Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Monday, 24 August 2009
Monday, 17 August 2009
Monday, 10 August 2009
Thomas Pynchon: Inherent Vice
I've spent the last few days with a permanent - Pynchon would say 'stoners' - grin on my face. A new Pynchon novel is - for me - the literary event of this, or any other year and once again - as with 'Mason & Dixon' and 'Against The Day', this lives up to the billing. 'Inherent Vice' is hilarious. It's Columbo-meets-The Big Lebowski-meets Film Noir-meets-The Simpsons at the tale end of 1969 - post-Manson murders, exactly forty years ago in fact.
The plot is intriguing and navigable - by Pynchon's standards anyway. Drug references galore, a proto-Internet, Nixon-era - Manson fueled paranoia, surf, sex, L.A., L.V., plenty of stoner short-term memory lapses (which is catching as the reader is often victim of the classic Pynchon character overload... 'who? what? where? oh, now I remember...'), flashbacks, zombie surfer-bands, the ancient lost land of Lemuria, etc, etc. All packed into less than 400 pages - which for Pynchon is a novella.
It's Pynchon's most accessible book by far - there are even rumours of film industry interest. It forms a loose trilogy of the California novels with 'The Crying Of Lot 49' and 'Vineland', but there is none of the dark, deeply unsettling undercurrent present in those earlier works. It's full of classic 'stoner' humour with proper laugh-out-loud scenes - often involving Denis (pronounced to rhyme with 'penis' of course). It hints at the future of a paranoid surveillance society - linked to the ARPAnet, an early version of the Internet but really that's as close to a 'bummer' as it gets.
Sunday, 9 August 2009
"The Funky Side of 80's Boogie"
Billy Preston - If You Let Me Love You - Megatone
Goldie Alexander - Spend My Life With You - CBS
Avonn - I Wanna Dance - Champagne
Shades Of Love - Do Your Own Dance - ScorpGemi
Pike - Good Feelings - Penke
Tom Browne - Thighs High - GRP
Future Flight - Walk Don't Run - Capitol
Armenta - I Wanna Be With You - Savoir Faire
Raydio - Still In The Groove - Arista
Enchantment - Settin' It Out - RCA
Slave - Steal Your Heart - Cotillion
Fatback - Take It Anyway You Wanna - Spring
Brass Construction - We Can Work It Out - Liberty
Dayton - One Day Or Another - Capitol
Funk Fusion Band - Can You Feel It - WMOT
Herley Johnson Jr - Do It - Quality
Sunrize - Who's Stickin' It - Boardwalk
Blanche Carter - Straight Down To The Bone - TSOB
Rome Jefferies - Good Love - Rain Forest
Conquest - Body Movement - Prelude
Cameron - Boogie's Gonna Get Ya (Instrumental) - Salsoul
Delia Renee - You're Gonna Want Me Back - Airwave
Laurice Hudson - Feel My Love - Snowflake
Ozone - Come On In - Motown
Colors - Am I Gonna Be The One - First Take
Wish - Nice and Soft - Perspective
Dolette McDonald - (Xtra) Special - BC
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
"Long awaited return of seminal imprint A.R.T, the label swinging back into action with three smart club tracks starting with the peaking 'Mass'. This track is made for the proper techno clubs and heads with Berghain-strength dub chords and powerfully straight forward yet carefully ornate machine rhythms executed in his classic style. 'Dipole' on the flip is another useful techno workout, while 'Decoherant' closes out on an emotive neo-Detroit tip. Apparently Kirk has forthcoming gear scheduled for B12 and Planet E sometime soon so keep them ears cocked. Solid twelve - get in."
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress Of Solitude
Beautifully written - memoir-like novel - of life growing up in the streets of Brooklyn. Set around the rough and ready Gowanus/Wyckoff projects in the seventies and eighties, it charts the progress of neighbours Dylan and Mingus. The former, an anxious white kid of bohemian parents, the latter a street-smart black kid newly arrived from Philadelphia. Their father-son relationships are at the core of the novel.
Despite leading a hermitic-like existence pioneering a new celluloid art form, Dylan's father unwittingly becomes a sci-fi art legend. Mingus' father meanwhile struggles Marvin Gaye-like, with a judgmental father living under the same roof. A one-time successful soul-singer he makes a half-hearted comeback in a P. Funk band before retreating into his house spending his days freebasing and listening to Donny Hathaway and Shuggie Otis.
Dylan's transition from the Brooklyn streets of tagging and getting 'yoked', to the privileged, liberal college in Vermont is full of tension and one of the books many successes. The magic realism of the 'ring' and it's superhero powers is a tricky element in the story - but such is Lethem's skill that it becomes a beautiful mystery left to the interpretation of the reader.