субота, 30 грудня 2017 р.

Bil Sabab Power Hour: Screamin' Jay Hawkins - I am the Cool


This blog was created to keep notion of awesome things like this.

"I am the Cool" is the song by the blues extraordinaire Screamin' Jay Hawkins. It was released in 1994 on an album "Somethin's funny goin' on". In its core it is boisterous braggadocio covered in old time blues stomp. Ol' Screamin' Jay keeps on talking about how cool he is. It is corny, it is cheesy, it is unbelievably tongue in cheek but it is also surprisingly earnest and curiously sincere. Because of that song makes puzzling impression. On its own it is no good but Screamin' Jay Hawkins means what he says and that makes the song tick. I guess it is what is called "magick".

Lyrical content of the song is astoundingly bizarre in its "on the nose" drooling. You need to understand where Screamin' Jay Hawkins was in the early 90's. He was a "has-been" "one-hit-wonder" BOO blues man in a vein of Slim Gaillard. His gimmick was macabre Universal Horror-styled theatrics and lots and lots of drama in vocal performance. He was over the top. He had one smash hit in 1956 - "I put a spell on you" and a couple of other great tunes like "Constipation blues" and "Frenzy". But he never managed to make a mark and floundered here and there for decades,  inspiring musicians and playing catch-up. In the 90s he reemerged as a elder statesman of bizarre and started recording again. This time he was embracing his gimmick and turnining it up to eleven.

Stylistically "I am the Cool" is a mishmash of later career Robert Palmer (addicted to love, simply irrestieable, didn't mean to turn you on, etc), overly exaggerated lyricism of Prince, braindead thunderstruck Morrissey and every conceivable gangsta rap cliche as seen by Kool Keith (the song will be just fine tinted in g-funk vibes). The more you think about this combination the more you like it. It is twisted: turned inside out, upside down and then backwards. It is Stone Cold Steve Austin Theme song if he was Chilly McFreeze.


четвер, 28 грудня 2017 р.

BSPH: Mel Bochner - Blah Blah Blah



"Blah Blah Blah" is a title of the series of paintings by American conceptual artist Mel Bochner. It is text-based paintings that repeat particular ubiquitious phrase in rainbow-toned palette. And nothing else. Because "a little bit more might be a little bit too much". On a surface it is traditional conceptual swerve - inciting incident for mind domino effect that turns into wandering in the maze. But in this case it is only a diversion - the mind game goes nowhere. It is not the point of the piece. The real thing is the VOID the painting represents.

But let's take a step back. What is the meaning of "Blah blah blah" the phrase? Commonly it is a signifier of certain portion of information that can be considered as somewhat silly, pretentious, utterly boring and decidedly lacking anything of particular interest. It is used as a cut-off placeholder and substitute for words that mean little or nothing at all in a moment.

"Blah Blah Blah" the painthing is annoying in its simplicity. It is also rather brutal if you know the story. From a standpoint of conceptual art history it can be considered almost a leering wink that suspiciously lacks tongue in cheek. For Mel Bochner it is more than just a rib. It is his kind condemnation of oversaturation and overexposure of words and images to the point of complete desensitization of the recipient. There are way too many thing to perceive and because of that mind turns on its inner Juey who in his turn shuts off any distractions that may cause the thing known as "thinking" or to be exact "contemplation" or "pondering". "Becos to menny".

But it is not only media criticism. "Blah Blah Blah" is also scathing story of self-doubt of an artist. Bochner questions himself and his skills for adequacy. He shows that he can lay the thing out, choose the words, composition, colors - but that doesn't mean that the result can sum up to anything. Technically "Blah Blah Blah" is a hijacking of the word in a manner of Ed Rusha. The word is displaced and thus transformed into something else that it is similar to the original but functions differently. It is very simple and yet extremely effective way of changing perspective and going beyond for no reason at all.

"Blah Blah Blah" is a potboiler placeholder for something else that will never come. And it is something any artist is mortified with.

вівторок, 26 грудня 2017 р.

BSPH: Current 93 - Crowleymass



It's time! It's time! It's time! I can feel it coming in the air tonight. I've been waiting for this moment for not exactly all my life but definitely for a considerable amount of time.

"Crowleymass" is a song by British mystic industrial band Current 93. It was released in 1987 on an eponymous 12' inch EP. It is one of those song you instantly fall in love with. It is neat gothic dance track sonically very uncharacteristic for Current 93 but in the same time it is stylistically emblematic of the bands major themes.

The song is a collaboration between David Tibet and Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson - Tibet handled the lyrics while Hilmarsson did the arrangement. There are also some backing vocals contributions from one and only Rose McDowall of Strawberry Switchblade. From the stylistic standpoint "Crowleymass" is pretty straightforward gothic-laced dance synth-pop salivated in gregorian chants and toy-like synth brass stabs. The song is very definition of the word "merry". You can't help but feel happy while listening to it.

Lyrically it is grim condemnation of the square state of things and declaration of separation from the establishment due to manevolent creative differences. But despite being rather serious in its intentions it is written as a childish sailor chantey. It is a joyful celebration of the works of Aleister Crowley and his major ideas bundled with the greatest singalong chorus ever put to tape. (Seriously - "Don't give us no sass or we'll kick your ass - Cause we're the heralds of crowleymass!" is infectious thing to behold - it sticks forever and leaves you humming it until the very ).

понеділок, 25 грудня 2017 р.

#@)₴?$0 - Found Poem Time!


Look what i have found! For once i have found something interesting written in my native language. It is not much of a thing - just a throwaway but delightful descriptive line lost in the sea of dum-dum dull television criticism. Because of deliberate lack of context it is utterly enigmatic. It says "bars, doggie, bracket, hryvna sign, question mark, dollar sign, zero". It also features a couple of blank underlines and two letters "A". The latter part was created with a little help from The Deletionist tool. Because of algorithm limitations instead doing its schtick - it simply deletes all the words if they are not in English. Quite handy when you need to clean things up before doing the screensnap. 

The enigmatic line is a backronym from the nondescript unutterable title of the TV show known as "#@)₴?$0". It is weekly satirical news commentary program that features a journalist playing the character Michael Schur - canadian of ukrainian descent who came back to Ukraine because of retroactive apparently phantom nostalgia. Think about Colbert or Stewart. It is something like that. The show is fine. But it doesn't matter.  What matters is the found poem.

For me "#@)₴?$0" is the best thing about the show. While in the context of the show the title actually serves as an umbrella master comment on every event that gets into the show - outside context the title is simply a impenetrable beautiful ding an sich. It is beyond reasonable comprehension and thus can be interpreted in a variety of increasingly off-putting ways. Basically it is a covert piece of asemic writing. It is illegible thus potentially open for extreme overthinking. And who am i to waste good chance to overthink something? Let's go George Carlin on this! 

"#@)₴?$0" might be: 
  • overwhelming enpuzzlement 
  • hideous irritation
  • obnoxious annoyance
  • startling tumult
  • stunning perplexity
  • debilitating frustration 
  • emolliating dismay
  • excruciating confusion
  • pernicious tribulation
  • gnawing botheration
  • poignant nuisance
  • impudent repugnance
  • bitter rancor
  • scathing abashment 
  • harrowing exasperation
  • condescending embroilment 
  • arcane chafe
  • vanquishing vexation
  • callous chagrin
  • septic spite
  • odious objection
  • palpable peeve
  • gargling affliction
  • heinous irksomeness
  • flabbergasting maladjustment
  • daunting confoundment
  • incongruous bamboozle
  • ossified balderdash
  • malicious enthrallment
  • nocuous enmity
  • depletable regurgitation
I can go on like that all night long without breaking a sweat until the break of dawn when i will be distracted by the solemn somber song of the Great Tits. Which is not exactly what you think it is but also exactly what you think but in a different way.

субота, 23 грудня 2017 р.

BSPH: Taking the "best" out of Juvenile's "Ha"

Sometimes i feel that a germ of boredom starts thriving deep inside of me and that is absolutely terrible thing to realize that actually doesn't mean a thing. Because if you think about it for a moment - it is nothing compared to anything anywhere anywhen anyhow. It is just a temporary minor annoyance. It happens once in a while. Causes no damage of any significance. Maybe some sort of blackouts of time wasting but not much else. So why bother with it? Because vain attempts of eliminating that particular irksome phenomenon with extreme prejudice can lead you to something really unexpected...

Let's take a few steps back. I just came back home after survining three weeks of non-stop quest for a new job. It was something to behold but i don't want to go in detail. The only thing you need to know - it was bizzare and tough and left little time to anything creative that was not some scribbles on a little pieces of paper or some really nondescript notes of no particular interest. I was knee deep in reading vacant position descriptions, deducing all pros and cons, thinking out the strategies of getting the precious info during the interviews, doing tests, etc, etc. I was behind enemy lines - studying what bullshit lurks in hearts of men. I feel sorry for those recruiters who were forced to talk with me - i think i was a little too pushy and rather nonchalant. But hey - i just wanted to know exactly what to expect - can't blame me for being cautious after being burned so many times. Anyway...


Have you heard song "Ha" by rapper Juvenile? I guess you haven't because there is no reason in this world for you to know this song. It is beyond anyone's general interest. And if you are familiar with it - it is only because you are into deep cuts of Cash Money Records output or following the origins of Lil' Wayne and his feuds or just gazing through the samples credits of Kendrick Lamar's album "Damn." (to be honest - far more engaging than the album itself).

"Ha" is a stop word. You stumble upon it. Find out that it is actually a song - think that the title is kinda curious enough and then give it a shot. There is not much to say about "Ha". It is a typical late 90's rap song with mindnumbingly monotone basic lo-fi arrangement accompanied by serviceable rapping. Juvenile uncannily tenderly checks all boxes regarding low-life hustler lifestyle including warped abusive relationships, drug trade, showing off the glitter, vacuous inner life and other things that cause cognitive dissonance and condemns the entire concept.  The lyrics are actually really good. But the sound cries out "dull-dull gray greyness gray-gray". It is social commentary covered in sonic insignificance. It is instantly forgettable.

But there is one thing that unfortunately sticks out of the song - "Ha".

The songs gimmick is that every line ends with "ha". The reason for it is simple - that it is the way people talk in some areas of New Orleans. They cap every sentence with this filler non-word just because. It adds local flavor to the song. But if you don't know about it - it is just "that" "ha" in the end of every line. Sounds close to "huh" but the lyric sheet says "ha" so let it be "ha". And you don't care about the songs actual content - you just grap "that" "ha" out of context and beat it to death in your head out of callous mean instant reflex.

Since i was struggling with boredom when i heard it - i thought that it would be nice to make a conversion of a songs lyrics. First i deleted everything that wasn't "ha". Except for one "ho" near the end. Then i took the chorus and changed every letter of it to continuous strings of X's occassionally interrupted by the capital G's - because there is a song "XXX" in Kendrick Lamar's "Damn.". The result is mystifying Einstuerzende Neubauten like romp-stomp. It is mindless, self-indulging and utterly pointless. It makes me think about something-something. And i like it.

***
"Ha"

ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha

Xxx x xxxxx xxxxxx, xxx xxx xxxx xxxxx xx xxxx
Xxxxxxxxx x G xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx
Xxx xxxx xxxx xx xx xxx xxxx xxxxxx' xxx xx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx xxxxxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx'x xx xxxxx' xxx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx x xxxxx xxxxxx, xxx xxx xxxx xxxxx xx xxxx
Xxxxxxxxx x G xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx
Xxx xxxx xxxx xx xx xxx xxxx xxxxxx' xxx xx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx xxxxxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx'x xx xxxxx' xxx xxxxxxxx'

ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha 
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha

Xxx x xxxxx xxxxxx, xxx xxx xxxx xxxxx xx xxxx
Xxxxxxxxx x G xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx
Xxx xxxx xxxx xx xx xxx xxxx xxxxxx' xxx xx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx xxxxxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx'x xx xxxxx' xxx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx x xxxxx xxxxxx, xxx xxx xxxx xxxxx xx xxxx
Xxxxxxxxx x G xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx
Xxx xxxx xxxx xx xx xxx xxxx xxxxxx' xxx xx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx xxxxxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx'x xx xxxxx' xxx xxxxxxxx'

ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ha
ho ha
ha 
ha
ha 
ha
ha
ha

Xxx x xxxxx xxxxxx, xxx xxx xxxx xxxxx xx xxxx
Xxxxxxxxx x G xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx
Xxx xxxx xxxx xx xx xxx xxxx xxxxxx' xxx xx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx xxxxxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx'x xx xxxxx' xxx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx x xxxxx xxxxxx, xxx xxx xxxx xxxxx xx xxxx
Xxxxxxxxx x G xxxxx xxx xxxxxx xxx xxxxxx
Xxx xxxx xxxx xx xx xxx xxxx xxxxxx' xxx xx xxxxxxxx'
Xxx xxxxxx xxxx xxx xxx xxx'x xx xxxxx' xxx xxxxxxxx'

середа, 20 грудня 2017 р.

MFT: John Baldessari - I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art

Enter Caption Obvious!

This is "I will not make any more boring art" as written by John Baldessari in 1971. It is a conceptual art piece in a form of the phrase handwritten in cursive font over and over again on a sheet of paper. It was based on the working scribbles from his notebook. It is obviously designed to condition frail mind of an artist and form a mental block that will prevent him from making art that can be considered "boring". It is a statement. Direct and sincere, stripped off any superficial elements. This sentence underlines what Baldessari have learned earlier in his career. It may seem on the nose and quite obvious - but sometimes solutions lay in plain sight and be extremely ambiguous. 

Conceptually "I will not make any more boring art" is reminescent of old-time school punishments with its mindnumbing excruciating repetitions of tenacious redeeming phrases to bulbous eternity and effervescent oblivion as immortalized in the title sequence of "The Simpsons". It is also a neat riff on Rene Magritte's "The Treachery of Images" and its playful cognitive dissonance. It is just a message that is turned into piece of art by the fact of its documentation. However Baldessari's thing is not an argument on the nature of art - it comes from a different place. 

In the early 70s John Baldessari felt that he ran out of course and played himself. He was deeply unsatisfied with himself and his body of work and was utterly disappointed by his recent aesthetic tendencies. He wasn't breaking any new ground, he wasn't challenging himself, he wasn't trying something new and different. And so he thought - what is worth of an artist who doesn't take any chances and relies on the book of tricks like a shaggy dog who knows he will be fed anyway? And so he decided to get rid of his early works in the most blatant way possible - destroy them. With a little help of his friends he gathered his early stuff and burned it in crematorium. The remaining ashes were placed into the urn with an inscription saying "John Anthony Baldessari, May 1953 - March 1966". 

He did that as a rebooting measure. Because those works were just things. Nothing of particular interest that could be destroyed thus it was destroyed. Baldessari decided to throw away everything and start anew. I guess it was because he read Kipling's "If" six times in a row and stumbled on a line "...watch the things you gave your life to, broken" thinking "Hmmm, interesting...". From then on Baldessari was interested in ideas as the most potent and lasting material. But by embracing conceptual he also started to poke fun at it. 

"I will not make any more boring art" is a tongue-in-cheek subversion of conceptual art. Even mere thinking over the phrase adds the factor of the process of not making something boring to the mix. That journey and achieved experience out it is part of the piece. "I will not make any more boring art" exists in many forms - as a statement, as a writing on a piece of paper, as an instuction, as a thing to be written, as a video documentation of the process of writing of the phrase, as a photo documentation of the piece and so on. 


вівторок, 19 грудня 2017 р.

BSPH: Bo Diddley - Bad Trip



"Bad Trip" is a song by the great bluesman Bo Diddley. It was released in 1972 on an album "Where it All Began". It is one of the best songs in Diddley's repertoir that was unfortunately overshadowed by his own earlier triumphs. "Bad Trip" was written by Diddley's co-conspirators backing singer Cornelia Redmond and his wife Kay McDaniel.

The song comes from a weird period of Diddley's career. In the 1970's he attempted to reinvent himself, embraced modern tendencies and tried new genres - such as psychedelic rock, hard rock and funk. "Bad Trip" is and odd mix of psychedelic full-on shredding, solid blues structure and heavy funk groove. It is unrelenting, intimidating piece of music full of righterous frustration.

The arrangement is transcending. It is sonic representation of bad trip. It starts off all right but quickly devolves into pandemonium. The band is so tight it reminds a wrecking ball let loose - it propels forward crushing everything in its way. Drums are beating everything to the dust while bass is circling like a hungry predator. Organ is cackling and drooling in the background as a hungry scavenger. Guitar parts of "Bad Trip" is something to behold. There is elegant combination of blues licks, psychedelic blows and funky chicken chipping.

"Bad Trip" starts off from a neat guitar melody that grows into Yardbirds-like feverish rave up over solid guitar-bass lines. It quickly moves into full-on psych-out - guitar solo is hysterical. After that Bo comes in and tells an impressionistic cautionary tale of a real bad trip that this song is about. He explains what it really is - lack of certainty, lack of security, lack of money, lack of trust. After that the song roughens up the ears with a sharp-edged instrumental break. Drums are pounding like jackhammer heart while guitar is jumping up and tries to touch and crack the ceiling and then falling down into the groove before jumping up again. Bass waltzing over and over clearly trying to evoke nausea. Over time it all drowns in a general flow and Bo comes back to sum things up. The song literally goes nowhere in the fade out.

"Bad Trip" is a very strange song. There is nothing downright subverting in it and yet it feels so different even from the other songs from the same album. It contains a different kind of nerve - something closer to Gil Scott-Heron and metaphor-heavy blues of old. It is direct in its message and unceasingly instense in its delivery. Truly great song.


неділя, 17 грудня 2017 р.

Found poem: Red Letter "A" and a Big Read Dot.

You never know where inspiration can take over. I was quite depressed for some time at that moment. I mean - i don't have much to do and my life is filled is mundane and aimless filler. Sometimes it happens that way. 

This little red letter "a" was found at the Kyiv subway station "Palats Ukraina". Here is how it happened - i was walking back from the job interview - down into the subway station. The train just took off so there was a couple of minutes before the arrival of the next train. I was looking around dimly lit station. There were large columns covered in metal sheets. They were reflecting all sorts of lights. I was staring at one of these columns for some time and noticed something on it. I thought it was a stain or something like. I walked closer, took my phone and activated the camera flash. It was actually a letter "a" and a dot. All red.  

What a surprise! You can't imagine what a relief i felt at that moment. It was liberating. I had very little time before the train's approach - so it took a few photos. It was too dark to take it with a natural light so i've used the flash. It added the texture to the picture. 

четвер, 14 грудня 2017 р.

MFT: Jerry Lawler's Mysterious "Donut Hole" Trick


One of the delights of Professional Wrestling is that it presents heightened reality that is inches away from being ridiculous but still more or less plausible and manages to make every single "waka-waka, da-roon-ron-ron - sha-ba-dab-a-duh" seem to be mysteriously logical and extremely poignant no matter the "out there" factor. And there are lots of shenanigans going on in-between spots. Sometimes they are grounded in reality but then there are some that are straying straight into the realm of absolute abstraction, transcending beyond all boundaries of its genre into being something akin to conceptual art piece in a manner of Fluxus Dada. Because reasons, i suppose.

All that counts for Jerry Lawler's Mysterious Donut Hole gimmick. What is it? You need to see it in order to understand. But there is a problem. There are no known footage of Jerry Lawler performing it. The only thing we have is a clip from Jim Cornette's podcast where he jumps of a question about chewing gum while performing a match and tells a funny story about it.

In short - Mysterious Donut Gimmick is a way of making time over the course of a match. It is an entertaining routine of make-believe diversion. The gimmick itself is nonexistent. But it is extremely powerful and used to gain advantage over the babyface. It is designed to thrizzle and baffle and bring a laugh or two afterwards. It comes from Lawler's Memphis pre-WWF/WWE days and was usually performed when Lawler was a bad guy.

Here an approximate description of how it goes:

  • The gimmick is situated in the tights. Heel pulls it out and puts it into his fist and hits the babyface who sells it big time;
  • Then heels turns to the crowd and sticks the gimmick back into his tights so that the crowd can point it out to the referee who comes to search over heel's hands for foreign objects; 
  • Upon finding nothing referee turns back while heel pulls the gimmick back from his tights, grabs the babyface in a hold and pops him in the forehead;
  • Then heels jumps back and hides the gimmick in his kneepad. This time referee searches over heel's hands, tights and waistband. Still finds nothing and goes back to check the babyface while the crowd cries foul;
  • Heel pulls the gimmick from the kneepad and throws the babyface to the corner, roughens him up and then immediately jumps back and hides the gimmick under the arm;
  • Considerably irritated referee goes over heel's gear. Still finds nothing, informs the crowd who still cries foul;
  • Then heel takes the gimmick from underneath his arm, hits the babyface again and hides the gimmick in his mouth;
  • This time annoyed referee thoroughly checks every conceivable place in heel's gear. Finds nothing, crowd points out that the thing is in the heel's mouth, referee seems to be unable to understand what are they talking about. In the same time babyface bound back and slaps the heel in the back;
  • that makes the bad guy choke on the gimmick. He grabs his neck with both arms, his face goes red, he can't breathe, he calls for help. Referee is baffled, crowd is satisfied with the payback and pops hard.
  • Then babyface can finish the heel off or heel can swallow the gimmick and strike back.
The result - significant portion of the match is covered and the crowd is entertained. The fact that you can't see it makes it even better. With the description only you can reconstruct it in your head and it will be better than the real thing. Mainly because there are no things that can make it go wrong such as common sense or laws of physics.

середа, 13 грудня 2017 р.

MFT: In praise of Tim Allen's grunts in "Home Improvement"

One of the most fascinating features of internet is ability to point at something out of seemingly ordinary, take it outside of its original context by sheer force of severe overthinking, turn it sideways and put it into bizarro land where it will roll and tumble, twist and whirl and bounce upside down and backwards and then thrive as nonchalant "believe it or not" phenomena. Nothing is safe from this feature. It happens randomly and spares nothing in particular. Sometimes it manages to turn something really irritating and desperately awful into otherworldly manifestation of the eavesdropping void.


That is what happened with Tim Allen's tv series "Home Improvement". Back in the day it was one of the most watched sitcoms of USA. Its workman-styled mindnumbing dangling low- to lower-mid- brow humor was appealing to the broadest possible audience. Tim Allen himself seemed to be quite annoying but despite all his over the top haplessness his character Tim Taylor was strangely engaging. However the show itself was mostly middle of the road with ocassional slapstick gag brilliance. But that wasn't preventing Tim Taylor of having a brush with utter unmitigated brilliance because of one little character detail. He was constantly grunting. It was a signature feature of his character - elaborate "simian grunt". They were performed astoundingly flat, were deliberately misplaced, instantly bizarre and tremendously affecting in its own right.


понеділок, 11 грудня 2017 р.

MFT: Richard Serra - Verb List (AKA verbs are the tits!)

I was thinking about verbless poetry recently. I saw Ezra Pound's "In the Station of the Metro" in the newsfeed and then i've heard thunder but there was no visible lightning strike so i was left without a proper closure. I've tried to write a poem without verbs on the fly but ended writing mostly fun-sounding verbs and nothing else. They were simply jumping out of my head. It was unconscious - i wanted to get out of comforting flow into the unknown - i wanted to do something else. And so i was hoarding incresingly bizarre verbs in a revolving coil of ludicrity. And then i thought that after such elaborate vocabulary exercising - it would be quite useful to actually try to write a poem without verbs.

And so i ended up staring at the blank sheet of paper for some time because i didn't really wanted to write a poem without verbs at that particular moment. No matter how hard i've tried to pretend to channel Ezra Pound - i just couldn't get pass through another tasty verb without taking it with me before it vanished in my head. 

I guess it is a problem no one cares about - you can't escape from using verbs. At least for prolonged periods of time. Not that it is really matters or something - it is just utterly unneccessary. I mean - it is fun to OULIPO up yours once in a while - but in the end there is even more fun to be processed by casually ignoring self-imposed constraints.

Why bother messing with the verbs? Verbs simply convey actions, occurrences and states of being. As any other words they bring something to the table - they transform the text. You can think them over, interpret, put into the picture or out of it - any way you want. And that reminded something.



Here's a list of verbs titled "Verb List Compilation: Actions to Relate to Oneself". It was written around 1967-68 by an American conceptual artist Richard Serra. It is an instruction manual disguised as an art piece. The list is comprised of verbs in infinitive form. It is a neat compilation of various verbs you can apply to yourself or anything else and turn it into empiric performance piece. 

Despite its ambiguousness - all verbs more or less relate to the actions generally applied during an artistic process - such as cutting, mixing, stretching, arranging, covering, expanding, continuing, etcetera. But they are taken out of the context and gathered together seemingly at random. All the verbs in the list describe the processes of giving or changing a form of something. The list mainly deals with such questions as "What are you doing?" and "What you can do?". The whole thing comes from an observations Richard Serra had made while working in his studio. He simply documented what he was doing step by step. He verbalized the way he was dealing with materials and the way he comprehended the very nature of artistic process. 

Originally the list was simply a handwritten note - somewhat reminescent of school dictionary expansion exercises. But later it spawned numerous derivative piece such as "Splashing" or "Scraping Hands". It shows the potency of taking out the words out of actions and transforming them back into actions. And that what makes it so powerful.

"Verb List" exceeds its primary purpose. As a list it is bigger than sum of parts it represents. It is a kaleidoscopic snapshot of an artist's mind in the mode of self-reflection. But it is distanced from the artist's point of view to the sheer abstraction. It is a selection of words designed to convey certain things stripped of its original function. In the list - the words are free from their usual roles. They are just there. It is the mind that puts them here or there depending on chosen context. In that way - the words on the list are like flies trapped on the sticky ribbon flytrap forced to embroil themselves and roll into makeshift cocoons in order to turn into moths that inevitably will be attracted to the fire of the mind (cue Coil).

The list is incredibly flexible. You can bend them any way you want and still you will be within its boundaries. It can serve as a direct instructions or just some boorish tips or you can simply enjoy the way the words sound together. You can make your own list, rearrange the existing sequence, find some obscure relations and construct some imagery or even narrative out of it, you can even scramble the way the words are written. Finally - you can put it through N+7 OULIPO routine and get entirely new set of verbs.

неділя, 10 грудня 2017 р.

BSPH: Revolting Cocks - (Let's Talk) Physical



"(Let's Talk) Physical" is a composition by industrial band Revolting Cocks. It was released in 1990 on a CD version of their second album "Beers, Steers and Queers". It is a remix of their controversial cover version of Olivia Newton-John's pop classic "(Let's Get) Physical" which is itself rather raunchy song with level of double entendres challenging AC/DC's "Big Balls". The cover version just made it a bit more apparent and it caused some unreasonable objection from the singer's side. "(Let's Talk) Physical" is different. Instead of simply furthering "the butchering" of the song or just turning it inside out upside down backwards - it takes it a step further. Right into the land of minimalist music.

Technically speaking "(Let's Talk) Physical" is not exactly a song. It is a one second loop that consists of one snare drum hit followed by exaltated growling of the word "Talk!" by a singer Chris Connelly. It happens over and over and over again over the course of almost seven minutes. It should be noted that it goes on like that without any variations. Just "Talk!" and "Talk!" and "Talk!" and "Talk!". It is obvious jib at the listeners followed by continuous nauseating sequence of pokes, jabs, nudges, jolts and yerks. It is soothing after a while. You get used to it and it starts to grow on you. For some reason it sounds really cute albeit slightly obnoxious. It takes a lot of patience to get through it. I recommend to give it a listen combined with various visualizers on random. The best way to perceive this composition is to lay it over "2001" trip sequence. It starts being funny that way.

Conceptually "(Let's Talk) Physical" is a distant relative of Steve Reich's early phasing pieces like "It's gonna rain". Instead of actually evolving into something - it uses repetition to transform inside the listeners head. Overt repetition pumps up every element and disintegrates them into abstractness. Crackly sludge so to say.


четвер, 7 грудня 2017 р.

MFT: Gertrude Stein - Five Words in a Line

If you ever happened to wander through the barely penetrable debris of the least helpful archive of experimental art of old known as UbuWeb - you might have taken a walk through the jungle of the conceptual writing section. There are lots of interesting things that would have been even more interesting if this whole goodness was properly presented and thoroughly commented. But that's needless nuances, who cares about it... 

Anyway - near the end of the selection there is a piece written by one and only Gertrude Stein. It is extremely short and rather obviously undermines the entire selection of the pieces by its callous tongue-in-cheek nature. Here it is:

Five Words in a line.

It is taken from a poem "Five Words in a Line" which is a little bit longer but not really because the rest of the text dances around the statement "Five Words in a Line" but not really because the rest of the text is just there, hanging around, having a good time letting you to read it. Why? Because reasons. It is self-explanatory language play that goes for an elaborate cognitive dissonance mambo ribbing akin to "The Treachery of Images". The trick is that there is no trick. It is really a sentence with five words that describe "Five Words in a Line". Because it is amusing and kinda funny. Among else - there are also "Four Words in a line" and "Six words in one line", both of which actually consist of "Five Words in a Line". (chuckles-chuckles).

"Five Words in a Line" stems from an observation. Gertrude once noticed that she can fit five words in a single line on the page of her notebook. It seemed rather fascinating to her and so she played with it. The poem was written around 1929-1930 and published later in 1930 in the first issue of Pagany magazine. It was accompanied by an essay about Stein's poetics written by William Carlos Williams. The juxtaposition is quite ironic. It actually ridicules an essay. Since the poem is rather mean-spirited mockery of overt explanations and far-reaching interpretations - to pair it with a glib example of such analysis is rather elegant way of rolling an index finger around the temple while excessively smiling and rolling eyes. Imagine yourself reading a magazine, reading that particular essay and then getting to the poem. I guess it might be a little bit too perplexing and off-putting.

As any other poem by Gertrude Stein "Five Words in a Line" is an assault at habitual relaxed reading. It is filled with word jamming. It is more of a cipher than an actual text - the experience of getting through it is actually an intended piece. There are lots and lots of look-alike or sound-alike words paired together in a semi-coherent strings. Together they forge comedically non-sequitir images and construct cutaway narrative stylized after stream of consciossness. Except it is filled with throwaway simple words and commonly used nothing-phrases stuck in cancellarists hard-edges sentence structures.  

"Five Words in a Line" is designed to nullify attempts at analysis. You can do it - but it will not affect the piece. Your understanding of it will stay the same if not even more enigmatic. It is hard to do a roundabout arabesque about it without acknowledging the fact that the whole affair is merely a vain bout of apophenic pareidolia. And since this is the whole point of the piece it seems obvious that by design it states "nothing is true, everything is permitted" in relation to the whole concept of "interpretation". Except it is not - because it is just about "Five words in a line" and other funny things that come with it.


вівторок, 5 грудня 2017 р.

MFT: Obscure Found Poem

You know it is good to look through your archives once in a while - you can find something interesting or just plain weird. There is always something. Something, Something, Something, Something... (cue Coil).

***
Few days ago i've found an old flash drive. It was grey and tend to blink that particular blue light evoking lyrics of Deep Purple's "Speed King". It was last used in late November 2015 (which was a really fun time to me (- not exactly. it sucked). Its content caused nice trip down memory lane. There was an empty folder titled "Earl Slick Zig Zag", a couple of really bad photos out of focus (i'm a fan), some drafts of poems that went nowhere (bad ones), some notes of interest (nearly finished articles on Wild Blue Yonder and La Jetee among else), few midi files with some leftfield sonic combinations and whole lotta screensnaps. 

Back in the day - i was compulsive screenshooter. I was snapping everything that i thought i can use later somewhere. But since i had writer's block - later i was snapping everything that i thought i can use later somewhere. Over and over again. Most of the screencnaps were from various comic books. I guess it was meant to be used on Cut'n'Splash. But there were also some snaps from different sources - pieces of texts and some snaps of bugs and errors in various software. Nothing serious.

And then i've found this. It was a piece of lyrics transcription of some song. But I don't remember which one or where it was taken. But it doesn't matter - it is so self-contained - it thrives being shut off its place of origin. I really like it. Here's how it goes: 
There is a lot to chew if you have nothing else to do. The poems is deliberately ambiguous and downright obfuscated. There are just eight words out of which only three are actually eligible members of the dictionary while the rest are glorified examples of blatant onomatopoeia. It is hard to say what is going on in this poem. The structure is basic but it means nothing.

The word "Fire!" can relate to almost anything. It can be a command to discharge the projectiles. Or it may be a cautionary cry announcing combustion and subsequent appearing of the flame. Or it can be more abstract and just point out something completely unrelated. Bracketed closed caption "Guitar Solo" is self-explanatory but its placement before the charge of onomatopeiac exclamation is puzzling. It seemingly bears no connection to the previous part of the text and turns up out of nowhere. In some way it is a cutaway gag.

Subsequent row of exclamations can be interpreted in a variety of ways - badly transcribed tortured screams or satisfied clamour or conjuring of uncertain insubstantial concepts. Anyway - it can be the description of the aftermath of guitar solo or reaction to it or it too can be a cutaway out of context. The latter double "Ooo!" is perplexing. It seemingly serves the same purpose as the previous exclamations but is separated from it pointing at seeming change of scene.

But sometimes - you just need not to overthink some random screen caption.

понеділок, 4 грудня 2017 р.

My Favorite Things: Fallout 2 - Inside the Hubologists Shuttle


Just because it makes no sense - it doesn't mean you should not write about it. Sometimes surfing the web leads to some really unexpected corners of Internet. You may find yourself inside some fan-curated Wikia dedicated to something close to your heart 15 years ago. Not because you want to know more but because you feel empty inside and have nothing else to do. That is how i have found this image. It is from the files of the post-nuclear role-playing game Fallout 2 (G.O.A.T. btw). It might seem a little bit elusive and somewhat cryptic but in fact it is nothing but a non-fuctional piece of a game.

Believe it or not - this image masterfully depicts the interiors of a space shuttle. In fact - it is one of a kind depiction of the interiors of a space shuttle. It is nothing like any other depictions of the interiors of the space shuttles. It is simply a black screen covered in red patches that read "unused art". It is one of the most brilliant design choices ever. I wonder why no one ever tried to pull this off for real? It even fits Fallout's own Special Encounters rulebook (in short: odd and batshit, gallows humor)

Why am i writing about such insignificant thing? Because i find it interesting. Outside of its original context black field with red patches looks like a fine example of tongue-in-cheek conceptual art. Technically it is a piece of concrete poetry mixed with conceptual writing. It reminds me of Allen Ruppersberg and Billy Apple. It is a wasteland of its own. It is empty and filled with placeholders. It is something ponder about. 

You can enter the interiors of the shuttle through the map. If you press "5" key you will get to the location. However you can't get out of it and so you need to reload from earlier place. Why it happened to be so? Because the player was never meant to enter the space shuttle thus there was no need to design its interiors. Its exterior looks like this:


Nothing interesting - just another futurist-styled spaceship designed after NASA Space Shuttle. The  ship is titled USS Quetzel (soaring pretzel!). Inside a game - it was built some time prior to the Great War and somehow managed to remain mostly intact. It was owned by the Hubologists. Who are they? It is a religious cult based on Scientology. They are situated in San Francisco. Their religion is titled "Hubology". It is centered around the idea that humans suffer from spirits of the dead who create parasitic substances or entities known as "neurodynes" which supress talents and abilities of human beings. Hubology offeres a "cleansing" which may cause "severe" "empowerment" and permament brain damage. If you want to know how does this "cleansing" looks like - think about Room 104 episode 3 - it is more or less exact depiction of the process. 

So - some time before the game started Hubologists have found this space shuttle and tried to repair it. But because of inner city politics they were unable to do that. Then came The Player and helped to fix things. Hubologists wanted to use space shuttle in order to escape from Earth to another planet they called Quetzel (dramatic squirrel!). Due to lack of significance of the plot it was never really resolved. 

There are two quests connected to it - "get the fuel" and "repair the shuttle". The player can provide cultists with fuel and repair the ship - but then they all die due to suffocation caused by lack of air supply (sad). If player fails to provide Hubologists with fuel they use some alternative fuel and blow up during liftoff (hahaha!). If player provides them with fuel but fails to repair the ship - they all die after a liftoff due to depressurization (double sad). 


субота, 2 грудня 2017 р.

BSPH: AC/DC - Big Balls



"Big Balls" is a song by australian hard rock band AC/DC. It was released in 1976 on an album "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap". It is dirty dirty stupid little song that is also inherently (out loud) funny. It has nothing to offer except for whole lotta suggestive phrasing and overall whimsical vibe but you don't need anything else to enjoy this song. It is perfect. This is one of the finest examples of subverting the very idea of a silly joke into something else. It is crude but in the same time strangely affective and even elegant.

"Big Balls" is marvelous example of tongue-in-cheek lyricism that lets you in for a joke but still keeps it relatively straight albeit just barely and just for fun. That makes it even funnier because it makes no sense at all. Formally, it is an ode for testicles also known as "balls". That word is also used as the name of prestige and solemn dance events. That is it and it is no good. The very notion of using this joke any way is wrong in an ultimate manner - it is too simple. And still Bon Scott manages to pull it off with an amazing gambit and then does self-congratulatory u-turn with his ears.

It starts off as a reflective sentimental schlager but quickly turns into demented beer chorus. And it the end it enacts drooling babbling sabbath. The song reeks with tackiness. It is beyond reasonable appreciation. But it is so masterfully put together you can't help but enjoy it. Bon Scott delivers a master class of jam-packing the lyrics with as many double entendres and sexual innuendos as possible. In fact - there is entire glossary of fancy sleazy-sleazy phrases hidden in the song. And all this is made while maintaining plausible song structure and even somewhat straightforward if nonsensical narrative.

There is also one very interesting thing in the song. Over its course the "balls" thing is gradually pumped up to eleven and then beaten to death viciously, with flowers. That is undercurrent narrative of the song. It overuses innuendos and double entendres to the point of stripping them of any sense. It is so overabundant it shuts off any chance of sense breaking in. It ends with barely comprehensible exclamations "Bollocks Knackers" - which is still about balls but in the context of the song it is almost a spell in an alien language.

"Big Balls" is a song that can shine a light even on the darkest days.



пʼятниця, 1 грудня 2017 р.

MFT: Steven Soderbergh - Schizopolis Poem


This is a frame from "Schizopolis" - a film by Steven Soderbergh. In it you can see a poem that is merely a recital of alphabet sequence. It is a throwaway sight gag that means nothing. It fits perfectly into the films nonsensical aesthetics but not much else. Or not?

This poem was written by the film protagonist (who also happened to be films director who moments prior to that delivered a master-class of making bizarre grimaces) while sitting in an office cubicle and "feeling strange" and "doing panic". Piece of paper on which the poem was written was subsequently crumpled and thrown away into the trash bucket. That led to another gag sequence which will not be described here. It was never mentioned again. It is also never mentioned in any film reviews because apparently people don't need poetry.

It is very strange poem. It is completely pointless. It is shown as a way of "killing time", needless false attempt to sort things out. But then it is literally thrown away - as if it was actually a horrifying expose and not an alphabet recital with some elaborate line breaks. But it sticks. Over time it became a personal highlight of a film. Why is was there? "Just because" is the reason. And it is wonderful that way. 

This little poem is more than meets the eye. It is not the poem you can interpret. It is the very opposite. It is empty textual void. It's not like there were never an alphabet recital poems before - Ian Hamilton Finlay's and Louis Aragon's poems come to mind first - but its appearance in a film is perplexing slap bang. It is cathartic "crowning moment of awesome" of entire film. Its mere presence tells everything the film is attempting to do. Which is "blatant expression of flight of imagination indulged in pointless verbal contortionism complicated to point of utter absurd"

This poem reflects Steven Soderbergh's desire for complete liberation from traditional rules of narrative and techniques and absolute dissociation of skills. It is not condemnation of conventions - it is a personal rejection of its dogmatic nature. Ordinary ways of presenting concepts are inadequate to express something new. It is unable to create mysteries, to tackle something unknown without demystifying it. Experiment - successful or not - is necessary. The poem signified his will to articulate his vision the way he sees fitting. Because if used only in accepted (so-called "right") ways - creative potential of any idea can be seriously limited and trampled with possible end result of its pitiful demise by imposed constraints of generally accepted rules. 

The whole "Schizopolis" experience is designed to impart new vigor - to clean the mind pathways and to make it capable of expressing anything without stuttering or fumbling. It it is more than merely an act of self-exorcism of "bad thoughts" (X). It is one of the greatest exercises in style ever put on film. It is a film filled with various ideas. 

четвер, 30 листопада 2017 р.

Bil Sabab Power Hour: Kahvas Jute - She's So Hard to Shake



"She's so hard to shake" is a song by Australian hard rock band Kahvas Jute. It was released in 1971 on their only album "Wide Open". It is one of the greatest songs of all time. Just because it rocks so hard. It also happened to be one of the unjustly forgotten gems of 1970s. Listen to the song and think about it. It is weird how they managed not to make a splash.

Kahvas Jute was ultra-tight, hyper-intense outfit with murderer's row of talent. For instance - it was an early showcase of guitar extraordinaire Tim Gaze (not that one) and bass magus Bob Daisley (who later made a man out of Ozzy Osbourne). And they were just a couple of guys who wanted to play some rock and roll.

"She's so hard to shake" is a song on the most rock'n'roll topic of all - "relationship with women (man, it is hard)". It is generic. Lyrics doesn't mean much beyond that. It is just a semi-coherent placeholder cannon fodder "to be sang".

From aesthetic standpoint the song sounds as if Led Zeppelin were possessed by ELP (basically Blue Oyster Cult before they happened. tee-hee). But it is so much more. "She's so hard to shake" is rolling and tumbling, roaring and soaring sonic sizzle reel. There are no boring parts. You got to hear it to believe it. It is pure perfection from a formal standpoint.

The structure is rock solid. It is a straightforward rock song with verses and choruses followed by showcase soloing. It is the performances that make it special. The arrangement is airtight monolithic - you can't really think about separate elements. "She's so hard to shake" is built around a simple unstoppable swinging drum beat which relentlessly propels the song forwards. It is imposing and menacing. Dannie Davidson is a juggernaut. He makes groove tornado with his sticks.

Main melody is a combination of entwined bass line and guitar riffs bursting with solo fills. There is solo at every turn and each time it gives a chance for everyone to shine. Guitar solos are followed by bass solos coupled with some elaborate drumming. This playful back and forth is sublime. Dual guitars of Dennis Wilson (not that one) and Tim Gaze (not that one) are pure bliss. They unleash onslaught of bristling fuzzy wah-wah blitz. Guitar sounds are cactus like, riddled with spikes raining with needles. They rumble along "with a purposeful grimace and terrible sound".

Bob Daisley's bass lines are very busy. He chugs through the song so intensely you might think that Bob might lose his arm in the end. Bass lines move like bloodstream throughout the song. You can compare his style to the way Jannick Top performed his parts on Magma's Mekanik Kommando.

"She's so hard to shake" is a master-class of making even the most generic song work. You just need try hard enough. 

середа, 29 листопада 2017 р.

BSPH: Steve Vai - Bad Horsie



"Bad Horsie" is a composition by master of guitar arts Steve Vai. It was released in 1995 on an album titled "Alien Love Secrets". It is hard hitting riveting slow bone crunching blues stomp. The weirdest thing about this composition is that it is just that - very heavy slow bluesy blues. And nothing else. It is somewhat of an oddity in Vai's catalogue as it is more of a meandering rambling smoking jam than an actual composition. In fact - entire "Alien Love Secrets" album was conceived as a quick throwaway in-between bigger projects 1993 "Sex and Religion" and 1996 "Fire Garden".

And that what makes it so different from usual Steve Vai output. It is very raw, not exactly thought-through, intentionally unfocused and contains lots of needless "procedural" guitar equilibrism. Because why not? It is what it is. "Bad Horsie" is based around 4x4 grinding groove entwined with black hole ripping buzzsaw riff. It moves very slowly and apparently goes nowhere. There is not much progression - it goes back and forth around the riff with some eye fencing soloing. But what a soloing - Steve Vai is having fun and it is mesmerizing.

Solos have distinct "on the fly" feel. First he simply plays a melody. With some whirls and curls on the edges. Then more noises come in - slides, squeals, shrieks, wails - melody barely keeps itself together. Then the whole thing stops for a moment so that Steve could decide what to do next. After some "how about this and that and that ?" crunch-bop-ca-chew Vai indulges himself with some exquisite classic nonsensical shredding with sweeps, dives, harmonic rampages and tapping out of nowhere just because why not. The whole thing caps on with the main riff with additional flanging effect which make it seem even more ridiculous.

The arrangement is ridiculous. It is basic blues but turned to eleven. Because of that it feels violent and intimidating. Bass booms and twangs as if it were actually a distant earthquakes. Drums are hitting so hard they raise the dust clouds and beat the listener to the ground. Drums are ridiculously, even cartoonishly, massive. Each beat sounds like a turn of the screw inside the victims body accompanied by shrieks and squeals and squeaks coming from Steve Vai's guitar. If anything it is truly a dada hobbyhorse. There is even a wicked sample of a horse's "blah".

And it is perfect that way. There is not much substance but you can hear how Steve Vai is trying various things and goes on. That is something you can rarely hear. "Bad Horsie" grows naturally.


P.S.: "Bad Horsie" sound like something you expect to be a theme song for Metal Gear Rising.

вівторок, 28 листопада 2017 р.

Bil Sabab Power Hour: Cocteau Twins - Blood Bitch


"Blood Bitch" is a song by Scottish post-punk dream pop band Cocteau Twins. It was released in 1982 on their debut album titled "Garlands". While it distantly resembles the bands signature sound - it is very unlike their future output. There are no pop elements - it is pure "take no prisoners" misty gothic post punk. TV Tropes has an entry that perfectly describes what it is - "Early Franchise Weirdness". The band was trying to find their footing. But in case of this song is perfect as it is.

There is resentfully silent mood, unwholesomely morbid tone, sullen mannerisms and gloomy undercurrents. "Blood Bitch" is circling predatory pitch black sonic roundabout with low, ominous throb. It is minimalist bloody post punk. But is so much more. It transcends beyond being simply a song. It is like aimless wandering in the thick fog - taking a step only to realize you're stepping into quicksand and slowly and helplessly getting sucked into oblivion - slowly suffocating. And then you understand that this pity pit also covers a black hole and you're about to be torn apart. It is very intimidating. It puts you in a state of "twang'" despair. It makes The Cure circa "Pornography" sound like Mamas and Papas. And I like it that way.

"Blood Bitch" is built around unrelenting mechanic beat. It is unmistakable Roland 808. It sounds thin, crisp and crunchy. This stone cold thumping also adds that particular "Big Black" ugliness to the music. The other instruments are drowned in echoes, swelled and flowing on the surface face down. There will be no bubbles.

Bass line is very interesting. It is seems to be a backbone of a song but in the same time it is constantly slips away. It lashes the ground and unsettles clouds of dust. But then it turns to liquid - as if it was merely ripples, splashes, whirls on the water's surface. It creates heightened sense of momentary falling due to rug pull.

Guitar is lurking deep in the background. It creates entangled web of textures - akin to the mist. Distorted screeches, shimmers and feedbacks are laying one on top of another. Sounds go like a straight lines speared from far away that come curdled into a ball spirals and bounce away going away like boomerangs and then reemerging as squalls a squalid tar. It sounds smooth. First it soothes, then it smothers with numerous effects - chorus, reverb, flanger and delay.

From a lyrical standpoint - it is not that much. Just some general character building rambling. It is effectively entwined with the music but not very fleshed out. Images of "Blood Bitch" are just grim and dark. Elizabeth Frazer narrates a horror story. She enters the song like a smoke cloud from a burning petroleum. She blends in a bit but still is very distinct. While she actually sings words although she is obliviously standing on the edge of slipping into singing in tongues. It is mesmerizing balancing act. She sounds haunting. There is ominous throbbing in her voice. It buzzsaws its way through the song. It is interesting to listen how she accentuates words - elongates vowels, wrists consonants, spits out certain syllables.

понеділок, 27 листопада 2017 р.

MFT: Minion Language Translator and Kennyspeak

I have a soft spot for gimmick translator. Some time ago i wrote about Star Wars-themed translators - R2D2 translator and Chewbakka sounds. Now it is time to talk about other gimmick translators.

***
Like it or not - Minions are major brand with massive following. It is easy to see why. They are cute even if they look like a fanfic frankenstein mash-up of Lego figure with Spongebob. They have these funny mannerisms and banana episode is sublime. There is nothing new i can say about Minions. This brand is a curious case of completely vacuous and somehow lucrative brand built exclusive on its memetic qualities. And so it is natural that sooner or later such brand will have some bizarre spin-offs.


Minion language translator is a cynical cash-in. It gives you an opportunity to translate some text into fancy Minionese - because it is kinda fun. "Ba tis la til yee agei", apparently (don't forget to do the "delete chop" afterwards). It sounds like a "post-apocalyptic language of some woefully devolved creatures who traveled back in time in order to hang around". It is mainly composed of short and snappy sounds with occasional guttural fills. It makes Minionese language suspiciously similar to Klingon language albeit being completely rubbish. It is perfect for sound poetry in a lettrist vein. All these "tadda buzz buzz batooay doodle mi tee toot yee pudum our hum tit" are fun to do. But nothing else.

The translator is not very though-through though. Beyond initial concept it is extremely limited. It uses dictionary which is narrowed to some very common words and phrases. Sometimes it becomes needless overbearing chore - you have to play a lot with the words in order to get them translated. And even then it is very repetitive and unimaginative. It gets old fast. There are no variations depending on the context. You can't rampage on Buffalo sentence. But If you succeed - you may manage to labor some fancy odd lettrist moo doo-dah ding acephale plum-plum toot-toot. 

Just like that:
one ip ptt ptt sak fat
ka batooay non cono whaaat? 
pik tis pelo ka piklo da ko pik tem amee
bend fino ip ka am miko thru! 
pewgun tu ooo  ka mo ooo

coo leelas. leelas sodre.

yee prompo linda aka. 
loo yee mac tu pad. 
batooay non blink. 
nop tu efsob. 
ka am pata da vowuke 
pak ria pat koop tu coz


***

I don't really care about South Park. Not my cup of tea. But I really dig this particular thing. Kenny McCormick is a cultural icon. His muffled incomprehensible speech (dubbed KennySpeak) is a thing of beauty. It is stupid simple and extremely inspiring. Muffled speech is not really explored in poetry. It is easy to understand why - it is a one trick pony, not much to do. But there are so many possibilities - whether it is remixing of existing texts or creating something new. It can really transcend the text and make it significantly different. Which is always a good thing.

Mffpmp! Kenny Translator is much more sophisticated than Minion language translator. It goes way beyond translating certain words. It uses its own vaguely distinct alphabet which based around transposed english abecederium. That makes it a serviceable cipher tool with a slight tongue-in-cheek feel. With its help you can translate anything into KennySpeak - this gagged, muffled, indiscernible semi-coherent noises for those with hardships of hearing. Because why not? Try to spell it - it is a real challenge. Basically it is anti-scat. It is sound poetry equivalent of lowercase. It obfuscates the text and turns it into warbling tone float.

KennySpeak works best with list songs. It turns them into shamanic dada roundabouts. Chemical terms and german superwords are also fun. You can also try to do dialogues. If done right - it might be hilarious.

Here is how buffalo sentence looks like in KennySpeak - Mmpfmfmpfmpfmmmpmfppf mmpfmfmpfmpfmmmpmfppf Mmpfmfmpfmpfmmmpmfppf mmpfmfmpfmpfmmmpmfppf mmpfmfmpfmpfmmmpmfppf mmpfmfmpfmpfmmmpmfppf Mmpfmfmpfmpfmmmpmfppf mmpfmfmpfmpfmmmpmfppf - fun fun fun.

Also until recently Kenny always died - that was his signature schtick. His causes of death must be used in some Twitterbot.

неділя, 26 листопада 2017 р.

MFT: Esquire "Daily Affirmation from a Beautiful Woman"



Watch this video. Watch it closely. Think for a moment what it is. It depicts some attractive lady saying to the camera "You're a sexy man". No set-up, no explanation, not even wink-wink. Just a single phrase delivered in a blandest way possible. It is must be motivating. But it is not. Why? Dunno. Apparently, it must be, because if else, why bother? But it is not? Then what it is?

Let's take a step back.

I've been surfing through Esquire Magazine's YouTube Channel and here's what my impression - it is like Buzzfeed by Filthy Frank. It manages to mix all sorts of things in one big polished piece of truly glorious YouTube Poop. This is not a joke. Their channel is extremely bizarre in its tenacious blandness. There all sorts of things - stupid how-to's, really creepy series "Women We Love" which is all about objectification of female body (good job, y`all), some out of context bullshit, guest vlogs, Brian Cox pronouncing names of various types of scotch, Patrick Stewart saying italian words. And then there is this.

Medium shot of attractive women who announces a quick staring contest and then, a moment later, congratulates the viewers and applauds to his "staring skills". What is it? Why it exists?

 
These videos are part of "Daily Affirmation from a Beautiful Woman". It is a series of motivational videos produced by Esquire Magazine in 2012. It is very simple - in each episode eponymous Beautiful Woman says something really "nice" to encourage the viewer who must be a stereotypical male "man's man (meh)" because otherwise it is utter nonsense. She says something that can be considered as an "affirmation" by masterminds of chick flicks. It is very cliched. In fact - it is riddled with every conceivable cliche about attractive women and motivational speeches. It is grey.

It is so cliched you start to think there must be a dig somewhere. Because it can't be straight. But it is and that is the weirdest part of the series. Someone really thought it will work out. Because people usually dig such stuff. But it kinda failed. And then it managed to overcome itself and transform into a piece of conceptual art in my mind. Because what else it can be?



I have no idea how this stupid series managed to attract so much of my attention. Maybe because i have too much free time. Or because i have nothing else to do. Look at it. "You're a man" - what is this? Should reenact the end scene of "Boogie Nights" after hearing that?



As motivational series "Daily Affirmation from a Beautiful Woman" is extremely inappropriate. It manages to miss the mark so much the shell flies all the way into the outer space where it pointlessly hangs out waiting for someone to hum "When you wish upon a star". As Dwayne Johnson once said "if i miss - the wind behind my punch will give you pneumonia and you will die anyway". That's how this series plays out. It is not motivating. It is astoundingly perplexing.

And really-really puzzling. Although this video had grown on me.



"Daily Affirmation from a Beautiful Woman" starts Jessica Gomes who is definitely a beautiful woman from a standpoint of glamour magazines. She looks nice in a frame although she's so polished you have to wrestle with your suspension of disbelief. She's pure eye-candy, because "why not?". And she acts like a machine approximation of female behavior - extremely unnatural - it feels really uncanny. And she talks in that surreal temptation-inducing, apparently seductive "la di da di, rat tat tat" manner.

And while watching this thing - all you can think of is "eh, huh? Why?" Sheer velocity of its effervescent repugnancy is debilitating.



I think "Daily Affirmation from a Beautiful Woman" is an example of unintentional trolling.
It is seemingly po-faced atrocity. It was meant to be inspiring but it plays out so straight you mind goes amuk. It feels wrong. So wrong you get a teaser of "Prometheus" played in your head for a moment. It is mind-numbingly empty. And that is where it succeeds. It is more than just some random motivational video. It is full-on all guns blazing deconstruction of the genre. It takes all seemingly effective elements and mixes them into disengaged morose look at the null and void that it really is.




субота, 25 листопада 2017 р.

BSPH: Anne Tardos – Gatherings (1982)



"Refrigerator Defrosting" is a found sound composition by french-american artist Anne Tardos. It was recorded in 1975 and released in 1982 on a cassette release titled "Gatherings" along with her other sound experiments. The track is situated on side 1 and lasts for approximately fourteen and a half minutes. "Gatherings" cassette was part of Charlie Morrow's "New Wilderness Audiographics" series - it was recently digitized and re-released - check it out.

"Refrigerator Defrosting" is a minimalist musique concrete piece in a vein of Fluxus conceptualism. Sonically - it is just an elaborate recording of refrigerator defrosting and water dripping and hitting the panels creating resonance coupled with subsequents mutations of sounds. Microphone was placed inside the refrigerator. Its position creates weird ambience - it feels really uncanny although it shouldn't - probably it is just some tape distortions.

Composition sounds barebones but it is extremely hypnotic. Its seeming monotony turns out to be very dynamic. It feels all the same but it is always different. It marvelous how simple it is. While listening to it i was trying to catch probably non-existent barely audible tweaks and tricks - overlay of tracks, slight phasing, panning, flanging or just collaging. But no - it is all happening as it is. It is funny how your mind just don't want to get over it and desperately tries to find some shenenigans.

One of the more bizarre elements of "Refrigerator Defrosting" is its kinky (really) groove. It is basically a prototype for much-much later minimal techno and trance music. The rhythm is steady and supplemented with a variety of elements - along with the basic line there are lots and lots of deviations, variations and fills. It makes the track really dynamic. Due to similar pitch of different water drops it blends together and the resulting sounds are really disorienting. It helps to maintain cautious attention.

Conceptually "Refrigerator Defrosting" represents two things. First it is reappropriation of found sound. Second it is defamiliarization of mundane periodic routine. It is eye-opening in its tricky nature. "Refrigerator Defrosting" is turned into musical composition by sheer force of will of the author. Because why not. By the way - here is how the score looked like:
 

But whimsical "why not?" doesn't make it a joke. It is not some static ambience - quite the opposite - there is a lot going on and for some carnal reason - it sounds very structured. The tinkling resonance is very textured. Drones and pulses start to grow on it over time. It is fascinating showcase of organic generative music.

It reminds me of very streamlined riff on "Ionisation" by Edgar Varese - very percussive and generative but also exteremely alienated. It is just a water dripping but over time notion of reality goes away and a ripples of frequencies start to sound like bleeps and whoops of some sort of trautorium. You adjust yourself to it - adapt your senses to its shape. And it is wonderful experience.  

I once neglected my fridge for too long and then wanted to extract piece of meat out of it. 

While surfing for information
It is fascinating how simple

пʼятниця, 24 листопада 2017 р.

BSPH: George Lucas Found Poem

Sometimes all you need to do in order to write a poem is to surf through the wiki wormhole. That's how i've made this poem. However, i can't say it happened accidentally. It wasa a result of methodical pointless wandering. I was frustrated by the lack of personal space on my then-workplace. I felt insecure and watched upon. It was extremely uncomfortable. I was unable to concentrate properly and that irritated me to the point i had moments of helpless stupor. I felt blank and it was horrifying. In such moments i was websurfing. It really helped to keep myself together. 

One day feeling extemely bad - i just opened Wikipedia and clicked on Random Page link. 

Let me reconstruct my journey. It started with a quick look at the titles of Piet Mondrian paintings. Then i've found reference to Piet Esolang and moved to the page Esoteric Programming Languages. R2D2 speak was mentioned there and so i moved to George Lucas page. After a quick scan for something-something i've clicked on "George Lucas Filmography" link and started looking through the debris of charts. Directing and producing credits weren't particularly exciting (although i think his early experimental work deserves more attention) -  but then there were acting credits. I never really thought of George Lucas as an actor. And so i've looked through and there it was - the magic line:

1991 - Hook - No - No - No - Yes - Man kissing woman on a bridge

At first i wanted to do a snapshot but it was a little off to me. It was interesting but nothing more. I wrote it down into my notebook and left a sidenote "George Lucas". This note was buried for a couple of weeks. And then i had several free hours with nothing else to do. And so I was gazing through the notes and stumbled upon "George Lucas" once again. I instantly thought of  Gerogerigegege (because Gerogerigegege is always on my mind) and it struck me - i already made it into a poem:

'

It was one really simple change. But it created a narrative. It transformed the whole thing from curious trivia tidbit into an abstract narrative with sly namedropping in the end. It was based upon fact but it spinned it to the point it performed tornado mayonaise pop-ah-ca-choo in a parallel dimension. Its extreme opaqueness makes it look like an elaborate erasure but it is not - it is simply reappropriated and decomposed chart. 

четвер, 23 листопада 2017 р.

MFT: Aargh! Bullshitspeak and Bullshit Generators - Headbangers Journey



Bullshit generators are things of beauty. All those empty pointless lines that make no sense on their own coupled together somehow manage to drive into the negative zero-sense zone even further. To the point it is just some noise filler placeholder - way beyond reason. Something that may be called "semantic Eldritch abomination". But, to be honest,  that's too much honor for such trifle.

середа, 22 листопада 2017 р.

BSPH: Story of Mine Booty CBVPD



Narcissistic self-appreciation \ deprecation time! This is "Mine Booty CBVPD". It is a silly title. I think it is terrible. But i thought it was just right for the thing at the time. And so it sticked and i was too lazy to come up with anything worthwhile later.

"Mine Booty CBVPD" is a minimalist psychedelic ambient drone "sha-la-la, blah blah boom boom" stomper with long lasting mind-melting bore-inducing effect. It goes on and on and on and on and on and on and then on and on and on and on and so on and so forth - it is really long for no particular reason (except for "serious art is long", of course). It was composed by yours truly in a eight week long fit of inspiration in late January, throughout February and early March of 2015. It was a fun time. Let's call it Bil Sabab Overdrive.

"Mine Booty CBVPD" was born out of spite for Amboy Dukes "The Journey to the center of the mind". I always found this song to be annoying. Many years ago i was having sound editing blast with. I've stretched it out to couple of hours of insignificant lowercase ambience. But it wasn't fulfilling. I wanted to make my own ultimate trip music composition - for real. And then it happened.

"Mine Booty CBVPD" is based around a sample from a song by Captain Beefheart titled "Day Poppy". It was inspired by early minimalist work of Steve Reich - "It's gonna rain" and "Come out" in particular. Its phasing hypnotic repetition and subsequent pareidolia caused by sonic distortion and permutation was major aesthetic influence. Another important source of inspiration was then nascent vaporwave and seapunk. While it is not that apparent in the resulting composition - i was really into it at that time and i desperately wanted to repurpose some old fancy musik in an unexpected overly creative way. However things went in a completely different direction and so all that is left of original vaporwave influence is that overwhelmingly incognious and relentlessly stupid title.

Technically it is very simple composition. In its foundation lies two second sample from an introduction of a song "Veteran's Day Poppy" by Captain Beefheart. The main reason behind the choice was simply because i felt that this little bit was completed wasted in a song. I wanted to reappropriate it and make something worthwhile with it. Before that i've tried to do something with a rhythm track from Velvet Underground "The Gift" but it was too rough and low riding. Instead of creating thumping sonic landscape - it was just a bob-sham gurgling swamp of featureless noise. On the other hand "Veteran's Day Poppy" had clean and crisp sound that was perfect for further experimentation. (Thank you, Frank!)

"Veteran's Day Poppy" sample was stretched out to 30 second bit and then doubled with one more track with sample pitched down. It creates Black Sabbath-y unison pulsing groove completely absent from original bit. It always reminded me of some zigzagging buzzsaw shuffle. Then the whole thing was played on two and then three separate media players. Resulting overlapping and permutations were recorded and analysed. After some tries and errors i've managed to create a chart of permutations and based upon that i've started to combine things.

At first i used randomizers to define the sequence. But it was proven to be not very effective as it made the thing sound like switching channels and definitely not like "journey to the center of the mind". After few unsuccessful tries i switched to manual combining. It was time-consuming but very satisfying. Brick by brick i've made a perfect sequence that truly reflected what i thought was "Journey to the center of the mind". Sadly it is not that apparent in the final composition. It appears to be happening at random. On one hand - it always irritated me. But on the other hand - it is fascinating how natural it sounds. By any means it shouldn't be like that. And yet it is.

I'm really proud of "Mine Booty CBVPD". I think it is one of my best music composition. Sadly it is also one of the last time i really managed to create a serious music composition. But you never know what will happen next.

вівторок, 21 листопада 2017 р.

MFT: Liz Worth - Twin Peaks Poetry


I don't need to waste a paragraph to explain importance of David Lynch's TV series "Twin Peaks". It was a perfect blend of television melodrama plot conventions, classic murder mystery, detective procedural, surreal comedy and Hieronimus Bosch character menagerie. Somehow it managed to strike a particular note that made it stick in popular culture way beyond reason. People loved the world it presented. They wanted more.

Years after the series was seemingly concluded - fans still speculated over and over about it. There were theories that tied all loose ends, there were loads of fan fiction to end it all, there were attempts at ripping it off (uh-hmm, Deadly Premonition, Alan Wake) - as a fan i saw it all. And then there was this.

***

"Twin Peaks Poetrywas a conceptual writing project by Canadian writer extraordinaire \ tarot reader Liz Worth. Its main purpose was to uncover poetry "hidden" inside Twin Peaks scripts. The story of its inception is curious. Up until 2014 Liz Worth managed to avoid watching Twin Peaks series (y`know) and when she finally watched it she found herself extremely inspired by it. As she said: "It was dark and weird, and had a lot of occult references and surreal moments, which is what made me love it so much. Especially because some of its weirder elements aren’t justified at all – the viewer just has to accept that it happened, even if it doesn’t make any sense." And so she surrendered to inspiration and started the project in November 2014.  



At first "Twin Peaks Poetry" was based on wordpress platform but later in November the project was moved to Blogspot platform where it stayed. It lasted from November 2014 to December 2015. But it was never officially "closed". It was either neglected in the shuffle or simply abandoned after the concept "got old". Sometimes it happens that way.



What is funny about it is that nobody really cared about it. Seriously - no one ever wrote a word about it. Even when Twin Peaks the series came back - no one ever mentioned it. As if it never happened. That was weird. Before "Twin Peaks Poetry" Liz Worth also rewrote Andy Warhol's "A, a novel" into a poetry collection. It is very similar in technique but very uses different approach - it was taking out the juiciest parts but remained close to the source material. I guess the Warhol book is one of the reasons why Twin Peaks Poetry never went forward. The method was exhausted. Warhol book was released in 2015 and you should check it out. It is really interesting.

I stumbled upon "Twin Peaks Poetry" in December 2014 and religiously followed it up until it stopped in late 2015. It endlessly fascinated me. At that time I was well past my "David Lynch frenzy" (very well-documented) - but i was still very into the project as a literary piece. It was my kind of thing. I was deeply fascinated by the ways it subverted and defamiliarized the material. I didn't cared about Twin Peaks (yes, it's true) - i appreciated the craft. This fascination culminated in a form of an interview i did with Liz back in the day for Zouch Magazine. There are lots of interesting things said in it - from a technical standpoint foremost. I'm proud of it.

***

"Twin Peaks Poetry" modus operandi is fairly simple. Liz Worth constrained herself within "the boundaries" of "written word" of Twin Peaks. She took available Twin Peaks scripts and slightly rearranged them into pieces of poetry. After all - scripts of Twin Peaks are actually well-written (read rock tossing deduction scene, it's a gas), ready for perspicacity and flexible enough for various permutations. But it wasn't about Twin Peaks - it just used it as a source material. Liz used it as a jumping point to the unknown. She wanted to make it "weirder". 

Here is a breakdown of the working process: every scene is taken apart to essential elements, then tickled to unconsciousness (symbolically) and torn apart. Then goods are collected and unnecessary bits are thrown away. Only the juicy parts are left to sizzle into a pieces of entirely different mosaic. 

Found poetry is "separated" from the "noise" of the original text. Scripts were reworked bit by bit in linear manner - there is no jumping around in order to find the right spot, no substitutions or additional words - poems merely contort itself into the plausible form. Every poem uses words and phrases taken from the scripts - dialogues, action descriptions, moods, settings, etc. Unnecessary fluff erased here and there. 

Primary "weapon of offense" is line break insertion. It reconstructs the narrative and build new imagery out of existing pieces. Technical nature of descriptions and context-specific dialogue make a good fodder for surreal imagery. They add "anything goes" dynamics accentuated by contorted hard-edged shapes of the text. Contrasts are sharp and stark - it hits you every time. Style is constantly jumping around - it is disorienting. The resulting poems don't really look like they were made out of Twin Peaks scripts but they definitely keep its signature "strange brew". They go way beyond simple remixing. They manage to avoid bare-bones minimalism of found poetry and move in into accidental narrative territory.

Because of constraints there is this weird stilted rhythm in them. Language of the poems and the images it produces are at conflict with one another. They are dissonant. Poems feel unnatural and it constantly draws attention to its hard-edged forms. They hang together as if they were parts of something else that faded or obliterated over time. Not every bit of it is comprehensible but it is still cohesive. Sometimes frenetic, unintelligible at times, probably confessional, always raw and distorted. They manage to tell stories of their own - distressed and disjointed. 

Original intention was to make as many poems out of scripts as possible. However, soon there was an unexpected turn. It turned out that the scripts were extremely rich for found poetry - there was too much to play with. Texts were very dense with "useful" or "tasty" words and expressions. It took a while to finish even the pilot episode (probably that was another reason for abandoning the project). Those bits were coming together on their own. It happens sometimes. 

***
"Twin Peaks Poetryis a nice showcase of really creative use of constraints. It was one of the more inspiring things happened in Twin Peaks \ David Lynch fandom over the years before the revival of the series was announced. For once - it wasn't halfwit raving and drooling. It was a real deal. It was a successful attempt to recontextualize familiar material and show its hidden qualities. By taking out existing words - Liz Worth managed to create something of her own. And it was beautiful. 


Bil Sabab Power Hour: Harry Nilsson - Coconut

I've decided to write about this song because i kept hearing snippets of it from various street musicians throughout the day: i was goin...