Amoeblog

Watering (Down) the Avant-Garden: Pierre Henry and Sampling

Posted by Charles Reece, July 20, 2009 10:35am | Post a Comment
Unpredictable, Opening Concert 25.1.2008, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin.

The recent issue of The Wire caught up with one of the fathers of sampling, musique concrète maestro Pierre Henry. He's been down on the contemporary state of electronic music for awhile. The article begins with a quote from a 1997 interview:

"Today I feel less inspired[.] We're living at a time where everything is controlled, planned and codified and even popular music isn't popular any more, it's imposed upon us."

And he's not any more positive now:

"I think it's a big mistake to call today's music electronic music[.] People do things with computers and samples but it's not the same approach as the way I work, or how Karlheinz Stockhausen worked in his electronic pieces. There is not the same craft, and it's not progress."

Suggesting by implication that the sound collages of El-P, the world creation of Tod Dockstader, Matmos' technological music, or even Björk's omnivorous use of the sounds she finds do not involve a high level of craft just seems wrong-headed to me. The "problem" was better stated in the older interview: codification. When a revolution takes place, there will then follow a prolonged period in which people work under the new order. Not everyone can be Chairman Mao (nothing's more ironic and true in this regard than Maoism -- the revolutionary figure par excellence was used as the ultimate criterion by which the subsequent potential equality of all others was to be judged). Thanks to the revolution of Mssrs. Henry, Stockhausen, Varese and Schaeffer, electronic music has now become a genre, whether Henry likes it or not. Why? Consider Thomas Kuhn's distinction between normal and revolutionary science as they pertain to working within what he called a paradigm:

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WHY DON'T ALL MOVIE POSTERS LOOK THIS GOOD?

Posted by Charles Reece, July 18, 2009 07:00pm | Post a Comment
Over at Ain't It Cool News (I hate typing that out), there is a link to this company Mondo that commissions new posters for a lot of mostly bad movies. Why couldn't Hollywood liven up theater lobbies with this kind of stuff? Here's some of the ones that really stood out:

young frankenstein poster alan hynes
by Alan Hynes, a designer of some great rock posters

cruising poster jeff kleinsmith
by Jeff Kleinsmith, Sub Pop's premier cover artist

lifeforce poster jacob van loon
by Jacob van Loon, not to be confused with this Jacob Van Loon

electraglide in blue poster kozik
by Frank Kozik, famous for his 80s alterna-rock posters and those smoking bunnies

Up & Down: Up (2009) & Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Posted by Charles Reece, July 5, 2009 09:50pm | Post a Comment
up poster pixar

The Plot. Two things struck me about the celebrated elliptical opening sequence of UP, where the young version of Carl, the protagonist, is shown to age and fall in love with Ellie, who remains dead for most the picture: (1) Despite Pixar's raison d'etre, overloaded digital spectacle, what the company excels at is character portraiture. This tends to be done in the first third of their stories, after which the plot kicks in, and I get bored. Unlike Wall-E, however, UP is mostly about Carl just hanging out in his floating house, talking to this chubby little cub scout stowaway, and befriending some linguistically enhanced canines. All of which makes it the best Pixar film to date. (2) Seijun Suzuki and Pixar know something about generic expectations that Steven Spielberg doesn't. Like all moviegoers, my emotions are mechanized, habituated responses to the levers, pulleys and cables of traditional storytelling. Thus, in abstracto, I'll feel elation on cue when the hero risks it all to save those more unfortunate than he, even if the particularities involve an Aryan saving some Jews (a lesson that can be had from Star Wars' appropriation of Triumph of The Will). These 2 and 1/2 hour-long movies of Spielberg's could be cut down to a few, brief sequences leading to the big crescendo, and we'd all still have the same reaction. Much like Suzuki tends to jump cut over the dramatic cliches in his films, Carl meets Ellie, they share similar interests, yadda yadda yadda, she's dead, now her absence structures our understanding of Carl for the rest of UP. Less flippantly worded: poetic resonance isn't based on word count, nor are genre pleasures.

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FAITH RESTORED

Posted by Charles Reece, June 14, 2009 10:53pm | Post a Comment
faith no more angel dust vinyl mobile fidelity

The above is the only remastered vinyl that I've been willing to pay 40 bucks for. What can I say? I'm still a fan, and it makes me pleased as punch to see these guys playing together again. But it's without these two:

faith no more jim martin cowboy hat
     faith no more chuck mosley
Jim Martin                                   Chuck Mosley

I didn't much care about the band after guitarist Martin was given the boot, and still don't. So, here are my favorite songs from the Big Jim-era albums that Faith No More played live at the recent Download Festival in Donington Park, UK:

Introduce Yourself's "Chinese Arithmetic" (coupled with a version of "Poker Face" from someone named Lady Gaga -- she's popular, evidently):


The Real Thing's "From Out of Nowhere":


Angel Dust's "Midlife Crisis":


And while mining the web for info about the reunion, I found this 2005 interview with Metal Hammer (it's still around!), where Roddy Bottom, Billy Gould and Mike Patton dish on their erstwhile guitarist:

Bottum: “Jim Martin had always been very conventional in what he wanted to do with the band, very much a fan of guitar music only and metal specifically. During the recording of Angel Dust it became apparent to both him and us that we were heading in very different directions.”

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DON'T NEED A WEATHERMAN

Posted by Charles Reece, June 7, 2009 10:28pm | Post a Comment
A Kiwi gentleman (hiya, Stevv) pointed me to this online time-waster, the Political Spectrum Quiz, so I figured why not put my results on this here blog. What does being from the South and reading too much Frankfurt critical theory get me? Well, this:


My Political Views
I am a far-left social libertarian
Left: 7.63, Libertarian: 6.57



My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -4.03


My Culture War Stance
Score: -8.04




What do you know? I don't trust big business or big government, just the former a little bit less.

gomer pyle nabors surprise



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