Monday, December 21, 2009

Off-topic: My top records 2009

Like last year, I would like to ponder on the most exciting records that this year brought to me...

Coalesce - Ox (relapse records)

I always thought they split up some years ago, so I was a little bit surprised as the band announced a new record and a tour this year. I didn’t expected too much because most of such reunion-records are rather lame and bands usually never find their ingenuity of the “early days”. In this case, however, it is not a typical reunion because they just split and re-formed many times. Long story short: Ox (both, Lp and ep) completely blew me away. It’s like taking the best part of every Coalesce release (including their Led Zeppelin cover album) and welding it to a perfect album. They even made it to include clean vocal parts within some songs, which in my view usually appears misplaced in such music. The blunt guitar riffing topped with the acridly barking vocals is typically coalesce but the clean singing and the almost "morriconesque" interludes really make it a special record. I think this is probaly the last Hardcore album that really means something to me.

Baroness – Blue Record (relapse records)

Gaudiest metal record of all time. Baroness once emerged from a rather rough small cove embedded somewhere between Hardcore/Crust Mountain and a more advanced Heavy Metal Volcano not unlike early Mastodon. At least since their last release “red album” they got a little bit more straight forward and fancy. I don’t mean this in a negative way. The “blue record” follows this path consequently. It twinkles and sparkles with every pearly guitar riff passing your auditory meatus. Not to mention the hymnal vocal parts that instantly reminded me of Hot Water Music. Sometimes, I felt a little embarrassed because some songs are so cheesy but at the same time it sounds amiable and refreshing for this kind of music where every band tries to sound as evil and brutal as possible. This is a honest release of a honest band.

Bat for lashes - Two suns (Emi)

I don’t know too much about pop so I can’t present a thorough review like for the records above. This is a very fragile and spooky pop album that was my background music as I walked through summer nights of Zürich.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Run crinoid, run!

This one has been posted already here and there on the net and actually, the paper was published 2.5 years ago. However, this report really surprised me and I want to share my amazement.

Fig. 1: Gif-movie showing crawling crinoid in quick motion.
Picture from cover of Palaeontologia Electronica Vol 10/1

Baumiller and Messing (2007) report that extant isocrinids are able to move as fast as 10 - 30 mm per second using their "arms" to crawl over the seafloor (fig. 1). Although some groups of crinoids were suggested and proven to perfom some sort of locomotion, the authors provide evidence for an almost "benthic-vagile" lifestyle of a group of organisms that is largely recognized as de facto sessile.

This contribution concerns me for two reasons. First, I am highly interested if there are some trace fossils that were found to represent crinoid locomotion (see fig. 2) and second, the portion of crinoids suggested to apply this kind of locomotion is highest in the Triassic (fig. 3).

Fig. 2: Traces of Davidaster rubiginosa in a fishtank experiment, scale bar: 20 mm (Baumiller and Messing, 2007).

Fig. 3: Generic diversity of crinoids from Ordovician to modern times. Red bars represent the portion of crinoidtaxa that might have been able to perform the observed mode of locomotion (Baumiller and Messing, 2007).

Working in the lower Triassic with a keen interest in ichnology, I will keep this work in my head when returning to the field. Does anybody knows about crinoid trace fossils?


Baumiller, T.K., and Messing, C.G., 2007: Stalked Crinoid locomotion, and its ecological and evolutionary implications. Palaeontologia Electronica, v. 10/1.