I’ve been hearing a bit of a backlash over Ford & Lopatin’s yet-unreleased Channel Pressure. While I don’t have a copy yet myself, I am nevertheless quite impressed by lead singles “Emergency Room” and “World of Regret”. This video may not convert the weary, particularly those who were expecting Scritti Polliti only to be greeted by Dan Deacon. Musicially, I’d still contend that the future-tech of Max Tundra is the closest kin (with a slightly better attention span), but the visual analogue of “World of Regret” features an ultra-retro world of early computer animations. In fact, this clip rather aptly describes the evolution of the digital age; a fascinating, vast, multivalent, and exotic world begins showering down tasty delights from the heavens. The treats soon turn to a glut that eventually consumes and buries the two men (Tigercity’s Joel Ford and Oneohtrix Point Never’s Daniel Lopatin, formerly known as GAMES) until their minds are completely detached from their bodies, assumingly assimilated completely into cyberspace.
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Released on the seminal Trax Records in 1986, Marshall Jefferson’s pivotal “Move Your Body” single was a smash success and helped put Chicago’s dance music scene, already thriving locally for years, on the map. “Move Your Body” may also be responsible for popularizing the term “House Music”. Although the tag was in use within the scene, Jefferson’s song made the term available for any one who did not personally attend a set by Frankie Knuckles, Chip E, or Larry Heard. Anybody who has had even passing exposure to house in techno will recognize the tune (it’s been sampled and referenced myriad times), but few have heard it in all of its rapturous glory. Here’s your chance.
On Thursday of last week I received one of those emails that usually cause me to wince. A colleague had sent me a link to a YouTube video that he wanted me to watch. I was all set to hate it because it was going to be political, or about 2012, or have some kitten frolicking in a cardboard box. But, since I knew he would ask me about it later I clicked on the link. Apparently I did the same thing as almost three quarter of a million people have since.
I will freely confess that initially I thought my associate had sent me the wrong link. The video, made by a fan of the indie music group Bad Lamps, had a bunch of close up shots of what seemed to be TV or movie actresses that looked like they were pulled from some VHS tape circa 1987. I didn’t understand what the big deal was until I started reading the comments. Those hadn’t been actresses I was watching. They were adult film stars.
“I was born on the Cambodian New Year in a refugee camp,” narrates Socheata Poeuv. “But my parents never told me much more than that, only that I was the lucky one.” As she goes on to explain in her remarkable documentary, New Year Baby—airing this week as part of Global Voices—her mother and father, along with her sisters and brother Scott, survived the Khmer Rouge genocide, escaped Cambodia, and moved to Texas while she was still an infant. Socheata’s childhood memories were shaped by her parents’ efforts to give “us a normal American life”: family photos show the children celebrating birthdays and smiling in amusement park rides.
Her family’s experience is good for everyone to remember during the Memorial Day holiday. Poeuv’s film is punctuated throughout by provocative, assured images, asking viewers to consider their own relationships to this difficult history and the future that stretches before us. While the film doesn’t probe the complicated and frankly shameful U.S. part in that history—including so-called “secret” bombings in Cambodia and Laos—it does reveal, quietly and insistently, the ongoing effects of war trauma. While it is wretchedly familiar in its broad outlines, the story here is both devastating and detailed, personal and resonant.