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Photo by Jim Louis of an awesome newspaper graphic. I need to start reading the sports page.
"Heartbleet" [3.6 MB .mp3
More analog adventures. I guess it's inevitable this music would go down the John Carpenter trail. He wouldn't do a beat like this, though; it's kind of Ringo Starr-ish. All sounds were made with a rhythm synthesizer and outboard filters--the tunable drums provide the musical notes. The "Ringo" beat is a cymbal LFO'd to give it a sharper attack and to make it pleasantly unpredictable (I hope).
"This really is a great country -- despite what George Bush is doing to destroy our constitution, our reputation and our freedoms." --AMERICABlog
"Sacred Machines Homage" [mp3 removed]
Straight up minimal techno. Not in the sense of "merely repetitive" but more in the spirit of trying to get the most for the least. The percussion doubles as a lead instrument.
"Everyone Fights, No One Quits" [mp3 removed]
The beat is simple but has a strong forward drive--it's one of the first times I've actually liked the bitcrusher-type effect. The "main melody" is the Oki Computer 2
, which I am finally starting to understand the guts of. It is a purely digital instrument that for its oscillator uses a up to 16 optional waveforms--as a cursor moves horizontally through them, each morphs into the sound of the one adjacent to it. Moving the slider rapidly back and forth results in interesting timbres. These are further shaped by a sequencer, envelope generators, and LFOs--all of which can also modulate the cursor position. Contrasting with the Oki in this piece are analog sounds that are heavily LFO'd and appear to wax and wane randomly.
"Rubber Elephants" [mp3 removed]
The tune started out as the Conlon Nancarrowish "Piano Three Hands," which I've been saying mainly sounds that way because of the pianos. Here I used a Moog-like synth playing the same notes as the earlier piece(s) (plus some new percussion). It's burbly and perenially slightly out of tune so I gave it a new title. It could also be Switched-On Inebriated Bach.
Image from the
New York Times, during the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq.
The scenario was deeply ironic and cynical, yet average Americans took it on faith that war was necessary and being glorified. The glib news media didn't believe a word of the propaganda they dispensed, yet put the utmost creativity into fostering a sense of urgency. We could be talking about the Iraq war, but the subject is Starship Troopers
, Paul Verhoeven's film of Robert Heinlein's not-so-crypto-fascist novel. It's hard not to watch it today without seeing it as a blueprint for how the New York Times, Washington Post,
and the other major media sold Bush's war. Verhoeven cast attractive then-unknowns as the film's citizen soldiers and their intertwined stories completely grab you, even though the movie's oft-stated belief in force and violence as the ultimate arbiter of the greater good is dangerous malarkey. Similarly, the Times
played its part in stoking the masses, not just with Judith Miller's fabricated scare stories about Iraqi superweapons, but with the front page photos of soldiers hugging their loved ones as they prepared to depart for the habitat of the dangerous colonial Other. U.S. tanks and warplanes overran Iraq's borders, even though, as we all know, the country had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks; Troopers
briefly suggests, only to sneeringly dismiss it, that humans started the war by encroaching on the alien bugs' Galactic turf. Yet the Times
and its ilk devoted little ink to root causes, in their bloodlust, misplaced desire for 9/11 revenge, and crass schemes to sell papers. Small surprise that Verhoeven saves one of the most gruesome deaths for an embedded reporter, whose last moments are filmed by a transfixed cameraman who doesn't put down his recording device to help.