Category Archives: music

It’s alive. IT’S ALIVE!

Here’s one way to mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1818: I’m delighted to announce the publication of my new book The Medium Is the Monster: Canadian Adaptations of Frankenstein and the Discourse of Technology. It’s published by Athabasca University Press, and it’s available in hardcover, paperback, and open-access PDF.

To order, see Indigo, Amazon, or UBC Press (AUP’s distributor).

To read the open-access PDF, see AU Press’ webpage for the book and click the Free PDF tab.

Briefly, the book argues, first, that Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein effectively reinvented the meaning of the word “technology” for modern English; and, second, that Marshall McLuhan’s media theory and its adaptations in Canadian pop culture (by icons like David Cronenberg, William Gibson, Margaret Atwood, and Deadmau5) have popularized this Frankensteinian sense of technology.

The Medium Is The Monster Mix

At Mixcloud, I’ve shared a mix that’s a sonic supplement to my book The Medium Is the Monster (Athabasca University Press, 2018).

The songs and tracks mixed here all adapt Frankenstein and are discussed as such in the book. The mix follows approximately the same sequence as the book, progressing from chapter to chapter, featuring the specific songs mentioned in each. The early chapters discuss hip hop, reggae, funk, and Afro-Futurist music (e.g. Maestro Fresh Wes, Dr Octagon, Janelle Monáe); the seventh chapter focuses on EDM (e.g. Deadmau5 and The Paladin Project). The mix also includes some alternative rock, folk, and country songs (e.g. Iggy & The Stooges, Neil Young, Corb Lund). Overall, most of the content is Canadian, given the focus of the book.

Here’s a complete track list, too (since Mixcloud only reveals the track list during playback).

Introduction

  • Jon Stewart & Samantha Bee, The Daily Show, 10 Feb. 2009 (sample) 00:00

Chapter 1

  • Eric B & Rakim, “Paid in full” (seven minutes of music – the Coldcut remix) 00:36

Chapter 2

  • Dr Octagon (aka Kool Keith), “Real raw” 04:08
  • Janelle Monáe, “Good morning midnight” (interlude) 06:04
  • Janelle Monáe, “Dance or die” 07:24
  • Wolfgang Rübsam & Capella Istropolitana, Toccato and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach 10:37
  • Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Cryptkickers, “The Monster Mash” (sample) 13:18
  • Dr Octagon (aka Kool Keith), “Wild and crazy” 13:33
  • Madness, “One step beyond” (sample) 17:35
  • Byron Lee & the Dragonaires, “Frankenstein ska” 17:54
  • Parliament, “Prelude to The Clones of Dr Funkenstein” 20:27
  • Parliament, “Dr Funkenstein” 22:05
  • Armand van Helden, “Witch Doktor” 27:44
  • Michael Jackson feat. Vincent Price, “Thriller” 32:01
  • Rockwell feat. Michael Jackson, “Somebody’s watching me” 37:03
  • Maestro Fresh Wes, “Let your backbone slide” 40:38
  • Handsome Boy Modeling School feat. Grand Puba & Sadat X, “Once Again (Here To Kick One For You)” 45:01
  • Ice Cube, “Dr Frankenstein” 48:47

Chapter 4

  • Iggy & The Stooges, “Search and destroy” 52:55

Chapter 5

  • Skinny Puppy, “Draining faces” 56:20
  • Front 242, “Masterhit” 1:01:06
  • Messiah, “Beyond good and evil” 1:07:53
  • Messiah, “You’re going insane” 1:12:40
  • DJ Luna-C, “Mind of a lunatic” 1:15:34
  • Ed Brown, “Industrial” (P.B.K. remix) 1:21:14
  • Neuromancer, “Pennywise” 1:26:15
  • Wippenberg, “Neurodancer” 1:29:49

Chapter 7

  • Foremost Poets, “Moon-raker” (Paladin mix) (sample) 1:33:49
  • Brainbug, “Nightmare” (Sinister strings mix) 1:34:11
  • The Paladin Project, “The panic room / Claustrophobia” 1:40:42
  • The Paladin Project, “The Palloween anthem” 1:45:50
  • The Paladin Project, “Darkness took me” 1:50:17
  • The Paladin Project, “Afraid of the dark” 1:53:30
  • Deadmau5, “Cthulhu sleeps” 1:56:01
  • Deadmau5, “Dr Funkenstein” 2:01:11
  • Deadmau5, “Dr Funkenstein” (Sage remix) 2:03:36
  • Deadmau5, “Dr Funkenstein” (Zoltan Kontes & Jerome Robins stripped mix) 2:05:30
  • Deadmau5, “Dr Funkenstein” (Danny Jay remix) 2:07:53
  • Deadmau5, “Complications” 2:12:19
  • Deadmau5, “Ghosts ‘n’ stuff” 2:14:35
  • Deadmau5, “Moar ghosts ‘n’ stuff” 2:19:22
  • Deadmau5 feat. Chris James, “The Veldt” 2:23:39

Chapter 8

  • Neil Young, “Vampire blues” 2:33:48
  • Corb Lund, “Roughest neck around” 2:37:48
  • Corb Lund, “Gettin’ down on the mountain” 2:40:50

A drum & bass DJ mix for spring 2018

It’s been a minute since I recorded a new #drumandbass mix, so here’s a longer one, “Liquefaction,” 1.5 hours’ worth of new & recent tracks from labels like @HospitalRecords, @FokuzRecordings, @soulventrecords & @metalheadzmusic.

Here’s a track list, too (since Mixcloud only reveals the track list during playback).

  1. Danny Byrd, “Devil’s drop” 00:00
  2. The Vanguard Project, “Love call” 04:13
  3. Addiction & Villem, “Makes me feel fine” 08:04
  4. Etherwood, “Fire lit sky” 12:52
  5. Changing Faces, “Talk to you” 17:17
  6. Serum feat. Inja, “Blow them away” 20:33
  7. Revaux & Aslan, “Sinner” 25:09
  8. Moby, “Porcelain” (Pola & Bryson remix) 28:31
  9. Bert H & High N Sick, “Aurora” 32:45
  10. S.P.Y., “Alone in the dark” 36:41
  11. Fliwo, “Hypnotize” 39:22
  12. Bladerunner, “Kick off” 43:30
  13. Scar feat. Naomi Pryor, “The wrong side” 47:24
  14. Avalon Rays, “Don’t cry” 52:26
  15. Royalston, “Popular mechanics” 57:25
  16. Whiney feat. Inja, “Flashlight” 1:02:25
  17. Enei & DRS, “The process” 1:05:30
  18. Anile, “Allergens” 1:08:57
  19. Metrik feat. Rothwell, “We got it” (S.P.Y. remix) 1:12:13
  20. Digital feat. Villem, “Sun bites” 1:16:26
  21. Dilemma & Ownglow feat. Courtney Odom, “Mercy” 1:20:40
  22. Scar, “Make ’em know” 1:24:30

 

Rediscovering The Velvet Underground

Some Apple Music playlists seem bot-made, but its Velvet Underground Essentials is a proper journey, and a masterfully curated introduction for anyone who doesn’t already dig this seminal rock band. (The Velvets are the only hip band I can confidently say I introduced many highschool and undergrad friends to.)

In this playlist — which for some reason made for perfect holiday listening yesterday — the songs are perfectly sequenced (for instance, following “Oh sweet nuthin,” a deeper but critical cut, with “All tomorrow’s parties” is inspired); the versions are judiciously selected (for instance, here’s the proper take of “Sweet Jane,” with the bridge); and if there are some omissions (like “The Murder Mystery” or “Cool it down”) there are more essentials (“Here she comes now”), and even some delightful surprises (how have I never heard “Foggy notion” before?).

I’m sharing a pic of the playlist for those who don’t have Apple Music but can source the tracks otherwise and sequence them this way. For Apple Music users, here is the playlist link.

Shrine Like The Sun: Summer 2016 Drum & Bass

“…dance clubs should be safe spaces. Where you can take #pride in yourself and freely express yourself. Where you can #BeYourself. This idea, this ethos has weighed heavily on my mind this week. This mix of newish tracks veers between darkness and light, dread and remedy. The track list titles sketch a kind of story, an all too familiar story. But it starts and ends with tracks that insist what a dancefloor should be: Shrine. Sacred Floor.”

Update: Dan Savage and Carl Craig have written good articles this week about the importance of dance clubs as sanctuaries. See Savage’s “What we find in gay bars and queer clubs” and Craig’s “On the importance of club culture after the Orlando shooting.”

Track list:
00:00 Artificial Intelligence “Shrine”
05:33 Whiney “Guardians”
09:12 Maduk “One way”
12:50 Boston “Conscious”
16:53 S.P.Y. “Hidden fire”
20:23 Alibi, Unreal & Dogface “Drop dead”
23:38 Dan Bowskill & Kalm “Living in the red”
28:12 Nitri “Shiver”
33:34 Bcee “The river runs dry”
38:08 Phase & Whiney “It means nothing”
41:15 Spirit “Interstate”
46:03 Bcee “Back to the street” (S.P.Y. remix)
50:28 Technimatic “Remember you”
55:05 Kid Drama “Red magic”
58:55 Maduk & Veela “Got me thinking”
1:02:22 LSB “Remedy”
1:07:33 Fred V & Grafix “Like the sun”
1:11:12 Bungle & Urbandawn “Sacred floor”

Just published: “The DJ as Critic”

ESC-DJarticle_collage“The DJ as Critic”: my article in the latest issue of English Studies In Canada. Seeing work reach print never gets old, but the design of ESC is always exceptional, from typeface to pull-quotes.
This issue also features work by national treasures like Diana Brydon, Susan Brown, George Elliott Clarke, Smaro Kamboureli & Len Findlay, to name just a few…so I’m thrilled my words get to rub paper shoulders with such a Who’s Who of Canadian literature and literary studies.

This article is presently available only in the print edition of ESC; I will update this post when the article becomes available online.

UPDATE: This issue of ESC is now digitally available via Project Muse. The article is at this link, available to Project Muse users (i.e. postsecondary students and faculty). If you don’t have Project Muse access, but want a copy, just e-mail me a request for it. (That’s one way fair dealing works.) Eventually it will be openly accessible at ESC‘s website, but not for another year or so.

Deliquescence: Drum & Bass March 2016

My new mix of current and recent drum & bass tracks is streamable on Mixcloud. Recently, Mixcloud’s Terms of Service changed so a full track list isn’t shown before playback. (I’m assuming this change was made under pressure from the RIAA.) Which is why I’m providing the track list here.

Track List [artist, “title” (label)]

00:00 Keeno, “Land, Sea and Sky” (Medschool)
05:22 Lenzman & Forren, “Never Enough” (Metalheadz)
09:35 G.H.O.S.T., “Blood Brother” (Goldman)
14:58 Insomniax, “Lunar Dub” (Viper)
19:34 Document One, “Run the Block” (Technique)
23:01 Response & S.T. Files, “Wanna B 3” (Computer Integrated Audio)
28:23 Pola & Bryson, “Music” GLXY remix (Soulvent)
32:36 Semi Sense, “From Stars” (Liquid Tones)
36:49 Urban Dawn feat. Elsa Esmeralda, “Cloudless” (Hospital)
41:25 Keeno, “Bleary-Eyed” (Medschool)
45:15 Anile, “Stay With Me” (Medschool)
48:17 Subwave, “Tell Me” (Hospital)
52:55 Hugh Hardie & Pola & Bryson, “Lifted” (Hospital)
56:22 LSB, “If You’re Here” Luke’s Tangerine Dreaming remix (Hospital)