Randoms - March 2014

  • Corinne Bailey Rae - Trouble Sleeping
  • Kevin Gates - Wit It
  • Rufus & Chaka Khan - Please Pardon Me
  • Cities Aviv - Worlds of Pressure
  • Huxley - Box Clever
  • Little Dragon - Klapp Klapp
  • Aura - Taste of Love
  • Talk Talk - Wealth
  • Stevie Wonder - Power Flower
  • 2562 - This Is Hardcore
  • Huxley - Let It Go
  • Stalley - Raise Your Weapons


Infernal Affairs 2 - Wai-keung Lau / Alan Mak - 2003

Shawn Yue

Reuters photo.

Randoms - February 2014

  • Isaiah Rashad - Heavenly Father
  • Isaiah Rashad - Hereditary
  • Isaiah Rashad - Ronnie Drake
  • Amerie - Talkin’ To Me
  • Amerie - Show Me
  • Schoolboy Q - Man of the Year
  • Jaki Graham - Round and Round
  • DTrain - Tryin to Get Over
  • Pharrell - Number One (rediscovery!)
  • Pharrell Williams - Hunter

Marvin Gaye on R&B and Pop

Marvin Gaye on why mainstream black singers want to be Pop and not R&B:

"Pop meant selling whites, and R&B or soul meant selling the sisters and brothers back in the neighborhood. Everyone wanted to sell whites ‘cause whites got the most money. Our attitude was—-give us some. It’s that simple."

— From Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, David Ritz

Is Amazon Bad for Books?

My favorite sections from George Packer’s excellent New Yorker expose on Amazon.com:

At Amazon, “personalization” meant data analytics and statistical probability. Author interviews became less frequent, and in-house essays were subsumed by customer reviews, which cost the company nothing. Tim Appelo, the entertainment editor at the time, said, “You could be the Platonic ideal of the reviewer, and you would not beat even those rather crude early algorithms.” Amazon’s departments competed with one another almost as fiercely as they did with other companies. According to Brad Stone, a trash-talking sign was hung on a wall in the P13N office: PEOPLE FORGET THAT JOHN HENRY DIED IN THE END.” Machines defeated human beings.

Sales meetings in Seattle were now all about payments, not new books, and the size of orders was predicated on algorithms, rather than on the enthusiasm of the publishers’ sales staff and Amazon’s own buyers, who were rebranded as “inventory managers.” Brad Stone describes one campaign to pressure the most vulnerable publishers for better terms: internally, it was known as the Gazelle Project, after Bezos suggested “that Amazon should approach these small publishers the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.”

“Jeff [Bezos] is trying to create a machine that assumes the shape of public demand,” Tim Appelo, the former entertainment editor, said. “He resembles a very, very smart shmoo—he only wants to serve, to make you happy.” Appelo was referring to Al Capp’s smiling blob of a cartoon character, which happily provides people with whatever they need: milk, eggs, butter, even its own tasty self. With Amazon’s patented 1-Click shopping, which already knows your address and credit-card information, there’s just you and the BUY button; transactions are as quick and thoughtless as scratching an itch. “It’s sort of a masturbatory culture,” the marketing executive said.

Amazon employs or subcontracts tens of thousands of warehouse workers, with seasonal variation, often building its fulfillment centers in areas with high unemployment and low wages. Accounts from inside the centers describe the work of picking, boxing, and shipping books and dog food and beard trimmers as a high-tech version of the dehumanized factory floor satirized in Chaplin’s “Modern Times.”

Serious publishing is in such a dire state that thoughtful people are defecting to Amazon. There’s a line in Robert Stone’s novel “A Flag for Sunrise” about “a mouse so frightened it went to the cat for love.” The cat can inspire inordinate gratitude when it lets the mouse live. “I feel like, I get to do this!” an editor who has joined Amazon said. “I can’t believe it—I’m still standing! I can’t monitor other people’s feelings, but I can’t see what harm I’m doing.” …

The senior editor who met Grandinetti said, “They’re our biggest customer, we want them to succeed. As I recover from being punched in the face by Amazon, I also worry: What if they are a bubble? What if the stock market suddenly says, ‘We want a profit’? You don’t want your father who abuses you physically to lose his job.”

Publishers are less like abused minors and more like financially insecure adults who rely on the support of a bullying uncle. Their dependence breeds bad faith. “Privately, we berate Amazon,” the marketing executive said. “Yet we’re always trying to figure out how to work with them.”

This is why I’m boycotting the Sochi Olympics:

The International Olympic Committee, whose spokesmen have approved of the removal of gay activists, has been revealed for what it is: a collection of corrupt scum who pander in our highest ideals. It’s not just them either. The only humane response to the abuses in Sochi is for every civilized country who believes in human rights to pick up its athletes and leave. Which country will have the guts to do that? None. Not one.

Randoms - January 2014

  • Ol Skool - Am I Dreaming (rediscovery!)
  • James Holden - The Inheritors
  • Brigitte Fontaine - Dommage que tu sois mort
  • Laurel Halo - Ainnome
  • Christion - Full of Smoke
  • Death Grips - Anne Bonny
  • Faith Evans - Fallin In Love
  • Faith Evans - Give It To Me
  • Faith Evans - My First Love
  • 3:33 - In the Middle of Infinity Pt. 5
  • Lone - Begin the Begin
  • The BB & Q Band - Genie
  • Jets - Sin Love With You
  • Shazz - Innerside (Artform Vocal Blaze Remix)
From the excellent Jacques Petrus fan site.

From the excellent Jacques Petrus fan site.