Saturday, November 29, 2003


Last night checking out the Active Suspension show at Supa De-Luxe next door to Roppongi Hills. All the kids were there: the French, Japtoppers, OK Fred staff, various personages of questionable persuasion and of course the AS crew. They formed a quartet and performed a nice set of 'songs' that I'll review here soon.

Tonight I'll go to their other event, which will be in Shibuya at Nest. Dat Politics will also be there. The event is already sold-out but I've got guest passes since I'm supposed to have been a 'translator' for the new issue of OK Fred. I promise to try harder next time.

Oh, and while I'm clearing off my desktop...

Happy B-day to Mr. P. in Ryogoku. Nice to have played with you at Ludo's event the other day. Hope that you have a happy ??st/nd/rd birthday!

Finally, here is a shout-out to Messieurs R. and H. who are in Paris for the weekend. Have fun! Wish I could join you for some wine somewhere near the Hotel de Ville area. Give you-know-who my best, OK? Kisses.

Monday, November 24, 2003


They call drinking deep, dyeing scarlet; and when you breathe in your watering, they cry 'hem!' and bid you play it off. To conclude, I am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour, that I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life.

Prince Henry in The First part of King Henry the Fourth (SCENE IV. The Boar's-Head Tavern, Eastcheap)

Friday, November 21, 2003


I'm watching one of my favorite programs on TV tonight. It's a weekly show on channel 8 (Fuji TV), Thursday nights from 12:45. It's a show on philosophy (yes, on non-public TV) with an interesting twist: the setting is in an upscale bar (image somewhere in Aoyama), and the commentary is carried out in the form of a 30 something year-old male patron who is trying to woo the rather attractive female bartender by displaying to her his in-depth knowledge of philosophy. Needless to say, this kind of show strikes a certian chord with me. Tonight's episode was on Michel Foucault, and despite the rather formidable topic, the patron was able to, in the span of an hour, indeed make his acumen of the thinking arts clear, and he got the seven digits (well...the 11 digits as is the case here in Japan). Which reminds me of something (was it Woody Allen?) someone said once (I'm sure this isn't an exact quote): Why do we go to college? To sound good at parties.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Me thinking about Japanese people thinking about American people thinking about Japanese art 

As much as I'd like to be well-informed on the American art scene, especially after having spent a year or so in arty-farty LA, I'm simply not. It's not that I don't have the time. I do. It's that I simply don't have the mettle. Naturally I find myself relying heavily on second-hand information, which invariably comes from strange places.

Take this morning (it's around 7 a.m. here in Tokyo) for example: I was just about to turn in after a long night of studying (Karl Jaspers, and new English vocabulary words, among other things) and late-night TV viewing when I was informed by the seemingly astonished anchor of a morning news show that recently, this art auction happened in NYC. His summary of the event went something like this (I quote liberally from the linked webpage below):

"...the fourth record, which hailed a belated Japanese offshoot of Surrealism. Done, Christie's wrote, in 1999, it is signed and dated "Takashi [20]01." Takashi Murakami painted mushrooms that have Bambi-style human eyes and seem to be wafted across solid gold ground. "Untitled, Gold" (as it is called in the catalogue) doubled its estimate at $623,500."

The anchor then when on to tell me, in rather apologetic tones, that this kind of thing was rather aberrational, turning in his perplexity to the show's bespectacled, resident art expert poised and ready at his flanks. The snappily attired fellow, pointer in hand (incidentally, on the end of the pointer that he welded was a miniature, white-gloved hand, itself pointing with it's index finger...this point alone indicates to me the need for a completely seperate pontification), quickly dispelled all of my reservations about the 'real value' of Japanese art on the American art market with a few handy charts and colorful graphs. His VERY Japanese rationalization of the reason(s) why Murakami's art can fetch such a high price at an auction actually turned out to be the most priceless thing about the whole affair.

I don't know about you, but I always enjoy being told in 'objective terms' why people with whom I feel at times I have little but a nationality in common are willing to pay in upwards of six digits for art that is seen by a Japanese morning news show anchor as 'whimsical.' I guess I'll have to pedal over to Roppongi Hills this afternoon after my morning cup of afternoon tea and verify this Truth in person...for free.

Monday, November 17, 2003

H 101 

Well, I finally finished my preliminary readings into Heidegger. (What DID you imagine the "H" stood for, anyway?) Aside from all the general talk of being itself, I found Heidegger's ideas about Death, History and Time (World-Time and 'Ordinary Time') most interesting. Also touching on the subject of Temporality, Heidegger's insistence that 'one tool is ontologically impossible' (BT, 353) was stunning. I wonder what he'd say about the 'ontical' situation that most of my friends and I face every day: our 'one tool-ness'...I'll have to think about the implications of this. Perhaps that's related to what K. Cascone said about keeping everything 'inside the box' (granted, he was speaking from a computer music point of view) but I can't be sure. Anyway, I'll continue my readings after I locate a few more books on the St. Martin of Messkirch. In the meantime, speaking of Saints, next up on my reading list is St. Augustine.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

The next to the last of the communists 

I'm not a Marxist or a red either for that matter, but I am an avid reader. This webpage was chock-full of good, free reading. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

The bling bling of being 

I'm really sorry to bother ya'll with all of my Heidegger links, but I just couldn't NOT post this one up. Word!

Monday, November 10, 2003

A on B on C 

If you find yourself wanting to know what a Heideggerian spin on electronic music would sound like, Attuned to Being: Heideggerian Music in Technological Society by Gerry Stahl should prove worth your while.

Sunday, November 9, 2003

Lots of books 

Get all the books here.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

8 Mile 

Yeah, I know this post is WAY behind the times, but 8 Mile was a great movie. We've come a long way from V. Ice, haven't we? I'm reminded once again that hip-hop IS the most vibrant musical realm EVER! By the way, speaking of the 313, check this shit out!

Friday, November 7, 2003

Thick as thieves 

Kanagawa Gov Shigefumi Matsuzawa said that all foreigners are "sneaky thieves" during a campaign speech in support of a candidate running in the Nov 9 House of Representatives general election. Catch the full story here. I just want to say that I for one am highly offended at Gov Matsuzawa's comments. I don't think that foreigners are sneaky in the least, and are in fact rather obtuse while going about their usual skulduggery.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

The big devils 

This really makes me wish I was in Shy-Town...(Oh, go ahead and check out the HOT-PIXXX section. You know you want to!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

CODE vs. NON-CODE vs. ???  

[Disclaimer: I should say that before getting into any of this, that the question of FORMULAIC MUSIC is entirely another discussion. If you are interested, let's talk about it over beer next time you are in the neighborhood.] Recently, Roddy Schrock's weblog and the new Momus RADIO thing posted up on his website have got me thinking about a few things, since these two guys are working on the same problem from opposite ends...Why you say? Don't take it from me, take it straight from the horse's mouth. Roddy says here that recently, he's been "trying to calculate absurdity..." and we can contrast that with Momus who has, in his recent collaborations with various cerebrums (that is to say non-cerebellum types) since Oskar Tennis Champion simply been absurdly trying to calculate. Both approaches are beautiful, each having it's own merits, and I have the highest respect for both of these artists...Well, a few years ago, I was having coffee with Dr. Mark Applebaum, Roddy Schrock, and Tadashi Usami in a very quiet cafe in Kichijoji, Tokyo. Dr. Applebaum was talking about the different ways he divvies up his musical pesos, and one of these ways turned out to be "music that I like vs. music that I don't like." Needless to say, I think that was about the coolest thing that I'd heard in a long time, from his mouth, or from anyone else's, and it made a huge impression on me. (No, I wasn't even high at the time.) Of course, there are those of you out there who will balk at such a seemingly naive way of thinking. Well first of all, please keep in mind that Mark is a pretty much a genius, and that I'm no dupe myself (even if I do say so myself). Naturally I can't say enough good things about Roddy and Tadashi for that matter. Well, on top of all this, think about how Mark's statement really really opens things up for the composer. Things can become so much more fluid when you are working from "likes and dislikes" (let's put what Cage has to say about them on the back burner for the time being, shall we?), particularly in the era that knotty CODE (you know who you are) vs. NON-CODE ("no imputers" in Tokyo just to name one example) thing. But then we get into this paradox of some CODE-WARRIORS out there trying to escape the confines of their CODE by trying to write baffles into the systems (self-fucking Max/MSP patches, and a kid who I recently saw here in Tokyo who had written a really cool SuperCollider patch, generating all kinds of cool spectral stuff, but then he got all of the rhythm for his performance by jerking and ramming the frayed mini-pug that was connecting his PwrBkG4 to the mixer in and out of his headphone hole), and NON-CODERS folks trying to conjure CODE-LIKE structures out of thin air (or empty memory banks, or a 6-string, or by snorting that sound dust, or whatever). And I'm not saying that there isn't a lot of great work going on there in the midst of that paradox, but one thing kind of made me uneasy. Wanna' guess what that was? Well, it may be a pet peeve of mine, but I never was a big fan of antonyms of words that were formed just by adding a negative prefix. Of course, examples of this phenomenon are legion, but that never stopped me from trying to help out (at least in my own mind) that "underdog" in the pair who didn't get it's own proper "identity" (Roland Barthes, where are you when I need you baby?) So case in point: CODE vs. NON-CODE. This just won't work! So that's where the good Dr. Applebaum comes in. Oh Mark, you Gordian knot cleaver, you! Now we've got a kind of NON-NON-CODE thing going on, and that I can work with. Of course, at first glance it looks like the thing that perturbs me now appears to have been doubled, but somehow this flies in the face of that first "NON" with just the right amount of healthy disrespect to leave me feeling almost...satisfied. Almost, that is, until I consider that I can't escape from... [TO BE CONTINUED]

Louder than bombs 

I just want to be the first to day that this had NOTHING to do with Roddy Schrock. Whoever you are, please take him off your list, OK? Oh, and don't even THINK about adding Midori's name either! She's not as suspicious as the gumshoes of Highway 246 might believe, although her bike DOES look like something that a teenage Japanese James Bond might ride.


It probably has something to do with the fact that I just got through watching a rerun of Gladiator (here's a great period review by the Flagpole), rereading some of Roland Barthes' writing's on that passion play of the late 20th/early 21st century known as American professional wrestling, and the fact that somehow this all seems tied in with the US presence in Iraq (i.e. the Circus Maximus-enthralled citizenry of a megapower get their jollies as their country attempts to throttle oil-rich countries under guise of "anti-terrorism" in order to command the pole-position in the race for a non-renewable energy resource so that it can smooth out it's own impending energy crisis)...but anyway, I just got finished applying to be a member of the studio audience for WWE SMACKDOWN on Fuji TV here in Tokyo. (Here's the official WWE website just in case you need a refresher course.) Anyway, for reasons that I don't care to go into here, I'm a big fan of the show over here in Japan, which they do they broadcast one a week, hosted at the Fuji TV studios. The studio audience, which from what I can tell is about 99% Japanese, with a few foreigners added "to taste." Needless to say, they really seem to be having a good time in the Tokyo-style sports bar atmosphere, throwing back the brewskis and taking in the action on the big screen. I've noticed the faces of quite a few "geinojin" and other "talents" in the crowd, so who knows...I might finally get a chance to have a personal encounter with a Yellow Cab girl or a Space Craft chick or someone cool like that. Well, no matter what happens, I'll let you know as soon as I hear back from the folks at Fuji TV. Until then, keep your fingers crossed for me, ok? I'm down for the count!

Tuesday, November 4, 2003


I'll be involved in an event later this month in Tokyo being put on by Ludovic Pierre. It's called soundscreen and you can find out all about it here.


Right now, it looks like the following folks will be participating.
Go Taneda<->Ludovic Pierre
Philippe Chatelain<->Michi
Midori<->Nao Suzuki (or Ludo)
Robert Duckworth<->Nao Suzuki (or Ludo)
+ DJ: Mandali

Sunday, November 2, 2003

I'm lovin' it 

I always like to visit the webpages of big, nasty companies and compare the different versions that they've done up for different countries. Why this is interesting to me I don't have time to go into here. If you have a country to suggest, please let me know.

Here is an example:
Mc Donald's America (Simple, blockish, stupid...)
Mc Donald's Japan (Everything that you'd expect)
Mc Donald's India (Very strange since most folks from India don't eat cow!)
Mc Donald's China (So hip it hurts.)
Mc Donald's France (The coolest of the bunch in my opinion!)
Mc Donald's Korea (Typical Korea = Hip-Hop kind of thinking.)
Mc Donald's Canada (Shitty beyond words.)
Mc Donald's Germany (Trying to be cool with glitchy static and all that.)
Mc Donald's England (Oh, they don't play that shit anymore over there.)
Mc Donald's Sweden (From the minimalism and shades of earth tones, I thought this was Jean Snow's new webpage at first...scary!)
Mc Donald's Italy (It's only saving grace it the Mc Mamma program and the Justin Timberlake thing.)
Mc Donald's Spain (Again, falling into that Mc Euro look seen on the other Mc EU webpages...)
Mc Donald's Denmark (Det handler om dig
Et job hos McDonald's giver god løn og nye venner. Vi lægger vægt på din udvikling og tilbyder dig en uddannelse, som du kan bygge din fremtid på. Uh...right!)
Mc Donald's Indonesia (No comment.)
Mc Donald's Switzerland (Not that impressive.)
Mc Donald's Hong Kong (Never forget that 建立「金黃雙拱門」, OK?)
Mc Donald's Portugal (It was actualy very enchanting! I liked the soft lens work and the frog! Also...E queremos sobretudo agradecer a todos os que, nestes últimos doze anos, nos ajudaram a estar cada dia mais perto de todos os portugueses.)
Mc Donald's Australia (Like the American site but a little cooler.)
Mc Donald's Israel (Interestingly enough, walking that rocky path between McRibs and GOD! "Their non-Kosher restaurants serve Israeli customers who do not keep strictly kosher and want to visit McDonald's on Saturdays and religious holidays. McDonald's Israel's seven Kosher restaurants, where the menu does not include any dairy products and all food is prepared in accordance with kosher law, are not open on the Sabbath and all religious holidays.")

Saturday, November 1, 2003

Everyday is a J.R.R. Tolkein day... 

I'm happy to report that I've made contact with the Osaka University RPG Research Group who have been kind enough to show me the ins and outs of RPGing in Japan. These guys are off the hook, and I'm sure will be turning out in big numbers if the LOTRhymes ever make it out here...

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