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Old 07-05-2018, 09:00 PM   #631 (permalink)
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I'll share a quick thought on the subject of Bozos - I have a hunch about the answer to the riddle, "why does the porridge bird lay his egg in the air?" which I've never seen suggested. As the question corrupts the logic circuits of The President, sending him spiraling into free association, it occurred to me that perhaps the operative word of the riddle is his. As Uh Clem says, it is a question he won't be able to answer, because - male porridge birds don't lay eggs.

Just my two cents. Back to the Shadows again!
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Old 07-06-2018, 08:18 AM   #632 (permalink)
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The real story behind this sounds like something you'd hear from Chiomara.
Phil Proctor had a girlfriend who, as a little girl in Texas, used to run around
in her backyard "playing" with leprechauns. She claimed that one of them asked
her this question about the "porridge-bird" and then laughed and ran away,
so Phil (and Co.) thought it'd be a good koan for Ah-Clem (the hacker)
to use to introduce a virus (before the term was used in this way) into the
Direct Readout Memory (hence: Dr. Memory). If you ask Siri this question,
you get a unique response.
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Old 07-06-2018, 10:06 AM   #633 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rostasi View Post
The real story behind this sounds like something you'd hear from Chiomara.
Phil Proctor had a girlfriend who, as a little girl in Texas, used to run around
in her backyard "playing" with leprechauns. She claimed that one of them asked
her this question about the "porridge-bird" and then laughed and ran away,
so Phil (and Co.) thought it'd be a good koan for Ah-Clem (the hacker)
to use to introduce a virus (before the term was used in this way) into the
Direct Readout Memory (hence: Dr. Memory). If you ask Siri this question,
you get a unique response.
Brilliant! (And yes, very Chiomara!) Thanks so much for sharing that; I love learning something new. I did know about the Siri bit but the back story is fantastic!
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You sir are a true character. I love it.
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You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
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Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
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Old 07-30-2018, 04:01 PM   #634 (permalink)
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Default Gettin’ Sentimental Over You: Diving into Classics of The Big Band Era

Lately, I’ve found myself with a considerable amount of quiet and reflective time which has been profoundly enjoyable. It's afforded me the opportunity to explore thousands of albums in my library that I’d not previously had the time to experience. Recently I recalled a Tupperware storage box of cassettes that I have from my late father containing archives of big band radio broadcasts which he’d taped off the FM dial in the early 1990s, and I remembered his fondness for swing and standards.

Feeling inspired, (and admittedly a bit sentimental and nostalgic), I researched vinyl collections of big band and jazz classics and discovered a 10-volume box set issued by Reader’s Digest produced by RCA Victor in 1964 which did a magnificent job of showcasing the most beloved standards called, The Great Band Era (1936-1945). All of my favorites are here, from “The Music Goes Round and Round” to “Serenade in Blue.”



I was also delighted to see that the set includes the beloved Glenn Miller classic, “Chattanooga Choo Choo” which had been a favorite of mine ever since I saw the live rehearsal segment of the track from the 1941 film, Sun Valley Serenade.



Annie Van Auken of Amazon remarked of the collection’s sonic merit:

Every one of its 120 tracks are original recordings, dubbed from restored 78 rpm master plates or archived discs. RCA's simulated stereo effect has been sparingly used and filtration is minimal. The result: sparkling tracks that sound better over speakers than the shellac records.

She also made note of the exquisite quality of the packaging:

Each album has a stock paper sleeve, all of different colors and finely illustrated. The ten LPs are stored in an incredibly strong box with a drop-down door to make access a snap. This box slides into an outer case of similar thickness. It's an set seemingly built to last centuries!




Also included is a 24-page 12"×12" booklet containing notes for each song, synopses of events for individual years, an essay on the Big Band era and a layman's description of how transfers from record to tape was accomplished. There's also bios for 36 band leaders and two contents list breakdowns: by bands, by songs.

From the musical selections (offered chronologically) to the quality of the mastery and packaging, The Great Band Era seemed like the perfect keepsake for any fan of 1930s standards.

Only one other set appeared to compare to the Reader’s Digest release. Time-Life Recordings issued a 29-volume half-speed mastered big band series on vinyl between 1983 and 1986, and later on compact disc between 1992-94. These were mail order subscription releases and as such are quite costly if one wishes to assemble the complete catalog. Each volume included an illustrated portrait of the band leader and accompanying liner notes. But as each individual set of the 29 Time-Life volumes command a price of ~$20, and as the Reader’s Digest set is readily available any day of the week for only $5, ordering the 10-volume collection was clearly the more sensible choice.

I also remembered that I have a sizable collection of yet-unplayed big band classics in my digital library. I’d previously assembled a 72-hour playlist titled, Shirt Tail Stomp: Swing & The Big Bands comprising 181 LPs and broadcast archives. This collection includes a chronology of Benny Goodman’s complete discographic catalog spanning 1928-1949, a library of 89 radio performance broadcasts, the six-volume big bands series from Archive.org, both the Glenn MIller and Glenn Miller Gold Collection releases, and the four-disc Smithsonian - Big Band Jazz: From the Beginnings to the 50s box set. This library will prove useful for mobile listening, but for my quiet evenings, dropping the needle on the Reader’s Digest box set will fill my home with the warm sounds of the golden age of swing for an experience that no digital playlist can match.
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Old 08-04-2018, 03:44 PM   #635 (permalink)
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Default Brian Eno: Oblique Music



Oblique Music is a 2016 collection of essays examining Eno's work as a musician, as a theoretician, as a collaborator, and a producer. It was published by Bloomsbury Publishing, who also released my favorite musicological text, Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music. The book is divided into two primary collections of essays - the first pertaining to Eno as composer, musician, and theorist, and the second section on “The University of Eno” exploring his work as a producer, collaborator and ethnographer.

The book’s introduction dives right into Eno's early influences. Crucial to Eno’s early development as an artist, in addition to his experiences at The Fine Art Department at Ipswich in the mid-sixties, was Beers’ book The Brain of the Firm which Eno received from Jane Harvey, the mother of his first wife. The central insight of the text was this idea: “instead of specifying it in full detail, you simply ride the dynamics of the system where you want to go.” This resolved the stubborn dilemma of how one can get anywhere creatively if they don't know what or where their destination might be. Beer’s insights were incorporated into Eno's strategies as he moved from the quasi-hierarchical working structure of Warm Jets to his present position - that of a key part of the creative system, but not necessarily its centre.

It is this very tenet of Eno's philosophy which attracts me to his generative work - that Eno endeavors to remove the ego from his artistry and instead he merely engineers the conditions from which his process music will commence and then permits the system to run its course. There seems to be an almost Eastern / Buddhist perspective about this approach to musical composition, and I find it infinitely more satisfying than the proud and declarative concrete structures typical of rock music.

Chapter 1: The Bogus Men explores the forcefully and glamorously modern synthesis of style and experimentation pioneered by Roxy Music in the early 1970s. Quoting Allan Moore, essayist David Pattie describes how the band managed to create a sound world in which 'the traditional instrumental relationships are frequently and subtly overturned.’

The virtual environment of sonic space is examined structurally as three component parts - localized space, spectral space and morphological space, and contrasts are drawn between the sonic environments of Roxy Music’s “Do the Strand” from 1973 and Eno’s “Discreet Music” from 1975. The essay closes touching upon the creative divergence of Eno and Ferry and the unsustainability of the Roxy Music project. “Ferry,” Pattie describes, “was drawn towards the shaping of a musical object; Eno, then and now, preferred to explore systems and processes.” This tension led to the breakdown of their relations.

Chapter 2 explores Eno's non-musicianship, his experimental tradition, and his strategy of deliberately selecting musicians who would be incompatible with one another, as well as creating conditions wherein the performers are not able to hear each other to introduce unexpected interactions. Both the Portsmouth Sinfonia and The Scratch Orchestra are examined. The chapter closes drawing parallels between the non-musical properties of Discreet Music and Satie’s Musique d’ameublement (“furniture music”) from a half-century before. The chapter addresses the fundamental differences between the teleological nature of traditional musical structures and what Eno calls the 'hypothetical continuum’ of experimental music.

Describing his 'non-musicianship,’ Eno remarks,

“Since I have always preferred making plans to executing them, I have gravitated towards situations and systems that, once set into operation, could create music with little or no intervention on my part. That is to say, I tend towards the roles of the planner and programmer, and then become an audience to the results.”

In chapter 3: Taking the Studio By Strategy, David Pattie offers an examination of Eno’s creative process. Pattie calls attention to Eno’s serendipitous taxi accident which created the circumstances inspiring his discovery of ambient listening, via the now legendary tale where Eno was bedridden and unable to turn up the volume on a barely-audible recording of eighteenth-century harp music. He also describes Eno's incorporation of chance into otherwise strictly-structured systems. And like his contemporary Cornelius Cardew, his approach to composition permits hierarchical structures to give way to a more heuristic process. However, Pattie notes, Eno endeavored not to simply recast the compositional framework of Reich’s Music As a Gradual Process, but incorporated the artists’ response to the introduction of chance, via what Eno termed, “scenius” or communal genius.

Chapter 5 by Mark Edward Achtermann entitled Yes, But Is It Music? views and analyses Eno’s earliest ambient works through several lenses and philosophies of established artistic theory beginning with Tolkien’s critique of allegory and aesthetic theory, as well as Collingwood’s 1938 Principles of Art. Eric Tamm’s 1989 book, Brian Eno: His Music and The Vertical Color of Sound is also touched upon to frame the merit of music employing static harmony and timbral homogeneity. It was interesting to see ambient music framed by Tolkien’s theory, specifically his argument that art provides three great benefits: escape, recovery, and consolation. Achtermann proposes that Eno both confirms and challenges this theory. Further parallels are drawn between the systems at play in Eno’s ambient compositions and Lazlo’s evolutionary theory.

The final chapter of Book One entitled The Voice And/Of Brian Eno examines Eno’s post-humanist use of voice in song “to chart the convulsions at the boundaries of race, gender, and the human.” The use and manipulation of voice on albums released between 1991 and 2014 are explored, as are other artists who have synthesized and otherwise technologically manipulated voices of “post-human ventriloquism” in popular song from the 1940s to contemporary artists like Boards of Canada, DJ Shadow, and Giorgio Moroder.

Sean Albiez quotes P.K. Nayar’s Transhumanism proposing that Eno “explores strategies that emphasize co-evolution, symbiosis, feedback, and responses as determining conditions rather than autonomy, competition, and self-contained isolation of the human.” And it is that “loss of ego,” that concept of “scenius” which makes him such a powerful critical force of the post-human perspective.



Part 2 is entitled, The University of Eno and explores his work as a producer and collaborator.

Chapter 8: Before and After Eno contextualizes Eno’s seminal lecture, 'The Recording Studio as a Compositional Tool’ and how Eno “acts as a nexus between historical and contemporary currents in experimental, avant-garde, and popular musics.” Parallels are drawn between Eno’s musical philosophy and that of John Cage, as well as those of Satie, Varèse, Russolo, Schaeffer, and other pivotal music theorists of the era of recorded sound. Albiez and Dockwray demonstrate that Eno reiterated ideas many decades in the making but that his work is noteworthy due to his unique position in bridging the early & twentieth-century avant-garde with later experimenters in popular music.

Interestingly, not all of the essays are voices of praise. Elizabeth Ann Lindau offers some important criticism in chapter ten of the 'ethnographic surrealism’ of Byrne and Eno's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and its role in cultural anthropology. Further criticisms are presented in the final chapters detailing Eno’s role as producer for Devo and U2 as well as in the closing chapter where Martin James’ briefly examines Eno's curation of the no wave scene in 1978 with the album, No New York.

Oblique Music effectively contextualizes the many facets of Eno's work throughout the course of his illustrious career. And I appreciated that the text wasn't all one-sided praise, but instead sheds light on the friction between Eno and his many collaborators. The book also excels at outlining Eno’s musical philosophy without being overly academic and makes for a stimulating survey of one of the most influential artists and producers of the century.
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You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 680+ months living on this orb.
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You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
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You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
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You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
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Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
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Old 09-13-2018, 05:30 PM   #636 (permalink)
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Default Simple Pleasures

Not a formal blog post - just a quick check in for a success of the day.

I’ve been very selective with my spending, continuing my mantra of investing in experiences rather than material goods, but this special purchase seemed like it would serve my happiness well. As good luck would have it, I was able to sell a rare audiobook box set read by Douglas Adams to a gent in Australia and made back every penny of my investment just a few hours after my purchase!

Slowly but surely I’ve been dressing the windows and walls of my home to mask the spots of peeling paint from where my ex-wife removed all her former adornments. There were just two spots remaining on either side of the picture window in my dining room left to fill.

I’d been eyeing these two rare promotional prints for a long time. The first showcases Brian Eno’s innovative generative art installation, 77 Million Paintings featured at Moogfest in 2011. The other is a UK promo print for Underworld's 1994 debut LP Dubnobasswithmyheadman with award-winning artwork by their design collective which directly inspired my pursuit of a design degree and my passion for typography. They represent my two greatest musical and artistic inspirations and they fit the space perfectly.

These complement the other inspiring works I’ve framed to make my house a home and a gallery of all my favorite art. It feels like a good investment.



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You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 680+ months living on this orb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
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Old 10-02-2018, 02:30 PM   #637 (permalink)
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Default Just Keep Spinning - Reflections on Music Collecting

A friend kindly recommended my latest film screening - So Wrong They’re Right, a low-budget indie VHS documentary on offbeat 8-track collector culture and the 8-Track Mind zine. I've been exploring UK hauntological music and art lately so the retro subject matter fit right in. It was great to hear Wally Pleasant's "Rock n' Roll Yard Sales" on the soundtrack.



And serendipitously, while watching the film a related short appeared in my social media feed - an informational demo film to educate consumers about the upcoming compact disc format produced in 1982.



Much like the VHS culture documentaries, Rewind This and Adjust Your Tracking, the film made me reflect on my own music collector hobby and how in the past year I’ve really put the breaks on my vinyl habit. Unlike vinyl, most 8-tracks are practically given away and as interviewees of the film profess, they’ve had to plead with Goodwill store managers just to get them to put their 8-track stock on the sales floor. (There are exceptions, of course. Discogs currently offers over 8,000 8-tracks in its marketplace, the second-most-expensive of which is a mint tape of Trout Mask Replica presently priced at $1,500.00.)



But conversely, with vinyl, I’ve reached a point in my collecting where all the remaining titles on my wish list command $80-$550 apiece. And the days of scoring elusive original pressings of releases you’re after at your local VoA are long gone after the store’s inventories have been thoroughly picked over by eBayer resellers or by hipster employees who pull all the good stuff before it has a chance to hit the floor. And for my personal tastes, thrift shops have never been a good resource for the kind of content I seek.

Thankfully a lot of the rare early electronic, drone, and import tape music of the last century, and even of the 90s during vinyl’s darkest days, are being remastered and reissued by Dutch, German, and UK specialty labels, but with shipping you’re still looking at $60 minimum per release so I’ve resolved to reel in my habit and to spend more conservatively this past year.

It’s left me to wonder what the future holds for my hobby. I really enjoy the research and the unconventional subcultures surrounding the format, I just don’t know to what degree I can continue to participate in the acquisition and trade of the albums, themselves. And vinyl has been a significant part of my identity for many years, so I question how I’ll continue to occupy myself beyond this bizarre little pastime.

Thankfully, I have more music at present than I could experience in a lifetime, so at the very least I can kick back and enjoy exploring my archives. And I can continue to supplement my web-based research with more contextual studies from books specializing in my favorite genres. My next read will be Mars by 1980: The Story of Electronic Music by David Stubbs and should provide hours of reading enjoyment and hopefully an intimate understanding of a century of electronic sound.

Whether as a collector or just a researcher, this is indeed the finest time to be alive. Sites like Discogs and RYM provide instantaneous access to release data and listener reviews which previously took days or weeks of calls and form submissions to the LoC to obtain, and every day more and more fans upload thousands of hours or rare and exotic content from their collections to YouTube and file-sharing networks. It’s a curious phenomenon because when everything is accessible, nothing is rare. So, arguments for the paradox of choice aside, this is the greatest time in history for the inquiring listener. I plan to keep reading and listening, and maybe one day score a few of my remaining white whales.

Whatever your preferred format, be it 8-track, LP, cylinder, cassette, CD… just keep spinning.
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You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
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Old 10-02-2018, 02:50 PM   #638 (permalink)
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I've been exploring UK hauntological music and art lately
Did you ever get around to reading Mark Fisher?
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Old 10-02-2018, 03:01 PM   #639 (permalink)
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Did you ever get around to reading Mark Fisher?
Thanks for reading!

Reynolds, yes. Fisher, no. I've been introducing myself to the Ghost Box label and enjoyed Simon Reynolds' book, Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past.

Is there a particular text you'd recommend?
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You are quite simply one of the most unique individuals I've ever met in my 680+ months living on this orb.
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You are to all of us what Betelgeuse is to the sun in terms of musical diversity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Exo_ View Post
You sir are a true character. I love it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Batlord View Post
You, sir, are a nerd's nerd.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie Monday View Post
Just chiming in to declare that your posts are a source of life and wholesomeness
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Old 10-02-2018, 03:12 PM   #640 (permalink)
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A friend kindly recommended my latest film screening - So Wrong They’re Right, a low-budget indie VHS documentary on offbeat 8-track collector culture and the 8-Track Mind zine
Even tho the official "8-Track Museum" is closed, "Big Bucks" moves his stash around to various places -
one of which is right down the street here. We run into each other at the store on occasion.
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