Hey City Zen of 2019

Did I travel in 2019! Still another great year for music! I am sure I missed really great stuff, but here is the best City Zen of the year that made my radar. Top 30 Albums, Top 100 Tracks, Top 26 Remixes/Edits (from E-Trash's DJ sets), and Live albums. The top tracks and remixes areassembled in a Spotify List as well.

Top 30 Albums of 2019

There are definitely 5 albums that stood above for, consistency, innovation or surprise, and which I listened the most to (alphabetically):

The Chemical Brothers - No Geography
Crazy P - Age of the Ego
Lana Del Rey - Norman Fucking Rockwell!
Billie Eilish - When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Thom Yorke -Anima

The other 25 alphabetically:

!!! - Wallop
Lena d'Água - Desalmadamente
ÁTOA - Sem Medos
James BlakeAssume Form
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Ghosteen
Channel TresBlack Moses#
Charli XCX - Charli
Chico da Tina- Minho Trapstar
Leonard Cohen - Thanks for the dance
Folamour - Ordinary Drugs
Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy
Michael Kiwanuka - Kiwanuka
Kraak & Smaak - Pleasure Center
Madonna - Madame X
Metronomy - Metronomy Forever
Missy ElliotIconology#
Rhye- Spirit
Mark Ronson- Late Night Feelings
RY X - Unfurl
Sault - 5
Ed Sheeran - No6 Collaborations
Sleater-KinneyThe Center won't Hold
Underworld Drift Series*

#EP, but with more great tracks than most albums.
*A large series of tracks released in time, more like a box set, really.

Best Reissue of 2019

Prince - Originals

Not so much a reissue, but Prince's originals of famous tracks he wrote form other people. Amazing talent.

Best Live Albums of 2019

The best live show of the year was definitely Christine and the Queenfor me (at Super Bock Super Rock).

But in terms of records, two stood out:

David Byrne - American Utopia on Broadway
Ney Matogrosso - Bloco na Rua

Top 100 Tracks of 2018

The best way to display this is via a Spotify list which also includes the remixes below (in no particular order):

Top 26 Remixes and Edits of 2019

So many great remixes and edits this year. There were definitely 6 above the rest, which took the original into another place of excellence. All remixes, edits and mashups below elevate the originals either into a whole different place, a distilled essence, or simply make it work so well on the dance floor.  It is great when a track has two great lives, which is a remix at its best:

Jorge Ben & Caetano Veloso- Salve Simpatia (Ive Brussel Jkriv Rework)
Dino d'Santiago- Nova Lisboa(Moullinex Remix)
Letrux - Flerte Revival (SJ Zé Pedro & Marco AS Remix)
ABBA - The Visitors (Mighty Mouse’s Edit For Jim)
Fred Pallem & Le Sacre du Tympan - L'Odyssée (Yuksek Remix)
Mark Ronson featuring Yeabba - Don't you leave me lonely(Purple Disco Machine Remix)

The remaining awesome remixes alphabetically:

Change - Make Me (Go Crazy) (OPOLOPO Remix)
The Chemical Brothers - Got to keep On (Riton Remix)
Noel Gallagher - Black Star Dancing (The Reflex Revision)
Childish Gambino - This Is America (Todd Terry, Louie Vega & Kenny Dope Remix)
Hercules & Love Affair featuring ANOHNI - Raise me up (Hercules 2019 Remix)
Jax Jones with years & Years - Play (Purple Disco Machine Remix)
Jkriv featuring Adeline - Vertigo (Joey Negro Spirit of 78 Mix)
Jungle - Heavy, California (Gerd Janson MPC Translation)
Kraak & Smaak - Sweet time (Yuksek Remix)
Anna Lunoe - 303 (Flava D Remix)
Shawn Mendes featuring Camila Cabello - Senorita (Barry Harris extended  "Chillin' in Ibiza'' Club remix)
Ben Pearce featuring Tayla - Fireproof (Ten Ven Remix)
Pongo - Kuzola (20Syl Remix)
The Prodigy - We Live Forever (Teddy Killerz Remix)
Robyn - Beach2k20 (Yaeji Remix)
Robyn - Between the lines (The Black Madonna Remix)
RY X - Body Sun (Claptone Remix)
Sister Sledge- We are Family (Dr Packer's Multi Track Mix)
Sting & Shaggy - Just one Lifetime (Dave Audé Remix)
The Vision featuring Andreya Triana Heaven (Mousse T.'s Disco Shizzle Remix)

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After dropping the 1982 playlist, my cousin Gabriel, with whom I DJ occasionally, argued that the "best" year for music is always the one we came alive musically. Since he is a few years older, 1979 is his year. I think there is some truth to that, though I could think of ways to test if all years are equal---number of cover songs in latter years, sales of albums from each year in subsequent decades, genesis of new genres, etc... Be it as it may, 1979 was a fantastic year. I was little, but remember its hits at the time from my older brother Jorge and Gabriel himself, and many others I learned later via my wife who loves 70s music and gave me the best book about it (Love comes to Buildings on Fire)---"we are family" came out in 1979, after all. So Gabriel (DJ Gabe) and I (E-Trash) had a great time curating this new playlist for your enjoyment, even if very hard to select only 100 tracks! Enjoy the 1979 good times!

* Yes, a couple of the tracks are from albums that came out in 1978, but were really hits in 1982.

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I love music from everywhere in the space-time-genre continuum. I think 2019 has produced amazing music, as did 1966. Still, of all the years I have experienced music, I believe 1982 was the best year ever. So many eternal albums came out that year, from Laurie Anderson's Big Science to ABC's The Lexicon of Love (yes, Michael Jackson dropped Thriller and Prince dropped 1999 that year as well, and even Roxy Music came back from Avalon). Maybe it was a year I especially came alive to music, or maybe it was the wind that blew from the UK, or that Blade Runner came out that year as well, I don't know. But 1982 was vintage, as shown by how many of its songs keep getting covered. Anyway, here is a playlist with 6090 tracks from 1982*. There could easily be another 60 90 or 600 even 1982 (if I had the time to curate). But here are my 60 90. Enjoy and party like it's 1999 in 1982.

* Yes, a couple of the tracks are from albums that came out in 1981, but all at the very end of 1981, and so were really hits in 1982.

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Soy Yo! Love Will Find a Way

During the last Riot Bootique parties in Bloomington I have been playing with new gear and mixing 4 tracks at the same time (including ripping off Purple Disco Machine a little). Here are parts of sets from April and May with some of those experiments, errors and all. Overall a feel good set emphasizing the diversity of self that makes us all up. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next Fall, DJ Angst will keep the flame alive during the summer in Bloomington, while E-Trash will be grooving in Lisbon. Tracklist and podcast below. Soy Yo! Love Will Find a Way is also available on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).

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Natural Art Individuals

I first got a hold of Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae in Binghamton (Camille Paglia went there as undergraduate and I went there for my PhD much later). That book influenced my thinking a lot, I even used it as inspiration for the ability of users to select different "personae" in the recommender systems I developed in the 90s and 00s. Years later I realized how much in sync I was with her naturalized approach to identity and the importance of art in expressing and playing physically with identity. Or maybe was just her disco-punk attitude and interest in Bowie and Patti Smith and Madonna alike that resonated with me. The recent article by Mark Bauerlein is one of the best I have read recently explaining her relevance today---when issues of identity can quickly become more like religion and nothing like true academic scholarship. A True Force of Nature to be taken seriously:

'The truth Paglia identified long ago is that in all human beings there is an “emotional turmoil that is going on above and below politics, outside the scheme of social life.” Great art touches it, and so does religion. Individuals who respond to art and religion understand that when politics and social life presume to replace them as right expressions of that turmoil, they falsify it instead…'

Something Crazy Religious:

Something with "titanic power from [the] deep wells of emotion [...], grounded in the body. [Bowie] never stupidly based gender in language alone—like all those nerdy post-structuralist nudniks who infest academe. Who the hell needed Foucault for gender studies when we already had a genius like Bowie?"

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Summer of Love: #30YearChallenge

At the last Riot Bootique in Bloomington I decided to do a 30 Year Challenge, playing one set (the second of the night) with new stuff, and another set (a late night set) with tracks from 1989 in honor of the Summer of Love. My time in the UK around that time was very formative in my taste for dance music and many other things. 30 years later I am still at it and loving it! As Janelle Monáe says in the opening track, "A little crazy, little sexy, little cool, Little rough around the edges, but I keep it smooth, I'm always left of center and that's right where I belong, I'm the random minor note you hear in major songs. And I like that. I don't really give a fuck if I was just the only one (I am not). I never like to follow, follow all around, the chase is on." 30 years later I still Like that. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next month. Tracklist and podcast below. Summer of Love: #30YearChallenge is also available on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).

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Love Not Walls

The last Riot Bootique in Bloomington was great fun even with the first winter storm of the year in the middle of the government shutdown. Here is my first set which set the tone of Jamming to Love and open doors:Love Not Walls. I was playing live for the first time with my new equipment... DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next month. Tracklist below. Podcast for Love Not Walls is also available on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).

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Straight Lines Não é novidade

Very nice article, if from a very Indian perspectivem of the malign incompetence of the British ruling class. Indeed, the Anglo-American approach to these things is quite visible at a macro level in World maps. Look at the straight lines of the maps of North America, Australia and Africa (where the country lines were imposed by British and Northern European decree). A comparison with the map of South America reveals, against conventional wisdom, where disregard for and abuse of the native peoples was most enforced. The straight lines demonstrate the damage of a self-regarded anglo-supremacist elite. Thank God for the humor and music though :)

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Hey City Zen of 2018

Was I busy in 2018! Still another great year for music! I am sure I missed really great stuff, but here is the best City Zen of the year. I thought of this list without seeing anybody else's best-of lists, so I am sure some great stuff is missing, but this is what made my radar. I may update it if something great gets released before the end of the year. Top 25 Albums, Top 99 Tracks, Top 31 Remixes/Edits (from E-Trash's DJ sets), Box Sets, and Live albums. The top tracks and remixes are assembled in a Spotify List as well. Update (January 15, 2019): I did not add Teymori's EP earlier because it is not a full album, but it has more great tracks than most albums these days. So I added a special best EP mention. Update (February 9, 2019): Added Tom Misch's Geography to best albums. Not sure how I missed this gem in 2018...

Top 27 Albums + 1 EP of 2018

There are definitely 5 albums that stood above for innovation, heart of just fun and which I listened the most to (alphabetically):

David Byrne - American Utopia
Chromeo - Head over Heels
Corine - Un air de fête
Rhye - Blood
Tracey Thorn - Record

The other 20 alphabetically:

Pedro Abrunhosa - Espiritual
Lily Allen - No Shame
Gal Costa - A Pele do Futuro
Carl CraigVersus
Dead Combo - Odeon Hotel
Baxter Dury, Etienne de Crecy, Delilah Holiday - B.E.D.
Florence and the Machine - High As Hope
David Fonseca - Radio Gemini
Amerigo Gazaway - Nina Simone & Lauryn Hill - The Miseducation of Eunice Waymon
Chilly Gonzalez - Other People's Pieces
Gorgon City - Escape
Gorillaz - The Now Now
Jungle - For Ever
Kronos Quartet and Laurie AndersonLandfall
Tom Misch - Geography
Janelle Monáe - Dirty Computer
Meshell NdegeocelloVentroloquism
Jimi Tenor - Order of Nothingness
Paul Weller - True Meanings
Young Fathers - Cocoa Sugar

Special Mention for best EP: Teymori - Teymori

Top 99 Tracks of 2018

The best way to display this is via a Spotify list which also includes the remixes below (in no particular order):

Top 31 Remixes and Edits of 2018

So many great remixes and edits this year. There were definitely 4 remixes above the rest, which took the original into another place of excellence. All remixes, edits and mashups below elevate the originals either into a whole different place or their distilled essence.  It is great when a track has two great lives, which is a remix at its best:

David Fonseca Get Up (Moullinex Remix)
Sophie Lloyd feat. Dames Brown - Calling Out (Danny Krivit Edit)
Paul Simon - Graceland (MK & KC Lights Remix)
Sylvester - I Need Somebody To Love Tonight (Psychemagik Remix)

The remaining awesome remixes alphabetically:

Dave Aju & thatmanmonkz - They Sleep we Love (Sec's Bay Area Remix)
Bobby D’Ambrosio feat. Michelle WeeksThe Day (Alaia &Gallo Remix)
Cardi B - I Like It (Dillon Francis Remix)
Christine And The Queens feat. DÃm-Funk - Damn, Dis-Moi (Gerd Janson's Balearic Remix Edit Version)
Christine And The Queens feat. DÃm-Funk - Damn, Dis-Moi (Palms Trax Remix)
Claptone feat. Ben Duffy & Pirupa - Stronger (Pirupa Remix)
Leonard Cohen - You Want it Darker (Solomun Remix)
Carl Craig with  Francesco Tristano, Les Siecles, and Francois-Xavier Roth -The Melody (Henrik Schwarz Remix)
The Chuck Davis Orchestra - Spirit of Sunshine (Holy Ghost! Remix)
Charlotte Gainsbourg - Ring-A-Ring O'Roses (Sebastian "On the Beat" Remix)
Calvin Harris feat. Dua Lipa - One Kiss (Oliver Helden's Extended Remix)
Jungle - Beat 54 (Krystal Klear 12" Mix)
Janelle Monae - Make Me Feel (Moullinex Edit)
Morcheeba - It's Summertime (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix)
Kelly Lee Owens - Bird (Prins Thomas Diskomiks DJ Edit)
Polo & Pan - Mexicali (Simple Symmetry Remix)
Powerdance - A Safe and Happy Place (JKriv Remix)
Purple Disco Machine - Encore (Mousse T. Remix)
Red Rack'Em - Wonky Baseline Disco Banger (Greg Wilson Edit)
Paul Simon - The Boy In the Bubble (Richy Ahmed Remix)
Nina Simone & Lauryn Hill - Care For What (Amerigo Gazaway Mashup)
Shit Robot - Rotation (Vin Sol Remix)
Tracey Thorn - Dancefloor (Pearson and Lindblad Italo Remix)
Tinush (feat. Aretha Franklin) - Struggle (Franky Rizardo Acid Mix)
Weiss - Feel my Needs (Gorgon City Extended Mix)
Xinobi - See Me (Ali Kuru Remix)
Xinobi - Skateboarding (Kraak & Smaak Remix)

Best Box Sets of 2018

David Bowie - Loving the Alien (1983-1988)
Soft Cell - Keychains & Showstorms

Best Live Albums of 2018

The best live show of the year was definitely David Byrne's America Utopia tour---probably one of the best live shows ever. The recent live recording of some of its stops does not capture the visual brilliancy of the show, but is still a great live record on its own:

David Byrne - "...The Best Live Show Of All Time” —NME

The other two live recordings that stood out in 2018 are:

David Bowie - Glastonbury 2000
Prince - Piano & a Microphone 1983

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Optimism is Majority Rule

Thinking about Bret Stephen's comparison of Trump and Warren, it is obvious that there are so many differences between Trump's and Warren's views of a rigged system based on fact---and no, the left was never unified against truth, from Popper to Paglia. Despite Stephen's rhetorical sleight of hand about Warren's own success in a rigged system, fact-based statistics show the US lags far behind Europe in class mobility, mortality rates for the poor, access to higher-education, imprisonment of minorities and the poor, etc, etc. But the most important aspect in all of this is that Warren's view is coherent with the views of a majority of Americans (see the polls), whereas the views of Trump and the GOP are only supported by a minority. Nothing screams more loudly about how rigged the US political system is than the fact that every branch of power in past couple of years (until January) has been controlled by a party that represents a minority of Americans. In France this would lead to revolution, but here conservatives like Mr. Stephens want to obfuscate this fundamental undemocratic truth with calls of more "optimism." We will be optimist when majority rule is again the state of the nation. Until then, we must do all we can to unrig the system.

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Orwell, Nationalism and Film

I have always been (deeply and seriously) patriotic for several places and ways of living---Portugal, USA, Portuguese-speaking World, English-speaking World, even patriotic for Disco and Punk---but I have never been a nationalist for anything. Indeed, I have always been fiercely anti-nationalist in the ways so eloquently expressed by George Orwell (whom I only consider marginally second to Graham Greene and Fernando Pessoa):

"By ‘nationalism’ I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled ‘good’ or ‘bad’(1). But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognising no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By ‘patriotism’ I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality."

The recent excellent (doubleplusgood) article by Kanishk Tharoor is a fantastic piece on nationalism in film from a similar viewpoint, but emphasizing the historical errors that the nationalist lens imposes when we look back at pre-nationalist human experience:

"It is a pity that so many historical films feel so obliged to place the imagined nation at their emotional core. That not only distorts understandings of the past, but it suggests that the past can only be relevant and interesting if it supports conventions of the present."

Ultimately, Orwell's 1984 was about the end of history, when historical facts are easily re-written to adapt to the present circumstances. Fake news are not a modern invention. Doubleplusungood. Which allows me to plug in also one of my favorite songs (and albums) from the Eurythmics' 1984 soundtrack.

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Appropriation R Us

What some now call cultural appropriation used to be called cosmopolitanism. Thank you Stephen Fry for pointing out the menace of the parochialism of "illiberal liberals." I hope you are wrong about the end of classical liberalism. Everything I do is appropriation. Complex Systems is the science of scientific cultural appropriation: finding commonalities, importing, updating and exporting methods across disciplines. Djing is the art of cultural appropriation and reinvention. So is Hip Hop. "On a quest to make love De La Soul, no pretense," life itself is appropriation: genes that jump, genes that crossover. Sex is appropriation. We are biological appropriation, and all culture is cannibalism, as Dali so well observed. When appropriation becomes a thoughtcrime, culture and life itself becomes a crime. Stop the reductive, illiberal parochialism of political correctness. "Let the whole world become a paper tape we can write on", said Von Neumann, grasping the similarity between Turing machines and living cells. Save us gods and goddesses of appropriation: Laurie Anderson, De La Soul, Beastie Boys, Prince, Bowie, Miles. "Só a Antropofagia nos une. Socialmente. Economicamente. Filosoficamente. Única lei do mundo. Expressão mascarada de todos os individualismos, de todos os coletivismos" ("Only Cannibalism unites us. Socially. Economically. Philosophically. The unique law of the world. The masked expression of all individualism and collective movement",) said Oswald de Andrade. Here is Lesson #3, Masters Double Dee and Steinski shows us how. And let's write all over the Berlin Walls of the newspeak police.

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Free Love

The latest Riot Bootique in Bloomington was a great party of pure love. Here is my first set which set the tone of freedom, love and feeling good for the night, even though it starts a bit dark:Free Love. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next month. Tracklist and podcast below. Free Love is also available on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).

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Summer Unity

For the latest Riot Bootique in Bloomington I decided to do a homage to Aretha Franklin, the absolute Queen of Soul. The idea was to make it super open, spanning many genres and all about Unity---which we need more than ever. Here are the two sets I played assembled together:Summer Unity---the first set of the night plus my second set, after DJ Angst's own set (not included). Its long, and it covers all the Riot Bootique bases and more! From Soul Music to Drum & Bass, and including Disco, House, Techno and Funk. As always, the Riot Bootique is a chance to celebrate all people, this time in celebration of Aretha. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing later this month. Tracklist below, podcast for Summer Unity is also available on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).

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On racial categories and jokes about the French team

After watching the above video from Trevor Noah, I had to disagree with him and actually be sad about the perpetuation of outdated racial categories. Trevor did take the players' Frenchness away by claiming that Africa (alone) won the World Cup. On a larger point, he really seems to be stuck on viewing everything from the prism of race---which makes sense for someone who grew up in the Apartheid regime. But race, in both Africa and Europe, is much more complex than what he paints. The idea that there is an "African race", as in "African-American" is ultimately a racist category that 19th century Europeans (indeed, including the French) pushed on the African continent and the slaves they brought to the Americas. Genetically, there is more racial diversity in Africa than in all the rest of the World combined. Same for language. It is truly reductive, and in my view racist, to lump all of Africa's diversity into a single race---that is precisely what European racists do. A rejection of that way of thinking is actually closer to the ambassador's point, than Noah's who seems to want to perpetuate the 19th century race dichotomy. BTW, I was born in Africa from people who were born in Africa, and though I am seemingly white, my genes are undoubtedly a combination of many races---a reason for that is partially explained in this BBC video (also shown below). I remember going to Apartheid Johannesburg as a kid and hating how at the airport people from my plane were directed to different lines depending on their external appearance. Trevor Noah's joke about the French World Cup team is, in effect, putting people from the same country in different lines. A better rejection of Apartheid would be to erase those categories altogether.

P.S. I do understand that in some contexts, like the US, the outdated racial categories of the 19th century still play a nefarious role. People who look African are demonstrably still treated worse than European-looking people. Because of that, in the US context, I agree that is still important to debate civil rights with the category of "African-American". But the goal should be to make that category (and other racial ones) less and less relevant towards a citizenship defined on individual freedom and collective commonwealth, as the French at least attempt to do.

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Clubismo na Ciência e as paredes disciplinares

Seria interessante um update da parte de quem escreveu o "Livro Negro da Avaliação Científica em Portugal" em 2015, debruçando-se agora com o que está a acontecer na FCT e na ciência em geral em Portugal. Nunca o sistema de avaliação da FCT foi tão anacrónico, nomeadamente por não permitir de todo o desenvolvimento de projetos interdisciplinares. A FCT ainda faz calls for proposals "em todos os domínios científicos", seguidos de painéis sub-sub-sub disciplinares. Isto é, um reducionismo disciplinar absurdo e incompatível com a Ciência atual. Qualquer pessoa que tente submeter algo minimamente interdisciplinar, está destinado ao fracasso logo à partida. A FCT é gerida e pensada como se ainda estivéssemos em 1991. Haja ideias novas por favor. Mas acima de tudo, quem foi tão crítico de gestões científicas anteriores, bem deveria vir agora para a praça publica falar também dos problemas da gestão atual. Se não, voltamos sempre à mesma dinâmica partidária que torna tudo medíocre pelo seu clubismo. A Ciência não pode ser clubista. Tem que ser avaliada ela própria pelo método científico. Gostava de ter acesso aos dados de projetos patrocinados e também das carreiras universitárias. A minha hipótese é que qualquer medição de interdisciplinaridade e consanguinidade académica em Portugal demonstrará uma situação péssima em comparação com as melhores práticas. Temos que fazer as paredes disciplinares (e do privilegio subjacente ao inbreeding académico) cair também em Portugal!

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Disco-Punk in Music, Computing and Academia: personal intro for Ian Rogers

We are thrilled to Present Ian Rogers whose approach and career highlight a Punk attitude we share. Of course, there is the superficial connection of our being professors and DJs, who love and often play the Beastie Boys. But we want to focus on a deeper philosophical stance we think we share and which is very needed in academia---potentially exemplified by SICE. We think of it as a Punk-Disco attitude. Punk and Disco became wrongly seen as opposing forces due to the racist and homophobic "disco sucks" movement. But, in truth, the two informed one another from the beginning, as both originated at the same time in NYC, as a revulsion against the erudite affectations of the white men ivory tower that Rock, Jazz, and Classical music had become. While Punk brought a DIY attitude to breaking walls, Disco broke them via a melting pot pleasure principle: it melded the Latin sounds of Puerto Rico with Philly R&B to produce hymns of sexual liberation for everybody---be it Donna Summer's hymn to female orgasm (in I feel love) to openly gay, bisexual and transgendered acts like Sylvester, Grace Jones, The Village People, etc.  As Johnny Rotten/Lydon (lead singer of the Sex Pistols and P.i.L.) famously said: "I like disco, it is functional music that makes people dance". In fact, most punk acts of the time liked and indeed produced disco: from David Byrne (who played guitar in cult disco hits) to Blondie (a white female Punk Rocker with the first disco-rap #1 hit in America) to the Thin White Duke himself.

The point here is that effective rebellion is made by empowering people to do it themselves, include everybody's point of view, and be fun, sexy and stylish at it! To bring this discussion back to us here in academia and SICE, let us acknowledge that ours is the ultimate ivory tower dominated by white people. Punk-Disco is not naturally rewarded in siloed departments and hierarchies of elite schools and scholars. Nothing could be less Punk-Disco than a Nobel prize, the pinnacle of academia. Indeed, it is no accident that both Johan and I started our careers at the Los Alamos National Lab, home of some of the most Punk-Disco scientists of all time like John and Klara Von Neumann and Richard Feynman. But SICE attracted us because of its original breaking walls vision, which was at heart Punk-Disco---I only came here because I was recruited by the most Punk-Disco philosopher of our days: Andy Clark. We work every day to break the ivory tower, with DIY ethos but also functionally and in style---be it with our new NSF-NRT interdisciplinary training grant that attempts to find a common beat between computing and the social and physical sciences, be it with our attitudes to fight the accepted wisdom of academia, which even when well-intentioned tends to approach everything with a white-elitist bias.

All this to highlight how important it is for us at SICE to remain connected to Punk-Disco movers and shakers like Ian Rogers. His phenomenal trajectory from CS here in Bloomington to forging digital music revolution (winamp, TopSin, Beats Music, Apple), to his role now in shaping more personalized fashion and luxury at LVMH, we can think of no one more Punk-Disco than him. Academia needs to learn from his lessons, "because our crystal ball ain't so crystal clear" we need his "Super Disco Breakin, Money making". "I'm tellin' y'all it's sabotage."

Luis Rocha and Johan Bollen (A.K.A. E-Trash and DJ Angst)
Indiana University, April 12, 2018

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Funky Dance Floor on Fire and No Wall Spirits

We have been doing the Riot Bootique in Bloomington again since the Summer, including a transcontinental edition. They have been wonderful parties full of love with great people---the best antidote to the current political realities. The two sets from last Friday are here in the Funky Dancefloor on Fire---well, the first set plus a lot of the second set. I wanted it funky (given Bootsy Collins' recent visit to Bloomington), and it is. But it covers all the Riot Bootique bases: from Disco to House and Techno via Funk. Since I have been busy to post these through the winter, here is also an assembly of various sets during Fall 2017 and Winter 2018: No Walls Spirits, to celebrate The Riot and its people; all kinds, all colors, all types of love. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next month. Tracklists and podcasts below. Funky Dancefloor on Fire and No Walls Spirits are also available on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).

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O Rui Veloso escreveu umas musicas excelentes, mas sempre me pareceu um reacionário com gostos retro e algo rabugento. Desde o seu primeiro álbum que explora sons de décadas anteriores, nunca explorou sons contemporâneos. Agora porquê que um gajo de Portugal pode explorar o som americano negro dos blues mas um grego não deve expressar a sua criatividade com o som americano negro do hip hop, é uma questão bem explicada aqui pelos Karetus. Bitch don't kill my vibe. Entretanto, vou colocar o seu greatest hits bem juntinho ao greatest hits do festival da canção na minha coleção de CDs.

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Something so right

Anyone who has read this blog knows I regard David Bowie as a musical deity. But there are other musicians who are also musical gods in my view. One of them is certainly Paul Simon, the pinnacle of musician-singer-songwritership. No doubt Bod Dylan is a great poet, but Simon has the rarest ability to make music and word meld into something so inseparably right. Beautiful separately, but divine together. Certainly Leonard Cohen also mastered music and word, but musically Simon is a perfectionist. His attention to detail and seeking new sounds is that of the ultimate craftsperson. I can only think of Cole Porter as comparable in melding music, word and production in the mutually amplifying manner that only the best art can achieve---and then again, Porter was not as great a singer as Simon. Below a list of my favorite diamonds on the soles of his shoes.

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The Sweetest Taboo is Christmas

The year ends with tons of media attention, a bit of media whoring, really: The Independent, Time, Publico, GizModo, The National Post, Men's Fitness, Mother Jones, ArsTechnica, The Sun, Drive with Yasmeen Khan (at 17:30) (audio of interview), etc.

What is important is that it refers to a paper I'm really proud of. First, because it was a great collaboration that started with Joana Sá at Gulbenkian, who had the idea to look at the birth peaks problem. Then it involved Johan Bollen, a long time partner in crime, and Ian Wood, one my students who has been a real pleasure to work with. I am very proud with our demonstration that Data Science, Computational Social Science, and Complexity research can be used to obtain surprising results and invalidate previous hypotheses. In other words, Data Science that does not simply validate our pre-existing biases and accepted wisdom, but demonstrates new explanations. In this case, we found that online interest in sex rises at Christmas and other cultural celebrations, with more births nine months later, in what is the first global analysis of human birth-rate cycles. Another bonus was that to reach our results, we developed a novel spectral methodology for sentiment analysis on social media. To make things even better, it is fun Science dealing with the Sweetest Taboo, as all the media attention shows and Sade knew all along: Everyday is Christmas, and every night is New Years eve.

A post shared by DJ Angst and E-Trash (@riotbootique) on

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Best City Zen Music of 2017

2017 was a great year for music, which tends to happen when the politics sucks! Here the is the best City Zen of the year (which I may update until the end of the year). Albums, Tracks, Remixes/Edits, and Box Set.

Top 25 Albums of 2017

There are definitely 3 Top albums that are just excellent from beginning to end:

LCD Soundsystem - American Dream
London Grammar - Truth is a Beautiful Thing 
The XX - I See You

The other 22 alphabetically:

!!! - Shake the Shudder 
Marc Almond - Shadows and Reflections 
Arcade Fire - Everything Now
Ana Bacalhau - Nome Próprio 
Capicua, Emicida, Rael, Valete - Língua Franca
Dave Dapper - Emotional Freedom Technique
Fujiya & Miyagi - Fujiya & Miyagi
The Gift - Altar 
João Gil - Por... 
Goldie - The Journey Man
HMB - +
Kendrik Lamar - Damn. 
Lana Del Rey - Lust for Life
Lorde - Melodrama
Moullinex - Hypersex
The National - Sleep Well Beast 
Polo & Pan - Caravelle
PZ - Império Auto-Mano
The Sparks - Hippopotamus
Thundercat - Drunk 
Kamasi Washington - Harmony of Difference
Wednesday Campanella - Superman

Top 100 Tracks of 2017

The best way to display this is via a Spotify list (alphabetically):

Top 25 Remixes and Edits of 2017

There were definitely 3 remixes above the rest, which took the original into another place of excellence. It is great when a track has two great lives, which is a remix at its best: 

David Bowie - Helden (Filburt 91189 Club Mix)
London Grammar - Hell to the Liars (Gorgon City Remix)
The XX - On Hold (Jamie XX Remix)

The remaining awesome remixes in no particular order:

Satin Jackets - Never Enough (CASSARA Remix)
Lorde - Green Light (Chromeo Remix)
Basement Jaxx - Do Your Thing (Robbie Rivera Acid Remix)
New Order - People on the High Line (Purple Disco Machine Remix)
Jessie Ware - Midnight (Goldie Epic Remix)
Depeche Mode - Cover Me (Dixon Remix)
Iggy Pop - Lust For Life (The Prodigy Remix)
RY X - Bad Love (Eagles & Butterflies Remix)
Michael the Lion - Get it On (DJ Bruce's On & On Mix)
New Order - Tutti Frutti (Takkyu Ishino Remix)
Coyu & Paolo Rocco - Forward Pleasure (Franky Rizardo Flow Edit)
Luther Vandross - Never Too Much (Dr. Packer A Thousand Kisses Edit)
Heróis Do Mar - O Amor (Selvagem Portonic Por Favor Edit)
Jamiroquai - Cloud 9 (Purple Disco Machine Remix)
London Grammar - Big Picture (Gui Boratto Remix)
Oliver Heldens (Feat. Ida Corr) - Good Life (Blanee Remix)
Heatwave - Boogie Nights (SlothBoogie Edit)
Soul Clap ft. Ebony Houston - Numb  (Eli Escobar remix)
Stevie Wonder and Common - Living For The Chi-City (Amerigo Gazaway A Common Wonder Mashup)
Wham! - Everything She Wants (The Reflex Revision)
Sylvester - Can't Stop (Yuksek Edit)
Tony Blue - Bicho Ruim (Fatnotronic & Joutro Mundo Rework)

Best BoxSet of 2017

David Bowie - A New Career in a New Town (1977-1982)

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Sacrificial Clown at the Altar of Hipocrisy

The recent resignation of Al Fanken brought to mind Malcom X's discussion of American democracy as hypocrisy. Thank you Maureen Dowd for shedding light on this most recent Democratic party great hypocrisy. As if Clinton Inc. did not know that Weinstein was as rapist (even Jane Fonda knew!), as if they believed the women who accused Bill Clinton.

The accusations against Al Franken pale in comparison to those against Weinstein and Clinton---if they are even real. Yet, all the Democratic party senators who are now so outraged with Franken, including Gillibrand, were holding hands with Bill Clinton in the 2016 convention and in their own campaign events---as if the women who accused him never existed---and taking money from Weinstein. All of them, plus Gloria Steinem, Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton, should now apologize to Clinton's accusers for not believing their recollections---those women are still there waiting for that recognition, and there is, after all "a special place in hell for women who don't help each other".

Democratic party leaders should apologize that the most well known feminist in the land, as well as the first woman nominated for the presidency by the Democratic party, fat-, age- and slut-shamed rather than believed those women, as now they so sanctimoniously shout we should do in the Franken case. They should also explain better how they did not know about Weinstein. This has nothing to do with excusing X because Y is worse, but about simple fairness and decency, rather than hypocrisy and shamelessness of mythical proportions.

My guess is that Franken is the sacrificial clown so that the Democratic party doesn't deal with the bigger offenders and its collective guilt on the topic. Franken's actions should certainly be investigated and taken where they should. But the idea that the party is doing this because of a watershed moment against sexual assault is a joke. I will believe that when all those apologies start coming out. As Maureen Dowd says, "that's no way to be the party that protects women."

"They attack the victim, and then the criminal who attacked the victim accuses the victim of attacking him. This is American justice. This is American democracy and those of you who are familiar with it know that in America democracy is hypocrisy. Now, if I’m wrong, put me in jail; but if you can’t prove that democracy is not hypocrisy, then don’t put your hands on me." Malcolm X.

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Soul Free from the 90s

At the start of the new decade, while still an undergraduate, with the paycheck from my first job as a full-time research assistant at the Laboratorio Nacional de Engenharia Civil, I finally bought a CD player. A Sony. With it came two free CDs, a collection of 70s hits and George Michael's Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1. As if to leave the 80s out, Sony gave me a collection of 70's hits (it did have some good funk tracks) and George Michael's cry for more artistic and personal Freedom in the new decade. I had liked some of Wham and Faith in the 1980s, but never enough to actually buy the records. So I would most likely not have bought Listen Without Prejudice if it had not come for free with the player. While I can't say this was the first CD I bought (that honor goes to the Pet Shop Boys' Behaviour, another classic), it was a very lucky accident, because it was and is a phenomenal album. Probably one of the CDs I have played most in my life. Its melancholy was a great surprise---certainly not a Wake me up before you GoGo deal. But what comes through most is George Michael's great singing ability and his musicianship---he was also certainly inspired by Soul II Soul's sound, of which I was a great fan at the time. Great to see a remastered version of this album now out, together with an unplugged live set and a CD full of remixes and one-off singles, nothing too new except for the Fantasy track now reworked by Niles Rodgers but utterly forgettable (I can see why it was not included in the original album). Still, the new deluxe compilation is a great reminder of how great this album still sounds. May his Soul remain free. And people, keep listening without prejudice.

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Ilustres Professores

Não, não se trata de falar sobre o inbreeding nas universidades Portuguesas, nem tão pouco da falta de interdisciplinaridade na FCT em Portugal, apesar de ambos os problemas serem sérios. Vou falar dos ilustres Professores Portugueses que volta e meia são convidados a integrar as melhores universidades Americanas, para deleite dos media nacionais que os adoram destacar. As escutas do caso Sócrates servem também para desmascarar a "excelência" académica de um destes casos. O diálogo agora publicado entre Manuel Pinho e José Sócrates (ver exerto em baixo) com vista a obterem um lugar convidado na Columbia University é fantástico para se apreciar a profundeza do pensamento de ambos, e também a parte mercenária e subversiva destas universidades de topo. Meus amigos, há anos que ando para dizer isto, mas tenho-me comedido. Este diálogo (ver em baixo) faz-me abdicar de toda a modéstia, mas isto tem que ser dito. Sempre que virem algum fulano que de repente aparece Professor numa universidade Americana de topo, fiquem a saber que sé é Professor convidado, muito provavelmente pagou para lá estar ou vem com custas a cargo de alguma fundação ou benfeitor exterior à universidade. Nenhuma destas "sumidades académicas" aparece como Professor do quadro (tenure-track), que são as verdadeiras posições alcançadas por mérito académico. Para comparação vejam os casos, ambos na Columbia University, de Manuel Pinho (convidadíssimo, "Faculty Affiliates →Visiting Professor") e de um verdadeiro grande cientista Português  ("Faculty and Research → Professor").

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Resonance Machine

Growing up in the 80s it was tough to find like-minded cultural partners and products, in a media that was completely dominated by an obsession with authenticity a la 1969. Living in the most postmodern decade of them all was often frustrating because you had to dig hard to find the best of the cultural products of the time, instead of what older hippies told you to like. Old-fashioned social networks were so important to curate the amazing things that were being produced: records, tapes, fanzines, obscure radio, movie festivals were traded hand to hand and from word of mouth among family and friends. Only now do I realize that we got to sample and experience an urban America that most Americans didn't, and the construction of a European cosmopolitanism that many Europeans now reject. All this to say how much I love the Portuguese Blog a Máquina de Escrever. Every post resonates with a Portuguese, post-nationalist cosmopolitanism that defines me, and apparently many others. It's as if they are written from my own mind, only made much more intense as only resonance with a like-minded community can achieve. More human than human. These people must have grown up with me. Obrigado pela grande Máquina! We can be us.



Radical humanism

I miss being in a place where people rather spend $1000 on a surfboard than on an automatic weapon. More than anything, a place where I am just a person, instead of facing a permanent mental calculation of identity that only serves to divide us. I kid you not, even in the arena of academic freedom, speech is tallied not by what you say or contribute but the identity someone else decided you represent. No other way to put it: the US is just currently messed up. Trump did not invent divisiveness, he is simply the natural product of a society where both left and right decided that it was better to focus on self-expression and individualism as political stance, rather than community and citizenship. Maybe it is the final gasps of the baby boomer generation and one can only hope they did not irreparably format younger generations with their pathetic need for self-expression and identity. We are not all individuals; we is society.

The more we play the identity game, the more it divides and pits us against one another. National, linguistic, religious, racial, gender, and sexual identities only divide us more and more. The only solution is to be radically humanist. The only identity that I self-identify with, and accept to be labeled as, is human. My nationality, language, chromosomal makeup, and all the other categorical inventions are my own business; they do not dictate my politics nor my actions.



House of Love

The Riot Bootique returned to Bloomington after more than a year away. It was a wonderful Party full of love with people who came to celebrate with us the reunion. I wanted to celebrate what is best about Bloomington and the US and deride what divides us. House of Love is my first set (plus first track of second set), with some political overtones but all about inclusion (first set of the night before DJ Angst). The Riot was full of people; all kinds, all colors, all types of love. DJ Angst and E-Trash, will return to our cybernetic DJing next month. Tracklist and podcast for House of Love available on E-Trash's site (Username: apollo, Password: feelingfree).

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We don't need this fascist groove thing.

You don't heal a society by tearing down statues. When did iconoclasm heal anything? A more robust solution is to incorporate new values into the existing ones, side by side. Every country with sufficiently long history faces these issues. In the US case, it is not just the civil war and slavery that needs healing. From a Native American perspective, every statue and flag celebrating the USA --- yes, including Washington and Jefferson --- also celebrates their collective loss and annihilation. Are we really going to tear down every offensive historical artifact?

As for the President's role. What a surprise Trump is a racist! More than half of voting white people in the U.S. voted for him despite him saying things like "Mexico only sends us rapists, let's build a wall, etc." To this day, his approval is at 37%, I would imagine most of them from his white base. This means that roughly one in every two white Americans who sees my name probably thinks I'm an inferior human---which is still much better odds than the proportion of northern Europeans who think southern, Hispanic Europeans like me are inferior (hey, the Dutch president of the eurogroup got away with saying southern countries spent their money on women and wine.) Just providing some bicontinental context.

Of course the US would do much better embracing a Mandela when it comes to healing. Obama tried, but reactionary forces, to hold on to power, embraced and assembled the extreme forces with dog whistles; now the wild dogs run the show. Still, we cannot succumb to fight intolerance with more iconoclasm. Let free speech rule; all speech. If all speech is allowed to coexist, the most extreme forces will be more and more in the fringe without an excuse or resentment. But let's never tolerate violence or intimidation.

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He's the groove

This Pope is Disco! Somebody should write a "disco opera" for him. Seriously now, so happy that the modern Vatican is delineating so very clearly that Catholics in the US have been contaminated by heretical (as far as new testament is concerned) evangelical incoherence: theocratic bureaucracies hell-bent on bringing the apocalypse via unholy alliances between big capital and weapon makers are as far from modern Catholicism as can be, and indeed not far from Islamism.

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Suppe a la clown: or what if Trump is right?

Trump is a cumbersome buffoon. No doubt about that. But while his approach certainly is counterproductive and not that relevant to the US, he is right about Germany's role on global (mostly EU) macroeconomics, defense and I would say even climate---even though Merkel and most Germans try to address some of these concerns. On macroeconomics, we all know that Germany is living off a depreciated euro for its export surpluses. If it still had the mark, it would be much higher given Germany's spectacular trade surpluses. So, especially for the Eurozone, but also with all its trading partners, it should increase consumption, raise salaries, etc. Of course it has no rational, self-interest reason to do that, but since Europeans do not have the power to do it, a little pressure from the US could be a good thing---if it did not come from a mean, dictator-loving, unprepared president following behind on a golf cart. On defense, it is clearly under spending (1.2 of GDP). There are historical reasons for that, but it is time for Germany to live up to the NATO commitments it signed on to, especially given the trade surpluses it has. Finally, on climate. While Germany signs all the right treaties, when it comes to enforcing them, it is not so good. I am convinced that German automakers are involved in the greatest environmental con job ever. The fallacy of diesel engines (on which German automakers have put so much stock and are still defended by Merkel) should make all Europeans furious. We have known for so long that Diesel engines, despite best technical efforts, pollute more than gasoline engines---especially when not well tuned, which is what happens 75% of the time. But with the Orwellian labeling of Diesel engines with green Eco labels, and with criminal lies, German automakers are responsible for filling European cities with Diesel engines. No wonder so many cities, from Madrid to Paris, are struggling with air quality. Yes, other nations' automakers have followed in the diesel fallacy too, but European countries have long created incentives for people to buy those cars (probably with pressure from German automakers), so of course all automakers will try to respond to the market demand. In summary, it is not only the loud mouths we have to worry about. The quiet "experts" and "serious people" in Germany have been pushing failed economic orthodoxy and dirty technology, while not stepping up to their commitments on economics (no penalty for Germany's current account and budget surpluses against Euro rules), security (under-paying what they agreed to in NATO), and climate (the corporate lying on Diesel engines most probably was or should have been known at the highest levels).

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