SB Tweet Digest #4 (may 2010)

june 02, 2010.

[ podcast :: sbpc 38 ... s ]

25 sbeet tweets twittie went out in this year's May month, which brought rain and shine while with Maurice JJ and our fine replica of Daniel Spoerri's kitchen table (as it was in room 13 of the Hotel de Carcassonne on Tuesday October 17th 1961 at 15h47) I traveled from Brussels to Nijmegen to Maastricht ...


[14380344750] This free SPinparty iPhone soundboard app is a chunk of sonic 'agitprop' that was released last month (in view of the upcoming June 9th elections) by the Dutch Socialist spinparty Party (SP). The S in SP does denote a little more than the mere 'living room socialism' advocated by most European social democrat parties. A decent core of SP activists has its roots in good old Maoist and communist traditions, even though - for obvious historical reasons - it is not something many are eager to mention. Last (2006) national elections saw these same 'hard core' socialists book a (relative) monster victory in the lowlands, but over the past four years they again lost most of what four years ago was won ( * )

The upcoming elections will certainly bring a strong right-wing/populist and xeno-/islamophobic turn to the Netherlands' ruling, even though I do expect that some last-moment common sense here and there will somewhat moderate the damage that is about to be done. Meanwhile polit-pro's are all over the Dutch media place, which - in this time and age of news dominated by the continuous output of short attention span media - comes with an avalanche of political one-liners, which does give one the impression that candidates are not running for parliament, but are competing for the 2010 National Cabaret Awards.

Most politicians, however, lack a sense of humor. Which is inherent to the fact that they take themselves far too seriously. Which used to be especially true for many a Dutch socialist politician. It seems though as if the change of leadership, after the SP's monster defeat during the municipal elections earlier this year, did do a lot of good. The party's new first man Emile Roemer either actually is kind of a funny guy endowed both with a sense of humor and a proper dose of self-relativization, or he is a top professional capable of convincingly bringing across precisely that image. I'm OK with both. We're talking politics, after all.

The SPinparty iPhone app was developed by the Amsterdam based collective Guppies in the Dark. Along with a handful of beats and samples it allows you to play around on a board interface with a library of yells and extracts from phrases recently uttered by Dutch politicians, plucked from their radio and tv appearances. You can use them to make up your own mix, and then record and share your 'poli-clips'.
[ I used the SPinparty app to concoct the short iSPin polhit-ic, which is this SB-edition's podcast, that you are cordially invited to download and/or listen to by right-clicking this here link li ]

You may have guessed by now that I surely will be voting Emile Roemer and the SP on June 9th. I most probably would not have done so if there had not been this iPhone app. So you see how well this works? Their free app bought the Dutch socialists at least one vote...

[14865629605] This free vuvuzela app most probably was made with the sole purpose of cashing in on the ads that are being displayed when soccer/sound fans worldwide, that were lured into downloading the app, launch it. vuvzela It is simple enough: there is the image of a vuvuzela, and there are ten different soccer team shirts. Clicking on a shirt gives the vuvuzela the shirt's colors. Clicking on the vuvuzela or shaking your phone will blow the horn. And sound it does, pretty loudly. I tweeted the thing as a note to self, because I actually find the vuvuzela an interesting instrument, especially for an ensemble of different players, that master playing it and are able to control the thing (e.g. microtonal). It would, as a matter of fact, be a simple thing to add a tuning-control to the app, enabling one to change the pitch. Or give each of the shirts' vuvuzela's a slightly different tuning, maybe even randomly so. A simple adjustment, really, which nevertheless would immediately make the app a lot more interesting... OK, let me write the makers of the app an email and ask for a tuneable update of their iPhone vuvuzela. They might just oblige: it's still two weeks before the world cup's kick-off in South Africa.

[14817225489] Maybe all of the above just to now send you over to read Jonah Brucker-Cohen's recent informative editorial at Rhizome's. "Media art for the iThings is graduating to the next level," Jonah argues. He discusses a whole bunch of apps to support his thesis. Most of the ones Jonah mentions, though, are - curiously - ports or adaptations of works that originally were created for other digital platforms. Which is not the case of Soundrop [13506070040], a percussive sounds application that allows you to create very intricate 'gamelan-like' patterns simply by drawing lines across the screen to reflect little balls that are being spit out at regular intervals. Impressive in its simplicity.

[14865629605] Via a post on William Weir's It's alive blog and the linked william short article by Meg Favreau on cinema sound effects, I got to know the story of the Wilhelm Scream, an often-used film and television stock scream that originates in the 1951 'Florida Western' Distant Drums. The picture shows the private Wilhelm that gave the scream its name. Wilhelm screams after being hit in the leg by an Indian arrow, in the 1953 western The Charge at Feather River. The Hollywood Lost and Found site has a pretty thorough and complete looking article on Wilhelm. The site also offers other interesting Hollywood sound curiosities.

[14865629605] Now this is exciting (Dutch) news for 80's-nostalgics, -revivalists, post/punk fans, young tape-o-girls and other schroenkkk-zschroenkkkk-ers about to leave high school, for historians, for collectors and for those that at the time were around but meanwhile grew so old that almost all they did forget... While still continuing his putting online (since 2007) of the near to complete and unabridged heritage of Dutch experimental pop musicVinyl 13 as of the days that punk 'n' post dawned upon the Low Countries (you find all of that on the No Longer Forgotten Music blog), 'mystery poster'433rpm now is putting out as well the full collection of Vinyl Magazine, legendary Dutch early 1980s 'modern music glossy'. Including the tracks that came with each of the (more or less) monthly issues as a vinyl 'flexi disk'. These were often special and unique recordings, signed by an interesting selection of the 'elite' of the (mainly) European post-punk scene of those years.
(Nowadays original copies of these flexi wobblers are - understandably - very sought after by the hard core collector of the oeuvre of these artists. As the Vinyl-editor that for a long time (or maybe even all of the time, who will remember?) was responsible for the flexi's production I used to have bags full of the things ... :-) ... But that was in days long gone. I have always kept one virgin copy of each of them, though. The other day I saw that for some reason I kept two extra copies of the Fad Gadget/Mecano flexi that came with issue no. 22 (in the original paper cover bag). Reasonable offer? Try 'n' mail me :-) ...

Each of the uploaded Vinyl's issues comes as a zip-folder containing page-by-page scans, and a 'flexi-folder'.
Weekly editions, at vinyltijdschrift.blogspot.com.

[14895960113] Three improvisers (Mattin, Murayama Seijiro, Jean-Luc Guionnet) and a philosopher (Ray Brassier) together performed in August 2008 at the 'Nouvelles Pistes Artistiques Inclassables' Festival in Niort, France.
"What would a philosopher do in an improvised music concert? Something involving speech... But he played guitar instead - badly!"
The foursome took on the challenge, and then, for one and a half years after, gave the 3 x 15 minutes result deep thought. Both the recordings and 36 pages of accompanying deep thoughts were recently released under the title Idioms and Idiots.

"[E]ven if it is impossible to ensure that a non idiomatic musician isn't surreptitiously trafficking in hidden messages about genre, and thereby exercising some sort of judgment about what music should or should not be, such judgments should be diagram pushed to the paroxystic point at which they usurp their own parameters, exposing these as invisible operators that have become illegitimately naturalized due to custom, habit, or convention, whether conscious or unconscious, individual or collective."
"Why does society need free improvisers?
[T]he improvised music context provides a little laboratory prefiguring capitalism's future development, since being an improviser requires many of the characteristics prized by the capitalist economy: self-motivation; strong individuality; hyper flexibility and adaptability; [...] the ability to perform in public (for customers); constant self-promotion [ ... : clearly, ] the free improviser provides a model of the ultimate capitalist [...]"


Next SB Tweet Digest in July.

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notes __ ::
(*) Which imo is largely due to the fact that the party simply did not have a capable enough (wo)mancraft to cash in on its 2006 surprise victory. National - and in many places even local - politics is a specialized game that needs trained professionals to win. Goodwilling political amateurs, however hard working and enthusiast, simply won't do. I actually know. In one of my lives I see them 'on the job' quite regularly. [ ^ ]

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