Marianne Ihlen, 81, died in Oslo on 29 July. She was an old friend and sometime lover of Leonard Cohen, whom she met in the 1960s on the Greek island of Hydra, and was the inspiration for his songs So Long, Marianne and Bird On A Wire. Before she passed away, Cohen wrote her a letter.
I already knew OutKast; I loved their first album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, in part because of the clever way they interpolated funk and soul into rap. ATLiens, however, sounded unlike anything I’d ever heard or imagined. The vocal tones were familiar, but the rhyme patterns, the composition, the production were equal parts red clay, thick buttery grits, and Mars. Nothing sounded like ATLiens. The album instantly changed not just my expectations of music, but my expectations of myself as a young black Southern artist.
Wild Ones Live is an arresting reading accompanied by music, a collaboration performed as part of a live magazine by author Jon Mooallem, a science and nature writer whose book Wild Ones ruminates on the strange, ignorant, hopeful and poignant ways humans imagine other animals, and the musical project Black Prairie. Listen at your desk if you must, but if you can, pop in your earbuds and go outside for a long walk while you take it all in. [more inside]
Seeing ‘the Man Who Fell To Earth’ Was One Of The Greatest Experiences Of Philip K. Dick’s Life - The time PKD got really into David Bowie.
Why I Hate the Goldberg Variations, by Jeremy Denk, whose new (lovely) recording of the Goldberg Variations is now streaming on NPR. Also by Denk: Hannibal Lecter's Guide to the Goldberg Variations, which explores the famous cannibal killer through the lens of Bach. This is Your Brain on the Goldberg Variations, which gets in-depth on just how the Variations vary.
After years of silence, enigmatic programmer/musician/surrealist why the lucky stiff is publishing to the web again (temporarily). Five days ago he released a number of short collages; today, his site is outputting a number of stories and essays, which are being collected in several Scribd repositories. _why writes about a strange old Oprah show starring guests who've removed themselves from society [parts 2 3 4 5 6], discussing M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening with a friend [2 3 4 5 6], and suffering a personal crisis after reading the complete works of Kafka [2 3 4 5 6 7]. (One final story, "Dentist", has been uploaded to a public Dropbox account [2 3 4 5 6 7 8].) There's also this somewhat ominous web site. [more inside]
"If you’re not getting it wrong really a lot when you’re creating imaginary futures, then you’re just not doing it enough."
Wired talks to William Gibson: on Why Sci-Fi Writers Are (Thankfully) Almost Always Wrong, on Twitter, Antique Watches and Internet Obsessions, and and on Punk Rock, Internet Memes, and ‘Gangnam Style’.
Legendary curmudgeonly rockist Athens GA music zine Chunklet is still around, and teaming up with Vice magazine to bring you such new Classics of argument-fomentation as The Wheel Of Punk™ (and the Wheel of Punk™ in action). [more inside]
Lists of Note is a new site from Shaun Usher, proprietor of Letters of Note. It posts interesting lists, running the gamut from funny to poignant, mostly by famous people, though other sources crop up. Here's a sampling of lists: Johnny Cash, Walt Whitman, Eero Saarinen, Don Carman, Marilyn Monroe and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
taping downloading is killing music authorship. The Society of Authors warns that authors will simply stop writing if they aren't compensated for piracy of their work (as unlikely as that seems). Perhaps they should follow the example of Jim Griffin, newly hired at Warner Music to persuade broadband providers to attach a $5 per month surcharge for the benefit of the major labels, in exchange for halting the lawsuits that have thus far been their mainstay weapon against piracy.
Below Code. Comatonse Records has been around for a little over 10 years, and to celebrate, the owner, Terre Thaemlitz, put out a free best-of CD. The physical copies are all long-gone, but it's available for download (along with a bonus track that didn't fit on the original disc). Most of the stuff is relatively noisy (and some found sound stuff), but there's some cool electronic type pieces, rock and pop songs and solo piano pieces as well. Also of note is his own personal site, which has links to a lot of cool essays, typically about gender issues and music. (There's also links to images of graphical scores to some of his music.) [Poking around these sites are pretty much NSFW -- the only explicitly NSFW links are on "his own personal site" and "music", but there's quite a few naked people and suchlike around, including on one of the postcards that make up the main link, so, yeah -- take care!]
Songfight is a site where users compose songs based weekly titles. Then the public votes and a winner is decided. While necessarily indie, there is a wide variety of styles present and many great songs (mp3 links) have come out of this site. (Check the archives).
How lyrics work, offered up by one of my favorite singers and songwriters. No, you won't learn who she was really singing about in "You're So Vain" but it's still a fascinating read about a topic she knows a thing or two about.