Re: [-empyre-] pieces of history
Reminiscence is a wonderful thing. I've always been into machines. I
remember being captivated by the song Telstar by Joe Meeks's Tornadoes. I
was three and it sounded like music from another planet. After that I was a
massive aficionado of the show "Fireball XL5". My favourite character was
Robby the Robot who was always so polite and spoke with this robotic yet
distinctly British accent.
When I was several years older, I would listen to Alison Steele on WNEW-FM
radio, and she would play some of the weirdest progRock around, and
introduced me to a whole new world of music beyond top 40 and the classical
music/show tunes/Tony Bennett my parents listened to.
My high school graduating art project as an Art Major was a multimedia
performance that was as messy as it was deafening. People running around a
maypole. TVs being smashed. I was reciting my 2 and 3 dimensional poetry -
stuff that made sense in several directions... People painting themselves.
All the while there was a highly scripted if flickering light show,
automated slides of industrial decay (from the neighbourhood I grew up in)
and the sound track which was a work of reel to reel musique concrete
derived from chopped up snippets of popular music form the time (1976). It
was so loud the Office threatened to call the local Constabulary. So during
a quiet passage I turned it down to something less than window shattering.
Which actually improved things - the mangled choppy songs (everything from
Tangerine Dream and John Cage, to the Singing Nun and the Beatles) It was
pretty transgressive and high tech for a high school student in the mid
seventies in the industrial burbs of New Jersey, and I think that was half
the point of it all back then: to chop up the crap of the culture around me
and throw it back at the audience. To this day I wonder what it was all
about, but back then I was so *completely stoned all the time* I'm sure the
details made some kind of sense. I think. Maybe. I remember I was pretty
baked for the gig. First and last time I ever did that...
A few years later, me and my mates did a concert in a library: 4'33" by John
Cage, arranged for quartet of drums, guitar, bass, and tape recorder. Moved
a lot of gear for nothing - but REALLY GOOD NOTHING. We also did music
derived from some Texas Instrument calculators - we attached leads to the
battery packs, and as we touched the keypads, different charges were drawn,
making different tones. I liked my calculator because when I drove it to
blink "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" it would make a really grating "RRRRNT RRRRNT
RRRRNT RRRRNT" sound with each blink. We ran them through a bunch of guitar
stomp boxes and effects and it was pretty unique. We called it calculator
I've been interested in what machines do, but also what they're not supposed
to do. My influences? Cage. Meeks. Scriabin. Light shows. Rock Concerts.
:zoviet*france:. Eno. Roland Kayn. Films: esp. the works of Tarkovsky and
Marker. Philosophy - Buddhism, Brockman, Marx, Sartre, PreSocratics...
And: The neighbourhood where I grew up (a particularly industrial corner of
NJ - six kids, two parents in a two bedroom duplex hard up against the
turnpike, a railroad, a fiberglas factory, a decrepit toilet factory and a
paper mill, and above was the landing pattern for Newark Airport - jets
every few minutes.)
I hope this gets out. My version of Outlook has been flaky lately.
IIRC, I should respond to some responses. Tomorrow.
This archive was generated by a fusion of
Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and