Tag Archives: Kate Bush

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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Tea With Chris: In Love Like a Motherfucker

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: Big Boi’s Kate Bush fandom is so charming: “The album, to me, is just very somber and very chill…It’s almost like a scene from her diary – she seems to be in love like a motherfucker. Really, really, really in love.” Someone please get these two into a recording studio.

Two pieces about UK dance music: Julianne Escobedo Shepherd follows the fluorescent slime trail of the vital Night Slugs label, while Angus Finlayson critiques a disturbing misogynistic tendency among certain journalists and producers.

It only has a wall of light, not sound, but Wonder Girls’ new music video is worthy of the “Be My Baby” name.

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Tea With Chris: Sofia Cosplay

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: Psychoanalyst-essayist Adam Phillips, one of my favourite writers, talks to human-rights activist Sameer Padania: “This is where an information culture counts against us. People need to be educated into believing that evocation is more important than information. If we could bear listening to people, without trying to understand what they’re saying, we would get more from them. Effectively, psychoanalysis listens for the incoherencies that are saying more, or something other, than the coherences. It’s got something to do with the musicality of people’s voices and intonations; it’s a form of listening that’s less hypnotized and distracted by their coherences.”

Your call: Is Kate Bush’s new album, as my friend Ann argues here, “just what the best of Bush’s work has done since she burst on the scene, Spandex bat wings flapping, at the dawn of the New Wave era. It melds extravagant tales to unconventional song structures, and spirits the listener away into Bush’s distinctive hyperreality”? Or is it, as my friend Patrick has found, “feeble, empty, mindlessly repetitive, adolescently self-indulgent and, more than anything else, boring. … How does a great chef come to offer the world cold hot dogs in his own restaurant with a straight face?”

Tom McCarthy, author of The Remainder and C, eulogizes the communications theorist Friedrich Kittler, author of Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, while lovingly lampooning his acolytes, actually known as the Kittlerjugend. Tribute and travesty at once, it’s a ticklish balancing act, but McCarthy finesses it.

What would Kittler have to say about this? Christianity, remixed as crypto-postmodernist poetry. (Thanks to Sasha Chapin for the diversion.)

Chris: Rich Juzwiak judged a child beauty pageant and the resulting essay is amazing, venturing into this demimonde of flattery, rhinestones and outlandish performance with the perspective of a temporary insider. He ends up demystifying the pageant circuit’s notoriously strange image somewhat, but one can only do so much: “The weirdest celebrity emulation was Sofia Coppola, as brought to us by a child in the 11-13 group named Courtney. Her dress looked like an old-time director’s slate, bordered in thick, diagonal black and white stripes and featuring a blank template on the chest (‘Movie: ________’). Clearly, someone had found this and thought, ‘Who’s a reasonably young, attractive, brunette, gawky director? Oh right. You’re Sofia Coppola.’ She danced around with an actual slate to a disco version of ‘Hooray for Hollywood,’ much as I presume Sofia Coppola does on her days off.”

Five facetious future literary movements, from noird to salvagepunk.

Jessica of the K-pop group SNSD does not fuck with cucumbers.

Oh, Frank O’Hara.

 

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