Archive for July, 2008

Miya Masaoka, Joan Jeanrenaud — “For Birds, Planes & Cello”

July 31, 2008

A subtle release for Miya Masaoka’s new label, Solitary B, “For Birds, Planes & Cello” is something of a ‘grower.’ Upon my inital listening session, I could confirm little more than my own piqued interest and the ongoing quality work of Marcos Fernandes, who assisted with the field recording of a San Diego canyon central to this piece.

Throughout the untreated field recording, saturated as it is with the sounds of aircraft and peppered with migratory bird calls, Masaoka calls upon cellist Joan Jeanrenaud to emphasize select frequencies utilizing her extended technique. Curiously, Jeanrenaud is often found mimicking the atmospheric rumblings of jet engines passing overhead, though I would have appreciated a similar instrumental link forged with the birds as well. Whether Masaoka’s choice to identify the cello with the artificial elements of the field recording is a careful and telling commentary, or a simple reflection of the limitations of the instrument, it is difficult to discern.

Nevertheless, choices have been made, and Masaoka wants us to be aware of this… hence Jeanrenaud. Her cello breaks the fourth wall to remind us of the composer’s hand– music is, after all, where we choose to bestow our artistic focus. Within “For Birds, Planes & Cello,” it is the same as picking out shapes in the clouds: “This one looks like a lizard, do you see it as well?”

Impeccable production both in-studio and out feature throughout this disc, though it is the sort best enjoyed at a long and uninterrupted sitting. Listeners expecting some sort of free improv on top of field recordings will do best to avoid; as I’ve explained, that really isn’t the game of this album. Recommended.

Assigned reading material

July 30, 2008

Josh Ronsen’s latest issue of Monk Mink Pink Punk– this being number 15– is yet another fantastic collection of reviews and thoughts about new music for literate-minded folks. I love Ronsen’s admission about a particular Kenneth Gaburo album, “I am overjoyed that it is now easy to get: I’ve only seen the original CRI release in libraries.”

Libraries, motherfuckers!

But seriously, I encourage you to go check it out, especially the panel question feature: “What is the nature of Avant-Garde Music today (2007-2008)?” I’m throwing my lot in with Bernhard Günter’s response.

George Korein – “Another Corpse”

July 30, 2008

How lovely is it that I can write, “I’ve never heard anything like this before,”? As seems to be his practice, George Korein has upped the weird ante, this time with an album of noisy-ambient corpse-themed program music. Yep, there’s flying corpses who make crash landings, pulsing corpses, and even a pesky encroaching “Rotodrone;” which is one of those you-know-it-when-you-hear-it type of things.

Korein builds these unlikely themes from even more unlikely sounds– piercing electronic tones, dissonant loops of feedback, distorted horns, Helena Espvall’s cello, kissing noises, and a sizeable portion of his own unique approach to guitar. In many ways, the enjoyment of “Another Corpse” is watching Korein keep it all up in the air. Overall, it reminds me of what my old driving instructor used to say, “it’s a series of small adjustments”… well, expect when it isn’t. At times, particularly during the black metal drum pounding of “Pulsing Corpse,” Korein crashes this bizarre vehicle just for the fun of it.

“Another Corpse” does seem to have a bit of structure to it, though, with the somewhat cold and austere beginnings gradually leading towards the introduction of more organic instrumentation. I’m not saying it’s boogie rock, but hey– a shift from the frequency test of “Gleaming Corpse II” towards (gasp!) vocals in “Liftoff” is probably significant. Besides, Korein’s last disc had songs like “Moved By Your Emoticon,” so clearly this cracked genius/800-pound gorilla can go anywhere he damn well pleases.

If that happens to be boogie rock, I’m there.

“Another Corpse” is released as a split venture via Majuma Music and Bat Hot Axe.

Miss High Heel – “The Family’s Hot Daughter”

July 29, 2008

Not sure how seriously I should take this one. With ten members (two synths! two vocalists! two bassists!) who apparently never managed to play on the same stage, “The Family’s Hot Daughter” presents a studio accretion of self-described “ungovernable music” that does more to challenge a listener’s attention than I would have guessed possible by something so outrageously busy.

In all fairness, Miss High Heel had (and I use the past tense because MHH was a one-off project) a lot of good things in their favor– Tom Smith’s able production skills, Jim O’Rourke’s aesthetic, a Scissor Girl, and the entire Flying Luttenbacher lineup of the time. This is a mid-90′s avant-Chicago microcosm! Sounds like a “can’t miss” album, right?

Unfortunately, it’s kind of a bore. Walter does his usual kit-pounding, while Smith and Marlon Magas victimise some helpless microphones with improvised vocals rendered wholly incoherent by virtue of being overdriven. Often using Smith’s death metal-sourced sound collages for a backbone, “The Family’s Hot Daughter” is very difficult to focus on for any length of time– I find my mind wandering off to nearly anything else, the mental equivalent of holding on to a slippery bar of soap. There’s simply too much happening for this mid-fidelity recording to capture what might very have been fascinating in the studio.

On a handful of tracks, some synth or electronics work catches my ear. Of all things MHH, this alone seems to have a sense of purpose, and provides a nice counterpoint to the otherwise-rushed sounds. The liner notes credit Azita Youseffi and O’Rourke with the electronics work, so I’m definitely going to be seeking more in this vein from both of them.

Finally, I do appreciate the pair of live tracks appending the disc, taken from MHH’s early ’96 set at Magnatroid. Although the sound quality is far from spectacular, they give a greater idea of what this unwieldy creature sounded like in the wild– too awkward to live, too beautiful to capture.

Download this, eh?

July 27, 2008

Yesterday’s show went really well, and I was definitely on my game. I’m highly suggesting you download this broadcast. As always, I hope you’ll treat the download as a taste– if you want the real albums, support the artists and labels in the playlist. Thanks! –DaveX

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 7/26/08

July 26, 2008

Sweet Action filched on a promise to play local abstract electronics producer Chaos Kit‘s newest track, so I kicked off the show with it– not my normal thing, but not a bad beginning to this broadcast either. After that, straight into some heavy stuff from Ralf Wehowsky and Anla Courtis, on “Return of the Stone Spirits.” These two do some really good work together, and obviously play off one another’s strengths– RLW’s bizarre streak is a mile wide, and works perfectly alongside Courtis’ shepherding primitive tech back into the light.

Speaking of primitive tech– you should really see the computer we have here at Casa del WDBX. I think it is the world’s last all-wood PC, with the sap-based POS chip. Seriously, manatees get online quicker than this beast. Nevertheless, I’ve pushed on through to do some seriously lovely mixing tonight– more than one person will be quite upset if this broadcast doesn’t survive the recording process. Someday, Southern Illinois will enter the 20th century, and I’ll have a decent net connection… until then, it’s always a craps shoot as to whether there is a recording waiting for me when I return home.

I just noticed that local musician Ryan Oslance will be joining Ahleuchatistas soon. I know full well I was playing their stuff well before anyone in this area– according to my playlists, at least as early as April 2006– I’m thinking I may have to leverage this for a live set here at the station sometime!

Chaos Kit — Primer (Petro Laundry Mix)
Anla Courtis, Ralf Wehowsky — Cristalización espontánea
Anla Courtis, Ralf Wehowsky — Wege zur Besserung der Naturgeister
Anla Courtis, Ralf Wehowsky — Un pequeño hombre gris con cara cuadrada y ojos luminosos
Philip Jeck — Unveiled
Philip Jeck — Chime Again
Philip Jeck — Fanfares
Philip Jeck — Shining
The Gowns — White Like Heaven
Phthalocyanine — Ethiopian Runner
Contagious Orgasm — Heart Station
Philip Glass — Changing Opinion
Philip Glass — Lightning
Joan La Barbara — Shadow Song
Jack Lunetti, Don Brown — Untitled
Grouper — Disengaged
Grouper — Heavy Water
Muslimgauze — Baghdad Mind
John Oswald — Anon
John Oswald — O Hell
John Oswald — 2net
Bernard Parmegiani — Lumière Noire; Moins L’infini
Bernard Parmegiani — Lumière Noire; Instant 0
Bernard Parmegiani — Lumière Noire; Premières Forces – Premières Formes
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 3
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 4
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 5
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 6
72 Desperate Rebels — Untitled 7
Ahleuchatistas — Brilliant Danderkovs
US Maple — Mountain Top
George Korein — Too Many Days

Copyright = 5 years?

July 23, 2008

Andrew Dubber, New Music Strategies blogger, has a lot of folks riled up about copyright– including me. I’d be remiss if I didn’t send some readers his way; the conversation has been fantastically interesting. His idea? Make copyright an opt-in process, with a 5-year timeout, followed by the option to renew. Dubber hopes the renewal process will lead to a greater percentage of works entering the public domain… I just think its going to result in another enormous bureaucratic clusterfuck mis-managing artists’ rights.

I found this hanging outside WDBX. Either the tree lost its pants, or someone lynched a member of Dokken.

I found this hanging outside WDBX. Either the tree lost its pants, or someone lynched a member of Dokken.

In truth, I’m still not exactly certain where I stand with copyright. It seems to me that copyright and art don’t really go together all that well anyway– art and commerce ultimately have very different goals. If I was a businessman, I could definitely understand the value in hoarding everything of any possible use forever. As an artist, I’ve often given things away for free, or at least encouraged their dissemination. Can these be reconciled?

The fear underlying most copyright decisions (or so it seems to me) is that if a big-name artist’s work wasn’t protected, it could be sold out from under their noses by unscrupulous businessmen, de-valuing their work by making it more freely and cheaply available. But hey, isn’t this already happening? As I type this, a quick torrent search reveals more than one Radiohead discography available right now. One has 33 separate albums, in lossless format, and even features scans of some booklets and liner notes!

Yet Radiohead carries on. I’ve yet to see Johnny Greenwood flipping burgers.

Granted, they might have made a lot of their money before such widespread filesharing came into practice. What about newer artists? Honestly, I have no idea. In some ways, I’m just sort of waiting to see how it plays out. My hope is that the ubiquitous availability of any sort of information, at any time, will de-value ownership itself. I know that I have downloaded songs just to avoid the walk downstairs to retrieve the actual record. I’ve downloaded albums I already own to more easily make a copy for my daughter– the de-valuation of ownership is underway.

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 7/18/08

July 19, 2008

This week, I’m a bit more sure of this particular broadcast’s direction– sans Coke, it’s moving into something a bit more methodical than normal. Maybe a little slower? Hard to tell just yet, but I suspect I’m hearing things a little differently. At any rate, it should be fun to compare this playlist to others at the conclusion.

I’m really pleased with this New Haven Improvisers Collective disc, “Interference.” It’s a solid document of two improvised sets, and does an excellent job of getting a decent sound across to listeners. I’m guessing this is a well-organized collective, as this is the first release for their own NHIC Records imprint.

Right now, I’m playing some of Eddie the Rat’s “Food For the Moon Too Soon” album. This is also a live document, but has a surprisingly good sound quality, especially given the wide variety of instrumentation utilized throughout. Eddie the Rat is among the handful groups I’m sure I’ll never tire of hearing. The music always seems fresh, wholly original, and vitally necessary– any one of which is commendable by itself!

Ack. I just said a lot of really nice things about Rothkamm’s new “Opus Spongebobicum” disc– with the mic off. Well, at least there was a dramatic bit of silence before the start, eh? But seriously, I was mentioning that I am grateful and fortunate to be able to present Rothkamm’s work to you, as I sincerely believe he is one of the great talents of our time. I’m amazed at not only his prolific nature, but the high quality of his musical output– perhaps a Rothkamm-centric broadcast is in order for next month?

Boy, this Bearly Queen “Hair Palm Adventure” sounds like how my head felt yesterday– slow, murky, and muddled. But since the BQ is coming out of a speaker, I think I like it a lot better! Someone dropped off a bunch of cassette tapes here at the station “free cassettes” so naturally, I went through the entire box one by one. I found a 30-second answering machine tape, and did a little looping with the Bearly Queen material, just for fun. This is a great album, and definitely my favorite for the label, Finland’s Luovaja. Don’t sleep on this one!

Satanicpornocultshop — Anorexias Gas Balloon (Candy Says)
Satanicpornocultshop — Detachable P
Chris Cichocki — Lanimilbus Radiation
Chris Cichocki — Transmission
New Haven Improvisers Collective — Quantum Decoherence
Eddie the Rat — Food the the Moon Too Soon, pt. 1
Eddie the Rat — Cannibal
Eddie the Rat — I Ovulate in Mode
Frank Rothkamm — Opus Spongebobicum, Variations 1-32
Bearly Queen — Hairy Palm Adventures (about 30 minutes worth)
Husht — The Flight of Plankton
Husht — Morphogenesis
Husht — Threads

My name is DaveX…

July 18, 2008

…and I’m a Coca-Cola junkie. Yes, I do enjoy the stuff, and I’ve had many great times– a Coke and a smile, as they say– having a cold drink and a long drive, politely harassing waitresses for multiple refills with a tasty pizza pie, or laughing about the degradation in quality of various fountain cups from the local gas station.

On my last birthday, I finally got hold of some super-yummy old-fashioned Coca-Cola… turning back the clock to a better day when high-fructose corn syrup wasn’t always an ingredient. Hooray for cane sugar!

But last night, I gave it up. I’m not a health fanatic by any means, but I think it’s become fairly apparent that the Coke isn’t exactly loving me back. I made it until 9 this morning before the withdrawl symptoms hit– Coke is a cruel master; I’ve been a grouchy, migraine-riddled mess all day.

With any luck, and a few more aspirin, I’m going to kick this. Until then, bear with me. Tonight’s show might be a doozy, haha.

Feel free to leave your stories of gritty urban addiction and human plight in the comments area.

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 7/12/08

July 12, 2008

So far, I’m not sure where today’s broadcast is heading. As usual, I’m just trying to be open to possibilities suggested by the music. Discovery! As I look down, I see these words printed on the inside of Grundik + Slava’s “Frogs” album– “only frogs know…”

Flashlights — Eckords (excerpt)
Grundik + Slava — A Frog Gets Over His Fear of Water
Grundik + Slava — The Frog Gone Away With the Wind
Heath Watts, Dan Pell, Barry Chabala — A plater, a teacher, & a drummer walking into a rehearsal room (pt.1)
Heath Watts, Dan Pell, Barry Chabala — A plater, a teacher, & a drummer walking into a rehearsal room (pt.2)
Heath Watts, Dan Pell, Barry Chabala — A plater, a teacher, & a drummer walking into a rehearsal room (pt.3)
David Watson — Dexter pt.1
David Watson — Dexter pt.2
David Watson — Dexter pt.3
David Watson — Dexter pt.4
Brekekekexkoaxkoax — Haifa Hi-Fi
Arborea — Red Bird
Arborea — Ides of March
Arborea — Seadrift
Thomas Buckner, Annea Lockwood — Luminescence
Thomas Buckner, Petr Kotik — Conceptuality/Life (from Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking)

Hijacked!

July 11, 2008

I’ve been hijacked into a “band” of sorts, one of those late-night jokes that somehow becomes reality, mostly due to the ease with which the net makes these things possible. So you’ll forgive me when you find out that the band is named “Cosmic Twilight Pimps”– I had nothing to do with it!

I would have suggested an awesome name like “Muck,” but it’s already taken.

I just found out about the CTP last week, when I accepted their/our friend request. I had to, seeing as how I’m apparently in the group. I left myself a comment, and later got the full story from co-founder (and Sweet Action Radio host) Nick… in a nutshell, CTP seems to encompass whatever random oddmusic made between our respective broadcasts, as well as some 4-track noodling going on in some Carbondale basement.

Did I mention we have a video?

Tom made this one during the ill-fated broadcast of March 8, 2008. I was supposed to have a live guest, but he didn’t arrive, so I was stuck with a studio full of ears on a gradient from fan to foe. Getting folks to come see a live set at 4 AM is no easy feat– and it really hurts the future chances of being able to do so when the musician in question fails to show up!

Naturally, I was pissed. Partly, I was upset because I had no control over the situation, and partly because I was letting so many listeners down. I decided to channel my feelings into something a bit more constructive than pacing, and whipped out a rather bold sound mix using whatever I had, and whatever sounded right at the time.

Tom, a local treasure for his ceaseless work documenting musicians and artists on video, had been well-prepared to do the same for our AWOL musician. In the end, he captured the vast majority of the morning on video… at the time, I couldn’t imagine anything worthwhile coming out of these hours of footage, but I was mistaken. Enjoy this– and be sure to leave Tom a comment, too!

Vaulted rooms

July 10, 2008

I got a nice package yesterday from my uncle– a big box of vintage cameras! This is really nice, because I’ve been thinking a lot about photography lately, and looking at displays of all-too-expensive digital SLRs just wasn’t scratching that itch.

I spent some time yesterday looking each one up online, doing my best to not only identify the model, but to find some sort of documentation for each. I highly doubt I could have learned so much in such a short time without the net!

To me, the most exciting camera is the Yashica-Mat EM. I guess this may be the first camera I ever seriously examined that was entirely mechanical, which wasn’t so much surprising as it was intriguing. I believe this camera is intended to be help at the user’s waistline, as the finder is viewed from the top, looking down. This thing is a beast, but seems like a lot of fun so far!

Yashica-Mat EM

The Yashica-Mat wasn’t the only all-mechanical camera in the bunch, as you can see– the next camera is a 1-A Autographic Kodak Junior. I’m not familiar with camera of this era at all, but I guess I’ve learned more about photography in the past couple years than I realized, because I’m not that daunted by it. I’m not at all certain I’ll be able to locate any sort of film for this thing, but cleaning it up will surely take me long enough to have time to find out.

1-A Autographic Kodak Junior

There was also this Kodak Hawk-Eye Model B #2 camera. It seems superficially alike to the 1-A Autographic, but is a bit smaller. Getting the dust off of these is going to be a big job!

Kodak Hawk-Eye Model B no.2

Here’s the last of the Kodaks– this one is a Kodak Retina I, which was apparently produced by a German Kodak manufacturer. It’s unlike any Kodak I’ve seen before, and is just plain different. It seems incredibly well-constructed, though, and looks like I should be able to just slap some film in and go out shooting!

Kodak Retina I

I don’t know much about this one, but it doesn’t seem nearly-complicated enough for me to worry– it’s an Imperial Quad 27c. The maker of this camera made a lot of cute, colorful cameras in the 1960s. This is not one of the better-looking models, but seems like it might be a kick anyhow.

Imperial Quad 27c

Oh! Here’s one that I’m also tremendously excited about– an Asahi/Pentax Honeywell Spotmatic. I guess they liked it so much, they named the thing four times, haha. When I was initially going through the package, I gravitated towards this camera first… maybe just because it looks most like cameras that I’m familiar with. Regardless, I had it sussed-out in a couple minutes, quickly figuring out the location of all the various adjustment knobs, etc. I know that’s probably not an amazing feat for experienced photographers, but I think it’s a big deal for me. I’ve always liked taking photos, but I never really owned anything but pocket cameras until relatively recently. Because of this, all the stuff I learned about apertures, f-stops, film speed, etc… was kinda abstract.

Asahi Pentax Honeywell Spotmatic

For now, my plan is to slowly work on cleaning these cameras, and getting them all in good working order without doing so much that I take away from the qualities they’ve absorbed over the years. After that, I’d like to find at least one roll of film for each, and make some interesting photographs! Like all my projects, I don’t have much of any money to throw at this, so it will probably be slow going. Wish me luck, and leave any helpful tips in the comments section!

BTW, I took all these photos this morning using my little Sony digital. I used the colored inserts for my daughter’s lamp shade as the backdrop. It’s the same trick I used in this post, but with a different color.

Inexplicable photos

July 10, 2008

I’ve seen some strange things in the past few days– a “missing iguana” sign for starters… always a bit worrisome to see something like this upon entering a restaurant!

Or how about some pre-made titles for your next science fair? I like the example exhibit: “How Were Dinosaur Tracks Made?” Umm… by dinos? Perfect for every kid too lazy to write “hypothesis” out long-hand!

When your phlegmatic sloth of a bum/child finishes off their science project, what better way to relax than with the “Sky Surfer Strike Force Alien Attack” movie? It’s 90 minutes of ACTION, yeah!

The Master Retarder

July 7, 2008

I got a cheap giggle during a visit to Galesburg’s annual Railroad Days. At the non-stop urging of my three-year-old train fanatic, I was coerced into boarding an hour-long bus tour of the rail yard and surrounding area. It ended up being much more interesting than I would have guessed– but then again, if you combine my rampant curiousity with some sort of massive object, I will usually find it interesting.

Original photography by DaveX

There was a lot of nice graffiti, but this was my favorite.

It was also more than a little curious to find myself once again on a schoolbus, retracing a large portion of my old high-school bus route. Bizarre!

But I digress. You want to know about my aforementioned “cheap giggle.” Well, picture me on a schoolbus, with my knees jammed up against the seat in front of me– and then the tour guide says something like: “over there is the master retard”!

Uh….

Sure, I knew he was talking about the giant air brake that slows trains being humped (heh heh, humped) in the yard. It prevents rail cars from smacking into one another at inappropriate speeds. It also makes a great noise, which I’ve heard many times before– just never up close. Here’s some video, so you can dig the good sounds as well. Enjoy!

And hey, check this out while you’re at it– more train stuff, and more sound art as well. Not the usual combination!

Liveblogging! Commentary for “ITDE” 7/5/08

July 5, 2008

Independence Day ran a little late for me, so I didn’t end up finding time to dig out all my firework-related programming– no biggie, though– I’ve still got a lot of great stuff I want to play. I started the show with something from Glenn Weyant, “Epistemological Grounds,” which makes use of some train recordings to nice effect… it also is holding the “train” theme in mind for me, having made a large portion of my previous week. I’ll have some video evidence to back this up by Monday. While I’m at it, I’ll have more of Weyant later in this broadcast!

Up next was Diamondhead, with their Eh? Records release “Dirty Realism.” Not a lot of flow between these two on an obvious level, but it’s what I wanted to hear, so I imagine listeners can deal. Oh, station break!

Well, I’m back. I’ve sorta been running two shows simultaneously for the past hour and a half– one for everyone out there in listener-land, and the other for some WDBX folks who happened to be in the Hi-Life Room this morning. That’s one of the great things about having a show here, just being able to pick people’s brains about new music, new sounds, etc… and of course, sharing some things I’m excited about as well. Lots of behind-the-scenes today, haha!

Eventually, I’m going to have to do my “stereo show” with two separate broadcasts– one for each channel. I need to look into how I will accomplish this without destroying the studio, though.

Right now, I’m playing from Laminae’s “The Green Kingdom,” (scratch that, reverse it! “Laminae” is the name of the album) which is the brand-new release on The Land Of. This is a label I’m very fond of mentioning to everyone, so if you haven’t managed to visit them online, I suggest you do that ASAP.

Next up, I’m going to play a small set of Aaron Jones’ work– he’s part of semi-local band Maggotapplewonderland. I’ll be playing more of their work this coming week, from their newest release “Shards of Subtle Being.”

I’m going to close the broadcast with the Glenn Weyant, as promised. This is from the latest installment of the Sonic Anta D-Construction Sound Subscription Service, which is a bitch to type, but a joy to hear. I thought I had everything when my double disc set of experimental bagpipe ensemble music arrived, but “Electric Fan Sound Works” put me over the moon. Thanks, Glenn! As per his request in the liner notes, I’m letting listeners live it up with the full 30-minute recording. See you next week!

Glenn Weyant — Epistemological Grounds
Glenn Weyant — Network Memory Resonance
Diamondhead — Ditry Realism (excerpt)
Sin:Ned/Nerve — Ghost Feeding Vessel
Robert Ashley — Concrete; The Old Man Lives in Concrete
Robert Ashley — Concrete; Ideas About Thinking
Robert Ashley — Concrete; O Mesopotamia
E. Doctor Smith, Seth Elgart — Lord Telford’s Ghost
The Green Kingdom — Indigo Afternoon (from the album “Laminae”)
The Green Kingdom — The Scarlet Ibis (from the album “Laminae”)
Aaron Jones — Untitled 1
Aaron Jones — Untitled 2
Aaron Jones — Untitled 3
Glenn Weyant — Electric Fan Sound Works

New music beef, haha

July 3, 2008

Here’s something unexpected– a new music rap that shout-outs to “The Rest Is Noise,” threatens Bang on a Can with a beatdown, and uh… uses the word “Bizabbit.”

Yeah, you heard me. Snoop just yakked a little in his mouth.

You’ll want the lyrics and the full story on the group, Hybrid Groove Project, which is why you’ll want to click their link.

Auto-art with Wordle

July 2, 2008

I can’t seem to leave Wordle alone, it’s just way too much fun. I have now discovered a really fun way to make automatic art with Wordle– I’m re-entering my old Wordles back into the generator!

To accomplish the process, I start with one of my prior Wordles, captured as a jpeg. For my first, I used the multi-year playlist Wordle I posted in my last entry. Then I uploaded this Wordle-become-jpeg to an ASCII art generator online, and copied the resulting mess of text. This is what I got:

Obviously, I was pleased as punch. Damn, it looks like an undiscovered John Cage score! As you may have guessed, I then decided to turn the process into a loop, capturing this Wordle as a jpeg and re-upping it to the ASCII art generator. Then– back into the Wordle generator! Here are the next four generations of my auto-art, which Wordle creator Jonathan Feinberg, has pronounced “insane.” Given his obvious love of typefaces, I think that’s a compliment.

You’ll definitely want to click these for the full-size versions.

Wordle “cloud” versions of It’s Too Damn Early playlists

July 2, 2008

Via one of Ralph Lichtensteiger’s posts on the Silence list yesterday, I was introduced to a fun online tool for generating word clouds– Wordle. I’ve generally found tag clouds fairly useless, and an unnecessarily obtuse method for page navigation, but Wordle has a simple interface that lets users enter their own text for the cloud generation… I ended up entering three months worth of playlists, one at a time! My results are below, along with a meta-cloud featuring the entire three months combined, and a final cloud with multiple years worth of my early playlists.

These get a little squished with the blog’s formatting, so click the cloud for the full-size version, okay?

This first cloud is from April 26, 2008. As you can see, I was playing a lot of George Korein’s “Another Corpse” album!

Playlist for 4/26/08

I like the vaguely Greek lettering style for this cloud, from the April 4, 2008 broadcast. It’s fitting, given the conversation I was having with a Greek sound engineer that week about Brekekekexkoaxkoax, so I was amused when this font was randomly selected.

Playlist for 4/4/08

Here is the cloud for the April 12, 2008 broadcast. I’m having fun reading it as a poem: “Everything long, young girl eyesore.” Sounds like my spam filter!

Playlist for 4/12/08

From the April 19, 2008 broadcast… Karthik Kakarala ends up making the cloud without being played on the show– one of the perks of visiting the Hi-Life Room and nearly giving me a heart attack!

Playlist for 4-19-08

This is a good-looking cloud! Very “Times,” don’t you think? I also like the juxtaposition of “station, studio, beehive” in the upper right. How appropriate! Taken from the May 3, 2008 playlist.

Playlist for 5/3/08

I didn’t do much actual liveblogging for the May 17, 2008 broadcast; I’ll let this cloud speak for me. I wish “feral” showed up in more tag clouds…

Playlist for 5/17/08

The May 24, 2008 playlist generated this cloud– it’s funny how the thing I remember most about this broadcast (playing from the Bearly Queen disc near the end of the set) hardly shows up in the cloud. And Bikelophone is huge, haha! If the cloud only knew the Bikelophone track was just a few minutes long, versus BQ’s 18-minute monster…

Playlist for 5/24/08

Wow, I made a lot of these things. I sure hope you like Wordle clouds, ’cause I’m shoving them down your throat. This is made from the June 14, 2008 playlist. Again, it’s very difficult not to read as a poem: “Much nice ITDE sound download / miss work, got birds like cello intertwined.”

Playlist for 6/14/08

Looks like I played some of The Harmful Free Radicals, eh? Made from the June 21, 2008 set.

Playlist for 6/21/08

One day after the previous cloud, I did the June 22, 2008 broadcast– turned in this set, which is quite different in scope.

Playlist for 6/22/08

This was the result of combing all the above playlists, minus common English words. For some reason, this reminds me of Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” movie poster.

Represents playlists from April to June, 2008

Here’s the biggie– many years worth of my playlists… I think I used 2006, 2005, and some from 2003. Entering these in was a pain in the ass, because there was no easy way to get rid of my original +++ used to separate playlist entries. Anyhow, it’s a nice birdseye look at my show’s earlier days. Feel free to leave links to your Wordle clouds in the comments section!

Comprises multiple years worth of early \

Mail Art vs. Philately

July 1, 2008

Every now and then, an interesting-looking package will show up in my mailbox, despite the postal service’s best efforts to eat or destroy much of my incoming mail. Although the majority of packages I receive have bar coded or machine-printed postage, some of you care enough to share your spit with me. Others (and I’m kicking myself for not being able to locate so many of the cool things that have come in over the years) are more into the mail art side of things.

If you ever want something really fun to arrive in the mail, try ordering from Josh Ronsen or Crank Sturgeon! The last CS care package I got had mistreated playing cards, sticks, a portion of a children’s book, and some sort of human resources manual along with Crank’s bizarre approach to cdr and tape packaging. As I recall, Ronsen had a way with tin foil and re-purposed mailers.

As I mentioned, these sorts of things arrive every so often– with enough regularity that I will try to hold onto the more interesting stamps or art for a while, intending to share them with you– but most often, misplacing them before getting around to scanning stuff. That’s why this is an anemic display… perhaps you’ll enjoy it regardless? Be sure to click the scans to visit the associated labels and artists!

Here’s one from Lona Records, in Hong Kong:

This one is from Luovaja Records, in Finland:

It’s not a stamp, but it’s still pretty good-looking– from New Juche!

I forgot to mention Ukraine’s Nexsound earlier– although their mailers are generally plain brown, they have some amazing talent for creating beautiful album art and packaging.

This one caught my son’s eye– it’s from Sonic Anta, here in the U.S.

Finally, my favorite city– New York City! Gorgeously-designed packages are part of every The Land Of release, but I’m also digging these cancelled stamps… auto-mailart, anyone?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 45 other followers