News & Reviews
All the author and DJ buzz that’s unfit to publish -- New Years edition!
By BPM Smith
Now that 2006 is behind us, it is time to
reflect on the year’s
best in the worlds of books and music. Our second year covering the
scene at WORD’N’BASS.com saw authors like Walter Satterthwait firm up his
status as one of today’s unique crime novelists and so-called
‘mid-list’ author Sara Gruen
morph into a star, while the electronic music scene continued evolving
thanks to technology and the creative breakthroughs of Chus & Ceballos, Sandra Collins
and Nu:Tone. The latest .45
column gives a peek of where we’ve been and where we’re going.
Best inspiration for starving novelists who
dream of a Baja beach house!
Who expected that a novelist who’s plugged along the last few years in
the so-called ‘mid-list’ -- respectable sales but no hints that the
million dollar club was inches away -- would soar into the JK Rowling stratosphere in 2006. Sara Gruen’s novel Water For Elephants (Algonquin
Books) unexpectedly hit the best seller’s lists and buoyed the one-time
copy writer to a reported $5 million deal for two books including The Ape House.
That makes Gruen the official poster girl for every broke novelist with
dreams of Baja beach houses and parties in Brazil accompanied by
towel-bearing cabana boys. Or if you’re a guy, the smoking hot former
Miss Nevada 2007. Nietzsche
once said, "Man is more an ape than any ape" and we now agree.
Naturally, you’re wondering about the possible downstream impact of The
Ape House, and we’ve got answers.
We have decided that our next novel Bistro
de Mars will no longer tell the story of a San Francisco boxer
struggling to make the Olympics against a backdrop of a cheating
girlfriend, rave parties and car thieves. No. Bistro now stars a
hopelessly romantic ape named Carlito who packs a .45 as human corpses
fly through the kitchen window whenever he brews a double cappuccino.
It’s a guaranteed best seller, kids!
Nu:Tone best Drum & Bass
producer to remix!
We finally jumped on the Nu:Tone
bandwagon this year, joining DJs like LTJ
Bukem and Andy C who
have regularly use the brilliant Cambridge, UK-based producer’s records
on their decks. Nu:Tone, who joined Hospital Records UK back in 2003,
launched his debut album Brave Nu
World back in 2005 and the 12-inch vinyls finally came trickling
into San Francisco this year. We are ever grateful that they did, and
have regularly mixed his tracks into the weekly Word ‘N’ Bass Show.
Nobody cuts a phat track that’s ready-made for remixing like the Jump
Up star Nu:Tone. Our DJ friends are sometimes averse to buying two of
the same records -- why pay for two when you can add another flava in
the record box? -- but when you double up Three Bags Full, Heaven Sent and Strange Encounter on two turntables,
five minutes of bounce become 12 minutes of ecstasy. What’s Nu:Tone
been up to since his breakout album? He’s taken his show worldwide,
spreading the D&B gospel from the USA to Asia to Australia. We hear
he’s even playing Moscow, an unexpected D&B hotbed, in January 2007.
Best reason to hit the gym while
sucking down Twinkies!
We’d all like to escape the big city and chill out on small barrier
island off the west coast of Florida. But if you read Walter
Satterthwait’s 2006 novel Perfection
(St. Martin’s Press) you know you’d better follow that New Years
resolution and do your damn sit-ups.
Perfection followed the moves of a serial killer who targets clinically
obese women, and marked Satterthwait’s continued evolution as a crime
novelist who knows how to spin a tale -- with quirky angles that
readers find delightfully demented. We can’t wait to receive our copy
of his latest novel Dead Horse,
which Dennis McMillan Publications launched this month.
HarperCollins revives one legend
and buries another!
HarperCollins did a fantastic job reviving legendary author Charles Bukowski, whose death in
1994 left a huge void in literary fiction and poetry. The man, revered
for his short story collections like Ordinary
Tales of Madness, novels Factotum
and Hollywood, as well as for
his poetry, came back in 2006 with the publisher’s release of Come On In!
through imprint Ecco. We hear the publisher will continue churning out
old Bukowski work, and for that we give them a big thumbs up.
There is a flipside to every story, especially when you’re part of a
publicly-traded company with shareholders and huge egos involved.
HarperCollins, a division of Rupert
Murdock's mega conglomerate News Corp, used the flamboyant Judith Regan
as its punching bag in the wake of its canceled OJ Simpson book If I Did It, and fired her. In early
'07 they'll likely rename her ReganBooks imprint, which has her
signature all over it from Jose
Canseco's memoir Juiced,
which sparked Congressional hearings, to the less publicized Couldn't Keep It To Myself, a
heartwrenching book of stories by Wally
Lamb and imprisoned women at the York Correcitonal Institution.
In every publishing company there's often a few people who are said to
be termination-proof. Guess this means another myth has died. Unlike
lots of folks in the publishing industry, we can't say this is past due
or gloat in the firing of a powerful woman executive. The OJ thing was
in poor taste but we always liked this tough-minded character, who
provided an interesting face to an industry that seems to hide in the
background. Judith Regan will be back.
2007 will bring more Electro
fusion and more online raves!
One of this year’s brightest trends was a move from DJ/producers to
fuse organic instruments to Electro and Drum & Bass. A local
example is San Francisco’s own Maneesh The
Twister and the Djarma crew,
while offshore we got turned on to Spain’s Chus &
Ceballos, a pair of DJs who introduced the "Iberican Sound"
to the global Tribal House scene. We expect to see more fusion between
traditional instruments and electronic music this year, and look for
Chus & Ceballos to continue pushing the creative envelope.
Meanwhile, there are rumblings about an emerging movement in the UK
called New Wave Drum & Bass. We’re not really sure what this
subgenre will bring but hope it’s something fresh that we can use in
our own mixes. Back when we spinned more club parties our home girl,
Oakland D&B diva Hobbes,
had some instrumental assists from a saxophone player, which preceded
today’s trend best exemplified by Future Prophecies. We want more of
Meanwhile, in late 2006 we saw the first ever rave broadcast live on
Myspace, the website that just about every budding DJ and author is
joining to help get the word out. Electro and Trance DJs Paul Oakenfold and Sandra Collins
were part of that historic show that’s sure to fuel similar efforts
from party promoters across the globe. Just think, us raver types will
soon be able to bump the best electronic music and visual accompaniment
in the leisure of our own homes. If you missed the live Myspace show, click here
to watch highlights plus interviews.
BPM Smith hopes 2007 is the
As for our own little world, it is our hope that 2007 will mark a
breakthrough year for our novels, music and poker, and that
WORD’N’BASS.com will continue to grow thanks to you, our readers and
fellow music aficionados. In the first quarter of this year we’ll
finally complete our new novel Bistro
De Mars and send it out to the publishing world. We’ll continue
cooking up fresh Drum & Bass every Friday night on 104.1 FM (10 pm
to 1 am), and hope you enjoy our efforts live or through the handful of
After a 2006 in which we played over 30 No Limit Hold ‘Em poker
tournaments and made the final tables at five, we’re bringing our
improved skills to one WPT tournament and one WSOP event in 2007 that
just might surprise these crafty old sharks. WORD’N’BASS.com would like
to wish all of you Happy Holidays, and may your New Year prove to be
the best one yet.
.45 is a column from
WORD’N’BASS.com Editor BPM Smith, who writes literary fiction and showers
in heavy bass. He is a senior news editor for a global news wire, Drum
& Bass DJ, and author of 1.85 "gritty and engaging" novels. E-mail
comments, gossip or shout-outs to editor (at) wordnbass
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