(the prick of the printer)
during lunch at my parents-in-law's house last saturday, i recommended walter benjamin's the task of the translator to my mother-in-law, who had just finished doing her own translation of a baudelaire poem from les fleurs du mal. when i recommended the essay, it was simply because i remembered that it considered and expounded on the challenges and philosophical implications of translation in a profound way. we were then all rather surprised when, upon googling it, we discovered that benjamin's piece was written as a preface to a collection of baudelaire translations. (i swear i had no such recollection.) uncanny.
what was even more uncanny, however, was that when the mail arrived, it included a small package addressed to fern and sent by the mix unit which, when opened, revealed big boi's hot new mixtape, got that purp. that's right: my mother-in-law ordered got that purp straight from the mix unit and beat me to the punch by a long-shot. (it's all thanks to mr.f/j's piece in the new yorker, of course. thanks for bringing royal crunk to lunch with the in-laws, sasha.) i've been listening to it and, aside from the incessant crack slanging and casual misogyny, it's definitely got a vibe. almost sounds purple--something about those southern synth tones (even and especially the drums), the parliamentary voice processing, and that luscious bounce. there's even a little kanyefied bobby "blue" bland to pull those nostalgia-strings. [k-punk really kicks ass sometimes.] wonder what cam'ron thinks about big boi getting in on the purple scene, though? madder than queen elizabeth getting usurped by some sizzurp?
speaking of mixtapes, jess harvell has a new piece in pitchfork on the wonderful world of online mixes. the medium seems to be exploding of late, and jess points to a whole lotta downloads for people with big hard-drives.
the first mix the article points to is kid kameleon's excellent 2 part shockout mix. and the attention comes just in time for listeners to catch his new mashit mix. while you're over at kid k's spot, don't miss his take on drum'n'bass'n'race. this issue--the whitening of d'n'b--remains an uncomfortable and unexplored one, but it's a story that needs to be told.
in terms of other mixes to check, i definitely recommend anything at mashit and hyperdub.
elsewhere on the web, check out the new issue of earplug, the online mag for the "international electronic music community." in addition to news and reviews and such, there's a feature on that ubercoolische site wherein richie hawtin, ricardo villalobos, and magda shack up in berlin. lots of navel-gazing, postmodernist drivel, and !minimal! hijinks. quite a funny parody. and it's nice that meister plastik seems to appreciate the joke. in related news, minimal-techno-label of minimal-techno-labels, kompakt, has just opened an mp3 store for all us digital DJs and all you ipod-ers.
an odd item of news: apparently, there's been a computer virus circulating in romania that seeks to wipe-out all digital gypsy music. can we chill on the techno-racism and instead target, say, MOR ballads?
in local affairs: checked out some great works this past weekend during the annual somerville open studios walking tour. once again, i was entranced by the metalwork of sculptor gideon weisz. gideon does amazing things with science and sculpture. he's the guy who made our mobius strip wedding rings. (we were pronounced, rather than man and wife, "untwistably twisted.") one day i hope to have a big one of his things for my yard. (need a yard first, though.) loved his new linkubes, which are as fun to play with as to marvel at.
i was also amazed again this year by the paintings of jason chase, where photorealism meets surrealism, making you realize how surreal, say, strip-malls and gummi-bears really are. of course, i love the hyperreal, explicitly political stuff. but i also love the "simple" depiction of life caught in freeze frame.
also, caught a great set by gloobic the other night at beat research. jeff and eric improvised an entire set of laptop music--fringe-style--from scratch, using nothing but live and reason, a couple ozones, and some microphones. truly organic stuff, and not without plenty of bump. looking forward to hearing this act refine, er, its act. plenty of practice sessions, plus the enormous gig, available for listening at their site.
sometimes cambridge can be a pretty hot spot for good music, especially along mass ave in central square. dizzee's show last week was a blast, especially when he spit over some hip-hop beats. the soundsystem at the middle east was pretty spot-on, and it was great to hear diz's voice cut through the heavy squelches loud and clear. no one stateside can quite rap like that, don't? this friday makes for quite the crowded field: you can catch none other than mr.catchdubs at the enormous room; dj c with dj bc over at mash ave; or the 2nd annual "anniversary dance" being thrown by bostonreggae.com over at the western front.
tonight brynmore and burning babylon are bringing some heavyweight dub heat to central square's premier hipster-meets-b-school lounge. while they spin dub side of the moon and various dubby tangents, the gloobic guys, in their sosolimited guise, will cut'n'paste dorothy'n'co. in realtime, looking to milk those serendipitous moments of synchronicity.