Surveying the overlapping regions of mysticism, religion, media theory, postmodernism, and cyber-critique, Erik Davis makes maps of new mental territory. His book, Techgnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information (Harmony, 1998), is a journey through the varying and plentiful connections between old-world religions and New Age technology — connections few noticed before Erik pointed them out. As Peter Lunenfeld puts it, “Davis performs alchemy, fusing disparate strands of techno-hype, mystical speculation, and hard-nosed reporting into a Philosopher’s Stone, unlocking secrets our culture doesn’t even know it has.”
You’ve seen them: “Andre the Giant has a Posse” stickers, “Obey Giant” posters, Andre’s face covering entire sides of buildings. You’ve seen them and you’ve wondered what it was all about. And once you found out, perhaps you wondered why.
Nearly the entire world has unknowingly fallen prey to Shepard Fairey’s phenomenological street-media experiment. Long-time friend Paul D. Miller recently described Shepard’s postering activities as “obsessive.”
Though his time with Faith No More is undoubtedly one of the least interesting things about him, the story goes that when Mike Patton joined that band, they had their entire next record written — except for the lyrics. Patton wrote the lyrics to fit the music for their soon-to-be-multiplatinum third record, The Real Thing: no small feat. This record and the subsequent hit single/video “Epic” brought the rap/rock genre-hybrid blaring into the mainstream. Love it or hate it, popular music is still haunted by it.
The band’s masterwork, the follow-up, …
Steven Shaviro is a postmodern seer disguised as an English professor at the University of Washington. His books and various other writings slice through the layers of our mediated reality and show what factors are at work underneath. He cuts open the tenuous sutures between academic fields and dissects contemporary culture like the slimy animal that it is. His book Doom Patrols: A Theoretical Fiction About Postmodernism (Serpents Tail, 1997) roams the land between the lines of traditional fiction and cultural commentary and comes back with dead-on insight and understanding.
Though I haven’t been keeping up with the actual lyrics, I do have a passing awareness that there’s currently lyrical beef between Nas and Jigga. This is only relevant to the following in that as much as I respect Jay-Z, he and everyone else has now fallen behind.
Another one gone… Steve Albini says breaking up happens to too few bands, and usually I agree. Usually band breakups don’t bother me, but this one does. After over 10 years together, Unwound were still making some of the best music out there. And now it’s over. I am truly hurt and the music world is poorer for it.
Unwound was easily one of the best meldings of mind and sound ever to come together on stage and in the studio. Whatever alchemy it takes to make the space between the …