Saturday, March 01, 2003
"...the industry as we know it could vanish not so much because of technology but because few people over the age of 30 would care if it did"
The end of The Music Racket As We've Known It
Rightly or wrongly, record companies are detested by politicians (for corrupting youth), by webcasters (for demanding royalties), and by their customers (for inflating prices). Musicians and songwriters are famous for loathing the labels, and many have resisted licensing their songs to MusicNet and pressplay. (Both are under investigation for possible antitrust violations.) Radio and MTV aren't in the industry's corner; the labels, through "independent promotion" programs, effectively have to pay them to broadcast music. And the electronics industry's attitude toward the labels is summed up by an Apple slogan: Rip. Mix. Burn. Which, a music executive once told me, translates into "Fuck you, record labels."
8:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Jarhead: A Marine's Chronicle of the Gulf War and Other Battles by Anthony Swofford
Looks pretty damn good.
"This is not a pretty memoir -- but veined with beauty. It is as outrageous, irreverent, funny, and obscene as an Aristophanes comedy, and as rich in pain and moral understanding as the Iliad." -- Jonathan Shay
1:58 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Friday, February 28, 2003
Archaeology in reverse and a cow named Henry
Artist Mark Dion's work reminds me of the artwork on an old Art Bears (I think -- it was some Henry Cow or related) album cover, which mocked the science of archaeology
Anyway, Dion has a show in Hartford til the 9th if you're in the area, and he sounds intriguing.
A native of New Bedford, Mass., and graduate of the Hartford Art School, Dion has built his reputation in no small part with his installations based on unconventional "archaeological digs." Unearthing ordinary discarded objects in contemporary urban excavations, such as a trash heap in Fribourg, Switzerland ("History Trash Dig,"1995) and a drained Venetian canal ("XLVII Venice Biennale," 1997), the artist collects and displays his "artifacts" in a new context, re-creating the categorization and exhibition practices of museums.
Visually interesting, clever, provocative and ironic, his work - both the process and the result - often includes multiple layers of artistic and anthropological meaning, particularly in how he prods onlookers to rediscover the commonplace and understand how we make sense of the world.
It's certainly not the type of art that you would place above your sofa, as many of the 13 collaborations on view at the University of Hartford demonstrate. The exhibit includes a factory display of nurse uniforms that could fill a small room, a closet-size portable rain-forest diorama, a 28-minute pseudo-documentary on the subject of art restoration and a dogsled with expedition equipment, accompanied by historic images of polar expeditions.
According to Joseloff Gallery curator and event organizer Zina Davis, each installation consists of a unique narrative that combines factual evidence and fictitious possibility. "The works are meant to be viewed in the context of a story line, of a creative, sometimes pseudo-scientific, cultural experience," she says.
Henry Cow: I really liked Legend, and it remains more listenable than their later work, though you really wanted to like it, because they were such a nice change-of-pace from the progrock mainstream. But it was and is very challenging music, and too close to the Western classical tradition for me. That puritanical upright thing was never my bag, though I can appreciate it's complexity.
The other album I remember enjoying a lot was Fred Frith's first solo guitar record, which will be reissued with the other 2 albums as Guitar Solos. There is a track called "No Birds" which I can still feel the desolation behind.
I was lucky enough to catch Mr Frith performing solo at a church in West Philly in '80 or so. There were maybe 25 people (or less) there, which was all that could fit anyway.
He'd set up a guitar flat on a table with various kinds of string and wire etc. wound between the guitar strings. The performance consisted of his pulling the threads through at various speeds and angles, and occasionally pounding the guitar with a mallet.
He made it work, believe me. Absolutely mesmerizing. Best 5 bucks I ever spent on a concert.
Which backs up Chris Cutler's assertion that Henry Cow was never captured on record, and was chiefly a performing group. Their compositional intricacy and chilly earnestness was probably balanced well by their onstage enthusism and commitment.
In fact, I also saw his Skeleton Crew trio with Tom Cora and Zeena Parkins in the mid-80s at CBGB, which rocked the house in a very disturbed and wonderful way. The energy level was punk while their virtuosity was on the level of jazz professionals.
And nobody was there to drink beer.
Too bad their 2 CDs aren't around. I had A Country of Blinds on LP once. Again, not nearly as good as the performance.
Frith is a professor in the Bay area now. Trouser Press has a nice summary page on him.
1:29 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
-- Decent AP review of Spider.
-- 24 gets 3rd season (maybe not so good -- I'm not sure the concept won't be terminally stale by then).
-- Six Feet Under to "lighten up"(?)
1:27 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
I'm not one for ogling people's home spaces, but just the way soundtrack composer Carter Burwell and his wife re-did their Manhattan loft is a great story
The scrupulously spare 3,000-square-foot loft, which Mr. Burwell shares with his wife, Christine Sciulli, a lighting designer and video artist, is now also a contradiction in creative terms: it conceals more than five miles of analog and digital audio, video and Ethernet cable and 11 electronic patch boxes, which allow Mr. Burwell to compose in the peace of his own apartment -- anywhere from his studio to the bathtub.As it happens, I generally like his scores too, particularly Miller's Crossing.
12:16 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Thursday, February 27, 2003
R.I.P. Mr Rogers
Never even watched him, but so many people dug Mr Rogers, he gets a tip o' the blog.
4:01 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
See ctc for a post on the new BBC2 doc Cambridge Spies
1:42 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
I've been generating this all along, but didn't know.
Now I do, and you can.
12:57 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Tommy Chong's business and home raided for . . . do I have to tell you?
9:00 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Now you can bet on the weather online
8:39 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
I've added links to sites on Jon Hassell, Eliane Radigue, John Cale and Wire to the Music>Artists section.
4:57 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
AOL makes clueless play in file-sharing game
1:17 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
"If your music is not being downloaded, then you're in trouble."
Record exec John Snyder talks sense on file-sharing [rebecca's pocket]
1:35 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Will Self's Dorian: An Imitation by Thomas Mallon
Fairly big spoiler, for those who aren't dyed-in-the-wool post-modernists, anyway. But if you're into Self (from what Mallon implies anyway), you probably are, right?
He said "into Self".
Like his precursor, Self has made the nature of wit one of his novel's themes. His Wotton defines a witticism as "merely the half-life of an emotion," and the AIDS-stricken Baz comes to think of epigram itself as a sort of disease: "He was being swept away by this snide cataract...with quipsters vying for opportunities to torpedo meaningful conversation." Wilde famously prefaced Dorian Gray with an assertion that would later play a part in sending him to prison: "There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all." This is the Wotton position, but Wilde actually had his doubts.
2:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Richard Powers's The Time of Our Singing by Ron Charles
Powers's previous novels have prepared us for this story's clever integration with theoretical physics and musical technique, but nothing in his oeuvre suggested that he could sustain such a complex network of characters, sweep across so broad a historical framework, or convey the experience of performing so beautifully. There isn't a false note or a slow passage in his entire blending of family and national experience. With this daring act of literary miscegenation, Powers has orchestrated a cast of characters rich enough to pose the most forbidden questions about race but sensitive enough to capture the most intimate struggle for identity.
2:30 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Underground comix of the 60s-70s
I picked up Patrick Rosenkranz's Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution, 1963-1975 at the library (they surprise me sometimes) and I'll have to buy one. It's a cultural history of artists like Robert Crumb and Bill Griffith whose transgressive graphic art looks more interesting as time goes by.
I'm a fan of Crumb's work and I read Zippy every day, but I didn't follow this stuff when it was being done -- I was a bit too young first of all --and this appears to be a comprehensive labor-of-love retrospective. There are many strips included, but the text predominates. May be more than you want to know, but it's a valuable history of a time and ethos that we'll be glad to have.
amazon pairs it with Hysteria in Remission: Comix and Drawings by Robert Williams, whose work I don't know offhand, but which looks worthy as well.
I also found this DVD The Confessions of Robert Crumb from '87 which I hadn't heard of, and will get when I have a player. It's his own version of his life story, and looks like the perfect companion to Terry Zwigoff's film.
I've always tried to get into comix/graphic novels and rarely can. I like Chris Ware's Jimmy Corrigan and Daniel Clowes's work, but not much else appeals to me. I'm more of a word man where narrative is concerned.
But the underground work of the period in the Rosenkranz history has an over-the-top vitality and nothing-to-lose eccentricity that feels liberating even now.
1:43 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Monday, February 24, 2003
2.9 lbs., 800 bucks
While the hotshots at slashdot complain about low power, this eWeek article nails it on the head about the new $799 Lindows notebook -- if you're REALLY looking for a notebook and not a power PC in the shape of a notebook, this might be the ticket
I'd still wait for more reviews before I bought one though. And be sure that Lindows does what I need it to. Here's an article on it.
The slashdot page has some good points: there's no modem and no CD drive installed. And apparently you can get a Dell cheaper.
As always, it depends what you need it for, and how much you want to leave Micro$uck behind, in this case. This would also be a good way to acquaint yourself with Lindows without the partition business, which as less than an expert I feel a bit queasy about.
The eWeek article also answered a question I had about repair and maintenance being more costly on notebooks.
Not that I need a notebook right now, but compactness and portability have their advantages, when I do an upgrade. But for my needs, I think a desktop will always be my first choice.
1:06 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, February 23, 2003
Disquiet's best ambient/electronica full lengths of 2002
1. 'Out from Out Where' by AMON TOBIN (Ninja Tune) I like the Amon Tobin and what I've heard of the Fennesz. Ehlers I've heard some of, though not this one -- not for me, though I'll listen to see if I like it better. A lot of people like his stuff.
2. 'Three String Quartets' by GAVIN BRYARS (Black Box)
3. 'A Hundred Days Off' by UNDERWORLD (V2)
4. 'Field Recordings 1995:2002' by FENNESZ (Touch)
5. 'Whitney Biennial 2002' by Various artists (Whitney Museum)
6. 'Playthroughs' by KEITH FULLERTON WHITMAN (Kranky)
7. 'Plays' by EKKEHARD EHLERS (Staubgold)
8. 'Seed to Sun' by BOOM BIP (Lex)
9. 'Raw Digits' by SUPER COLLIDER (Rise Robots Rise)
10. 'Stoke' by PHILIP JECK (Touch)
If you have any interest in this kind of music, disquiet has an occasional email newsletter, archived on the website, both of which are worth checking out.
For some rougher, generally drier pieces that are downloadable, check the Snow Sky & No Ink comp at ogredung.org and the subcon sound museum mp3 EP by octopus inc. at Montreal's notype, which has loads of this here sound sculpture stuff (Canada seems to be a center for this kind of experimentation).
As far as full lengths go, I've been liking eu's Christmas Baubles and Their Strange Sounds, Ian Boddy & Robert Rich's Outpost, pretty much anything by Thomas Köner, to rococo rot's veiculo and Terre Thaemlitz's Soil lately.
10:05 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Dreaming of Palestine by 16 year-old Ramda Ghazy, an Egyptian national living in Italy [Mid-East Realities]
12:50 AM - [Link] - Comments ()