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2002: Best so far
2001: Best of

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Thursday, August 30, 2001

Summer is over?
On my birthday July 14th it was raining in Frankfurt. The day after summer started around here. And the fine weather continued until yesterday. There was one short period of two days I guess when it rained. All the rest of the six weeks was perfect sunny weather. Today it is my girl-friend's birthday. And it rains and the temperatures are below twenty degrees Celsius now. Does this mean something? Heaven seems to be against us.

New Order
Yesterday I bought the new offering by NO which is called Get Ready. After two or three listens I must say that it is probably my favourite album by them. It is somehow softer less dance and drum machine like. The beat is not as hard and loud as during their Ibiza phase in the eighties. Almost like a mature work (Alterswerk we say in German). I have to listen to it again. The music seems subtler than in the past. And there are more than two good songs on it.

As much as I got into Joy Division's albums almost straight away after I listened to them for the first time as little I ever digged New Order's LPs. They are and will always be a singles band. I find Bernard Sumner's non-spectacular voice was quite a backslide after the intense and stark voice of Ian Curtis.

My favourite album with a member of NO (except JD's records of course) would be the first album of Electronic from 1991. A full album of very enjoyable wonderful simple and light tunes. It works from the first to the last track. A chocolate box full of dance pop. One of the few supergroup (Sumner + Marr + Tennant) outputs which is worth the money. Highly underrated by the critics (3/5 stars only) and the public.

NO disappointed me most 1992 at the Bizarre festival on the Lorelei rock (above the Rhine). They finished the evening after a superb performance by Sonic Youth (Thurston Moore played like Hendrix young brother) and seemed like little puppets to me who where dancing in the distance to electronic rhythms made for people from Mars. Absolutely ridiculous.

Happy birthday mon amour
Did you know what happened today in history?

Cleopatra committed suicide 30 B.C. aged 38 or 39, probably by means of a poisonous serpent.

Almost funny is the naiveness 855 years ago:
1146 - A conference of European leaders outlawed the crossbow. By banning the effective weapon, it was believed that the leaders had ended wars for all time.

It is Frankenstein day today. Mary Shelley, the writer of the infamous book was born in 1797.

50 years before your birth Lenin was shot but he survived.

In music your exact day of birth featured the first recordings of The Beatles for their Apple label. The initial session included Revolution and Hey Jude.

Cameron Diaz is exactly four years younger than you (but I can assure you any jealousy would be totally unfounded ;-)).

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

The Strokes again
Neumu featured the Strokes for the fourth time in its daily insider report yesterday. Somehow I cannot help in getting the feeling that this band has just been founded so that Michael Goldberg can fill his column. ;-)

But this time it is not Michael who writes but Johnny Walker (Black) [nice pseudonym] a Neumu contributor from Canada. And it is hopefully the last and most striking article on them. Johnny is spot on when he writes that there have been numerous other bands who sounded similar to VU and they were much better than the Strokes. He mentions Dream Syndicate, the Feelies and Luna. Absolutely right and there is another band which should be mentioned here and that is Yo La Tengo. I think that they are the only legitimate heirs of VU. And their advantage is that they are still around (ok Luna as well but they have lost it a little recently I think). Live they are absolutely brilliant. Another band which must be mentioned here is Television of course. They were the first I guess. I forgot Stereolab who blend VU and Neu!. The second last band I can think of is Suicide. Mazzy Star to finish. But there are much more. Enough for another post another day.

All those bands have been influenced strongly by VU but they have created something new out of it. They have digested VU by probably listening a lot to them and then following their own path, shaping their own sound. The Strokes on the other hand are just imitating and copying VU. The singer sings like a clone of Lou Reed. They are almost totally uninspired. Just like a high school band who is performing covers of the Rolling Stones (in my school days they were). Instead of digesting they are swallowing VU and then spitting them out.

Tuesday, August 28, 2001

How to die before your 61st birthday
Just drink, smoke, consume and live like him or him (ten years ago already - my o my).

Monday, August 27, 2001

Last Waltz
The video I got from Amazon is a kind of watershed of pop music. A music movie by Martin Scorsese about the last concert of The Band at the Winterland, San Francisco on Thanksgiving 1976. It is something like a best of before punk broke out. The Band itself is a pretty boring rock outfit. In the movie they play with the most important artists of the 70s. Ronnie Hawkins (they used to be his support band), Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Muddy Waters, Neil Diamond etc. Even though The Band is only an average band (sic!) that movie captures the spirit of the early rock age amazingly well. One of the best rock music films around. Much better than Stop Making Sense anyway. And I love the early Talking Heads!
The film is worth buying just for Joni's beautiful rendition of Coyote, one of my favourite songs of hers. I am just "a prisoner of the white lines on the freeway...". Nevertheless she seemed a little bit out of place with The Band. Apparently she also performed Shadows and Light and Furry Sings the Blues at the concert. Both are not featured on my copy of the video.

August 12th I ordered a couple of CDs plus one video at for 89+ DM (shipping free). August 25th they responded telling me that they have shipped all articles except one. I received the items today. One CD was missing. And the overall price was below 89 DM. Therefore they charged me about 8 DM for shipping. What a bunch of w...... .
A serious shop would not have charged for shipping as it is their fault if their database of articles contains stuff they cannot deliver. Not Amazon. The second best policy would have been to tell me in advance that they are unable to deliver some items in their database. And then give me the choice if I would like the order to be executed. Not Amazon. They delivered the items they had and charged me for shipping. NEVER AGAIN I AM GOING TO BUY ANYTHING AT AMAZON. End of story.

god. i am tired.
shit. had to work all weekend.
hell. need a break soon.

Saturday, August 25, 2001

i walk past a house
a cat sleeps on a pillar
psst. do not disturb.

The Strokes are dud
Just listened to the four songs I linked to below. Sorry but to compare the Strokes to VU is a blasphemy. They are just another boring retro-sounding band.
Masonic Boom (Kate St. Claire) got it totally right on I Love Music:
"The Strokes are to the Velvets/NYC punk what Oasis are to The Beatles. End of story."
Last Nite has got the garage sound of VU. But it is hollow. And after having listened to it three times it is very annoying as well.
Barely Legal starts quite well with a stolen riff (where from?). But after one minute 30 it runs out of steam. There is some 70s sounding guitar free-style wankery going on. The voice of the singer is not so bad in the beginning when it is rough.
NYC Cops is the worst song of the four. The singer sounds like Jim Morrison here. The song goes nowhere. And the chorus together with some more 70s guitar work is sooo bad.
The Modern Age is a bad copy of VU again. The singer sings like Lou Reed. He even repeats Lou's manierisms like "gogogogogogogogogo". The song is probably the best of the four. If there would not be this guitar shite in the second half again.
So my advise: Do not waste your precious hard disk space for this music.
Some more discussion on ILM here.

Just surfin'
Kurt Cobain was a blogger: According to tiny mix tapes gone to heaven 28 notebook diaries have appeared. Do we really want to know what Kurt was thinking when he was a teenager? No chance. The book will be published. There must be a market for this. Anyways much more interesting than Liam Gallagher's scribblings from primary school which will probably be discovered soon as well.

Next stop are the Strokes. The most hyped band after Radiohead.
Start of digression. Actually the hype about OK Computer did not do them harm. I thought that album was pretentious and empty but this year they have certainly released a masterpiece. Check last plane to Jakarta for a well-written review. The bleak and beautiful Amnesiac is the soundtrack of our time. Houellebecq's new book (FR) on sex-tourism could be the equivalent in writing. End of digression.
Back to the Strokes. Michael Goldberg from Neumu (#1 #2 #3) loves them. They are compared to Velvet Underground! The difference is in any case that when VU was around no one gave a shit about them whereas the Strokes are kind of stars already. NYLPM (more precisely David Raposa) says that they are not so bad. I just downloaded four tracks from here (link credit NYLPM). Haven't listened to them yet.

Single blue silver (DE) hates punks, techno-kiddies, vegetarians etc. Nice post but I guess I am worse. I do not care. I just ignore them.

Back to good music. Eyes that can see in the dark (Where are your permalinks Phil?) wrote on Nick Drake on August 23rd. A profound post. Me too I hate it when someone is recommended by all critics as then expectations are too high and disappointment is preprogrammed. But I do not think that the quality of Nick Drake's songs after the first two tracks on Five Leaves Left diminishes. More about that later hopefully.

Friday, August 24, 2001

reading my ramblings
on music i feel like a
deaf listening to it

I know that this is not a haiku. Not only has the last line six syllables instead of five (maybe not, as it depends on how you pronounce "listening") but it resembles more a koan. And of course haikus should not be (I read that somewhere) reflective and abstract. But I have my problems right now with the concrete. I will try to do better next time.

Thursday, August 23, 2001

I got the idea with the haikus from another blogger. The wannabe girl. One subtitle of her blog is a weblog about weblogs. So a little bit like mine recently. I like her latest haiku which is quite funny in a dark sense:

"Such a boring day
No training and no bomb threat
Need some excitement."

If you are too lazy or uninspired to write your own you can generate 100 trillion haikus here.

i can see the sky
it's reflecting on my screen
what a blue. so pure.

look out of window
the monitor is mirrored
in the window pane

Nothing, sorry about that
So I am a star. Check this beautiful star map. Do you see the medium-sized white star with blue halo called pith & vinegar quite on the right which is horizontally in the middle? My blog is the next (but quite far as there is a lot of empty space there) small white star (or maybe comet) to the "south" (a wee bit "east") of it which has a longish shape. Nice idea anyways.

I know a way how to get a more up-to-date index of Google. Via Quickbrowse. I just quickbrowsed this search for links to my page. That search yields nothing if I go direct from my browser. In Quickbrowse I get 27 links. Probably tomorrow I will also get those link results here. Is Europe's Google cache/index older than the American one?

P.S. I just realize that Google's cache seems to be more up-to-date than its index. I did this search to check if my archives are indexed. Google found my blog homepage which does not contain these words anymore as I wrote them in June. Nevertheless those words are in Google's abbreviated result resume. But in Google's cache there is Tuesday's (21/08) version of my blog going back only one week. Quite strange.

P.P.S. I think I will go mad if I continue this. When looking for my post title of 21/08 in Google I also get my blog as first result page! And the resume is correct! That means that there are several versions of the index floating around. And I can access both of them from here. Apparently there is a kind of backup of the latest index. The old version is not deleted after creating the new one and it can still be accessed. Is this confusing or cool? Probably cool as the whole Google technology (When I did my linear algebra university courses at this ugly building in Munich in 1984/85 I felt that eigenvalues would be useful one day). ;-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

I do not listen to the radio anymore
Only five years ago I still loved the radio, I mean certain programmes on it. I was listening to Bernard Lenoir's "La musique pas comme les autres" on France Inter. Lenoir ("le soir c'est Lenoir") is France's equivalent to John Peel from Radio One. I think his programme is called C'est Lenoir now. But I cannot take it anymore. To listen to one good song I have to listen to 5 crappy pseudo indie songs. No way. Nowadays we have the internet where I can listen to what I want. I am my own dee-jay.
Other programmes I gave up on: Schwarzweiss on HR1, a German station. They were never really great. Now they have changed the transmission schedule. instead of 7 to 9 pm it is 8 to 10 now.
Last but not least my favourite programme of all the time. The Zündfunk made by the Bayerischer Rundfunk #2 (BR2). They know most about interesting music off the beaten paths in Germany. Their programmes are intellectual and quite profound. But they are based in Munich and their programme is for people from there and I am not 25 anymore and it is from 5 to 6 pm weekdays I think when I still have to work.
I still listen to the Skydivers (Google has got my post of yesterday in its cache!) from Washington DC. Great melancholic pop music nobody knows about. Check alcohol, sadness you crave and summer sky (direct mp3 download links). Guitar pop close to dream pop at its lightest and best.

a trodden path at left
just open space to the right
which way to go now?

On parle français (FR) (pour toi)
Les weblogs ou blogs en français sont encore très rares. Je suppose il y a si peu de blogs dans la langue de Voltaire parce qu'il n'existe pas encore une bonne traduction. :-) Le terme officiel est blogue, sinon joueb (avec infos comment en créer un) était suggéré.
Une autre possibilité pourquoi j'ai trouvé si peu d'exemples pourrait être le manque de liens entre eux. Peut-être il y a beaucoup de français qui écrivent leur journal sur l'internet mais ils restent dans leur coin.

Une liste non-exhaustive de blogues que j'ai trouvé sur la toile.
- c'est tout: Un blogue collective. Les articles sont rangés dans des thèmes. Circa 3 articles par semaine.
- niutopia: Fait parti de c'est tout. Informations et nouvelles concernant les techniques utiles sur les blogues qu'on appelle jouebs ici. On peut aussi héberger son blogue là-bas si j'ai bien compri. 3-4 article par semaine.
- everybody's weird: Manur aime bien la musique pas comme les autres. Il écrit 3-4 fois par semaine.
- JY: Un Nantais qui aime aussi la musique un peu indé et toutes les choses html oueb etc. JY écrit en anglais tous les jours.
- nospoon: Effort collective. Centré vers la technologie, internet, ordinateurs etc. Très intéressant. Plusieurs articles par jour.
- darnziak: Culture pop, cinéma, musique etc. Bien écrit. Mise à jour tous les deux jours.
- iokanaan: Musique indé, cinéma, BD, culture générale etc. Existe depuis février. Nouvelles articles presque tous les jours.
- karl & cow: Photos, textes littéraires, pensées etc. Très bien fait. Journalier.
- ocw: Je suppose c'est une jeune québécoise qui écrit sur sa vie quotidienne. 1-2 articles par semaine. Il existe aussi un blog en anglais d'elle.
- elanceur: Sous-titré opinions, brèves de comptoirs et commentaires sur le netbusiness. Un article par semaine.

Welcome to the club!

Google addendum
Two things I just realised concerning the strange behaviour of Google who seems to divide blogs in two, i.e. blogs which are cached by Google every day and the rest.
I remember that about two weeks ago there was already a version of my blog from beginning of August in Google's cache. This has disappeared and now there is the page dated 27th June they crawled when they detected me first in their cache.
A search engine referral to my site from Yahoo!'s version of Google makes me wonder. I know that I have written about those bands and that the post(s) must be buried somewhere in my archive. Strange thing is that when I reproduce the search I get nine results without my blog site! So there must be different versions of Google's index and/or cache floating around. What is happening here? Anyone any ideas? I should contact Google I guess.

P.S. A small logical problem by Einstein for the upper 2%. Who owns the fish? Sorry it is in German. Try babel fish!

Belief in the times of internet is an amazing internet community. Like a collective blog (probably moderated) with a forum. It is about "technology and culture from the trenchies". I have been linking to their article on autism yesterday. Their last text is titled What religion for geeks?. It deals with the question what rational people like you and me can or should believe in today. It treats the different religions shortly and asks for everybody's opinion, experience and conclusion. When I write this there are already 321 comments in the forum and the article was only published yesterday at about 4pm Central European time. Despite all contrary assertions the internet in the US is kicking and alive and Europe and the rest of the world are still way behind in terms of interactivity and participation of the masses.

Music of the Internet
Great idea. Music made from your IP address using fractal composition. My IP address produces subtler sounds than most bands nowadays. ;-)

Tuesday, August 21, 2001

How to fill your blog with self-centered emptiness
Write about
- not having any ideas what to write about
- what other bloggers are writing about and link to them
- blogger directories (German speaking), search engines (German) and link popularity
- new blogger tools like wap blogging, new blogger software etc.
- how your blog looks like in different browsers
- disturbing or not so disturbing search requests
- other referral stuff like sites which link to you, the number of visitors or their geographical distribution etc.
- totally stupid stats/lists like Who reads the most weblogs? (I am #54 at the moment)
- why you chose your blog name
- creating avatars and attending parties with them
- the latest meeting with bloggers in real life (UK bloggers started this)
- your dreams (sorry Andrea this is not serious)
- all the different ways of how to divert from the fact that you have no inspiration (like I do right now)

Any more ideas? Please post them to the forum. Thanks.

Some blogs are more equal than others (according to Google)
As you may have read our favourite search engine Google has started to index sites which are updated frequently more often than normal quite static websites. Especially weblogs should be touched by this improvement as they should be crawled on a daily instead of the usual monthly base now. But apparently the new policy does not extend to all blogs. I have checked the Google cache of some blogs I visit on a regular base and I found that two groups can be distinguished (with direct links to the cache).

Blogs with an old Google cache dating from June/July:
- this blog
- wortwerkstatt
- schockwellenreiter
- absintheur
- dead men can tell no lies
- badgerminor
- life as it happens
- eyes that can see in the dark

Up to date Google cache from mid August:
- scripting news
- robotwisdom
- lukelog
- josh blog
- sofa blogger
- rebecca's pocket
- evhead

First I thought free sites from Geocities, Tripod, Blogspot, Livejournal etc. are treated second class but there are some other blogs with an old Google cache. Then I remembered that my Extreme sitetracker code is probably causing troubles with Internet Explorer 6.0 as Ev. told me. Maybe Google uses IE 6.0. I doubt it. Any other ideas what is going on here?

Rain men everywhere?
Some refreshing unorthodox thoughts on possible relations between autism and evolution (and intelligence) here. That article seems to be quite paradoxical in our age of total communication. But think about our future which will be full of robots and clones. Will those entities talk? Maybe yes. But will they understand each other?

Monday, August 20, 2001

Surf spray
Jeff LeVine (August 17th), who is one of my favourite music bloggers, went to a concert of the David S. Ware Quartet in Portland:
"The quartet played six or seven songs, that stretched out to about two hours of unbelievable music, that totally kept my attention the entire time – that set my spirit flying free. Wow – it was exhausting – it was as good as fucking. "
So I am not the only one who thinks there can be a relation between music and my favourite sport.

But maybe the title of this blog is a little too optimistic. Check the Sealed Weasels at Their first song is called Death & Taxes and they subtitle: "There are only two things you can count on."

Sunday, August 19, 2001

The song I just needed
I was just listening to a couple of mp3 tracks I recently downloaded. Mp3s have become my first source of information on new music. Usually 80% of all the songs I download by unknown bands are average and not very interesting pieces of alternative music.
But sometimes I stumble upon jewels. Like the song Alcohol by the Skydivers. As always in the beginning I just listened to the melody. I was hooked immediately and the song has been playing on repeat for the last half an hour. Extremely light slightly melancholic guitar indie pop with a small dose of psychedelic mushrooms which made me think of the Field Mice and Flying Nun bands from New Zealand like Jean Paul Sartre Experience. Somehow I know this slightly nasal and grave voice of the singer. He sings like someone else. But who?

Then I started trying to understand the lyrics. And this line kept sticking in my head:
"Every time I look at you
I have to lie
And tell you that you're fine"

I started understanding what this song was about. The title which I had not taken notice of made sense now. The name of the band which I had misread as "varied sky" (divers in the French meaning) suddenly seemed like a coincidence. They are from Washington DC and you can download Alcohol and some other songs here.

Highlights of self-pity part one
I would like to drown in the sea of my tears.

Friday, August 17, 2001

Asking for it
Blogging about disturbing search requests is not only a very popular way to fill your blog without content (check my previous post). It will also induce positive feedback in the technical sense: By quoting those requests the search terms which have already been found on your site will become even more frequent. So the next time a search spider passes by it will rank your site even higher for those terms and you should get even more traffic of people searching for those words. Just a triviality but probably not everybody is aware of this.

I Still Haven't Found What I Am Looking for
This morning at 7:11 I had my first visitor from Fiji.
Aloha (no that was Hawaiian I guess) or however you welcome people there. That person was looking for the search term "sex middle age". I hope he/she/it found what he/she/it was looking for. Was it sex in the middle ages? Or sex in the middle of age? What is the middle of age? Your life expectancy divided by 2? Many questions, no answers. Sorry about that. Keep surfing.

PS: If you have come here for the meaning of "Jai guru deva om" of the Beatles check the forum please. Absintheur has answered this question.

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Terminology or secret code
Another post to attract people who are only looking for one thing on the internet. Are you over 18? ATTENTION, the s-word will be mentioned four times.

- a day with sex and sunshine = a perfect day
- a day with sex but without sunshine = not a bad day
- a day with sunshine but without sex = a nice day
- a day with sex but without sunshine = not a bad day
- a day without sex and without sunshine = a sad day

Nothing to blog about
Today must have been one of the hottest days this summer. We went to eat outside at a Greek restaurant. Just starters, some salad and joghurt. It was strange when we arrived in Kronberg, probably the city with most millionaires (e.g. Leisler-Kiep) per capita in Germany. We parked the car next to the Jugendzentrum (youth centre). On the market square there was a kind of party going on of the local CDU (German conservatives) and at the youth centre the adolescents were smoking pot. Nice smell and even nicer contrast.
The Greek was a German Greek. With the sweetest and lousiest Retsina I have ever had in my life. Retsina has to be a little rough and dry. It has to taste of turpentine otherwise there is not enough resin inside. And it must be drunk at a temperature quite close to zero degrees (5 should be ok). The Greek restaurant tried to do nouvelle cuisine. Ridiculous. But the food was all right.
[slightly amended August 16th]

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Blogger is a bitch
I had just finished quite a long post on the last song that made me cry inspired by Josh's confession and tried to post when Blogger decided to go on strike. I am quite angry now, but probably that was a sign from the skies. It would have been my most personal post yet. Now I will just tell you that the song was Across the Universe sung by John Lennon on the last Beatles album Let It Be. The opening line "Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup" seems like a critical philosophy of language in nuce. I will buy a beer to the person who can translate the line "Jai guru deva om" (the kitsch summit of the song). Cheers.

The good old times
Did you know how your site would have looked in the line-mode browser Tim Berners-Lee at CERN was using in 1990/92? Check Deja Vu (re-)creating web history. Besides there are javascript emulations of NCSA Mosaic 1.0, Mosaic Netscape 0.9, Netscape Navigator 1.0, Lynx, Internet Explorer 2.0 and HotJava.
It is unbelievable. The www is only 12 years old. I guess in 1990 Gutenberg's invention of printing dating from around 1450 was as established as the world wide web is now. We are progressing to where?

Monday, August 13, 2001

Never trust your teacher (nor the internet)
Seneca is often quoted for his famous statement about learning. According to Google there are 163 occurences of the search request Seneca "Non scholae sed vitae discimus" but only 77 occurences of Seneca "Non vitae sed scholae discimus" which is the correct quotation.
All pupils in the world know with Seneca that school is quite useless and mainly a means in itself. But the teachers tried to be clever and just turned around that famous phrase.
Just for once and forever, Seneca said: NOT FOR LIFE BUT FOR SCHOOL WE LEARN.

Saturday, August 11, 2001

How deaf can you be?
Down at ILM (I Love Music), my favourite forum on music, there is still a discussion going on titled critics are the devil. Concerning this subject I have been flabbergasted today by an AMG (All music guide) critic. Slatch's pick of the week is Fevers and Mirrors by the Bright Eyes. I downloaded two mp3 files from that album from their record label site Saddle Creek. And I listened to them. As always with Slatch's picks I was not disappointed. Slightly melancholic emotional music in the folkrock songwriter vein with a singer whose voice reminds me very much of Joel RL Phelps who used to be member of Silkworm. It can become quite expressive but it is unspectacular soft and thin usually. The music is dominated by an acoustic guitar and some pedal steel.
When reading the AMG review by Mike DaRonco I could not believe my eyes. It starts: "Nebraska's Bright Eyes are graduates from the Midwestern school of Brit-pop". What? Brit-pop? Must be the version of Brit-pop then. The album is then defined as "a strong adaptation of Radiohead, Blur, and Suede". As we all know these bands are really into acoustic music with pedal steel guitars hailing everywhere. I think Mike missed out at least one usual suspect: The Bright Eyes are Nebraska's answer to Oasis. What the hell. Mike, just a free advice for the future. Either next time you listen to a record before reviewing it or in case you did that please spare us from your scribble on music in the future.
Actually I found another review at Pitchfork (rating 5.4/10) which is not really positive but at least the reviewer seems to know what he is talking about.

The New World and Heartland
It is terrible. Today I cannot stop posting. Heartland is such a nice name for Great Britain. The people from down under seem to have a romantic vein.

In my last post I wrote that the English punk was the real thing for me. This holds but punk was nevertheless invented in the United States. The most important punk band from the States, the Ramones (who charted much higher in the UK than in the US) were around one or two years before the Pistols. But the American punk did not have the same musical, cultural and social consequences as the English punk. In England punk was a revolution. It brought the do-it-yourself ethic into rock music and finished the era of bombastic art-/prog- rock of bands like Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Yes and Barclay James Harvest. Punk became a movement. The punks were young people who were fed up with the affluent society. They were showing that to the world by provocation. They dyed their hair green, had the haircut of an Iroquois, walked around with rats dangling from their shoulders and were wearing torn clothes.

Somehow this evaluation of the punk who has its roots in the States but its tree-trunk in England reminds me of another musical revolution. In the early sixties two English bands formed who have been up to now the most influential groups in the history of pop and rock music. The Beatles and the Stones (this is actually a beautiful song by Guy Chadwick from the House of Love). Whereas rockn'roll and its roots the blues came from America (Africa) the elaboration and further development was very much a British affair. The Beatles started from rock'n roll and developed pop and then later psychedelic pop which was then further developed to acid rock on the US west coast. The Rolling Stones on the other hand started from blues and were very important for the development of rock music. This is a simplification of things but I hope it is not too far-fetched.

Rowing back again?
Strange coincidence. I lament on the current state of rock music and there is this excellent account of the English punk years (the real ones for me) in the Guardian (via slatch). Many witnesses recall those "glorious" times. Just reading these firsthand experiences makes me want to turn back the clock for twenty-five years. Some of these people are probably seeing that past world through rose-tinted glasses but they cannot all be wrong. And the stupid thing is I was around at that time. With thirteen years maybe a little too young but even so I totally missed out on punk. I was listening to the Carpenters, the Four Seasons, the Sweet, Status Quo, Kiss, Slade and later on Pink Floyd, Genesis, Supertramp, Eloy (like a German Genesis) etc. Really embarrassing music.

Back to last night's post. According to legend Joy Division got started under the name Warsaw after a concert in Manchester of the Sex Pistols in the fall of 1976 at the same time as The Fall (also coming from Manchester) and The Cure. I never really got into the Sex Pistols. Probably the only way to really appreciate them would have been their concerts. JD transformed the raw and plain power of the Pistols into something more structured, more elaborate without losing their spirit. Even though very often they are filed under goth rock or cold wave essentially they stayed a punk band. Chronologically speaking they were post punk. For me JD capture the atmosphere of the late seventies the best. I guess they condensate the feeling of the youth in that time in the most subtle way. Nirvana did something similar for the grunge years. But in contrast to the punks (who still exist) the slackers were just a short-lived fashion. There was no substance behind and that is why JD and Nirvana do not play in the same league.

Friday, August 10, 2001

(Too) Hard on Things
I am not happy with last night's post. That is the least to say. I know that I have this tendency to pass judgement too easily and too harshly. Somehow I like to play the schoolmaster. I love rankings, lists and marking. And I know that it is so futile. And that it is too easy to criticise a creative piece of art which rock music is. Especially when knowing that I could probably never create anything as inspired as Nevermind.
Therefore my first resolution is to be more careful with my judgement in the future. No wholesale condemnations anymore.

The second resolution concerns holding to my old posts. In the past I sometimes changed past posts later on (I am not talking of spelling here). I find that dishonest now. That is like betraying the readers. But still I think that I should have the freedom to change views. And to show that. Especially when I wrote something like last night where I obviously exaggerated (was it the wine?). So I will take the liberty of crossing out words, sentences or paragraphs of past posts. In this way the reader can still see what I wrote initially. In blogs I sometimes get the impression crossing out is used as a stylistic device. Just to make the blog look like a work in progress. To give the impression of improvisation and temporariness. That is not how I want to use the means of crossing out. I would only want to say that I have changed mind. But it would not make sense to delete parts of posts one month later. I think it is ok to cross out on the same day or the next day. Enough self-criticism now. Carpe diem.

Powerful music
I have started to listen to old music again. I am a sucker for new music but somehow nowadays there seem to be very little new sounds in music. Maybe Radiohead is the closest to innovative music around. But when comparing to the music of ten or twenty years ago their records seem quite pale.
I guess what I love about rock music is the power, the strength, the forcefulness of the youth. Relistening to Nirvana's or Weezer's first albums makes me realize that they were just average bands expressing the feeling of their time which was quite mediocre.

A lot of words to say nothing. Right now I listen to the Joy Division's Les Bains Douches. And there is so much anger, so much power in those song interpretations. You could say it is the punk spirit. But it is more. JD have only released two records during their lifetime but numbers don't count here. Everything is there what I expect of good rock music. Stephen Morris drums (raw and hypnotising), Peter Hook's almost lead guitar-like bass, Bernard Sumners distorted guitars and Ian Curtis vocals. Actually if I would have to do without something it would be the vocals (maybe not). Take New Dawn Fades Away. A perfect interplay between the bass and the guitars. Or Dead Souls. Schwarzenegger (or Muhammed Ali) is nothing compared to that song. Power pure. Transcending punk. I am still looking for the band which goes on from there.

Thursday, August 09, 2001

No content
On Wednesday the number of visitors to this blog broke the barrier of one hundred. And I swear I only clicked 99 times. :-) Thank you everyone. Especially the bots, crawlers, spiders etc. I love those animals. Because they will bring me more visitors in the future. Spambots nevertheless are strongly advised to stay in their can or go here.

I have been nominated blog of the day. A very good idea that. I mean proposing a new blog every day. Thank you Arthur.

Just discovered (via badger) the up to date site of somnolence (my favourite malady), a well-written music blog by Clive who is studying at St. Andrews (Belfast). Me too I guess I will have to get these Radiohead single b-sides. There are also old versions of this blog floating around, e.g. here (via Google). Maybe a link to the new site would be reasonable. BTW I like the simple airy design.

And monosyllabic (via somnolence) is back with a very nice look. Background colour, images and reflections fit together perfectly. If you are interested in the year 2000 releases there is still monosyllabic's long listing with good reviews.

I got rid of the double frames as they reminded me too much of an obituary (in Germany they look like that). And I will soon drop the Coming soon section on the left. It should rather be called Coming never as I cannot follow any plans or schemes in my blog. "Music and the daytime" will be treated whenever I feel like it. I can only write what just comes to my mind. Musically speaking I am improvising.

There is a link below every post called forum. I am a little disappointed of the activity in there. So please feel free to comment on my ramblings. I always thought interactivity was the difference between television and the internet. OK I admit my program is not as exciting as Baywatch but still.

Wednesday, August 08, 2001


Andy Kellman has written a very good post about the Cocteau Twins in his blog Permafrost (August 6th). I almost missed it as he started with MTV and Matt Pinfield (120 minutes moderator). He finds an interesting connection between the Cocteau Twins and Belle and Sebastian.

Badger is looking for people who hate the Beatles (August 6th) for good reasons. Even if I am absolutely d'accord concerning the genius of the Beatles and I never met anyone who could explain me why he did not like them I feel that there is a flaw in Badger's argument. He starts from the idea that as a pop music lover you have to love the Beatles. And that those who don't have to justify. But shouldn't it be vice versa? What are the good reasons to love the Beatles? This question is as legitimate as the other. I think no one has to explain anything. We are talking of tastes and tastes are different. Or did you ever convince someone that he should like Sauerkraut? BTW I dislike the Beach Boys too.

I loved yesterday's comment of Badger on the beats in house music which speak to Ian White from Bleeding Ears. If you hear (military) orders in the beats that is a good reason not to like house/techno etc. Now I ask myself the painful question: Is it by accident that techno has mainly been developed by Germans? Fortunately house hasn't. I guess it started in Chicago.

Josh has responded in detail to my recent post where I called his blog uninspiring. I am happy that Josh wants to be understood. But it is a little bit like with the Beatles haters. It is a matter of taste. And I am sorry to say but I find Josh blog a tad boring (especially compared to others) recently. Even though I love Wittgenstein and more or less the same kind of music as him. Anyways I will continue reading and I am still curious how Josh evaluates certain music and especially the new releases. Finally I owe him a big thank you for linking to me. Last night Josh has become my top referrer.

Rumble Strip has closed shop after only a little more than one month of blogging. The first (and up till now only) music blog I liked which started after mine. We will miss it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

From time to time there are these threads at ILM. They are called Only Connect. I think you start with some artist or song and the next person has to make a connection to another artist or song etc. The internet works like that. Hyperlinks are connections and I love jumping from A to B to Z to A. Let's see if it works. 10 hops must be possible.

1 As a good self-referentialist I start with my review of the Van Gogh exhibition in Frankfurt.
2 From there I go to an article by Mario Vargas Llosa in the New York Times on Van Gogh and Gauguin (free registration required) living together in Arles.
3a Next station could be (but is not) the fireworks Rhein in Flammen as in the aforementioned article Arles is supposed to be on the Rhine. A German (ok ok Swiss-German-French-Dutch) river flowing into the Mediterranean. A dream coming true. I hope the translator and not Vargas Llosa could not distinguish the "o" from the "i". Whatever. Next time I (as a European) will write that Washington is the capital of Tierra del Fuego.
3 On we go therefore with absinth as both Gauguin and van Gogh loved it whereas Vargas Llosa thinks of it (in the NYT article) as "a nasty beverage tasting of mint and sugar, pharmaceutically based".
4 Next stop is salvia divinorum, a substance which is legal in contrast to absinth but which has similar effects.
5 I do not know anything about the Mazatec indians in Mexico (who consume salvia) but I know Castaneda (RIP) who wrote about Mexican sorcerers who can fly.
6 Castanedas teacher (in his books) was called Don Juan which brings us back to the old continent. Mozart's most famous opera (google translation from Italian).
7 Now I make a jump of two centuries. The Beatles were to the late twentieth century what Mozart was to the late 18th.
8 The Beatles without John Lennon would be like Christianity without Jesus.
9 At ILM someone imagined that Jesus would be listening to Oasis on his walkman now.
10 An oasis in the desert is like this site in the internet. But watch your clicks. It could also be a fata morgana or like a drug test experience.

Monday, August 06, 2001

Love in the time of internet
By accident I just stumbled on this love story (28th July) (announcement) of Christine (Rebecca is a pseudonym) and Jesse James. Apparently blogging can change your life! Now we know why infosift has not been updated after November 1999. There are more important things to life than blogging.
BTW Rebecca's pocket is really nicely designed. So simple and so good. I especially like the short reviews on the left hand side. I guess I have to redesign my page as the weblog review is quite right.

Sunday, August 05, 2001

Indexing and the consequences
Today I spent a lot of time trying to set up an Access database to create an index for this blog. Finally I have come up with something. But I am not too happy with it. You can check the index which is just one screen shot big right now tomorrow when I will have uploaded it via ftp. What I really hate about Access, Frontpage and all other bloody Microsoft products is that they inflate small files to enormous sizes. In my case each line of the html index file is automatically defined as a table with all attributes like font size, colour and face or background colour repeated for each line. The index file can be zipped to 6%! Microsoft only was successful because we are living in an affluent society. It is in to waste resources. It almost seems that progress is not possible without wasting things. We (and especially the forerunners of progress the Americans) are wasting energy (why is gasoline still so cheap?), food (think of all these fatties), animal lives (esp. in the UK), rain forest etc. etc. I hate that. But I do not know what to do about it.

A blog (writer) I like
Writing blogs has become quite popular nowadays. Blogger alone hosts 15,000 bloggers. Some of those online diary writers write about music. And some of those write about the music I like. For example Josh. I am sorry to say but his writing does not inspire me very much nowadays. Too theoretical, too much reasoning on a meta base. He does not seem to hear the music with his ears but with his brain. But there are others. Badger is my favourite blog writer at the moment. He writes every day. He does not only write about music but also about other entertainment stuff and a little about politics. And he has quite a wide spectrum of music he likes (Josh as well). In the past week I have discovered a couple of parallels in our musical tastes and their development which I cannot withheld.

Two days ago he wrote that he follows the discussions at ILM but he does not participate in them. I tried to participate and it was quite disappointing. There are some very interesting discussions going on there for sure. But there is also lots of intolerance and hatred. There is something like a circle of 10-20 people who dominate all threads. And I do not find that healthy.

Back to Badger. A couple of days ago I posted a very incomplete list of future album releases. Later on I realised that I had copied Badger unconsciously who had posted a much more complete list one or two days before. On my list I forgot at least two important releases. Ryan Adams (thank you Badger) who is apparently working on a new album and Stina Nordenstam, one of the most amazing female voices. She is a blues singer whereas Björk is an opera singer.

"Amnesiac is a contemporary classic". That is so true. It is the first Radiohead album that captivates me. They are not really innovative but they are bringing the sounds which have been developed by others (maybe Aphex twin and Autechre but I do not know this kind of music) to the big public. That is not bad. A little bit like Nirvana who had the success Velvet Underground, the Wipers, the Melvins and Sonic Youth never had but who are unthinkable without these groups.

Me too I like "the Beatles, Blur, Beck" (don't know about Robyn Hitchcock) and I am pro-Gorillaz. For me there was never a doubt which side I was on when Oasis was still kicking around. He reads Brautigan and Bukowski. Badger try So the Wind Won't Blow It All Away. Maybe in there you can find why Brautigan shot himself. A story of a child told by an adult child (Brautigan). Best thing I read last year. Very simple, very beautiful and very sad. And you are right. The Abortion is the Library and the love story with Vida is quite crap. Vida = Beauty = Emptiness. This makes me think of Tristessa by Kerouac. That is a real story. And it is sad as well.

Concerning Gorky's Zygotic Minci I just listened to an mp3 I downloaded recently. How I Long to Feel that Summer in My Heart. Really awesome. There is a Velvet Underground guitar sound (third album I guess Jesus) there which enthralls me. All the stuff I have heard of them before (Spanish Dance Troupe and before) was too folky for my ears. But Blue Trees and the soon to be published next album are definitely worth a try. And what is this about the Super Furry Animals? I do not know them. Another Velvet inspired band?

No hyperlinks today. I am too lazy.

Saturday, August 04, 2001

We went to see the Van Gogh exhibition in the Frankfurt Städel museum. Actually it is not only about Van Gogh but also about his painter friends who developed new styles based on the then predominant impressionism. The exhibition has been organised by the Saint Louis Art Museum and the full name is Vincent Van Gogh and the painters of the petit boulevard.

There were three pictures which really impressed me. The first one was by the man himself. One of his last works called Stairway at Auvers from 1890. It is actually on the cover of the catalog. As so often with Van Gogh the colours are very impressive. In this painting there are many variations of green together with some yellow, blue, red and white. It is not a light radiating picture as for example the Sunflowers. But it is still quite bright. In the middle there are the yellow stairs which an old man with a walking-stick descends. In the front there are two pairs of women, two older women dressed in dark green and two young women dressed in white. I do not want to go on with the description as I am not very good at it. What I like about the painting besides the colour composition is that it is so full of details (almost crammed) and that I did not know it before. With pictures it is like with music. If you have seen them too often you get tired of them. When looking at that painting I get the impression Van Gogh knew that he was going to die soon and he tried to put as much of himself into it as possible. That is why it is slightly crammed.

Charles Angrand, of whom I had not heard of before, painted the Seine at Dawn in 1889 (that was the year when Nietzsche became mad). That is a picture reminding me a lot of Monet as you see a man in a boat on the Seine with the silhouette of Paris in the background.The style is already kind of pointillistic. This painting is a chef d'oeuvre of understatement. There is hardly anything to see. It is very inconspicuous. Just dots in green, yellow, white and different blue tones. From the distance everything is pale blue, but really pale. In the original the boat was surrounded by a halo which I cannot see anymore on the reproduction.

The last painting I liked is the View of Collioure from 1887 by Paul Signac. Another painter I did not know before but I am quite a peasant concerning the visual arts. He seems to be the painter who excelled most in pointillism. In the said picture he melds blue and pink red so that the result is amazingly warm and serene. A funny thing was that the art historian speaking at the audio guide talked all the time of orange roofs etc. But in the original the roofs were obviously pink or pink red. Afterwards I had a look at the postcard and the catalogue. There I saw that the reproduction really was a little orange. It seems to be almost impossible to have authentic colour reproductions. What I like about pointillism is that it is a different perspective towards the world. Everything is not continuous anymore but much more fragmentary and isolated. But when you have a look from the distance you cannot see it.

Friday, August 03, 2001

Music yet to come
Recently released or upcoming where I am not sure what to think about (US release date):
- Beta Band: Hot Shots II (released). Mainly favorable reviews. The clips I have listened to were not that impressive. These thin voices drive me almost mad. Probably the 3EPs are all you need to own by them.
- Sparklehorse: It's a Wonderful Life (28/8). Reviews seem favorable. I liked their first album with the long title word in the beginning. Got a little bored after a while. We will see. They could be a nice surprise.
- Belle and Sebastian: ?. Heard some good things. But I am a little tired of that group. They seem to degrade with each album. They do not progress.

Upcoming releases I look forward to:
- Laurie Anderson: Life on a String (21/8). Laurie is one of my darlings. Her lyrics and stories are phantastic. And the way she sings and tells them. I love her voice. She releases so few records. And she has never disappointed me.
- New Order: Get Ready (28/8). Great single Crystal. As I discovered New Order only in the nineties I can say that I have never been so excited about a new album by them.

Upcoming releases I do not care about:
- Leonard Cohen. After what I listened to ballad-style boring stuff. Lots of women's background choir singing. Love the man on his own nevertheless.
- Björk: Vespertine (28/8). I hate her voice. I hate her looks. I hate her lyrics without listening to them. And I especially hate her as an actress and the films she plays in. I think especially of one film.

Thursday, August 02, 2001

Entzauberung der Welt (DE)
Do you understand German? If not you can try Altavista's Babelfish for the following post. My chaotic thoughts will suddenly become clear and evident ;-).

Heute wurde mir plötzlich im Supermarkt klar wie doch das Leben heutzutage (früher wahrscheinlich genauso) von Tag zu Tag mehr an Zauber verliert.

Zum einen wird man immer älter, erfahrener, lernt immer mehr Dinge kennen. Dadurch wird das ursprünglich riesige Reich des Unbekannten, Unerforschten, des Abenteuers andauernd kleiner. Am Ende gibt es nur noch ein Geheimnis, den Tod. Ob es dann wieder von vorne losgeht mit uns wie mit einem weißen Blatt oder ob es weitergeht, als wäre nichts gewesen bzw. ob der Vorhang wirklich zugeht, will ich jetzt hier nicht reflektieren.

Andererseits, und das scheint mir heute viel stärker als früher der Fall zu sein, verändert sich die Welt mit einer Geschwindigkeit, dass man kaum noch mitkommt. Es wird bald (in vielleicht fünf oder zehn Jahren) geklonte Menschen auf Erden geben. Das wird nichts (außer ein Weltkrieg) verhindern können. Der Mensch ist wirklich dabei die letzten Rätsel der Wissenschaft zu lösen. Irgendwann wird es keine Abenteuer mehr geben. Schon heute sind Reiseabenteuer in Bezug auf unerforschte Gegenden absolute Mangelware. Daher gibt es ja auch diesen fürchterlichen Trend zu Abenteuersportarten wie z.B. diesem idiotischen Seilspringen in die Tiefe, habe glatt den Namen vergessen. Who cares? Es wird noch viel schlimmer (oder besser) kommen. Alles wird bekannt sein. Alle werden alles wissen. Auch voneinander. Es geht ja schon heute los. Die Leute verwandeln sich ja freiwillig in Glashäuser. Nicht nur bei Big Brother, auch wir Weblogger oder Blogger teilen Dinge von uns mit, die früher tabu waren. Alles wird durchsichtiger. Und das Perfide ist, die Leute machen das auch noch freiwillig bzw. unbewußt.

Wird es der Mensch wirklich schaffen, alle Unvorhersehbarkeit (z.B. auch bei dem Geschlecht, der Intelligenz etc. des Fötus) völlig auszuschalten? Hier kann die Antwort nur nein lauten. Andernfalls müsste der Tod besiegt werden. Einige sagen schon, das könnte möglich sein. Selbst dann wird es immmer noch den Tod geben. Zumindest den Selbsttod. Außer man verbietet ihn. Und wie? Auf Todesstrafe!

Perlen im Misthaufen (DE)
Das Internetz ist ein riesiger Misthaufen hat mal ein Netzguru (Joseph Weizenbaum, der Schöpfer von Eliza, die fast den Turing-Test bestanden hätte) gesagt. Das kommt der Wahrheit sicherlich recht nah, aber zwischen dem Mist sind auch Kleinode versteckt. In den letzten Tagen sind mir verschiedene deutsche Blogbeiträge aufgefallen, die ich hierzu zählen würde. Manchmal lustig, manchmal nachdenlich autobiographisch, dann wieder poetisch.

Da war z.B. nicht in diesem leben, in dem am 25.7. eine Superidee für eine neue Big Brother Variante stand. Es geht im wesentlichen um Promille. Dasselbe Thema von der anderen Seite beschreibt Claudia, in ihrem Digital Diary. Soviel Mut hätte ich wohl kaum. Obwohl mich dieses Sujet glaube ich auch angeht.

Ein kleines literarisches Juwel stand kürzlich in der Wortwerkstatt. So möchte ich auch schreiben können oder erst einmal so möchte ich auch erleben können. Eine schöne, aber auch nachdenklich machende Geschichte.

Eine düstere philosophische Ortsbestimmung mit leicht selbstzerfleischenden Untertönen stand am 23.7. in Irgendwas ist immer. Kam mir irgendwie von der Stimmung wie Joy Division revisited vor. Obwohl der Text viel verkopfter ist. Früher hätte niemand so etwas öffentlich gesagt. Das wäre zwischen Tagebuchdeckeln verschwunden. Jedenfalls bei mir.

Schlussendlich eine spassig-satirische Anzeige betreffs der Veräußerung eines Landes. Nicht nur der Name dieses Blogs ist unorthodox, es schimpft sich Mein Arsch, auch die sonstigen Texte zeichnen sich durch Humor, Ironie und eine gesunde Portion Zynismus aus.

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

To the happy few (Stendhal FR)
The number of visitors is dropping alarmingly. Yesterday there were nine of you. Thank you. Numbers do not count. For you I got rid of the ad for one year. It cost me 10 bucks. Ev, the one man behind Blogger, told me that my page crashes strangely on his system. He uses IE6 and Windows XP. Anyone else having loading problems, error messages etc.?

Another reason for the low number of visitors was of course the temporary hiatus of Blogger yesterday as all blogs from Blogspot were moved from Windows to a new bigger and faster Linux server.

But there is another explanation. The Extreme tracker does not count all visitors. Computers cannot count. Have a look at my friend's test page. There are not two trackers which show the same number. And they have all been intialised at about the same time with 100,000 where possible. Do not believe the visitor stats you have not faked yourself (slight variation of a Churchill quotation).

Best of 2000 end
#1 Giant Sand: Chore of Enchantment
My favourite album of 2000. Giant Sand has calmed down a bit, the group residing in Tucson, AZ has finally released a chef d'oeuvre. For those of you who do not know them, they are Calexico plus Howe Gelb, who is the enigmatic mastermind. He dedicates their 20th or so album to Rainer Ptacek a guitarist-friend who recently died of a brain tumor.

The music is incredibly pure and powerful. It has still its odd moments and sounds like classical piano music in places. The mood is melancholic but not hopeless. 16 tracks and almost 16 different styles. The music is so diverse but it still holds together. Gelb on piano & guitar, Burns on bass and Convertino on drums are exceptional instrumentalists.

Still strongly in debt to Velvet Underground (this time period of the self-titled third album) and to Neil Young, Gelb realizes some amazing consistent song-writing, e.g. in the opener (Well) Dusted ( for the millenium). You literally can hear the Arizona sandscape, Howe's dry baritone fits beautifully. Another highlight is X-tra Wide with some celestial casio maneuvering. There is not one bad track. No Reply is another favourite, the sound blend with pedal steel, electric bass, farfisa, Howes mellotron strings and an opera tune in the background is phantastic. The album ends with a beautiful slide-guitar solo by Rainer which reminds me very much of Nick Drake.


Copyright 2001, 2002 Alexander Fritz
All rights reserved