tinyurl.com/mfnw2014
If you’re headed to MusicFestNW in Portland, OR today and/or tomorrow, this thing I made will come in handy!
I made a MusicFestNW schedule you can look at on your phone quickly because their website isn’t responsive and the mobile app isn’t easy to navigate.
There are also wallpapers with schedules properly sized and positioned for your lock screen.
(This is not endorsed or supported by MusicFestNW in any way whatsoever.)

tinyurl.com/mfnw2014

If you’re headed to MusicFestNW in Portland, OR today and/or tomorrow, this thing I made will come in handy!

I made a MusicFestNW schedule you can look at on your phone quickly because their website isn’t responsive and the mobile app isn’t easy to navigate.

There are also wallpapers with schedules properly sized and positioned for your lock screen.

(This is not endorsed or supported by MusicFestNW in any way whatsoever.)

Re-listening to the self-titled A Winged Victory for the Sullen album from 2011, I noticed the second and third tracks are part of a mini-suite called 'Requiem for the Static King,' which I had before chalked up to Ambient Song Name Generator but this time around reminded me of the first track on Fennesz’ new album, 'Static Kings.' I looked it up.

The late Mark Linkous’ studio was called ‘Static King,’ and both compositions are tributes. The Winged Victory track was "created in memory of the untimely passing of Mark Linkous" and the Fennesz track was "was originally to feature vocals from Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse."

Maybe this was obvious to you already, but I don’t know a single song by Sparklehorse or any other of Mark Linkous’ projects (beyond a few of the tracks on the Dark Night of the Soul collaboration with Danger Mouse).

Another in a long line of indirect entry points.

Well, sctttnnnt…
In 2005 I was finishing my sophomore year of college at UMass and trying keep up with classes and get my bearings socially. I didn’t drink or do drugs, and that made me feel lonely a lot of the time. I had several good close friends, though, and I was pretty happy. I was in my first-ever relationship. I left for Japan to study abroad in September, and stayed with a host family there while I made new friends and studied Japanese language and literature.
Over the 2005–2006 winter break I traveled around Japan by myself. It was intense, enjoyable, and often quite isolating. In 2006 I finished my second semester abroad, returned home briefly, and moved up to Amherst to live with friends in a rented house for our senior year. My first relationship ended. I studied very hard and spent time with my housemates.
In 2007, after my senior year, I moved to Boston both to while away the months until the start of a year-long language studies program in Hokkaido and to be closer to a person with whom I was in a new relationship. I had a difficult time in Boston, feeling restless. The relationship faltered. At the urging of a friend, I moved to Hawaii to start a web development consultancy with him and dropped out of the Japanese studies program. We worked on websites and I tried to get accustomed to a new place.

Well, sctttnnnt

In 2005 I was finishing my sophomore year of college at UMass and trying keep up with classes and get my bearings socially. I didn’t drink or do drugs, and that made me feel lonely a lot of the time. I had several good close friends, though, and I was pretty happy. I was in my first-ever relationship. I left for Japan to study abroad in September, and stayed with a host family there while I made new friends and studied Japanese language and literature.

Over the 2005–2006 winter break I traveled around Japan by myself. It was intense, enjoyable, and often quite isolating. In 2006 I finished my second semester abroad, returned home briefly, and moved up to Amherst to live with friends in a rented house for our senior year. My first relationship ended. I studied very hard and spent time with my housemates.

In 2007, after my senior year, I moved to Boston both to while away the months until the start of a year-long language studies program in Hokkaido and to be closer to a person with whom I was in a new relationship. I had a difficult time in Boston, feeling restless. The relationship faltered. At the urging of a friend, I moved to Hawaii to start a web development consultancy with him and dropped out of the Japanese studies program. We worked on websites and I tried to get accustomed to a new place.

My Five Favorite Albums of All Time

image

  • BelongOctober Language (Carpark, 2006)
  • The BooksLost and Safe (Tomlab, 2005)
  • CaribouThe Milk of Human Kindness (Leaf, 2005)
  • Panda BearPerson Pitch (Paw Tracks, 2007)
  • Sunset RubdownDragonslayer (Jagjaguwar, 2009)

As of Monday, August 11, 2014 at 8:22pm, that is.

I was re-listening to some mid-2000s DJ mixes by Surgeon today while working. It’s good working music—driving beats, relatively consistent in BPM, diverse in texture, all blended together so you don’t have to think about what to play next until an hour’s gone by.

The pastoral IDM interlude that comes in around 2:00 in this Ed Chamberlain track really stood out. I found the track on Amazon and I’ve been enjoying it all afternoon.

Everything I Listened To: August 7–8, 2014

All 208 songs I listened to in iTunes or on my iPhone on Thursday and Friday, August 7–8, 2014, and the surrounding situation.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 7, 2014

Checking out songs I tracked down from a friend’s blog while I eat breakfast:

image

Checking out music whose influence a friend said you can hear in something else I like:

image

Listening to some ambient/electronic tracks I’ve been enjoying lately while I do email:

image

Putting on a few ambient albums I always listen to while I’m working:

image

Break for lunch and waiting for a client phone call. After the call, finished the album while working:

image

Jamming out to some recent favorites while I do some quick finances and then pack up to go work at the coffee shop:

image

Walking to the coffee shop:

image

Working at the coffee shop:

image

When I packed up and left the coffee shop, I wasn’t wearing headphones. The stereo was playing Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’

Doing dishes, making dinner:

image

Back to work. Forgot about this Actress album, remember it was received poorly. Get two minutes into the first track and get impatient. Back to Dalhous, which I’ve been listening to constantly:

image

Then I went to bed.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 2014

Morning bike ride, about 11 miles:

image

Making and eating breakfast (yogurt, bacon, a bagel), showering and getting dressed:

image

Doing email and business administration:

image

Lunch break. iPhone on shuffle:

image

Checking out this new Gold Panda track before I get back to work:

image

More Gold Panda while I finish some email and administration:

image

Ambient music for working:

image

Folding laundry and doing dishes:

image

Back to work:

image

Then Lauren came home from work.

All told, I listened to 208 songs in two days, a total of 16 hours and 45 minutes of music. This was a slightly higher than normal amount of listening, I’d say, since I’ve been working extra hours recently.

Liz Harris: drawing from the Vessel series (repeatingpattern.com)
Liz Harris, AKA Grouper, has a new portfolio site up. Her work is amazing.

Liz Harris: drawing from the Vessel series (repeatingpattern.com)

Liz Harris, AKA Grouper, has a new portfolio site up. Her work is amazing.

The Clientele — Impossible (Strange Geometry, 2005)

The last minute-and-a-half or so of this song is up there in my all-time favorite last minute-and-a-halfs. That snare drum, so insistent and tense in its polyrhythm; the pathos in Alasdair MacLean’s crying out “impossible” over a twisted-up and frantic guitar solo.

‘Impossible’ feels particularly dramatic and literary, even for a Clientele song. The structure is at once basic—roughly two verses, two choruses, and an outro—and quite ‘composed’—a string section opens the song, and each verse and chorus is separated by lengthy instrumental bridges between that only begin to resemble one another on repeated listens.

Lyrically it’s standard Clientele: romance, loneliness, surrealism. The Clientele’s is an acknowledged surrealism—here with the titular refrain—as though the narrator can’t help but acknowledge and disbelieve the absurdity of his own visions, imagined or not. It balances against what otherwise might seem unrelatable—for every “streetlamps fuse the rising night,” there’s a “I feel so far away.”

(And of course there’s the allusion to Robert Browning’s poem ‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came’—a reference I would for years mistake for one to Stephen King’s ‘Dark Tower’ series, itself homage to Browning.)

Strange Geometry was the first Clientele album I heard, and sountracked much of my junior year of college abroad. During those nine months I often felt isolated and lonely and separated, and The Clientele’s brand of self-aware, surreal melancholy was perfect for both sides of loneliness—hearing my sadness made poetry in reverb one day, reveling in the romance and freedom of solitude the next.

Recent recordings.

Recent recordings.

Jack Nitzsche — The Lonely Surfer

Last week Lauren picked out a 50¢ used surf rock compilation at the record store called Golden Summer. You’d recognize about half of it—plenty of Beach Boys, ‘Hawaii Five-O’ and ‘Wipe Out’ and ‘Surfin Bird’—and the whole thing is good fun.

(At one point the record skipped and created a perfect Panda Bear loop.)

This instrumental came on near the end of side four and struck me immediately. I thought the production sounded familiar, and it turns out Jack Nitzsche was Phil Spector’s right-hand man and a prolific arranger and orchestrator of rock, pop, and film music.

This is a good track, and I’m fascinated as much by why I like it as by the song itself. I tried listening to a collection of Nitzsche’s work on Spotify and couldn’t get more than three or four songs in—it was too much in a row of a style I’ve only ever really heard one at a time, mostly in films. Do I really like the song, or do I just like the feeling of the atmosphere it means to evoke? A nostalgia for a place and time I only know from media? (Is that sehnsucht or saudade?) Would I like it as much if Tarantino and Anderson hadn’t coached me along, given me images and themes to associate with music like this?
Often, when I find myself liking something, I try to explain it: this is Aspirational, or this is Reflective of My Thoughts and Feelings, or this is What the World Sounds Like, or this is Meditational. I don’t know where ‘The Lonely Surfer’ fits.

Accidental Panda Bear loop via skipping surf record.

All day every day.

All day every day.

A Few Old Little Ideas

I just found a many-years-old list on my hard drive called ‘Ideas,’ most of which I remember coming up with.

As I went through it, a few of the ‘computer art’ ones seemed doable pretty quickly, so I did them as a lark and they’re included inline here.

The rest aren’t quite as interesting to me as the things on which I currently want to spend my free time, so I’m brain-dumping these into Tumblr for something’s sake.

Computer Art

  • use the four-up mode in PhotoBooth to replicate the ‘Brady Bunch’ opening credits
  • take an album’s song’s ratings in iTunes and turn them into a treadmill elevation pattern that I have to run while listening to the given album
  • GIF: keep typing number signs on the iPhone dialing keypad to make a fence that gets further and further away
  • GIF: an emoji heart in a text document, use the OS X Find Text highlighter, and keep finding it to make it beat — DONE!
  • a photo of somebody dangling off a cliff, with a dialog box saying ‘Save’ and ‘Don’t Save’
  • icons of figure skaters that ‘skate across the ice’ when you scroll through Finder’s Cover Flow view — DONE!
  • use Finder’s QuickLook with custom MP3s, moving up and down to make a song
  • a rainbow of icons in the OS X app switcher — DONE!
  • iPhoto event mouseover flipbook
  • Facebook photo album flipbook: take photos that form an animation, arrange them in order, and then hold down the arrow key while viewing the album in Facebook.
  • rotate a PDF of a newspaper in Preview to imitate the ‘Extra! Extra!’ spinning newspaper animation — DONE!

Music

  • audio installation where attendees receive microphone earrings that randomly feed into a house system to present random bits of dialog
  • iTunes zebra: a script that takes two albums and makes playlist that alternates their tracks

Photography

  • series of shaken, unexposed Polaroids
  • photo of people holding printed-out parts of a lens flare at the right angles
  • Photoshop people into shoes hung over telephone wires
  • one photo per day for a year of the same subject, but at a different time of day each day; adding 3.9 minutes to the photo-taking time each day to get 365 of them divided into a 24-hour period
  • last shots: pictures of the camera about to be destroyed (falling off of a cliff, the bottom of a shoe, a car’s wheel, etc.)
  • gradient of emotions: a photo of twelve people in a line showing different emotions: angry to peaceful, happy to depressed
  • time-fracture photography: a single photograph with different sections of the film exposed at different times of day
  • forever sunset/daily sunset — take a picture of the sunset every day at the exact same location, so that the sun is in the same place but the clouds and surroundings change
  • take picture of the sun at the same time each day but from very different locations, so that it stays constant but the surroundings change

Software

  • in-museum wiki: accessible on your phone, so you can find out a lot more about the piece you’re looking at
  • movie masher: rearranges a film’s parts by frame or second (dark to light, silent to loud)

douglasmartini:

Thought I felt your heartbeat
It was just my counting

This is such a perfect line (and such a perfect album). It struck me the first time I heard it and I’ve been meaning to write about it ever since.

The opening run of disappointments in ‘Dance Slow Decades’ is inspired, a beautiful and palpable take on the typically simplistic day-night-happy-sad-angel-devil trope. Angel’s list of mundane mistakes—forgetting her watch, or a dream—is so effective because of the way it matches ordinary error with the cognitive distortions of worst-case-scenario fear, how stupid little failures reinforce the perception of bigger ones, how the obsessive worry keeps itself alive—it was just my counting.

Not to mention the delivery; the plainspoken admissions of misunderstanding alongside the cry of “it took me down” is… well, you have to hear it.

Thought I had a clue
It was passing by

Thought I had an answer
It was just a sigh

Thought I had a dream once
Don’t remember what

Thought I had some time here
Left my watch at home

Thought I had ideas once
They were all on loan

Thought I conquered something
And it took me down

What I thought I heard clearly
It wasn’t sound

Thought I felt your heartbeat
It was just my counting

And to what thoughts will
my life be amounted?