February 10, 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 Software was long out of date and pieced together over 14 years from an IIS server in 2004 (?)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 This blog was using the wildly out-of-date, insecure, and no longer supported MovableType software, so that goes and this becomes static pages until something new is chosen.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 | 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 | permalink

February 1, 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 | permalink