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(no subject) [Dec. 4th, 2003|05:48 pm]
[music |Mississippi John Hurt - Got The Blues, Can't Be Satisfied]

Oh glorious.
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(no subject) [Nov. 30th, 2003|12:39 am]
[music |ekkehard ehlers (mäander i) / basement jaxx (kish kash)]

For those not following, or not following well enough, the issues involving various electronic voting systems, do so, its important. Oddly enough, there don't appear to be any serious attempts by the open source community to create alternative OS election software(s). Germany, Austrailia are opting for OS voting software, and with the recent Diebold problems, I would hope the US isn't far behind).

The midterm project I was complaining about a week or two ago went off as planned. The result was both interesting, and disappointing. It turned out my group created our piece with the 6 speaker environment in mind much more than anyone else. Thus, ours turned our rather quiet and unimpressive on its own, and was easily overwhelmed by the other 5 groups, several of whose compositions could have stood well entirely on their own. The constant cycling of the various compositions made for some interesting momentary alignments. The most impressive were usually moments of near silence, since the installation was exceedingly loud and overwhelming most of the time. I think it was a good learning experience for all: I know it was for myself, both in terms of implementing musical ideas, and technical things like using lisp.

Did anybody celebrate Buy Nothing Day on Friday? I'm pretty sure I bought myself several cups of coffee, a donut, and a burrito, and consumed every last one of them, consumed till there was nothing left but my fat materialistic belly.

I've currently been laboring on a final for a media history / theory class I'm taking. Its a pretty lame final: I won't go into details at this point. I'm struggling to keep my project focused on particular issues, rather than have it branch off in every concievable direction. I shouldn't worry too much, I suppose, most of the projects proposed by my classmates sound utterly awful.

The new Matthew Herbert record, Goodbye Swingtime, is worth a listen. It follows through on some elements that have appeared in his earlier works (especially Bodily Functions), but is much closer to the jazz end of the spectrum, along the lines of Stan Kenton perhaps. He manages his "big band" well, employing a fairly un-ironic '40s jazz band style but looking at it through a rather post-digital lens. And he deserves a medal for putting Arto Lindsay and Mouse on Mars together on a single record. His manifesto is always a magnet for debate, and as usual, it is quite unclear exactly how he thinks it's contributing to the Goodbye Swingtime project. What kind of reference is he aiming for, by using sounds recorded from his own (real, live, etc.) band, rather than a band that he has no aquaintance with at all? The political content of the album, while admirable, is also somewhat shaky:
It is in the nature of the additional sounds that I have added though, that the politics becomes embedded in the music. The conceptual back bone of the album is political literature. Throughout there are sounds taken from a number of relevant and sharply argued political texts. There is the sound of printing made by machines at my local printers. (...)

He's referring to sounds made by particular political texts (i.e. the sound of the pages being flipped). The political texts used are enumerated in the liner notes, so he does establish a link between the sounds and political ideas. However, I have trouble seeing why these links are any more interesting than my saying, for example, the round block denotes The Communist Manifesto, and the square block denotes Manufacturing Consent, and then setting the blocks down and leaving the room. Perhaps this is all there is to it, or perhaps I am not looking deep enough.
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(no subject) [Nov. 25th, 2003|08:04 pm]
[music |Mandy Moore - Senses Working Overtime]

I can't believe its taken me a whole month to pick up on Mandy Moore's new album.
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take me to neo-tokyo [Nov. 20th, 2003|11:49 pm]
[music |AGF - PRIVATEbirds]

Fucking off the hook, this new AGF release. Listen. Still not sure how much I like her writing, though. But it works.
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(no subject) [Nov. 18th, 2003|09:32 pm]
[music |Lithops (Thrash Application) / Jay-Z (Izzo)]

...raised in the projects, roaches and rats
Smokers out back, sellin they mama's sofa
Lookouts on the corner, focused on the ave
Ladies in the window, focused on the kinfolk...

I spent myself about 6 or so hours today in the computer music lab, tweaking some lisp code and a csound instrument for my midterm. To be quite honest, I'm not particularly interested in our project at this point. The original idea was promising: six groups of three people compose something of a predetermined length. Each of these compositions will then be looped on one of a ring of six speakers in the studio. The catalyst for our compositions was supposed to be the Jorge Luis Borges story The Library of Babel: not one I am particularly fond of, but it has some interesting connections with the parameters of our group composition. Disappointingly, most groups (including mine) chose to, for the most part, map structural elements detailed in the story to musical objects. We went all the way, attempting to create sound analogous to the experience of a reader in the library. The other groups have similar relations between their compositions and the library in the story: some groups established rather trivial analogies, some more interesting ones. No one paid any attention to the religious themes in the story. All of the groups, including my own, basically committed to a particular idea in the first or second meeting, and were then left to implement it with little flexibility. I'm not expecting the final result to be spectacular, though it may be interesting. I've been trying, in my own group's composition, to push for unobtrusiveness above all else. We'll see.

We listened to a rather lengthy piece of tape music (Trevor Wishart's Redbird) in class the other day. There were some engaging ideas in the piece, though I suppose I began to lose it after the first 20 minutes or so. Another listen might improve things. Still, musique concrete type work is almost always impressive for purely technical reasons. Wishart made this 50 minute composition using only an archive of thousands of hours of audio recordings (mostly animal noises, bird songs, and film audio tracks, by my estimation), a razor blade, and scotch tape, between the hours of 4:00 and 10:00 am at the university audio lab.

I have so much to do. What a time to start writing again.
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hopeful monsters [Sep. 5th, 2003|11:42 pm]
[music |beethoven - diabelli variations]

Schopenhauer by way of Warren Zevon, by way of a random weblog: "We buy books because we think we're buying the time it takes to read them."

That explains a lot, I suppose, including my earlier trip to Twice Sold Tales.
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(no subject) [Aug. 11th, 2003|11:49 pm]
[music |John Cale - Cable Hogue]

Whoo, another week of work, nearly over. I'm not getting nearly as much done as I had hoped this summer, the usual story. Finding free time is much harder than one plans. Additionally, we've been short staffed lately, meaning its been busier than usual. (On a related note, the ReStore is currently hiring, so if you're looking for a decent job, now is the time.) Nick is on vacation too, which means I have no one to descend into festering cynicism with, and no one who wants to listen to Scott 4 (though when he returns, we're going to try to play every Scott Walker recording in a single work day).

Its been beautiful, weather-wise, lately. Rain and heat, rather large helpings of each, and when they are least expected. I walked from downtown to the hill on the afternoon it rained for the first time in, what, 4-6 weeks? Got a little wet, but it was wonderful, worthwhile just for that tangy wet earth smell, and cool air(!), for the first time in a while.

I also need a bicycle, and a basketball too, perhaps. I'd love to go cycling, and play some basketball too, perhaps. Haven't played that since high school, really. And haven't been on a bike for probably longer than that (unless you count the old-school bike w/ baskets at work that I used to ride to the grocery store).
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(no subject) [Jul. 24th, 2003|11:57 pm]
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sham on [Jul. 24th, 2003|02:54 am]
[music |Why? - Early Whitney]

Though the barbecuing itself failed miserably, the evening itself was just fine: flames, beers, meat, and 1970's popular psychology books. I even made it to Krispy Kreme, though I still despise the doughnuts. Its been a beautiful evening out, calm and warm, far from the heat of the past few days. The heat has not helped my recent sleeplessness much, as I am left to balance the sleep-disruptiveness-factors of excessive heat, an open window (with street noise), and a fan (Should I just open the window? Window and fan? But perhaps a little more heat with no fan is better?)

There is little better to listen to in the late evening, as the weight of things settles onto your mind and you finish a remaining beer, than Arab Strap's album Philophobia. It is an amazing collection of songs, totally unique and almost flawlessly executed. Lyrically, its such a strange blend of pure rhyming obviousness and stark authenticity: and it for the most part succeeds.

Aside from that, Why?, member of the Anticon crew, has released what might be one of the best and most important things yet on the label (and I emphasize might, because I'm not sure yet, and perhaps only time will tell). In the past, his work has been annoying, creative to the point of distraction, and generally weird. Oaklandazulasulum doesn't really change his formula, but his expansive knowledge of pop music shows through on this more than anything else he's done. Though he's often as self-consciously experimental as anyone on Anticon, he knows how gut-level pop music works, and that aspect is slowly creeping into his work. Its one thing to do quirky weird pop music, but Oaklandazulasylum actually shows more promise than most indie pop music nowadays, because it seems to have the potential to go somewhere. The closest reference point is circa Warm Jets Eno crossed with Beat Happening: equal parts lyrical nonsense, studio experimentalism, and warm pop music, with that K Records naivety and idealism. However, at this point, its so far off the beaten path, that its difficult to know what to think of it.
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(no subject) [Jul. 22nd, 2003|09:40 pm]
Tentative tracklist for official ReStore mix, first volume (not in order).

Chris Deberg - Don't Pay the Ferryman
Ronnie James Dio - Rainbow in the Dark
Rod Stewart - The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You
Air Supply - Every Woman in the World
Asia - Heat of the Moment
Bonnie Tyler - Total Eclipse of the Heart
Blue Oyster Cult - Don't Fear the Reaper
Hall and Oates - Kiss On My List
Kenny Loggins - Danger Zone
Paul Young - Love Will Tear Us Apart (yes, it is a cover)
Steve Miller Band - Abracadabra (I wanna reach out and grab ya)
Toto - Africa
Sweet - Love is Like Oxygen
Wham - Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
Billy Ocean - Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car)
Jefferson Starship - We Built This City

Comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
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