Monthly Archives: March 2012

Tuesday Musics: “Dull Lights (White or Grey)” by Eric Chenaux

I’ve often written about Eric Chenaux, a guitarist, singer, improviser and composer whose presence graced Toronto – and I mean that almost in the theological sense – for many years until his recent move to Paris. There’s bittersweetness in the fact that just as he left us, he released perhaps his finest set of recordings, and certainly the one that most purely distills his music, as indicated by the plainspoken title, Guitar and Voice (Constellation Records). This video is one of a series created for Chenaux’s music by Eric Cazdyn, who otherwise spends his time writing his way through a “non-moralizing critique of capitalism.” I would say, from this music’s negotiations with time, texture, “attack” and “release,” that the efforts of both Eric C.’s answer to that description.

This post marks the first installment of a new Back to the World feature, in which I’ll post a piece of music every Tuesday, matching Chris’s Monday “Little Boxes” (comics panels) and Margaux’s “Friday Pictures.” As of this week, our linksapalooza “Tea With Chris” moves to Thursdays, and every Wednesday one of us will have a more written-through post on whatever subject we choose. The result? Back to new content every week day, to make up for our more stop-and-start, sporadic 2011. Hope you’ll drop in often.

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Filed under carl wilson, music, Tuesday Musics, TV/video

Little Boxes #83: Gazing

(Crystal Starwatcher, by Moebius, 1985)

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Filed under chris randle, comics

Tea With Chris: Koan Bush

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Carl: I’d like to share a couple of things I stumbled on while working on this profile of Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields for Salon.com: He told me about a synthesizer he’s using created by Don Buchla, called the Source of Uncertainty, which generates unpredictable sounds based on how you vary the voltage. Or something like that. I don’t pretend to understand it, but I do like to see and hear it in action:

Second, at one point in our conversation (mostly not used in the piece) he went off on a tangent about the Thai Elephant Orchestra (that page will lead you to music and more). His riff, meanwhile, went a little something like this:

“Music is still something that’s done only by people – except the Thai Elephant Orchestra. There’s something called the Rock Cats playing here in Los Angeles, but people have to train them to do that, so it’s not necessarily not about people. Whereas the Thai Elephant Orchestra is really not about people, on some level. They’re not trained; they’re given instruments that they could play or not, as they felt like it. The elephants enjoy playing the harmonica – they inhale and exhale and they have fun with that. They use the whole harmonica at the same time, of course. And then they had these gigantic xylophones that they used more by strumming than by getting individual notes out of them. In the future of human-designed elephant-played instruments, they might want to have much, much larger instruments, in order to encourage the elephants to differentiate between the notes. But then that would be human manipulation in a deliberate way.”

Like a John Cage piece, the Source of Uncertainty or the Thai Elephant Orchestra, another way to create music that liberates it from the confines of human will turns out to be to slow it down exponentially. This has been a popular thing to do the past couple of years, perhaps most famously to Justin Bieber, but I’d never heard it done with a song or artist I had a close personal attachment to. I want to listen to this 36-minute-long version of Kate Bush singing Wuthering Heights first thing in the morning every day, as a kind of Zen practice.

Chris: This video mashup, by the Jigglypuff-guised Stephen Swift, is maybe the most insightful piece of music criticism that anyone’s produced on Grimes so far. Maybe.

Lisa Hanawalt owns the big-horses-with-tiny-horses beat.

If you live in Toronto and like dancing to Larry Levan remixes, you should come to That Time of the Month tonight. If you don’t like Larry Levan remixes, all I can give you is some Paradise Garage bootlegs and my pity.

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson

Friday Pictures – Will Munro

 

Will Munro / No Tears for the Creatures of the Night / 2004

 

Will Munro and Collaborators / Junction Community Quilt / 2004

 

Will Munro / Silence=Death

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Filed under Friday Pictures, margaux williamson, visual art

The Colalogues, by Lauren Bride

by Chris Randle

Maybe you know of the arch-Torontonian and blog friend Lauren Bride from these love letters, or her prose fiction, or her acting, or her sisterly videos, but she writes poetry as well, which I discovered during a spree of soft-drink-related versifying on Monday. Look at these fizzy couplets:

Drink a lot of pop, morning, noon and night,
a Doctorate in Pepper, my undergrad’s in Sprite.

This leaves me overqualified where there’s real employ,
I can’t help my expertise, I just gotta chug my joy.

When next you find you’re struck with thirst and don’t know what to do,
find me in the Appalachians, sourcing fair-trade Mountain Dew.

I wax of unwaxed citrus joys, Limeade, Crush, and Ting!
rinds of an ancient marinader, with a contemporary zing.

Visit @bridebride and scroll backwards for much, much more, a sprightly dance of bubbles and brand names. For all the caffeine she’s figuratively ingesting, her jokes remain poised throughout.

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Filed under chris randle, poetry

Little Boxes #82: Don’t Look Now

(from Patty-Jo ‘n’ Ginger, by Jackie Ormes, date unknown)

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Filed under chris randle, comics

Tea With Chris: Invisible Bridge

Tea With Chris is a roundup of recommended links, posted every Friday. Here are a few of our favourite things from the Internet this week:

Chris: My eyes hurt and my head feels like a garish blur, so here’s a short note about a long essay. China Mieville on the Olympian London: “It used to be startling to see a fox in London — impossible not to feel that the city had slipped into a fable. Now you spot them on any late-night jog. In 2011, one of these agents of animal chaos infiltrated the Shard — at 32 London Bridge, the city’s unfinished tallest building — and climbed a thousand feet above the streets to live on builders’ scraps.”

 

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, linkblogging, margaux williamson

March 10, 3 pm-midnight: Reality Art TV Marathon. Back to the World @ the AGO

It’s been almost a year since our last live event, our 100,000th Word Party in March, 2011. So let’s do it again: As part of Margaux’s stint as Artist in Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario, we’re holding a Daytime-Evening TV Slumber Party in the Education Commons on the west side of the AGO.

The date will be March 10. The time will be 3 pm until about midnight.

We’ll be screening videos of a show (you might know it, but be discreet) that turns art into a ruthless Elimination Dance in a whole other way than the professional art world does. Making and judging art on reality TV makes for strange and strangely refreshing stabs at more clear ways to talk about it.

Mostly this’ll be a lot like sitting at home on the couch vacuuming up consecutive episodes of a TV show on the Internet or DVD, except with friends you might not know yet, in a public place. And with somebody else ordering the pizza. Bring your own well-concealed beverages and snacks, and any other comfort-inducing devices (sleeping bags welcome!). There will be time for discussion and perhaps some unexpected interventions.

After, we’ll go out for drinks and talk more about who we think should have won and which one we would have sex with.

We’d love any readers to come out and join us.

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Filed under carl wilson, chris randle, events, margaux williamson, TV/video, visual art