"Carbon Credits" (revised, reuploaded), "Bridge to Everywhere"

"Bridge to Everywhere" [6 MB .mp3]

The fairly credible house beat is a Steinberg preset. The drone-y middle part is four pulse-wave oscillators being slowly filter-swept by a rising sawtooth LFO (two in one channel) and falling sawtooth LFO (two in the other channel) while a simple MIDI melody is being played in the Vermona Perfourmer's duophonic mode.
At the end is what it sounds like without any guitar-rig FX processing.

"Carbon Credits" [2.5 MB .mp3]

A bassline and beats were added and the tune was re-uploaded.

Update: Added about 45 seconds to "Bridge to Everywhere" -- a ridiculously lush pad comes in after the dropout and all the themes pile on for one more appearance.

Update 2: Minor tweaks to "Bridge to Everywhere." The pile-up of themes at the end isn't quite so immediate now.

self-publishing now and five minutes ago

Was re-reading old posts and found this one from 2008 on some of Guthrie Lonergan's projects.

One is a page of self-published books that hotlinked actual, bad 3D renderings of book covers with titles like The Thought That Burned a Thousand Minds and A Lone Teen's World of Poems. Generic packaging, clip art for the covers, bland typefaces -- one uses comic sans!

In '08 clicking on each image took you to the book's listing on Wordclay.com, a site where Joe and Jane Aspiring Author could publish a run of print-on-demand (physical) books. A New York Times article from '09 gave the lay of the land of this surprisingly lucrative field, lucrative for the publisher, that is. Lulu is one of the companies mentioned in the article -- more on that below.

Print runs of physical books were so, well, 2008. Now it's e-books, so when you click on Lonergan's author links you are taken to a page maintained by Wordclay's parent, Author Solutions, telling you that Wordclay has crumbled but you should dance on over to Booktango for some hot e-book action.

A few words on where art fits into this. Lonergan treated the covers as found objects and arranged them against a spacious white background, where you scroll right to see the line of books. He exercised taste in picking the best (as in the most poignantly bad) titles and cover-designs. On the other side of the publishing spectrum, Artists have used Lulu, in particular, as a "found process" to make books for show documentation or as a form of performance. Lulu also serves as an outlet for conventional small-press activities (poetry, criticism, manifestos). Examples of the above uses are Domenico Quaranta's Link Editions press and Travis Hallenbeck's Twitter Favs and Flickr Favs books.

To distinguish these from the bad uses of self-publishing tech of the type Lonergan was celebrating, artistes use even more generic design - black letters, white background, no cover art.

Lonergan's insights (and why he trumps later imitators such as The Jogging) are (i) you can't improve on found bad design with your own bad design and (ii) don't get too haughty because there is a micro-thin line between what these self-publishers are doing and what you're doing. The veneer and distance of "art" makes one person's Lulu OK and another's pathetic but it's the same Lulu.

stepford 2013 (fan fiction)

page 35

Fortunately not all the women in Stepford were as blandly mindless as this. I had made one friend, Paula, whose acerbic wit helped me through those lonely first months of acclimation to my new suburban hometown.

We were joking one day about iPhone users.

"I hope they're enjoying their new fingerprint scanners. Can you say 'lambs to the slaughter?'" I said.

"Yeah, baaa-aaa-aaa," Paula replied.

"I'm still clinging to the sentimental idea that biometrics aren't freely given, even to a machine you trust," I added, putting air quotes around the "trust."

"You got that right, Kate," Paula said. She was a Steve Jobs hater from way back, I had learned. "Fingerprinting was an act of ritual humiliation by the state so in a way it makes sense for the high-handed Apple to imitate that."

I laughed. "I guess it also explains why police are handing out flyers telling you to upgrade your iPhone. Apple doesn't even have to pay them!"

I checked my Blackberry to see if any new freelance assignments might have come in. "This thing" -- I held it up -- "is dying because people decided en masse that they'd rather be tracked and fingerprinted."

"Wankers," Paula agreed.

page 207

Things had gotten worse in Stepford and my life, immeasurably worse, but I didn't feel the cold grip of fear until I saw Paula pull that iPhone out of her purse.

"Wait -- when did you get one of those?" I asked.

"I've had it about a week now and I have to say it's changed my life."

"I thought you were concerned about fingerprinting!" I said, trying to control my mounting panic.

"I like the idea of the fingerprint scanner. It's much better than the pass code," Paula said, with a sunny smile.