Gertrud Orff vs Nino Rota (for Kids)

mp3blogging; tracks temporarily posted:

Gertrud Orff: "Kleine Klavierstucke, Heft 1 Nr.2" [0.7 MB .mp3]

Nino Rota: one of "Seven Difficult Pieces for Children" [1.1 MB .mp3] (hat tip SHM)

These piano pieces couldn't be more basic but much is packed in here. Both have a main theme that plays twice, a second theme (not really a chorus), and a reprise of theme one. They are almost national stereotypes, the Orff precise and unornamented, the Rota playful and filigreed. Theme one in the Orff resembles a playground song, theme two a folk dance. In the Rota it's reversed--the playground tune nests inside the folk tune, which has that inevitable circus "oom pah" that makes Fellini Fellini.
I like them both, but prefer the Orff. Besides being exquisitely organized, it's profound. It seems more about the loss of childhood than something a child would play.

Update: This post has been revised: it mistakenly identified the first piece as Carl Orff's when it is in fact Gertrud's--his wife from 1939-1953. (The CD is less than clear.) I'm letting myself off the hook somewhat because this piece is the most Carl-like tune in her "Kleine Klavierstucke" suite: the rest are almost Debussy-like in their delicacy and have a half-sketched, Eastern quality (the CD liner notes liken them to Sumi brush painting).

Forcefield Skull

forcefield - rings

Continuing with our "cool skulls" series, here's the cover of Forcefield's CD Lord of the Rings Modulator, 2001.*
The music is mostly analog synth debris, ranging from quiet chittering to full blown buzz saw. I liked the Providence RI erstwhile collective's music and videos--it's a shame they broke up. Or whatever happened. I met a couple of them once and asked them about it but they were super-evasive. Weighty, weighty matters, these art world careers, best not probed by nosy strangers. With blogs.

*recorded in '01 but released in '03.

Tony Did It First!

oursler skull

Paddy Johnson's complaint about skulls (as in, there's too many of them in the art world and especially at Derek Eller) reminded me to post this image of Tony Oursler's work from a 1998 Metro Pictures show. It's especially germane to the "hot" art world skull, that expensive Damien Hirst confection we all felt compelled to weigh in on. Long before that skull-o-diamonds was a gemlike gleam in the lad's eye, Oursler was there, blazing a trail that...oh, who honestly gives a crap.

Psychology in 1970s Norway

remote control

An early invention by American social scientist Gerald DeGroot, demonstrated in Norway to obtain the backing from the Hanso Foundation for what eventually became the DHARMA Initiative. DeGroot's Skinneresque mind control experiments of the 1970s, a series of purposeless devices designed to test the subject's theological belief in technological principles, seem quaint and dated today. (Such as the abacus-like device above that controls the switches of a standard television.) Yet with Hanso's backing DeGroot built a series of test stations on a remote Pacific island, staffed by a small, quasi-Utopian community that was eventually wiped out by the island's Pitcairn-like indigenous inhabitants, whose existence did not turn up in Hanso's research. [via]