Archives for posts with tag: Drones

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There is so much to be said about Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. For now though, I’ll focus attention on his new album Hesitation Marks and Tension 2013 tour. It’s a joy to listen to; especially on a loud soundsystem, bumpin’ car stereo or quality headphones. The detail, the effects and the ultra clear productions takes you on quite the trip.

 

The album opens with “The Eater of Dreams”, a droney production that makes me picture some dead thing swingin’ in the wind…or maybe a creepy rusty swingset, I dunno. “Copy Of A” follows, with a punchy techno-ish, electro-ish beat, signaling that this album will have a more percussive, dance-oriented feel. Reznor acknowledged a connection between this album and his debut Pretty Hate Machine. Here’s an exert from his recent Fader interview..

It seems like the new album is the closest you’ve come to making full-on dance music since Pretty Hate Machine. What was your inspiration? It wasn’t a plan. Usually, before I start any new record or collection of stuff, the first chunk of time is spent feeling around in the dark to see what feels inspiring. With The Slip, for example, what was inspiring was this kind of rule where we said, Let’s make it sound like garage electronics. Nothing gets fixed, there are no double-takes, there’s no tuning of vocals. Put mics on everything, nothing direct. We’d check those rules before we’d start a new song. Everything was done quickly and 
it was fun.

This record, I gravitated toward writing everything on an MPC-type composer, this Native Instruments machine that I had set up in my office. I had so much fun that it became my self-imposed limitation. I’m not gonna use 
a keyboard; I’m not gonna use guitars because they’re boring. I’m gonna use pads. Let me start the songs that way. And probably a hundred separate ideas came out from that phase. Then [I’d] bring those downstairs into the real studio and flesh them out a bit with my guys, Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder.

Maybe it’s a reaction to my [work scoring films], which was all about texture and studies in different moods and ambiences and atmospheres. Rhythm sounded more interesting to me. It wasn’t a situation where I was listening to a lot of EDM—not consciously anyway. I wasn’t trying to make a record people could dance to.”

 

 

I wouldn’t say I’m a Nine Inch Nails super fan. I don’t know everything about Trent’s work, and haven’t listened intensely through his very dense discography. That being said I’ve heard a lot and enjoy the variety of sounds and instruments used in each album. He seems to be about evolution and trying new things, this is nothing new. In regards to his current sound on Hesitation Marks, I think it’s perfect for both the time and Reznor’s natural progression as an artist. The worldwide dance community could take a lot of notes from Trent’s aesthetic; a hybrid of hardware, band oriented instruments, live vocals and digital technology. He isn’t known for club oriented music for the majority of his career, but if I heard about a late night place with the vibes of Nine Inch Nails, I’d be there in an instant.

In addition his fresh perspective on music, I like the parallels between NIN’s lyrics and the real world we find ourselves in. My favorite song on the new album for instance, “Satellite”. There’s a line that goes..

“Better watch,what you think

What was that, you said?

Everywhere, and everything And every word, you say.”

 

Drones and massive spying on citizens have become major issues; killer robots send missiles from above, leaving many civilians dead around the world. Other robots and technologies have the task of conducting massive surveillance on anyone they please.

Instead of being the early Nine Inch Nails prophet of a world just around the corner, this new album arrives right in the middle of it. It’s a world of government control, surveillance, drone warfare, Monsanto and unsustainable pollution. It’s also a world on the edge of new human consciousness, with the potential for positive growth. NIN is highly advanced, for its ability to vividly show reality, express emotion and open up discussion for possibilities, both positive and negative.

 

While some longstanding artists seem totally comfortable with sounding like shit, so long as their making a lot of money, Trent holds the torch for live performance mastery two decades in. I saw the last Nine Inch Nails show in Portland, and thought that would be my only chance to witness this genius. Thankfully, Trent has returned. As I type, the NIN crew is setting the stage for tonight’s Seattle show. A huge thank you to Patrick Cronin for giving me his ticket. I’ll use it well.

Here’s the crew themselves, talking about the Tension 2013 Tour. Obviously, they do a much better job explaining the set up than I could. Enjoy.

 

 

 

Nine Inch Nails – Soundcloud Twitter Facebook Tumblr

nin.com

Trent Reznor – Twitter

– Jimi Jaxon

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It is a special day here on Disco Droppings. I love a good challenge, and when I got the OK from Abby Martin for this interview I was elated and a tad intimidated. This fearless investigative journalist and artist has been on my mind daily, for her brilliant work as host of RT’s Breaking The Set. She has been instrumental in opening my eyes to a struggling world. From the NDAA to drones, Bradley Manning and Wikileaks, there is no issue that Abby is afraid to tackle. I feel empowered, highly aware and motivated to expand my horizons as an artist and human being, thanks to her tireless efforts. I’m excited to see how my work as Jimi Jaxon will evolve to include topics beyond just music, and Abby Martin is a perfect conduit for this.

Here is a wonderful and well said exert from her bio..”Whether reflecting on the natural world or the manmade world, the awakening or deadening of consciousness, cultural controlling dichotomies, the power of the mystic and all that is unknown, the condition of the social, the construction of the economic, or the corruption of the political, Abby’s work displays an intense passion for life and her deep desire to engage others in her vision.” 

 

DD When did you first begin dreaming up a show like Breaking The Set?

AM My friends and I started a proto RT type internet show about five years ago, before I knew anything about RT. We put together mini documentary investigative pieces on the same types of issues that I am covering now, and when that fell through from lack of funding I started my own media project called Media Roots that continued to cover tHhe same issues. Once I got hired at RT, I was finally able to put my passion about the issues into fruition. The concept of Breaking the Set had always been there, it was just a matter of getting the resources together to make it happen.

DD How do you feel about the scope of your work, and how far it reaches? Are you ever discouraged by stats/views that are lower than you wish, or do you trust that at least the material is available for people to take in as they find it?

AM I am always striving to be better and to reach more people with the information. But as far as the stats, it’s almost impossible to know really how many people I reach because the information is available in so many different avenues–cable, live on the internet, Hulu and Youtube. Actually counting the audience numbers is almost impossible, but every day I get at least one positive message of feedback from someone in the world who is watching, which makes everything I do worth it.

 

DD When you see examples being made of people exposing government corruption, do you consciously walk a fine line with your platform on BTS? Are you wondering where the walls are, where the limits are now with free speech?

AM Not at all. People ask me every day if I am worried to say the things I do in the way I do. The thing is, it never even crossed my mind to be. I have always spoken the truth as I see it, and I will continue to, no matter how bad things get. If I get taken down or made an example of for simply practicing my first amendment rights of free press and free speech, than we have really passed a threshold of no turning back in this country. This job and the things I try to bring attention to are much bigger than me and my life, so fear is not an option. That’s exactly what the establishment would like, and the chilling effect is exactly what this crackdown on the press is designed to do.

 

DD I want to highlight the team behind Breaking The Set. What is your crew like?

AM The show consists of four people in total: my line producer who times me out and makes the show visual. She is the badass working behind the scenes to make sure the show actually happens and airs. Then there are my two other producers Manny Rapalo and Ameera David. We advise on everything together–they really are rockstars, and I am so lucky to have such talented and passionate people on my team sharing my vision for the show and constantly striving to help me make it better. On any given work day, I don’t come up for air or even have time to get lunch because I have to make sure I have the entire show ready to be taped live at 6 pm EST and then immediately when it’s over I need to start preparing for the next day. It’s quite difficult to never be able to chill after taping because there is always the stress of what is the next day going to look like. And it also sucks to have the pressure of doing everything live because I am never entirely happy with my performance, and you only get one shot to make it right, which sucks.

DD What helps keep you focused and positive, when constantly researching and confronting difficult issues all over the world? I think some people are afraid to look into the news, feeling overwhelmed and powerless. There was a time when I ignored the world around me, and looking back into it (thanks to you especially) was extremely draining. Now I would say that I’m happy to be more of a world citizen, that isn’t solely wrapped up in my own life. 

AM This is the eternal challenge for a lot of people. I really think surrounding yourself with people who inspire you and don’t drain you is key to being content and happy with your own life, and you need to be before you begin to take on the rest of the world’s problems. For me, it’s really about finding the balance. I try to do a lot of art and get into nature as much as I can to center the insanity and stress. But I would be lying if I didn’t say I struggle with depression from constantly researching horrific and tragic topics on a day to day basis. At the end of the day, I think information is power, and enlightenment is about opening yourself up to the bad and good of everything in life. Being aware is a beautiful thing, it’s just about how you choose to channel that awareness and bring your perspective into the world. Don’t be afraid of the truth, embrace it and then focus your energy on how you can work to change just a small part of the world. Be the change you wish to see, while being a kind person to your fellow human beings. Because at the end of the day, that’s all we can ever really do.

 

DD Do you still find time to work on your graphic art, paintings and such? I bring up this area of your life, as some people just see you as a journalist.

AM Unfortunately I have such little time to myself that I don’t do nearly as much art as I would like to. But I still try to create some at least every week or so. It keeps me sane, and it really helps to tell stories and display emotions I could never verbalize on my own. The art is my conduit to do so. Right now, I am putting 150% of my entire being into the TV show. But I know art will take a more prominent role later in my life. I think finding some form of self expression is essential for every human being on earth.

Abby Martin – Facebook Twitter

abbymartin.org

Breaking The Set – RT Hulu Facebook

– Jimi Jaxon

 

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I feel it’s quite appropriate to post this interview on a Tuesday. This day now has a more sinister nickname, “Terror Tuesday”. Every few weeks, President Obama, John Brennan (new head of the C.I.A.) and other members of his national security team decide who lives and who dies via drone strike. A recent Gallup poll showed that a majority of American’s supported drone strikes in other countries against suspected terrorists, but most do not support strikes against U.S. citizens both at home and abroad. In addition to the secret drone program to kill people around the world, the U.S. is implementing surveillance drones on its soil for the first time in 2013. This invasive approach threatens the privacy and safety of American citizens, giving them no protection from these robot spies. There is one individual doing his part to give power and privacy back to the people, and his name is Adam Harvey. He’s created an intriguing counter-surveillance clothing line called “Stealth Wear”.

 

His newest project has gotten significant press from news outlets such as Wired and RT and even the artist M.I.A., who tweeted about his camouflage gear. Be advised, these items are no longer for sale on the Primitive London site. But have no fear, Adam will soon be selling them at his online “Privacy Gift Shop”. Harvey agreed to do an interview for Disco Droppings, and we talked at great length about his work and the real life issues swirling around Stealth Wear..

DD I first heard about you in an RT article covering the debut of your clothing line, Stealth Wear. Shortly after viewing this, Abby Martin, the fierce host of RT’s Breaking The Set, named you hero of the day for your counter surveillance line. Do you feel the press and promotion are encouraging more dialogue about drone use?

AH It is definitely encouraging conversation and this is really important. It took almost a decade to start having critical conversations about the impacts of the 2001 Patriot Act. And now, we’re having critical discussions about drone usage, including the banning of spy drones in Florida, even before they’re introduced. Any project that generates positive, critical discussion now is worth doing.

 

DD The Federal Aviation Administration has said that by 2020, the number of domestic drones could be as large as 30,000. How much are Americans aware of this massive domestic drone proliferation, and the scope of domestic surveillance in America since 9/11 and The Patriot Act?

AH Releasing this number also generated a lot of discussion. If evenly divided, that’s 600 drones per state. And fleets of at least several dozen in large cities, like where I live, in New York. I think Americans are smartening up to the impacts surveillance can have on privacy. But this is always subject to change. Safety is always more important than privacy. And so we’re always willing to give up more privacy in exchange for better security. That’s not necessarily a true equation though. Giving up privacy can make you weaker and more vulnerable too. It’s important to think surveillance through before implementing more of it, especially after the recent terror incident in Boston. Most all terror attacks in the US have been due to a lack of intelligence, not a lack of cameras or drones. It’s important to distinguish between the quest for safety and the right to privacy. Fleets of drones flying overhead doesn’t necessarily add safety to our lives, but it is very likely to erode privacy.

 

DD Do you feel it’s important to connect domestic drone surveillance to the overseas drone surveillance and strikes carried out by the U.S. in countries such as Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen? I was reading a report titled, Living Under Drones: Death, Injury and Trauma to Civilians from US Drone Practices in Pakistan. They point out a large number of unacknowledged civilian casualties, psychological trauma to many in communities where drone strikes occur as well as only a 2% success rate for drones attempting to kill “high-level” targets. They don’t have as good a track record as some people think, and I see a slippery slope, where domestic drone surveillance could eventually morph to include domestic strikes against American citizens.

AH Yes, that’s a very important point to call out. That once unleashed, it may become impossible to know and prevent armed drones from flying above us. At the very least, it will make a good case for 2nd amendment support.

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DD The private viewing of your line was on January 17th, 2013, with this “Privacy Mode” exhibition happening from January 18th to January 31st. After you were able to get reactions from the public, how long was it before Stealth Wear was available for purchase?

AH The items went up for sale immediately on Primitive UK’s website. Their were several sales including one burqa. Overall the sales were decent. I still have some items available. During the next several months I will be unveiling a Privacy Gift Shop on my website where items from this show, as well as a few new pieces, can be purchased.

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DD One of the pieces featured in this exhibition is an “Anti-Drone Hoodie” and scarf. These are supposed to confuse thermal imaging, which is used by UAV’s (unmanned aerial vehicles) or drones. When thermal imaging cameras are used, warm objects stand out, such as humans and other warm-blooded animals. If for example, someone is wearing these pieces, and a drone is attempting to surveil them, would only body parts such as their legs be picked up, making the drone unsure of the object it is looking at?

AH Yes, that’s basically the idea. Completely masking heat signatures is very difficult. Heat is emitted from your body and this appears as light to a thermal camera. The Stealth Wear garments are made with metalized fibers which reflect heat. This means the outside of the garment reflects the temperature of surrounding objects, and the inner layer reflects your heat. Of course that heat does not disappear. What you end up with is heat signatures that do not match that of a human. This is most effective for automated systems, using artificial intelligence to detect humans. And, to me, the automated unmanned uses of surveillance technology pose the greatest threat to privacy.

DD Your exhibit was presented by Primitive London at Tank Magazine HQ, also in London, England. I read an interview with Primitive heads Lui Nemeth and Andrew Grune, for Still In Berlin in September 2011. They were asked about some of the pieces they carry being pretty extreme. They responded, “Not all the pieces we stock would be considered wearable, but we care more about exhibiting our designers work.”. What attracted you to Primitive London? And, would you describe your “Stealth Wear” as being wearable, and also forward thinking, in it’s style execution and purpose of use?

AH I was invited to exhibit with Primitive through Nick Bates. He was interested in CV Dazzle and we met very briefly last summer at a coffee shop in London to discuss the potential for a show with Primitive. Originally, I had planned to exhibit new designs for CV Dazzle. When I showed Andrew and Lui a prototype for my new idea about anti-drone wear, they were very supportive. At that point, I had only made a hoodie. The next two pieces, the hijab and the burqa were much more directed and provocative pieces.

DD Stealth Wear is in collaboration with fashion designer, Johanna Bloomfield. What do you think are Bloomfield’s strongest qualities as a designer, and how is her aesthetic represented in your new line?

AH Johanna came into this project with a background in men’s fashion and sports apparel. The hoodie is all her design, made to shield the top portion of the wearer’s body and demonstrate the technology. The burqa was our collaboration that went through several revisions. I struggled with the idea of making any burqa at all, which I felt wold only reinforce an oppressive garment. Together, Johanna and I reworked the design into something more sporty. The burqa combines street-wear comfort with Middle Eastern heritage.

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DD Have you experienced any opposition from governments that do not understand or disagree with your attitude towards drones and surveillance?

AH I have not experienced opposition from government entities, yet. Though, I am aware that my project did not go unnoticed. Somewhere between art and national security there is a line that cannot be crossed. I don’t know where it is. And sometimes I’m on both sides.

DD Lastly, Rhizome did an artist profile on you back in June of last year. In their interview with you, writers are mentioned as key artistic influences. Who are some of these writers, and how has their philosophies, attitudes and/or themes influenced your work as an artist?

AH Writers are interesting to me because they must create a story to write about or fabricate one. As a whole, I find this type of person intriguing. The most influential writer to me has been Susan Sontag. She made photography make sense to me. Another favorite critical voice of mine is that of Christopher Hitchens. He would stop at nothing to prove his point. That’s an admirable fault to have.

Adam Harvey – Twitter

ahprojects.com

– Jimi Jaxon