Puredyne is aimed at creative people, looking for tools outside the standard. It provides the best experimental creative applications alongside a solid set of graphic, audio and video tools in a fast, minimal package. For everything from sound art to innovative filmmaking.
Puredyne is optimised for use in realtime audio and video processing. It distinguishes itself by offering a low latency kernel and the high responsiveness needed by artists working in this field.
Puredyne is based on Ubuntu and Debian Live. All packages provided by Puredyne can be used if you are running this flavour of GNU/Linux. Use, share, copy, modify, join the development team or fork :)
My nephew is staying with us at the moment and is keen to sign the 12 Days of Christmas, up the the appropriate day, to us each morning. In an effort to remember all of the lyrics, as my BBC micro singing version obviously didn't burn it in adequately during my childhood, I looked it up.
The first google hit, which I will not link to as I don't want to increase it's page ranking, was a Christian carols page that claimed religious symbolism to each of the days:
1 True Love refers to God 2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments 3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues 4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists 5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch", which gives the history of man's fall from grace. 6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation 7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments 8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes 9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit 10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments 11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles 12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
This all sounds slightly dubious to me. A few hits down the ratings we find the wikipedia page. No more reliable a source but it does include the following text:
"The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes indicates there are suggestions that "the gifts have significance, as representing the food or sport for each month of the year. Importance [certainly has] long been attached to the Twelve Days, when, for instance, the weather on each day was carefully observed to see what it would be in the corresponding month of the coming year. Nevertheless, whatever the ultimate origin of the chant, it seems probable [that] the lines that survive today both in England and France are merely an irreligious travesty."
"A bit of modern folklore claims that the song's lyrics were written as a "catechism song" to help young Catholics learn their faith, at a time when practicing Catholicism was discouraged in England (1558 until 1829). There is no substantive primary evidence supporting this claim, and no evidence that the claim is historical, or "anything but a fanciful modern day speculation."
"In fact, variations in lyrics provide evidence against the "catechism song" origin. For example, the four Gospels often are described as the "four calling birds," when in fact the phrase "calling birds" is a modern (probably 20th century) phonetic misunderstanding of "colly birds" (blackbirds).[original research?]"
So, the song is probably irreverent but it's not entirely clear. I'd definitely take any religious claims with a large pinch of salt.
For a more surreal take on it the brilliant 12 Days themed Why Bother? interviews between Peter Cook and Chris Morris, which is a gem of improvised comedy. [It's available on CD and in text form.]
Some readers may remember I did a stand-up routine a few years ago about Brian Eno being "The One" (like Neo in The Matrix).
Seems someone else thinks he may actually be VALIS (from the Philip K Dick book of the same name, although Radio Free Ablemuth is a much better book on the same subject).
Before scanning that from the Sunday Time Style magazine I searched for an online version. I didn't find one but did find this from last April:
What pop music tells us about JG Ballard "Author JG Ballard, who has died aged 78, cast a huge influence over the literary world. But for those who have never picked up one of his novels there's another forum for learning about his work - pop music."
Fine Waters: Comprehensive Resource of Bottled Water of the World Etiquette for Drinking Temperature: "Serving all waters at the same temperature, let’s say 55 degrees Fahrenheit, will nicely show their differences. A slight increase in temperature will have a calming effect on waters with larger, louder bubbles. In general, the colder the water, the more focused it will be.Water can be served at almost any temperature, but knowing how to manipulate temperature will allow you to better pair the waters with food and establish a true epicurean dialogue." Or you could serve it ice cold and some people like to serve it at 100 degrees C with an infusion of leaves. [thanks Jules]
Music As Torture: War Is Loud "UPDATED: At Guantanamo Bay, the military is attempting to break down Muslim prisoners by bombarding them with ear-splitting rap and metal, leading human rights activists to ask: When does an interrogation tactic become pure torture?" By David Peisner
See also Jon Ronson's The Men Who Stare at Goats, which, bizarrely, is now being made into a film with Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges!
Heya! It's been some time. I know I may have thrown you the odd scrap of music now and again but that old spark, it just hasn't been there lately has it. I know you have other places to hang out. I hope you understand what a death in the family has done here. But it's great to meet up again, have a drink, chew that fat, catch up on what we would have been chatting shit about if other events hadn't conspired against us.
Did I tell you I attended the BLDGBLOG book launch last week?
[v.o.g.: You mentioned you were going]
Ah, well, I did. And not only did I get a great book out of it, not only did I meet with and chat with Geoff Manaugh, whose a really inspiring guy, not only is there a photo floating around flickr of me sat at the same table as Warren Ellis (I didn't realise that at the time, I was distracted by the woman with him), but I've also come away with some blog based inspiration.
In the introduction to the book Geoff explains that when he started BLDGBLOG he decided that he wasn't going to pour concerns and negativity into it, it would just be for stuff that interested him. Things that made him think, gave him ideas, starting points for flights of fancy. I like that philosophy. I may try to take it on to some degree.
"But seriously, is this not one of the best presidential photographs of all-time? Even Sarkozy looks like he's sneaking a peek, though he's French, so we expect him to do it. However, in Obama's defense, that is a great ass!"
"Solicitors for the National Portrait Gallery are apparently threatening legal action against a US Wikipedia user for downloading 3,300 digital photographs of paintings in the UK museum's collection, and then uploading them to Wikipedia." [via clayton cubitt]
"Patti Smith is one of the most anticipated gigs of the week, and the audience the most vocal. … joined by SMZ leader Efrim Menuck on drums and Portishead’s Adrian Utley, who attacks a guitar with a paintbrush to spooky effect." Festival review: Ornette Coleman’s Meltdown, Southbank Centre, London SE1 | Music | The Observer I mentioned this to Leafcutter John, wondering if he was aware Ade was at the Polar Bear gig where John had used the same paintbrush trick a few months back. His response was a spirited "Ah, but did he do it better?"
Open Source TIC - ePetition response | Number10.gov.uk "The Government supports the principle that, where new software is being developed by the Timely Information to Citizens pilots, this should wherever possible be released under open source licence and available for use by other local authorities. ... Where the pilots will result in new software tools, ownership and intellectual property rights will usually remain with the individual local authorities" Is this not a contradiction?
Stuff you've missed on the tumblr * a whole bunch of new photographers discoveries * shoes by architects * a bunch of LEGO stuff inc jewellery, USB sticks and giant Star Wars models * London Underground Map print dress * Geek guide to shoe lacing * The Battleships drinking game
I've also just discovered that Blogger is limited to 20 tags per post.
It has never been easy to value art, in any sense. The value it represents in terms of artistic merit will be different to the value it holds to a community (and between communities) and will be different from its financial value, which is of course what someone is willing to pay for it.
This was highlighted recently by the vandalism of Banksy's Mild Wild West piece in Stokes Croft. Someone called Appropriate Media claimed responsibility for this and posted a manifesto on the gentrification of the area and the meaning of art on The Cube website. This ill thought through manifestos (complete with un-credited anti-Banksy sentiment stolen from a 2006 Charlie Brooker column) has since been removed from the website and replaced with the response emails it elicited. The work itself has been cleaned up by the Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft although now shows blood red battle scars in the mortar between the bricks, so it isn’t returned to its former glory but can now show off its war wounds with pride.
This Hijack thread documents the unfolding public outrage at this attack on a work that the community has embraced, voting it the top Alternative Landmark for Bristol in a BBC pole last year. However, the 10 pages of vitriol it produced should be read with great care as it quickly turns into a vigilante mob chasing the wrong suspects. Quite how highly valued this piece is by the community I think has come as a shock to those who sought to deface it in the name of art (and self-publicity). They couldn't have picked a worse target what with Banksy's unusual standing in Bristol where his works are protected by the city council whilst all other graffiti in the city is, hypocritically, still persecuted as vandalism.
This community ascribed value to usually transient street art lies in sharp contract to the financial value ascribed to most other art. The value here is dictated by what someone is willing to pay for it, in some cases as a cynical investment into something they believe will increase in financial value in the future. I am as guilty as many of buying limited editions of music releases or prints because, if I like it and I'm going to buy it anyway, I'll always choose the fancier presentation and perceived exclusiveness over the mass produced version.
But why? I know full well that this is often an equally cynical attempt by the artist (or their publisher) to limit supply to increase value. Sometime I wonder who this benefits as the original artist sees no increased income from future resale value. Shifting larger numbers at smaller profit may earn you more but loses you artistic credibility.
From personal experience I know that even tiny production numbers do not automatically make something more desirable. Gusset's first two self-released EPs were hand crafted by our good selves and produced in numbered limited editions of 40 of each. Even so it took us three years to sale the bastards. And we now have 600 remaining copies of the 1,000 disk run of Ask Dr Kim collecting dust. Now obviously this isn't a great example as I'm a nobody peddling substandard wares to a tiny and increasing saturated underground minority.
Music is one of the most difficult art forms to attempt to make money out of as it is so easily copied and distributed and is almost impossible to intentionally limit quantities of without attaching it to another more physical form of artwork, the packaging.
Due to either misguided artistic integrity or innate stupidity on my part my other chosen field of expression is photography. Arguably one of the most personal of all art forms with low barriers to entry in terms of skill and equipment (compared to music). Why buy someone's photo of x when you could take one yourself? OK, so yours may not to be to the same standard, but it is yours. You created it. You were there. You can talk about it if you hang it on your wall. The alternative, "Yeah, I got that in Ikeal. You have it too you say?"
With this in mind I was intrigued to see Dark Daze selling this frankly stunning Sally F**cking Reynolds motel print in a blind auction in a limited edition of just 10. The nine highest blind bidders get copies with one presumably reserved themselves. (They are a couple incidentally.)
But what's to stop him deciding to print more copies at some point in the future? Just his promise? Or will all other copies be destroyed like Jarre's Music for Supermarkets?
I'm intrigued what sort of prices are going to be offered for these prints. It's clearly an amazing photo that I would happily pay for, although the hinted started bid of a hundred quid (the price of his non-limited prints of the same size go for) already puts it beyond my budget.
Dark Daze, if you read this, I'd love to know what figures you get in the end. Would you be prepared to publish either the highest bid, 9th highest bid, or perhaps the nearest miss?
Binyam Mohamed, the British resident held in Guantánamo Bay, who was tortured by having his penis slit with a razor blade while detained in a secret jail in Morocco, said that the constant loud music made him feel that he was losing his sanity. He told his lawyer and director of legal charity, Reprieve, Clive Stafford Smith, that while being hung up and deprived of sleep "there was loud music. [Eminem's] Slim Shady and Dr Dre for 20 days ... plenty lost their minds. I could hear people knocking their heads against the walls and the doors, screaming their heads off."
See Jon Ronson's The Men Who Stare At Goats for more first hand accounts.
'A dozen London boroughs have implemented a "risk assessment" policy for live music that permits the police to ban any live music if they fail to receive personal details from the performers 14 days in advance. The demand explicitly singles out performances and musical styles favoured by the black community: garage and R&B, and MCs and DJs.'
I kindly offered to buy Mrs P burlesque dance lessons for her birthday but the offer was turned down on account of being more of a present for myself than for her. (I know it worked for Popcorn so it was worth a try.) Not long later I find an article in the Metro, of all places, about Japanese Rope Bondage. Something I've often marvelled at but didn't realise you could get lessons on it in the UK! The geek in my is as fascinated with the knotting as I am with its erotic nature.
"Due to demand, I now offer 2 hour evening classes on Tuesdays at 8pm. Hopefully, this will suit those who cannot make the Saturday courses. As I will be rotating the evening courses every six weeks or so, there will be an opportunity to catch up if you miss a class. The 'term' will comprise 4 lessons, which will equate to the one-day course. The next term starts on Tuesday, 21 October. There's an article in Metro by Lisa Scott, who attended one of the classes. Most courses have been selling out recently, so make sure you book early."esinem.com
However, I do still have other priorities as far as learnings of the mystic East are concerned and I am still trying to find a Kodo/Taiko drumming courses in the UK. So far the only class I have found is in Lanark, Scotland. Which is a bit far. Maybe one day.
Or maybe I should just go to Japan and do it all at once.
I visited the Arnolfini today to see the On Purpose: Design Concepts show. The stuff that caught my attention the most was Yuri Suzuki work. Check out the Prepared Turntable 2008, Sound Chaser and Sound Jewellery, which were on display but annoyingly not working. (Staff jumped in to stop you switching this on as they were "only prototypes.") Bizarrely I'd suggest just watching these videos and having a look around the site rather than actually going to the gallery. Go internet!
"Imagine waking up tomorrow and all music has disappeared."
So begins the first score for The17, a music and art project helmed by Scottish pop maverick Bill Drummond. A series of unrecorded public choral performances, The17 is "a vehicle to explore frustrations with recorded music," positing that the current glut of music has sapped it of meaning. Discarding the idea of music as product, the project reasserts the importance of experiences bound to a specific place and time.
"Recorded music is a very 20th-century way of defining our relationship," Drummond told Earplug. "I'm throwing down a gauntlet to other musicians to break out of this cocoon we're not even aware we're in, to take on the challenge of making interesting music."
Drummond is currently performing The17 in Derby, England, in celebration of the QUAD arts center's recent opening. For the piece, 100 separate groups of 17 city residents — from teachers to Bollywood dancers and pirates — are photographed and recorded singing a single note for five minutes. The recordings are then combined into a pentatonic chord and played together once, on August 22, for the 1,700 participants. After that, they will be destroyed forever.
How do The17 performances sound? Drummond admits it's difficult to describe, saying, "Sometimes it's frightening, sometimes it's incredibly beautiful — but even that sounds too trite."
"A little piece of trivia I didn't know, apparently Stanley Kubrick asked Roger Waters if he could use music from Pink Floyd's 'Atom Heart Mother' for Clockwork Orange. Someone's re-imagined what the opening sequence would have looked like if he'd said yes and this is the result." [via grom]
The Arts Council are investing public money in a ridiculous online vote to find that people think that London is Britain's most musical city. Obviously they will go through a pointless public voting system before declaring the winner to be the place where the largest population lives as everyone just votes for their home town, but its all gone fun along the way isn't it?
"Ten cities from across the country have been short-listed at www.mostmusicalcity.co.uk by the Arts Council's 'Take it away' scheme. Celebrity ambassadors for each city, including Sting, Jamelia, Richard Hawley and Engelbert Humperdinck, lead the debate for the Most Musical City until voting closes on 30 May 2008.
"The ten cities competing to win are: Birmingham; Brighton; Bristol; Colchester; Leicester; Liverpool; London; Manchester; Newcastle; and Sheffield. (The arts council are happy to comment on the reasons why a particular city has not been shortlisted)."
The celebrity ambassador for Bristol is DJ Krust. I presume the list of people they asked looked like this:
Somehow I couldn't help myself from getting involved in the "debate." I wrote the following on the site:
This article seems to be a fairly typical under-researched effort at dropping in the names of all of the Bristol artists who have become known across the UK, but says little of how imaginative and vibrant up-and-coming artists from the city still are. I was pleased to see references in the comments to Big Joan, Kid Carpet, Gravenhurst, Angel Tech, Rose Kemp, The Heads, Joe Volk etc. I’d add Geisha to the list too. I was also pleased someone mentioned the criminally under-rated “King of Totterdown” (to quote PJ Harvey), John Parish.
From a personal perspective, when Breakcore hit its stride a few years ago it was Bristol that was the mecca for the whole of the UK, thanks in a large part to the legendary Toxic Dancehall parties and labels like Death$ucker Records, Cleancut and 1manarmy, who continue to push the boundaries of electronica whilst maintaining a crowd friendly danceability.
Now Dub-Step is in the same position, with some of the genre's most exciting names (eg Pinch, Appleblim, Shackleton, Atki2 etc) quietly beavering away, producing solid release after solid release and cross pollinating with the other scenes that all sit together so happily here.
As an example of the open mindedness that can be found, at the most recent Goatlab party (I have to hold my hand up here and say I promote it) General Disarray has just finished a hard as nails breakcore set and Syntheme was next up with her acid techno twiddlings. Before she started she felt the need to point out she’d be playing something different. A heckler from the crowd shouted back, "It's OK, we like everything!", which was followed by a small cheer from the rest of the crowd and another loan shout of "..except house!" and a laugh from everyone else.
The Guardian, the newspaper that loves The Fall more than any other, prints extracts from Mark E. Smith's autobiography Renegade: The Lives and Tales of Mark E Smith, to be published by Viking on April 24 Part 1 and part 2
"This is a robot I just made. It was very hard to film, as the camera came in the way for any natural behavior. Anyway, here is what it usually does:
Navigate around, collect some data, avoid obstacles, until it
Finds something "worth playing on" (a single isolated object or a wide flat surface that it can find an angle onto)
Snakes into place
Plays some beats on what it have found, and samples this, checking it has a "good sound"
Based on data collected in the area, and sample just made, then compose a little rhythm, and plays this along with the sample
"Why? Well.. I was sitting thinking what I should do for my next robot, what it should do.. Listening to music.. making a rhythm with some robot-parts.. Thought; "Hey, I will make a robot that drives around and plays on stuff" As always, get more on letsmakerobots.com"
Dmitri Tymoczko at Princeton University, where he teaches and has developed a geometric method of representing musical chords. "When you first hear them, a Gregorian chant, a Debussy prelude and a John Coltrane improvisation might seem to have almost nothing in common--except that they all include chord progressions and something you could plausibly call a melody. But music theorists have long known that there's something else that ties these disparate musical forms together. The composers of these and virtually every other style of Western music over the past millennium tend to draw from a tiny fraction of the set of all possible chords. And their chord progressions tend to be efficient, changing as few notes, by as little as possible, from one chord to the next."
"Wonder even sang a little dittie, with a harmonica, that was sung as if he were reciting the musical scales in ascending and descending order to the name of “Ba-rack O-ba-ma.”" Stevie Wonder sings for Barack... and it sounds awful. What was he doing?
In my mind it works best sung to the tune of Long Distance Clara from Pigeon Street. He should have tried that.
[That wonderful example of Alan Rogers artwork is available as a print from easyart.com. Thanks for the bandwidth!]
"Due to popular demand, and a lot of noise made by our very loyal customers, Fopp’s music, DVD and book stores have been kept alive. Or at least some of our great shops have. We expect these Fopp stores to re-open within weeks, once the staff are back in the shops, the stock is re-ordered and a few operational bits and pieces are sorted. The stores have been saved from closure by HMV, but will trade independently of them and we’re delighted to say that everything that has made Fopp’s identity and customer offer distinct over the last 25 years is being preserved. Fopp.com will also relaunch soon, where you’ll also be able to buy online - so watch this space. We’re looking forward to seeing you again"
Back to give the independents another bashing. Fopp returns, this time with HMV at the helm. Only a few stores (the Bristol ones have other tenants in the units already). I have to admit, although I have given Fopp a bit of a bashing, I have missed them. There’s just so much back-catalogue stuff I was used to thinking, ‘I can pick that up for a fiver anytime I like,’ but now either can’t find or Zavvi want 14 quid for. In the case of the jazz stuff I’ve been tracking down for my dad for Christmas, I found it on Amazon, took the artist, title, label and ASIN to Zavvi, and after about 10mins cueing they refused to acknowledge that the release even existed. On top of that, their computer screen was covered in stickers, of the type they label the CD dividers with, with all of the staff's user names and passwords on! So I ordered it from Amazon.
Zavvi didn't like my taking a picture on my phone, not that you can read anything, but passwords printed for the public to see is information crime number one. Second is sending unencrypted personal data, but you've heard enough about that recently. zavvi Originally uploaded by gusset.
There is definitely a gap in the market for a more professional record shop set up from someone who knows what their customers want, offer good service, employ knowledgeable staff, and aren’t just trying to rip you off.
Jace (DJ /Rupture) on the demise of OiNK and what it means for music: OINK CROAKS "The next Oink will be sturdier & more multiple. The overall movement is towards more ways to share music & ideas with like-minded individuals on the internet. The way I see it, this can only be a good thing for music fans. And what musician is not first a music fan?" [via natali]
I never liked OiNK personally. When I got an invite I read the upload rules and decided it wasn't for me. But the media repoting of it has been biased and unfair in places, as is pointed out in the above article. Worth a read which ever side you're on.
"CD sales are falling. Vinyl sales are rising but not for a mass market. So the music industry has come up with a new format in the fight against dwindling revenues. ...[a] single on a disc that is vinyl on one side and a CD on the other."
I like 5" vinyl as a format. It only really works for punk/hardcore as you can only get 3 mins of music on one side, but I like my Compulsion and Trencher releases. I've always wondered how practical the hybrid would be technically. I wonder whether they are cutting the grove into one side of the CD, and if so how they are avoiding the data layer without making the disk to think for CD players, or if they are fusing two separate disks together as they do with double sided DVDs?
"[Gut records chairman] Mr Holmes says that if the format proves popular his company could use it for other bands. 'The music business desperately, desperately needs to invent new formats; the CD is an antique, it's 20 years old.'"
I disagree there. The constant search for new formats only helps record companies struggling to shift back catalogue. As far as new formats go, they already have one. It's MP3. They don't like it as it's the first time they haven't been in control of it, but it's there and they are going to have to live with it. No novelty hybrid disk is going to make kids rush out to the shops again or make adults reacquire their existing collection.
"Why the record industry is terrified of Radiohead's new album Radiohead are the latest – and greatest – band to shun the conventional CD release. Their new album is available online – and you don't have to pay for it*" * Actually, you're asked to pay what you think it is worth, but you can make that as low as a penny, which was far as the press is concerned means it's free.
The album, In Rainbows, is released tomorrow as a download and you can pre-order a box set of double vinyl, double CD (including non-download bonus material), book, photographs etc etc for £40.
The old school are arguing it will never take off as an idea because of the financial backing of a big labelled needed to make "quality" releases. But that doesn't take into consideration how the industry has changed over the last few years. Costs of recording albums have fallen through the floor, and high-quality recording equipment is now available at prices affordable to almost anyone. The upfront costs of making a recording can now be almost ignored apart from the most lavish of productions.
The public are also used to being able to get music free (illegally) and so want to see some justification for what they spend. Some people want to see lavish packaging to justify the price, others just want a crappy quality low-cost version that's good enough for listening to on headphones. Artists have to provide for both of these and everything in between (in this case the extremes are dealt with only). Considering how much you get with this Radiohead box the 40 quid seems like a good deal (even if Radiohead do bore the pants off of me and do very little that isn't recycling ideas from lesser known artists).
It's hardly a ground breaking idea; many people have done this already. Many vinyl only labels make all of their releases available for free as downloads (eg Clash / Kris as MP3s, there is another that gives away links to FLAC downloads with their vinyl but I can't remember their name right now).
However, I'm impressed to see such a big name doing it. Taking distribution away from the majors and allowing artists to connect directly to their fan base is the way forward. It's been working for Prince for years. The only thing the major labels can still contribute to this is the PR backing to break new artists, but increasingly artists can grow a fan base without that sort of financial backing through myspace or similar. The majors know this and hence every major band you can think of have an official myspace page in an attempt to retain credibility and to minimise exposure of lesser knowns. You wouldn't want an imitator getting your exposure now would you?
Other forms of media are going the same way, with journalism increasingly relying on bloggers. Just flick through any newspaper and note how much content is recycled from online material that is weeks old. It's rife from The Metro through to The Guardian. As Scott Adams predicted again last week:
"I also imagine the business model for bloggers changing. Now bloggers run ads and make money based on the traffic to their sites. In the future, I can imagine bloggers opting in for a system where they allow newspapers to grab their content any time the newspapers want, move it into the newspaper’s own content model on any given day, surround it with their own ads, and pay the blogger a percentage of ad revenue. In other words, every blogger (and cartoonist) would be self-syndicated, but newspapers wouldn’t print the same bloggers every day. They’d grab only the best writings of the day based on social voting and the newspaper’s own editorial opinions."
The same thing can happen with music. It is already the way many compilation / hits albums are put together, gathering lots of smaller labels / artists material together and reselling it under a larger brand.
You will never stop new talent emerging, regardless of how little financial reward is available. In fact, less financial reward would probably be a good thing for the industry. It will hopefully stem the flow of talentless wannabies and tabloid fodder (Doherty, Winehouse, the Gallergers et al.) that currently fill the media and the charts. If music is only being made by people who do it for the love of it, rather than people who see it as a business (see Pop Idol) then that can only be a good thing.
Artists have been experimenting with working out what they can charge for their work. The music industry is in turmoil and in another generation's time will be barely recognisable compared to what it was before. Asking the people who buy the music to pay what they think it is worth is a very brave move but a sensible step towards the new model.
Something vary similar is also happening with software. People generally dislike and distrust Microsoft, but continue to use their products due to their monopoly. They are regarded as a necessary evil now, but will they retain that position? There will always be an underground of users willing to make that extra bit of personal effort to get a product that does what they want rather than what someone else wants them to do with it. These are the GNU/Linux OS users, the people who want their music without DRM, and the people who would rather read and contribute to /., indiemedia, or thenewsisnowfree than any of the traditional news feeds.
Photography is similar. Some of the best photography I've seen in recent years has been on Flickr, published under CC licences by people who are happy to do it for the love of it rather than for the financial rewards (although many Pro photographers also use it to get exposure**). Thanks to this my own photography has been in the Schmapp! Travel guides to London, Bath, Liverpool, and Plymouth, and thenewsisnowfree network has used my photography of Bristol airport security, Bristol Kite Festival, and graffiti in a London hotel room. My pictures would never have got there any other way. ** Pun unintentional
Media and software alike should be made by the people, for the people. Not by corporations, for the profit. But you know that already. Otherwise I doubt that you'd be reading this.
"Hitler's record collection contained recordings by Jewish and Russian musicians who were banished from the concert halls of the Third Reich. The revelation came after about a hundred of his gramophone records were discovered in the attic of a former Soviet intelligence officer." [RealAudio, skip to approx 18min in]
SUBLIGHT RECORDS CLOSING THE DOORS - 2007.06.21 "We are sorry to announce that 2007 is the last year of Sublight Records. We have had the pleasure of putting out great music by amazing artists spanning over 50 releases in only 4 short years. Over the course of 2007 we will be selling off our remaining stock. We would like to thank the listeners, artists and friends who have supported us over the years. Our CDs will remain available for sale on our mailorder until 2008, so get them while you can."
R.I.P. Sublight was a great label with some amazing releases from truly inspiring artists. I think I better buy up the remaining releases I don’t have yet asap then. Another sad day for independent music.
Sublight's Benn "The Flashbulb" Jordan on The Revolution of Greed and the Music Industry It makes interesting reading and is nice to see charts showing the cost breakdown, although I've seen very similar ones published elsewhere before (in Sound on Sound I think). I don't think he goes far enough in suggesting that buying direct from labels is the way forward. Buying direct from artists is. He confuses the two as he sits in both rolls. Benn also came across a little emotional and snivelling in places, not to mention slightly naive, but I agree with the point he's making. He also seems down on his genuine fans that pay for his music, the only mention they get is a passing reference to them as collector geeks who don't represent a big enough market for him. I might buy his new album to show solidarity, even if the previous one of his I bought was highly patchy. Or as serpico009 summed it up much better here, "it's like reading the Wall Street Journal and a little girl's diary simultaneously."
In album news I had a chat with Death$ucker head honcho Parasite over the weekend and we've finally slated a release date for the Gusset remix album that was now been THREE YEARS in the making. This September you will see a bargain priced CD of remixes from Gusset's Skidmark CD-R release (last few left on dSWAT). Ask Dr Kim – clever anagram, see? – will feature remixes from The Teknoist, Shitmat, Jason Forrest, Parasite, Binary, Atki2, hard.off, m||m, Hoonboy, Twocsinak and more!
We gave up on the slutty nurse photoshoot idea due to budget restrictions (ie, £0). So instead we will be making a collage of gusset photos. Please send photos of your gusset to: gusset[at]gmail.com. You don’t have to be wearing the item, just pose your pants and snap away. Photos will be used under a CC licence and you will get a credit in the artwork. You won't get paid mind, but you get the satisfaction of being able to point and say;
"Check this; that's my gusset on that album cover." "Get away!" your friends will say. "No really, look, my name’s on the 'thanks' inside, here," points. "You magnificent bastard!" they will declare.
Leafcutter John says: "It gives me great pleasure to invite you to the opening of my first ever solo art show. For Soundtrap II, I have transformed Beaconsfield's acoustically live Upper space – a voluminous 19th c. schoolroom with a raked, wooden floor – into an interactive instrument.
"The Preview is on the 12th June from 6pm until 9pm and is open to all.
"There will be a special live performance of several pieces I have written specially for the installation. this will be very limited in terms of audience numbers (due to the size of the space). There will be two performances on the night of 7th July. For this event you must purchase tickets by clicking HERE. Advance tickets: £12 standard and £8 concessions Tickets on the door: £15/£10
"The show runs from 13th June until 22nd July the gallery will be open Wed - Sun 12-6pm.
"Location: Beaconsfield, 22 Newport Street, Vauxhall, London, SE11 6AY MAP For more information please email: firstname.lastname@example.org Or phone Rachel Fleming-Mulford on: +44 (0) 20 7582 6465
"An average-size club, open three nights a week, consumes 150 times the energy a four-person family does in a year. ... It's perhaps the ultimate consumerist activity. ... Enviu/Doll plan to take eco-clubbing to a new level. The collaboration has resulted in a number of systems, currently in development, that could minimise the footprint of clubbing. ... For example, the principles of acoustic design are based around the same as those applied to Roman amphitheatres, where the sound is encouraged to bounce off surfaces, thus allowing music to be played at a considerably reduced volume ... the lighting uses the same LED technology found in car tail-lights. [the roof space] incorporates small tubes in which to collect rain water, which is then heated by sunlight to provide warm water to the wash basins within the club below. ... one thing clubbers do a lot of is sweat. Loaded with warm perspiration, the air rises, where it is sucked out of the space, passed through a cooling chamber where it condenses and can then be used to flush the lavatories. ... Most inventive of all is the development of a dance floor that converts the movement of clubbers on it into electricity."
Songs Your Godmother Should Know "When Times classical music critic Hilary Finch confessed on national radio that she had never heard Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, her goddaughter Tamasin decided to compile a CD of songs a godmother really should know."
Roger Linn's Drum Machines "The remarkable story of Roger Linn, inventor of the drum machine. The son of an opera singer and a music professor, Linn's invention revolutionised popular music. He has inspired artists as diverse as Herbie Hancock, Heaven 17, and the Wu Tang Clan. Exploited by shady businessmen, Linn has been a reclusive figure for decades."
The Wrong Music guys have declared tomorrow, 31st May, the UKs first National Noise Day. "Inspired by tara pattersons National Noise Day in Berlin last year this event will feature live music, sound art and street performance. Curated by Henry Collins and Set in the idealic uk location of brighton. Featuring artists from around the globe doign weird and wonderfull things with sound, noise and music..."
If you can be in Brighton tomorrow night, which I'm quite upset I can't, you can see live music by: Extreme Noise Terror Justice Yeldham and The Dynamic Ribbon Device DJ Scotch Egg Trencher The Nail Bomb Cults Ladyscraper Dylan Nyoukis The Polly Shang Kuan Band Greenmist Knowledge of Bugs Zan Lyons Ninja Robot Dinosaur Bastards Team Brick Horacio Pollard Shitmat Permanent bag System Minimal Impact Vs Kymoto DJ Tendraw and the Gypsies Dog The control group Alex B Sorry
Official website & myspace The website is well worth a visit. Soem great videos and MP3s if you poke around.
Portishead are to be the next All Tomorrow's Parties curators and will be performing exclusively at ATP Nightmare Before Christmas in December 2007.
They will be playing their first full live set featuring new material in nearly 10 years at the event which is set for December 7, 8 & 9 at Butlins Holiday Camp at Minehead.
"We have always loved the All Tomorrow's Parties set up and we're happy our first shows will be there. It's great to have the opportunity to introduce bands we love or have influenced us. We've chosen a diverse collection of artists to play with us and we're really looking forward to it"
Details of the line up will be announced on myspace and at the All Tomorrow's Parties site where you'll also find details of how to buy tickets, accomodation available and how to get there.
This is a documentary about an AI system, which includes some details about giving the system "imagination" by feeding noise into the neural net. (I'd be interested to know whether it can differentiate this noise from its external inputs; does it "know" it is imagining?) It then composes some electronic music, thousands of pieces over a weekend, making it the most prolific composer on the planet. Some of these are now available on CD.
There's plenty of philosophy on the subject of AI, not to mention copious amounts of sci-fi and speculation of varying quality, but I won't go into that right now. I don't know if doppelganger wants to muse on it?
Thanks to Terminator and The Matrix et al some now leap to the conclusion (albeit jokingly) that AI is a bad thing, inevitably going to cause the fall of humanity. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the general public conception. But try looking at it from the other side; it may be the next step in evolution. Maybe it is the intelligence that will allow us to travel through the hole in the donut? [Intentionally using US spelling there]
I've been reading and thinking a lot about computer generated music again recently (I wrote my dissertation on it, although that seems like an age ago now), I will return to that subject in a later post.
My music teacher had this amazing work of art in his office, which was an orchestral score turned on its side that looked exactly like Kologne Cathedral, you know, two big pointy towers. To my shame I never bothered to find out exactly what it was but I've found this Japanese site that has some other Amazing Musical Scores on it.
"A DVD-Video of Short Films, Art-Works, Music Videos and Live Cinema Documentation" by Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt. I have to admit to being initially sceptical about this, worried that it was just going to be a load of typical club visuals presented on a DVD.
In places it is much more than that, with films of sunspots (untreated documentary data with a choice of 10 different soundtracks) and some brilliant art pieces with dissolving images of Paris, ravaged by mysterious meteorological events. Likewise the treated footage of the Northumberland coast and Earthquake devastated buildings are gripping "fictional documentaries." Their love of architecture is also clear and buildings have been subtly treated in such a way that you wonder how much of it is actually real.
However, the live cinema pieces are exactly what I was worried about. They really don't work outside of the live performance environment. Despite it being apparent that they were impressive at the time (several of them date back to 2002) it is obvious that the technology has already moved on and what was perhaps cutting edge five years ago is now something you see all over the place. The 200 Nanowebbers video for Double Adapter is the best of the bunch here, although it's not entirely clear how live this one actually was.
The highly abstract electronic music used though-out counters the feeling that this is club material, as there is almost nothing danceable here. There is some impressive noodling, some of it also live, but like extreme guitar workouts it's the sort of musical fetishism that is probably only appreciated by practitioners.
In conclusion, there are some intriguing moments I could happily watch and re-watch here, and would love to see performed in a larger, sensory immersing environment, but these are interspersed with some dated and more limited material that distracts from the whole.
Worlds in Flux is released on Feb 26th on Fat Cat.
Ra – Wxfdswxc2 (Sublight)
This limited initial run of this brilliant new album from Raoul Sinier, who I would call the greatest export of French hip-hop influenced electronica, includes a bonus DVD of his video work. Ra's musical work and video work are both just as impressive and together form something greater than the sum of the parts. Although the parts are all worthy on their own. The detail and effort that goes into both is staggering, evidenced by the fact that even the credits on this disk is a short film in itself.
His videos for ddamage are also presented here – compete with animated David Lynch, um, cameo – for completeness, along with a little easter-egg (a plus symbol appears at the bottom of the menu after viewing the stills gallery) of his "day job" material, in the form of odds and sods of ads and flash web design.
The album is more abstract than his pervious Raoul Loves You and perhaps even darker and more brooding. The music alone is perhaps not as instantly accessible as some of his previous work but together with the video it all makes sense.
It seems a shame that for such a visual artist the packaging is so sparse, but considering what a bargain the two disk set is already that is perhaps asking slightly too much. Having said that, I would shell out extra for a book of some of his material.
Brilliant album / video combo. Get it now while you still can!