The week that was was rather unremarkable.
Sure, things have happened in the world. Good ones, bad ones, the world keeps turning. I’ve spent enough text ranting on politics in last week’s post, this week I’ll keep it short. After all a lot of things have been discussed at length elsewhere. Just to say that I, too, am of the opinion that anyone who separates children from their parents and then puts them into detention centres with the sole purpose of fighting migrants – you are not fighting migration, you are fighting migrants you worthless excuse for human beings – is a/are fascist(s). We can discuss politics of controlling/preventing migration, but treating migrants as second class humans is beyond discussion. Whether this is in America or Europe. (Btw. The Guardian released a list this week of the know casualties of the European Migrant crisis. Here.)
OK then, that off my chest, let’s, once again, look at the wonderful world of not politics. There was a story making its rounds that we may be the only advanced civilisation in the observable universe. Personally I would, even in that case, put “advanced” in quotation marks. But that may be just me. Anyways, this raises a bunch of questions: Are we really alone? Are we, as Arthur C. Clarke pondered a while ago, maybe the first such civilisation with others to follow? Do we not know how to look properly? And if the latter, why? Is it that we are simply not capable to find a civilisation like ours with our means? Or could it be that an alien civilisation is so fundamentally different from ours, that we wouldn’t know if we saw one? This speculation makes me think of examples thought up by Stanislaw Lem – Fiasco or even Solaris come to mind – or Fred Hoyle’s The Black Cloud. Either way, we mustn’t forget the Fermi Paradox & Drake equaton. And we mustn’t forget that a story such as the one that we’re likely to be alone, coming from some scientific study, is a great treat for any sensationalist media.
It is, of course, summer which is when stories like these tend to, more than at any other time of the year, make the rounds. Talking of summer – we had the solstice this week. The longest day of the year, as people won’t get tired to point out. I remember, as a child, the custom to burn bonfires that night. Something I sometimes miss. Gathering round a blazing fire somewhere under the open sky has its own magic. There is something primal about these social gatherings – often with song (even badly) & stories, food and the experience of the elements – well, in the case of fire, rather a chemical reaction, but let’s keep it romantic & in the spirit of the classics… interestingly enough, some ancient cultures in Babylon, India, Tibet and Japan had a fifth element known as void! (Sorry Leeloo!)
Back in my full time music making days I would often stay up all night during solstice (summer or winter) and make music. An idea borrowed from/inspired by English post-industrial group Coil. One of the resulting pieces became an experimental electronica-dub tune called “Under Solstice Moon Menace” which I then released to celebrate the coinciding of solstice & super moon and which, ever since then, I spam across social media as my own solstice tradition. Maybe, sometimes, I’ll come up with something a bit more active again?! Either way, you are welcome to check out the tune here.
Unlike last week I didn’t get round to do much, musicwise. (I also didn’t get round to take many photos, so there won’t be a lot at the bottom of this post).
I did manage to meet an old friend who I’d never met were it not for music: Matt, aka Hardoff, graced London with his presence and so we – and a mutual friend, Derek aka Stormfield/Scald Process & mastermind behind Combat Recordings – met for curry, beer & a chat to reminisce about old times and joke about current events. Or so. The history, of course, leads us back to Bulgaria, Sofia, more specifically where Matt & I first met. Mutual friends had put on an event – the Djebel Basma festival at a club in a park in the middle of town. I think 2001 or 2002. And Matt & his wife had come over from Japan, where he was living at the time. After Sofia they came to Vienna with me and stayed there for a couple of days before moving on. One or two years later Matt stopped by Vienna again and we put on a gig there – a night where another performance also took place. That by The Eric Zann Ensemble – but more about this in a future post, because the recording from this one off is going to be, eventually, released. But back to the story. And forward to 2007 where Matt and I met again, this time in Dublin where, once again, mutual friends from the Digital Vomit collective organised a show at a pub called The Legal Eagle. At the time my younger sister and husband were living in Dublin, so this was a great opportunity to visit them & also play a gig in the home town of Guinness, Jameson, James Joyce and Oscar Wilde. Among others.
And then 11 (eleven!) years went by quickly… which takes us, by commodius vicus (well, not really) back to some ponderings from last week’s post. Time going fast and such. And we all haven’t aged a bit. (Not a bit!) 😉
The final highlight of the week was a new Billie Idle music video! “時の旅人” – which translates as “Time Traveller”, the first with new member Pour Loui. I think everybody was surprised when of a sudden, this found its way onto the web/screen on Friday! And it’s something you should check out, as it’s definitely gonna come up at final exam. As do the following – Melon Batake a go go, who I might have previously mentioned, released a song called Idol Cats on their soundcloud page. Release of their Debut album: sickXidolxsick is imminent (I’ve already pre-ordered it) and you ought to check them out. And while you do so, also check out the solo projects of two of their members: Sozelica Nakamura, who does a strange electronic thing, as can be seen in the video of this hilarious liveact… (including a model train!) and Garuda who does the intriguing combination of Idol & Industrial.
Maison Book Girl released Elude – another single I’ve pre-ordered and waiting for eagerly. The song “Raincoat and the Bird without Neck” has a great Music Video, further cementing the group’s status as style Icons.
Last but not least, one of my favourite new discoveries among Idol groups is an outfit going by the name of Dance for Philosophy (dont’ you already love them?) who have a very funky sound (reminding me of some Shibuya Kei acts in some parts, even) and a very amusing new video for their tune Dance Founder. The video ends with a quote by Bertrand Russel. Now, at least, you really love them, don’t you?! 😉 – Also this week JPop Rocks published an interview with them.
Talking of Idols. Today I finally managed to watch the movie BIS did: Idol is Dead. I can, off the top of my head, think of a few categories where it doesn’t deserve an Oscar. But it is a bloody great movie, very enjoyable and bizarre. You should find it and watch it! Here’s the trailer!
I haven’t found much time to read this week, mostly because of work & trying to intensify my studies of the Japanese language to “get going” and がんばれ! and such…, but I recently did a “10 Books” thing, similar to the recent 10 albums, on Facebook, and a text about this is in the works and will appear here at some future point. Make sure you don’t miss it – it’ll be at least 15% of your final grade! Oh yes, and the latest season of Arrested Development… I’ll probably comment on that next week! For now, have a good one!
As always, thanks for reading! Pictures are from Dublin… Me & Oscar Wilde and with the flyer for the gig there. And the flyer for the Gig with Hardoff in Vienna!