Saturday, May 30, 2015

mouth music (digital maximinimalism)




"A 480 are vocal pieces. All the sounds are sourced from the 'voice' and confront the nature of the voice in the age of data. The virtual choirs are convoluted versions of actual recorded singers that have been unpersonally sourced, downloaded, then disembodied, disfigured, and displaced over forty times, finally reappearing here through a convoluted process of digital reincarnation. Hopefully this work is not their final destination.

"The voices are curationally divided into short loops of different lengths in an audio loop program and played at different speeds across 4 different channels. Slight temporal variations fade in and out over time in constant flux, occasionally pausing for immersion in a pulse chamber before it moves onto another. The length of the looped samples are adjusted one at a time— lengthened and shortened, and at times switched out altogether, to reveal how seemingly minute temporal variations have impactful effects on overarching rhythm, melody, and energy."

the voice unvoiced, the mouth unmouthed... breath uninspirated



Thursday, May 28, 2015

mouth music (synthesised speech)



"In Celebration" analysed






"Recorded on September 16, 1980 at the International Festival of Electronic Music, in Stockholm, Sweden, pianist Kerstin Åberg, performs Charles Dodge’s “Any Resemblance Is Purely Coincidental”, a work for tape and solo piano. According to the composer: «The tape part is based on computer restoration and re-synthesis of the 1907 recording of the legendary Enrico Caruso singing "Vesti la giubba" from Ruggero Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci" (1892). In the course of the work the voice searches for an accompaniment and is heard at different times with the original band, with electronic sounds, with copies of itself, with the live piano, and with combinations of them all. There is a surrealistic, dreamlike aspect to these apparent dislocations. The initial efforts are humorous; as the work progresses other emotions come into play. The title of the work recalls the standard disclaimer from FBI television dramas of the 1950's. I chose it when assured by RCA Records that I could use the computer renderings of the legendary voice if I made no attempt to exploit Caruso's name or visual likeness. "Any Resemblance Is Purely Coincidental" was commissioned by the Arts Council of Great Britain in 1980. The computer renditions of the Caruso voice were made by digital signal processing pioneer Thomas Stockham and his student Neil J. Miller at the University of Utah in the early 1970's. The work is dedicated to the memory of Margaret Fairbank Jory, who was executive director of the American Music Center at the time that I was its president"









Charles Dodge talks about his Speech Songs at Perfect Sound Forever







 (Realization of Samuel Beckett's Radio Play)

Charles Dodges on Synthesized Speech Music

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

mouth music (human and coyote)



"The piece Coyote is the prelude to Shaman, which is about American Indian shamanism. Coyote represents a shaman turning himself into a Coyote and back to human form again. It is made from transformations of the composer's voice, coyote calls, male chorus and electronic sounds, and was made at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in New York" - Alice Shields.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

mouth music (Jamaica)

lotsa  extremism of the human voice on these two fabulous dancehall mixes from the mighty Man like Woebot  - first one slightly more ragga-y and rood, second leaning slightly more to mellowifluous + skankical - wicked blends both of known classics and recondite "persys"



Droid comes up with a tracklist for GPZ7900R, tunespotter supreme that he is

Eek a mouse - ??
Horace Andy - Spying Glass - Wackies 
Tristan Palmer - Spliff tail - Black Solidarity (Storm Riddim)

Michigan and Smiley - Nice up the Dance - Studio One (Real Rock Riddim)
Nicodemus - Dog is Better than a gun - Wild Apache (Shank I Sheck Riddim)
Michigan and Smiley - Disease - Volcano (Diseases Riddim)
Tenor Saw - Golden Hen - Hummingbird (Golden Hen Riddim)
Sophia George - Girlie Girlie - Winner (Girlie Riddim)
Reggie Stepper - Cu Unouh - Techniques (Stalag Riddim)
Nitty Gritty - Hog in a Minty - Jammys (Tempo Riddim)
Super Cat - Si Boops deh - Techniques (Boops Riddim)
Shelly Thunder - Kuff - Music Maker (Kuff Riddim)
Shabba - Roots and Culture - Digital B (Stalag Riddim)
Nardo Ranks - Burrup - Profile
Flourgon - Follow me go dancehall (Rap mix) - Soljie
Cutty ranks - Hitman - Fashion (Fever Pitch Riddim)
Ninjaman & Flourgon - Zig it up - Pickout
Cutty ranks - Pon Pause - Profile
Shabba - Respect - Shang (Hot Milk Riddim)
Tony Rebel - Chatty Chatty - Penthouse (Nanny Goat)
Shabba - Wicked inna bed - Digital B ( Love is not a gamble Riddim)
Marcia Griffiths/Tony Rebel/Cutty Ranks/Buju Banton - Discovery - Penthouse
Wayne Wonder - Id Die without you - Penthouse
Papa San - Hippity Hippity Hop - Powermatic (Sleng teng)
Louie Ranking - No Move (Hip Hop mix) - Massive B
Louie Ranking - Typewriter - Mesa
Supercat - Don Dada (Hip Hop mix) - Columbia
Shabba - Ting a ling (Hip Hop mix) - Epic
Dirtsman - Dance fever (Hip Hop mix) - Gold Disc
Shabba - Caan Dun - Steely & Cleevie (Punanny Riddim)
Capleton - Alms House - Xterminator (Muslim Riddim)
Buju Banton - Batty rider - Rudeboy Kelly (Batty Rider Riddim)
Ninjaman - The World - Volcano
Buju Banton - Mind behind the wind - Penthouse (Mind Behind The Wind)



Friday, May 22, 2015

mouth music news



Mega-expanded 2 CD reissue of the LP Hekura - Yanomamo Shamanism From Southern Venezuela originally released on Quartz Publications in 1980!!!



"Recordings from 1978 by David Toop of Yanomami ritual songs, shamanistic ceremonies, and rainforest sounds. The voices of spirits and animal familiars, ventriloquial illusions of sound in dark spaces, secret spirit languages, the clap of thunder that links shamanic trance with the sleep language of Finnegans Wake... Out of these passages of the everyday, intensity flares like flames caught by a gust of wind. Skin burns or oozes blood, the wind blows up havoc as the spirits move about. Both double CD and LP include 40-page booklet with text and pictures telling the full story of Toop's fascinating journey in 1978 through the Amazon jungle to meet and record the last Yanomami shamans. CD presented in six-page digipak. LP version. Mixed by Lawrence English."



More on David Toop as ethnological explorer and exotica fiend...


Thursday, May 21, 2015

mouth music (false phonemes)


























Continuo on the Tellus audio cassette magazine's issue #22 - False Phonemes: from 1988.

"Extraordinary cassette curated by Ellen Zweig - who incidentaly was working on an adaptation of Raymond Roussel’s ‘Impressions of Africa’ at the time, hence maybe the two Remko Scha tracks being excerpts from this project. ‘False Phonemes’ is based on computerized human voice – ‘cybernetic fleshy abstractions’, says Zweig. So electronicaly processed voices abound in all tracks, complete with drum machine and synthesizers, or merely sound effects. Mark Rudolph succeeds in melting heavily processed enigmatic voices into a coherent ‘voicescape’. The kyrie in Alice Shields’ Mass is so unexpected it’s almost shocking in the context of avantgarde. The Paul Lansky track is a computerized party chatter morphing into an electronic hymn. Ron Kuivila is electroacoustic music from human voice samples. John Cage is reading through his beloved Thoreau once again – multitracked low, hushed and inscrutable voices."

Entire cassettography of Tellus available at Ubuweb!



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

mouth music (woman to woman)



mouth -  Anais Nin
music - Louis & Bebe Barron 



Friday, May 15, 2015

mond muziek (vrouwelijke)








the last track also from the John Leidecker selection  of electronic women composers

Tera de Marez Oyens interviewed


mouth music (women only)



via this great audio-annotated selection  of electronic / concrete music by female composers, curated by John Leidecker aka Wobbly, originally for KPFA, the  Berkeley, California radio station, but archived at UbuWeb.  The show is in two parts; Alice Shields is in the first one, but mouth music crops up regularly in both selections. Like this ...



Well, I think it's music of mouthly origin

And this one, which definitely is





Joan La B is also in there, but with a piece that's not on YouTube




And Ruth Anderons's "DUMP" is in there - not on YouTube but this other plunderphonic voice-collage is:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

past shock versus future rush

I was just about to post some old ardkore clips, on the grounds that the general election echoed '92's sickening-surprise, Shy-Tory-caused Tory triumph (talk about "past shock").

Then I saw Mark Fisher comin' on strong with another great K-punk post whose opening gambit is that 2015 turned out to be:

"a re-run of 1992... except, this time, it is 1992 without Jungle. It’s Ed Sheeran and Rudimental rather than Rufige Kru"

(Meanwhile, there's the news that Chuka Umunna, who's just announced his back-to-Blair candidacy as the next leader of Labour, used to be a jungle fan and a UK garage DJ. Not so much New Labour as Nuum Labour).



So many ideas in the K-punk post....

The bit about "everything seen through a downer haze… “Mostly you self-medicate” … comfort eating and bitter drinking …. What’s your poison?" and the quote from Lara Oldfield Ford ("valium scored for a few quid in the pub... the pharmaceuticals industry is one of UK Plc’s biggest success stories... as prescriptions for anti depressants are kept on repeat") made me flash on something else from the Nineties:

"I'm thinking, what can I do, really do for the emancipation of working people in this country, shat on by the rich, tied into political inaction by servile reliance on a reactionary, moribund and yet still unelectable Labour Party?," muses Brian. "The answer is a resounding fuck all. Getting up early to sell a couple of [political pamphlets] in a shopping centre is not my idea of the best way to chill out.... I think I'll stick to drugs to get me through the long, dark night of late capitalism."



That's from "A Smart Cunt", the novella included in Irvine Welsh's The Acid House, published in 1994. The scene in question sees Brian, Welsh's most autobiographical protagonist, encountering a left-wing militant who tries to recruit him.  Brian observes in passing that his politicized acquaintance looks bright and bushy-tailed and for a moment he toys with the idea of getting politically involved, not in the hopes of actually achieving change, but purely for the short-term benefits to morale, outlook and physiological well-being. Joining the movement as just another, better, mood-elevating drug.

The anti-depressive effects of belief, solidarity, and a sense of going somewhere, are what K-punk sees at work in the surge for the SNP:

"That popular enthusiasm – an enthusiasm that capitalist realism is set up to prevent emerging – is the rushing in of something that, for a long time, there hasn’t seemed to be any glimmer of in England: the future."



Mark makes another intriguing argument when talking about the role of culture in fostering and fomenting a sense of change and possibility, which he frames as a vital form of indirect action, through the generation of "new narratives, figures and conceptual frames".

"By first of all imposing a particular set of narratives, figures and frames which it then naturalised, capitalist realism hobbled what Jason Read identifies as... 'our faculty to reorder differently the images, the thoughts, the affects, the desires and the beliefs that are associated in our mind, the phrases that come out of our mouths, and the movements that emanate from our bodies.'... The reordering of images, thoughts, affects, desires, beliefs and languages plainly cannot be achieved by “politics” alone – it is a matter for culture, in the widest sense. Seen from this point of view, the locking of popular culture into repetition...  is therefore a very serious problem. Popular culture’s incapacity to produce innovation is a persistent ambient signal that nothing can ever change."

Then again, thinking back to when "the persistent ambient signal" of UK pop culture was all about change and the future - i.e. the rave late 80s/ first-two-thirds-90s  - it's not clear how these affects translated into political energy.

Unless we see it as vaguely contributing to the confident sense of expectation and the time-for-modernity mood that led to the New Labour landslide. After all, despite their Britpop alliance, NuLab opted for the non-retro uplift of this pop house anthem as their campaign theme song in '97.




Of course, 2015 is different from 1992 in one huge way - which is that Major's surprise victory was the fourth Conservative win in a row (1979, 1983, 1987...). Whereas 2015 is only the second, and that's if we even count the hung parliament of 2010 as a win... So really the despair ought not to be as profound as it was in '92 (I remember the stunned disbelief as the results came in like it was only yesterday)...

Then again, many on the Left don't count New Labour as real Labour, so there is a sense of an unbroken post-socialist consensus for 36 years. Electorally, at any rate, and as regards England.



As Mark notes, maybe there's such a thing as political retromania too.

The same battle lines as in the '90s, the '80s, the '70s...

Same underlying intractably pitted interest groups and inertial attitudes and divisive issues - public spending, devolution and Scottish nationalism, Europe - In or Out?, immigration.

Pundits irresistibly comparing the results to 1992, or 1983, or...

Not the Future, but the Past "rushing in", like a gust of stale wind.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Friday, May 08, 2015




"The pound surged instantly after the exit poll..."

"Pound Jumps as Early Results Point To..."

"The British Pound has soared following..."

"The effect on financial markets was electric..."

"Sterling has a spring in its step..."

"Pre-election jitters calmed as markets look chill as fuck..."

"Money is over the moon as... "

Thursday, May 07, 2015

And another great K-punk post, "Pain Now" - on dejection as deactivation strategy, a long term project of indirect voter suppression

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Welcome reactivation of K-punk with two  provoking posts about the U.K. election -   Limbo Is Over and Communist Realism . Another two are promised before Election Day!

See also Mark Fisher's new archive repository Spectres of Mark  with recent deposits about Sleaford Mods and The Americans.

1986 AND ALL THAT

The Bad Music Era (84-85-86) Theory proven true by science!

Or at least, 1986 shown to be the most musically dull year on record.

"With help from music website Last.fm and using the US Billboard Hot 100 as its source material, the scientists employed cutting edge methods including signal processing and text-mining to analyse the musical properties of songs. Their system automatically grouped 17,000 hit songs by patterns of chord changes and tone allowing researchers to statistically identify trends with what they believe is an unprecedented degree of consistency.... 

The study found that 1986 was the least diverse year for the charts, a fact the researchers attribute to the sudden popularisation of drum machines and sampling technology. Harmonic and rhythmic diversity declined as the metronomic, club-inspired beats of the Pet Shop Boys’s West End Girls, the rigid synthesised percussion of Janet Jackson’s biggest hits and the dance production trio of Stock, Aitken & Waterman took over the charts. In rock music too, stadium rock, defined by huge snare drums, wailing guitar solos and crunching power chords drove out the relative melodic sophistication of previous bands. The authors single out “the gated reverb effect famously used by Phil Collins on In The Air tonight, 1981” as an example of the thunderous drum sound copied by every rock band."

Hefty pinch of salt required, perhaps, given that Janet Jackson is shoved absurdly alongside all the other evidence-against-86. Could it be that some rockist bias distorted the research methodology? Or not even a rockist bias: I doubt if they had a filter for "rocks hard" or a metric for levels of thrillingly graunchy guitar distortion; the emergence of  heavy metal does not apparently fare well from the analysis.  It's more like there's a slant in favor of criteria of harmonic and melodic divertissement that are not fundamental to or particular to rock (as if the ghost of Ian MacDonald was steering the research) .

It should also be noted that during the Bad Music Era, the drum machine / sequencer free and gated-drums devoid Indie Charts (then ruled by Americana, shambling bands, sub-R.E.M. college rock, shandy-weak C86, psychobilly, and second-wave Goth)  were even more dire than the pop charts, which did have things like Janet and Prince and Def Jam spicing it up. 

One interesting conclusion from the study  (which in another bias / limitation, is based on the Billboard Top 40, not the UK charts) is that alongside 1964 and 1983, a peak year for pop is deemed to be 1991: owing to “the rise of hip-hop, rap and related genres, as  exemplified by the music of Busta Rhymes, Nas, and Snoop Dogg, who all use chords particularly rarely”. 

Friday, May 01, 2015

WHEN MATES MAKE BOOKS

Michaelangelo Matos has a new book out -  The Underground Is Massive: How Electronic Dance Music Conquered America - published by Dey Street Books / Harper Collins. Buy it here.



Here' s my blurb for it: 

The Underground Is Massive is the richly researched, vividly detailed chronicle that America’s electronic dance culture has long deserved. Essential reading for scene believers and curious onlookers alike”



Los Angeles residents! Come to Skylight Books, Los Feliz, next Friday evening to hear me and Matos dialogue about the book. 


Time: 7. 30 pm
Date: May 8th 
Address:  1818 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027