Archive for March, 2010

Dunian

Dunian

Dunian; I don’t know where he’s from, but he has the same first name as my grandfather, a secular gent of Czech extraction with a long career as a university physicist, which gives the percussive, poppy electronica of Dunian an extra, entirely artificial emotional dimension for me. Dunian’s music is full of fingersnaps and handclaps, an occasional high-hat, enough synth to turn your eyes to jam, and just as much gorgeously ringing drone as it takes to keep a thin film sustaining occular cohesion.

Dunian – Mind Body Mind
Dunian – Love To Match

Portal pop,

Dwight

March 29, 2010 at 2:40 pm Leave a comment

Zola Jesus – Stridulum EP

Zola Jesus - Stridulum EP

Stridulum isZola Jesus’ fourth release on Sacred Bones Records and her first to be recorded on “professional” equipment, allowing Danilova to bring her cavernous vocals to a sharper edge against a characteristically dark, droning instrumental backdrop. Still done over a powerful mass of ragged ambience, her vocals are here joined by synth and live drums, making the songs on Stridulum less impenetrable than past collections and even downright catchy. Here’s the lead track, which happens to be my favorite:

Zola Jesus – Night

You can get your copy of the 12″/CD for an entirely reasonable $12/$10 from the God-fearing Christians at Sacred Bones . Incidentally, kudos to them for consistently designing some of the most beautiful album packaging to appear in the last decade.

Gorgeous porgeous,

Dwight

March 29, 2010 at 12:45 pm Leave a comment

Mystical Poems of Rumi

Mystical Poems of Rumi, trans by A.J. Arberry

Published in 2009 by the University of Chicago Press, Mystical Poems of Rumi presents one of the most recent major collections of Jalāl ad-Dīn Rūmī’s (popularly known as “Rumi”) poetry not translated by Coleman Barks, who I’ve found a bit pedantic. This new presention of A. J. Arberry’s older translations is a tremendous improvement over the successive lorry loads that Barks manages to churn out; less frivolous divergence from original texts, fewer liberties taken with how the poems are presented, and the book is just a whole helluva lot prettier. The cover is a detail from an ink on parchment drawing of Sadegh Tabrizi, an Iranian artist and expert in the techniques of traditional Persian miniature painting.

These poems were translated primarily by A. J. Arberry and previously published with a larger selection in two volumes. In Arberry’s introduction to the first edition, he writes that his interest in “Oriental” studies began while his Christian faith had been thoroughly shelved, but that it was restored during his work with Sufi and particularly Rumi’s poetry. He also offers a poignant poem of self realization, underscoring Rumi’s profound religious influence on him. I first encountered Sufi poetry when I read Penguin Books’ edition of Hafiz’s The Gift in high school, which thoroughly reinforced my own secular tendencies. However, I tend to see the influence that accentuated Arberry’s faith in God as the same as what helped me finish high school without losing my mind. Hafiz and Rumi and most Sufi poets offer a profoundly personal image of communication with divinity, and divinity is easily imagined as “universal” for someone with the proper turn of mind. The beauty of their poetry is in its communion with a totality of love. Their egalitarianism as individuals is projected through the ease with which “God” can be made to read any number of ways: the ideal of goodness, the annihilation of self, the reality of persistant love, the immediacy of transcendant joy.

Here’s an extract I’m particularly enamored of from the third poem in the collection:

I said, “Show me the ladder, that I may mount up to heaven.” He said, “Your head is the ladder; bring your head down under your feet.”

When you place your feet on your head, you will place your feet on the head of the stars; when you cleave through the air, set your foot on the air, so, and come!

A hundred ways to heaven’s air become manifest to you; you go flying up to heaven every dawning like a prayer.”

Get it here or on amazon.com, where it has been fabulously discounted. Fabulously.

Shoorple,

Dwight

March 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm Leave a comment

PRISM Index #1

Prism Index #1

The first issue of PRISM Index is beautifully proportioned and stinks dizzyingly of dried paint. PRISM Index is a great new, almost entirely handmade zine/magazine-thing with comics, writings, and a slew of art from a slew of artists. The editors’ personalities shine throughout, with self-conscious references to the solicitation and submission process; the whole object is a great intellectual and creative artifact addressed lovingly to anyone that might ever get a copy. God willing, founder Jeffrey Bowers, off somewhere in the mysterious depths of exotic Ohio, is deservedly happy with what he’s done.

The first issue is $22, 80 pages of text and art, accompanied by an 88 minute DVD and a 72 minute compilation album. From the Prism Index website:

“PRISM index is a limited edition, handmade, silk-screened, mixed-media compilation that compiles the various work of a wide spectrum of artists into one place. The goal of this publication is to create a collage of current art/culture scenes from throughout the US and the world. By sustaining an outlet for artistic expression, PRISM index offers its audience an off-kilter style, while expanding the aesthetic horizons of all parties involved. As a network for artists, this project seeks to establish a platform for multi-media sharing through the tactile, aural, and visual experience of print, images, sounds (CD), and movies (DVD) and to extend and elaborate those expressions through its online presence. PRISM index intended to create something that could not be thrown away, skimmed through, replicated, or forgotten.

In PRISM index #1, the front and back covers are silk-screened on handmade paper and then hand bound. Limited to 500 copies sold. Inside includes: 80 pages printed offset onto 60 lb paper, 24 in full color. These pages range from paintings, drawings, comics, short stories, non-fiction, and more. Sewn into the middle of the book are a hand linoblock stamped 72 minute CD and 88 minute DVD. The CD ranges from old country classics, dissonant throat singing, vagabond lullabies, to a Mariah Carey cover. The DVD is no less modest with films about space invasion, homosexuality’s connection with orange juice, an eternal question, lost opportunities to urinate, and exotic zoology. There are tons of little personal additions including mini-comics, recipes, or other junk lying around. If you have any questions or inclinations to submit please visit the contact page.”

Torple pip,

Dwight

March 25, 2010 at 6:13 pm Leave a comment

Salad Fork’s “Mixtapes For Haiti” Kickstarter

#mixtapesforhaiti

Friend-of-the-label Louis Kishfy of Salad Fork just sent over some info on a great project he’s putting together via kickstarter. Right now he’s raising money to put out a wild cassette compilation with contributions from audio luminaries like Memory Tapes, Cloud Nothings, and Prince Rama of Ayodhya. Louis will be donating all of the profits to Partners in Health: Stand With Haiti, so GREAT CAUSE! Contribute! Great musicians are participating, great cause, great guy. Dig it. Here’s some info direct from Louis’ kickstarter:

It all started when I was sitting in my Physics lecture. We were discussing thermodynamics, and how disorder relates to it. Naturally, I began to hum the bass line to Joy Divisions’ Disorder, and I ended up associating the word ‘disorder’ with the ‘destruction’ that has occurred in Haiti. Then, it clicked. A way I could contribute to Haiti would be through something I love dearly: music. When the lecture was over, the next song that came on my iPhone was-you guessed it-Joy Divisions’ Disorder. What are the chances of that? Perhaps it was fate. The purpose of this Kickstarter is to raise money to fund the production of tapes and shipping. If I can get enough tape pledges, I will be able to cover the full cost of production/shipping for this project and donate the rest of the funds to Partners In Health: Stand With Haiti, which you can get more info on here . The idea behind this project is for me to do all the work so that you’ll get something to remember your donation by. I also realize that ten dollars for a cassette tape is an exorbitant amount of money for some of you, but remember, it’s a donation before it’s a cassette tape (plus you get a digital download and the satisfaction of donating to a good cause, that ain’t half bad either!).

Dig Dig Dig It,

Dwight

March 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm Leave a comment

Brion Nuda Rosch

Waterfalls on Waterfalls

Brion Nuda Rosch is a San Francisco based artist best known for his collages, impressive installation work, and multimedia projects. He’s also the artist Little Paper Planes chose to make up their first comprehensive artist publication, following a few months on the heels of their Little Paper Planes Book Series. Their debut volume is a beautiful, slim 90-pages, perfect bound, limited edition catalog of Rosch’s new and older works, laid out collaboratively in order to convey aesthetic alongside of art—both of which are tremendously well cultivated.

From Zachary Royer Scholz’s Foreword:

“Brion Nuda Rosch’s work is inviting yet unpredictable. His diverse combinations of materials gently lead viewers to unexpected discoveries. These deceptively simple works present humorously profound situations- Rosch’s simple act of placing one image of a waterfall on top of another complicates pictorial space, subject-object hierarchy, and combinative logic.”

Brion Nuda Rosch

Brion describes some of his personal project as an artist in fellow artist Jess Wheaton’s interview with him for Little Paper Planes:

“In my work, I’m identifying very mundane shapes and ridiculous things as monuments, not to downplay the importance of existing monuments, just that when you visit a monument you have your own meaning and understanding, you only take a very small part away with you. The person or event that it represents is far too large and infinite to take away the complete meaning. And often monuments are visited in short spans of time—drive six hours, get out look, back into the car type of thing. Art is viewed in a similar way—minus the drive. My monuments are void of meaning. I don’t know if there’s a way that could be somewhat political. “

The book is only the first of many that I’m sure will come from Little Paper Planes’ new publishing division, but it’s an undeniably great start. You can grab a copy here.

Toggle foog,

Dwight

March 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm 1 comment

Idiot Glee – Beko 35

Idiot Glee - Beko 35

France and Kentucky were finally brought together by Beko DSL and Idiot Glee in a star-fated union that bore fruit this here past Monday, in the form of a two song digital single available for download via this baguette. The two tracks nicely showcase James’ vocal heavy doo-wop-pop, throwing in some gorgeous organ sounds for good effect. Definitely among the highlights of BEKO’s burgeoning catalog.

Dig it,

Dwight

March 16, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

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