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tom moody

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Kraftwerk Stitch

Kraftwerk stitch by the daughter of co-founding member Florian Schneider. Her dad is the guy at the end with no coiffure.

- tom moody 8-30-2006 10:42 pm [link] [1 comment]

After posting about the rash of hardware synth sequencer performances on YouTube and speculating that it might be a micro-genre in the making, I noticed Cory Arcangel had a series of links to Ed DMX's website, which is chock a block with pictures of mostly '80s gear and the sounds they produce. Some great stuff there. (Like this .mp3.)

What we're seeing, I think, is the reaction to what DMX calls "the computer revolution" in music production. There's almost no function of old gear that your laptop and a good soundcard can't do better and more imaginatively nowadays, so inevitably the outmoded becomes fetishized.

It's ironic that the sequencer, a piece of gear that generates MIDI patterns for synths to play, was yesterday's soul deadening "end of music as we know it," but now that it's been made superfluous by software--honestly, nothing is easier for your computer to do than generate MIDI notes--it is all about "warmth" and "hands-on playing."

Not saying that analog synthesis lacks romance. I'm guilty of spending hours surfing old synth sites and have recently plunked down for a couple of pieces of such gear, but have mostly not succumbed to the urge to fill up my apartment with power-hogging, space-occupying, hard-to-transport machinery.

And I'm not saying that watching someone play a hardware sequencer live isn't superior to watching a performer stroke a laptop thumbpad. (Although, done badly, which they usually are, "sequencer workouts" quickly devolve into boring new age music.) And I'm not suggesting that the crackly, juiced up voltages of analog synths aren't sexy as hell.

But perhaps we need to separate what's irreplaceable about the "old new ways" from our kneejerk reaction to the "new new ways." Former computerphobe Brian Eno is selling off his gear--that's a good, positive role model for everyone. Small is beautiful.

- tom moody 8-30-2006 10:37 pm [link] [12 comments]

Pong on MPC1000

Pong on the Akai MPC1000 sampler

I have no idea how hard or significant it is that someone put a pong game on a sampler's LCD. But I like this animated GIF.

- tom moody 8-30-2006 12:25 am [link] [1 comment]


Midibox V3 SEQ demonstration

"Hardware Sequencer Demos" appears to be a happenin' genre on YouTube. Here's a home-built unit in action.

- tom moody 8-29-2006 8:57 pm [link] [1 comment]

Tree Wave in 8 BIT

The movie 8 BIT: A Documentary about Art and Videogames, which I discussed here last winter, premieres at the Museum of Modern Art on October 7, 2006. The film has a website, and you can view a trailer here (YouTube) or here (Quicktime). This is what I posted about it previously:
Last night vertexList gallery hosted a semi-private screening of the documentary film 8 BIT, directed by the gallery's proprietor Marcin Ramocki and produced by Justin Strawhand, who did the cinematography. The subject is art and the video game, but several distinct cultures and subcultures overlap: the big three being conceptual art, gamers, and electronic music but also the demoscene, chiptunes, gameboy music, and miscellaneous odd hacks. It's a PBS-quality collection of talking head interviews (including yours truly wearing a suit jacket and doing his best critic impersonation), interspersed with concert footage, video clips, and a kaleidoscope of stills that underscore and comment on things being said in the interviews.

Highlights include the stage appearances of Tree Wave [above photo] and Bodenstandig 2000 at Jeffrey Deitch last spring, Cory Arcangel discoursing on Nintendo cracking and the different types of synthesizer sounds in '80s computers, Alex Galloway's explanation of his Nam Jun Paik-like physical hacks bringing out the inherent flaws and coding errors in console games, footage from Eddo Stern's trippy, deconstructed Vietnam war game landscapes, Joe McKay on Audio Pong and the attempted or presumed realism of early hockey games, and it must be said, my withering putdown of gameboy music followed by Nullsleep telling me to fuck off from the stage at Deitch. A movie with an eternally adolescent pursuit at its core just wouldn't be complete without a good food fight.
Expect more plugs as the date approaches.

- tom moody 8-29-2006 6:08 pm [link] [add a comment]


- tom moody 8-28-2006 10:32 pm [link] [3 comments]

Frank Zappa plays bicycle on Steve Allen. I know this has been through a couple of rounds of linkage, but it's a must-see, especially if you like Zappa. As a square-looking, preternaturally calm 22 year old, before the long hair and "freak" trappings appeared, his contradictions are strikingly clear. A condescending snot, with a streak of incredible generosity who wanted everyone to be a musician. An arch-controller spouting facts and statistics, who loved to instigate all-hell-breaks-loose chaos scenarios that were an absolute blast for everyone involved. A great American artist, more sadly missed than ever.

Update: YouTubes removed for "terms of use violation." More of our heritage flushed...for what reason exactly? YouTube is a joke.

Update: Sigh, it's back up again, worse quality. [Part 1 of 4]

- tom moody 8-28-2006 9:51 am [link] [3 comments]

Paul has spotted DEVO 2.0 at Disney online. It's kids lipsynching to fairly tight, "family friendly" versions of the songs, with backing tracks re-recorded by the original band. As Paul notes, the lyrics have been changed: it's not just taking out the dirty words, but "removing or reversing their original core meaning."

I watched the "Freedom of Choice" vid and I don't think I can go on. It's well done and fun, and you can't fault DEVO for selling out--in essence, they inoculated themselves from that criticism early on by tying their concept of "Devolution" to a general decline in culture and intelligence, INCLUDING becoming commercial hacks--"We're devolving, see?"

But as an early fan of the band it's just too painful to hear the lines "Freedom of choice is what you've got/Freedom from choice is what you want" changed so that the "from" in the second line becomes a second "of." Or the lyric about the dog "who sniffs one bone, then licks the other, then spins in circles till he drops dead" changed to "he drops down."

Choice killed the dog, OK? Is that too much for a kid to grasp?

- tom moody 8-28-2006 7:31 am [link] [2 comments]