Tangents (ballet, circuitry, Ghazala)

Quick Links and News: (1) At this year’s Fringe Festival, the Scottish Ballet presented Acrid Avid Jam, revisiting the 2001 work set to music by Aphex Twin (link). The company returned to Aphex’s music this year in a new work, The Pump Room, choreographed by Scottish Ballet director Ashley Page; the piece was a remix by Nine Inch Nails. This latter program also includes a work set to “Apollo” — Igor Stravinsky‘s, not Brian Eno‘s (link). … (2) The six-member troupe Pilobolus is touring a work, titled “Day Two,” reportedly featuring music by Brian Eno and Talking Heads (link). … (3) Introducing the Magnetic Acoustic Device, which is “capable of aiming sound precisely for thousands of feet — like the sonic equivalent of a laser” (wired.com). … (4) A motion-sensitive remote control for your iPod (link), via tuaw.com. … Via makezine.com: (5) circuit-bent video games (link), (6) a $100 synthesizer kit (link) and (7) an online community and virtual museum focused on the ReBirth RB-338 synthesizer (rebirthmuseum.com). The ReBirth site could be viewed as semi-instant nostalgia, but it’s better to keep in mind how quickly the tools of music-making have changed over the last decade. … (8) Tristan Perich‘s forthcoming release, reportedly due out on the Cantaloupe label, will come in a CD case, but there will be no CD. Instead, there will be a tiny bit of circuitry, which will produce music (onebitmusic.com). … (9) R.I.P., R.L. Burnside, deep-woods bluesman, born in 1926, whose work on the Fat Possum label inspired a new generation of fans and musicians, and whose 1998 album, Come On In, set his hard blues against electronic-flavored production by Tom Rothrock. He died on September 1. … (10) Still no search return (in English) for composer Luc Ferrari, an early proponent of musique concrete, at news.google.com.

… Good Reads: (1) Musician-inventor Reed Ghazala believes that hyphen between the two words is unnecessary. He coined the term “circuit-bending” to describe the artful exploration of the unintended consequences of electronic music-making. He has now published a book on the subject, Circuit-Bending: Build Your Own Alien Instruments (Wiley), and a full chapter is available as a free download (PDF). … (2) Musician Scanner, aka Robin Rimbaud, wrote an overview of his own work for an issue of M/C Journal, which is available online: “If an accent suggested a certain class, age or attitude,” he asks at one point, “then how suggestive was the raw sound around these conversations, how influential was the location where each conversation was held?” (link). … (3) In a case of oversimplification or misreading, perhaps being just plain uninformed, the volume’s introduction offers the following: “Robin Rimbaud’s ‘Scan and Deliver’ also considers the constructive properties of the scan. Finding that the scan inevitably uncovers much superfluous information, Rimbaud constructed soundscapes from the excess data, discerning useful patterns from what is otherwise ostensibly random noise.” While he’s worked with field recordings, the sounds that Rimbaud most famously rips from the airwaves are anything but random noise; they’re spoken voices (link). … (4) Writer Simon Reynolds helpfully surveys the Aphex Twin‘s recent analog material in the Village Voice (link). … (5) Mark Richardson suggests a playlist, based on the theme of the guitar in electronic music (pitchforkmedia.com).

… Select New Releases: (1) Evan Parker Electro-Acoustic Ensemble‘s The Eleventh Hour (ECM) is one of three new albums that the label says “offer fresh interpretations of the concept of ‘ambient music’ from independent perspectives.” … (2) Icelandic sensation Sigur Ros returns with Takk… (Geffen). … (3) Luomo‘s Vocalcity (Huume Recordings) sees re-release, previously on Force. … (4) Merzbow unleashes some more noise on Senmaida (Blossoming Noise). … (5) The compilation Latin Travels 2 (Six Degrees) features Latin, Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music, including a remix by Mark Pistel (of Consolidated). … (6) Bloc Party‘s Silent Alarm Remixed features mixes by M83, Mogwai, Four Tet and others (Vice). … (7) Jazzanova is the latest act sent to raid the Blue Note jazz label’s archive, on Blue Note Trip: Lookin’ Back & Movin’ On. However, it appears to be a compilation, not a mix; among the objects of Jazzanova’s affection: Tina Brooks, Sam Rivers, Lee Morgan. … (8 – 11) The latest editions in the Director’s Label (directorslabel.com) series of DVDs focus on work by Anton Corbjin (videos for David Sylvian, Joy Division, Depeche Mode), Jonathan Glazer, director of Sexy Beast (videos for Radiohead, UNKLE, Massive Attack), Mark Romanek (videos for Nine Inch Nails, Beck, Sonic Youth) and Stephane Sednaoui (videos for Tricky, Bjork, Massive Attack).

… Disquiet Heavy Rotation: (1) The title cut off Snow Borne Sorrow, by David Sylvian and Steve Jansen (both formerly of Japan) and Burnt Friedman, moves from nearly arrhythmic static to expertly confined jazz like it’s as natural as turning a corner. The trumpet on the track is courtesy of Supersilent player Arve Henriksen. The album, which also features Ryuichi Sakamoto, is due out in exactly a month, on October 11. … (2) Last week was a light one in the Downstream, but the Babelcast in particular needs to be heard (link), as it mixes of-the-moment political commentary with digital effects.

… Quotes of the Week: Never let it be said that Scratch, the great hip-hop bimonthly magazine, which just celebrated its year anniversary, won’t listen to both sides of a debate, even when the subject is the collectibility of old vinyl. The following two quotes, both from fine producers, appear in the September/October 2005 issue of the magazine (though not online). Mathematics, of Wu Tang: “As far as making beats, I know some cats are selling records these days for, like, $80 just because DJ Premier used it once. I’m not crazy on going to get those records because somebody already used them.” Just Blaze: “To find a classic hip-hop record from over the years, to find a mint 12-inch pressing is like having a piece of history, so I’ll pay $200 for that.”

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