90’s cheese-dance: a retrospective

Posted: November 25, 2010 by undergroundfisherman in Music, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Remember all those tunes in underage discos? Sandstorm, Maniac 2000? Imagine if someone came out with songs like that now, how would it go down in today’s club scene, where most of the tunes are average to say the least. It’s weird to listen to these “classics” again, out of their original context.

Bomfunk MC’s – Freestyler

This was released in 1999, and 11 years on,it’s got 8.2 million views on Youtube! Nostalgia for shite is human nature I suppose. It wasn’t bad at the time but it sounds completely different now, the clothes, hair, everything. 

Delerium – Silence

Another one from roughly the same era, I remember this being top of the dance charts on Top 30 Hits for weeks on end 

Mark McCabe – Maniac 2000

At the time, I really didn’t realise how cheap and shitty the whole song/video/location was. Amazingly catchy, but desperate stuff altogether.  YEAH YEAH FUNKY YEAH!

Darude – Sandstorm

A classic of this era, it is actually pretty good, but it got so overplayed it lost all its impact (what you might call Seven Nation Army Syndrome), and in fairness, an amazing 16 million people can’t be wrong! 

Anyone see this song as a precursor to a certain modern-day floorfiller?… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V775PPuBc7Y

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Cool Tunes for Cool People

Posted: October 25, 2010 by undergroundfisherman in Music
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Right, so next time someone asks you “what kind of music are you into?” just mention any one of these artists and they will definitely ride you… if that’s what you want.

Ikonika

This girl makes great music, who'da thunk it?

Electronica has been dominated by men from day one, and girls are especially few and far between in the field of electro/future dubstep. This hasn’t stopped Ikonika from becoming one of the coolest new artists to emerge from the last year or so. Glitchy, wobbly, relaxing and stimulating all at the same time… 

Tame Impala

You can never go wrong with a bit of low-key psychedelia, and these Australian lads hit the nail on the head when they released their debut album, Innerspeaker, earlier this year. 

Deerhunter

OK, they’re a bit sad and whiny for my tastes, but this post is all about name-dropping cool artists… Deerhunter released this new album, Halcyon Digest, recently, go check it out if you’re into this kinda thing. 

Jamie Vex’d

Jamie Vex'd - A cool bastard

We’ve covered Flying Lotus, Joy Orbison (I think) and Mount Kimbie already on Universalgrassroots, and if you like them, you’re going to love Jamie Vex’d – another pioneer of experimental, trippy electronica which is hard to put into a tangible category of its own.

Yeasayer


Hit the scene at the very beginning of the whole “Brooklyn” thing. (97% of all new bands are now from Brooklyn according to a poll I just made up) and most of the artists that came after them happened to be pale imitators of their look and sound… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKXujEphWS8

…. except for TV on the Radio also from Brooklyn, equally cool, but a totally different vibe altogether. 



Good gravy its Gravity!

Posted: October 19, 2010 by fonnaguschakra in Science
Tags: , , , , , ,

Gravity…without it stars wouldn’t be born, matter wouldn’t clump together to

This picture taken 20 July, 1969, of astronaut Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. walking on the surface of the moon near the leg of the Lunar Module (ML)

create the planets and we wouldn’t be here to wonder at its usefulness. It’s the reason the planets stay in their orbits and don’t fly off into space and is responsible for the formation of tides. But what is it?

Well for one thing, it’s a lot more interesting than some might think.

Gravity is created by everything in the universe that has mass. That means me, you, the earth, the moon, the sun, and so on. Of course our gravity is very small; the strength of the gravity is related to the mass of the object so for us the earth is the most immediate thing gravity wise. Interestingly gravity is never actually felt directly by either a person or an object. Only the forces that resist gravity, or act apart from it, can be felt by people, or measured by accelerometers. The sensation and force of weight (such as the force of the ground pushing upward on the feet) are the result of these forces.

A more technical definition of Gravity goes as follows: Gravity is one of the four fundamental interactions of nature along with the strong nuclear force (which holds quarks and atomic nuclei together), the weak nuclear force (which causes radioactive decay), and the electromagnetic force (which is responsible for all the phenomena you encounter every day, except gravity). It used to be called a ‘force’ but since Einstein’s theory of relativity it is more properly referred to as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime.

Gravity used to be called a ‘force’ because of Isaac Newton’s theories on the motion of objects and universal gravitation which were all to do with force, mass, velocity and all those other really important but really boring mathematical equations. Basically Newton’s realization was that every massive particle in the universe attracts every other massive particle with a force which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. As a result his theory of motion and theory of universal gravitation explained the movement of the planets and became Newton’s Laws and his calculations are still in use today. Without them there would have been no moon landing!

But enough with the history you say, tell me something I can use as pub talk with me mates. Well I hear ya so here goes;

A common misconception to do with gravity is to say that astronauts experience

Astronauts experiencing weightlessness inside a 'vomitcomet' - a fixed winged aircraft which essentially nosedives to give the astronauts the experience of free fall

zero gravity when in orbit on a spacecraft but this is not so. The astronauts are actually experiencing ‘weightlessness’ because they are travelling at approximately 25,000 km/h around the earth.

The space journalist James Oberg wrote: “The myth that satellites remain in orbit because they have “escaped Earth’s gravity” is perpetuated further (and falsely) by an almost universal misuse of the word “zero gravity” to describe the free-falling conditions aboard orbiting space vehicles. Of course, this isn’t true; gravity still exists in space. It keeps satellites from flying straight off into interstellar emptiness. What’s missing is “weight”, the resistance of gravitational attraction by an anchored structure or a counterforce. Satellites stay in space because of their tremendous horizontal speed, which allows them — while being unavoidably pulled toward Earth by gravity — to fall “over the horizon.” The ground’s curved withdrawal along the Earth’s round surface offsets the satellites’ fall toward the ground. Speed, not position or lack of gravity, keeps satellites in orbit around the earth.” http://www.jamesoberg.com/myth.html

It is important to note then that when astronauts are hopping around on the moon it is not because there is no gravity, it is because the moon is much less dense than the earth and so has much less mass and therefore pulls with much less gravity. When compared with denser bodies that have a similar volume the moon’s gravitational field may be seen as relatively weak but it still has one.

There is of course so much more to write about this such as; is there such thing as zero gravity?, what is a vacuum?, is anti-gravity possible?, what’s quantum gravity? and what’s the speed of gravity? but there is a lot to take in so for now here’s an interesting thought from Universe Today: “The pull of gravity on the Moon is so low that you could actually fly with wings attached to your arms (as long as you were inside an enclosed dome filled with air at the Earth‘s atmospheric pressure. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to fly around like a bird?” http://www.universetoday.com/19710/gravity-on-the-moon/

It’s been a season of Mersey misery so far, with both Liverpool and Everton making horrible starts, the Toffees eased some of this pressure today, but Liverpool limped to another defeat at the hands of their nearest and most bitter rivals.  So, with Roy Hodgson’s side now lying second from bottom in the table, we ask what exactly went wrong?

Defensively, Liverpool had been hesitant and disorganised, with Paul Konchesky and Jamie Carragher playing either side of Martin Skrtel and Sotirios Kyrgiakos. None of these four were able to really effectively take charge and contain the threat of the lively presence of Yakubu and Tim Cahill. Everyone stood off Seamus Coleman as he burst into the box for the first goal, leaving Cahill with an easy finish.

In midfield, while Mikel Arteta was pulling the strings for Everton, Liverpool were relying on Raul Meireles and Lucas to put tackles in and break up the play, but could never distribute the ball to Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Maxi Rodriguez or Fernando Torres, none of whom were able to realise their potential in a disappointing first half. When we look at the quality that is undoubtedly in this Liverpool side, we really have to wonder why Roy Hodgson cannot get  the best out of them. The Everton back-line were never threatened in the first half, and remained on top all the way to half-time.

 

Another dismal result for Hodgson

 

One real problem is that the frustration they have already felt in previous games this year has started to seep into the psyche of practically every Anfield soul, an early example of this was when Jamie Carragher completely lost the rag with Torres after playing a pass down the right wing to the Spaniard. Carragher seemed to forget that by playing a pass down the wing to his lone forward, he was leaving his side with no attacking options in the box – tactics seem to have fallen by the wayside, replaced by bickering and wayward attacking ideology. The disinterested figure of Torres was in stark contrast to Yakubu at the other end, who put himself about and used his strength to torment the visitors’ shaky rearguard.

Coming out a goal down at the intimidating Goodison Park, with their New England Sports Ventures executives looking on, the Reds knew the next 45 minutes  would be crucial to their season, and the opening signs were promising, with Rodriguez testing Tim Howard with an early shot, but four minutes later, more slack defending from a corner allowed Arteta to rifle a shot past Pepe Reina to put them two goals clear. There was little doubt Roy Hodgson had do to something to try to scrape something from the game. His only attacking options on the bench were Ryan Babel and David N’Gog, both underwhelming to say the least, but surely they couldn’t be any worse than what was out there? Everton held 80% of the possession for the opening ten minutes of the second half, and were still very much on top.

It became increasingly apparent that the Reds had never found an adequate replacement for Xabi Alonso; in Meireles and Lucas, Hodgson was using two men to do the job that Alonso used to do on his own, and far more capably too. Joe Cole and Rodriguez continued to provide no support whatsoever for Torres, and Tim Howard remained a spectator for much of the second half.

 

N'Gog - ineffective as ever

 

N’Gog came on, did nothing. Babel came on for Cole with just 11 minutes to go, and Jovanovic with six minutes remaining, why wait so long? They had been 2-0 down since the 49th minute. With stray passes and tiring legs hampering any chance of a comeback, and chants of “you’re going down” following them around Goodison, it was a miserable day for the Anfield club. There is little doubt that someone somewhere would be able to devise an effective playing system and starting XI for Gerrard and Co. but right now, Roy Hodgson has a long way to go before he finds that winning formula. Although all logic suggests that they won’t fulfill the Everton fans’ prophecy and get relegated, that same logic does seem to say that mid-table is as good as they can expect from this season.

Alexander the Great?

He’s almost untouchable in terms of criticism, actually knighted by the queen for his services to the game and for the last 24 years has managed to keep his club right at the top of international standards, but with recent poor results and unconvincing transfer buys Alex Ferguson’s recent decisions have to be at least analysed, if not called into question.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Ferguson and he is for me probably the best of our generation at least but there seems to be a kind of apprehension by football analysts and journalists to criticize Fergie, and perhaps understandably so. Winner of the premier league 11 times, the F.A. Cup 5 times, the League Cup 4 times, the Community Shield 9 times, the Champions League twice, the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and FIFA Club World Cup once each, the trophy’s are there as proof of his worth and it can be difficult to argue against them.

But its interesting to note how the signing of Portuguese striker Bébé was written about as

United's newest signing Bébé

a Cinderella story rather than the major £7.4 million gamble that it really was. According to the Manchester United official website Fergie didn’t even view the player but instead admitted it was an impulse decision to sign the player, following advice from the club’s scouts in Portugal and by former Reds’ assistant manager Carlos Queiroz. Of course the Man Utd website doesn’t note how soon after Bébé’s arrival he was struggling to even get on the reserve team and hasn’t really shown the promise the Red Devil’s scouts have promised he would.

But then again it has been a major change for the young player and perhaps he hasn’t had time to ‘settle’, as the old excuse seems to go. But there are plenty of other recent signings Fergie has made that have had their chance to settle such as the Da Silva brothers, Gabriel Obertan, Michael Owen, and Owen Hargreaves. Hargreaves alone cost United £17 million in 2007, how much in medical expenses has he cost them since then? Fergie has probably got his worth out of Michael Owen however, seeing as he got him on a free transfer and he has scored 12 goals in 37 appearances. But there was a reason none of the top clubs could be bothered paying his salary; simply because he’s getting older and prone to injury. Gabriel Obertan is meant to be an attacking winger/striker but in only 14 appearances since joining in July 2009 for reportedly £3 million the French player has managed zero goals and is now, you probably guessed, injured. The Da Silva brothers Raphael and Fabio have also failed to really play to the standards that are required of Manchester United defenders. A lack of positional play seems to be there main problem, getting sucked towards the ball and a lack of awareness of the opposing striker’s runs, traits barely good enough for the Manchester United reserve team never mind playing in Champion league matches.

It is easy to think that these players are young and to give Ferguson the benefit of the

Hernandez - probably Fergie's most promising buy since Rooney

doubt considering his record but when you look at other players around the same age as these it becomes a little clearer that they are under performing. Gareth Bale has won four different young player of the year awards since 2007 and has excelled for Tottenham Hotspur but no attempt was made by any of Fergie’s scouts to sign him even though he is the same age as Obertan, has already scored more goals than him, set up countless goals and isn’t prone to injury. How could a player like that be overlooked by these world class scouts? Are they too busy scouting in Portugal for the likes of Bébé or Brasil for the next Da Silva brothers? The 22 year old Mexican Javier Hernandez is the only recent buy that Fergie has made that looks promising. Two goals in 7  matches and a good performance in the World Cup have impressed onlookers and worried defenders making him look a great prospect for the club.

But another way you could look favorably at Fergie’s signings and think highly of him is to

Rooney - United's biggest shirt seller

note how he refuses to buy ‘shirt sellers’ like other major European clubs do. The likes of Real Madrid and even now Barcelona seem hell bent on buying the biggest name so they can stick his name on their shirt. The transfers of Thiery Henry and David Beckham to American Major League Soccer seem to be solely for this reason. And if you think that this might be a bit far-fetched an example is Rooney’s recent decision to try to increase his salary from £100,000 to £170,000 a week because he is the clubs biggest shirt seller even though he is completely under performing, not to mention already a millionaire.

Whether Fergie manages to get his team out of the bit of a mess they are in now looks to me to be his greatest test. The way they are playing now reminds me of the way Liverpool were playing about 3 years ago, getting by just because they believed they should win not because they were good enough to actually win. But as the poor results mount up that winning mentality which is so crucial for the top teams begins to fade and all sorts of other troubles mount up as well. So how Sir Alex will fair this season remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure, its still hard to bet against him.

Since its been a while since I’ve had time to post up anything on this here blog I though I’d put up some of the tunes that seem to be making the most noise on blogs and elsewhere on the internet. So here they are;

Ratatat

Nightmares On Wax

The Black Keys

Aeroplane

Pretty Lights

Caribou

Magnetic Man – Of course I had to stick in the lastest helping from the heavyweights of Dubstep, Skream, Benga and Artwork to show the direction these guys have decided to bring a more mainstream kind of dubstep, wankers.

After Liverpool’s disappointing 0-0 draw at St Andrew’s this weekend, and Villa’s last-minute defeat at the hands of Stoke, we can see there is a real air of uncertainty around both clubs, but are they really in a state of decline, or just transition?

‘Pool Predicament

Assessing the draw against Birmingham, the Irish Independent carried the headline “What’s wrong with Torres?,” but really, Roy Hodgson’s men have many more problems than just their misfiring Spaniard. Money has been a huge issue for a few years now, with unpopular American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett coming under serious pressure to step down. There seemed to be light at the end of the tunnel when Chinese businessman Kenny Huang showed an interest in buying the club, but that deal has since fallen through. The real problem, however, lies in the lack of top-quality personnel at the club.

Benitez - Under fire from old foe Mourinho

Even Roy Hodgson, who had received so much praise for guiding Fulham to a Europa Cup final with meagre resources, could not have imagined the extent of the challenge he now faces at Anfield. The squad he has inherited from Rafa Benitez is weak in every area of the pitch, and they simply don’t have the money to put it right. In a recent interview, Jose Mourinho fired a parting shot at his successor as Inter coach, saying Benitez had effectively reduced the Liverpool setup to mere also-rans, saying “It is very difficult for Roy to do it with Liverpool as, over the last few years, they have been getting worse, worse and worse. The Liverpool of 2004 was better than the Liverpool of 2005, 2005 was better than 2006 and 2006 better than 2007.” Strong words indeed, and it’s worth noting that he and Rafa did not always see eye-to-eye, but as The Special One himself says of Hodgson’s new squad; “he needs time and it’s not easy because I don’t think they went in the right direction.”

Mourinho is justified in this statement when we look at the kind of players Benitez has brought in over the last few years. Nabil El Zhar, Ryan Babel, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Alberto Aquilani, Philipp Degen and Emiliano Insua have all been costly flops, with Aquilani standing out as one of the worst purchases of the decade. The midfielder, who was supposed to fill the boots of the influential Xabi Alonso, is now back in Italy, on loan to Juventus after making absolutely no impression on the Premier League.

The rare sight of Aquilani in a Liverpool jersey

In fact, the sale of Alonso was a real turning-point in the club’s fortunes. They came 7th in their first season without him, and seem to have bought not one, but two players – Christian Poulson and Raul Meireles – to replace him. Whether either can combine with Steven Gerrard in the way the Spaniard did remains to be seen, but it seems unlikely. Both of these new recruits are dogged, holding midfielders, so it seems unlikely that they will have the same passing vision or guile in the final third of the pitch.

On top of this, the free signing of Joe Cole this summer already seems to have been a typically disappointing Liverpool venture. Cole hasn’t hit anything close to his best form since his West Ham days, and that wasn’t today or yesterday. Lucas, Dirk Kuyt, Milan Jovanovich and Maxi Rodriguez make up the rest of their underwhelming midfield. So, when Torres and Gerrard are playing badly, which they have been for quite some time, where can they turn to for inspiration? Martin Skrtel?

So, what about Villa?

With Gerard Houllier taking over this week, can we expect to see more of the same inconsistent Aston Villa, who can lose 6-0 to Newcastle and then beat Everton a week later?

Marc Albrighton is one of many exciting young Englishmen who Villa have produced in recent times

There’s no doubt they’ve had a strange start to the season, but, had they beaten Stoke last night (13th Sept), they would have gone into third place. Under Martin O’Neill, they had developed a young, home-grown and exciting squad of players, who had performed consistently well for the last few seasons. Gabriel Agbonlahor, Ashley Young, Stephen Warnock, Stuart Downing are all vying for places in the England squad, while the young Marc Albrighton has been one of the revelations of the season so far. There is little doubt they have quality, but the sale of James Milner to Manchester City (who will be one of their closest rivals come May) sent the club into disarray, and Martin O’Neill was next out the door.

O'Neill arguably quit when the going got tough at Villa Park

While O’Neill’s frustration at not being able to use the Milner money to fund new signings was understandable, they did recruit a suitable replacement in Stephen Ireland, who is only one step behind Milner in terms of quality. The fact is, compared to Hicks and Gillett, Villa’s very own American chairman, Randy Lerner, is quite a reasonable, unobtrusive kind of guy, who seems to have the interest of the club at heart. O’Neill should have stayed, and while Houllier will relish the challenge put in front of him, it could be difficult to build upon last season’s sixth place in the current climate.

Money is power in the Premiership these days, and while Roberto Mancini’s Man City have yet to hit top form, there can be little doubt they will be fighting it out for a top-four finish. Spurs, Arsenal and Everton all have stronger squads than Villa, and we may even see Fulham or Birmingham fighting it out for the Europa League spots. So, can Villa get in there again this year? The answer is yes, but it will be a lot harder than before, and a real test of Houllier’s abilities as a coach.