Debbieford.com Welcomes You!
Those of you who tried to log on to Earpollution in late September might have been lucky enough to have caught those new age words from author Debbie Ford instead of your usual eP content.
No, we haven't gone off our rockers. Yes, our punk collection is still intact and gets regularly dusted off for proper sonic airings.
In a snafu while switching web hosting providers recently, Debbieford.com got parked on our IP address, and it took some time to sort out the problem and get things returned to some semblance of normalcy. But hey, if there was ever a website to get switched with, Debbie Ford is right up there...
Apologies to anyone who was affected by this mishap. The whole thing was almost, sort of, amusing.
Using a photograph taken from a 1979 photo shoot in which a very young Madonna Ciccione posed nude for photographer Martin Hugo, condom sellers CondoMania recently released the Madonna Condom, which features the aforementioned photo of Madonna on its packaging. "Sure to be a collector's item," and already selling briskly in Europe and Japan, the Madonna Condom has already survived a fiery letter from the Material Girl, who unfortunately cannot stop the use of the photograph as CondoMania does indeed own the proper rights to it.
Congratulations to the amazingly-talented and equally lovely Polly Jean Harvey, who took home this year's Mercury Music Prize for her album Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. The prestigious British award is handed out annually to the best British album. Others on the 2001 shortlist included Radiohead and Super Furry Animals.
And in other Brit news, when they're not busy terrorizing the world with their inviting brand of techno-punk, our favorite breakneck breakbeat-nicks, Pitchshifter, recently announced the launch of Strings-2go, an online store dedicated to selling affordable, quality strings. With more than 500 brands to select from, the store not only has strings for your guitar and bass, they also have strings for everything from your ukulele to your bouzouki (you know what a bouzouki is, don't you?). It's a steal, and it's legal, so give 'em a click already.
In other Pitchshifter news, rumor has it the band will be signing with Sanctuary Records, and they look to be recording their follow-up to 2000's Deviant sometime this fall, with producer Machine at the helm, who manned the board for the band's '98 release, www.pitchshifter.com. Stay tuned.
In a project presented by the John Cage Organ Foundation in Halberstadt, Germany, the St. Burchardi Church (which is located 125 miles west of Berlin) recently began his composition, entitled Organ2/ASLSP, with silence. 16 months of silence, to be exact.
You see, ASLSP, which stands for "As Slow as Possible," is meant to last 639 years, with the first three actual notes not scheduled to be played until January 5, 2003.
"We know that it may sound like a utopian dream, but we believe that it can be done," said Foundation head Michael Betzle. "We hope each generation will continue the project and as long as there are no more wars or other major disruptions, it will go on until its end."
Open daily to visitors, the changes in the composition, such as going from a rest to a note, will happen on the fifth of each month, and will be done by an organist. Inbetween, weights will be used to secure the proper notes down until the next change occurs.
The "concert opening" on August 9, which was attended by 300 people, marked Cage's birthday, who died in 1992 at the age of 79.
And in other "So Absurd It's Gotta Be True" news, Linda Long, a scientist at Exeter University in the UK, has turned the molecular structure of the proteins found in such common herbs such as parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, into musical compositions. And to boot, she's released a CD of it, available through her website, Molecular Music.
Yes, you are reading this correctly.
Long, along with mathematician Jeremy Leach, designed a computer program that allowed her to convert these protein sequences into sound. A musician as well as a scientist, she was surprised when she discovered that the sequences formed a linear, rather than random, sequence of musical notes. "The notes from different molecules within the proteins naturally form soothing melodies. I had no control over it. It is organic music derived from natural sources found in all life."
She continues: "The melodies really are quite uplifting and soothing and the exciting thing is that the tunes are protein-specific. If an organism contains 100 proteins then you could produce 100 musical compositions from that organism. I did the first piece, with an antiviral protein from the herb pokeweed, to show how I could translate the protein structure to notes to produce musical note sequences which are melodic, rather than random notes with no musicality. When I entered the details into the computer, I heard a note sequence, so I accompanied what I heard with a composed background arrangement to fully complement the 'protein melody.'"
Dr. Long took the music and created an EP of material, entitled Music of the Plants. The 25-minute player includes music created by the proteins of parsley, mustard, white clover, and pokeweed (our favorite is the pokeweed).
Next up: turning proteins found in the human body into music. "All living matter contains proteins, they are the building blocks of life and I am looking forward to hearing how the human body will sound," says Long.
No word as of yet if any of the house plants on the CD has secured a proper recording contract. We'll keep you updated!
After five years and four albums, Seattle's favorite punkers The Murder City Devils announced they would be calling it a day after they finish a fall tour to support their new release, Thelema (reviewed elsewhere this issue). Keyboardist Leslie Hardy has already left the band to return home to Detroit (keyboard duties will be handled by Nick DeWitt for the tour), and bassist Derek Fudesco announced that afterwards he will be focusing full time on his other project, Pretty Girls Make Grave. The rest of the band--vocalist Spencer Moody, guitarists Nate Manny and Dann Gallucci, drummer Coady Willis, and roadie Gabe--have intimated that they will carry on in some form under a new moniker, but the how's, what's, and where's have yet to be announced.
If you've not yet seen the Devils play live, you need to. Their live energy is something you have to witness, and I guarantee you'll regret seeing them if you miss their last go-around. Here are the tour dates:
Grand Royal, the label founded by the Beastie Boys, announced in early September that it had ceased operations and closed its doors for good, citing increasing debts, decreasing assets, and "exceedingly harsh industry conditions."
Founded in 1993, the label's first release was Luscious Jackson's In Search of Manny. Notable other roster artists included At the Drive-In and Atari Teenage Riot. Said label co-founder and co-Beastie Boy Mike Diamond: "Our intentions were always simply to create a home for exciting music and the people who were passionate about it. It really sucks that we can't continue to do that."
In other Grand Royal related news, Atari Teenage Riot announced that founding member Carl Crack died on September 6 at the age of 30. It was widely known that he had suffered from psychotic attacks for numerous years, and that he also had problems with alcohol and drug abuse, but as of press time the official cause of death had not been disclosed.
Said Alec Empire in an official release from Digital Hardcore Recordings:
"I played in a band with Carl for ten years. We've been through a lot together in all those times. He was my friend. We didn't have much contact with each other since the last bout of heavy touring with ATR ended in March 2000. There was too much between all the members of the band and we all needed space to recover. Carl and I decided to write each other because it was nearly impossible to talk.
"He wrote to me that things were going better for him, he was playing music in different projects and that he wanted to start a long-term therapy. He had suffered since a teenager from psychotic attacks, which I watched getting worse each year. I hoped that he would be able to work things out. His letters sounded positive and optimistic. His sudden death has hit me very hard and it is not easy for me to find the right words."
Rest in peace.
We've all seen the images so many times now that they're forever burned into our collective conscious. We don't need CNN, we can just close our eyes and hit replay again and again. As the twin towers came tumbling down in an avalanche of glass and steel that was biblical in proportion, so did our reality, forever changing how we view both the world and ourselves.
Inside the music community, it's been interesting watching how artists and others have reacted. Some of the more notable news items included rappers The Coup and prog rockers Dream Theater hurriedly changed album covers; New York electronic duo I am the World Trade Center changed their name to I am The...; and Clear Channel Communications, which has a stranglehold on radio station ownership, circulating a list of songs they sought to be removed from station playlists which included James Taylor's "Fire and Rain," Steve Miller Band's "Jet Airliner," Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," and even Frank Sinatra's classic, "New York, New York."
To quote Pantera, who in a million years I never thought I would quote, "There are no words worthy to express the sorrow we feel for those who lost loved ones in [this] terrible tragedy."
And so we struggle to find meaning in this horrible tragedy, and try our best to kindle a light of meaning in the utterly confusing darkness called life. To those who've lost loved ones, our hearts and deepest sympathies go out to you. To those who've volunteered their time, courage and compassion in the rescue effort, no words can convey more strongly than simply "thank you"--you are beautiful.