Rock criticism’s great sensationalist Lester Bangs warned the world about the “Cybernetic Inevitable” that rock was fated to suffer. It was an evolutionary stage where flawless musical machines put human musicians out of work. (More…)

With the exception of albums such as Kode9 and the Spaceape’s Memories of the Future, and Dusk and Blackdown’s Margins Music, dubstep is not known to be political. Reflective of its contexts, like Burial’s debut, certainly, but a protest idiom, like punk, well, no. (More…)

It was two in the morning as I made my way up the hill. Halfway through my second listen to Burial’s new Kindred EP, the music had started to saturate me, like rain that has stopped searching for the fastest way to the sea. But the sounds were still new too new for me to trust my ears. Was this strange wail I was hearing a part of the recording that I’d missed the first time? (More…)

I’ve loved reggae and dub more than any other musics since first raiding my Parisian cousin’s tapes at the age of 14.  What I found in his banlieue bedroom spiritualized me, politicized me, and made me a lifelong fan of adventurous and committed sounds. My love has never waned in the slightest. If anything, it pounds louder and more insistently in my world now, than ever before. (More…)

It’s been nearly 20 years since the Kopyright Liberation Front (KLF) committed suicide, twice. One incident involved a gun; the other had a furnace.  The pioneering group was at the top of their game. They had international hits. They made money. They wrote the book on ambient-techno in their 1990 masterpiece, Chill Out. And they imbued the notion of “trance techno” into British pop with their single, What Time is Love?  (More…)

You can’t get to know a place without knowing what the folks in town listen to. The best way to do that is to keep your eye out for gig flyers. In all likelihood, the shows have already taken place. Still, what you’re left with is, at best, a testimony to local music, at worst, the work of an overzealous label intern. (More…)

From the amp-straining bursts that introduce Is This Hyperreal? through the robotic reverberations that close it, Atari Teenage Riot’s comeback album forcefully reminds listeners that technology has a history. But this is no conventional exercise in nostalgia, like records that fetishize guitar pedals from the late 1960s or synth effects from the early 1980s. The sounds on Is This Hyperreal?” are theatrically dated, but thrown together like the odds and ends in a costume trunk. (More…)

The beat that I used for this piece is fairly simple. It frees me to experiment with interweaving quasi-contrapuntally melodic timbral elements into Vance Galloway‘s rhythmic guitar line, while complementing Bruce Bennett‘s keyboard solo. The basic component of the beat is a 3 against 2 polyrhythm divided between the right hand and the left foot. (More…)

Now is the time for dub. No genre of popular music is better suited to the exigencies of contemporary cultural production. Technology is inexpensive and easy to come by, but people make things hard. Finding a way to play together, seems to require a complexity of scheduling worthy of a railroad dispatcher. Factor in the geographic dislocations that disperse potential bandmates hundreds, even thousands of miles away, and the appeal of constructing music with pre-existing elements, piece by piece, layer by layer, is clear. (More…)

So I had to ask, why Respectable Citizen? Keyboardist Bruce Bennett had an answer. “I was reading Jurgen Habermas’ The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity. I stumbled across the phrase, and I thought, ‘What a great name for a band!’” Bennett continued, “It also afforded us the opportunity to occasionally appear as our alter-ego: Despicable Alien, which seemed to have some relevance to immigration policies in the US, especially here, in California.” (More…)

As I was finishing a Hawaiian plate lunch with my daughter and her mother in Encinitas, they announced that they were going to do some “girl” shopping on the main drag. I said I’d come along. But then I was overcome by a familiar urge. (More…)

Most mornings I wake up in my personal panopticon and set myself to making quiet guitar, tape or music box pieces over coffee.  This collection includes some such pieces encompassing the past year or so.