Saturday, 31 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Let You – AppleBottom

Let You – AppleBottom

Two days later, and I have to post another one by AppleBottom. And another photo of a babe smoking. The sections leading up to 1:30 and then from 3:30 on - mmm, mmm good. Really digging that spacey production, that echoey vibe, vocals that sound a bit distant.

Bibliophilia: Forgotten Household Crafts – John Seymour

One of many books that John Seymoura fervent proponent of self-sufficiency, wrote. Very opinionated, and some might say his views are a bit backwards, but I think he’s on the right track. I’ve mentioned before that I tend to find the mundane day to day aspects of history, i.e. how regular people lived, a lot more absorbing than the broad sweeps of politics and warfare.

Filled with many line drawings, of things that would baffle most people if they came across one in an antique store. Sugar nippers, ale mullerfluting iron, curd agitatorwooden peg dollyhemming bird, wooden standing rushlight holder, and many other weird and wonderful things of domestic life of decades and centuries past.

The section on hearths and various stoves I personally found fascinating. The section on ice houses (and the Raplin ice maker), as well as ale houses and dairies were also really interesting. 

(And I was aware of this, but seeing as I have no connection in life with wooden barrels, I only dimly recalled it. A barrel is only correctly a barrel if it holds 36 gallons. A Pin holds 4.5 gallons, a Firkin 9 gallons, a Kilderkin 18 gallons, a Barrel 36 gallons, a Hogshead 54 gallons, a Puncheon 72 gallons, and a Butt 108 gallons.)

Most of the entries here are at best an introduction. If you want an in-depth look at anything, you’ll need to turn to another source. If there is a criticism of this book is that it deals more with tools than skills.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Big Lost – Diplo

Big Lost – Diplo

It was driving me crazy what the riff in this was from. Then it hit me: Another New Day by Jazzanova. Looked into it to see if I was right. Turns out that they sampled it from a 1968 track called Hunters of Heaven by Harumi.

Monday, 26 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Enani – Bass’Flo & Ziyal

Enani – Bass’Flo & Ziyal

Sweet, liquid DnB.

Bibliophilia: The Mongoliad: Book One – Neal Stephenson & Friends

The Mongoliad: Book One – Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey, E.D. deBirmingham, Cooper Moo and Mark Teppo

The only author out of this mob I knew was Stephenson, consistently one of my favourites. I don’t know the degree to which all the authors contributed, but it doesn’t feel like the work of 7 writers. Whether some were just there to add their knowledge of fighting techniques to make them sound plausible, whether they each inhabited one of the main characters, and one person did the plot outlining – I’m not sure. It seemed quite cohesive to me. 

Set in 1241, about a dozen western fighters, each drawn from a different fighting discipline, set out on a journey to assassinate Ögedei Khan, the son of the famous Genghis, in an effort to prevent the spread of the Mongol horde into Western Europe, and suffering the same ravages that befell Asia.

Running parallel to that is the story of 
Gansukh, a young Mongol warrior sent to Ögedei’s court by one of his brothers, in an effort to try to persuade him to stop drinking himself to death. Gansukh’s only real experience is riding horses on the steppes and slaughtering his opponents. He is inexperienced at navigating his way through the politics and treachery of the court, so he is assigned a tutor, Lian.

Gansukh’s fish out of water story is perhaps easier to relate to for the reader. The European champions, knights and warrior monks, maybe because of their numbers, aren’t quite as easy to 
distinguish or identify with. Their characters do flesh out a bit more as the story progresses, but it takes some time.

All in all I really enjoyed it. It’s fiction set against a historical backdrop, an epic quest with medieval fight scenes that are very well described and moves along at a good clip. 

Saturday, 24 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Halley Road – Asura

Halley Road – Asura

Another awe inspiring ambient track. Nicely accompanied by an awe inspiring video.

Bibliophilia: Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall – Will Ellsworth-Jones

Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall – Will Ellsworth-Jones

I suppose the first difficulty with this book is the aspect of how much of a biography can you really write about someone who goes to extraordinary lengths to stay out of any kind of limelight, going as far as to tell tall tales in an effort to misdirect.

And as much as I appreciate his work, I’m not sure that his anti-establishment schtick has so much credence anymore, now that for all intents and purposes he is part of the art establishment. Anyone who still thinks he is just some guy who goes out with a can of spray paint and a stencil, will be surprised to find out what a sophisticated operation is behind the Banksy mythos. Publicists, lawyers, agents, etc. This is no longer a mere vandal. Well organized gallery showings, people lined up for days to buy one of your limited edition prints, an Oscar nominated mockumentary, counterfeiters ripping you off and still managing to help further your brand, etc, and thumbing your nose at the capitalist system with an anarcho leftist stance, no matter how witty it may be, does seem to be a glaring contradiction. Still interesting to explore how someone has ridden the anonymity train to, paradoxically, fame, and wealth. Anyone hoping to discover something as pedestrian as what his identity is will be disappointed. But if you want to find out the more interesting aspects of Banksy, a little bit about the world he inhabits, the people who have helped him along the way, that you will find here.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Ketcher (Sahasrara Landscape Mix) – Youth

Ketcher (Sahasrara Landscape Mix) – Youth

One of the stand out tracks on this compilation. 

I love the fact that Martin Glover started out as a bassist with Killing Joke, and then every other musical direction imaginable.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Always – Timonkey

Always – Timonkey

Bibliophilia: V for Vendetta – Alan Moore

V for Vendetta – Alan Moore

I know this has been in lots of “10 graphic novels everyone should read” lists.

And I, being a fan of graphic novels, and generally being a fan of Alan Moore, had never read this.

And it didn’t do much for me at all. It is very much a product of 1980’s Britain, both in style and substance, and I question whether it holds up well today. The art was dark and high contrasted and I found it hard to follow in quite a few places. The characters didn’t speak to me at all. I hated them. The political posturing I thought was trite. I found the whole thing turgid.

I can recommend many graphic novels people should read. This isn’t one of them.

And I think it may be one of the few instances where the movie may indeed be better than the book.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Free At Last – Ambrose

Free At Last – Ambrose

Oooohhh...I’ve been on the hunt for this one for a while.

Ambrose (Reynolds) was one half of Pink Industry, and if you check out that track, you can recognize the similarity. I never heard much by Pink Industry, and only one track from this guise, but I always liked the sound. Funky bass, cool beats, echoey, spacey production. I think I discovered this on a Touch cassette, and I believe it may be my first real exposure to Martin Luther King’s Free At Last speech, and its incredible cadence. (The faith healer bit at the beginning is the scamtastic “reverend” Ernest Angely.)

Saturday, 17 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Half Life – Swans

Half Life – Swans

After yesterdays shimmering, ethereal sounds, today I switch gears entirely and post a cruel, remorseless battering off of the second Swans LP Cop. Still one of the heaviest things I’ve ever heard.

Friday, 16 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Monument – Robin Guthrie

Monument – Robin Guthrie

While my recent reading of Facing The Other Way may have downgraded my opinion of Robin Guthrie somewhat, my opinion of his guitar playing is still very favourable.

That is quite a sound they manage to achieve.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Entropy – Bodhi

Entropy – Bodhi

These beats are real teasers. Need to check out more by Bodhi if this track is any indication.

View of Lower Hamilton

Went to visit a friend at Juravinski, and after running up the Wentworth stairs, snapped a quick photo.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Like A Pen – The Knife

Like A Pen – The Knife

Bouncy electro-pop from these Swedes. They’re also Fever Ray.

Bibliophilia: World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War – Max Brooks

I read this book when it came out, and thought it was great. Liked the structure of it, interviews with eye witnesses and participants long after this war for the survival of humanity was over.

Anyway, with the movie that uses the same title being out, and my annoyance that this Brad Pitt publicity vehicle had little resemblance to it, I decided to read it again.

The part I found most chilling was the aspect of command and control structures and logistical systems and their ability to be destroyed, and how pivotal that is to a military engagement. With zombies, there is no C&C or supply system to destroy.

Monday, 12 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Polyesterday – Gus Gus

Polyesterday – Gus Gus

I don’t know why, but I’ve never paid attention to Gus Gus. It’s like my radar somehow discounted them as an insignificant blip. I think I may have somehow, wrongly, gotten them conflated with Sigur Rós. Who I think are like nails on a blackboard. 
But Gus Gus are nothing like them – and they’re good. Now I’m kicking myself for ignoring them all this time.

Bibliophilia: Five Weapons: Making the Grade – Jimmie Robinson

Five Weapons: Making the Grade – Jimmie Robinson

I have to admire a publication where the author and artist are one and the same. When it happens to be a really fun story and good art, it’s even more admirable.

Set in a school for the children of assassins, filled with a 
host of quirky characters, where the very likeable protagonist is sent. He faces challenges won by observation and guile rather than force, set against a whodunit that develops as the story unfolds. This is one of those titles that remind you why you read comic books. Suitable for young adults, but as you can see, this middle aged adult enjoyed it tremendously.

And I had to smile at seeing that the school festival had booths set up from MagPul, SigSauer, Spyderco and several others.

If I had a criticism, it’s that I wished that the whole story wasn’t told entirely within the confines of horizontal boxes. The layout of the pages makes them a little bit static. But that is a very minor quibble.

One of the things I liked is that rather than have the chapters divided by the cover that the original had, the sketch is shown. Being a fan of process, I dug that.

An example showing issue #1.

8 Wheeled, 2 Seat Cargo Bike

Berliner Nico Junge created this 8 wheeled cargo bike, based in part on the open source N55 bike. With a 10 m² platform and a carrying capacity of 450 kg, it has four-wheel steering and independent wheel suspension. Two drivers can get it up to a speed of about 10 – 15 km/h.

More information, photos and videos can be found here:

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Bibliophilia: Storm of Steel – Ernst Jünger

Storm of Steel – Ernst Jünger

A memoir of WW1, from a German perspective.

The only other one like it that I’m familiar with is All Quiet On The Western Front.

The authors recounting of his experiences is quite matter of fact. Tales of astonishing horror and destruction are described very curtly. His numerous woundings are chronicled with little fanfare. The levity when it appears is gallows humour.

With the centenary of the unfathomable carnage of WW1 fast approaching, this is a good read for anyone interested in an all encompassing historical overview. While from my perspective he may technically have been “the enemy”, his depictions of his experiences and the descriptions of the deaths of his comrades humanizes an inhuman conflict. 

Bibliophilia: Influx – Daniel Suarez

Influx – Daniel Suarez

I loved this novel, book #4 from one of my favourite authors.

A really imaginative, technology and science drenched, dread inducing thrill ride. The scenes within Hibernity are mind blowing. Sure there is stuff in here that is silly. But it is such great fun that you’re willing to overlook some of the implausibilities. Just a superb blend of action thriller and scientific speculation.

I wish Hollywood would use his books/ideas for sci-fi movie plots rather than the predictable parallel universe/time travel/alien invasion scenarios that seem to crop up again and again.

S.o.t.D. - Kalimankou Denkou (The Evening Gathering) – Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares

Kalimankou Denkou (The Evening Gathering) – Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares

I heard someone describe them as “keening witches” recently, but I think this an amazing example of choral music.

Bibliophilia: Kick-Ass(es) – Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.

Kick-Ass 2 – Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.

Kick-Ass 2 - Prelude: Hit-Girl – Mark Millar & John Romita Jr.

Who hasn’t at one time or another thought of putting on a costume and kicking some criminal ass? Just ridiculously, over the top violent, extremely gory, the incongruity made all the more glaring by tiny, 11 year Mindy, aka Hit–Girl, being utterly bloodthirsty and ruthless. Curious about the film adaptation of this now.

Bibliophilia: Killing Rommel – Steven Pressfield

Fiction, but I suspect a fairly accurate story about the Long Range Desert Group, and their younger cousins, the Special Air Service, and their exploits behind the lines in North Africa. Fascinating chapter in history. If I have a criticism of it, I wish that there were more detailed maps included.

Friday, 9 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Cut The Tree – Wolfgang Press

Cut The Tree – Wolfgang Press

Off of Lonely Is An Eyesore. With a suitably obscure video. Love that slow bass line.

Bibliophilia: Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD – Martin Aston

Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD – Martin Aston

I’ve talked on here a bit about my love for the incredible 4AD Records.

I bought their records in the 80’s sound unheard, simply because they were on 4AD. But as someone with limited amounts of money to spend on imported music, I didn’t get many of the magazines that may have talked about the music. I read bits here and there, heard stuff on the radio, friends imparted what little they knew. So there was a lot about the bands and the label that was a mystery. 

So when I saw this book mentioned in an Exclaim review, I was overcome with excitement and ordered it. Wasnt sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is a massive 650 page tome. Covers mainly the first 20 years, with a more cursory look at the last 15 years. It’s very complete, with a lot of minutiae that non fans might not care for, but I ate it up. Perhaps only interesting for the obsessive 4AD fan. ( there any other kind of 4AD fan?)

Getting to read the stories behind the music, of what were often bands who shunned the limelight, is both edifying and kind of depressing. When it was a guy who loved music and had a very developed sense of what to release and operated on instinct, things went well. When it became about running a record company, and having to break bands big in America, and “move units” in order to make it all financially viable, and babysit prima donna cokeheads, it stopped being fun.

There was quite a bit in this book that made me sad. Fragile egos, inflated egos, mental illness, drug addiction, domestic relationships, creative relationships, domestic and creative relationships intertwined, dysfunctional relationships, relationships torn asunder.

To read how Vaughn Oliver and Nigel Grierson, or Mick Allen and Mark Cox haven’t spoken to one another in years, just made me sad. Reading how Robin Guthrie was an insufferable asshole just disappointed me.

Just like the old adage that one shouldn’t see how sausages are made, maybe it’s best if one doesn’t learn too much about the inner workings of a revered record label.

I noted the parallel between my waning interest in the label, and Ivo Watts-Russell’s waning interest in the label, which seemed to coincide. It began to taper off for me from the early 90’s, and by the mid 90’s, when Wolfgang Press put out their last record, that was it for me, and shortly after, he sold his interest.

4AD went through quite a lull, but they are again on the upswing. After being in the doldrums for years, they are again signing an eclectic mix of acts.

The limited edition version is something else.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Harm’s Swift Way – Robert Plant & Band of Joy

Harm’s Swift Way – Robert Plant & Band of Joy

I heard a track or two off this album when it came out and it was always in the back of my head to check out the album. Pretty good. Silver Rider and the cover of Low’s Monkey are also some of the stand out tracks.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Praise Your Name – The Angels Of Light

Praise Your Name – The Angels Of Light

The Angels Of Light were Michael Gira’s project after he disbanded the mighty Swans, and this is the first track off the first Angels album, New Mother. This project explored Gira’s interest in Americana and Appalachian music.

Red Tailed Hawk on the Iroquois Bar pt. 2

Photos taken by Andrew Little.

Monday, 5 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Venter – Ben Frost

Venter – Ben Frost

An Australian living in Reykjavik, Iceland. Instrumental, minimal – reminds me a bit of....Vangelis and Swans up on stage together. First track of his I’ve ever heard, and I’m intrigued.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - From A Distance (eXcess Remix) – Phaeleh

From A Distance (eXcess Remix) – Phaeleh

Another winner from Phaeleh.

Red Tailed Hawk on the Iroquois Bar pt. 1

There is now a red tailed hawk nest in a tree at the foot of the Iroquois Bar. In the CN yard below, they’ve done some bulldozing. I wonder if they might not have set up there because of the animals attracted to the disturbed soil, looking for grubs, worms, roots, etc. Drop out of the nest, grab something, and carry it back up. The thermals and wind patterns due to the cliff and its proximity to the lake likely play a factor as well.

But this is the first time in all the years of living here that we’ve spotted a nest in the trees.
Wandered into the rail yard to get a look at the nest from below. (You can just make out the disturbed soil beneath.)
It flew over us and not long after a Blue Jay came to squawk at it, and swoop in to harass the hawk. We may think it’s neat that it’s there, but clearly some of the other residents don’t appreciate it.

Photos taken by Andrew Little.

Friday, 2 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - Over The Shoulder – Ministry

Over The Shoulder – Ministry

There was a video show from Cleveland that was on in the middle of the night when I was younger. Used to watch it because they had some interesting stuff on there. New Model Army, Cabaret Voltaire, and this video. I was already listening to Twitch, and loving it - partly because of the fact that Adrian Sherwood was the producer. (Previous to Twitch, Ministry was forgettable fluff.) Hadn’t seen the video for this though. Loved Al’s hair.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

S.o.t.D. - The Criminal – Sons of Freedom

The Criminal – Sons of Freedom

Rocking Canadian outfit that didn’t last nearly long enough, or get the recognition I think they deserved.

Mona Lisa was another great track.