|Are you watching Arrested
Development? If not, you really really ought to be. Because in about 9 months you’ll be watching the “Complete Series on DVD.” What this show lacks in ratings, it makes up for in LAFFS!
Of the many things I like about Alias (besides its buffy-lite mixture of action, espionage, empowerment, pain, suffering and continuity) is the score. Yes, it frequently uses lots of pop music during its we-got-this-show-on-the-air-with-the-promise-of-sexy-syd scenes, there is a theme, I’ll call it the Syd’s Suffering theme, that comes in and is always high crying strings. Its very distinctive for a tv show of any kind and is the perfect compliment to the unending torture Sydney Bristow gets put through every week. The strings, when mixed properly with Syd’s pouty lips, get me every time. They really help to communicate loneliness and isolation that Syd faces week after week that makes me scream out, “FOR GOD’S SAKE LET HER LIIIIIIIVVVVEE!” This week, finally, she cracked a smile.
I brought my pads home for thanksgiving hoping to get some quality DDR time in. Not only did I get it, but Cody and his friends took to it like syrup to HOTCAKES. Mad DDRing was had until the wee hours of the morning on Thursday and Friday. Favorite song? Kind Lady
I realized this morning that there is not a single day in my life that I do not think about my having had cancer. This is not to say it scares me- its just on my mind. Of course its time for my yearly scans and I have been avoiding them like I always do. What does it all mean? I just had to get that out.
Disparite group of characters comes together under unusual circumstances. All are hurt in some way and slowly warm up to each other. Have them hurt each other but then bring them back together so that they all see that they are exactly what they needed. Let them heal each other, cut to credits.
With that said, The Station Agent was really good. Requisite quirky characters: People (and self) hating Dwarf, desperately social, talkative Cuban-New Yorker, Artist/Yuppie Housewife who’s lost her child. I don’t know how far outside of formula you can really go with character movies like this, so maybe pointing out its cliche is moot. However, the characters were all pretty well drawn and very empathetic. The Dwarf hates everyone, but the cuban needs to be everyone’s friend. Cuban serves Cafe con Leche to Yuppie woman, who initially blocks him out- until she almost runs over the dwarf- twice! Nice little flourishes featuring the adopted daugher from Lovely and Amazing and the dwarf’s love of trains. The dwarf’s name is Finbar, btw. Jen from Dawnson’s Creek has a bit part as a library employee pregnant and messed up with the wrong guy. Dwarf guy was in Elf and other things I guess, Yuppie/artist is Patty Clarkson and was also in the awesome All the Real Girls. I don’t really mean to sound so disdainful, the movie was funny and touching and I wholeheartedly recommend it. As a rental that is.
I finally got a taste of the screwy new USB naming scheme this past weekend. It is truly one of the most evil things ever. I was chekcing out Mini Disc players and I noticed that they were “USB 2.0 Full Speed,” and thought “That is totally sweet.” But then I looked at the fine print on the back of the box, which stated: “USB 2.0 Full Speed is the new designation for the USB specification previously known as USB 1.1. It should not be confused with USB High Speed, which was previously known as USB 2.0.” So how many people are buying USB 2.0 Full Speed devices thinking they’re getting actual high speed peripherals. Crizazy.
I’m literally missing my most heavily anticipated concert/movie of the year so I can finish my homework, and I haven’t even been slacking off this week!
Update: Decided to skip my homework and go anyway. I have to say I enjoyed it a great deal, though Text of Light ultimately isn’t the most involving film, the music was generally perfect and well considered. Very organic and even though DJ Olive was at a laptop for most of the movie everything seemed to gel quite nicely. Tim Barnes in particular seemed to be really listening to what everyone was doing. Near the end they did the “lets get really loud now to close it off thing” which seemed a bit forced, but overall it was pretty great.
I missed most of the first film whose soundtrack featured Micah Gough late of the Pittsburgh jazz combo 40 stories. It was from ’95 so I assume it was something local. The second film, by Bruce Connor was called “Looking for Mushrooms” and was an amazing bit of humanity completely saturated by the drones of Terry Riley. I love Riley and completely fell into this movie because of his trance music. It was totally sweet, as the kids say. The movie seemed to be shot at like 2 frames a second and gave you just long enough to absorb each image until it jumped on a bit.
According to the Cortical Foundation the soundtrack was culled from Poppy Nogood and the Phantom Band All Night Flight Purple Modal Strobe Ecstasy with the Daughters of Destruction, which I own. It was much more saturated and loud than I remember it. Speaking of Poppy Nogood, I’ll never understand why they decided to split that album into little chunks that break in between tracks in a way that totally jars you.
that the new Strokes Album really sucks? Style goes a long way in rock’n’roll but with this album they very quickly succeeded in removing all content outside of said style. Not that I expected them to ever be able to come close to the little gem that is The Modern Age, but this shitstorm gets them on the cover of rolling stone?
This is probably not a weird thing:
Tonight, Dawn and I decided to dine at our local hardcore old-skool Kazansky’s Deli. Turkey Clubs were the theme for the evening. Nothing so weird there right? But wait..there’s so much more. Kazansky’s recently installed a little bar and big-screen tv for football games, and this evening behind the bar were two incredibly skinny-yet-buxom young ladies, chatting up the untucked shirt masses. These girls were covered in makeup and had skin-tight miller light t-shirts on, tied up right underneath their boobs with the rest falling out up top. They were so chatty and weird, I couldn’t believe it was real. I said to dawn, “Is miller light renting out girls now?” Sure enough: part of tonight’s nfl feature- which we spied on a sign as we headed into the night- was “Genuine Miller Girls.” Do I not go to bars enough to know that this is something that happens? The humanity!
Whats up with The Ladytron putting out a mix cd? Can I put one out too? How does a band get to put out a compilation of music they like? Those degenerate pricks!
Speaking of degenerates, I picked up the Michel Gondry DVD this weekend. It is unfortunately not complete, but it has a lot of really amazing work and is utterly hilarious. Some of the videos interpret music so literally it is like you are watching the music play out before you, yet in a way you’d never considered. Great great great stuff. Spike Jonze’s real name is Adam Spiegel.
Say what you will about filesharing, all of the music I buy today is due entirely to the fact that I’ve read about it or heard about it, sampled it via Soulseek and decided it was definitely good enough to own. And really, how is that any different than requesting it on a college radio station or something? Except that I can get the whole album. Nonsense…
Anyway, the new Rachel’s album is actually pretty good. I couldn’t really stomach them much after the Sea and the Bell’s, but I decided to download it based on the pitchfork review. Yes, I almost always completely disagree with Pitchfork on every count. Still, they grab my interest enough to get me to check something out. I’m glad I did. While they continue to be a sort of catch all post-rock orch-pop ensemble, they are willing to grab out for new sounds and generate a pretty interesting picture. I didn’t initially like it but one night I was walking to my bus stop from class- one of those frozen windy nights last week, and it really hit me. Melencholy and weird and oh so tasty. Lots of piano driven music that delves a little more heavily into what we recognize as minimalist territory. I hear Steve Reich all over it, but I am of course a huge Steve Reich fan. But there is a gamelan in that shit man, I mean come on. A lot of the melodies also kind of reach back into your subconscious and tell you to remember things- John Wiliams soundtracks? Themes from Back to the Future? I’m not sure where from, but I know I’ve heard it before. Apparently the found sounds and field recordings that I initially chalked up to a Godspeed ripoff (well, i guess they still are, but fuck Godspeed) are the result of people sending them “recordings of sounds meaning to their lives and environments.” Quite a few of them are actually interesting or touching. Lots of disconnected modernity to ponder. From the album’s description at Southern it looks like the package is mui importante as well, so the mp3s will simply not cut it. Christmas is coming people. I also got my hands on their collaborative re-doing of Full on Night with Matmos. That track was always the centerpiece of their early work, so I was happy to hear it again. Songs for Egon Schiele will be dinner music at our wedding. This is great music for a city winter. And winter music is where I’m living right now. See also: Little Earthquakes, And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out
For some reason news of a player unlocking the force in Star Wars Galaxies is very exciting to me. I could never, nor would I ever play SWG, but it must be a very exciting thing to be one of the two people in over 300000 to gain the ability to use the force. The game immediately put a huge bounty on the Jedi’s head.
Today’s not-so-stunning revelation:
Apple Makes No Money with the iTunes Music Store
I’ll bet this is why they’re so eager to court indie labels- they might actually make a *tiny little bit* of money off them. Damn shame. I have yet to buy anything from iTMS, as I can not afford an ipod. How worth it is this place going to be if less than 1% of 1% of all music buyers owns an ipod. I don’t know the real percentage, but I’m sure it is a tiny tiny fraction of people.
Sort of Update: Knowing that actually makes no money from this and being pretty sure that the artists makes none either, I can’t say I’m going to buy anything from the apple store. Even if the labels got 25 cents a song they’d be making a shitload of money. Hell, 25 cents a song is a lot.
Needless to say I enjoyed the shit out of it. I don’t see where many of the criticisms that are being made are coming from. The emotional intensity was right on, the special effects were so believable that no cringing was necessary, the battle for Zion was fucking amazing and intense and sad and scary. I really can’t complaing about any of it, except perhaps the ending, which I can even kind of get with. Its just a *little* too much. Quints review (spoilerific) at Ain’t It Cool pretty much sums up how I feel, except that I actually really enjoyed Reloaded and think they’ll work nicely as a whole. My dreams were all matrix last night.
What follows is the first sketch of my proposed musical essay, currently titled The Line. Please feel free to disregard.
With the advent of nonlinear digital editing, we have entered into a world of near limitless possibilities. There is literally no limit to how a song can be composed, edited, layered or modified. Like John Cage talked about the possibilities of tape music, we are no longer bound by human limitations like performance, ability, amplification or endurance. Yet no one seems to be taking advantage of these tools in a truly revolutionary way. As with digital filmmaking, it seems that no-one has yet reached the point of creating a new kind of music.
Granted, pop music has been inextricably changed- hip hop and R&B use studio tools in a way never really conceived of, but call it de-evolution, call it tools that are too easy to use, call it what you will- no one is nearing the near real complexity and possibility things like ProTools have to offer. And many are actually reducing the complexity of an already simple genre through the simple fact that now almost anyone can write, produce and release a recording without knowing how to read or write music. I believe tis ability is ultimately a good thing in that it will get us away from the limitations of our own musical heritage, but I do believe that we may be squandering our potential.
A few examples of the new musics being made in a relatively mainstream venue: Timbaland, Cornelius . Having not heard much of Cornelius’ music, I can’t comment on it all, but even his song on the powerpuff girls soundtrack is incredibly inventive but also recognizable as a pop song.
Where are the modern composers using these tools to make masterpieces? Why are they only the stuff of pop musicians and underground electronics. Why, when the avant garde makes use of these tools are they almost always used to absolute reduction. Are the music schools teaching about the possibilities of composing without the living? It seems that most schools- if dealing with some kind of electronic music- are looking at pure computer based composition. Not recording.
A computer could give you an orchestra of thousands, and you could compose for it as such. You could produce a recording that lasted hours, if not years- and even distribute it on a format people could purchase! Acoustic modelling could put you in the space you desire, and potentially you could even reproduce the overtones and rich deep sounds such a large performance would produce.
You could create a music based on sub-microtonality. Hell you could create an entirely new music system. Say you wanted to created a composition of these “sub-microtones” you could create it at such a length and volume that the listener, if giving her undivided attention to the piece, would slowly decode the sound for what it really was. Chipping away at their own notions of western scales and hearing notes where previously there were drones. Like LaMonte Young except you don’t’ require someone to kill themselves performing it. This has to do a lot with the Theater of Eternal Music actually because a lot of Young’s concepts of drone had you “going inside” the music and slowly hearing the harmonic richness and diversity of the drone. A modeling program that allowed you to produce harmonics and overtones in your electronic music doesn’t seem so hard in todays world of computer generated acoustics.
You can consider authenticity and newness but they are ultimately irrelevant. Authenticity is a lie and newness can not be the ultimate goal of any music alone. I’ll discuss both of these things in another piece in regards to the legacy of modern music, “high culture”, pop culture and whether any of it really matters. As far as the consideration of “newness,” I posit that newness alone will ultimately fail unless it is something that the human heart can attach itself to in some way or another.
Sliding over a bit, the possibilities do not solely sit in composition. The internet now allows for access to just about any music (or sound) you can ever want to hear. A young musician now has the opportunity to be influenced by musical cultures that span the entire globe. Hopefully we will see the results of this truly global knowledge sharing soon.
One more consideration- with the advent of cd-quality audio compression, we should no longer be bound by the notion of an album as a single 40 minute piece and I long for a time when artists start releasing fully conceptualized multimedia projects on dvd or day long compositions on mp3. They could even produce their own players/visualization. Musicians must consider their work as art, and perhaps consider its visual and physical implications as well. Consider the Merzbox or Ovalprocess. These are steps in the right direction. However, we still have a long way to go. In the background I am doing my part. Someday I unleash its wrath upon the world!
Possible future considerations: music’s relation to humanity, how noise relates to that relation.
Is that US medical companies get to spend HUGE amounts of money on research in order to make more money. Case in point: this article about the human clinical trials for the Riovirus- which only attacks cancer cells. Hot damn thats amazing.
A few choice memories from the weekend past:
good smokey fire and s’mores with my friends
The long sunset into night on saturday
Laura and Christine’s costumes.
Rocking the house to “Last Night”
Chance et Bubba
Talking to Dave about shit.
Total awe of Jay & Laura
the Great Ale House Debacle of ’03
I said I was going to use this blog, so starting today I’m going to be writing a series of sketches that will outline and with any luck eventually become an essay on music and culture. I should be able to finish my homework and get to it this evening some time. It will start off very fragmentary and basically be just ideas and thoughts as they come, but with time, I’d like to build on them and work it out into a cohesive whole. Let’s see what happens.
My New Look.