Friday, August 26, 2005

Brian Eno, at one point in his book, A Year With Swollen Appendices, speculates that over 50 percent of all top 40 hits in pop music have demonstrated the call and response pattern of African music, gospel, etc.

The influence of Africa upon the various musics of the 20th and 21st centuries can't be overstated. From the African Diaspora we got the blues, (Corey Harris's Mississippi to Mali is a great exploration of what happens when a blues musician goes back to Africa. It's an amazing album.), jazz, arguably rock&roll, disco, funk, and from disco and funk we got the various subgenres of electronic music, i.e. techno, house, etc. Eventually, certainly by the mid20th century, there was a resurgence in the power of the drum. When the African peoples who were taken in bondage into America were brought over here, their native musics, most notably the drums, were outlawed. They made do with what instruments that the Americans had, such as guitars and so on, often playing then 'wrong' as it were, or playing these instruments with a perspective from their own musical traditions. In other words, a guitar might be played at times in a more rhythmic fashion, like a drum, as is often done in blues. Or a trumpet might be played in a similar way, as is sometimes done in jazz.

And of course, there were those artists during the 20th century who actively sought out this vein of musical heritage, this motherload from the motherland, as it were, and worked in it. Such as the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Or Herbie Hancock. Or Pharoah Sanders. I'm sure there are many others I'm leaving out.

Anyway, not sure what my point is, other than pointing out this hidden influence that most people don't think about.

And of course, the anthropologist in me is just reminded that we ALL come from Africa.

Some of my favorite parts of pop music are the subtle bits when there are horn sections replying to the singer in the background, much like a call and response pattern in African music.

Want to listen to some good African music? Go here. Afropop Worldwide used to be a cool radio show on NPR, and now it's a website. Some of my most fond memories of hanging out with Clint in Fayetteville were times when we were just driving around in his car, and Afropop Worldwide just happened to be on NPR. We'd just be groovin', two white dudes boppin' our heads to grooves from the motherland.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

If Mike could make all 5 of these men disappear, he might just have a future in the voice-over industry in L.A.

And in other Mike related news, you should check out the Fun Party, if you haven't yet. I know his ramblings seem incoherent at times, but sometimes they're actually pretty funny. Or infuriating, depending on what side of the political spectrum you lie on. At any rate, he seems to make some sort of coherent world-view out of the rambling insanity that is the Church of the Subgenius, and it influences his writing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. This show is very funny. Laugh out loud funny. Seriously. I haven't laughed that hard at something on TV in quite a while.

Oh yeah, and some of you probably never read Cerebus (for a time, both the best comic book about an aardvark, and the best parody of Conan). Most of you. But I know Ken and Clint will get a kick out of this. It's a hidden image from Cerebus #20, made of the backgrounds of pages in the comic arranged in a grid. Cool, huh? Via Linkmachinego.
So, my birthday is on Thursday, and I told various in-laws and so on that I didn't want anything, as I pretty much already have everything that I want. Which is mostly true. Although if there are any hideously rich people in the blogoverse who want to buy me something really expensive, then they're welcome to.

However, if anyone in Fayetteville wants to get me a little something as a token of their esteem, Spun Records has a dollar record bin which you can look at. A goofy, cheap record would not be unwelcome. Surprise me. The odder the better.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Aw hells yeah. The Beastie Boys have put up some acappellas on this page, for remixers. I love the picture too. I'm going to do some crazy stuff with one of these, I think. Should be fun.
Well, I'm posting this far later than I should, but if you haven't caught the trailer for Darkon the movie, here's your chance. Essentially, it seems to be a documentary about LARPers, or the SCA, I can't decide which. I look forward to reading the review in Renaissance magazine.

Also, can't believe Robert Moog has died. So sad. If you are curious and really want to learn more about Moog and his contemporaries, and the history of analog synths, read Analog Days.
Every once in a while, about once every 2 weeks, someone flies over our house. Seriously. Powered paragliding, is what it's called. He flies really low, too. I feel like if I had a long bow (and I knew how to shoot it) that I could hit him.

Kind of freaked me out the first time I saw it. I heard it first, this low BUZZZZZZ flying overhead, but it was WAY too low, so I ran outside and I saw this dude hanging from a parachute with a big fan strapped to his back. Quite odd.

Also, in music geek news, if you go to there are some cool freeware VST instruments, for those of you interested in such things. Free tools for sound creation can always come in handy. Most of them seem to be made in Synthedit, which so far seems to be eluding me.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

My wife and I are watching Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on the Travel Channel. He's in Paris, staying in the hotel room that Oscar Wilde died in, and drinking WAY too much absinthe. It's actually quite amusing. Came highly recommended by Allen. Whose taste is to be trusted in most matters culinary and musical.

In other news, mowed the back yard today, despite it being HOT. Ugh. We also made some pizza, and a whole mess of homemade pesto with the basil we bought at the Farmer's Market yesterday.

Oh, almost forgot:

Peter's Not Entirely Authentic Cassoulet Recipe

My recipe is simple but hearty comfort food for the soul. And, in a departure from most cassoulets, is vegetarian, most of the time. Kind of.

First, I start with two cans of Great Northern Beans. These are my favorite kind of beans, I must say. They're the best. What do I do with said cans of beans? Nothing yet. Because the actual first step is to chop about half a small onion, very small, and add it to some very hot olive oil in the bottom of a pot. After a bit, after the onion starts to get very translucent, add a garlic clove or two, some fresh rosemary, a few bay leaves, and season it with some fresh cracked pepper and some salt. Then, after about a minute, add the cans of beans, and some stock, vegetable or chicken stock both work quite well. I also might add just a little bit of cumin. Then I let the whole thing stew for about 45 minutes to an hour, on a very low heat. Basically, you want it to be thick but not too thick.

Serve with some very crusty French bread. You'll notice there's no sausage or anything. Not that I have anything against sausage, but I don't think the beans need the sausage.

This is soul food when I'm feeling really down. It makes you feel good from the inside out.