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03 Nov 04:47

Ritual Electronics Release 3 New 1U Modules

by Elisabeth
Ritual Electronics has introduced three new 1U format modules. The modules are designed to be compatible with Eurorack modules, but in a more compact format.… Read More Ritual Electronics Release 3 New 1U Modules
24 Jun 12:03

Body Language & Emotional Intelligence - Analysis No. 4311: Jeff Sessions, "We never really intended to do that" - (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

by Body Language Success

Jeff Sessions' recent behavior could get him expelled from the Methodist Church. On 18 June 2018, 640 senior clergy of the United Methodist Church clergies brought charges against the Attorney General. Invoking paragraph 2702.3 of the United Methodist Book of Discipline, they charged Mr. Sessions with child abuse, immorality (including “the use of violence against children to deter immigration”), racial discrimination, and the dissemination of false doctrine counter to Methodist teachings (e.g., his use of the Bible verse Romans 13 in an attempt to legitimize President Trump's immigration policies).

On 21 June, Sessions appeared in an interview on Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) News. What follows is a partial nonverbal analysis of a portion of that interview (a segment of which is included within the above MSNBC video). 

JEFF SESSIONS (beginning at 0:56): ... It hasn't been good [Tight Tongue Jut] And the American people don't like the idea that we're separating families - ahum - we never really intended to do that. What we intended to do [sniff] was to ahum make sure that - adults who bring children into the country are [stutter, stammer] charged with the crime they've committed instead of giving that special group of adults immunity from prosecution - which is what, in effect, we were doing [sniff, Tight Tongue Jut] Ahum, so I think it's the right thing. We'll work our way through it ahum, - and try and do it in the most compassionate way possible.

Throughout much of his interview, Jeff Sessions displayed multiple examples of partially suppressed smiles.

This suppressed smile was captured during 1:03 after Sessions says, "... ahum - we never really intended to ..."

Consider the context of this interview:

• He's the Attorney General of the United States
• The issue at hand was the forcible separation of children from their parents - occurring at least 2300 times under his direction
• Most of the World is highly vocal and extremely critical of the Trump Administration's policy and actions on this matter
• The United Methodist Church has charged him with:
  1. Child abuse
  2. Violence against children to deter immigration
  3. Racial discrimination
  4. The dissemination of false doctrine

This image of a suppressed smile was captured during 1:14, Sessions says, "... crime ..."

Given these circumstances, any smiling is extremely out of context behavior. Why then is Jeff Sessions smiling? We are left with the following conclusions:

• Attorney General Sessions' smiling is a manifestation of Deception - a phenomenon known as "Duping Delight" - where a person takes pleasure in their belief that fooled others into believing their lie (We know that he's lying based on other well documented/videoed statements he and the Trump Administration have made). 


• Jeff Sessions is taking pleasure, true Joy-Happiness in the forcible separations of children from their parents

Additional tells we see during this portion of his interview:

• Stammering/Stuttering (indicative of significantly high anxiety)
• Sniffing
• Tight Tongue Juts

This is a Tight Tongue Jut (indicating Disdain, Disgust, Repulsion) during 0:58, just after Sessions says, "It hasn't been good".

During 1:05, just after AG Sessions says, "... the American people don't like the idea that we're separating families - ahum - we never really intended to do that. What we intended to do ..."
- he sniffs deeply.

When there are no infections or allergies present, sniffing is an extremely common indicator of anxiety. Moreover, taken in toto with the other signals present - and given the timing/coordination of his sniffing with his verbal statement - it's also highly correlative with deception.

In addition, Sessions is also displaying a Forward Lip Purse in this moment - indicating a Clandestine Disagreement or Clandestine Plan. This nonverbal sign is ALWAYS a red flag that whatever the person is saying - it's vastly different vs. what they're thinking-feeling.

During 1:22, just after he says, "...instead of giving that special group of adults immunity from prosecution - which is what, in effect, we were doing ...", Sessions makes another Sniffing Display - in conjunction with another Tight Tongue Jut.

SUMMARY: Jeff Sessions is lying during this interview. You don't need to be a body language expert to know that - you simply have to watch/listen to his previous videoed statements. Yet this short display serves as an excellent nonverbal teaching example - for we don't always have such ample evidence.

Moreover, he has clear disgust, disdain, and repulsion for the people who are immigrating. Sessions is also very possibly taking true pleasure in others' suffering.

Group Appearances and One-on-One
Online Courses Available 

See also:

Body Language & Emotional Intelligence - Analysis No. 4310: Donald Trump signs order stopping his policy of separating families at the border

Body Language Analysis No. 4308: DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's most Telling Expression

Body Language Analysis No. 4306: Donald Trump, a North Korean General, and a Salute

Body Language Analysis No. 4304: Donald Trump's and Kim Jong-un's Handshake in Singapore

Body Language Analysis No. 4269: Michael Cohen and the Joker Smile

Body Language Analysis No. 4217: Chadwick Boseman, Black Panther, Anxiety, and Alpha Up-Regulation

Body Language Analysis No. 4155: Luis Elizondo Interview - Former Military Intelligence Official Who Ran AATIP (The Pentagon's Secret UFO Unit)

Body Language Analysis No. 4104: Walter Cronkite Reaction to JFK Assassination

Body Language Analysis No. 4047: Joel Osteen, Houston, and Hurricane Harvey

03 Nov 16:09

Defensive Profile

NO DRAMA ZONE -> If I've made you sad, you'd better not tell me, because I am TERRIFIED of that situation and have NO IDEA how to handle it.
17 May 22:55

The US Senate Is Using Signal

by Bruce Schneier

The US Senate just approved Signal for staff use. Signal is a secure messaging app with no backdoor, and no large corporate owner who can be pressured to install a backdoor.

Susan Landau comments.

Maybe I'm being optimistic, but I think we just won the Crypto War. A very important part of the US government is prioritizing security over surveillance.

09 May 18:14

Why a single leaf from an ancient religious text is exciting historians

A unique example of 15th century printed text by English printer William Caxton has been unearthed at the University of Reading.
20 Dec 20:18

Embattled Russell Moore Stands By Trump Criticisms, Apologises For Offending Voters

Scot Bontrager

That's so Politically Correct (TM). Ugh.

Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's public affairs division, has apologised in a blog post for appearing to criticise anyone who voted for Donald Trump as US president.
22 Jul 13:13

The GOP is Gaslighting America — on National Television

by Andrea Grimes
Donald and Melania Trump appear onstage at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Donald and Melania Trump appear onstage at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

I am going to start this piece with a statement of fact, about which I entirely refuse to entertain debate: The speech that Melania Trump gave at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland on Monday night was plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s historic 2008 address to the Democratic National Convention.

I am a professional writer. I have taught college students. I know plagiarism when I see it, and that’s what this is. Trump, or her speech writer, lifted whole phrases and sentences — in order — from the woman (notably, and we’ll get to this, the black woman) who would go on to become the First Lady. Any student of mine would have flunked that assignment, and very likely been disciplined for violating the University of Texas’ code of conduct.

The Trump campaign’s response has been to deny the plagiarism outright and, importantly, to question the ability of people who know the speech was plagiarized to understand, explain and identify reality. Here’s Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, talking to CNN:

Manafort denied allegations that Melania Trump plagiarized a Michelle Obama speech on the first night of the Republican National Convention, calling the accusation “just really absurd.”

“To think that she would do something like that knowing how scrutinized her speech was going to be last night is just really absurd,” Manafort told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day.”

There’s a word for what Manafort’s doing there: gaslighting, as MTV News’ Jamil Smith pointed out on Twitter Tuesday morning. Gaslighting is a psychological tactic used by abusers, particularly but not only domestic abusers, to confuse, shame and manipulate others into believing that they cannot accurately interpret reality. Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson echoed Manafort later on Tuesday, flat-out denying that the speech was plagiarized. She too used the word “absurd.”

“Absurd” is no accident. It’s a short couple steps from “crazy,” and in the realm of “unreal,” “preposterous” and “bizarre.” The Trump campaign is using that word to call anyone who sees the blatant plagiarism in Melania Trump’s speech, basically, a nutzo-whackjob.

If you’ve been in an abusive relationship, you know this pattern. Thinking, day after day: Today will be the day I prove that I am not crazy, that I can do things right, that the way I see things is real.

Look at the way this played out on CNN. The Trump campaign simply refuses to engage with plain truth, forcing the media, Trump’s critics and anyone else who knows plagiarism when they see it to engage in an infuriating and impossible battle to win an argument over something about which they are already correct.

In a brilliant, moving and difficult personal essay for Vox, Emily Crockett unpacks this dynamic by examining the way Donald Trump behaved, earlier this year, toward Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, accusing her of overreacting to misogynist attacks and refusing to take responsibility for his appalling behavior toward her, and, going further, denying it ever occurred in the first place. Even in the face of audio and video clips, tweets and documented interviews. Crockett writes:

It’s the same damn story, over and over again. They are actually pretty boring, these abusers, considering all the drama and heartache they cause. I hear others recall the same boring, horrible script, the same boring, horrible tactics.

There’s the gaslighting, when they scrupulously deny they did anything wrong and avoid taking responsibility until they make you question your grip on reality: I never said that. I never did that. It’s your fault. I’m the victim here.

Trump followed this script more than once in his interview with Kelly. “I’ve been responding to what they did to me,” he said when asked about his bullying tactics.

It’s clear that gaslighting is Trump’s preferred method of engagement with anyone who sees through his shocking statements and behavior; I would encourage everyone to read Crockett’s thorough account of Trump’s abusive behavior.

But it’s not just Trump, the bully and the abuser and the liar. It’s his party more generally. It’s not one bad apple spoiling the bushel; the orchard is rotten. Yes, of course, Trump and the GOP are telling the kinds of lies that would make a kindergartener blush, but they’re not only telling lies: They’re engaging with the country they claim to love, and the public writ large, by using many of the hallmark tactics of a domestic abuser.

New York City's former mayor Rudy Giuliani at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
New York City’s former mayor Rudy Giuliani at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Over the last couple of days, we’ve seen a parade of RNC speakers and representatives engage in intimidation, denial of responsibility, revisionism and dismissal of harm. Hillary Clinton’s been blamed for orchestrating an elaborate media conspiracy around Melania Trump’s plagiarized speech. (I didn’t do it, but if I did, it’s not my fault!) Tuesday night, Rudy Giuliani spent 16 minutes hollering about ISIS, outright misquoting Clinton and blaming her for the “defamation” of Donald Trump. (Don’t you sass me, woman!)

Professional talking person Dinesh D’Souza (I don’t know how else to describe him) took an opportunity at the RNC to call Hillary Clinton “a chronic, almost pathological liar.” Certainly all politicians lie. Hell, all people lie. But the extent to which Trump himself is known to engage in prevarication at every level shows D’Souza’s claim to be just another abuser tactic: Accuse someone else of engaging in precisely the hurtful, cruel or reprehensible behavior committed by the abuser, creating an alternate reality in which the victim must prove a negative. (How dare you accuse me of cheating? I saw the way you looked at that waiter!)

On a live broadcast from the convention, Iowa Republican Representative Steve King espoused the most fundamental tenet of any white supremacist movement: The idea that white people are the sole contributors to civilization and innovation (You’d be nothing without me!). That’s a two-fer; not only is it revisionist (the cradle of civilization is, after all, in Mesopotamia, and it surely wasn’t white people who came up with Arabic numerals), but it implicitly blames non-white victims of oppression or discrimination as deserving of lesser treatment due to their inherent inferior status. (You’re hopeless! You’ll never learn!)

And as all kinds of folks — among them comedian Hari Kondabolu — pointed out, it’s a very bad look to claim white people are to thank for civilization as we know it on the same night that an aspiring white First Lady plagiarized America’s first black First Lady. Stealing the intellectual property of others, and particularly the intellectual property of a woman of color, does real harm. Claiming that people of color are inferior to white folks does real harm. The Republican Party has issued no apology for either, and denied — either outright, or through implicit silence — both.

And then there’s this: Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick is the chairman of the Lone Star State’s delegation to the RNC, and as such has been tasked with falling in line behind the Trump-led establishment GOP. At the same time, Patrick has taken up, more than ever, claims that police in the United States are uniquely under attack from a supposedly terroristic Black Lives Matter movement. Patrick wants to “investigate” activists who he believes march around yelling about murdering cops (as far as I can tell, the evidence for this ever happening includes a Breitbart story about a woman who was joking around on Facebook, and later arrested for it). Patrick has also called on President Obama to publicly support police, echoing Donald Trump’s claims that the president’s loyalty toward law enforcement is in question.

I’d typically call that kind of posturing nothing short of laughable, had I not begun to look at this gaslighting behavior through fresh eyes.

Obama hasn’t taken Patrick’s bait; at a televised town hall last week, the president calmly and confidently reiterated that his support for police is undeniable and long-standing. Police are safer during the Obama administration than they have been since the Reagan years. In Texas, it is more dangerous than ever to be a civilian; fatal encounters with police are on the rise, disproportionately so for Texans of color, even though arrests are on the decline.

What is especially troubling about the undercurrent of the GOP’s rhetoric is that whatever the party does or says, it’s ostensibly done out of real love for and loyalty to America. Fittingly, the night Melania Trump tried desperately to convince the crowd of her husband’s genuine patriotism and love for the United States, the day’s RNC theme was “Make America safe again.” That’s particularly grim in light of the “loved to death” trope so often trotted out when we talk about cases of fatal domestic abuse. The kind of so-called “love” that Trump and the GOP that has convened behind him in Cleveland espouses is a dangerous type indeed for those of us aren’t white, aren’t men, and aren’t Christian.

There’s no singular “victim” here when it comes to the GOP’s increasingly abusive posture. But I don’t think there must be in order for the public, the media and even Republican voters who are miffed and outraged by their party’s devolution into Trumpism to change the way we think about, and engage with, GOP politics in the lead-up to November. What would we do if someone treated us, if someone talked to us, the way Trump and the GOP leadership has done this week? If we see these tactics and behaviors as reflective of patterns of emotional and mental manipulation, rather than an especially egregious version of the politics to which we’re otherwise resigned, does that change the way we can, or should, react?

I believe so — though I’m still thinking through what that means in practice, and will write more on this in the coming weeks. Here’s what I know for sure: It’s one thing to lie, to stretch the truth, to bend facts and research to a narrative that casts one’s party or politics in a positive light. It’s another to consistently and repeatedly deny reality in order to force others to engage solely on your terms, and to submit to your demands.

And when it’s done in the name of love — for a spouse, for a child, for a country — that looks to me a whole hell of a lot like abuse.

The post The GOP is Gaslighting America — on National Television appeared first on The Texas Observer.

06 Jun 11:38

Time-Tracking Software

'List of helicopter prison escapes' and 'List of sexually active popes' are both entertainingly long, but sadly there's no 'List of helicopter prison escapes involving sexually active popes.'
27 Oct 01:43

the new Grimes single is here: watch the video for Flesh Without Blood / Life in the Vivid Dream now

by Chris

"Flesh Without Blood", the feverishly anticipated new single from Grimes, leaked on Sunday night (along with another track called "Life in the Vivid Dream") via a bootleg upload of the track's surreal, very bloody, possibly Farah Khan-inspired video. Now the official version of the song and its Grimes-directed video has surfaced, and it's amazing. Art Angels is out any minute, probably.

UPDATE: Art Angels is out November 6; check the artwork + pre-order here. Full tracklist after the jump (Realiti!):

Continue reading…

09 Jun 04:00

listen to Jessy Lanza’s Teklife collab “You Never Show Your Love”

by Chris

Here’s the super smooth new collab from Jessy Lanza + Teklife DJ’s Spinn and Taso, a jam we’ve been pining for since it made a brief appearance in Lanza’s Music To Cheer Yourself Up To mix late last year. Listen below, and grab the single now on iTunes. The You Never Show Your Love EP, which also features a remix by the late, great DJ Rashad, is out July 24 on Hyperdub.

09 Apr 15:56

Stealing Sheep – Greed

by Chris
Scot Bontrager

I've been getting into Stealing Sheep (the band, not the crime) this past month. Lovely stuff.

[via dummy // Not Real is out next week on Heavenly]

12 Jan 16:47

She's back! Vicar (or should that be bishop?) of Dibley returns

Dawn French is reprising her role as the Vicar of Dibley and vying to become one of the UK's first female Bishops in a special Red Nose Day episode. To celebrate, here are five classic Vicar of Dibley moments we love.
09 Sep 00:21

Carolina Eyck Explains Theremin Playing Technique

by synthhead
In this series of videos, thereminist Carolina Eyck shares her approach to theremin performance, covering tuning, technique, phrasing, vibrato and more.  Eyck is one of the world’s foremost thereminists, having performed in Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, Sweden, Finland, Great … Continue reading →
10 Jul 03:27

Dominant Players

When Vera Menchik entered a 1929 tournament, a male competitor mocked her by suggesting that a special 'Vera Menchik Club' would be created for any player who lost to her. When the tournament began, he promptly became the first member of said club, and over the years it accumulated a large and illustrious roster.
19 Jun 13:26

Exclusive Gary Numan Stream: ‘I Am Dust’ (Demo)

by Sean Adams

DiS is very excited to premiere this revealing demo version of electronic music pioneer Gary Numan's 'I Am Dust'.

New single 'I Am Dust' is coming out as a single on July 7th. The track is from Numan's twentieth studio album Splinter – Songs from a Broken Mind, which was released in October last year. The record is the legend's most commercially successful record since the early 80s, not that it's any less glorious, dark and invigorating than anything he's released in the intervening years.

This demo version shows the evolution of his songs and offers some clues as to how little his compositions are changed by big studio trickery and mixing.

Live Dates

21 June - Body and Soul Festival, Ireland
23 June - The Chester Live Rooms
24 June - Cambridge Junction 25 June - The Waterfront, Norwich
26 June - Reading Sub 89
28 June - Exeter Phoenix Centre
30 June - Bournemouth O2 Academy
1 July - Preston 53 Degrees
2 July - Leamington Spa Assembly Hall
3 July - Holmfirth Picturedrome
4 July – Sonisphere
16 August – Alt Fest

28 November – London Hammersmith Eventim Apollo

30 Apr 11:41

Morse Code

Oh, because Facebook has worked out SO WELL for everyone.
14 Jan 13:33

## NO MATCH ##

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
21 Oct 03:39

Modem Life is Rubbish: All My Friends Are Vinyl-Heads

by Alex Lee Thomson

To celebrate mock Cassette Store Day this year, a Twitter account was set up in the shape of “MP3 Day”, asking such taunting questions as “if your house was on fire, what five mp3’s would you save?” While it was a harmless dig, its entertainment value was derived from the fact that, really, you have zero connection or emotion to an mp3 - ZERO! The format is Matalan underwear, cheap and disposable.

When I was a kid I’d spend hours recording songs from the radio, moving tracks from CD to cassette tape, and then later from the TV to my minidisc player, relishing the artform of the mix tape. Physical copies of music meant something, it had a place not just on your shelf but ingrained in your personality. Owning the thing, that was the thing. Nowadays kids drag and drop a thousand new songs, downloaded in five minutes, to their iPods, consume it at an alarming rate, only to repeat the process a few weeks later. It’s partly the reason why band’s careers can be fireworks now, the immediateness of having the song and spoiling yourself with it, getting bored, and throwing it (and the artist) away, their career fizzling out with a whispering whizz through the skyline towards the horizon.

The mp3 has completely revolutionized the way music is consumed though, and there’s certainly been a lot of positives for the artist as well as listener because of it, but that idea – the owning of the thing – is still somewhat important for a lot of people. The ability to separate your music from your music collection is more important now than ever before as our digital selves jostle for social supremacy. Being able to disconnect from the World Wide Web, to close the MacBook and listen to music, not to be counted as a “view” or to boast fandom on Facebook, just to hear the fucking music. It’s why I spend my money on vinyl. If there’s one physical format which has survived the technology wars practically unbothered, it’s the wax disc and it’s (here come those words…) superior music quality. It trumps cassette and it annihilates CD in so many ways.

To quote Brittney Bean, founder of mp3 sharing and cataloging site SongDrop, “I'm not going to buy a 2p piece of media in a plastic box with a tiny paper booklet. I'm going to buy something that has some weight and can't be made in my house. Physical is about scarcity, it's about having something that can't be copied, and I don't know anyone with a vinyl lathe in their sitting room”. It’s a comment made poignant perhaps by the fact it’s made by somebody whose livelihood is based on you sharing mp3s online. It’s funny how, of my friends, the more they work in the digital music world the more they feel the need to hold onto the physical. When you spend so much time online throughout the day, consuming as we do, the few chances we get to unplug are very precious.

The decision to purchase a vinyl implies you’re actually thinking about what it is you’re buying, not just bashing a download button. Taking that time to weigh up the music you’ve heard recently, to contrast it against your collection, to live with an artist to the point you’re certain you love them, and then committing is what separates the music fan from the user. Nicholas Burman, consultant at Record Play, former online editor of Artrocker and big time vinyl fan confirms it’s, “a budgeting thing” when it comes to buying music, “and the work I do means everything I get sent is mp3, because it's instant, but I buy vinyl if I really like the artist.” That’s the crux; you have to actually like the artist to buy the vinyl. So in many ways the vinyl chart is more a measure of who really has the biggest dedicated fanbase.

For me, and many of my friends, the reason vinyl will open my wallet time after time is the experience, the romance of it all. All those things you don’t get from the download. Sliding the plastic cover off, pinching the sides of the cardboard to widen the opening and smell the paper, reaching your hand in to retrieve the record itself, and (oooh!) the “swoosh” it makes as it scotches out of the gatefold. It’s almost lewd. There’s pageantry to it, an addictive pageantry as real as smoking any cigarette. Yes the music quality is good, especially as you’re playing it through proper speakers and not headphones or a laptop, filling an entire room with deep, rich soundscapes that absorb into the curtains. It’s real.

That’s why people have more affinity to the format. It’s more of a fetish item than anything else to it’s owner. As more people are seduced by it, aided by great publicity events like Record Store Day, and demand becomes higher, labels and artists will produce more, selling more. Supply and demand, it’s as simple as that. No surprise then that as the world shifts more in the digital, and yearn for honesty, vinyl sales are also rising, now higher in 2013 than they have been in over ten years. There’s been 550,000 vinyl LP sales so far this year in the UK, sure to triple the 205,000 sold in 2007. Notably the big sellers are Daft Punk, Arctic Monkeys, Boards of Canada and David Bowie (see the top 10 biggest selling vinyl of the year so far, here).

Vinyl has never really gone away, and deserves much kudos for that. Artists have continually been attracted to releasing on it, harking back to the innocence of their teenage years and records they grew up with, and in turn inspiring the next wave of bands to do the same, and so on through time. It’s a baton of quality and durability, and that’s why I love it.


Previous Modem Life is Rubbish pieces:

11 Oct 22:03

Lucky Penny - 073

by Aido
Lucky Penny - 073
a treasure trove of erotica
04 Oct 13:45

The Jam to release career-spanning eight-disc boxset in November

Paul Weller writes introduction for comprehensive vinyl release, due out November 25

24 Aug 01:27

Preferred Chat System

Scot Bontrager

this is about me, I know it is.

If you call my regular number, it just goes to my pager.
17 Aug 22:47

GvsB III ticket giveaway

by Chris

GvsB III goes down just one week from tomorrow on Friday, August 23 here in Dallas at the historic Granada Theater, and we’ve got 5 pairs of tickets to give away for the event. Just let us know in the comments (in the next 24 hours or so) who you’re most excited about seeing at the show, and we’ll pick the winners this weekend. And don’t forget to show up early; first 100 people through the door get one of these.

In the meantime, check the set times + grab your tickets RIGHT HERE, look out for the official GvsB III mix coming from our homies Booty Fade next week, and get familiar with the amazing lineup below:






14 Jun 23:40

Chvrches announce debut album release, unveil 'Gun' video - watch

'The Bones of What You Believe' is out on September 23

26 Mar 20:50

i am a sentient mouth on legs, and if that is chocolate you've got, know that i want to shove it in me

archive - contact - sexy exciting merchandise - cute - search - about
← previous March 26th, 2013 next

March 26th, 2013: Over the weekend a Utahraptor statue was stolen in Australia. A bunch of VERY SUSPICIOUS PEOPLE emailed me but hah hah what POSSIBLE USE could I have for an amazing life-sized Utahraptor statue? Anyway it was recovered yesterday from someone who I definitely do not know and who is in no way taking the fall for me, hah hah, what a ridiculous unfounded allegation.

– Ryan

25 Mar 19:42

Business Men (25 Comments)

by Wes + Tony
Scot Bontrager

When I first saw the Harlem Shake, I didn't get it. Now that I see it (re/de)contextualized, it makes perfect sense.

Equity sector, DIVIDEND!

Thanks for coming to this place, this place for comics. We hope you enjoyed the comics.

25 Mar 19:41

The Enlightenment, Religion, and Violence in the Name of the Good

by larvalsubjects
Scot Bontrager

need to come back to this

220px-RichelieuRochelleThere’s a sort of “poor man’s” Horkheimer and Adorno that denounces– based on The Dialectic of Enlightenment –the spirit of the Enlightenment, claiming that it was responsible for the Holocaust, the horrors of the Soviet gulags, as well as the colonial genocides.   Indeed, discussions along these lines have often occurred here on the blog.  In particular, I’ve often heard this line of deployed by the religiously inclined as a way of calling for a spiritual or divine supplement to keep beastly humans from killing others.  I call this a “poor man’s” version of Horkheimer and Adorno because, being dialectical thinkers, I think they’re position is far more sophisticated than this and that they aren’t calling for abandoning the Enlightenment project– which just is the project of critique and emancipation –but a new type of Enlightenment project.  That aside, I was thus intrigued when I came across the following passages in Nicholas Tampio’s Kantian Courage this morning:

The human and material costs of the Thirty Years War were astonishing.  Though figures are difficult to calculate precisely, approximately five to eight million people died in the conflict, 20 – 32 percent of the Holy Roman Empire’s prewar population.  The raw numbers of Europeans killed during major conflicts between 1914 – 18 (27 million) and 1939 – 45 (33.8) were much higher, but the percentage of the population was much smaller (5.5 and 6 percent, respectively).  The causes of the death were manifold– soldiers killed in battle, civilians slaughtered in massacres, everyone decimated by the war’s spread of Bubonic plague, typhus, starvation, governmental breakdown, ecological devastation, and forced migration.  Losses around Prague reached at least 50 percent, and certain towns in the bishopric of Halberstadt lost between seven- and nine-tenths of their inhabitants.  Europe’s population levels in 1618 were not reached again for nearly a century.  Those who survived the war watched the old world disintegrate before their eyes.  Hyperinflation led people to abandon industry and agriculture, despondent about their futures and fearful that soldiers would steal whatever they produced.  Ancient structures of authority collapsed, as numerous lordsh9ips, abbeys and manors were appropriated and redistributed.  Once esteemed families became bankrupt and destroyed, and new men such as the Habsburg general Wallenstein climbed the social ranks.  The Catholic Church was left in a fundamentally altered state, as, for instance, the ratio of clergy to parishioners in Habsburg Sundgau in Alsace fell from 1:345 to 1:1,177.  (2 – 3)

Confronted with numbers such as this, my conclusions aren’t what my readers might expect.  To be sure, I do think that these numbers show that we can’t lay the Holocaust and the Gulag at the feet of the Enlightenment, for here we see precisely the same sort of devastation unfolding within a religious framework.  It would seem to follow from this that religion can’t save us.  If that’s true, then both the religious critique of the Enlightenment and the call for a religious supplement to prevent things like the Holocaust both fail.

thirty8353However, I think matters are more complex than this.  In De Rerum Natura, Lucretius lays human violence, cruelty, and unethical behavior at the feet of religion.  One could easily point at the Thirty Years War and say “See!  Lucretius was right!  Religion is the source of human barbarism!”  However, with the advocates of the poor man’s version of Adorno and Horkheimer, it has to be conceded that we haven’t seen a decline in political violence with the secularization of culture.  Rather, we have witnessed heated political violence just as we did before.

This suggests that we can’t look to the content of belief-systems to explain this sort of violence.  Formally or structurally, don’t Stalin’s purges and trials look a lot like the Spanish Inquisition?  As I’ve argued elsewhere– in an article I wrote years ago entitled “The Other Face of God” (.pdf) –this suggests that it is not so much the content of a particular politics that generates this sort of violence, as a particular structure that generates or invites this sort of politics.  While I’ve called that structure “theological”, it can be secular or religious, involve the supernatural or be purely materialist, and still invite these sorts of effects.  If this is true, then it would follow that the real question becomes one of what sort of politics might be adopted that targets structure itself, rather than particular contents.  I argued this in the first article I ever published, “The Politics of the Virtual” around 2003.  While I don’t have a link to the .pdf of that article, an earlier version of the argument can be found here.

24 Mar 03:11

Interactive: Common chord progressions in 1,300 songs

by Nathan Yau


If you listen to the radio long enough, you've probably noticed that many songs sound similar or remind of you of a song you've heard before. Hooktheory shows you just how similar some songs are via chord progressions in over 1,300 songs. The small group analyzed the data last year and presented some static charts, but this interactive version takes it a step further.

Simply start by selecting a chord in the network diagram. Songs that use that chord appear on the right. Then select another chord in the network diagram to find songs that use the chord progression from the original to the new. Keep selecting chords to filter further.

So in the end, there are two main things you can do: (1) Find songs that use the same chord progression and (2) see the most likely chord given the current selection.

My musical knowledge from middle school jazz band is long gone, but it's fun to explore, and you'll likely find relationships to songs that you didn't expect. [Thanks, Dave]

22 Mar 15:54

Lapalux - Nostalchic

by Tim Peyton

89567 Kids can do clever things on laptops these days. Thousands of pounds worth of studio equipment can now be condensed into a few square inches of mac-space, and tinkered with to infinity by smart bedroom bound producers intent on perfection.

Although hardly a kid - he's 25 - Stuart Howard, the man behind Lapalux, sounds like he has spent a lot of time in his room. He makes layered, futuristic pop music that probably results from a lot of mouse clicks. Nostalchic is Lapalux's first LP on Flying Lotus's Brainfeeder imprint, so he is very much playing with the big boys now, and this album more than proves the Essex lad a worthy addition to their roster.

'A lot of the songs seem to have 60 or so tracks going on in them', Howard claimed in a recent interview. This is only a slight exaggeration, and it's this maximalist urge which aligns Lapalux with fellow UK producer Rustie. Yet where the Glaswegian's work conjures a state of hyper awakeness, Lapalux make music for softly lit rooms and fragile post club heads. On 'The Dead Sea', for example, voices whisper 'sleep, sleep, sleep' repeatedly over crackly vinyl hiss, as if in benign incantation. But even on noisier, looser jams like 'Kelly Brook'- where sampled rapping accompany a cacophony of drum samples and mangled diva croons - the overall feeling is of calm. Not a million miles away from falling asleep in a smoke filled room while someone absent mindedly surfs YouTube. A mesh of genres and voices, all held together by the narrative glue of sleep.

The textures (a word used a lot when discussing Lapalux) envelop a listener in warmth. Despite using many of the same surface techniques as producers such as Burial - pitch shifted vocal samples, clattering beats, and often avoiding 4/4 timing - Lapalux turns these tools toward create a woozy, contented world, completely at odds to the sweeping vistas of urban decay evoked by much dubstep production. Conversely, the world evoked in Nostalchic is a colourful one, alive with the sights and sounds of nature. This is seen in the serene swathes of synth which populate the record, their gentle undulations bringing to mind tidal ebb and flow. 'Guurl' is a fine example of this, as is 'One Thing,' whose introduction features the sound of running water and birdsong. These little touches breathe organic life into an album full of synthetic sounds.

Despite all the textures, Lapalux deals in hooks. Even if the songs sound like they're being played backwards, they still adhere themselves to the inside of your head. 'Flowers', for instance, has the jittering beats of a dubstep tune yet floats rather than fights, as Koreless style emotive vocal samples accompany a gorgeous melody that does its best to not sound like one. Few songs stray much over the four minute mark, and if you subtract their dreamy veneer of effects, what is left is pop music pure and simple. It's an enjoyable and consistently melodic listen that reminds me of some of the less outre acts on Tri-Angle such as Balam Acab.

Nostalchic is much more song-orientated than anything Lapalux has done previously. And the large proportion of slower cuts with guest vocalists showcase both Howard's love of R&B and also a newfound songwriting maturity. The album is about songs not textures, and despite being consistently pleasing on the ear, its depth deserves more than to be treated as mere background hum.

'Deep' is an overused term when discussing electronic music these days, but Nostalchic does contain some moments of genuinely beautiful melancholy. Even, dare I say it, deepness. None more so than album highlight 'Without You'. This warped, slow motion ballad sounds like it's being sung from the bottom of the ocean, as cavernous echo engulfs a doomed lover's joint plea of ?I didn't want you to leave me.? It's moments such as this - where Howard displays a sophisticated grasp of emotions alongside his more obvious, and already well established, talents as an engenious sonic arranger- when the album is most impressive.

Rather than creating the chic nostalgic music the title might suggest, Lapalux's this LP is distinctly forward looking. It builds on the promise of last year's more experimental EPs by fusing myriad influences into coherent songs.Where previously it felt like Howard was running at full pelt, trying to fit as many different ideas into a song as possible, he now shows more restraint, letting the songs speak for themselves.

Nostalchic is an album full of lush sonic textures, but also one bursting with hooks and, most importantly, feeling, too.

19 Mar 19:41

Tullycraft - Lost in Light Rotation

by Darren Loucaides

89535 Back in the mid Nineties, Tullycraft helped inaugurate a small revolution in American indie. Hailed as one of the progenitors of twee – a peculiar brand of guitar music defining itself against the machismo of rock’n’roll, with fey vocals, jangly guitars and lo-fi recording – they were lauded almost as much for their DIY, anti-corporate approach as their sparkly, cutesy songcraft.

In their wake came a deluge of ethically and stylistically similar bands, as well as fanzines, clubnights, popfests, websites – in short, a whole subculture. But while many of the twee bands that have existed since have justified the genre’s existence with memorable, cult-classic records, too often they have also earned accusations that theirs is an inward-looking world, indulgently self-referential, even snobbishly self-contained. In some ways indie music has decisively moved on, while twee/indiepop bands, self-appointed keepers of the flame, remain unwilling or unable to move beyond the boundaries of their genre.

Against this backdrop, Tullycraft return with their sixth album – their first since 2007’s Every Scene Needs A Center. The comeback of the Seattle quintet is a delightful surprise after the considerable hiatus, but there is a risk, almost a decade since their formation, that by now their brand of do-it-yourself guitar pop has become entirely irrelevant, perhaps even confirming twee and indiepop as tired anachronisms.

You wouldn’t expect – or even want – Tullycraft to step outside the boundaries of a sound they partly own – why should they? – and inevitably Lost In Light Rotation is a collection of lively, bouncy indiepop tunes, and not at all adventurous. Somehow, though, they don’t sound irrelevant, despite the ways in which indie has moved on and evolved away from indiepop. The fact is that, with their trademark hints of girl-group, punk and Sixties guitar bands like The Kinks, Tullycraft manage to sound timeless.

While Tullycraft did prod the boundaries a little with Disenchanted Hearts Unite, which administered light doses of synth-pop and electro, Lost In Light Rotation finds the band instead attempting to hone their craft to perfection. That they do. These are very well-made pop songs from an assiduous songwriter, and some of them, like the rushing title track, or the closer, 'Anacorters', are practically flawless. There’re impeccable lead riffs, rousing climaxes, and then the vocals: the harmonies between Sean Tollefson and Jenny Mears are wonderfully balanced, deployed generously and with confidence. Their interplay is crucial to the album’s success. For example, when Mears takes the lead vocal for the second verse of highlight ‘Elks Lodge Riot’, it’s just lovely, and when she and Tollefson are reunited for the chorus, it makes the song.

Some of the ‘seen-it-all’ scenester themes are nagging, like the mention of "fake DIY traps", references to homemade t-shirts, and the plot of ‘No Tic All Tac’ (it’s about some forgotten band who "never played a single show outside of Glasgow Green"). But in general, the reflections are quietly affecting. "A polished slogan reads that punk love is finally lost," Tollefson sings on ‘Westchester Turnabouts’, while his being "stuck on the day you left – t-t-too much to say" is first-world tragic. ‘Dig Up The Graves’ faces the fact of not being trouble-free kids anymore: ’A dozen things that you never told me…the days, the weeks, the months, they follow you home’. Despite the bright shiny pop-sheen, much of Lost In Light Rotation is sad and regretful, made all the more poignant by the idea that indiepop’s glory days are past.

While wars, economic crashes, and the Decline of Everything have eaten away at the chirpy optimism that prevailed when they began in the Nineties, Tullycraft remain stubbornly, happily oblivious. Their latest record is a time capsule, a tiny fragment of utopia to be treasured in these ghastly End Times, and when homo sapiens’ automated, inorganic descendants dig through the debris of our era in 10,000 years, maybe they’ll stumble upon Lost In Light Rotation and see that there was one last bastion of hope and sweetness in this, the foul year of our Lord, 2013.