Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Best of Beijing: Glasses City

Bo Yang wears black sport frames by Eunia

Meng wears black/clear sport frames by Eunia ("Panda" model)

4 floors. Millions of frames. Free eye tests. Glasses done in 20 minutes. 10 Euros (or maybe a bit more).

There's too much to choose from, and that's the only problem. You're likely to get exhausted and/or confused if you shop around the whole place. If you're a repeat customer, like me, you find a store or two that suit you and won't try to cheat you, and you stick with them. Most of the cheap frames aren't going to become family heirlooms, but at 10 Euros per pair (that includes your lenses) you won't be shedding tears if they fall apart two weeks later. That's pessimistic, of course, as I have cheap Chinese glasses that have lasted two years and continue on strong. The pairs that have been broken were dropped repeatedly and slept on; things that spell trouble for expensive frames as well. Don't worry about it! Just buy those neon purple "Ray Bans" you've been dreaming of and walk out with a fresh perspective.

*Located just south of Jinsong station, Line 10. Quiet during the week, packed on the weekends.

Monday, November 16, 2009

All about the zippers

Did I mention already that the latest Fuck Buttons album is totally brill? It totally is. A slightly milder tempered and more melodic album than their debut, Tarot Sport is your post-urban, sonic escape unit. I shouldn't mention this, but I will nonetheless. Since the first time I heard it, I have fantasized about having the best sex of my life to "Olympians". [No middle-school whispers about the length of the song and the proposed sex. It's just a conceptual fantasy.]

Fuck Buttons - The Lisbon Maru
Fuck Buttons - Olympians
Fuck Buttons - Phantom Limb
Fuck Buttons - Space Mountain

And, it's your lucky always. Some bonus tracks are waiting just around the bend...

-It's fan death!
>Ahhh, fuck! Run away!
-What! No, silly! Oh, you thought I was talking about the Korean superstition. Haha.
>What do you mean then?
-Fan Death. They're this great new "string driven disco pop band".
>Oh really. That's great. Let's listen to them.

Fan Death - Reunited
Fan Death - Veronica's Veil

Push it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Come on, ride the train!

If you've never been to China and happen to be wondering about the state of rail transport in this land of tea and Llouis Vnittou, well, let me tell you now: It's totally deck! As an American-born-wannabe-European traveler, I have seen my share of train systems. And while my true homeland's rail layout is something akin to an elementary school short-bus, my homeland of the spirit sports some pretty fine and extensive tracks and trains. Nonetheless, I have to say that I'm advantaging China in this category, mainly because of affordability. For something like the equivalent of a European Benjamin, you could get a bed on your journey crossing the entire middle kingdom. Sweet! Try training across the pint-sized European Union with a hundred bucks! Have a nice Ryan Air flight, you umweltunfreundlich sucker. I guess it's time to stop humming Trans Europe Express and time to get with the Chinese new wave.

"Zhan tai" (comes to be "platform" or "depot" depending on the state of your dictionary) was a huge hit in the 80's. It remains a crowd pleaser today, at least among those who are not sooooo "contemporary" as to be scared of a little nostalgia. Moreover, Jia Zhang Ke took the song as the title for his 2002 film about China's crazy 80's, and Beijing's own electro bandits (or sexbots, if you prefer), Pet Conspiracy, have released a cover. So, what are you waiting for...get on it!

Pet Conspiracy - Depot

Liu Hong - Zhan Tai (Original)

Choo choo!

Monday, November 2, 2009

H.M.S. Halloween

Was your Halloween party as wild as mine? I hope so. Tell me all about it. Please. Saturday, here in snowy Beijing, there was a much hyped (by me, in my own head) party at 2 Kolegas. Helen, lead singstress from Beijing's electro-sexbotic Pet Conspiracy, showcased her side-project group while opening the way for international superheroes Y.A.C.H.T. to make my day. It went way beyond the hype, if I may say so myself. I mean, if you were here in Beijing and you missed, you missed it!

These last couple of weeks I've been filling my playlists with so many remixes of songs by Phoenix, and I've never even listened to an original track by them. I'm going to keep it that way for now. Here, I'll give you two, one from the aforementioned duo called Y.A.C.H.T. and another by the über-famous collective of animals. And since I do love to push repetition to the edges of absurdity, I'll give you a Y.A.C.H.T track remixed by Crazylamps' resident DJs, Classixx.

Phoenix - Armistice (Y.A.C.H.T. Remix)
Phoenix - Love Like a Sunset (Animal Collective Remix)
Y.A.C.H.T. - Psychic City (Classixx Remix)

And two wildcards: First, Feist's producer Mocky teams up with GZA the Genius of the Wu-Tang Clan for something short and sweet. Second, Björk remixed by Ratatat...enough said.

Mocky - Birds of a Feather feat. GZA
Björk - Wanderlust (Ratatat Remix)


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wrap Your Arms Around Me

The latest installment in Ryan McGinley's get naked and hit the road summer serial, Moonmilk, is mind-shakingly gorgeous and surreal. Go spelunking with a handful of beautiful, lanky friends whom you picked up at a Whole Foods Market, have them get naked and blanket the cavern with colored lamps. It's so painfully simple, right?. The above photo comes from last year's vernal celebration of youth, beauty and landscapes, which is more speedy and sexually charged than Moonmilk. Do yourself a favor and check out his entire body of work (minus some of the advert stuff, which is less weary of visual cliches).

This week in music starts with a sweet, disco of rapturous love, but all good things end, and your trajectory turns downward, touching on pessimistic realism, before reaching an open-eyed nadir. After lingering in the depths of loneliness for the better part of an unhealthy year, a twinkle in the eyes of a passing stranger awakens your primal spirit once again. Spring has arrived with a cleansing violence to take you to the other side, where you can start again, a little older and a little wiser.

Villa - Agneta (Villa Edit)
Ali Love - Diminishing Returns (Extended)
Girls - Lauren Marie
Fuck Buttons - Surf Solar

A few bonus tracks for you. Crazylamps favorites, Classixx, with a spaced-out take on Ladyhawke's "Magic", and yet another Lemonade remix. More citrusy goodness to ward off the scurvy. And last, but certainly not least, "Deadbeat Summer" by Neon Indian, the soundtrack for that moment in your drunken weekend of Super Mario Bros. 3 when you're waiting for your runaway girlfriend to return with a dime bag.

Ladyhawke - Magic (Classixx Version)
Lemonade - Blissout (Espimas Remix)
Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ein Fest für das Wasser

Based on the evidence, as of my last post I was so gung-ho about my return to blogging that I decided to take another month off. As lazy as I may seem to be, I must thank the Great Fire Wall for this hiatus, since it grew a few feet taller shortly after my previous post. No facebook, no youtube, limited blogspot, and it goes on and on. So, here I am, using more primitive means, hacking away at html code like it's 2001, just to bring you a few bitchin' jams.

I won't spoil the music with so many clumsy words, but I will note that I'll be at the Zoo Electronic Music Festival this weekend, where Classixx (listen below), among others, will be laying down. Let's pray to the gargoyles of Tiananmen for blue skies and minimal PSB meddling.

Holger Hiller - Das Feuer (Pilooski Edit)
Lemonade - Big Weekend (Delorean Remix)
Lemonade - Sunchips (Ghosts on Tape Remix)
IV - Doppelganger
Holy Ghost! - I Will Come Back (Classixx Acapulco Nights Version)
Vitalic - Poison Lips


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Naughty Pre-Schoolers Fueled by Liquor Cordials?

Beijing -- A Changping District pre-school has reportedly seen an outbreak of students getting intoxicated from liquor cordials. The cordials, small chocolates filled with high-proof alcohol, were reportedly acquired on a summer vacation and have since made their way into the desks and mouths of a number of young students.

A foreign teacher embedded at the pre-school, fearing reprisals from higher authorities, spoke on conditions of anonymity. "I was just in the classroom, hanging out while the kids were eating their breakfast. Then, one kid, [name removed], came up to me with a bag full of little wrapped candies. First, he yelled, 'I'm a Transformer!' Then he extended the bag to me and said, 'Take one.' I told him, 'Just give me the best one you have.' He handed me a piece in a silver wrapper and I set it aside for later."

The foreign teacher decided to have his snack right before morning exercises, when all of the children and teachers go outside to perform choreographed routines to saccharine pop music. "I was unwrapping it, and while I was doing so [name removed] ran up to me and screamed, 'There's jiǔ (alcohol) inside!' and then spun around repeatedly in a circle while cackling. It was sort of creepy. I didn't really think about what he said at the time, as the kids say anything and everything for attention, but after I bit into it, sure enough, it was filled with some rank, Chinese liquor."

"I can normally hold my drink better than most, but I'd been dead sober for several weeks, so it hit me kind of hard," the foreign teacher divulged. "I'd say it was the equivalent of half a shot. So, when we went outside to do our little dances, I was slightly buzzing. It was definitely the funniest morning exercises I've experienced yet."

A Chinese teacher at the school was later confronted with questions about the incident. With a big smile, she asserted, "We think the candies make you very happy, and they are very lucky, too." When pressed further about the propriety of a 4-year-old potentially getting drunk off of the alcohol in the chocolates, she just smiled and nodded, apparently misunderstanding the inquiry.

An informal survey of behavior in the school showed an abnormally high amount of "naughtiness" and "moody crying." As to what role, if any, the candies played in this behavioral spike has yet to be conclusively determined, although anecdotal evidence strongly suggests a correlation.

[Fake reporting, but really happened]

Monday, September 7, 2009

After these messages...

In recent news, a dork off the coast of continental Europe has spotted the Loch Ness Monster with the help of Google Earth. See the convincing image above. In other news, I've returned to the net after a month of traveling and bureaucratic headaches. It feels good to be back, and I'd like to first set the mood with a bumpin' soundtrack. If you've had your nose anywhere near the musico-blogosphere recently, you're probably already well acquainted with the first two sets.

Health, an LA based electro-noise band, has certainly been soaking up the limelight this last month. How many times have I now read, "Best album of the year," referring to, Get Color, their latest release? Perhaps enough times that I've started to believe it. "Severin" reminds me of certain Animal Collective tracks off of Feels combined with some sick drumming and heavy axe work, whereas another track, "Die Slow," makes me think of something I heard, and disliked, during my 90's adolescence. Is it the best album of the year? Hmmm, what's an album? I'll give you one song that I like and you can dig for the others elsewhere, if you so please.

Health - "Severin"

Memory Tapes is Weird Tapes is Memory Cassette. Follow me? In the latter half of last year, the last two of these three names dropped some quality tracks onto the web, each with their own distinct sound. Then, this year, Memory Tapes was born, with another distinct sound, which may or may not be described as a merging of Weird Tapes and Memory Cassette. Still there? My understanding is that there is one guy, somewhere in the UK, who is behind these three monikers, and as of this month, he (or Memory Tapes, rather) has a new album out on Rough Trade. Here are tracks from each of the incarnations. They're all very poppy and infectious.

Weird Tapes - "The Heavens"
Memory Cassette - "Listen to the Vacuum"
Memory Tapes - "Bicycle"

And, I know a guy from school who is part of a new electronic duo called Blondes. I'm no fan of nepotism, so don't think that this addition comes unscrutinized. It's a svelt, ambient build-up that evaporates before you even realize you just taken a 5 minutes and 4 seconds journey through the Creator's sub-conscious.

Blondes - "Spanish Fly"

Finally, we have Mirrors, a Brighton band espousing David Byrne-ish vocals and Kraftwerkian electronics. I'd be happy to hear a full album following this vein.

Mirrors - "Fear of Drowning"

Coming soon, hopefully, a dive or two into the music of mainland China. Turn up the reverb and get ready to sing along. You speak Mandarin, right?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Shoe Update

I did a shoe post not so long ago, but I am feeling the need for an update. Since then, I have managed to procure a pair of Feiyues in my size, as well as another brand, Hui Li (aka Warrior).

Last year, a China-born design student in Helsinki, Shumeng Ye, took time from her studies to pursue a project documenting the present day popularity of Warrior sneakers in her homeland. The result was a book, which, when purchased, came with a pair of the classic kicks. Here is more info.

While their simplicity and Chinese characters may appeal to the Western minded, for most Chinese they embody a bygone era which doesn't fit with their contemporary selves. Fair enough. From their box to their insole, I think their perfect, but apart from the photos taken by Ms. Shumeng, I have yet to see a Chinese person wearing them.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Move Your Feet to the Summer Song

The summer is sweltering. The old men are up to their usual tricks: swimming in the murky waters of lake Houhai and rocking bare midriffs, and the ladies are hiding under fluorescent parasols while licking down icy popsicles.

I prefer to ratchet up the heat with some smoking trax and keep the fire at bay with a frosty Yanjing. Music and beer make the summer go round.

Holy Ghost!'s recent summer jam, I Will Come Back, is on the playlist. And I like to wash it down with the retro-tastic video.

After the romp, it's nice to rinse off the perspiration with some Walkabout from Atlas Sound and Panda Bear.

And as the sun's going under, I reach for Lindstrøm's Breakfast in Heaven, which always puts a glowing smile on my face.

After night-fall, I have no recollection.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Raze the Red Lanterns

A large hutong neighborhood near to my home has been demolished. I was not so shocked that it happened, but was shocked at how quickly it all transpired. The neighborhood is between my home and the Caochangdi gallery district, which I travel to regularly. It couldn't have been more than two or three weeks since I had last passed by.

And, Poof. It's gone.

The red area in the first picture is the now-demolished neighborhood, and the yellow arrow shows the spot from which I took the picture. The third picture shows a part of the empty plot. You can see quite easily in the second picture that the area was dense with housing.

Since this area is on the edge of Beijing's urbanity, I was sort of surprised that it went down with such haste. There are many hutongs in the center of the city, some of them being preserved as cultural heritage, but some are still marked for demolition. The infamous character chāi (拆) is painted on structures that have been been given a death sentence. It's a fairly common site around Beijing, and it's also a recurrent motif in films and other visual works surrounding the Three Gorges Dam project, such as Jia Zhang Ke's "Still Life". Here's one example from a neighborhood south of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Most likely, some cookie-cutter, luxury apartments will drop down on this plot, giving shelter to the growing middle-class. The former inhabitants were probably dealt the fate of so many before them: a minimal compensation package and a lack-luster apartment even further away from the center.

As an end note, I was with a young Chinese couple last weekend, and while walking to a restaurant we started talking about housing in Beijing. The district we were in had a mixed-bag of quite new apartments and buildings dating back to the 60's (that's ancient by Chinese standards). In turn, we each pointed out the buildings we liked as we progressed down the streets. Invariably, all of my choices were at least ten years old and all of their choices were less than ten years old. This did not come as a surprise. However, when the conversations turned to "sìhéyuàn", the courtyard houses that are the building blocks of old hutong neighborhoods, we all agreed that it would be pretty awesome to live in one. Indeed, it would.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Radsport in Peking? Wirklich?

Natooke is a fixed gear/juggling supplies shop in a burgeoning hutong street near Beijing's Lama Temple. It's certainly the only shop of it's kind in Beijing, and perhaps the world. While I can juggle, and sometimes do it as a crowd-pleaser in my kindergarten, I wouldn't call myself an enthusiast of the art. I do, however, consider fixed-gear bikes as a passion. On a recent visit to the shop, I talked with Ines, who, along with a friend, runs this kooky, little place.

Ines is German and is the bike side of the shop. She is a kunstradfahrerin (I use the German, not out of pretension, but because I'm not sure if there is a proper word for it in the English speaking world. Check this link). It's like bike dancing, I guess. It seems to exist mainly in Europe and, as far as I can tell, predominately in the German speaking parts. Kunstrad bikes are essentially like fixed gears, but have many crucial differences, namely a 1-to-1 gear ratio. They also have strange handle-bars and a very steep head-tube angle, but I don't want to get too technical. I first encountered kunstrad on the internet, while living in Germany, but it has taken coming to China to get a closer, hands-on look. Hopefully, I can check out on of Ines' shows sometime soon.

Going back to fixed gears, I've learned from Ines that there is a community of riders in Beijing. They are relatively small (about 30 in a city of around 17 million), but they are growing. Perhaps I'll be the next member of the club. My eyes are peeled for an appropriate frame.

Kickin' It

Feiyue shoes are classic, and I love them. They are simply beautiful. My friend Doug broke his leg in the Czech Republic while wearing a pair (he might blame it on the shoes, but the Chinese would say, "Shoes are good. Eat more meat. It makes you strong."), which added a memorable ending to an already memorable road trip. They are all over Europe, but only occasionally do you see a Chinese person wearing them, and usually they are old enough to have seen the founding of the PRC. Furthermore, if you go out looking for some in China, you inevitably have to sort through endless pairs of knock-off Nikes, Vans, Adidas, etc., before you'll find a pair. It might be a sign of their inevitable death, so let's enjoy them while we can.

They're so great, someone has even made a blog about them.

Today, after playing basketball in a pair of borrowed, two-sizes-too-small shoes, I set off in search of some aesthetically pleasing and somewhat sporty shoes. Unfortunately, Feiyues are difficult to find in my size, so I had to settle for some "Double Stars." Timeless design with some nice Chinese touches.

Beyond the Numbers

The arts scene that Beijing presents to the world, and to itself, is that which you'll encounter in the streets of 798, an old munitions factory complex turned gallery quarter in the northeast corner of the city. Beginning in the late 90's, 798 attracted the artistically minded with its expansive east-German designed factory halls and cheap rents. Over a relatively brief span of time, various high-profile artists and galleries endorsed the area with their names and effectively turned it into the headquarters of Chinese contemporary art. And it grew. And it grew.

At present, 798 remains the most frequented art district in Beijing, although it is often denigrated as little more than a fashion strip with some pictures hanging on the walls. To be sure, it has, over the last several years, become more of a see-and-be-seen locale, and a striking number of galleries are bush league, at best. However, with galleries like the Ullens Contemporary, Paris-Beijing Photography, Continua and a few others, 798 maintains at least a base level of art scene integrity.

Just down the road from 798, about 1km, is Caochangdi. Formerly a village community outside of the Beijing urbanity, Caochangdi is, today, effectively within the city's sprawling arms (here is a good NY Times article on the district). The venerable and very visible Ai Wei Wei, one of China's most vocal contemporary artists, made a flagrant move to this area in the early-2000's. His move, at first deemed crazy, gradually precipitated into a small collection of galleries and working artists, and soon enough, a broader community developed. At present, Caochangdi hosts more than 20 galleries and numerous artists' studios. Pekin Fine Arts, Three Shadows Photography, Urs-Meile, and Platform China are a few of the better spaces. Undoubtedly, the area is starting to fill with imitators, however, at present, Caochangdi maintains a very local, quiet atmosphere that its older sibling, 798, will never re-gain.

But really, this post is not about 798 or Caochangdi. If you want more, there is plenty of info to be found, in English, in a simple search.

One of my broader aspirations, during my time in China, is to gain an understanding of Chinese contemporary artists and environment in which they operate. And while 798 and Caochangdi house the exhibition spaces for many contemporary artists, they don't serve as working spaces for the majority. As with other art spaces around the world, economics is a driving force. Artists tend to infest areas, bring attention to them, start a process of gentrification, then move out when prices start to rise and the area loses its "authenticity.". In Beijing, this pattern has given rise to a number of periphery art communities, mainly in the northeast of the city, which are able to provide working spaces to both domestic and international artists at reasonable prices. These areas are, for lack of better terminology, "artist ghettos." The communities are gated and each studio is distinctly segregated from the next. The first thoughts that popped into my head when thinking about these communities centered on isolation, control and censorship. I think that these are logical ideas to entertain in a country like China, however, upon further consideration, I have discarded my Big Brother conspiracy theories.

While China, as well as the Western world, has a long tradition of artists seeking refuge outside of urbanity and living reclusively in nature, this doesn't seem to fit as the impetus for the contemporary situation in Beijing. Certainly, many artists do consider the quieter atmosphere a significant perk, but, in the end, it boils down to economics. Beijing's East Village of the early 90's (this article contains some info), a home to a number of artists who are now in China's contemporary canon, was, in-part, a product of the high rents in the more central areas. Beijing is laid out in a system of rings, with the old imperial palace, the Forbidden City, standing as the center of the city. With this concentric system, the heart has always held a special value, and value has been, and still is, given in accordance with proximity to this heart. It is not an infallible indicator of wealth, and there are many exceptions, but it does provide a rule of thumb.

Studios existing on the fringes of the city offer not only lower prices, but also, since they aren't elements of a multi-story building, they allow for a greater amount of natural light through larger windows and translucent ceilings. The studios vary in size and price, but a ballpark figure would put a 100 square meter space at 1800 CNY per month (180 Euros). However, most, if not all, spaces are unfinished and require renovation. Putting in walls and fitting the space with the necessities would cost an estimated 40,000 CNY (4,000 Euros). That's a formidable cost for even the wealthier of aspiring artists. It makes me wonder about the economics of being an artist in present-day China. It is common to see expensive cars and SUVs in these artist communites, so perhaps they are mainly used as work-spaces for the wealthy. If so, my economic theory needs a little re-thinking.

In any case, one recent voyage into the outskirts brought me to the Beijing International Art Camp. It seems to be fairly representative of the qualities I've seen in other arts communities, so I will post some pictures here as an example.

Questions to be answered:

Are there artists working, in communities or alone, outside of these "ghetto" areas?

How many of the artists living/working in these areas are commercially successful?

Is wealth a pre-requisite for becoming an artist in China?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

That's Sick, Brah!

Swine flu. It's in me. I can feel it in my head, I can feel it in my toes. This weeks playlist goes out to you, you viral superstar.


For a couple of years during college, I had an avid fixation with little, girls' bikes with banana seats. The picture above says it all. It was a phase, yes, but I don't look back and feel embarrassed. Those were good times. Carefree, happy times. One day, my brother threw this song in my face; a catchy and light, post-rock jam that could have served as my theme song. I haven't listened to this song in years, but since I currently ride a girl's bike, well, a lady's bike actually, it still fits just fine. This one goes out to all you boys who, if you so chose, could comfortably ride with a skirt on.

The Aluminum Group - "Girl's Bike".


Moving on, here are a few hits from The Box, a TV show theme song covers compilation put out by Peppermill Records at the end of last year. The whole album is great and can be downloaded from many not-so-secret locations. Note: The song names are cryptic, so you'll have to figure out the original on your own.

The Chap - "Come Off It Sharon"

Volumina - "Abuelito"

Cocoawildboars - "CWB Team"


Continuing with covers, Spin Magazine recently released Purplish Rain, bringing a disparate crowd together in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Chairlift doing "Darling Nikki" is good, but it's Of Montreal who rain the hardest, bringing to the table a well-digested version of "Computer Blue".


Please, mothers, don't let your children out after dark. They're back.

Heartbreak - "We're Back"


And, last but not least, !!! à la DJ Kaos.

Heart of Hearts (DJ Kaos HoH Extend)


Thursday, July 9, 2009

There's Something in the Air

I mean that literally, as well. With sliceable humidity levels and air quality on par with a fumigated apartment, there really has been something in the air. You can feel it on your skin and, after a bike ride, at the bottom of your lungs, too.

Speaking of Beijing respiratory health, it's been brought to my attention that the US embassy has started a twitter feed from their personal monitoring apparatus. If you're curious, take a gander here. And if you want to correlate the numbers with some fun guidelines, click here. Paint yourself a pretty picture.

On the metaphorical side, there's been a tangible aggression sweeping across the busy boulevards and dusty streets. The picture below, taken on Wednesday, is a microcosm of the ill mood taking over the city. There's something in the air.

And, given the unrest in Urumqi, it's just a small stretch to see this momentary irritability as a pan-Chinese phenomenon. A fire has been started and there just happens to be a lot of loose tinder in the heart of Xinjiang province. And while the official story is soap-operatic, with rumors and rape and revenge leading up to an ethnic clash in the streets, let's not discount the forces we don't fully understand, e.g. an imminent solar eclipse of massive proportions. And some people are informing me that "China's going to hell in a handbasket," but I must say I think that these rumors are exaggerated. Moreover, the Happy Sheep Fun Time News Channel tells me that everything is fine. And I feel fine. Alles ist in Ordnung. Gong bao ji ding, please.

But finally, we must consider this. Adding to the system of signs, yet another remarkable crazy lamp has reared its head in a nearby park. Let's hope it's a harbinger of softer days to come. I'm escaping from the city over the weekend, but before I leave I'll be sure to deposit an offering of baijiu and sunflower seeds at the foot of the multi-colored beast. And I'm off.


Friday, July 3, 2009

Eventual Signage

Due to the imperious nature of the great firewall of China, I've been forced to delve into the world of html to breathe some life into this blog. Once my html skills improve, or I find a better circumvention, this will be the header. Until then, harness your imagination.

5 Tracks b4 the 4th

Girls' wistful summer-song, Lust for Life, is all last year and everything, but with their first EP on the horizon and the July heat bearing down on us northern hemisphereans, it's worth reiterating this little gem. Additionally, I must give a big-up to my collegiate contemporaries at True Panther Records. Have a listen here.


This week's morning bike rides to the metro station have consistently seen an iPod shuffle dance til I get to this Phaseone remix of Animal Collective's Daily Routine. Guten appetit.


And this spirited B-52s edit by Mike Simionetti. Mess-of-a-tanian.


And an even shorter, emptier introduction. Norse Horse - Swamp Trotter.


This epic track has carried me through many long-winded journeys around Beijing. Gargling ghosts peering down from ancient, stone architraves replace gawking migrant workers in front of concrete high-rises. IV - Alaska (The Place Where We Were Hidden).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

cRaZy Lamps

And they arose like agarics on a well-fertilized lawn, full of unpredictability and ostentation, across a barren, martian landscape. We applauded them for their courageous victory against gravity, and as they sprouted wings, we dove into questions of beauty. Over time they multiplied and intermingled and evolved, reaching ever greater heights and pushing the boundaries of formal possibility. Crazy Lamps.