Thursday, October 30, 2003

Read my lips 

The European Witch-Craze of the 16th and 17th Centuries by H. R. Trevor-Roper

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

What isn't the matrix?  

Today I saw a huge (for Japan) billboard for The Matrix: Revolutions in Shinjuku near Kabuki-Cho. Of course, they are to be found everywhere around Tokyo. Anyway, for some reason, I couldn't help but thinking that Larry Wachowski, Andy Wachowski, Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and the whole lot looked way, way dated/retro - almost prehistoric in fact - compared to the immediate vicinity of the billboard itself. Well, that's Tokyo for you. Even Blade Runner (1982) was just barely on the cusp of the neologism/anachronism as culture that is this city.

Now reading... 

Great Issues in American History Vol. I-III by Richard Hofstadter
Emily Post on Entertaining
The Poetry Handbook by John Lennard
Pulp Fiction script
Japanese Buddhism A Critical Appraisal by Watanabe Shoko
The Balkan Express by Slavenka Drakulic

Monday, October 27, 2003

The bling-bling of The One Ring 

LOTR is my new favorite band. I mean, any band that has the following disclaimer on their webpage has to be fly: "...please beware, our live show makes extensive use of customized plumbing, avant-garde animal husbandry and microphones." For better or for worse, I'm convinced that this particular kind of art-school drop-out creativity can ONLY be found in America, God bless it. Oh, this one was pretty fu*ked up too! I'd love for them to come over to Japan for some shows. It would be totally rad if they could do a double billing with The Melted Men. Elf booty got soul! Elf girls like to rock 'n' roll! Oh, and speaking of bling-bling...

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Active Suspension Tourish 

The Active Suspension Japan tour looks like it's finally got it's shit together.

Wohnton - Oval  

What's Oval's most important album? I'd say that it's Wohnton (thanks for the tip, HYPO), the first CD which Markus Popp and Sebastian Oschatz were working on as early as 1995 - almost 10 years ago - with but I don't think that many people would agree with me. Why is this important? Well, for one thing, it shows that Markus Popp really has come full circle, in a manner of speaking. What I mean is that on this album, there is singing. Male vocals to be exact (I think it's Mr. Popp himself) and in German at that. Imagine Schubert, for better or for worse, with a Macintosh and a faulty CD player, and you're pretty much in the ballpark. Anyway, the great things about this CD is that if we compare it with his latest work with as So (with Eriko Toyoda) it shows Popp coming back to vocals...but with an interesting twist. He isn't singing this time. Why not? Well, he's just following the rules. What are the rules, you ask? Well...

1. There is to be no singing in laptop music whatsoever.
2. If there is to be singing, the singer should be female.
3. If the singer is female, it would be best if she were also Japanese.
4. Did we mention no singing in German?
5. If there is to be singing in German, refer to rule no. 1.

Of course, there are no rules, right? Well, I'm not sure, but the five that I've listed seem to work pretty well as a way to describe what's happened up until now in the laptop world. Naturally, there are always exceptions, like Momus, but then again he isn't singing in German except on a song about Schubert himself, but that one's in fucked-up German, so somehow it doesn't count. We also have to count Nick's falsetto and the fact that tight t-shirts look good on him in his favor. Popp doesn't look good in...well, anything that isn't baggy, but I digress. Perhaps there's something going on here that's not being discussed? Who knows...

In any event, this time around Markus has finally found his collaborative "MiniMe" in Toyoda, after going through Oval's other members and also Christophe Charles, because it is she, not the others that "completes him." What does she have that they didn't? Well for one thing, she's malleable (liner notes and press-releases on So attest to the fact the Popp is basically "reworking" her ideas. She also functions as Popp's way to sidestep the fact that he can't avoid rule no. 3 working alone. If only Markus had been more of a Bowie fan in the early 90s, perhaps male vocals and laptop music wouldn't have died with the Wohnton album.

In a related note, I'm very interested to hear Tujiko's answer to my question no. 19 in the interview that I'm giving her below. I wonder what her take will be on all of this...

Friday, October 24, 2003

(Twenty + one) questions for Tujiko Noriko 

Here's the English version (questions only) of an interview that I'm currently in the process of giving to Tujiko Noriko in Japanese via e-mail (she happens to be in Canada at the moment for an event). I hope that you find this sneak-preview titillating. Frankly speaking, I'm quite pleased with my questions. Thanks in advance for your patience while I translate and edit the Japanese version into something presentable. It should take a week or so, depending how much she chooses to disclose.
(Twenty + one) questions for Tujiko Noriko by Robert Duckworth

01. Please say a few words about your propensity for physical self-exhibition.

02. Explain why the following statement is true or false: Since moving to Paris, Tujiko Noriko has been making a careful effort to keep herself poised at a distance far enough away from the various factions of the Parisian laptop "in crowd" in order to prevent herself from being artistically subsumed by them, yet close enough to them to allow herself to utilize them.

03. As an artist, compare things in general with Mego and Tomlab.

04. On your Tomlab artist's webpage, the following statement may be found in English: "Sorry but this work is protected by JASRAC. Due to the high monthly fees we cannot offer you audio previews here. What's the story?

05. Elaborate on your love of doughnuts. What's your favorite kind? Are there any major differences that you've noted between doughnuts in Japan, Europe, and other places? Have you had Krispy Kreme doughnuts from America? By the way, were you aware that Mister Donut is from Boston originally?

06. A certain review of "From Tokyo to Naiagara" praises Tujiko Noriko the singer by stating that your voice is very expressive. Yet in the same stroke it devalues Tujiko Noriko the lyricist by going on to state that your voice is expressive to the point that what you are actually saying is immaterial. Furthermore the reviewer finds the translation of your lyrics "disappointing." Given this, please comment on the relationship between vocal expressivity and the emotive content of lyrics in your songs in terms of writing and performance. Also, why was "From Tokyo to Niagara" the first of your albums to include English translations? Who is the translator and how did you meet him or her? Are there any plans to go back and have the lyrics to the previous albums translated and made available? How important is it to your for your audience to be able to comprehend your lyrics?

07. Which Max/MSP object can't you live without, and why?

08. Do you consider the fact that you were employed as a hostess in Ginza and Roppongi during your university days a formative experience in personal and artistic terms? If so, how? Also, one very specific question: What was the most lavish personal gift you received from a patron during this time?

09. What's your blood-type?

10. Recently, in one of your e-mails, you mentioned someone saying something about a 10 year cycle of people moving to a new city (especially in a foreign country), settling in, becoming restless, and eventually moving on. With this in mind, what do you see yourself doing in 10 years, and where do you see yourself doing it?

11. What's the most vulgar word or phrase that you know in Japanese? In French? In English?

12. You mentioned once somewhere being influenced by some Japanese music from the 70s and 80s. Which bands/singers were you talking about, and in what way where they an influence on you?

13. Are you more of a miso-ramen, or shoyu-ramen kind of girl?

14. What information can you provide about your upcoming movie project? Please spare no detail.

15. You implied on your webpage's RADIO link that you had a "mannequin-heart." Assuming that you were actually speaking in earnest, what would be the origin and nature of such a heart ? Do you feel that it would be an asset to you in your aspirations as an actress? Incidentally, if you were suddenly asked by Quentin Tarantino to drop everything and appear in "Kill Bill Vol. 3" as a whip-cracking assassin bitch, would you do it?

16. Please compare your working relationships with Aki Onda and Hironobu Sasaki. As producers, how do they differ, and how are they similar? Are there any other producers that you'd like to work with in the future?

17. Please list all of the URLs in your browser's history cache from yesterday.

18. In the past, you expressed a desire to perform with live musicians at some point in the future. Do you have any concrete plans at the moment? What kind of ensemble do you envisage?

19. Recently, your name was mentioned in the the following categorical statement: "...Locquet, Noriko, and So are contributing collectively to an emergent stylistic trend which finds folk musical styles and vocals conjoined to prominent electronic processing treatments." (Stylus Magazine, August 2003) In your mind, does this grouping have any validity at all? If so, please name some other people and or groups that you'd like to see included. If not, please suggest the genere to which you belong. Also, is it just coincidence that two of the three singers mentioned are Japanese and female, or is this somehow a stylistic prerequisite?

20. Ask yourself a question and answer that question here.


21. Where would you go and what would you do on your dream date? Please go into detail.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

No great scratch! 

Here is the link:
Talk amongst yourselves.
My opinion?
All is lost...

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Do you read me? 

Now reading Taboo by Franz Steiner

Saturday, October 18, 2003


I have read and re-read Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation, but I regret that I seem incapable of seeing in it a sustainable line of thought. Most notably in 'the will as thing in itself' and it's general applications. His metaphysics are lost upon me. Thankfully, his more restricted idea of the will to life and it's implications seem much more approachable to me. His thoughts on the will and intellect I find especially useful. He mentions a possible explanation for madness (W2, 400) but I wonder if some kinds of madness might be able to be explained under the rubric of the individual losing his sense of division between subject/object = will (as manifested as 'I'). Might the loss (transcendence?) of this distinction lead to behavior observable as madness in others who still maintain this sense of seperation? Also what Schopenhauer says on music is interesting. I'll have to read more.

Dog eat dog 

Bush is to Koizumi as Spike is to Chester

Little in the middle but she's got much back! 

Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm doing a technoise remix of "Boom! I got your boyfriend" by MC Luscious for Midori to sing. Oh, and here's a nice white-bread link that tell you all you need to know about Miami bass. As far as the sound of the remix goes, I'm going for a kind of Carsten Nicolai/Ryoji Ikeda's Cyclo meets 2 Live Crew kind of thing. I'm calling the new genre "micro-booty" (I haven't really checked around, but dibs on this word if I'm the first person actually silly enough to coin it) but it doesn't have anything to do with the size of Midori's posterior. Anyway, I hope that my friend Antonin in Paris will do some scratchin' on the track if he isn't too busy with his new job.

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Mudville nine that day... 

Hideki Matsui (#55 of the NYC Mets) is perhaps my favorite sportsman in any sport, and anyone who knows me knows that I don't really care for most sports in the first place. It must be that combination of skill and humility -- a rare combination in American professional sports -- that attracts me to him. His smile last night was cute. I guess his attitude is due in part to the fact that he's a rookie, and also in part to the fact that he's Japanese, since I imagine that Japanese have a unique understanding of the deference of the situation. I suppose a possible reaction could have been for him to been overly-cocky, but thank goodness that he didn't go that route. I look at someone like an Ichiro have having been won over by the "dark side" of the force. He's been America for a long time playing sports, and somehow it's a more-or-less American sports attitude that you can see in his eyes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003


The headlines today in Japan read "Osaka evacuated as experts defuse WWII bomb". Just a few months ago, Antonin and I (Momus was undercover) were hanging out around that area doing some shopping at the select shops in Amemura probably one of the coolest parts of Osaka, which by the way is NAMED after America. (Antonin was looking for a white ball cap. It should have been a white flag.) I'm just glad that he and I didn't get blown up in the process by my country (I'm from America). Anyway, hope all the people in Osaka old enough to remember the war aren't having horrible flashbacks today. Oh, and I just want to clear things up right here and now. Roddy Schrock had nothing to do with this incident, despite what the FBI might think. Err...Go Hanshin Tigers!

Radio free Tujiko 

Here's an exerpt from Tujiko Noriko's "radio" broadcast on her webpage that I finally got around to transcribing (in Japanese) and translating (into English). I'm hoping that she'll have it posted up on her webpage in complete form sooner or later, so if you are interested in the whole thing, please just keep checking there.
Actually, I was living in Osaka, I was also born there, but about 6 years ago, when I was 18 -- I'm 24 years old now (laughs) -- I moved to Tokyo. Recently it's like I've gotten tired of Tokyo. What I'm saying is that I want to live in a different city with my significant other. Now I'm living in a place which is, even for a filthy city like Tokyo, pretty filthy. But it's also so filthy that I'm into it. I'm living in Ikebukuro. [Ikebukuro is a large, somewhat seedy city in the Tokyo metropolitan area with a thriving red-light district.] From the station it's around a 10 min. walk through a residential area, but there are a lot of apartments and condos too. So anyway, since I'm a girl, during that 10 min. walk not that many people try and talk to me, but when my male friends visit me here, the street girls are like [Tsujiko here is impersonating a foreign accent in Japanese], "Hey there!" What else was it? Oh yeah, "Massage! Wanna massage?" (big laughter) and stuff like that. What else were they saying? I forgot! But it looks like the people who pass by them are always getting propositioned, one right after another. And then...well you can always see like 10 of those girls standing around. But you know, there are a few that you'd think were Japanese. Yeah, well...that kind of thing. Oh, and the supermarket's open really late here. Like until 5 AM. That's pretty cool. Well, whatever. OK, here's filthy Tokyo for you...

He that runs may read. 

Now reading the following:
Time and Space In Chinese Culture
A Source Book In Chinese Philosophy

Saturday, October 11, 2003


Finding non-christian links (in English), and non-Shina Ringo links (in Japanese) on the internet related to eudaimonism can be tricky. This one was pretty good, but I'd be happy to hear from anyone out there with a good link.


Friday, October 10, 2003


I'm about to beat Midori in a game of shiritori. I'll try to go easy on her, but I might just say "fuck it" (like Roddy might want to say if he were in NYC right now as opposed to a . . . cow pasture was it?!?), and let her win. After all, this IS the girl who is doing a remix of Wesley Willis right now called "Fuck With Me and Find Out!" so I'd best be careful, or I might just find out!

Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Xenakis on pop. Feldman on Reuben. Robert on cloud nine. 

This conversation between Feldman and Xenakis is interesting. (I think it was Brad who gave me the link, but I might be wrong.) What Mr. X. says about pop is off the wall.


This was a stimulating study. I'll have my comments on these pages up soon. If you think of a good color for me to add to the list, please let me know.

www.midori.com (this means green in Japanese)

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Now brother don't leave the homework undone. 

So these days things with Midori and the making of our new CD as an avant-lappop duo together have gotten well underway. We're getting together regularly to work on things, and so far, there's a lively spirit of collaboration in the air. There are rough sketches for two or three tracks, and on them we'll be using just about every trick in the book I imagine. We're brimming with ideas for this, that, and the other. It wouldn't be wrong to say that we are probably approaching the avant/pop balance from the avant side of things, which might be a refreshing change of pace these days. We should be done with our album by the end of December. I'm sure we're going about this ass-backwards, but even though we don't have a name, but we DO at least have a graphic artist (actually my friend Alisa at CalArts) who will do our album's design and cover, and we DO at least have a European tour lined up for January with dates in London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Germany with folks like Roddy Schrock and Antonin. I'm sure some of the Tsunami Addiction kids will be on the scene as well. Oh, to zig in the era of zag.


Now reading Mishima's Confessions of a Mask and Brother Animal The Story of Freud and Tausk by Paul Roazen.


". . . could you toss it online somewhere . . .?" Roddy asked to Robert. "Your wish," thought Robert, "is my command."

Thursday, October 2, 2003



No comment 

Sorry kids, but comments are off for the time being. If you have something to say, please send it in via email and I'll post it up.

More thoughts on TV 

Television Statistics: According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube. Why don't I fear this conservative estimate? Well, even though I constantly have the TV on (I'd guess for more than 8 hours a day) I'm not in America, I'm not watching TV in English (except when I'm "reverse engineer viewing" English learning programs), and so no matter what level of sublimity or trash I'm viewing at (frequently both) I'm constantly soaking up the language, which is quite useful, topical, and above all, cheap(er) than going to a language school. For the first time, I feel extremely confident going into the Japanese Language Prof iciency Exam.

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