Miamo Horror – I Look To You (video)

September 4, 2010 § 1 Comment

Attention economies and drone music

February 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

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Conditions to making this music matter: Do not push play before reading. Otherwise, there are several ways of going through this blog post. It matters in which order you read on (and yes, you are excused of scrolling quickly down to see how long the post is, because you already did it, and nothing will stop you from doing it, because it became one of the most heavy reflexes of your internet behavior). Here’s two options:

  • (1) Watch the visual first – then read the blog post. Recommended option, to expose yourself before reading my own reactions; the option for people that have no resistance against experimenting with music coming into matter right, ie. which means not always the matter in which you usually make it.
  • (2) Read the blog post first – then watch the video afterwards. Low attention span option, for people that need justification first; for people that have no idea why it matters to experience music in certain ways (… and probably already feel so annoyed by the lenght of this intro that you are probably not one of them if you are reading this).

You could of course just push play now, and start reading simultaneously (or maybe you already did, and you’re reading this to the sound of the video!). If you do that (or did that) you have unfortunately failed completely, and have no chance of doing it differently this time, since the experience already mattered. Sorry for you.

Okay, now on to the phenomenon all these conditions revolve around. (Did you decide?? Either (1) watch the audio-visual, or (2) read the blog post at the bottom first).

Presenting The Struggle by The Dead Texan. Quite possibly one of the most poetic visualizations of sound I have seen in a very long time. Watch this video in best quality (480p).

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

Low attention-span-reflex buffer ————— Really sure you want to read on?

This audio-visual have now mattered to me about 20-30 times or so. Who would have thought that meditative struggles between carnivourus plants and insects could keep you occupied so intensely? We should note how extraordinary this amount of dedication actually is, seeing how we ourselves struggle just by watching a 5-minute long video. Why is this so? Attention of course. And we live in a time of the attention economy: struggling to navigate in the overabundance of the internets; struggling to pick and choose; struggling to not bother; struggling to not engage; struggling to choose efficiently which cultural information we want to be consumed by. All the time.

And just maybe, this conflict is exactly why I fell in love with this audio-visual in particular. It sounds like a paradox, since it is not exactly an attention-seeker. The music is slow, the visuals similarly presents the pictures in an observing and calm manner, with the sounds progressively building, with long drones of bass. The only sentence of the piece takes around 30 seconds to mouth:

“Everytime, we are slow, where are we, going so fast. We could bear to stay awake, because the sun cannot last” (4:15 – 4:44)

All of this indicates that your attention-economizing brain have to face an either-or (quickly switch on to the next youtube-clip, blog-post or whatever, or listen to the complete thing, and this really means the complete thing).

Maybe this is our only antidote in these days of low attention spans? Lengthy exposures. In order to resist becoming yet another quick fix, music might become the complete opposite. If this has any resonance, maybe we will see a new wave of extremely lengthy music forms, revolting and liberating itself from ADHD of the internets. One could speculate if this is already the case with the renaissance of the casette tape? (which, incidentally, previously mentioned Luke Perry records on too). In that case, we could say that The Struggle is definately not going far enough. No, definately not going to far: every time this piece stops at 5:28 I have this frustrating feeling of being heartbroken. Noooooo, don’t go away! More! Arghagrgh, not silence, agrhrghrgh!

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The Dead Texan @ myspace

Snatched the audio-visual from swedish speaking Copyriot, where a discussion on the swedish word for drone came to matter

Man Ooman

January 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Man Ooman (Man Woman) is a docuentary about dancehall dance culture seen through the gender relations of Jamaica (or the other way around: gender relations through dance culture). I really would like to see this documentary somewhere. Anyone got a clue? It seemed to go on a number of film festivals in 2008, and the idea was to distribute it for free online afterwards, but so far I have not found it. No torrents, no streams.

Rosforth has made a number of other interesting documentaries: e.g. “Good Copy Bad Copy” (on copying and copyright) and “Mr Catra the Faithful” (on the raw kind of baile funk played in the brazilian favelas)

The Form / Without Form / Deform (Die Form)

November 29, 2009 § 1 Comment

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Die Form – Little Boy

Please tell me this doesn’t scare the freaking shit out of you. David Lynch just got thrown into a psychotic BDSM universe where people laugh like maniacs and devour your body parts while playing yoga synthesizers. Fuck.

Will you be ready little boy?

Get ready for exposure, because this post will be massive. French Die Form formed in the late 70’s as a duo, playing cold, dark and dekadent electro-industrial music, sometimes called “darkwave”. Simply mesmerizing. The name of the project plays on the german “die Form” (the form), the english deform, and the french “difforme” (without form). Especially their early stuff sounds so insane and good, so I will keep it at that. Two more tracks from 1987 album Poupée Mécanique (of which the theme seems to be murder):

Die Form – Metaphase

Die Form – Bypass

So how does Die Form usually sound like? The music constantly surprises. They throw all kinds of sounds into the jam: the usual industrial fascination with metal and tools, or even a groovy slap-bass (dwarfing contemporary french electro acts like Justice), or the weird intermezzo of a girl laughing with insanity, or instrumental re-runs of previous tracks (like the main leitmotif of a musical coming back to haunt you). Ever wondered how the soundtrack to a BDSM sex scene would sound like? I guess something like this:

Die Form – Strange[r]

How about Kraftwerk with a hip hop beat:

Die Form – Re-search

The project seems like a labyrinth of strangeness and obscurity when first entering, and you listen through their huge discography with a feeling that every song or album contain so many hidden things, that you cannot (better not?) understand it all. For example, a reviewer said this about their album ExHuman: “Die Form send back out hybrid corpse mechanism era respiration-byte with the abolition world code-maniacs brain universe of a drug fetus”. What the fuck does he mean??? Even their fans seems to have some secret society where everybody speaks in impenetrable code.

Adding to the complexity of this project, they decided to record a whole album of …Bach. Yes, Johann Sebastian Bach, the 18th century German baroque composer. And of course in a cold, industrialized and synthetic interpretation of Bach’s classic works. Like this one.

Die Form – BWV 244-39

Die Form practice “multimedia intervention” by the way, combining sounds with performances, clubbing atmosphere, photography, visual art and cinema/video. I guess you by now realize the erotic theme going through the music. So here’s Die Form when they perform.

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Die Form myspace

Gallery of Die Form visual art

Smiling for Dogs (Holy Ghost!)

November 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

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Holy Ghost! play electronic disco with warm fussy analogue synths. It’s in the vein of their label DFA, which hosts LCD Soundsystem and Hercules and Love Affair, so that could give you a clue.

I can listen to these two tracks in infinity. No matter how dull I feel before going out on the weekend, they will force me to smile and anticipate good times (and then good times will come – I love self fulfilling prophecies!). I guess it’s the Pavlovian reflex – dog learning – that works its magic again.

Holy Ghost! – Hold On

Holy Ghost! – I Will Come Back (Classixx Acapulco Nights Version)

Ever wondered how these things come about? VBS.tv. made an interesting video from the studio of Holy Ghost! Here you can see that their music is all channelled through analogue synths and gadgets, with wires and bleeping lights everywhere. Interesting thoughts on making music too.

Much of this post is aggregated from the writings of Melbourne based Waves at Night, that find amazing stuff in general, usually with disco influences. They have a comforting metabolism for a music blog, and write posts that compliment the sounds very well (ie. recommended blog!). They just ripped a new track of Holy Ghost! through the radio (no title, but you can guess from the hook maybe?). I’m not as fancy about this track as their other stuff, but this gave me an excuse to mention Waves at Night (again, go there!)

Holy Ghost! – Untitled (radio rip)

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Holy Ghost! @ myspace

Rumours say: they will release a new album next year

Kurt Vile

November 1, 2009 § 3 Comments

vile

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Kurt Vile – Freak Train

If only Kurt Vile would come and seduce me with his long and bobbing grunge hair while playing his stoney freak-psychedelia-americana at my street corner. I would be so happy and calm. I would stand there all day and stare with lazy amazement. I would reconsider drugs.

“Freak Train” is from Kurt Vile’s upcoming album Childish Prodigy. Check out his myspace if you can’t wait to hear it all. Oh, he plays and sings in the very awesome band The War on Drugs too.

EDIT: It’s already out. DOH!

Making music matter (part 0: MATTER)

October 23, 2009 § 8 Comments

picasso_4

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This is the introductory part of a series of blog post on how to engage with and love music. Don’t think it is necessarily easy and intuitive. One can discuss how to use music. One can learn to engage with music in a better way. Engage, to make it matter. Since these posts will map out my own thoughts on engaging with music in a good way, you can think of their totality as a kind of on-going manifesto for this blog.

There’s a note to be made on the importance of all this, specifically what it means to matter. As an intro, I will ask and try to answer that question here. It will probably have the most technical language of the series. Don’t be afraid, just read things slowly.

So, what does it mean when “music matters”? Well, that it has value and means something for someone. Music can make incredible things and we can talk and discuss which things and why so. But music also “matters” in another sense: it materializes. Music can matter in a very concrete sense, by becoming a physical object. That’s how music becomes something else by mattering (in both senses of the word). This in turn sets into motion a whole causal chain of cultural-material practices and objects: e.g. dubstep becomes visualized in strobe-light which becomes embodied in an epileptic seizure on the dancefloor. Music do things to people, who do things to other people or things, and by that way make the effects of music come into being. This goes for conditions to matter as well. The iPod would not have existed (mattered) if nobody didn’t care about listening to music while on-the-go (if that didn’t matter). This is why matter is always two-fold: cultural-material. Music come to matter, by mattering, by materializing. All of these phrases basically mean the same, because meaning and materiality is always entangled (you got it!).

Let’s try to put this rather heavy stuff into examples (you can come up with any other categories of course)


Music matters as certain kinds of collective bodies or aesthetic groups (e.g. when somebody combined melodramatic guitar riffs and teenage anxious lyrics with tight jeans, black square glasses and hair covering most of their face, one million new emo friends were made).

 

Lack – Indie kids wear the Keffyieh but can’t spell PLO

This statement is so sad but true haha! Lack, sadly now dissolved, had an important part in the small but potent Copenhagen math rock/pop scene. Another similar although quite brutal title from this band include “Behead (them screamo-kids)”. Speaking of the Keffyieh, there’s a sense in which this aesthetic group-making aspect of music has turned counterculture into a superficial Rebel, a kind of paradoxical monoculture obsessed with uniqueness and transgression (a.k.a. The Hipster).


Music matters as certain kinds of listening practices (e.g. what does it mean for fusion jazz that most people recognize it as the soundtrack to cheesy commercials in super markets, ie. muzak?)

 

Pat Metheny Group – As it is

Metheny is a genious on guitar, up there with acid-jazzer John Scofield. I have walked winter-frosted fields in my teens while listening to him. But this entire sound is basically destroyed by way of negative Pavlovian conditiong, so it’s extremely difficult to take it seriously unless you’re already dedicated, or just a guitar geek. Hearing Pat Metheny and other fusion jazzers over and over and over in annoying TV-shop breaks makes you associate that very sound to annoyance, like the dog that learns to salivate by Pavlov’s ringing of the food-associated-bell. What would happen if annoying commercials started playing Sigúr Rós? Oh wait, they already do!


Music matters as certain kinds of political practices (when we start engaging with music as expressing political desire, it becomes a tool for revolt)

 

Billie Holiday – Strange Fruit

It is difficult to measure the effect this song had on the civil rights movement and anti-racist politics (it came out in 1939). It is also completely impossible to distinguish the music from the history, when I feel the rush of goosebumps on my body. This video is the trailer from a documentary made to track the impact it has had. Interesting.


Music matters as certain kinds of consumer patterns (french electro sold more american apparel spandex pants and non-prescription glasses than any ad could ever achieve)

 

SebastiAn – Ross Ross Ross

The year 2007 was dominated by duo Justice, the figure heads of french electro label Ed Banger. You may remember the video for “D.A.N.C.E.”, which basically consists of a show case of t-shirts (which you could buy of course. By coincidence, the most recent comment on youtube said: “Great song, great video! I want a T-shirt like those ones!!! lol” –hahaha!). Wonder what that video mattered for the hipster fashion industry? I won’t speculate more. My own favourite name from that period, together with same-label Mr. Oizo, was SebastiAn, who had a slighty more crunchy, syncopated staccato sound.


Music matters as certain kinds of brain patterns (of course, how do you think your idea of the current trend or your first memory of being exposed to Daniel Johnston gets stored?)

 

Daniel Johnston – Premarital Sex

Well, I’m not going to go into the neurophysiology of my exposure to this track, so you can just imagine a bunch of slimey looking axons making exciting electrical impulses to new brain cells, almost sounding like that awesome pumping organ in the song.

That’s all for today folks. I hope you enjoyed this introductory part of the series. As you can see, music can matter in a variety of ways, although not necessarily good ways (e.g. I don’t particularly like the turning of Pat Metheny into muzak). Therefore, the next task will be to map ways of making music matter in a good way. We haven’t really dealt with how I personally want that to happen yet of course, since this was mostly a sorting out of the concept of “matter” itself, but you probably have some ideas at this point. The first substantive part will be titled Masochism, and it will scare the shit out of you I’m sure. Since these posts take some time to write (at least this one did), expect a lot of other cool stuff in between. See you soon!

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