December 2002


happy new year!

well, now that 2002 is over, i can safely put together a list of my favourite releases from this last year. while looking through my cds, i realized, that most of what i bought this year were re-issues, or things released in the last 20 years. a very small amount was actually new for this year. there were several releases that were ok, but not great. those you won’t find on this list. just what i liked a lot. in no particular order:

  • zap the world – death by chocolate

  • hyper utesov – messer fur frau muller

  • v – united future organization

  • les hommes – les hommes

  • luke vibert’s further nuggets

  • casa – ryuichi sakamoto/paula morelenbaum/jaques morelenbaum

  • synesthesia – legendary pink dots

  • a long weekend – hideki kaji

  • sounds from the verve hi-fi(compiled by the thievery corporation)

ok, so the luke vibert disc is really a compilation of library music, and sounds from the verve hi-fi is a bossa nova comp. but they are so good i couldn’t leave them off. i’m sure the new barry 7 compilation connectors 2 would be on this list if it is anything like volume one(i haven’t been able to find it at any of the shops here yet).

for me a lot of people i expected or hoped good things from released lukewarm releases. the readymade international compilation the world is waiting was a disappointment, as was the latest cornelius. the new maki nomiya i liked more than those, but not enough to make my tops list. and i have my suspicion that the new fantastic plastic machine may end up being uneventful.

the best artist i discovered this year was the brazillian singer marcos valle. he did bossa nova in the 60s but moved on into other areas as well. unfortunately, most of his releases have only been re-issued in japan as far as i can tell. and i believe most of those have been deleted as well. however, verve in the states did re-issue the album that was supposed to break him in the states(not sure if it did or not) called samba ’68 which i can’t reccomend highly enough.

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this is a picture of the burnt bread boy(i think that’s what he is called in english) shop that used to be in hsimenting. i wasn’t certain it was really gone, but today i saw where it used to be and that the sign had been taken down, so alas, another shop closes.

while in hsinmenting i went to impo. i was suprised to see other foreigners in there. by the way they talked, they sounded new to taiwan. i ended up picking up return of the roughnecks the best of the chameleons i have a good deal of what is on here, but it contains a bonus disc with the tony fletcher walked on water ep. this was the last thing recorded before they split up way back when. i think somewhere i have demo versions of these songs on tape. so i’m looking forward to hearing these songs again.

before going to hsimenting i stopped by another cd shop and picked up one of those japanese mini vinyl reissues. this one is place vendome by the swingle singers with the modern jazz quartet. the swingle singers were a 60s accapella group. mainly they do classical music accapella which is rather cool. i have downloaded them doing things like the james bond theme, star wars theme, etc. but i have no idea where those things came from. i keep hoping those more pop songs they have done will be reissued on cd, but so far i haven’t seen it.

i found this interview with a man who has written a book on the smiths via the idle thoughts of fat buddha. reading the interview makes me want to pull out the smiths again. they, along with everything but the girl, were one of the main soundtracks to my life in my teen years. there was even a point where i would listen to their first album at least once a day, often even more than that. surprisingly, i’m still not burned out on them.

i’ve been watching those thunderbirds dvds i got for christmas. i still find the puppets a little disturbing on occasion. something about the hands, sometimes they use puppet hands and sometimes they use real hands. there seems to be some connection between this and my love for the films of jan svankmajer and the brothers quay, even some connection to my fascination with shinya tsukamoto. but i think there may be a connection earlier than this and that would be some of the short films on sesame street. i remember specifically this one about a ball rolling around on a track similiar to a roller coaster, but in the end the ball gets all ground up. i’ve been trying to figure out what this film may be, but all searches on sesame street short films or films used on sesame street come up with just endless sites about sesame street but covering only the most surface information about the show. no real background or techincal information. anyway, i think this short film used on sesame street as well as some of the films i was shown in elementary school may of planted the seeds that led to my love of experimental film. now if i could only find out what those early films were called.

one week ago today, my students in my group class told me that this would be the last class, as there were not enough students to keep the class open according to the schools new rules. i wasn’t happy about this, plus it seemed weird that i had to hear about this from my students. couldn’t the secretaries be on top of things and let me know this in advance? well, later in the week i had one of my supervisors find out if it was true and it was. well, today i get a call from that branch saying “don’t you have your final class today?”. i was not happy about this, and let it her know i wasn’t happy that they had messed up again. the secretary said she’d call me back when she found out the details, but no one has. so maybe i’ll have that class next week, maybe not. i’ve no idea.

this evening peter and i went to see the two towers. i wasn’t sure what to expect. i ended up really liking it. and the special effects for gollum were really done well(not going to say all the digital effects were great, but gollum was), much better than the effects in harry potter or those dreadful new star wars movies. i’ve read that the film takes quite a few liberties with the tolkien novel, but as i haven’t read the books in around 20 years i’m not sure what was changed. peter’s sister and her girlfriend didn’t like it much till the big battle at the end. but peter liked it better than the first one. i know a lot of people like stadium seating in movie theaters. i’m not one of them. hearing inane conversations as if the person is talking directly in my ear is not why i pay to see a movie. which of course was what happened today. but once the movie started i shushed them loudly and it seemed to do the trick. the sound in the theater was loud enough to drown out most of the cell phone calls, however, that didn’t stop the man next to me from answering his phone during the movie. i saw peter giving him a disgusted look, and i loudly shushed him a few times. hoping either he or the caller would get the message and shut up quickly. the man did speak quieter after i shushed him and then finally hung up. but still, i shouldn’t of been put in a position where i had to do that in the first place. is it really so hard to switch off your phone while you watch a movie?

earlier today i was reading on go to your room some ideas about how people concentrate too much on the negative and not enough on the positive. eventhough i think she is probably right, here i am again complaining. and it seems like a lot of blogs are that way. are blogs really just one big whiner convention?

i wish this was coming here. it looks really cool. a travelling show of a giant colon you can crawl through. this might even be better than the tactile dome i got to climb through years ago at a science museum in san francisco. via die puny humans.

was santa good to you? he was incredibly good to me. highlights include:

i haven’t been able to really take in the cds or dvds yet. and the fact that there is construction going on near here doesn’t help.

other than material goods, the best thing by far about christmas was that i called my family and got to talk to my parents, my sisters and my brother. i even got to talk to one of my nieces and one of my nephews. so that was great. i hadn’t actually heard any of their voices in about a year. so that was really nice and made me just feel wonderful. after talking to my family i called a few of my friends(and now i’m thinking i should of tried to call more of my friends but oh well), but was only able to reach my friend cat. she asked me, are you really in taiwan, you aren’t really just around the corner are you? it would be just like me to pull such a stunt too. but indeed i was on the otherside of the planet. apparently, this one company here has this really cheap deal for calling overseas. so these calls were a test to see if it is really true. i’ll know once the next phone bill comes.

this was the first christmas where i had to work. it wasn’t quite as bad as i feared it might of been. i think i was just in denial it was really christmas, as it doesn’t ever really feel like christmas to me here. the weather and the mood just don’t match my vision of christmas. but regardless of how much it doesn’t feel like christmas, you still know it is christmas. i had three classes on christmas day. one was a class i was substituting for. the class is in the afternoon so i was wondering, who are these people that can take classes in the daytime? housewives? it turns out they are students, or people who don’t have to work, or people with flexible work hours. sometimes being a substitute can be hell, but this class was great! i really enjoyed it and liked the students. after that i had a new private student who i already like alot and then one of my regular students. it’s always nice when you like your students and they are somewhat interesting. nothing worse than a really boring uninteresting student.

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