Spock 'n' Sulu

“Tribal Malfunctions” – The Book. The Movie. The Video Game. The Dessert Topping.

Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.



Back in 1988 I had a weird idea for a book.

It involved a terrifying, smarmily benevolent corporation with a plan to kill the homeless with a fake Mars mission and a social inept protagonist and his hot asian girlfriend overthrowing the corporation’s undead vampire CEO.

In short, I predicted the Trump Presidential campaign.

Seriously, it was a weird story and I’d work on it on and off during the summer of ’88 when I could stand to sit down and write. See that was way back when as a lad that my ADD hadn’t been diagnosed and I found sitting still incredibly difficult. I filled a notebook or two with stuff then let that notebook shift into the background until it eventually perished in a flood.

But the germs of the idea remained.

A couple of years ago – 2009, maybe? – I decided to write a story about one aspect of it for kicks; this weird gang of guys who wore these strange heavy coast that bloated their weight to impossibly huge proportions. That story got some legs, people liked it and it even ended up in the Trust & Treachery anthology. How cool is that?

Then people asked if there was more to this world that just that story. I hemmed and hawed and said something about a novel begun in ’88 that provided its genesis and they asked where that was to which I replied something about aliens, the Lindbergh baby, Judge Crater and having to go call my mom. Finally, I got so tired of my own excuses and wrote an entire novel about these weirdoes in their suits and the women that loved them, among other things.

I finished that novel in early May of 2014 during a shit, shit shit time of my life. The last quarter of it was so bad that I considered quitting the writer’s life for good.  I left it alone for a couple years until someone pestered me about it and I picked it up and began to read it and… You know it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was.

I mean it wasn’t good but it wasn’t that bad.

So for the last few months I’ve been editing it during lulls at work when I have some time here and there. It’s the first time since I took up writing “perfesshunnaly” that I haven’t been able to devote the majority of time to revising and editing so I’ll be taking it slow. I’m hopeful that this process will allow me to create a really good novel that will contain everything I hope to put in it without being bloated, purple in prose and sack in nature.

We shall see.

The two templates I’m using for style and portrayal are pretty divergent but ultimately will work well together if I can pull it off.  One is Hubert Selby’s “Gangs of New York” which was made into a mediocre film by Scorcese which is not surprising given that the book has no real narrative and is really at best a catalogue of all the weird and wonderful fans of lower Manhattan during the time of the draft riots. It’s a rather insane book rich in detail which I think will be useful to consult when portraying the many gangs at play in the city of Boston in Tribal Malfunctions.

The other is the writing of William Gibson. I know, I know, I know. Yet another middle aged white male SF writer emulating another older, whiter male SF writer. But he’s become extraordinary lately, especially with  his most recent novel to date The Peripheral. He’s become a master of a very sparse, precise and deliberately dry style of writing that  allows a reader to fill in the gaps they find while maintaining the power of narrative. And the guy tackles friggin’ time travel in that which is about as hackneyed an SF concept as they come but he does it so well.

I figure if I can ingest the vibrant lunacy of Selby’s descriptions of the actions of gangs while employing the sparse selective words of Gibson’s prose I might be able to bring off what is really a completely insane idea for a novel that could easily tip over into a river of shit at any moment.

But the only way to find out is to write the damn thing, yeah?

So here goes. Expect to hear about its outcome sometime in Q4 of 2016.

Back to you, Nancy!


Spock 'n' Sulu

Igloo Magazine :: AUTECHRE :: Live @ 3S ArtSpace (Portsmouth, NH Oct-2015)

Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

An Autechre live show in 2015 is an almost indescribable event. Imagine, if you will, a hundred thousand metallic wasps swarming in the midst of a gathering

Source: Igloo Magazine :: AUTECHRE :: Live @ 3S ArtSpace (Portsmouth, NH Oct-2015)

My review of Autechre’s latest live run is up at Igloo. Check it out.  Man, what a show!

Spock 'n' Sulu

The Unreasonable: Voidstar Productions XXV Year Anniversary Compilation

Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

There’s a new cathode ray tube track on the compilation album “The Unreasonable: Voidstar Productions XXV Year Anniversary Compilation.”  It’s the herald of the new age of piano for CRT as I seem to be very interested in tickling the old ivories of late.

As it says in the blurb on the bottom of that page:

Reasonable people accept the world as it is, therefore all progress and innovation depends upon the unreasonable.

This is one of many philosophies that reflects Voidstar Productions approach to what we have done. A few examples of how this is reflected in our actions and history:

It would be reasonable to focus on music for commercial viability or academic art world grant worthiness, but instead we care about what stands out wether it is popular or not, has a pHd or is completely self educated and trained.

We could do the usual shows that have bands performing in the order of popularity with order and set times posted so that people can show up just on time for the one band they want to see and leave right after, but instead we work to create a beginning to end experience.

We could book bands to get a big draw that we have no interest in seeing ourselves, but we book shows that we want ourselves and all of the acts on our lineups to enjoy. We want people to come for what they know and leave with experiences that they are glad that they had from performers that they were unfamiliar with.

This compilation is another example of that. Most of these artists have an uncompromising vision of their own and a unique voice ranging from experimental noise to idm and trip hop, from furious dance music ranging from breakcore to rhythmic noise to ebm to worlds of experimentation that range from dark ambienet, death industrial and power electronics to music that defies easy marketing genre categorization. The acts on this compilation include most of the performers and several acts that we would have booked if we could have fit any more into the festival.

We hope that an over 3 hour arc of experience in a compilation is something that you will enjoy in the order it is presented in as well as the individual selections that include many previously unreleased tracks, versions and recordings.

Thank you for supporting Voidstar Productions efforts and we hope you are among those that get to experience our 25 Year anniversary first hand.

I am humbled and honored to be a part of this amazing compilation.


Spock 'n' Sulu


Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

It’s been so long since a man has posted that I’m surprised the blog didn’t get taken over by a C*H*E*AP*V*I*A*G*R*A merchant or something. Anyway I’m still alive.

It occurred to me I haven’t updated the three of you on various things I’ve been doing so here goes.

I’m currently enjoying my new slot as contributing editor at Igloo Magazine. They’re a great outfit and Pietro is the ox socks!  I’m digging all the music I get to listen to.  Looking forward to an interview soon with Robert Logan.

My album Exodus Partners is out and so far everyone seems to love it. I’m incredibly honored and amazed as I’m never sure how people will receive my music. I mean I love it because I made it and if it gets released then I must really like it. But peeps have been digging it and telling me so I must have really hit on something good!

I’m still writing. Currently enjoying a summer break though I began a novella in the wee hours of June. So far so good. It’s about my two favorite haulers from the CNK company. That means nothing to you now but maybe someday you will look back and say, “I knew that cryptic phrase meant something.”

I’ve got a metric sh*t tonne of stories that need revising before they can go out to submission land. And 3 are currently making the rounds of the pubs. I wish I had the time to work on them. Slowly slowly catchy monkey as they say…

LAST SPACESHIP TO BROOKLYN” is out and doing okay. It’d be nice to see sales of it go somewhere upwards. Hint hint.

The “Tribal Malfunctions” book is still sitting there gathering dust waiting to be cleaned up and sent to agents. The fact that it’s sat for a year and I haven’t been able to figure out how to fix the major plot problems is a concern.

That’s about it.  Rock on!



Spock 'n' Sulu

Saying ALL LIVES MATTER Is Tone Deaf As Fuck

Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

Dear Fellow White People:

When you see the words “Black Lives Matter” and your immediate reaction is to shout “ALL LIVES MATTER!” you reveal yourself as a member of an un-persecuted, ignorant majority, tone deaf to the suffering that has plagued black folks since their forced arrival here.

It is akin to walking into a cancer ward and shouting “HEART DISEASE MATTERS!” or seeing people starving and shouting “FAT LIVES MATTER!” or upon hearing about a woman being beaten or raped then shouting “MALE LIVES MATTER!” In fact I have yet to see anyone of Asian, Latin or other ethnicity barking those words (though I’m sure they are out there) precisely because they get it. They’ve been told, shown or forced to believe that their lives at some point don’t matter.

To the young officer who wrote “My Life Matters” on her hand: of course it does! No one is saying otherwise nor are they saying all cops are bad which is stupid if they are. We’re all just wondering why the good cops are staying silent when others commit atrocities and get away with it. Decades of racism and corruption have erupted in Baltimore and with good reason: people have had enough of not being protected as fully as the white, wealthier residents of the city. They’ve seen decades of the silent policy that their lives don’t matter due to the color of their skin.

Saying ALL LIVES MATTER demonstrates that neither you nor anyone you know has experienced the terror of being seen as not only a disposable human life but a nuisance as well, and one that must be eradicated and forgotten. As a 6’6″ white male I have never and will never experience racism nor the dread of wondering if my child will come home at night simply because of the color of their skin (I worry for another reason: because she is a young woman). But I see what’s happening in this country, I see the fear in my friends with their adopted black sons wondering what kind of world they’ll face and I know I’ve got it easy because of my coloring.

You help no one and only further the divide between all people, between police and the communities they are sworn to protect when you use the words ALL LIVES MATTER. Because of course they do. But what you don’t seem to realize is that not everyone believes that.

And a good portion of this country believes that the color of your skin determines if your life matters or not. And this must end now or no one will be free.

God help us all. Namasté!

Spock 'n' Sulu


Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

Because no one asked me to I’ve decided to do my top albums of 2014. So without further ado and in no particular order:

    1. TONIKOM – SEEKING THE LOST MIND:  I’ve been a big fan of Tonikom ever since hearing Stay a few years back. Her music has only gotten better and by better I mean weirder, darker and harder as fu(due). I am proud to have a remix by her on my EP.

    1. ANDY STOTT – FAITH IN STRANGERS: I’ve been a big fan of Andy Stott since a friend turned me on to him back in 2012 or 2011 I think. Since then his music has grown and developed in incredible ways.  His Boiler Room set is one of my favorite pieces of music to listen to when I write.  FIS is an incredible record showing him abandoning almost all the trappings of his last couple of albums and EP’s and doing some very new and interesting things: more vocals, song structure and live bass playing!

    1. PATTERN BEHAVIOR – SENTIENT: I am a proud member of the Component Recordings label. Among the many artists on this amazing, innovative label that I’ve come to know is the awesome Pattern Behavior which is made up of Raab Codec and Elizabeth Virosa. Their music ranges from dark ambient to some really powerful beat driven techno.

    1. JVOX – STRANGE UNIVERSE: This is another gem from the Component Recordings label this year. A truly weird and wonderful mix of beats and sounds, strange tales of aliens, UFO’s and the unbelievable. Seriously, it’s just good ass shaking music that’s sometimes creepy and sometimes funny as hell.

    1. BECK – MORNING PHASE: Somewhere on FB i read something from Pitchdork or Rolling Bone that said no good albums came out in 2014. Clearly no one was listening hard enough. Beck has been a favorite of mine since Sea Change came out and this album – a successor to Sea Change, according to Beck – is nothing short of amazing. It got me through a ton of bad shit this year and during the summer I listened to it every morning. Every. Morning.

    1. BEEF TERMINAL – CANADIAN PATENT: Here’s another cool Bandcamp find via Kent Williams. Great instrumental music from Canada. Dig in!

    1. DEADBEAT & PAUL ST. HILAIRE – THE INFINITY DUB SESSIONS: I am an incorrigible Deadbeat fanboy. Obsessed with the dub by techno he’s been doing for almost ten years. It only gets better. This album is a gorgeous collection of his music paired with the vocals of the sublime Paul St. Hilaire. Also something I listen to every day.

    1. FKA TWIGS – LP1: I caught a few of her tracks before this was released and was amazed that someone finally managed to pair soulful, sexy female vocals with crazy slow techno beats. This is another one that is an incredible record released on a major label that the major music mags ignored. Well, fuck them. She fucking rocks.

    1. SAVAGE REPUBLIC – AEGEAN:  back in the day I wanted to be a member of SR. They were the coolest of the cool. Kind of industrial but post punk, too. Glad to see they’re still rolling it out these days and still killing it.

    1. PILOT PRIEST – DARKNET: Another recent discovery of the last couple years is Pilotpriest. He’s put out some gems and Darknet is truly a soundtrack album. Very dark yet full of pretty elements while still broody.

So that’s what I dug for 2014. Keep listening in 2015, dig?


Spock 'n' Sulu


Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

Last month I played an awesome gig in Providence, RI. Heading up the bill was High Functioning Flesh with support by me, Tovarish and Pattern Behavior. Mandy Martini took some amazing pictures as did Luke Hoagwart.  Check them out!

My new name is Capt. Specialness Vonhandsomesong.
My new name is Capt. Specialness Vonhandsomesong.
Calling the crowd to order
Calling the crowd to order
Much beep we are having.
Much beep we are having.

Turn this button and it all goes SKRONK
Turn this button and it all goes SKRONK
Adjusting hat for better reception.
Adjusting hat for better reception.
At the controls...
At the controls…

Needs more swoosh.
Needs more swoosh.
Dark and contemplative.
Dark and contemplative.
A vision in video splash
A vision in video splash

Thank you and goodnight, space bitches.
Thank you and goodnight, space bitches.

Spock &#39;n&#39; Sulu


Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

My new album WELCOME TO GHOST COUNTRY is out.

As I wrote elsewhere:

“The last year of my life has been tumultuous on so many levels. I found myself broken and ruined, unsure if I could survive it – and worse – unsure if I wanted to during some dark points. The fabric of my life was ripped apart with little sign it could ever be repaired. I came to a point where I could rely only on the inalterable constants in my life to help me through this time, one of which is music. WELCOME TO GHOST COUNTRY is thesonic result of the journey in, out, through and beyond my experience.

Over the last year I’ve listened to the songs on this album more times than I can remember. I’ve composed, recorded, analyzed, distorted and worked over every second of every song for over a year, looking at waveforms on a glowing screen and listening to them in darkness. I’ve plagued friends and family with repeated listenings, begged advice on the album sequence from friends in the dead of night. I still don’t understand where the music on WELCOME TO GHOST COUNTRY has come from and I hope it moves you as much as it haunts me; this tour of unreal kingdoms and forbidden realms, what I consider my most intensely personal album to date.”

It’s free or pay what you want but it’s music to my ears if you pay at least $3.00 for it! How can you go wrong with over an hour of rock solid electronic soul plunging music.


WELCOME TO GHOST COUNTRY out now on Component Recordings

Spock &#39;n&#39; Sulu

Dear Canadian Synth Musician Lusting After Sweet vintage Analog Gear

Originally published at C H A N G S P A C E. Please leave any comments there.

Dear synthe4ever,

Man, I feel you on wanting one of these, dog! I’ve wanted a JP8 ever since I saw New Order use one in their first US show in New York (didn’t see it in person, saw it on VHS. Yeah, I’m old!).


If you think it looks awesome you should hear how it sounds!

Vintage Roland gear is pretty dang sweet. You can get all your VR ROMplers and soft-synths with algorithms up the kazzingus and still it won’t sound super-duper fat like a real hot JP8 under your fingertips.  I’ve played one in very good condition at my friends house and it was positively sexual – no joke.

Yeah, I’m a musician, too. Been playing for 30+ years (read: I am old). I’ve still got my first synth I inherited from my grandfather (Yamaha Ce-25) as well as the first synth I ever bought with money I earned mowing about 250 miles of lawns (Korg Poly-800ii).

Come to think of it, all the gear I have – from my lowly Boss DR660 to my beloved Roland SH-101 (Yeah, I love Roland gear but I have a pretty equal showing of Roland, Yamaha and Korg gear with a smattering of Alesis, too) – I’ve gotten by working sometimes up to three jobs at a time. And not all great paying ones.

In fact just about every musician I know (this goes from hobbyists to platinum selling artists; yeah, I know both kinds of musicians!) has worked hard to earn just about every piece of gear (including the guy who told me about your goFundme).

For instance: do you know Moby? Because I do. We went to high school together and were pretty good friends until he moved to New York and began to make it big there. I still see him once and a while but that’s beside the point. What I know is I remember when he was living in a crappy little studio apartment in Stamford, CT with cold water only and had a bunch of precious pieces of gear no one gave a crap about back in 1988.  Among these things were a TR-606, a TB-303 and a bunch of other pedals. Now we all know what happened to Moby and what that gear goes for these days. The guy’s got an amazing collection of gear plus some impressive gold and platinum albums he earned with that gear he got by working his ass off in a variety of jobs and then by his music.

Also the guy whose JP8 I played had a selection of gear I never thought I would see in my life.  From vintage analog synths to modular systems and digital monsters. Know how he got all of them? By working. Hard. A lot. All the time.  Some of those pieces would have gotten him a very nice car. Like a Range Rover, dude. Seriously!

Like I said I have a respectable amount of gear. And I love playing each piece for how they sound and especially because I’ve worked so hard to get them in my studio. My Juno 106 has about $2,000+ invested in it which is way above its market value. But I love it because it has that thick Roland sound you can’t get from anything else.

So just as that analog sound and feel is irreplaceable so is that feeling of knowing you worked hard to get the things you want.

Y’know synthe4ever, I’ve got to be honest: I cannot imagine asking people on the Internet for $7,000 to help me buy a synthesizer. Maybe it’s my age but this is the second instance where I’ve seen someone go begging  on the Internet for money for something that essentially really only benefits them.

Now I saw in your plea that you said music benefits everyone and I get that but honestly: do you really think by not giving anyone anything in return – not even a sticker or a thank you card – that they will give you any money just so they can buy one of your releases later and hold it in their hands feeling good about the fact that they paid you twice for something most people would reasonably expect to pay once for? Me I’ve got a hard time imagining that. But then I’m not Canadian.

synthe4ever, I may be old (I’m not sure how old you are from your videos), but throughout the ages I’m pretty sure musicians have wanted instruments from drums to Stradivarius violins to Roland Jupiter 8’s and realized the only way they’re going to get them is by either stealing them (which has its own risks that I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you about) or working hard and long enough to earn the money to buy the instrument in question.

In fact most of the people I’ve known in life – not just musicians – would be kind of shocked and offended if someone approached them either in person or on the Internet asking for donations to buy something for them that by all rights and reason they should be able to earn the money to buy it for themselves.

So I guess that’s what I’m ultimately saying here, synthe4ever, is that unless something is preventing you from working (you may have an illness, I don’t know) you might want to consider getting a job or another job or maybe two jobs so that you can make the $7,000 (is that Canadian dollars, by the way?) for the JP8.

Because I guarantee that the day you purchase it and receive it then plug it in and play it you will feel a far greater sense of ownership and achievement than if you went ahead and begged people to get you the $7,000 for it without giving them anything in return.

Good luck, synthe4ever!