Large Hangars and Fuel Storage/Tonopah Test Range, NV/Distance ~18 miles/10:44 am by Trevor Paglen

Mark Danner is one of the good journalists. His work navigates nearly impenetrable messes of deceit and deception like the 2000 Florida vote recount, the nefarious path to the American war in Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. Military intervention in Reagen era El Salvador… the list goes on- but I think when you have Susan Sontag call you “one of our best, most ambitious narrative journalists” you’ve pretty much fulfilled your journalistic duty to the world.

One of my biggest fears during the election was that once/if Obama was elected there would be a psychic closure on the Bush years. In a more utilitarian sense, I am afraid that people are so excited about entering a “new era” that they  forget that there is a lot of unfinished business from the last 8 years that needs to be sorted out. Danner’s latest piece, “US Torture: Voices From the Black Sites,” which appeared in the new issue of the New York Review of Books on Monday, is doing some of the heavy lifting. It contains detailed accounts of interrogations of “highvalue detainees” at secret “black site” prisons. An excerpt from the piece – about a tenth of it – appeared on the OpEd page of Sunday’s New York Times. It’s a potent reminder that the clean up process has just begun.

Wayne says PDFs are the new MP3s- so here is a PDF of the whole article as it appeared in the New York Review of Books. This is painful to read, and while for some it might be confirming what they thought they already knew- there’s something deeply moving about reading first hand accounts of the abuse against “our enemies.”

Mark Danner “US Torture: Voices from the Black Sites” PDF (9 pages)

I don’t know what part of the map you are, and I have no idea what Mohammed Issa Matona (and his backup singers) are singing about on the closing track of Maga Bo‘s Archipelagoes, but I can listen to it for days. It is truly something sublime, something to heat our spirits in this cold, cold wintery blast. Six minutes is really not enough, but it’s all we get & we appreciate it.

Maga Bo – Beni (featuring Mohammed Issa Matona)

Look for Maga Bo dates in Australia and Europe this December and January, one extra special date with his Sonar Calibrado partner Filastine @ Peats  Ridge Festival in New South Wales, Aus.

PS – For those of us lacking knowledge in East African music, Sir Ruptcha recommends this – & a quick historical look at Tanzanian music from Afropop.

Pirates hijacking large shipping vessels on the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden is a top news item this year, especially after the takeover of Saudi-owned Sirius Star which was carrying two million barrels of oil bound for the U.S.   Most recently, the news has been about combating and taking steps to “crack down” and “curb” this problem of piracy, which has been going on since the early ’90s, at the start of the country’s civil war.

There is always two or more sides to a story.  From what I understand, the region the Chinese are planning to control is so incredibly vast that military action will, without a doubt, prove ineffective.  Depressing economic situation and a lack of a central government are only two of the forces pushing young men in “cash-strapped, hungry Somalia” to piracy. What happens when life on land becomes unlivable, chaotic, poverty-stricken, when there is no work, no income?  Desperate people look towards the sea…

Check the new video from Mogadishu born, Ontario based emcee, K’naan, who recorded his entire album in Kingston, JA, thanks to his friends Stephen and Damian Marley who granted him access to their late father’s recording studio>>>


19. The Spectacle is heir to all the weakness of the project of Western Philosophy… So far from realizing philosophy, the spectacle philosophizes reality, and turns the material life of everyone into a universe of speculation.

A platform is a context, medium or venue for the presentation of people, events, objects or information. An art gallery is a platform, as is a radio show, as is a TV variety show, as is a magazine, as is a certain kind of website (YouTube, Flickr, MySpace). One who invents a platform and works actively with it as a medium for the presentation of others is a “platformist.” The platformist is a kind of artist—an artist at presenting others. This presentation of others—of all the world’s variety, whether it’s people or objects—is the territory of the producer, the impresario and the collector. Platforming as a conscious pursuit is a fairly recent development in our evolution. We look to P. T. Barnum for its roots.

If in the 16th century “printing… helped to fix the vernacular languages and encouraged the development of national literatures”- then is the fear of a homogenizing effect on thought and culture not be feared as a result of the internet?…One fact must not be lost sight of: the printer and the bookseller worked above all and from the beginning for profit.

VII. For the critic, his colleagues are the higher authority. Not the public. Still less, posterity.///The survival of artworks should be represented from the standpoint of their struggle for existence.///[youtube][/youtube] ///I sense (false?) that my internet consumption is somehow constituting myself. Maybe this is because the data flow that defines my consumption is so easily tracked and knowable. Meaning there is a specific history and cache that I can look to that says that in the last tracking period, I have visited XYZ and in most cases anyone else with an internet connection could take that list and exactly follow my path. The imperative of societies of control is data accumulation, and manipulation. The dark paradox is that increasingly, users submit this data themselves. When we talk of the ideology of late stage capitalism and its tendency towards reducing people to things, and causing individuals to also perform this reduction, we should look to digital representation as the strongest evidence yet in proving these tendencies. What users often don’t seem to realize is that “submitting data,” making yourself traceable, reducible, a most importantly predictable isn’t just about representation that mirrors offline ways of knowing. Posting photos of yourself, or submitting your interests and sending your friends youtube links is really only the visible aspect of systems of total control and dominance that underpin that vast consumptive possibilities of the internet.///I don’t think the internet reinvents cultural production. More likely it has merely hypertrophied some aspects, while allowing other to wither.

Space + Place Overcome- but if you havn’t gone a/post-spatial yet
and find yourself somewhere around NYC (copy/paste)

Tuesday, December 16th, 6:30 pm EFA Project Space
Jeff Stark leads a conversation with Graffiti Research Lab’s James Powderly, the Mare Liberum collective, Jeanine Oleson, and Cḥen Tamir, exploring the rationale, responsibilities, risks and benefits of forms of artistic expression that occur outside of the boundaries of the conventional art world, and how these creative forms—such as interference, prank, and viral culture—serve to continually redefine those boundaries. -The lecture is called DIY law breaking- but in some sense i wonder if all law breaking is DIY- but maybe not


Willie Isz – In The Red

Big props to Noz, not simply because I am flagrantly swiping this song from Cocaine Blunts, but also for being an insightful and reliable blogger.

Willie Isz is Khujo Goodie and Jneiro Jarel, the most appealing (genuine and soulful) group to come out of the Dungeon Family collective in recent years. Khujo Goodie was/is a member of one of the rawrest Southern hiphop groups, Goodie Mob- a group which also possessed (perhaps even fundamentally, I must stress) a positive and uplifting spirit. Jneiro Jarel is also/partly responsible for a very open and progressive hiphop album, one of the best underground hiphop albums in recent memory.

Starvation, American politics, fear, unfairness, home foreclosures, a life of crime, being a son, and remaining optimistic and thankful in a world that is bleeding —are just a few of the things that this song is touching on. Jneiro Jarel’s production here harkens back to a time when DF and Organize Noized was at their most excellent, prompting Noz to note “Dude is on some serious Dungeonize shit,” and I cannot agree more.

blood unable to be washed out with high-tech detergents

Here’s the latest from “stronghold, tenacity“… Check for her album whenever it drops. It’s titled That Which Death Cannot Destroy. “Shebang,” the last track I posted here by her was just wonderful and this one is no exception. In fact, this track is even more relentless and hard!

Mutamassik -  SWAMPUM


Mr L

from a recent essay by M.A.N (about Coltrane, Lil Wayne, black masculinity, and the post-trauma blues)

Unlike historical figures like Doug E. Fresh and Biz Markie who used their voices to create new sounds, Lil Wayne, like Coltrane is really using his voice to find alternative registers for what has clearly been a life lived in absurdity and pain–even if some of it might have been self inflicted. And perhaps it is as it should be, as Lil Wayne’s urges us to come to terms with the first edge of the Post-Katrina Blues.

Lil Wayne – Real Rap


A Blender magazine cover story offers a glimpse into the world of Wayne –

Like any rock star, Lil Wayne isn’t immune to self-mythologizing. To hear him tell it, he’s a superman: He describes surviving two bullets—one a self-inflicted accident at age 12 and one fired into his bus by an angry groupie—with chuckling élan; he’s an indefatigable hustler: “I’m always in the lab”; and he’s an artist beholden to no one but his own codeine-addled muse: “The word pressure is not in my vocabulary.”

But the man desperately needs a vacation. The first day we meet, he’s running 10 hours behind—handlers try to rouse him from bed throughout the day, but word keeps coming back that “he’s in a coma.” The next day, at his condo, he snaps at T for failing to pack enough cough syrup for the trip to Atlanta. “I thought you said you were doing it,” T protests.

“Me? Why would I say that?” Wayne snarls. “Since when is that my job?”

I was down in Virginia over the weekend, southwest Virginia, Blacksburg — a seemingly/peculiarly tranquil place, for this weekend at least.  A friend put me on to the new Ry Cooder album I, Flathead:The Songs of Kash Buk and the Klowns. I had heard the song “Can I Smoke In Here?” on the radio several weeks back, so I was curious and wanted to hear the rest of the record.  Apparently, this is the final installment in Ry Cooder’s “California trilogy” which began in 2005 with Chávez Ravine, an album about a Mexican-American community in Los Angeles that was demolished in the 1950s to build a stadium for the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The second album, 2007’s My Name Is Buddy is also a “social-political concept album” which explores farm failures, the plight of laborers, strikes, hobos–and for all this, the stories are told from the perspective of a cat!
I, Flathead is about drag-racing in 1960s southern California. The narratives here are told from the perspective of the unfortunate Kash Buk, a former drag racer turn Country music singer. Buk plays beat-up roadhouses with his band the Klowns.
At this moment, I can only listen to the album in segments, certain songs are just too Country.  I like the bluesy fragments like the one below (and also the chicano and cumbia sounding pieces and some of the easy Western Swing joints)

Ry Cooder – Can I Smoke In Here?

Here’s a track from the excellent album by Mike Ladd, Negrophilia – inspired by a great book with the same title.  Ladd sez “If you have not read this book yet read it today! After reading it, bizarre phenomena like Elvis, Eminem, Condoleeza Rice and Modernism make sense..”

Mike Ladd – Sleep Patterns Of Black Expatriots Circa 1960

Click here for pictures of Mike Ladd and Ursula Rucker.