accidental musics (S.i.W. 1)

september 14, 2002.

This afternoon I spent on the avenue George Clémenceau, a couple of blocks from where I live. The local shopkeepers there had organised a festive outdoors gathering for the residents, with tombola prizes and music. They'd closed down the street for traffic, and set up some fifty meters of marketplace type tables and chairs where one could sit down and have his (bring along) picnic.


In front of the entrance to the small square Saint Louis parc an amateur jazz quartet was doing its thing on drums, bass guitar, keyboard and tenor. A local crazy-but-harmless guy walked up and down in front of the band, one hand holding on to a dirty old plastic shopping bag, the other swaying a bottle of cheap red wine, trying to drown the music with his repetitive insults addressed at fellow locals ('... enculés ! ...').

The band was playing an up tempo piece in 3/4, and a - well, yeah, really - inspired tenor solo mixed with the excited random screaming and yelling of kids playing tag, till both tenor and shrieks pretty much simultaneously reached some sort of a climax, to make way for the rhythmic honking and hooting of a few dozens of cars following a shiny white limo. A wedding procession slowly proceeded westwards on the rue de Lagny. (Quite like in my SportNational. French (European) drivers do have a somewhat limited honking repertoire.)

Drums and bass and keyboard continued playing, but the jazzmen were looking pretty dismayed at the sudden intrusion.
There was no reason.
It was a moment of resplendent perfection.

14:45 GMT, warm and sunny, almost cloudless. I was wearing sunglasses and reading.

Now these may seem to be irrelevant details.
But they are not.

[ Next related entry: accidental musics (S.i.W. 2) ]

twin peeks

september 10, 2002.

Shortly after last year's terrorist attacks, the Lost & Found Sound program/project of the American NPR (National Public Radio) started to collect and preserve audio traces of the WTC, its neighbourhood and the events of 9/11: "tapes of weddings atop the Twin Towers, recordings of the buildings' elevators and revolving doors, sounds of the Hudson river front, recordings of late night Spanish radio drifting through the halls as Latino workers clean the offices, an interview with the piano player at Windows on the World, video email greetings that tourists sent from the kiosks on the 110th floor, voicemail messages from people who worked in the World Trade Center."

All this has been brought together in the Sonic Memorial Project. The site offers a 'Sonic Browser', a sober but powerful Flash application (attention! you need to have the newest version of the Flash plugin installed) that allows you to access a set of 50 of the archived recordings, represented by a set of slowly drifting lines.

No post tomorrow.

[ source: Wired News]

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