Why We Listen 45 – Sylvie Simmons

•May 28, 2018 • Leave a Comment

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Sylvie Simmons meets with Marc Kate for the 45th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Leonard Cohen – ‘Suzanne’
David Bowie – ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Suicide’
Serge Gainsbourg – ‘Ballade De Melody Nelson’

Sylvie Simmons is a writer and musician.

http://sylviesimmons.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Why We Listen 44 – Colin Cunliffe

•November 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

WWL44sm.jpgColin Cunliffe meets with Marc Kate for the 44th episode of Why We Listen.

Colin Cunliffe is a performer based in NYC.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

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Why We Listen 43 – Don Buchla Memorial Panel

•July 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

WWL43sm.jpgEpisode 43 of Why We Listen is a panel discussion between
Roger Linn
Dave Smith
Keith McMillen
Tom Oberheim
and Jessica Rylan
moderated by Marc Kate as part of the Don Buchla Memorial Concerts.

It was an opportunity to reminisce about the legendary electronic instrument designer and pioneer.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

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Why We Listen 42 – Jon Leidecker

•July 3, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Jon Leidecker aka Wobbly meets with Marc Kate for the 42nd episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Maryanne Amacher – ‘Living Sound, Patent Pending’
Marissa Marchant – ‘Emu’
Roland Kayn – ‘Electronic Symphony – Part 1’

Jon Leidecker is an electronic musician from San Francisco.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Marissa Marchant

Wobbly performs at the High Zero Festival.

Why We Listen 41 – Nayland Blake

•April 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

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Presented by Volume and ICA LA, Nayland Blake meets with Marc Kate for a live episode of Why We Listen at the Cooper Design Space Penthouse to listen to and discuss:

Amy Taubin – ‘Life on the Inside’
X-Ray Spex – ‘Oh Bondage Up Yours’
Tunde Olaniran – ‘Namesake’

Nayland Blake is an artist from New York.

http://www.naylandblake.net

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.
Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL41-Blake.jpg

Why We Listen 40 – Miguel Gutierrez

•December 7, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Miguel Gutierrez meets with Marc Kate for the 40th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Meredith Monk – ‘Gotham Lullaby’
Diane Cluck – ‘Yr Million Sweetnesses’
Colin Self – ‘Aflame’

Miguel Gutierrez makes performances and is based in Brooklyn.

http://miguelgutierrez.org

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

wwl40-gutierrez

Why We Listen 39 – Brontez Purnell

•July 7, 2016 • 1 Comment

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Brontez Purnell meets with Marc Kate for the 39th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Bettye Swann – ‘Make Me Yours’
Bikini Kill – ‘Outta Me’
Blondie – ‘X Offender’

Brontez is a choreographer and a writer and a musician from San Francisco.

Brontez Purnell on Facebook.
The Younger Lovers on Facebook.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

RSS feed:
https://whywelisten.wordpress.com/feed/

Thanks for listening.

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Why We Listen 38 – Antonia Crane

•June 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Antonia Crane meets with Marc Kate for the 38th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Suicide – ‘Cheree’
David Bowie – ‘Golden Years (Eric J Lawrence KCRW Remix)’
Babes in Toyland – ‘Hello’

Antonia Crane is a writer, professor and performer in Los Angeles.

http://www.antoniacrane.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

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Why We Listen 37 – Matt Werth

•May 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Matt Werth meets with Marc Kate for the 37th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Peter Ivers – ‘Eighteen And Dreaming’
Godley & Creme – ‘Joey’s Camel’
Circus Underwater – ‘The Surface Of The Water’

Matt runs the label RVNG and and the store Commend in NYC.

http://igetrvng.com

http://commendnyc.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL37-Werth

Why We Listen 36 – Sarah Davachi

•April 28, 2016 • 1 Comment

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Sarah Davachi meets with Marc Kate for the 36th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Dennis Wilson – ‘Mexico’
James Tenney – ‘Critical Band’
John Frusciante – ‘Untitled #11’ and ‘Untitled #12’

Sarah Davachi is an is a Canadian electronic musician.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. National Music Centre
2. You Must Remember This podcast
3. Sarah Davachi’s “Dominions

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Why We Listen 35 – Marc Weidenbaum

•March 17, 2016 • 1 Comment

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Marc Weidenbaum meets with Marc Kate for the 35th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Maria Chavez – ‘Kids- TRIAL 18 (Unfinished)’
Madeleine Cocolas – ‘I Can See You Whisper’
Apex Twin – ‘Avril 14th reversed music not audio’

Marc Weidenbaum  is a writer and teacher from San Francisco.

http://disquiet.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Junto
2. David Bowie’s ‘Low’ – 11 tracks simultaneously – stretched to 3 hours
3. Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II (33 1/3)

WWL35-Weidenbaum

Why We Listen 34 – Morgan Packard

•January 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment

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Morgan Packard meets with Marc Kate for the 34th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Mark Fell – ‘3Multistability 3’
G-Man – ‘Quo Vadis’
Charles Mingus – ‘Solo Dancer’

Morgan Packard is an engineer and musician from Boston, Mass.

http://www.morganpackard.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL34-Packard

Why We Listen 33 – Taylor Mac

•December 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

WWL33Taylor Mac meets with Marc Kate for the 33rd episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Nina Simone – ‘Save Me’
Patti Smith – ‘Birdland’
Tiny Tim – ‘The Other Side’

Taylor is a music and theater performer, director and producer from NYC.

http://www.taylormac.org

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL33-Mac

Why We Listen 32 – Richard Chartier

•November 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Richard Chartier meets with Marc Kate for the 32nd episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

‘I Betray My Friends’ by OMD
‘In My Secrecy I Was Real’ by :zoviet*france:
and
‘Gran Coda Andante’ by Robert Curgenven

Richard Chartier is a sound artist and designer from Los Angeles.

http://www.3particles.com

http://www.lineimprint.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. A Duck in a Tree
2. Calm Down Queen

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Why We Listen 31 – Cara Rose DeFabio

•October 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

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Cara Rose DeFabio meets with Marc Kate for the 31th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Kendrick Lamar – ‘Alright’
Hole – ‘Violet’
Tomita – ‘Clair de lune’

Cara Rose DeFabio is a performer and an experience producer from San Francisco.

http://cararosedefabio.tumblr.com

https://twitter.com/caradefabio

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL31-DeFabio

Why We Listen 30 – JD Moyer

•September 1, 2015 • 1 Comment

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JD Moyer meets with Marc Kate for the 30th episode of Why We Listen.

A different sort of episode this time – rather than follow the familiar Why We Listen format, we spent a month solely listening to music that is less that a year old before convening and discussing our experiences.

We also wrote about our experiences for JD’s blog Systems for Living Well which you can find HERE.

During our conversation, we talk about:

Galantis – ‘Runaway (U&I)’
Kleidosty – ‘Hydras at the Helm’
Yearning Kru – ‘Red Choir on the lake’
Kronic and Krunk! – ‘Hey Ho! (Senor Roar Remix)’
MineSweepa – ‘Tit Tat’
Tycho – ‘Awake’
Kevin Knapp – ‘Heft’
Evan Caminiti – ‘Curtains’
Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü – ‘Where Are Ü Now (featuring Justin Bieber)’
Sia – ‘Elastic Heart’
FKA twigs – ‘Two Weeks’
His Name Is Alive – ‘Reflect Yourself’
Geniuses of Place – ‘*/2- Auto .30090’
Brood Ma – ‘Monaco’
Art Bleek – ‘City Blues’

JD Moyer is an electronic musician and writer from Oakland, California.

http://jdmoyer.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.
Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Eminem / Stephen Colbert interview

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Why We Listen 29 – Erik Davis

•April 9, 2015 • 1 Comment

WWL29smErik Davis meets with Marc Kate for the 29th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Hüsker Dü – ‘Eight Miles High’
Exuma – ‘Dambala’
Helium – ‘Cosmic Rays’

Erik Davis is an author, podcaster and journalist from San Francisco.

http://techgnosis.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL29-Davis

 

Why We Listen 28 – Jorge Socarras

•February 27, 2015 • Leave a Comment

 

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Jorge Socarras meets with Marc Kate for the 28th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Richard & Mimi Fariña – ‘The Quiet Joys Of Brotherhood’
Nico – ‘You Forgot To Answer’
Wild Beasts – ‘End Come Too Soon’

Jorge Socarras is a vocalist from NYC.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.
Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL28-Socarras

Why We Listen Podcast 27 – Heklina

•December 4, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Heklina meets with Marc Kate for the 27th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

My Bloody Valentine – ‘Honey Power’
Kraftwerk – ‘Computer Love’
Roxy Music – ‘Mother of Pearl’

Heklina is the producer and host of the legendary drag club Trannyshack.

http://trannyshack.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

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Why We Listen Podcast 26 – Michelle Tea

•November 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

WWL26smMichelle Tea meets with Marc Kate for the 26th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Sonic Youth – ‘Kotton Krown’
Leonard Cohen – ‘First We Take Manhattan’
The Smiths – ‘The Queen Is Dead’

Michelle Tea is a writer from San Francisco.

https://twitter.com/TeaMichelle

http://www.radarproductions.org

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

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Why We Listen 25 – Philip Huang

•October 27, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Philip Huang meets with Marc Kate for the 25th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

“Hot Summer Nights”

“Silent Night” by jeremimi

“Looking For A City”

Philip Huang is a performer and artist from Berkeley, California, the author of A Pornography of Grief and the founder of the Home Theater Festival.

You can view Huang’s YouTube channel HERE.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

 

Why We Listen 24 – Robin Crutchfield

•October 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

WWL24smRobin Crutchfield meets with Marc Kate for the 24th episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Gregorio Paniagua and the Atrium Musicae de Madrid – ‘Plainte de Tecmessa’
Moondog – ‘Down Is Up’
Tino Rossi – ‘La romance de Nadir’

Robin Crutchfield is a musician and artist from New York City.

You can hear Robin Crutchfield’s music HERE.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL24-Crutchfield

Notes:
FaerieMen

Why We Listen 23 – Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe

•September 18, 2014 • 1 Comment

 

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Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe meets with Marc Kate for the 23rd episode of Why We Listen to listen to and discuss:

Chemutoi Ketienya & Girls – ‘Chimarocha’
Paul Giovanni – ‘Gently Johnny’
Geinoh Yamashirogumi – ‘Osorezan’

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe is an artist and composer from Brooklyn.

https://twitter.com/lichensarealive

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

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Why We Listen 22 – Geo Wyeth

•July 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Geo Wyeth is my guest for the 22nd episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Keith Jarrett – ‘In Front’
Arthur Russell – ‘She’s the Star / I Take This Time’
Bikini Kill – ‘Liar’

Geo Wyeth is an artist and musician from Brooklyn.

http://geoxxxwyeth.tumblr.com

http://geowyeth.bandcamp.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

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Why We Listen 21 – Neil Martinson

•June 2, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Neil Martinson is my guest for the 21st episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Area – ‘L’Elefante Bianco’
M. Efekt – ‘Triatricet’
The Association – ‘Birthday Morning’

Neil Martinson is a writer, DJ, curator, and artist living in San Francisco, whose primary medium is the social-cultural life.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

[audio http://www.whywelisten.marckate.com/Assets/audio/21-Neil_Martinson.mp3]

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Why We Listen 20 – Keanan Duffty

•January 15, 2014 • Leave a Comment

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Keanan Duffty is my guest for the 20th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

‘Dancing in the Street’ by Martha and the Vandellas
‘The Jean Genie’ by David Bowie
‘Slaves of New York’ by Slinky Vagabond.

Keanan Duffty is a fashion designer, musician and educator working in San Francisco.

keananduffty.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL20-Duffty

Why We Listen 19 – Vinsantos

•October 9, 2013 • 1 Comment

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Vinsantos is my guest for the 19th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Christian Death – ‘”Ashes”’
Freur – ‘Doot-Doot’
Pink Floyd – ‘If’

Vinsantos is a musician and mixed media, assemblage artist from New Orleans.

Vinsantos’ Kreeture New Orleans.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

Subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

WWL19-Vinsantos

Why We Listen 18 – Jon Philpot

•September 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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Jon Philpot is my guest for the 18th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Snakefinger – ‘The Model’
Serge Blenner – ‘Phrase I’
Sibylle Baier – ‘The End’

Jon Philpot is a member of the band Bear In Heaven from Brooklyn, New York.

http://bearinheaven.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

Subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Big Black’s The Model
2. Rendez-vous Houston: A City in Concert
3. 4422 Jarre

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Why We Listen 17 – Nina Katchadourian

•March 13, 2013 • 1 Comment

WWL17smNina Katchadourian is my guest for the 17th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Margareta Kjellberg – ‘Svansen på Skansen—Chimpansen’
Play Away – ‘Come to the Shops’
Marais and Miranda – ‘How Does a Frog Become a Frog’

Nina Katchadourian is an artist from Brooklyn.

ninakatchadourian.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

Listen to Why We Listen on Stitcher HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:

1. Frankie Rose – Interstellar

WWL17-Katchadourian

Why We Listen 16 – Holly Herndon

•February 25, 2013 • Leave a Comment

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Holly Herndon is my guest for the 16th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Karlheinz Stockhausen – ‘Gesang der Jünglinge’
Ø – ‘Kuvio’
Arca – ‘Self Defense’

Holly Herndon is a songwriter and performer from San Francisco.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Carl Craig on Araabmuzik
2. Lauren Newton

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Why We Listen Podcast 15 – Leyland Kirby

•December 11, 2012 • Leave a Comment

WWL15Leyland Kirby is my guest for the 15th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Frankie Goes to Hollywood – ‘Welcome to the Pleasuredome (Kzap Mix)’
Jamie Priniciple – ‘Baby Wants To Ride (X-Rated)’
Shigeru Umebayashi – ‘Long Journey’

Leyland Kirby is a musician living in Berlin.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.
Thanks for listening.

Notes:

1. Fairlight
2. Book: “Pop Music – Technology and Creativity: Trevor Horn and the Digital Revolution”
3. ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ – Farley “Jackmaster” Funk Live on Top of the Pops
4. Auf Wiedersehen, Pet / That’s Living Alright

Why We Listen Podcast 14 – Justin Vivian Bond

•November 15, 2012 • 1 Comment

Justin Vivian Bond is my guest for the 14th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Judy Collins – ‘Tomorrow Is A Long Time’
Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
Sinead O’Connor – ‘Just Like U Said It Would B’

Justin Vivian Bond is a songwriter and performer from San Francisco.

http://justinbond.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Justin Vivian Bond’s ‘Silver Wells’
2. Artwork for Bronski Beat’s ‘The Age of Consent’

Why We Listen Podcast 13 – Peter Becker

•October 22, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Peter Becker is my guest for the 13th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

The Beach Boys – ‘Surf’s Up’
Cabaret Voltaire – ‘Seconds Too Late’
Dimi Mint Abba – ‘Yar Allahoo’

Peter Becker is a lifelong music industry professional with roots in labels, distribution, music supervision, artist management, DJing and performance. He currently is a vinyl dealer living in Brooklyn, NY.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Steve Reich – Come Out
2. V. Vale of RE/Search and Search & Destroy
3. The Beach Boys – Smile Box Set
4. Minimal Wave
5. Mauritania

Why We Listen Podcast 12 – Allison Holt

•October 3, 2012 • 1 Comment

Allison Holt is my guest for the 12th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Bela Bartok – ‘Adagio’ from Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta
Love – ‘The Castle’
Bow Wow Wow – ‘Wild In The Country’

Allison Holt is an artist based in San Francisco.

www.oillyoowen.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:

1. Cambodian Rocks
2. Dengue Fever
3. Jorge Luis Borges’ “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”
4. Mårten Spångberg: New Kinds of Art

Why We Listen Podcast 11 – David J

•August 16, 2012 • Leave a Comment

David J is my guest for the 11th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Television – ‘Little Johnny Jewel’
Lewis Furey – ‘Poetic Young Man’
Antony and the Johnsons – ‘I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy’

David J is a musician and songwriter with a long solo career, and a founding member of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets.

http://davidjonline.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Dave & Ansell Collins – Double Barrel

Why We Listen Podcast 10 – Bob Ostertag

•August 2, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Bob Ostertag is my guest for the 10th episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Blind Willie Johnson – ‘Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There’
The Ho’opi’i Brothers – ‘Na Pua Ka ‘Ilima’
Pygmy Yodeling – ‘Mebasi’

Bob Ostertag is a musician, composer, activist and Professor of Technocultural Studies and Music at the University of California at Davis.

http://www.bobostertag.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Why We Listen Podcast 09 Addendum – Jill Tracy at the Mütter Museum

•July 25, 2012 • Leave a Comment

When I met with Jill Tracy to record episode 09, we spent a bit of time discussing a new project that she is working on in conjunction with the Mütter Museum. That conversation didn’t fit into the podcast, but I wanted to share it nonetheless as it’s a fascinating project and unique approach to writing music.
To follow her process and progress, follow her at jilltracy.com.

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

Thanks for listening.

[audio http://www.whywelisten.marckate.com/Assets/audio/09-Jill_Tracy-Addendum.mp3]

Why We Listen Podcast 09 – Jill Tracy

•July 23, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Jill Tracy is my guest for the ninth episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Pink Floyd – ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’
Peter Gabriel – ‘Intruder’
Japan – ‘Nightporter’

Jill Tracy is a songwriter and performer from San Francisco.

http://www.jilltracy.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Fort Romeau on ‘Slow Listening’
2. Producer/engineer Hugh Padgham on Phil Collins’ gated reverb drum sound.

Why We Listen Podcast 08 – K.M. Soehnlein

•July 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

K.M. Soehnlein is my guest for the eighth episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Fleetwood Mac – ‘Dreams’
Madonna – ‘Like a Prayer’
LCD Soundsystem – ‘I Can Change’

K.M. Soehnlein is the author of The World of Normal Boys, You Can Say You Knew Me When and Robin and Ruby.

http://www.kmsoehnlein.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Edmund White quote: “…few people are avant-garde outside their own domain.”

Why We Listen Podcast 07 – Geeta Dayal

•June 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Geeta Dayal is my guest for the seventh episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Brian Eno – ‘The Big Ship’
Dieter Moebius, Conny Plank, and Mani Neumeier – ‘Pitch Control’
Nazia Hassan – ‘Boom Boom’

Geeta Dayal  writes about music, technology and culture for The Wire, Frieze, the New York Times, The Village Voice and many other publications and is currently a staff writer at Wired. She is also the author of the book “Another Green World” about Brian Eno’s album as a part of Continuum’s 33 1/3 series.

http://www.theoriginalsoundtrack.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Notes:
1. Loose Joints – Is It All Over My Face

2. Brian Eno – Here Come the Warm Jets

Why We Listen Podcast 06 – Chris Dixon

•May 8, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Chris Dixon is my guest for the sixth episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Stevie Wonder – Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing
Jimi Hendrix – If 6 Was 9
Minor Threat – Salad Days

Chris Dixon owns the Explorist International, a record store in San Francisco’s Mission District, DJ’s the Saturday Night Soul Party under the name Phengren Oswald, plays bass in the HxC band Cops., solo electronics in Earth Jerks and previously played drums in Death Sentence: Panda!

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

[audio http://www.whywelisten.marckate.com/Assets/audio/06-Chris_Dixon.mp3]

Notes:
1. From the liner notes of Big Black’s Songs About Fucking:
“Hey, breaking up is an idea that has occurred to far too few groups. Sometimes to the wrong ones.”

2. Stevie Wonder – Superstition live on Sesame Street

Why We Listen Podcast 05 – Paul Festa

•April 5, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Paul Festa is my guest for the fifth episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Olivier Messiaen – Regard du Père (Louise Bessette)
Olivier Messiaen – L’échange (Yvonne Loriod)
Olivier Messiaen – Par Lui tout a été fait (Roger Muraro)

Paul Festa is the filmmaker behind Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006), an investigation into the act of listening to music and The Glitter Emergency (2010), a silent-film drag ballet comedy. He produced, wrote and edited, with director Austin Forbord, and was chief archivist, for the documentary Stage Left, A Story of Theater in San Francisco (2010). He is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, and his essays appear in numerous publications and anthologies. His documentary in progress, Tie It Into My Hand, premieres as a short at Cannes in May 2012.

http://www.paulfesta.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

[audio http://www.whywelisten.marckate.com/Assets/audio/05-Paul_Festa.mp3]

Why We Listen Podcast 04 – Josh Cheon

•March 19, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Josh Cheon is my guest for the fourth episode of Why We Listen.

We listen to and discuss:

Q Lazzarus – Goodbye Horses
My Bloody Valentine – Slow
Jefferson Airplane – Today

Josh Cheon runs the label Dark Entries and is a resident of Honey Soundsystem.
http://www.darkentriesrecords.com
http://www.honeysoundsystem.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

Why We Listen Podcast 03 – Daniel Coffeen

•March 7, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Daniel Coffeen is my guest for this episode. We listen to and talk about:

Ween – I Play it Off Legit
Cornelius – Mic Check
Dire Straits – Wild West End

Daniel Coffeen has a PhD in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley. He writes, thinks, and teaches about philosophy, film, art, life, and the possibility of enjoyment today.

http://hilariousbookbinder.blogspot.com

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe to Why We Listen via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening.

“An Emergent Map”

•March 3, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I’ve just received a note about the Why We Listen podcast from Daniel Coffeen:

“What struck me is that this project gets more interesting the more there are — each is a fundamentally different way of listening to music. Taken together, your project is like an infinitely complex cubist painting, all these different perspectives meeting at odd angles (or not at all) to create something huge and elusive: an emergent map of modes of listening.”

I really like the map analogy. I sometimes think of Why We Listen as a map of places I’ve never been. Charting the subjective listening experiences of others.

My interview with Daniel will be up in a few days. Stay tuned!

Why We Listen Podcast 02 – Joshua Grannell

•February 28, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Joshua Grannell, aka Peaches Christ is my guest for this second episode of Why We Listen. We listen to and talk about:
The Cure – Plainsong
Depeche Mode – Behind the Wheel
Bruce Springsteen – Born to Run

Joshua Grannell is a filmmaker, performer and host of the midnight movie series Midnight Mass.
http://www.peacheschrist.com/

Listen to the podcast on the player below, or download HERE.

You can also subscribe via iTunes HERE.

Thanks for listening!

[audio http://www.whywelisten.marckate.com/Assets/audio/02-Joshua_Grannell.mp3]

Why We Listen Podcast 01 – Keith Hennessy

•February 22, 2012 • 1 Comment

I’m very excited to be launching this new project.

As an extension of my blog Why We Listen, I will be conducting a series of interviews about music. Specifically, interviewing people about their listening practices and the music they love.

For this first interview, I visited my friend Keith Hennessy at his home and ate vegan tamales before launching iTunes through an improvised soundsystem.

Keith and I listen to and discuss:
Au Pairs – America
Marianne Faithful – Working Class Hero
Circo Zero (sung by Gabriel Todd & Loren Olds) – Lord (traditional)

Keith Hennessy works in and around performance, playing with tactics that include risk, ritual, queer, and improvisation.
http://zeroperformance.blogspot.com
http://www.circozero.org

For more information about this podcast, please visit the About Why We Listen link to the right.

To listen to the podcast, use the player below, or download the file HERE.

Thanks for listening.

“The Story of _”

•April 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

If you have any sort of investment in Rush, then seeing Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is imperative. Great footage, good, simple storytelling, charismatic subjects. But behind the music (it premiered on VH1, after all) is a pretty flat story.

Strangely, beyond Neil Peart’s dark broodings, the movie’s “plot” is that they’re three friends who really love playing music together. So all we’re left with is a fairly dry chronicle of their albums with a heartwarming tale of friendship as its vehicle.

For a band as huge as Rush, the question isn’t, “what does this tell us about Rush?” but “what does Rush want to tell us about themselves?” Aside from a somewhat endearing Canadian humbleness, Rush has little tale to tell. For all the grandeur in their music and epic storytelling in their lyrics, there’s not much that happens ‘against all odds’ in Rush’s past. They got some bad reviews for a while. Critics didn’t like them almost ever. Neil Peart disappeared for a while after some devastating personal tragedies. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage is a story about friendship and tenacity.

But little demonstrates tenacity like Anvil.

A still-totally obscure metal band, Anvil were there from the beginning, releasing their first album in 1981. Highly influential, but mostly forgotten by anyone who wasn’t paying attention at the time, Anvil still record and gig as ever. Their story was recently well documented in the movie Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

Rush and Anvil have really similar histories: two early rock bands from around Toronto, innovators in their sounds, started by a pair of best friends (Lee & Lifeson became Rush, Kudlow & Reiner became Anvil) who grew up playing music together. Their histories diverge quickly after the release of their first albums. Even if you dislike Rush, you can probably name a few of their hits without much pause. If you even knew the name Anvil before their documentary, you’re pretty rare.

Throughout Anvil! The Story of Anvil, the question of why they didn’t become more successful is frequently raised. The answer is pretty obvious. Though they were innovators, they didn’t continue to innovate. I don’t think we can blame them for not evolving. And by that, I don’t mean they failed to follow trends or rejected insincere change for its own sake. I mean that they just kept belting out the same sound over and over. And didn’t seem to get better at it.

Rush, however, took risk after risk. Some were incredible innovations (synthesizers!). Some were painfully bad (synthesizers?).

While Anvil didn’t by any means sell out, their failure to adapt or evolve would have been the death of any other lesser, less tenacious band. The climax of the film (sans denouement) is the implication that they are now in force, playing to a full house with a slick, new Tsangarides-produced album at the merch booth.

It’s always hard to know how much a film crew affects their subjects. Anvil! has a happy ending, but how much is the happy ending determined by the fact that a VH1 crew had been following them around, and VH1 Classic Records released the album they made during the shoot? VH1 is no small thing. While VH1/MTV seem to point a camera at every pop cultural moment that memes, a full documentary that spans months proves that someone with money is serious about the outcome. Perhaps to the degree that the outcome is somewhat engineered. Like a reality show.

Though it feels less down-to-earth, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster is far more interesting. Unlike Rush and Anvil!, SKoM is not a chronicle of Metallica’s rise-fall-and-rise. It’s a documentary about one of the world’s biggest rock bands going into therapy – a story that has never and may never be told again.

Metallica, for all of its machismo and bravado, images of violence and power, often lay the soul bare. And maybe that’s their hidden strength – their weakness. Songs like “Battery” and “The Four Horsemen” are brutally exhilarating, but note that their biggest hits are tracks like “One” and “The Unforgiven” that are focused on subjective, inner pain.

Their movie, their self-funded documentary makes them look like fragile, simpering teenagers. It’s mostly embarrassing to watch Lars Ulrich repeatedly ask himself and answer his own questions as if his only ability to communicate is via auto-interview. James Hetfield’s struggle with alcohol abuse is awkward – as it should be. Bob Rock and Kirk Hammett mostly get walked over by the Hetfield/Ulrich machine. Phil Towle, their coach is in a perpetual state of crossing professional lines.

The only person who really comes through doesn’t appear until long into the film – Robert Trujillo. Amiable. Untainted.

SKoM ends on a somewhat triumphant note, like Anvil!, walking out onto stage to huge numbers, but SKoM isn’t really a story of triumph. It’s just a story of people who struggle very publicly. In the end, Metallica’s album “St. Anger” isn’t really that different from “Ride the Lightning”. Not in terms of sound, but in terms of what they communicate – a very ‘at the limits’ look at the polarities of masculinity. Examinations of the extremes of rage and regret.

So we get, not just a story of a band struggling to continue on their path (like Anvil), but a performance of where masculinity begins to breakdown. It’s a demonstration of the fine line between marching forward to triumph and towards self-destruction.

It’s messy. SKoM is a mess of rage, father issues, male entitlement and creative frustration, and that’s what makes it so beautifully unsatisfying. By the end, our heroes are back on stage with a new, kick-ass bass player, sobered-up, new album and back on course. But, despite all of the life-coaching, James is still struggling with addiction and Lars is still a dick who gives us no Freudian self-realization narrative to gnaw on.

Aside from the story itself, the real brilliance about Metallica: Some Kind of Monster is that Metallica funded a movie that makes them look terrible. When we watch Kudlow of Anvil weeping, coming unfurled, frustrated with himself and the world as he records his last-shot album, we see a man against himself and no one else. To allow his beautiful shame be documented is pretty typical in a media saturated with reality television, but it still feels genuine and vulnerable.

But when we see Metallica fight amongst themselves in what are essentially therapy sessions, everyone is simultaneously at the edge of their nerves and totally composed under the camera’s gaze. It’s fucking painful to watch. What’s harder to watch than a grown man cry is a room full of grown men refusing to cry. It’s far more desperate.

Meanwhile, behind those closed tear ducts and behind those inflexible attitudes is a huge corporation in danger of toppling. When James and Lars cross swords, hundreds of people are in danger of losing their livelihood.

Which is why we love Metallica. We see a strange beauty in the tensions between power and emotion. A chaotic, mesmerizing beauty.

Into the Depths

•April 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

We never seem to tire of 80s slasher films. Maybe you’ve never actually sat through one, but pop culture keeps drawing from that well and coming up with buckets of more blood. It’s like the well will never run dry.

Whether it’s Ti West’s near-perfect 80’s forgery “House of the Devil”, Joshua Grannell’s campy “All About Evil” or the “Scream” franchise, the simple formulas of movies like “Happy Birthday to Me” or “Sleepaway Camp” (personal favorite) are somehow rich texts that give and give. You could probably name a few classics, but really, what’s “fun” about slashers is their discursive, near-interchangeability; like a textured wallpaper of VHS violence. They’re usually: just disturbing enough to be engaging, just low-budget and dated enough to be campy and just formulaic enough to be followed like a tv series with familiar characters. The most significant formula, noted by Carol Clover in her pivotal book “Men, Women and Chainsaws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film”, is the “final girl” – the victim/hero who survives and perseveres to the film’s climax. With few exceptions, the slasher film is defined by this trope. Despite the marathon of violence, largely by men against women, it is the “final girl” with whom we ultimately sympathize and revere as the hero. At least, that is the feminist spin that Clover puts on the genre. And it’s hard not to agree.

Part of what is so endearing about these movies, is their soundtracks. Due to limited budgets, they’re usually the work of a composer working with early digital synthesizers, approximating big budget symphonic scores. The results are usually really cheesy and make these movies even more dated than they would already feel. Some great exceptions are “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” which sometimes sounds like musique concrète (but “Chainsaw” is from 1974, ahead of the curve on these other slashers), or Goblin’s soundtracks for movies like Dario Argento’s “Susperia” and George Romero’s “Martin” (but Goblin and Argento are Italian and were playing with a whole different set of rules in Italian horror, and Goblin’s soundtrack for Romero’s American vampire film was never used). The great almost-exception is John Carpenter’s soundtrack for “Halloween”. Showing up in 1978 and virtually defining the genre, the film and score feel timeless and evade cheesiness despite their modest budget.

These horror soundtracks have always been a resource for musicians, but lately a handful of artists are drawing from old VHS tapes to create music that might “pass” for the real thing. While artists like Gatekeeper refine the electro/disco aspect of Italian horror soundtracks with Moroder-like ecstasy, others are taking a much more American lo-fi approach. Umberto and Xander Harris (both on Not Not Fun) produce tracks that run between seamless reproductions of 80’s horror soundtracks that never were, to revisionings of those cold, evocative synthetic sounds.

What do you think a Xander Harris video would look like? Well, obviously the four minute video to “Tanned Skin Dress” is like an excerpted scene from a slasher film – a prowler looks in on a woman in her home as she listens to her vinyl copy of Xander Harris’ “Urban Gothic” before he breaks in and attacks her.

Also drawing from those visuals, but less from the music, is Salem’s video for “Skullcrush”. Almost exclusively obfuscated footage of a woman’s body being dragged naked for disposal, its narrative is in reverse, a la “Irreversible” so that it begins with a black-clad man carrying her naked corpse through a forest, but ends with her attack in a public bathroom.

Ultimately, these videos don’t follow the “final girl” script. And why should they? That script has been read and rewritten countless times. However, if there is no survival, if all that is “final” about the girl is her death, then all we have is violence against women. Purely. In these videos, there is nothing to spin. They take only the brutality of the genre and none of the pathos. Only the shock without any narrative. Just the cum shot; none of the foreplay or romance.

In her discussion of women’s roles in slasher films, Clover claims that though they are the victims of violence, they are the protagonists, and so this genre of film that was primarily the domain of adolescent males could motivate boys to identify with girls. Hence, they’re not objects of violence, but subjects who triumph via their own agency.

Rosalind Krauss writes similarly about women in surrealism. She claims (and I am am doing a bastard summary here) that although the countless images surrealist artists created of contorted, disfigured and reconfigured women could be construed as misogynist, they in fact put women at the center of the surrealist dialog. That is, a surrealist photo of a maligned body is a metaphor for existential complexity, or the fractured nature of subjective reality. And the body being female makes her the surrealist subject, not object. Kind of dubious, but worth considering.

Another video that treads in the same horror landscape as “Tanned Skin Dress” and “Skullcrush” is William Joines’ video for “Into the Depths” by The Soft Moon. It’s all female screams, blur and horror, but none of the violence. So the woman is not a victim, but someone experiencing…? Existential terror? Bad acid? Like in a Georges Hugnet collage, the woman’s distorted image is not necessarily a violation of her body, but representation of her complex inner life. It even feels like an old surrealist film in its grainy black and white film stock, as opposed to the slewing, VHS quality video of “Skullcrush” and “Tanned Skin Dress”.

I think the most thrilling part about recontextualization is the refining of elements. Holding up a magnifying glass to one detail of the past to speak about the present. But if the close look is “just” violence against women, then we’re looking at something really bleak.

How’s the Future Look?

•April 6, 2011 • 3 Comments

I’ve just spent the tail end of a sunny morning with the blinds down watching David Cronenberg’s ‘The Brood’ (1979).

I watch a lot (A LOT) of horror movies and am pretty inured to the mechanism behind their production. But on occasion, I really wonder about the minds behind them.

We might ask ourselves if David just needs a hug, or therapy, or if filmmaking is his therapy or wonder where he gets this sick shit from.

But we don’t fear him. We might wonder if he is a portent, or a signal that under Western decadence is some serious decay…a zeitgeist of autosarcophagy…but we don’t fear the man.

But how do we feel about Odd Future?

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, the LA hip hop collective raps about rape and prescription drugs and vomit and defecation and faggots and serial killers and anything else likely to push your buttons.

So, are they something to fear?

They would be really easy to dismiss if they weren’t so talented.

Compared to movements of the past that covered a lot of these subjects liberally like gangsta rap or death metal (Floridian or Scandanavian), what makes Odd Future distinctly different is a lack of focused aggression. They’re not lacking in violent imagery, but somehow their prolific pictures of amorality are too cartoonish and fractured to reflect the danger of traceable anger. Running through the lyrics of Odd Future is a deep catalog of transgressions. So deep that it feels beyond reality and far into fantasy. The kind of fantasy that moves horror from an emotional state to a genre.

When gangsta rap especially came onto the pop cultural radar with records like ‘Straight Outta Compton’ and objections of every kind were flying through the media, we had a great demonstration of how eager people are to feel threatened by art. After we witnessed the P.M.R.C Senate hearings, but before Andres Serrano’s ‘Piss Christ’ helped unhinge the NEA, artists like Dr. Dre and Ice-T were in the media ‘defending’ their work – sometimes claiming that they are reflecting the harsh realities in which they live, sometimes saying that it’s all “just” lyrics.

Sometimes the easiest way to defend art is to say that it’s “just art” and sometimes the easiest defense is to say that nothing has genuinely been created: you can’t blame the mirror.

But doing both seems either confused or lazy.

Have you ever seen that tshirt (the last time I saw one was at the art supply store Flax in San Francisco) that says, in 90’s art school scrawl, “Art Can’t Hurt You”?

What the hell do I want with art that can’t hurt me? No, not a need for the physical violence of Survival Research Laboratories, I’m talking about the need for art that isn’t resolutely impotent.

I think that what makes Odd Future so disturbing, perhaps more than an SRL show, is how slippery they are. They are antagonistic, but of what? Rebellious? Certainly, but against what? They demonstrate ‘fear of the unknown’ because despite all the verbiage, they are difficult to know. This chaos reminds me of the moment I found most disturbing in ‘Apocalypse Now’. For all of the violence in that film, I am most haunted by the exchange:

Kurtz: Are my methods unsound?
Willard: I don’t see any method at all, sir.

Odd Future’s decentered methods also remind me of an early interview with John Holland of SALEM in Butt Magazine. The interview was less an exchange of ideas than a demonstration of bleakness. Like a subject from Larry Clark’s ‘Tulsa’, or a character in Harmony Korine’s ‘Gummo’.
Is anything as unsettling as a bunch of kids who not only don’t share your aspirations, but don’t seem to have any?

Certainly the difference between Cronenberg and Odd Future is racial. How we fear a group of African-American teenagers is very different from how we fear a white, Canadian film director. But perhaps it is also one of capital. The budget for a Cronenberg film is so grand that it imbues a certain awesomeness and sick grandeur to his work. However, if we look past Tyler The Creator’s recent signing to XL, the Odd Future kids are young and unhinged. They perform the danger we feel from people who might have less to lose than us. While they share in the lineage of gangsta rap an excessive urban provocation, it somehow feels more like the earliest moments of punk (both US and UK). Nihilism. I’ve always found that late-seventies punk’s most political gesture was its apolitical veneer. Decidedly detached, ironic, parodic rejection.

Nihilism is a very destabilizing force. Confronting a void is a kind of violence. When we are confronted with genuine nihilism, we are tempted to reject it and create meaning. I think it’s analogous to giving a suicidal friend a reason to live – it’s not a time for us to genuinely question life’s meaning ourselves, but a time to knee jerk someone out of emptiness.

So perhaps Odd Future is a sort of mirror. Not a reflection of the clichés of pill-popping, homophobic, violent youth, not a reflection of some harsh urban reality, but a reflection of where our culture’s morality breaks down. Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All aren’t “about” crack or basement torture parties. They aren’t “about” anything. They are a mirror that, if you gaze into it for too long, you see what you most fear: a spinning moral compass, ethical emptiness and a loss of meaning.