tom moody

Archive for January, 2017

Big Squirrel, 1984

Tom Moody, Big Squirrel, 1984

oil on canvas, 66 x 49 inches
private collection

Am continuing to work on my archives. This painting is based on a photo I took in Riverside Park. The oil-on-canvas version is a detail from the photo. Painted and exhibited when I was living in Dallas. This photo was taken outside of the studio in Deep Ellum that I had for about a year and a half.

- tom moody

January 30th, 2017 at 7:41 am

"Virtual Canapés"

"Virtual Canapés" [mp3 removed -- please listen on Bandcamp]

Some Elektron Machinedrum beats (mostly mine but there may be a snippet from the device's previous owner, if so, hat tip GYS), with added beats and softsynths recorded and arranged in Ardour (Linux version).
Was happy to find the softsynth Helm, which works very well as a Linux (LV2) plugin.
The Machinedrum "kits" include many "user waves" that I made with cut-up and normalized snippets from earlier, modular synth tracks, transferred to the MD using MIDI sample transfer and converted to 12 bit sound files.

- tom moody

January 27th, 2017 at 9:41 am

Posted in music - tm

a couple of YTs

Tomorrow's link rot, but here goes:

The 1995 song "My Conservative Girlfriend," by the Foremen, anticipates the Donald Duck meme (hat tip PR): [YouTube]

Algorithmically recommended to me by the world-straddling soul destroyers at GoogleYouTube, who are sucking every fiber of attention away from the rest of the internet [/exculpatory rant], this amusing demo shows "Barry Beats" chopping up some '70s and '80s vinyl to make new tunes: [YouTube]

Cornwall's answer to DJ Premier, Barry Beats, takes on the legendary Rhythm roulette challenge and quite literally smashes it to microbes. Watch as Barry rummages sightless through the racks of Camborne Record (and smoking paraphernalia) shop 'Lost in music'.
Then follow him back to his tiny studio where his blind finds are revealed.
Marvel as Barry chops and snips his way through a whole heap of hair, keeping it super funky at all times, finally to reveal a stone cold Barry Banga, not to mention some dubious dance moves!!!!

Sorry about the ads.

- tom moody

January 27th, 2017 at 8:51 am

Posted in general

the face of resistance

It's not fair to smirk at a million person march because of a few narcissists but they do seem pretty prevalent in this photo (cropped from a less diplomatic Nina Illingworth meme; that's her cat in the upper left). The presence of the upward-failing John Kerry makes the event seem like compromised Dem politics-as-usual. As one internet commenter put it, "a million people is impressive: I hope you had fun and have lots of good memories."

- tom moody

January 26th, 2017 at 7:34 am

Posted in art as criticism

the real stuff, please

Naked Capitalism's Lambert Strether goes into depth on the Trump "Russian dossier" issue, which I'm not that interested in. Lambert's conclusions are worth quoting at length, though:

It would be nice, wouldn’t it, if our famously free press was actually covering the Trump transition, instead of acting like their newsrooms are mountain redoubts for an irrendentist Clinton campaign. It would be nice, for example, to know:

1) The content and impact of Trump’s Executive Orders.

2) Ditto, regulations.

3) Personnel decisions below the Cabinet level. Who are the Flexians?

4) Obama policies that will remain in place, because both party establishments support them. Charters, for example.

5) Republican inroads in Silicon Valley.

6) The future of the IRS, since Republicans have an axe to grind with it.

7) Mismatch between State expectations for infrastructure and Trump’s implementation

And that’s before we get to ObamaCare, financial regulation, gutting or owning the CIA (which Trump needs to do, and fast), trade policy, NATO, China, and a myriad of other stories, all rich with human interest, powerful narratives, and plenty of potential for scandal. Any one of them worthy of A1 coverage, just like the Inaugural crowd size dogpile that’s been going on for days.

Instead, the press seems to be reproducing the last gasps of the Clinton campaign, which were all about the evils of Trump, the man. That tactic failed the Clinton campaign, again because volatility voters weren’t concerned with the niceties. And the same tactic is failing the press now. Failing unless, of course, you’re the sort of sleaze merchant who downsizes the newsroom because, hey, it’s all about the clicks.

- tom moody

January 23rd, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Posted in general

a new nickname

Walking across lower Manhattan, I passed a man with a loud, mellifluous speaking voice and a microphone, addressing people on the street: "I told you not to vote for Donald Duck, and you didn't listen to me, and now he's taking away your health care."
So far it's just the hated individual mandate but "Donald Duck" -- that's a good one.

- tom moody

January 22nd, 2017 at 11:53 am

Posted in general

three takes on the inaugural address

From the RSS reader, three reactions to the Trump inauguration speech, two worthless and one fairly insightful:

Village Voice journalist-turned-Clinton-zombie Joe Conason thinks Trump is still fighting the campaign and is shocked, shocked by Trump's appeal to "anger." Lefty bloggers used to call this "pearl-clutching" or "fainting couch" behavior, where a comfortable Washington insider can't understand how someone could hate his guts.

Juan Cole calls the speech "a chain of falsehoods, saber-rattling and scary Neofascist uber-nationalism" and oh-so-cleverly translates it from the "original German" of the 1930s to the America of 2017. This all seems a tad ... overwrought ... if you actually saw the speech.

Corey Robin compares Trump's inaugural address with Reagan's 1980 equivalent. Now we're getting somewhere!

[T]here’s an interesting contrast to be drawn in how Reagan and Trump summon the people. Both men make much of the people as against the government. But where Reagan is very clear that government needs to get out of the way so that the people’s native talents and genius and initiative can flourish [speech excerpt] Trump construes the people differently. They are either the objects and beneficiaries of government action -- specifically, Trump’s actions -- or they are partners with the government [speech excerpt]

That sounds more like FDR or JFK than Hitler but the angry, fascist talk is more fun and soothes our woes at the loss of the noble, misunderstood Clintons. *sob*

- tom moody

January 21st, 2017 at 11:21 am

Posted in general

social media and "scenius"

An artist emailed asking for recommendations of theorists on art and social media. He's interested in the idea of an art based on collective intelligence and feels that Facebook and Twitter would be the logical place to look for such networks, given those platforms' "relative ubiquity." The idea of the hive mind has been with us since before the cyberpunk era (see Theodore Sturgeon's books More Than Human and To Marry Medusa) and could even be traced back to the collective wisdom of the twelve-person jury system. In the artistic context, Brian Eno used the term "scenius," which Simon Reynolds applied to the mostly anonymous DJ-producers who rapidly built on each other's discoveries and group-innovated musically in the jungle/drum and bass era. It's a real phenomenon and not inherently to be laughed off with Borg jokes, but one might still balk at Facebook and Twitter being a place to find it. Here's the skeptical reply I sent:

Geert Lovink ( http://networkcultures.org/geert/ ) is one a few writers on this topic but he's mostly negative on the "big soclal media" (facebook and twitter) and I agree.
I understand the urge to use twitter for art-as-social-experiment but even *you* are hosting the results [of your art project] on an independent site (that is, not Facebook or Twitter).
For me, the big sites are too controlled to be a place for meaningful art activity (controlled as in monitored, policed, relentlessly monetized) and also too large for any one theorist to grasp.
We'd like to think an art could emerge from places where so much of the world spends so much of its time but I feel it's doomed at the outset because the hosts -- the masters -- are essentially soulless tech zombies. I'm interested in the idea of "the occult" and "the underground" that exists outside those platforms, almost by virtue of being non-participants.

There were some early attempts to curate Twitter (am thinking of Travis Hallenbeck's book Twitter Favs) and journalists regularly mine and massage collections of tweet screenshots as an indicator of group or mass opinion. I see less Facebook screenshotting but it may be because "everyone is on Facebook" and feels what's on there is always accessible, even though it's not. Whatever scenius is, it's not mere demographics; what we're looking for is cults, in the sense of a shared aesthetic, and Twitter unquestionably has them (spend five minutes looking at anyone's followers, and followers of followers). The question is how to cull them and make sense of them, ideally non-algorithmically, in an environment increasingly larded and confused with ads, promotions, and scams. Am admittedly not up to the task and would just rather look elsewhere on the still-wide Internet.

To be precise, this particular artist wasn't looking for Twitter cults but had a project somewhat akin to Amazon Mechanical Turk-like employment of Twitter users for aesthetic ends. Am personally not a fan of these kinds of overdetermined tech art schemes, which seem inevitably to cross over to venture capitalist/incubator notions of technological-innovation-for-profit.

- tom moody

January 21st, 2017 at 8:48 am

Posted in theory

not dark

It continues to amaze that so-called progressives are comfortable aligning themselves with the worst so-called Deep State elements fighting the incoming administration. Consider Trump's recent interview where he spoke about Europe, Russia, and the "obsolete" NATO. Depending on who you read, this was the kid pointing out the emperor's nakedness (Antiwar.com) or a kid, period (LobeLog). How aggressive will Trump be about altering US security priorities (if at all)? Quite a few well paid defense contractors seem nervous about #J20 -- it's not just the angry art galleries and websites who are "going dark" today.

Apropos of #J20 and #J20ArtStrike, this Archdruid essay (hat tip m.po) roots some of the Trump angst in pure class snobbery. A president who wears a ball-cap must be "illegitimate." Regarding indiscriminate use of the I-word, see Benjamin Studebaker.

- tom moody

January 20th, 2017 at 9:33 am

Posted in general

"Working Lurker"

"Working Lurker" [mp3 removed -- please listen on Bandcamp]

Beats: Elektron Machinedrum (these were not made by the previous owner -- they are step-keyed by yrs truly)
Softsynths: Loomer Aspect, Calf Monosynth
Recorded and arranged in Ardour (Linux version)

Am a few songs shy of the ten needed for Generic PC (Vol. 6), so this is the next installment.

Generic PC (Vols. 1-5) are available for modest prices on Bandcamp.

- tom moody

January 19th, 2017 at 7:43 am

Posted in music - tm