Similarity Engine (new Bandcamp release)

Announcing my 26th Bandcamp release, Similarity Engine.
Ten new tracks, created with a dizzying array of software, gear, and samples listed on the release page.

Music diary: I've been posting embedded players to announce these releases, but I think I'm going to stop this practice. The concept of Bandcamp is you are supposed to use "social" to promote music, otherwise it just sits there, since Bandcamp has no in-house means of promoting releases. The one exception is, an email kicks out to anyone who bought your music in the past, letting them know you have a new release. Anyone who hasn't opted out of this process is your de facto community.
Since Bandcamp's artist and release pages are a very good way to organize a large amount of music, I plan to keep using it as a music hub, and let be a place where I keep notes and think aloud about what it means to make a pre-post-internet style of tunes.
I've always pretty much disliked embeds -- it's just one more thing to hang up the loading of a blog page (especially with a new theme that uses scripts, plugins, and third-party font downloads). With the music I've been posting I've been removing the embed code once the blog post has dropped off the front page, and this gets tedious.

discussing Bresson, Trumbull, others

Lately I've been commenting on posts at Alex on Film, and I appreciate the author's willingness to respond and have some back and forth:

Silent Running (1972)

A plug for Peter Schickele's music score, followed by some discussion of the moral complexity of '70s movies versus Top Gun-style blockbusters, and the recent odious trend of milking highly political events for their thrill value (Black Hawk Down, 13 Hours, Zero Dark Thirty, etc)

L'Argent (1983)

Robert Bresson's last film, about the corrosive effects of capital and one man's transition from hard-working husband and father to ax murderer.

Let the Right One In (2008)

The theory (considered elsewhere) that the film is a Moebius strip, with Oskar recruited to be Hakan's replacement.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

Peter Weir in decline, or Peter Weir being Peter Weir?

Chris Ashley, Returning 08


Screenshot of Chris Ashley HTML drawing Returning 08, 20140108 (the HTML original appears on his blog). What could be a Bauhaus design problem ("make a color appear transparent relative to its surrounding color") or a variation on Peter Halley's cell-and-conduit grammar could also be a cartoon floor plan or an especially inept maze. There's quite a bit of wry humor in this simple-seeming pattern.

This and other quasi-pictographic works of abstract art are executed by Ashley in Dreamweaver, a program used for making web pages back in the halcyon DIY days of HTML, before developers commandeered -- some might say "stole" -- online practice away from everyday users through use of complex CSS and javascript routines. Dreamweaver essentially yields a set of coded instructions to "put this color here, put that color there," resulting in ephemeral web browser art, where the browser acts as both canvas and portable art gallery.

Ashley has continued this work as a daily practice since the early 2000s, despite the lack of critical infrastructure that could explain or validate the work. Most of the New Media websites are not comfortable talking about abstract painting, and most critics versed in Ryman and Palermo "don't know from HTML." Worse, technology changes are affecting "browser art" as a neutral, predictable space for viewing work, due to the aforementioned CSS-and-scripting hegemony but also because people increasingly browse on smartphones, which reduce screen widths and alter page layouts.


So-called mobile ready designers don't like HTML tables, due to their unpredictability in different contexts. So what does an artist do when a medium originally premised on wide popular accessibility becomes esoteric due to changing tech? I've been saving these Ashley works as PNG files (with no loss of resolution), which can be easily resized by current browsers. But that's changing the meaning and purpose of the work, to arrive at an "archival" solution. They could also be printed-out as paper pieces but I've seen them in person and they aren't as exciting; they really need that back-lit screen glow to come alive. Lightbox transparencies? Now we're reinventing the work completely. Despite all this fretting, the art is still being made and can still be seen, so check it out!

a cold, clammy bombing

Dedicated to faux-progressives who think baiting a nuclear-armed power is a keen idea if there's a chance it could dispose of Trump (along with the rest of us). Suddenly we are back in the bad old days of the Cold War and songs like this have become relevant again:

Chrome, "March Of The Chrome Police" (1979)

I don’t care much about your situation
You’ve got too a strange of a fascination
You’ve got an overactive imagination
A cold clammy* bombing
A cold clammy bombing
Will ruin your town
I hear all the paranoid discussions
Trying to distract me from my functions
But I don’t care what they say
I’m not afraid of the Russians
A cold clammy bombing
Will ruin your town
Some say they saw you lighting up the fuse
Well at last this fucking box will get some use
Modern equipment can’t take the abuse
A cold clammy bombing
Will shit on your town

*spelled "clamey" on the lyric sheet