Recommended reading, news, and so forth elsewhere:
¶ Siren Song: Got a message from Hallgrímur Vilhjálmsson informing me that his Russando, a serenade for six German sirens that I wrote about back in April 2009, is being released as a limited-edition vinyl album. Details at tu-134.de, which quotes this part of my review: “Vilhjalmsson’s playful settings and use of stereo to exaggerate contrasts is highly pleasurable. When the sonic aggression of such sirens is diminished by space – that is, when civil-service sounds are rendered civil – what’s revealed is a taut melodic cycle, an inherently minimalist patterning that is immediately comparable to the compositional stuff of Philip Glass and Steve Reich.” The MP3 is still available for free download: ubu.com.
¶ 2010 Continues: C. Reider of vuzhmusic.com has invited folks whose work he enjoyed in 2010 to share some of their favorites, as part of an admirable attempt to get the community of netlabel musicians and supporters to communicate more. Reider contributed to the Disquiet projects Lowlands: A Sigh Collective and Despite the Downturn, the latter of which he singled out as one of his favorites of the year. My response to his request is at vuzhmusic.com, and includes some thoughts on netlabel messaging strategies.
¶ Eastern Silence: The Winter 2010 edition of arteeast.org takes “silence” as its subject. The publication is based in New York, and its focus is “the works of contemporary artists from the Middle East, North Africa and their diasporas.” The issue is guest-edited by Hakan Topal, with contributions by Defne Ayas, Anne Barlow, Regine Basha, Dan Cameron, Aslihan Demirtas, Cevdet Erek, Tony Chakar, and Micah Silver.
¶ BPM Madness: Slow Down is the name of an app that slows down your playlist depending on the speed you intend to drive at. It’s like the Inception app, just literal-minded: lifehacker.com. The whole quantitative nature of BPMs can be easily overvalued. A lot of music has not just the primary beat but also slower, encompassing beats and quicker internalized beats — not to mention songs that change tempo. Wonder how this app compensates for such things. Anyhow, in a year of slo-mo Justin Bieber, the Inception movie score and app, and revived interest in DJ Screw (see frieze.com), the slomo theme continues.
¶ Monster Mash: The New York Times traces the “mash-up” from Charles Ives to Girl Talk: nytimes.com (via artsjournal.com/gap). There seems to be an inherent contradiction in documenting a phenomenon that involves dense simultaneity by highlighting just a handful of individuals over an extended period of time (104 years, in this case).