Tangents (installation, Surprise, Conniff)

Quick Links, News and Good Reads: (1) Ceal Floyer‘s third solo gallery show in New York, at 303 Gallery, includes a piece in which “a few seconds of a song pass back and forth between two CD players, forward on one, backward on the other, creating what sounds like different expressions of assent” (nytimes.com, 303gallery.com). … (2) From Matmos, a Quicktime movie (MOV) about the 10 profiles that comprise their new album, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast. … (3) Aphex Twin is among the anachronistic contributors to the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola‘s forthcoming film, Marie Antoinette (timesonline.co.uk) … (4) Interview with Warp Records founder Steve Beckett on the word “electronica” (“I never liked the term and I’ve never used it”) and more (japantimes.co.jp). … (5) For the first time, the Madrid Abierto is making “a specific call for sound works” (and for audio-visual works), says the 2007 exhibit’s curator, Juan Antonio Alvarez Reyes (madridabierto.com) … (6) Craigie Horsfield will have a sound installation when “Ideal City, Invisible Cities” opens in Zamosc, Poland, on June 18 (idealcity-invisiblecities.org). … Createdigitalmusic.com has great coverage of (7) E3 (link), (8) Cybersonica (link, link), (9) a proto-Wii sound-baton (link) and (10) the potential of the Wii itself (link).

… Disquiet Heavy Rotation: Favorite listening of late includes the track “Wartime Prayers” off the new Paul Simon album, Surprise. You’d have to be living in a cave to not know it was produced by Brian Eno. Except that it wasn’t produced by Eno. The album lists Simon as the producer and credits Eno with its “sonic landscape.” (Eno also cowrote the lyrics to three of the songs.) And though it’s easily Simon’s best album since Graceland, the pairing of Simon and Eno is far less surprising than many have made it out to be. Simon and Garfunkel were among the more acoustically experimental of the folk groups of the 1960s; prog band Yes made a cover of their “America” one of its earliest singles; and it was Eno and Daniel Lanois‘ experience working with U2 that led U2’s Bono to recommend Lanois to Bob Dylan. Those Lanois-Dylan collaborations (Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind) are what Surprise often brings to mind, with its mesh of pointlilist guitar forming an abstract blues.

… Quote of the Week: “What was interesting about Ray Conniff was it was music as environment. It was an attempt to say, ‘What’s important here isn’t the tune, it isn’t the beat, all those sorts of things; it’s this beautiful sound.'” That’s Brian Eno, quoted in The Thrill of It All, a new biography of the band Roxy Music. (Thanks for the reference, Eric.) The quote brings to mind a moment in the book Tropical Truth by Brazilian legend Caetano Veloso, who describes Ray Charles as “the bluesman who brought together tradition and pop, whose singing was Nat King Cole‘s turned upside down (while Johnny Mathis was like the varnish on its polished surface).”

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