Category Archives: Culture


12/28/2015.  Motörhead frontman, rock icon “Lemmy” dead at seventy the news channels screamed.  How could god die?

I saw Motörhead last in Madison Square Garden at the Gigantour 2012.  It was my fourth, and each time I’ve pleasantly impaired the natural performance of my ears.  His bronchial rasp, that lowered microphone, those majestic whiskers, the Marlboro reds which he abused between songs, his shiny Rickenbacker guitar remained intact.  Most millennials in the audience came to see Megadeth, the encore performance of the tour.  When Dave Mustaine (Megadeth frontman) took a minute after the show to profusely thank Lemmy and Motörhead, some of the millennials in the audience learned who the headmaster and the student of the rock n’ roll school were.

Even my date for that evening, a fan of the eighties/nineties speed/thrash bands, was blissfully ignorant of the innovator.  I had to explain an incident which took place in late seventies about a car that shadowed the Motörhead tour bus from San Diego, CA along the west coast.  It was in the state of Oregon that the bus driver notified Lemmy about the stalker, Lars Ulrich, a pimply-faced nineteen y/o zealot who was later appointed the President of the US Motörhead Fan Club.  He later went on to form Metallica that basically duplicated many of the attributes that Motörhead invented:  song structure and versing, attitude, raspy vocals, fast-paced rock to mention a few.  Many of the bands from Slayer to Sepultura and Anthrax to Death Angel aped Motörhead to become Billboard chart-topping rockstars who flew in private jets and slept with supermodels.  Motörhead was where Motörhead is.  Raw, passionate, authentic, and in-your-face.

Perhaps David Letterman should have introduced Motörhead with more deference or rather politeness to American audiences when they played a Chuck Berry classic in his Late Night show that only brought the beast out of his sidekick, Paul Shaffer.  Perhaps the jury in Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame needed to identify and honor true rock icons for their contribution and influence.  Perhaps Motörhead should’ve made flashy videos of leather-clad skinny girls for MTV audiences.  Perhaps news journalists could refrain portraying him solely as a boisterous party-animal, coarsely scurrilous at groupie extravaganzas in their short-sighted requiem.  In truth, these perhapses do not exist.

Ask most any music critic and he’ll tell you Lemmy Kilmister’s great artistic achievements from being Jimi Hendrix’s roadie to Hawkwind’s bassist to Motörhead’s frontman of forty years.  Ask rock aficionados about Lemmy Kilmister, and they’ll explain how he singularly laid the foundation for the gritty aesthetic of punk, new wave heavy metal, no wave, thrash metal, speed metal, alternative rock, grunge, and death metal.  Motörhead was not metal, but it was metal.  Motörhead was punk, before punk was a recognized genre.  For a musician ahead of the times and a key touchstone of the movements in rock music to follow, Lemmy had to develop his own ideology, his own myth and history; even his standard of greatness amply sited by fellow musicians from Ozzy Osbourne (of Black Sabbath) to Tracy Marrow (Ice-T) only recites a part of the story.

Lemmy Kilmister is a standard of human passion and perseverance.  One cannot put it any simpler than that.

Passion:  His passion is everywhere in his life, in the songs he wrote, in his keen intelligence of social and political issues, and in his amphetamine-fueled music; its attribution only raises your body temperature.  Lemmy’s passion means many things, encompassing psychedelic rock of Sam Gopal, space rock of Hawkwind, or the intense singularity and devotion of Motörhead’s proto-punk.  Unusual in the fields of heavy rock, we discover a philosopher and a thinker of great compassion; his antagonism towards religion (“Orgasmatron”), his hostility to any established authority (“Eat the Rich,” “March or Die”), his outrage to war (“1916,” “Get Back in Line”), his espoused bleakness to child abuse (“Don’t Let Daddy Kiss me”).

Perseverance:  Born as Ian Fraser Kilmister, he was three months old when his father, a clergyman, deserted the family.  He grew up at a time before rock music, listening to his mother’s Rosemary Clooney records.  He was nine when Ian decided to play the guitar.  When his mother remarried, he spent his teen years as a guitarist in obscure bands (Rainmakers, Motown Sect, Opal Butterfly, and the Rockin’ Vickers), short of money, eating when he can cadge a meal.  “Lemme borrow a fiver.”  Lemmy was baptized.  Neville Chesters, Jimi Hendrix Road Manager, whom I interviewed for my forthcoming book on “Icons” told me that if Lemmy could not play in other bands, he’d carry their guitars and equipment.  “He’s come in the hard way of persistence.”  Years later after he found himself in band, Hawkwind, he was only unceremoniously expelled from it in a foreign country without dime in his pocket.  Any ordinary human being facing such calamities and adversities from a fatherless childhood to frustrated adolescence and deep poverty would have imbued instant disdain to take a salaried employment as a security guard or a bus driver in England.  It takes a Lemmy Kilmister to disregard circumstances and create a destiny that imposes gigantic hope as an immutable ideal which motivates fans, inspires other rock musicians, spurs human imagination, and makes even Beavis and Butt-Head bow their heads in respect; the only musician they ever elicited regard in the animated sitcom of implied criticism.

Rock stars are decided in the Billboard chart hits and in the decision of the masses.  The masses are thrust upon to purchase what is publicized by the media that record labels and corporations pay money to publicize.  Marketing then decides the super stars.  But, there lies a difference between hero and legend, just as there lies a difference between talent and genius or brand and icon.  Unsupportive of millions in records sale, a multi-million dollar account in a Manhattan bank, or a number one position on the chart, if Motörhead is the most tattooed band in the world (my research on brand logo tattoos), and if Motörhead’s true fans are in other bands, it just asserts that we live in a world where an Elvis Presley lived in a Graceland, but a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died in a hut.

“When I’m dead, we’ll sell millions, like Von Gogh, who couldn’t sell a painting while he was alive.  Some other follower of ours gets all the bread today.  I really do not mind one way or the other.  I never cared about money; I cared to do very good rock n’t roll, and I’ll go on doing creative music until it kills me, which won’t be very long.  I’ve been smoking since I was nine.”  — Lemmy Kilmister.

On a few occasions Lemmy roared, “I’m sorry—I can’t sing today.”  He covered his face.  The crowds gasped.  Throughout the past year, the bike engines phelgmily rumbled as if it were Motörhead’s last show.  How long can the forty-year-old Motörhead train keep steaming?

Lemmy’s bones ached; his voice shot.  The rags of age were upon him.  But, he kept going.  The older he got, the gnarlier he got.  Last three studio albums, Motorizer, Aftershock, and Bad Magic bear abundant evidence.  He was still there enduring the old age and defying death.

Denver show was cancelled.  In Austin, TX, Lemmy left after three songs.  The concert was empty: vacated seats of the arena and the cooling drum stool on stage.  But, the crowds honored his frailty.  Fans did not love him; they worshipped him.  He was their god.

The microphone that stood higher than his head for four decades was removed on 12/26 when doctors discovered an aggressive form of cancer.  Two days later, god disappeared from earth.  He took with him the shooting rage of his larynx, the grave-digger acumen, and his gnashing, distorted sounds of his bass guitar.  But, humanity’s middle finger left us with two lessons.  Passion and perseverance.

The heart symbolizes red hot passion.  The heart is also the most enduring bodily organ.  It keeps on beating the moment blood joins earth, and throughout life.  When it stops, we fall dead.  If rock n’ roll were a living, breathing creature, Lemmy Kilmister is its heart.  Made by passion and lived through perseverance.  Born to lose; live to win.



The most intimate team to its fans, the cricket brand of the common man, CSK, triumphs the kitsch of Bollywood and the pursestrings of India’s rich to be the most valuable IPL cricket team.

MOST OF THE greatest sports brands today are American:  Nike (sportswear), Super Bowl (sporting event), Tiger Woods (sports personality), ESPN (sports channel), and New York Yankees (sports club).  At least with the list of world famous sports clubs, a new one from the Third World needs to be included.

India has a long-standing love affair with a game called cricket, a quintessentially British sport played as “creckett” in the sixteenth century, and popularized by the British Empire in the subcontinent since early 1800s.  Today, three in every ten TV commercials will carry a cricketing theme or endorsed by India’s cricket heroes.  In the new millennium, cricket went through an overhaul – truncated to twenty overs a side and a result could be gotten in three hours – about as long as a baseball game – right for an evening’s Hulk Hogan-style entertainment.  Playing the role of a patriarch, the Board of Cricket Control in India, muscled its power to trample Indian Cricket League (ICL) calling it unlicensed and banning many international players, and borrowed many ideas from the first T20 World Championship hosted by South Africa to form its own glitzy version, the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The IPL was set up to imitate the franchise model of American sport – a very cosy family business.  And even if India’s biggest film stars and richest hard-nosed tycoons who own many of these cricket clubs continually crave for the spotlight on themselves, the effulgence of IPL seized every cricket lover’s attention, and was subsequently appraised at a whopping $3.7 billion by Brand Finance, a London-based consulting firm that specializes in brand valuation.  India’s rising middle class embraced this hit-and-giggle version that was devised by England in 2003, as a way of reviving interest to its county cricket after five straight years of failing attendances.  With this new acquired brand of T20 cricket, India’s city-based franchisees had truly come of age with one clear winner: Chennai Super Kings (CSK).

From a branding perspective, CSK, declared as the most valuable IPL franchisee (again valued by Brand Finance, London), began to differentiate itself, and amply benefitted from the high level of identification of power symbols and a sensory palette of unique visual, verbal, and digital expression.  As a veteran in branding and specializing on consumer insight and technology, I’d award CSK full marks in every  facet of the complex branding process, especially the potential to build equity by capitalizing on the emotional relationship it shares with CSK fans who derive strength and a sense of identity from their affiliation with their team.

Brand Identity Elements:

Branding experts may brood about the lack of poetic ingenuity in having two kings and two royals among the handful IPL teams.  Some may assume that the CSK brand name was partly inspired or downright inherited from the defunct Chennai Super Stars.  The “king of the IPL jungle” symbolism traces back to Pallava dynasty who combined the iconic lion emblem with other symbols like the Swastika, Srivatsa, and the Trisula in their copper plate seals.  The descriptor “super” – Tamils’ overused fuzzword – everything is “super” from morning coffee to their favorite cinema star.

While every IPL team is adorned in a variant of blue- or red-colored jersey with gaudy silver or gold streaks, the CSK cricketers refresh the eyes in bright yellow.  A roaring lion is used as a visual symbol, and Chepauk, the home of CSK, is referred colloquially as the lion’s den.

Brand Attribute and Value:

For brand success the product or in this case the entire gaming experience, needs to be perceived as quality-laden, providing adequate value for money.  While non-cricketing attributes matter in IPL, the success of a sports club depended chiefly on the core competitiveness of cricket players, i.e., their abilities.  CSK’s winning consistency in the short history of the IPL has transformed a brand into a cultural phenomenon: five times in the playoffs (including IPL 2012), three-time finalists, twice winners of the IPL crown, and once winning the Champions League in 2010.

CSK is the only team that does not cast light on its owners.  Instead, it has cast light on the authentic game it plays.  You can see it when CSK is on: the camera is on its players – not on the owner’s snooty family.  When pursestrings become visible, you know that a sports brand is in peril because it isn’t lit by its cricketing splendor, but ignited by the vulgar stare of money.  Other bells and whistles in the three-hour extravaganza, such as a percussionist drumming a dancing beat alongside the outsourced cheerleaders still colorfully prevail.

Organizational Attributes:

Barring CSK, all IPL teams hired local players to only fire them in player auctions in American corporate style; for instance, there is no sense of “Bengaluru” in Royal Challengers; even their all-conquering son, Rahul Dravid, was imperturbably relinquished to play for the namesake, the other Royals.  A cricket player performs three roles in the IPL: functions as a member in the squad, if selected plays for the team, promotes the brand, and endorses as the primary  spokesperson.  If team owners rule with an iron rod and let their players go off in a merry-go-round, the fans tend to switch their loyalty, resulting in fan alienation that the clubs may have avoided in the first place.  Brand confusion is very evident with Deccan Chargers’ fans: they cheer for Adam Gilchrist who plays now for Kings XI and their club travels as vagrants from Vizag to Cuttack.

CSK did not do different things; it only did things differently.  CSK kept the same team rooster for the most part in the five years IPL has been in full-swing.  The traditional value of developing the best local talent was continued as the bulk of the side, including Murali Vijay, Ravichandran Ashwin, Srikanth Anirudha, and Subramaniam Badrinath, and Yo Mahesh moved up through Tamil Nadu cricket.  The highest wicket-taker in the world, Muttiah Muralitharan, a Tamil, was only forced to let go after a competing IPL team outbid CSK.

It is the only franchise that invested $5 million to revamp on its creaking infrasturcture and increase seating capacity to 50,000; today Chepauk boasts of quad conical geometric form roof and bright yellow-colored stands.  There definitely is a sense of belonging and empathy with which CSK has been branded.

Customer Internalization:

Just as how Chelsea F.C. is a play thing for Roman Abramovitch; IPL teams may very well be a play thing for the highfaluting businessmen.  Not Chennai.  CSK exudes a persona of a people’s brand, while other teams depend on a Bollywood ring master to goad its fans inside and outside the playing field.  With any sports team brand, the fan’s internalization process is very elemental, and in this digital age, CSK fans are taking their favorite team right to the streets via social media outlets.  If you don’t know that CSK fans are the most appreciative cricketing audience in the world, you need to drop an e-mail to the former Pakistani opener, Saeed Anwar, or ask someone from the Pakistan cricket team of 1999 who did a lap of honor.  CSK fans, like their team, are a cog in the machine.  This sense of “we” is pivotal in any sporting culture, and this sense of fan inclusivity is evident in the myriad videos on social media channels made by CSK fans for CSK fans (featured below is one made in San Francisco, CA, USA going viral right now on YouTube as this article is written).

CSK as an innovator initiated a few novel schemes be it the Mongoose bat in 2009 or their catchy “Whistle Podu” and “Raise your Hands” jingles to seduce fans worldwide.  Last year, CSK fans broke into the “Whistle Podu” song and dance at Landmark, a book store chain in Chennai, proving that promotion today is democratic in the digitized world of social media and viral videos.

The restaurants and bars are riding the CSK wave by offering their guests CSK-styled menu (see below Park Sheraton’s Cricket Mania Menu).

Fostering Brand Loyalty:

In the past 5 years since IPL’s inception, CSK has about 1.5 million (consolidated) fans on Facebook; New York Yankees has about 5 million.  But, the Yankees was established back in 1901 – CSK only in 2008.  CSK legend, Matthew Hayden, has a photostream on posting pictures from CSK dressing room and cementing ties with CSK fans (search for ID TheHaydenway).  CSK continually tweets and keeps its subscribers and fans engaged by giving away awards and rewards, while the players directly promote the CSK summer sports and casual apparel collection online via YouTube videos (see below) fostering a more direct relationship with fan base.

I was in awe when my friend’s octogenarian grandmother spent $5,000 and went on her own to Salt Lake City, UT to support Chicago Bulls in the 1998 NBA finals.  She proudly wore the Chicago Red in the road games against Jazz.  After almost a decade when I moved to London, England, I realized that New York Yankees transcended as an icon of the world – Londoners wore Yankees’ merchandise in a similar New Yorker pride – I’ve seen many with the NYY logo tattooed in permanent ink.  So far, I have spotted a handful CSK fans in their yellow jerseys in New York and New Jersey this season.  Scores of CSK fans congregate on groups in social media outlets.  For instance, “Second Slip” is the most popular hang-out on Facebook (restricted admission).  With the social web democratization, the CSK brand emerges as a sports club of the people by the people and for the people out of all IPL teams.  In a few years I am sure to see the CSK’s roaring lion logo, tattooed and commodified like Oakland Raiders or New York Yankees.

Should you wish to connect with the author: @iSudio on Twitter

For author’s insights and thinking in branding, marketing, or strategy, please find his keynote presentations at:  You should be able to download them for free.

Interesting Cinemagraphs

Today, several graphic designers post cinemagraph, a small image with repeated animation, which straddle the line between a still image and a video clip. Here are some interesting ones from a mobile food stall on the streets of Manhattan to the inimitable Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining.’ I compiled these from posts on my G+ stream and Tumblr. Feel free to find use for cinemagraphs in your keynote presentations.

(Source: Cinemagraph, Samcannon, YouHavetoStartSomewhere, CargoCollective, IWDRM, CraigRichardson, and AraqueFotos)


YouTube completes seven glorious years 2/14/2012. Even before it turned two, internet superstar, Google, bought YouTube for $1.65b. YouTube has not looked back since. Chicago’s OK Go became the first music band to make videos exclusively for YouTube; later on they went to win a Grammy award for a clever video that featured the band members dancing on treadmills. In 2007, many home-made videos went viral on YouTube, which Google operated as a subsidiary. In 2008, YouTube struck an agreement with Fox, Lions Gate, and CBS to post full-length films and TV episodes. YouTube became the first online broadcaster for a major sporting event when IPL started streaming its matches in 2010. Is the success of a viral-produced YouTube video largely a hit-and-miss? Given that many wacky videos go viral, is there some kind of an algorithm with vital ingredients that people in millions click? To celebrate YouTube’s 7th birthday, here are some of the top viral home-made videos produced exclusively* for YouTube.

(*TV shows, movie clips, ads, or music videos eliminated)

01.  Charlie Bit My Finger (471m)

02.  An Experiment (222m)

03.  Evolution Of Dance (189m)

04.  Friday (180m)

05.  The Gummy Bear Song (173m)

06.  Sneezing Baby Panda (130m)

07.  David After Dentist (106m)

08.  Ultimate Dog Tease (93m)

09.  Talking Twin babies (75m)

10.  Numa Numa (63m)

11.  Where the Hell is Matt? (58m)

12.  Thriller by Philippines Prison Inmates (50m)

13.  Shoes (45m)

14.  Baby Laughing (43m)

15.  Leave Britany Alone (42.8m)

16.  Why This Kolaveri Di? (42.7m)

18.  Dramatic Chipmunk (34m)

19.  Spiders on Drugs (29m)

20.  It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time (23m)

Facebook Parenting (2.8m; going viral right now


12:01 am, 1 August 1981. MTV launched with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, rock n’ roll.” Soon after, video killed the radio star. Throughout the decade MTV was eulogized more than Reagan’s victory in cold war. Unlike most immigrants who live in the US for the superiority of the dollar, I chose to live in the US for its rock culture that MTV showcased in my formative years.

In the 90s, Beavis and Butthead advocated aberrant behavior to redeem MTV shirt sales, and later with “The Real World,” the M in MTV stood for “Most anything than music.” The first 10 years of the new millennium, monolithic video outlets died. But even if MTV and VH-1 have become derelict in the new millennium, music video democracy was at an all-time high with scores of websites: YouTube, Vimeo, and Daily Motion. Internet killed the video star.

This page commemorates the thirty most brilliant music videos that this paradigm-shifting thirty years gave mankind

Artist: Tyler, the Creator
Video for: “Yonkers”
Directed by: Wolf Haley
Label: Odd Future
To a certain mindset, this is the best video of all time

Artist: Liars
Video for: “Scissors”
Directed by: Andy bruntel
Label: Mute
Majestically disturbing

Artist: The Flaming Lips
Video for: “Watching the Planets”
Directed by: Wayne Coyne and George Salisbury
Label: Warner Bros.
Transformative chaos captured extravagantly on video

Artist: Björk
Video for: “Wanderlust”
Directed by: Encyclopedia Pictura
Label: Downtown
God bless for its spectacular allegorical struggle of wonder vs. worry

Artist: Grizzly Bear
Video for: “Knife”
Directed by: Isaiah Saxon and Sean Hellfritsch (Encyclopedia Pictura)
Label: Warp records
Symbolic representations of interaction with matter, medicine, and magic

Artist: The Pipettes
Video for: “Your Kisses are Wasted on me”
Directed by: Benchmark Productions
Label: Naive
Sometimes it is the audience that propels a low-budget video into an authentic novelty

Artist: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy/Matt Sweeney
Video for: “I gave you”
Directed by: Michael Piscitelli
Label: Palace/Drag City
The emptiness of the video evaporates once the frame captures the baseball bat doused in human blood

Artist: Madvillian
Video for: “All Caps”
Directed by: James Reitano
Label: Stones Throw
The only cool comic strip

Artist: Johnny Cash
Video for: “Hurt”
Directed by: Mark Romanek
Label: Universal
There could never have been a better way to close the piano lid of the great American’s career

Artist: Royksopp
Video for: “Remind me”
Directed by: Ludovic Houplan and Herve de Crecy
Label: Wall of Sound
Toneless everyday British monotony in the glory of computer graphics

Artist: The White Stripes
Video for: “Fell in Love with a Girl”
Directed by: Michael Gondry
Label: V2 Records
If you can watch this and not love The White Stripes, you have a heart made of lego

Artist: The Avalanches
Video for: “Since I Left you”
Directed by: Rob Leggat and Leigh Marling (Blue Source)
Label: XL
New and refreshing with heart of surrealism

Artist: Squarepusher
Video for: “Come on my Selector”
Directed by: Chris Cunningham
Label: Nothing (USA) and Warp (UK)
Pure technical brilliance

Artist: Alex Gopher
Video for: “The Child”
Directed by: Antoine Bardou-Jacquet
Label: Solid
A wild font party

Artist: Foo Fighters
Video for: “Everlong”
Directed by: Michael Gondry
Label: Virgin
Ultimately a video changed the perception of labeling them a Nirvana spin-off

Artist: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony
Video for: “Tha Crossroads”
Directed by: Michael Martin
Label: Ruthless
Inspired by Yama, the Hindu God of Death, the video is infernal when he takes the baby

Artist: Radiohead
Video for: “Just”
Directed by: Jamie Thraves
Label: Capitol
“If you lay down here, you could see the band playing up there”

Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Video for: “Closer”
Directed by: Mark Romanek
Label: Nothing
Sadomasochist art illusions in sepia-tinged, dysmorphic film-grain sensationalizing morbidity

Artist: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Video for: “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”
Directed by: Rick Rubin
Label: MCA
With some songs it seems like there’s only one video that could possibly have been made for it

Artist: Nirvana
Video for: “In Bloom”
Directed by: Kevin Kerslake
Label: Mobile Fidelity
Fake Ed Sullivan shindig adds a lot of weight to this mock clip

Artist: REM
Video for: “Losing my Religion”
Directed by: Tarsem Singh Dhandwar
Label: Warner Bros.
Just to throw off the real intent, the music video is laden with religious imageries of St. Sebastian and Hindu deities

Artist: Sinead O’Connor
Video for: “Nothing Compares 2 U”
Directed by: John Maybury
Label: Ensign/Chrysalis
When the teardrop falls everyone absolves her for the SNL Pope incident, alleged lesbianism, and “All Apologies” cover

Artist: Joy Division
Video for: “Atmospheres”
Directed by: Anton Corbijn
Label: London
Ian Curtis’ funeral in decayed black and white cinematography that hauntingly captures Britain’s post-industrial wasteland


Artist: Ministry
Video for: “Stigmata”
Directed by: Hypo Luxa
Label: Sire
Can’t think of any better film to be placed in the MOMA’s permanent collection

Artist: Genesis
Video for: “Land of Confusion”
Directed by: Jim Yukich
Label: Atlantic
Terrorism replaced cold war and Bush replaced Reagan, but still remains the demented world we live

Artist: The Replacements
Video for: “Bastards of Young”
Directed by: The Replacements
Label: Sire
Never before as the power of alternative music writ large on the accompanying music video

Artist: Coil
Video for: “Tainted Love”
Directed by: Peter Christopherson
Label: Threshold House
A pop music video that runs at quarter speed of the original version that can make you cry

Artist: Bronski Beat
Video for: “Small Town Boy”
Directed by: Michael Piscitelli
Label: Polygram
Puissant vignette about the vagaries of life of a homosexual

Artist: Michael Jackson
Video for: “Thriller”
Directed by: John Landis
Label: Warner Bros.
It is general consensus that this was the grandest epic ever made for MTV

Artist: Peter Gabriel
Video for: “Shock the Monkey”
Directed by: Brian Grant
Label: Geffen
Ahead of its times that only Peter Gabriel is capable of

Artist: Human League
Video for: “Don’t you want me?”
Directed by: Steve Barron
Label: A&M
All actors in the video look the viewer in the eye in this archetypal 80s new pop detective for Saturday morning TV kids



“The blackest Hindus represent an earlier stage of Aryan speech and thought than the fairest Scandinavians.” – Friedrich Max Müller

Charles Darwin argued in The Descent of Man that the difference between human and nonhuman minds is “one of degree and not of kind.” Biologists have shown that we share 98% of our genes with chimpanzees. Why then a chimpanzee can’t write this post on Tumblr or sing backup vocals for Sonic Youth? Contrary to Darwin’s enormously simple theory on continuity of mind, a profound gap separates our intellect from the animal kind. Researchers may have found building blocks of human cognition in other species, but these blocks make up only the cement footprint of the skyscraper that is the human mind. Only now clarity on the evolutionary origins of our cognitive abilities is emerging from novel insights of anthropologists and experimental technologies, however.

Video made by BBC-Discovery:

For further reading, “Early Humans Route” recommended:


Most babyboomers may still live in the 60s daze, but I hear a lot of criticism about today’s music from post-babyboomers. Looking back, 2011 produced as many innovative albums as had any other year in the 80s or 90s. The chief intent of this list is to prove the cynics wrong.

(In alphabetical order; artist, album title, record label)

40 Watt Sun, The Inside Room (Metal Blade)

Beady Eye, Different Gear, Still Speeding (Dangerbird Records)

Video of the third single “The Beat goes on” featured below:

Black Lips, Arabia Mountain (Vice)

Blut Aus Nord, 777: Sects and 777: The Desanctification (Season of Mist)

Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)

The music video of “Holocene,” plausibly the best song of 2011, is featured below:

Braids, Native Speaker (Kanine Records)

Cults, Cults (Itno)

Music video of the first single released, “Abducted,” featured below:

Cut Copy, Zonoscope (Modular Recordings)

Destroyer, Kaputt (Merge)

Explosions in the Sky, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (Temporary Residence)

The Field, Looping State of Mind (Kompakt)

Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop)

Foster the People, Torches (Startime)

PJ Harvey, Let England Shake (Vagrant)

Title track, “Let England Shake” live from a concert in Paris, France

The Horrors, Skying (XL Recordings)

The 10-minute closer, “Moving Further Away” live from Webster Hall, New York NY featured below:

James Blake, James Blake (Universal Republic)

John Maus, We must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves (Ribbon Music)

Music video for “Believer” featured below:

Julianna Barwick, The Magic Place (Asthmatic Kitty)

Kate Bush, 50 Words for Snow (Noble and Brite)

M83, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (Mute)

Music video of the title track featured below:

Mastodon, The Hunter (Reprise)

Metronomy, The English Riviera (Because)

Moonface, Organ Music not Vibraphone like I’d Hoped (Jagjaguwar)

Opeth, Heritage (Roadrunner)

Panda Bear, Tomboy (Paw Tracks)

Radiohead, The King of Limbs (TBD Records)

Shabazz Palaces, Black Up (Sub Pop)

An allegorical short film, “Belhaven Meridian” featured below:

Tom Waits, Bad as me (Anti)

Ulterior, Wild in Wildlife (Dependent)

Ulterior’s first single of the album, “Sex Wars Sex Cars Cars Sex” featured below:

Washed Out, Within and Without (Sub Pop)

“Eyes be Closed” featured below:

Wilco, The Whole Love (dBpm)

Wombats, This Modern Glitch (Bright Antenna)

Music video of “Techno Fan” featured below: