I moved from Seoul to Manila around '84 and found MTV waiting for me there. The Billie Jean video was fascinating in so many ways, a lot of it obviously alien to an ESL kid fresh off the plane: the incomprehensible yet phonetically catchy lyrics, the sleek look and feel that I understood as "American", the personally unfamiliar concept of a black celebrity.
I was/am more of a Thriller fan than a Michael Jackson fan, probably like many children of the eighties. Guilty secret: I preferred Beat It to Billie Jean for a long, long time, and now I can't quite understand why.
I highly recommend tracking down and listening to Gimix by the Avalanches. Towards the end of the mix, there's a lovely bit of Billie Jean where the Avs take the line "She says I am the one" and transform it from a seedy accusation into a joyous declaration. It's a glorious moment and one of my favorites in any work of music.
Rest in peace.
A seasonally inspired compilation of old and new favorite songs.
Lossless Sounds Spring 2009 (MediaFire)
01 Jamie Lidell - Another Day
02 Pet Shop Boys - Did You See Me Coming?
03 Röyksopp - Happy Up Here (Breakbot Remix)
04 Gruff Rhys - Candylion
05 M. Ward - Never Had Nobody Like You
06 Talking Heads - This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) (Live)
07 New Order - The Happy One
08 Gui Boratto - No Turning Back
09 Frida Hyvönen - London!
10 Wilco - You and I
11 Bibio - Weekend Wildfire
12 The Flaming Lips - Borderline
Jan, Roman, Elena, Josh, Paola, me, Simone, Laurent. (Missing: Manfred, Daniel, Darcy, Lisa.)
Last Tuesday, my Euroclub team won the MIT IM volleyball A-league for the sixth year in a row. This year we faced probably the toughest playoffs we've ever had, going up against two teams of club players and ex-coaches that had both beaten us soundly during the regular season.
The semi-final was against the MIT Club of Boston, featuring several former MIT varsity / current GVC (Graduate Volleyball Club) players, plus ex-coaches of the varsity team (read: older and wilier). We lost the first set but bounced back to win the next two.
The final was against Sea of Ivy, a thinly disguised version of the current IVC (Intercollegiate Volleyball Club) team. Again we did it the hard way - losing one set then winning two in a row. It was good fun to play hard and beat a club team. (What are they doing in an intramural league anyway?) Personally I played decently but I do wonder how long my knees will hold up.
By the way, many of my legion of followers seem to have the wrong idea, so just to be clear: I have nothing at all to do with SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
Over on Split Screen, I've started a list of YouTube-based tools for creating split-screen media. These are online tools that take as input 2 or more YouTube URLs and give you back a multi-channel mashup in some form. So far I've got YouTube Doubler, You3b, YouCube, and YooouuuTuuube. If you know of any others, leave a comment here or there.
Happy news: the Avs "...are clearing samples". Nothing would make my summer more than a new record, but it did take them a year or so for the last album to be cleared, so maybe it's too early to start holding my breath. Still, all ten fingers crossed, every which way.
You can find links to hi-res versions in this wongkarwai.net thread.
I haven't been posting this year's WKW calendars, but this was too good to pass up - my favorite calendar so far this year. I'll be making the July one.
Tonight, the elegiac new album by Circlesquare became my inaugural case of love-at-first-hearing in 2009, despite my knowing little about dancing and even less about drugs. Neon lights come to mind: depending on the scene, they can be bright or hazy, glittering or flickering, exuberant or ominous. If Cut Copy's In Ghost Colours embodied the former picture, this record paints the latter. Other namechecks might include Joy Division, Junior Boys, Matthew Dear. Oddly, some Red House Painters too, to my ear.
Congratulations to Edwin Mak whom I met on wongkarwai.net. He has been crowned the official poet of the filmlinc blog by none other than the sunglassed director himself. Follow the link to enjoy Edwin's verse summary of Ashes of Time.
Röyksopp reemerge with new single Happy Up Here. You can listen to a stream on their site; higher-quality versions are online at several places including Amazon UK. The song is unmistakably and unabashedly Röyksopp and it's all too short given its sweetness. Really good to have them back.
The new album, Junior, is out on March 23. See the album cover on Pitchfork.
Thanks to Susanne.
Looking back at the last few years when I lived and worked mostly in Javaland, I would state with some certainty that I did not miss memory management much.
Offworld reported on LittleBigMusic, a collection of music written for LittleBigPlanet. The name of the composer rang a distant bell: the last time I'd heard of Daniel Pemberton, it was 15 years ago and Bedroom by a 16-year-old Pemberton had been released on the highly reputable Fax label. I remember the IDM mailing list buzzing about Pemberton's prodigious talent. I never got into the record - too arctic for me at a time when I didn't have much patience for ambient. Still, it's fun to see an old name pop up and I'm glad that he's been active.
A few days ago, as Macworld began, Steve Jobs wrote a letter to the Apple community regarding his health:
As many of you know, I have been losing weight throughout 2008. The reason has been a mystery to me and my doctors. A few weeks ago, I decided that getting to the root cause of this and reversing it needed to become my #1 priority.
Fortunately, after further testing, my doctors think they have found the cause—a hormone imbalance that has been “robbing” me of the proteins my body needs to be healthy. Sophisticated blood tests have confirmed this diagnosis.
The remedy for this nutritional problem is relatively simple and straightforward, and I’ve already begun treatment.
A mysterious illness that required further testing and turned out to have a simple solution? That sounds like a job for a certain doctor on the telly. I can see the episode now: intense and arrogant computer mogul butts heads with the Holmesian genius - two obsessively driven individuals in search of an answer - until the root cause is revealed to be... accidental poisoning from a rare metallic element that Jonathan Ive was bugging Jobs to adopt for their next-gen laptops.
Seriously though, I'm relieved Steve is getting better.
This year, I'll no longer be organizing the WKW calendar project. Fellow wongkarwai.net mods and I are currently figuring out where to host the 2009 calendars plus the archive of past calendars. I'll post an update once the January calendar is online somewhere.
2008 wasn't the best of years for me in terms of content consumption. I watched a sadly low number of films this year and have a lot to catch up DVD-wise; I also didn't buy a single videogame even as my consoles gathered dust in plain sight. Lots of good music this year, though, especially from the all-conquering Cut Copy who will be making yet another visit to my neighborhood in March. I look forward to an exciting and engaging 2009.
Wall-E (Best of 2008)
Burn After Reading
Standard Operating Procedure
Music - Records
Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours (Best of 2008)
Autechre - Quaristice
B12 - B12 Records Archive Volume 1
B12 - Last Days of Silence
David Holmes - The Holy Pictures
Eine Kleine Nacht Musik - Eine Kleine Nacht Musik
Flying Lotus - Los Angeles
Koushik - Out My Window
Lindstrom - Where You Go I Go Too
M83 - Saturdays=Youth
Max Richter - 24 Postcards in Full Color
Morgan Geist - Double Night Time
Neon Neon - Stainless Style
Q-Tip - The Renaissance
Quiet Village - Silent Movie
School of Seven Bells - Alpinisms
Studio - Yearbook 2
Sun Kil Moon - April
Xavier Jamaux and Fred Avril - Sparrow soundtrack
Music - Songs
Alphabeat - Fascination
Cut Copy - Far Away
Cut Copy - Lights & Music
Cut Copy - So Haunted
Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal
M83 - Graveyard Girl
Michael Cera and Ellen Page - Anyone Else but You
Neon Neon - I Told Her on Alderaan
Quiet Village - Keep on Rolling
School of Seven Bells - Half Asleep
Music - Remixes
Cut Copy - Lights & Music (Boys Noize Happy Birthday Remix)
PNAU - Baby (Breakbot Remix)
Shout Out Louds - Impossible (Possible Version by Studio)
Music - Mixes
Cut Copy - So Cosmic
Music - Videos
Bjork - Wanderlust
Miami Horror - Don't Be On with Her
Radiohead - House of Cards
TV on the Radio - Golden Age
Reading - Books
Nights of Passed Over (USA Edition) - Mark Kozelek
Nixonland - Rick Perlstein
Reading - Comics
Y: The Last Man (Final volume) - Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra
Events and performances
Cut Copy, Paradise, 5.12
Cut Copy, Paradise, 9.23
Love, The Mirage, Las Vegas, 3.23
Mark Kozelek, MFA, 6.11
ReConstitution 2008, ICA, 9.26
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
The Dark Knight
TV on the Radio
Discoveries and rediscoveries
All the President’s Men - Carl Bernstein, Bob Woodward
American Creation - Joseph J. Ellis
Bleach - Tite Kubo
Founding Brothers - Joseph J. Ellis
Galaxy 2 Galaxy
Parasyte - Hitoshi Iwaaki
Raiders of the Lost Arp
Saint Etienne - Fanclub-only compilations
Shout Out Louds
The Taste of Tea
Touch - Mitsuru Adachi
Underworld - DAT Compilation 1993
Arthur C. Clarke
David Foster Wallace