September 22, 2005 (link)
Check it out: the Realistic MG-1 analog synth you hear on this song is the very same one I used to play, back in the day. Punches -- punches, I kid you not! -- were once thrown over this li'l set of keys, though I was neither the puncher nor the punchee, thankfully. It's now in the hands of Mr. Harrison Hartley, and I'm psyched that it's still being used to make good music. Nice stuff, guys!
Current music: A Troop of Echoes - "Porcelain"
September 21, 2005 (link)
For those of us who are still muddling along in OS 9, but would like to be able to listen to the .m4a and .mp4 files our friends give us, there is a way:
By changing the file type and creator of the AAC files encoded by iTunes 4 or downloaded from the iTunes Music Store from M4A/hook and M4P/hook respectively to MooV/TVOD or MPG4/TVOD [but see below!], the songs can be played in OS 9. MPEG/TVOD files are recognized by QuickTime 6.0.3...MooV/TVOD files can be played as above but are also recognized by iTunes 2.0.4.
If you're wondering how to change the file and creator type, look no further than the excellent Creator Changer (at least, that's what I use).
But wait! There's a little more you need to know first:
A few days ago, David van Handel posted a note regarding .m4a files in OS 9. A minor correction -- QuickTime Player will not play files of the type MPG4/TVOD or MooV/TVOD if they were originally from iTunes 4. The only tags I've been able to find that work are mpg4/TVOD (case-sensitive) and these do not play in iTunes 2.x...[but] if you change the extension from .m4a to .mov, they appear in iTunes 2, but with no ID3 tag information.
I found this to be precisely the case for me -- MPG4/TVOD didn't work, but mpg4/TVOD worked perfectly. Well, "worked perfectly" might be an exaggeration: every time I tried to play the files, my computer would crash hard after an amount of time ranging from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. I think Quicktime on OS 9 has a major bug when it comes to dealing with MPEG-4 audio, since I've gotten the same massive crashes when trying to play back certain videos. (Either that, or it's something on my system -- who knows.)
In any event, I opted to convert the files to .wav format, which for my purposes will do fine, and had no further problems.
So, got that?
- Download Creator Changer if you need it;
- Change the filetype of your audio file to mpg4, and the creator to TVOD;
- Rename the file extension from .m4a to .mov;
- Drag it into iTunes and play it!
- And if your computer keeps crashing, convert it to a WAV or AIFF and listen to that instead.
Current music: Michael Tippett - Symphony No. 2
September 13, 2005 (link)
So last Tuesday (Sept. 6), I did indeed go to see Jandek (in the company of this fine gent) at the Anthology Film Archives in Manhattan. Other people have already written very detailed reviews of the show -- you can find a bunch of them here, of which I might suggest checking out Echoplex and Jeff Grimshaw's page first. So, it'd be redundant for me to do a detailed recap of the facts of the evening. I do have a few stray thoughts about it, though:
- As I said in the email linked above, Jandek played a walking bassline with his left hand, and used it on pretty much all of the songs, which meant that he was more or less dictating the tempo -- even when his fellow musicians were doing things to play off, contradict, or otherwise obscure it. This basic pulse stayed constant throughout the evening, clocking in at about 72-75 BPM, give or take. (I did at one point look at my watch to measure it.) I don't know whether Jandek was conscious of this, but it's interesting to note that the tempo he chose roughly corresponds with the resting pulse/heart rate of an average human being -- i.e., 72 beats per minute. I think I'll write to Corwood about that.
- One of the evening's nicest stretches came once the electric guitarist (Loren Mazzacane Connors) stopped playing. I'm sorry to hear that he was in pain (or otherwise unwell), but for those last few songs, the space opened up by his absence was really nice. Before that, there were times that Connors was overplaying somewhat -- even if it was only that he was too loud, which might not be his fault (but which made it hard to hear Jandek's lyrics) -- and the auto-wah that he used on the first few songs wore out its welcome pretty quickly.
On the other hand, there were other sections where his contributions were very much on point, especially once he dropped the auto-wah and started exploring different timbres. Probably his best moment was the end of the fourth or fifth song, when after everyone else had stopped, he kept going with a slow series of single notes, gradually fading off into silence. It takes balls to follow your own lead when you're playing sideman to anyone, let alone when you're in waters so uncharted as a Jandek show; all credit to Connors for his courage, and for adding a new color to the evening exactly when it was needed.
- Probably the single biggest revelation of the evening was realizing how much black humor there is in Jandek's work. "So I went outside...and did things" -- everyone keeps quoting that line, and with good reason, because it was funny as hell. (The one about how it was "too early to drink" was another crowd favorite, unsurprisingly.) And it's the kind of funny that isn't diminished by questions of intent: in other words, Jandek could've been playing it completely straight -- I don't think he was, but it's certainly possible -- and it would neither undermine the moment, nor would it make the way in which we received the line seem potentially uncomfortable ("laughing at" vs. "laughing with").
In this light, the old theories about him being some sort of mental defective seem all the more ludicrous: whatever you think of his music or his lyrics, the intelligence at work was very much in evidence. (Within the bounds of technical limitations and topical constraints, yes -- but still in evidence.)
In other news, I've heard what purports to be a rip of the new Boards of Canada album, Campfire Headphase. So far, my reaction is that I like it better than Geogaddi, but not as much as the older stuff (especially BOC Maxima and Hi Scores). Still, the new direction (i.e. lots of guitars) is engaging enough. "Peacock Tail" is probably the standout track for me so far -- nice chord progression, nice assymmetrical phrase length (seven measures by my count).
By the way, the early BOC releases -- Hooper Bay, Acid Memories, Play By Numbers, and so on -- are reputed to be so rare, and so completely confined to the band's inner circle, that not even MP3s are to be found. (I certainly haven't heard any.) No one even seems to know for certain what the songs sound like.
So how is it, then, that this guy, and this interviewer, have heard them and can comment on them?
(Hey, at least they know their fanbase: "I'm really paranoid about security," adds Marcus. "We've got all these tapes and discs going back 15 years or so. I've got this really complicated solar alarm on my house so that it's impossible to switch it off without cutting five different wires in different places simultaneously.")
Current music: "1.mp3"
(don't know who it's by -- back in August, it claimed to be a track from Campfire Headphase, which it certainly isn't -- but I kind of like it!)
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