The Null Device
In under 4 hours, 2002 will be over. It was a mixed year; on one level, things were still going to shit. The belle epoque of the 1990s, which we didn't recognise as such of course, is still over; in its place, an age of recession, random terrorist attacks and perpetual war. The world is still sliding closer to World War 3 proper, with the Iraq invasion still on track, and creepy neo-Stalinist cult-state North Korea making the most of this opportunity to build up its doomsday arsenal (and possibly open up a second front). The economy is still fucked (other than Lockheed and such, of course, who can only keep going from strength to strength). We now all know what the good burghers of Tel Aviv must feel like wondering whether the person next to you on the bus is a suicide bomber. George W. Bush is still the most popular president in US history, and this was borne out in Congressional elections, where Republicans swept to victory. That ol' Bush magic is rubbing off on his regional deputy in Australia, with the formerly much derided reactionary PM now seen as a Great Wartime Leader. Total end-to-end copy-denial mechanisms are well on their way to appear in all PCs and anything capable of receiving copyrighted signals, further stomping on our rights in the name of our corporate masters. Global warming is still here, and still being ignored. Brunswick St. is like Chapel St. only less authentic. Things look like they could get a lot worse before they get better.
(OTOH, there are signs of hope. The Greens have made big gains in elections in Australia, and if they keep it up, they'll actually end up winning some seats outside of the Senate. We still don't have suicide bombers blowing themselves up in crowds or on buses in Australia. And there is the chance that things may not quite go to hell, and that if nothing else happens, the world may snap out of it and things may in fact start to get better. Well, we can hope.)
On a personal level, 2002 was an eventful year. A lot of things happened. The big one was, of course, going to the UK in October, which was a profoundly perspective-changing experience. (There's nothing like travel to shake you out of the relaxed and comfortable complacency that grows on you like a crust if you live in one place for too long; but more about that later.) Other than going to the UK, I also bought a proper digital camera, entered an art exhibition, and saw a lot of great live music (including Morrissey and New Order). So, all in all, it wasn't too bad a year.
See you in 2003.
4 1/2 hours remaining: Favourite CDs of 2002:
- Club 8, Spring Came Rain Fell. Very nice indie-pop from Sweden, with just enough electronica.
- Victor Lancaster, Mr. Mention Yes, the guy who plays the plastic bucket drums in Melbourne. And, with the attention of local remixers, this disc is better than you'd expect.
- New Order, Here To Stay (single). New Order back in fine form.
- Ninetynine, The Process. Their best album so far; quirky, sophisticated and with all the energy of their live sets.
- Parsley Sound, Platonic Rate (single). Very laid-back and mellow.
- Stereolab, Sound-Dust. It's Stereolab. Naught More Terrific Than Man is probably my favourite cut.
- Various Artists, Can't Stop It! Australian Post-Punk 1978-1982. Contains a wealth of stuff from proto-synthpop to Dadaist noise to jangly guitar-pop.
Honourable mentions: Sigur Rós, (), Letraset, Snowy Room, Architecture in Helsinki, Like a Call (single) (especially Jeremy Dower's remix), Qua, Forgetabout (the title track is great, though much of the rest is a bit too generically laptop for my tastes), Season, 2,551,446 seconds, Pipas, A Cat Escaped, The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
CDs I meant to get but didn't manage in time for this list: Happy Supply, Crucial Cuts, GY!BE, Yanqui U.X.O., Ivy, Guestroom, some local spoken-word/electronica thing titled Every Third Breath.
Older CDs I listened to a lot in 2002:
- Belle & Sebastian, The Boy With The Arab Strap
- The Field Mice, Where'd You Learn To Kiss That Way (yes, again; I just can't leave it alone, honestly I cannot...)
- FourPlay, The Joy Of
- Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, Bavarian Fruit Bread. Very nice.
- Lush, Split.
- Mogwai, My Father My King. Intense, immersive noise.
- Radiohead, OK Computer, and I Could Be Wrong
- Slowdive, Pygmalion. I travelled a bit, and it made excellent music for journeys.
- The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead. This is becoming my favourite Smiths album.
Not that long after Apple bought Emagic and killed the Windows version of Logic, US video-editing tool firm Pinnacle has bought Steinberg, the German company making Cubase. (via Cos)