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September 10, 2004


As I told the dudes at Pandagon recently, keep the writing enjoyable and you'll always have readers. In the case of legal issues, however, if you want a response keep the law terse and the policy vivid and I'm sure you'll have a whale of a discussion.

But note: Old Public Enemy fan, here.

They're still around, they played in Seattle last weekend.

Rock with The Coup, my friend.

I don't know about other people, but I am very interested in why it's possible to patent things like the gene for breast cancer. (Naturally occurring things, as opposed to e.g. the "oncomouse", which is a genetically engineered mouse and thus in some sense an 'invention'.) It's an interesting topic to us bioethicists, but since very few of us are patent lawyers, and we have been given to understand that patent law is unbelievably complicated and hard to understand w/o spending years and years getting up to speed, we are not nearly as well informed as we might be. However, since this is an area in which my professional interests intersect with yours, it might not be interesting to anyone else.

Music: Richard Thompson. He might just possibly be God.

Clarification: Richard Thompson is of course not indy hip-hop.

Did somebody say indy hip-hop?

As the Chemical Calisthenics sample says, "Here we go!"

If you like more jazzy/funk style stuff, I would start off by reccomending Kid Koala and Bullfrog. I haven't heard their latest CD, just out, but the first one (self-titled) is really good stuff. The "Reverse Pyschology" song in particular is really fun listening. Kid Koala's solo albums are a bit more, er, experimental; Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is the only one I've heard all the way through and while quirkily amusing, it can be tiring to listen to the whole way through if you're not really into turntabilism. Some of My Best Friends are DJs I gather is considerably more mellow, if you like down-tempo sort of stuff. Incidentally, Kid Koala: best live show I've ever seen. Hilarious stuff. He's been on a couple worthy Dan the Automator albums (Lovage, Deltron 3030) too.

I hear the latest Gift of Gab solo album, Fourth Dimensional Rocket Ship Going Up is good stuff, but still haven't heard it myself. Blackalicious' Blazing Arrow is a classic, if you haven't heard it yet by now, and the earlier Nia is pretty good too.

Aesop Rock has a bit of a harder edge than any of the previous mentions but I'll still plug him because I like his stuff so much. I would reccomend his earlier albums -- Labor Days and Float -- over the latest, Bazooka Tooth, which sounds a bit more mainstream in its cocky-rapper attitudes than his earlier, more introspective sort of work.

And, of course, there's RjD2; I've only heard a few songs off the latest cd, Since We Last Spoke, but his first solo album Deadringer was quite good in the DJ Shadow tradition, who you also should know.

Not sure if any of this is new or how much it escapes the early 90s, exactly, but these would be my top recommendations to start out with.

Oh yeah, and while I find myself liking the Shins too now (Natalie Portman is powerfully persuasive, what can I say), I think the Garden State group whose stuff I like the best is actually Zero 7.

Oh Dear God,

Don't tell me we're limited to writing about things we actually know something about. I doubt my daily rants about the sad state of contemporary collecting would generate much interest.

I think it's fine to offer opinions, with an open mind, and then defend or ammend them. Research helps make for a more lively debate, of course, but if you only post on RICO et al., you'll have an unfair advantage over the rest of us.

Discussion doesn't always require expertise. Hopefully some of us are willing to change our positions, and how will folks know those positions if we don't share them, regardless of how ill-informed they may be.

I'm only interesting in hearing about patent litigation if you do it as jazz-hop.

#1: I'd like to hear about civil RICO issues. I doubt many people really know that there is a private right of action under the law. But I'm a lawyer, so I'm not exactly unbiased here.

#2: I think pitchfork is as good a place to start as any, but I will say this: Don't believe the hype about The Streets. Seriously. I have no idea why this monotonic yobbo is getting such credibility. His beats are thin and uninteresting and the rhymes are just cringingly bad - "See I reckon you're about an 8 or a 9/Maybe even 9 and a half in four beers time/That blue top shop top you've got on IS nice/Bit too much fake tan though - but yeah you score high/But theres just one little thing thats really really,really really annoying me about you you see/Yeah yeah like i said you are really fit/But my gosh don't you just know it."

If you think that's really funny, buy the record. If you don't, well, get the new Dizzee Rascal or something.

A few suggestions and I'd second the Zero 7 recommendation above: Thievery Corporation is always good, The Mirror Conspiracy is classic. Savath & Savalas has 2 very good albums.

If you're feeling a bit more adventuresome, I'd recommend Prefuse 73.

If you're looking for more of a pop sound, minus the hip hop, similar to the Shins--checkout Silkworm's Lifestyle album recorded in about 2000. Fiery Furnaces are very interesting, if not quirky.

ditto MC on "Garden State" great movie, great music.

Man, von, I saw your post and I was all, "The Shins have a new album out? Again? Damn!" And then I see that it's last year's album out again. Behind the times, man! Behind the times! For my money - which is not much as I do not have much money - the best album so far this year has been McLusky's "The Difference Between Me And You Is That I Am Not On Fire." But I do very much enjoy the Shins.

I would actually love to hear about patent litigation stuff. The whole broad swath of intellectual property whatsis is an issue I'm interested in, affected by, and vastly underinformed in.

While not being necessarily as much of a Jazz-Hiphop fan as I would like to be, I can suggest that if you like The
Shins -- and haven't done so already -- you should check out The Decline of British Sea Power.

Having said that, if Thievery Corporation are Jazz Hiphop, maybe I am a fan? Personally, I have them classed as chilled lounge funk, but maybe that's just me. What about Nuspirit Helsinki?

The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

From the 90's. Thoughtful and intelligent like PE.


Patent reform is something that I'm very interested in - as nearly everyone thinks patents have gone too far, but no one seems to be able to offer much more than a "I know it when I see it" kind of standard. I am a bit terrified that in a few years, because of patents, there won't be any legitimate business left for entrepreneurs.

"Clarification: Richard Thompson is of course not indy hip-hop."

No, but it's an entertaining picture.

Is a "thougt" akin to a "nougat"?

"...Patent litigation or RICO issues?"

Fascinating issues can arise, in which case, yes. Per se, no.

"I'm a bit tempted to start posting on things that I know something about, rather than spounting off on ill-informed rants."

That's just wack. (Without regard to the "spounting" thing.)

"...you are also free to tell me to shut the f__ up "in the general sense.")"

I am, but I have no desire to.

There's almost no way to say this without sounding sarcastic, von, but I'd love to read anything about patent litigation you'd care to write.

Writing about complex legal issues for lay audiences can be a bitch, but think of it as good practice for telling a judge about your case.

good writing is almost always enjoyable, despite the topic. if we're bored you won't get any comments.

Check out Lyrics Born, Later That Day. And he's not indy hip-hop, but for my money you pretty much can't go wrong with MC Solaar. Prose Combat is my favorite of his albums, but Cinquième As rocks too.

And lemme chime in on the Thievery Corporation love. I only have The Richest Man in Babylon and The Outernationalist Sound, but at this point it's just a matter of time before I own everything they've done.

Oh, and don't listen to st about The Streets. A Grand Don't Come for Free isn't as good as Original Pirate Material, but it's still better than 99% of the stuff out there.

Madvillian, Madvilliany. Its structure is not unlike the Wu-Tang Clan's Enter the 36 Chambers, but with 40s and 50s movie soundtracks instead of kung-fu soundtracks as the sonic jumping-off point. It lacks the colorful mix of personalities of the Wu-Tang Clan, but it's much, much more consistent, and doesn't have the same brutal edge. The producer, Madlib, changes gears so often that there's no time to get tired of a musical theme before it's gone. It's the rare, rare record that I listened to three times in its entirety just after I got it.

I always thought that Black Sheep's A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing was an underrated masterpiece. Just a terrific party album. Not recent and not independent.

Iron and Wine is an almost supernaturally gifted songwriter; his songs sound like they've been sung for a hundred years. I don't like very much soft, gentle music, but I like that.

Hmm. . indy hip-hop.
MC Frontalot is indier than thou. He even has a song about it.

I know you're specifically requesting to get out of the 90's, but I'll never get over Dan the Automator. Particularly Handsome Boy Modeling School.

Thank you very much for all your comments; looks like a trip to the record store is in order. And mayhaps a post on patent matters in the next few days -- if, per Farber a suitable topic presents itself.

FYI -- We represent a couple significant drug and medical device manufacturers (full disclosure for when I touch on biological/bioethical issues).

Sidereal, well count me towards those triple digit fans now.. MC Frontalot is pretty freakin' hilarious. Kind of reminds me of MC Paul Barman.. good stuff.

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