and here’s my remix …
Here, The Echo Nest Senior Software Engineer Aaron Mandel explores the sneaky techniques used by musical spammers to “game the system” in music services — and how we stop them from succeeding.
The Echo Nest knows approximately 2.4 million artists as part of our database of music…
WHAT THE FUCK is a discussion, social and working group developed by members of Thames Valley Plan C. We are open for all to join and our aim is to better educate ourselves and inform the development of our politics and strategy for the coming year. Our current ‘theme’ of readings and…
We’re sat in the darkened breakfast bar of a chain hotel just beyond the Parisian périphérique. Branca, sixty-four years old with greying hair swept back and a slight cloudiness to his eyes suggestive of incipient cataracts, wears a heavy black jacket with half a dozen different pens in the breast pocket. A twilight blue scarf hangs down across a green jumper in rough-hewn wool. The former guitarist in no wave bands Theoretical Girls and The Static, turned composer of epic electric guitar orchestras that once featured the young Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo, wears his black shirt with the collar popped up.
“When free improvisation first broke out – ” he doesn’t so much speak as growl, a throaty east coast drawl with a nicotine rasp like a traction engine ” – mainly starting with Coltrane. I mean, really free improvisation – ” his fingers, usually steepled on the table in front of him, briefly extricate themselves to gesture a little theatrically, shades of the actor he once was, ” – it was interesting,” he concedes, somewhat philosophically. “For instance, there was a really fantastic band called the Art Ensemble of Chicago – I don’t know if they’re still around anymore or not. I mean, oh man, they could blow the roof off the house…”
Read my full interview with Glenn Branca at The Quietus (which now, by the way, includes a reply to some of the comments it received from Branca himself)Tweet
“About twelve minutes into the film, Cespi starts to recall the events leading up to her fugue. The image switches to black and white and we find ourselves in a large conference centre as a deep organ drone enters on the soundtrack with a series of discordant notes added in the middle voice of the keyboard, offset only slightly by a sparse, gentle melody on the piano. As the camera pans across a series of cubicles containing translators for different languages, strings enter tremolando with a grating sound verging on scratch tone. We hear a series ofglissandi played – by the sound of it – using the screw of the violin bow, recalling Helmut Lachenmann. A flutter-tongued flute briefly enters, and the percussion drifts and rolls softly as if somewhere in the distance. It’s only a brief composition, played low in the mix under a number of multilingual voiceovers saying things like, ‘Our computer has also shown us that in the year 2000 it will be almost impossible for men to live on planet Earth’, but in its brief span of minutes this piece showcases several extended instrumental techniques then being popularised by modernist composers like Lachenmann, Krzysztof Penderecki and Luciano Berio, to startlingly atmospheric effect.
The score to Le orme was one of those cited (in numerous interviews) by director Peter Strickland as inspiration for his recent Berberian Sound Studio (it’s name an homage to Berio’s wife, the singer Cathy Berberian). But it was the melancholy opening theme which inspired James Cargill and Trish Keenan of Broadcast in the composition of their own score for Strickland’s film. The principal melody for flute and acoustic guitar is used at several moments in Le orme, its instrumentation evoking the folk records of the time – or perhaps rather the odd combination of folk and easy listening that was becoming a feature of albums of library music at the time. But there is a sadness to it, suitable for that bleak picturesque peculiar to beach resorts out of season, the setting for most of the film. It sounds nostalgic, but with a sort of cloudy, sunken feeling, like a half-forgotten memory.”
Read the rest of my latest Reel Sounds column for Electric Sheep, on Piovani’s score for Le Orme aka Footprints on the MoonTweet
“It’s not often you hear a song like A Little Orchestra’s ‘Josefina’, a song that should be given away free on the NHS to those suffering with stress. Together with Cambridge’s Model Village, the lead track from A Little Orchestra’s new ep is simply sublime.”
“Early on in the latest film by former philosophy teacher Bruno Dumont, Alexandra Lematre’s character (identified only as ‘elle’) takes an in-ear headphone from the pocket of her hoodie and slips it in her ear. We, the audience are never made privy to the music she listens to, but the gesture draws attention to the use of sound in the film.As traditionally defined, there is no music in Hors Satan – no silken Hollywood strings, no pop songs, no diegetic performance, no non-diegetic score. Even the kind of sonic re-structuring usually handled by a sound editor is missing, for Dumont did not hire one.
No music, nor very much dialogue either – and most of what there is, is largely inconsequential. But Hors Satan is not a silent film. Far from it. We hear birds tweeting, cocks crowing, leaves rustling, as well as several more revealing sounds – a camera dolly rolling over its track, the wind blowing against a microphone.
In an interview with Jean-Michel Frodon, the director explains, ‘We recorded only live and “mono” sounds. What you hear in the film are the actual sounds recorded during shooting. I didn’t alter or re-record them. I wish some noises weren’t there, but I kept them anyway, stoically… The sound material is very rich and untamed. Therefore, when there is a moment of silence, you can feel it loud and clear.’
At one moment, after it has been raining, we hear water running over a corrugated iron roof and falling to the ground. The two main characters pause in their journey to watch and listen, and we listen with them. These characters frequently take time out to simply stand still and pay attention to some ambient sound. And even in their absence, the camera will likewise pursue such sounds to their sources, which become, in the process, a character like them. Sound – and a certain quasi-musical attentiveness to sound – thus subjectivizes, and in so doing constructs an audience that will be willing, like the film’s characters, to offer a certain attentiveness toward sounds, to give them time, without preconceptions.”
Read the rest of my latest Reel Sounds column, about Bruno Dumont’s Hors Satan, at Electric Sheep Magazine.Tweet
Inventors of Fantastic and Alien Tongues
Known among hobbyists and linguists as “conlangs,” constructed languages have a long history including Klingon, Na’vi and Dothraki languages —created by UCSC/UC Berkeley alum Marc Okrand, Paul Frommer and UCSD linguistics alum David Peterson, respectively.
All three can’t emphasize enough how important considerations of culture, environment and even biology are to their language creations. The four-fingered Na’vi, for instance, have an octal system for counting, not a decimal one. The Klingon surliness and warrior ethos is reflected in their language, and the nomadic horse culture of the Dothraki is in theirs.
What do people who move from place to place call “home”? Could, or should, Klingon have a word for “aspirin”? (Okrand decided that it would be okay for Klingon to have a word for “aspirin.” It means “coward’s medicine.”)
Time and space fold into each other again. New York in 1985, LA in 2013, and in 2025 – the outer reaches of the galaxy, towards Delta Pavonis and Caladan, home planet of the House Atreides. Danny Preston talks to me about weirding modules, “weapons that you hum or shout sound into to create a powerful sound wave that can destroy things.” In Dune, the weirding modules are the secret weapon of the House Atreides. “Some thoughts have a certain sound, that being the equivalent to a form,” Paul Atreides explains to the Fremen as he shatters an obelisk with a single shout through one of the modules, “Through sound and motion you will be able to paralyse nerves, shatter bones, set fires, suffocate an enemy or burst his organs.” Danny tells me he had been thinking about “what kind of power that would have if our influences were played through a module, like putting the Miami Vice theme through a weirding module may be catastrophic.”
Read the full text of my interview with Rainbow Arabia at FACT.Tweet