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.45: All the author and DJ buzz that’s unfit to publish -- New Years edition!
By BPM Smith

BPM SmithNow 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 that!

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 breakout year!

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 archived sets we've posted.

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 (dot) com.


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