Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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4Play: Amon Tobin, Del and the Funky Homosapien, DJ Quik, Whodini

Kristi Kates - May 16th, 2011
Amon Tobin - Isam - Ninja Tune
IDM, or “Intelligent Dance Music,” is what producer/DJ Tobin calls the musical arm of his craft, in which he blends South American rhythms with hip-hop, breakbeat, and a dense layer of samples and cuts. More experimental than previous works, these tracks take some listening before the appeal becomes evident, as they’re crafted with a more haphazard overall feel yet with more attention to each element’s detail and placement. The melodic “Lost and Found” and the intriguing “Journeyman” are two of the standouts on this particular set, both rumbled through with heavy bass and Tobin’s distinctive mixes.
 


Del the Funky Homosapien - Golden Era - The Council
Thank goodness Del moved on from writing tracks with Ice Cube to his own scene, and that of his collaborative and side projects Gorillaz and Deltron 3030. His own album relates more to the latter projects than the earlier, which is a good thing. He reportedly utilized the past couple of years to put this set together, and the effort shows; it somehow manages to both embody classic, old-school hip-hop, and a futuristic musical mindset that makes the tracks fresh, especially on tracks like “Calculate” and “Makes No Sense,” while the wordplay, with a few exceptions, rhymes with more technical proficiency than most in this genre.
 


DJ Quik - Book of David - MS Records
Speaking of old school, Quik is back with his West Coast flair, although with a few roadbumps in tow; the beats here lope along as expected for the most part, but when he tries to throw a few breaks in, they don’t always work as smoothly as they should. That said, West Coast rap fans will find a lot to spin on this album, from opener “Fire and Brimstone” with its unique counterpoint to his later collaboration with the abovementioned Ice Cube himself (“Boogie Till You Conk Out.”) Elsewhere, “Babylon” is a polite (as if) insult-fest, and “Hydromatic” drops in sample work and horns to make for an unexpected arrangement.
 


Whodini - Escape - Traffic
New York trio Whodini hit their rap stride in the mid-’80s, with this album often cited as being one of the early rap classics. Remastered from the original analog tapes, this set, which has long been out of print, includes the original album in its entirety, and captures an era in which rappers had yet to put their focus on sex, drugs, and rap n’ roll - these funky tracks are more upbeat and accessible than one might expect, as evidenced by one of the biggest tunes on the tracklisting (recently sampled by Nas), “If I Ruled the World.” “Five Minutes of Funk” and “Featuring Grandmaster Gee” are other highlights of this retro must-have fave.
 
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