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Thursday, February 28, 2002

Kings of Convenience: "Quiet Is the New Loud" in 102 beats
When I‘m down and I put on this record, the dark clouds obscuring my mind are immediately blown away. I see the clear blue sky. A tender voice whispers lyrics of unrequited love and is accompanied by two acoustic guitars:
„Every night she kisses someone new – never you.“
Kings of Convenience are two Norwegians looking like teenagers who made an album in the spirit of Nick Drake. The beautiful tunes are wistful and light at the same time. This is perfect music to fall asleep to or to wake up to. Equally soothing and refreshing. On the border of dream and reality.

Surfing for music news
- The Weezer blog on all things Weezer, you know this small neglected power pop band.
- Johnny Cash's new record announced. In American IV he will cover John Lennon and Trent Reznor (scroll a little down on the page).
- Article on Keith Jarrett who is on tour in the US.
- Winter in England - 20 albums for the coldest season: my personal favourites in Wisdom Goof's well commented list are the first Tindersticks album, Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque, Felt's Absolute Classic Masterpieces and Joy Division's Closer. Though I only know half of the albums by name.
- Pere Ubu release new album St. Arkansas May 8th (I really liked David Thomas last album Surf's Up with the Two Pale Boys).
- Neumu's Michael Goldberg on All Hail West Texas the latest album by John Darnielle's Mountain Goats:
"Lo-fi. Unique voice that is about as far from slick as you can get. Rough guitar playing. Amazing lyrics. Amazing melodies. And so intense."
- Brian Jonestown Massacre live in Chicago (by Phil from Glorious Noise):
"In a world where digital manipulation of tones and click track drums can suck the soul out of any song, the Brian Jonestown Massacre slugged its way through perfectly crafted pop tunes and space jams and for two hours last night saved rock and roll."

Vanity in the times of internet: 15 two word queries I am #1 for in Google:
- alex fritz
- alexander fritz
- sex sunshine
- music blog
- fritz blog
- alexander blog
- sex blog
- sunshine blog
- alex sex
- alexander sex
- sex fritz
- sunshine fritz
- geogaddi sex
- geogaddi fritz
- collating bones

- I got kicked out of the Dmoz Open Directory category for German weblogs recently. Don't ask me why. Hurra, now I am back in the directory under web logs - arts & entertainemnt.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Various things
- I promise promise promise that there will be some content here tomorrow and the hunting for links will have a rest. I'd like to warm up for Freaky Trigger's third anniversary. So I will do a 102 word review of one album with the cover in the sidebar (except REM which I did in a lengthy review before). Tell me in the comments which one you want me to write about. And have a guess which one I have chosen to review for Freaky Trigger.
- From my referrals: "how many minutes does sex usually last". There is someone optimistic there. Wouldn't seconds be more adequate?
- Take the Nick Drake quiz. It is quite hard actually.
- elastic heart: weblog with flashy layout of a Radiohead fan. Some good lyrics as well. By the way thanks for the link Aaron.
- loves you: nice photos, nice music
- RachelKB, a writer who likes Sleater-Kinney and Aimee Mann
- By the way somehow LiveJournal weblogs are not in Google anymore. I tried absintheur and collating bones. For the last one my page is the shamrock (toolbar) #1 result.
- Great Cat Power concert review at slatch. You will be surprised.
- the Geogaddi thread at ILM gets longer and longer: after having exhausted the childhood memory thing by now the discussion concentrates on whether the "warped" sound is intentional or not and in case it's intentional if that would show that Boards of Canada are trying to hide that they are in a creative crisis. I am still waiting for the CD to arrive in my letter box...
- Better late than never: Throwing Muses reunite for first album of Donelly and Hersh after 1991's The Real Ramona. The release is scheduled for early 2003 according to Pitchfork.
- If you participate in the Blogsnob textad exchange get the new adcode by logging in here as they moved.
- movie A Beautiful Mind on schizophrenic mathematician John Nash who is best known for the Nash equilibrium in game theory. Article on him in today's FAZ: Nash's theory on economics is no game.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Surfin' around the world
- I just discovered another female singer/songwriter from Canada. For just about a week you will get 35% off her records at her site: Jane Siberry (via robotwisdom)
- Does the music you like connect to your life? Then check this article from Tangents: The ugly sound your past makes (via nylpm).
- TraceNoizer via netbib. Just input your name and have a look on the webpage the program generates about you.
- Want to know how beer is made? Check beer's seamy origins.
- It was Johnny Cash's 70th birthday today.
- "We are often unaware of habits that cause us stress and interfere with our ability to respond effectively to the stimuli in our daily lives. How can we change our habits so that we can respond more effectively and achieve better functioning?": Alexander Technique: The Insiders' Guide
- The problem with music and mp3s today: The future of music
- You want to participate in the Freaky Trigger 3rd Birthday Special? Just write 102 words on a record you like.
- An excellent portal.

The weaker sex
I love female voices and I'd like to write something on my favourite ones. For a start just an alphabetic list of those which left a lasting impression on me. I hope I will be going to write something on some of them soon.

The voices which left a mark:
- Laurie Anderson
- Sally Barker
- Jennifer Charles (Elysium Fields)
- Anne Clark
- Caroline Crawley (Shelleyan Orphan)
- Julee Cruise
- Kim Deal (Pixies)
- Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins)
- Lisa Germano
- Beth Gibbons (Portishead)
- Allison Goldfrapp (Goldfrapp)
- Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)
- Francoise Hardy
- Angie Hart (Frente!)
- PJ Harvey
- Billie Holiday
- Chrissie Hynde (Pretenders)
- Rickie Lee Jones
- Valérie Leulliot (Autour de Lucie)
- Joanne Loughman (Glee Club)
- Aimee Mann
- Shirley Manson (Garbage)
- Chan Marshall (Cat Power)
- Joni Mitchell
- Stina Nordenstam
- Sinead O'Connor
- Mary Margaret O'Hara
- Dolores O'Riordan (Cranberries)
- Poe
- Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star)
- Michelle Shocked
- Nina Simone
- Patti Smith
- Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies)
- Suzanne Vega

Slightly so:
- Emma Anderson (Lush)
- Fiona Apple
- Joan Baez
- Jane Birkin
- Björk
- Kate Bush
- Sandy Denny
- Ani DiFranco
- Tanja Donelly (Throwing Muses)
- Juliana Hatfield
- Janis Joplin
- Brenda Kahn
- Courtney Love
- Natalie Merchant (10,000 Maniacs)
- Meredith Monk
- Nico
- Sade
- Nancy Sinatra
- Tanita Tikaram
- Tori Amos
- Harriet Wheeler (Sundays)
- Kathryn Williams
- Lucinda Williams

To check out:
- KD Lang
- McGarrigle sisters
- Sarah McLachlan
- Buffy Sainte Marie
- Laura Nyro
- Jane Siberry

Monday, February 25, 2002

- If you look at the side bar on the left at the bottom between the "rate me" buttons and the disclaimer you will see a textad. It is from Blogsnob, a kind of link exchange program. For every time your webpage is visited (with the Blogsnob textad on) a textad of your webpage will open on another page which takes part in the exchange. On Sunday I got an interesting referral of a 19 year old girl who is born July 14th: innercatharsis. What a coincidence: That is my birthday and I am exactly two times older. She is already pregnant and writes about what is going on inside her.
- Art21 - The Alphabet Synthesis Machine is an interactive online artwork which allows one to create and evolve the possible writing systems of one's own imaginary civilizations. You can create your own alphabet by designing a glyph and setting some parameters and you can then download it as Truetype font.
- Wherever you are criticises the "How to write a good weblog" article by Mahoney
- Glorious Noise: Rock and roll can change your life on John Darnielle's band The Mountain Goats. I just listened to "There Will Always Be an Ireland" which can be downloaded from the band's page. Sounds a little like British folk revival from the 70s (Fairport Convention, Pentangle etc.). Very good stuff. And I like John's voice as well.
- A new music blog (via badger): Power, Tone, Volume. with some sound writing on Nick Drake, Belle and Sebastian, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and Evan Dando.

Saturday, February 23, 2002

- "Philosophie und Studium der wirklichen Welt verhalten sich zueinander wie Onanie und Geschlechtsliebe."
[Karl Marx: Die deutsche Ideologie, S. 408. Digitale Bibliothek Band 2: Philosophie, S. 49359 (vgl. MEW Bd. 3, S. 218)]

- Check your tension quotient with the Philosophical Health Check
- Which D&D character are you?: "This survey will attempt to, in a few short questions, determine your race, alignment, and primary/secondary class, as a D&D character." (Can someone please tell me what a D&D character is?)
- How to write a better weblog by Dennis A. Mahoney
- Fourteen years after the release of the amazing Miss America Mary Margaret O'Hara has apparently a new album out in March. It is called Apartment Hunting and is a soundtrack. She has one of the most impressive voices in rock music. Like a haunted Rickie Lee Jones experimenting with her voice. In the smoother parts she also reminds me of Kate Bush whereas her occasional sprechgesang is similar to Laurie Anderson's. But she has a very peculiar style. In places it sounds as she would stutter, in others she first restrains the syllables and spits them out later. A good review of the new album here.
- ILM thread on Zeitkratzer doing Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music

Friday, February 22, 2002

Ryan and Elton
Ryan & Elton like each other

- Pitchfork Review of Boards of Canada's: Geogaddi: by Mark Richard-San who also contributes a lot to I Love Music. The rating is 8.6/10 and has gone up 0.3 from the rating of the first Boards of Canada Music Has the Right to Children. Just stupid stats. Please do not leap to any premature conclusions.
- Epitonic has an Indie Rock message board. Free mp3s and free discussions, that's what we need.
- Is Cantankerous Jukebox calling it quits?
Jess writes: "I've been thinking long and hard about why I do *this* lately. Whatever this is. And I've come to the realization that it really has no point... ".
I feel exactly the same though I have absolutely nothing to say whereas Jess and his numerous side projects (e.g. let's build a car with David and the Oligarchist Home Journal) have always made me very jealous. Not to forget his thoughtful contributions to NYLPM and I Love Music.
- The frogs and indie music: Interesting French open collective indie record music review site created by members of the Lenoir email list (Bernard Lenoir is the French John Peel): Tatapoum - Chroniques de disques (via Alvin). There are about 100 contributors and 1,976 record mini reviews right now.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

Blogicon (via sofa blogger), a blogging lexicon.
E.g. "Bloggerrhea: Posting to your weblog many times in a short period"

Ultra-condensed classic books (via netbib), example The Collected Work of Edgar Allen Poe (S Stoddard/DJ Parker):
Some Guy
Oh no. I'm buried alive!
I died.

Why is rock so shite today?
No answer here, this is a question for all of you. Today's rock music seems to me so uninspired and dull. No innovation at all, just stealing from the history of rock music. Or is it just me who is getting too old for rock music? Who has already heard so much of it that he now always hears the influences first and finds that the originals have been so much better. Is rock music at a dead-end or is it my relation to it? I am 100% sure that I will always find an unreleased bootleg version of Velvet Underground's Femme Fatale much more exciting than anything of the three bands I mention below.
Today I listened to a live mp3 of The Strokes When It Started in my car hifi. And I must admit that I have listened to a lot of bad music in the 38 years I have been going but this is my personal candidate for the worst song ever. The garage guitar sound and the raucuous voice of the singer do not help. The repeated guitar line is the most annoying I have ever heard. Só mediocre that it is almost original. The song goes nowhere as none of the Strokes songs. How could this band ever be signed by any label? And how could anyone buy their records? It will always be a mystery to me. They are even worse than Oasis. And Oasis have been the spearhead of bad ripped-off rock music for quite some years.
Slightly less hyped are The White Stripes. They are only two, a man playing the guitar and singing and his (ex-?)wife playing the drums. Their good tracks sound like hard psychedelic blues rock a little like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Very energetic and played and sung with a devil's soul. Unfortunately many of their songs are softer and more conventional. And the speed blues ones sound all the same so that one song of theirs is actually enough. The great Fell in Love with a Girl for example. There they had their 109 seconds of fame.
Last band to mention here in today's triumvirate of rock newcomers are B.R.M.C. Their record is called Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. I am curious if they will reveal another meaning of the band name's abbreviation for their next album. They are obviously copying The Jesus & Mary Chain who in the beginning have been copying The Velvet Underground period second album. But where J&MC had their own distorted guitar sound and restrained vocal delivery BRMC just sound like very good copycats. Apparently they also steal from other bands. Check the 30 second windows media snippet of Rifle from this page. First I thougt, hey this is great. Ride are back. The slower songs of BRMC are nevertheless uninteresting to say the least.
So in the end the only one of today's rock scene who is worth it is Ryan Adams as I have said before. He has digested so much different music from the 60s-80s that he could create something refreshingly new out of it. And he is a beast on stage.

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

- I added my favourite albums of 2001 with the covers in the sidebar. My plan is to write something about each of them in the near future. The REM review is already (since 1st July 2001) online. Just click on the cover.
- In Velvet Underground news: After the three disc set of the Quine Tapes bootleg Universal plans to release an extended version of the famous first VU & Nico album with Warhol's banana on March 5th. The 1st disc will feature the original stereo mix plus some bonus stuff from Nico's 1967 solo record Chelsea Girl. Disc 2 will include the mono version of the album plus four single mixes and the unreleased sing "Miss Joanie Lee".
On March 17th Berlin will see a performance of Lou Reed's famous guitar noise orgy Metal Machine Music by Zeitkratzer, a Berlin music collective.
- Kurt Cobain diaries set to be compiled and released: According to Courtney Love "he was very prolific and a good, if not sometimes great, evocative writer"
- I ordered the latest Lambchop which is called Is A Woman after having read only good things about it. In comparison to the country soul chamber pop masterpiece Nixon the music is more subtle and subdued. Wagner's voice dominates and to distinguish the background instruments the volume apparently should be put up. Karl Bruckmaier wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that Is A Woman is one of the ten best albums of all-time. I am a little sceptical about his enthusiasm after his verdict on last year's (average) Turin Brakes album which he called the best debut of all-time. We will see. Reviews at the indie music site/weblog People Talk Too Loud and the indie zine Nude As the News (9/10).
- Very good indie and punk oriented music blog: Last Bus Anywhere (via a rush and a push)
- Award-winning board game Take It Easy online (via Metafilter. Maximum score is 307. I got 151 the second time. Addictive stuff.
- In the side bar there are some of my Quickbrowse collections. I made them public again as they were somehow reset to private. They group together several websites on one long page. Have a try.
- By the way could someone please write the first comment on one of my posts soon? A test comment is ok. Otherwise I will remove the free comment function brought to you by YACCS. The hosting site rateyourmusic lets you write reviews of records and rate them. How can the Stone Roses be no.1 in the overall rating? Rubbish.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Ohne Musik wäre das Leben ein Irrtum (Without music life would be a mistake)
- The title has hardly anything to do with today's post. Just a quote from my favourite philosopher on my favourite hobby.
- Hi Badger, nice to know that your weblog is still going. Please continue your program from Louisiana. It is one of the best around.
- New reviews of Geogaddi by Boards of Canada: Jess Harvell and NME.
- What is quite fascinating about this album is its special name. In Google there are right now 25 results for the query "Geogaddi". One is mine and most of my visitors today arrived here when looking for information on it.
- If I offended somebody in my last post I am sorry. I crossed out the undiplomatic passage.

Monday, February 18, 2002

Last question round with John
Thanks for your good questions and your honest answers John.
10. It sounds like the Ryan Adams concert was excellent. What is the best live music experience you've had and why?
My favourite concert was Yo La Tengo in Berlin in 1997. It was a small club in East Berlin. It was very crowded and hot. Ira Kaplan, Yo La Tengo's guitarist played himself into ecstasy. It was absolutely mesmerising. I came out of the concert as out of a purgatory.
11. What do you think would have become of the career of Nick Drake had he lived?
He would have become popular one day. And probably would have become even sadder as he would have realised that success is not the only thing in life. And he would have written even more melancholic songs.
12. Have you traveled to America? If so, where did you visit and what were your impressions? If not, do you plan to do so?
Yes. I've been to the East coast and the West coast. I loved San Francisco for the atmosphere and Cape Cod for the landscape. Another great place was Sonoma County for the wine, especially the red Zinfandel. I like America as a country a lot (or is it just a myth?). though I am not sure if I like Americans as people (I mean in general). Many Germans have the prejudice that most Americans are quite superficial people. Open and nice in the beginning but without much depth behind. Ignorant of almost everything outside of the US. I guess there is some truth hidden in this prejudice.
13. What words would you choose as your epitaph?
There is life before death.

- I started a thread on Ryan Adams. Uninspired copycat or the Future of rockn'roll? at I Love Music. The answers were quite disappointing as most of them were off-topic and/or cynical.
- I will participate in the third anniversary special of Freaky Trigger, the pop music fanzine of Tom Ewing and friends in March. The task is to write 100 words on an album I'd like others to know more about and another 100 words on an album another participant has chosen which will be selected randomly. Up to now there are already about 50 potential contributors. Everyone interested can take part in this. So come on join us.

Sunday, February 17, 2002

Kenneth Koch: Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams
I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.

We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years.
The man who asked for it was shabby
and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.

Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
Forgive me. I was clumsy and
I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor!

(German translation by Hans Magnus Enzensberger Nicolas Born at sofa blogger)

Ryan Adams in concert
We were lucky on Thursday and got tickets at the box office. The Batschkapp was extremely crowded. If there had been a fire or any other emergency it would have been almost impossible to escape. We arrived just before eight when the concert was supposed to start but the poor support band only started around nine and was saluted with many catcalls. It was a Swedish duo comprising a pianist and a singer. They did some romantic low-fi numbers. I liked the piano player but the singer was quite annoying as he sounded very affected. The public got more and more impatient after they had left the stage as there was no sign of the headliner. A guy next to us was quite pissed off of the delay and left around half past ten.
Shortly afterwards Ryan Adams and the Sweetheart Revolution arrived on stage and started with a rocker. Ryan and his band were on top form. They were amazing as they switched from country ballads to punk songs. I really liked the hard rock guitar sound when there were three guitarists playing. Ryan has a very strong stage presence and talked a lot to the audience which did not understand most of what he was saying. He even got away with saying "I am sorry that your girl-friend has a crush on me" to a guy in the public. He behaved as a rock star but it was perfectly natural. Unfortunately the concert finished after only two hours as people did not insist enough on another encore. Ryan Adams was absolutely stunning. His music is pure power and emotion. I could hear many influences like Springsteen, Dylan, Presley, Neil Young, Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead etc. But he has his own sound and I loved it. I'd say he is not the future of rockn'roll, he IS rockn'roll. Unfortunately next time he won't play in such a small place again.

Surfing the web
- The Modern Age is a new (since November last year) busy music blog by Laura from New York City. As the title suggests she is a big Strokes (grrr!) fan but our tastes do sometimes overlap as she likes Ryan Adams as well.
- This could have been an idea by myself: I am not the only stats-obsessed around. 2001 Pazz & Jop critical alignment ratings (via David R.). Glenn McDonald has calculated which critics have a taste closest to the average taste of all critics.
- A whole Nick Drake session to download as mp3s: Nick Drake - Tanworth In Arden II
- According to the Rolling Stone. The 50 best album covers (MeFi discussion)

Thursday, February 14, 2002

- An excellent article on Velvet Underground which deals in particular with an unpublished essay by Lou Reed from 1966 on the difference between West Coast and East Coast rock.
- A solo Ray Davies album announced for winter: Head Kink recording with Yo La Tengo. Dreams must have come true for Ira Kaplan. Ray Davies is his favourite songwriter.
- Interview with the insane old Bobb Fischer (real audio and mp3).
- Too late for Valentine's Day: a love note generator
- Unbelievable but unsurprising. I am #1 for the query "sex" at AltaVista. Or maybe only #27?

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

Polls and lists
621 music critics have voted in the Village Voice Pazz And Jopp Poll 2001. Amen. At least The Strokes only finished second and good old Bob Dylan won the album poll. But the rest of the top 40 is quite disappointing and shows that 2001 was quite a poor year for pop/rock. Of my 2001 top ten albums in the sidebar only five appear in the poll list of 1,000+ albums: Radiohead (#5), New Order (#22), Cohen (#50), REM (#51) and Kings of Convenience (#120). More discussions at ILM, MeFi and plastic.
The Guardian published a list of 25 albums. If you own twelve of them you belong to the Dido (female pop singer) demographic, i.e.
"You're middle class, in your thirties or thereabouts, and, even though you don't like music as much as you used to, you still want to be part of the scene, even if that only amounts to having some CDs that won't disgrace you when friends leaf through your collection."
I happen to own only three of those albums. Anyways I much prefer dodos to Didos (discussion at ILM, plastic and MeFi).

Tuesday, February 12, 2002

Various things
- A slightly disappointing listening party of Boards of Canada's new album Geogaddi at The Daily Nonsense (February 11th). Not the music but the fans were annoying.
- Dave van Ronk died on Sunday. He taught Dylan the blues. A memoir of his amazing performance at the Vancouver Folk Festival 1980/81 (via robotwisdom).
- Linked to by Aaron from chocolate speakers, another fine blog with pop/rock music content (recently a lot of lyrics).
- Thinking of IDM which stands for intelligent dance music: somehow it makes sense. If IDM exists then normal dance music is stupid and monotonous. I agree to almost 100%. On the other hand what a pretentious and dumb name. But the stupidity of the term is well-hidden in the abbreviation. Quite smart.

New record: 196 visitors yesterday. Many many thanks to everyone who linked to me. An even bigger thank you to my top ten referrers excluding Blogger (the real #1), search engines and the like:
- Tom from NYLPM
- Peter, der Sofa Blogger
- Chris from the Weblog Review
- Funk from Just Joshin'
- Badger minor (btw I miss an update Badger)
- Phil from Eyes that Can See in the Dark
- Jon from Slatch
- Arthur from Blog of the Day
- Jeff from People Talk Too Loud
- Absintheur

I am on the stats cock page (loading slowly!) of the I Love Music board's active contributors now. Wow, almost 500 postings. Could it be that I have too much time to waste?

I named this blog sex and sunshine just for fun. I think now I know how to become # 1 in the search engines for sex, the most looked for word on the internet. Use "sex" in the title of your website and then never mention it again. Do not put any offensive material neither pictures, nor sounds, nor pornographic stories on your site. If you had published explicit material most search engines would have filtered you out. You can only become #1 if your site is innocent like a virgin. My current positions: Google #28. Alltheweb #118 .

Thought food for the vegies
"If God didn't want us to eat animals he wouldn't have made them out of meat." J. Cleese (motto of wordforge)

Monday, February 11, 2002

Blogger Insider, John's 2nd set of questions
5) I am very envious of your planned trip to hear Ryan Adams in concert. I really like his music. How long have you been following his career? Do you listen to much of his pre-going solo work?
Damned. Today I found out that his concert is sold out. But my girl-friend and me will go there anyway. Maybe we are lucky that there are tickets on the spot. I do not know any of the Whiskeytown records. But I'll guess I wouldn't like them too much as they are quite country as far as I have heard. I got Heartbreaker last year and I loved it. He has everything it needs. A good expressive varied voice, touching lyrics and great melodies. He could well become today's Bob Dylan.
6) Yesterday was a rainy day for you. Do you like rainy days? If so, why? If not, why not?
Depends on the circumstances and the place. In Germany I usually hate rain. As there is so much here. It rains almost every second day. In Mediterranean countries I love the summer rain as it clears the hot earth and is rare and precious.
7) Do you have siblings? If so, describe them, please.
Yes I have got a younger sister. She is very different from me. Less of a thinker. More of an expert in the art of living.
8) Name a song that describes well your current state of mind.
A Thousand Kisses Deep by Leonard Cohen. Especially the beginning:
"The ponies run, the girls are young, The odds are there to beat. You win a while, and then it's done - Your little winning streak."
9) Name a song that makes you immediately happy any time you hear it.
That is very difficult. I'd say the Sugarglider's Will We Ever Learn. Not really happy but very light and tuneful as only bands from the fifth continent can be.

Two new music blogs:
- The excellent mostly music (via netbib) by Laura Ronai and Tom Moore has classical and folk music as main dish with some nice posts on literature as dessert.
- Element of Surprise (via Daver) which is a music listening log with a stress on alternative stuff. The new Trembling Blue Stars sounds like New Order? Then I'll get it. Thanks to Aaron I will take care not to buy their last album again which I enjoyed actually.

I ask myself if I should buy Radiohead's Kid A. I did not like them up until OK Computer where they had become a prog-rock band. Last year's Amnesiac was an amazing album with exciting sounds and experiments. Yorke's whining voice has become almost an instrument and is much less annoying than before. I started reading Simon Reynolds' profound Wire article from July 2001 "Walking on Thin Ice" which made me curious. It is a joy to read someone who knows something about the history of rock music and who finds interesting parallels to other bands (esp. post-punk). Another very good article on Radiohead is by John Darnielle from Last Plane to Jakarta. He has reviewed Amnesiac song by song. A masterpiece of music journalism.

Sunday, February 10, 2002

In other programs
In the Blog Twinning Project I was twinned 29 times with Need to Know, "*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk". What the heck? Can someone tell me where the connection to my blog is? I don't get it.
Michael Goldberg from the Neumu Insider Daily recently got excited about Cat Power. Cat Power is supposed (right now she is ill or just had a psychic breakdown or whatever) to play at the ATP stretch at LA organised by Sonic Youth. On the ATP 1.1. album she interprets Robert Johnson's Come on in My Kitchen. Apparently she IS the blues in this song. I am somehow reconciled with Goldberg after his Strokes aberration.
Clive from Somnolence finds the new Notwist album fantastic and hears some "New Order-esque pure pop goodness" in them. Pitchfork gave this album 9.2/10 which is equal to "amazing" and the third highest after "indispensable" and "spectacular" in their rating scheme. I got a little fed up by it. The listening half-life of it is quite short for my ears. The voice and some of the electronic gimmickery get a little on my nerves already.
Gareth Lee from 1471 writes on a live version of Boards of Canada's song Telephasic Workshop. Especially the crowd's voices in the background impressed him. This reminded me of a recent post by Josh on the irritating reactions of the crowd on the Radiohead live recording I Might Be Wrong.
Finally I discovered a weblog by Paul Boutin, who writes for Wired News, Salon and others. He has had the privilege to listen to the soon to be released new record Geogaddi by Boards of Canada. He likes it and compares it to the reception of AM radio when he was a child with all the strange noisies like morse codes etc. in the background.

Sunday, lazy Sunday
"I needed so much
To have nothing to touch
I've always been greedy that way"

Leonard Cohen: The Night Comes On

Lousy weather most of the day, rain and a little sun and more rain made me stay in-house today. Additionally I have caught a cold and my nose has been running all day long. Therefore I spent most of today reading Various Positions. A Biography of Leonard Cohen from 1996 by Ira B. Nadel. I know a little more about Cohen's life now but somehow I feel cheated as I hardly got to know anything new about his character and his thoughts. The two most important lovers of Cohen Marianne Ihlen and Suzanne Elrod apparently did not collaborate to this book. Suzanne is the mother of Cohen's two children, she is not the Suzanne of the song. Marianne on the other hand is the Marianne of So Long Marianne which was his farewell song to her. Cohen left both as so many other women.It would have been nice to hear her stories about him which would probably be much less positive than the overall tenor of the book.
Cohen's perseverance and obsession with poetry and writing is something I really adore in him. The almost thirty years of Zen meditation practice underline his self-discipline. Besides I learnt that Cohen was a good friend of Joni Mitchell (who btw composed Both Sides Now and not Judy Collins as stated in the book). And apparently he fell deeply in love with Nico who told him to back off as she would only sleep with men younger than herself as for example the 18 year old Jackson Browne. Cohen was much more successful in Europe than in America. He said the reason could be that they do not understand him there(very funny). I found his behaviour at concerts in Germany a little irritating. His first concert in Germany he starts with the Hitlergruß "Heil Hitler". In the Berlin Sportpalast he salutes the crowd with Goebbels famous words "Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg?". Provocation or bad taste? Cohen is a Jew which makes this even more embarrassing. The key scene for me are the recordings of his first album. In the studio he needed a mirror to see how his appearance was when he played guitar. Vain as a peacock was my first thought when I read that. Maybe I am wrong.
Nevertheless I have put his last album Ten New Songs in my top ten of last year. The music is purely electronic but arranged in such a subtle way that his voice (and Sharon Robinson's in the duets) stays the angular point of the songs and the music floats calmly around Cohen's extremely low and masculine voice. The lyrics I have still to discover. They sound rather calm but also darkly philosophical as always with Cohen.

Friday, February 08, 2002

Friday Five
1. What's the most romantic thing you've ever done for someone else?
I gave her my jacket as she was feeling cold. It was in winter and I didn't feel warmer after that.
2. [pardon the cosmo question] What are your erogenous zones?
Just one. Actually on second thoughts two. But they are quite close to another.
3. How old were you the first time you had sex?
4. What's the most unusual place you've ever had sex?
Choose. On beaches of the Greek islands of Rhodes and Halki or in the park near here.
5. Do you have plans for Valentine's Day or is it just another Thursday?
Nothing special. Except we will go to see Ryan Adams in the Batschkapp.

Wednesday, February 06, 2002

Blogger insider is back
Keith has enough work to match about 200 webloggers every two weeks who are participating in his q&a game. Therefore newcomers are not accepted anymore. John from LA asked me these excellent first questions. You can check my first questions and his answers on his blog. Btw John, there are worse addictions in the world than workaholism.
1) We're now twelve-plus after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Do you sense that Germany is truly united? If not, what work remains to be done to unite the nation?
No. Germany is definitely not yet united. I guess It will take at least one generation for the Germans to become one people. East Germans ("Ossis") still have to fight with loads of prejudices West Germans ("Wessis") have against them. Wessis often think Ossis are slow, lazy and naive. Sometimes this is true as East Germany was a country where initiative and critical thinking were not valued high. I guess if you are born after 1985 it does not really make a big difference for your character if you are born in the East or West of Germany.
2) What are your opinions on the whole issue of copyright protection on recorded music and Napster and other peer-to-peer file sharing?
That is a difficult subject. I like the fact that the big entertainment groups have smaller profits now due to Napster and the like. On the other hand the artists are left out as well. Therefore I think a system like emusic where the customers pay a monthly fee and can download as much as they want could be a viable compromise.
3) What is your take on the status of the American-led "War on Terrorism?"
I have stopped writing on it in my weblog as I feel helpless about it (one of the things I can't change and have to accept). But if you ask me I have to say that I am very skeptical about the American policy. In a way I see the attacks as a reaction to the US foreign politics of the past. The war on terrorism just continues the arrogant and self-righteous appearance of the Americans in the world. It will not solve the problem of terrorism. It will only aggravate it. By attacking one of the poorest countries in the world the US definitely have not diminished the hatred against them. And hatred against the last superpower is the origin of the attacks. It really frightens me how the US behave in the UN or in environmental conferences. The US always do what serves them best no matter if it is humanitarian or not. Therefore I see our future on this planet endangered if we do not get a world government with all people and nations represented in there soon. The huge problems which lie ahead of us can only be solved together. Different nations, people and religions just show the huge variety of the human species and should not separate us from another anymore.
4) Does your academic study of statistics enrich your passion for music? If so, in what ways?
Strange question. By chance I happen to like many bands with numbers in their names, e.g. 16 Horsepower, 22 Pistepirkko, 808 State (in moderation). Basically listening to music is a counterbalance to the dry subject of statistics for me.

"Gott, gebe mir die Gelassenheit, Dinge hinzunehmen,
die ich nicht ändern kann;
den Mut, Dinge zu ändern, die ich ändern kann,
und die Weisheit,
das eine vom anderen zu unterscheiden."

Friedrich Christoph Oetinger (1702-1782)

Monday, February 04, 2002

This is for the community
Jish from the webloggers' webring asked if I know about my webring neighbours. I didn't but now I do. To my left is submit respond, to my right is Actually I found about about this in submit respond . Nice joke, Jack on boils and suppuration. is a weblog of a Chinese working in California who would like to be a Korean. I could only gather this info as there was a link on the page with a short bio of the author.
Mmm. It is about time for an about page on the creator of sex and sunshine, don't you think so? Or don't you want to know anymore than in this blog on him? This is actually a poll. You can vote here (small pop-up alert).

Saturday, February 02, 2002

Howe live
We saw Howe Gelb in concert in Frankfurt Thursday night. The place, the Cafeteria of the KoZ (communication centre) of Frankfurt University was small and quite packed. Unfortunately Howe was on his own without his Giant Sand sidemen Convertino/Burns. So it was just guitar, a little electric piano and his voice. A little lo-fi but somehow Howe pulled it off anyways. This time I liked his use of the walkman better. There was a tune of Johnny Cash on tape to which Howe played guitar and drowned it. Howe was very entertaining and charming as usual. Flirting with the girls in the public.
I was a little bit disappointed that there was no encore. It had taken the public and me some time to get into Howe's strange little songs and then suddenly it was over. As usual he even changed his own old songs so much that they were quite difficult to recognise. After about 90 minutes Howe packed his stuff and started selling the last two CDs which have been released on his OW OM label.
After the concert I asked him some questions. He told me that Giant Sand is not finished and that they will probably tour Germany later in the year. When I asked him if he could cover a Velvet Underground song he said he would probably just about be able to do it. But he wouldn't like to as it would be too obvious. The conversation was made a little difficult by a drunken idiot who kept talking to Howe but Howe just put on these noise-reduction headphones which isolate 100% against outdoor noises. Nice stuff. Apparently they cost about 500 euros. It was a strange feeling for me to talk to one of my favourite musicians. Instead of listening to him and his music, he listened to me for a minute. I found him quite attentive and earnest but that was probably due to my direct questions.
I am still trying to complete my Giant Sand album collection. Yesterday there was an auction on Stromausfall, a rare album of them. I could not believe my eyes. Six minutes before the end the highest bid was € 49.50. Either there are some people around who are totally crazy or the guy who started the auction bid himself. Just to raise the price (the market value) for Giant Sand rarities in future auctions.
I subscribed myself as a leaf to the Sandman series, a Giant Sand CD-ROM tree. It consists of organisers, branches and leaves. The organisers receive the CD-Rs the first and distribute copies to the branches who then distribute copies to the leaves. For every copied CD-R the receiver has to return two blank CD-Rs. Up to now five CD-Rs have seen the light. A nice network.

Friday, February 01, 2002

Friday Five
Another q&a game for webloggers. It is by Heather from smattering. Five questions every Friday.

1. Have you ever had braces? Any other teeth trauma?
No. I almost always had perfect teeth. Except the colour. They became yellowish-brownish from the black tea in the morning and the 100 kilograms of burning tobacco I have inhaled in my life.
2. Ever broken any bones?
Yes twice. I fell and broke my right foot which now has a ganglion where it broke. The advantage is that it will never break there again. The second time I had a bicycle accident. Broke my collar bone quite badly. The doctor had to put a 20 centimeter nail into my shoulder to stabilise it. After four weeks the nail was taken out again. A strange feeling. Suddenly there seemed to be a hole in my shoulder.
3. Ever had stitches?
Another bicycle accident. I tried to go downhill in a bend without braking. It was a kind of sport. I knew the bend perfectly well as it happened to be on the way to my favourite pub. Needless to say that I was not 100% sober when it happened. The eyebrows had to be stitched.
4. What are the stories behind some of your [physical] scars?
As a child I ran full speed against a radiator with my head first as I wanted to catch a ball which had fallen below the radiator. My head hurt quite badly and I took a cushion to ease the pain. The cushion was soaked in red blood after a minute. Now I have a scar on top of my head. The scar is covered by hair so that it can't be seen usually.
5. How do you plan to spend your weekend?
Tomorrow I will be lazy. Have my car washed. Try to find a decent office chair (hopefully this wonderful fully mobile Moitzi). And look for a car cd/mp3 player.
On Sunday the weather is supposed to be even sunnier and Catherine and me plan to walk a stretch on the European long-distance hiking path E3 (Royan, Atlantic to Marktredwitz, Bohemian Forest) which goes from Glashütten via the Feldberg to the old Roman Saalburg. 17 kilometers with 1,100 meters of altitude difference.

No surprise
I guess online quizzes have been invented to help out uninspired weblog writers like myself.

Wowie! You are Tfu Tfu! You're the odd one out, there are few places you fit in. Others don't understand you very well and tend to treat you indifferently and take you for granted. But then again, you don't really give a damn about them anyway.

What a mess. Why can't I just be Arial or Times like all normal people?


Copyright 2001, 2002 Alexander Fritz
All rights reserved