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Kristin Lucas sent this Happy New Year card and I decided to borrow it. Throughout the year I will continue to think of artists who have worked with game imagery who should be in 8-Bit: The Kvetcher's Cut--it should certainly include her because she practically invented the scene (the part I like anyway, the "I'm not sure if technology is really our friend" part).
It's 2006 now on the East Coast, so happy new year! I didn't get very many songs posted. mp3 blogging is not like dj'ing. Slow work. More semi-abandoned rhythm tracks:
"Tesla's Tribe" [mp3 removed]. From Reaktor, specifically a drum sequencer called Scenario II, just spat out today, another sparingly tweaked preset. I added the electronic buzz and '80s snare and cowbell samples from the Drat Fink Archive. Might ultimately fade this in or out of something else.
"Eternal Hiphop" [mp3 removed]. A pattern from the Electribe Rmkii rhythm synth played ad infinitum. Digital signal processing but analog filtered to add some exciting panning.
This is Stefan Schwander, one of my personal musical gods, who records as Antonelli Electr., among other aliases. I'm posting 3 tracks (briefly!!!!!) that he recorded under the name Repeat Orchestra. Schwander's gift is knowing when a musical phrase of the barest few notes has enough intrinsic worth to hang an entire 6 or 7 minute song on it. In this sense musical minimalism (of the techno variety) is very different from Minimalism in the art world, where practitioners had a kind of studied indifference to beauty. Sheet metal boxes on the gallery floor and all that. I see this more as how much can you take out and still have something ultimately seductive and danceable?
Two orphaned rhythm tracks.
"Limelight Barely Remixed" [mp3 removed]. And I mean barely--it's a Reaktor preset from the Limelight rhythm synth. Both glitchy and loungy--very pretty. About all I did was record it and fade it.
"Super Slow Tango" [mp3 removed]. Not super slow like Super Slow Tetris, just slow for a tango. I made this with the soft sampler Kontakt.
I've decided to mix in assorted unfinished rhythm tracks from my studio with other music on my hard drive tonight. If you have Traktor you can make your own damn DJ event. Some of this material will be removed in the cold, realistic light of January 1 so grab it while you can! Here's a funk carioca track, probably from Brazil--don't know what he's singing but why do I think "valeni" is something dirty?
Fellow artist/bloggers Marisa Olson and Abe Linkoln are ringing in the new year on a page where they are remixing each other's videos. Here's the URL, but it's not working for me--some people say they can see it and others say they can't. Marisa explains the concept of the blog here. One report I got from someone I asked to test the URL: "i can see it. and i watched a video. painful, but fun.* ----- cant see the remix (which is actually pretty interesting) but i can hear it. some problem with quicktime."
Anyway, in the spirit of blogging on New Year's Eve, I think I'm going to post some drum machine tracks I haven't figured out what to do with yet. Bang in the New Year on that Internet thingie, as it were. Hell, I've gone out every year since I can remember, New York being the mad social whirl that it is. This will be a form of symbolic public reclusiveness, with soundtrack. Hope you'll hang around!
*That must be Abe Linkoln's.
Last night vertexList gallery hosted a semi-private screening of the documentary film 8-Bit, directed by the gallery's proprietor Marcin Ramocki (who is also an artist) 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 within that 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 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.
Steve Gilliard's wrapup on the transit strike is below. Most New Yorkers supported the strike (at least for the few days it lasted). We're talking about skilled workers who get us around the city safely--it's not the typical McJob where employers pay low wages and constantly flip staff. And Mayor Bloomberg really screwed up by calling the transit workers "thugs." But then we already knew he was an *sshole, for bringing the Republican "thugs" to NY and encouraging mass arrests of innocents.
Roger Toussaint not only got a great deal for his members, but he faced down the city's media without so much as breaking a sweat. The Daily News and Post so miscovered the strike as to be rendered useless to the majority of New Yorkers. They kept looking for a groundswell of anger, when instead, there was a ground swell of support for the union among their public service and private industry peers. Did they think Con Ed and Verizon workers were going to turn on their public sector union brothers and sisters?
It was an amazing miscalculation which walked Bloomberg into a fatal mistake. Calling the union members thugs was an amazing error of judgment, one, the well-connected mayor should have avoided.
What many people, including Jen, didn't understand, was the provenance of that word in black New York culture. First, in the tabs, it's only used to describe two groups of people, mafia goons and black and latino criminals. But that isn't why it blew up on Bloomberg.
It harks back to the the Central Park Jogger case where five teenagers were framed for the rape of a Wall Street banker. Donald Trump took out a full-page ad ranting about how these "thugs" needed to be punished.
When it turned out that all five had been framed, despite the open disbelief of the tabs. Michael Daly, the News lead columnist, and a Yalie, went so far as to try to link the innocent boys, all of whom had unjustly served seven years in prison, to the crime despite DNA evidence to the contrary.
Then, Bloomberg violated the other key rule of New York life. You do not attack working people as criminals. If they work every day, you don't slander them like that.
But once those words flew from his mouth, it was the final card Toussaint needed in outplaying the MTA. Because that solidified minority support for his union. One poll showed 61 percent of black New Yorkers and 44 percent of Latinos supported the strike, along with 38 percent of whites.
Because that threw race on the table in a way Bloomberg didn't expect. But sure found out about when City Hall was deluged with calls from his black supporters.
What Bloomberg and many white New Yorkers forget is that the heart of the city's revival is not the Eurotrash and hipsters of Billyburg, but the working class and middle class union workers of the city's minorities. It is the TWU members and Con Ed and Verizon workers who not only keep this city running, but who also invest in the city's neighborhoods, demand better schools and send their kids to the city's colleges. They make New York work, where so many other cities failed. Unlike Washington DC, they didn't flee to the suburbs, leaving behind only the poor. Even the city's housing projects have large numbers of working people.
So to have the mayor insult the people who helped return him to office, reeked both of arrogance and racial insensitivity on a grand scale.
The fact was that the TWU and specifically, Roger Toussaint, had some pretty large reservoirs of good will going into this. The union had repeatedly asked for safety training, stood with riders on fair increases and opposed the land giveaway for stadiums. Which may not have mattered to some footsore white progressives, who demanded the "overpaid workers" be fired, but it mattered to many other New Yorkers.
But many people, like the racists at the Manhattan Institute, need to consider something: they are no longer relevant. They might have had a hearing in Giuliani's bitterly divided New York, but no future mayor can afford to take them seriously. Why? Because the majority of New Yorkers will not tolerate it.
Steven Malanga proved himself to be an idiot without recompense. Fire the workers? And replace these highly skilled and technically adept workers with whom? What he wanted to say was punish the colored for getting out of line, but political reality has changed. Minorities are the majority in New York, and his advice was suicidal.
The MTA caved on every issue, and offset the fines, something the mayor and governor swore would not happen, with pension payments, because they didn't have the public support and they knew it. Who knew what would happen in Albany with a longer strike? Would the Assembly start an investigation? Who knew? But the MTA calcuated on an angry public and they got one, but angry at them, not the union.
Bloomberg and Pataki not only lost, but look small and petty in the process.