To the USA, perhaps… But mostly neither here nor there… There’s an interesting flare-up occurring over Moammar Gaddafi’s son Saif’s Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, involving respected political theorists David Held and Benjamin Barber, among others. (See Eric Schliesser for more.) The issues it raises are as old as the oldest profession: universities’ […]
Archive for the ‘SoundScape’ Category
Tim Morton seems not to have liked my comment suggesting that reality is a mix of stability and instability, and that stability is an achievement rather than a default position. The universe, I would say, is an achievement as well. His much-loved (?) lava lamps are achievements, as are Graham Harman‘s Lego blocks. They don’t […]
From the very first moment of hearing Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band’s Trout Mask Replica many years ago, I was hooked. The first crashing guitar chunks of “Frownland” followed by the Captain’s growling happy voice “My smile is stuck, I cannot go back to your Frownland”… When I read Lester Bangs’ lines, they rang […]
It’s difficult to say this, but I’ve decided to – [sob, sniff, sob] – sell my record collection. It took many years building it, though there was also a lot of sifting through and whittling down every time I moved (including two major cross-country moves in the past decade). From what remains (about 900 pieces), […]
If there’s a musical demonstration of relationalism, and by extension (as Skholiast points out) of ecology, it’s the kind of improvised music that the Dead are supposed to have excelled at (and occasionally did). The universe gives rise to many wondrous entities in its long history of spontaneity, relational responsiveness, habit-formation, and form-building. The habits start as rhythms, melodic chirps that turn into territorial refrains and calls, and that gradually maneuvre their way into verse patterns, melodies, harmonies, polyrhythms. Distinct songs develop for particular purposes and gradually get freed from those purposes, taken up into improvisational routines and performances, some of which crystallize into larger-scale architectonics, but only ever temporarily.
And while we’re on a Christian thematic… here are a few beautiful videos set to songs by Sufjan Stevens. Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland: And two more…
There’s something about our time that is very Bergsonian, in the sense that there’s a kind of simultaneous opening up of the past and the future, the former feeding the possibilities of the latter. At the same time as new technological tools propel us ever forward on trajectories of embodied interactivity (the internet, iPod-iPhone-iPad, YouTube, Facebook-Twitter, etc.), recording technologies (those that preserve something of the present for the future) combine with technologies of retrieval (those that unlock the past, from historical and archaeological tools to sampling technologies, about which see Copyright Criminals) to enable an ever deeper digging into and opening up of the past. In the process, the past becomes fuel for the reinvention of ourselves toward the future, this reinvention always taking the form of images — which, for Bergson, are central, the shimmering half-way point between mind and matter. [. . .]
Meanwhile, new films are made from the images of the past. This documentary on “Krautrock,” the German progressive, avant and space rock movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, is quite good: [. . .] The music had its fans at the time (more in the UK than in North America), but the documentary does a great job putting it into the much broader context of post-war Germany, the 1960s, the psychedelic revolution, and all that. And yet somehow it doesn’t feel dated to me; on the contrary, it feels as fresh as tomorrow’s news, because I know there are fans out there, Radiohead generation kids and remixers and whoever else listening to these things and reviving them in ways I wouldn’t have imagined possible back in the days when the music industry seemed like one stifling oligopoly.
None of these are standard History Channel fare. All are products of the internet and MP3-era explosion of musical tastes, one of the cultural victories of our day — the losers being the big music corporations, or at least what they stood for. The corporations themselves are still around, of course, doing the same thing corporations do, and even if they weren’t, they would simply have been replaced by others, made from the same movable parts of the corporate machine. But technology moves forward despite them. [. . .]
Today is National Coal Ash Action Day, as MountainJustice.org reminds us — see the information there on what you can do about it. Meanwhile, Climate Ground Zero reports on a fascinating case unfolding in West Virginia’s coal country, where tree sitters have halted blasting of a mountaintop by Massey Coal company. Climate justice folks have […]
A beautiful piece by improvisational guitarist and deep-sea diver Henry Kaiser, shot somewhere off the coast of Antarctica. (He’s done similar scenes in a couple of Werner Herzog films, Encounters at the End of the World and the sci-fi docu-fantasy The Wild Blue Yonder.) Somewhere around the 7-8 minute mark, I was so overcome with […]
The explicitly ecological piece on Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On was Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), which, like a lot of his music at the time, fuses a clear-eyed realism with an optimistic, gospel-tinged sense of possibility. I’m not sure where this video comes from (or why David Bowie appears in it), but the shots […]