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Below: two recent "found street sign" photos from Curbed
. The top one is from the Gowanus canal area, where they really are building a Whole Foods. The bottom one is from wherever Beavis and Butthead live.
Dear Music Diary,
Last night I decided to fix a glitch in the string quartet piece I wrote last February. It has been bugging me all these months. Turns out it was one discordant violin note that needed to be muted.
We are a 2-PC family here at the studio. The quartet was produced on my laptop using (among other things) the Kontakt sampler, version 2.0. I have since installed a later version of Kontakt (2.1) on my desktop PC and wanted to do the fix on that computer. All the instruments worked fine except the cello, which produced no sound.
Turns out that the cello was "improved" in version 2.1 so that you can play in different styles--sustained, plucked, etc. So I substituted the new cello for the old one, and tried all the styles to find the closest one to 2.0.
None matched. In fact, the sound was loud and awkward and didn't obey the volume parameters I'd set down for each instrument. The balance of the instruments was destroyed.
My options then were: (i) try to massage the new cello so that it fit with the other instruments, (ii) uninstall version 2.1 and use the backup version of 2.0 (making songs produced in 2.1 unplayable) or (iii) just make the fix in 2.0 on the laptop. I chose (iii).
But if I only had one PC and had upgraded to 2.1 I would have been f*ed out of several hours of my life. If I was a professional soundtrack composer this would be a serious annoyance.
This is not a complaint about Kontakt or Native Instruments per se. The issue applies to all commercial software. The capitalist business model requires (a) constantly rolling out "improvements" in product lines and (b) creating anxiety in customers that they need these improvements. The resulting tangle of compatibility issues assures that creative work (or any work) with digital tools is a chaotic mess.
The great thing about being a romantic starving-in-a-garret type artist (as opposed to a for-hire illustrator or composer) is at any point you can choose to jump off the treadmill. Or use the industry dysfunction proactively, as content. I work in a paint program that's about 15 years old now and I'm not feeling the urge to acquire any new music software. My beginner version of Cubase dates to early 2004 but I'm still learning new tricks with it, even though Steinberg has introduced a couple of versions since then. In my latest piece I used Kontakt 1.5, which I found pleasant, like driving around a stripped-down dune buggy and leaving the Hummer in the garage (if I had either of those vehicles).
Blogs and other linkage:
Jim Woodring's blog
. How art should be--artists make art and post it, whoever likes it finds and consumes it. In this case, lovingly crafted, f*ed up surrealist drawing and painting by a master from the underground comix sphere.
Across the divide
. Edward B. Rackley reporting from Africa, offering "critique from within the international aid industry [and] political commentary from a number of African countries." A recent post
on the African-Chinese trade bonds intrigues.
Seminal, sub-nugatory New York band Neg-Fi
composes theme song
for this year's installment of La Superette
, "where artists showcase original, handmade gifts including recycled accessories, multifunctional stuffed animals, artist publications, funky house wares, and homemade clothes, with a special focus on 'hacks,' the custom configuration of pre-existing hardware or software." Neg-Fi's contribution this year will be "a mini-cd EP packaged with a jar of homemade organic peanut butter."
internet surfing club is a page I'm proud to be involved with (mostly with the occasional bad animated GIF)--a mix of discriminating smartass net-trolling and original art projects for the web, with an emphasis on askance looks at the popular web technologies bubbling up from Silicon Valley that help us live, love, communicate, and work better.
Mellon Writes Again
. Web page of writer Mark Mellon, whose fiction spans a range of genres and who lists his credits thusly: "My work has appeared in Aberrations; Chasm; Gothic.Net; Terra Incognita; Anthrolations, the Magazine of Anthropomorphic Dramatic Fiction; the Irish magazine Albedo One; Black Satellite; City Morgue; Aoife’s Kiss; Zahir; Hadrosaur Tales; the English magazines Sutekh’s Gift and Premonitions; and Whispers From The Shattered Forum. A vampire story, Shtriga’s Kiss, has been published in chapbook form by Anxiety Publications. I have also written four novels, The Empire of the Green, Hammer and Skull, The Pirooters and Libertarian in Love (respectively a science fiction novel, a historical novel about World War II, a Western, and a contemporary satire), and a fantasy novella: Escape From Byzantium."
"Throbbing and Tinkling" [mp3 removed]
A "heavy" bass riff is dismantled in the sampler (that's the throbbing part) while a heavily delayed frequency modulated piano tinkles. A rav-y synth solo pops up in the middle and at the end. The piece has a horror-movie ambience but I consider it contemporary classical music, using tropes and textures from the club underground as building blocks.
Update: "Maximized" the sound with a mastering plug-in. It's still quiet relative to other tracks--I guess because it only has three instruments.
Update 2: Substituted a "maximized" version with better equalization. (Thx to JP)
From Curbed: New Willliamsburg Condos to Offer Free Oil?
Related, from Bad Advice: "Luxury Condos" or Toxic Death Dump?
Some funny writing about an unfunny topic: unscrupulous real estate developers building on environmentally suspect sites and then lying about it to buyers and renters. The New York metro area feels as lawless as the Wild West when it comes to property issues. Unlimited freedom to screw up: as when the guy next door dug down ten feet to add a basement apartment to his building and collapsed my downstairs neighbor's back yard
1999. George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, and Spike Jonze drive an open jeep around Iraq after the end of the First Gulf War, looking for a cache of Saddam's gold bullion. Wacky adventures ensue before the men become sensitized to the plight of the Shiites, who are attempting an uprising against Hussein's still-dominant forces.
2009. Sequel to Three Kings
. Soldiers leave the Green Zone in a self-armored Hummer during the Second Gulf War, looking for a cache of weapons left over from the Saddam years. Three die when their vehicle strikes an improvised explosive device; George Clooney loses an arm and a leg in the blast. The film deals with his painful recovery and his eventual radicalization into a staunch political foe of the "Bush regime." No wacky adventures are had.
More linkage you need (the New Net Art):
All of the phony names from spam emails Joel Holmberg has received this month as a rockyou textpix slideshow
. Not sure which makes you want to drill a hole in your own head more--the thought of all that spam or the endless cheerful banality of "rockyou"'s personalized animated graphics.
Audio clip: hear George W. Bush, president of the United States, use the words "peeance" and "freeance" in a sentence
(as adjectives, apparently). Not really net art, but worth putting in to flout conceptual purity.
Almost as depressing as the rockyou slideshow: Stock footage from Getty Images that is pulled up with the search request "artist looking at camera"
(found by Guthrie Lonergan--who has a great nose for postModern anomie).