The online sector of Crossing Chaos, Saucytooth, just released its second issue, featuring work from a lot of really talented guys… one of my favorite writers going today, Steve Aylett, has a Lovecraft tribute in there, and dudes like Forrest Aguirre, Kris Saknussemm, Adam Lowe and a handful of others have some really great work in, too. It’s all totally free and well-worth checking out. Just wanted to throw y’all a heads up because if you’re like me, you’re always looking for new art to satisfy that part of your head and you’re too broke-as-shit to go around buying it every time you’re jonesing. Psshh.
Because I can’t stop listening to it. “Turning the Corner” by J-Dub – you might remember him mentioned in the DJ Grumble interview… I think J’s got such a unique, emotional way of making music and he’s another one of those undiscovered genuises that nobody fucking knows about. So get to know him. It’s medicinal. When you’re done with that song check out “Come Back,” that shit’s golden.
For real, I’ve listened to the new song like 20 times in two days.
SCRATCH (2001), directed by Doug Pray
This film is incredible, and in the first place, you don’t have to be into hip hop or turntablism to love it. The human story of how the movement came to prominance alone is worth watching. But for hip hop heads, especially those whose ear leans towards the production of tracks, Scratch is pure gold. It starts from the beginning and follows turntablism through to its contemporary condition, but you hear a lot of voices from the DJs who kept it real when things were starting to get hyper-commercialized around them, even to the point of the DJ being forgotten as a neccesary element of hip hop. More appropriately, when hip hop became rap, because as is said in the film, real hip hop is the lifestyle concerning all the elements: the emcee and the DJ, the graffiti, the dancing. Man, just hearing how these DJs thought of themselves as the machines that make the party move (which they were) is totally inspiring.
The film’s got lots of interviews with some of the most accomplished musicians in the field: seems like DJ Qbert is their favorite, you hear more from him than probably anyone else, and he’s a very intelligent and interesting guy to listen to. But they also got guys like DJ Premier, Mix Master Mike (who’s the shit, I have twice as much respect for him now), Cut Chemist and Numark, The X-ecutioners, DJ Babu from Dilated Peoples, lots of the guys who were in hip hop during its most formative years… and they break it down piece-by-piece, even talking about things like digging for records, and wait ’til the scene where we’re chilling with DJ Shadow in the basement of some record shop, where you honestly can’t even seem to walk around for the thousands and thousands of records spilling all over the place. That’s where Shadow digs for his shit, and everybody’s got a similar place to practice the art of reviving dead records and making them utterly new. There’s so much good shit in this film and I haven’t stopped thinking about most of it. You definitely have to scope this one. It’ll be universally loved by anyone who digs through the dust for it.
Every year we get a bunch of artists together who, because of how different the art they make is, are so used to being an outsider wherever they go. And all the people who are going for the first time are nervous because they’re so used to not being understood for their eccentricities or outer-space-perception of the world, and five minutes into it everybody realizes that “Holy shit, I’m surrounded entirely by people who get everything I say.” It feels like family. I really love going to Bizarro Con and this year was no different. A weekend of waking up early and filling our head with new knowledge (this year Carlton Mellick led his high-concept story workshop again, and Eckhard Gerdes led one to help embolden our artistic missions and help us realize exactly why we do this the way we do it. It ended up being one of the best three-hour conversations I’ve ever had on art), and then get drunk until very, very late and two hours later wake-up-and-be-serious again.
The last night was the Wonderland Awards dinner – those who are familiar with me but not bizarro might remember the name from last year when This City is Alive was nominated for one – and I was so stoked about the dudes who took home the award (Kevin Donihe in the novel category for House of Houses and Mykle Hansen for his collection Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere) (yes it’s really called that) because they’re both incredibly unique and in their own worlds and deserve to be read. House of Houses ties anything else for best book the bizarro genre’s put out and Mykle’s hilarious, though if you haven’t experienced him yet I would check out his Help! A Bear is Eating Me! first. I’ve seen so many people who don’t even read books pick that up and read the first page and not be able to stop. And coming from a literary mindset it’s just as amazing.
I did a performance Poetry Vending Machine and did some beatwork for my own and Eckhard Gerdes’ performance. Then my laptop got stepped on and the crack in the screen is really depressing. Anybody know how much this shit costs to fix?
Swallowdown Press, the brainchild of Jeremy Robert Johnson, just put out Cody Goodfellow’s Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars. It’s been two years since Swallowdown released Jeremy’s cult-hit novels Extinction Journals and Siren Promised, but Cody’s book marks the beginning of a new wave of releases from them, including another from Cody in January called Perfect Union; my next two books, Motion Inside a Photograph and Warm Milk; and dope novels from Mitch Maurade and and J. David Osborne. Some very exciting work and there’s not a nest quite like Swallowdown yet. We’re all very happy to be chilling in it.
Check the dank cover art by Alan M. Clark, the same guy Jeremy did Siren Promised with:
Back cover: In the brutal zero-sum game of the new future, every meal is a murder, and every act of love is a declaration of genocidal war. To survive it, you will have to make alliances with the sleeping demons in your blood; learn to wear new names and faces, and shed your soul; feed your inner child to the machine, before it eats you alive; build and defend your own heaven; and become one of the sacred, secret tools with which nature reinvents itself. To win this game, you will have to change into everything that you are not. To play you need only open this book and arm yourself with… Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars.
I’m gonna be doing this regularly from now on, probably every week. Just throwing out props to some art that I don’t feel has been seen, listened to, read, experienced as much as it should – could be music, film, books, paint. Tune in. First pick is
QUASIMOTO – The Unseen, 2000.
The rap alter-ego of Madlib, one of hip hop’s best producers, who also made Madvilliany with MF Doom. The way he does it is he slows down the tracks and raps over ’em, then speeds them back up and gets Quasimoto. Jazzy atmospherics like you can always expect with Madlib, but brought to much spacier, surreal places, and Quasi’s high-pitched, dazed out voice acts as almost an anesthesia to bring you through the whole thing tranced. Apparently this whole album was dreamed up and recorded by Madlib in a week-long mushroom binge. Word. And to top it all off, it’s got samples from Fantastic Planet. Most of the people who check out my work are either hip hop heads or surrealism-junkies, and I can say for sure this album’s got plenty of juice for both of you. Find and consume.
Just wanted to let y’all know I put three new beats up on the myspace site. Called “Just Lay Back Punk,” “NevaNevaNevaNeva” and “Like When You Smile and They Frown Back.” Enjoy them.
Lately my preferred state is in motion, driving myself deaf with too-loud headphones. The longer you walk the more you melt. Soon it’s like you’re body’s a train you’re riding on, and you get numb and picture yourself as the moon looking down, or lying in a cradle the melodys make. This is also pretty much the only time I leave the house, nowadays. It’s funny to think that I’m making art all day long now, words and beats and shit, when two months ago back in Boston I’d turn my brain off every afternoon and get the “smoke and stare at trees” process started.
Anyway, the other day when I was dazed out in my headphones, I was staring at all the graffiti on this dead train, and then a live train passed and I was staring at the graffiti on that. And then I shouted out loud! One of my favorite dudes from Boston had a big ass piece up on the side of it. His name’s Ichabod. I wanted to throw some of his shit at you:
And here’s one of his pieces that’s in my hometown. I can’t tell you how many bowls I’ve smoked staring at this thing here:
October’s already starting to close out on us. So I wanna remind you before it’s too late that Crossing Chaos has this fucking amazing deal going on throughout the month, where every time you place an order at their e-store, you get one more book free. That simple.
So stop being masochistic and get yourself an Asphalt Flowerhead if you haven’t already purchased, read and been drowned by the book. There’s no reason you have to restrain yourself, nobody is going to respect you more for your abstinence. Give into your animalistic temptations
and buy my book so I can start eating more than cheap cereal and bananas all day.