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Discoveries 2016

As this year is coming to an end, it’s time to summarize it. Here’s my albums/EPs top 30. The list is based on different factors and especially the second part of it could have a (slightly) different order. Don’t be bothered with the order more than necessary.

I have discovered many new artists this year. This is largely due to my especially intense curiosity and Spotify. Thank you Spotify. Even though you might not be good for the music industry, you’re an excellent discovery tool. Artists (and thus albums) I have left out in the below list include Steve Hauschildt, Jon Bap, Eastghost, Helado Negro, Chinese Man, Whitney, Doctor Flake, Jonny Nash, Scraps, Cocainejesus, Idealism, S U R V I V E, Leisure and too many others.

The list is probably incomplete. While I’m writing this, Omar Rodriguez Lopez has released another album. This man has been releasing albums like a cornflakes factory this year.

Kind of out of this world: This picture.

Kind of out of this world: This picture.

ALBUMS & EPs of the year 2016: 1-10

    1. The Black Dog – The Book of Dogma III
      ► Mental Health Hotline (video)
      This is my #1. Experimental, hypnotic, dark, has something ungraspable to it.
    2. Tidus – Why We’re Here On Earth (EP)
      ► See You There (video)
      Tidus is probably my #1 discovery this year. I absolutely adore his style and his sometimes indiscernible speek.
    3. STS9 – The Universe Inside
      ► Supercluster (video); Sun, Moon & Stars
      This is out of this world. There’s even a track called Out Of This World on this album.
    4. Leron Thomas – Good Kung Fu (EP)
      ► Lychenstadt
      Something like a #2 artist discovery. Bold, and I wouldn’t exactly know what genre this falls under.
    5. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
      ► Burn the Witch (video)
      This one has to be on the list. I love the new album; I looove Radiohead.
    6. Electric Wire Hustle – 11th Sky
       Golden Ladder; March (video)
      Smooth stuff. Unexpectedly offbeat.
    7. Black Atlass – Haunted Paradise
      ► Permanent SmileBlonde (video)
      Also smooth stuff. This very young man sounds older than he is.
    8. The-Dream – Love You To Death (EP/Single)
       Ferris Wheel; Rih-Flex
      See my review. Great lyrical depth coming from someone who looks like a phony poser.
    9. Junior Boys – Big Black Coat
      ► Big Black Coat
      This album was released in the beginning of the year. I’ve stopped listening to it in the meantime, but it belongs in this section.
    10. The Weeknd – Starboy
      ► Starboy (video); False Alarm (video)
      The Weeknd is now someone else and this album is rather a loose collection than a round concept. I think this is more than appropriate in 2016. Pitchfork perceives it as an incoherent, “watered-down” “opportunistic compilation” by a “sanitized version of the second coming of Michael Jackson”. I’m going to ignore Pitchfork in 2017.

      Another cultural milestone this year (though not music): Finally watched Gerry.

      Another cultural milestone this year (though not music): Finally watched Gerry.

      ALBUMS & EPs of the year 2016: 11-30

    11. David Bowie – Blackstar
    12. Anohni – Hopelessness
    13. Zammuto – Veryone
    15. Gallant – Ology
    16. Drugdealer – The End Of Comedy
    17. Adrian Younge – The Electronique Void: Black Noise
    18. Goat – Requiem
    19. Seahawks – Escape Hatch
    20. Nicolas Jaar – Sirens
    21. DVSN – SEPT 5th
    22. Omar Rodriguez Lopez – Arañas el la Sombra
    23. Gonzo Jones – Misty Dreams
    24. Soft Hair – Soft Hair
    25. Woods – City Sun Eater in the River of Light
    26. River Tiber – Indigo
    27. Rihanna – ANTI
    28. Sports – People Can’t Stop Chillin’
    29. Tricky – Skilled Mechanics
    30. Mild High Club – Skiptracing


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Dear Sir, dear Madam,

perhaps there’s some way you can help me. I’m a promising artist who makes unique art. I was wondering whether you would be interested in working on my behalf. Let’s help me together. Don’t bother booking an appointment. I know what your consulting fees are; lunch is far cheaper.

Damien Hirst is my spirit animal.

Damien Hirst is my spirit animal.

I just want to call and ask you a bunch of questions about myself and my situation. Please take time out of your day, read and study everything I’ve sent you, consider my circumstances, come up with some worthwhile ideas about how I can do things better, and then write everything up in a report and email it to me. I have no website traffic; you have lots. If I can get a link to my website on yours, then I can increase my traffic.

I would really appreciate if you would review everything I’ve emailed you about my situation, and either call and speak with me, or write up a report with your opinions on what I’m doing now, recommendations on how best to proceed from this point forward, and then email it to me.

I’d like to ask you questions about how I can improve everything I’m trying to do. Please review my situation, circumstances, resume, work history, website, approach to the marketplace, business plan, overall presentation, and then write up a report with your ideas and recommendations, and email it to me. What do you think about what I’m doing and how I’m doing it?

Please write your thoughts up in a report along with your recommendations and email it to me. Review my materials, think about what you can do to improve my status, stature or quality of life, write up a proposal about how you intend to do that, and then email it to me. I’ll look it over and decide whether you’re good enough for me to work with.

the Artist


The above text is for the larger part selectively taken from Alan Bamberger‘s amazing blog about art industry. It consists of everything not to do when writing to galleries, agents or art dealers. This has been done purely for the joy of the experiment. Main lesson to be learnt here: Do not approach people in such a self-centered way, unless you really overdo it.

Photo cred: (c) Michael Birt

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Recently I got asked to pick and describe a specific challenge characteristic of German language. I went for the obvious one: Compound words. The sheer generative power of building long words is a prevalent feature of German and will likely give linguists and computer scientists headaches for ages to come. How is an algorithm supposed to tell apart a valid term (e.g. Teppichreinigung) from an invalid (e.g. Teppichunterhaltung) one? Given that the invalid term can turn into a valid one at any time, depending on how the usage develops.


Just look at this.

Compound words in German bear several challenges for spellchecking and other algorithms. Because of the amount of combination possibilities these words are often unknown (or unseen) to the algorithm/dictionary, resulting in an overall high out-of-vocabulary rate, despite consisting of known terms. This problem is especially present in models that heavily rely on dictionaries as main sources of word recognition. This is why a hybrid approach (1. dictionary of known terms and 2. analysis of the compound parts) is necessary in order to increase accuracy. In German, compounds can consist of different parts of speech, e.g.:

adjective + adjective (dunkelrot)
noun + adjective (massentauglich)
noun + noun (Gottesdienst)
noun + noun + noun (Genussmittelsteuer)

Noun lexemes can occur in singular or plural form. The number of compound elements doesn’t stop at three, which is further multiplying possibilities up to complete ridiculousness (Massenkommunikationsdienstleistungsunternehmen is one of the saner examples). Additionally, prefixes and suffixes are used, leading to further diversification of possible outcomes of the combination. Being relatively short, prefixes and suffixes increase potential ambiguities when parsing/recognizing the term.

For example: Words like Erdrücken are morphologically ambiguous (Erd-Rücken vs. Er-drücken) in terms of lexemes involved, and are thus difficult to segment. This kind of ambiguity can potentially be resolved by analyzing the context (left and right). Using statistical language modeling and bigram analysis would make sense in order to increase recognition accuracy.

In some cases, parts of compound words need to be modified (e.g. by appending a linking element, such as -s-, as in Vorstandsvorsitzender or -n-, as in Tortenguss). Usage of linking elements itself is based on morphological rules that can be formalized without much effort. There are also cases that require hyphenation (particularly the compounds involving words of a foreign origin, e.g. Open-Source-Quelle). This problem can be addressed by using dictionaries and tagged corpora.

Moreover, although it’s less relevant for the spellcheck and the like, several semantic problems arise when automatically recognizing constituents of a compound. Identifying the head of the phrase or the modifier as well as determining the role structure among the constituents are just few of the sub-problems.


Weller M, Heid U. (2012): Analyzing and Aligning German Compound Nouns. In: Proceedings of LREC. (PDF)

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Noticing that I only briefly outlined my understanding of art in one of the earlier posts, I now would like to shed more light on this topic, hoping to help someone writing a paper. Just kidding. Please don't quote me.

This text is inspired by a documentary I watched recently. The documentary is not about art, it's about intuition. None of what I'm writing here is taken directly from there. I really only felt like going over basic definitions again. I guess you could say it's one of my favorite activities. In fact, I'd recommend anyone to try it out.

What is art (about)?

I used to say that art is whatever you place within a certain presentational context (like museum, cinema screen, vinyl record). You can also maintain that whenever you have to ask yourself whether something is art, it’s art. In a broader sense, art is a statement that can refer to a more or less complex idea or part of the real world. While referring to something from the real world, the artwork's content itself doesn’t have to adhere to rules applicable within the real world. It’s possible to create a video with a cannonball levitating over a pool, for example. This image clearly breaks at least one rule, namely physics/gravitation.

This plain example only goes to show that nearly everything is possible when you’re not bound to apply the same rules as you do in real world. You can paint a fluid brick or a blue sun. In fact, rearranging things in such way that new ideas come to existence is the very nature of artistic creation. Therefore I don’t think it’s appropriate to view an artwork's unrealistic depiction as a flaw. Yet a lot of people do that.

Second Column

In my past, especially in the early school years, I was mainly surrounded by such bigoted scholastic views on art. I was practically forced to use a ruler and draw buildings according to perspective rules. When drawing people, first and foremost doctrine were correct proportions. The sky had to be blue, the clouds had to be white. I once let my aunt help me paint a picture (I think it was in first or second grade). She painted blue clouds on white sky. I got the worse mark ever. Since then I never let anyone do this job for me ever again.

While I’m not denying that making students understand the construction of what they are depicting is a good groundwork (that can be discontinued later), I’m strictly against pushing this realism-driven method further than necessary, because it creates a narrow-mindedness that will possibly stand in the way of thinking outside the box, which is necessary if you as an artist want to operate with known elements to create new statements that will be original -- in whatever way.


Iconicity (Wikipedia)
Degrees of iconicity (Examples)

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Stuck on a roller coaster
Can’t get off this ride
Katy Perry


Let’s take a minute to talk about OCD. I would like to simplify the basics of it in the grossest way possible: In addition to doing things repeatedly, OCD patients are sometimes generally unable to control their thoughts or actions.

When we talk about someone with OCD, we get a picture of someone who shows repeating patterns in thinking or behavior. Since I keep repeating how everything is a spectrum: Don’t we all ultimately show repeating patterns? Diagnoses are tricky when you try to quantify invisible things, or draw the line between normal and pathological. A squirrel learns how to open a nut in a certain way, and sticks to this first-learnt method forever. A baby learns to wash its hands in a certain way after certain things. We all wash hands with different intensity and frequency. How many times are normal? Let’s draw the norm at something from four to eleven times a day. You’re probably beginning to notice the absurdity here, dear readership.

A baby then learns to see a certain amount of flaws and advantages in everything it encounters. Then, being like 25 years of age, now much more knowledgeable, the baby has developed individual methods and preferences on how to deal with things. I really feel like I can name it things in a the widest sense possible, because literally everything is affected. Imagine everything as an infinite ocean. Although it’s difficult to understand infinity, unfortunately.

I started writing this text yesterday night, and now look at me, coming back to it today. To file under noticeable: I took a beautiful picture of sausages and am now planning to borrow a Hasselblad to one-up the last picture. How can something so trivial be so powerful all of a sudden? Life is so full of mysteries sometimes.

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diplomat’s eating habits

while i am trying to freshen these first days of the year with spare sprinkles of documentaries, perhaps in order to compensate for the lack of adrenaline, the faith in the statics of my room’s ceiling continues to drop. so earlier i was listening to a podcast by some architectural “thinker” talking about how you need to look closely in order to find the surprise of your life.

as my glance wandered up to the ceiling, i again became aware of the noticeable crack that is running along the walls. to me it really seems like i might get killed by a falling ceiling at some point, although i can’t think of any probability percentage. point is, “we’re sitting in a boiler room and a beautiful mint tile has been painted over with industrial grey paint and the walls are kind of dirty and it’s loud”. thank you, 99% invisible, for making my day, also for terms like “serendipic aftershock”.

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invention, advice, opinion, influence, or command

aBKm9ZQ_700bnever neglect the picture that is in the head of your counterpart. well, you cannot neglect the picture without really having it, i’m talking about the concept or the fact that there is a picture there. this is truly horrifying if you think about the picture that is in your own head.

this picture, i want to come up with a new word for it, is the tree that the mushroom grows on, so to speak. it is the nurturing base, that is helpful and controlling at the same time. the picture is the result of all the structuring and categorizing that your brain does in order to make sense of what’s happening. ultimately, the picture is the wall you can cling to in order to protect yourself from instablity, e.g. in the shape of schizophrenia or some general sort of confusion or insanity. thing is, the more you refine the picture and the more corrections you make, the blurrier the picture becomes, so it turns into something less readable.

according to this model, i’d call it the commonpeople phenomenon (for intellectual vanity’s sake / legal note on that to come), reflection dissipates coherence. therefore, it also weakens the ability to focus.

i’ve taken the idea of this important picture in the heads of people from a famous approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy. and oh yeah, it’s one hell of a picture itself. i do think it’s a legit theory to defend. so very basic, yet so applicable.

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loud slurping

you’re never going to finish ALL your homework. you’re going to cry and maybe, just maybe, need a hug from your mom. you’re going to bulls**t every essay you write and pray that you sound like you know what you’re talking about. you’re going to get lost in a neighborhood that you don’t know and walk around until you find where you’re going. you’re going to forget your plastic spoon at home and eat your yoghurt with a dry twig.

ultimately, instagram your painkillers. realize that there will never be a final solution. realize that things are getting more complicated. try to envision the general pattern of your memoirs. realize that by envisioning a pattern, you limit your possibilities. say no to generating any more sense. take a nap.

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brain drain aka human capital flight

Omnia munda mundis. Those who place themselves within the logic of dirt are dirty. Those who live in the logic of dirt are dirty. The gossip knows no crisis because the vast majority of people is made ​​up of dirt.

It is not news that the common people do not understand anything. It is not news that the common people, with their dirt (and guilt) do not understand, spit on Kant, on Einstein, Gödel on … and on all human thinking.”

[translated by google]