Archive for September, 2012
"Cryptkicker 2" [mp3 removed -- a revised version is on Bandcamp]
Another tune using those modular-synth-modified kick drum samples I've been working with (7 clips in all, mostly just single drumbeats), this time loaded into the Reaktor Krypt granular sample player. It's interesting how many different timbres and weirdly-stretched notes can be wrung out of such limited material when you can grab "grains" from any combination of wav files, mash them, and add real-time effects.
Krypt has an in-built sequencer and I wrote six tracks with sixteen steps each - most of those tracks only have one or two note-triggers per each set of sixteen, so this is extremely simple - I am just unmuting and muting the tracks. Again, some extra drum hits were added.
Earlier this month I took advantage of a special rate and stayed at the Revel (rhymes with "bevel") taxpayer-supported hotel and casino complex in Atlantic City, NJ. (Hat tip to family member who was the perfect sardonic traveling companion.)
My first time in that city. What a mess.
It's easy to see why Atlantic City has so many problems, when you go there. It's truly remote from anywhere, cut off from the rest of the state by the Pine Barrens and miles of swampland. No major highway or north-south train line goes through. The town was rotting as a resort destination so the revitalization effort has been pegged to these enormous slick gambling complexes. Sealed enclaves that are meant to be worlds unto themselves, where you eat, swim, see shows, get massages, and of course gamble, without ever leaving the building until you are bled dry of funds and kicked out on the street to join Romney's 47%.
The Revel squats like the Death Star on a section of artificial beach (still under construction), cutting off the nearby houses and streets from easy access to the water and Boardwalk.
The city blocks "behind" it (invisible to hotel windows aligned for maximum waterfront views) are bleak neighborhoods of vacant lots, boarded up prairie gothic houses, and probably some of the cheapest-to-rent multiplex apartment units in America (due to ultimate impoverished scariness). Beautiful in a J.G. Ballard, what-has-become-of-our-cities way.
The Revel suites are luxurious, if sterile, and the view of the ocean from 17 stories up, looking out through heavy glass, is like being in a Michael Mann movie set on the planet Solaris.
Near the elevators I was amused to see framed artwork by James Nares and my former teacher, the post-Minimalist artist Robert Stackhouse.
A printed "amenities" menu in the hotel room advises you that if you want to take the Android tablet on the bedside phone, it can be had for $800.
"Kick Variations (Deadly Hiphop Kick Squad)" [mp3 remixed and posted on bandcamp]
Another piece using the samples of modular-synth-processed electronic kick drum sounds I recorded in "Kick Variations." (Some drums were added but otherwise it's all repurposed kicks.)
This is minimal electro bedroom chamber music, with the word "hiphop" inserted in the title for added relevance.
twitpic by Kacie Kim
"Mighty Saw" [4 MB .mp3]
Some of the modular synth-generated percussive sounds from "Kick Variations" were trimmed down to individual hits for playing at different pitches in a software sampler. Those are the mallet-like tones that come in about halfway through. The heavier synth leads (sort of like wonky regressed to the '80s) are Linplug Alpha softsynth patches -- the second one I concocted using 3 LFOs to make that trilling sound. Rock and roll.
I just want to say I'm rather horrified at your lack of interest in the political dimensions of net art and popular culture; your apathy is no different from my phone-addicted freshmen students or my Gen-Y peers who believe we're so post-racial and post gender in light of new technology. Apathetic teens become apathetic adults I guess.
Am equally horrified by Chan's lack of interest in music, a topic she was ostensibly covering in that post (hiphop is popular music, right?). Much has been written about the ecstatic and "dionysian" aspect of music that makes it very anti-control system (see, e.g., Simon Reynolds on raves) -- there's a political dimension to this and possibly her students and peers are more attuned to it than she is. I don't use the terms post-racial or post-gender except in jest and Chan obviously doesn't look at this blog if she thinks it's apathetic.
Update: The bludgeoning continues (Chan's email response to the above):
That's because I'm doing social and cultural crit, not music appreciation. As an artist/curator/critic type it's not my job to critique a genre I'm not well-read on as much as how people are using technology to make art about it. It's not interesting if I tell you the music is "good" or "bad" -- I might as well be writing for Pitchfork then. Your critique of my writing and logic is weak because you are not stating what my arguments have achieved or not achieved. (Even weaker is attacking the tone of the argument instead of the thesis because it was not what you like to hear.)
My reply to her (also via email):
Music has cultural and social dimensions, too, and artists "use technology" to make it (and appropriate it). It's not just a thumbs up or down analysis. You are critiquing parts of a multi-disciplinary genre (hiphop) and leaving out others.
In the case of Will Neibergall this resulted in an injustice - you didn't give fair weight to his music and only attacked the surface trappings of a single performance (which were clearly imposed on him by Trecartin & Co.)
Nothing obligates me to address your whole argument - I did mention your lack of defined terms.
acrylic on linen, 12 X 9 inches
I really like these opening paragraphs of a blog post written by Naked Capitalism's Yves Smith:
Long-standing readers have noticed an increase in the amount of trolling in the comments section. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. As traditional broadcast media are becoming less important, both advertisers and PR firms are seeking to influence opinion and popular tastes through social media and blogs. Since I prefer to take a more hands-off approach to the comments section that other bloggers do, it puts me in a bit of a quandary. But the increase in orchestrated efforts to attack certain posts leaves me with no choice but to intervene more heavily.
The post last week from Project S.H.A.M.E. on Megan McArdle [note: large page load but worth it --tm] is an illustration. As readers pointed out, many of the critical comments hewed closely to well honed approaches used by PR firms to discredit critics: “you should be ashamed,” “this is a hit job/I don’t like the tone,” “everyone knows this already,” (ahem, Barry Ritholtz didn’t and he’s pretty media savvy) and “why aren’t you attacking people on the left” when this blog does that with far more regularity than it goes after people on the right.
Now it may sound a paranoid to suggest that some of the critics might have been paid-for operatives and I honestly don’t know and can’t prove it. A few (from what I can tell, three) of the unhappy commentors were established NC readers who are libertarians. Three additional ones were first time commmentors but looked to be motivated by either loyalty to McArdle (readers recognized one) or the libertarian cause, and kept coming back when the regulars had a go with them. But these at least argue like normal people, with egos; they defend their positions when challenged. (I also had a venomous personal attack that got caught on the moderation tripwire accusing me of being in the employ of Soros, which is amusing, since I’d be living much better if I had a rich sponsor, and inaccurate).
I also have to note, that despite all the food fighting in comments on the McArdle post, no one laid a glove on its substance.
The fuss started over Project S.H.A.M.E's documentation of McArdle's extensive ties to the Koch brothers -- revealing her as a propagandist when she is supposed to be an objective journalist (writing for The Atlantic and other established publications). The Kochs heap untold wealth on political causes that are actually disguised attacks on attempts to regulate their polluting and carbon-belching businesses. The supposedly populist Tea Party is one of their creations.
"Mouse Party (2012 Mix)" [4.9 MB .mp3]
Here is some hiphop... Not really, it's more minimal electro funk that I made 7 years ago when I was just getting started in the bedroom producer biz. I removed the original a few weeks ago because it was getting pestered by mp3 bots. This mix is barely altered - just some extra cymbals at the end. Dark, gritty - as Neflix would say.