Recent listening

T. Rex – Electric Warrior

This album basically invented glam rock in 1971. At first I was kind of turned off because every song sounds like “Get It On” but after a while I got into it. Now I am certain it’s a bona fide classic rock album.

Marc Bolan slickly crooning voice slides around clipped drums and guitar stabs. The bass is thick and bouncy, like molasses rubber. This is music made for strutting.

Luke Abbott – Holkham Drones

Don’t let the “drone” part scare you. This is some sunny-day synthesizer warmth all mixed up with some minimal beats.  Boards of Canada meets Kraftwerk. Perfect background music for a documentary about communes.

Luiza Borac – Enescu: Pièces Impromptues Op. 18

Actually, I want the version of this piece played by Ewa Kupiec as I heard it on Deutschlandfunk radio but it doesn’t seem to be for sale.

This piece for solo piano consists of seven movements which vary from beautiful melodic exercises (as in the first one) to unusually dissonant mood pieces (as in the last). In all pieces terribly intricate rhythms are at play. It seems like the player’s hands are having an argument as to which gets to take the lead. Two melodic lines weave around each other, briefly resolving in beautiful chords before scattering again.

Weird drones and noises

I took an introductory course in SuperCollider, a sound programming language. The simplest thing to make is weird drones and buzzes, and so I’ve been making and listening to some of those.

My new project revealed: xychan

xychan is a “chan-style” message board written in Python. I started writing it to learn the Bottle web application framework, and continued with it because it was fun.

A “chan board” is a message board that allows for Anonymous posting. Users can post messages without registering for an account or even entering a name. However, there are means for them to authenticate themselves and “prove” their identify if they so desire.

At this point xychan has most of the features of a typical chan-board system minus a few omission I hope to touch up in the next few releases. Then I will begin extending it so that it becomes more than the average chan-board system and into something special.

If I seem a bit vague here it’s because I don’t want to give too much away now.

For the moment if you want to see how it works you can visit the xychan test site. I’m not sure what content will be there since it’s visible and modifyable by the whole Internet, but hopefully people will keep it clean. (Please.)

Picture unrelated.

Published: The Texpert’s first column in Texture Magazine

Matt snapped this photo of me. I dig it because I usually look pretty dumb in photographs. More dumb that this.

My first column as “The Texpert” has been published in Texture Magazine Online. Check it out! It’s kind of an advice column where I try to demystify complex technological concepts. If you have questions you can write to and they’ll forward it to me.

Preparing for winter

Looks like I’m preparing for winter by lining up some projects to work on during those cold nights. I’ve got a cheap synth I’m going to bend. I’ve got a secret new programming project to reveal soon. And I’ve got some half-finished songs that deserve a proper cleanup and release.

Reading: Slavoj Zizek – Living in the End Times

I want to like this more than I actually do. I mean, he’s a smart guy and he thinks a lot, but I just can’t get behind his “shotgun philosophy”: fire off many arguments and hope one’ll stick. Someone told me these are aesthetic arguments, meaning “if it looks good it’s probably true”. It’s just not cutting it.

Still, there are some great moments: in particular the Lacanian analysis of Kung Fu Panda. I’m with him that far, but I get lost when he references novels by Brecht. I’m not that well read, yo.

Berlin miscellany

This is where I’m sitting right now. It’s a part of my new apartment I call The Think Zone.

Well, I’m back in Berlin. Clearly I’m jaded by this city. I mean, stuff happens that would weird out most normal people but I’m just like “whatever.”

Like, today outside our office building about 30 people in costumes made of elaborate white cardboard and marker-painted toilet paper danced up the street following a giant gray papier maché mammal (I think it was a rat). The whole assemblage was following a flatbed trunk on which a band was playing. The singer, in a nasal tone, sneered:

Ich habe keine lust
Ich habe keine lust

Meaning “I don’t really want to”, though he didn’t say regarding what specifically.

They were handing out flyers but we didn’t pick one up and consequently have no idea what was going on. Which is par for the course in Berlin.

The best case scenario for my friend L—‘s love life if she were to meet a single dad

Okay, here’s the dude: he’s a mildly famous golf instructor who coached all the recent greats. He’s fit and tanned from spending so much time outside, and for some reason he’s British.

He married at the end of high school because he accidentally knocked up his girlfriend and decided it was the right thing to do even though all his friends told him the girl was trouble. Four years down the road he caught her having an affair with Tiger Woods, and she told him to “fuck off” and ran away to Vegas leaving him the kid.

He’s got a good heart but it’s a little broken, and though he’s a bit shy he has a strong sense of justice and he’s coureous to the point of chivalry (especially thanks to his British-ism). Did I mention he’s super rich like a doctor or lawyer, but because he doesn’t work long hours because his clients pay him so well and he doesn’t really care for money? He is.

And his kid is super charming though a little bit goofy.

Anyway, about 9 months into your relationship with him his ex-wife will come back and say she didn’t mean to tell him to fuck off, and then there will be some comi-tragic situations where you attempt to woo him away from his ex before it is revealed that he wasn’t planning on going back to that cheating bitch at all and you are the love of his life and, damnit, you don’t have to change anything about yourself because he loves you.

You will be married at the Banff Springs golf course on the 9th hole and Tiger Woods won’t return the ex’s phonecalls, and she gets addicted to crack (though this is only implied).

I have a terrible head cold

It’s not very fun but it gives me an excuse to not assemble the last of my Ikea furniture (for now).