Saturday, 23 August 2008

Intermission: Bull of Heaven - UPDATE!

The month-long MP3, entitled Nisan Moon Phase (Extended), is now online. Because of its decreased bitrate (though given the lo-fi nature of this 786 hours, 3 minutes, and 4 seconds long piece, the lower bitrate is not going to be entirely detrimental to the enjoyability of the work and it'll save your hard drive the strain of what would normally be a file of approximately 70GB - about a quarter of the average of today's laptops' storage) at the 192kbps standard they have so far gone for), the file is not being considered part of the a larger Bull of Heaven project and is consequently being hosted on the Clayton Counts blog instead.

EDIT: I had to change the information in the entry because it was wrong. It was wrong because I am dumb and tired, in order from highest to lowest of proportional blame.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Intermission: Bull of Heaven

Bull of Heaven is the name of a posthumous project of one Clayton Counts, of The Beachles' Sgt. Petsounds (in)fame, collaborating with a host of others (particularly Neil Keener, co-compiler, former member of Planes Mistaken for Stars*, now of Git Some), exploring the possibilities of sound art and music in the rapidly-advancing digital age. They have released several works of noise art under this moniker and, ironing out the problems with distribution of large files in the past couple of weeks, have now successfully surpassed the longest piece of recorded** music of which I was previously aware, Leif Inge's 9 Beet Stretch (and even this 24-hour extension of Beethoven's 9th Symphony was broken down into individual 80-minute files). At first they managed to match it (#028), before beating it with a single 37½ hour MP3 (#044). Subsequently they have blown this out of the water with a week-long (168 hours) MP3 (#045).

Word has reached me that work is being completed on a month-long file, with several more diverse pieces - they have already dabbled found sound (#013), rock music (#039) and cut-up (#040) - being planned in the near future, including one release that will mate the hitherto unmarried genres of doom metal and Hindi death chants. I also hear tell that whilst the recent long pieces are deep drones with very subtle changes, for the really long tracks they hope to have more noticeable progressions. Eventually, Bull of Heaven aim to have released one recorded track that spans a whole century.

*At the bottom of this Wikipedia article you'll find a link to the PMFS's official website. Don't bother to follow said link as, instead of the promised website, you'll find one of those holding pages full of adverts which tell such charming miniature narratives as "American Singles | Diamond Engagement Rings | Real Estate Commercial | Interior Design | Debt Management | Hot Brazilian Girls | Medical Billing". Instead, you might prefer to drop by the band's MySpace page.

**So as to rule out non-recorded pieces such as John Cage's 639-year ORGAN² / ASLSP and Jem Finer's millenium-long Longplayer (streamable on-site) neither of which have, as yet, actually been set in any retrievable (which is not necessarily the same as physical) medium as complete pieces.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Intermission: My Chicken Gone to Heaven.

This is a site of unspeakable horrors. Be sure, if nothing else, to watch Rob Rouse talking about his love of chicken Maureen.

That Chicken CD? is still available here.

Sunday, 17 August 2008

S5: Button Moon - Button Moon (Closing Theme)

We're off...

This is just so I feel like I'm back on track. Really, I've not much to say on the thing, nor on my (undoubtedly oversized) collection of poorly recorded 1980s children's television show theme tunes. One thing I will say is that I once saw, presumably in 1988, Button Moon's live theatre show (which probably makes this my first outing to the theatre, shortly before my days* as a catwalk model), and I've a badge somewhere to prove it.

The official website does not rule out the possibility of a return of Button Moon to the stage.

Download: Button Moon - Button Moon (Closing Theme)

Wikipedia article

*Read "day". It really only spans actual days if you include the dress rehearsal.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

S4: The Alpha Conspiracy - Defend Yourself

Nobody else will.

Knobtweaker was amongst the advance guard (somewhere I shall almost certainly never find myself, as I shuffle along in my esoteric fashion) when it came to its knowledge of present and future indie-dance credibility. Now it is sadly no longer with us, but on re-listening to (part of) their Best of 2005 list I find it still beats in terms of class and dance-ability the set-lists of those indie-music DJs locally - we have them, even here in the back-end of Nowhere - who think they are with the curve, at best.

As it is, I wish I'd made better use of their writing at the time, as I hit upon them exactly when I was trying to take too much in and could have done with honing my blog interests a little, as I seem to have managed now. I read those in my sidebar, a handful of others at times and keep it at that, even though I probably still have somewhere a list of all those I tried to read - far too much to actually glean any usable knowledge from.

My system recently has demonstrated a fondness for instrumental tracks. This song does contain lyrics, but damned if I can actually discern any. Of course, what's important is the sound and to my ears this is an original and intensely palatable slice of driving electronica, quite at odds to those tracks posted so far in this run. Nice to have something a little more energetic about the place on occasion.

Download: The Alpha Conspiracy - Defend Yourself

Official website, where MP3 links are provided, but without evidence of actual MP3s.
Buy Aura: UK | US

Our latest absence was prompted, as usual, by another computer glitch. The current status is rather more optimistic as we have a good Internet connection in spite of running under Vista. More news as it breaks, which in my case is probably the most appropriate word for it.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

S3: Goldfrapp - Oompa Radar

Guided by instruments.

In 2000, Goldfrapp appeared on the scene with Lovely Head, a song that, along with Utopia, also from 2000's Felt Mountain, featured on a number of club chill-out compilations, yet they failed to trouble the UK charts in any way until around 2005's Supernature, when they made it high up in both the singles and albums charts. Certainly, I didn't help them any, though I was aware of them thanks to being, at the time, developing interests in different types of music thanks to magazine cover discs and compilation albums, long before the Internet became my primary source of music journalism and I lost all touch with what was current and became unable to participate in conversations with friends about what's going on now as it all seems to have happened so long ago to me. Ignorance in a case like this would be bliss for many, except for the fact that I really enjoy hearing a wealth of different things and very occasionally I hit upon something really very special.

This album is not one of those things, but remains my favourite of Goldfrapp's works to date. This is generally due to my own F.A.B. (First Awareness Bias) which means that in almost all cases the first few songs, or album, I hear by a particular artist or group become my favourites, most likely due to the feelings of excitement that surround that first exposure, but there is a chance it is down to these songs actually being their best works. I cannot argue this case with Goldfrapp so much, as I've not heard much of their later work. I am aware that the bloggers out there are in two minds about the latest, Seventh Tree. Pitchfork didn't rate it at all, Song, by Toad considered it "shopping music" and Marcy of Lost in Your Inbox concurred, in spite of wanting it to be better. On the other hand, Van - who commented on Marcy's entry - gave it the title of best album of 2008 so far, as did Alex of Quiet Color, whilst ÜberDrivel's Roland - though seeming unconvinced on the whole - thought it a bold change in direction.

If I were feeling up it right now I would offer my own appraisal of the songs that have been made available through the blogs and give an opinion of my own, but, as implied by the opening word of this sentence, I don't. I shall leave you with this instrumental track from their debut, and the video of that first single that seemed to so allude everybody at the time.

Download: Goldfrapp - Oompa Radar

Official website.
Buy Felt Mountain: UK | US

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

S2: Negativland - Bluhbluhbluhluhluhluhluhluhla.

Negativland became one of, if not the most famous sound collage bands in the world when their release U2 brought them to the attention of the band's lawyers - then to the band themselves (in a somewhat fascinating way) - and nearly destroyed them. But still they persevere and continue to put out new material, most recently Thigmotactic, released earlier this year. All of their music can be streamed from their website and several downloads are available.

This particular soundbyte is one of the system sounds created by The Weatherman, whose own part of the main site can be found here. I can no longer find most of the sounds, though a few are still available. Negativland's philosophy of art and music is an interesting one, and their archives are well worth examining, whatever your opinion on the culture of plunderphonics, unauthorised sampling and intellectual property ownership.

Download: Negativland - Bluhbluhbluhluhluhluhluhluhla.

Here's a video of one of my favourite Negativland things:

EDIT: Anybody who came here recently might have noticed the video wasn't correct. This has since been fixed.

Monday, 4 August 2008

S1: Kid Ory - Savoy Blues

Kid Ory, besides being a jazz trombonist, was also a bandleader (hiring many illustrious names in his career, including Louis Armstrong) and was composer of the Savoy Blues. Trying to find accurate information about the composition itself appears unseasonably difficult, but it seems to be (at least according to this page) one of the key pieces that drew the focus in ensemble performance toward key solo performances rather than keeping the group uniformly balanced.

As I cannot find accurate information I'd sooner not take the risk of saying anything too wildly innacurate, so shall leave the description of the piece at that and let those who wish to learn more do their own, probably more successful research.

As for the collection this is featured on, Hittin' on All Six: a History of the Jazz Guitar, it is a reasonable document of early jazz up to the 1960s, though it must be said the full history of jazz guitar does include its early development as a full-fledged jazz instrument, so many of the earlier tracks, such as the one featured do not feature guitar so prominently (Savoy Blues is more a cornet solo piece, but there is a guitar solo in there). I have also read a few reviews of it as being mediocre in terms of recording quality. What it lacks in quality it certainly more than makes up for in quantity (as Michel Gondry says, "quantity lasts and quality goes") and for the price this stands as a very decent introductory record for those wishing for a convenient starting point in the genre and/or early popular music history.

Download: Kid Ory - Savoy Blues

Kid Ory on Wikipedia
Buy Hittin' on All Six: a History of the Jazz Guitar: Amazon UK | US

Friday, 1 August 2008

A rather poultry apology.

Cluckin' A.

This blog so far has been all good intentions but with little in the way of actual content. I hope with this post to redeem myself a little before beginning afresh on Monday as previously planned. A full explanation is included in the file, but in short this is my by-now moderately (but internationally) infamous chicken-themed compilation, which has been given in CD-swaps, as currency in small bartering exchanges, and snuck into the CD collections of several Brighton cafés, bars and shops. I call it That Chicken CD?.

[Edit: This is the same version as was received by James of Appetite for Distraction. I include notes to this effect in the .zip file itself, but neglected to say so here, hence his comment.]

Download: That Chicken CD? (rapidshare | sharebee)