24 (Season 1, Episodes 21-24)

Creator: Robert Cochran, Joel Surnow
Aaargh, you got us! We didn’t see that coming, no way.
So the final episode of Season One is over and the clock ticked silently full circle. We’re going to take a break from non-stop suspense for a couple of weeks, or at least until Season Two is out on DVD.
What began to annoy us was woman-in-turmoil Teri, who should have considered herself lucky to be allowed access to what is surely a high-security location (the CTA offices), but instead spends the final episodes continually wandering around, getting up in people’s faces, asking them for continual updates on Jack and Kim. And would anybody really let her storm up into Mason’s office like she does and demand he do something? Couldn’t they have locked her in a room? And see?See? What happened to her when she continued to walk around, nosing about, near the end of the final episode? Exactly.
We were also glad to see Sherry Palmer kicked to the curb at the end, so tired were we of her Lady Macbethisms and Machiavellian trickery. Too bad Patty, the assistant, was let go as her sacrificial lamb. Senator Palmer, on the other hand is so honest a presidential candidate that he takes 24 into the realm of pure sci-fi.
And Dennis Hopper was a bit out of place with a quite unconvincing accent, but oh well.

24 (Season 1, Episodes 17-20)

Creator: Robert Cochran, Joel Surnow
Although we’re enjoying 24 a lot, by the 20th episode it’s apparent to us that the show’s view of women is pretty bleak–they’re either duplicitous, or dense, and the latter seem to be the majority.
Is Jack such a bad father that Kim has to continually act out and seek out Rich, the bad boy moron who got her into this mess in the first place? Her inability to leave Rich’s hovel when it was apparent some pretty nasty drug dealers were on their way over was infuriating. And why on earth did Palmer’s assistant screw up her set-up with Drazon, electing to hang around after planting a tracking device in order to run him through with a letter opener? Frailty, thy name is woman!
Another group who fail in the mental division (and who overlap with the women) is the teenagers. It’s refreshing to not see teens as bastions of wisdom, I guess, but Kyle Palmer isn’t as smart as he thinks he is, and Kim…well, we all know about Kim’s wise decisions. Their stubborn behavior becomes a bit much after a while.

24 (Season 1, Episodes 13-16)

Creator: Robert Cochran, Joel Surnow
This was the quartet of episodes when things cycled back around.
Jack was reunited with his family; Jack returns to the office after several hours on the run; Palmer finally confronts Jack; the plot and its motivation is finally explained to us. And almost immediately things began to fall apart. Possibly this structure will be mirrored in the end–we’ll have to wait an see.
Another note: it’s really hard to do research into 24 without running into massive spoilers on the web. There’s been a few times I’ve nearly learned some shocking truth about the ending, only to turn (or click) away in time. Yes, I know it’s not going to end well (and it’s going to be a cliffhanger, but of course). Yes, I know there’s more twists to come–and more death.

Kenji Jammer – Hula Hula Dance 2

UUTWO records DDCU-2002

Or: the problem of listening to remix albums without knowing the original.

Who has a truer listening experience? The person who picks up a remix album without knowing the originals, or the one with a deep understanding of the material to be remixed? And does it matter if the remixer winds up using little of the material (70% of all remixers)? What if the remixer uses nothing but the material and then reconfigures it into something new (Sean O’Hagan’s remixes of Cornelius and Pizzicato Five, both of which are wonderful)? What is the criteria? How “danceable” something is? How much something is “rescued”? How faithful to the material? How sacriligious?
Kenji Jammer is the pseudonym of Kenji Suzuki, of whom I know nothing except he seems to have started in the ’80s, done his time playing hard rock (opening for still-famous-in-Japan Deep Purple and Stevie Ray Vaughan), moved all over the world, and now in this alter ego explores acoustic and lap steel sounds with a definite mellow bent. Fortunately, the CD ends with two of his originals, or one would never know what’s being remixed here. “Sail On” is a skanking jam, and takes nearly all of the track until the steel guitar comes in. Okay, so it makes me wonder what Hula Hula Dance, the original, sounds like. It also reminds me, for the third time in a row today, of the Orb.
So then, the best of the mixes are Fantastic Plastic Machine’s mix of “Daddy’s Delight,” which seems to mix a vocoder with Kenji’s slide guitar, and the “Across the Border” mix of “Universe”, which toodles along very politely, even seeping into the background. It’s pleasant.

Blasthead – Landscape

Lastrum LACD-0049

Sounding a bit like Harmonia or the more electronic side of Krautrock, Blasthead appears on the same label as The Calm.
It’s a similar mix of jazzy instrumentation, Mo’Wax downtempo beats played live (or at least I think so), a series of groove experiments.
It reminds me most of the Orb’s first album without the spoken word samples, or more likely the Orb’s version of ambient. Unlike the Orb, Blasthead feel no need to keep the dancefloor in sight. Rhythm, when it comes, arrives unexpectedly, sometimes fast, like an exploding drum circle, other times slow, like the multi-layered handclaps that remind me of Eno/Schwalm’s Drawn from Life. Lots of hammer dulcimer. At one point, some very discordant free jazz sax makes its way into the mix, waking up all the stoners in the chill out room.
There’s liquid bass, bubbling synths, a general blue-purple sound.
“Scene 4” grooves for for five minutes before blossoming into a big-beat, organ-drenched psychedelic rock freakout. At the moment, these two albums are hard to tell apart.

The Calm – 1969 Before the Dawn

Lastrum LACD-0040

Last time Jon returned from japan, he came back with some very strange CDs by groups I had never heard of, all supposedly coming out of this one record shop/label in Tokyo.
I’ve heard them in passing and very pleasant they are in an acoustic ambient way. This time he has returned with two that I can properly listen to. The Calm make this wonderful blend of ambient synths, distant, echoey trumpets, melancholia, and slightly danceable beats.
Track 8 has something approaching a drum’n’bass riff, mixing in Reich repetition, wandering sitar, lonesome shakuhachi.
Imagine if Tortoise hadn’t sprouted from reformed punks, but psychedelic rockers. Imagine if they listened to DJ Shadow, not knowing it was madefrom samples, and tried to recreate it live (though for all I know this is all done in someone’s bedroom on ProTools.) That’s the Calm. They like their sound samples too: the good old moonshot countdown sample, and some French lady saying I-don’t-know-what.

The Key to Furni

Well, there goes my fantasy that all IKEA names are actually rude words. This article in the German magazine Stern decodes the system for naming things in IKEA. Book shelves are named after occupations, bathroom articles are named after Scandinavian seas, rivers, and bays. And so much more. You are linking to the Babelfish translation of the page, so some things are a bit funny sounding, not unlike IKEA furniture.
By way of Boing Boing