Friday, October 20, 2006

Bill Laswell - Seven Souls

MATERIAL - The Road to the Western Lands

Remixes from Material's Seven Souls.

1) Bill Laswell - The Seven Souls (WSB,BL) 5:47; Alicia Renee aka Blue Eyes: vocals; Nicky Skopelitis: guitar; Bill Laswell: bass, keyboards, turntable; Robert Musso: engineering, processing. Produced and arranged by Bill Laswell. William S. Burroughs - words and narration. 1998.

The Seven Souls is a remix from Material's Seven Souls. It is a compilation arranged by Bill Laswell that combines several different aspects of audio sampling, live vocals, bass, keyboards and remixing, along with the narration and words of William S. Burroughs.

This mix has a very unique sound and feeling to it. It takes you on a journey through a narrative told by William S. Burroughs. You can get lost in the beat and flow of his voice. He has a simple and easy way of speaking and reading his narrative. His subjects and metaphor about them are straight forward compared to other Burroughs narratives, but because of the subject it is still pretty abstract.

The words are very powerful, abstractly composed which creates a mood of serious yet far out ideas of death and existence. He can be in the reality at the same moment as being at the complete opposite of reality. His words make you question where you are and where you are going. The subject is death and the Egyptian prophecy of Seven Souls. Even-though he is discussing an ancient belief he is still addressing subjects applicable to today like computers and death camps.

Some of the words really strike home with me because they relate to me personally in so many different ways. For example William S. Burroughs says "what is behind the computers? remote control, of course." this really applies to me. I started to question my self, am I remote controlled? Am I a dead empty human, manipulated by computers? I hope not, I hope I am far more conscious than this, but it makes you think about where you are and what you are doing.

Another profound message was, "This is a penal colony, that is now a death camp." Burroughs is referring to the human race as a penal colony like ants or other colonial animals and insects. This is very powerful statement for him to make about the human race. It makes you feel very insignificant an small in the vast universe.

I like how at the end of the track he talks about writing it's self. He states, "The end of what can be done with words". This is so true and I think that it is why remixing is so important and such a new genre of artistic expression. It is the new cutting edge to remix culture and its ideas and history to create a new meaning or to exaggerate the current meaning. I think it was no chance that Bill Laswell chose to remix this narrative. it is important to inspect why these pieces of music were chosen to accompany this unique piece of narrative. This is an important statement by Bill Laswell about remixing cultures and about technology and society and the human race as a spiritual being.

The beats of the drum kits are amazing and they are lined up really nice. His transitions throughout the song amaze me how they compliment each other. He is good at tweaking them out and adding reverb or delay on them. His scratching to the beat is great too. He adds to the track by reacting to the beat with his own scratching beat.

The harmony flowing gracefully from Alicia Renee's lips, sooth the soul and caress the air as it flows over the beats and rhythms. The chanting sounds of this harmony can easily transport you into another state of wanting to move back and fourth and gracefully move your arms through the space and spirit surrounding your beautiful spirit. Like you are floating in water and your hair is buoyant as you swim under the water or through space.

I love the experimental sounds of the piece, very spicy, and loud, slow, popping, ringing, dinging sounds. These sounds allow you to travel into space where he wants you to be to enjoy this unique composition. He uses the pan technique with these sounds allowing you to hear some of the sounds only through one side of the speaker system. This allows you to become aware of where you are in the experience three dimensionally in reality.

The overall tone of the piece is amazing, it's a narrative, a remix, a harmonic melody with experimental breaks and sounds. The compilation gives me chills during some of the transitions and the dialogue about technology and humanity. I feel good about the piece, it is uplifting yet questioning, it is experiential and progressive in nature. It is simple in ideas yet complex in delivery of them in a unique style of remixed culture.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Flash Forward Perspective (Austin, Tx 06')

by Jane Crayton

So I got the amazing opportunity to attend the Flash Forward conference in Austin, Texas this last week. I can't really tell you how, just yet, but if you hang around and check out my art, you'll find the real story. I have been working in Flash for about 5 years, and been designing for various industries for about 10 years. I love attending technical conferences so I was very excited for this event. It was awesome, I never imagined so much could be going on in Flash and with this simple software technology. Everything from simple design to application building, to animation, mobile technology and even experimental art. At this point I’m basically about to explode and my brain is bloated with really useful and inspiring info. I am in heaven, staying in the Hilton, meeting people, connecting with inspirational influences and hardcore geeks. Women were about 20% but it was great to see the numbers up and that we are infiltrating the technical professional world.

Tuesday, September 12th 2006 I attended four great sessions. First, Animation for Flash Lite by Todd Sanders, this was great getting some pointers on how to animate little Flash Lite 2.0 movies. Flash Lite 2.0 is one of my interests for art, I am interested in programming for the mobile and bluetooth technology for phones, pda’s and other systems the public uses. My interest in this is purely for the process of my art and how I plan to deliver some of my future art pieces to the general mobile user in public spaces.

I then got the opportunity to see Brendan Dawes, Analog in, Digital Out. This was a great experience for me, I have been interested in Brendan Dawes work since I saw his jazz inspired Thelonious Monk piece with random letters generated by the sounds of Monks music. The tones were generating the letters in a sound reactive art piece honoring the music and the artist in one digital delivery that is beautiful and interesting. It was awesome to see him present his work and speak of his digital interest. I liked to hear about his artistic theory of analog media and how important it is to us even in the digital world. He discussed ideas about how art can transform from analog to digital and vice versa and the importance there of, maybe that explains all the Flash schwag....anyway, great session one of my favorites.

The next session I attended was the Producing Video for Flash session by Scott Fegette, he delivered a clean and straight forward talk about how to produce good video for flash, how to edit and prepare it before importing it into Flash, and the best techniques for importing video to your projects. This was right up my alley, because I use this all the time, I create flash videos for the web and for my art, so I found this session very useful for me on many levels.

I then attended Avoid that Sucking Sound by Dave Schroder. This was another great session, he is pretty clever and had great examples of how to avoid sucking sound and how to get great sound. He demonstrated simple techniques on how to import sound and work with it, with a little theory on sound for design too. I though his presentation was well delivered and his examples were clean and smooth. I really need to work on sound implimition in all of my works more and its been my goal to work with sound more the last year and a half, this inspired me to be more creative with my sources and detailed in my work with sound.

Wednesday September 13th 2006
I attended Hillman on Video. Curtis Hillman has been one of my Flash idols since I began designing for the web. He always had cool new sites he just designed featured on Macromedia’s website and other design sites. I followed his work on various occasions and was pretty interested to hear what he had to say about Video and Flash. It was a brutal 9am session after the Flash Anniversary party where we were all pretty tired, some hung, yeah Geeks party too. Anyway it was hard, but his presentation finally started rolling. He was funny and finally woke up about 30min into his presentation. Somehow he made sense though and I loved his new work he is doing. I am interested in some of the same stories and topics, and methods of delivery. I share a common interest in digital narrative through video using a minimalist style of capture and processing with a detailed concentrated deployment. I was inspired once again, thank you.

I then moved on to catch Flash for Designers (learn to love AS) by Trevor Dodd, I was pretty tired at this point after waking up early for Hillman Curtis so my attention was wondering, and the topic was very simple, I sat through his session for the first 30 minutes, but ended up leaving just because it was a technical session, and I already have those basic skills, I was just affirming knowledge while falling asleep. It wasn’t his fault, it was my lack of sleep and interest, I headed up to catch a quick siesta before the next session.

After a good nap I hit up Migrating to Action-Script 3 from AS2 by Caleb Haye. Apparently this was his first time presenting a session, but I couldn’t tell, he delivered a great session detailing some key differences and upgrades in the new version of AS. He told us how the new software works and what we need to do to optimize our code to be upgraded into the new AS3 format. His speech was well delivered, and he taught me a lot about how to make the transition. His notes in the book are very detailed and give me a lot to reference, thanks for your hard work and great delivery.

My next session was Sound Visualization using Flash with Jared Ficklin from Frog. Frog is a large design company that is very well known for doing some of the best branding and marketing deployment with outrageously awesome and innovative designs ever. So this was cool, a design guy from a top firm giving a talk on how to build your own sound reactive application in Flash...right up my alley. I have been working with sound reaction in my own artwork for about 3 years now. I am interested in building my own applications and was super excited to see what he had done in Flash for this very purpose. I was really impressed, Jared is awesome and pretty clever and funny too. He created several different talking characters to help narrate his session and his slides and movies were very organize, and detailed and his art was cool. He is using flash for some cool things and I was very impressed with how he was using simple flash for complex sound visualization animations and interactive reactive sound stimulations. I learned a lot from him, was inspired by his work and it was super cool to interact with him after the session on several different occasions. Thanks for the local info too, he’s an Austin resident and he hooked us up with some fun stuff to do in the city and great places to chill. Thanks Jared looking forward to checking out your work more in the near future.

The last session I attended was Mashup Baby! by Mario Klingeman, which was an interesting idea that I have studied before. Its about hacking into sites and using existing files for generated digital art. I have a long time interest in this work and admire it greatly. But I wasn’t feeling the presenter. I wanted to see more art, and less detail. I wanted the code to be available, but didn’t need to see it line for line, I wanted to see the art the concept and the theory behind it. I ended up leaving the last 20 minutes to prepare for the next big event.

The Flash-forward Film Festival. So the Festival was amazing, the submissions were awesome, the full art projects of each category were online, and the festival was just a collection of small trailers which detailed the finalists and then they announced the winners. It was a great showing of the different submissions and it encouraged me to of course want to work harder to get one of those orange arrows for my self one day. Thanks for the inspiration from all the artists whom submitted art for this important piece of the conference. Thanks for making the Art a major part of this event. The after parties were nice to meet and connect with people, but the event should have included some artists from our collective group, I expected to see some experimental audio/visual art for the parties and after-parties, I was disappointed in the choice of music and lack of experimental art for the parties. That will change next year, I will make sure of that, expect to hear from me soon, hehe!

Thursday, September 14th 2006
I’ll admit I slept in on Thursday morning but I wanted to see Paul Mattheaus talk on “Designer as Auteur: The recontextualized filmmaker, I bet it was awesome.

I did catch the next session Interactive Imagination: Sight, Sound and Motion Craig Swann. This session was awesome, Craig showed us how he is using Flash to create interactive audio/visual installations and games to use in public spaces that challenge the basic user to interact with the art. He was using live cameras, ethernet and custom built electronics to create his interactive a/v installations. This was the perfect session for me, I have been using midi and max/msp to try to build the same thing, but was inspired that he has been able to do it using Flash. This is definitely a person whom I need to trade technology with.

The next session was Isomation Isolated Behavioral Animation with David Castillo and Jennifer Benavides. This session addressed the use of Flash application development for use and application into the dance world. They are building an application that uses interactivity to help teach people how to dance salsa. The presentation was a little crazy and included a basic class of salsa for geeks with much fun for all these code bending kids.

Particles for the Non-Physicist by Seb Lee-Delisle was another great presentation on how to build and tweak particle animations in flash. He took us though the code, and several examples, but the best part was that he invited the computer users in the session to participate by creating and uploading some particle streams. Several attendee’s participated in this interactive session of particle building which was very entertaining and educational.

The last session I went to was Finches to Flash: Darwin in Design by Jeremy Thorn. This session was great, Jeremy is totally funny, real and down to earth. Jeremy combined his scientific and artistic processes to create a flash program that generates images and designs using a darwinistic approach to creating art. He showed us how this new philosophy of design could work and how he has implemented the world of evolution into his creative development. I loved this session and can’t wait to see what he continues to develop and maybe pick his brain more in the future.

Overall the Flash Forward Conference was great and now I’ve been re-inspired to work in Flash for my art more than ever before....Its so funny how you come home from these kinds of events and then just want to play on the computer for like a few weeks straight...Thanks for all the inspiration and motivation!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Eating Blackberries from the vine to Richard Devine

Eating Blackberries from the vine to Richard Devine...
Sun, August 13, 2006 - 2:16 PM by Jane Crayton

The day was beautiful, blue skies, warm weather and it encouraged us to take the top off the Jeep. We also knew that it could be cold, and so we made sure to bring warm clothes, we were heading to the beach, in hopes to meet up with a party that was suppose to go off at Pigeon Point. We drove through the mountains, or a rolling forest that was beautiful, we stopped along the way and ate black berries off a huge path that was growing along side the road. It took me right back to my childhood, I saw the huge patch, and I told the driver to stop. I got a bag and started to pick and eat berries right there off the side of the road. It was beautiful, it was simple, and it was just like I was 11 picking blackberries in the back. This was the highlight of my day, I thought, but we weren’t even to the beach yet. After about an hour of winding roads we found our way to Hwy 1 and we found our beach. First checking out the Pigeon Point light house, the historical photographs and navigating the tourist double fisting cameras and cell phones. We moved on to check the beach party and we spotted a U-Haul trailer, and I knew it was the sound; we sat and chilled for a moment, to see whom may be around. We finally saw a couple guy walk up to the trailer and they started to move down some speakers. When we made it down to the beach they had it all set up, it was pimp with a covered dj area, they were about to start setting up. I was drawing on the beach, it was cloudy and I decided to call the sun, and I drew the symbols calling her out to me. I started to stroll the beach, when I see this cop, a California Ranger to be exact. And he’s checking out the area, he’s looking to see whats up with this party. He finally approaches them and talks to them, the results are not good. They had just got down the last speaker, they had so much stuff, down there and they had to move it and get it out of there. It was a bummer but my first beach party canceled by a State Ranger…such is life, we decided to go romping and try to find some jeeping roads. We went into and through the most beautiful forest, traveling on some very small roads, into the middle of these great county and state parks, but all the off-road roads were closed. We at least got to take the scenic way back to town, and a good thing we did, because we ended up making a fabulous dinner and then heading to a party in the city San Francisco. We went to a gallery that was having Richard Devine play. I have never seen him life, but love his music, it’s so crunchy and fuck its great to dance to. I got off hard core dancing almost African style to this experimental electronic music. I was dripping of sweat; my dress broke from my wild arm movements and had to be retied. It was great and even better the VJ had video taped me and had been remixing me with his visuals live. So fun, you bet I’m gonna get those visuals; I got to see this video of my freakE dance to Richards Electronic freaking Noise. We drove back from the gallery in the Jeep and it was so nice to feel the wind cool my body with a swift massage of cool air. Ahhhh the day was incredible, and I got to rock my shizz in San Fran 2 Devine….Ohhh Yeah! Thanks Richard…!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Survival Research Labs @ Zero One

So we got tickets to go see the Survival Research Labs show at the Zero One Art Festival in San Jose. We got there just in time to stand in the front area, we dug through our bags for earplugs but it was no use, we had none. Then this lady came through passing them out to everyone. I was very happy to see this, so important, and my $25 dollars for the ticket part of it was used to provide me safety so I could see the show without fear of hurting my self in the name of art. It was awesome, about a dozen robotic creatures came alive and then took vengeance and destroyed a couple of animating structures. The show included flame throwers, a flame cyclone, and flame busting robots. A Tesla Coil dawned the stage (not sure, but I think it was Dr. Mega Volts), that was no more than the parking lot behind the main festival event space. They had fireworks that were going off, sparks that were flying, the thematic were great, and the lighting was pretty good and a great plus. There were so many different kinds of robots, and crazy things, like these two guys were riding around in a small vehicle that had these huge sound wave blasters on them. When they pointed the sound at you, you could feel the sound waves bounce through your body, it was very cool. He seemed to like to drive near the Tesla coil so it could make a connection with his car, it was very entertaining. This group was pushing the envelope with creating devices that tested its audience’s boundaries, with sound and interactive audio/visual stimulation. I want to see them do a led or something lighted display that will help narrate the performance, it needed a little moderation and I would have loved to been guided through it, because I felt lost, trying to look at everything at once, it was almost overwhelming. But I loved it....check the links below for more details...

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Ryoji Ikeda @ California Theatre blows my mind....

Tue, August 8, 2006 - 10:30 AM by, Jane Crayton

Walking in the cool breeze, in the fresh air, I felt alive again; my body and mind refreshed and ready to receive input. Yet I never imagined that I would have been such an important performance, even though I did not fit exactly right, tickets manifesting, everything was flowing and my vibe glowing. It was a much different feeling and crowd than Sonar; Zero One in San Jose was the ultimate Silicon Valley experience. But I didn’t let it deter me from this great perspective Ryoji Ikeda threw in my face. We were sitting center, about 6 rows back, it was perfectly balanced for the audio to reflect and reverberate from my ears to my bones. It was loud, and startling, and it was noise. A lady from the back protested, “It’s too loud” she screamed at the space of silence solicited but not granted. A book slammed down, it was almost unbearable, she screams, “It’s not suppos to hurt,” at the next pause, and the noise is scratching, ripping and tearing apart your ears, a group of people in the front shhhhhhhhh’d her. It’s silent again and just when you think she’s done, she yells, “I’m leaving,” and I hear the theatre door slam behind her. It was powerful, it was noise, it was not suppos to be nice, or soft, it was suppos to hurt and scare and wake you up and leave you shaking. At this point I am in awe, the graphics, the motion, the data was all moving and changing and creating this message of sense and nonsense, of life and death, of reflection and direction. C4I captures the world, translates it digitally and visually for you with a poetic twist and profound message. The first half of the show was brilliant and I was so inspired and happy, you could not have whipped the grin off my face. Technology was being used to translate a message about our culture, about our realities and our alter-dimensional digital worlds that run parallel. We walked out onto the posh patio with a streaming wall water fountain to catch some fresh air during the intermission that forced us out of the theatre. The atrium, patios and halls were crowded with Zero One participants tagged and labeled with their events pass around their necks. We shared a drink and quickly entered the theatre to get our seats for the second half of the show. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew it was going to be good, I just had no idea that I was about to see the best visual perspective of the universe that I have yet seen in my life. It was noise, and it was all data driven the movie named Datamatics was a totally cool life experience for me. The entire experience was awesome, the Venue, the lady screaming the Silicon Valley geeks and artist elites all surrounding us, and yet here I was, in the midst of the best audio and visual representation of our universe to date. I have been waiting, wondering, trying to fully imagine this myself for so long. My study of astrophysics extends to the dimensions of data, and chaos, reality and illusion, art and science. I sat there absorbing each detail of each sound, scratch, squeak. I was powerless in my state of absorption, I had opened up all my senses to inhale the essences of this art work, I could feel and breathe the universe around me, as Ryoji Ikeda gave us the view of our universe VISUALLY using only pure data to reveal the world in which we exist, and it was beautiful. If I ever teach an astronomy class, Datamatics would be the first film I would want all my students to watch…