Archives for posts with tag: US

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It’s been a little over two years since Abby stopped by Disco Droppings for a conversation. I’m very grateful she has returned! I observe so many discussions on subjects like the ones below, and it can be a trip to say the least. When I think about a contribution I can make, a big part is building a space for these ideas and energies to be demonstrated. Where distinct individuals can share, and readers can take it in at their own pace, in a site that isn’t difficult to look at. I aim to keep things clean and minimal. So, in we go with this hard-hitting investigative journalist: Founder of Media Roots, Former host of Breaking The Set, Board of Directors for Project Censored, Founder of The Empire Files and quite the artist as well. I soundtracked this feature to The Prodigy album, The Fat of the Land (very fitting I’d say)..

DD Who and/or what moved you the most this past year of 2015, and what message did they bring?

AM My partner Mike, he made me follow my heart across the country. It took a leap to adventure to NYC with me to partner in our show The Empire Files. His support and intelligence has pushed my vision to a whole other level.

DD I want to go back to a past interview you did a few years ago that could use another look. I especially love your conversation with Alex & Allyson Grey, who are said to be “the most prolific psychedelic artists in the world..” There are discussions of “inner sight” and “turning within”. How does this translate to the lens through which you see the world?

AM They are truly beautiful people. I think the most important human component is empathy. Instead of speaking about the horrors of the world in the abstract, we need to start humanizing others and putting ourselves in their shoes. Whenever I report an issue, I try to report it from the peoples perspective, through the lens of the oppressed and suffering.

DD What internal human imbalances contribute most to the external dysfunctions you witness and report on, in your eyes?

AM I don’t know about internal imbalances so much as external ones that force internal strife. We are living in an economic system that institutionalizes inequality and barbarism. Poverty is deepening at an increasingly rapid rate. The extreme consequences of living under the shadow of militaristic imperialism are playing out all around us, driving desperate people to commit crime, violence and terrorism. The propaganda that maintains US Empire breeds division, hatred and discrimination. Unless people can work together to challenge the power structure in the heart of this country, I fear the dysfunction of the system will lead to its violent collapse.

DD I feel this problem with unification. What’s holding us back from coming together? What veils need to be lifted?

AM Behind the veil is the common humanity that unites us all. From nationalism to “otherism”, myths are the glue that hold society subservient. These myths also work to justify untold unjust and criminal policies. I think most division in America is bred from a manufactured fear of what we don’t know or understand. The propaganda behind the endless ‘War on Terror’ is more convoluted and effective now. Many people I related to ten years ago have since followed an extreme Islamophobic trajectory. It’s scary. In times of strife, people’s fears will take hold and fascists will rise–it’s up to those of us that are awake to support and build each other up.

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DD How is life with Telesur, the host of your new show Empire Files? And how would you describe the energy of this show vs. Breaking The Set?

AM Every episode of Breaking the Set was like a punch in the gut of hard truth. For three years I was like a steam engine, with a team of only two people to churn out a daily show. The energy output was insane, and I knew that I couldn’t keep it up. I also knew that I wanted to embark on investigative documentary work, and with The Empire Files, I’m able to invest an entire week’s worth of work to provide important and timeless context to the issues of the day. Although the budget for the show is much less than RT, it’s been an invaluable experience to learn what goes into creating a show from scratch.

DD My favorite art pieces from you are the collages. “Ganesha Nagarani”, “Business Man’s Trip” and “Earth Awakening” really draw me in. There’s this chaotic energy, and at the same time a cohesion and melding together of many elements. How has this outlet been moving for you recently? If you haven’t been focusing on this area recently, are there other visual artists you find especially striking at this time?

AM “Ganesha Nagarani” is my favorite piece! I love creating captivating, psychedelic webs of cultural expression. I still only have a staff of two helping to create the weekly production of The Empire Files, so having free time for art is limited. I’m trying to set up a show while I’m on the east coast, which will force me to produce more. Out of all the art I’ve seen in NYC so far, there is very little cutting political commentary and I hope to inject some before I move on to the next place.

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DD About the election and 2-party system. I’m remembering my high hopes for Obama, going with that “choose the lesser of two evils”, and questioning that mindset later. What’s your take on the election this year, Trump, Clinton and Sanders? What is your option for people who may think, “there’s no other way that has a serious chance”? My gut says, why project barriers and give into limitations? But I struggle with what to align myself with.

AM I think this election cycle is fascinating and promising for many reasons. The entire Republican establishment backed a candidate that its voter base totally rejected. Only good things can come from the corporate duopoly splintering like this. On the Democratic side, I think Bernie Sanders’ support is significant. It’s more than just symbolism. Unlike Obama, Sanders has a decades long record of policy votes to stand behind. Hillary’s upset so far is about a visceral rejection of the status quo and shows Americans are hungry for significant change. Unfortunately, Bernie already pledged to endorse corporate criminal Hillary Clinton as the democratic nominee and not run as an independent, which would be disastrous and demoralizing to his supporters. If he loses the nomination, I hope his base rallies behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein. I always advise people to vote with their heart, because any vote for a candidate that doesn’t represent them is a wasted vote, not the other way around. The more we marginalize third parties the more the two-party dictatorship maintains its stranglehold over the already rigged election system.

 

DD And finally, what is your mission for 2016?

AM To forgive and learn from my mistakes, and to constantly strive to be a better, stronger person.

Abby Martin – Twitter Facebook

The Empire Files – Twitter Facebook Youtube

 – Jimi Jaxon

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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