Year of the Orc EP
Year of the Orc EP
Channeling sugar-rush synths and bracing noise, the Philadelphia producer continues his quest to make pop music stranger and more head-spinning—and to test listeners’ ability to follow the twists and turns.
Christopher Taylor’s vision of pop music embraces extremes. The Philadelphia producer and songwriter has made room in his albums as Body Meat for sugar-rush synth programming and bracing noise; kaleidoscopic vocal melodies and teeth-chattering percussive contortions; ecstatic dancefloor revelations and existential despair. It’s chaotic, overwhelming stuff, which is part of the point. Taylor has said his music is deliberately meant to test the limits of pop, along with his audience’s ability to keep up with all the twists and turns. “How loose can I go with this idea?” He wondered in an interview. “And how far can I push it until people start jumping off?”
Body Meat’s Year of the Orc EP seems designed to underscore this philosophy, continuing Taylor’s push to make pop music stranger, more head-spinning, even a little uglier. Slamming together disparate genres and disjointed melodies, and ignoring assumed rules of song structure, Year of the Orc asks a lot of listeners, but there’s just enough that feels familiar to grasp onto amidst the sea of noise. Taylor is an avowed fan of trap, Timbaland’s post-millennium pop experiments, and the heart-skipping rhythms of Portuguese dance label Príncipe Discos. Tracks like “This Is Something” sound like all of these things at once, and none of them at all. Bubbly Auto-Tuned melodies burst over delirious collages of jittery samples, blistered synth lines, and overlapping, hopscotching rhythms. Listening can feel jarring, like you’ve left tracks playing in a few different browser tabs at once.
It’s fitting music for the muddled headspaces and anxiety spirals that Taylor describes. A lot of his vocals get clouded out in the haze of vocal effects and stuttery electronic experimentation, but what does poke through echoes the tumult of the production. The opening “Twigs” is impressionistic and unsettling, full of abandoned half-thoughts and elliptical mantras. Through a cloudy arrangement, Taylor murmurs about “scream[ing] at the void and the vortex,” a tone-setting thought for much of what follows. Even on the relatively optimistic-sounding “4700”—which marries yearning R&B vocals to slivered rhythmic contortions that’d sound at home on a Brooklyn flex track—Taylor sings about suffering and mortality. “This Is Something” traces spiderwebs of worry over an instrumental that sputters in unpredictable fits and starts.
There’s a lot of pain in these songs, but part of what makes Body Meat’s music so compelling is that he makes a lot of room for tranquility, too. Amid the turbulent production there’s also “Stand By,” a digital funk love song as tender and romantic as any of Brent Faiyaz’s sleepy ballads. On “Ghost,” the distorted chorale that ends the EP, Taylor sings of finding renewal in loss. “I see a new self but I breathe just the same,” he sighs.
That track features the ambient composer Laraaji, who has often preached that peace is always around us, even in the midst of turmoil. “Right where we are is a whole ocean of peace, perfection, oneness, eternity,” he said in an interview last year. That philosophy sounds paradoxically in tune with Body Meat’s music. On Year of the Orc, Taylor trudges through the chaos, echoing the absurdity of a troubled world, yet somehow he finds stillness. It’s a bold aim for a musician who purports to make pop music. He dreams big and invites you to join him in his reveries.
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What kids should know about the layers of skin
The layers of skin Your skin has a big job to do protecting your body, so it’s made to be tough and stretchy. There is a lot more to this job than it might seem. There are three main layers of the skin.
Epidermis is the top layer of the skin, the part of the skin you see.
Dermis is the second layer of skin. It’s much thicker and does a lot for your body.
Subcutaneous fat is the bottom layer.
Your skin’s top layer, the epidermis, is super thin on some parts of your body (your eyelids) and thicker on others (the bottoms of your feet). The epidermis is the layer of skin in charge of:
Making new skin cells: This happens at the bottom of the epidermis. The skin cells travel up to the top layer and flake off, about a month after they form.
Giving skin its color: The epidermis makes melanin, which is what gives your skin its color (find out more about this in).
Protecting your body: The epidermis has special cells that are part of your immune system and help you stay healthy.
A lot happens in the next layer, the dermis. The jobs of the dermis include:
Making sweat: There are little pockets called sweat glands in the dermis. They make sweat, which goes through little tubes and comes out of holes called pores. Sweating keeps you cool and helps you get rid of bad stuff your body doesn’t need.
Helping you feel things: Nerve endings in the dermis help you feel things. They send signals to your brain, so you know how something feels if it hurts (meaning you should stop touching it), is itchy or feels nice when you touch it.
Growing hair: The dermis is where you’ll find the root of each tiny little hair on your skin. Each root attaches to a tiny little muscle that tightens and gives you goose bumps when you are cold or are scared.
Making oil: Another type of little pocket, or gland, in your skin makes oil. The oil keeps your skin soft, smooth and waterproof. Sometimes the glands make too much oil and give you pimples. (See Acne: Pimples and Zits.
Bringing blood to your skin: Blood feeds your skin and takes away bad stuff through little tubes called blood vessels.
The bottom layer of skin is the subcutaneous fat layer. This layer plays an important role in your body by:
Attaching the dermis to your muscles and bones: This layer has a special connecting tissue that attaches the dermis to your muscles and bones.
Helping the blood vessels and nerve cells: Blood vessels and nerve cells that start in the dermis get bigger and go to the rest of your body from here.
Controlling your body temperature: The subcutaneous fat is the layer that helps keep your body from getting too warm or too cold.
Storing your fat: This fat pads your muscles and bones and protects them from bumps and falls.
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human skin, in human anatomy, the covering, or integument, of the body’s surface that both provides protection and receives sensory stimuli from the external environment. The skin consists of three layers of tissue: the epidermis, an outermost layer that contains the primary protective structure, the stratum corneum; the dermis, a fibrous layer that supports and strengthens the epidermis; and the subcutis, a subcutaneous layer of fat beneath the dermis that supplies nutrients to the other two layers and that cushions and insulates the body.
The apparent lack of body hair immediately distinguishes human beings from all other large land mammals. Regardless of individual or racial differences, the human body seems to be more or less hairless, in the sense that the hair is so vestigial as to seem absent; yet in certain areas hair grows profusely. These relatively hairy places may be referred to as epigamic areas, and they are concerned with social and sexual communication, either visually or by scent from glands associated with the hair follicles.
The characteristic features of skin change from the time of birth to old age. In infants and children it is velvety, dry, soft, and largely free of wrinkles and blemishes. Children younger than two years sweat poorly and irregularly; their sebaceous glands function minimally. At adolescence hair becomes longer, thicker, and more pigmented, particularly in the scalp, axillae, pubic eminence, and the male face. General skin pigmentation increases, localized pigmented foci appear mysteriously, and acne lesions often develop. Hair growth, sweating, and sebaceous secretion begin to blossom. As a person ages, anatomical and physiological alterations, as well as exposure to sunlight and wind, leave skin, particularly that not protected by clothing, dry, wrinkled, and flaccid.
Human skin, more than that of any other mammal, exhibits striking topographic differences. An example is the dissimilarity between the palms and the backs of the hands and fingers. The skin of the eyebrows is thick, coarse, and hairy; that on the eyelids is thin, smooth, and covered with almost invisible hairs. The face is seldom visibly haired on the forehead and cheekbones. It is completely hairless in the vermilion border of the lips, yet coarsely hairy over the chin and jaws of males. The surfaces of the forehead, cheeks, and nose are normally oily, in contrast with the relatively greaseless lower surface of the chin and jaws. The skin of the chest, pubic region, scalp, axillae, abdomen, soles of the feet, and ends of the fingers varies as much structurally and functionally as it would if the skin in these different areas belonged to different animals.
The skin achieves strength and pliability by being composed of numbers of layers oriented so that each complements the others structurally and functionally. To allow communication with the environment, countless nerves—some modified as specialized receptor end organs and others more or less structureless—come as close as possible to the surface layer, and nearly every skin organ is enwrapped by skeins of fine sensory nerves.
The dermis makes up the bulk of the skin and provides physical protection. It is composed of an association of fibres, mainly collagen, with materials known as glycosaminoglycans, which are capable of holding a large amount of water, thus maintaining the turgidity of the skin. A network of extendable elastic fibres keeps the skin taut and restores it after it has been stretched.
The hair follicles and skin glands are derived from the epidermis but are deeply embedded in the dermis. The dermis is richly supplied with blood vessels, although none penetrates the living epidermis. The epidermis receives materials only by diffusion from below. The dermis also contains nerves and sense organs at various levels.
Blood and lymph vessels
Human skin is enormously well supplied with blood vessels; it is pervaded with a tangled, though apparently orderly, mass of arteries, veins, and capillaries. Such a supply of blood, far in excess of the maximum biologic needs of the skin itself, is evidence that the skin is at the service of the blood vascular system, functioning as a cooling device. To aid in this function, sweat glands pour water upon its surface, the evaporation of which absorbs heat from the skin. If the environment is cold and body heat must be conserved, cutaneous blood vessels contract in quick, successive rhythms, allowing only a small amount of blood to flow through them. When the environment is warm, they contract at long intervals, providing a free flow of blood. During muscular exertion, when great quantities of generated heat must be dissipated, blood flow through the skin is maximal.
In addition to its control of body temperature, skin also plays a role in the regulation of blood pressure. Much of the flow of blood can be controlled by the opening and closing of certain sphincterlike vessels in the skin. These vessels allow the blood to circulate through the peripheral capillary beds or to bypass them by being shunted directly from small arteries to veins.
Human skin is permeated with an intricate mesh of lymph vessels. In the more superficial parts of the dermis, minute lymph vessels that appear to terminate in blind sacs function as affluents of a superficial lymphatic net that in turn opens into vessels that become progressively larger in the deeper portions of the dermis. The deeper, larger vessels are embedded in the loose connective tissue that surrounds the veins. The walls of lymph vessels are so flabby and collapsed that they often escape notice in specimens prepared for microscopic studies. Their abundance, however, has been demonstrated by injecting vital dyes inside the dermis and observing the clearance of the dye.
Because lymph vessels have minimal or no musculature in their walls, the circulation of lymph is sluggish and largely controlled by such extrinsic forces as pressure, skeletal muscle action, massaging, and heat. Any external pressure exerted, even from a fixed dressing, for example, interferes with its flow. Since skin plays a major role in immunologic responses of the body, its lymphatic drainage is as significant as its blood vascular system.
The skin surface
The intact surface of the skin is pitted by the orifices of sweat glands and hair follicles—the so-called pores—and is furrowed by intersecting lines that delineate characteristic patterns. All individuals have roughly similar markings on any one part of the body, but the details are unique. The lines are oriented in the general direction of elastic tension. Countless numbers of them, deep and shallow, together with the pores, give every region of the body a characteristic topography. Like the deeper furrows and ridges on the palms and soles, the skin lines are mostly established before birth. The fine details of each area of body surface are peculiar to each individual. Fingerprints are used as a means of personal identification because they have a high relief, more evident patternings, and can be easily obtained.
Some of the lines on the surface of the skin are acquired after birth as a result of use or damage. For example, furrows on the forehead are an accentuation of preexisting congenital lines that become strongly emphasized in old age. As the skin becomes less firm with aging, it also forms wrinkles. Certain occupations leave skin marks that, depending upon duration and severity, may be transient or permanent.
The palms of the hands and the soles of the feet are etched by distinct alternating ridges and grooves that together constitute dermatoglyphics. The ridges follow variable courses, but their arrangement in specific areas has a consistent structural plan. Though apparently continuous, the ridges have many interruptions and irregularities, branching and varying in length. Every small area of surface has ridge details not matched anywhere in the same individual or in any other individual, even in an identical twin. This infallible signature makes dermatoglyphics the best-known physical characteristic for personal identification.
The body made flesh: embodied learning and the corporeal device
Over recent years there has been growing appreciation of the body’s corporeal significance in how children learn in educational settings. ‘The body’ has been conceptualised from a variety of perspectives that we characterise as: ’the body without flesh’, ‘the body with fleshy feelings’ and ‘the body made flesh’. We reflect on these perspectives with reference to the model of embodied action used in our ongoing research on relationships between education and disordered bodies, outlining what they might differently offer in terms of understanding body/mind/culture relationships. We suggest that Basil Bernstein’s notion of the ‘pedagogic device’, when reworked around the concept of a ‘corporeal device’, may provide one way of better conceptualising such relationships avoiding some of the fault lines and dualistic thinking inherent in other perspectives. If, as sociologists or school practitioners, we are to address the agency of ‘the body’ in cultural reproduction and better understand how the corporeal realities of children influence their sense of position, value and self, then we will need to deal with both the ‘physical’ and the ‘phenomenal’ universes of discourse, and the ‘somatic mediations’ of lived experience. This will mean giving as much attention to the biological dimensions of embodiment as its discursive representation currently receives.
The authors are grateful to two reviewers who provided valuable comments on an earlier draft of this paper and regret not being able to deal in full with all of the issues raised. We are also extremely grateful to the ESRC for supporting the development of our research.
1. We refer intentionally to the ‘Body with Organs’ because of the centrality of its counter position, the ‘Body without Organs’, in post‐structural theory and the latter’s culpability in the disappearance of the organic body from social investigation.
2. RA indicates the research assistant.
3. We echo Grosz’s view that while ‘identity is performed through action and not simply, as psychoanalysis suggests, through identification’, a distinction must also be made between action and performance. ‘An action doesn’t require an audience in the way that a performance does’. Grosz re‐centres attention to ontology while recognising that ‘we can’t have any access to ontology except through epistemology’ (Aush, Randal, and Perez 2008 Ausch, R. , Randal, D. and Perez, L. 2008 . Interview with Elizabeth Grosz http://web.gc.cuny.edu/csctw/found_object/text/grosz.htm (accessed 15 April 2008) [Google Scholar] , 10).
4. We are indebted to Chris Shilling for his observations on this aspect of the CD (personal conversations, 2008 Shilling, C. 2008 . Changing bodies. Habit, crisis and creativity, London : Sage . [Google Scholar] ).
5. As Davies ( 2000 Davies, B. 2000 . (In)scribing body/landscape relations, Walnut Creek, CA : Altamira Press . [Google Scholar] , 43) has pointed out, ‘We can struggle to retrieve memory that exists before it is called one thing or another and in doing so arrive at something that can be recognised as truthful, though elusively so’.
6. Including investigation of our ‘secret sense, our sixth sense’ […] ‘proprioception’ […] ‘the continuous but unconscious sensory flow from the movable parts of our body (muscles, tendons, joints), by which their position and tone and motion is continually monitored and adjusted, but in an way hidden from us because it is automatic and unconscious’ (see Sacks 2007 Sacks, O. 2007 . The man who mistook his wife for a hat , (new ed.) , London : Picador . [Google Scholar] , 47).