The Null Device
I picked up the new Seascapes of the Interior album, All Safe, All Well today. (I won it from 3RRR's Local and/or General show last night.) It's pretty impressive; six tracks, ranging from just under 2 to 20 minutes, lots of lush, multi-instrumental textures with piano melodies, guitars, synths, violins, chromatic percussion and sampled voice fragments; very atmospheric and textured. And that applies to the packaging too; the disc came in a two-part sleeve of very rough recycled paper (mine still has pieces of newspaper classified ads visible; your mileage will doubtlessly vary), printed in monochrome and with a window cut in the outer sleeve.
Seascapes are launching this CD at the Great Britain Hotel this Friday; I probably won't be able to make it, as the once-off Strange Tenants reunion is on that night. Oh well.
Ah yes, and here is the announcement of the next Radiohead album. It's titled "Hail to the Thief" (hmmm; that'll go down well in Middle America; there goes their chance to play at the next Superbowl), due on June 9 and has 14 tracks. Of course, since they're on EMI, it's going to be Copy Controlled™ to hell, at least in Australia. No thanks; I think I'll just steal the MP3s. Or buy an imported Red Book copy from some other territory.
Oh yes, and there's a new Mogwai album due in a few months. Good thing that they're not on EMI, eh?
Lugubrious Montréal postrock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor, known for their left-wing views and disdain for U.S. foreign policy, detained as suspected terrorists at Oklahoma petrol station. An attendant became suspicious and called the police, and soon enough they were surrounded by heavily-armed FBI agents.
"I just feel very lucky that we weren't Pakistani or Korean," Godspeed You! Black Emperor frontman Efrim Menuck told Pitchfork at the band's Chicago performance on Friday night. "They detained 1,000 people in California, no one knows what happened to them. We're just lucky we're nice white kids from Canada. That's what I feel lucky about."
This is apparently not the first time they have been harassed by The Man. Though, with incendiary albums like Yanqui UXO, it's not really surprising. (via Rocknerd)
EFF founder and former Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow on the war. Not surprisingly, he thinks it is completely immoral and the bad consequences will outweigh any gains. (via bOING bOING)
Oh yes, Salam has posted his last few days' worth of entries from besieged Baghdad. Good to know that he's alive, though the picture he paints isn't a very happy one (as you'd expect), and nor is it comforting to those hoping for a quick, clean victory.
Coming second to Saddam Hussein in a popularity contest seems like a bad joke; yet, as this Guardian article argues, that's what the US is doing; to the point where the US flag, which flew over Iwo Jima as a symbol of liberation, is now seen as a liability:
To some in the Arab and Muslim countries, Shock and Awe is terrorism by another name; to others, a crime that compares unfavourably with September 11. To the homespun folks in Middletown, California - recorded by the BBC the other day singing patriotic songs around their dinner table - such perceptions may be utterly incomprehensible, but they are real and cannot be ignored. They explain why the American flag has become a liability and why westerners in Yemen, for example, have taken to flying the blue-and-gold European flag from their cars to discourage attackers.
Oh, and those stories of relieved Iraqis welcoming their Allied liberators and asking what took them so long? Well, apparently that's not the whole story:
Two Reuters correspondents, travelling independently of the military, told a different story: "One group of Iraqi boys on the side of the road smiled and waved as a convoy of British tanks and trucks rolled by. But once it had passed, leaving a trail of dust and grit in its wake, their smiles turned to scowls. 'We don't want them here,' said 17-year-old Fouad, looking angrily up at the plumes of grey smoke rising from Basra. 'Saddam is our leader,' he said defiantly. 'Saddam is good'."
Though if you have God and superior force on your side, you don't need to be liked, just feared and respected.
The EU's expansion gains steam: Former Yugoslav republic Slovenia votes yes to joining the EU, and by a landslide too. (89.61% voted for joining the EU, with 10.3% against.) This is a more dramatic result than the close majority in the Maltese referendum some weeks ago. Slovenes also voted for their country joining NATO, with a 2/3 majority. Next up: Cyprus (the Greek half) on Saturday, and then Hungary on the 12th of April.