Here’s a track from my friend Scot Sax and his band Wanderlust, whom you may recall from a longish essay I posted a few months back. It’s called “Lou Reed,” and it’s slated for inclusion on the band’s forthcoming CD. And don’t worry… He gave me permission to share it with the world on my blog, so feel free to download the song if you like it. Check out their website for information about the band and more free music.
Android Invasion is my imaginary electronic music group. Ideally, they would have put out the attached EP, Life at the Pace of Objects, in 1982, but a few things got in the way. Chief among them is the fact that I came up with the idea for the band last night. I was also nine years old in 1982, and unaware of the electronic music scene beyond the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s music for Doctor Who. It wasn’t until 2006 or so that I really became interested in electronic music like The Human League’s “Being Boiled” and The Normal’s “Warm Leatherette.” But better thirty years late than never, right?
If you like the music, you can download the tracks for free. And if you don’t like the music, that’s okay — I won’t be offended! Let’s just call it an acquired taste.
My best guess is that I wrote and recorded the tracks between 2006 and 2011. “Life at the Pace of Objects” was the first track I recorded. I was probably thinking about the French social theorist Jean Baudrillard and his ideas about the relationship between humanity and the commodities that surround us at the time. The track is supposed to sound like millions of people marching off to work for faceless corporations so they can buy big-screen TVs. I threw in a Flamenco guitar to break up the monotony.
“Snakepit-Airlock-Disco” continues the story. It’s about one of the workers arriving at work only to find that the place is a snake pit. He then proceeds to be blasted through an airlock and land in the middle of a disco. I’m not sure how he got into space. Maybe he rode an elevator to the top of a really tall skyscraper?
“Crossing the Dance Floor with a Spanish Guitar” is probably the strongest of the tracks, or at least the one that meanders the least. It also has a bit of an X-Files vibe. By way of contrast, “(Do Androids Dream) Electric Sheep” meanders a lot, but I like to think it meanders with a purpose. What that purpose is, I can’t say. The title is borrowed from Philip K. Dick’s novel of more-or-less the same name, which was eventually adapted to the silver screen as Blade Runner.
Finally, “Riding a Squirrel” doesn’t really go anywhere, but that’s what happens when you ride a squirrel. I think of it as a brief, playful coda balancing out the heaviness of “(Do Androids Dream) Electric Sheep.”
In any case, I hope you enjoy these tracks. Be careful, though, about listening to them with headphones. It might get a little disorienting.
Every now and then I think about how cool it would be to write and draw comic books for a living or to do an ongoing online comic series like Terry LaBan’s Muktuk Wolfsbreath:Hardboiled Shaman, Jeffrey Wells and Shaenon Garrity’s Skin Horse, or G. Martinez Cabrera’s Ostenspieler and the Book of Faces. But then I spend a whole day working on something simple like the following one-page strip, McWidgie and Friends, and realize how much work a full-blown comic book would entail!
I actually tried to make McWidgie and Friends available through an online print service, but they sent me an email shortly thereafter stating that the strip violated copyright and trademark laws because of the resemblance of its characters to a pair of well-known hamburger hucksters — and so they took the comic offline. Personally, I have to say that I have no idea what they’re talking about, so I’ll have to let you be the judge…
Okay, so maybe there’s a passing resemblance between my characters and a couple of others you may have seen on television. And, sure, maybe I think it would be really funny in a mischievous-but-not-entirely-destructive Project Mayhem sort of way if people everywhere downloaded this image, had it printed on post cards, and started handing it out at various fast food locations throughout the world. But that doesn’t mean I advocate breaking copyright law. Just bending it a little.