Hey so. That podcast thing I made: it’s a real thing now. If you want to listen to it, you can do that here or on iTunes (search for Reasonably Sound, not my name). And you can see supporting visual materials for episode #1 here.
I started listening to an earlier Peter Doran album, Wood, a lot in the last year. It turned out to be one of a swift grab of CDs that I had thrown into a bag on the way to the US. I had probably played it once or twice before back home. Peter is a fantastic performer but I hadn’t clicked with the recording.
I put the CD on one day because I was thinking about Vinny Baker, who had recorded it with Peter and his band at his studio in Mullingar, and who died unexpectedly a little over a year ago. Vinny gave me the album at one of the recording sessions we did together. He also gave me a bunch of what turned out to be great advice about recording and playing music, and provided the perfect example of how to make suggestions to a musician without seeming like an asshole or making people defensive.
I thought it would be nice to hear his production and mixing stuff, but it turned out that listening in that detail also made me a big fan of Peter’s songwriting.
So, here is Peter now in a little film by Miles O’Reilly, the guy who seemingly makes nothing but wonderful, atmospheric portraits of Irish artists. Maybe Miles does other things too. Probably has the odd meal and sleeps occasionally. Don’t we all?
If you’ve never heard of blinkpopshift then your life may be missing something very integral. She covers really interesting stuff in every video she puts out, is the reason I discovered Khan Academy (I think), has a wicked editing style that might as well serve as her digital signature… The list just keeps going.
I was fortunate to get to spend some mucho time with her, and so I present to you the interview that we did!
I giggled maniacally when I heard the ‘conception to creation’ part about how Emily builds a video. It is my truth! I’m looking for the magic sentences that make the beads wearable jewelry. I also really appreciate how she describes the relationship between YouTube and Tumblr/Twitter. AND Brechtian Theatre (where I have a cameo)! Great interview Emily and Peter. Thank you!
Emily gets to some good stuff in this video about art that works a little bit at cross-purposes to the mainstream of its form. Her videos jolt and glitch in parts in a way that appeals to me a lot, and is very clearly intentional. It’s a part of the vocabulary. Of course it’s frustrating to people who are interested in the straight-down-the-line educational youtube video, for a variety of reasons.
But it’s also a way of finding your crowd and filtering the audience so that even if it is smaller than it could be, you can at least do your work in your way and follow goals that are not based on subscriber statistics. Ze Frank had a great run of starting videos with some inane but hilarious nonsense for the first 10 seconds, then asking “are the new viewers gone yet?”
I’ve been playing around with complicated ways of presenting poems for the last year or so, in a way somewhat inspired by one of Emily’s earlier videos (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPLlDhH4cCU) which also mentions Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, a book I’ve found very useful in thinking about characters, but also other human beings. Most of my ideas are dead on arrival. Maybe I’ll cycle through one or two versions of something that never really gets across the finish line - although they will, hopefully, eventually. Or I’ll find some way to display something that at first I think is cute but later, when I look it is, it’s not related enough to the content of the poem to be much more than a gimmick. Sometimes a fun one. But still. I do a lot of work just moving through material that doesn’t work, trying to find what I think is out there - presentations that are usefully difficult and actually relate to the content of the poems or the format of the document, and don’t turn too many people off at once. I think I got as close as I’ve gotten yet when I put together the poems from that one issue of Wordlegs. And most of my new things are focusing on replacing/altering text in similar ways.
In this context, Emily’s meta-project of directing our attention using not just the technology/culture/art-themed video but also the medium’s scaffolding (the actual technology that shapes the art that comprises the culture) seems very well justified, and integrates form and content in a way that is at least appropriate and fun, and sometimes more than that.
And I’m wondering if there’s an equivalent for poetry.
Just discovered that Art Menius, long-time member (and now former member) of the board of Folk Alliance International, has a really excellent web site with thoughts on the folk music scene and thoughtful, well put-together reviews of books and films related to it.
I’ve been to the Arts Center in Carrboro, NC more than once, as a tour manager, and I think I’ve met Art when we’ve been there. I forget what led me to the website… but Art Menius is not the kind of name you forget in a hurry. Not the number one top name I’ve heard in the South though. That goes to a friendly Tennessee resident know by the mightily magnetic moniker of Renfro Sprou.
After the Read More link this gets in to a blurry ramble about musical taste. Forewarned is forearmed!
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of the stuff I was really into as a teenager. Lots of Suede and Blur especially, and other Britpop that my older sister was into, that I would lie down in her room and listen to while she studied for exams.
As the song Trash came on recently, I thought the vocals had this sped-up sound to them, the kind of nasally, helium-sounding thing you get when that happens. Something I recognize and listen for more since studying music, but it’s a pretty obvious effect. And it turns out, from this long interview with the producer Ed Buller, that whole track was sped up when it was being mixed, and Brett hated the final version. For the 2003 compilation of Suede’s singles, he recorded it with new vocals. Here’s the original for comparison.
I have a pretty naive approach to listening to an album. I always assume that everybody got along, making records is great fun, and everybody made the record they wanted to make. And if it’s naive now, it was doubly naive when I first heard Trash at the age of 11. I didn’t play an instrument, and I didn’t hear music as much more than a beat, some lyrics, and a general sort of audio posture. It’s hard to say even that I had any idea what a melody was. I remember learning that much later.
But eventually I saw the video on TV enough times that I went out with my pocket money and bought Coming Up, the first album I paid for with money. Earlier in the year I had given up ten POGs for a bootlegged copy of Blur’s Parklife. It was no trouble, I was extremely POG-rich at the time.