10 February 2018

The pause

This has been a month of porting from a very old server to a new one. Software was long out of date and pieced together over 14 years from an IIS server in 2004 (?) to Ubuntu in 2009 and now to Ubuntu again. What I didn't know was impressive and the conversion from chaos to moderate normalcy has been humbling. This blog was using the wildly out-of-date, insecure, and no longer supported MovableType software, so that goes and this becomes static pages until something new is chosen. (Search and various other features will be broken.)

Bye for now.

posted by sstrader at 6:14 PM in Personal | comments (0) | permalink

The riot

Pussy Riot Announce North American Tour. Their itinerary goes across the country and in Canada from 6 Mar to 31 Mar. I'm not a super fan of their music but have like their informed government fuckery and Yekaterina Samutsevich's closing statement at the end of their trial back in 2012 was clear and cutting:

That Christ the Savior Cathedral had become a significant symbol in the political strategy of the authorities was clear to many thinking people when Vladimir Putin's former [KGB] colleague Kirill Gundyayev took over as leader of the Russian Orthodox Church. After this happened, Christ the Savior Cathedral began to be openly used as a flashy backdrop for the politics of the security forces, which are the main source of political power in Russia.

...it was then that he felt the need for more persuasive, transcendent guarantees of his long tenure at the pinnacle of power. It was then that it became necessary to make use of the aesthetic of the Orthodox religion, which is historically associated with the heyday of Imperial Russia

This is no longer just public sex performance art. Coming at a time when not only sensible Russians have a problem with Putin, the presence of outrage--though preaching to the choir--may make more of an impact on the young American punks. And it's a good time to review how Putin rose to power since he likely had a role in the events leading to the Second Chechen War. The apartment bombings that were blamed on Chechens may have been false-flagged by the up-and-coming Putin in order to injectc himself as the next Russian leader. This American Life has a thorough segment in their episode from April of last year titled The Other Mr. President. It's chilling and sad and now our history too.

posted by sstrader at 6:05 PM in Music , Politics | comments (0) | permalink

1 February 2018

The expression

Most every time I'm in the shower and vigorously massaging the shampoo into my scalp, I think of a specific phrase in Schnittke's Cello Concerto No. 1. Later in the first movement, in a pause between an agitated wide-ranging melody, the cellist plays with a toneless, dry tremolo behind slow chords in the horns. A very short phrase here:

I may be scrubbing too hard.

I thought I was just making a goofy association with the music. It's been a favorite of mine for a while and so I've listened to it enough to have it naturally internalized, playing randomly in my head. But the trigger here was the physical motion that mimicked in a way the physicality of the musical technique. It's not unique to modern music--tremolos weren't invented in the 1970s--but the discursive characteristics of modern music may make that physical suggestion come out. Schnittke's associated with postmodernism rather than abstract expressionism, but the latter is really what resonates here. A primary characteristic of the (visual) abstract expressionist's art is an attempt to eliminate mediating obstacles between them and their work. That lack of representational conceit communicates the artists physical movements more directly to the observer or listener, and they feel the act of painting or performing within themselves.

(how is physicality missing in some music? electronic? is it more in folk because of the acoustic generation of sounds? is the response to dance music a different quality or a different aspect of this quality?)

No. 5, 1948.jpg
By Taken from Art Market Watch.com., Fair use, Link

posted by sstrader at 7:01 AM in Music | comments (0) | permalink

28 January 2018

The sands

Simple line from Foucault's Pendulum:

... you, too, are trying to leave footprints on the sands of time

I can't get out of my head the idea that (unrelated to the story?) you could alter the laws of physics and leave your mark not on human history but on the universe. Contributing to the human race is no longer the goal. Those ambitions can only create something to be forgotten in a dozen or hundred or thousand years. Altering the "sands of time" alters the page and not the text.

But then taking the full quote from FP, that grandiose tangent may not be far off. The idea of stepping-outside-of-the-system, and the system re-asserting itself, may be the intent.

But redemption from what, old Rocambole? You knew better than to try to become a protagonist! You have been punished, and with your own arts. You mocked the creators of illusion, and now--as you see--you write using the alibi of a machine, telling yourself you are a spectator because you read yourself on the screen as if the words belonged to another, but you have fallen into the trap: you, too, are trying to leave footprints on the sands of time. You have dared to change the text of the romance of the world, and the romance of the world has taken you instead into its coils and involved you in its plot, a plot not of your making.
posted by sstrader at 11:17 PM in Language & Literature | comments (0) | permalink

19 November 2017

The year's concerts

18 Mar 2017 - ATL Collective performs License to Ill at Buckhead Theatre. Got there and were wackily surprised that this was part of the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. Oh yeah, they're Jewish. Lisa and I got a refrigerator magnet with a pic of us, with me in my stylish Molly Hatchet tee. Swank. The show was good-not-great. More reading the lyrics from cheat sheets than there should have been. But man that magnet is sweet.

8 Apr 2017 - Kool Keith at Antone's in Austin, TX. We randomly saw this listed somewhere and immediately bought tickets for a weekend. Austin is the place. Details of the whole shebang here, including the mid-concert hot wings. Go see him, earth people!

19 May 2017 - ATL Collective performing The Eagles Hotel California at City Winery. I was never a super fan of The Eagles, but this was still a entertaining show. ATL Collective generally makes an album worth it. As always, good mix of singers.

14 Jul 2017 - ATL Collective performing The Beatles White Album at Terminal West. Absolute perfect opening, but they also recreated the unevenness of this album. Still, some of the worst songs on the album were given interesting tweaks (Bungalow Bill had everyone on stage swapping voices perfectly). Center songs were remade with solid R&B flair.

1 Aug 2017 - DJ Shadow at Center Stage. What an amazing visual/musical mix. I don't know how many times I've seen him, but it's a new experience with each setup. Less Mountain Will Fall material than a mix of older and just randomness. Back seats but there're no bad seats at Center Stage. Would love to have a recording of it.

7 Oct 2017 - Project Pabst in East Atlanta. We had gone last year (Mastodon and Run the Jewels headlining); this year was Peaches, Dinosaur Jr., and Iggy Pop. Started with a traditional pizza lunch at Argosy (along with a new tradition of mid-concert drinks in their awesome back room). Before the headliners were various local band on outside stages and inside The Earl. I finally got to see The Coathangers! Third (?) time seeing Peaches and her outfits were.. just wow. She is the goddamn best. Dinosaur Jr. guitar work was great to hear for the first time live and Iggy Pop is a 70-year-old who lived an excessive life who I can only hope to be as energetic as. I recommend this over Music Midtown just for the pure messiness and indie-ness of it all.

24 Oct 2017 - King Crimson at Center Stage (setlist). A band I was introduced to when Discipline came out and dug into the rest of their catalog in subsequent years. Red and Starless and Bible Black are two that are still in rotation. The musicians for the concert were three drummers with full kits in front, with the back row, left-to-right, consisting of a woodwind player, Tony Levin on bass/stick, singer/guitarist, and Fripp. Strict rules of NO CAMERAS enforced until the end. Crazy-good drum opening, extended pieces I was not familiar with (possibly from The ConstruKction of Light?), old tunes, and my favorites. Top of their game.

We will end the year with Britney Spears' last Vegas show on December 31st. Neat!

posted by sstrader at 11:56 AM in Concerts | tagged DJ Shadow | comments (0) | permalink

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