Bob Desaulniers

Top 10 Books I Read in 2018 (In No Particular Order)

1. Battle Cry of Freedom- James McPherson
Extensive and very readable history of the U.S. Civil War. Prepare for the next one by learning about the last one...

2. Art, Sex, Music- Cosey Fanni Tutti
Cosey's tell-all memoir. I walked away with an even deeper respect for this fearless and important artist. Great read for anyone interested in TG or COUM.

3. Microscripts- Robert Walser
Robert Walser was a Swiss author of eccentric, stream-of-consciousness style prose. During a stay in a sanatorium late in life he authored several short works on small scraps of paper in a tiny, archaic German shorthand script. They were almost discarded after his death in 1956, believed at the time to the nonsensical scribblings of a madman. Eventually somebody figured out what they actually were and painstakingly translated them. Highly recommended!

4. As Serious As Your Life: Black Music and the Free Jazz Revolution 1957-1977- Valerie Wilmer
Originally published in the late seventies, this is an engaging contemporaneous survey of the Free Jazz scene. Lots of interesting anecdotes and interviews.

5. The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions- Peter Brannen
Pop-science study of the deep time geological and atmospheric history of Earth. It presents a view of the past so unfathomably abyssal it will give you vertigo. The very basic science presented completely destroys the logic of the climate change denying boneheads running my country right now.

6. Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee- Dee Brown
A very well known book detailing the Native American genocide committed by the U.S. government. It focuses mainly on the mid to late 1800's during the final stages of westward expansion by industry and white settlers. I remember this book being in my parents' bookshelf when I was a little kid. I used to take it down and look at the photos for hours, it's weird how long it took me to get around to actually reading it. I'm sure that since it's publication there have been other updated and more extensive histories made available on this subject but I still found it to be deeply moving.

7. The Unreal and the Real: The Selected Short Stories of Ursula K. Le Guin
This one really needs no introduction. When she passed early this year it struck me that I hadn't actually read very much of her work so I picked up this collection. Her dystopian themes feel extremely poignant in the current moment. In a perfect world people would more commonly associate Oregon with Ursula K. Le Guin and not unicycling bagpipers, penis shaped doughnuts, and white supremacy!

8. Stream System: The Collected Short Fiction of Gerald Murnane
Gerald Murnane is an Australian fiction writer who I had never heard of before happening across this book. His work seems autobiographical and has a very direct, monotonous style that borders on pathos (I mean this in a positive way). He is capable of packing profound musings on existence into disarmingly simple narratives.

9. Eruption: The Untold Story of Mt. St. Helens- Steve Olson
This book breaks down the events surrounding the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington state. To establish some context the first part of the book provides a very thorough history of the logging industry in the Northwest and can get a bit dry. I came close to putting it down but that would have been a mistake. The book really picks up in the second half, going into great detail about the eruption itself and the grisly fate of all those unlucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Definitely the stuff of nightmares! I live about an hour from St. Helens and you can still see the effects of the twenty four megaton eruption on the landscape.

10. A House in Bali- Colin McPhee
This is an account of Canadian composer Colin McPhee's love affair with Balinese Gamelan music. He heard his first recorded examples in the late 1920s and you can only imagine what a mind-melter that must have been! He traveled to Bali to study and transcribe the music and ended up living there for a number of years. He explains some of the basic music theory concepts, instrument building techniques, and the social and religious context of the orchestras. It should be mentioned that to the modern reader he comes off as blissfully ignorant of his colonial status even as his presence and affluence create chaos in the village where he lives. He goes so far as to assemble and bankroll his own orchestra, insisting they play an older, more melodic version of the music long since abandoned by the younger players. All that aside, the book is very interesting and I found myself revisiting some of my old Gamelan records with a better grasp of what I was hearing.

Apart from being Andy Bolus's favourite tape wizard, Mr Desaulniers performs solo as Translucent Envelope, plays in abstract skronk rockers Lithics and is one half of the tape collage duo Talc with Shane McDonnell. He gets down in Portland, Oregon.

Ezio Piermattei

Top 10 Impulse Buys Induced by Caffeine

1. An early 20th century surveyor's cross.

2. This thing contained a blue liquid when I bought it.That blue liquid disappeared on my way home.

3. Yes, I purchased an infantry sword.

4. A torsoless tailor figurine.

5. A very Sun Ra-ish golden long dress. Turned out to be small.

6. An incense burner. Quite mysterious.

7. I went to the flea market to get an accordion but I ended up buying this cocktail shaker.

8. A gigantic fake emerald stone.

9. "How to Write an Effective Letter".

10. Cow bells are actually very useful.

Ezio is a well inked gent with a golden ear. He resides in Bologna, Italy and besides recording solo runs the label Tutore Burlato