Archive for January, 2008

actualité: congratulations! queer music heritage radio is 100

January 30, 2008


congratulations to jd doyle!

although the thing with 100 is a little bit more complicated: as he states on his website:

“… it’s my 100th Broadcast show. I make the distinction of “broadcast show” because there
have been additional shows available only on my website. And also the total hours are much
more than 100, because many shows have longer versions and additional parts,
totaling around 150 hours on the site.”

pfuuh, i know this is somewhat overwhelming.

in any case, it is a good occassion to point you in the direction of jd doyle’s website which is indeed a huge resource for glbt music. interesting and entertaining. so head over to queer music heritage, have a look around and maybe sing a little birthday song…

actualité: ä rüüdigi ziit

January 30, 2008

if you’re a good catholic you know that next week start the 40 days of lent. but catholics would not be catholics if they would not take this occassion to do what? fill their stomachs, drink themselves into oblivion and generally misbehave. yes, it is this time of the year again, it is time for carnival. celebrated all over the world where there is a catholic influence, from haiti to germany, i would like to point to a quite special one in the heart of switzerland: the fasnacht of lucerne.


it starts tomorrow with the schmutzige donschtig – often translated as “dirty thursday” – which is wrong, since schmutzig (in german meaning dirty) comes actually from fat (dialects, you know). rings a bell? yes, there is a parallel to mardi gras (fat tuesday). it is the kick off to 6 days of feast, finishing with the güdisziischtig – güdis meaning belly – so in these names we already find the theme of eating, filling your belly before lent. so the time of fasnacht (the local term for carnival) is a time of excess, a time of not only eating a lot. but there is more. catholizism was never shy to integrate pagan elements – and in many alpine regions that means the pagan ritual of chasing the demons of winter away. this has been done with impersonating the demons, putting on scary masks and with making noise, noise that chases these demons back up the mountains. and there is even a third aspect to it: since carneval is a time of feast, the normal rules are suspended. this is also an occassion for satire, to mock the powerful – without getting held responsible. while this third aspect is stronger in the german version of the carneval (büttenrede – satirical speeches that unfortunately become now too often boring versions of stand-up comedy) and especially at the fasnacht in basel (the satirical and very often very artful and pretty acid schnitzelbänk – speeches in rhymed form). but then basel is a strange exception to the rule: they’re protestants, their carneval is later and shorter and has less the character of a feast.

but let’s get back to lucerne: while the satirizing element is certainly present, the feast and the chasing of the winter are more in the foreground. so besides the town partying its ass off, there is an undercurrent of something darker, too. as in every carnival, costumes and masks are the thing to wear – and you see a lot of funny and silly stuff, but also eery to downright scary shit.


musically you have the guugemusige – (marching)bands having from just a few to a quite a lot of members mainly consisting of drums/percussion and a brass section. where traditionally the point was in playing loud and noisy, this has changed over the years. some guugemusige are very skilled, there are the ones playing samba and you do hear also a lot of popular tunes.


there is an organized structure during these days, organized through guilds and associations, consisting of the opening at 5 in the morning on thursday (tagwach), two parades (consisting of guugemusige and floats of a mainly satirical character), many balls in the evening, and as the great finale the monster-concert with all the guugemusige in the evening on tuesday. but what makes the real speciality and fun in lucerne is the not organized stuff. many people participate in their way: from “unofficial”, ad-hoc guugemusige to the “open drumming” in the dark in the morning (one of the most tribal experiences i ever had). and a lot of private groups – families, friends – as well as single people show up in funny, poetic, beautiful, weird or downright silly and very often elaborate costumes.



there is a constant parading, interaction with bystanders (some even link that to the italian commedia dell’ arte or to street theater) and generally an atmosphere of friendly disorder. what is even better: the people of lucerne seem to be very proud of their undisciplined way of celebrating fasnacht.


it really draws you in and suddenly you find yourself drinking kafi fertig (coffee with schnaps to, ähem, warm you up: mean shit) and dancing arm in arm with a granny (that might be behind her mask a young boy – as an aside it is to note that traditionally behind masks that portray some traditional female figures there used to be only men – i’ve never seen that many butch women with fantastic, hairy legs) and a reptile monster from outerspace. very nice.


so if that sparked your interest: it’s not too late. they start tomorrow morning at five…

and this year it will be anyway a special one: a full fledged wiiberfasnacht (women’s carnival). this is due to the fact that the father figure of the fasnacht, the one opening the festivities, bruder fritschi has been abducted by the people of basel. this happened to celebrate the first abduction by people from basel 500 years (yes, that long) ago. don’t be fooled: it’s all a big joke and is actually made to ensure the eternal friendship between basel and lucerne (because then the people from lucerne can go and retrieve him – which of course includes another big party). the consequence of all that is that the fritschene (brother fritschi’s wife) will open these wild days, hence the wiiberfasnacht. and in case you’re curious: that is how the fritschis look like:


if you would like to get a better feel for it and /or do not have the possibility to attend, here first some background information on the historic roots (in german).

here some pics, here some more pics. and here a lot more pics also from previous years (yes, the pictures of this post are from these sites).

and to give you an aural impression how these days sound i have a very interesting record for you, called guugenmusisch. put together from field recordings, it chronicles these strange days as one acoustic trip through the city. get it here (ripped from vinyl@224 as two mp3 files – cover scans with the linernotes (in german) included).


and now have ä rüüdigi ziit – because on wednesday it is all gone like a dream and it’s back to work, again…


et hop! meanwhile, on the other side of the channel…

January 29, 2008

don’t be afraid: i will not do “hip hop by country” now. i just decided to present in a very short way what happened in france and now, partly as a contrast, what happened in the u.k. to raise some awareness of different ways a musical style got adpoted, ingested, digested. and these two countries seemed for my purposes pretty good – and then it is also my very personal view on some hip hop sounds i listened to at the time and still listen to today.

so what happened in the u.k.? they got to know hip hop quite early on – for example public enemy toured there already early on – and one would have expected that hip hop would catch on quite quickly – on top of it they understood all the lyrics. but then having (nearly) the same language might have been also an obstacle. the french mc’s could take over and make it their own already by rapping in their own language. but i do remember that way into the nineties many complained that a lot of british mc’s just sounded silly, since they tried to imitate the accent of the bronx or compton, but came from manchester or edinburgh. yeah – realness clashing with realness… not that there would not have been a lot of hip hop in the u.k. at the time – but it seemed that it never became a big thing. one could actually argue that the first mc to make it big emerged only a couple of years ago: mike skinner, better known as the streets. well, let’s have an earfull then. from his debut the song has it come to this.

this track especially shows something quite interesting: you can file the streets definitly under hip hop, but there are other heavy, very british influences, too. in this case two step.

so compared to france it seemed that hip hop took on only very slowly. reasons for that could be, beside the language, that the independent scene might did not welcome hip hop as open-armed as in france. then there seemed a lesser need on part of the youth to find their expression in this kind of music. and connected to that hip hop had a big rival: the rise of electronic dance music in its many different forms. and if we look again at france: they needed years “to get” electronic dance music (despite laurent garnier). outdoor rave parties in france started to show up as late as in the late nineties (including the bad press of pillpopping youth – quite a déja vu, compared to the u.k. or germany). so the u.k. seemed less in need, or had less space for yet another musical genre. allright, all that might be true – but it is also quite wrong. it is true if we are looking for hip hop that sounds close enough to american hip hop with the flavour of “ghetto youth”. but that is a rather limited point of view. expecting to see a british public enemy seemed to me always rather silly – especially since in the eighties the u.k. had already so much political music in many styles.

and in a way hip hop took on very well in england – it just looked different. in the early nineties there were quite a lot of sucessfull artists taking the hip hop influence (well, one of the first was malcolm mclaren – but then he was living in new york at the time). one of the first hits on this more pop side of hip hop was certainly neneh cherry‘s buffalo stance. so have a trip down memory lane and enjoy the video:

quite a number of other artists started not only to use similar beats, although then quite often rather in the context of dance music, but rapping got rather popular, too. if you want to stretch it a little bit, you could even file neil tennant’s talking on west end girls under “influenced by hip hop”. and since i do like the pet shop boys and their first hit, here we go:

and then there was one band that was considered hip hop at the time, although not by everybody: the stereo mc’s. they made a fantastic debut record and had a huge hit with connected. still a great song. and one of their concerts i’ve seen was one of the great moments in the history of live music. the dj playing before played for more then half an hour connected in different versions, hyping the crowd to the max. so when they came onstage, they were confronted to an audience which was already boiling like usually at the end of a show. i’ve rarely seen a band greeted with such a high level of energy just by getting on stage. and yes, they were rather puzzled in the beginning. big fun.

but let’s get even more, hm, hip hop again. what people forgot when complaining that there was no “real” hip hop in the u.k. was that hip hop is more then the big selling american artists made you believe. and if they would have looked again, they would have seen that hip hop was very quickly part of the u.k. musical landscape. more obvious under names like abstract or instrumental hip hop, maybe a little bit less obvious under the name beat science or even electronica. i guess what irritated people at the time was that that these differet forms of hip hop were published within the electronic music scene. and that it left to a big degree the mc outside the door. so hip hop got actually ingested into the young electronic scene – and it bred many offsprings with many other styles.

the better known ones coming out of “the bristol scene”: mixing entre autre hip hop with reggae, dub, electronica, bands like massive attack and portishead emerged, later on tricky – and then some important players of the drum ‘n’ bass scene (dj krust, for example). let’s not forget that a lot of the music mentioned was called for a while trip hop (sorry, tricky). and let’s also not forget that the mc actually did show up again in drum ‘n’ bass. so this is a good occassion to show one of the best videos of a band that made a lot of very nice videos. here unfinished sympathy by massive attack:

rapping also showed up in other, maybe unexpected places – quite a number of bands that were at the time filed under acid jazz like for example galliano had mc’s. so it seemed that in the u.k. hip hop got actually taken apart and different parts have been used in combination with different styles.

and we also come back to the problem that hip hop suddenly seemed to mean “mc rapping over broken beats”. that hip hop also ment and means scratching and turntablism (using the turntable as an instrument), graffiti and breakdancing got a little bit forgotten. and especially on the front of experimental, abstract, instrumental hip hop and breakscience there were and are a number of labels publishing amazing stuff in england. it even seems that for a time they were actually the only ones to publish records of this kind of hip hop even for american artists.

one of the experimental labels, one still going strong, is coldcut‘s label ninja tune. more on the side of beatscience and always interested in experimentation and especially also sampling and cut-ip methods they published a wide array of exciting and genre defying music. and coldcut have been quite successfull quite early on, too. especially their track timber and the accompanying video was not only a success, but also something at the time unheard and unseen.

if you are interested to see / hear / read what ninja tune are up to these days i recommend you visit their website.

another label that was at the time one of my favourites was james lavelle‘s (yes, the one from unkle) mo’ wax. definitly ecclectic, but always interesting. from the experimental hip hop of dr. octagon to the electronic experimentation of autechre they published a lot of great stuff. and yes, since it is time for some music now, i recommend you get now one of my “fetish-12″”. under the catalogue number mw024 they published a split-maxi with on one side dj shadow (lost and found) and on the other side dj krush (kemuri). interesting to note that these two are big names up to this day in instrumental hip hop / turntablism – and that dj shadow is american and dj krush is japanese. and i would like to mention that it is great stuff. get it here (ripped from vinyl@224).


if you would like an overview of what mo’ wax had to offer (it seems that the label is now defunct) i propose you head over to geez back ma heid! and get the headz-compilation. enjoy!

so while we’re at it i have the pleasure to present you something of..eerrr…well, something special. what always gets mentioned when talking about mo’ wax is the great cover art. the visual style of mo’ wax was to a big degree getting such a lot of attention thanks to especially one artist: futura 2000. he has an interesting website – go and have a look! he was definitly an early adopter and started very early on with graffiti. but back in 1982 he tried his hands on – rapping. yes, there is a maxi-single by mister futura2000 called and his escapades. so this is really early hip hop. it’s not a reason to wish that he would have stopped with his visual art, but it is actually quite sweet. and what is really interesting: the people that collaborated. so the lyrics and the vocals (yep, on the cover it says “vocals”) are by futura2000. the music is – tadah! – by the clash. and for backing vocals responsible are: fab 5 freddy and dondi. amazing, huh? if you want a listen to the escapades of futura2000 (including the dub-mix) get it here (again, ripped from vinyl@224). quite an interesting historic document.


so what i basically observed at the time with hip hop in england was that there was a very underground hip hop scene modelled according to the american role model. but far more interesting to me was the influence of hip hop as described in this post. that there were / are no reservations between artists working rather on the hip hop side of things and others working in the different fields of electronic music. even a label like warp (best known for its output of experimental electronica) published quite a number of hip hop records.

yeah, what i want to get at is that focussing on the music and less on the construction of your ego will overcome boundaries and make things more interesting. and if we compare it to france: there the overcoming of musical genre-boundaries was partly possible by constructing identity not as some bling bling-ego, but as an political identity. this enables alliances with a number of people that might choose different forms of expression. so both examples show ways out of this selfsufficient, egomaniac musical genre (in this example hip hop)-cliché (and yes, i know i am over-simplifying).

then i also wanted to show that musical genres are helpful as an orientation. but the downside is when they harden into judgments of what is good or bad and what something should sound like. i never forget being at a concert of the fantastic turntablists the x-ecutioners and had these dumb people complaining that this could never be real hip hop since nobody is rapping. ugly.

but i want to finish this post in beauty and propose you a gem from a man from brighton, known for his graffiti and not well enough known for his unique music. a record that seemed to me always very hip hop – and at the same time having a very “electronica sensibility” (well, he also published on warp) – something to do with the work on the textures, i guess. so a record for fans of hip hop as well for fans of electronic sounds – as well as for fans of late night records. and of course for everybody who likes good music.

the man is called req and the record is called one. you can get req::one here. ripped from vinyl as two mp3 files (side a/side b), tracklist included. do enjoy!


et hop! ze early adopters

January 27, 2008

time to leave american hip hop for a while.

it was interesting to follow in the 1990’s not only the mainstreaming of hip hop, but also the adoption of hip hop in the different european countries. some were slower, some were faster – one place where hip hop got not only accepted, but has been made their own pretty fast is to my recollection france.

my guess is that some factors made it easy for hip hop to become “french”. first hip hop is ideal for asserting and constructing identity. and at the time the youth of immigrants in france did not really have their own music. of course france always had a lot of music, brought from the (ex-)colonies and with different immigrants: but music that developed specifically within the youth of immigrants – not really. of course you heard at the time a lot of african music, as well as for example raï. but there was no tradition of french music that took these influences and made them its own (with the notable exception of the rock band carte de séjour – and maybe dazibao). so hip hop quite literally gave a voice to a generation that could not find themselves neither in the music of the country of their parents, nor in the music of their homecountry, france.

another reason for the french take-over seems to me also the acceptance of hip hop in the alternative / underground scene: france had by the late eighties a fantastic alternative scene – fantastic this time not referring to the music, but to the infrastructure. there was a tight net, reaching even to the small villages, of labels, distributors (new rose!), and record shops, due to the huge success of punk in france and its accompanying do it yourself, anti-industry spirit. i do remember standing in paris in the late eighties in the record shop that was somehow affilitated to the scene of les béruriers noirs (don’t remember the name – but strange enough i do remember the address more or less: rue du roi de naple?) and being amazed at the selection of hip hop records available. so hip hop seems to have been understood in france very fast as a voice of the youth, as an independent youth-culture and could therefore rely on the sympathies and infrastructure of the already existing underground music culture. and hip hop was very early on also quite sucessfull: there have been the rude boys from ntm (now: supreme ntm), rude, hard, but also political. yeah, controversial and successfull – maybe they could have been seen as the french n.w.a.’s at the time.

then in the south, in marseille, from the planète mars came i am – definitly raising their voices clear and loud. not only did they develop their unique brand of hip hop that is musically not afraid of being very rich. and they are one of the best hip hop live acts (and to my recollection they did the ninja-thing before wu-tang – although mixed with, err..agyptian mysticism). and they also always showed a healthy dose of humour. so here from their first record the song tam tam de l’afrique – exactly dealing with france’s history of immigration.

and then of course there has been this huge hit in 1992, caroline, by our favourite intellectual mc: mc solaar.

i remember seeing very early on an interview with him on tv and was just floored: even when he answered questions in an interview he had a flow – he talked music! and then he was not afraid to namedrop every important thinker of the 20th century. that certainly made for a change… a lot more pop and more playful then the other two examples – quite unique in his way he made a lot of good records – and you just have to love him for his cover of cinquième as.


especially to i am and mc solaar i listened to a lot at the time (and recently again – since i am finally published a new record last year). for more information about these artists you can visit i am‘s website here, and mc solaar‘s website here.

if you are interested in more french hip hop, i recommend to look around at leave your nine at home – and yes, he has a soft spot for i am, too.

and if you would like to learn more about the youth in the banlieues at these times in france i highly recommend a film by mathieu kassovitz from 1995, la haine (engl.: hate). great movie (yes, vincent cassel is also in that one) – a gritty fictional documentary in black and white. highly recommended.

“C’est l’histoire d’un homme qui tombe d’un immeuble de cinquante étages. Le mec, au fur et à mesure de sa chute se répète sans cesse pour se rassurer : jusqu’ici tout va bien, jusqu’ici tout va bien, jusqu’ici tout va bien. Mais l’important c’est pas la chute, c’est l’atterrissage. (La Haine, Mathieu Kassovitz, 1995, Hubert Koundé)”


so – time for some music! allright, i decided on somthing not that known, something i really like, and something that shows also musically the possibilities of fusing hip hop with other music – in this case with arab music.

first we have clotaire k with his record lebanese. fat hip hop with a lot of arab influences, lyrics are in french, arab, and english. if you like your hip hop beats with quite a lot of wumms, then this is the record for you! not exactly hard, but with a lot of energy.


get it here. and visit his website here.

if you like the arab influence (in this case more precisely: berber), but like your beats more abstract, partly leaving the hip hop turf, then i recommend a little underground gem. especially the opening track is quite a journey – wow. i don’t want to say too much about this record – it is something you better just listen to. it is naab with his record salam haleikoum. he used to have a nice website – but not anymore. so not much more information – get it here, sit down, turn up the volume and tune in!


insert: inside

January 23, 2008

it is in the middle of the night. the appartment is illuminated only by the glow of the laptop and the light of the turntable. opening the window icy air streams in, sobering up the thoughts. the city lays still in the sharp cold, even the yellow streetlights seem to give this night a light that does not move. there is hardly any sound. a car passes by – its movement makes the stillness even more apparent. and the sound of the engine is quickly gone. but very softly, over the crackling of the vinyl, there is sound. a flute. a man, singing. sounds that come from a different time. and from a different space.


i looked at this record a couple of times at my favourite second hand-records dealer. i really like the front cover. then unfolding the cover there is the taj mahal and a couple of pics with different people and in the middle a man with a flute on the inside, sending somehow a different message then the front cover. although i buy quite often records just by the cover (to see if my visual taste matches my taste in music, and also because i am always interested in hearing new sounds), i was unsure about this record. it just smelled of… hm …new age. here i have to add that i have this problem with new age – when it describes a certain spiritual attitude. and it becomes downright insulting for describing music. hey, i am tending to my prejudices, too…

but then the cover won and i bought the record. at home listening to it i found out that it is actually beautiful music. yeah, silly me…

i am talking about paul horn‘s inside. doing some research i found out that paul horn is a classically trained jazz musician who collaborated with a lot of people and made tons of record under his own name as well as a studio musician. he seems to be well known for people into jazz (which i am obviously not really) and yes, he is also known as “the daddy of new age-music”. this especially for his inside-recordings, done at several interesting places: the taj mahal, the pyramids, cathedrals etc., as well as seemingly for his later work. i read somewhere he got into transcendental meditation in the 1970’s – if this justifies in any way giving him the label new age – i doubt it. but let’s not get polemic in that matter.

so the record inside (sometimes also called inside the taj mahal) is the first in a series. it is indeed recorded inside the taj mahal, and this on april 25th, 1968 (the wikipedia entry states that he smuggled his recorder into the taj – which is obviously wrong). me being unsure at the record store if i would like some recording of a flute player going in 1968 to india did not take into account three things: first, paul horn is a very good musician. second, there is not only flute on it. there is also a man singing – on the cover of the record there is no indication who is singing, according to some sources on the net it was the guard on duty. and third there is “an additional musician (as the hilliard ensemble likes to put it)”: the space. there is an extreme amount of reverb. hearing the recording, one gets very aware of the space. a big difference to most recordings these days.

these three components make for a very beautiful record in a quiet way. and what i find interesting is that for me, this record works best on a rather low volume, late at night.


if you would like to have a listen, go here. i ripped it as 2 mp3’s (side a / side b) @ 224 from vinyl (and the tracklist is included). especially side a is a little bit worn, so you have quite some crackling. some hate it, i find it on this record quite appropriate. this record has been re-issued on cd as inside the taj mahal I&II, althoug it does not seem that it is distributed globally.

for more information i recommend you have a look at the man’s homepage: i would like to point out the podcasts you’ll find there where he talks about the early stages of his career.

and now relax, take a deep breath…and enjoy!

objet reçu

January 20, 2008

found it again. it has been handed to me by a young man at a gay pride parade some years ago. very anonym – not only concerning who, where, why, but also in style. nice.


who are you? a homosexual – donna speaks

January 19, 2008

i would like to draw your attention to the who are you? a homosexual-post. donna taylor has been so kind to leave a comment. so i strongly advise you head over there and might even let me know your point of view.

postcard from paris

January 19, 2008

to sweet not to share. and it is a colored photograph, too. what a good timing. thank you very much, k!


actualité: (name removed upon request) @ têtu

January 18, 2008

if you are in a french speaking area (or some place international) you might be able to pick up a copy of the french gay mag têtu. and in there you’ll find a portfolio with the beautiful pictures of (name removed upon request) – not a stranger to this blog.

well, basically i just wanted to post another photograph of his…

(image removed by request)

(name removed upon request) – (title remove upon request)

(link to homepage removed upon request)


January 17, 2008

because it is time for something…light now. and because i have to smile every time i see this video – the pairing of the two is just genius. and because both definitly know how to move their butts (eros is way underrated concerning his hip-movements). and because eros never looked so good (it’s the hair). and because i told n that the next post is for him. and because if you’ve read the preceeding post and now read the lyrics to their song, taking into account the persisting rumours concerning these two artists…wow. yeah, it is all context and subtext.

i got the lyrics off the net somewhere and made a fast & dirty translation – so accuracy might be not a hundred percent. so here the lyris to non siamo soli by eros ramazotti, featuring ricky martin:

Eros Ramazzotti – Non Siamo Soli (we are not alone)
(Feat. Ricky Martin)

Eros: E’ la voglia di cambiare la realtà,
Che mi fa sentire ancora vivo
E cercherò tutti quelli come me
Che hanno ancora un sogno in più…un sogno in più
(it is the will/desire to change reality that makes me feel still alive, and i will search for all these like me that still have a dream (more))

Ricky: Dentro un libro che nessuno ha scritto mai,
Leggo le istruzione della vita,
Anche se so che poi non le seguirò,
Farò ciò che sento…
(in a book nobody ever wrote, i’m reading the instruction of/for life, even if i know i can not follow them, i will make that i feel)

Eros: Oltre le distanze, noi non siamo soli
Figli della stessa umanità
Anime viaggianti in cerca di ideali,
Il coraggio non ci mancherà
(beyond the distances, we are not alone, children of the same people/of humankind, travelling souls in search for ideals, we will not lack courage)

Supera I confini di qualunque ideologia, l’emozione che ci unisce in una grande idea
Un altro mondo possibile c’è
E lo cerco anch’io e lo voglio anch’io come te…
(i’ll exceed the confines of any ideology, the emotion that unites us in a great idea, another world is possible, and also i will search for it and also i want it like you)

Ricky: Nelle pagine lasciate in bianco noi,
Diamo spazio a tutti I nostri sogni
(on the pages left white, we give space to all of our dreams)

Eros: nessuno mai il futuro ruberà,
Dalle nostre mani…
(nobody ever will steal the future from our hands)

Eros & Ricky: Oltre le distanze, noi non siamo soli
Senza più certezze e verità
Anime confuse, cuori prigionieri
Con la stessa idea di libertà…libertà
(beyond the distances we are not alone, without certainties and truth, confused souls, imprisoned hearts, with the same idea of freedom…freedom)

Eros & Ricky: Oltre le distanze, non siamo soli
L’incertezza non ci fermerà
(beyond the distances, we are not alone, the insecurity will not stop us)

Eros: Supera I confini, non conosce geografia l’emozione che ci unisce in una grande idea
(i’ll exceed the limitations, the emotion that unites us in a great idea does not know geography)

Ricky: Oltre le distanze noi non siamo soli, sempre in cerca della verità
(beyond the distances we are not alone, aleays in search of the truth)

Eros: Anime viaggianti, cuori prigionieri, con la stessa idea di libertà
(travelling souls, imprisoned hearts, with the same idea of liberty)

Un altro mondo possibile c’è e lo sto cercando insieme a te
(another world is possible and i search for it with you)

Eros: Anch’io con te
(also me with you)

Ricky: Insieme a me
(together with me)

Eros: E tu con me…
(and you with me)

see what i mean? looks like they are looking for their paradise – and we can assume it is not one you can buy… i wish them courage.

in the meantime enjoy their video to the song:


(update: interesting to note that for the official video (posted by “eros ramazotti” they disabled embedding – because of my post? well, luckily somebody else loaded it up to youtube, too…)


reader participation! an alternative, better translation. thank you very much, bartolo!

We are not alone
The desire to change reality
makes me feel still alive,
and I will search for all these like me
that still have a dream more… a dream more
In a book nobody ever wrote,
I’m reading the instructions of life,
even if I know that then I won’t follow them,
I will do what I feel
Beyond the distances, we are not alone,
Sons of the same humankind,
Travelling souls in search for ideals,
We won’t lack courage
Exceed the confines of any ideology,
The emotion that unites us in a great idea, Another world is possible,
And I am looking for it too, and I want it like you too
On the pages left white,
We give space to all of our dreams
Nobody ever will steal the future
From our hands
Beyond the distances we are not alone,
Without certainties and truth,
Confused souls, imprisoned hearts,
With the same idea of freedom…freedom
Beyond the distances, we are not alone,
The insecurity will not stop us
Exceeds the limitations, the emotion that unites us in a great idea does not know geography
Beyond the distances we are not alone, always in search of the truth
travelling souls, imprisoned hearts,
with the same idea of liberty
Another world is possible and I am looking for it with you
Also me with you
Together with me
And you with me

paradise? not for you, faggot

January 16, 2008

it hit me the other day. zapping thru tv-wonderland i came across some “documentary” about beautiful hotels on beautiful beaches – you know, the blue clear water, white sandy beaches, lusciuos green vegetation with a lot of palm trees kind of places. booked primarly by couples, the way it looked, be it for the honeymoon, be it for a romantic getaway. you know: candlelight dinner at the beach, strolling under palm trees, hand in hand, slightly erotic play in the surf.

yep, i guess for most people watching this, these places looked like we westerners imagine paradise. and yes, it does look rather appealing, and yes, it is easy to forget the respective social realities while seeing this – since we believe that these places must be paradise (hey, they look like it) we can not imagine that the people living there do not see themselves living in a paradise.

but that was not what was hitting me suddenly when i saw this excerpt on tv. i still had the line paradise don’t come cheap in my head – and was amazed how this glossy “documentary” presented these places just as another option of holiday making – something special, right, but only insofar as these holidays have more meaning, more depth because of their construction as “love-holidays”. so holidays on paradise island suddenly seemed just like another thing you do – like something everybody does at a specific point in his / her life – as inevitable as getting married. so they not only completely disregarded the social reality of the people living in these places, but they also completely disregarded the social reality of the people visiting these places. or to ask you directly: how many of you can afford a one or two week stay at a five star resort in one of these places? please raise your hand (and can you afford to take me with you, huh?).

but another phrase started to creep up in my mind. not only is access to paradise limited to the ones who can afford it – it seems that other criteria have to be fullfilled, too. already going alone seems definitly less fun and by picturing myself on one of these beaches i realized that paradise is not for me – that paradise is nothing for faggots and dykes.

so the combination of presenting holiday spots as the place we all imagine as paradise and that making holidays there is a special, but also integral part of your life – but you meaning here a straight, wealthy couple let me realize that paradise, as defined in that instance, is not for you, faggot. so i found this advertising in form of a documentary quite telling – and it has given me a good headline for this post, too.

and it is a good example for introducing you to an article titled asking the straight question: how to come to speech in spite of conceptual liquidation as a homosexual by josé gabilondo.

but what do i want to say with that example? and what has it to do with asking the straight question? well, i want to show you an interesting point of view shown in the essay of josé gabilondo – actually two points: how do we judge progress for a minority? and secondly something he calls heterosexual interpellation. well, i actually will show you a little bit more – but then i have to start somewhere… so let’s first get to the straight question – what question? well, basically the straight question is based on a difference, the difference between heterosexuality and heteronormativity (a term coined by michael warner), or for the ones familiar with feminist theory (and she has been mentioned in that blog earlier) monique wittig‘s straight mind. so while heterosexuality describes a sexual orientation (and a lifestyle-choice, if you want), heteronormativity describes the fact that in our society everything is grouped around heterosexuality. heterosexuality is the social norm – meaning what we think, talk, research, make is organized according to heterosexual norms. this not only means that people assume automatically that one is heterosexual (except you’re a screaming fag or a bulldyke or visibly queer), but also that therefore you are living, thinking, breathing in a certain way: in a heterosexual way. that in our society everybody, regardless of sexual orientation has a straight mind. including marriage and honeymoon on paradise island. allright so far this is not really new and we treated the topic of normality already from different angles. and as we have seen, heteronormativity certainly hits sexual minorities – and also heterosexuals that don’t buy into the advertised heterosexual lifestyle, i suppose. there is a little bit more to the straight question – and we’ll get to that. later.

so what is new? new in josé gabilondo’s essay is that he turns it around. literally. he creates as an introductory example a homonormative world, the nightmare of every rightwing / religiously intolerant person. not much a work of fiction, mister gabilondo basically desribes our world and especially the legal restrictions for homosexuals in todays u.s.a. – basically just exchanging hetero for homo. and well, it gets, only using that simple, but effective technique, rather scary… for all you heterosexuals out there, that is. this not only serves to clarify the position homosexuals have today in our society – it also helps to shift the focus from the so-called gay question into the direction of the straight question. i have to admit: even for me it was something of an eye-opener. the full absurdity of certain aspects of having to subordinate to heteronormativity becomes very, even painfully clear. and it is a subordination homosexuals are submitted to as homosexuals, as members of a minority. and here comes the question how much subordination to “the norm” we should accept. of course a certain subordination is (with good reason, i believe) demanded from every member of society. but why do we have to obey laws that are treating us differently then members of society with a more mainstream sexual orientation?

but then, can we assert that we are a terribly suppressed minority? because we already came so far, gained so much in the last 40 years. in some parts of the world we get actually partnership benefits from corporations, in certain states / countries there are anti-discrimination laws and in a handful of countries we can even register for a partnership – even if in most countries it is a far cry from equal treatment. but as i said: why complain if we gained in such short time so much? well, first it is not really complaining – it is demanding equality. and is it that much? contrary to judging the success of queer politics by looking back, mister gabilondo proposes to judge the success of lgbt-politics by the difference of private expectations and the public reality. yep, that changes the perspective quite dramatically. ironically enough i think that the resulting expectation gap must be especially great for conservative gays that just want to be seen “as normal”. said differently: radical queers, fags, dykes and trannies that move in subcultures might have a smaller expectation gap, as long as they can move in social circles where heteronormativity has far less effect and as long as they can minimize their exchange with “the hetero-world”. but if you want stroll down paradise beach hand in hand with your lover of the same sex, feel the body of your man in the surf, have loud sex in your romantic bungalow…

so one side are the private expectations, expectations how we would like to lead our life, what might would make us happy . and let’s not forget that these expectations have been constructed in a heteronormative world. that our expectations come from our straight mind. the other side is the public reality, a world of heteronormativity. in this public reality we gays and lesbians are subjected to identity forming processes through heterosexual interpellation:

“Louis Althusser coined the idea of “interpellation” to describe what he saw as the mutually constitutive relationship between systems of ideas – “ideology” – and the person, as framed, evoked, or erased by the ideology in question. That is, a person comes to recognize oneself as a politically and emotionally sentient being through the sieve of ideology. To illustrate interpellation, Althusser uses the example of recognition felt by a person walking down the street and being hailed by a police officer with a “Hey! You there”.

Interpellation theory is particularly relevant to the analysis of legal personality, a metaphor which recognizes that law creates the features of the personhood in question. Heterosexual ideology interpellates gays through legal disabilities and other limits on freedom. After documenting the scope of straight supremacy in his book, Didier Eribon emphasizes that insult is the main vehicle for this type of self-recognition by the gay subject:

Thus do gay people live in a world of gay insults. they are surrounded by a language that hems them in and points them out. The world insults them; it speaks of them and of what is said about them. The words of day-to-day life as well as of psychiatric, political, and juridical discourse assign each of them individually and all of them collectively to an inferior place within the social order. And yet this language preceded them: the world of insults preexisted them, and it takes hold of them even before they know what they are.


Heterosexual interpellation – whether at the hands of friends or foes – renders the homosexual a legal person only in the subjunctive, the grammatical mood for the irreal. Notwithstanding its other virtues, the practice of “coming out” as a sexual minority merely confirms one’s lack of agency as a fleck of marginalia. What is left for such a compromised person is the inner world of expectations, whether or not those expectations are realizable as a legal matter. Because the content of ideology is subject to change, my point in the following section is to suggest that self-hailing may be possible through the tactical use of ideology. (Gabilondo, pp. 120-124)”

so the social reality might looks rather grim, being member of a sexual minority meaning being un-equally subordinated and defined through heteronormativity. and to top it all we are in many cases even agents of heteronormativity, explaining our frustration about this wide expectation gap with our unability to be satisfied with our political and social victories, our unability to fit in (yeah, why have these fags always to make such a stink and be so flamboyant) and the fact that most people are not happy with their lives, regardless of their sexual orientation.

but is demanding equality really too much? is trying to narrow the expectation gap immoral? and how do we go about (if we answer both questions with no) to change the actual social reality?

so what proposes josé gabilondo as strategies for social change? one way to change the dominant social ideology i would like to call internal. he makes a good point in pointing out the responsability of the “elite” of the lgbt community. elite meaning in this contex persons that have especially two privileges: first they can protect themselves to a great extent from the harsh impact of heteronormativity, they do not have to care too much about repercussions because of their sexual orientation: narrowing the expectation gap by finding a “better” public reality. second privilege is the possibility of individual expression – certainly an act of self-realization and therefore narrowing the expectation gap on the side of private expectations. the responsability of this elite (theorists, scientists, journalists, lawyers, politicians, artists, etc.) is first to provide an interpretative frame for their community, make sense of the dissatisfying situation and giving explanations that do not follow the heteronormative claims of why and what and who. to say it differently: to provide an analysis of our situation in and of the society that does not put us in the place of the despised abnormal. and therefore to be able to answer back to the straight interpellation with our terms.

the other task at hand is i guess based on this analysis: to provide an outlook of how it should and could be. this might saves us from giving up, from succumbing to the straight interpellation and should raise our expectations. in the sense of glimpses of a social utopia of complete equality – and i do call it utopia because this might be a goal never reached, but still is necessary to formulate. and in the sense of what can be done now, of something one might can call “small steps”. of showing possibilities to better our daily lives. a good example might be here the work of judith butler: while her theoretical work proposes and celebrates the disappearence of gender categories and identity based on sex, gender and sexuality, she was always very aware that for political work a clear identity (in her case: lesbian) is necessary. and combining the utopian and the pragmatic seems to me a necessity – and would avoid all these silly internal fights of people “with their heads in the clouds” and “cynics just interested to have some power”. combining both aspects in ones thinking certainly serves as a corrective to excesses on both sides. if the “elite” is able to fullfill these tasks at hand has a lot to do with their awarness that they are within their community indeed privileged. and that life as a gay plumper in iowa might has different obstacles as the life as a queer theorist in berkeley.

the other strategy i would like to call external: it means shifting the attenttion from the minority to the majority.

“A more targeted application of queer theory, the point of critical heterosexual studies is to focus more closely and comprehensively on the relationship between heterosexuality and heteronormativity. The two are different, but until heterosexuality internalizes and sustains a distinction beteen itself and heteronormativity, collapsing the two as a rhetorical matter helps to draw attention to straight supremacy, by putting the burden of disassociation from the norm on heterosexuality.

As a threshold step in this Article, I propose calling this endeavour “the straight question,” in conscious opposition to gay and lesbian studies. This phrasing instantiates a conscious power relationship which focuses on the dominant power in question rather than on the symptomology of its victims. Such a sustained reversal of scrutiny would build an ethnography of the straight question. (…) Importantly, heterosexuals also stand to gain from a more serious study of their social condition. (Gabilondo, pp. 130 – 131)”

one tool to work on the straight question provides josé gabilondo in the appendix of his text. under the title heteronormativity educational materials, he provides a questionnaire that can serve as the base of a (classroom) discussion. so he concludes with the fullfillment of a demand he formulates in his text: not only does he provide an analysis of the social reality, trying not to use “the tools of the master”, formulating a viewpoint contrary to the dominant ideology (the straight question) – and then providing us with a practical tool for our daily lives, a tool to lead a discussion about heterosexuality and heteronormativity. very neat.

so – first i would like to point out, that as usual i used an article to point out just some basic arguments, and that at certain instances i am closer, at others farer away from the original text. so i recommend you read the original text, available at the social science research network here. of course highly recommended. and even if you are not in the mood for theory: the first part (the example) is quite an amazing read. and then i would like to point out that there is a wealth of footnotes serving as pointers to a lot of essential and interesting reading.

if you would like some more information on josé gabilondo, i suggest you visit his official site.

and here you’ll find links to some more texts by mister gabilondo.

and now let’s dream up another paradise…

et hop! paradise don’t come cheap

January 11, 2008

mad? definitly. if you have read the comments to the rumi-post over at square dancing…, then you might guessed that i would post now this one. it fits nicely in the context of o.h.m. for being also an outstanding, unique record (althoug it is the second record they made – but then i do find the first one far less interesting) and certainly has also a lot of madness like rumi – or maybe like the weirder stuff of the beasty boys (the really weird and screeching stuff). but it is not the hysterical, big city neurotic-ness of the beasty boys. it is slower, the voices are deeper – it is a madness born out of the desert and its endless highways, not neurotic, but rather psychotic. real dirty hip hop – not dirty because it is vulgar (it is not), but dirty because of the music. and yes, again i post a hip hop record that really is on the margins of what most people would call hip hop. it is in a sunburned way harsh – but then it does have also its dose of humour…

after doom and the apocalypse, at the last day we will get divided into the ones destined for hell – and the ones destined for heaven. and if you are catholic and have been bad you still get a chance via the purgatory. but – and that seems very catholic to me – remember: paradise don’t come cheap! so even afterlife sucks – but at least we still have great music…
so let me introduce you to new kingdom‘s paradise don’t come cheap. seemingly out of print, i feel it my duty to make it available here to everybody interested.


i ripped it as two mp3-files (side a / side b) @224 from vinyl – the tracklist is included. get it here and – enjoy!

there are rumours (since years) of a follow up to paradise don’t come cheap – but so far these rumours are just that: rumours. for more information on new kingdom you can visit the un-official site, a fan site called newkingdomcity.

et hop! mad?

January 10, 2008

i think outstanding music (and art in general – and i guess it also applies for science and other areas) can be called mad. mad not in the medical sense – but mad because borders of “how to do it” are not respected, the usual techniques to make sense are not applied. o.h.m. (from the last post) makes for a good example: the beats are too fuzzy, there are way too many sounds on it, and how can you have in one moment something like post-rock guitars and then a salsa snippet? it does not make any sense! the beauty is: yes, it does. it opens the door to new ways of making sense, and in the best case therefore to new ways of perception and thinking. and there lies for me the beauty and fascination of art, especially music, but also of science and other forms of cultural production. and for the musicians i consider most interesting it seems to be a big part of their motivation, too. to cross these given borders of what constitutes “normal” or “good” and go beyond. and yes, there is an utopian aspect to it, too. and yes, i will certainly come back to that – be it in the context of reviewing texts about music, be it by presenting certain musicians that stress this aspect in their music (hello, cristian vogel!).

but what has that to do with hip hop? well, it applies to hip hop, too. but there is more: funny enough i seem to have a preference for mad mad hip hop, too. meaning hip hop with a nearly medical madness: with an intensity, an urgency that borders on the insane. be it the sparse grittiness of clipse, be it the lyrical madness of mc 900 ft jesus, be it the obsession of mood with doom, be it the disturbingly mumbling sensational.

or be it the hysterical quality of rumi rapping fast over sick beats. mc rumi is a japanese mc – and well, part of the hysterical quality certainly comes from the fact that japanese to my ears just sounds so… well… let’s just say different. but the music has a dark and driving quality and combined with the high pitched rapping of rumi it makes for intense listening. i came across her music thanks to square dancing in a round house – and that is where i am sending you to now. so go over there and get some more information on her as well as her first record, hell me tight.

to wetten your appetite (or to scare you away), here the video to sanagi (from hell me tight):

et hop! on an excursion

January 8, 2008

taking up the thread of sunbathinglizard’s little journey through da hip and da hop…where we were? doom, armageddon, the dark side. and what do we think of when hearing that and hip hop? wu tang clan, most will say. yeah, that would fit. but then you get enough wu on the net – i don’t feel it necessary to add anything to that.

but i am thinking of something more…leftfield. i guess for the regular reader of this blog this does not come as a surprise. but then you are not here to encounter stuff you already know, i hope. so what am i thinking of? i am thinking of wordsound.


wordsound is a brooklyn, n.y. based label with a cool logo that publishes music that is for the most part on the darker side. a friend of mine described it once as “a warm and friendly armageddon” – again impending doom is obviously no reason to get all excited and that. but once more it seems to be a good reason to make some outstanding music. in the beginning wordsound was actually perceived as a dub, or better: neo-dub label. for the ones not knowing what dub is: it is the slow and spacey offspring of reggae. in the last years it developed into and influenced many musical forms, for me most notably in electronic music – from dubtechno to yeah, dubstep. but this post is not about dub (i guess some time i will have to do some posts about dubby sounds… yeah, the list of topics to cover just grows steadily). but then wordsound always crossed the borders of dub – sometimes into the direction of drum ‘n’ bass (dr. israel), and quite often into hip hop territory. a very different kind of hip hop – the opposite of slick, flashy, glitzy hip hop – it is warm, muddy, darkish hip hop. but even in its warmness it very often also transports the feeling of a certain paranoia underneath – of impending doom. but don’t be scared: most wordsound releases are very listenable – and well worth discovering.

to give you an overview of their sound i actually wanted to post one of their samplers, providing an overview of a wide array of their artists (which served for me as introduction to their sonic universe) with the great title crooklyn dub consortium vol. 2: great music packed into a great cover (and that covers just reminds me of almamegrettas line: “dub is my weapon, bass is my gun”):


but then there a other blogs with a lot of taste – meaning you can grab not only vol. 2, but also vol. 1 & 3 over at the musical coco basket. and yes, i would be interested in vol. 4, too. at the musical basket you’ll also find more wordsound records, especially two records of the overlord of the underground spectre with his unique brand of dark, de- and re-constructed hip hop – one of the great artists of underground / experimental hip hop in my humble opinion. and an additional record by spectre you’ll find over at double avenue. additionally double avenue also upped two records by prince charming, better known as prince paul – this i recommend especially for the more psychedelic inclined of you. so what should i post from the wordsound catalogue? sensational would be now the logical thing – after all he delivered one of the best opening lines for an album: as i arrive on the bassline… plus he just published a new album (which i unfortunately haven’t listened to, yet). but then i had to find out that i stored his records away – aaargh.

but to give you an idea here a collaboration of spectre with sensational, pillars of smoke:

so i am posting here something that is not really on the, or not only, on the hip hop side of the wordsound catalogue. and it is also not that dark – it does stand somehow a little bit apart. on the other hand i guess such a record was maybe only possible to do on wordsound… and although i present it here like something of a last exit, it is actually one of the best records i have. now let that sink in.


o.h.m.‘s grounded to the inner current is a record that for me is nearly a hörspiel, something of a concept record in the sense that it sounds like you are strolling through different neighbourhoods in a city in summer. you have your headphones on and are listening to beats that mysteriously mix perfectly with all the different sounds blaring out from windows and shops: snippets of people speaking, hornsections, eastern influenced sounds, noisy screeching guitars, salsa bits, and a lot more. sounds like a mess? it is, but one like a big river, taking all kinds of stuff with it but connecting them in its powerful flow… and this record, after that many times i listened to it in many different places and situations, still lets me travel in into different places and evoking different moods from darkness to euphoria, sometimes changing within the blink of an eye. yep, this record is indeed a masterpiece. let that sink in, too.

and now get it here. i ripped it as two tracks (side a / side b) @224 from vinyl. the tracklist is included. enjoy!

unfortunately i do not know if and if yes what k. bennu (the person behind o.h.m.) made after that record – if anybody knows more, let me know. on the other hand i am also fine with leaving this record standing rather solitary in the musical universe. it deserves it.

so you should have with this post a little introduction to the special sonic universe of the wordsound label. now head over to their website – there is a lot more to discover, and yes, they also sell music online (since finding their cd’s and vinyl’s might prove difficult, unfortunately).

2008 – kisses on magnolia mountain

January 5, 2008

a new year – so i wish you all a great 2008! well, it can only get better. so as to kiss the old one goodbye and to start the new one on a tender note, i would like to start with some tender visuals:


hm, somehow reminds me of d.a.f.s sex unter wasser – but that’s another story altogether…

then r reminded me that it is also a happy new year 1429. which is good enough a reason to give you another hot and steamy kiss:


so – i am aware that the years can be counted very differently then these two examples – but first i was too lazy to look all this up and second i do not have such a well stocked image library of men kissing fitting to all these different, hm, ways of life. if you want to help me out: you’re welcome!

while we are kissing: here you find an article by antonio pasolini called public encounters:

“while gay life and style has a free pass within society these days, physical contact between men in public still remains a taboo”

a nice article which touches on quite some subjects by trying to find out why the display of affection between persons of the same sex in our society is barely tolerated (an interesting subject anyway – especially in the light that other societies have different views on that). and regarding self-censorship and all that: we get to that later on in this blog… yeah, there are many plans – let’s see what 2008 in this respect brings. yes, i am wondering myself.

and then, to start this year as i finished last year i propose you another great live recording. very tender, something to drink tea to on dark winter afternoons, just a candle burning (to keep the tea warm) and looking out into the world. yep, it is time for a live recording by ryan adams and the cardinals. for the ones knowing and liking ryan adams: you might have that recording already. if not, you must have it. for the ones knowing but not liking ryan adams: this one is different and you have to have it (for explanations see below). and for the ones not knowing ryan adams: well, you have to have it, too (obviously).

ryan adams is the, well, star, or darling of something called alternative country (short: alt country). yes, did not sound too appetizing to me, too. i am no great country fan and as for the word alternative describing music: it means anything and nothing, but too often boring guitars and pretentious lyrics combined with a vibe “not to be mainstream”.

but well, so many blogs were raving about him that i took an ear full. and once more to my surprise: i quite liked it. not that i searched the net all night long – but yeah, i registered him as an artist to look out for. i did quite like the bootleg recording the suicide handbook – but then i also came across some recordings that i did not like that much. and then i came across a live recording of his with the cardinals. i don’t remember where, but something in the description triggered my curiosity. i burned it on cd and put it on the stack of the cd’s i want to listen to. and it was winter, and i was having tea, and i finally popped that cd in, and this intro took quite a while, and i turned the volume up, and then magnolia mountain starts and i was left staring at the speakers, listening to that beautifully melancholic music and i stared at the speakers for the rest of the first and then the second cd. i rarely heard a live recording with a band playing so totally at ease yet so focused. i still find the intensity they have by being actually extremly relaxed amazing. and i believe it is another recording which transcends taste – so somehow i believe even if you do not like the other stuff of ryan adams, this one you might like. so enough gushing about it. have a listen for yourself!

ryan adams and the cardinals, live at das haus, ludwigshafen, germany, on october 17th, 2006


part one

part two

these two links are actually mirrors – you can grab the recording also directly via here. there you also find it in other formats (ogg vorbis, flac), as well as some information and a couple of pics. and should you still not be sure about downloading it (pfuuh, you are definitly not easy, right?), you can also stream it from there. if you listen to the first 20 minutes and are not convinced…well…

if you would like the high quality 24bit flac-version, go here.

and a big thank you to sebastian boschert, the taper!

for more ryan adams you can visit his homepage. and for more live ryan adams, you can go here – there are about 250 recordings archived…

and now…

Lie to me like I lie to you
Hold me down until the morning comes
And if the morning don’t come
Will you lie to me
Will you take me to your bed
Will you lay me down
Ti’l I’m heavy like the rocks in the riverbed
That my savior made
. . . please