March 08th, 2014 | No Comment | Category: Essays
Social Media Fatigue

The closer we get to each other, the less likely we are to have things in common. The more we know about each other, the more likely we are to fundamentally disagree on how the world should work. The more intimate the details we share, the more likely one of us has done something unforgivable in the eyes of the other. Dig deep enough inside anyone and you’re going to find something you don’t like. As my friend Lucas Molandes puts it, the only reason you’re with the person you’re …

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March 07th, 2014 | 2 Comments | Category: Reviews
That Which Rolls: Bicycles and the Future

“If I am asked to explain why I learned the bicycle,” writes Frances E. Willard in her 1895 book How I Learned to Ride the Bicycle, “I should say I did it as an act of grace, if not of actual religion” (p. 73). I grew up riding bicycles, so I often take the fun and freedom they afford for granted. Having seen several adults squeal with childlike glee after riding a bike for the first time in years or the first time ever, I am reminded of my own …

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March 05th, 2014 | No Comment | Category: Reviews
A Looming Resonance: Black Metal Books

The threshold at the edge of a subculture is often difficult to discern. The unaware and the well-versed can be sitting right next to each other, unbeknownst to the other’s knowledge, or lack thereof, until that threshold is breached. Every few years a percentage of the population learns about the violence in the Norwegian black metal scene of the 1990s, endlessly annoying those who’d already crossed that threshold. It’s a story that’s been told over and over but only incrementally ripples through the culture at large, like a rock blown …

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March 04th, 2014 | One Comment | Category: Reviews
These Books Were Made for Walking

For what might seem a most mundane human activity, walking has quite a body of literature. Even being such a normal, everyday act, it’s a theme that never wears out. As Karen O’Rourke (2013) puts it, “…contemporary artists have returned time and again to the walking motif, discovering that, no matter how many times it has been done, it is never done” (p. xvii). Are they making too much of putting one foot in front of the other, or is walking always already much more than that?
You’re walking
and you don’t …

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February 02nd, 2014 | No Comment | Category: Reviews
The Science of the Scratch

Long before hip-hop went digital, mixtapes, those floppy discs of the boombox and car stereo, facilitated the spread of choice beats and rhymes. But the rhythms encoded in those messages started as grooves in records. Manually manipulating moment-events, DJs hacked the whole of recorded music, datamining dusty crates of vinyl for just the right beats, breaks, and blasts. Bruce Sterling (1986) writes, “Scratch music, whose ghetto innovators turn the phonograph itself into an instrument, producing an archetypal Eighties music where funk meets Burroughs’ cut-up method” (p. xii). Kodwo Eshun (1998) goes further: “…the …

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