Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Save the Pacific Northwest tree octopus

glistening by the numbers: EIGHT

DJ Quik - "8Ball"

41: Loved dj quik when I was younger- still like his voice.. love the eazy-e samples 'cause I love eazy-e. This can't compare. Good for ya when you're drinking though, I suppose.

Avi: Too many years of growing up listening to heavy metal has conditioned me to ignore most lyrical content. Thus, most hip-hop does absolutely nothing for me, especially when the subject matter is less than compelling. I don't actively dislike this, it just doesn't do anything for me.

Lee: Ok, this is a joke, right? Did this guy learn to rap from Vanilla Ice? This track epitomizes everything I hate about rap. Not to mention an incredibly irresponsible message, the music is lame, and the scratching is totally amateur. Wicky-wicky-whack. Easily the worst track in the mix. I can't even laugh at the lameness of this guy.

Jamie: Offers crucial advice to alkies - don't forget the Doublemint to cover up your breath. Is this meant to be an ode to the joy of getting stereotypically wasted or the opposite?

Rosecrans: A great example of an old rap song that could drop the lead vocal to become a decent TV jingle. This is awful.

Whoa nelly! The lack of love for Quik confounds me. The West Coast rapper's style may not have aged quite as well as some of his peer but son is a hiphop foundation block and deserves respect as such.

Personal fave DJ Quik moment: realizing that music in Bust a Groove was a remixed version of "Youz a Ganxta"!

For the uninitiated, '8Ball' here refers to Olde English '800' 40 ouncers and not three and a half grams of coke (Ebay is slangin'?).

Buy "Quik Is the Name", the Cali rapper's debut album, from Amazon.
Highly underrated, if just a bit dated.
Visit DJ Quik's official site.
Read this Quik interview from '02.
Gotta Catch 'Em All!
Superman Meets the Quik Bunny


The Eight Seasons of Chromalox

This track is a long revered classic of the vinyl promo genre. This sort of silliness hit its apogee in the early seventies when everybody and their brother was dropping strange product music, but few were offering the beautiful orchestration and insane lyrics ("even though my toes get tight"?) of Chromalox's paeon to the joys of HVAC.

Favorite line: "Most of us at one time have been cold before".

This is a hella long song and it slows down a bit after Spring but I'm already in paroxysms of geeky joy by then. So sweet.

"8 Seasons" (and the accompanying links on this post) are scarpered from the inimitable 365 Days; click on the link for a gorgeous essay on this track near the bottom of the page.

Visit Chromalox on the web.
Read this long article on product music.

Meeting the Neighbors

Scissorkick is one of the few musicblog fellas I've actually had opportunity to meet in person. Steve is a hella nice guy, a sweet live DJ and a voracious music geek with insight into all types of sound.

He also takes this game SERIOUSLY and rewards his long-time readers with a constant barrage of new tunage and an ever-changing and always slick site design.

Recent offerings include music from Medina Green, Dub Diablo, Jet Black Crayon and Romanowski.

But who is Scissorkick... really?


I'm just another blogger really. I've been up since 2000; first mp3 blog post in May 2004. I found a small niche in a lack of downtempo and post-rock on the Web and decided to start posting some of the promotional stuff I get from working as a music journalist along with some digitized vinyl from the occasional DJ gig. Although the URL has been around since 2001 in some form (e-zine, design portfolio, etc.) I was pushed into blogging by my friend Aaron Schultz whose new(ish) blog is no longer online. I try to mix lesser known stuff along the IDM/cinematic vibe of Ninja Tune and Warp with downtempo groove with an edge, dub or underground hip-hop or DJ stuff. It balanced nicely with the post-rock or hybrid rock of bands like Home Video or Midwest Product. I guess I like that space where electronic and organic music collides head-on.
Where did the name of your blog originate from?
Scissorkick was just one of the many rejected names we brainstormed for a bullshit dotcom I worked at in 2000, right in heart of the Internet boom. Five of us were locked in a stuffy boardroom and prodded for almost 8 hours by some venture capitalist to come up with a name for a web site that essentially had no business plan. At the end of what seemed like 40 hours we were told that the sight already had a name and that this ordeal was simply a way for the new staff to bond. It was a nightmare. I was told if I used scissorkick (which I had come up with) I would be sued. It never happened thankfully. It doesn’t really mean much literally. Sick karate move; sounds good enough I guess.
What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it's post-worthy?
I generally post my favorite tracks. There is no screening process or anything. It’s essentially what I’m feeling at the time. I usually do a small search to see if the track is online. If not, then I post it. With so many blogs, I try not to post an artist that has already been posted somewhere else.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Bone, Thugs and Harmony “Crossroads.” No doubt about it. And I’d like my face to be projected on the Moon by the world’s most powerful gobo lamp. Just for a few minutes.
What do you do for kicks when you're not posting?
For kicks? Literally, I play in a men’s soccer league. Been playing my entire life. Love the game, although I feel like Quasimoto every time I play (“Come on Feet.”)
Do you have a favorite music critic?
I like Sam Chennault’s hip-hop writing and Phil Sherburne’s writing on electronic music.

It’s hard not to sound like a complete douche, but two of the magazines I write for — Resonance and RE:UP — are two of the best around (and not because I am involved). I can’t say enough about ‘em. Just amazing pubs run by completely talented and dedicated folks. I feel honored to be writing for both. And of course earplug.
Recommend three other musicblog sites and give them a sentence or two of introduction.
Everybody always seems to mention Fluxblog, Tofu Hut and Soul Sides because you have to acknowledge the blogs that laid the concrete. And I a am really greatful that you Matt and O-Dub do what you do. Scissorkick was started by the excitement generated by New(ish) run by my good friend Aaron but which is unfortunately now defunct. I always considered it within the second generation of blogs to surface. These are the guys I originally shared emails and links with and we all sort of helped each other out by driving traffic. A lot of great blogs have surfaced recently like 3Hive, Aurgasm and Dozer.

That said, here's three more plus one:

1: Something I Learned Today : A punk/harcdore site without equal (unless you check out Dave McGurgan’s self-titled blog). Each post by Eric reminds me of the time I spent as an indie outsider in a compound in Buffalo known as the “headquarters” with insanely knowledgeable punks with incredible record collections. Top notch.

2: Gabba.pod : The sickest designed MP3 Blog out there in my opinion. Just for introducing me to J-Skillz , I put Gabba>pod at the top of the list. There is, surprisingly, a dearth of electronic blogs that features the range of this brilliant site. A fantastic mix of dancefloor and IDM electronica with a great rating system and feeback model.

3: The Suburbs are Killing Us : We share a great fondness for Jaga Jazzist, but this blog takes world music posting to another level, especially when Chris dropped the Konono N_1 bomb on me. Just an amazing array of smartly curated tracks. Esoteric but appealing to fans of the more fringe performers from around the globe.

+1: Pop 77 : Although it is no longer online, this was one of my favorites. Great mix of music and design culture. RIP.
Is there a major flaw in the way that musicblog sites function that you'd like to see corrected?
Since many of us are not programmers we are limited by the search capabilities of the sites. I tried adding pull-down menus (people seem to like them) but I think more blogs need better searching and archiving elements.
But this is just small potatoes. Most bloggers work long days and should be commended for doing what they do.
Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?
Sure, in underground circles and for indie records. A lot of the PR people I deal with for my magazine stuff enjoy the blog and love when I post stuff they represent. The best is when the artists themselves stop by and leave comments. Walter Schriefels, Monk One and ZILLA (of Warp-mix fame) all have stopped by.
List a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers.
Lately I have been posting mostly electronic, sort of hybrid organic/electronic stuff so readers wouldn’t really know that musically I have always been about the rock as much as the post-rock/downtempo stuff. Rush is a personal favorite. Love really strong, melodic 80s electro-pop. Been rocking INOJ “Love You Down” and Boy Meets Girl “Waiting for a Star to Fall” a lot recently. I also have been listening to a lot of new, sort of intelligent metal – Isis, Meshuggah, Mastodon. I love a lot of different shit pretty much equally.
Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
I am, but my allegiance is waning. Now that it seems a new one comes out every three months, I am starting to feel a little suspicious about my purchase. It’s great on car trips though.
Could you see yourself still running your site in five years?
Absolutely. I would love to see where I am with this in 5 years. It’s so easy to maintain that it really does seem realistic.
What's the best live show you've ever seen?
Back in 1991, I was a sophomore in high school and we had a double bill weekend almost exactly 13 years ago this month, I think. Friday night was Primus and Fishbone at Stony Brook and Saturday followed with The Chili Peppers with Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam opening at the Academy in NYC. DJ Shadow at Turnmills in London 1996 was amazing and Fugazi and Unwound at Maxwell’s comes to mind. We saw Isotope 217 back in 95 in Rochester at a tiny place called The Bug Jar. They absolutely killed it.
Rodan with Don Caballero at the Old Knitting Factory space was pretty sick.
Do you have a message for youngsters who'd like to start their own musicblog?
Do it. It’s easy and incredibly gratifying, although I think it is important for bloggers themselves to do a good amount of blog-jumping and see what is out there. The point is to provide people with something that is ordinarily not found online or to get something up that is exclusive or advanced release. Even though music blogging culture has exploded, there is turnover and the possibility of creating your own space.
What makes you so goddamn smart?
I’m pretty stupid actually if you consider that all the time I spend writing and promoting underground music may only turn a few people onto new things. But that is what has motivated me for over 14 years I guess. I just want people to potentially get the same satisfaction from listening to a song as I do. It’s corny I guess but that’s just how it is. And because mainstream music (as a whole) has consistently sucked for as long as I can remember. I don’t know a lot of people who like indie rock, dance, hip-hop, electronic, metal and classic shit with the same kind of energy. The rockist tendency to eschew anything that isn’t “punk” is just fucking ignorant to me. I was lucky to live in London in the mid-nineties and experience a burgeoning electronic scene with countless similarities to the indie culture of the late 80s and early 90s. I’m not a huge networking kind of person, but blogging has introduced me to a lot of people with wildly eclectic tastes.
Five desert island discs?

I'll just go with the first five records that come to mind from different genres.

1: Tortoise — 'Millions Now Living Will Never Die'
2: Mo ‘Wax — 'Headz 1 & 2'
3: fIREHOSE – 'Ragin’ Full On'
4: Boards of Canada – 'Music Has the Right to Children'
5: Black Sabbath - 'Paranoid'
Do you consider yourself a "music journalist"?
I guess I am technically because of my freelance gigs with the pubs mentioned above. I also write frequently for WYWS and will be starting up with Grooves shortly, although my day job is as a producer in advertising. I prefer to think of myself as a really big music fan with a reasonable faculty with words.
What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
Although I am prone to hyperbole I think every new, really fantastic song sort of changes my life. But a real change, like a things-will-never-be-the-same change was definitely back in 96 with Squarepusher’s “Squarepusher Theme” from his Feed Me Weird Things record. I sincerely believe that to be his best record.
How much does it cost you to maintain your site?
About $9 dollars a month and about 15 minutes a day. Each month I change the design and that takes about an hour or so.
Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
If the Insane Clown Posse were considered a genre (Circus Rap, clown-core?) then you’d have yourself an answer.
Who's the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
The genius term is thrown around with way too much ease these days. Is Conor Oberst a genius? No fucking way. But he is a really talented young songwriter. Is Robert Pollard a genius? Pretty close but lacked the self-control to limit his songwriting to what seems like less than 100 a day. Go see Squarepusher live. It’s about as close to genius as I’ve seen.
Are you much of a dancer?
Sure, I like me some legwork no and again. I’m no Baryshnikov of Brooklyn or anything but I like to get down. No signature moves unfortunately.
What was the greatest motivation for you to create your site?
The same as it was back when I was hijacking car stereos and commandeering party boom boxes: To simply get people on to new amazing stuff they may have not known about. I love the sense of discovery and music provides an infinite amount of that feeling.
Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Boom Bip - “Last Walk Around Mirror Lake” (Boards of Canada Remix)

Boom Bip has the potential to become a member of a very small group of electronic musicians who sit at the top of the food chain, who construct instantly recognizable wordless compositions. That is not easy to do, especially with the quality recordings coming from little more than a home computer. But I expect his next full-length to launch him into the BoC, Prefuse, Plaid sort of stratosphere. Here he gets worked over by one of electronicas master duos. Not much else to say really.

Tomorrow, we find out where Honey's Been So Long.

And we don't stop for NOBODY.