by tom moodyComments Off on video (while it lasts)
A couple from Network Awesome:
New Order playing live in a New York club in 1981. Wasn't a fan of this band - until now. The set and the music lacks a center in the best way: instruments are picked up, played for a few very tight bars, and put down again. The songs change slots from guitar rock to synth pop with no fanfare. The bass is as close as we get to an anchor - but even that is played in the higher registers, like a guitar. Simon Reynolds had a great phrase for the rhythm: "drumming around the edge of a crater." The performance is intense but deadpan and anonymous.
Jerry Lewis, The Ladies Man. Filmed on an enormous dollhouse set by... the American Jacques Tati? Here we have similar klutzy physical comedy (on meth) in a highly artificial environment, without the contintental poise or taste. Confirmed bachelor Herbert H. Heebert takes a job as a "houseboy" in a ladies' residential mansion populated by va va voomy females. Many exquisite glass objects and antique vases are broken. Terrific, often surrealistic dance numbers with Jer twitching around in saddle shoes. This is the one where the butterfly collection flies out of the frame and then flies back again.
So much bad art, flying by so quickly.
Just a few dashed off thoughts. Thumbs down to:
--the slow turntable pan they do where all the interviewees stare meaningfully at the camera
--the editing out of 'uhs' and pauses that makes each speaker sound like an auctioneer (especially noticeable in the Kickstarter guy - hard sell much?)
--the constant emphasis on newness and "never seen before" in these programs
This one's not as annoying as they way they misrepresented GIFs. But the premise goes contrary to one creative type's experience of the Web (i.e., mine): which is, people find your work through searches and viral connections, so you don't have to have funding, gatekeepers, or special copyright schemes.
Perhaps now that Google is moving away from long tail content, the emphasis is shifting back to needing a Kickstarter to make something happen. Around here we don't want to have to resort to that guy -- he sounds like a one-man ad agency.
As for Lawrence Lessig's inclusion in the program, since when does copyright law expertise qualify anyone for art punditry? Only as the most cynical admission that law completely determines what's creatively permissible.
*Update: Have been referring to these Off Book programs as PBS shows. A commenter on Paddy Johnson's Google Doc, Tim Bavlnka, notes that Off Book is wholly produced by a third party content company called Kornhaber Brown. It appears these are just ad agency-produced infomercials getting a ride on the PBS brand. (Kornhaber Brown also calls Carnegie Hall a "brand" - ugh, I feel like I need to take a shower.) Let's keep calling them PBS shows, though. Ultimately the network is responsible for this one-sided happy talk quasi-journalism.
All done with the Mutator filter, two wavetable oscillators, and various forms of modulation, in real time. Some digital reverb (a spring tank clone) added later.
The modulation (mostly a couple of square wave LFOs working out of sync with each other and the beat) creates "stanzas" where the syllable stresses change from line to line. Tried to match some beats to this and couldn't do it. (Wonder if Ableton could...)
The beginning is just the Mutator self-oscillating, then the two wavetables are faded up, then the rest of it is just a slow, manual sweep of the filter cutoff knob's entire range. The sound changes pretty dramatically depending on what frequencies are being added/subtracted.