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Wild Berry Crisp and Filter(less) House
Below is a discography of Dusseldorf musician Stefan Schwander, who records primarily as Antonelli Electr. (as in "electric" or "electronic"? I used to say the former but after hearing it the other way a couple of times I'm starting to just say "electer"). Schwander also plays keyboards with the Elektrotiki combo The Bad Examples, but is best known for his dance work, consisting of very minimal, catchy compositions performed mainly with sequencers and drum machines. Antonelli's club hit, the super elegant track "I Don't Want Nobody Else But You," combines a house four-on-the-floor thump with shimmering electro chirps and a plaintive vocoder, but in the years since that release, Schwander's output has become more abstract and stripped-down: the recent Antonelli disc Love and Other Solutions is very much of a piece with cuts under his supposedly more ambient Rhythm_maker alias. No matter how pre-planned and systematic the work is, Schwander has a gift for melody, exquisite production skills, and a knack for conjuring a soulful vibe--the tracks may be even more powerful for being chopped down to a few interlocking tunes. The man is the funky Dan Flavin of the music world.
ANTONELLI ELECTR. RELEASES - LONG PLAYING
Peng Peng Baby, CD (Stewardess)
Me, The Disco Machine, CD and 2x12" (Italic)
Click, CD and 2x12"' (Italic)
Love And Other Solutions, CD and 2X12" (Italic)
ANTONELLI ELECTR. RELEASES - SINGLES, EPS
Handclaps EP, 12" (Stewardess)
Bohannon, 12" (Italic)
Composure EP, 12" (Italic)
Automatic Music, 12" (Italic)
I Donīt Want Nobody Else But You, 12" (Italic)
Dubby Disco, 12" (Italic)
The Source Of Design, 12" (Italic)
Chrome Vanadium EP, 12" (Italic)
The Vogue, 12" (with Miss Kittin) (Italic)
Pictures, 12" (Italic)
JODI's current installation % MY DESKTOP at Eyebeam Atelier raises everyday machine disfunction to the level of the sublime. Occupying one long wall in Eyebeam's cavernous raw space, four standard computer screen desktops are projected side by side: two Windows on the left and two Apples on the right. The screens tower over the viewer at about ten feet in height. Invisible users appear to click the menus and desktop icons in real time, but what you see are actually recordings of these activities, presumably on DVD. To stand before the screens is to be immersed in an elegant chaos.
On the far left, a user attempts to move groups of icons to other positions on the same desktop. The new positions don't "take," but instead leave grey silhouettes, which gradually become cumulative, tangled masses of icon-shadows. In the middle left, the user methodically clicks unintelligible lists of wingdings, opening dialogue boxes full of more wingdings, and so on. In the middle right, sound files are randomly triggered, filling the space with a cacophony of clicks, martial arts grunts, and punching noises. And way over on the right, the letters underneath icons become long, conjoined strings of verbal gobbledegook, which are superimposed again and again.
There's nary a pigment stroke in sight, but the scale and handling of these pieces is very painterly, specifically Abstract Expressionist. JODI's process of cyber-vandalism--tinkering with browser software and then further abusing it through excessive, mindless icon-clicking--recalls strategies of "creative destruction" familiar from the work of the de Kooning generation (build up, wipe away, leave a residue, build up again...) It's also a cyber-critique, specifically playing on our legitimate fears that information-processing technology will break down when we're using it the hardest.
The messy visual record of "incorrect," panic-stricken choices is the kind of disobedient, Dionysian use of the computer sadly lacking in "BitStreams," the Whitney Museum's 2001 survey of computer art. If % My DESKTOP could have somehow been included in that exhibit, the focus and tone would have dramatically shifted from the utopian magic of thinking machines to their ad hoc, poorly-understood nature. With its size, ambition, and (refreshing) lack of reverence, it would have been a much stronger centerpiece than, say, ecosystm, John Klima's gee-whiz videogame salute to the raptor-eat-raptor world of global capital.
Check out Paper Rad's music video Bubble Puppy (Flash animation, takes a few secs to load--but worth it!). The tune is actually "Hot Smoke and Sassafras" (1968), by the Texas psychedelic band and one-hit-wonder the Bubble Puppy (more info on them below). Mixing '60s hippie mysticism with '70s bad taste, Paper Rad envisions the band riding (and playing) on top of painted vans with names like "Green Shock" and "Midnight at the Oasis" while the Egyptian desert scrolls in the background. The eponymous dog suffers from some sort of magical mystery hydrophobia that causes blue bubbles to hover in front of its mouth and ass. The animation has a nice dirt-style feel with lots of gratuitous gradating and sunburst effects--like van painting come to life. Of course, it's also completely self-aware, recycling all the MTV moves in a hilarious, inept-but-not-really parody style.
Back to the Bubble Puppy itself, here's a cached text from an apparently defunct web page (really takes you back to the days before corporate control clamped down on the music biz, when you could still have spontaneous regional hits):
Memories of Bubble Puppy
by Roy Cox
THE "HOT SMOKE AND SASSAFRAS" BOYS
I instigated the formation of the "Bubble Puppy" in 1968. We were four of the best available musicians the State of Texas had to offer. I had worked with Rod Prince in the Bad Seeds.