Friday, February 22, 2013

Six Million Sounds Per Second: A Guided Listening Session

six million sounds per second

Not only is John Greenwood proprietor of the best bar in Limerick (great tunes, fab drink selection, lovely decor, smashing sound system), but he also has an open and community-oriented ethos. The general sound at Dr. John's favours acid jazzy dance beats, but he hosts everything from film nights to country music once a month. His new series is called Steps 2->3 and involves practitioners talking about their stuff.

Saturday 23 February it's my turn. But I am not as interested in talking so much as I am in listening. So I will play you a special sound and you can tell me what it reminds you of, what it sounds like. Or try to guess what it really is. Then I can fill in the background and answer any questions you may have.

I have gathered a set of amazing sounds, including some that I can guarantee you have never heard before. So please drop by at 2pm. The only requirement is a pair of open ears. Admission is free (of course).
Thursday, February 07, 2013

Kraftwerk's Revisionist History

Kraftwerk's current concerts at The Tate are generating the sort of hyperbole one would expect, given their (apparent) immaculate staging, excellent sound, inspiring setting, and apposite visuals. Paul Morley in The Telegraph, Alexis Petridis in The Guardian, John Doran at The Quietus, are among those critics ensuring a five star reception for a musical act that has long been granted a critical "pass".

Had I afforded the admission, hotel bills, and airfare to see the show, had I won the ticket lottery and been one of the chosen few (male, middle-aged, middle-class), I would no doubt have enjoyed the spectacle. But it would have required a rather large suspension of disbelief, as I know from similar exercises at which I have been present. I think that a less fawning evaluation of the creators of synth-pop is overdue, and that these concerts might provide a good moment for critical reflection.

At the Turbine Hall, Kraftwerk have literally replaced the engine of industry. But where once energy was generated, the function now is to generate nostalgia for a futuristic vision that may have been novel when it first appeared, but is now entirely safe and predictable. Oh look, four men acting like robots. Counting like computers. Again.

That's the bit that would have required a suspension of judgement. But some things are harder to ignore, notably the revisionist history that has erased the contributions of many people integral to Kraftwerk's development.
Monday, February 04, 2013

video fragments

"fragments" videos

I had a great time at the Abandon Reason launch last week. How could I not? Playing in an abandoned parking garage, in the dark, with sea water seeping throughout, the sounds of other artists reverberating their way through the concrete space... what a fantastic mood! Read on for video footage.