tom moody

experience regina

A reason attempts to parody internet content will always fail is the superabundance of effectively self-parodying content. Case in point: "Experience Regina" [YouTube] (hat tip Rising Tensions)

From the irrepressible YouTube commentariat:

Alain Lemay via Google+ 1 year ago

Possibly the worst tourism video ever created. Complete with Seindfeldesk music riffs and an underage girl in a bikini. And what's with that no-uterus pic at 2:23?

ThaReal JmanV 7 months ago
It's supposed to be not vagina. Regina. Get it? I know hilarious, right?

- tom moody

July 8th, 2014 at 10:01 am

Posted in general

ranking big steve

I stopped reading Stephen King novels after The Tommyknockers and tossed out many of the paperbacks. I still like his writing, though, on re-reading, or when I encounter it in newspapers and magazines (he's become very respectable, and his Times overview of Raymond Carver a few years ago was something a grown-up, ex-genre novelist might have written). I also like some of the later movie adaptations, such as Dolores Claiborne, the novel for which is number 17 on Vulture's "Ranking All 64 Stephen King Novels." Here's where the books I still have on the shelf fell in the Vulture list:

IT (number 3)

The Shining (number 4)

Danse Macabre (number 10)

That's it for my collection -- not too shabby, Vulturewise.

Vulture gives a 63 out of 64 ranking for The Tommyknockers. I knew King had problems with alcohol, early on, but can't picture him as an '80s cokehead -- guess it happened. As Vulture puts it: "This tale of a Maine writer (you'll be seeing a lot of these) who accidentally comes across a piece of alien metal in her backyard and finds herself compelled to dig up the flying saucer that it's attached to was written at the height of King's addiction troubles. Writing with 'his heart running at a hundred and thirty beats a minute and cotton swabs stuck up my nose to stem the coke-induced bleeding' (as he would later describe it), King filled his book with addicts and thinly veiled metaphors for what he was going through. Full of anger at himself and the eighties, The Tommyknockers is a white-hot mess. Anyone who remembers the deadly levitating Coke machine would agree."

- tom moody

July 8th, 2014 at 10:00 am

Posted in general

around the web

"Elevator Mixtape" by IEJ [Vimeo]
Apparently people posting video footage of escalators on YouTube and elsewhere is a "thing." IEJ made a compilation. Update, from an email from IEJ: "As far as I can tell, the escalator recording community is a subset of the elevator recording community who have their own wikipedia. I linked to the page of dieselducy who took the video you can see in the preview freezeframe (mall in Roanoke VA) [in IEJ's mixtape]. He's big in that scene. ... Maybe they don't have the glamour of bridges and trains but elevators/escalators are ubiquitous anomalies themselves (they aren't everywhere - WY only has two and the riders of the first one in Kurdistan are happy and confused)." Tom here: Documenting escalators is interesting to me in an "all the buildings on the sunset strip" way, only crowdsourced. These are unobserved phenomena that take on an aesthetic dimension through mass recording.

"Wistle While You Twerk" by Ying Yang Twins [YouTube]
America woke up to twerking with Miley Cyrus, but this song, from the album Thug Walkin', released in 2000, shows that it's been around for 14 years, at least! Join Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Dopey, and the rest of the gang with this happy anthem.

Addendum: The German group Trio is considered a one-hit wonder of the '80s (for "Da Da Da - I Don't Love You - You Don't Love Me ") but they were a pretty good band, as seen in a collection of German TV performances assembled by Network Awesome. In fact most '80s one hit wonders are that way because of the music industry's insistence on hits.

- tom moody

July 5th, 2014 at 12:25 pm

Posted in general

who is using the internet

cosmicsands has transcribed the text of Kevin Bewersdorf's Issue Project Room reading on Rap Genius, a site for crowdsourcing lyrics, poetry, etc. Based on this, the phrase "Taoist poetry about the internet" in the previous post is a bit confining. There is Eastern influence but also a tone of Walt Whitman-esque celebration, in poems such as "Who is using the internet?" (see below). A poem like this walks a line between being savvy enough to characterize an ocean of data, with ever-shifting codes of hipness and obscurity, while "opening its heart" to that data as if it were Whitman's democratic throngs. Missing is the even more delicate balance of some of the earlier work, before Bewersdorf's road-to-Damascus moment of deleting his website and (ostensibly) going offline, between understandable revulsion at phenomena such as dozens of stock photos of people praying and an attempt to write sincere praise in a tone that mimics both religious awe and corporate sales motivation.

"Who is using the Internet?"

Who is using the Internet?
In my eyes, the sun is.
Dragon dorks.
Shark dorks.
Los Angeles Latinas.
Mystical comedians.
Cable guys.
Credit card registrants.
Grown men in developing countries.
Dream weavers.
Translators.
Native peoples.
Inverse porn stars.
Someone typing randomly.
The descendants of Adam and Eve.
Adam Sandler, and his descendants.
Cranky flowershop owners.
Anyone who's seen the sun.
The employed.
The powerfully obsessed.
The politically ejaculating.
Those committing heinous crimes,
As well as the dying,
Their caregivers,
Your parents
And your lover.
Paleface, my heart goes out to you.

corrections to transcription can be added on Rap Genius

- tom moody

July 5th, 2014 at 10:42 am

Posted in general

how not to discuss quitting the web as art

A critic, let's call him Eliot, questioned my criticism of Kevin Bewersdorf's "leaving the web as art," which seems to have become a canonical new media gesture.
The gesture itself had several components.
The artist had a body of work, just a couple of years in duration after he left school, consisting of Church of the Subgenius-like ironic scriptural writings (but on the whole, not as good) where the aims of religion were combined with corporate branding happy talk. This was augmented by art and video.
He was invited to participate in a performance event in connection with the New Museum's Younger Than Jesus show. From the stage, he announced that he was going to remove all his work from the web over a three year period. Gradually the website diminished, until all that remained was a tiny image of a flickering flame.
During this time period he was meditating, and also continued to be involved anonymously with the Spirit Surfers group blog.
This year he "re-emerged" as a sincere follower of the Tao, and now writes Taoist poetry about the internet, a reading of which Rhizome.org recently organized.

My criticism has several components:
There was confusion as to whether the artist's interest in "the spirit," pre-quitting, was ironic or sincere.
There is confusion about whether he really left -- is the art work about leaving the web or just erasing your "brand"?
Does it matter if the brand isn't sincere to begin with?
In response to canonizing quitting, I tossed off on twitter the statement that "the real heroes are the people who kept working while the seeker was off wandering in the wilderness."

Eliot pounced!
He asked if going offline couldn't also be working. And he said that comparing working and non-working was an apples/oranges scenario that he wasn't interested in.
This changed the frame of the discussion from "good vs bad gesture" to the virtues of work vs non-work.
If Eliot believes that Bewerdorf's gesture is good, he is making an evaluation, in the face of an argument to the contrary. But he doesn't have to debate it, he can ascend to the lofty plane of not wishing to weigh a Judeo-Christian or Taylorist notion of work against a Zen-like or Dadaist gesture of denial. That's just not instructive, you understand.

Update: cosmicsands has transcribed the text of Bewersdorf's Issue Project Room reading on Rap Genius, a site for crowdsourcing lyrics, poetry, etc. Based on this, the phrase "Taoist poetry about the internet" above is a bit confining. There is Eastern influence but also a tone of Walt Whitman-esque celebration, in poems such as "Who is using the internet?" Missing is some of the delicate balance of some of the earlier work, between understandable revulsion at phenomena such as dozens of stock photos of people praying and an attempt to write sincere praise in a tone that mimics both religious awe and corporate sales motivation.

- tom moody

July 4th, 2014 at 11:02 am

Posted in general

guinea pig to quit social media

Naked Capitalism has a good run-down on Facebook's experimentation with users via changes to news feeds to elicit emotional responses. This was junk science (one of the authors of the resulting paper is a Facebook employee, who may or may not wear a hoodie). But it's also the latest betrayal of users, who are constantly having settings jacked with.
Facebook, of course, is where the new media community moved for its critical discourse after the blogosphere era.
And the art world, too: just yesterday, Paddy Johnson re-published some Zucker-thoughts of Sally McKay on the work of Jeff Koons (McKay incorrectly describes his material as "ceramics" but that's a minor point).
So, what if McKay were having her news feed manipulated along with the other marks, and wrote something like "there's a lot of anger in current art." That would suck.
Of course, the Turing-complete user isn't going to rely on a Facebook feed for news. But on twitter, where I (six years ago), had the ability to control who and what I "followed," I'm now hit with additional, unasked-for information, from the expanded "media rich" tweets of the few people I follow, from the steady drip of "promoted" tweets, and from the "notifications" that constantly remind me that there is content outside my timeline to look at. I feel as I'm living over there with my finger in the dike holding back a shit-flood of propaganda. Yet, like McKay on Facebook, I'm using twitter for "crit" so, what does that say about me?
OK, here's a promise: the next time I'm invited to be in a performance event hosted by a major New York institution, I will sit cross-legged on stage, burn candles, and announce that I am going to delete my twitter, one tweet at a time, over a period of three years, until all that remains will be a single GIF (converted to mp4) of a small, flickering flame. That'll show 'em! And will likely be reverently written up.

see also
hat tips ryz and andrej for facebook paper

Update: An intrepid fact checker notes that of the Koons Banality sculptures in the Whitney show, some are polychromed wood and some are porcelain. I wouldn't use the term ceramics to describe his work but as noted, it's a minor point.

- tom moody

July 3rd, 2014 at 9:24 am

Posted in general

cross-stitch by kacie kim

kacie_kim_my_computer

artwork I purchased from the unicomart Etsy store
nice! and getting right down to the heart of it
jeff koons, call the geek squad

- tom moody

July 2nd, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Posted in art - others

another firefox change to annoy the turing-complete user

Firefox (and every other browser, it seems) desperately wants to turn the browser address bar into a search bar.
I thought I fixed this but apparently not.

To turn off the "search" function, confining it to its rightful place, the search bar, enter

about:config

ignore warning about deadly irreversible changes

and set "keyword.enabled" to false

Sick of this.

- tom moody

July 2nd, 2014 at 11:44 am

Posted in general

Critical Weekend Work (new Bandcamp release)

Am pleased, and yet, humbled, to announce a new LP on Bandcamp: Critical Weekend Work.
10 songs, mostly previously-unpublished.
Experiments with field recordings begun on the 40 Yards from the Machine release continue: recordings from the transit system and my kitchen, and spoken words. Extensive use of the "Household Kit" of samples described here, at varying speeds and grains, is made throughout.
This is my sixth release in 2014. Your support in the form of buying the LP or songs would be very encouraging, but all the material can be streamed.

- tom moody

June 30th, 2014 at 5:40 pm

Posted in music - tm

Critical Weekend Work LP - Liner Notes

Notes for the Critical Weekend Work LP on Bandcamp. These are mostly tech jottings so I remember what I did. Any thoughts, questions, etc on the music itself are welcome at the email address on this about page.

1. Grove Street 01:05

A basic melody done with the modular synth (specifically the Doepfer A-111-5 mini-synth) is augmented with a field recording from, er, public transit, drums from Steinberg's "Groove Agent" (yeah baby yeah), and some overtracking to make the harmony at the very end.

2. Skiffle Capacity 02:16

A variant of the "Grove Street" melody, with added parts played on various synth and/or sampler modules (Doepfer mini-synth, WMD Gamma Wave Source, SID Guts, Doepfer A-112) using the Elektron Octatrack as a MIDI controller. For all that, this wasn't working for me until I added the bassline, dubbed in with NI's Massive softsynth. The middle section is the Octatrack arpeggiator ringing changes on the basic synth lines. This sounds fairly spontaneous and hyperactive but was assembled a few pain-in-the-a** bars at a time. There is a second bassline done with Linplug's Element P percussion synth that peeks out at the ending.

3. The Persistence of Marimba 02:50

Yet another variant of the "Grove Street"/"Skiffle Capacity" tunes. Some of the same instrumentation as "Skiffle Capacity," with added percussion from the Household Kit samples (see previous LP) with heavy chorus and delay. The "marimba" is NI Massive.

4. Kitchen Drone 03:04

Shameless banging around on the Household Kit samples (finger snaps, pan lid, rice shaker, chair thump) using the Octatrack sequencer's MIDI out, converted to CV/gate and triggering the samples in the Qu-Bit Nebulae granular sampler module. The heavy "rave" chords at the end are NI Massive.

5. Cloud Tenders 01:40

An assortment of beats made with the Octatrack as a MIDI controller and two sampler modules (ADDAC wav player and Doepfer A-112) playing Household kit sounds. The sampler outputs were recorded straight (as simultaneously recorded mono files) and then a second group was created running those same beats through Steinberg's Step Filter effect (the "wah" sound at the beginning). After quite a bit of moving all these beats around in Cubase, pads and bass were added from Absynth (the very pretty "Nausicaa" patch) and NI Massive. Lastly, drums: patterns I wrote for the "vinyl kit" in Battery.

6. Grave Wobble 01:56

A tune from three years ago, reworked and tightened up, with some added parts. The wobbly bass patch is a softsynth called the MiniTera that was a freebie with some gear I bought, even longer back. The drums are a "synthesized kit" playing in Linplug's RMV software beatbox. The ascending whine during the "drum break" is the Qu-Bit Nebulae run through a hardware filter module, with a long LFO sweep.

7. Cloud Tenders 2 01:52

Similar process to Cloud Tenders, different pads (mostly NI Massive), with increasing amount of MIDI echo and arpeggiation effects within Cubase.

8. Stabs and Slabs 01:50

This was all done in the Octatrack, first laying down Household Kit beats, then adding piano and synth samples. The "rave-y" melodies are done note by note, adjusting the pitch and/or sample rate of each keyboard "stab."

9. Baby Boom/Critical Weekend Work 00:55

A three channel sound art piece, made with vocal samples loaded into the Qu-Bit Nebulae and messed with (speed, grain, start time, grain size, etc.) The middle channel is the same LFO-swept recording used in "Grave Wobble." The vocals in that channel are inaudible, it's just stuttering of a very small chunk of the words "baby boom."

10. Skiffle Capacity Reprise 01:09

The final appearance of the "Grove Street"/"Skiffle Capacity"/"Persistence of Marimba" tracks. The ethereal-sounding intro is NI Massive played with Steinberg MIDI echo and/or arpeggiation effects.

- tom moody

June 30th, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Posted in music - tm