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31 July 2012

What Was Left Untold

Chris Marker, 1921-2012

30 July 2012

Imminent Domains

The collaged, sutured merging of two separate sites from vintage postcards, as done by artist Mary Lydecker. Slightly amusing, I suppose; at least at first glance. But ultimately, I'm not so sure about how "dystopic" these scenarios in the end, in terms of uncanniness. Likewise with the artist's discussion of how the series was prompted by an idea that might be described as a process of de-reification in terms of land reclamation.

The reason being that some of these images doesn't seem quite so far-fetched, particularly given what certain portions of Los Angeles and Orange County, CA looked like back in the mid-20th century. You figure the artist must've seen these images of what Long Beach and Huntington Beach looked like around that time...

The Wired piece on the series features some comments by the artist. One in particular jumps out at me, strikes me as a familiar observation:

"The way that we manage our resources is often ad hoc; the rush to take advantage of a natural resource or develop an available parcel inhibits overall planning efforts, leaving us with a diverse patchwork of landscapes and spatial relationships."

If only because the comments vaguely echo some thoughts voiced by artist Robert Smithson in 1 1973 interview. Speaking to Alison Skye, Smithson talked about his use of the landscape in relation to things -- citing the story of the "acidental" creation of the Salton Sea during the Teddy Roosevelt administration, suburban sprawl, and strip-mining. In relation to that last item, Smithson offered:

"It seems that architects build in an isolated, self-contained, ahistorical way. They never seem to allow for any kind of relationships outside of their grand plan. And this seems to be true in economics, too. Economics seem to be isolated and self-contained and conceived of as cycles, so as to exclude the whole entropic process. There's every little consideration of natural resources in terms of what the landscape will look like after the mining operations or farming operations are completed. So that a kind of blindness ensues. I guess it's what we call blind profit making. And then suddenly they find themselves within a range of desolation and wonder how they got there. So it's a rather static way of looking at things. I don't think things go in cycles. I think that things just change from one situation to the next, there's really no return."

All of which reminds me, I guess I'm ridiculously overdue (once again) for completing the next portion(s) of this series. Tsk.

[ Wired, via Mammoth. ]

29 July 2012

Collage Culture, Slight Return: Pop Will Delete Itself

Some random favored selections from Deface Value. Many "as found" titles, mostly supplied by the folks at Jive Time Records, but featuring the occasional contribution from the staff of WFMU, Harmony Korine, and graffiti artist Dalek.

And the Billy Joel cover they have in their gallery puts me in mind to add a couple of my own proposed alterations...

28 July 2012

Notes Towards a Revised Manifesto of Auto-Destructive Art

No, I didn't watch the ceremony. Well, that's not entirely true -- because I did, sort of. I just happened to be at a local restaurant while I was out with a number of friends, having drinks and a meal out on a patio, and there over the bar not fifteen feet away on a flat-screen TV was the ceremony as it was broadcast in the U.S., playing out (no sound, close captioned) in unavoidably full-frontal fashion for about half our party to behold. So I can't really comment on the thing, seeing how at best I was only paying half attention in the first place. Whatever thematic coherence the thing might've had were well being my grasp, given the conditions. Plus, my knowledge of British history and culture is such that it makes me a weak candidate for doing so, and such stuff is probably better left to others I know (hi, fellas) who by dint of being natives of those shores would doubtlessly have their own (far better, far more interesting and accurate) critiques to offer.1

Despite my supreme lack of interest in the Olympics as a whole, an event like the opening ceremony is bound to tug at my attention due to the sheer, massive Spectacularity of the thing. A perverse fascination with these things, which -- as the years go on, and these events pile up -- have become a series of upping-the-ante, top-that sprawling extravaganzas; each an effort to surpass, or at least equal, its predecessor. The result sometimes being that these events are sometimes so over-reaching in scale and affect that they -- as often as not -- collapse into sheer über-rococo unintelligibility, which can be pleasing to watch in its own ironic way.2  And there is, of course, the way each host city/country chooses to present itself to the world on these occasions; including the odd and sometimes luridly comical assertions of nationalistic affirmation that inevitably turn up as a theme throughout the ceremony. But for a round of varied opins of the thing, we have this, this, this, and this.3

I suppose the other perverse fascination I have for all this stuff also centers on the host cities themselves -- the somersaults turned for (and the bribes lavished on) the IOC in the course of the bidding competitions, the subsequent upheavals as this or that given host city prepares to accommodate the events, and the subsequent histories of what happens with some of these cities in the years afterward, after certain huge speculative expenditures have been made.4

I currently live in a city that hosted the Olympics some 16 years ago, and the legacy of what the city got out of it are still difficult to assess this many years after the fact. And, as I've mentioned before, to that the fact that I was forced to vacate my previous place of residence in Chicago due to that city's unsuccessful bid for the games a few years ago. Which brings us to this recent article at Mute, Benedict Seymour's "Vanish the Poor: 3 Olympic Symptoms." With Atlanta, there were widely-circulating reports about the city's extensive efforts to "whitewash the ghettos" in advance of the games. For Chicago -- the main stadium for many of the events was supposed to go up in a park on the southside that was directly across the street from my apartment. While the southside is much less densely populated and more spacious than the northern stretches of the city, this still posed a number of problems. One being that, on the side of the park I was living on, the games would've been nearly on top of a major university and hospital. On the other side of the same park, just a few scant blocks away, it was a somewhat different story -- neighborhoods filled with scores of abandoned buildings, vacant residential lots, and the occasion attempt at small-scale development that had stalled in its earliest stages growing over with weeds and vines. While it wasn't entirely desolate and far from being one of the city's worst sides, one imagined that it was hardly the sort of image the city wanted to present to the world; so one figures the city would've had big plans -- cosmetic or otherwise -- waiting in the wings as to how to remedy the situation, plans that would've aversely effected the residents of those communities.

All of which has to do, naturally, with a means of accelerating a certain type of developmental economic plan that many major cities have adopted in recent years; but ultimately having more to do having more to with the nature of the Spectacle -- with what is deemed desirable and un- in the course of its perpetuation.

Which brings us back to Anish Kapoor's Orbital Tower, and its status as a piece of permanent public art. Since it was initially proposed, passing comparisons to Vladimir Tatlin's Monument to the Third International (aka "Tatlin's Tower") have been bandied about by numerous parties. Unsurprising, as its a bit of an obvious comparison (with the same thought having popped into my own head at the start). But I had yet to encounter anyone putting the analogy through its paces. But in the third portion of his Mute article, Seymour does just that...

"[Tatlin's] icon of progress through science, technology and democracy was destined only to be fulfilled after decades of forced collectivisation, looted and coerced labour, fantasy production without realisation, of course. But Kapoor's is all-too-'now', too technocratically feasible, a monument to pragmatism and the refusal to think too much about the future except as the imminent time when things will get better again, somehow. The Kapoor spiral is mangled, damaged, it incorporates all the 'excesses' and deviations from geometric progression to which the Tatlin gracefully and with true modernist idealism turned a blind eye. It has plenty of swerves, but these are executed with a plodding commitment to 'subversion'. The 'detournment' of Tatlin again seems unconscious - a compulsion in oligarchic architecture to ingest and exgurgitate the modernist/fordist archetypes. The logo for the Pinnacle extrapolates Tatlin's elegant figure into something like a piece of penne. Kapoor downgrades and degrades the spiral, he realises it, and its contradictions, by incorpoarating what in his idealism Tatlin had to leave out. The lumps and bumps and non-linear dynamics of an economy in which looting is just too constitutive to be ignored or disavowed - that, instead, must be celebrated. The Orbit is preemptively catastrophic, self-cannibalising, as if its graceless curves traced the downward spiral of 'disaster capitalism'."

Continuing later:

"The Orbit is the non-linear model of a capitalism that might very well go on and on, though has lost any compelling argument for why it should do so. This results in an aesthetic naffness unprecedented in imperialist history.... Hypnagogic capitalism poised between productivity and a new era of expanded destruction proposes synchronised flailing and self-mangling Meccano follies."

That last bit being enough to make me wonder if, were he still alive, Jean Tinguely may've been the more appropriate artist to commemorate the occasion?

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1.  Admittedly, considering the current international economic and political climate, the tribute to the NHS was a interesting idea.
2.  Of which I guess Superbowl halftime shows hold the best record. But the 2006 Turino Winter ceremony had its fair share of this, with a show that at various times sported a mosh pit, a tribute to the Renaissance, kung-fu fighters, a tribute to Italian Futurism, models wearing Armani pacing about as if on a Milanese catwalk, all of it ending with a Ferrari doing donuts on the main stage.
3.  Speaking of the fore and aft, there's Ai Weiwei, whom the Guardian roped in to offer a comparison between the London opening Spectacle and the prior ceremony in Beijing four years ago.
4.  Part of having to do with the amusement prompted by this past week's impolitic remarks by a certain public figure and the "middle of nowhere" response that it received. Of all the cities in the U.S. that might've hosted the Winter Games of 2002, why make it the city where -- due to the religious tenets of the majority local population -- tourists from abroad wold be unable to find alcohol or caffeine?

27 July 2012

Face the Windmills, Turn Left

Once again, a belatedly acknowledged passing...

"My father (whom I have never known as I was barely one year old when he died) had wanted me to grow up with music. There was a phonograph in our house and a number of records. Those were my only toys. Records of opera arias, operetta tunes, classical pieces, among others. I was also hearing music that the environment was offering me, music that I regarded rather anodyne and I began to say to myself that there ought to be more to music than all that. Indeed there was."

^ ^ ^

"My interest in electronic music was reactivated when...a couple of discs arrived from France. They contained the initial compositions of what we termed musique concrète: works by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry. A new epoch in music history had begun, I thought, one that could even be regarded as the beginning of music history proper, all that preceded being only a sort of pre-history. We were in the early '50s and I was in Ankara, Turkey. Lacking proper tools, I couldn't do whatever I would have wanted to do in this new field. Later I learned that with improper tools, too, one could compose electronic music but, by then, I had only the proper tools."

^ ^ ^

"Applying to the INS some years ago, for a Re-Entry Permit. Form completed, I handed the man in charge a 20-dollar bill required as application fee. He gave me a suspicious look and said, 'On the application it says Profession: Composer. If you're a composer, how come you have 20 dollars in your pocket?'"

^ ^ ^

"My association with the Columbia Princeton Electronic Music Center ended in 1989... The reason for the termination: smoking was prohibited in all areas of the building. Some years later...the equipment of the 'classical' studio -- tape recorders and all -- was discarded, replaced by computers, which would have terminated my association anyway."

^ ^ ^

"Occasionally Ussachevsky would ask me at the last minute to take over the electronic music class. I would be totally unprepared, so I would start my address by asking, 'Any questions?' and proceed from there."

^ ^ ^

"During my earliest days of in the electronic music studio, I became aware of a parallel between the tools and the process of filmmaking and those of composing electronic music (on tape). Often I am asked how I composed this or that piece of electronic music, and as often my answer refers to a cartoon I saw somewhere, some years ago. The first expedition to Mars returns and journalists are eager to know all about it. Says the chief of the expedition: 'We were all so full of wonder that we forgot to take notes.'"

excerpts from an untitled autobiography, by İlhan Mimaroğlu.
Printed in Bananafish, issue 13, c. 1999

22 July 2012

We're Through Being Cool

Re: Simon recently riffing on a new enthusiasm of "Notes for a Future Study of New Wave," which he feels mostly feel between the cracks of Rip It Up..., and our subsequent exchanges on the topic remind me of entries I had thought of for the immediately aborted "Three-Minute Zeroes" series of toss-offage I started on some off-the-cuff whim some time ago.

"New Wave" having been a tricky biz in the US back when, mostly a hazily incoherent catch-all -- part music-industry marketing strategy, but mostly convoluted misundertandings of what might (or might not) be "punk" in other respects.

So, subjectivity in such matters being what it is, here's a few previously shrugged-off candidates for the 3-Minutes Zeroes category, the New Wave edition...

I'll probably catch shit for this one, which was why I balked at doing one about it earlier. I owed a few of Romeo Void's records back when I was in high school, and try as I might, they never quite took with me. At best all I could hear was a West Coast art student take on X-Ray Spex, albeit one that was mostly more moody and downtempo due to various post-punk influences. At any rate, the above was the only thing they did that grabbed me.

First: The opening guitar riff -- wonderfully scrape-y, alternately tigthening and releasing tension -- hit me as being up there with "You Really Got Me" attention-getting intros. Then the drums, which -- yes -- are fairly alright. But it's when the bass comes briskly lumbering in that I was ready to start doling out hugs. And the guitars maintaining a stratchy rhythmic steadiness throughout, sputing up the occasion shards of concrete jumping out at the listerner. And the vocal, which -- as it slides in after the opening -- sounds like it's blaring from a squawky PA from ahalf a block away, delineating a narrative whose cadence you almost picture falling and finding its own breakage on the page like the offhanded observational poetry it was, invoking some variety of behind-closed-doors sorditries, which apparently routinely occurred someplace where sunlight didn't so often glimmer as physically land.*

A sum of its part, at a particular moment, and far better than most at that particular moment. An underlying bleakness beneath all its energetic fuss. Amounting to content-wise being perhaps a few years ahead of the sociological curve. What, with the blunt acknowledgment of homelessness some years before it because a big Big Recognized Issue; and with a chorus would quickly seem taunting and maybe quaintly utopic once hets realized that the epidemic of AIDS wasn't as selectively fatal as everyone had been led to believe.**

Beantown act, and everything else I heard by them -- with the exception of the 12" version of the above -- struck me as unbearable at the time; like a bad, faux-camp knock-off of Devo as done by a buncha Rocky Horror Picture Show enthusiasts. But with the above: Severe minimalism with some sped-up oscillating guitar biz, lyrics that might be detailing the dynamics of emotionally-abusive relationship but are ultimately just some tawdry, winking flirtation with then-fashionable s&m entendre. Soon enough the vocal dives into some multi-tracked fever-dream discombobulation, immediately followed by the payoff when the "solo" sequence when the guitars break out into a knife fight, with the ambulance rolling onto the scene before it's all over. Pummeling monotony offset by some brilliantly-paced disorientation. Pony up a couple of drinks for whoever mixed the session.

There was a time when I was starting to think that Devo's influence on the American "new wave" thingey was nothing but pernicious and corrosive. For which you couldn't blame Devo, but rather their legion of imitators that crowded the field for a few years. By that I mean how an adopted, second-hand style bacame so widely applied that it quickly became a tiresome cliche; with much of what constituted "new wave" being something of an annoying caricature of itself. Devo-esque ittery, jerky rhythms quickly became an over-used mannerism, foregrounded by many acts to veil a deep-seated lack of interesting content or ideas. There were, it seemed like, countless bands of that stripe in the years of 1979-1982. And one among them was  -- as I remember them -- a short-lived NYC outfit called the Model Citizens; who dissolved after one EP, with some of its members turning around to form the band Polyrock.

Polyrock were New York new-wave hopefuls and landed a major record deal right off the bat. They lasted a few years, releasing one LP and a subsequent EP; the entirity of their recoded output having the distinction of being produced by Philip Glass. The tune above is the only one of theirs that came close to making any sort of a splash. I liked it fair enough back then, and I guess it still strikes me as alright, even if it now makes me think it sounds too much like a fey, self-conscious and limpid knock-off of Au Pairs's "It's Obvious." ***

As with disco, "new wave" was supposed to be some Next Big Thing, and a number of established acts (the ones with flagging sales) tried to angle in on it. Which might explain this one from Alice Cooper circa 1979, in which Alice jumps about the Numanoid bandwagon as it were the bullet train into the future. Unlike anything Copper had done in several years, the song actually charted. But one couldn't help note the irony that it constituted something or heretical artistic shift (as the grassroots opinion of the day had it). More ionic was that the album sported the attitude-copping title Flush The Fashion, with a pic of of Coop sporting shorter hair and a skinny tie on the back. Guffaws in some quarters, cries of betrayal and "sell-out" and much worse in others. ****

And while the song (and the album, and Cooper's entire "new wave" phase altogether) disappeared into a dustbin for many years, I gather that the above is no where near as obscure as it used to be. Some googling reveals that his most die-hard fans now think that phase of his career to have its (errrr) "conceptual" merits, if not arguing that its supposedly underrated or whatever. And that the above song has in more recent years become something of a "classic." Seems it's even been adopted by bands of various pedigrees -- many of them "indie" -- as a cover tune to be thrown into sets as some crowd-rousing gratuity. History's always stacks up to some weird fuckin' thing, I tell ya.

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* Produced by Ric Ocasek, who at roughly the same time was at the same time busy throwing a big damp blanket on Bad Brains' Rock for Light. Still, some have touted the virtues of the extended EP version this tune, mainly because it includes the whole of the long, unedited paint-peeling "Albert Ayler-ish" sax solo. Not having vere been one much for sax solos in rock tunes, I can only shrug that that last one off as a whatevs. But I'd counter-argue that the truncated version of the opening riff is an editorial improvement, keeping said riff from depleting its punch too early.
** Plus, at the time it so seemed like -- sax solo and all -- like the necessary nemesis/panacea for this fucking song, which was absolutely inescapable at the time (airwaves, MTV, etc.).
*** Glass being pretty speculative crossover hot-prop in those days, tilting the band's sound (as one would expect in 1980) to favor the keyboards and synths, aiming for texture and whatnot. Yet in the end it all came out sound so reedy and airless and ungrounded. But I recall reading some years later reading a review of a live bootleg cassette release on the ROIR label which claimed the band's live sound was more assertively, choppily guitar-oriented. As if any of this matters.
**** The word most closely associated with "new wave" in middle America at the time being "faggot," this sort of career move -- be it cynical, sincere, or desperate -- was bound to amount to amount to suicide.

17 July 2012

A Measured Existence

One weird experience of the the past year has been watching an artist that I followed closely, and always been fascinated with, for almost three decades sort of majorly blow up in the artworld. And by the artworld, I mean the visual artworld, whereas the artist in question previously was a huge figure in the experimental music/sound art end of things, and something of a peripheral figure as far as the rest of all such art realms were concerned.

I'm talking about Christian Marclay, and the surprising unanimous accolades that he's received for his 24-hour video installation piece "The Clock," which was a huge award-winning success at the Venice Biennale back last June. The project having been a laborious effort for Marclay -- "ambitious" as they say, involving about 3 full years of intricate effort, with Marclay sinking deeply into a medium that he'd previously only dabbled with on and off over the years. I mention it, because the New Yorker had a long article about Marclay and "The Clock" some months ago, which went into a great deal of detail about the making of the piece, and (to my surprise) they made the whole thing available online. So, for the interested...there you have it.

While we're at it, here's his "Stop Talk" piece that he did back in 1990 for New American Radio. It's still available for download, though I should warn that the file's in Real Audio format, which might pose a problem if you don't have an Real player or a means to open/convert the file. But if that isn't a issue, while you're at it poke around at some of the other contributions in the NAR archives. An item of interest for some might be the entries from Don Joyce and Negativland; one of which is what amounts to an epic extended director's cut of "Guns!".

12 July 2012

Last Night a DJ Threatened My Life

The above presents a fairly thorough rundown of your average club/mobile DJ's list of routine annoyances. Which is why I stuck with radio and never really pursued club or mobile DJing; because over the years I had too many friends who did it and I was used to hearing their complaints, which deterred me from venturing down that path. While number 21 is a new one for me, many of them are very familiar; especially the ones having to do with birthdays, and the various requests a DJ has to field. (One friend in particular started taking cellphone snaps of clubbers who came up to him in the course of an evening, and on a couple of occasions posted the pics & requests on his blog.)*

At any rate, here's more than you could ask for: Via Ubuweb, an extensive "History of Electronic & Electroacoustic Music," in the form of nearly 500 MP3s. As the caveat at the bottom of the page, the collection came from a torrent that was making the rounds some time ago, so some of the selections might be a bit dodgey. Nonetheless, there's more there than one could wade through -- from the whole of Schaeffer and Henry's "Symphonie pour un homme suel," and lots of other stuff, including healthy portions of Stockhausen, Bernard Parmegiani, François Bayle, et al. The notes also take issue with the collection's omissions and inclusions, which (yes) once I look them over do seem to be heavily Franco-centric -- leaving the like of Cage and Luening a bit underrepresented. (And, yeah...where's Pauline Oliveros?) Still, the cornucopia overfloweth.

A tip of the topper to BLCKGRD for the heads-up on both of the above.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

* There is another -- longer and far more aggravating -- list of common DJ complaints; which includes the various ins & outs of dealing with shady or apathetic venue management, dealing with dickhead bouncers, the hassles of getting paid for services rendered, etc.

11 July 2012


Because it matches my frame of mind at the moment. And because it's the third night in a row what's been filled with heavy thunder rolling out of the dark and over the trees, bringing heavy rains to break the recent lingering heatwave, as well as what was looking like the beginning of another drought-y summer.

And because you could consider this a belated R.I.P. for Pete Cosey. Pathetically belated, right. But hey, been busy & preoccupied for some weeks now....some work business, some weighty personal business. Hence the recent patchiness with posting.

And while we're on the topic, here's David Toop on the recent passing of Lol Coxhill.

09 July 2012

Orbital Exile

There were those who deemed it an atrocity from the moment its plans were first unveiled -- a monstrous eyesore in the offing. Or some inverted, modern-day travesty of Tatlin's Tower. So I suppose this might (or might not) translate into schadenfreude for the detractors. This particular quote (pulled from an initial glowing profile in an industry publication, no less) grabs my attention...

"Mittal Steel has found the Chinese government to be an accommodating partner for foreign firms, especially when compared with the Mittal family's home country, India. 'With India being a democracy, setting up operations can be difficult,' Mittal says. 'I don't mean to denigrate democracy. But it takes time. You negotiate with all different levels of government. You negotiate with tribal people. It can take two or three years. It's a more difficult process than in the United States.'

'But I remember going to China. I flew into the airport, and there was literally red-carpet treatment. Then I’m in a car on a highway, and there is no one else on the road. So I ask, What’s going on here? And they say, The party secretary wanted to give you a nice welcome. This highway isn’t actually open yet. Then I get to the plant site, but I don’t see any land. I see houses, lots of houses – a village. And I say, Where’s the land? And the party secretary says, Right here. In 90 days, everyone will be gone."

Can't help but notice -- to my utter lack of surprise -- how Richard Serra turns up in this, cited as one of ArcelorMittal's former artworld clients. And relatedly, how the quote above echoes some issues raised in this piece circa 1990...

"Minimalism's partisans have all along insisted that it is wrongheaded to look for, let alone to interrogate, any found subject or author behind the art's patently object-like and desubjectivized facade. Thus Douglas Crimp insists, for instance, that 'Characterizations of Serra's work as macho, overbearing, oppressive, seek to return the artist to the studio, to reconstitute him as the work's sole creator, and thereby to deny the role of industrial processes in his sculpture.' We can be interested in Serra's use of industrial processes, however, and still hold him to account as the creator (not to say fabricator) of his work - work that plainly manifests certain personal ambitions and interests, its industrial facture notwithstanding. That Serra's artistic gestures have less in common with the sculptor's conventional rituals than with the rituals of the industrial magnate who merely lifts the telephone to command laborers to shape tons of steel according to his specifications, and the rituals of the foremen or construction bosses who oversee the processes of fabrication and installation, does not render those gestures altogether impersonal."

To be honest, I've always been a bit dubious about Anna Chave's essay "Minimalism and the Rhetoric of Power." Something about the way it cherrypicked its information to bolster its thesis, its (at times) borderline scattershot scholarship, as well as the heated pitch of its own rhetoric...it all reminded me too much of an article in some sensationalizing tabloid, all of which made it a little too easy to dismiss a lopsided hatchet-job. Yet certain parts of it raise valid points, especially in regards to Serra's work and nagging questions about the nature of civic responsibility in the years following the Tilted Arc controversy. There was also an underlying thrust to Chave's thesis that dealt with the role such grand works play in relation to a larger political economy; and argument that it seems the Kapoor/ArcelorMittal flap illustrates a little too perfectly.

Although I imagine neither Kapoor or Serra ever think to to worry about or vet these sort of details. For the sake of staying focused on the project at hand, their chief concern probably doesn't exceed that of anyone who hires a contractor -- simply finding someone who can get the job done, who can make the vision a reality. But there are always inherent risks involved in that sort of process...

Forget it, Jake...it's Chinese drywall.

08 July 2012

Interlude (Contractual Obligation Edition)

Ultimately only famous for their unfinished masterpiece, This Is Procrastination. Haven't heard it, 'though I gather there've been a bootlegged version floating around the internet for years.

TV Party Tonight (A Few Words from Our Sponsors)

A friend emails me to tell me that he heard the Misfits'"Where Eagles Dare" turn up in a TV booze ad. "I have officially outlived satire," he says. If anything, I figured the song would've been more likely to be used for a car commercial -- y'know, due to its bellowing anthematic nature and whatnot. But jadedness and apathy about such stuff set in early. I suppose it was seeing Gil Scott-Heron used in a Nike campaign back in the early '90s what did it for me; after that...all I can do is shrug. And having some years ago been on the listserve of a community radio station broadcasting from a quasi-Ivy League university, I got used to kids grousing about what punk-rock tunes being sullied by use in car adverts. Iggy's cry of "LLAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWDDDD!!!" being being corralled into the stable of General Motors or whoever it was. Cue exasperated hubbub to some "money-changers in the temple" effect.

I'd say the only one that ever genuinely threw me for a loop was this one...

Because, while yeah, Swell Maps are in my all-time top five -- but why, or all possible choices, that? Not an obvious or expected selection. It's like hearing Pere Ubu's "Final Solution" being used in some ad for dog shampoo. Or like seeing the Minutemen's "Maybe Partying Will Help" get used to sell Budweiser tallboys.

But ultimately, this whole matter is totally early Baffler territory, innit? As in: Company/agency hires hip young kid, hip young kid thinks he's sneaking something buggy -- maybe something that skews the signal-to-noise confluence or whatever -- by advising they do this or that, or to use a particular song. It's kinda like the severely malformed and chronically slobbering inbred third cousin back in the Appalachians that the "culture jamming" sorts at Adbusters try to pretend they're not related to, even tho' they clearly hail from the same gene pool.

But on par with the one up top, my jaw dropped when this one got shoved my way in a movie theater some year ago...

...with which the layers of irony being too numerous and thick to even begin to try and penetrate.

04 July 2012

Toccata & Fugue in Alizarin Crimson Minor, Op. 5

A form of comprehensive color blindness called achromatopsia, as treated by a device that operates like an optical equivalent of a cochlear implant, resulting in its wearer experiencing something akin to "inverse synesthesia."

But the interviewer drops the ball by not asking the obvious question, "And what color is Scriabin?"

02 July 2012

Agonistic Interlude

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