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eCred
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So I’m looking for a weight vest. Big purchase, hundreds of bucks, I
know nothing about how to buy one. My instinct is to go online and
find some sort of user forum where people have posted opinions about
weight vests. I check metafilter, then google, then amazon. On amazon
I punch up a couple of vests that have no reviews, then I find the
review pictured here for an Everlast vest.

First instinct: this guy is associated with XVest. There are many
examples of this sort of guerilla internet marketing, in fact I had a
date with a woman whose full-time job is to lurk in travel chat
rooms, assuming one of a number of pseudonyms, and advocate for her
client’s travel products.

More evolved sites have addressed this. Notice the "see all my
reviews" button. I clicked on it. This guy has reviewed all sorts of
shit, and one look at his review of Boards of Canada’s _Campfire
Headphase_, which I have pasted below, is all I needed. This guy is
for real, and I ain’t buying the Everlast vest.

18 of 25 people found the following review helpful:

Rembrandt and Van Gogh reincarnated…, October 23, 2005

I get it…I finally get it. It’s no wonder that BOC’s Michael
Sandison and Marcus Eoin (Sandison) have revelead they are brothers.
It takes two people from the same genetic gene pool to make music
THIS GOOD. After listening to their latest masterwork, The Campfire
Headphase, I now understand what BOC’s music is meant to portray. I
believe that Boards’ music is a virtual road map of the human soul.
Each new album and release Boards puts out is a musical
representation of a particular stage in human exisitence. The
Campfire Headphase represents "adulthood". Follow me for an
interesting ride.

Music Has The Right To Children in 1998 was BOC’s seminal work. It
was their first official LP. Through inference of the title, this
album represented "childhood". Each song has a rustic, analog feel to
it. The album is replete with children laughing, saying "I love
you" (Color of the Fire), learning shapes (Triangles and Rhombuses)
and counting with the teacher in elementary school (Aquarius). There
are references to educational films and public television (One Very
Important Thought). Even "Telephasic Workshop" is a play on words as
compared to The Children’s Television Workshop, who brought us
childhood classics such as Sesame Street and The Electric Company.
MHTRTC contains tons of samples from these two shows.

Music… is Boards’ universally worshipped album because so many
adult listeners discovered it in their late 20’s and 30’s, when their
formerly optimisic youthful lives had become sad, corrupted and mired
in work, bills and bad relationships. This album reminds us of the
tender, innocent, happy childhood we lost yet is not too late to
recapture.

This brings us to Geogaddi in 2002, BOC’s second, most controversial,
and the most polarized amongst their fans. The reason why is simple–
Geogaddi represents "adolescence" and young adulthood, say between 13
and 28 or so, a good 15-year period. Geogaddi’s music is intrusive,
in your face and agressive, like a teenager enraged with hormones,
confused and aroused by his newborn sexuality. The music is powerful,
crisper, and braver than the previous album yet intentionally
pretentious and insecure, reminiscent of a teen’s false bravado in
his/her attempts to lure a sexual partner. Titles like "Julie and
Candy", "Beware the Friendly Stranger" implies sexual predation and
curiosity. "Opening the Mouth" and "You Can Feel The Sky" refer to
the intense feelings of losing one’s virginity. Young people are now
in high school or college, learing more advanced and complex subject
matters, such as mathematics, music and formulas (Music is Math, The
Smallest Weird Number, A is to B as B is to C, Dandelion). The
childhood represented in MHTRTC is now disgusting to the adolescent
know-it-all in Geogaddi. One can’t wait to bid childhood "bye, bye,
bye, byeeeeee…" as in Sunshine Recorder. In fact, you’d better
"record" bits and pieces of your childhood "sunshine" or they will be
gone forever. BOC did and that’s why MHTRTC was so great in recording
childhood sensations. Keep in mind, teenagers and college students
feel they are at an age where they feel the world revolves around
them. The very name "Geogaddi" means "to revolve around the world
TWICE". Teens must be so vain, eh? Fans recommended to "play
[Geogaddi] TWICE before listening". It is at this time in our lives
that we may experiement with drugs or become entrenched with unsavory
company, such as cults, as evidenced by so many references to
subliminals, Satanists and Branch Dividians (The Devil is in the
Details, 1969, etc.) "Gyroscope" takes the innocent number counting
of "Aquarius" and subverts it into a perverse, schizophrenic parody
of number-obession. BOC endured a lot criticism by fans, as they
interpreted Geogaddi to have lost that "warm sound" and suffered a
sophomore’s jinx. Geogaddi gave so many listeners an awkward, angry
experience, reminding them of unpleasant adolescent memories,
triggering sensitive moments of dread, sexual shame and rebellion.
These are the haters of Geogaddi. Others are reminded of young
acheivement, sexual conquest and higher learning. These are the
lovers of Geogaddi. I tend toward the middle, leaning toward the
hating side. My life sucked between 12 and 30, especially in romance
and finance. Geogaddi nails each angry, black, self-loathsome feeling
I ever experienced with spades. I hate them for planting the mirror
to my face, exposing my flaws to the world yet love them for doing so
in order to learn to love and heal myself and thusly prepare me for
the next ablum…The Campfire Headphase.

The Campfire Headphase represents solid adulthood–your 30’s and
40’s. Like the Sandison brothers, many people at this stage of life
are married, and/or have children. They may have secure jobs and
prefer a Netflix night rather than a wild night of clubbin’ and
sluttin’. Geogaddi’s music was electric and virile, like the pompous
high school football star. Headphase’s music is acoustic, organic and
mellow, like getting stoned by a campfire. The initials of this album
is TCH, which could very well be an anagram of THC. The biggest
obsevation about this album is its use of guitars (or clever guitar
samples). Those who complain about the guitars (which are only
noticable on a handful of tracks) do not understand that acoustics-a-
la-Music70 were going to be a natural progression of Boards’ music.
To make a sequel to MHTRTC would have been a lazy, backwards
decision. To create "Music Part 2" would have invalidated Geogaddi
completely, reducing it as a self-indulgent mistake (some obtuse fans
wouldn’t mind this outcome). There was no way Mike and Marcus was
going to allow that to happen. TCH had to be mellow in order to allow
us to contemplate the harshness of the near-indigestible Geogaddi and
to fully appreciate how beautiful, and necessary that album was to
understand ourselves. Every time I listen to TCH, Geogaddi becomes
even more special. You have to take the sweet and the harsh, as in
Boards of Canada and as in life. You don’t really understand that
lesson until you are in your 30’s. God bless you Boards for guiding
me through that lesson. When I heard Peacock Tail, I understood
everything…why I went through the type of life I’ve led so far, the
smart decisions and foolish mistakes I’ve made in my life and why my
childhood sounded like MHTRTC and why my teens and 20’s felt like
Geogaddi. Peacock Tail is the only Boards song other than Aquarius
that made me cry on the first listen.

TCH is an album of crisp, digital music. It feels almost like BOC in
high-def surround sound. The way the BOC-brothas equalize and alter
their music envelops me and a warm sea glass cocoon. Every song feels
like subliminal line noise is dancing through them, as if my
headphones are too close to my wall and I can hear random radio
singals through the electral outlet. My favorite tune as of this
writing is Slow This Bird Down, not for its melody or message, but
just for sheer technique. How is it possbile that a song transmutes
itself into a scratchy, broken radio transmission? Constants and
Changing uses the EQ to mess with your ears; parts are muffled,
others are pronounced. Your ears are fighting to pick up something
precise in the song, like an amorphous signal from outer space.
Brilliant. This album celebrates the freedom, leisure and self-
assuredness of adulthood (A Moment of Clarity, ’84 Pontiac Dream) but
also reminds us that this period of life still brings heartbreak and
sadness. Farewell Fire is the one of the most heartwrenching and
saddest pieces I have ever heard–a 21st Century version of
Albonini’s Adagio in G Minor for Strings and Organ. Eveytime I hear
this piece I think of the only woman to ever break my heart twice and
how the pain still manages to linger to this day (you know who you
are, Michelle…) This song also has possibly the longest fade out in
the history of man.

Guitars are nothing new with this album. BOC has been using analog
instrumentation long before the Twoism days. I have a friend in
Ireland who managed to get a hold a copy of two unreleased BOC demo
cassettes and a copy of the almost-mythical Acid Memories from 1989.
Yes, these tapes are authentic. No, you won’t get a copy from me or
online. This music is not even on any file-sharing programs and trust
me, I have ’em all. You won’t find them on the internet, period.
Based on these unreleased recordings, these cats have had the guitar
down cold for a long time. TCH is the perfection of organic
experimentation. Chromakey Dreamcoat and Hey Saturday Sun are
examples as such. Even the crunchy "squeaks" from the guitar strings
are sampled to the point of being part of the beat sequence. The
guitar riffs on Chromakey are so deconstructed, that they sound more
like a Japanese shamisen rather than the former instrument. You can
listen to this song forever and that’s why Boards slams the brakes on
this song at the end, snapping you out of a surreal hypnosis. It is
already a fact that Boards have been influenced by psychedlic acts
like The Incredible String Band. The Band’s flutes and guitars have
been sampled by Boards on Geogaddi and before.

Those who dismiss this work as inferior to MHTRTC have completely
missed the point. Listen. Everyone, mark my lips…There will NEVER
EVER be another album like MHTRTC! There I said it. Just like there
will never be another Michael Jordan, Malcom X, Nikola Tesla or Jimi
Hendrix, we will never see another BOC album like Music…so stop
wishing for it. Everything Boards cranks out to the public is equally
beautiful in thankfully different ways. Their sound is evolving at an
exponential basis, drawing ideas and motifs from their previous works
and transmuting them into newer, greater and more complex
masterpieces. I’m not surprised that BOC needs months to work on one
song…and years just to make one full length CD. That’s how insanely
layered their music is. I never trust any artist that jams out a CD
of new material every year containing crap that fans want to hear.
True artists make music for solely themselves. If he or she gets a
couple of fans along the way, all the better. Artists are also
idiosyncratically selfish because they are dissatisfied with the
current paradigm of their genre’s art. They naturally crave to create
something that is self-authored, bringing the satisfaction of
creating something intimate and beautiful. BOC are just hitting the
3rd gear on their supercharged Minimoogs. I predict based on their
musical progression that there will be two more full albums before
they call it quits forever. The next album will highlight middle-aged
life and be released around 2008-2009 and their final album will face
old age, death and the transition around 2012. The circle will be
complete, or is it the "Hexagon"?

This is my longest review and I hope you survived it. If I bored you
to tears and you hate my review, so be it; that is your right. If
reading this made you a better Boards of Canada fan, then let’s go
"Happy Cycling" together. This is a great album and it will take me
until the next album to fully understand it. We can no longer call
Boards of Canada "electronic" artists. They are in a unique category
with no equal, but with many wannabees. "Analog-Synthetic Musical
Digitalization and Enhancement" is the closest ‘genre’ I can think of
for Boards of Canada, a coy, brilliant duo that now belongs to no
genre. 5 stars once again, Mike and Marcus. Don’t stop making music
for yourselves and thank you for another incredible journey in my
headphones.

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Tale of Two Answering Machines
how to get clients for marketing company
I’m not usually this much of a geek, but this tale does embody trends of late. The answering machine on the left is very stylin’ and I was hoping it would work adequately dispite mixed reviews on Amazon. It cost me and was available off the shelf at Office Depot. It not only sounds terrible it sabotages your callers by disconnecting them 25% of the time or leaves them with a busy signal. At first I thought it was just because I switched to AT & T. (I was paying nearly (up from ) for a business line with MCI so wanted to cut costs by going to the no frills, no voicemail flat rate which only AT & T offers.) AT & T won’t even talk to you until you agree to pay for a service call. Then if it’s their fault they pay for the call. Tim said it was probably an inside line problem. Catherine said it was probably the answering machine and having seen so many reviews of dropped calls I strongly suspected same.

Today I managed to score, for .25 at our local thrift store, a Lucent AS40 (on the right) which is identical to the AT&T 1715. Very grubby, but cleaned up fine and I was able to download a manual for it and found a glowing review of it online from someone speaking of it as one of the last decent answering machines before they all became pieces of crap that sound terrible and last a few weeks or a year if your lucky. The sound quality is heaps better than the newer one.

So what happened in the last ten years? The market for answering machines shrunk so all the formerly decent companies with quality control and high standards sold to lesser manufacturers. AT & T answering machines are now made by Vtech. Lucent doesn’t make answering machines anymore, etc, etc.

And on e-Bay people are bidding on the old tape machines hoping for something they remember to have lasted ten years. And I will keep an eye out for anymore of these machines to sell and keep in circulation. What floored me was how manufactures are getting away with making such shoddy electronics. But I can see that designers are still doing their best work.

I joked to my Friday client that the Russians gave up communism because they couldn’t get consumer goods readily, but we may give up capitalism because we can’t buy anything that will last. She thought that was very funny and let me have a still packaged answering machine outgoing message tape which I will hawk on e-Bay providing I don’t have to use my old tape machine myself.

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