I know neither the song nor the artist, and have no connection to the person who made this video other than a shared obsession with flying at night with the window shade up. Of this video, its creator Ettubrute says:

On my night time flight back to SF from Amsterdam, I noticed that the lights from cities were making the clouds glow. Really spectacular and ethereal – it was really seeing the impact of urban environments from a different perspective. Each glow or squiggle represents one town or city!

Luckily the flight was half empty, so I was able to set up an improvised stabilizer mound made up of my bags, pillows, and blankets for my camera to sit on.

We were around the midwest at the beginning of the clip, and there were fewer cities once we hit the rockies. the bridge at the end is the san mateo bridge.

Endlessly fascinating and well worth a couple views, especially in full-screen.

I am admittedly somewhat late to the game on John Tejada — the one and only Titonton Duvanté had him signed to his Residual Recordings label way back in 1998. I even remember seeing flyers for their parties with him in Columbus at that time, but I don’t think I ever made it to one of his shows. Definitely missed out.

johntejada-bounceJohn’s tracks were one of my earliest discoveries in the then newly launched iTunes Music Store, and I now have no fewer than 30 John Tejada singles and one-offs from his work on Poker Flat and his own Palette Recordings label. To this day, I continue to religiously seek them out.

I was able to hear him play live in San Francisco last summer, and he did not disappoint. His music has such an elegant and worldly quality to it, which is no surprise given that he was born in Austria to an opera singer (mother) and a conductor (father), and he moves fluently in and out of so many sub-genres of techno. As for “Bounce,” his Los Angeles roots shine bright as day with its almost hip-hop beat and measured production:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

While completely different stylistically, this track is every bit as densely layered and expertly sequenced as my two previous SOTD from Hudson Mohawke and Squarepusher. This is shaping up to be the start of a really good mix…

Eric of San Francisco’s Transbay Blog writes:

City streets, unlike freeways, naturally support a variety of transportation modes; and they can support those modes even better if we implement complete street design principles that calm traffic, and prioritize a high-quality pedestrian streetscape above moving cars faster. By proposing that intersection-dense street networks qualify as a single project unit for the purposes of stimulus funding, CNU’s proposal shifts investment away from freeways and toward our nation’s neglected city centers.

Under the proposal, any street in a qualifying network could be enhanced with stimulus money. Note that this does involve spending money on the roads themselves. Roads should be kept in good working condition. Given that some money must be spent on road networks, it is preferable to invest in city streets, because funds can be applied both to repaving and to creating complete streets that are friendly and accessible to all users no matter their travel mode.

The result will be increased concentration of human and economic activity in our cities — in the exact areas where trips are generally shorter, and where it is often easier to walk, bike, or take transit than it is to drive. And as noted above, a high-quality pedestrian experience is absolutely central to the success of this vision. Attractive, walkable, complete streets encourage people to shift to other modes and reduce their automobile usage, and they carry great economic benefits for cities.

My emphasis in bold, line breaks added for legibility. Eric’s thoughts heavily influenced my previous riff on urban infrastructure.

Imagine streets oriented to the human scale: peaceful, walkable, supporting both a density and diversity of development. This is not only a vision for New York or San Francisco, this was the blueprint of small towns and close-knit communities before the birth of the automobile, and as such it can be applied anywhere in America to reinvigorate what was once lost. Coupled with light rail to link adjacent communities, it forms the basis for a genuine rebirth of our neighborhoods and cities.

Again, I don’t expect Obama to fund these projects in year one, but I do hope that his administration strongly advocates for sustainable development, and shifts to making wise investments in the infrastructure that can benefit the greatest number of people. We can no longer afford to support the suburban model, we must recognize that and get over it, then move forward with more a sustainable approach to organizing our communities and cities.

After reading nothing but rave reviews, not just of their new release but pretty much of their entire being, I finally bought Gang Gang Dance’s Saint Dymphna. To be fair, I have only listened to it twice with headphones and just put it up for Fly Lo’s patented whip test last Friday night, so a more thorough review will have to wait a bit longer.

What’s most interesting to me now is the way GGD feels both wholly of the moment and completely timeless as well. There’s something very current about their sound, something that can only be made in this modern era, yet it so clearly encompasses the energies and eccentricities of another era. Many other eras, in fact.

I love to find myself aware of both an instant and the infinite, and I can think of no better way to access that feeling than through music. “Princes feat. Tinchy Stryder” immediately takes me there and definitely keeps me coming back for more, I just can’t get enough of it:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Oh shit, Gang Gang.”

I look forward to learning more about this Brooklyn band, and hope to see them live next month in San Francisco. If you’re thinking about going, please let me know, I would love to meet up.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that The Sea and Cake had a new album coming out, and even happier to finally have it Car Alarm my possession today. While I wouldn’t call it love / hate, I am often of two (or more) minds when it comes to this band, which is surprising given how much I love Tortoise (John McEntire works on both, and produces many other excellent bands as well).

I enjoyed their previous album, Everybody, and immediately identifed with the line “And still I’ve been taught to glorify what’s left to do” from “Coconut,” but I didn’t love it from beginning to end. One Bedroom and Oui completely surprised me and pretty much had me hooked for life, but then I saw them in concert at the Wexner Center in Columbus and they were depressingly flat.

I have always ranked things I love first, things I loathe second, and things that give me absolutely nothing in return last. TSAC can beautifully blend into my life and become the soundtrack of my day, or it can completely disappear to my great dismay. When I am listening to something, I want to feel it in my bones.

That said, the subtly seductive sound of “On a Letter” spoke to me immediately. It’s an effortlessly beautiful song, so soft and full at the same time, and warms me up like the sun’s rays on a perfectly warm but not too hot summer day, just like this afternoon in San Francisco. Have a listen:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I have to share “CMS Sequence” too, as it immediately follows “On a Letter” and perfectly completes the moment:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I definitely look forward to diving deeper into this one, especially since tomorrow is going to be every bit as beautiful!

I recently joined a Flickr group called San FranGone: The City as it Was, and every time I check in on it I am rewarded with these incredible glimpses of life way back then. In the past few days a Flickrino by the name of bobster1985 began posting a series of clips from an archive of public domain films. Here are a few of my favorite.

From 1941, this one has an extended view of the people and vehicles on Market Street and finishes on Nob Hill looking down California Street:

Also from 1941, this one appears to have been taken from Nob Hill as it shows the Financial District before it was modernized, some say Manhattanized, in the 60s and 70s:

Going further back in time to the early 1930s, this is a view of life on the streets, featuring a glimpse of the Ferry Building, Chinatown, and docks (back when they were a vital part of the city):

Lastly, here’s an utterly amazing view of life at the turn of the 20th Century, before and after the quake of 1906. Market Street looks positively docile compared to back then:

Admittedly, I have virtually no concept or awareness of history in the formal sense. I do however, have a fondness for cities, and a longing to understand their pasts and a desire to participate in their present. These movies are endlessly fascinating to that end, as they show a life every bit as chaotic then as it is now.

It’s that energy that draws to me to cities, the feeling of being in an urban wilderness where anything can and will happen, and I am fortunate to be able to experience it each and every day in San Francisco. That said, those images of Market Street after the 1906 earthquake are a vivid reminder of how fragile everything is, and how quickly it can all change in a heartbeat.

I don’t know that I will live here forever, but I do love living here now, and I am eternally grateful for the chance to be a part of its past, present, and future.

…let alone the “Arcadia” song itself, and it’s been out for well over half a year now. This is the older Morr Music sound I so dearly love, with a dash of Thom Yorke gone solo too. It’s both organic and mechanic.

I found the song first, after buying two tickets to see Akron/Family in San Francisco a few weeks ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ticketmaster now rewards you for paying double for your ticket with a free download from iTunes. I had long since given up on the iTMS, since I detest the terms of engagement and poor sound quality (always puffed up to sound ‘better’ on those flimsy white headphones), but two free songs were enough to get me interested, so off I went to find something new.

Obviously, I was hooked in an instant, and I listened to this song over and over again (along with the other one I downloaded at the same time, which is good, but not nearly as memorable). And then I found the video:

I don’t know that I’ve ever seen anything as haunting, nor initially as off-putting, but I sat transfixed as I watched it. I am in awe of what people can do with illustration and animation, but rarely see both done so well at once. Organic and mechanic, again, and the results are stunning.

I’m not convinced this particular imagery is the perfect fit for the song, but since I’m genetically incapable of deciphering lyrics on my own, I can only point to what I feel in the song. And in that regard, there’s a certain soaring quality held back with a muted melancholy, and it’s this dichotomy that gives the song its tension and suspense.

There’s a beauty in both the song and the video, even if it remains unfulfilled in the end. But that’s what kept me listening to the song again and again, and now keeps me watching the video just as often. And I suppose that fact alone makes the video a worthy companion to the song.

That’s how I feel about tankt right now.
Too many other more enticing ideas on my mind:

  • I wanna see who. (Not really sure how.)
  • Building and simultaneously demolishing grids.
  • User vs. Designer vs. Developer. And the astonishing difference in my expectations depending on my current position.
  • Apathy, decency, and subtlety. Fuck ‘em.
  • The future. It’s about time.
  • Too many tees. (They’re a walking banner ad.)
  • You say you want a revolution. Get up. Stand up. Save your own damn self. Take the time to think.
  • Is it feathers on a bird or lotsa different chickens?
  • Machines for living.
  • Embrace the glitch.
  • Fragments. Bridges. Limited editions. 10″ wax presses. Social mixes. Unconventional remixes. Oh, and a Truitt / Brown collaboration known as TruBro. Is that offensive?
  • Outside.in in Brooklyn. Warp Records in London. Family in Ohio. Three in San Francisco.

And,

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

- Steve Jobs

What was once and always ‘all in my head’ is now ready to see the light of day. Like branches on a tree, some will thrive, while others whither and die. It matters not which is which, merely that they exist.

The rich tapestry of life seems especially so these days. After several years of deep and difficult introspection, I feel whole again, and stronger than ever. I am loved and loving more than I ever thought possible. I (really, we) feed and sustain me.

I am grateful for my lot in life, truly blessed, and finally prepared to share it with the world, not for gain or glory, but for the chance to make new connections, gain new experiences, and maybe just get a little closer to a deeper understanding of the world.

As always, more soon.

↓ Download all ten songs Just like last year, though admittedly much less ambitious, I want to mark the passing of another year of with my thoughts on the most distinguished artists and albums of 2007 (according to me), and give you a song from each one to take with you.

If there’s one common theme in this disparate mix, it’s a delicate balance between such lush and abundant instrumentation and a sparse and minimal sound. As I’m fond of saying, it’s the space in between that’s most interesting, and that’s clearly the case in these ten songs, listed below in alphabetical order. Enjoy!

Animal Collective · Strawberry Jam · Unsolved Mysteries

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I would have never known about AC if not for my brother Kevin — he was the first to suggest Sung Tongs and Feels and even sent me some pre-release mp3s from Strawberry Jam. While I liked songs from the first two, SJ was so dense (and unbelievably tense) that I found it difficult to listen to in the very beginning. But again, on his recommendation, I bought tickets to see them live and then also began to listen to SJ more intently, often for days on end, as the show approached. It’s safe to say I was absolutely blown away by their show (see my pictures and my videos from it) and now I’m completely hooked on the album in its entirety. Definitely at the top of my list for 2007.

Battles · Mirrored · Tonto

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Warp heavily promoted the new BTTLS album for a number of months, but it never really caught me the way it seemed to hook everyone else. My good friend Andrew ‘Japandy’ Tweed insisted I take a second look, and I did to my great delight. I wrote about both of their incredible videos, and was lucky enough to see them live not so long ago in San Francisco (need to upload that video to YouTube, it’s amazing). I have yet to see anyone or anything play with such pace, precision, and passion; the only way I can describe it is to say that I can’t listen to their incredible album anymore: it’s too slow, too lifeless (that’s a preposterous thing to say, btw). I was exhausted at the end of their show and (still) incredibly inspired by the whole thing.

Beans · Thorns · We Rock

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I came to follow Beans when Warp signed Anti-Pop Consortium (apparently soon to be reunited, thankfully). Most hip-hop bores me — even though I would listen to nothing but hip-hop if there were more artists like Beans — instead I often find nothing but unimaginative rhythms and even more mindless lyrics. I loved many songs on Tomorrow Right Now and even more on Shock City Maverick, so I eagerly awaited Thorns. After hearing Thundermouth for the first time, I thought it would be near impossible to top that track, but he did it with We Rock. Show me someone, anyone, who rocks it harder than Beans — it can’t be done.

Björk · Volta · I See Who You Are

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Abby absolutely loves Björk, and while I do too, it’s not with the same intensity. I was definitely excited to see her show this summer, but after having seen her on the Vespertine tour before, I wasn’t expecting such an intense and high energy show. This song is equally intense, even though it’s much more sedate. I love the delicate instrumentation on this track and her beautiful lyrics, it’s yet another exquisite collaboration with Mark Bell (LFO). Tops.

Burial · Untrue · Archangel

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The reviews on Warpmart practically begged me to buy it, but the lo-fi samples on bleep sounded flat and uninspired. I debated it for several weeks, but finally gave in and bought the album just to hear it for myself. I was immediately taken by it, no doubt egged on by my then new Shure SE530 headphones (such a guilty pleasure, but damn worth it — find ‘em new on eBay, they’re way cheaper there). This album is incredible, infinitely complex and yet just right there where it should be. I find new twists and turns every time I play it. If you haven’t heard it, you owe it to yourself to get it. btw, Abby’s first impression: “It sounds like Jamie Lidell meets Boyz II Men meets Autechre”. Yep, classic.

Flying Lotus · Reset EP · Dance Floor Stalker

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

When the news of his signing to Warp hit, I immediately went searching for his prior release 1983 on Plug Research. It’s an epic instrumental effort, notable for its brief but incredibly thick and dense tracks. I was immediately hooked and kept it in heavy rotation on my peaPod this past summer. Luckily, the Reset EP is all of that and a whole lot more. I played this six-track EP over and over without ever tiring of it. The bass is monstrous, the beats are genius, and the flow is absolutely out of this world. FlyLo deserves his place on Warp’s legendary roster, I can’t wait to hear what comes next.

Matthew Dear · Asa Breed · Don and Sherri

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I almost left this one off, as much as I love this album and listened to it non-stop for a month straight. I saw his show in San Francisco this fall, and well, to put it kindly… It sucked. Ass. The crowd was sparse, poor promotion perhaps, but he failed to connect with it, preferring instead to plod along with his pre-canned rockstar shtick. The highlight of the show was the next to last song, the epic Don and Sherri, also known as that sick track on the Hummer commercial. Even with the goofy lyrics, this track makes me want to shake my booty. I still love the album, in spite of the awful show. I do believe he will learn so much from this tour, and I expect to see a better show next time. I still believe!

Radiohead · In Rainbows · Bodysnatchers

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Yes, I whined about the 160kbps thing, impugned their motives, and generally disparaged In Rainbows in the very beginning. But the more I listened to it, the more I came to see that the music on this album is as revolutionary as all that surrounds its internet-only release. No one makes music like Radiohead, and Bodysnatchers in particular has my head bouncing from side to side the moment it comes on. But nothing, nothing tops the breakdown shortly after the two minute mark, and the way it builds back into the first part of the song just makes me want to play it all over again. And again. And again. I absolutely love this track.

Sky Observer · Sky Observer’s Guide 070707 · Skyway Drive

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

“Space, space, space.” It’s true, Stewart Brown and I go way, way back, and I played a small part in getting this release out to the world, but that has so little to do with how strongly I feel about it. At once timeless and yet clearly of this very moment, Brown succeeded in capturing the dichotomy of his youthful, irreverent energy and his measured, masterful touch. With no hesitation whatsoever, I predict that years from now people will love this effort the way they love Boards of Canada’s In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country, as an old friend indeed. Listen to the other four songs for free at FORKLIFT ENTERTAINMENT.

The Tuss · Rushup Edge · Synthacon 9

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

C’mon, we all know it’s Aphex Twin. And it’s without a doubt the most magnificent track ever created.

Late update: Here’s a pic of Sawyer helping me write this post:

Sawyer helps me write a post for my blog

I can’t believe this is real, but it really is:

Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.

The idea was that a spike in, say, falafel sales, combined with other data, would lead to Iranian secret agents in the south San Francisco-San Jose area.

The brainchild of top FBI counterterrorism officials Phil Mudd and Willie T. Hulon, according to well-informed sources, the project didn’t last long. It was torpedoed by the head of the FBI’s criminal investigations division, Michael A. Mason, who argued that putting somebody on a terrorist list for what they ate was ridiculous — and possibly illegal.

We are truly ruled by morons.