial

moody blues' "tuesday afternoon" used in Visa card commercial

beatles' "a little help from my friends" used in Hampton Inn commercial

gang of four's "natural's not in it" used in X-box commercial (previously discussed)

Update: mashedpo sent these:

iggy pop's "Lust for Life" used in Carnival Cruise lines commercial

Gary Numan's "Cars" used in Cisco Systems commercial

Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" used in Volkswagen commercial ("Particularly unholy use of that great deceased young folkster's song")

mark ames

The political blogosphere has shifted much since the Bush II era. DailyKos teems with kneejerk Obama apologists, OpenLeft's Matt Stoller became a DC insider, and even Atrios, the left's master of light irony (as one blogger called him) seems stuck in a loop, complaining about the same old Slate and NYT sellouts.

By contrast, The Exiled's Mark Ames has emerged as a go-to, no-BS voice of the current landscape, pounding on labor and class issues too awkward for neoliberal Obama-ites. His S.H.A.M.E. project with Yasha Levine doesn't just vent about establishment suckups in the media, it gathers hard facts about their conflicts of interest and shaky pasts. For example, did you know this about Malcolm Gladwell?

During college, Gladwell received journalism training at the National Journalism Center, an outfit that worked with the tobacco industry “to train budding journalists . . . to get across our side of the story," according to an internal Philip Morris document.

Or that

After college, Gladwell worked at the right-wing American Spectator, the Moonie-owned Insight on the News and a neocon-Christian fundamentalist thinktank called the Ethics and Public Policy Center, which was “established by neoconservatives to promote an increased role of religion in public policy and turn back the influence of secularism.”

This background makes you question how much Gladwell's pro-corporate New Yorker writing is "contrarianism" and how much is stealth propaganda.

Earlier we talked about Ames' book Going Postal, which sees school and workplace shootings as a kind of unspoken revolt against the tough-talking, post-Reagan environment where "winning" is worshipped and the social safety net is shredded. In [a NSFW Corp. essay]* about this month's Empire State Building workplace revenge killing (initially reported incorrectly by the media as a terrorist event), Ames ties together the themes of postal-style running amuck with media shilling for the permanent war establishment, drawing an analogy between the shooter and hack publicist Joshua Foust, who recently sought to minimize state murders in Kazakhstan (but also had a background of angry confessional writing, Ames discovered). Speculating whether the hack is just another form of revenge-seeking nerd isn't "responsible" opinionmongering -- it's more of an impassioned poetic connection of the Hunter Thompson variety. Also recommended is his post Tracy Lawrence: The Foreclosure Suicide America Forgot, which considers the political and economic repercussions of a single person's agony, experienced in the face of overwhelming social pressure.

*Update: I de-linked Ames' essay after his publisher, NSFW Corporation, put all their content behind a paywall. The old bait and switcheroo. Around the time I wrote this post Ames was doing more writing for NSFW and less for Exiled. As of March 2013, Exiled is dormant and NSFW is subscription-only (including formerly available content).