Nardwuar vs. Drake

When I hosted a radio show on CiTR 101.9 FM, UBC’s college radio station, it was Nardwuar who taught me how to use the reel-to-reel machine. I was starstruck by him then, 1994. He recorded some gobbledeygook on to the reel —  in a kind of Nardwuar version of speaking-in-tongues. Actually he was doing a classic music trope — backmasking. He showed us how to reverse the playback on the reel-to-reel so that his voice was revealed to be saying quite clearly, “My cat Cleo is the best cat ever.”

It’s Friday afternoon and right now Nardwuar is on the radio. But here’s his beautiful interview with Lil’ Wayne’s favorite Canadian, Drake.

Laurie Spiegel on Concerto Generator

A master of space and place improvising…

Abstract Comics – Steel Pole Bath Tub’s Lurch comic

Steel Pole Bathtub is my favorite noise rock band from the 90s. Dale Flattum aka CC Nova, did visuals for his band and their other project, Milk Cult, which took the sampling and industrial crunch of their rock outfit and made the kind of music Flying Lotus might like if Milk Cult came out today. In 1993 I went to San Francisco by Amtrak with my friend Seven Brothers, and found some of CC Nova‘s comics in an underground paper I picked up at a Haight bookstore, as well as bought his two latest albums, Miracle of Sound in Motion, and the Milk Cult soundtrack for Love God (best weirdest soundtrack ever recorded?). When I moved to Vancouver the first album I bought at Scratch was C.C. Nova’s Dispatch, a collection of his Satanic vinyl & masking tape experiments.  I also found SPBT’s e.p. Lurch on vinyl when I moved to Vancouver. It came with a comic book featuring Flattum’s art and that of some others, including Satan Lee. I have the comic in front of me now. It’s kind of a noisy mix of horror comic tropes, Bay Area punk ‘zine and vinyl insert collage tactics, and a toss of Fluxus fuckery.

A while back I went looking to see who else on the internet has this old comic book, and came across Andrei Molotiu‘s blog attached to his Fantagraphics book Abstract Comics. AC is doing an amazing job covering off almost every size, shape, and concept that artists have employed to rethink the panel form. And the blog features some hi-res scans of the centrepiece of the Lurch comic book, Dale Flattum’s black ink garble narrative treatment of “Hey You.” And there’s so many others surrounding Flattum’s work on the blog that are worth checking at Abstract Comics. It’s become one of my favorite sites.

Here’s a couple more examples from the Lurch comic that I’ve scanned from my own copy… Read the rest of this entry »

Seven Brothers – The Sinch mp3

Brand-new tune by Northern Canada’s Seven Brothers — ‘The Sinch’: Very oily synths like sour squeaks of metal on metal as Deepwater beats explode in concatenated blasts, spewing out toxic snares and buckets of compressed kettledrum. Making it look easy.

I promised Conrad Black next week I will drop the classic 7 Bros tune ‘Winnipeg Exodus.’

download Seven Brothers – The Sinch mp3

Let’s All Be Neighbours on Will Wright Street

Here’s a link to a piece of non-fiction I wrote a while back for The Walrus on the life simulation video games of Will Wright.


Found on Yahoo. ‘Conjugation’ was originally published in Border Crossings issue 96, and appears in Journey Prize: 18.

Horrors of Malformed Men

Trailer for a Japanese film featuring legendary founder of Butoh dance, Tatsumi Hijikata

Words Without Borders

I was talking with my class last night about Juan José Saer’s enigmatic short story ‘Baked Mud’ in the anthology Words Without Borders, and there are two more short pieces of his translated into English online at their site. I am fascinated by Juan José Saer’s writing. I’ve read all there is translated in English — very little, that is — my favorite is still the novel my aunt recommended, The Witness. Hardly any of his books are translated, about four of the over twenty he wrote. He is less well-known than say, Roberto Bolaño or Javier Marías, but so far as I can tell, he is their literary equal.

Anyway, it reminded me to go back and look again at the Words Without Borders website and immediately I went searching for my favorite story there, one that I remember reading not that long ago, when Herta Müller won the Nobel Prize last year. This is her story ‘On Packing,’ which recalls the life of a woman at the time of her sexual awakening, under the oppressive watchful eye of the Romanian secret service, Securitate, and communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu.

I also noticed this story in the Guardian about the head of the Securitate which is kind of bitterly amusing, as he admits he was spying on Müller and tapping her phone and intimidating her, but thinks she’s a paranoid delusional because she over-reacted to their tactics, which he considered lighter compared to some of the others they spied on.

Another wonderful story I found online at the Guardian which mentions Romania’s communist dictator Nicolae Ceauşescu, is by the great Hungarian novelist Laszlo Krasznahorkai. It is called ‘Something is Burning Outside’ and features a strange visitor to a writer’s retreat near a remote crater lake.

Babe Rainbow’s Lindsay Lohan remix mp3

In tribute to her iron vacation, Warp Records first-ever Vancouver signee, Babe Rainbow, just sent me his draggy spooked remix of Lindsay Lohan’s tune ‘Stuck’ and the match is pretty hellish hot. Babe Rainbow will premiere the remix at MoMA’s Warm Up Show on July 31st, so if you are near the five boroughs around that time, check him out. Update: Just learned the track also appears on this free Triangle mixtape with a few other mean-muggin’ witch house artists remixing Lohan. Incarcerated Babefaces.

download ‘Stuck’ – a Lohan remix by Babe Rainbow

Brandon Vickerd’s Dead Astronaut

I was recently reminded of a reading I gave a few years ago when the artist David Poolman was curator of the Forest City gallery in London, Ontario and he invited me and Sheila Heti down there. At the same time as our reading was an exhibition by Brandon Vickerd. It was this crazy mechanical kinetic sculpture called ‘Champions of Entropy’ that used animal bones and antlers and weird jittery engines. I checked out Vickerd’s website recently and was totally blown away by this recent piece, Dead Astronaut, that he’s finished and is showing in Ontratio right now. It’s made of poplar, it’s meticulous and hardcore, it’s sci-fi and real life, it’s a real space odyssey of a piece.


Vancouver is always a place to go for weird noise of all variety. I’ve been a fan of weird Vancouver noise for fifteen or twenty years, since the days of when I could see Chanchre and Pork Queen play live, anyway. But the city is fresh again — it freshens up every year with new crucial groups — and right now with a storm of strange ambient noise music, beat-making, post-dub nightmare, lo-fi bedroom recording weirdos. Noise has been a city staple for decades, yes, definitely, punk and improv and onkyo and feedback, but it’s been a while, or maybe never, that Vancouver has had really super-solid laptop artists. But that’s starting to happen. I’m really big into Babe Rainbow, and his CBC playlist of local music covers a great deal of the most mindblowing stuff like Calamalka, Myths, Basketball, and Tassels. I’m also getting into the creepy vinyl tapeloop simplicity of all that Tassels is doing. At first I misspelled it. But I am feeling Tassels. Reminds me of CC Nova’s stuff for Milk Cult or a funkier Philip Jeck. A few nights a week I see Tassels live because the composer plays soccer outside where I live, and I know him as a photographer and writer as well. Tassels. Click on some Tassels for links to his tunes. Tassles.

Dipset Reunion will be Reality TV

download the reunion of Harlem’s favorite sons, about the best anthem thing Cam’ron, Jim Jones, and Juelz Santana have ever dropped. Gossip of contract negotiations aside, this is healthy fun, stupid ridiculous, with beats bolstered by the creative frenzy of producer Araab Muzik

download  The Diplomats new single ‘Salute

Toxic Rain

If I was a Hollywood monster this summer, the first person I would rip to smithereens would be Tony Hayward, president of British Petroleum. Blockbuster

Sometimes there’s a leaky car up the street. I’m not sure this is the case in the video posted here.

Canadian Notes & Queries Is Not The Enemy

I love Jeet Heer’s rebuttal to André Alexis’s essay ‘The Long Decline’ printed in Walrus magazine regarding the state of the critical literary review in Canada. Here we have two of Canada’s best critical minds stewing over the relative value of serious book reviews versus snarky slams or pat applause. The debate is worth a look, and John Metcalf’s obscure journal of letters Canadian Notes & Queries is strangely considered Ground Zero to both arguments. The magazine just got redesigned by Heer’s colleague in the comic world, Seth. Time to subscribe!

Attaché Gallery in Colour Magazine

Check out the article by writer/ curator  Leah Turner in the latest Colour Magazine about my not-for-profit commercial gallery in a black hardshell briefcase.

William Gaddis interview

My friend the Montreal author John Goldbach tipped me off to this clip from a rare William Gaddis interview on YouTube. In it, he talks about the idea of writing from a sense of indignation. The clip is from a half-hour Q&A you can buy and download from the Roland Collection for a measly couple dollars. Roland Collection has many many more videos like this one with not a few other hugely famous authors. But William Gaddis, he was almost as reclusive as Thomas Pynchon and had ten times the brainpower, so far as I can tell from reading them both, so this seems extremely unique that we have access to such a long video interview with him. And considering it’s not a reading but an interview and there’s so little else available with him speaking on the nature of writing, I am really eager to watch this. Unfortunately, I can’t because the full video is not Mac compatible!

Mp3 – Seven Brothers – ‘Goodnight Kitty’

This is my second post featuring a free mp3 tune by Seven Brothers. Not written expressly for Lohan, I think it was composed a few years ago, but maybe I can still describe ‘Goodnight Kitty’ as something of a bleach-blonde melody over a dusty-shoed beat — almost a tribute to the psychological vastness of incarcerated days.

download Goodnight Kitty

MP3 – Seven Brothers – ‘Salmon’

Up in Northern Canada, where it often stays colder than -50 degrees centigrade for months on end, Seven Brothers  has been making some chilly-sweet lo-fi electro demos of beats and melodies. His sound kind of reminds me of Amber-era Autechre, or the some of the new beats I’m hearing from The Knife, White Ring, Tapes, and early Aphex. Thought I’d host a few mp3s for anyone who is interested in listening. The first I’ll post is a tune called “Salmon.”

download ‘Salmon

Doing Taddle Creek Readings in Portland & Vancouver

Taddle Creek magazine is on tour to promote their latest issue and I’m on board to do a couple readings with them. Should be fun. Here’s the details from their website.

The Taddle Creek Travelling Series of Happenings kicked-off on June 11th in Toronto, and now the magazine is hitting the road. First up: the Maritimes. Taddle Creek’s first-ever out-of-town event takes place in Halifax on Monday, July 19th, followed by stops in Fredericton and Saint John on July 21st and 22nd. Then, it’s off to the opposite coast, as the magazine lands in Portland, Oregon, on Monday, August 2nd before hopping up to Vancouver on August 3rd. (Montreal and New York events T.B.A.) For full information, check the official tour page. Taddle Creek hopes to run into you on its travels.

Monday, August 2, 2010
The White Eagle
836 North Russell Street
Portland, Oregon
7 P.M.
Readings by Michael Christie, Peter Darbyshire, Lee Henderson, and Catherine McGuire.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The Brickhouse Bistro & Bar
730 Main Street
9 P.M.
Readings by Michael Christie, Peter Darbyshire, Lee Henderson, and Marguerite Pigeon.

Complete tour dates are on their webpage.

Save Fadden

Globe & Mail reports today that this summer CSIS director Fadden promises to tell the Prime Minister, privately, the names of the BC politicians under the influence of foreign powers. Sorry, I don’t think it works this way in a free country. The public deserves to know about BCs Premier, etc. It is only fair. If Fadden is forced to resign over this, our country must be in a real moral collapse.

The Globe writes,

In an interview broadcast last month, Mr. Fadden said CSIS believes that at least two provincial cabinet ministers and several B.C. municipal politicians “are under at least the general influence of a foreign government.”

What provinces? Which ministers? Which B.C. municipalities?

Mr. Fadden declined to answer any of those questions on Monday in an appearance before a special summer sitting of the House of Commons public safety committee. He said CSIS will provide the government with the details in a formal briefing “very, very shortly.”

“I will name them … to the government,” Mr. Fadden said in response to questions from MPs.

I am glad spies are in the news these days — spies are real and people forget they are around. The Russian spies really fascinate me. Spies are an interesting sort of bird, because it is kind of pathetic to spy, a professional snitch for govt, quite unattractive to be so completely loyal to an asinine and corruptible system of bureaucrats, but amazing to be part of a secret world of information and intrigue and spook tactics, and the loneliness of it all is rather romantic, too.