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Sunday, January 27, 2002

Hiking on La Palma, Canary Islands
I was on a hiking holiday with my father on La Palma from January 10th to 17th. Though the weather was not perfect (we had two days of rain) we both enjoyed the time tremendously. We stayed in Casa Sara, a small traditional cottage in Puntallana about 10 kilometers north of the capital Santa Cruz. It is part of the turismo rural network of 80 cottages which have been renovated. The doors were a little too low (I am 1.95 m tall) so that I had to bend down when going from one room to the next but at least the bed was 2 meters long.
The Cabildo La Palma (local government) recently signposted many hiking paths on the island. At the tourist office in Santa Cruz we got the map "Hiking paths of La Palma" (online in 4 parts: NW, NE, SW, SE) which shows all the major paths on the island. We tried to create round trips by joining different paths together which usually worked quite well. There are two long hiking paths on the island. The first one, the GR 130 (gran recorrido), does the tour of the island and is about 200 kilometers long. Usually it follows the old foot paths. The GR 131 starts in El Puerto de Tazacorte in the West of the island, follows the volcano crater which surrounds the national park Caldera de Taburiente via Roque de los Muchachos (2,423m, highest point of the island) and finishes after 100 kilometers at Faro de Fuencaliente at the South coast.
We walked along parts of both paths. From the barbecue and picnic place Refugio del Pilar in the pine forest in the centre of the island we followed the GR 131 North and South.
To the North we went along the ridge past Reventon with a radio/tv broadcast station. After that there was a steep descent on a stone track to the church La Virgen del Pino in the caldera. We then walked past the visitors' centre back to Del Pilar on a small road and later on a beautiful hidden path in the woods.
From Del Pilar to the South we followed the Ruta de los Volcanos. The first volcano with the steepest ascent was Pico Birigoyo from where we had a beautiful view of the Teide (Teneriffe) above the clouds. We went passed the Crater del Hoyo Negro up to La Deseadas. From there we could see Teneriffe, Gomera and El Hierro. After a small descent on the ridge we turned left to descend another 600 meters in altitude. After more than one and a half hours we joined the runway to the left which lead us back to El Pilar.
We did some more hikes. Maybe I'll make an extra page on the holiday.

La Palma is a phantastic island for hiking tours. As temperatures are always around 20 degrees Celsius the occasional rain which often almost immediately evaporates on the skin is quite bearable. In the mountains the weather is nevertheless unsafer. Often Roque de los Muchachos is in the clouds and it rains around there. In the caldera three Germans drowned last year end of November when 120 liters of rain per square meter fell in six hours.

Some other more detailed travel accounts of La Palma:
- 8 day hiking holiday in 2000.
- 1999 trip report of a bird and butterfly watcher.
- Photos plus travelogue.
- 15 days hiking in 1996 in German.
- Links to nine travel accounts in German.

Saturday, January 26, 2002

Andrew and Giovanni could you please stand up ("are you men or mice?") and tell me who of you (or both of you) fucked up my quiz? Anyways definitely no Äppelwoi for you. And I will create another quiz which will be much harder to crack.
We went to see Mulholland Drive today. Of course I hardly understood anything. My favourite scene was when Angelo Badalamenti showed what he thought about Los Angeles espresso with the help of a napkin. If you have already seen David Lynch's new movie you should check out this Salon article (thanks to Wortmetz who linked me as well). Otherwise just go and watch the film, it will be quite entertaining even if you do not understand a thing.
Yesterday I bought the new Notwist album Neon Golden. Notwist are a band from Weilheim in Bavaria who started as an indie-punk band in the early nineties. Some time ago they changed to pop-rock electronic music. They sing in English. My favourite tracks ("Pilot", "Pick up the Phone" and "Consequence") are very captivating and intimate. I find that the mix of acoustic instruments and electronic samples succeeds quite well.

Thursday, January 24, 2002

Do you know me?
I have just set up this quiz where you can test how well you know me. There are ten nine questions. How many do you get right? I will invite the winner for a Bembel of Äppelwoi (cider without gaz) in our garden in Eschborn-Niederhöchstadt in summer.

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

- I checked out three of the albums below. I will buy the American Analog Set, the Autechre and the A Silver Mt. Zion CDs.
- Giant Sand is going to release a new album on Thrill Jockey March, 19th. It is called Cover Magazine and features only covers. Among others there is King of the Road. There is already a positive review at the BBC website. Apparently the covers are rather strange. I hope they will be as inventive as Stina Nordenstam's on her brilliant covers album People Are Strange.
- Godspeed You Black Emperor! is on tour in Europe for more than three months. They start in France and play about 50 clubs. April, 15th they will play in the Mousonturm in Frankfurt. An amazing band from Montreal between rock and classical and ambient. Apocalyptic slowly climaxing instrumental music. Guess crescendo is the correct term. With the music comes a film show which features natural landscape documentaries and similar stuff. The nine members of GYBE! are a collective. Their shows are sold out with hardly any advertisement except on their web site. They have a big cult following. The concerts in France cost only € 7,5 and this entry fee even goes entirely to a prisoner's association. Their label Constellation is anarchically organised. There are no contracts at all between the label and the artists. GYBE! are mediaphobic and try not to become big and try to stay full of integrity (shitty translation from the Pons dictionary 1985). A Silver Mt. Zion mainly consists of members of GYBE! They are the chamber version of the GYBE! symphonic orchestra.
- I Love Music threads (please feel free to contribute): I started a thread on the New Notwist album which came out one week ago in Germany. Interesting melodic electronica sung in English. Token rock albums about which rock album a jazz/classics fan would own. A discussion on favourite bass guitarists. Something on the line-up of ATP UK 2002. A thread on John Darnielle's articles on all songs of Radiohead's Amnesiac on his site Last Plane to Jakarta.
- I get a little frustrated from the fact that my visitor numbers are always around 150 per day no matter if I update or not and that something like 75% of my visitors arrive here searching for the term "sex". At least I have dropped from #31 to #57 for that bloody search.
- I have to thank for a backlink from the Diskant staff weblog. Diskant is "a network of websites by independent fanzines, bands and record labels".
- A link is like a message in a bottle. There is a small chance that it will be discovered and will then come back to you.

Monday, January 21, 2002

Records from 2001 I still have to check out
- American Analog Set: Know by Heart
- Autechre: Confield
- Avalanches: Since I Left You
- Belle and Sebastian: I'm Waking up to Us EP
- Calexico: Even My Sure Things Fell Through EP
- Lloyd Cole: Etc
- Court and Spark: Bless You
- Cowboy Junkies: Open
- Ani DiFranco: Revelling/Reckoning
- Dirty Three / Low: In the Fish Tank
- Dismemberment Plan: Change
- Dump: That Skinny Motherfucker with the High Voice?
- Fennesz: Endless Summer
- Garbarek, Anja: Smiling & Waving
- Guided By Voices: Isolation Drills
- Henry, Joe: Scar
- Idaho: Levitate
- Mark Kozelek: What's Next to the Moon
- Low: Things We Lost in the Fire
- Microphones: Glow, Pt. 2
- New Year: Newness Ends
- Jim O'Rourke: Insignificance
- Papa M: Whatever, Mortal
- Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions: Bavarian Fruit Bread
- Shins: Oh, Inverted World
- A Silver Mt. Zion: Born into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward
- Sparklehorse: It's a Wonderful Life
- Spoon: Girls Can Tell
- Tool: Lateralus
- Trembling Blue Stars: Alive to Every Smile
- Various: Langley School's Music Project
- Suzanne Vega: Songs in Red and Gray
- M. Ward: End of Amnesia

Sunday, January 20, 2002

Coming late
I am getting totally addicted to Everything You Do Is a Balloon by Boards of Canada. The 7' 34'' track has been on repeat today and yesterday for at least two hours.
Boards of Canada are a duo from Scotland (probably most of my favourite bands come from there) and released Music Has the Right to Children in 1998. Their second album Geogaddi (ILM, MeFi discussions) will come out in Mars February. They make electronic music which is usually filed into the IDM (intelligent dance music) category. It is quite close to ambient and new age. Tangerine Dream, Brian Eno and the Orb are influences. Probably the most human electronic music I know of. It is mainly instrumental with some voice samples (often kids and women) knitted in.
The track in question is extremely soft and dreamy. The beat is hypnotic and the melody line which is long and slow is absolutely enchanting. Like a soundtrack to a fantasy film. There is something very mysterious about this track. When I listen to it I have the feeling to walk in a misty snow-covered landscape with occasional glimpses of the sun when the fog clears for a moment. This kind of warm impressionist electronic music is not so far from Friedemann's chef d'oeuvre Indian Summer. Though where Friedemann is down-to-earth when he simulates natural late summer sounds Boards of Canada remain mystic. I still did not really get into the 100 seconds intro with the children piano. Some secrets should be kept for a while...

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Things I am looking forward to
- Walking/Hiking with my father on the island of La Palma, Canary Islands from January 10th to January 17th.
- Howe Gelb playing in the KoZ (Kommunikationszentrum), Frankfurt University on January 31st. Maybe I will go to see him in Heidelberg one day before as well.
- All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP) in London (April), artists chosen by Shellac: Godspeed YBE!, Blonde Redhead, Breeders, Low, Mission of Burma (don't know anything of them except an REM cover), The New Year, Rachel's, Shellac, Silkworm and Smog or
ATP at Royce Hall, UCLA campus, LA from March 14th-17th picked by Sonic Youth with Cecil Taylor; Lydia Lunch; Asheton, Mascis (Mr. Dinosaur Jr.) and Watt doing Stooges numbers; Bardo Pond; Aphex Twin; Boredoms; Califone; Papa M; Sleater-Kinney; Sonic Youth; Stephen Malkmus; Stereolab; Television; Mike Watt's second men; Big Star (Alex Chilton is still alive!); Wilco and Cat Power (according to tinymixtapes: "Rumor has it that a new Cat Power record may finally see the light of day, quite possibly on Matador this summer. ").
More infos on the ATP website. The LA outfit is so much more exciting but it's such a long way from Frankfurt.
- The new Massive Attack album: "NME report on the latest news regarding the recording of the forthcoming album by Massive Attack with a sound as being quite mystical, quite trippy, more psychedelic - it is scheduled for an Autumn 2002 release." (according to DJ Martian)
- Writing something on an album like Autechre's Confield as Mochi Manifesto did. Writing on music you can hardly relate to, with which you have no common denominator to is an exciting adventure for sure.

Monday, January 07, 2002

I am so tired
(This will go online only tomorrow morning as Blogger's publishing is not available right now)
Second day without smoking. This time I bought the nicotine plasters. In the past I always stopped cold turkey. But if I had one new year's resolution this year it would have been "to be nicer to myself". As the stuff was quite expensive I am almost forced to stop for real this time. Yesterday my blood pressure rose to unprecedented levels. The lower number (diastole) was 114. It should be below 90. I took off the plaster as I was almost shaking and my hands were in cold sweat. Today I have gotten used to the plaster. I'll go to bed now. The craving for a cigarette is always worst in the evening.
I uploaded an up-to-date list of my cd collection. I bought about 100 CDs last year. Craziness. I have listened to many of those records only once. "Concentration on things" should be another resolution but I wrote about this before here.
Douglas Wolk from Collating Bones does a countdown with very short reviews of his and his girl-friend's record collection from A-Z. They own quite a lot of Able Tasmans (great alternative slightly art rock New Zealandish music collective releasing on Flying Nun) records. I always thought I was almost the only one listening to them (not really).

I Love Music:
- Sad news: The "popshotter" David Raposa gives up on the listening chambers. Those nice blindfold listening experiences you could discuss about. Has anybody got the bandwidth and space to host an mp3 every two weeks? Get in contact with David in that case.
By the way thank you Phil for the nice last track in chamber 24. Seamonster1 must have listened to Brian Eno before.
- Taking Sides: Beach Boys vs. Velvet Underground. Guess which side I am on. That thread inspired me to start the following:
- Heroin. Classic or Dud? on Lou Reed's famous drug song. Though Velvet Underground is one of my favourite bands I always hated this track.

Saturday, January 05, 2002

Nothing happened
I did not smoke on Thursday and I only smoked half a recycled cigarette butt yesterday night. But tonight I had to walk to the cigarette automat close to our house. It was something like ten degrees Celsius below zero outside. I was surprised that the machine accepted deutschmarks, euros and a mix of the two. I paid for my Lucky Strikes with five deutschmarks and a 50 cent euro coin. On the way back I had a strange experience. I sneezed the earth away. What I want to say is I sneezed and I had the feeling my sneeze was so strong that the earth moved away from me. I was on my own suddenly standing in the middle of nowhere. Hanging in space. I swear you that I was not on drugs except some red wine.
Some bands (mp3s) I listened to which really impressed me: Microphones (bloody amazing drum and percussion patterns), American Analog Set (The Kindness of Strangers starts like an instrumental but the voice which joins in later on does not disturb the impressionist picture of the song), Dismemberment Plan (especially Time Bomb captures a nervousness and anxiety of a youth I have grown out of), The Shins (New Slang, a melancholic pop gem which speaks to me much more than anything by the Go-Betweens) and Black Heart Procession (the darker half of Three Mile Pilot whom I only like for the two members who play in Pinback).

Friday, January 04, 2002

Blogger Insider, second edition
Cebern Dodd Harris IV (that's how he calls himself at least) asked me the following ten questions. Check my questions and his answers in his weblog Ipse Dixit.

1. You haven't posted lately. Did you go on vacation?
Yes. I have been in Southern France in Brouilla, a small village close to Perpignan. From there you have a nice view of the Canigou, one of the highest and most beautiful mountains of the Pyrenees.
I went with my girl-friend Catherine (Q4) and we stayed at her mother's new house. We had beautiful sunny weather and drank and ate very well which is quite normal in France. We made day trips to Argeles at the Mediterranean, Prats-de-Mollo in the Pyrenees and Perpignan.

2. Have you ever been to North America?
Yes. I was in New York State in 1979, in California in 1997 and in Massachusetts in 1999. I especially loved Sonoma County (great wine, forget Napa) and Cape Cod. Not to forget Big Sur and San Francisco, the most beautiful city I know. Very nice beer this Anchor Steam.

3. You worked for the European Commission. Will a federal state of Europe result in more homogeneity across the Continent?
I doubt it. Europe is so bloody weak politically nowadays as historically France, Germany and Great Britain have always been enemies and they still cannot speak with one voice as they have different interests. Just take the Israel-Palestinia conflict. France has been on the side of the Arabs for a long time. Germany still cannot be against Israel because of what we did to the Jews from 1933-45.
And what really sucks about Europe is the loss of language. In Brussels, Luxembourg and Strasbourg they have their own Eurospeak, a kind of pidgin English with many stupid acronyms in it. I also left Luxembourg to regain a proper language and to have less superficial relations. Don't know if I succeeded.

4. This may be on your blog somewhere, but if so, I haven't found it: Married, single, seeing someone?
see Q1.

5. You admire Leonard Cohen for the serenity evidenced by not having a lot of conviction about his own opinions. Are you that serene? Do you aspire to be?
I would not admire him for his serenity if I were as serene. I like his modest attitude towards his opinions. That he does not take himself too seriously. Opinions are always subjective (only a part of the whole picture) and never right so yes I would like to be as detached from my opinons as Leonard Cohen is.

6. Since you haven't gotten around to doing it yet, why not tell us now why Camus was wrong?
Shit. I knew this would happen. I should never announce anything in this blog. But ok I was thinking of Sisyphus which I consider as the focal point of Camus' philosophy. All Sisyphus (who stands for the modern man) is doing (in Greek mythology he is punished for something but that is not important for Camus I guess) is rolling this stone up the mountain and when the stone reaches the top it rolls down again and da capo ad infinam. Sisyphus' life has no meaning.
My view is different. Though I have not chosen to live as a human being on planet earth I somehow feel the challenge to find out the meaning of my life here. I have not found it yet but that does not mean it does not exist. I would find it presumptuous to say my life is useless. Life is such a miracle that it cannot be totally futile I feel.

7. Should Basic Statistics should be a required course in high school?
Though I studied statistics I do not really care about this. I guess not.

8. You like making 5 Item Lists, it seems. What are your Five Songs You Can Never Get Tired Of?
Five is such a ridiculously small number for songs I like, but as you asked it, just what comes to my mind: A Forest by The Cure, Lucky Jim by The Gun Club, Julia by The Beatles, Transmission by Joy Division and Panic by The Smiths.

9. Is there any rhyme or reason to when you decide to post in German rather than your more usual English? Or is it just to provide some balance occasionally?
Usually more personal and philosophical posts are in German. I did not want to write about too many personal things in this weblog. That's why it is mainly in English.

10. What's the referent for "sex and sunshine" as the title of a blog that focuses mainly on music?
There is none. When thinking of a name "sex and sunshine" came to mind. Two of the most important experiences in life of which I still have not had enough. The music thing came later just to make clear that my site is not an adult site. The music blog which inspired me was Josh blog though he writes in a totally different way about music. His writing his precise and conscientious. Mine is vague and allegorical at best.


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