125: Pierre Bastien

Ok yeah, I've posted Pierre Bastien before, but I am a big fan of his. He's avant-garde enough to keep his music really interesting, but not so inaccessible to alienate all but five listeners a la John Cage (for the record, I like John Cage, but his music was more interesting to read about than to actually listen to sometimes). For those who missed the last post, Pierre Bastien makes music with robots. They're not particularly advanced robots. They're about as advanced as the old erector sets that came with motors so they could perform rudimentary tasks. The result is that they can only play is simple patterns, which are played in a very perfect, mechanical rhythm. The track titles for all the songs on his last album, Mecanoid, were all written as palandroms, the same way the mechanical music is played. The same music is played forward and backwards. Half the instruments are played this way, the others played by Pierre himself. The range of instruments is also pretty eclectic too, including a godje, bendir, and yuen ch'in, alongside horns, pianos and vinyl discs. With a new album, Pop, being released this year on Rephlex, there are some new downloads available. The first two are from Mecanoid, the third is from an album called Musiques Paralloidres, and the last one is a repost from the last time I blogged about Pierre Bastien.

For anyone wondering, here's the breakdown of instruments for the first two tracks, according to the Mecanoid linear notes:
-mechanically played instruments on Damn Mad: castanets, marimba, discs
-instruments played by Pierre Bastien on Damn Mad: bass, bala, tama, organ
-mechanically played instruments on Avid Diva: piano
-instruments played by Pierre Bastien on Avid Diva: sanzas, kundi, godje

Pierre Bastien - Damn Mad
Pierre Bastien - Avid Diva
Pierre Bastien - Odovinil
Pierre Bastien - L'Orchestre Thermo-Dynamique (repost)


124: Dresden Dolls

Something a little different today. It was actually a couple of years ago that I first heard the inde-cabaret scene and its headliner, the Dresden Dolls. For a second, you're surprised to hear indie kids listening to cabaret music, but then it starts to make sense. It grows on you. Now they've done quite well for themselves, earning an opening spot on the current Nine Inch Nails tour. It's not a typical Radio Babylon post, but if you haven't heard this yet, give it a chance.

(By the way, last friday was the official one year anniversary of Radio Babylon. Thank you all for reading, writing and listening, and giving me a way to stay active in music even when most of my time is now sadly diverted away to having an actual job. I know updates have gotten less frequent lately, but I've still got more blogging left in me)

Dresden Dolls - Girl Anachronism
Dresden Dolls - Missed Me
Dresden Dolls - Bad Habit
Dresden Dolls - Half Jack


123: Ellen Allien

Been a while, eh? Yes, things have been busy here lately but I haven't forgotten about the blogosphere. Here's still quite a bit of blogging that needs to be done, a back catalogue of new music, fixing a few problems here and there, updating my blogroll. But for now, I've just come to pass along a little bit of news.

First, thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions of where to go I should go this summer. Unfortunately, airfare to these places turned out not to be in my budget, so we've decided on the less expensive, but still quite nice choice of Belize. Anti-climatic, eh? But money aside, the winner, suggested to me by about 5 people, was the Sonar festival in Spain, which will remain in the back in my mind as a potential destination for next year. But just to be a good sport about it, the random mix cd will be going to the first person who suggested Sonar to me.

Some recommended viewing that was just released this week was The Corporation. This is probably the most important documentary I've ever seen, and one of the most well made. The purpose is to examine the role of the corporation as the dominant institution of our times, but is careful to give both sides a say (even though it is admittedly a leftist film). It was probably one of the best films I saw all of last year. The DVD also includes two commentaries and over 5 hours of additional footage. It is available here via a corporation.

And since I haven't posted much music lately, I'll leave you with a little something that's found its way onto my iPod lately; a 23 minute live mix by rising electronic star, Ellen Allien. From what I've heard, she's incredible live. Here's a taste.

Ellen Allien - live mix 10/2003