Monday, May 30, 2005

The Other Tradition: They all came, some wore sentiments

The Other Tradition

They all came, some wore sentiments
Emblazoned on T-shirts, proclaiming the lateness
Of the hour, and indeed the sun slanted its rays
Through branches of Norfolk Island pine as thought
Politely clearing its throat, and all ideas settled
In a fuzz of dust under trees when it’s drizzling:
The endless games of Scrabble, the boosters,
The celebrated omelette au Cantal, and through it
The rose of time plunging unchecked through the
Of the days, dragging every sexual moment of it
Past the lenses: the end of something.
Only then did you glance up from your book,
Unable to comprehend what had been taking place, or
Say what you had been reading. More chairs
Were brought, and lamps were lit, but it tells
Nothing of how all this proceeded to materialize
Before you and the people waiting outside and in the
Street, repeated its name over and over, until silence
Moved halfway up the darkened trunks,
And the meeting was called to order.
I still remember
How they found you, after a dream, in your thimble hat,
Studious as a butterfly in a parking lot.
The road house was nicer then. Dispersing, each of the
Troubadours had something to say about how charity
Had run its race and won, leaving you the ex-president
Of the event, and how, though many of those present
Had wished something to come of it, if only a distant
Wisp of smoke, yet nothing was so deceived as to hanker
After that cool non-being if just a few minutes before,
Now that the idea of a forest had clamped itself
Over the minutiae of the scene. You found this
Charming, but turned your face fully toward night,
Speaking into it like a megaphone, not hearing
Or caring, although these still live and are generous
And all ways contained, allowed to come and go
Indefinitely in and out of the stockade
They have so much trouble remembering, when you
Rescues them at last as a star absorbs the night.

By John Ashbery

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Music or Arranged Sound

I have recently noticed that I have a lot of musical material on the web. The pan-Continental group I play in, 'Majik' has been getting some good reviews on websites for our double CDR releases; The Human Hand and In Mara's Glove. So I thought it was time to make a daring connection and link up various sites to this blog and allow the sounds to flow through here as well.
First, so as people realize what sort of aural scape they will be encountering here I quote from a recent review on the Unbroken Circle site:

"Majik on 'The Human Hand' [musicyourmindwillloveyou 0011] are creating surreal symphonies to disoriented. Starting with words, speech overlapping, manipulation of vinyl it then evolves into strummed acoustic density, playing chords not recognizable in this dimension. Guttural non-verbalized calls and exhortations sit in the background evoking the indescribable. Fuzz guitars, clattering percussion, bass that empties brains of reason. Speech from those not-quite alive seethe over broken melodies, spurts of stomach loosening noise, random drums, nobody playing together. Speech intoning, indistinguishable, reduced to primal sludge. Order from chaos, sense from the Surreal. This isn't music, its noise as liturgy. Caveat Emptor profundis."

So here are a selection of websites with downloadable noise of which I am either wholly or partly responsible:

Some Solo Material

Solo Material Continues (including short film with music)

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love (a collaborative collection including myself and members of The Spacious Mind plus others)

Again with the Majik

Finally I quote from a online review I received recently:

"Reviewer: Downes
Subject: Review of Jim Barrett Red Text
People looking for authentic didgeridoo will find it here. The recording starts slowly and is a bit choppy for the first two minutes, but for the remaining five minutes settles into varied and interesting didgeridoo voices. Good stuff."

I have completed three tracks on my next CD and I hope to have it finished this summer. It will be available from mymwly recordings.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Feed Your Head

A new book; "What the Dormouse Said: How the 60's Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry" by John Markoff looks like an interesting read. It adds to the mythology of the early years of what has become such a central part of life in the post-industrial parts of the world.
I quote:

"Based on interviews with all the major surviving players, Markoff vividly captures the lives and times of those who laid the groundwork for the PC revolution, introducing the reader to such colorful characters as Fred Moore, a teenage antiwar protester who went on to ignite the computer industry, and Cap’n Crunch, who wrote the first word processing software for the IBM PC (EZ Writer) in prison, became a millionaire, and ended up homeless." From Amazon

The New York Times review was somewhat more tongue in cheek (or tongue and tab):

"LET'S get this straight: Jerry Garcia invented the Internet while he was tripping on acid. No, actually, it was Ken Kesey, who thought computers were the next thing after drugs - which, according to John Markoff, they really were."

Whatever, I myself am of the belief that material and linguistic metaphors are important to ground scientific and social experiments.

Lowenstein in the NYT review writes:
"Computer technology did turn out to be creative, spirited and even freeing. Most of this was a result of the fabulous advances in the power of the microchip. But perhaps, also, in the tactile clicking of the mouse, you can hear the faint strumming of a guitar."

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

How to use a Dial telephone (1927)

From 1927 a instructional film on "How to use a dial Telephone"....Aahh, the simple life.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Descartes in St. Germain-des-Pres

Les Deux Magots...a local cafe for the remains of René Descartes (they are buried nearby)

Because he died in Sweden and was buried here for a while I thought he must still be here somewhere....but no....he has moved to St. Germain-des-Pres. Somewhere I wouldn't mind living sometime myself:

"The Queen wanted Descartes to teach her philosophy. Though this was the only obligation he had at her court, she could spare time for lessons only at five in the morning. He used to say 'Men's thoughts freeze during winter months'. His health deteriorated due to the unaccustomed early rising in the cold of Swedish winter.

In 1650, Chanut became seriously ill, and Descartes, in taking care of him, he himself became sick. Descartes caught pneumonia from him on February 1 and died on February 11.

Since Descartes was a Catholic, and Sweden a Protestant country, he was buried in a cemetery reserved for un-baptized children. In 1667, his remains were taken to Paris and buried in the Church of St. Genevieve-du-Mont. During the French Revolution, his remains were disinterred for burial in the Pantheon among the great French thinkers. His tomb is now in the church of St. Germain-des-Pres.

The inscription Descartes chose for his tombstone was

'Bene qui latuit, bene visit'

He who hid well, lived well."

Monday, May 23, 2005

New "Website" for Electronic Literature Organization

Nick Montfort has designed and implemented the new Electronic Literature organization(ELO) "website". It looks to me more like a blog than a website and the online text even states:

"The new ELO website is powered by WordPress and uses a theme based on Joni Mueller’s Zen Minimalist."

In any case it emphasizes more strongly new online works with links and icons on the opening page of the new "site".
This makes me happy, no matter what was used to make it or what it is called!

Puppetmasters and Performances: Pervasive Gaming in Practice

In a couple of hours I will be attending Jane McGonigal's HUMlab seminar on pervasive gaming. This is for me a very interesting topic. Jane is among many things one of the creators of the famous I Love Bees game. Since the days of 34 North 118 West I have been interested in the omniscient game or Alternate reality Gaming (ARG). The boundaries of any text are created by the material nature of that text, but what of such representations as the city where it is thought of as reality rather than a construction? Here the boundaries of the "text" are only defined by the reading, how one interacts with the city, what narrative elements are combined in order to tell the story that one will live for that particular day.
This psychogeography runs parrallel to any ARG creation and will, I believe, become a major source of discourse in the coming years.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Build what they want using BBC content

The British Broadcasting Company it seems is moving the distribution of their content into the public domain with Backstage.

From 10 days ago describes it as a free for all "mash it up", but looking at the ten prototypes accepted so far, it hardly seems to be overflowing with micro-innovation:

1. A Spam filter attached to the BBC RSS
2. News maps. You see where on the globe Azerbaijan actually is (no doubt this would be popular in the USA)
3. Traffic news (driving with laptop can be dangerous)
.....And so on

The BBC propose that:

" is the BBC's developer network to encourage innovation and support new talent. Content feeds are available for people to build with on a non-commercial basis."

The Standard license Agreement pushes the content more toward the RSS feed side of the arrangement, where by your site can host BBC content.

To me it seems more like a way of freeing the distribution of content rather than the actual ability to download and change the broadcast content from the BBC itself. Why can't be re edit Dr Who, remix the Teletubbies, sample The Goodies?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Bits and Pieces

It seems like blogging is peaking at the moment. Even staid old SVT is getting in on spreading the word.

My work continues. Things seem in place for the Roma Self-Writing conference tomorrow. If anyone is interested in hearing:
David Morley (Warwick), Gunilla Lundgren (Stockholm), Siobhan Down (London), Veijo Baltzar (Helsinki/Helsingfors), Martin Shaw (Umeå), Paola Toninato (Warwick), Adrian Marsh (Istanbul), Bo Hazell (Örebro).
On how gypsy authors have written about themselves, come to Humanist Building, B 203 at Umeå University between 9 am-6 pm tomorrow.

The other thing that is fast approaching me is the Södertörns Folkhögskolan summer school "ICT and the Humanities". Yesterday I received my assignment information, including what I hope will be my first real academic paper...More on that soon. This summer school is going to be wicked.

Back to the books...........

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Annoyed by Registration Software?

I have been trying to avoid registering for some of my favorite online newspapers for a while now. I suppose I could put in false info but that is somehow only a halfway solution. Now Bugmenot seems to be the answer. It generates an identity and password for any gated site you know the URL for....ahhh Bug-me-not.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Some Music for the Travellers

Last night I played at the old town hall here in Umeå. Here is recording of the piece I played: Yidaki, Kartak bells and Clap sticks:
Vision Mission (5.19MB)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005


If you like the sound of this:
Game Culture Lecture Series led by Professors Erkki Huhtamo and Jennifer Steinkamp
February 14, 2005, 6:00 pm

Brown will discuss how his art, and art in general, have been enabled through various digital technologies over the last 20 years, and how they have become increasingly involved with the technological and cultural forms of computer gaming. While these artworks aren’t “games” per se, they have a congruency with the methods and modes of computer games and are increasingly framed by the reception of games in culture at large.

You should really watch the video: HERE (a whole 1 and 1/2 hours of brilliance)

Monday, May 09, 2005

From Roma to Experimental Music to Digital Language Learning and the Didgeridoo

My life is complex and the last few days and this week are testament to that. For the final two days of last week I was busy making a poster (above image)for a coming conference on Roma Self-writing. I was also preparing for a concert of what the local paper came to describe as "experimental music" (Link in Swedish). I spent much of the weekend with Marek and Anna of The Magic Carpathians, as well as meeting Avarus, Mats and playing with the Kungahuset. This was as well as maintaining a flimsy presence on the domestic scene (pregnant partner and unwell child....a trip to the A&E of the local hospital yesterday for a suspect eye infection proved to be an overly hasty decision on the part of us, the worried parents).

Now it is Monday and I have made the return to "normal life". Reading as fast and as much as possible, preparing for a busy week in HUMlab, including a two day symposium on IT and language learning which is going to be very rich. As part of this I am again playing music on Wednesday night.
On Friday between 9am and 12md there will be a Workshop with Agnes Kukulska-Humle on Mobile Learning.
On Friday it is also my lovely partner's birthday, the one that begins with a 3 and ends with 0.
Here she is looking fine at a recent fire:

Friday, May 06, 2005

Bad Boy Bubby

Bubby as Poet

Last night I watched one of my favorite films for the second time. The Australian film Bad Boy Bubby is a surreal "wolf-child" genre story for the postmodern age. Instead of be suckled in the woods Bubby is confined and sexualised by his deranged mother. Escape comes as Bubby begins to question his own situation and the twisted reality provided since birth by his mother. Being that the outside world in completely full of poison gas, making movement outside his small room impossible. The arrival of his long lost father, "Pop", in the bunker-like room brings violence, a new sexual partner for "Mum" and many unanswered questions about the external atmosphere. Bubby begins experimenting with breath and concludes he has been lied to. Thus he begins his own extraordinary path in a world as seen through the eyes of a 35 year old man-child.

This film is a rich philosophical catalyst. Ideas of individuality and self-identity, divinity, creativity and meaning are provoked by its original plot. If you ever have wondered about who you are and how you came to be that, watch Bubby in action.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

majik "in mara's glove" cd-r

I am happy to anounce the release of the latest project by the collective power of Music Your Mind Will Love You, on which I play, scream and bang things. I quote from the Foxglove site:

Foxglove066: majik "in mara's glove" cd-r
more primitive dirt psych explorations from the masters of the australian outback. majik is the fully assembled ensemble encompassing almost-all the members of the musicyourmindwilllove you collective. space shanty rhythms collide with tribal folk dirges to create true cosmic wreckage. michael donnelly and co. are on a mission to find the perfect trip. their cathartic releases are spewed straight from the earth's core. this is the aural transfixing of melted rock and the hyperspace freeway. a total psychedelic journey. welcome to fucking oz. 100 copies (dual release w/ mymwly - the companion disc, "the human hand," is available from them now)

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Welcome to the Jungle

Welcome to the Jungle

Moonshake 7th May 2005

In the name of music for the wellbeing of all everywhere we present the next Moonshake. This is gonna be a big one:
Saturday 7th May 2005
Hamnmagasinet Umeå
Cost: 50 Crowns
Music, Films, Fire show, Food, Stalls, DJ and Spontaneous Acts

Live Recording HERE
A living breathing cool-lective consciousness from across the Gulf of Bothnia (i.e. Finland). I quote from the SecretEye:

"Avarus's sound is primitive, child-like, joyous and free. We play long improvisations, from which we choose the most listenable parts for the records. Live shows also contain the searching-for-the-sweet parts. Music changes a lot, because it's not about trying to sound like something, but just playing how we feel like playing and it changes all the time. That's why one day we may sound like a duck sucking an empty playmobile pack when another day we are closer to angels accidentally re-inventing sport rock."

There will also be a performance by Avarus member Jan Anderzén as Tomutonttu which will include the showing of an animated film.

The Magic Carpathians Project:
The duo resides on the edge of what music once was (and still is in the more intact parts of the spiral). The present day incarnation of the "nature treated humanely" of Goethe's magic. The transcendent principle of art as transporting the subject rather than capturing it. A sense of representation which exists outside the time of empire and imposed discipline, of non-prescriptive but descriptive being. Communicative channels open along loose pathways to a green and vegetative organic awareness. Ritual performance and co operative states are found in what they describe as ethno-psychedlia.

Stary Dom: The gallery space of the Carpathians Magic

The Spacious Mind:
After a long wait are The Mind kindly releasing more recordings of their music in stationary form. The new studio CD Rotvälta will be launched at this Moonshake. Reviewed by Uncle Matts on The Broken Face as:

"It's flushed out with so much sonic depth and clarity that there are moments I feel like this is the most perfected form of psychedelic music ever. I don?t think I need to tell you that such comment is an exaggeration but there?s something to the flowing dreamy keyboards, effect-drenched electric guitar and impressive drumming that just work in a truly mind-melting way."

The psychedelic wildness continues with the north country's own Kungahuset as the play operatic space jazz. The bredth of this band is huge with the journey inspired by their music touching on everything from Middle Eastern wedding dances in crowded mud brick courtyards to the hazy days of The Haight in 66.