Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Animatic

The Animatic is a three-dimentional music video. Triggered b a record player, a series of animated machine come to life in a chain reaction and creates a narrative for the sound.
These all take inspiration from simple animation techniques and the viewer follows
the chain of machines, one by one, to piece together a narrative.
the machine is created out of everyday objects and uses clever kinetic and mechanical mechanisms.This performance features "Memphis Tennessee", a Silicon Teens cover of the classic track by Chuck Berry.

Yuri Suzuki & Household

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Dancing in the Streets

Some fun music videos. There's nudity.

Matt & Kim - Lessons Learned

Make the Girl Dance - Baby Baby Baby

David Bowie & Mick Jagger (Slowly) Dancing in the Street

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chris Ware Animations

Quimby the Mouse

Quimby The Mouse from This American Life on Vimeo.

Judgement to the Wife

This American Life

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oxfam 48hr Ad Contest - Chinese Takeout Films - Climate Change: the RPG

While I was blissfully enjoying a glorious walk through San Francisco this past weekend, my friend's roommate was furiously working to finish this video. 48 hours wasn't enough of a challenge for Chinese Takeout Films; they did it in 24 hours straight, from concept to finished product. Impressive, and for a good cause: Climate Change: the RPG was made for The Cannes Young Lions Oxfam 48 Hour Video Challenge, it's purpose is to entertain and raise awareness about climate change. Half of the criteria for winning is a combination of video views and votes via the Cannes Lions site (search for chinesetakeoutfilms), so click through after you watch and watch it again. And CTRL+SHIFT+R often!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Unoriginal Thought

or Faith in the Done Before

I don't actually know how to play the piano. Or any instrument for that matter, and I certainly can't read music. I blew into a clarinet for a week in elementary school, but that was only because mom found her old one in the depths of a closet around that time. Nevertheless I am inspired, and will be composing a conceptual piece of music for the piano on the recurring theme of 'Fucking It Up Is the New Doing It Right'. Here's what I've got so far:

The first movement is conducted by hitting the piano as hard as you can. Attempt to alter its tuning with your strike.

Next, play a series of scales in an attempt to detect where the piano has lost its true.

Finally, construct around the first detected de-tuned octave [this algorithmically-created series of notes and chords].

Optional scales out.

OK, so something like this must have been done before. If you've heard music based around the deliberate abuse of instruments*—and most interestedly the piano—share it here, please, I'd like to hear it. I'll keep working on [this silly, important part].

* Punk is being considered. What else?

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Section 8 City From the Basement

Andrew Bird - Section 8 City

From the Basement is producer Nigel Godrich's experiment in high-quality televised musical performance.
It's an expensive show to make and with good reason. The standard of production is very high and we try to make it look and sound as good as is humanly possible. It's all done on HD video and the sound is produced by me.
. . . . .
The whole emphasis of the show is about being artist friendly and making our bands as comfortable as possible so that they can give great performances without the usual agony of TV promo which everyone has to do but no one seems to enjoy. TV world is a pretty hostile environment for your average musician to have to walk into and bare his soul on cue.. It also doesn't hurt that a lot of the people we've filmed are friends or people we've worked with before so they trust us and know that we understand what recording music is about as well as making good TV.
A success in my mind, at least from the looks of this Andrew Bird video. I've seen him live a few times, and always felt that the audience has been a distraction from the man's performance and feeling. This setting is perfect for Andrew Bird. It is plush and dark and lonely, and he shines in it. I looked it up recently to add to a fun thread on musicians who build songs live on stage with looping devices at MetaFilter. Lots of good links there, and a few more sneak peeks from Nigel on the From the Basement site.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

SCIENCE! Tracer Bullets

No, no, no—not ballistics. Science!

The Library of Congress SCIENCE TRACER BULLET SERIES contains research guides that help you locate information on science and technology subjects. With brief introductions to the topics, lists of resources and strategies for finding more, they help you to stay "on target."

Lots of it is just bibliographic listing, but some of the pages have INTERNET RESOURCES that often yield good stuff. Like Ask an Astrobiologist! (Astrobiology? As in Exobiology? Exopaleontology? Bioastronomy? Life in space?!)

Classic image from You can get it on a t-shirt.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Compression Glitch

Two videos that make my brain hurt.

Fucking It Up is the new Doing It Right.

OK OK not so new. Brilliant artists in every artistic field have been abusing their media for various reasons, with occasionally commendable results. But the video compression aspect is new. And it makes me twitch. ...which in my Funked Up way of Doing Life Right is a good thing.

Good News!

e Y8b 888 888
d8b Y8b 888 888
d888b Y8b 888 888
d888888888b 888 888
d8888888b Y8b 888 888

__ \ _ \ __| __| __|
| | ( |\__ \ | \__ \
.__/ \___/ ____/\__|____/

_ _ _
__ __ _(_) | |
\ V V / | | |

___ ___ (___ ___
| )| )| ) | )|___)
| / |__/ |/\/ |__/ |__

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___
/\__\ /\ \ /\ \ /\ \ /\ \ /\ \ /\__\
/:/\__\ /::\ \ _\:\ \ \:\ \ \:\ \ /::\ \ /:| _|_
/:/:/\__\ /::\:\__\ /\/::\__\ /::\__\ /::\__\ /::\:\__\ /::|/\__\
\::/:/ / \;:::/ / \::/\/__/ /:/\/__/ /:/\/__/ \:\:\/ / \/|::/ /
\::/ / |:\/__/ \:\__\ \/__/ \/__/ \:\/ / |:/ /
\/__/ \|__| \/__/ \/__/ \/__/
_ _
(_) _ | |
_ _ ___ _ ____ ____ _| |_| |__ _____
| | | |/___) | _ \ / _ | (_ _) _ \| ___ |
| |_| |___ | | | | ( (_| | | |_| | | | ____|
|____/(___/|_|_| |_|\___ | \__)_| |_|_____)

__ ___ ___ _ _
( ) / _) ( _)( )( )
/o \ \_"-. | | | || |
( __ ) __) )( )_ ( )( )
/_\/_\/___/ /___\/_\/_\

_________ _____
__ ____/_____________________________ __ /______________
_ / __ _ _ \_ __ \ _ \_ ___/ __ `/ __/ __ \_ ___/
/ /_/ / / __/ / / / __/ / / /_/ // /_ / /_/ / /
\____/ \___//_/ /_/\___//_/ \__,_/ \__/ \____//_/

Friday, February 20, 2009

World Map of Album Covers

World Magazine: Album Covers Map
Pretty snazzy GMaps mashup, community fueled, and already huge. Required reference for traveling music dorks.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Flash Game: The Space Game

Another tower defense game, of sorts. Build an asteroid mining colony IN SPACE and mine each field as fast as you can, while defending your property against the enemy attackers whose... (it's not airspace, so, uh, does that make it spacespace?) ...planetary locale your energy conglomerate is invading and stripping bare. Good soundtrack, pretty engaging, cool twist; I'd give it a .83 GemCraft rating—it's about 83% as cool as GemCraft. Via

Rainydayz Remixes

Download Amplive's Rainydayz Remixes, an 8-track collection featuring remixes of Radiohead's historic seventh album, In Rainbows. The songs are available in a zip file below and feature verses courtesy of Too $hort, MC Zumbi of Zion I, Chali2na of Jurassic 5, and Del the Funky Homosapien.

After a cease & desist put the breaks on Amplive's Radiohead In Rainbows remix project, the online music community reasonably wondered if the tracks would ever see the light of day. Well, here they are.

While the Oakland producer/DJ acknowledges that he probably should have contacted Radiohead (who were not involved in the project) to seek approval prior to making his interpretations publically available, an agreement has been reached between all involved parties and Amplive has been granted permission to release Rainydayz Remixes for free to the general public. Effective immediately, the eight-track record is available here.

Rainydayz Remixes is composed exclusively of source material pulled from In Rainbows, re-envisioned by Amplive and complimented by vocal work from Too $hort, MC Zumbi of Zion I, Chali2na of Jurassic 5, Codany Holiday, and Del The Funky Homosapien.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Jim Henson's Time Piece

Dislocation in time, time signatures, time as a philosophical concept, and slavery to time are some of the themes touched upon in this nine-minute, experimental film, which was written, directed, and produced by Jim Henson-and starred Jim Henson! Screened for the first time at the Museum of Modern Art in May of 1965, Time Piece enjoyed an eighteen-month run at one Manhattan movie theater and was nominated for an Academy Award for outstanding short subject

Oaths Used by Men of Note

1. ANGUS (earl of), when incensed, used to say, by the might of God ! but at other times his oath was By St. Bride of Douglas !
2. BAYARD (The Chevalier), By God's Holy-day !
3. CHARLES II. of England, Ods fish ! a corruption of "God's flesh."
4. CHARLESVIII. of France, By God's light !
5 EDWARD THE CONFESSOR, By God and His Mother !
6. ELIZABETH, By God ! God's Death ! God's wounds ! softened afterwords into Zounds ! and Zouterkins !
7. FRANCOIS I., On the word of a gentleman !
8. HENRI IV., Ventre Saint Gris !
Ventre Saint Gris ! are you dumb, man? --- Stanley Weyman: A Minister of France (1895) ("V. The Lost Cipher").
9. HENRY II. of England, By the death of our Lord !
10. HENRY III., when he confirmed Magna Carta, On the word of a gentleman, a king, and a knight !
11. HENRY V., By'r Lady !
12. HENRY VIII. By God's wounds !
13. JAMES I., On my soul !
14. JOHN (King), By God's tooth ! By the light of our Lady's brow ! Sir W. Scott, in Ivanhoe (ch. xiii.) makes him swear, By the bones of St. Becket !
15. JOSEPH, viceroy of Egypt, By the life of Pharaoh !
16. LOUIS XI., By God's Easter ! (Pasque Dieu !) and Mother of God !
17. LOUIS XIII., The devil take me ! (Diable m'emporte!)
18. OTTO I. of Germany, By my beard !
19. PERROT (John), a natural son of Henry VIII., was the first to employ the profane oath of God's Wounds ! afterwards softened into Zounds !
20. RICHARD I. Mort de ma vie ! and Despar dieux !
21. RICHARD II., By St. John ! (i.e. the Baptist) and God of Paradise !í
22. RICHARD III., By my George and Garter !
24. SIMON DE MONTFORT, the great patriot in the reign of Henry III., By the arm of St. James !
25. WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR, By the splendour of God !
26. WILLIAM RUFUS, Par sante voult de Lucques ! ("By the holy face of Lucca !" or "By Lucca's holy face !"). Lucca was a gret crucifix in Lucca Cathedral.---Albert Butler: Lives of the Saints April 21), p. 494, col. I.
27. WINIFRED (St.) or Boniface, By St. Peter's tomb !

In the reign of Charles II., fancy oaths were in fashion. Eg.
28. FOPPINGTON (Lord), an empty-headed coxcomb, intent only on dress and fashion. His favourite oaths, which he brings out with a drawl (in speaking, his affectation is to change the vowel o into a, as rat, naw, resalve, waurld, ardered, mauth, paund, maunth, lang, philasapher, tarture, and so on), are : Strike me dumb ! Split my windpipe ! Strike me ugly ! Stap my vitals ! Sun, burn me ! Curse, catch me ! Stap my breath ! Let me blood ! Run me through ! Knock me down ! He is reckoned the king of all court fops.

The most common oaths of the ancient Romans were By Herculês ! (Mehercule !); Roman women, By Castor ! and both men and women, By Pollux !

Viri per Herculem, mulieres per Castorem, utrique per Pollucem, jurāre solíti.--Aulus Gellius : Noctes Atticæ, ii. 6.

NB -- In the early part of the nineteenth century, oaths were exceedingly common, both among men and women ; they were rarely heard in good society towards the close of the century.

Brewer's Readers Guide (On my shelf it says The Reader's Handbook though.)
Also: Profanity in Science Fiction (or Oaths Used by Non-Humans of Note) at Wikipedia.

Space Colony Art from the 1970s

Our Future in the Cosmos—Space
A speech given by Isaac Asimov.

Throughout the history of humanity, we have been extending our range until it is now planet-wide, covering all parts of Earth’s surface and reaching to the bottom of the ocean, to the top of the atmosphere, and beyond it to the Moon. We will flourish only as long as we continue to extend that range, and although the potential range is not infinite, it is incredibly vast even by present standards. We will eventually extend our range to cover the whole of the solar system, and then we will head outward to the stars.

It frequently happened in my business as a writer, especially in my younger days when I knew some pretty overwhelming editors, that an editor would say to me, "I have a great idea for a story." He’d slap me on the back and say, "Now go home and write it." I would always think how easy it was for him to give me an idea for a story, but it was I, not the editor, who had to sit down and look at the most terrifying of all things: a blank page. In the same way, it’s fun to be introduced and have someone tell a lot of exaggerations about me; however, then he sits down and I’m the one who has to face the audience. I must say that it helps a great deal to face an obviously friendly and intelligent audience. I have brought almost the entire Mensa organization of this region to this presentation, and, naturally, they take it personally when I talk about intelligence. I am the international president of that organization, not because of anything I have done but because of a whim of the organization.

I want to discuss our future in the cosmos. One of the things I think will mean the most to us and will make the future different from the past is the coming of a "space-centered society." We are going to expand into space, and I think it is fitting and right that we should do so. All through the 50,000 years of Homo sapiens, to say nothing of their hominoid precursors, humanity has been expanding its range of habitation. We don’t know exactly where the first Homo sapiens made their appearance, but they have been expanding until they now inhabit the entire face of the Earth. For the first time in human history, we are faced with a situation in which we literally have no place on Earth to expand. We have crossed all the mountains; we have penetrated all the oceans. We have plumbed the atmosphere to its height and the oceans to their depths. Unless we are willing to settle down into a world that is our prison, we must be ready to move beyond Earth, and I think we are ready. We have the technological capacity to do so; all that we need is the will. I think it is quite possible, starting now, to build settlements in space, to build worlds miniature in comparison to the Earth but large in comparison to anything we have done so far. These worlds, in orbit around the Earth, would be capable of holding tens of thousands of human beings.

This idea of space settlement seems odd to people; it doesn’t seem inviting. When I suggested such an idea in an article I wrote a few years ago, I received a number of letters arguing against the possibility of space settlements. The arguments weren’t based on economics; the main argument was that nobody would want to live in space. Nobody would want to leave his comfortable home on Earth. As nearly as I could tell from their addresses, all the people who wrote to me were Americans, and I presume that they knew American history. Americans should understand exactly what it means to leave their comfortable homes and to go to a completely strange world. This country was a wilderness at the beginning, and even after it was settled, it was a foreign land for most people. We in the United States are the descendants (unless any of you happen to be American Indians) of people who came here from other continents in search of something. Our forefathers, who came, at first, under harsh conditions, knew it would take them weeks to cross the ocean. They knew that if they met a serious storm, they would probably not survive. They also knew that when they landed, they would find a wilderness and possibly hostile natives. Yet, they still came. Between 1607 and 1617, 11,000 Englishmen came to the new colony of Virginia. In 1617, the population of Virginia was 1,000. How was it possible for 11,000 people to come and yet to have only a population of 1,000? The answer is easy; 10,000 died. Yet people continued to come. Why? They came because life in Europe, for many, was intolerable and because they wanted to come to a new land to start a new life. Whatever the risks, whatever the chances, if they succeeded it would be something new. It is this same desire that will drive people into space and cause them to populate as many space settlements as they can build. The chances of survival in space will probably be greater than those of the first immigrants to the colony of Virginia....

Read the rest of Isaac Asimov's speech.

More classic space colony pictures, and much, much more over at NASA's Space Settlements index.


Monday, February 16, 2009


I recommend full-screen viewing.

A lovely video, scintillating indeed. It is difficult to decide while watching it to favor the stunning images of orchids and wall molding lit up with explosions and dancing lights or to marvel at the technique and puzzle how it was made. The description from its creator, Xavier Chassaing, is cryptic:

This is an experimental film made up of over 35,000 photographs. It combines an innovative mix of stop motion and live projection mapping techniques.

Apparently there is a 'making-of' video in the works, I look forward to seeing it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cross Questions and Crooked Answers

An Irish recruit about to be inspected by Frederick the Great, was told he would be asked these questions: (I) How old are you? (2) How long have you been in the service? (3) Are you content with your pay and rations? So he prepared his answers accordingly. But it so happened that the king began with the second question: "How long have you been in the service?"
Paddy glibly replied,"Twenty years."
"Why," said the king, "how old are you?"
"Six months."
"Six months!" rejoined the king; "surely either you or I must be mad!"
"Yes, both, your majesty."

¶Some Highlanders, coming to England for employ, conceived they would be asked (1) Who are you? (2) Why do you come here? and that the questioner might then say, "No, I don't want your service." Scarcely had they crossed the border than they came to the body of a man who had been murdered. They stopped to look at it, when a constable came up and said, "Who did this?"
"We three Highlanders," was the prepared answer.
"Why did you do it?" said the constable.
"For the money and the silver," was the answer they had prepared.
"You scoundrels!" said the constable, "I shall hang you for this."
"If you don't, another will," said the men, and were preparing to go away, when they were marched off to jail.

¶Another story of the same kind is told of three Sclavonians who went to Hungary, and "were taught the language in three days." Their répertoire was, however, limited to, "We three," "Cheese," and "That's the truth." Coming to a dead body lying on the road, the forestkeeper asked them, "Who has murdered the man"
"We three," was the ready answer.
"What for?" was the next question, and
"Cheese" was the reply.
"Then," said the keeper, "you will all be hanged;"
"That's the truth," responded the strangers, and were about to be handcuffed when the supposed dead man jumped up with a "Ho, ho, ho!" overjoyed at his practical joke.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

MeFi Mix #2 - A Mid-Tempo Rock Song Glut

I posted this out to 15 lucky souls around the world a few weeks ago. For it's lack of cohesiveness and relative insanity of included artists and tracks, I think it stands up fairly well. Enjoy!

A Mid-Tempo Rock Song Glut

01. Doug Sahm - Rock-Tick-Tock
02. Self - I Am a Little Explostion
03. Late of the Pier - Random Firl
04. Harvey Danger - Carlotta Valdez
05. The Walkmen - The Rat
06. Reggie & the Full Effect - Good Times, Good Tunes, Good Buds
07. Gil Mantera's Party Dream - Alligator Missions
08. Women - Sag Harbor Bridge
09. Pitty Sing - Anyway
10. Cher - If I Could Turn Back Time
11. Mink Deville - Let Me Dream If I Want To
12. Ezra Furman & the Harpoons - Take Off Your Sunglasses
13. Arif Sag - Osman Pehlivan
14. The Sea & Cake - Weekend
15. The Small Faces - I Feel Much Better
16. Nobody - Tori Oshi
17. The Mooney Suzuki - The Broken Heart
18. Prince - Crimson & Clover
19. Mount Eerie & Julie Dorion - Lost Wisdom
20. Lambchop - Your Fucking Sunny Day
21. The Jazz Butcher - Mr. Odd
22. Headset - Breath Contrails
23. Sixto Rodriguez - Crucify Your Mind
24. Danielson - Five Stars & Two Thumbs Up

The cover image is a very small part of a Turing Machine built in John Conway's Game of Life. Instead a track list in the liner notes, I included a long rant/thoughts that follows the mix through each of the tracks. It's in tiny print, but the full-size image (click for) is easily (un)readable:

Monday, January 26, 2009

Art Experimental: Ruttmann vs. Milant

The pleasure in watching and [listening to] this comes from the reactivity in the same temporality between sound and picture.
Abstract animation from the 1920's meets a modern electronic soundtrack. Milant's composition is a subtle shadow to Ruttmann's Opus, allowing the morphic, swooping shapes to oomph and grunt their way through their constantly-changing acrobatics. The sonic theme is continuous throughout the three short works, a pressing beat that's accented by hints and swoops of noise that remind me of a little boy playing with miniature cars and airplanes. The tiny homey touches, like the mumbled voices 'reading' the title cards of each opus, preserve and enhance the whimsical feeling of the animation.

OK, I think that's all the critical bullshit I can summon for this movie. I like watching it better than writing about it, anyway. You'll definitely enjoy watching it more than reading this, too, so... here's some more stuff cribbed from a MeFi post I made years ago about this animation:

Walter Ruttmann is perhaps best known for his silent documentary Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) [link to YouTube playlist of all 8 parts] and for his carefully orchestrated abstract animations. (Ubuweb has Opus I-4 in one.)

Meanwhile, Alexis Milant is known best for his excellent art is a game and game an art, aka awesum fingerboarding video! and the subsequent "Opus" series. Note the detailed sound design.

I gently encourage all who enjoyed these videos to explore the related videos features and other links provided. It feels like I left a lot out of this post. That's ok; it's fun to explore!

Friday, January 09, 2009

EVLTube - Videos from the Electronic Visualization Laboratory

EVL has a rich history in creating electronic and computer-based art - from video to animation, through web-based art virtual reality (VR) and other high-resolution visualization systems. Fostering collaborations between artists/designers and computer scientist to blend art with technology using electronic media has been at the core of EVL's creative mission from that lab's inception.

All videos courtesy EVLTube.

Electronic Masks

(1976) This is a example of early video art by internationally renowned technologist and EVL/UIC MFA alumni Barbara Sykes using the color capability of the Sandin Analogue Image Processor - the "Color IP".

Calculated Movements
(1985) Calculated Movements by Larry Cuba is an example of early video art using software developed at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL). The video has a minimalist/ambient original sound piece.

Calculated Movements is a sample of Cuba's later work.

Making of the Computer Graphics for Star Wars (Episode IV)
In the 1970s the computer graphics for the first Star Wars film (1977) was created by Larry Cuba at the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) (at the time known as the Circle Graphics Habitat) at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

via Everyone Forever