About Art, Culture, and Media hosted by Norman B
A Conversation With Jez Ryan of Mammal Sounds. Josh Idehen's Latest - LEM Vol 253
Located about 4 miles east of downtown Sydney, Australia you find the beautiful (and celebrated) Bondi Beach, where you’ll also find the home of Mammal Sounds and Jez Ryan the charming chap who runs the label. Mammal Sounds a self-proclaimed boutique label caught my attention because a number of their releases and artists have become frequent additions to the LEM playlists., including, Benji Lewis, Lemonade Baby, Golden Vessel, Hotel Decor, and George Gretton. Our ongoing series of chats with indie labels meant we had to learn more about Mammal Sounds and the indie scene in Australia. With the convoluted fourteen-hour-time difference in effect, a Zoom meeting with Jez was scheduled. At nine am, Sydney time, Mr. Ryan was bright and alert with the morning sun beaming through his window, while the night was settling in - the day before on the east coast of America, an engaging conversation began. You’ll hear Jez Ryan’s insights into the Australian music scene and his selections for the show from Lemonade Baby, Daste, Golden Vessel, and Slouch Online. Thank you, Jez and Mammal Sounds.
Our dear friend, the very talented Joshua Idehen sent us his latest release. “It’s a new side project”, says Josh, “with celebrated producer Daedelus and composer Miguel Atwood Ferguson it’s called Standing In My Own Way (Part One)”. Josh recently became a very proud father and he has taken to posting gorgeous photos of himself smothering his young child with love. And, I do believe, Standing In My Own Way (Part One) is in part a reflection on the knowledge Josh has garnered from people like me who have congratulated him on becoming a father but have also cautioned him to enjoy every teeny tiny precious moment of his new life as a parent. Much love, Josh.
The Mysterious Mr. Thiel. Questions About The News. New Piano Music. - Show 443
What do you know about the billionaire venture capitalist and entrepreneur, Peter Thiel? He has been a behind-the-scenes operator, influencing countless aspects of our contemporary way of life, from the technologies we use every day to the delicate power balance between Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Washington. Yet despite Thiel’s power and ubiquity, no public figure is quite so mysterious - until now. In The Contrarian - Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power, the first major biography of Thiel, Max Chafkin traces the trajectory of the innovator's singular life and worldview, from his upbringing as the child of immigrant parents and years at Stanford as a burgeoning conservative thought leader to his founding of PayPal and Palantir, early investment in Facebook and SpaceX, and relationships with fellow tech titans Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Eric Schmidt. The Contrarian illuminates the extent to which Thiel has sought to export his values to the corridors of power beyond Silicon Valley, including funding the lawsuit that destroyed the blog Gawker and strenuously backing far-right political candidates, notably Donald Trump for president in 2016. Max Chafkin joins Norman B to discuss The Contrarian.
When we have questions about the news headlines we call Dr. Binoy Kampmark for his scholarly insight.
1. What does the recent German election mean for the rest of the world?
2. Canada grants asylum to refugees who sheltered Edward Snowden?
3. UK's gas crisis? Real or a test?
4. The new James Bond movie with Daniel Craig - are we desperate to relive a time that never really existed?
5. Russia threatens to ban Youtube after it shuts pro-Kremlin channels?
As always, Binoy unfalteringly tackles each question with expert knowledge and a soupçon of wit. Dr. Binoy Kampmark is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
Also in the show, new piano music from Brighton-based, Poppy Ackroyd. Pause is her fourth, full-length album. A collection of ten solo piano works written during the pandemic and shortly after the birth of her first child, the title refers to the feeling of normal life being temporarily put on hold. Poppy says, “For previous albums, almost as much of the creative process was spent editing and manipulating recordings as it was composing at the piano, however after having my son, I struggled to spend time sitting in front of a computer. The only thing I wanted to do while he was still small, if I wasn't with him, was to play the piano. In fact, much of the album was written with him asleep on me in a sling as I used any quiet moment to compose. It made sense that this should be a solo piano album, it was important to me that every track on the album could be entirely performed with just two hands on the piano.
Read more here
A Conversation With Cathal Coughlan On The State Of Our World Part One - Show 425
On the release of his much-lauded solo album, Songs Of Co-Aklan, we invited Cathal Coughlan onto Life Elsewhere. It quickly became clear that 60 minutes was not going to be enough time to enjoy what this adventurous musician had to say. Another Zoom session was arranged. Two hours later we had covered a wide variety of subjects, with Mr. Coughlan offering his well-considered opinions. Plus, we ventured to ask the Irish-born musician to select some of his favorite recordings to include in the show. His choices are as eclectic and fascinating as the man himself. Cathal’s passion for music and the artists he talks about is compelling and inspiring.
Born and raised in Cork, Ireland Cathal began singing in the late 70s and by 1980 he had met Sean O’Hagan and formed Microdisney. A band that was hard to (thankfully) slot into a nice neat genre. On Discogs Cathal is described rather aptly, as an anti-Bono. His music and lyrics some may call challenging, I on the other hand was fascinated and loved playing Microdisney alongside the plethora of post-punk-one-hit-wonders that cursed new music in the early 80s. The temptation to slide easily into a lovable New Wave outfit was enough for Mr. Coughlan to see Microdisney dwindle down to a two-piece with O’Hagen and eventually reassemble as The Fatima Mansions, making, splendid yet hard to categorize music. The eventual demise of The Fatima Mansions in the mid-90s led to Cathal stepping away from being in a band to releasing solo albums, taking part in collaborations, and making guest appearances. For a while, he was involved in musical theatre, mostly in France. In 2006 he was described in The Irish Times as the 'genius of Irish rock'.
A Conversation With James Meija on Hand Drawn Dracula - LEM Vol 251
Try to probe James Meija just a little about what he does and you’ll get a limited and not exactly enthusiastic response. But, ask the fellow about music, especially the music he likes, and all of a sudden, you have the man waxing lyrical about My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive of any of the fabulous bands on his amazing record label. You see the unassuming Mr. Meija is a fan, a true fan of the music he likes. And, he likes a lot of different music. After all, James founded and runs the amazing record label, Hand Drawn Dracula. As proud as he must be of the torrent of incredible releases by his Toronto-based imprint and the stellar artwork he creates, James Meija is almost stoic when it comes to acknowledging his keen ear for remarkable talent. Instead, James sings the praises of the different folks he works with, his love of the community, and his joy in being able to do what he loves so much. All of this adds up to why we have been constantly impressed with the new releases from Hand Drawn Dracula. As each new cut came out and we eagerly slotted it into a new show, we arrived at the conclusion that we had two know more about this curious and innovative label. Contact was made, James agreed to a Zoom conversation. The result is enlightening and entertaining. You’ll hear cuts selected by James, including Breeze, Vallens, Michael Peter Olsen, and Tallies. We are confirmed fans of HDD and if you are not already, you will be after you hear this show!
Survival of the City. My Sweet Girl. - Show 441
Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation - Edward Glaeser & David Cutler
Cities can make us sick. They always have - diseases spread more easily when more people are close to one another. And disease is hardly the only ill that accompanies urban density. Cities have been demonized as breeding grounds for vice and crime from Sodom and Gomorrah on. But cities have flourished nonetheless because they are humanity’s greatest invention, indispensable engines for creativity, innovation, wealth, and connection, the loom on which the fabric of civilization is woven. But cities now stand at a crossroads. During the global COVID crisis, cities grew silent as people worked from home - if they could work at all. The normal forms of socializing ground to a halt.
My Sweet Girl - Amanda Jayatissa
Dark thriller. Psychological whodunit. Chilling and shocking. Witty and wicked. These are just some of the descriptions that have been used to describe My Sweet Girl the new novel by Sri Lanka-based author, Amanda Jayatissa. Her delightfully charming and smiley demeanor is at odds with Amanda’s deliciously scary, compelling, and original book. In our Zoom conversation, she breaks into fits of laughter, gesticulating madly as if it’s only by chance she has penned such a stunning read. My Sweet Girl is centered on the meaning of identity and all the layers it can have. This is the story of Paloma who thought her perfect life would begin once she was adopted from a Sri Lankan orphanage and made it to America. But, she finds out no matter how far you run, your past catches up with you. At thirty years old and recently cut off from her parents’ funds, she decides to sublet the second bedroom of her overpriced San Francisco apartment to Arun, who recently moved from India.
Barry Snaith On The A2K. Remembering The Upsetter - Show 440
Barry Snaith originally hails from Yorkshire, these days he calls Derbyshire home, yet that distinctive brogue remains potently identifiable. A conversation with Barry means he is likely to sound astonished, perplexed, or downright indigent at any given moment because of his heritage’s fondness for a purposefully dry sense of humor. Barry has a new project, not unusual for him, after all, his other ongoing projects are The Inconsistent Jukebox and m1nk, plus the sound design work he gets involved with. The A2K is Barry Snaith’s latest venture. He was contacted by one, Martin Lucas who put Barry in touch with Carl Malamud, also known as the Open Access Ninja. As a result, Barry was asked to get involved by conjuring up music for an upcoming documentary. Instead of going into detail here, we ask that you listen to this edition of Life Elsewhere with Barry Snaith in conversation with Norman B on The A2K project.
Open Access Ninja: The Brew Of Law
As the last edition of Life Elsewhere was going out, news came in of the death of reggae legend Lee Scratch Perry. It is almost impossible to recount how important Lee Perry was not only in reggae music but all of popular music. There is so much to relate about Mr. Perry. Quite simply, the man made over many years, ground-breaking music, he was and will remain more influential than perhaps we can assess at this time. Continue reading