Saturday, May 12, 2007

don't know whether to laugh or cry / the long hot summer just passed me by

Perhaps I’ve been here too long. Gone troppo seems to be a not uncommon affliction for we expats, if visual evidence is anything to go by…you do see some truly odd sorts wandering the back streets of Legian or Denpasar…too much sun, too many Bintangs, too many days sitting wondering. I may be, or I may well end up, one of them. I sit and wonder about that.

Because it concerns me that I was able to follow two guys on a motorbike the night before last for some ten minutes before it occurred to me that the guy on the back was carrying a kerosene lamp. It seemed not unusual to see anything on a bike. Then it also occurred to me that not only was this pillion passenger carrying a kerosene lamp but the damned thing was lit. So, on a bike, with a tank, I assume, at least partially full of gas, on the by-pass, which is as close to a motorway as we have in Bali, travelling at least 50 kph, was some guy carrying a container full of a very combustible liquid with an almost naked flame burning above. Then I noted he had no working headlight on the bike. This was his headlight substitute. Tidak apa apa…..

That made the motorcycle helmet, in the shape of the old German coal scuttle military one….its not an unusual shape on the roads here, but unlike many visitors, I’ve stopped noticing…on sale in a shop yesterday, albeit painted in a lurid bright pink…seem unworthy of comment, so I won’t bother.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

the sun can't compare / to your light

After a week or three wallowing around in musical nostalgia, some of it albeit fresh, but nostalgia nevertheless, its time to move on…..2007 calls…

One of the disadvantages of living on the far side of the world, in a third world nation is the endless waiting for mail to arrive….and wait I did for the Dixon Body Language mix I’d been promised…waiting, whilst I read others getting all hot and bothered about this…the track listing was enough to make me go a little weak…..I love the drift towards a folkier, deeper sound in techno-ish house in the past year or two. The boundaries between deep house and techno are blurring quite nicely again. I have to be honest though…after all these years I still don’t understand what a techno record is and what a house record is, and, more to the point, where the line lies, not that it matters. It's all jazz, it's all soul, it's all disco....

But three days ago Ketut from the Denpasar post office rang to say a parcel had arrived. It’s a nice touch…when did the Wellesley Street PO ever ring me to say a parcel had arrived. Then again he often asks, in a strictly non-official way, what is in the parcel. I smile and show him the CD or book and he looks puzzled and we go our ways until the next parcel arrives.

And I’ve played it over and over again since then, in a way I haven’t done with a mix since last year’s Henrick’s DJ Kicks set. I can live without the last track, a remix of Matthew Herbert’s Moving Like a Train, which is far too sub Derrick Carter bad flapper jazz bompity for my liking, but that aside, this is nearly perfect. Stefan Goldman’s mix of the unfortunately named Women in Toilet by It is minimal and pluckingly lovely and the mix from it into one of the best singles of the last year, Larry Heard’s sublime The Sun Can’t Compare, and then into the still-works-for me Where We At (the more subtle, pianoy Pt. 2 mix which I’ve not heard before) is quite something.

I never get sick of this stuff…

A few tracks I’ve also been playing a lot include (for a change) Carl Craig’s mid paced dubby remix of the Brazilian Girl’s no-wave-ish Last Call; Andres Trentemoller’s very bluesy, noodley, almost early Doors-ish (think Break On Through) An Evening With Bobi Bros; Stardivers’ Moroder-ish techno-by-numbers-but-it-works-especially-when-it-gets-all-rocky Another Moment of Silence; & Trusme’s Nard’s, a throwaway few minutes of inspired disco re-editing, all swirling and all, which I love to bits right now but have no doubt I’ll hate in a few weeks, that being the nature of these things. Kathy Diamond’s Over has just come my way too…almost (and I meant almost) Dusty-esque in it’s feel with a wonderful Hammond (?) solo that dominates the soft centre, quite incredible organic electro pop from the unerring hand of Maurice Fulton. Oh, and I’ve been going through another Mint Chicks phase, as you do….

Just thought I’d mention it….

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

now you feel like the whole world is picking on you / but deep down inside you know its true

Oh dear, Homeland Security has slipped from the paradoxically stupid to the paranoidly absurd in the US of A…

An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a U.S. Defense Department false espionage warning earlier this year about mysterious coin-like objects with radio frequency transmitters.

The harmless "poppy coin" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them.

The worried contractors described the coins as "anomalous" and "filled with something man-made that looked like nanotechnology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.

The silver-colored 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy -- Canada's flower of remembrance -- inlaid over a maple leaf. The unorthodox quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.

The supposed nanotechnology actually was a conventional protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy's red color from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million such quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada's 117,000 war dead.

"It did not appear to be electronic [analog] in nature or have a power source," wrote one U.S. contractor, who discovered the coin in the cup holder of a rental car. "Under high power microscope, it appeared to be complex consisting of several layers of clear, but different material, with a wire-like mesh suspended on top."

The confidential accounts led to a sensational warning from the Defense Security Service, an agency of the Defense Department, that mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors travelled through Canada…..

I’m speechless. Once again.....these people are allowed guns...