Consumers of my dancing-about-architecture reportage are probably aware of my frequent use of the adjectival "blackety-black." It's really just an overly precious synonym for: atramentous, ebony, jet, obsidian, onyx, pitch, slate, sloe and the like. But thanks to British scientists at Surrey NanoSystems, there's now an honest-to-goodness blackety-black. It's called Vantablack (or super black), and it's record-breaking darkness absorbs all but .035 percent of light. It's so damn black that the human eye has difficulty discerning its dimensions. Like a freaking black hole. Its primary intended applications are terrestrial, space and air-borne optical instrumentation. But now hear this: The Little Black Dress will never be the same.
Blouse - "Into Black"
The Daily Mail reports that it's created using carbon nanotubes—"which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between"—and if that isn't enough, it's 10 times stronger than steel and conducts heat seven-and-a-half times more effectively than copper. Yeah. Owing to my obsessive-compulsive nature, themes prove irresistably attractive, so here are my favorite songs that pay tribute to blackety-black, er, Vantablack. Share your favorite black-centric tracks in the comments, fellow darklings.
Dead Can Dance - "Black Sun"
Beat Happening - "Black Candy"
Cosmetics - "Black Leather Gloves"
Nick Drake - "Black Eyed Dog"
Nina Simone - "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair"
Pictureplane - "Black Nails"
The Sandwitches - "Black Rider"
Timber Timbre - "Black Water"
The Velvet Underground & Nico - "Black Angel's Death Song"
Are you properly caring for your inner goth? My years of rockin' an all-black wardrobe, a Wite-Out complexion and panda eyes may be over, but I take care to nourish my blackety-black heart and sonic sensibility. If you're feeling the urge to chainsmoke clove cigs, brood and write bad poetry, I recommend channeling that energy into a celebration of Dark Entries Records' fifth anniversary.
Stream a mix Cheon brewed up for Dark Entries' fifth anniversary above.
DJ Josh Cheon founded the label in July 2009 with the intention of releasing out-of-print and unreleased underground '80s treasures. Named for the first 7-inch released by goth icon Bauhaus, Dark Entries' focus is curation, preserving sound quality and respecting its artists' aural aesthetic . And, yes, the label's output is strictly vinyl.
Preview Dark Entries' reissue of '80s Italo disco group Helen's early maxi singles as a four-song EP.
Dark Entries' lifeblood is the excavation, quality reproduction and distribution of largely unknown pleasures, but it also showcases contemporary acts whose sound harkens back to the heyday of minimal synth, coldwave, dark wave, electro, Italo disco and post-punk. Highlights of the Dark Entries catalog include work by Dark Day, Jeff and Jane Hudson, Starter, Linea Aspera, Kitchen & the Plastic Spoons, Algebra Suicide, Los Microwaves, Patrick Cowley, Victrola, Lè Travo, Crash Course in Science, Lassigue Bendthaus, Cute Heels and Helen.
Sample the debut LP by Cute Heels, the solo project of Belgian artist and Black Leather Records manager Victor Lenis.
In Alibi-centric news: We clarified our critical and satirical intentions in response to an anti-Ted Nugent missive. Perhaps more importantly, we published loads of excellent new content. If you're saving the print ish for weekend reading, scope highlights like
Zola Jesus' new track "Dangerous Days" is a modern-sounding electro-pop banger.
Welcome to the first installment of "Now Hear This," a column to chronicle my obsessive-compulsive sonic studies, archaelogical and futurist alike. And while here with me, expect everything from old and alt.country to rocanrol to dark wave to Italo disco to queercore to punk to riot grrrl to noise to minimal synth and everywhere in between ... Except smooth jazz, (most) contemporary country and reggae. They just don't do it for me. As they say—who are they, anyway?—there's no accounting for taste.
The other day Mark asked what my favorite Steely Dan song is. It's "Your Gold Teeth." Steely Dan's Jamalot tour hits Legends Theater on Wednesday, July 16, y'all. Check out i28 for all the deets.
I embrace that motto and am wholly dependent on my musical addiction to transcend the banality of everyday life. Don't get me wrong. I really dig my life. Getting to collaborate with and work alongside an uber-talented editorial staff and freelancers every day is, like, the dream. But sometimes you simply have to hear something new or unfamiliar that excites and challenges you. This column will serve as complement to my colleague Mark Lopez' wide-ranging Rooster Roundabout series.
Mike put Iris Dement's "Let the Mystery Be" on a mixtape, and it was love at first listen.
My soundscape and its population, past and present, have benefited from the hive mind of many wonderful humans, ranging from my vinyl historian pal Mike Harper in Huntsville, Tex., who first exposed me to the music nerd bug;
I might never have heard Starter's "Victim" if not for Frankie. And that, my friends, would be a tragedy.
to synth/post-punk/ industrial maven and Systems of Romance curator Frankie Teardrop, also of cold wave/post-punk band The Harrow;
On one of the first Caterwaul radio shows I heard, I was comforted to recognize a fellow Culturcide fan.
to Dirt City denizen Derek Caterwaul, notably of KUNM Radio and Low Life at Blackbird Buvette, who remains one of my favorite DJs after more than a decade of listening to his Music to Soothe the Savage Beast and Overnight Freeform shows;
Listen to TAHNZZ' "Her Strange Dwellings" above.
to Burqueña Tahnee Udero aka DJ Tahnee, whose massive knowledge base is supplanted by exquisite taste, and her solo project TAHNZZ garnered serious listmas praise in 2013;
Stream DJ Mello's "Sprinkles," a nonpareil mix of funk, jazz, R&B and soul, above.
to Mello Sanchez aka DJ Mello, an uber-talented DJ and pastry chef and one of my best friends;
Albuquerque Business First reports that ArtBar has been granted a temporary liquor license by the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Division and can reopen, but organizer Julia Mandeville says organizers need to meet to decide whether or not to reopen the private, nonprofit bar.
I'm a relative newcomer to the world of marriage, but I already know a little: It's not a contract to be entered into lightly. The person you marry should be your must trusted confidant, your best friend, your most ardent fan and (sometimes) your harshest critic. But when it works, it's really lovely. And even when it doesn't work quite as well—especially in comparison to the reality-challenged world of the rom-com—it's still pretty great.
When I got married (to the absolute love of my life) in 2012, same-sex marriages weren't legally recognized by the state of New Mexico. As excited as I was to get married—and perhaps more importantly, to be married—it really harshed my nuptial buzz to know that so many of my friends were not allowed access to that right. Thankfully the realm of marriage equality in New Mexico has been reformed to respect the rights of all couples that populate this enchanted, difficult landscape.
In celebration of love and equality, Weekly Alibi is calling for essays (of less than 750 words) on the meaning of marriage equality and surviving the before-time ... when the marital rights of all citizens were not deemed equal. Email essays to email@example.com, including "Pride 2014" in the subject line. We really want to hear your story. Some will be sad and some joyous, and we want to hear them all. Why? Because your stories—the trajectories of your lives—in the here and now are history-in-the-making. All our stories and all our loves were always equal ... The New Mexican political/legal system just had to come to its senses and recognize that.
CC BY Samir Luther
If your choose to share your story—and we sincerely hope you will—we'll invite some of you to join us on our Chapel of Love-themed Pride 2014 float; we'll be near the front of the parade, right behind Equality New Mexico's company of already-married husbands, and wives. After the parade, we offer to usher you in to a group ceremony on Main Stage ... or not. Our choices about how and whether to get married have a lot of cultural, traditional and religious significance and implications. And we respect that. But there's no rule that you can't get married to the same person more than once. The personal is political, and we will be honored to bear witness to all those who wish to be united. In coordination with Albuquerque Pride, we've arranged for Metropolitan Community Church Pastor Rev. Judith L. Maynard to officiate the ceremony.
So write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. And to everyone else, we'll see y'all at Pride. We'll be the ones waiting down by the chapel ... dressed in white.
• The human responsible for our rad restaurant and culinary coverage, Ty Bannerman, was recently crowned Alibi Features Editor, too, and frankly, we couldn't have found a better candidate. In this week's gastronomic survey, find out why the steer stumbles and get caught up on the arrival of food truck season aka summer.
• And last, but certainly not least, let's chat about the sonic realm. Four Up delivers deets on avant jazz, noise, African blues-rock and nu-disco concerts while Music to Your Ears goes native Nuevo Mexicano and we micro-review new albums by Eels, Fear of Men and Pray for Brain.
Embattled Dutch auteur Lars von Trier's “Depression Trilogy”—Antichrist, Melancholia and now Nymphomaniac—culminates in a revelatory and arguably feminist existentialist fairy tale. Admittedly, it's more Grimms' than Aesop.
Antichrist is a magical realist horror show, and Melancholia is a Wagnerian sci-fi epic. Triptych finale Nymphomaniac is an existentialist torture “porn” double-feature. Released in two parts, Vol. Ileft the audience at terror-struck anticlimax as protagonist Joe fails to achieve orgasm. The psychodrama of Vol. II dances widdershins on a dark, twisty path paved by the sexploitation genre. Where Antichrist examined medieval witchcraft and the history of gynocide and Melancholia expertly manipulated ownership of knowledge and the imagination of disaster, Nymphomaniac explores patriarchy and stigmatized female desire.
With minimal introductory pomp, a soft-focus lens captures young Joe (Stacy Martin) mourning carnal summit. Again the viewer is voyeur to asexual nerd Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård) and present-day Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) and their sex-and-fly-fishing tête-à-tête. Joe recalls the inception of her lust—it involves levitation, spontaneous orgasm and the Whore of Babylon. Seligman's weakest digression ever, toward Jesus' transfiguration on the mount, Zeno's paradox of Achilles, and the divergence of essential doctrine of Eastern and Western Church doctrine inspires Chapter One's title.
K (Jamie Bell)
“The Eastern Church and The Western Church (The Silent Duck)” explores the incongruity of monogamy with Jerôme (Shia LaBeouf)—and attendant pregnancy, domesticity and complex maternal emotions—with Joe's longing to be overfull. Contentment is transmuted, and Jerôme's reluctant consent to an open marriage sets the stage for unfamiliar and increasingly masochistic sex. Highlights include Joe's matchless revamp of fuck-me clothes, an entirely nonverbal encounter with two African fellows, and engaging the services of professional dom K (Jamie Bell). In escalating sessions with sadistic K, Joe's submissive alter ego “Fido” prizes dogged pursuit of the little death above all else. A campy demo of “the silent duck” segues into a hurled teacup, betraying sentimental anger, and the next passage is named for spectacular reflection.
“The Mirror” observes Joe compulsively, injuriously masturbating in an office bathroom and communicating (mostly with herself) in employer-mandated sex addict meetings. She earnestly tries to gain some control over her addiction and consequent self-mutilation. Working the steps means reducing exposure and removing incentive. After witnessing Joe's version of sex-proofing an apartment, you'll never see your bathroom sink or mirrors in quite the same way again. Joe's kilometer-wide stubborn streak rears up just shy of a month of sobriety. She rebels against the twelve-steppers, proclaiming her refusal to erase her own obscenity so the bourgeoisie can feel safe. A tea stain and irreverent references to the literature of Ian Fleming provide the cut-up lead-in to resolution in “The Gun.”
L (Willem Dafoe) and Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg)
The workaday world isn't for her, and she meets L (Willem Dafoe), who initiates her into the unscrupulous world of “debt collection.” Her general facility with and knowledge of men and their desires and fears proves useful in the world of heavy handed persuasion to pay. L pragmatically inspires Joe to mentor an at-risk 15-year-old P (Mia Goth). In the world of extortion, parenting happens on a whole 'nother level. A mentee acts as a right hand, and as amoral L half-sneers, some might even do time for their surrogate advocate. Joe attends P's basketball games for three years and eventually wins her loyalty at the age of maturity.
"... And explode into space."
Gainsbourg illuminates the role of outsider, a wholly sexual woman whose very existence stands in opposition to the patriarchy of both the Church and secular culture. Seligman delivers a fervent feminist polemic on how Joe's behavior would be perceived entirely differently were she a man: Vol. I's train games with BFF B (Sophie Kennedy Clark) and home invasion by a bitterly jealous spouse (Uma Thurman) would have fallen flat if Joe's chromosomal makeup offered so-called “reason” for aggression and infidelity.
Unabashedly demanding her sexual rights as a woman, Joe serves as a lightning rod for wounded souls in a largely puritanical world. Given his self-professed asexual nature and thus “unique” insight into Joe's story, Seligman declares his superior fitness to judge her goodness. But this is von Trier land. Yet another chance encounter with Jerome tells of the violent prelude to Seligman discovering her in the alley. The resounding, pitch-black ending renders a film marketed as a (black-and-) blue movie into a horse of a different color; and in doing so, it unmasks all its characters' true natures and the commonplace tedium of evil.
The latest issue of your favorite alt.weekly—that's us, the Alibi—is chock-full of rad content. To wit, test your New Mexico news savvy with our weekly pop quiz, Crib Notes.
Read, critique and even comment on—as Facebook commenting is now live on alibi.com—an editorial, "Department Corrections," about the DOJ's findings in its investigation into APD, many unanswered questions and the future of our city.
Four Up delivers deets on Zimbabwean electric protest songs by Thomas Mapfumo & the Blacks Unlimited—this one's tonight!—and poptastic electro, pop-punk, alt.folk, and bilingual feminist hip-hop concerts. (Live music is one of the finest anodynes available.)
In search of new tuneage? Read our micro reviews of new releases from NEEDTOBREATHE, The Tower and Todd Terje in Sonic Reducer.
From Nuevo Mexicano artist/architect William Lumpkins serigraphs and felt-tip pen drawings to bibliophile pr0n, an urban renewal keynote and hangs with famous authors in a Fe movie theater, stay art-smart with Culture Shock.
An annual Burqueño ritual arrives. Voting for Alibi’s Best of Burque reader’s poll is open, and this year’s electronic ballot awaits your exquisite, unparalleled taste in everything from politicians to art, from butchers to bars and beyond. To vote, sign up for an account at alibi.com; the signup process literally takes less than 60 seconds, and we won’t share your email address or send you anything you don’t request ... ever. Promise. So create an account, get thee to the ballot and vote! The deadline for finalizing your ballot—which you can totally start, save and return to, by the way—is Tuesday, March 18. Visit alibi.com/bobvote to get started.