Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"When It's Time to Party We Will Part Ways..."

Heard three of the latest demos for AWK's new album last night... You might percieve that my opinion is tainted (proximity, association), and so I shall refrain from elaboration.

(Had I taken leave of my senses, however, I would probably have said that they were really fucking GREAT.)

Ta, stiff upper lip, etc.

TS

Spleen Removed by Wolves: GSA Edition

(Revised 28 July 05.)

AWK and I hit the streets shortly after noon. First stop, Sam Ash. An odd calm within. Clerks gave us our purchase; we paused at the door. A woebegone flyer for some club's "Saturday Night Dead" residency (with appropriated '76 John Rotten mug), foul muso tabloids with Shins cover stories... Very disconcerting. Off again to Comp USA; more hard drives, a Mac keypad. (We'd spilled something on the other one during Monday's session.) Complete mayhem at checkout, but in retrospect, probably normal for the joint.

Strolled over to Steinway and Sons, walked their justifiably famous hall. Karl Lagerfeld's 150th anniversary edition piano gave me a premonition of Alessandra Mussolini's naked thighs...

A few minutes later we were squeezing into the doorway of an impressively narrow Fifth Avenue deli. AWK ordered turkey on rye, while I stuck with Vitamin Water. We sat on the ledge in front of the Girl Scouts of America headquarters, flipping ideas back and forth, enjoying the respite. An insanely attractive woman entered our field of view. We held our breath as she walked near, paused, then crossed the street away from us. I felt as though I was nine... Fantastic!

Still talking about girls at Bed Bath & Beyond; still talking about girls outside Julliard.

I slept through AWK's piano lesson; his instructor studied under an instructor who studied under Bartók. Dutifully impressed. The delivery crew arrived from BB&B; one man's voice sounded as though it belonged in an immense body. Andrew later confirmed my suspicion.

Dinner at Zen Palate with Andrew's friend Cherie, then a walk through Union Square. White Belgian for her, 65% dark for me. Andrew sampled from both...

No fucking luck at Virgin! (We've been looking for the expanded edition of The Associates' extraordinary 1981 Fourth Drawer Down compilation. Struck out at Tower Broadway, Other Music, Mondo Kim's... It's so weird to not be able to find something in NYC.)

Andrew worked on the album all night, and I stayed out of his way.

Best,

Tom

PS: I'll clue you in to the surprise later. (Much later, most likely...)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Fan and/or AC

My mind is hollow. I don't mention this to exact a toll of sympathy from you, dear, demonic readers, nor do I wish to remind you of sad, cephalic truths. No, it's just as I predicted. Fatigue has me in its heartless clutch.

Took the 5:45 redeye from Heartsfield-Jackson. Too early for the terminal train to be running, so I and my fellow passengers had to hoof it. At least a mile from the TSA checkpoint to terminal C. The fatties were dying... Public address recordings reminded us to be careful while stepping onto the moving sidewalks. One golden moment: a couple with four asses between them sighed with resignation as they discovered the terminal A pedway was, in fact, motionless. Their mild imprecations echoed off the arched backs and stylized faces of the statues and explanatory panels of the terminal's Zimbabwe exhibit... The terminal C Starbucks opened at 5:00, and CNN droned on and on. Flight was maybe 60% full. Stopped at Columbia, SC - aggravating to have to change flights, but the ticket was only $92. Connecting flight to Newark was empty, maybe 40% of capacity. I tried to sleep, but the air crew were sitting behind me, gossiping about transfers and divorces. Accosted by a gypsy cab operator in baggage claim. Such cheek. "Fifty-five plus tolls and tip; it's rush hour, you know." Made short work of the fellow, then walked thirty feet to the legit taxi queue. AWK was awake; Don phoned during the drive into the city. Tourists were already clamoring aboard the Intrepid; the Westside Highway was relatively quiet. Miserable humidity in the city...

We hopped in a cab to the Village. Tower, Other Music, Kim's... None had what we were looking for. Lunched at Veselka, the Ukranian spot on Second Ave. The vegetarian borscht was killer.

Burned off lunch by walking back to the West Side. Phoned my parents along the way. Uncomfortably humid. I was wearing very causal gear, the usual semi-tropical attire one must wear during South Georgia's unforgiving summers. But poor Andrew... He was dressed nicely, and dripping. We were readymade for vaudeville.

Don dropped by after 6, and we began the mixdown. Mark Morgan showed a few hours later; he's beefing up a bit, losing the old tubercular sheen. A marked improvement.

Worked until 10:45, then collapsed into a heap.

Daily updates, etc.

Best,

Tom

Monday, June 27, 2005

Countdown to Run-of-the-Mill Cable Car Soundscape...

Nothing much going on here save packing and sorting for the TLASILA mixdown. I'm leaving within the hour for the airport, and will soon enjoy a hellish 5:45 AM departure (courtesy of ultra-deluxe carrier PSA). Orbitz really screwed me on this one (or, rather, I enabled the reaming), and I'm predicting my fatigue will ensure we get no work done at all on Monday. I pray, good citizens, that I will be proven semi-wrong.

More from NYC tomorrow.

TS

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Nach Tod...

Now, I'm watching Paul Morrissey's Blood for Dracula. Earlier, I went to the local 16-plex to view George A. Romero's (very enjoyable) Land of the Dead. Certainly beat the fuck out of Zack Snyder's 2004 remake of Dawn (which nonetheless had its moments)... Land seems to have been substantially edited prior to release, but, Hell, it's just great to have a Romero film in American cinemas again. I went to a 10:05 showing; the auditorium was empty, maybe 30 attendees tops. Guess all the dough went to Herbie and Bewitched...



(Udo Kier experiences severe gastrointestinal distress after feeding on "whores" in Paul Morrissey's crackpot socialist anomie fest, Blood for Dracula. When I first saw it 1,500 years ago, it was known as Andy Warhol's Dracula... Another excellent Criterion release, one of the oldest in their catalogue... Its sister film, the superior Flesh for Frankenstein, is unfortunately now out-of-print. Flesh, also directed by Morrissey, was originally released to theatres in 3-D (again, under the Warhol rubrick), and that's how I witnessed it. It has an absolute classic catchphrase: "To create life, you must fuck the gall bladder.")

In the desolate years before punk, these films (along with Death in Venice, The Night Porter, Rolling Thunder, Female Trouble, Desperate Living, etc.) were a godsend. No fucking flared jeans, no hippie shit, just oncoming doom, emaciated Italian women (and good ole Tejas sluts in Thunder), style (and viscera) to spare, and a (slightly bowdlerized) subtext of polymorphous perversion.

Suicide Is Next to Godliness,

TS

Friday, June 24, 2005

Albums Pilfered (Okay, Taped) from Rudolf Eb.er's Collection, Aarau, 2002 (Pt. 1)

Dave Philips (who was safeguarding M. Eb.er's archive at the time) had no means to rip vinyl to mp3, und zo I was forced to copy the following onto cassette. Primitive, of course, but in this instance (necessitating a month-long orgy of consumption), I had no choice. Not all are super-ultra-mega rare, but that wasn't the point. (Neither are all wholly arresting or compelling. Some are mere bald-faced curiosities.) I simply liked 'em, and wanted to take 'em home with me.

I don't think about collecting. There's never an end, and I abhor parameters. Just wanna hear the stuff. I may only listen once, maybe twice. Done. Curiosity satisfied.

In no particular order:

VA - Lower Caste Religious Music from India: Monks, Transvestites, Midwives and Folksingers (Lyrichord LLST 7324, 1977)

Zbyněk Vostřák, Miloslav Ištvan, and Václav KučeraFrom Czech Electronic Music Studios (Supraphon 1423, 1974)

VA - Experimentelle Musik und Szene in der Therapie [Direction: Manfred Richter] (Jecklin & Co., Jecklin 225, 1983)

Günter BrusGünter Brus zum 50. Geburtstag Überreicht vom 1. Deutschen Trivialeum: Panisches Leiderbuch (Dichtung und Musik) (Das Hohe Gebrechen, Die Taubueosel 1, 1988)

(Ja, the above title is just a tad unwieldy...)

VA - Raudelunas Pataphysical Revue Starring Ron 'Pate's Debonairs Featuring Rev. Fred Lane (Say Day-Bew Records NR 6155, 1975) (Yup, pre-CD reissue, orig. vinyl.)

The Blue Denim Deals Without the Arms - Armed Forces Day (Say Day-Bew Records SUB-2, 1978) (Ditto.)

Jacques Lejeune - Symphonie au Bord d'un Paysage (INA GRM 9 111 LE, 1983)

Mario Bertoncini - Cifre/Brown/Cage (Edition RZ Ed. RZ 1002, 1989)

William S. Burroughs - Break Through in Grey Room (Sub Rosa SUB 33005, 1986)

(I'd not previously located this compilation... A sweet one, actually.)

VA - Dada for Now: A Collection of Futurist and Dada Sound Works (Ark Records DOVE 4, 1985)

(Not the same as Sub Rosa's 1989 Futurism & Dada Reviewed comp.)

Anna Lockwood - The Glass World of Anna Lockwood (Tangent Records TGS 104, 1970)

(Great alb, beautifully realized.)

The Glass Orchestra - The Glass Orchestra (Music Gallery Editions WRCI 1551, 1978)

(Sensing a theme?)

Henning Christiansen - Fluxyl (Burgen Records HC 04, 1984)

Marion & Michael - Folge 1 (Rena 6422, no date listed on sleeve)

Harry Partch - U.S. Highball (RIP 003 bootleg, no date of release; pieces date from 1943, 1955, and 1954, respectively.)

bog Art - Sounds of a Sculpture I & II (bog Art BOG 103, 1989)

Evil Moisture - Tribute to the Hiss on a 3rd Generation Copy of "Blood Feast" (BMR 004 7", no date listed)

(Didn't have this one; never even saw it when I was hanging out at Andy's old King's Cross flat in London... Obviously, a must!)

Mathias SpahlingerMorendo/ΑΡΟ ΔΩ/Vier Stücke/Entlöschend/Störung/Sotto Voce (Edition RZ Ed. RZ 1005, 1990) (Kinda Joss Stone-esque...)

Josef Anton Riedl - Josef Anton Riedl (Wergo WER 60066, 1972)

Steve Miro, Steve Solamar, et al - Collaborations: Indiscreet Music (Object Music OBJ 002, 1979)

(At one time I had the entire Object catalogue in my collection, but most everything vanished in the early 80s. It was cool to have this again. Of course, I've not listened to it since I taped it in June 2002...)

Le Chant des Baleines [Recorded by Roger and Kitty Payne] (Capitol Records France 28 068-85349, 1970)

Xylex - Gluing Goes Electronic with Xylex (Doomation AH 29575 7", no date on sleeve)

(Another hyper-obscure Evil Moisture epic... Dave's copy, not Rudolf's...)

Mascara-Sue - Battle Sweet EP (Low Class Dandy 007 7", 2000)

(Not Rudolf's, but Dave had it and I'd really enjoyed their other EP, so...)

Nurse with Wound - Chance Meeting on a Dissecting Table of a Sewing Machine and an Umbrella (United Diaries UD01, 1979)

(Widely available, but R&D had pristine, first edition vinyl copies. (My UD stash was stolen eons ago.) Call me a sentimentalist, I don't fucking care!)

Moniek Darge - Sounds of Sacred Places (Igloo IGL 056-LP, 1987)

(Yeah, some of you know how good this one is...)

When - Drowning but Learning (Witchwood Records WIT 001, 1987)

Christian Marclay - More Encores (No Man's Land nml 8816, 1989)

Trevor Wishart - Red Bird: A Political Prisoner's Dream (Yes 7 LP, 1978)

(Wishart was a big influence on the way I imagined voice/vocals; this album is as good as it tends to get, although the forthcoming Bo Bice collection reportedly comes a close second... Bought Red Bird on release; it was stolen a few years later. Most of my recs from the mid-70s were grabbed in a robbery. Now I just laugh at the thought of thieves lugging a shitload of avant-wha? albs across the courtyard of my former building, but then...)

VA - Music in the World of Islam - 1: The Human Voice (Tangent Records TGS 131-LP, 1976)

G*Park - Seismogramm (Schimpfluch SH19, 1990)

Schimpfluch-Gruppe/Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck - Mama (Des Fest) (Schimpfluch KSK03/SH26, 1991)

(Awesome...)

Audio Arts - Accent for a Start (N Media W NMW 004 AA 006, 1987)

Culturcide - Tacky Souvenirs of Pre-Revolutionary America (no label, matrix #LH 24789-90, 1986)

(Simultaneously idiotic and brilliant, and too retarded to resist taping. Dave and Rudolf must have had three copies of it between them.)

VA - Zerstückelte Dekkurbeld (Schimpfluch 02, 1988)

(Exhaustive early Schimpfluch comp., Eb.er's second release. Well worth your weekend.)

Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck - Stuhlgangblockade (Schimpfluch 59, 1990)

(An insane Eb.er remix compilation... Edition of 100.)

Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck - Je Rumpelsturz Desto Burzelblock (RRR R+G, 1992?)

(RRR have always struck me as the K-Tel of experimental labels, but within their compromised scope they've released more than a handful of interesting releases. Unfortunately, most "Due Process RRRadio" projects have been dreadful. This one beat the odds; it's all in the source material...)

VA - Wash Your Brains (Schimpfluch Produktion SH01, 1988)

(The very first Eb.er release under the warped Schimpfluch imprint. Great great great!)

Mlehst/Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck - Untitled Split LP (Bandaged Hand Produce 68, no date on sleeve)

Hanatarash/Runzelstirn & Gurgelstøck/Eb.ersonna - This Is Tiefpunk EP (Tochnit Aleph 033, 1999 12'')

(An excellent document, released by Daniel Lowenbrucke on his (currently) embattled Tochnit imprint. This was probably Dave's copy. Of course, now I have one... Cheers, DL!)

Meredith Monk - Our Lady of Late (Wergo SM 1058, 1986)

Alvin Lucier - Music for Solo Performer (Lovely Music VR 1014, 1982)

(I've had this since its release, but I couldn't resist taping it anyway.)

Alvin Lucier - Sferics (Lovely Music VR 1017, 1988)

Oswald Wiener & Dieter Roth - Tote Rennen: Lieder (Edition Hans Jörg Mayer F666-08, 1977)

Roth/Rainer - Autonomdialogische Thematik (Misch-U.Tremkunst) (Verlag Leber-Hossmann/Dieter Roth's Verlag DR 1180, 1978)

Dieter Roth & Björn Roth - Autofahrt No. 1 (15-16h., 17 Apr 79)/Biefert Nr. 1 (Kl. 14-15, 17 Apr 79) (Dieter Roth's Verlag BRDR 579, 1979)

(The Roth albums are utterly berserk, essentially unreleasable and now, hopelessly unobtainable.)

Daniel Stephen Crafts - Soap Opera Suite/Snake Oil Symphony (Lutra Recordings 1001, 1982)

(I finally found this again in 1996, but I took an opportunity in Aarau to make a safety copy. A beautiful album.)

RLW/Aube - Organized EP (Meeuw Muzak 006 10", no date on sleeve)

(This was Dave's. DP's always been more of a noise classisist than Herr Eb.er.)

(I'll wrap this up at a later date. The list goes on for a while.)

TS

"Grisbi," continué...

I've been obsessing about Grisbi all day. Jean Wiener's mesmerizing score certainly keeps one in the film's sanguine mood. If you click here, you can download Max's theme...

(320kbps mp3, approx. 2.8mb, 0:57)




Hope you dig,

TS

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

On "Touchez Pas au Grisbi"

You haven't lived until you've seen Touchez Pas au Grisbi *, Jacques Becker's transcendental 1954 underworld melodrama. It's perfect.



(* The title translates literally as "Touch Not the Dough," but as French slang it settles out as "Hands Off the Loot!")

This is a quote from Terrence Rafferty's August 31, 2003 New York Times piece on the film:

Francois Truffaut, in fact, felt compelled to begin his laudatory Cahiers du Cinema review of "Grisbi" with a string of negatives. "There are no theories in circulation about Jacques Becker," he wrote, "no scholarly analyses, no theses. Neither he nor his work encourages commentary, and so much the better for that. The truth is that Becker has no intention of mystifying or demystifying anyone; his films are neither statements nor indictments."

Truffaut understood instinctively. Grisbi pulls no punches, nor does it make an issue of its elegant restraint. It's an ideally modulated work, an ode to honor and a poem of decay.
Jean Gabin revived his flagging career with the role of Max le Menteur (prior to World War II he'd starred in international hits Pepe Le Moko, La Grande Illusion, and Le Jour Se Leve); in Grisbi he is rectitude personified, albeit in ruthless, immaculate guise.

.

The cast is remarkable throughout, consistently abetting the narrative with quiet, nuanced performances. Jeanne Moreau makes one of her early film appearances in Grisbi; there's a fantastic scene in which her character, a showgirl named Josy, snorts a bump of coke off her hand en route to a nightclub.

.

Her middle-aged boyfriend, Riton, a gangster chum of Max's, backhands her shortly after. It sets a distinctively violent, yet oddly principled tone.

From Philip Kemp's short essay on Jacques Becker and Grisbi, "A Neglected Master":

If Becker has received less than his due as a filmmaker, it may be partly because, like Franju, Melville, Clouzot, and Gremillon, he belongs to that intermediate, less celebrated generation of French directors who flourished in the years between the Golden Age of the 1930s and the rise of the Nouvelle Vague in the late 1950s. But it may also be because Becker is one of the great underactors among directors, with no interest in flashy technical devices or show-off camera moves: his dexterity, the unstressed elegance of his images, the wit and fluency of his narrative style have led some critics to write him off as a lightweight, lacking in seriousness. Also, Becker loved to explore fresh territory and different genres—no way to build a reputation as a respected auteur.

What sets Becker’s films apart above all is his highly personal approach to narrative. He was fascinated by what he liked to call temps mort—literally “dead time”—what goes on before, after, and around the necessary plot moves. Scenes that other directors would emphasize Becker compresses into a minimum or even skips entirely; scenes that advance the plot scarcely if at all he will linger over. Note how in Grisbi, when Max takes his partner in crime, Riton, to his secret apartment, Becker is just as concerned with the domestic routines of serving food and wine, of the donning of pajamas and the cleaning of teeth, as he is in the intrigues of the two gangsters planning their next moves. What he’s doing is inviting us, quietly but incisively, to watch his characters getting on with the business of living. His ambition, he once said—only partly tongue-in-cheek—was to make a film “with no beginning, no end, and virtually no story.”

(In the film, Gabin says "Try picking snails, Daddy-o." The trailer uses camera angles and dialogue not included in Becker's cut.)

Touchez Pas au Grisbi never wavers. To reveal more might spoil something for someone, so...

TS

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Nondor vs. Nandor: To Live and Shave in L.A. Cubed

N. Nevai phoned yesterday while I was walking through the university media lab. I left the building, walked outside, and mostly listened. Our conversations are still somewhat stilted, and this one was no exception. Still, it's good to be glueing bridge fragments. He had good news, appalling news, disappointing news. It's always hair-pulling time with Nondor, and usually a malingering drift about the edges of ribald delight with Nandor. He personifies duality, and the Hegelian fusion of poles inevitably forces displacement. He exploits this with varying degrees of success. When he's off, he's insipid, mawkish, uncomfortably plaintive. But when he's on...

This is the Nevai I choose to encourage. The Nevai who slaloms off the face of the ineffable and plops head first into the lap of a brazenly femme Brazilian pre-op, scattering magnetic poetry tiles across the hood of an overdue Cobalt rental coupe driven by a Valley runaway wearing tight blue worsted tap pants.

It's good that he's back among the living dead.

TS

PS: Check out this link to Lucia Nevai's new book, Seriously: A Novel. (She's Nondor's mom.) If you've never met her, you've missed out. A groovy lady.

TLASILA on the Brink of an Ellipsis...

Getting kinda psyched about the upcoming mixdown session. It's gonna be a long 'un, two weeks plus of continuous tweaking... Manhattan will be broiling.

We recorded over five hours of material for the album, and we've been sifting through the sick fucking lot of it in proscribed fits and starts since December. Three songs quickly emerged as favorites (at least as items to be red-flagged and monitored by our internal policing arm), and we'll focus our initial efforts on rending them from their moorings. We need a Brooklyn 2002 feel, and we want it tomorrow! (Failing that, Linz '87 will suffice. Or, a dab of the old Abbasid dynasty vibe, 750 CE.)

Two of the afore-slandered three were performed at N**se Against Fascism (not that we or anyone else ultimately noticed). Oy vey, such a mess. Don't get me started...

TS

Sunday, June 19, 2005

More Grumbling About Year-Old Rubbish...

Mark Morgan (Sightings/TLASILA/Sightings Tom Smith/Cocaine, etc.) and I were reminiscing a few nights ago about certain of the critical barbs To Live and Shave received in the aftermath of No Fun 2004. As some of you may recall, we employed jungle motifs (some programmed by me, some sampled/looped/altered from vinyl sources) both as a rebuke to the moribund noise ethos and as a device to drive the audience into a goddamned frenzy. We were successful in the realization of these modest goals, but a fistful of dissenters quickly voiced their displeasure. Mark recalled a gripe he'd overheard: "Why, it's just nightclub music!" (As if Brooklyn's tawdry Northsix were a fucking mosque.) In fact, this complaint emerged, in doleful iteration, across a wide range of blogs and boards.

Stupid cunts.

Well after the fact, I aver and unwaveringly maintain that the best of drum 'n' bass (that is to say, those recordings held in highest regard by yours truly) effortlessly blows the entire ouevre of avant-fucking-whatever, Whitehouse, Merzbow, Boredoms, AMM, Nurse with Wound, Throbbing Gristle, Harry Pussy, Mars, DNA, Kongress, Wolf Eyes, To Live and Shave in Arkadelphia 99 or Pierre Motherfucking Henry, right out of the wading pool and straight into surburban strip mall parking lots of the Kuiper Belt. Call me Bug-Eyed Stu, I don't care. It's hardly a controversial claim.

I crave total loss of motor function, but I (increasingly) abhor the phony-ass transgression of fundamentalist genre clods. Thus, I have always preferred a Russ Meyer-esque route. Gas up the dune buggy, cut to the fucking chase, and blow my mind already!

Of course, I have FAILED UTTERLY in this regard more times than I care to remember, but I nonetheless prefer to brush the shit off my gorgeous mug and trudge ever onward into the radioactive fog.

(Yes, I know, I know - I've been moaning about all this for far too long. I'll concede the floor to Norah Jones in a minute, but in the meantime, while I'm still white-knuckling the dias, one multi-part question: Do we really need new product lines of Emerson, Lake and Palmers? Can't someone just stand next to a lamp for three weeks and do nothing? Must we engage on any level? Would someone please refrain from referencing Essential Logic?)

Not that I have an exclusive jungle fetish, mind. ("I'm ecumenical to a fault," he tells himself.) The larger point? Well, despite my oft-stated aversion to the codified (and knowing full well that D+B is just as hidebound as any other g**re), I must now offer a recommendation.

Track down this new release and give yourself over to PURE COLOR:

Seba & Paradox: Frost/Sound on Sound (Bassbin Records BB 1214).

Even within ignoble parameters, it eviscerates Eno, Immortal, James Chance, Metal Boys, etc. (But probably not Frampton-era Humble Pie... Okay, fuck Humble Pie. What about Cochise? Pirana? Stackridge? Redbone!!!!!)



The kicker: there are scads of these things released every month. Many are inert, but more than a few wipe the slate clean. Those, oddly enough, are the ones I enjoy.

The moral: process is OBSOLETE. The palette should be broad enough to encompass all hues, and sufficiently configured to accomodate all widths of brushes. Genre doesn't matter. Your tools don't matter. Analogue is just as lame as digital. Macs are PCs. Nothing is cool. Everything is right.

All that fucking counts is the quality of the high.

TS

"Waltz of the Water Puppets"

Listening to Billy Bang's most recent album, Vietnam: Reflections. It's hitting me just right for Sunday, 8:27 AM. Henry Threadgill's flute solo on "Reflections" evokes a mental image of a mother lovingly placing a C4 vest around the shoulders of a soon-to-be-martyred son or daughter. (Of course, I'm mixing conflicts, and my evocation might not meet with the artists' approval.) A warm, stabbing sound... If only John Kerry had stood up to dissenting goons with a straightforward recounting of post-Vietman radicalization. Christ, tens of thousands of GI's returned pissed-off and fucked-up by the experience. His actions on returning were hardly atypical... (Sorry, I'm rambling.) Anyway, Bang's new music really gets under my skin, an Agent Orange salve that softens hands and lightens the bags under weary eyes, at least before one's skin melts into a yellow-green puddle of goo. I'm doing it no justice, but take my word for it.



Forgiveness trumps anger, and begets empathy. (Wish I could remember this lesson.)

Re Bertolucci's La Commare Secca: every frame makes me want to deliver a basket of fruit (or cash, or Kentucky bourbon) to a shut-in. Rent or buy for yourselves. You'll understand immediately.

From David Thompson's accompanying essay:

The title La commare secca comes from a quotation that appears at the end of the film—“E giu la commaraccia secca de strada Giulia arza e rampino,” which can be translated as, “And already the skinny gossip of Giulia Street raises her scythe.” It was used by Pasolini in his novel Ragazzi di vita and was taken from a sonnet by the nineteenthcentury poet Giuseppe Giocchino Belli, who wrote his blasphemous and obscene verses in Roman dialect. The story is essentially a police enquiry into the murder of a prostitute, whose abandoned body by a Roman highway is revealed in the opening shots. An off-screen police officer interrogates a series of men present in the park where the prostitute was waiting for a client—a petty thief trying his luck in the city, a smug pimp under the thumb of his aggressive fiancé, a naïve soldier from the south killing time, a smooth-talking waiter from Milan, and a couple of awkward boys looking for money to buy food for a dinner with their would-be girlfriends. As each of them tells his version of events, we see the truth behind (and often in contradiction to) their verbal testimonies through extended flashbacks covering the day and night of the murder. (Bertolucci has denied the direct influence of Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon [1950], which he had not seen, though he was certainly aware of it.)



Now, go and fuck up the life of someone you love!

Happy Father's Day,

TS

Saturday, June 18, 2005

After "La Commare Secca," 5:33 AM

If any film should remind us to walk the metaphorical straight and narrow, it's Bertolucci's 1962 debut, La Commare Secca.



More on this later today...

Lunch with the Squelchers was brief, but fun. Great to see Rat, Alex (who was a member of Memories of Underdevelopment for a spell) and Max (who gave me a copy of her new Evol Egg Nart disc, Max Dance) again. Accompanying the dissolute trio was 13-year-old Samantha, whose parents must really be worried about her. She sported a cool Rezillos "Destination Venus" t-shirt and appeared much older than her age, officer.



They were joined in Nashville last night by Leslie Keffer, another underage noise slave of Rat's. God save them, every one.

Those members of TLASILA in NYC for the Noon and Eternity mixdown will have the opportunity to see Laundryroom Squelchers make another mess of things at Tonic on July 1. Catch us at brunch at the City Market Diner! Of course you may buy our drinks! Please, and thank you!

On a related tangent, a capitulation. In an effort to not blow the estate on Criterion titles, I finally broke down and joined Netflix. The first titles in the queue should arrive tomorrow...

TS

Friday, June 17, 2005

Avoid Contact with Skin and Eyes...

Transferring Pre-Cave/Nest (adj.)/Boat Of tapes in preparation for the TSSR compilation... It's a disconcerting process. The earliest recordings date from 1975 (lengthy electronic pieces, two in collaboration with Don Fleming); a drugged-out (and wholly mortifying) jam with Don comprises my 1977 output. (I was otherwise too absorbed in the observation and experience of punk in NYC to actually create music.) The 1978 tapes are a marked improvement; the WVVS dub remixes have dated well. The lone Prepared Party cassette (1979) eludes interpretation. 1980 vomited up Pre-Cave and Nest (adj.); the latter configuration was especially single-minded in its eagerness to irritate. (All is contingent on context, of course.)

Boat Of was born on Valentine's Day, 1981. Twenty-three gigs, straight to oblivion.

I've made it through the third public performance (16 May 81, at the 40-Watt, Athens). Only 45 more hours of tape to go. Then, the culling.

Rat just called - the Squelchers are in town. We're having lunch together. Must first wait for this DVD to burn... (There, it's done.)

LRS should ideally be stored at room temperature; in this 95 degree murk, fuck knows what horrors I'll find. Photos later.

Melting,

TS

Thursday, June 16, 2005

"Antique the Cranford Rhythm..."

I've just awakened from a dream.

A younger student peer was critiquing a paper I'd written on a director and her film. She'd blue-penciled a large swath of the essay; entire paragraphs were blotted out. I'd been given a "B." The handwriting was terse, cruel, but not vengeful. "It gets worse as it goes along," she said. I was intrigued, and made a case for my work. I argued that she'd followed the surface, but not appraised the subtext. The peer, a voluble, self-possessed composite, didn't see it. The instructor sat on the floor nearby, and with a nod of assent supported the interpretation.

There was a cut to a screen. Dog-ends of scenes, a rough edit, then adults in conversation, smiling, drinking. A canal in the background. South Florida at twilight? The camerawork at first seems clumsy, but the scene nonetheless compels. A pan across a row of houses reveals a skillful manipulation of natural light elements; colors merge as the bright orange seal of the sun presses into clapboard siding.

"Ida Lupino filmed this sequence, with help from Sonny Tufts."

We join the latter on set; he regales assistants with a consumptive tale. He carries a 35mm camera with a specialized lens mount. It's filled with piss. (Florescent yellow, a perfect ovoid analogue to the solar orb.)

An off-set command: "Antique the Cranford Rhythm."

Too absurd to contemplate, too amusing to ignore, I awoke from playback.

And here we are.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

(As grain spills, rats feed.)

Well, I have to start posting again - writing, again - or else I'll never do it. The problem (if there is one), at least as seen from an outsider's perspective, might be one of focus, of narrative cohesion. Because I no longer have a plan. Or, more honestly, I've never had one. I am engaged in drift, absorbed in the observation of immersion. I feel like a tsunami beacon, simultaneously tethered and tossed, existing in negative space, neither static nor free. There is no (career) path; the notion is abhorrent. I measure everything against my own willful denial. I deny, yet I seed negation. That is my strength as an artist - I implant doubt into nihilism. I splinter the assumption of primacy. Thus, there are no more "moments." Genres develop tics, ritualize gestures, devest themselves of (and asceed to) imposition, revolt against those who define them, and inevitably disappoint and repulse those who deign to suffuse their indefinable essence with fixed boundaries of meaning.

(It's beautiful to watch, and it never varies. Of course, there's no reason to be smug about it. Jazz is jazz, after all.)

Otherwise, I'm up to no good, as usual. Ten milllion things going on at once. (Now I know what Cameron Vale was feeling...) I'll begin a list tomorrow. It will necessarily be random, but I'll try to make it interesting. Daily reports here on out.

Love,

Tom

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Fluxyl'd Again!

The semester has ended, and the blog bog will soon be filled with the usual sludge. Keep your peepers glued to this very spot. Whatever you do, don't move!

(No, a reversal: run to your comforts! Embrace that which you know too well! Swallow.)