In the summer of 2015, Les Claypool and the boys of Primus embarked on a tour with Sean Lennon and his band The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger. During this successful summer stint, Sean Lennon (son of Beatle/music legend, John Lennon) and Les Claypool (lead of Primus/modern day bass extraordinaire) took quite a liking to one another. Both of their unique sounds complimented each other in a refreshing yet unexpected way, and throughout the summer tour, Lennon frequently made his way onto the stage, often joining in with Claypool for a mind-bending jam during the Primus fan-favorite, “Southbound Pachyderm.” A full-blown Claypool/Lennon collaboration seemed inevitable, and during the subsequent holiday season, the two modern psychedelic pioneers hunkered down in Claypool’s Sonoma County home known as “Rancho Relaxo” near Occidental, California to record some songs. The result is Monolith of Phobos; ‘Phobos’ being the largest of the two moons of Mars. Named after the Greek god of the same name, Phobos was known as “the personification of horror.” Monolith of Phobos is a damn-near picture perfect psychedelic masterpiece of unbridled proportions. It is truly a spellbinding clashing of musical forces that is impossible to overlook.So, let’s take a look. Be sure to listen along to this one-of-a-kind release.The title track begins the record as many Claypool compositions do, trickling in with eerie loop pedal effects combined with the dins of squawks and squeals from Lennon’s electric guitar, creating a psychedelic soundscape that twists and turns the listener into oblivion. As the tempestuous intro dissipates, Claypool begins with a bass sound harking back to the introduction of “To Defy the Laws of Tradition” from the 1990 Primus album Frizzle Fry. As Lennon joins in with his sincerely trippy guitar artistry, it’s immediately clear that something special is happening here; something new, something fresh, something genuine. The opening title track is without a doubt, one of the most melodic pieces we’ve ever heard from Claypool. It’s got a little bit of “Walrus” and a little bit of “Pachyderm;” as if Magical Mystery Tour and Tales from the Punchbowl had a baby. It seems the Beatle-esque sensibilities that the younger Lennon has genetically brought to the table have begun to rub off on Les. His parts are deep yet concise, and seem to be written more for the song, rather than having the bass lead the way. It’s a clean approach which translates into something stunningly gorgeous! The following track, and the album’s first single, “Cricket and the Genie” comes in two movements: Movement 1 “The Delirium” and Movement 2 “Oratorio De Cricket.” It’s an upbeat song that tells a metaphorical tale of a cricket, a genie and a bottle of prescription drugs — even with a flute solo to boot! The opening bass riff is quite similar to “Fisticuffs” from Primus’ 1997 The Brown Album, and its certainly not the only time on the record we hear some similarities from previous Claypool compositions. In no way is this a negative critique, but additionally, the ninth track “Oxycontin Girl” begins with a bass riff strikingly comparable with the Primus classic “Here Come The Bastards.” (But then again, so does “Last Salmon Man” from Green Naugahyde)Moving on, the album’s second single is a perverse parable of sexual deviance, ironically titled “Mr. Wright.” “He’s creeping through the night, to ease his lustful plight. He sets up little cameras ‘cause he likes to watch you pee. What a dirty little bastard he can be.” Here is Claypool doing what he does best; creating twisted tales built around average, everyday characters — but with warped and sinister back-stories. Of course, and as always, good ol’ Les can’t help but pepper in a clever pun like “Something’s going wrong with Mr. Wright” before the song’s end. The Millennial-critical fifth track “Boomerang Baby” unquestionably sounds like a Lennon composition, and is where his father’s voice emanates most prominently in his vocal performance. Additionally, it’s hard to imagine the politically-charged “Ohmerica” happening without Lennon’s Beatle-esque influence on the project. “Ohmerica” comes across like a 21st century Sgt. Pepper with a highly political message focusing on government secrecy and mass surveillance. The balance is consistent throughout Monolith of Phobos. When the musicianship clearly comes from the mind of Claypool, Lennon always compensates perfectly, and vice versa. In “Breath of a Salesman,” Lennon’s playing could even be compared with that of Larry ‘Ler’ LaLonde, in his uncanny ability to fill that ever-so impossible niche required to play alongside a screwball prodigy of the bass-guitar such as Les Claypool. “Captain Lariat,” yet another creepy tale of a seemingly ordinary man with a hidden dark side, in this case, a dentist with an affinity for nitrous oxide (among other nefarious extracurricular activities), is another example of this musical kinship. As the song concludes, we hear a flubbed take of Lennon noodling on his guitar while mimicking the notes as he plucks them. “Keep going” says a reassuring Claypool, encouraging Lennon to continue the take. It’s an interesting tidbit left in the mix for us to enjoy, and even further reveals the warm, almost family-like rapport between the two. To wrap it all up are perhaps the two most impressive pieces of music on the entire record. “Bubbles Burst” > “There’s No Underwear In Space” are conjoined masterworks of psychedelic wizardry. Straight out of the musical realms of Pink Floyd, this is where the duo’s passion for psychedelia shines on like a crazy diamond. Lennon takes the lead for most of “Bubbles Burst,” as Claypool joins with his calmly cascading backing vocals. What’s even more notable is the restraint coming from Claypool. It’s near impossible to cite a better example of this kind of straightforwardness exuding from Claypool’s playing. As the final puzzle piece is set in place, we sail off into the distance as the orchestration soars and Claypool churns away on his upright bass. Suddenly… it’s over.There’s really no other way to put it, folks: you truly can’t get much better than this. Sean Lennon and Les Claypool are a psychedelic match made in heaven. Monolith of Phobos stands above most of the psychedelic music that has been recorded over the last several decades, and each of these songs is the proof in that pudding. This magnum opus hits shelves this coming Friday, June 3rd, with the band’s tour beginning one day later. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll go out and buy this record as soon as humanly possible. You won’t regret it. Come along — indulge in the Delirium!– By Joseph Conlon
Over the previous decade, technology transformed nearly every business into an IT-driven business. From farming to pharmaceuticals, these information technology developments have led organizations to reimagine how they operate, compete, and serve customers. Data is at the heart of these changes and will continue its transformative trajectory as organizations navigate the waves of technological progress in the next “Data Decade.”In data storage – which touches every IT-driven business – the pace of innovation is accelerating, yet most enterprises continue to struggle with data’s explosive growth and velocity. Getting the highest use and value from their data is becoming ever more critical for organizations, especially for those with data stores reaching exabyte scale.In order to have strategic value in the enterprise, storage innovation must cross the capabilities chasm from just storing and moving around bits to holistic data management.In 2019, our Dell Technologies Storage CTO Council studied more than 90 key technologies and ranked which ones have the innovation potential to help storage cross that capabilities chasm in the next 5-10 years. This year, there are three key areas we believe will be difference-makers for organizations that are pushing the limits of current storage and IT approaches.Let’s take a closer look.Trend #1: Machine learning and CPU Performance unlock new storage and data management approachesThis year, we will see new approaches that solve streaming data challenges, including the use of container-based architectures and software-defined storage. There is a desire by customers in industries such as manufacturing, cybersecurity, autonomous vehicles, public safety and healthcare to build applications that treat data as streams instead of breaking it up into separate files or objects.Ingesting and processing stream data has unique challenges that limit traditional IT and storage systems. Since streaming workloads often change throughout the day – storage capacity and compute power must be elastic to accommodate. This requires intelligence within the storage that can instantly provide autoscaling.By treating everything as a data stream, event data can be replayed in the same way we watch a live sporting event on a DVR-enabled TV, where the program can be paused, rewound and replayed instantly. Until now, application developers have been limited in their ability to address use cases that can leverage data as streams for capture, playback and archive. Enabling these capabilities with data will make it easier to build applications that allow new use cases that were never thought of previously.Dataset Management helps solve the data lifecycle problemIn the realm of data management, 2020 will usher in new approaches for organizations wishing to better manage the data that is distributed across many silos of on-prem and cloud data stores. Data growth has been outstripping the growth of IT budgets for years, making it difficult for organizations not only to keep and store all their data, but manage, monetize, secure and make it useful for end users.Enter Dataset Management – an evolving discipline using various approaches and technologies to help organizations better use and manage data through its lifecycle. At its core, it is about the ability to store data transparently and make it easily discoverable. Our industry has been very good at storing block, file and object data, sometimes unifying these data in a data lake. Dataset Management is the evolution of a data lake, providing customers with the ability to instantly find the data they want and make it actionable in proper context across on-prem and cloud-based data stores.Dataset Management will be especially useful for industries (i.e. media & entertainment, healthcare, insurance) that frequently have data stored across different storage systems and platforms (i.e. device/instrument generated raw data, to derivative data at a project level, etc.). Customers want the ability to search across these data stores to do things such as creating custom workflows. For instance, many of our largest media & entertainment customers are using Dataset Management to connect with asset management databases to tag datasets, which can then be moved to the correct datacenters for things such as special effects work or digital postprocessing, then to distribution and finally to archives.Traditional methods for managing unstructured data only takes you so far. Because of new technological advancements like machine learning and higher CPU performance, we see Dataset Management growing further in prominence in 2020, as it offers organizations a bridge from the old world of directories and files to the new world of data and metadata.Trend #2: Storage will be architected and consumed as Software-definedWe can expect to see new storage designs in 2020 that will further blur the line between storage and compute.Some of our customers tell us they are looking for more flexibility in their traditional SANs, wishing to have compute as close to storage as possible to support data-centric workloads and to reduce operational complexity.With deeper integration of virtualization technologies on the storage array, apps can be run directly on the same system and managed with standard tools. This could be suitable for data-centric applications that require very storage- and data-intensive operations (i.e. analytics apps, intense database apps). Also, workloads that require quick transactional latency and a lot of data.This isn’t HCI in the classic sense, but rather about leveraging and interoperating with existing infrastructure and processes while also giving a greater degree of deployment flexibility to suit the customer’s specific environment and/or application. It could open up new use cases (i.e. AI ML/analytics at edge locations and/or private cloud, workload domains, etc.); it could also lead to lower cost of ownership and simplification for IT teams and application owners that don’t always have to rely on a storage admin to provision or manage the underlying storage.Software-defined Infrastructure no longer just for hyper-scalersSoftware-defined infrastructure (SDI) is also becoming a greater consideration in enterprise data centers to augment traditional SANs and HCI deployments. Long the realm of hyper-scalers, traditional enterprises are ready to adopt SDI for the redeployment of certain workloads that have different requirements for capacity and compute than what traditional 3-layer SANs can provide.These are customers architecting for agility at scale and want the flexibility of rapidly scaling storage and compute independently of each other. It’s for the customer that needs to consolidate multiple high performance (e.g. database) or general workloads. As enterprises consider consolidation strategies, they will bump up against the limits of traditional SANs and the unpredictable performance/costs and lock-in of cloud services. This is where SDI becomes a very viable alternative to traditional SANs and HCI for certain workloads.Trend #3: High-performance Object storage enters the mainstreamAs Object moves from cheap and deep, cold storage or archive to a modern cloud-native storage platform, performance is on many people’s minds.One of the reasons we see this trending upward this year is demand for it by application developers. Analytics is also driving a lot of demand and we expect to see companies in different verticals moving in this direction.In turn, the added performance of flash and NVMe are creating tremendous opportunity for Object-based platforms to support things that require speed and near-limitless scale (i.e. analytics, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), IoT, cloud-native app development, etc.). Side note: historically, Object storage hasn’t been fast enough for ADAS workloads, but all-flash is changing that conversation.Flash-based Object storage with automated tiering to disk offers a cost-effective solution, particularly when a customer is talking about hundreds of petabytes or exabyte-scale. It allows you to move the data you need up to the flash tier to run your analytics and high-performance applications and then move the data off to a cold or archive tier when you’re done with it.As Object becomes tuned for flash and NVMe, we expect a higher level of interest in Object for things that have traditionally been stored on file-based NAS, such as images, log data, and machine generated data.As the pace of technology innovation accelerates, so too will the possibilities in storage and data management. We are standing with our customers at the dawn of the “Data Decade.”If the last ten years brought some of the most dramatic changes in tech, just imagine what’s next.Read what other Dell Technologies experts are saying about key technology trends in 2020 and beyond by clicking on the blog links below:“Technical Disruptions Emerging in 2020,” by John Roese, CTO, Products & Operations, Dell Technologies“Dell EMC’s 2020 Server Trends & Observations,” by Robert Hormuth, Vice President & Fellow, Chief Technology Officer, Server & Infrastructure Systems, Dell EMC“Dell 2020 Networking & Solutions Technology Trends,” by Ihab Tarazi, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President, Networking and Solutions, Dell Technologies
The fact that SPF wanted to stick to its board setup was a reason for failed merger talks in 2017. At the time, SPOV was worried about the expertise of the equally represented executive trustees.A spokesman for SPF Beheer, the provider and asset manager for the merged pension fund, explained that the new board model increased Rail&OV’s decisiveness, while keeping the concept of equal representation.On the new executive board, Sabijn Timmers will handle portfolio finance, risk and IT. Currently she is director of risk management at Triodos Bank. Bart Oldenkamp, head of investment solutions at asset manager Robeco, has been tasked with asset management.Peter-Paul Witte – SPOV’s current chair – is to become responsible for the temporary portfolio of transition.All envisaged non-executive members originate from SPF and SPOV’s boards, with Paula Verhoef, Peggy Wilson and Frans van Wanrooij representing workers.Huub van den Dungen and Rob Elberse are to represent pensioners. Mathilde Reintjes, Ronald Klein Wassink, Fred Kagie and Hans Fleer are to be appointed on behalf of the employers, which include the Dutch railways (NS), ProRail and the association of public transport companies (VOV).There is still one vacancy to be filled.The new €23.3bn pension fund is to start as of 1 April and will operate under chief executive officer Walter Mutsaers.He is currently CEO at MPD, the pensions provider and asset manager for the €7.2bn pension fund PNO Media, and a former director at MN, the pensions provider and asset manager for the large metal schemes PMT and PME. Rail&OV, the new Dutch scheme of merged railways pension fund SPF and public transport scheme SPOV, is to switch to a one-tier board.Currently, SPOV has a board model of equal representation, whereas SPF has a “mixed one-tier board”, of equally represented trustees combined with external supervisory members.The executive board of the new scheme will be made up of four full-time members. It will be independently chaired by Gerard Groten, the current chair of SPF, who is also to become one of the 11 members of the non-executive board.Dutch pension funds are increasingly switching from equally represented boards to a one-tier structure as it is considered more effective, efficient and transparent than the traditional paritary ones. A one-tier board, for example, doesn’t need a separate supervisory body.