Dhalgren (1974), Samuel R. Delaney - Yup, still reading Dhalgren. Finished it over the some and have been reading it again from the beginning. This book is a SONG! The language just flows and it is paced so hypnotically. I really can't recommend this book enough.
Cunt: A Declaration of Independence (1998), Inga Muscio - Whoa. Radical feminism written in a take no prisoners zine influenced language that bites, cuts, sings and soars. Part etymology of the word Cunt (it was originally a highly positive female-power word), part women's health how-to, partly a cry for social justice, this book hops around a lot but does so seamlessly, and with a passion and intensity that makes you stay right there with her. Inga doesn't bullshit around, and parts of this book made me a bit uncomfortable. But in the good kind of way that makes white males like myself realize exactly what kind of power we exert in this society. This book rocks!
A People's History of the United States, Howard Zinn - Finally got around to reading this, have been slowly picking through it. This is really well written radical (read REAL) History that digs up the dirt on history and rearranges all your dumbass highschool textbooks. Not so much a comprehensive history as a series of essays illuminating specific topics in American history: the origins of the slave trade, how Columbus enslaved, raped and pillaged entire indigenous people's in his search for gold, and the stories of war resisters of all stripes. A great introduction to the real history of the US, and a well needed supplement to the largely jingoistic and nationalist histories that are taught in high school and reinforced through endless television documentaries and newspaper summaries.
Burt Bacharach Plays His Hits, Burt Bacharach
mountains, mary timony (2000)
Immaculate Collection (1990) and Bedtime Stories (1994), Madonna
Secret World Live, Peter Gabriel (1996)
Thriller, Michael Jackson (1984)
Ground Zero Plays Standards, Ground Zero (1997)
Have a Little Faith, Bill Frisel (1993)
So as you can see been listening to a lot of pop stuff lately. Got a band together right now which is doing instrumental arrangements of pop tunes, stuff by Michael Jackson, Peter Gabriel, Madonna and Burt Bacharach. Tony Levin's bass playing on Secret World Live is just stellar, some of the best pop bass playing I've ever heard, real enthusiastic and bubbly.
I've been taking my inspiration for the arrangements from Otomo Yoshihide's incredible "Ground Zero Plays Standards" where he reworks a few of the pop songs from his youth into soaring instrumental noise-punk-free jazz epics. Bill Frisell's covering of American composers "Have a Little Faith" is also very inspiring to listen to, to hear him get to the very heart and soul of songs by Madonna and Bob Dylan, and bring them out in a improvised context.
I've also been just dumbfounded by Dave Douglas' latest album, Witness. He creates this amazing blend of strings, electronics, jazz soloists and rhythm. Each song is a slightly fractured gem, and take a little while to get used to, but repeated listening reveals a lot of amazing stuff going on. Also, his inspiration for the pieces are various radical activists from around the world, and he's inspired me to do more political writing for this experimental band I'm working with now.
Just discovered Refused this summer, great hardcore band with political lyrics and a tendency to experiment with samples and electronics. Really rockin' shit.