Replicant [mixtape]

Replicant began as an imaginary soundtrack to Blade Runner 2049 – weirder, noisier, darker, and more futuristic than the music in the film. I watched it and loved it, but kept thinking that they played it safe with the score. I thought I could do better with a mixtape; rather, some of my favorite artists have already mapped this sound out.

But then the mix gained a life of its own as it neared completion. It got more perseonal as it grew. Now I can say that it is simply my cyberpunk dream score for life in 2017 and beyond.

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Kendrick Lamar x Rick and Morty

Rick Morty game

I’m not normally that interested in mashup videos, but this one combines one of my favorite musicians with one of the best shows on TV in expert fashion. It’s Rick and Morty synced up to Kendrick Lamar‘s breakthrough single, Swimming Pools (Drank).

Watch below. It’s kind of incredible.

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What I’m Into This Week (5/1 – 5/7)

Pacific Rim Gypsy Danger

This week was shot out of a cannon. I was out of town, spending the weekend in Chicago, visiting the aquarium and accidentally joining a political protest, but I returned to great news.

Radiohead was suddenly back and doing interesting things. I had new vinyl from Can and Andy Stott. Beyoncé was still riding high on the crest of a mighty art-pop wave, and her album was still lodged in my car stereo. Then, after the worst storm of the year, the sun came out to play.

Let’s get into it.

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Sigur Rós “Untitled” – amazing music video, reminds me of…what?

I’ve been fond of this brilliant clip for well over a decade, yet I never quite put my finger on what 20th century sci-fi short story it reminds me of.

I’m thinking Bradbury, I’m thinking Clarke? Dick? I have no idea. I merely recall a short story in middle school English class that lodged its way deep into my mind. The story of kids in a future (on a different planet?) where they could not go outside because of some extreme weather phenomena, and finally had a momentary opportunity to do so. It could have been poisonous air, like this video. It could have been solar radiation. I could be entirely wrong.

sigrurrosvideo

Does this ring a bell to anyone? Does the video conjure memories, or the name of a story?

I know I could probably stumble through google trial and error and figure it out, but I prefer learning things directly from people. I like finding out what happened because someone told me. I like having a connection reveal the information I seek, at least some of the time.

It can get lonely, having all you need to know at your fingertips all the time.

~

I read today that Vertigo Music would have the first vinyl issue of Ágætis Byrjun since its original pressing 15 years ago, and was reminded that I hadn’t paid this group much attention in recent years. Their impact may have dulled a bit with the passage of time and a billion miles traveled in my music journey, but there’s still nothing quite like Sigur Rós.

If you can help with my search, or if you’re just reading this, thank you. I write for you.

Thoughts On ‘Interstellar’

I just watched Interstellar. I had a great time. I feel like director Christopher Nolan really nailed the feeling he was going for – which, to me, was a bold mixture of 2001: A Space Odyssey, Brian Eno-scored NASA documentary For All Mankind, life affirming earth panorama Koyaanisqatsi, and Carl Sagan’s Cosmos… with a sprinkling of exquisite 90s galactic haunted house Event Horizon and Terence Malick’s The Tree Of Life. It may not be for everyone, but for my particular tastes and predilections, it hit the spot in a very specific way.

Interstellar-Trailer-02

It never coheres perfectly, but I was genuinely caught up in the illusion he was pulling off this time. I was high on the experience, despite seeing his influences splattered everywhere, in startling clarity. Hell, the main theme is an unabashed riff on the final movement of Philip Glass’ Koyaanisqatsi score. In that last sequence, we watch a Russian cosmonaut rocket explode on takeoff, then tumble to the earth, pirouetting in slow motion. See it here:

Powerful stuff, right?

It’s an apt metaphor for the fear driving this film’s ambitions. Writer Jonathan Nolan was quoted saying, “We’re not fucking going to space,” to originally attached director Steven Spielberg. He goes on to say, “We’ve literally peaked as a species with a little flag on the moon. Can you imagine in a million years when the alien anthropologists turn up and they find the flag and say, ‘Fuck they almost made it. They got that far.'”

I get the feeling that when a science fiction film is considered, all bets are off for the pedants who normally respect the illusory irrationality of cinema. While I will make no case for Interstellar as a perfect piece of cinema, or an important one, I will say that it’s not only a grand ride; Neil DeGrasse Tyson agrees.

As I reminded a friend: Tyson is an astrophysicist, not a film expert. I’m merely making the case that, because someone who has dedicated his life to what most of us deem speculative fiction can fully accept the film and take it on its own narrative terms, surely the armchair (or wood panel basement) equivalent can learn to relax and enjoy sci-fi as you would any other genre. Or not.

I suppose that tangent was merely a nod toward the fact that, hailed as a “true” sci-fi epic or not, this was a supreme aesthetic experience that never blows audience intelligence out the airlock. It may not even attempt the depth most of its inspiration (especially Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, which Nolan has specifically mentioned and is totally fucking streaming in full on youtube here) but it grabbed me on a gut level that few films do. I think you should watch it.

Addendum

Sitting at work this morning, contemplating Armistice Day, I recalled a line from Interstellar, regarding the spaceship under construction. “Every rivet could have been a bullet.” This appears to be a direct nod to President Eisenhower’s famous Chance For Peace speech, where he intoned the following:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.
This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

This reinforces my understanding of the film as not only a thoughtfully grand magic trick, but a call to arms (so it were) for the current generation to focus our ambitions beyond ourselves, and look to the skies rather than our borders. It’s a remarkably similar sentiment expressed countless times throughout the modern iteration of Cosmos, which is now streaming in full on Netflix. Watch it if you have yet to.

Oneohtrix Point Never + Philip K. Dick

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Today I’m taking shelter in my apartment while a certain Christian music festival rears its ugly head across the street. Fanny-packed crowds flood the streets below while devotional rock blasts through the windows. I shut the shades and find my Rifts box set, selecting the third and possibly gentlest Oneohtrix Point Never album, Russian Mind.

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