Category Archives: Uncategorized

Scully’s “No Sense”: EP review

Awash with reverb and echo, surfer-vibe vocals over a kind of Pixies-Bloody Valentine wash of distorted chords, the sound has a poppy punky Buzzcocks vibe while also sounding at times like a garage-band Verve or like Elastica-meets-Magnapop. It’s indie and grungy and very satisfying.
a2192051193_16.jpg

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Ray Comfort’s “Scientific Facts in the Bible”: ‘book’ review

What a dangerous load of old claptrap.
I saw this on sale in a whole shelf of similar balderdash in an airport in Florida and just could not resist it. After it, it’s a small book, and only 100 pages, and pretty simple-minded, so it wasn’t going to be too taxing to read.
Its capacity to annoy, however, is vastly out of proportion to its size.
Full of gibberish and muddle-headed quasi-thoughts couched in proud confident phrasing, this is a good expose of the clouded mind of the Bible believer.
“If the Bible proves itself to be the Word of the One who created all things, it would make sense to search its pages,” goes one convincing argument, “After all, time will take each of us to the grave, and if there was one chance in a million that the Bible’s promise of immortality and threat of damnation is true, we owe it to our good sense just to look into it.” I’ve heard that argument before – “but what if it’s true?” Yeh but it’s not. “Yeh, but, like, what if actually it was? Then you’d be screwed, so maybe, hey what have you got to lose?” Yeh, but there isn’t a magic man in the sky telling us what to wear, what to think, how we’re allowed to cut our hair etc. That’s nonsense. “Yeh, but, like, what *if*, eh?”
 
There follows a slew of horribly inept ‘examples’ of where the Bible contained facts long before the monolithic faceless ’science’ was aware of them. “Can you send lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, Here we are?” God asks Job. He’s talking about radio waves, of course. You can tell that, right? I mean, there’s no other way to interpret that English translation of the extant manuscripts of the Book of Job in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic.
Just as “there is no better way to describe the function of the blood in relation to the human body than to say [what the Book of Leviticus says], ‘The life of the flesh is in the blood.’” Except that in fact there are many much better ways to describe that function than this rather vague sentence that can be interpreted to mean many different things, and which Comfort is certain he has unlocked. He has also unlocked the phrase “according to its kind” as a sort of precursor to the science of biogenesis or the discovery of the genetic code at work in the DNA strands.
 
And this takes us to a key point here – these are the thoughts of men (mostly men, few women have been ‘allowed’ to dictate what we’re all supposed to believe, apparently) written down in languages, some of which are extinct, and then translated into various other languages over the years. Each translation is an interpretation, so what we have in the Bible, as in many other modern day renditions of ancient texts, is somebody’s viewpoint on what someone else meant about some idea they had. It’s not a magic skyman talking.
There’s plenty of good historical evidence pointing to the idea that many ancient sacred texts contained esoteric wisdom that has since been lost, not least because of how the text has been translated and interpreted, and not least thanks to the endless army of imbeciles like Ray Comfort who are comfortingly on hand to tell you just what each line means until the whole thing is warped and distorted beyond all reason.
 
Moses knew about the rotation of the planets and how this explained the duration of months and days – Comfort knows this because Moses wrote in Genesis about the “lights” of the sun and moon in relation to days and years. “How could Moses have known [this] 3,500 years ago unless his words were inspired by God?” Probably because vastly ancient civilizations, which have come and gone up on the face of the earth, were far more technologically advanced that most are comfortable admitting, and vestiges of that forgotten knowledge percolated down through the civilizations of recorded history, often not understood, often recited as myth and legend and parable. People knew this stuff before. They didn’t need an old white bearded guy in the sky to tell them.
 
Comfort rehashes a rake of old chestnuts, such as the claim that it’s more likely for a Boeing 747 to self-assemble in a junkyard than for life to emerge through evolution. Richard Dawkins does a far better job carving that nonsense up like a rotten pumpkin meeting a samurai sword, so I’ll forgo the exercise here. But it is truly infuriating to read such a load of cobblers as “If a male came into being before a female, how did the male of each species reproduce without females?” or “How could a Big Bang produce a rose, apple trees, fish, sunsets, the seasons, hummingbirds, polar bears – thousands of birds and animals, each with its own eyes, nose and mouth?” By way of evolution, that’s how. It is the hallmark of the creationist to fail to understand the concepts they disbelieve, and that their attempts to characterize evolutionary theory habitually malfunction by their insistence that evolutionary science is making statements that it is not, in fact, making. Evolutionary science does not state that modern homo sapiens sapien sprang forth in one step. Evolutionary science does not proclaim that a bird leaped into existence with a fully formed lung, or that a lung evolved overnight, and yet we are offered an array of stupid questions along these lines: “Did [the first bird] breathe before it evolved lungs? How did it do this? Why did it evolve lungs if it was happily surviving without them? How did it know what needed to be evolved if its brain hadn’t yet evolved?” Does Comfort really believe that evolutionary science puts forth a theory that animals will or think or imagine their own evolution, in some sort of conscious act of problem solving?
 
One of the recurring hobbyhorses of the creationist is the insistence than “the missing link” has never been found. Where do they get this notion of a missing link? As minute aberrations and mutations in the cells of life on earth result from the constant bombardment of cosmic radiation, some mutations prove inconsequential while others give slight and randomly occurring advantages to an organism, which over incredibly long stretches of time allow those with advantages a better survival chance than those without, securing the next generation as a carrier for that DNA. This process is incremental, gradual, and practically unmeasurable in its glacial progress. There is no single “link” from one major classification to another – there are as many links as could be seen fit to create by infinitely smaller gradations in the continuous stream of the organism’s descendants. The number of links is limited only by the human mind’s or human tools’ ability to divide. Yet again and again we hear the gleeful creationist idiotically crowing on about “the missing link that has not been found!”
 
In a further chapter we are treated to a roll call of various geniuses, statesmen, thinkers, scientists, mildly idiotic Republic ex-actors turned presidents, slave-owners, genocidal conquistadors, tyrants, despots, and other assorted folk, all of who, we are told, “believed the Bible.” If they believed it, we should too, is the implied conclusion. Even Galileo, we are told, believed the Bible. Never mind that whole spat with the Church about the earth going round the sun or the sun going round the earth – Comfort helpfully reminds us that was the “Roman Catholic Church,” and not “The Christian Church.” Ah yes, important to get your brand of sky-wizardry correct.
Among the thinkers, we hear the words of Blaise Pascal, repeating the infantile twaddle that we can’t lose by being Christian because, hey, what if it’s true after all, eh? What’ve you got to lose?
 
Comfort’s world view, shared by many Bible believers, is a human-centric view, a belief that the earth and all creatures and plants and minerals upon it are here to serve man. Large parts of Australia and Africa are “desolate” because the deserts are not useful to man. They may not seem desolate to the life that exists there, but we don’t care about that because only humans matter. “We have the God-given ability to appreciate the value of creation. We unearth the hidden treasures of gold, silver, diamonds, and oil and make use of them for our benefit.” Precisely. Comfort and his ilk see the earth’s value in materialistic terms, insisting that the precious metals are there for the taking, insisting that it is somehow God’s will that humankind rip the natural resources out of the ground and burn them up for their own gain and use. Never mind that the process is destroying the earth, the animals, and placing humankind in grave danger. This is all God’s will, apparently.
 
And it’s not just human-centric, it’s also largely Judeo-Christian centric too. Comfort cites a Time magazine assertion that Ishmael was the progenitor of the Arab race, and then reminds us that God predicted Ishmael would be a “wild man… and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” Which can only mean the Middle East conflict is the fault of the Arabs, right? God is telling you this! Listen to Comfort! He knows! “Who could deny that this prophecy is being fulfilled in the Arab race?” Comfort asks us. I could deny it, for one, because it’s a ludicrous and frankly racist claim. “The whole Middle East conflict is caused by their dwelling together.” Nice insight.
 
Not content to stop at seeing animals as beneath humans in a human-centric world, not content at racial stereotyping or holding an entire people accountable for thousands of years of convoluted warfare and hatred (much of which was inspired and justified by various other ancient texts attributed to this sky-wizard or that magic-godman), Comfort also laments that “Homosexuality will increase” as a further sign of the times in a long list of similarly evil things such as famines, disease, earthquakes, floods etc. etc. Must remember to get those homosexuals into the list there when we’re reciting the evils of the world.
 
This book contains great illustrations of the dangerous self-absorbed self-serving justified self-righteous mind of the rabid Bible believer, and how a text held up as a beacon of enlightenment is regularly used to justify Dark Ages thinking, racism, homophobia, cruelty to life on earth, anti-intellectualism, and foggy-minded rejection of the progress of reason.
51NGTQWBDTL._SX275_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hundred Waters’ “The Moon Rang Like A Bell”: Album review

Opening with a harmony that sounds like something off of the “Oh Brother Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, then proceeding through two heavily layered synth tracks before “Out Alee” recaptures some of that otherworldly gleeful sparkle and mystery of their 2012 debut, 2014’s “The Moon Rang Like A Bell” never quite lives up the promise of that earlier record, or of the hype around the 60 songs they wrote on the road and selected from for this release.
81KRE7uaZkL._SX522_.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Hundred Waters’ eponymous debut: Album review

From the gently plucked and fingerpicked guitar-based and softly sung subtly psychedelic opening track “Sonnet,” you can tell there is something unique about this record. There’s a kind of Jose Gonzalez organic sensibility to it, yet the entrance of the expertly played flutes signals that there is more to this. Indeed, the mix of styles is hard to classify – tracks like “Caverns” conjure a hint of vocal harmony hipster reverb bands like Grizzly Bear or Fleet Foxes, while “. . . __ __ __ . . .” sounds like dubstep’s Burial remixed it.
The whole affair has some of the odd tapestry-like texture and whirling involved machinery of a Joanna Newson record, with the stark peeled back piano-based interludes of an early Björk album, and the kind of experimentation in song structure that, while not sounding like Kate Bush, feels like the type of animal that might live in Kate Bush’s universe.
The mix of organic and electronic, of flute and synth, layered with inventive and beautifully arcing vocals, makes for an extraordinary listening experience. And that’s what it is – an experience – more so than just music.
61s8QY1XMSL.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sky Ferreira’s “Night Time, My Time”: Album review

Boring. How is this person even famous?
There was quite a hubbub when Sky Ferreira appeared in the new season of Twin Peaks – “omg Sky Ferreira in Twin Peaks!” etc.
For this reason, and because I’d liked much of the music featured in Twin Peaks over the years, I got my hands on her debut synth-pop album “Night Time, My Time,” and was singularly unimpressed. With the possible exception of the Happy Mondays-esque “Omanko,” this entire album made its uninspiring way past my ears and brain like a boring slow-moving train taking up space in front of me and blocking my view of other things.
Nothing special there, people.
51ujdyLOIUL.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Falling You’s “shine”: Album review

Falling You, categorized by Wikipedia as dark ambient but which sounds more like ethereal goth to me, is primarily the work of John Michael Zorko featuring a host of vocalists that many darkwave and ethereal fans will recognize, many from the Projekt label. Those who love bands like Love Spirals Downwards or Autumn’s Grey Solace will enjoy some of this work.
2017’s “shine” is the latest of seven albums dating back to 1998, and features Courtney Grace; Dru Allen (This Ascension/Mirabilis); Mercury’s Antenna; Anji Lum from Love Spirals Downwards plus her subsequent project Love Spirals; Suzanne Perry and Love Spirals Downwards; Summer Bowman & Mirabilis; Erica Mulkey & Unwoman; Danielle Colbeck; Denesa Chan; Monica Richards & Faith and the muse. That’s an impressive rota of vocalists, and the results are suitably high quality.
51DV5UwTTSL.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Cults’ “Static”: Album review

Cults’ second album, “Static,” opens with a track that continues the indie Motown feel of the prior album, before moving into more of an indie rock territory on the second track. The break-up of Follin and Oblivion, the couple behind Cults, has not affected their musicality. If anything, their melodies are more advanced, their hooks more seductive, “Always Forever” sounding like an instant radio hit, “High Road” sounding like an instant indie pop hit with a hint of New Order. This second album has blended those Motown and indie ingredients into an even poppier catchier mix, building up steam towards the final tracks including the powerfully dramatic “We’ve got it.”
One wonders if Cults will be back, despite the breakup of its members.

81eLeJXwMQL._SX522_.jpg

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized