My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Tangents (Lucier, Sims, boots)

News, Quick Links, Good Reads: (1) An illustrator has taken the concept behind Alvin Lucier‘s “I Am Sitting in a Room” and applied it to his daily self-portraits (snooks.livejournal.com). … (2) The Wild Beast is the name of the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) new music pavilion. It was designed by the Los Angeles-based architectural firm Hodgetts + Fung. Its name comes from this Morton Feldman quote: “I am interested in how this wild beast lives in the jungle — not in the zoo.” An October 1 celebration is planned (calarts.edu). …

(3) Rob Walker has posted an illuminating interview with composer Ezra Sims, as part of his blog nonotes.wordpress.com. The website began as a project related to Walker’s book Letters from New Orleans but has, over time, come to focus largely on a single song, “St. James Infirmary,” which Sims long ago used as the basis for some of his experimental arrangements. As Sims explains:

In the “Sextet,” there is a moment where there’s a little trio — the clarinet, horn, and sax in the slow movement where the horn is playing a version of “St. James” and the sax is playing a version of “Ain’t No more Cane on the Brazos.” And they lay over each other meshing, matching and not matching, you know.
More on Sims, born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1928, and whose work in electronic music dates back to a stint at NHK Tokyo during the Kennedy administration, at ezrasims.com. …

(4) The “Listening Post” exhibit by Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen was the subject of a segment on the radio program California Report on Friday, September 14. Download the full, multi-segment episode (MP3) or stream just the “Listening Post” section at californiareport.org. … (5) According to Wired‘s article on the video game Halo 3, “The new sound engine can deliver up to 100 separate tracks at a time” (wired.com). Let’s see an Xbox 360 port of Electroplankton. … (6) Another music-maker for the Nintendo DS, Jam Sessions (kk.org/cooltools). … (7) Among the technological art and innovations at Wired‘s recent NextFest was Sound Flakes, developed at Tokyo Denki Univertisy and described as a real-world Electroplankton (wired.com, news.digitaltrends.com). … (8) “Throughout the whole of September, all Warp MP3 albums are available at the reduced price of £4.99 at Bleep” (bleep.com). That’s just under seven bucks. … (9) Google Trends has a music-specific tracker. There’s even an “electronic music”-specific subset: google.com/trends. What’s Google Music Trends? “Music Trends is a snapshot of the music that’s popular right now among Google Talk listeners. Every Talk user who has opted in to Music Trends will cast their vote automatically, each time they listen to music on their computer,” says its FAQ. … (10) Tim Gane (of Stereolab) and Sean O’Hagan (of High Llamas) wrote the music for La Vie d’Artiste, a French comedy directed by Marc Fittousi. Video at youtube.com. … (11) Which reminds me: Terry Treachout published a reader’s question back in May, as to whether there’s been a film comedy with a great score (artsjournal.com/aboutlastnight). The most compelling reply came from Lisa Hirsch (irontongue.blogspot.com), who named Carl Stalling for his work in animation. … (12) The Washington Post is ahead of schedule in reporting on the 30th anniversary of Brian Eno‘s Music for Airports (washingtonpost.com). (Thanks, Mike.) … (13) The Batsheva Dance Company‘s Brooklyn Academy of Music performances this coming November will feature work set to music by three studio-as-sanctuary notables: Brian Eno, the Beach Boys and Glenn Gould (nytimes.com, bam.org). …

(14) The Kitchen in Manhattan has an exhibit titled “Between Thought and Sound: Graphic Notation in Contemporary Music,” featuring examples of notation by, among others, Robert Ashley, David Behrman, Cathy Berberian, Earle Brown, Cornelius Cardew, Tony Conrad, Morton Feldman, Jon Gibson, Alison Knowles, Joan La Barbara, Annea Lockwood, Alvin Lucier, Meredith Monk, Gordon Mumma, Steve Roden, Marina Rosenfeld, Michael J. Schumacher, Elliott Sharp, Yasunao Tone, David Tudor, Stephen Vitiello and Christian Wolff. The exhibit was curated by Alex Waterman, Debra Singer and Matthew Lyons (nysun.com, thekitchen.org). There’s also a related concert series. The exhibit runs through October 20. (Thanks, Paul.) … (15) Mark Coniglio is the composer involved in dance company Troika Ranch’s piece Loop Diver, which appears to apply the rigors of loop-based composition to choreography: “If they’re not done perfectly, the piece loses its meaning” (nytimes.com, troikaranch.org). … (16) Dr. Chris Cree Brown creates sound art from Antarctica: “the tranquility in Antarctica can be unfamiliar and, as a consequence, marginally disturbing, ‘especially when exacerbated by the absence of ambient sound'” (scoop.co.nz). … (17) Just opened today at the Bronx Museum is a survey of Quisqueya Henríquez‘s art, including “light/sound works.” It runs through January 27, 2008 (bronxmuseum.org). … (18) Muslimgauze is name-checked in the first issue of Warren Ellis‘ new comic series Doktor Sleepless, which opens with the death of a DJ. … (19) From Sony, a non-directional speaker (engadget.com) and (20) rolling music player (engadget.com). … (21) Video of Tyler Freeman‘s MIDI-controlling pants (engadget.com). …

(22) My car stereo died after four years of continuous use. I replaced it with one that has an auxiliary jack allowing for input from an MP3 player. Such a jack was rare four years ago. Now it’s standard, even on entry-level machines. The jack is much more useful than the iPod connection that also came with the deck. The first song I played on it was the instrumental of Timbaland‘s Snoop Dogg song, “What’s My Name?” — which I will, unfortunately, forever associate with spending six hours at Best Buy on a Sunday. … (23) On Saturday I toured a dozen homes developed by Joseph Eichler north of San Francisco. The open house was a fundraiser for a local hospice. In the home most exquisitely devoid of filigree, with nearly all-white interior, Arvo Pärt‘s Alina was playing on a iPod boombox. … (24) A pair of thoughts about time: (a) It’s easy to keep track of the hours, because every 15 minutes my cellphone makes my iPod or whatever else I’m listening to distort; (b) Digital time is my norm — I couldn’t survive with an analog watch and the sound of “tick tock” brings to mind car hazard lights, not a clock.

R.I.P.: (1) Lee Hazelwood (born 1929), songwriter, singer and Duane Eddy collaborator: “as Mr. Eddy’s co-writer and producer, Mr. Hazlewood helped invent twang-rock by sticking a microphone and an amp in a grain elevator, creating a ghostly reverb effect” (nytimes.com). Hazelwood, best known for having written “These Boots Were Made for Walkin’,” passed away August 4. … (2) Joe Zawinul (born 1932), Miles Davis veteran (In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew), Weather Report cofounder (nytimes, guardian.co.uk). Zawinul passed away September 11.

Heavy Rotation: (1) Various instrumentals off Kanye West‘s new Graduation; he samples krautrock band Can (Ege Bamyasi‘s “Sing Swan Song” on “Drunk and Hot Girls”). … (2) Karlheinz Stockhausen‘s haunting, fractured 1968 work Stimmung (Harmonia Mundi), newly performed by Paul Hillier‘s Theatre of Voices. … (3) The Disquiet Downstream entry of last week was C. Reider‘s take on Alvin Lucier‘s “I Am Sitting in a Room” (disquiet.com).

By Marc Weidenbaum

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