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Read & Listen | Robert Hood

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That’s what I’ve been doing all through my career: killing giants with my five smooth stones. That’s minimal.

In his Red Bull Music Academy interview the techno master eloquently describes why techno really is music for the mind, body and soul.

http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/magazine/robert-hood-interview

On his album Minimal Nation

All of the tracks on Minimal Nation, for the most part, have rhythms inside of rhythms inside of rhythms. If you listen closely, what you think you were hearing at the beginning, you sort of begin to hear an inside rhythm, an inside loop. I always compare it to those pictures you could stare into where you can see an image inside of it if you stare at one particular area long enough. It was so minimal and so stark and so stripped down, but yet there’s another layer of melody inside of the melodies. If you look even closer, and listen even closer, there’s yet another hidden melody. That’s what made me know that this is really something. This is not just a kick drum, a snare and a hi-hat, maybe a few hand claps, a rim shot and a bassline. This is storytelling. This is not just minimal for the sake of being minimal.

That’s what I think a lot of people missed, and still continue to miss today. I’m not saying that everybody has to approach minimal art and techno in this way, but the hi-hats have to sing. The thing was, “How do I get my soul on this record, on this wax? How do I convey that to the listeners without saying a word?” The titles have to make sense and tell a story. I always compare it to pages and chapters of a book. It’s like building a house. All of the rooms have to come together and make sense. Every track is like a room in this house. “Unix” probably sticks out in my mind the most. It’s very short, and I wish I had made it longer, but it is what it is. It’s sort of ancient, yet modern at the same time. It sort of encompasses everything that techno is to me, in my perception, and everything that techno is going to be.

And if you still ‘don’t get’ minimal techno

On Studio Gear

I used an Akai XR20 Music Production Center for the bassline and drums on this. And a microKorg, I believe. It was sequenced with a Yamaha QY1000. I believe a producer once said, “Robert likes to use these small hand-held Japanese electronics.” That’s what it’s been for me for all of my career. It’s just minimal pieces of equipment. When I didn’t have anything, I had to squeeze blood from it. That caused me to really use this computer [points to head], my mind, which is the most powerful computer in the universe.

I’ve seen producers with a whole studio full of gear, keyboards, everything you could name. I’ve seen producers that had it all, but were stuck and didn’t know where to go. I look at it like David and Goliath. King Saul had given David his armor to face Goliath, but David found somebody else’s armor cumbersome. He wasn’t accustomed to moving around with this armor. All David needed to defeat the giant, Goliath, was his slingshot and five smooth stones. That’s what I’ve been doing all through my career: killing giants with my five smooth stones. That’s minimal.

On Dancing

Floorplan started with Funky Souls. That was the advent of this disco-fied techno house gospel fusion that’s Floorplan today. That line, “Funky Souls, sisters and brothers who love each other,” just laid the groundwork of where I wanted to go with this. Again, telling the story of man and woman staying together and becoming one and unified. Me and my wife, we had just gotten married, so I was real excited about my marriage. We were just bonding, it was beautiful. I don’t mean to get corny and sappy and all that stuff, but it was just such a beautiful thing.

It’s just about making people sort of dance together again. That’s one of the ideas I had in mind. I felt that that was sort of lost. I come from a time that men and women used to dance together. You see each other in the club and say, “Hey, would you dance with me?” You don’t see couples dancing together anymore. You just see people who are nodding their head, and they’re all facing the DJ. That’s kind of what I had in mind.

Read the full interview: http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/magazine/robert-hood-interview

Then listen to his Resident Advisor mix and seek him out live for an all encompassing experience.

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Read | Faith as Addiction: Reviewing Steve McQueen’s Shame

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Faith as Addiction

In a week in which addiction is being much discussed, due to the sad death of talented actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, this article looks at faith as addiction. Reviewing Steve McQueen’s film Shame and written by a professor of religious studies, it tackles the idea that religious faith can be regarded as an addiction

S. Brent Plate is visiting associate professor of religious studies at Hamilton College. He is the author of Religion and Film: Cinema and the Re-Creation of the WorldBlasphemy: Art that Offends

 

Read | Neuromyths

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https://i0.wp.com/www.jhuapl.edu/newscenter/stories/images/MappingMind.jpg

We’ve all come across popular misconceptions concerning psychology and how the mind works. You’ll know doubt recognise some of the big ones:

Myth #1: We Only Use 10% of our Brains
Myth #2: It’s Better to Express Anger Than to Hold it in
Myth #3: Low Self-Esteem is a Major Cause of Psychological Problems
Myth #4: Human Memory Works like a Video Camera
Myth #5: Hypnosis is a Unique “Trance” State Differing
in Kind from Wakefulness
Myth #6: The Polygraph Test is an Accurate Means of Detecting Lies
Myth #7: Opposites Attract
Myth #8: People with Schizophrenia Have Multiple Personalities
Myth #9: Full Moons Cause Crimes and Craziness
Myth #10: A Large Proportion of Criminals Successfully use the Insanity Defense

This article from Skeptic.com explains why each of the myths above is false and uses peer reviewed scientific research to explain how.

On a related note there a number of myths about learning which are affecting how children are being taught. For example 93% of of UK teachers in a sampled in a survey  thought that “Individuals learn better when they receive information in their preferred learning style (e.g., auditory, visual, kinesthetic),” This view has no scientific basis and has been proved to be false.

This article from Sense about Science explains how Brain Gym, Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences have been disproven. Be sure to follow the links to the various research papers. Papers such as this one ‘Neuromyths in Education: Prevalence and Predictors of Misconceptions among Teachers’

Helpfully The Wellcome Trust and the Education Endowment Foundation have got to together to launch a £6million fund for research on the use of neuroscience in the classroom.

 

Read | The Secret Diary of Nina Simone

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http://longform.org/stories/I-Wish-I-Knew-How-It-Would-Feel-To-Be-Free

This article is about Nina Simone’s secret diaries kept by her ex-husband Andrew Stroud. Never previously released because he refused to talk to her biographer.

Through various diaries she wrote we can read her lucid and candid thoughts on various things, her marriage, friends and musical career. What is most striking throughout all of it is the honesty and eloquence with which she writes about her experience of depression, an undiagnosed condition at the time.

An insightful and often heartbreaking read of how an incredibly talented powerhouse of a woman  dealt with societies prejudices, artistic expression and sometimes crushing self-doubt.

Complement with two rare live performances from 1961-62

Read | Proust

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Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past is of course a classic text. Epic in length almost no one has actually read it. This doesn’t stop innumerable situations, works of art, encounters and anything else being described as Proustian.  Well now you can download and read all volumes of it for free thanks to www.openculture.com.

  • Swann’s Way
  • Within a Budding Grove
  • The Guermantes Way
  • Cities on the Plain
  • The Captive
  • The Sweet Cheat Gone
  • Time Regained

http://www.openculture.com/2013/11/free-ebooks-read-all-of-prousts-remembrance-of-things-past-on-the-centennial-of-swanns-way.html

 

Read | How long, not long – Harry Belafonte

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“What I did,” Belafonte says, “what made conscious political sense, was to say, ‘Let me have you love me because I will show you my deeper humanity.’” He beats out the “Banana Boat” rhythm on his desk. “If you like this song so much that I can engage you into singing it, delighting in it, I’ve sold you a people, a region, a culture. If you look more deeply into that region, that culture, those people, you’ll see a lot of things that have to do with oppression, with slavery. The song is a work song. It’s a protest song.” Calypso is Trinidadian music, derived from West African kaiso by slaves who used it to mock their masters. Belafonte tilts his head back, eyes half-closed, and opens his palms, becoming a Kingston dockworker. “ ‘I want to get home. I want to drink a rum. I want to get out from under.’”

Harry Belafonte is  an iconic actor, musician and activist. He also outsold Elvis. Read this fantastic interview about his life and struggle alongside his good friend Dr Martin Luther King Jr HERE

http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2013/fall/sharlet-belafonte

Truly inspirational.

Read | At the Judgement Seat: Faith and Wonder

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Killing the Buddha Site

This is an  article written by a woman who grew up an evangelical christian but then lost her faith in that religion. It’s insightful to read a first hand account of someone’s loss of faith. She calls for more stories of loss of faith that are beyond the well known reason overcoming faith explanation.

What if we had different kinds of stories of faith lost today, beyond the usual narrative of rationality trumping emotion?  What emotions would become possible then?  Awe—without the undergirding dogma of the evolutionary biologist or a purpose-driven God.  Gratitude—to nobody in particular.  An aliveness to a changeable and often uncertain world as it is, at this very moment.

It links to previous posts on the subject of Wonder and Awe.

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