Tangents (Basie, Tenori-On, Triggerman)

Quote of the Week: “It is hard to leave the subject of Minimalism without mention of Count Basie, master of the art of leaving out.” That’s Bernard Holland in his entry as part of a roundup, last week, of the New York Times’ classical-music critics’ take on recorded milestones in minimalism (nytimes.com). The list of composers is repetitive enough (Reich, Adams, Glass, repeat) to constitute a minimalist piece of its own, though Poul Ruders, John Cage and Terry Riley get mentioned, too. But no Michael Nyman, no Janice Gitek, no Arvo Part, no La Monte Young.

News, Quick Links, Good Reads:
David Byrne talks, on his blog, journal.davidbyrne.com, about the learning experience of composing his score for the TV series Big Love: “increasingly I wrote less overtly melodic pieces, and more pieces that could play as underscore and gently create a mood or add some tension without resorting to melodrama. I wrote tunes that were less busy and that tried not to draw attention to themselves.” … Business Week on Theodore Watson‘s interactive video designs that include a human-scale turntable (businessweek.com). More on Watson at his website (muonics.net) and on open-source code he’s working on with Zachary Lieberman (openframeworks.cc, thesystemis.com). … The Last.fm website has teamed with Yamaha to create a web hub for users of the Tenori-On, a musical instrument created by Toshio Iwai, also known for his Nintendo DS cartridge, Electroplankton. … The New Statesman covers sound art: “It helps that technology has finally caught up with the imagination of the artist” (newstatesman.com). … The Disquiet project Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet, which features a dozen remixes based on open-source samples from Brian Eno and David Byrne’s album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, is coming up on its year anniversary, and has been downloaded just shy of 5,000 times as of this writing (disquiet.com, archive.org). … Speaking of Eno, the Nokia 8800 Sirocco Edition has ringtones he composed (mobilebee.com, nokia.com). … The new issue (September/October 2007) of the great magazine Scratch (scratchmagazine.com) has a solid piece by Oliver Wang on the overlap between hip-hop and techno (Kanye West snatching from Daft Punk, Africa Bambaataa having built “Planet Rock” on a Kraftwerk foundationg). There’s also a lengthy history, by Andrew Noz, of the way a sample of single song, the Dragnet-themed “Drag Rap” (aka “Triggerman”), became the wellspring for an entire genre of Southern hip-hop; according to one tally, the Cash Money record label sampled the song 34 times on its first 19 albums. … R.I.P., concert-hall acoustician Russell Johnson (1923-2007), who is quoted in a 1998 interview as having said, “you have to work very carefully to get the silence right”(nytimes.com, latimes.com).

Score Keeper: Cliff Martinez (Solaris, Traffic) is on Vice, by director Raul Inglis. … Clint Mansell (Requiem for a Dream) is on Definitely, Maybe, from director Adam Brooks. … Michael Nyman (The Piano, Gattaca, countless Peter Greenaway productions) is on Genova by director Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People, Code 46). … Jeff Rona (the Traffic TV series) is on Jonna’s Body, Please Hold, by director Adam Bluming. … All via imdb.com.

Heavy Rotation: Kristin Miltner‘s recent album, Grains (Praemedia), is built largely from eviscerated samples of her voice, which is so melodious that even the most purposefully torturous processing can’t erase its inherent appeal. ”¦ At the website of the Getty Museum, getty.edu, there is a significant amount of streaming audio to complement its Evidence of Movement exhibit, a broad-ranging overview of performance-based art, which is on display through October 7, 2007; the “Close Radio” jukebox includes some 111 tracks, including material by Pauline Oliveros and Fluxus figure Allan Kaprow, all drawn from KPFK radio broadcasts between 1976 and 1979. (Via the blog of Jeff LeVine, jefflevine.blogspot.com.) … The Disquiet Downstream entry of the week is Pe Lang‘s single, half-hour drone, available from the Term netlabel (MP3, 12k.com/term, disquiet.com).

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