Monday, December 31, 2007

the party tracks

now, this is where it gets fun. just in time for new years. if you're still browsing around the internet at this hour. in which case there's every chance your new years might not be quite so... rocking....

so. this is the year that i found myself introduced to the (sometimes) glorious world of mp3 blogs, with its immense bounty of variable quality music. it's been rather interesting to watch an entire genre of music be shaped and subject to the vagaries of these abstracted, dispersed institutions, but there's no denying their effectiveness. and addictiveness. i went from checking two blogs at the start of the year to having RSS feeds from at least 30 by the end. i've seen blogs come and go, fallen in and out of love with different blogs, started contributing to one in particular (the mighty electrorash) and downloaded a huge, huge amount of new, exciting music. all in pursuit of some yet to be fulfilled dream of djing. sigh. but i tell you, it has been fucking hard to trim it all back to 5 party tracks, but, well, here we are.

pharaoe monch - body baby (sinden and the count of monte cristal remix)

one of the more intriguing sub-genres to have burst to the fore this year has been the aptly named 'fidget house', a kind of squelchy cross-breed of b-more/crunk and electro. it can be a little obscure (switch tracks especially can be reasonably alienating if its any earlier than 3am on a given club night; around then though it goes down an absolute treat) but they're always fun, a bit tongue in cheek and a bit different. it has to be said that all of the sinden and count of monte cristal collaborations sound exactly the same, but that in no way stops them from being awesome. as dan pointed out, if you put this tune on in the background, absolutely everyone in the room will start nodding along. supremely funky, with great chopped up vocals from mr monch and a lot of handclaps.

digitalism - pogo (shinichi osawa remix)

shinichi osawa has got to be my producer of the year. he's been kicking around the electronic music scene since the early 90s, so, as you'd expect, his remix work is a cut above the rest of the electro bandwagon dross. brilliantly produced, respectful of the original, with heaps of melody and wonderfully hectic drum lines, and always driving as fuck. also, he really likes his build-ups. that gets you lots of brownie points in my books. this is shinichi remix work at its best. it still sounds like pogo, but it's harder, has better breakdowns/build-ups and is all round immaculately produced. even people who don't like dance music like this track. thoroughly recommended.

simian mobile disco - sleep deprivation

the opening track from SMD's superlative 'attack decay sustain release', sleep deprivation is a creeping, epic, meldodic stomper. emerging from absolute silence, it takes about a minute before it gets to full volume, and from there it just builds and builds. brilliant set starting or set ending material, it does exactly what the name suggests: gets yo lazy ass moving.

electronic battle weapon 8 - the chemical brothers

speaking of superlative: HOLY FLURKING SCHNIT. this song is off the fucking charts. first heard at fabric last year, it made both me and dan lose our goddamn minds. and it still has the same effect now. this song is essentially all build-up. after a couple of minutes of teasing you with a quirky, rolling beat it absolutely unleashes and rarely lets up for the rest of the track. the break down sections are filled with such suppressed energy i can barely contain myself, and then every time it drops i turn into a shouting, jumping, arm flailing madman. it really is something else. one of the best pieces of dance music i've ever heard. my god the chemical brothers are good.

timbaland - miscommunication (the bloody beetroots remix)

the bloody beetroots have been intimidatingly prolific this year, seemingly busting out a new remix every fortnight or so. however, unlike many of their effusive electro contemporaries, most of these remixes are actually good. this one especially. man i listened to this a lot. it basically alternates between a few different phases for the entire length of the track, but each part sounds differently, and equally, joyous and filled with party. as will you be when you listen to it. joyous and filled with party. sweet.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

the albums

i procured a lot of new music this year. when i talked about bandwidth consumption before, it must be admitted that a fair portion of it also went on the seemingly endless travels through the jungle of mp3 blogs in the pursuit of new, and typically banging music. of course this kind of musical exploration tends to militate against the enjoyment of full albums, but there still remained a few which really captured my interest through the year. here's five of them. in no particular order. with sample mp3s. hip hip.

burial - untrue

only released in november, a huge amount has already been written about this sophomore effort from secretive dubstep producer burial. secretive as in apparently only a few people know who he is in real life. how delightfully intriguing. but that kind of ambiguity fits the music perfectly, a relentlessly atmospheric blend of garage-revivalism, ambient washes, distorted vocals and thick as night bass pulses. untrue is what everyone says it is: the perfect soundtrack to every rainy night in the city, replete with the half-glimpsed echoes of the evening just past. different and masterful. listen to it on a good set of speakers.

burial - untrue

the field - from here we go sublime

a charmingly minimal cover for a charmingly minimal album; this was the cd that really set me off onto my minimal techno semi-frenzy. having always been a bit of a minimal hater prior to this point, actually enjoying this album came as a bit of a surprise. becoming lightly obsessed with it even more so. with the amount of study i was (purportedly) doing this year, half the appeal of minimal was the lack of action within individual tracks. but the thing is, once you really start floating along with them, you realise how exquisitely crafted they often are, how the addition of a single element can completely change the tenor of a tune, sweeping you along in the hypnotic wash of its subtly shifting repetitions. the remarkable thing about this album is its ability to make warm and oddly beautiful the glacial numbness of its skittering beats, a problem (at least to me) which much minimal struggles to overcome. the fifth track, everyday is a case in point. thick bass drones serve as the platform for a chopped up, sharp edged drum loop, which gives way to arcing bursts of melody that cascade up and down the octave before the strangled loops of a distorted human voice phases in and suddenly it sounds as rich and full as anything you've heard. glorious. possibly sublime.

the field - everyday

radiohead - in rainbows

in addition to being one of the better experiments in the power and potential of the internet to revolutionise the music industry, this was also, and more importantly, a great album. in rainbows is probably about as poppy as radiohead have ever gotten, but they've achieved it without surrendering any of their sadness and anger. while, by and large, i don't have much time for the mumblings of indie rock anymore, there's just something about radiohead which i find immediately and utterly engaging. they're all wonderfully crafted and varied songs here, and thom yorke is in fine form, doing what he does best: depressing the fuck out of everything withing audible range. unfortunately the album is no longer available for download (where one could pay what they thought the album was worth - even if that was $0), but it's well worth finding in plastic form if you haven't already.

radiohead - reckoner

gui boratto - chromophobia

his kompakt record label affiliations aside, i don't really see gui boratto as being particularly minimalist. he's a bit more booka shade by my reckoning, although with a slightly harder and more propulsive edge. but even that's a fairly partial account of chromophobia. one of the better descriptions came from the pitchfork review, which described boratto as a 'sleight-of-speed' master; his tracks are produced to generate the auditory illusion that different elements are moving at different speeds. but at the same time these tunes retain a proper sense of both momentum and melody, and it is this that makes chromophobia feel like such a cohesive album. whereas 'from here we go sublime' can sometimes feel like a grab bag of individual exercises in minimalism loosely thrown together, there is no doubting the arc of chromophobia. the beginning songs are coated in paranoia and industrial-edged scattershot, while the middle part, from the title track on, swing more towards the minor change melodic house so beloved of 2006, before warming up into the expansive and glorious 'beautiful life', the album's anthemic climax, which leads on into a final descent into melancholy. it's a pretty sweet ride.

gui boratto - beautiful life

justice - †

it had to get in there. the bizarre thing about this album was the fact that it was almost as good as everyone thought it was going to be. because those were some pretty fucking high expectations. i'm not going to say too much about it, because the web is already drenched enough in laudatory writings about justice as is, but suffice to say that in 2007 this album (possibly alongside daft punk's alive) seemed to catalyse a particular generation's newly relaxed attitudes towards electronic music. and unadulterated hedonism. it was also the year in which i learnt to stop worrying and love electro. it's a fun time to be young and irresponsible.

justice - genesis

thank heaven for little girls

there's something intrinsically wrong with that title, isn't there? something fundamentally creepy and unwholesome? fortunately for me, and for the school-age female population of perth, it wasn't my idea. part of my christmas loot this year was the very funny tom reynolds book "touch me i'm sick: the 52 creepiest love songs you've ever heard", pseudo-sequel to "i hate myself and i want to die: the 52 most depressing songs you've ever heard". in the former, reynolds explores in some depth the song "thank heaven for little girls" from the 1958 musical gigi. the films is ostensibly about the blossoming relationship between the eponymous gigi and her ardent admirer gaston. but, there's a catch: gigi is being groomed to be a courtesan. for those not overly well-versed in the vagaries of early 20th century french culture that means whore. high class perhaps, but there remains a definite emphasis upon the exchange of money for particular services. luckily gaston, who, classy rogue that he is, was in line to be gigi's first client, decides he'd prefer a more long-term arrangement and so marries her instead. presumably buying out the madame. oh happy day.

luckily this was 1958, and they probably referred to it in such charmingly clothed language as 'seamstressing', but it doesn't change the fact that the song which bookends the film is reasonably unnerving.

even beyond the atrocity that is mr chevalier's french accent, and the fact that a seventy year old man wearing a top hat is sitting in a park watching a suite of young girls frolicking, certain lines have become reasonably distressing over the past 50 odd years. for instance, the refrain 'their little eyes, so helpless and appealing' has not, it must be said, aged all that well, while his later spoken word break "it's about one in particular, that one, her name is gigi. giiiiigiiiiii. hehe. what you have to look forward to. hehe. gigi." sounds sleazy, even by french standards. he is, after all, predicting her eventual passage towards prostitution. and as reynolds puts it, the man 'beams like a lighthouse on amyl nitrate'.

sure it's well-meaning, and musicals aren't necessarily the best candidates for literal interpretation, but times have changed. when one talks about their affection for children these days, the fewer specifics the better. the phrase 'i love children' is endearing. the phrase 'i love eight year olds' is not. if this guy let rip into song during the interview, i can't help but feel that his chances of procuring a 'working with children' card from the police department would be shit to none. now we just have to work out how to keep him out of the parks...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

this is the year that television forgot

my house in melbourne was like the poster child for the digital generation. three macbooks, three ipods, an external hard drive and copious amounts of ultra-fast wireless internet. at least we thought it would be copious. but then the three of us started regularly going through the full 20GB/40GB monthly bandwidth allotments provided under our plan. and really, that is a shitload of data. remember dial-up? yeah, me neither.

so, where did all this bandwidth go you ask? well, we were downloading a lot of movies and tv shows, so that certainly took sizable chunks out of it. but on a more immediate, day-to-day bent we were also watching a lot of youtube. a LOT of youtube. also, sometimes, we talked to each other. usually when our broadband got shaped.

now, i'd like to think that all that video watching wasn't for naught, so in an effort to quantify how awesome and life-fulfilling all this youtubery actually was, i've decided to compile my list of the 5 best youtube videos of the year. here goes:

(qualification: i've exempted both weng weng and the count song because i've already posted them up here)

5. breakdancing in times square. a clip with a real kick to it.

4. new wheels on the block. ethically challenging comedy at its finest. i'd also suggest watching the merrill howard kalin show, but youtube seems to have removed it. probably for the best really...

3. frankie and johnnie's furniture commercial. from the moment that the overweight black woman starts berating hans moleman you know you're onto something special. the chicken is just an added bonus.

2. the pirate song. possibly the shittest thing ever produced. also the most over-stimulating. oddly addictive though; in the early stages me and dan were watching it at least once a day. and would then catch ourselves singing it at random moments. even to this day, i will still unthinkingly start humming the chorus to myself: yarr yarr fiddle de dee. ah, blessed siren song. watch carefully at 1:29 for the best facial expression of all time.

1. charlie the unicorn. i cannot tell you how many times, and in how many different states we ended up watching this video. first time i saw it i was absolutely inconsolable. i may have fallen over laughing. second time was similar. third time it found new reaches of humour. fourth time may have been funnier than the first. even now, when i must be brushing close to 20 separate viewings, it can still set me off. and to be honest, i'm still not entirely sure why. 225 seconds of glory. show it to someone you love.

honourable mention: dramatic chipmunk. the best 5 second investment you will ever make.

my god, i love the internet.

Friday, December 21, 2007

it's almost christmass!

heh. i am SO funny. i have got to be the first person to put the word ass at the end of christmas. sometimes i'm so awesome i scare myself.

so, it's almost christmas, and people's tempers are beginning to fray ever so slightly as they negotiate the teeming unwashed and try to pick non-offensive presents for the children and loved ones whose clothe sizes they've never thought about until this moment. except for the time they did exactly the same thing last year. but who knows, maybe the children and loved ones actually have gone up three sizes in the intervening period. it's been a fat kind of year.

my mother didn't even try her hand at independent buying this time. i went and bought my christmas stash with her two days ago. sure the magic is gone, and it's increasingly difficult to rationalise santa's existence when you're actively picking the presents he's going to bring to you (it seems woefully inefficient for starters), but if science can justify it then so can i. i can also justify these clothes. my mother at one point picked me as the kind of guy that would wear electric blue chromed sunglasses with reflective lenses and orange arms. i'm not leaving anything to chance.

two small christmas presents for you though:

1. the bad gift emporium. does pretty much exactly what it says on the packet: a user-generated gallery/shop of shit gifts (or 'giftrocities' as they call them) that people have been given over the years. click on the pictures for the story behind the present, the ability to rate the piece and information on whether or not you, yes you, could be the lucky new owner of this piece of crap christmas memorabilia. currently in the lead is a copy of 'miss vera's cross-dress for success'

2. a warm and fuzzy feeling. in the words of shaun micallef: here's a sketch that no amount of explaining could possibly explain.

my thanks to nek for the tip off on the second one. if you like sweet choonz you should go check out electrorash, the power blog he created, and to which i erratically contribute. yep. spreading myself around the place. did i mention how much spare time i have at the moment?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

maybe we CAN learn something from rap

this, admittedly, is a little old, but shit it makes me laugh. pussy crook: about more than just pussy.

hip-hop: not without its issues. to take the edge off, here's a song to renew your now shattered faith in the genre, by a group with one of the better names you're going to come across in any genre. this is ever so summer. let's get shirtless.

first in flight - blackalicious

Monday, December 17, 2007

getting into the christmas spirit

this, my friends, is some sublime television

is it just me, or do the recreations make it look awfully like santa is starting some shit with the reindeer?

[from the people you've never heard of at everlasting blort]

Saturday, December 15, 2007

i cannot tell you how much this unnerves me

now, i'll be the first to admit that i don't fully understand the mechanics by which the semi-ubiquitous second life works. as such, i cannot tell whether this recruitment video, and accompanying promo website are in any way real institutions involving real people. what i can tell you though is that my brain watches this video, seizes up and then proceeds to demand a full and total cessation of all further exploration into the realm of the digital.

any takers?

[first seen on regine's delicious]

Friday, December 14, 2007

lingual luke loves liminal language

as we run toward the end of the year, the mass of printed and digital media becomes overrun with lists: the oddest, the best, the worst, the newest, the most confusing, the cringeful, the other. but two additions to this efflux which caught my eye over the last couple of days have been contributions regarding the state of the english language throughout 2007.

first we have ben schott's (he of the miscellanies and almanacs) appraisal of the neologisms (new words) bequeathed to us by the media in 2007. you can find the full listing here, but these are some of my favourites

Pitch Beast • animals used in advertising: usually cute, for example penguins. (or crocodiles)

Ghost Flights • empty aircraft flown only to keep key airport ‘runway slots’. (seems environmentally sound)

Pansurgency • global terror threat, defined by the US National War College as a strategy to ‘incite worldwide insurgencies to overthrow Western ideals and replace them with a new world order under radical views of Islam’. (i get the feeling that me and the good people at the US National War College could differ on certain fundamental precepts of the international order)

Podslurping • illicit copying of data to a portable storage device (eg, iPod). (i can't think of too many people who could actually fill their ipods without it)

Folksonomy • user-generated index to online content, created by linking descriptive tags to content. Thus Tagging • adding descriptive tags to online content to aid searching. (this consumed at least 2500 words of my thesis)

Cyber-vetting • using the web to assess the (inter)Net Rep(utation) of potential employees/employers/lovers. (yeah... if a prospective employer ever chose to casually browse through my myspace/facebook pics, i can't help but feel it would be that much harder for me to secure employment...)

[courtesy of the times]

and second we have merriam-webster's recent declaration of their new word of the year: w00t. yes, that's right, w00t. from abc news (in america):

"W00t," a hybrid of letters and numbers used by gamers as an exclamation of happiness or triumph, topped all other terms in the Springfield-based dictionary publisher's online poll for the word that best sums up 2007.

Merriam-Webster's president, John Morse, said "w00t" was an ideal choice because it blends whimsy and new technology.

i'm so glad that he used the word 'whimsy'

[seen at neatorama]


in totally non-self-conscious fashion, i'm going to throw up a few of my own lists over the next few days. expect albums, artists and youtube vids. in five or ten entry format. depends how hard i find it to whittle down.


had another dose of chemo yesterday and still seem to be remarkably unaffected. no nausea, no disintegrating nails (yet), no rashes, no cramps. moreover, thanks to the immune boosting super shot from last week, my white blood count is through the roof, making me feel lightly invincible. so much so that i just bought myself a ticket to daft punk.

oh. fuck. yeah.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

old people ARE cool

they are exactly what they look like. portable speakers embedded in old person carry trolleys. if you can look me in the eye and tell me that that isn't the best thing you've seen all day, then i really want to know what you've been up to. possibly hanging out at old person clubs. i guess that could suck the novelty out a little bit. the charmingly germanic product site can be found here, featuring such blistering advertising copy as "MSKYO IS A REMINISENCE TO THE GOOD OLD GHETTO BLASTER", and "ORDER YOUR OWN
MSKYO WITH US AND EXPERIENCE THE SOUND WALKS" [capitals in original text]. start altering your christmas lists people, you know the way to my heart.

[initial discovery courtesy of swissmiss]


i go in for another bout of chemo tomorrow. in preparation, i took some steroids today, the side effects of which can include weight gain resulting from a need to eat massive amounts. sooooo beefcake. although in combination with the amount of food my mother has been pre-emptively feeding me since my return, i am beginning to wonder about the maintenance of my otherwise svelte physique over the christmas period.

also, my forearms have now been shaved to ease the process of puncturing them with big needles. i feel so sleek and aerodynamic. of course, the image is somewhat sullied by the remaining tufts of hair on my fists, but there ain't nobody going near my MAN HANDS... *cough*

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

now that's what i call cinema

here's one to dazzle loved ones and acquaintances alike. show off your cultural versatility with a treatise on the merits of Filipino cinema circa 1981. because in 1981 there was only one actor worth talking about: weng weng (i cannot urge you strongly enough to read the wikipedia article behind that link. it explains a lot). standing at 2 foot 9 inches and equipped with a black belt in martial arts, weng weng tore the domestic film scene apart; his first major film "For Y’ur Height Only" was the only Filipino film that year to be picked up by international distributors. and you thought australians had crocodile dundee related image problems. in 1981 the nation of the philippines was being represented by a midget with a propensity for kicking and/or punching his adversaries in the nuts. he also had a tiny yellow motorcycle. and a jetpack.

i wish crocodile dundee had a jetpack.

here's weng weng rather dishonorably shooting a collection of samurais.

and here's a much more comprehensive preview of his filmic career courtesy of a hip-hop reversion of weng weng's fight music by a toronto group called the chuds. it may be the best thing you'll see all day. including your family.

in other news, my right nipple has gone hypersensitive.

it's not painful, it's just weird.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

weight loss miracle

why do i feel like all my problems would be solved if i could walk around in a pair of these:

i gotta say, the guy doesn't look entirely comfortable with the amount of boiling water circulating near his genitals.

[courtesy of boing boing]

and on an entirely unrelated tangent because this has got to be the best headline/sentence in the history of printed media, from our ever astute friends at the daily record in scotland:

i think it's the 'hero cabbie...' part that gets to me. i wonder if he sought workers comp.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

first emissions

so, i figured that rather than overloading LTAS with continual and unwieldy updates, i may as well bring in a blog on the side. but fear not, this shant be a mere collection of miserablist writings on the travails of high end illness (although that may puncture the breeze every now and again). instead i'm hoping to dilute some of the immense amounts of web content i consume on a daily basis into a more interesting/quality-controlled format. i may also delve into music blogging, if it takes my fancy, and there could also be some tumour humour, if you're lucky. consider it a miscellany for the modern age. but with more jokes about cancer. which i can totally make. it's like black people with ni-... that word.


i'm pretty sure i can officially be declared a drain on the national economy. to this point in my life i have achieved two things: attended educational institutions and accrued expensive illnesses. this was a point that was drive home in particularly... pointed style, when i yesterday recieved a 0.6mL injection of an immune system booster known as GCSF, an injection which, i shit you not, cost $1970.44. for 6mg of substance. luckily, the australian taxpayer footed most of the bill, and the injection was mine for a miserly $4.90. complaints can be directed to here.

in the meantime, my first bout of chemo has gone off without too much distress on my part. i get the feeling that next week may not be quite so pleasant, as it also involves a drug which, aside from being a bit more gastrically intense, also has the tendency to make your nails crumble off. and, much like piercings, anything untoward happening to my nails is one of those occurences that freaks me out no end. apparently the effect can be minimised if you keep your hands in -15 degree gloves, but that doesn't strike me as particularly feasible... tempting as it is. but for the moment i'm rolling along without too much difficulty. i'm about to wander into the wonderful world of immuno-suppression though, so two requests:

1) if you are sick, and you know you are sick, STAY THE FUCK AWAY; and

2) if you feel the, very understandable, need to have physical contact with me, please wash your hands beforehand. i can't risk letting you dirty little filthmongers getting in the way of my rapid recovery... in the nicest possible way.

that's it for now, but as a reward for getting this far, i present to you a video which i have been dining out on for the past week, an old sesame street favourite: the song of the count. with some slight editing.

[cheers to matty for initial discovery]