August 20, 2009

SUMMER UPDATE & BOOK REVIEW: The Franklin Scandal - Nick Bryant (2009, Trine Day Publishing)

I realized again I have been so busy that I've been neglecting this blog. Luckily I did not get caught up in the recent round of lay-offs at my college, and I am nearly finished with my first online class that I've been taking since June. My taste lately has been swinging back and forth between very minimalist ambient music and early '90s alt. rock from my youth, neither of which I feel particularly motivated to write about. A lot of the time that I'm not working on my class assignments, I've been either working on my own music or just reading books, so I haven't been in "reviewing mode" lately.

I did want to make a point of posting a link to this new book that arrived in my mailbox this week. The book is called "The Franklin Scandal: A Story Of Powerbrokers, Child Abuse & Betrayal" by Nick Bryant. It is an in-depth investigation into a major political scandal that happened in Nebraska. The scandal was originally exposed in a book by Senator John DeCamp in the late '80s, and updated in the mid '90s as details and witnesses have continued to emerge. A British production company made a documentary on the scandal called "Conspiracy Of Silence" that was to be shown on the Discovery Channel, but the airing was canceled at the last minute for undefined reasons. An unfinished production copy of the documentary has since been leaked onto the internet and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times on Youtube and Google Video. What originally appeared to be a "simple" case of stolen funds from a local credit union, led to the unearthing of a nationwide child prostitution ring catering to the political elite of America, with implications of black-mail at the highest levels of government. As more details emerged for public scrutiny, a massive and obvious cover-up by law enforcement and FBI went into action like something out of an X-Files script, leaving a trail of mysterious deaths and "suicides" in its wake. Bryant spent seven years uncovering even greater levels of detail, more witnesses and tons of corroboration on what actually happened, all of which adds up to an expose of serious corruption in our government that has been ongoing for decades. The book can be ordered from Trine Day Publishing, who offer a wide variety of fascinating material, in fact right on the front page I am seeing Anthony Sutton's "America's Secret Establishment" which I also recommend strongly.

To end on some musical notes, I was sad to hear that Daniel Baquet-Long from the prolific ambient duo Celer passed away recently. I only recently became familiar with their music, but I am very impressed by what I've heard so far ("Capri" and the sublime "Nacreous Clouds"). The latter was put out on CD by the excellent, ultra-minimalist/field recording label and/OAR, who released a CD by one of my professors at Mills, Maggi Payne, several years back which was great but you can't get it anymore. I have also been fiending for the hand-made, limited releases on Andrew Chalk's new label Faraway Press, but you have to order them directly from the UK and I am too broke right now. An mp3 from my Kranky CD has been making the rounds on some music websites, and I also have a little blurb (and photo!) in the Electronic Reviews section of The Wire magazine, that blew me away. Finally, here is an early '80s post-punk track by music journalist Vivien Goldman that has been stuck in my head recently: