Thursday, November 29, 2012

A marvel that I got to see, or rather, got to see through, while in Austria last month during the Retromania tour:  the Kaiserpanorama, in Wels. Only four of these stereoscopic viewing machines are still in working operation, I was told. But they were popular between 1890, when they were patented, through to the Great War.  It's like a very slow moving carousel, which shows a sequence of 3 D photographs, 28 in total in this case. Originally back lit by candle light, but now illuminated electrically.  As it goes round, you put your eyes to a series of binocular-type viewers and if you stare correctly straight ahead, the two images (taken with a special double-lensed camera) mesh to form a solid-seeming image.  In this case, Wels street scenes from the end of the 19th Century or early 20th Century--ladies going shopping,  workers and tradesmen, kids playing or splashing in the public swimming baths etc - that feel very real, except not real,  because they're in faded black and white, and also sometimes have an occasional  tear or discoloration in the image that glitches through the 3-D illusion.   A right haunty feeling.

You don't get the effect at all from watching this Youtube mini-doc

A coda to the post on Moon Wiring Club's Today Bread, Tomorrow Secrets and the involvement of Sarah Angliss, who supplied recorder sounds. She tells me:

"Ian invited me to play on the album after he heard The Bird Fancyer's Delight - a documentary I put together about the use of birds as primordial domestic sound recorders, centuries before the invention of the phonograph. A lot of the recorder fragments on the album are based on eighteenth-century tunes, composed for birds to learn". You can check out Sarah's radio documentary here.

Ian Hodgson himself mentioned that the genesis of Today Bread came from him becoming "obsessed with pitching down birdsong and making rhythms around it."

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In today's New York Times, my profile of Ke$ha.

Not that you can actually use the name Ke$ha in a NYT piece on Ke$ha. You have say Kesha.

Other expressions you can't use in a NYT piece on Ke$ha (or indeed in a piece on anything) are "badass", "cock rock", "cock pop", and "balls over dance beats". (That last one, I didn't even try to get in there).

Friday, November 23, 2012

If you haven't picked up the new issue of The Wire, there's a terrific piece by Matthew Ingram on That West Country Lot -- Hacker Farm, IX Tab, Kemper Norton -- and their pastoral-industrial sound.   Great photos by Jon Baker too -- strange it is indeed, after reading Kek-W's and Loki's blogs for years, to see what they actually look like.

In unofficial tandem, Pontone has a mix by IX Tab (that's Loki, a/k/a An Idiot's Guide To Dreaming, a/k/a Saxon Roach - no really, that's his real name) that lays out the "roots and traces... parapraxes and inarticulations, associations and mnemonics" behind the recent and excellent album Spindle & the Bregnut Tree (now out again in a "female version" on Twiggwytch Recordings)

Another That West Country Lot mix from Pontone, a primer on what they're calling Wyrd Albion, is in preparation.

Hacker Farm's new record UHF, also splendid, is released on December 10th by Exotic Pylon. Below is a promo film I hadn't noticed until now, where you can see some of their self-cobbled instruments.

Stop press - Kemper Norton also has a mini-album, titled Carn, out soon on Exotic Pylon. 

Like Advent Calendars, round about this time of year, there's always a new Moon Wiring Club album.

Today Bread, Tomorrow Secrets is slanted decidedly toward Ian Hodgson's ambient and ethereal side. When it does slip into beat-mode, the grooves are unusual: Ian tinkered with his PS2's time function and ended up with something like 6/8. A "Rococo" feel,  according to his friend Sarah Angliss (composer, robot maker, thereminist, historian of sound technology) who also supplied recorder samples for the album.

Today Bread, Tomorrow Secrets comes in significantly different compact disc and vinyl versions, with some tracks not on CD and some tracks not on the vinyl.

This is a video for a track from the LP.

   And this is a video for a track from the compact disc.

Today Bread, Tomorrow Secrets -- ruddy splendid.

Today Bread, Tomorrow Secrets -- the perfect stocking filler

(well, if you get the CD)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Saturday, November 03, 2012

saddened to hear about artist friends in NYC who have lost work - in some cases, almost all of it -  stored in basements that got flooded

compared with the loss of life, or of your home, perhaps it seems like a small thing

but think of all the life that goes into a life's work

reports on the full scale of the devastation are coming in -- Jerry Salz tours Chelsea's ruined art galleries,  LA Times has a story, ArtInfo on the effects in Greenpoint, Hyperallergic has a series of updates with Ballardian photo documentation