Monday, December 15, 2003

Written for
15 dec 2003

Released on Kompakt, Pop Ambient 2004 is the latest annual installment in a series of the most emotive and ethereal ambient music being produced today. For a genre that can sound flat, Eno-derivative, and unoriginal in its lesser moments, this series shines by showcasing some of the best and brightest talents in electronic composition — from label regulars like Ulf Lohmann to up-and-coming new talents like Japan's Tetsuo Sakae (aka Pass Into Silence). The overall sound of the record is absolutely hypnotizing, with warm, subtle synth pieces and minimal melodies and progressions. It's completely tranquil, yet cerebral and engaging at the same time. Highlights include Pass Into Silence's "Sakura" and Donnach Costello's fragile, guitar-based "To Thee This Night." (CJN)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Publication: The Fader
Date 10 December 2002

With the popularity of downloading on the decline due to RIAA restrictions on peer-to-peer networks, other more traditional outlets are resurfacing. One example is New York’s East Village Radio, a station serving, well, the East Village and beyond. While the variety of programming may have a pirate radio ethos, the founders want to keep things legit in terms of national broadcasting regulations. As such, the station streams on the web via and is limiting its actual transmissions until the proper license can be obtained, thus avoiding unpleasant FCC entanglements. However, lack of signal hasn’t prevented the word from getting out. Station manager Donielle McCary stated that they have been fielding calls from all over the US, with the number of streaming broadcast listeners growing steadily. Currently, the musical programming is eclectic, ranging from minimal German techno, to sixties rock, to Brazilian neo-afro-jazz and other hyphenated genres. But is this college radio revisited? In response, DJ Doug Mosurock and station co-founder Frank Prisinzano both emphasized the station’s grassroots approach as a local community resource. In addition, there is a more open music policy, as there are no CMJ-mandated playlists-- the strength lies in the depths of the DJ’s crates and their imagination.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003


hello, and thank you for choosing karl briedrick and I to
dj at your party/event/festival/after party.
our requirements:
(2) roundtrip first-class tickets on a domestic US carrier
(for events in the continental United States), preferably
one not in the death throes of bankruptcy.
For all other cases, we prefer a star alliance affiliated
airline for global travel.
In descending order of preference:
Singapore Airlines
So on and so forth.
We've also heard through the grapevine that the new
bathrooms on British Airways are fabulous. Mahogany
accents/ windows, and so forth. Because of this, BA is
a perfectly acceptable carrier.
(2) nights lodging in a suitable hotel, preferably one
designed by phillipe stark, or an appropriately
highbrow scandanavian designer.
(2) bottles of veuve clicqot, chilled. no exceptions,
especially for cristal.
(4) gram(s) cocaine
1/4 oz cannibus sativa (preferably named white widow
or another suitably clever/fri
ghtening name)
(2) 14 year old estonian models. Latvians will do, the
entire Baltic region for that matter.
(2) bottles of Matoni spring water from the czech
(1) packet of M&Ms, with the greens removed. Karl
doesn't like green.
other requirements-
under no circumstances may the hilton sisters, the bush
sisters or badly drawn boy be allowed on the guest list.
this is for your safety as well as ours.
however, chloë sevigny is more than welcome,
provided she is not accompanied by vincent gallo, or
any other brooding musician or filmmaker for that matter.
thank you!

Political Essays:

A digression from music writing, if I may.

This was a paper I wrote in early 2002, and I think that many of you will find it interesting knowing what we know today.
Drop me a line with your thoughts.

Colin James Nagy
Political Theory

How much freedom should we trade for our security?

Domestic security within the United States has always been an issue, yet with recent developments in global terrorism, most notably the September 11th attacks on the United States, it has become evident that holes and inconsistencies exist in the current system. However, despite the obvious need for change in the way our domestic security is carried out, there exists a fine line of what is necessary and what infringes on the civil liberties afforded to all Americans. Herein lies the dilemma facing the United States as it enters the 21st century.

The burden of balancing the rights of individuals as granted by the Constitution and Bill of Rights with the necessity of the state to undertake measures to protect both itself and its citizens during a time of emergency is heavy to bear and one that is not without far reaching implications on both sides. In seeking a greater protection for the threatened state, more power is either ceded by the individuals or usurped by the state. This has been the case throughout American history, and is no different today.
However, with an educated public and an alert media, it is possible to prevent such egregious violations of civil liberties.

These are two of the most vital resources when the question is raised: How much freedom should we trade for our security? The reason being, this question is not directly posed (nor can be), but rather emerges in time. With proper media attention, public discourse and commentary, a system will emerge which balances the two, rather than having excess on either side of the equation.

When confronted with dire circumstances such as the destruction, loss of life and economic disruption that global terrorism threatens, changes are unquestionably justified and various areas of our security infrastructure have come under severe scrutiny. Areas such as airport security to border control to coordination between the FBI and CIA have all been issues of the moment, and reform is on the tips of everyone’s tongue. However, with bureaucracies that have in the past been resistant to change, the true challenge is the reformation of pre-existing policies with due consideration of the very liberties that are contained in our modern democracy. It is my thought that during times of war or terror, the civil liberties of Americans have the potential to be blatantly curtailed and administrations use a combination of high public support and distracted attention to further a controversial agenda. This can currently be seen in the FBI’s new abilities for domestic surveillance and the current situations with military tribunals and indefinite detentions. When discussing the issue of how much freedom should be traded for security, a helpful place to start is with the United States Patriot Act, signed into law October 26th, 2002. It is clear to see that steps in the wrong direction have already been taken.

Political Philosopher John Locke argued that “occasions may arise when the Executive must exert a broad discretion in meeting special exigencies or "emergencies" for which the legislative power has provided no relief or existing law grants no necessary remedy.” (1) This idea can be applied to the legislation written and passed in the immediate period following September 11th—although it went through the traditional methods of becoming law, many of the safeguards and methods of scrutiny have been thrown by the wayside. Because of this, civil liberties and freedoms are being curtailed in favor of increased security.
The Patriot Act (Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act ) passed October 25th and signed into law on the 26th, yields significant power to the Attorney General, the President and his cabinet, and in many ways lies in contrast with the original intentions of the constitution--to limit power to any certain area in an attempt to prevent tyranny.
To briefly summarize the 342 page act, it contains provisions to “deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools and for other purposes…” This means increased access by law enforcement agencies to electronic information, easier access to wiretaps and the right to eavesdrop on previously confidential attorney/ client privileges in certain situations. It outlines increased funding for anti-terror in both the domestic and international context, including financing for money laundering abatement. There are significant enhancements to immigration policies in the US, notably monitoring of foreign students. Perhaps most controversially, it outlines the concept of military tribunals of those suspected of terrorism and indefinite detention. The act also outlines new definitions of terrorism. For example: someone may be guilty of aiding terrorism, if he collects money for or even contributes to a charity which supports the general aims of any organization abroad deemed inappropriate or illegal by the US government - the IRA, for example, or foreign anti-abortion groups.

A recent article dated March 9, 2002 in the Guardian (UK) stated, “The Justice Department has now detained several hundred aliens, some of them in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. None has been convicted of anything at all, and many have been charged with only minor immigration offences that would not by themselves justify detention.” (2) This in essence is the major problem many people have with the provisions outlined in the Patriot Act; they feel it provides the government with far too much unchecked power, and as we have seen in the past, this can have disastrous consequences. In short, too much American freedom has been compromised.

The article goes on to state, “The department has also, without any congressional approval, unilaterally altered other safeguards against injustice, including, for instance, the right of someone suspected or accused of a crime to consult in private a lawyer of his own choosing. On November 13, in the most dramatic declaration so far, President Bush announced that any non-US citizen that he declared a suspected terrorist - this includes aliens resident in the US for many years as well as soldiers captured in combat in Afghanistan - might be tried, at his discretion, by a military tribunal rather than in a criminal court. Such tribunals might be secret, and would be governed by rules laid down by the secretary of defense, including provisions for the "qualifications" and "conduct" of lawyers representing the accused; the ordinary rules of evidence would not apply; the tribunal might declare a defendant's guilt even though not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt; its verdict, including any death penalties, could be reached by a two-thirds vote; and that verdict might be reviewed only by the president, or the secretary of defense….” (2)
An extremely recent example of the powers given to the government can be seen in a Washington Post article dated June 20, 2002. When referring to a statement by the Justice department in appeals court, it states, “The filing in the case of Yaser Esam Hamedi, the U.S. born man captured with Taliban forces and being held at a Navy brig at Norfolk, provides the most forceful enunciation yet of the Bush administration’s position that those declared enemy combatants in the war on terrorism have no right to counsel and can be held indefinitely…The document signals the government’s intent to assert broad political authority in the cases of terrorist suspects apprehended overseas. It raises the likelihood that similar authority will be sought in the case of Jose Padilla, a Brooklyn NY native arrested in Chicago in May on suspicions he was planning to participate in a “dirty bomb” attack.” (3)

With these examples, it is absolutely clear that too much freedom has been yielded in the name of security. Both of these men have United States citizenship, and are fully entitled to a criminal trial and legal council. While the plight of foreign combatants may be seen as a legal “gray” area (relegated to cells in Guantanamo bay) there is no doubt that these two men are US citizens, and are entitled to legal counsel and a fair trial. David Cole, a Georgetown law professor, states in the Washington Post article that, “This is a really astounding assertion of authority…its not just that you have no right to a lawyer, it’s that you have no right to have a hearing. If that is true, there is no limit to the President’s power to label US citizens as bad people and have them held in military custody indefinitely.” (3) One must only observe other examples in US history where this authority goes unchecked—perhaps most notably the internment of Japanese Americans after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The aforementioned are merely examples of trading too much freedom in the name of security. This is absolutely intolerable. Civil liberties must be upheld in any case. It is one thing to be searched more thoroughly while traveling, but it is completely another for the US government to reign supreme over former legal methods and practices outlined in the constitution; a document intended for the preservation of individual rights. This holds true in other areas as well, such as the FBI’s increased eavesdropping powers. The question must be raised of what if, during the monitoring of communications or other methods, the agency comes across other illegal activities? What, under the current provisions, prevents them from acting on this information that they didn’t originally set out to find? This stands as a slippery slope issue, and one that must be addressed in a clear and unquestionable manner. If civil liberties keep diminishing, the eventual slide into a police state isn’t necessarily unfathomable.

It is clear that in the current time period, in the wake of the most deadly attack in history to occur on American soil, that much is left to be done and reforms are necessary. However, with the current system, it has become glaringly obvious that in its haste, the American government has neglected the civil liberties afforded by the United States Constitution in favor of wartime legislation and emergency acts. To answer the question, how much freedom should we trade for security? The answer stands, enough to raise the level of public safety in our country, but never enough to start making our modern democracy appear as the shadow of a police state, with similarities to Soviet Russia or any other repressive regime in history. It was, in the end Osama bin Laden who stated an intention of Al Qaeda’s terrorist actions to be the limiting of personal freedoms to Americans by way of increased oppressive laws and regulations. This must not occur, as it will drastically affect American life as we know it.

Spinning in the Gulf.
Colin James Nagy
April 2003

According to a recent op-ed in the New York Times, columnist Paul Krugman presents the viewpoint that the War in Iraq was sold and imposed by the Bush Administration on the public and the international community on the basis of Iraqi possession and development of potential weapons of mass destruction (WMDs)

President Bush’s most important partner in the “coalition of the willing,” Tony Blair attempted to rally the British public using a mixture of this tactic and a lofty moral purpose. He stated in the Guardian UK, “history will prove us right.” Mr. Blair further went on to make historical comparisons related to potential pre-emptions in history that would have saved an immense amount of bloodshed particularly in regards to World War II.

In reference to the current justifications for the second Gulf War, Krugman quotes an unnamed Senior Bush administration official as saying, “We were not lying…but it was just a matter of emphasis.”

The US news media has deservedly been focusing on the hunt for these elusive weapons, as the Bush administration hypes the liberation and forthcoming groundwork for democracy. However, as Krugman rightly points out, “One wonders whether most of the public will ever learn that the original case for war has turned out to be false. In fact, my guess is that most Americans believe that we have found W.M.D.'s. Each potential find gets blaring coverage on TV; how many people catch the later announcement — if it is ever announced — that it was a false alarm? It's a pattern of misinformation that recapitulates the way the war was sold in the first place.”

Other Times columnists such as Thomas Friedman believe that ends in this case, justify the means, stating, “As far as I’m concerned, we do not need to find any weapons of mass destruction. That skull (in reference to the skull of a political prisoner under the Hussein regime featured on the cover of the Friday, April 25th issue) is enough for me. Mr. Bush doesn’t owe the world any explanation even if it turns out the Bush Administration hyped the issue.”

This leads one to consider another “hyping” in history, hyped so much in fact, to the extent that it didn’t even exist. The first Gulf War was essentially sold to the American public stemming from allegations that Iraqi troops in Kuwait were removing newborn babies from their incubators.

Testimony before congress came from the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador in Washington, DC. The most emotionally moving of the testimony came on October 10, 1990, from the 15-year-old Kuwaiti girl, known only by her first name of Nayirah.

Sobbing, she described what she had seen with her own eyes in a hospital in Kuwait City. "I volunteered at the al-Addan hospital," Nayirah said. "While I was there, I saw the Iraqi soldiers come into the hospital with guns, and go into the room where . . . babies were in incubators. They took the babies out of the incubators, took the incubators, and left the babies on the cold floor to die."

This testimony was eerily reminiscent of World War I Allied propaganda that invading German soldiers had bayoneted and mutilated Belgian babies in 1914.

Since then, reputable human rights organizations and journalists have concluded that the baby incubator story was an outright fabrication. Every study commissioned by the Kuwaiti government could not produce a shred of evidence that the ambassador's daughter had been back in occupied Kuwait to do volunteer work in a hospital.

Subsequent investigations, by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, found no evidence for the incubator claims.

Nevertheless, on Jan. 12, 1991, the U.S. Senate approved support of the war against Iraq by a narrow, five-vote margin.

According to a report written by Lou Morano for United Press International on February 26, 2002, …The New York Times reported that the Defense Department is paying the Rendon Group, a Washington-based international consulting firm, $100,000 per month to help the Office of Strategic Information (OSI) with a broad campaign that would include "black" propaganda, or disinformation.

The Times later stated that, "the Rendon Group has done extensive work for the Central Intelligence Agency, the Kuwaiti royal family and the Iraqi National Congress, the opposition group seeking to oust President Saddam Hussein. ... The firm is well known for running propaganda campaigns in Arab countries, including one denouncing atrocities by Iraq during its 1990 invasion of Kuwait."

Again, this brings to mind the aforementioned pieces of disinformation promulgated the last time the government wanted to build public support for a war against Iraq. Hill and Knowlton, one of the world’s largest public relations firms, fabricated it.

From Krugman’s article, “In September Mr. Bush cited an International Atomic Energy Agency report that he said showed that Saddam was only months from having nuclear weapons. "I don't know what more evidence we need," he said. In fact, the report said no such thing — and for a few hours the lead story on MSNBC's Web site bore the headline " White House: Bush Misstated Report on Iraq." Then the story vanished — not just from the top of the page, but from the site.” The original and edited versions are available online at

The liberation of Iraq is no doubt a good thing, but the road we took to get here is quite troubling. Campaigning on a solely humanitarian rights basis would have brought critics out of the woodwork saying, why not Sierra Leone? Why not the Congo? Why not displace Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe? These are all valid questions. The US and its coalition members knew they needed something more effective and perhaps most importantly, more frightening. The fear of nuclear annihilation or death from sarin gas weighs much more heavily on the minds of most people, rather than the plight of people in far away (and much less publicized) conflicts.

Thus, tactics employed by the both Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. in their respective experiences with Iraq are quite similar. Time will tell if weapons of mass destruction will be found, despite international intelligence reports to the contrary. The recent, attitude of “might makes right—he who has the Stealth bombers, smart bombs and predator drones make the rules” posturing adopted by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and other senior members of the administration is nothing new, contrary to the views of opponents of the war. It was clearly employed by the slick Public Relations maneuvering during the first Gulf War.

The main issue, however, is while these tactics might serve immediate US interests in the realist perspective, they seem very short-sighted when considering long-term credibility of US policy for the forthcoming years, not to mention further damaging the already strained trans-Atlantic and global alliances.

Written in 2002

The recent discovery of Al Qaeda videotapes by Senior CNN correspondent Nic Robertson documenting chemical weapons tests on animals is undoubtedly disturbing. However, one must question the timing and media coverage of such an event, especially given the questions being raised at the moment regarding further strategic action in the Middle East.

According to the CNN lead posted online August 18, 2002 at 10:48 p.m., a collection of dozens of videotapes obtained by CNN in Afghanistan sheds new light on the inner workings of Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terror organization. The chilling archive includes footage of dogs being killed in poison gas experiments, lessons on making explosives, instructions on terrorist tactics and previously unseen images of bin Laden and his top aides.”
The question as to where the tapes were discovered remains unclear. According to the original CNN report, “Mr. Robertson and senior CNN executives declined to say precisely how or where they located the tapes, but they said CNN did not pay for them. Mr. Robertson said he drove 17 hours from the Afghan capital of Kabul about two weeks ago to view the tapes, which he said had been moved away from their original location…”
The tapes show various Al Qaeda activities, ranging from instructional videos on bomb making to various terrorist activities. According to both CNN, and the New York Times reports, the most disturbing scenes included the poisoning of various dogs by unidentified chemicals.
A story by Judith Miller run in the New York Times describes in detail the poison-induced death of a “white Labrador-like dog, wearing a green ribbon.” The article goes on to state, “The dog then tries standing; its head shakes violently, and its breathing quickens. Its hind legs appear to collapse. Seconds later, the dog falls and struggles to stand. Unable to control its front legs, it whimpers and moans. Then the dog appears to vomit. Its moan becomes a piercing wail.”
As horrifying as this is, the dramatic detail proves entirely unnecessary, and one must question what this sort of emotional appeal does for US public opinion in a time of divided interests. It brings to mind the rumors, and subsequent rampant media coverage of the babies in Kuwait allegedly removed from their incubators by Iraqi soldiers, thus rallying opinion towards strategic action against Iraq under the first Bush administration.

Such blatant emotional appeals, whether they be newborns or white Labrador retrievers serve essentially the same purpose. It paints the enemy as unhuman, and makes it entirely easier to sell any sort of war plan to the public. With a nation divided as to what will happen in the forthcoming weeks in respect to Iraq, these discovered videotapes may just serve that purpose. Media agencies, especially such bastions of journalism as the New York Times must remain cognizant of the fact that the US government has, and always will be mounting propaganda campaigns in times of war. To say that these Al Qaeda tapes might have been strategically leaked (or placed in an area easily found with an anonymous tip) might not be far from the truth. It’s purely speculation, but something to bear in mind given the circumstances.
Written for the Washington Square News (NYU)
Spring 2003

Jon DeRosa, a graduate Music Technology student at NYU, has recently released the latest in a series of albums under the guise Aarktica. The project consists of a constantly revolving lineup of collaborators, yet is anchored by the atmospheric guitar soundscapes DeRosa creates. The newest record, Pure Tone Audiometry (Silber Records) is a cohesive piece of music from start to finish, with a distinct and subdued atmosphere, punctuated by occasional moments of upbeat post-rock, and set amidst an almost glacial ambient backdrop. It’s a sonic contradiction that leaves the listener roaming between frigidity and warmth. Perhaps most striking is the level of production, enabling the listener to discover deeper layers of textures and pulses with each listen.

As an undergraduate at NYU, DeRosa was a music technology major, focusing on electronic music synthesis and composition with Dr. Kenneth Valitsky. As a graduate, DeRosa has enjoyed studying composition with Nick Didkovsky and psychology of music with Dr. Robert Rowe. He also studies North Indian classical music with microtonal composer Michael Harrison and minimalist pioneer La Monte Young.

DeRosa’s last Aarktica album, …Or you could go through your whole life and be happy anyway (Darla Records), was well received in both the independent music community and major media outlets. Jon Pareles, pop music editor of The New York Times noted, “Guitars, voices and electronic pulses are layered together in stately, gradually changing, mostly instrumental songs that could come from a less neurotic version of the Cure.” Even the notoriously highbrow, home to some of the most intelligent record reviews around, called it “an essential release in the Darla bliss-out series,” and that, “The consistency of the music here creates a world unto its own. It'll churn in any season, like a snow globe.”

In addition to Aarktica, DeRosa’s other project, the country-esque Pale Horse and Rider, has also released a new record this month on Darla Records. The album is titled These Are The New Good Times, and can be compared musically to the sounds of Johnny Cash or Hank Williams, in stark contrast to the blissful and distortion drenched Aarktica. Instead of lush, thick, production, PHR is comprised predominantly of steel string acoustic guitar and vocals. Jon recently joined me to discuss Aarktica, his other musical endeavors and what can be expected from him in the future.

What sort of progression do you feel has occurred from the previous Aarktica records to Pure Tone Audiometry?

For one, there was a clearer focus on what I was doing than on past albums. The finished product this time around was very close to what I had set out to do. Now this probably doesn’t sound like that big a deal, but if you’ve ever recorded in a well-equipped studio, you’ll know what I mean. It’s easy to get distracted by shiny toys and blinking lights. And since I get very easily distracted in the studio (whether it be by the new issue of Maxim in the control room or the new tube compressor), the idea that I was able to produce an album directly from what I had in my mind to begin with and not get sidetracked was significant.

I think the issue I had been dealing with all the while with Aarktica was “How do you make a drone album with pop nuances, in such a way where both elements work together and compliment each other?” And I feel that while there’s still progress to make on that angle, the new album really gets closer to that than any of the previous albums.

Also, I had several friends perform on this record, which is very new to me since Aarktica’s usually pretty solitary. Lorraine (of Mahogany) had sung on the previous album, and she joined me again, along with Andrew of Mahogany on cello, Ernie of Plexus on bass, Molly Sheridan on violin, Hadley of Escapade on drums, and Charles of Flare on harmonium. Charles also co-produced the record and offered a lot of good ideas, which I feel worked out really well.

Would you consider the Pale Horse and Rider project essentially a way to connect more directly with songwriting, and not become distracted with the nuances and production of Aarktica?

Even though Aarktica is allegedly my “main” project, I had been playing folk music long before it ever occurred to me to start doing anything ambient or experimental with guitars. So that’s sort of where my roots are. I started Aarktica after losing hearing in my right ear, with the intention of creating drones that recreated my now damaged stereo image and which utilized frequencies I could still hear clearly in both ears. At the time, the project was anything but “produced.” The first Aarktica album No Solace in Sleep was recorded in Carlyle Court on a 4-track cassette recorder.

Both projects exist very separately from each other. Maybe I’m schizophrenic or ridiculous that way, but when I’m working on one, the other is very far removed from my mind. Almost like it’s someone else’s thing.

You’ve mentioned perhaps combining some of your studies in classical Indian music with Aarktica, have you written anything in this vein to date?

I think that influence has seeped into Aarktica in its own subtle way already. I have a very large-scale idea for the next album involving raga, but it’s too early to really say if it’ll work or not.

What direction do you want to head with Aarktica? Any more “rocking out?” as you put it in reference to track two on the new record?

Well, “rocking out” is always the fun choice, though it doesn’t always make for good music. Restraint and precision is usually the way to go, being able to channel that rage into something beautiful. But I don’t know. Each Aarktica album has had a very different sound from the one it follows, and I think as long as I can keep myself on my toes (not to mention others as well), I’m doing a good job.

Music Journalism:

Recap: Fabric
08 November 2003
London, United Kingdom
Simple Records showcase: room three

Hands down, London's Fabric has one of the most innovative and forward thinking music policies in the world. The simple records showcase held on the 8th of November was no exception. On display in the intimate space of room three was Fin Greenall, playing as Sideshow, starting off the night with his blend of lush and deep beats. Following came a performance from Austrian-based duo Walkner.Hintenaus. Their set consisted of Uwe Walkner on the decks, with Frederic Hintenaus providing live percussion over the top, accompanied by sax and trumpets from Trio Exclusiv artists Martin Zrost and Richard Klammer. The sound from the turntables was spaced-out jazzy grooves and breaks with the additional live improvision adding quite the special element. Following this performance, simple recordings DJ Will Saul carried the night until 5 in the morning with his fluid blends of breakbeats, deep house and an extraordinary attention to the mood of the dancefloor. Overall, a great warm-up set, a very special performance from the Austrians, and a sublime display of DJ talent from Will Saul. In the future, expect bright things to come from simple places.

-Colin James Nagy

Fresh from the US release of his LP entitled “Again,” Mark Nguyen Tan aka Colder drops the first 12’ single, “Crazy Love” with two remixes. The original is anchored by a very Joy Divison/ Mani from the Stone Roses-eque bassline, with Colder’s detached vocals hanging over paranoid sounding synths and fairly simple, yet driving drum programming. The remixes are distinct departures from the originals, with Output Recordings Artist Tall Blonde (Luke Innes) essentially rebuilding the song from the ground up, taking the vocal duties, adding an acoustic guitar and some very minimal synth elements. On the flip, there is dark 4/4 Rework stomper for the floor with german-accented female vocals this time repeating “smile and a kiss, together” and getting all hypnotic on us. From here on it gets progressively more distorted, twisted, and depending on how you take your cup of tea--dead sexy.

-Colin J Nagy

Review: Chicken Lips Dj Kicks

The British DJ/ Production trio Chicken Lips step up for the latest installment of in a long line of DJ kicks mixes, pulling out some records that have been had a distinct influence on their left of center and distinctive production sound.

This mix is on the super-eclectic tip and takes its influences equally from reggae, dub, disco, punk and funk without one genre necessarily overshadowing another. On display are the organ-based psychedelics and filtered female vocals of Brainticket’s “Meaning of life,” the bleeps and bass heavy funk of Jimmy Spicer’s “The Bubble Bunch (original Jellybean 12’ Mix.) all the way down to the leftfield echoes and dubbed-out slink of Nina Haggen’s “African Reggae.” On the unmixed LP, there are tracks of slightly more peak tempos as well, namely the funk, horns and strings of The Raincoats’ Animal Rhapsody (Dennis Bovell mix) and the flanged-out 4/4 disco oddity that is George Duke’s “Brazilian Love Affair.”

-Colin J Nagy

CD REVIEW: Channel 2: A Compilation of Output Recordings (various artists)
Released April 2003
$16.99 (Other Music)

With his Underdog remixes and hugely successful Playgroup project, it would seem Trevor Jackson can do no wrong. This assertion is only further reinforced by the quality of the material being released on his London-based Output Recordings label. Output's latest compilation, Channel 2, showcases a diverse blend of the punk/funk avant garde, and then moves far beyond into the downbeat/leftfield realm. On display are the lazy, ethereal melodies of 7 Hurtz' "Malibu," the warbling 303 acid house of DK7's floorfiller "The Difference," and the downbeat synth-tinged whispers of Circlesquare's "Non-Revival Alarm." Also showcased are NYC staples LCD Soundsystem and the Rapture. Channel 2 is more than enough to whet the appetite and encourage further exploration of the label. Essential. (CJN)

T. Raumschmiere, Ellen Allien, Apparat, and Tommie Sunshine
when: Wed 11.12 (9pm)
where: Knitting Factory (74 Leonard St, 212.219.3006)
price: $12 advance / $15
links: Event Info | T. Raumschmiere | Ellen Allien | Apparat
Most recently known for the sonic destruction that is the song "Rabaukendisko" from his latest album Radio Blackout, Berliner T. Raumschmiere brings his energetic, dirty, synth-driven techno to NYC. Raumschmiere's live gigs often leave the crowd fearing for his safety as well as that of his equipment — he throws every ounce of his essence into the performance, which is sure to be sweaty, fist-pumping, and intense. Preceding is the Berlinette herself, Bpitch control label boss Ellen Allien, dropping Deutschland's finest breaks, techno, and electro on the decks. Raumschmiere's co-label owner Apparat also performs, with an opening DJ set from Tommie Sunshine. (CJN)

Nitin Sawhney
when: Wed 11.19 (10pm)
where: Anju (36 E 20th St, 212.674.1111)
price: $15 advance / $20
links: Event Info | Nitin Sawhney
Nitin Sawhney, like his contemporary Talvin Singh, has been one of the major innovators of a new kind of music that combines traditional Indian arrangements, percussion, and strings with the modern synths and beats of electronica. Described by The Face as an "Asian Modernist," Nitin has released three critically acclaimed albums, one of which was short-listed for the Mercury Music Prize. Tonight's event is a listening party for his latest LP, Human, which, drawing on his British and Asian roots, is perhaps his most autobiographical work to date. After the playback, Mr. Sawhney performs a DJ set. (CJN)

Michael Mayer w/ Reinhard Voigt
when: Tue 11.25 (9pm)
where: APT (419 W 13th St, 212.414.4245)
price: $5 advance / $10
links: Michael Mayer | APT
The minimal sounds of Cologne-based Kompakt records, whether categorized as "house" or "techno," are causing quite a stir in Europe, and tonight Kompakt boss Michael Mayer, fresh from mixing a new Fabric release, brings the latest tracks from his own crew and other labels' forward-thinking music to APT. Mayer describes his sets as being "very pop-influenced," emphasizing song structure rather than long, drawn-out house mixing. While admitting to loving the deeper side of house, he insists "there should be a few tunes you can whistle on the way home." He's joined by Reinhard Voigt, a Kompakt artist from the start, who's best known for producing dirty and subversive pop-tinged minimal techno. (CJN)

Paul Mogg of Psychonauts
when: Fri 11.28 (9pm)
where: APT (419 W 13th St, 212.414.4245)
price: $6
links: Psychonauts | APT
Paul Mogg and Pablo Clements are the Psychonauts, a duo that made their name as turntablists in the late '90s with their epic Time Machine mix of 50 Mo'Wax records in 40 minutes. It was an absolute masterpiece of the cut-and-paste ethic that blurred boundaries and left most people scratching their heads. After creating much buzz with little output beyond the Mo'Wax comp, Psychonauts recently released their stellar debut record, Songs for Creatures, on DJ Hell's Gigolo imprint. This evening, Psycho Paul takes to the decks, supported by James F*cking Friedman. Anticipate fractured electro-funk enriched by a deep-rooted musical knowledge spanning time, space, and genre. (CJN)

CD REVIEW: Aarktica, Pure Tone Audiometry
Released February 2003
$16.98 (Amazon)

Jon DeRosa, a Music Technology graduate from NYU, has recently released the latest in a series of albums under the guise Aarktica. The project consists of a constantly revolving lineup of collaborators, always anchored by DeRosa's atmospheric guitar soundscapes. The newest CD, Pure Tone Audiometry (Silber Records) is a cohesive piece of music from start to finish, with a distinct and subdued atmosphere, punctuated by occasional moments of upbeat post-rock, and set against an almost glacial ambient backdrop — a sonic contradiction that leaves the listener roaming between frigidity and warmth. Perhaps most striking is the sophisticated level of production, which invites us to discover deeper layers of textures and pulses with each listen. (CJN)

Released June 2003
$15.99 (Other Music)

While the NYC punk/funk scene cribs and recycles bits and bobs from the '80s, this release from Colder is absolutely refreshing in that it doesn't wear its Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire, and Kraftwerk influences as prominently as a lapel pin on a secondhand blazer. Rather, Parisian Marc Nguyen Tan has patched said references into a decidedly new and unique context. His debut record Again features chopped-up funk basslines and spacey, detached vocals over synth melodies — all filtered down into a fairly minimalist and downtempo affair that
may prove to be one of 2003's best. (CJN)

CD REVIEW: UNKLE, Never, Never, Land
Mo' Wax/Island
Released September 2003
$25.99 (Other Music)

The latest incarnation of the ever-evolving UNKLE project consists of Richard File, James Lavelle, and, in the tradition of 1998's Psyence Fiction, a host of big-name collaborators. Never, Never, Land features Jarvis Cocker, Josh Homme, Brian Eno, Ian Brown, and Massive Attack's 3D in a clear departure from former UNKLE member DJ Shadow's dark and emotive compositions. Lavelle and Files' monthly residency at London's Fabric has proven to be a major influence for this new sound. Gone are the artfully constructed downtempo jazz breaks in favor of big-room synth basslines, piercing snares, and a 30,000 watt soundsystem in mind with tracks such as "Panic Attack" and "Safe in Mind." However, one of the album's best moments, "In a State," with its blend of synths, guitars, and Richard File's vocals, is decidedly dark and danceable, yet comparatively restrained. Some tracks may seem too overt at first, but this record's subtleties expand with each listen, while still satisfying fans of the UNKLE soundsystem's menacing dancefloor presence. (CJN)

Artist: Swayzak
Album: Fabric 11
Label: Fabric
Release: August 12, 2003

From the microsampled sounds of Akufen and two spot-on DFA productions to a Negativland cut-up and a Thomas Dolby synth classic, Swayzak's contribution to Fabric's CD series is a creative, eccentric mix. With this release, 4/4 constraints don't dictate the game; instead, Swayzak choose to emphasize individual tracks and specific moods — like Röyksopp's dreamy remix of Felix da Housecat's "What Does It Feel Like?" and Rockers Hi Fi's classic space dub "Push Push." A solid, genre-defying effort. (CJN)