The Blog

Once FILTHY LUCRE, now the WHITE NEXUS

I started a blog in 2009 when I was in grad school called FILTHY LUCRE. It was amazing, and a great learning experience.

 

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow. Crunchy numbers The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 5 fully loaded ships.   In 2010, there were 51 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 137 posts. There were 150 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 59mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week. The busiest day of the year was November 24th with 636 views. The most popular post that day was DJ Heroes vs. Stephen Harper. Where did they come from? The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, twitter.com, google.com, en.wordpress.com, and search.aol.com. Some visitors came searching, mostly for turducken, arctic monkeys, marla singer, aphex twin, and new ninja video. Attractions in 2010 These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010. 1 DJ Heroes vs. Stephen Harper December 2009 2 The new Ninja Video… Re1ease July 2010 7 comments 3 five favourite femme fatales in film January 2009 4 Lucie Idlout’s ‘Swagger’ sounds like trailer park music January 2009 5 2009 Hell’s Kitchen!!!! October 2009 1...

Sonic unions and personal soundtracks: An analysis of popular music in Skins

A paper I’ve submitted for publication in The Soundtrack To delineate the functions of music as a cinematic-acoustic tool is clearly a complex task. In this particular investigation, we must examine how the states of consciousness of teenagers unfold in accordance to personal and individual soundtracks, enveloping a critical area as wide in scope as human emotion itself. Rather than viewing the use of the popular soundtrack as either a way to sell singles or a certain “MTV aesthetic,” the British drama television series Skins pulls together various kinds of popular music to create very significant points of personal and social revelation in several different ways. Through the use of punk, trip hop and lo-fi montages, the pop soundscape functions to illustrate moments of confidence, sexual promiscuity and social nihilism, in accordance to several characters’ mental states and social circumstances during critical times. As this paper explores, the popular soundtrack evolves alongside the characters’ points of view, through dismebodiment, mental disturbance and a David Lynch-inspired diegetic strangeness. Skins is a popular television series that explores the lives of college students in Bristol. The central characters range from various socio-economic backgrounds, but the series delves into topics such as drug use, sexual relationships, family hardships, infidelity, mental illness and even death. Narratively, each episode is based around the life situation of an individual character, or a relationship between two. In this way, each episode acts as a mise-en-scene for the season as a whole, and as all the relationships are intertwined, the finale weaves a narrative symphony for their social circle as a collective. For the purposes of this investigation, two...

INTERVIEW: DIAMOND RINGS

FOR THE BLOCK MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE If I wasn’t getting called a faggot I honestly don’t think I’d be pushing the envelope far enough. Acid washed denim. Rainbow coloured war paint. Anthematic new wave. These are the things that Special Affections are made of. Hailing from Oshawa, Ontario, John O’Regan has made a name for himself as the shimmering, gender-bending artist and epicentre of Diamond Rings. With a strong penchant for retro basketball attire and a love of David Bowie, Regan seamlessly weaves together all the best artifacts of the 1980s. Although he’s probably best known as the bespectacled guitarist in techno rock outfit The D’Ubervilles, Regan’s solo work shines as vividly as his bejwelled name implies. The 25-year-old gave us some time to talk about his debut, which was released October 26th. You’ve been described before as a gender-bending glam rocker in the same style as David Bowie. How have you been received in the hipster-heavy music scene in Toronto? I don’t really think about Toronto being a hipster hotbed as much as a great place where my friends and I live and work on our art and music. The whole concept of something being hipster is fraught with so many contradictions that I try to avoid thinking about it altogether. The ultimate in cool is being yourself and not giving a second thought to whether or not you’re going to end up as a “Do” or a “Don’t” in the Sunday style section. Toronto, of course, is one of my favourite places to be myself. A lot of musicians who wield an original, unusual genre often get...

The dangers of online shopping

A tale of woe and betrayal. It was the middle of September, and I was preparing to move to the United Kingdom. Everything had been taken care of. I was finishing up my contract at the Beaty Museum, packing up to move my stuff into storage, terminating utilities and mentally preparing myself for the big move. At the same time, it had long been my plan to get a new camera. Not just any camera, but a Canon 550D, also known as the Rebel T2i. Sure, I already had a really nice camera, one that I had carried to all my newspaper internships, my concert photography gigs and also my personal life events. It was time to move on though; I needed/ wanted something that could also film. IN HD. After doing a few weeks of research online and in local photography stores in the Vancouver area, I managed to find the camera I wanted at a sweet, sweet deal. It was too sweet to be true. Too saccharine and ambrosial to be reality, and I certainly paid for that purchase of virginal innocence. (By saccharine I mean $200 less than any other retailer was offering). I did it. On September 15, 2010, I bought the camera from Daily Deal Digital, the worst online retailer known to the history of civilization. Six days later, when I hadn’t received my camera, nor a tracking number for the shipment, I called the head office in Boca Raton, Florida. After being put on hold and listening to the most irritating classical muzak for several moments, I was directed to someone who sounded...

Kevan Funk’s short film toys with faith…

Kevan Funk’s short film toys with faith, the Free World and a matchbox budget FOR METRO VANCOUVER NEWSPAPER A Fine Young Man, directed by Kevan Funk, is a dark comedy that has garnered critical acclaim at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF), winning the award for Best Short Film in Calgary.     Set during the Cold War era, the film flirts with the fine line between faith and the danger of personal convictions. My intention with the film was to start a conversation, rather than giving an answer,” Funk said in a video Skype interview. “Most importantly, it’s about belief. When you have blind faith in something, it can be very dangerous.” Funk, 24, is a fourth-year student of Film, Video and Integrated Media at  Emily Carr University of Art & Design. He was born in Vancouver and raised in Banff, Alberta. With an early interest in the performing arts, Funk later developed a talent in photography which lead him to pursue a career in film. Since 2002, Funk has been involved in numerous independent film projects. Funk is currently seeking an international opening for A Fine Young Man to showcase his talents. There’s a lot of humour and unexpected things in life,” said Funk. “It seems more of an appropriate fit, dark comedy, in terms of telling authentic...

An Interview with Beach House for the Block Magazine

Check out the original interview on the Block Magazine website, available here. Rad photo by Evaan Kheraj “Sadness, heartbreak, longing, all those things are in the music, of course. That’s what pop music is all about.” “You look familiar,” she says. “I know you from somewhere, right? We’ve met before.” Lead singer and organist Victoria Legrand might sound seductive and gruff when she sings her dreamy, lovelorn tunes, but in the green room she’s relaxed and humble, walking towards me wearing retro blue denim and a smile that could melt butter. For Baltimore-based duo Beach House, it’s broken hearts and soulful crooning on the album, warm fleece and kindness for a stranger. “Actually, I’d love to see you down some of this tequila,” she says, pointing at a full bottle on the table. Guitarist Alex Scally sits down, brushing back his thick black locks to reveal he’s shaved his beard, but left a rather dapper-looking mustache behind. “Get tanked!” With only a couple of hours to settle in before blazing the stage at Vancouver’s Rickshaw, Legrand and Scally are relieved to be heading home soon after a tour that sold out at nearly every show in the country. Their third full-length, Teen Dream, released by legendary Sub Pop Records, has garnered much critical acclaim despite the pressures of their successes with 2008’s Devotion. Sitting pretty on a rather tired leather couch, Legrand and Scally are something adorable together. Instantly becoming friends when they met back in 2004, they finish each other’s sentences, poke fun and make the other shriek with laughter. “I have to play off my own stupidity...

Massive Attack plays at Malkin Bowl

For Exclaim! Magazine Despite the fine mist that pervaded the air at this Vancouver outdoor venue, the kids and the weirdos danced in bass-heavy reverie at the show. Pounded by low-end frequencies, dazzled by bizarre show outfits and the smell of summer rain mingled with the aroma of thick mud, Massive Attack delivered a stunning performance that was both blisteringly loud and dark as hell. Hailing from the UK, the sonic collective merges the boundaries of dance, trance and ethereality, and couples this with some serious vocal talents. Not to mention, founding member Robert Del Naja’s (a.k.a. 3D)  is chock-full of boyish Bristol charm that is often juxtaposed by his unsettling, yet seductive whispers. The band’s history may be riddled by tantrums, personal clashes and artistic differences from days of Mezzanine, but at the show, the stage seemed pretty relaxed and focused. Singer Martina Topley-Bird came out initially wearing a white wool poncho and a bright pink chiffon skirt, bringing the image of a bizarrely-decorated Bjork, but with more vocal resonance. Other core band member Daddy G looked pretty comatose on stage, but from what’s been written about him, his behavior just typified his brooding style. The group baited the crowd with some classics, from the dark ambience of “Intertia Creeps” to the now-appropriated House theme song, “Teardrop.” Topley-Bird came back on stage later in the show, morphed into a sex goddess wearing something of a Catwoman suit, complete with skin-tight leather pants. A couple of memorable points in the show was when the band launched into an hypnotic performance of “Psyche” from their latest offering, Heligoland, followed closely by...

Interview with Trentemoller

For Exclaim! In 2006, Anders Trentemøller established himself as one of the greatest electronic musicians in Europe with The Last Resort, his ground-breaking debut. Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, the multi-instrumentalist producer has been successful on the international scene with his remixes and original work, whose sonic formula is rich, complex and hauntingly beautiful. At the same time, Trentemøller doesn’t get caught up in the stereotype of the brooding Scandinavian artist, as his obscure appetite for remix materials spans the gamut of America’s last four decades in rock and pop music, making his collective sound the ultimate mixtape. His forthcoming album Into the Great Wide Yonder, is a layered soundscape as existentially profound as its title alludes to, dominating the interplay between dark industrial production, melody-rich shadows, and estrangement from reality. You’re quite the master of contradiction. Some of your work is very dark, industrial, and dubby, but other tunes are very mellow and chill. How do you reconcile these different creative forces in your music? For me, this has always been a challenge, but music is the best way to work with those connections and moods. To make something beautiful, you need to put something in that surfaces the second time you listen to it. If you sense something more spooky, or if you recognize spooky layers lying underneath, that is something that has always inspired me. It’s hard to just make a happy-go-lucky sound and concentrate on one layer, so it’s always a challenge to mix moods and styles, but it’s something I need to do. Are there criteria for what you choose to remix? For the last two years...

Miike Snow/ Delorean

A Miike Snow concert is truly the best remedy for the tedium of a Monday night. Morphing into sexed-up animals, the crowd was delighted by the electro pop anthems and pounding bass soundscapes emanating from the Swedish trio. Spanish indie rockers Delorean raised the bar for Miike Snow with their blistering performance. With singer/ bassist Ekhi Lopetegi looking like something of a mediterranean Jesus, the band’s sonic dreamscapes were faintly reminiscent of the eclecticism of Animal Collective. Dominated by white beams of light and intense smoke clouds, the stage nicely complemented Miike’s Nordic, glacial aesthetic. After baiting the crowd with smoke and mirrors for some time, the band came out wearing creepy white masks, raising intrigue and anticipation. Kicking off the show with a five-minute psychedelic jam, they transitioned into “Cult Logic,” arguably the most infectious and anthematic track off their album. Satisfying the ravenous crowd, the trio played favourites like as “A Horse is Not A Home” and “Black and Blue,” remaining true to the album but sounding less processed and more spontaneous. Tearing off the white plastic mask, frontman Andrew Wyatt completely killed it during “Plastic Jungle,” a song about the brutal, military-likeness of postmodern life. Stockholm-natives Wyatt, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg have garnered much deserved acclaim for their self-titled debut, which came out last year. Rich with layered, complex synth rhythms and salacious lyrics, the band’s sound is also surprisingly dreamy and introspective. Added last minute to the SXSW bill, this group is adding a much-needed cool, Scandinavian touch to the electronic music scene. With a sonic formula that combines beauty, strangeness and the sublime in...

Stars and Hey Rosetta! Feb 19 @ Orpheum

For anyone who’s listened to Stars’ 2004 album Set Yourself On Fire, it’s hard not to shed a tear for their beautiful, eloquent and heart-breaking indie pop. After a week in the craziness of the Olympic cultural hullabaloo, this show was like a much-needed sedative that lulled the attendees into a peaceful, thoughtful musical reverie—though not entirely replete in energy—with frontman Torquil Campbell balancing the melancholy with humour and frequent curse words. Hey Rosetta! took the stage just as someone in the crowd screamed out “You are so cute,” an arguable reference to vocalist Tim Baker’s irresistible smirk. The band, originally from St. John’s, has progressed tremendously from their garage-rock sound to their performance which was lush and complex. Layered with Romesh Thavanathan’s cello and Erin Aurich’s violin, the string section added a sultry, soulful dimension to their indie rock trademark sound. Stars’ performance, on the other hand, was something rather cathartic, as Amy Millan’s velvet voice can often inspire. Playing mostly from their 2004 singles, they sparked up the show with “Set Yourself on Fire,” then quickly went into “What I’m Trying To Say,” now the anthems for any romantic break up. Campbell, as the son of the two Shakespearean actors, waved his right hand quite a bit, which gave the lyrics a more dramatic, soliloquy-type quality. Between songs, he advised that if anybody shook his hand on the street, that they fail their drug test. Then seeming visibly embarrassed, Campbell quickly said “Don’t do drugs” in a way that was both cute and a complete lie. The Montreal-based group indulged fans with a few new songs from...

CODE fest is code for shmoozefest

for Exclaim! Upon hearing that LA Riots, the Golden Filter and a special DJ set from Junior Boys were set to play together, who would expect that it could be a disappointment? With less than a week to go before the 2010 Olympic games begin, the Vancouver live music scene has exploded with musicians from all over in collaborative musical mischief, but Saturday’s show proved to be a less-than-perfect operation. Taking place at Great Northern Way campus, a technology school located in the heart of Vancouver’s industrial playground, the sense of estranged abandonment carried through in the performances. Waiting in line for half an hour to get a drink, I caught Jeremy Greenspan’s set, only at the end of his performance, and it sounded nothing like Junior Boys. Instead of an expected synth-funkiness, the venue throbbed with a sexed-up, generic clubsound you’d expect to find everywhere else on a Saturday night. In its defense, the Golden Filter put out a mad decent performance. Vocalist Penelope Trappes was alluring and thought provoking , and the blonde bombshell dressed in a way that reminded us of the best of the 1980s. Quirky and intelligent, their upcoming album Völupsá is based on the Nordic poem about the creation and impending end of the world. Full of energy and electro-eccentricity, the Golden Filter was by far the standout performance of the evening. This concert was part of a series called the Cultural Olympiad’s Digital Edition (CODE). Originally intended as a means of showcasing Canada’s talented DJ culture, the event itself was more of a shmoozefest than an actual concert experience. Here’s hoping the...

Zero 7

Zero 7’s leading female vocalist Sophie Barker has a robust, yet dreamy quality to her singing style that would have made the opera heroine Maria Callas nervous. Coupled with her antique, hand-pumped organ at her hip, Barker filled the Commodore with sweeping soundscapes that lulled the audience into a soulful trip-hop experience. Opening up with a pseudo-Pink Floydian instrumental montage, the UK-based duo Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker delivered a surprisingly relaxing and inspiring show on one of the coldest Vancouver nights to date. Chill and contemplative, the audience opened up to the calmness within the chaos, offering an occasional cloud of marijuana over to the stage. Acclaimed for their ambience and introspective lyrical elements, the set sounded much like an acid jazz cover of their own music; playing softer, more slowly, more thoughtfully and avoiding the electronic glitches and loops from their albums. The band played a few crowd favourites like “Home” and “Speed Dial No.2” from When It Falls, not to mention a gorgeous jazz-infused version of “Destiny” from their debut, Simple Things. Overall, the show felt much like the effects of Ambien; soothing,phantasmagorical and almost surreal. Baiting with the crowd with warm sound bytes and the irresistible crooning of a woman “watching porn in my hotel dressing gown,” Zero 7 did not disappoint....

DJ Heroes vs. Stephen Harper

Miné Salkin JRNL 502 Dec. 03/09 Final Feature Submission DJ Heroes vs. Stephen Harper It’s a mashup world. Get over it. My living room is throbbing with the posthumous glory of my favourite dead music star. It’s a mashup party for one. The strained and tortured sound of Nirvana laid against the funky, soft-core porn beat of the Supermen Lovers is streaming through my Internet browser while I eat corn flakes for dinner. French master of mashup Overdub has reinvented and repurposed the meaning of Kurt Cobain’s agony and has turned it into something new and surprising, and, for me, this pleasure is free. If creativity is a battle between the right to create and copyright laws, the remixer is a mashup mercenary. Overdub isn’t the only condottiere of his genre. Mashups are everywhere today, and litter the streets of human intellectual history. Politics is a mashup. When communism and capitalism collide you get Marxist socialism. Literature is a mashup. Out of post-World War II conservatism, the beat generation was on, and William S. Burroughs was testing out his cut-up technique. Cooking is a mashup that gets better the more mashed up it is. A turducken is a delicious roast consisting in a chicken stuffed within a duck stuffed within a turkey. Someone must have laughed when they invented that mashup. The bottom line is the mashup is a cornerstone of collective human consciousness. Remix is a recipe for cultural progress. Only now, it’s facilitated by technology, open source software and endless possibility. Truth be told, mashup is going to get even better, because people are creating new software...

Woodhands

… I wanna do it one more time The Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, BC November 28       Plaid shirts. Bearded hipsters. Women dancing in their bras. These are the fundamental elements that Woodhands brings to the realm of indietronica rock. The Toronto-based duo Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt blasted the miniature-sized stage of the Biltmore, causing chaotic dancing and chanting of epic, rave proportions. For those who don’t already know, frontman Werb is bringing back the keytar. He showed full mastery of synthesizers, drum loops and sound mixers and spat out fat, earth-shaking techno riffs with a machine-like exactness.”Chocolate” drummer Banwatt was tweaking just as hard, sweat drenching through his his retro Star Wars t-shirt, demonically pounding his white Pearl set until he actually destroyed his snare. “Somebody needs to go home right now, and bring your snare drum back to the show,” Werb said, sweat dripping down his neck and face, fogging up his black-rimmed glasses. “I guess we’re still gonna keep on going though. Fuck yeah!” When the drum was restored, the group played a new song from their upcoming album Remorsecapade which is set to be released late January. The song was surprisingly mellow, almost contemplative and borderline ethereal, certainly foreshadowing a progression in their songwriting. Leaning heavily on their last album Heart Attack, they also played some crowd favourites like “Under Attack” and “I Wasn’t Made for Fighting.”  Things got very intense during their five-minute electro jams, which were blisteringly loud and cathartic. Showing unparalleled energy, Woodhands delivered a furious show catering to an ADD-riddled generation — fast, sweaty and catchy as hell. Watch...

DJ Spooky

spirituality is just a different bandwidth Radiohead. George Bush. Chinese lyrics. A complex narrative of the current economic chaos without getting boring. DJ Spooky, a.k.a. Paul D. Miller, has always been a bit of a wild card. Aside from being the creator of illbient sound — an offshoot of hip-hop heavy electronic music that uses dark themes and dissonance — he’s a noted writer on digital music culture in the academic world. His latest album the Secret Song, is no stranger to this notion of shifts in culture in relation to the fine art of sampling. Using a myriad of influences from the literary to the real, Miller  weaves together a fine piece of intelligently crafted atmospheric music without getting too cerebral. Blending sounds from ATM machines, to other familiar dub and hip-hop riffs and rock legends like Sonic Youth, Miller articulates current social thoughts on commercialism, materialism and other human obsessions. Tell me a little bit about Secret Song. Did you try anything new with it, or take any risks? There’s so much that we don’t really think about – how we wake up and put on clothes made by workers in Indonesia, China, The Phillipines, or the way our computers are made from small fragments of labor — computer chips are made from precious metals mined in strange spots all over the world, the metals used for soldering the motherboards of your hard drive together comes from all over the place, the metal “coltan” that comes from mines in Congo that are in the middle of awar zone, the way bits and pieces are assembled from all...