"Little Infernos"

"Little Infernos" [mp3 removed -- please listen on Bandcamp]

Song made with Tracktion's Waveform digital audio workstation, running on Ubuntu Studio.
Sound sources include:
Eurorack modules: Violin samples granularized in the Qu-Bit Nebulae, filtered in Z-DSP VC-Digital Signal Processor, sequenced with Doepfer A-154/155, then timestretched and further altered in Waveform
Two Waveform Sampler Rack plugins with various beats from my burgeoning ".wav collection"
Arpeggiated 8-bit-ish synths played with the Helm softsynth plugin (LV2 version), running in Ardour, rendered and imported into Waveform

The mood here is creepy, disjointed, and languid.

spudoogle video loop

screenshot of spudoogle twitter video thumbnail -- with one small correction


Have been enjoying Spudoogle's twitter account recently but still have a problem with the way the SVS (Silicon Valley scum) appropriated GIFs to their commercial platforms. It's like in the movie Barton Fink where the cigar-smoking producer tells the East Coast populist playwright he wants "movies with that 'Barton Fink' feeling," then later says "get out of my office, I can get 100 writers who can give me that 'Barton Fink' feeling."
One imagines an SVS getting a neck massage and saying, "we need something like those GIF things the kids are exchanging." And then the tech slaves come up with a typical, locked-in proprietary video format with the word "GIF" superimposed. 100 guys can give them that animated GIF feeling.

It's not spudoogle's fault, he accepts conditions the way they are and rolls with the shoddy resizing, rounded edges, and fake labeling. That's twitter's price for providing an audience for your GIFs.

jack reacher, you are no travis mcgee

If you're stuck in an airport, Jack Reacher novels will kill a few hours but aren't otherwise recommended. Lee Child, the author, conceived the character as a way to make money after he was laid off from his TV job -- a dubious provenance that seems to impress some writers. The runaway success of the franchise gives a reading of the zeitgeist, at least: readers identify with a big tough guy who beats the sh*t out of people who don't ascribe to Hollywood ideals of liberal humanism. Think Billy Jack without the hippies.
Before leaving TV, Child wasn't much of a thriller reader, he admits in an introduction to one of the books, but he found a blueprint in John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series. Like Trav, Reacher is a single, rootless, white knight for hire, except Reacher doesn't do it for money, he just stumbles into these situations where wrongs need rightin'. MacDonald wrote pulp but he had convictions, expressed in long, precocious rants about economics and politics, so engaging they caused the action momentarily to stop dead until the author ran out of gas (MacDonald even joked about this). MacDonald also had a lifelong theme, which was the dark sexual undercurrent in Ozzie and Harriett America: the McGee books first appeared in the early 1960s, around the same time as his novel The Executioners, which became the movie Cape Fear. No pulpster beat MacDonald at describing a nymph or satyr sucking someone's fortune dry.
Child has opinions, too, and they are occasionally well-expressed, but it's hard to trust such a mercenary concoction as Jack Reacher. It all seems focus-grouped. If a villain is a hunter, he doesn't just hunt deer, he lazily picks off armadillos from a truck, justifying the character's eventual humiliation. A stalker of teenage illegal aliens won't simply kill them but must also behead and partially flay them. For a child molester, nothing less than a barn full of abused victims will do.
The karma of the market played an amusing prank on Child, though. In the books Reacher is a 6 foot 5 inch, musclebound, formidable guy in his thirties. In the movie versions he is played by a diminutive egomaniac in his mid-50s.

oculus bereft, or, one gimmick too far

Possibly the most annoying feedback I've received to a written essay was from VRfan (not his or her real screenname) on the late Dump.fm.
I posted a link to The Stubborn Dream of Everyday Virtuality [Internet Archive], a thinkpiece on why we weren't living in The Matrix yet. VRfan apparently didn't read the essay but took the time to post a GIF of a screenshot of someone typing the word "Oculus" into a browser and getting "No Result," within the text of the essay. As if to say, "How could the writing possibly be any good if it doesn't mention Oculus Rift? I rest my case." I pointed out that it was posted in 2011, before Oculus was a thing, and VRfan replied, "Oh."
The date's right on there. If the piece were written today it might include a reference to Oculus as yet another example of the persistence of the virtual reality ideal in the face of public apathy, along with Second Life.
At any rate, VRfan thinks Oculus is important, and so do the curators of the Whitney Biennial (who showed some recent goggles art), despite articles such as Another Price Slash Suggests Oculus Is Dead in the Water, from MIT Technology Review. Read it and weep CGI tears.
(That's not to suggest any wisdom on the part of the marketplace. Likely if Rift is failing it's because people don't want to be torn away from their phones.)