Monday, January 31, 2011

100 Records That Set the World on Fire….While No One was listening

               Lists are helpful. The Wire put out this list before the turn of the millennium, so there was bound to be some stuff too recent to get an accurate appraisal on. Some of the stuff they recommended on here ends up being pretty good, with maybe a bias or lean towards jazzier stuff. Thankfully they avoided the fate of Nurse with Wound list; their selection includes a fairly diverse group of artists and genres.

                Browsing quickly through the list, there are some great picks. Charles Ives would be one of them, even a century later he’s yet to receive the attention he deserves for his groundbreaking work, in the early 20th century no less! Part of my adoration for Ives has to do with how he balanced a professional career with his more artistic inclinations. Maybe that’s a bit of an inspiration of how I could do the same thing.

                Unfortunately, like many of these “Look at our Great Taste” lists, there are a few expected mentions and some dullards. Faust gets mentioned on virtually any music snob’s taste, as does Captain Beefheart and a few others. Though these lists ostensibly are a reaction against the monotony of having the Beatles and the Beach Boys plastered everywhere, they fall into similar habits. Jazz gets a huge amount of attention. Some of the selections of the artists seems accurate, but their precise recordings a bit questionable. For the Residents, they pick an EP of theirs rather than one of their full-length weird-outs, like “Fingerprince” or “Not Available” which are more easily available.  A few other artists suffer from this, the “we listened to their whole discography and picked the most obscure release” syndrome. Sometimes this is a good idea, since it attracts attention to something which normally gets overlooked, but in some of these cases that’s just not the case. 

                The dullards are quite dull. Esquivel isn’t a great innovator by any means; even his most experimental stuff probably gets played in your local elevator. Choosing a William S. Burroughs audio tape from the 60s seems a bit silly too, especially considering how he did more interesting stuff later in life with bands. Oh, he’s dryly reading. How exciting. I’m a fan of his work too, but I can’t see myself being wowed by his voice alone. This might be more of a personal preference of mine. 

                A great deal of these I haven’t heard. What I will be doing for these will be tagging whichever ones relate to the list with the phrase: “100 Records that set the world on Fire” for easier navigation. I hope by going through these I’ll stumble upon some excellent material and edit out the dross for you, the listener. Despite some of my reservations about this list, I feel this is probably one of the more diverse ones I’ve seen. Their emphasis on a wide range geographically and time wise gives it a broader, better perspective, and they at least try to avoid the obscure of the sake of being obscure, though they fall into that pit a few times. 

                Finally, I do enjoy these lists and if you have any others I should pay attention to, let me know. Wire has the added bonus of including other sites’ reviews of the albums. Of particular note was Q Magazine calling “Metal Machine Music” one of the 50 worst albums of all time, thus confirming their status as old fogies who don’t “get it”.

Kyle Bobby Dunn – A Young Person’s Guide To 8.4

                A Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is what I’m thinking the title references. Since there are so many different instruments being used for the recording, this interpretation might make the most sense. Picking out any instrument (besides the piano, which is pretty distinguishable) can be somewhat difficult, as the sounds are blurred together to create comforting, floating drones.

                There are drones, two hours’ worth of the stuff. Personally, I enjoy it when the artist takes a longer format approach, particularly for the’ lose-yourself-in-it’ stuff like what this offers. Over the course of the two hours, you’re treated to the warmest of drones. How these drones move forward is pretty amazing, he has a certain method to how each piece unfolds so graciously. In fact, picking out a specific movement or dramatic change is impossible, think of watching the clouds float by on a bright sunny day. 

                “Butel” starts off the two-disc set in positively massive fashion: a 17-minute piece where things build up so discretely (even once compared to the other pieces). Immediately you can feel its warmth, and its fragile state. It never gets loud or overwhelming, but slowly gains your attention. “There Is No End To Your Beauty” has a delightful ebb and flow of sound as if it were almost sentient. After this you get “Promenade” which brings up images of Stephan Mathieu’s drone work, it is simply so bright and airy. 

                Disc Two offers its own highlights. “Last Minute Jest” and “Set of Four (Its Meaning Is Deeper Than Its Title Implies)” are gorgeous piano pieces. “The Nightjar” ends things off with a quiet sample repeating ‘looking at yourself’. 

                Maybe there’s something about geography which influences the music one makes. Stars of the Lid had the vast Texas expanse; Kyle grew up in Alberta, pretty similar to Texas’s levels of open space and emptiness. It is always reassuring to have releases this massive, with so much good music to absorb. Personally, I tend to enjoy long-length works when they’re done properly, and Kyle knows exactly the sort of mood he wants.

                Once the music ended, I felt happy. Somehow this music just brightens my day, gives me a more optimistic feel. Think of it as music to comfort you in long winter nights, to have these drones combine with the creaking of your building, of the subtle choir of radiators going off. I absolutely adored this.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tunisia, Egypt…

            No doubt you’ve seen the footage from Tunisia and Egypt. Tunisians toppled their government; their government folded like a house of cards. Egypt has more experience and employs experts for exactly this sort of situation; they’ve encountered such situations before. Whether or not Mubarak changes things for real remains to be seen, all he’s promised is to name a new government. I’m not sure if that will change anything for the better for the Egyptian people, most likely it will be some ‘bare minimum’ requirement he’ll be implementing to stave off serious reform and keep his position. Or maybe Mubarak might actually concede defeat and try to avoid the ‘running scared’ exit of Ben Ali. 

                What I’m waiting for is for Julian Assange to hire Carol King to play for the White House, I’m assuming this is why he’s writing a book to raise money. After she arrives, she’ll sing to the US government:

                For all the ‘secrets’ Wikileaks released, most of the ones involving the US ended up being a bit weak. Oh, the war in Iraq didn’t go so well, I couldn’t tell that from us having lost a couple pallets’ (four feet squared shipping boxes) worth of $100 bills. Yeah, and we say bad things about some of the people we deal with. Who would’ve guessed we would call North Korea’s leader ‘erratic’. Hell, when Kim Jong Il saw “Team America” he stated he would have liked the movie more if his puppet had its own sex scene. So he’s a total freak.

                The juicy tidbits didn’t come from America. Conspiracy theorists think that there’s a great deal of stuff going on in the shadows in the US government. By this point, leaks have become so frequent from the White House itself, just due to the sheer amount of people working there that we tend to know most of the nasty stuff fairly quickly. Nearly a million people have ‘Top Secret’ clearance or higher, when that many people know, it’s not really a secret anymore.

                Rather, most of the fascinating material came from countries that really excel at suppressing information. Levels of corruption we can barely fathom grew into virtual state institutions in Tunisia. Wikileaks provided the exact details of this in near-painful detail. Though those leaks came out a few months ago, the sheer quantity of details makes it impossible for it to be immediately consumed. Helping their cause was the military ultimately backing the protesters in Tunisia.

                I’m not sure if the same thing can happen in Egypt since the protests there take inspiration from Tunisia’s success. Mubarak came from the military, and bestowed gifts upon them. Unlike Tunisia, Egypt worries more heavily about the groups it has kept out of the government, like the Muslim Brotherhood. So while we had no problem with Tunisia, a relatively secular nation of negligible diplomatic clout or strategic importance, Egypt offers a great deal more in terms of sheer population and location. Location alone, it has the potential to create serious issues with the large amount of goods that go through the Suez Canal.  

                Besides having the uncanny ability of convincing the US to bankroll it of about $1.5 billion a year, the Egyptian government has done an excellent job of playing up US fears about extremism. Remember the Cold War when any half-assed dictator could claim his enemies were Communists? Then presto, they received instant funding to go after their enemies. Perhaps the Muslim Brotherhood offers a greater threat, maybe even a legitimate one to the stability in the region. Most information about the riots implies the Muslim Brotherhood arrived late at the riots and hasn’t effectively capitalized on the distaste for the government. So Egypt’s been doing a wonderful job at claiming it is holding extremists at bay, but without any independent verification, it is hard to tell how much of a threat they might pose if any. Right now it looks like if the government falls, it may end up in a similar situation as Tunisia, with the military (revered as the most powerful and respected secular institution) rules in interim until elections can be held. 

                Jordan and Yemen face similar large scale actions. However, they are not on the same scale as Egypt, which went as far as to shut off all internet access, nearly unprecedented in protests (happened before in Myanmar). Sadly, this seems to be the thing people outside Egypt have gotten the most upset about, instead of the widespread abuses in terms of physical violence and repression of groups considered dangerous to the regime which has gone on for decades. Besides, this shutoff of the internet is far more benign than the tactics used by security forces elsewhere, such as Iran or Belarus. In those countries, security forces use the internet as a way of tracking dissidents. So the internet really does work both ways, by freeing up information it allows protesters to organize just as easily as the defense forces.

                Right now (and I keep on revising this article) Mohamed ElBaradei seems to be the one who will fill in the void. Everyone agrees that ElBaradei would work on the level of enjoying international support (he was a Nobel laureate and former diplomat, so he has solid credentials). Apparently the Muslim Brotherhood even appreciates his even-handed approach, stating due to the West’s take on Islam, they’d prefer a non-partisan member lead the transitional government. Perhaps these protests will lead to a more democratic country, it is very possible. All that I know is for a country in its location with its population; it has been punching below its weight for far too many years. That’s what makes the protests so interesting: the young are now aware of exactly how repressed they are and have seen how others live, while their parents are old enough to remember an Egypt more assertive culturally, politically and economically. So their chances of seeing the protests bear fruit is greater than those in Iran, due to this broad support and the thankful ineptitude of the security forces in using communication technology effectively (shutting stuff off isn’t exactly smart).

                The information available has made much of this possible. While plenty do detest Al Jazeera for its obvious anti-US/anti-Israel bias, it does offer the best source of information for its viewers. Having a level of journalistic independence (it is self-funded) allows to report accurately on these protests in Egypt, in Jordan and in Yemen. Most state-sponsored broadcast would not be given this amount of leeway, for fear they might be next. So Al Jazeera does actual journalism, and their attention to these protests only makes more realize exactly what in their own environment demands improvement. The sad fact that guards of state buildings in multiple Arab nations have fire extinguishers to prevent another Mohamed Bouazizi (self-immolation) rather than consider reforms shows how absolutely how out of touch the leaders are with their people. It also shows something which would have been kept quiet locally now has global impact. Organizations exist too which help amplify this sort of information, organizations beyond what could be offered by news organizations, like Wikileaks.

                Wikileaks is an international collaboration. Certainly there’s no love between them versus the United States (Collateral Murder being a prime example) but it is intended to release information in order to make governments more transparent. The most it did to us was embarrass us a bit along with most Western nations. Berlusconi (allegedly perverted Prime Minister of Italy) claims it was “the 9/11 of diplomacy” but nothing could be further from the truth. What it did was apply pressure to ossified regimes, who stay in power under the auspices of “hey, you wouldn’t like who’d come in next. We’re the secular savior for you.” Sure, there is validity to this in varying degrees and depending on the country, but in general the worry is overblown. Institutions outside of religion do exist and possess enough clout, respect, and infrastructure needed to make a transition from autocracy to democracy if they choose to do so. 

                  Overall then, the US is a surprisingly minor figure in all that’s going on. With a minuscule budget and a strange Australian (who, according to the New York Times, smells bad) Wikileaks has managed to have a greater impact than any amount of backroom coaxing and money might have hoped to achieve. Even regular journalism usually reports after an event, avoiding outright provocation. Sure, Wikileaks method is far from elegant and often a blunt instrument (if at times reckless), but as we continue to see protests against such repressive regimes multiply, we might begin to realize what the real ‘information revolution’ is. 

The Morning Benders – Big Echo 6.9

                A Berkeley, California band called “The Morning Benders” gone to Brooklyn to ‘make it big. Relevance, money, fame all would come flowing to them. Big is what they start out with before the sound gets tired. 

                “Excuses” and “Promises” are like a one-two punch from a skilled boxer. For eight minutes, you’re so satisfied. You wonder whether or not they can keep up this kind of energy. The multi-part singing on “Excuses” is amazing. You’re in awe. “Promises” continues this joyful energy. Looking at the album cover, you feel like you’re at the beach with them.

                Sadly, the rest of the album gets mellow out of nowhere. I like mellow adore mellow, but this is a boring kind of mellow. Their sound appears to be treading water to some degree for the remainder of the album. While that isn’t bad, it gets a bit disappointing considering the bombastic wonder they opened up.

                Perhaps at some point they’ll work out the pacing issues. I enjoyed this album, I found the first half far more enjoyable than the second.  What I hope is on their next album they do more alternation between loud and quiet, fast and slow. If they do continue in the mellow stream, to make that relaxed songwriting more memorable.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mama Dada 1919 – Slits, Quick 3.5

               For all those people who state bad music began proliferating after the advent of CDs and MP3s, I present to them, Mama Dada 1919. Released in 1979, it dedicated itself to Comrade Lol. I don’t have any idea what the point of this sort of release is, to show that you had enough gumption to bother having it released.

                Most of the songs on here are extremely brief and possess a tossed-off feeling. The theme in the first song reappears at the end, and there do appear to be some unifying factors despite the mostly improvised nature of the recordings. It feels so random that is near-impossible to enjoy. Sure, I enjoy improvisers like AMM, but they have training and knowledge of what they’re doing. 

                None of the sounds they explore are things that should be mind-blowing to anyone with an even passing knowledge of music. Faust did this, some 60s band did that. It goes on that way for roughly 14 minutes. Even their name, which instantly drew me to them, implied a goofy nature or at least an energetic record. Sadly, neither one of those things is the case. Instead, this comes across very heavily as indulgent music or an inside joke whose answer I’m not privy to. Music like this gives the avant-garde a bad name.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ducktails – Killin’ the Vibe 12 Inch

             As a member of Matt Mondanile’s generation (80s born and raised), I can’t help but to relate to what he does. Hypnagogic pop speaks to me, and Matt’s approach happens to be one of the more accessible ones in the field. Ducktails is a fun project, and his own evolution from living in his parents’ basement (he moved out this December to Greenpoint, Brooklyn) is an experience countless millions can relate to. 

                He’s now trying to earn money to release a 12 Inch version of his song “Killin’ the Vibe” to the suspecting masses. Besides just asking people for money on “Kickstarter” the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world, he offers goodies. People can opt to get a 30 minute cassette of unreleased songs (known as B-sides or sketches), the vinyl itself with a handwritten note and new songs, or with a Zine (so retro) of his photographs, and finally guaranteed shows of him playing in the Northeast. Apparently his fan base is rabid enough to take up all of this, even the last one with the $500 contribution. In fact, the only one not taken is having him perform in your living room for $1000, which is something I hope gets amended. 

                Now he’s even exceeded his goal of fundraising: he has exceeded his goal of $3500 by about $1940. I guess his chops are complete; he tends to avoid the prolific releases of his friends James Ferraro and Spencer Clark (of The Skaters fame). That’s a good thing; it has allowed me to keep track of his various projects, including his most famous one “Real Estate”. Seeing how he literally lived with those two Skaters in Berlin during a study abroad trip gives me hope for when I’ll be doing that. I always thought study abroad sessions were supposed to be stuffy; his experience proves my theory dead-wrong.

                I’m hoping he succeeds in getting this 12 out. He exists as sort of an in-between point between various different genres: rock, hypnagogic pop, cassette culture, lo-fi recordings, etc. Considering he’s only in his twenties, he’s been lucky enough to tour with some wonderful people (like Emeralds and Deerhunter) has an excellent grasp of aesthetics (Lauren Pakradooni will do the 12 artwork). Plus, and this is huge, he’s managed to show New Jersey as a place where interesting things are going on, where actual art is created. Instead of feeling like they need a crutch of New York City, they show exactly why New York needs more people like him to move here. 

                With that, I’d like to say if you feel like contributing to this guy, or want him to perform in your living room; you might want to go here:

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 8.3

                Though I’ve written about Earth’s music before (here) I failed to capture his more recent period. Starting with “Hex, Or Printing in the Infernal Method” the project has taken a new approach. Rather than focus exclusively on the hopeless decay of walls of hiss and feedback, the new period is marked by a more optimistic vibe. I’m not implying Earth has gotten poppy or happy, but it gets pretty difficult to outdo him in bleakness.

                As I started this album, I immediately felt certain classical bits I hadn’t noticed before. Perhaps that’s due to a cellist this time around (Lori Goldston, former Nirvana cellist) but I feel Dylan’s grow more willing to let this side show. Of course, he’s always referenced La Monte Young’s work as an influence, but you feel it here with the swirls of sound.

                Lumbering through at their trademark molasses pace, I noticed how they at times evoke a heavier version of Dirty Three. Those dramatic tempos, the grandiose heavy guitars, all conjure up images of heading through a near endless space. Plus, the sound is considerably heavier than their most recent 2008 effort “The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull”. 

                Oddly, it feels like the most hopeful music I’ve heard from them. I get the image of walking through a cold winter with the sun shining brightly, going up a hill. Where I get such an image is from the crystal clearness of each track, whether it be the emotive tones of “Descent to the Zenith” or the pitch-perfect closer “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1” They’ve cast off whatever pretenses of metal they had. Now they’ve fully embraced the “Spaghetti Western” style they’d been flirting with for so long. 

                If you’re approaching this as a doom metal album, you’ll be disappointed. Rather, a better way to think of this would be a classical/drone album. As a bonus, there’s going to be a part II of this released sometime later this year.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stranger than Paradise ***Warning Spoilers***

It takes a certain amount of confidence to dedicate an entire movie to nothing. Jim Jarmusch made it happen in the culturally bare 80s. Parts of the movie feel so naked I get worried. The characters act so natural it seems like voyeurism, as if I’m spying on them from my position of privilege. 

A few things are added in that make the appeal to me a little more personal. For one, Eva’s lack of interest in nearly anything is amazing. I simply adore her deadpan delivery on everything. Perhaps I can relate to some degree, since I’ve been told that I lack emotion in how I speak (I talk to you in monotone) so kudos for that.

“I put a spell on you” has to be the strangest reoccurring joke in a movie. There’s no purpose to it, besides Eva being interested in it. Whenever she’s bored, she simply has a tape recorder right next to her to keep her entertained. I wish I had the guts to just carry around a tape recorder with me, but I don’t even travel with an IPOD, or listen to music when I’m driving (whenever that rarely happens). 

The black and white looks glorious. Devoid of color, you get to focus on the truly crummy details of their surroundings. Willie’s apartment looks like total trash. Cleveland doesn’t appear to be much different. Everywhere is the same indeed, Eddie even states so himself. 

Bored with stealing from other people (something that lets Willie and Eva bond) they go to Florida for no real reason. Nothing happens. They look cool in sunglasses. Willie and Eddie gamble while Eva is left lonesome. Annoyed at being left alone, she steals a hat (as she usually does, she’s a kleptomaniac) and gets mistaken for a drug dealer. Given a huge amount of money by Rammellzee (Far Rockaway represent!), she leaves some for the two of them and goes to the airport.

What’s funny is how unwilling she is to go back to her home country. Apparently that’s the only flight she can still make, and she finds that very annoying. I guess she takes up their advice that it is the same all over, and waits for the flight the next day. Willie boards the Budapest bound flight to look for her and leaves. 

 The Cleveland parts are the best. Parts of the dialogue read like how I speak with people, which freaked me out. How they act as they intrude on her boring date and steal his popcorn. How they mock her geeky boyfriend. All of it works for reasons that aren’t easily explained. 

Casual films bore me most of the time, but this one did it for me. There’s something more underneath all that monotonous landscape, a real honestly and heart that you don’t find in movies very often. 

Start Watching: Here

Marine Girls – Lazy Ways/Beach Party 7.9

              Ah yes, the album positively reeks of early 80s English twee. This is a great smell, and even together as two albums, it clocks in at exactly an hour. Listening to the most do it yourself band made up of adorable English girls, I get the impression somebody’s been reading my diary. 

                Each song possesses its own charm. But there are a few rules they adhere strongly to: all percussion must be something like claves or a shaker. The bass needs to be really simple, since the bass player can’t play it. Whoever the guitarist is, try your best. None of them are particularly skilled at what they do, but each of their little efforts pay off, and they kind of play off each other. 

                My favorites on here: “A Different Light” which has some sweet vocals, “Second Light” which comes closest to a fully-fledged song, “Flying Over Russia” with its very heavy 80s reference, and finally the mildly triumphant “Dishonesty”. 

                You could put the record on and not realize that an hour has passed. It breezes by due to the short length of the songs, and the general mood of the pieces. These are happy, mellow songs that aren’t meant to be taken seriously. If you like Best Coast, perhaps you ought to check out some of what her inspiration might be.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The City Mouse

                 Christian, one-time child actor and retired MTA employee, gazes longingly at all the young kids waiting for the L train. Oh, how youth is wasted on the young, he says to no one in particular. It is Friday night, they’re all probably going to their cool parties to do cool things, things I can’t do anymore.

                I tried my best. My kids moved out, found new places to live. Yet here I am, still living in the Big Apple, wondering why I’m doing it. Williamsburg wasn’t always like this, it used to be tougher. Now Duane Reade’s moving in. That park hosts free Flaming Lips and other relevant bands, but I don’t listen to that stuff. Nah, back in my day I listened to progressive rock and hippie freak-out music. 

                That’s how I met my wife. Man, we have to get out of New York. Move to somewhere warmer, somewhere that won’t tax my city pension. Hold on, I have to scurry underneath the platform, the train’s coming. Look at that, a cute out of town person pointed at me. I feel important, appreciated, terrifying for no obvious reason. 

                All my kids moved down south. Maybe I need to do that, go to North Carolina; they wouldn’t tax my pension there. Some of our friends, people I worked with at the MTA say North Carolina’s great, especially Asheville. The jerks I worked with went to Florida, so I can’t go there. I don’t want to be an old New York mouse going down to Florida’s, that’s like where New York mice go to die. Either that way or freaked out people throwing shoes at them, shrieking hysterically.

                 We have to get the rat hole in order, get it on the market. Yeah, the housing market isn’t doing that well, but we have an ideal location. That counts for a lot, perhaps some young yuppie couple into yoga or Whole Foods might like it. I don’t know, I eat most garbage people drop on the ground, but that’s not for all mice. Some prefer eating only organic food found on the ground. Each Sunday I read the New York Times Book Review section, looking for books about mice, but there are usually gross misrepresentations of what we’re all about. I mean, we’re not monsters. If anything, humans are monsters. They are bigger, louder, and much more intoxicated, at least around these parts.

                Bummer, I have to help move all this stuff into storage. We got a sweet spot to store our stuff to make the rat hole appear bigger. I spent the past week repainting it to an inoffensive shade of white and beige. Neither one of us knows what’s trendy right now, so we went with a full wood look. Sadly we don’t have brick exposures or hardwood floors, those things are hot right now.

                 Guess I’ll steal some of the leftover bits of pizza the kids dropped. It is time to get some sleep, watch repeats of stand-up routines on Comedy Central and dream of the warm pure North Carolina sun. A rat can dream, a rat can dream.

Dosh – Tommy 7.6

Martin Dosh started out as a drummer according to his bio. That makes sense as the percussion here is of a tactile nature. Little tiny taps are given as much attention as the big kicks. Organizationally speaking, it is really a big draw of the album. Everything contributes to the rhythm, it kind of reminds me of some early Fridge or Four Tet kind of stuff, the way the drums feel so free.

                Of course, this would mean nothing if it weren’t for the melodies they helped structure. Generally speaking, I enjoyed the longer songs on the album, where he had more space to roam. The melodies are sweet, caring, charming. They require some time and patience, but are ultimately worth the effort. 

                “Gare de Lyon”, which closes the disc, is easily my favorite. Here you get to see all the themes he explored earlier realized in full. Bits and pieces are added into the mix to create a spiffy little track. It is so good that after you listen to it, you might want to re-listen to the rest of the album. All those things that escaped you the first time around are made clear in the second listening. 

                Parts of this are so well done you don’t even notice them at first. “Yer face” shows off his talent for queasy piano. And his voice, though not perfect, adds a bit of grit and charm to his efforts. 

I’m glad I randomly stumbled upon his recording, very glad indeed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Latest Hipster Runoff Gimmick: The Hipster Runoff [official] Facebook Profile

                Two weeks have passed since I last covered the online hipster phenomena known as “Hipster Runoff”. A lot has happened in those two weeks. 2011 is the year Carles ‘pulls out all the stops’ and truly solidifies his online presence, since the internet has fully sucked him in. My wondering of him existing as a human being only increases upon this event.

                Of course, I’m talking about Hipster Runoff [official] coming onto Facebook. At first I was confused, like didn’t Hipster Runoff already exist on Facebook. Apparently that was a fake profile and this one was the real thing. So now you get updates from every single part of your online existence, from your RSS feed to your twitter, now finally making it to Facebook. 

                 I rushed in, becoming one of the select few to claim they got there early. Sadly, ‘second’ was already taken by Carles himself, eliminating the joy one might have derived from this action. Who got first? That proved to be ok, it was nice seeing Carles expose himself, his true self, and via the anonymous presence he has on the internet.

                While I said before that Hipster Runoff becoming a dating site, well I was wrong. Its presence on Facebook is a whole another matter. None of those people posting on HRO generally had a picture up of themselves. Looking through the profiles of the people posting, I am surprised at the amount of cuteness. Some of them look like perfect alt-baguettes. I’m half-tempted to sort of flirt with them, but I shouldn’t though I probably will anyway. For both men and women, there are serious HILFs (Hipsters I’d like to Fuck) in the group. 

                Oddly, I’m assuming this is why Carles set up a Facebook fan page in the first place. Some may think it is just another gimmick for Hipster Runoff to get more readers. I don’t think that, this appears to be a genius way for Carles to flirt with cute twenty-somethings. Sure, that hasn’t happened yet, but it will. I would put $20 on it since he already does that with Twitter.

               People act differently as well now that they have a picture associated with their words. They could hide behind an anonymous name, spewing nonsense before this. Actually, I like seeing what the commenters looked like. I felt a bit sad since only one of my other friends ended up liking it on Facebook. Clearly she ‘gets it’ while the rest of my friends are busy reading books by Karl Marx and working on their Grad School thesis. 

                 2011 might be the year that Hipster Runoff gains some relevancy again. Lately Carles has been almost in crisis mode, constantly adding more and more to connect with him. We can call him, have him talk to us on Facebook, I wonder what’s next? Will Carles have a Skype interview? Will Carles visit your house and drink a couple of beers with you for 4 easy payments of $19.95? I’m a bit curious. He tried to charge $3000 for having him hand-deliver his shirts, and that didn't work. But he might try again, who knows.

                Right now he’s taking on the persona of a kid who just joined Facebook. He asks his followers to tag pictures of him. This is funny because not only is it impossible to tag a fan page, but no one knows at all what he looks like or where he is. He pokes fun at the oversharing on the internet by deliberately providing incorrect information. 6969 Blog Avenue is not a real address, so please do not address mail to him, as he will not be able to receive it. 

                Parts of the group worry me.  Some people are wondering if Carles spends too much on Facebook and whether or not it’ll dilute his blog further. I wonder. I ponder the effects of his writing after being exposed to so many people. Does writing suffer upon being discovered by more people, of tweaking your writing for a particular audience? Having read his early stuff, I get the distinct impression he’s going to spend 2k11 trying to find what made HRO so special in the first place.

                These gimmicks buy him some time. With each one of these gimmicks, people focus more on his online presence and perhaps less on new styles he may be trying out. Hopefully he’ll be able to coin a new genre like he did in 2K9, I’m not sure if I count “Slutwave” as a genre or as a general observation, reflecting more on the packaging rather than the actual content.

                Stay tuned for more public insecurity from Carles as he takes on new personas and perhaps changes up his style and approach yet again.