Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Kate Bush at last (!) and More Art News

It's been, what, 12 long years but the lady who mixed music and mime into a work of art will be back with a new release. The two-CD set is titled "Aerial" and is scheduled for release November 7th. The first single, "King of The Mountain" will be released on October 24th. Collaborations on the new CD include Mick Karn, best known for his bass guitar (fretless at that too!) work with Japan and his surreal solo work. Other collaborations include artists include drummer Stuart Elliott, jazz percussionist Peter Erskine, and string arrangements for two tracks by the late Michael Kamen.

For those of you visiting Greece this fall, make a trip to the capitol of the north, Thessaloniki during 10/21 through 11/15 to get a glimpse at K.Bhta's multimedia exhibit at the National Museum of Modern Art. It will include video, photographs and paintings (like the one below) from one of Greece's most interesting artists/musicians.

Peace, Love and Understanding

Friday, August 26, 2005

what music now...

These waning days of summer, my CD player at home and car is constantly playing the following:

  1. James Blunt - Back to Bedlam

  2. Brazilian Girls - Brazilian Girls

  3. Royksopp - The Understanding

  4. Deep Dish - George is On

  5. Keren Ann – Nolita

From those listed above, James Blunt must be the most pleasant surprise of a CD I've heard in a long while. Back to Bedlam contains ten stunning vignettes built around stories on relationships, breakups and friendships. The lyrics are bursting with emotions, and the music is diversely moving between folk, pop and soulful ballads. Even though Back to Bedlam was released last year, it is only now gaining wider exposure in North America.

Keren Ann is a beautiful singer who moved to Paris a while back to create songs in the vein of the French singers she loves. The first two releases were all in French sounding a little like Francoise Hardy or Jane Birkin at times. In 2004 she released Not Going Anywhere, mostly English versions of songs from her previous CDs. Most recently, Keren Ann has moved to New York City, and more particularly in Little Italy (actually a little north of it), which explains the title of her newest CD, Nolita. I’ll have a more detailed review of Nolita in an upcoming posting.

Love, Peace and … good listening!

intelligent design...

...what a convenient term to describe the re-emergence and return of organized religion in the world of science, politics, policy and everyday life in general!

Are we coming full circle? Didn't those who left the old world behind did so in order to escape persecution for their beliefs, whether in science, religion or politics? Is this an attempt to bridge the separation of church and state? More importantly, do we live in such an uncertain world that we need to believe in superstitions, Friday the 13th, a four-leaf clover or a lucky rabbit’s foot, and black cats? Has science let us down in such a way that we have to start accepting the creation story found in the writings of monotheistic theologies as true? Is the world really only about 5,000 years old as some religious writings will have us believe?

Or is simply that intelligent design is an attempt by the current political force to maintain the hold it is having on certain groups within the population?

What does science have to say about the way the universe was created? If I’m not mistaken, scientists agree on some form of evolutionary theory to explain how we were created. If we give in to the intelligent design attempt to explain creation, we may as well start believing Descartes (Meditations) and other philosophers of past centuries who attempted to philosophically attribute our existence on some “malicious demon”.

More to come…

Peace, Love and Understanding!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

what a wonderful, "wired" world!

A number of interesting stories have appeared in the news over the past couple of days showcasing the weird and wonderful world of technology we are currently living in. The benefits of the technological advances in the stories that follow are enormous, both societal and economic. However, the chances of abuse and misuse of these advances are also quite evident, and that is why we should be all become aware of them and what they could possibly mean for us in the future.

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts have discovered that bacteria used for cleaning toxic waste are creating nanowires as a byproduct. The bacteria, known as Geobacter, use metal for a power source instead of oxygen. Here's the link Bacteria grow conductive wires. The possibilities seem endless as do the potential rewards, especially from owning the right nano-technology stock.

Wired News is reporting that the British will soon be testing new car license plates with microchips embedded in them. The microchips will contain the vehicle identification number and other data which will be transmittable to readers about 300 feet away. The United States is also experimenting with similar "active RFID technologies" which are currently used in "electronic toll-collection". The technology can also be used by national security and law enforcement agencies in their fight against terrorism and crime. The other side of the coin is that these "smartplates" can be used to invade the privacy of drivers.

This RFID technology is also currently being tested in passports, according to Wired News, with airline pilots and flight crew as the test subjects. The chip-embedded passports will be used for security purposes at airports and international crossing points as part of governments' attempts to fight to fight the rise of supranational terrorism. Of course there are critics here as well. Since the chips will not be encrypted, those carrying these types of passports "could serve as a beacon to thieves and terrorists targeting Americans traveling abroad". This flaw can be easily corrected by encrypting the chips or enhanced with "optical technology" which will allow the chip to be read only after the passport has been opened.

For more information on the RFID technology, also described as "the mark of the beast", the obvious reference from the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, I refer you to the following article, To Tag or Not to Tag.

Peace and Love.

Monday, August 08, 2005

upcoming art exhibits

As the summer is coming to a close, so do a number of worthy art exhibitions around the country:

  1. Cezanne and Pissarro at Moma until September 12
  2. Jean-Michel Basquiat
  3. Byron Kim
  4. Landscape Confection

So if you do find yourselves in these wonderful towns (i.e. NYC, LA, San Diego or Houston), try to visit the museums and enhance your summer experience.

Peace and Love.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

coldplay in boston - music for those who can't dance

here's the setlist from Saturday night's Coldplay concert at the Tweeter Center:

  1. square one
  2. politik
  3. yellow
  4. god put a smile upon your face
  5. speed of sound
  6. low
  7. the hardest part
  8. everything not lost
  9. white shadows
  10. the scientist
  11. 'till kingdom come (acoustic)
  12. don't panic (acoustic)
  13. clocks
  14. talk
  15. what if
  16. swallowed in the sea
  17. fix you (encore)

I may be off by a song or two, but that's because I'm writing this half asleep. The show was good. Coldplay put on a solid performance and they pretty much played everything from the double-platinum X & Y, as well as their staple hits usually performed in concert. It's a testament to the quality of Coldplay's latest CD, having gone double platinum after only a month of its release. Despite the fact that the band has gone to great lengths to promote X & Y, and the almost formulaic style, the CD holds its ground based on a good number of well-crafted songs that translate very well on stage.

From the first note of "Square One", the crowd jumped to its feet, never sat down, and sang along during almost all the songs. Chris Martin did his crazy, twirling dance, while delivering songs of emotional depth capable of effectively reaching his audience. "What if you should decide that you don't want me there by your side" from "What if" is as bleak as anything we may have heard from such bands as Joy Division. Or, "All you ever wanted was love but you never looked hard enough" from "Low", and "when you love someone but it goes to waste, could it be worse?...when you're too in love to let it go" from "Fix You". These are lyrics of emotional angst that touch Coldplay fans and will continue to do so. The only criticism I have is that I wished that Coldplay would just unclench a bit and rip through some of their songs like the rock band that they want to be. Then, and only then, would they be able to reach their idols, U2.

Peace, Love and Understanding