Things No One Else Will Care About
by Dan
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


John Cage - "Music of Changes (Book I)"

Me: Experimental Music.

You: Boo. Damn it, boo.

YOU ARE NOT WRONG. I go to mp3 blogs every day, and if I was forced to swallow "experimental music" I would do it with a grimace too. But hear me out: try not to listen to it in the same way you listen to regular music. And that doesn't mean seriously, and smoking or something. I prefer to think of that picture of John Cage and try to imagine what shape this music would be, how would it look if it fell out of a jar, what it would spell if it were somehow translated into language.

large sections of the whole Music of Changes piece were composed by a randomizer on a computer; the composition uses every key and every volume (is that the word? from pppp to ffff) on the piano. It's not enjoyable to listen to, by any means. But that might (but totally could also not) be the point. It's like putting a bra on an unbalanced washing machine and trying to enjoy its belly dance; you start to wonder what you were even thinking when you were dancing down the street to a series of notes. And then I think of his face again.



NMVF - "Gene the Machine"

We're getting a little more accessible. NMVF makes IDM (intelligent dance music?), but I don't like that genre, 'cause Autechre and Boards of Canada aren't making IDM, in my opinion, but I guess you gotta call it something.

This song is made using a modified Speak-n-Spell, and it's a squinky, almost twee little gem. Robo-kitty plans a dance and no one goes. Except Gene, the Machine, who dances a softshoe on a tarpaulin made of an oversized novelty cheque.

watch your ears on those high-pitched squeals. Fifteen Grand!

[How to Modify Sound-Producing Entities Into Instruments]


Animalmonster - "Jumangi"

This is supposed to be the most accessible song today. And it totally is, it's a hypnotizing, droning stretch mark that pushes up the sidewalk a bit as it rumbles underneath. It's like a pink wind that moves in ribbons. It's unnerving, but at least it's alive.

[out of print]


Also: if you live in Toronto, you should check out my friend Sarah's acclaimed experimental documentary Can You Love Me? at the Worldwide Shorts Film Festival. It does what any great short does: charms you, moves you, and makes it look so damn simple. It's playing today at 4.30 and Saturday (I'll be there!) at 9.15. check the schedule.

Posted by Dan at June 15, 2005 2:19 AM

I actually look at blogs to try and find "experimental" music. No grimace.

Posted by Sonicag at June 15, 2005 7:56 AM

Always found John Cage enjoyable to listen. Ryoanji and his music for prepared piano are amazing.
I have to think more about the image of a bra dancing on a washing machine... though not much more...

Posted by herve at June 15, 2005 9:43 AM

not to be picky, but the actual term is "dynamic." volume is accurate enough, though.

Posted by tim at June 15, 2005 11:55 PM

No, that's great. Me and Jon were trying to come up with the word for a long time. I kept saying it was 'timbre' and he was like 'that doesn't even make sense'. it was cool, our apartment was sweltering.

Posted by Dan Beirne at June 16, 2005 12:01 AM

"Gene the Machine" is surprisingly pleasant to listen to. I want to see a special effect robot dancing to it, like in the in the dancing Citreon commercial.

Posted by Noah at June 16, 2005 11:49 PM

Cage: I make Radio dramas for people with no ears.

Posted by a closer tim at June 17, 2005 5:27 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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