Saturday, 23 July 2016

Mrb (Michael Robert Buckingham - www.focisleft.bandcamp.com / www.kapsil.net/muttley) - Nova Cone Trail Poem.

Mrb - Nova Cone Trail
The moment you fall
Is the moment I wake
What moment
Just a moment
Love speaketh like slake
Scattered like ashes
Over a nova cone trail
Beaming into the present
Where a gift is a moment
Frail to the touch
Indebted to containment
And kindest in gentle hands.
I waited for your trail
Yes I did, and I
I might not have followed
In your footsteps
But I love that trail you walk.
Let's imagine we are doves
Swooping in and out of the trail
Creating a supernova of purity
Always cast on wind and sail.
Let's think? Slake speaketh like ash
That money did not bring us together
At best a vehicle, twas broken down
Filled in the bonnet with leaking
...Petrol a graze on mankind.
Let's graze
Like two collared doves
Indebted to containment
Kindest with gentile
..Touches, brushes, kisses, even drum kits
Beat hay, I do love that track you talk.
The momentous fall
Of a lumberjack carrying
An onion for a bonce
A drum kit for twenty pence
To try his luck
At the slot machine of your heart.
From the start I'll gamble too much
Love acts like one armed bandit
A candid toss of fates coin; Indebted
To containment; Kindest in gentle hands.
Maybe you'd give me a stake back
To nest upon, collared dove
I swiftly collared you, that's certain
Corny catchphrase of roboism
Sent from above? No, not.
I can do a lot better I know.
But I adore that braille you baulk for me.
Let's imagine, slake burning to ashes
Monty did not bring us together
I know you really don't care
Whether I am a prince or a pauper
You show you care omnipresent
And that's omnipresently enough
You love me for who I am - me
And I love you
unconditional
For you - a ram, regardless.
You like attention, so you told me in 1410
Way back in the day.
And like two collared doves
I became inseparable from you
Nowt artificial intelligence
You glow through the horizons mineshaft
Exploring that trail you walk
Leaving me explosive
And talkative.
Oh love, I love that trail you walk.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

SubVersion Stop 266: Rebecca Pathan - Brandnewtrumpets - The World Wide Wave

Thanks to Grant Goldenchild (Technicality MC bitd) and his Drum & Bass Against Racism FB group for bringing this damn fine piece of writing to my attention, and for Rebecca for allowing the repost. 

The World Wide Wave by BrandNewTrumpets

The wave takes shape, emerges, evolving as it advances; gathering momentum, it grows and swells to new strengths. Finally it crashes, its kinetic energy cascading with the force that it’s gathered, and just as surely it dissolves diluted back into the folds of the vast expanse from whence it came.
Whilst innumerable waves crash without consequence, some bear considerable effects, even cataclysmic: their influence palpable.
This is not about the waves of the ocean, but rather the waves of human dialogue, which when emotively captured, become the Great Waves that sometimes surf with irrational behaviour. The rise of the internet drives dialogue further still, surging at speeds far greater than any time before. This powerful force is one we must handle with care, consideration and consciousness.
‘The Wave,’ or ‘The Third Wave ,’ is also the name of a social experiment, birthed in a history lesson designed to demonstrate, when unable to explain, the manner by which the German population willingly supported and followed the ideologies of Adolf Hitler. History teacher, Ron Jones, wanted to show that even democratic societies were susceptible to fascism.
‘The Third Wave’ was propagated as a movement initially for those students in Jones’ class. The movement enforced strict discipline and routine, and its principles were founded on a carefully manipulated motto, containing sound bites that promoted discipline, community, action and pride; individuality was suppressed and membership and exclusivity elevated. Within just a couple of days, the students were immersed in this new movement. Increasing numbers of students joined from all over the school, initiated with ceremony, membership cards and rules of conduct; members kept outsiders out, and reported on anyone who broke the rules. Dangerously slipping out of control by day four, the experiment was drawn to a conclusion on day five, with the students having to face the reality that so easily had they been swept away on a wave of misdirection and control that echoed that of Germany during the Third Reich.
The experiment captured the ease of indoctrinating a group of people with the succinct encapsulation, repetition and reinforcement of an idea, supported by a culture of ‘us’ and ‘them.’ The succinct encapsulation of an idea and its gathering momentum is not to be feared. The waves come and they go, and their perpetual nature sustains us. However, when ideologies are encouraged with the principles of divide and conquer, establishing rule by setting one side against another, surely the ideology becomes corrupted.
The emergence of thought and development of dialogue has driven evolution and change – we talked about it and then it happened. And history shows us that when ideologies are given a voice and the same voice is echoed, the further it spreads and the quicker it spreads, the more effective it becomes, and the more likely it will become a force to be reckoned with, good or bad.
Media and the communication of ideas to a mass populace has increasingly grown and increasingly infringed on the lives of ordinary people: from the rhetoric circling in the small and distant amphitheatres of ancient Greece, to the ubiquitous twittering of online cyber surfers today.
With each modal move comes greater responsibility as movement of thought increases its reach.
Today the volume is turned up, and we find ourselves practically deafened by the proliferation of carefully, (or carelessly, depending on which way you look at it), compressed, caption carried content. With so much available information and the relentless bombardment of info -bombs, it isn’t surprising that we have become accustomed to digesting our information in a comparable manner: quickly and indiscriminately. And just as we would, more often than not, we admit it all without accounting for source or evidence, or content even, let alone context.
It’s human nature to make snap judgements: an evolutionary requirement to protect ourselves. But we don’t have to indulge them. Surely real strength of thought is assessing it for what it is, weighing up our prior knowledge and our own personal experiences, judging as we would a wager.
Social media is shaped to galvanise ‘likes’ and ‘shares.’ It taps into our susceptibility to follow trends, and effectively adopt herd behaviour. There are at least two psychologies at play here: that concerned with the fear of missing out, and that of collective hysteria.
Whilst mass hysteria is something largely cited as a collective response to perceived threat, rapidly spread through rumours and fear, herd behaviour can be a collective reaction to a much greater range of events and occurrences. Think Princess Diana: a seemingly inexplicable event of collective mourning, on an international scale of mammoth proportions not likely seen before. Across numerous animal species, herd instinct (Nietzsche, 1887), crowd psychology (Freud, 1921) and similar theory, attempt to explain the phenomena of large numbers of individuals acting in the same way at the same time, without centralised or dictated direction.
A sense of self-preservation seems to run through many of these philosophies; we see others engaging in an activity and assume there may be benefits to us doing the same. A key example is the numerous scientific observations that reveal that when panicked, individuals confined to the same room with two equally distributed exits, disproportionally rush towards one exit over the other. The result is damaging, harmful even, yet time and again we behave in the same way.
There are countless examples of this kind of behaviour prevalent in human societies, and perhaps the playground is one of our first individual experiences of such. Remember the scenario of two individuals falling out at lunchtime: over what, a misplaced insult or a copied homework assignment? The rumours spread throughout the afternoon, and by the last lesson of the day a fight has been scheduled for 3.30pm outside the school gates. Did one of the two victims of this silly lunchtime spat goad the other into an official fist fight at the end of school? Probably not. But the rumours have them with their backs against the wall, and there’s no getting out of it. The two square off. Neither one of them wants a physical altercation, and it’s all been blown out of proportion; but all of a sudden there’s a call to ‘Fight!’ from the amassing crowds, and then there’s another one and another one, and now the whole crowd’s chanting, ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ Suddenly these two unprepared and frankly petrified individuals have their fates committed, and the repercussions are inescapable.
The call to ‘fight’ is not a reasonable or rational response; it is not an informed judgement, and retrospectively it’s just not right, but we do it. The same way an ordinary group of people respond recklessly in kind to events such as the recent ‘Black Friday.’ We observe the actions of others, and, in spite of the possibility of our own available information to the contrary, we decide to imitate what we have observed.
Also at play, warming up a lot of these en masse experiences, is FoMO, the Fear of Missing Out: a psychology that simmers under the surface of a lot of our actions. Whilst the term was coined only recently in 2013, I imagine the psychology has always been there, and that social media only heightens our susceptibility to it. FoMO is defined by the online Oxford Dictionary as: “Anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website.”
Given that we are all now so ‘connected,’ we are constantly exposed to the goings on of everybody else. It doesn’t stop, and it genuinely feels like it’s not stopping; thus, so many of us feel like we shouldn’t be stopping either, lest we miss out. We feel compelled to be engaged with whatever else it is that everybody else is doing.
Was this behind the literal wave of the Ice Bucket? Remember, not so long ago, the hundreds and thousands spurred on to throw a bucket of ice cold water over themselves? ‘For what?’ was the criticism leveled by many when it was realised that the majority of these participants didn’t make a charitable contribution to the cause, which for a large number of them remained vague or unknown. ‘The Ice Bucket Challenge’ was a phrase coined that alone could rouse recruits, and it also clearly demonstrated the power we have to do good.
It’s worth noting that over my lifetime the use of sound bites has had a largely negative effect on political discourse, reducing real political insight to catchy snippets of information that oversimplify matters of great complexity. Politics is not black and white; but, perhaps our politicians have been persuaded to reduce it to such for apparent effectiveness. And effective it often appears to be, seemingly able to sway a nation with a small number of words, think, ‘Education, education, education,’ or ‘Yes we can.’ ‘It’s the Sun wot won it,’ has never been far from the truth, with the media able to effectively adopt their own political agenda and sell it in a headline; now where’s ‘Our Only Hope’?
Language here is crucially important; the words we use often carry more weight and influence than at first observed. Consider the term ‘Asylum Seeker.’ Before this term flooded British vocabulary in the ‘noughties,’ the same group of people was referred to as ‘Refugees.’ Refugees clearly require refuge, and this simple noun denotes that. But what is the implied purpose of an asylum seeker? This noun phrase shifts emphasis to the act of doing something, in this instance seeking something. Already our compassion may be reduced, less willing to provide for those who are looking for something, and who sound less like victims. And thanks to the media of the day, the term ‘Asylum Seeker’ was muddied so much so that there was a literal sense of blurred public perception, confusing the two very distinct groups of immigrants and asylum seekers.
And why is it that British migrants in their choice country of resettlement are identified as Ex-pats? Why are they Ex-pats and not immigrants? The very term that has been bred to positively encapsulate an immigrant’s allegiance to their country of birth and not to the country that has welcomed them, is of the very same logic that has people opposed to migrants entering this country. The British and Americans can afford to be patriotic, but other nationalities cannot.
Now consider the terms, ‘Welfare,’ or ‘Benefit.’ When I was growing up there was another term for this: ‘Social Security.’ Social security implied that we were all paying into an insurance scheme: a social insurance that you would be able to claim in times of failing security. ‘Welfare Benefit’ implies something entirely different. It implies that this social security that we all pay into is somehow a benefit, not a right. And the more we adopt this language, the easier it is to influence people’s perception of what something really is.
Our National Health Service is presently being brutalised in the public sphere: suddenly it’s broken and in crisis. It’s as if overnight somebody pulled the plug, and the following morning staff came on shift to find an institution down the sink hole. It’s not realistic, and it’s not failing. Everything is in need of constant consideration and requires unrelenting care. Much like a child, we don’t leave them to fend for themselves, we constantly reassess their needs, and when they’re not doing so well, we don’t discard them and get another one, we try harder, we care more, and we do not criticise.
Zero tolerance? This is not a phrase I welcome into our dialogue, nor an ideology I want to permeate our culture. Yet, today I hear promises of, ‘Zero tolerance of failure and mediocrity’ in schools; as if failure is something to be ashamed of and not something we all face in life’s valuable lessons. We can’t all excel in everything, but we should have the support to excel in the areas that best suit us.
At least today we can shout loudly; in this country a large proportion of us have access to a forum that provides a vague equality of voice. I am inspired by the internet. For all its bad, there is good, and it is perhaps the one institution that comes closest to an honest reflection of humanity.
‘Je suis Charlie’ was an act of shouting loudly, but how many people took the time to understand the nature of the circumstances that surrounded this response to the atrocities that took place in France, before purporting to be of the same voice? The political climate in France is not the same as our own; the relationship with the state is not the same as our own; views on tolerance and equality are not the same as our own; Charlie Hebdo is not the Private Eye. In spite of all of this, if you have taken the time to appreciate this and you still need to represent the voice of Charlie, then by all means do so.
But what Mark Twain said of the ‘Smith and Jones’ families, (what I knew as ‘Keeping up with the Jones’’), still applies, and perhaps it is even more resonant in the information driven society we live in today: "The outside influences are always pouring in upon us, and we are always obeying their orders and accepting their verdicts.” (p.510).
We need to protect ourselves on this information-superhighway; we need to adopt a green cross code. Before we perpetuate an idea, before we respond to our fears and desires, and before we stick our heads above the parapets with the simple click of a button, we need to Stop Look Listen and Think. ‘Arrive alive! Keep looking and listening,’ is just as relevant to crossing the road as it is to riding the waves of human discourse.
Vincent Van Gogh is attributed with saying: 'I don't know anything with certainty, but seeing the stars makes me dream.' We don’t know anything with certainty, and that’s ok – that means we can have an open mind and freedom of thought. We can have a dream, and we can give our dreams a voice, but let not our dreams be at the cost of others. Let us ride the waves with mindfulness, navigate with care for others, and not throw caution to the winds. Let us not divide and conquer, but conquer division.

© 2015 Rebecca Pathan All rights reserved

References
Jones, Ron. (1976 & 2014) The Third Wave. The Wave Home: Learning from The Third Wave. [Internet]. http://www.thewavehome.com/1976_The-Third-Wave_story.htm. [Accessed 10th April 2015].
Oxford University Press. (2015) Oxford Dictionaries. [Internet]. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/FOMO [Accessed 10th April 2015].
Twain, Mark. (1901) Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays: Corn-Pone Opinions. New York: Literary Classics of the United States
Bibliography
Leitch, Vincent B. ed. (2001) The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. London: W. W. Norton & Company Inc.
Nietzsche, Friedrich and Smith, Douglas, ed. (2008) On the Genealogy of Morals: A Polemic. By way of clarification and supplement to my last book Beyond Good and Evil. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Twain, Mark. (1901) Collected Tales, Sketches, Speeches, & Essays: Corn-Pone Opinions. New York: Literary Classics of the United States.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

SubVersion Stop 265: Pulses Of Life, Pulses And Life, Pulses In Life

"Pulse is life, and life without pulse is until it morphs, lifeless. The meaning behind life then may not be pulse, but life without pulse".

Just to get philosophical in my pseud's corner euphoria for a moment, like the old TDD days. But yes, I've been thinking about how daily activity is measured. Pulse unites how people move, how we interact. Framerate is like pulse too, pixels in a camera metaphorical for so much of Instagram and Twitter's poularity. Seeing as we need facts and figures to operate, it's always me trying to push beyond three dimensions in LSD like lingo. But I do miss the highs of a high pulse. It's like a run, where you travel at speed, reaching a destination while the pavement stays stationary. And some things around you will move with you, such as other humans, animals, creations of man and woman, say machines.

But yeah, pulse. I actually have a very high pulse to be factual. It rests between 106 and 125 when I'm less well, or hypermedicated. Seeing and moving at a slower pace because of my 19 stone frame rate, so to speak as of now is concomitant with a slothful meandering style of living. I often wonder how, as when 10 years ago when I was 18 and 8 stone lighter, and much fitter, how my pulse has manifested in the psychic physiology of my body.

Discuss.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

SubVersion Stop 264: Creating DreamScenes


What is Dreamscenes?
DreamScenes is a ‘subset’ of Ambientblog.net (http://www.ambientblog.net ), but is was also the name of one of my first mixes.

Ambientblog features short ‘reviews’, but the true heart of it are the ambientblog mixes that you can find there (and which are also featured on the USB).
DreamScenes originally was a 4 hour mix that was created for Dutch National Radio in 2001 (can you believe they actually broadcasted a 4 hr mix uninterrupted on a Sunday Evening?)
Over the years between 2000 and 2009, I created this kind of mixes for Dutch public radio NPS/VPRO on a regular basis. When the radio shows were cancelled in 2009, I continued to publish mixes on Ambientblog.net, there are over 60 now.

(Of course Ambientblog also presents short reviews that I prefer to call recommendations, since I do not pretend to be a music journalist and do not write extensive analyses)


The
Ambientblog mixes characteristically are rather complex: they are not ‘mixtapes’ featuring full tracks, but a collage of mostly short fragments that are layered in such a way that the music may get a different connotation.
To me, they often feel like a movie soundtrack.

(Link to these mixes:
http://www.ambientmix.net )

Since these mixes take quite a lot of work to create, there are not many of them – about 4 a year on average.

But there is such a lot of great music released that I started to miss the radio shows that I was involved in. These shows simply presented the music, not in complex mixes but in ‘head-tail’ sequences, presenting full tracks in one continuous flow without spoken introduction inbetween. These are more like ‘mixtapes’ in the classic sense. They are much easier to create than the Ambientblog collages, though I still pay much attention to the sequencing of the tracks, which should feel natural from beginning to end while at the same time including different varieties of ambient/electronic/experimental music.

This became a monthly  Mixcloud series called
DreamScenes (http://www.mixcloud.com/dreamscenes).  

So… in fact it depends what exactly you are referring to with DreamScenes. Are you talking about the Ambientblog mixes (that are on the USB too), or about the Mixcloud series? They are quite different in nature, though they both cover the same kind of music.

(Short fact: Ambientblog was originally called DreamScenes, named after the original mix. But at the time it was also the name of some kind of animated video wallpapers and that was rather confusing in the Google search results.. So when I decided to intensify the blog in 2009, it was renamed to Ambientblog)


What working method do you use to create the sets? Dave Michuda who we both know at Low Light Mixes for example picks some tunes by their titles. Whereas me I'll usually go with a overarching working title?
For this, I assume you’re talking about the ambientblog mixes.
I don’t usually begin with a fixed idea. I start out with sorting a collection of tracks by their nature: dark, light, acoustic, electronic, effects, fieldrecs, and ‘anchors’ (I mean more melodic pieces which may bring you back to reality a bit, to avoid drifting too far off)

Then I search for an opening track that feels like a good start. From there, it is really like creating a ‘collage’, searching for fragments that match, or that bring some kind of tension, to build further on the preceding fragments. From there it seems the music selects itself even though that sounds a bit cheesy. I try to keep a certain kind of storytelling flow, balancing ‘light’ with ‘dark’.. I always feel there should be a kind of tension to keep it exciting enough, the mixes usually aren’t the kind of sounds you would use in a Reiki or Yoga of whatever kind of New Agelike session. I like it when some parts become almost frightening. But even though I don’t usually choose it on purpose, the mixes usually end with a hopeful – although often melancholic – note.

The title usually comes up when the mix is finished. Often it is inspired by one of the tracks included.

The human psyche tends to look for correlations, so when the title fits the music, the music will also fit the title….


There are exceptions, however: the ‘Hum in the Room’ trilogy was created around that theme, using the Philip Glass track ‘Changing Opinion’ as a starting point. So in that case there was a concept from the start.



What software have you used to create Dreamscenes sets in the past? For example, I've used Acoustica (Hydrogen Cafe) Mix craft  (Michuda) and Ableton (several).
I work with Adobe Audition. That’s it. The basic multitrack setting. Though I cut longer tracks to pieces and sometimes use only outrageous short fragments, I always use the original (stereo) mix and no extra effects are applied.
Apart from volume levelling to match the other tracks of course. (And L/R-C-Ls/Rs placement in the case of the surround versions). And a lot of long fades. 
 
-
 
Special thanks to PvC (Peter Van Cooten) for this introductory interview to what creates his dream scenes in sound and music. He has limited copies of the www.ambientblog.net USB stick, featuring over 30 tracks from commissioned producers from the ambient scene, and his collection of not-for-profit mixes on www.bandcamp.com. :)
 
 

Thursday, 17 March 2016

SubVersion Stop 261: Clova Pine Poem

Mrb - Clova pine poem
Can you hear them?
Wait, we're here, I'm here, so you close
And I'm apologetic to you. I am
Like a synthetic that's only monophonic
Sometimes it takes seeing in 2d-3
To realise there's more than this
Eye, eyes, eyesight, foresight, snap

Can you see me? Do you wonder...
Do you wonder if I lived on drab
Sour milk or drizzled on resin?
I think you know that's not the way I bring the bacon in!
And perhaps that's liver in a bird
For a laugh or a while escaping from the herd
Do you think they really cared?
Can you hear them? They know you.
I shudder, but you're
You're now closer to me.

~ Michael Robert Buckingham - Mrb.

 

Monday, 15 February 2016

SubVersion Stop 262: Foci's Left - What I Think - review by Andy Poplin

For a FTAL direct self-promotion, I thought I'd offer some clandestine words on what makes up 'What I think - Right Bus Of The Psyche' LP by FL.

The album begins with a surf pop woozy wash in a remix of 'Or Jaw Slints', fed into a slush puppy mixing can that drums at the edges like it's attention deficit to the max. Not able to stay still, the piece eventually wears itself out, Foci's Left having recorded this on a 1970s Clavinova then reversed the track with post-processing. What happens next isn't untypical of most post-rock idioms, in that the next work in progress, 'Lament To A Broken Generation' is a slow burn of a shoegaze match, eddying vibes of ambi-dub pioneers Bvdub and Carbon Based Lifeforms, dedicated to Ryan Griffin's tireless work at A Strangely Isolated Place. It's a little long - over 16 minutes for the full insert - which means the record needs some tempo breathed into its veins, and there's where FL goes next, with 'Assata' bringing the Covert Operations sound that inspired it into full view, with ASC-sounding synths and replicated roboticness in the drum programming. FL went back in on the arrangement for this and brought it up to date from the year it was produced, back in 2005 to be precise. It was unreleased on his desktop PCs HD until now and remastered from tape. 

The track that follows, 'Inorganic Beings Cull' is one of the best Foci's Left tracks in hir catalogue, with a Depeche Mode and Pink Floyd style rhythm section augmented by plinky plonky piano strikes and schizophrenic playing that reflects hir mental health condition. It's the ultimate in blues part of the LP, rising and falling like a shark caught between barbed wire (see the 'Gymnopedie No.1' lift from Erik Satie) and paradise. 'In Debt To A Decaying Era (for Daniel Crossley) is shortened on this album and the full work (all 21 minutes of the original - the 2h 31 minute microtone version is at hir Bandcamp in 'Dumping The Rock EP') bookends one of the pinnacle Foci's Left records this reviewer has had the pleasure of being a part of, in a conceptualised bus trip into prosperity.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

SubVersion Stop 261: subversive titles in Oxfordshire

I have been doing a little disc-tribut-ion of material on disc at Rapture, Witney, hometown of David Cameron and less built up connector between where I live and Oxford city.

So far, the following artwork CD-Rs have been handed over:

1. Carbonara Porcupine EP (includes commissioned remix of Kid Moxie's "The Bailor").
2. Early Riser LP (vocal guitar and piano/synth/bongo half dozen instrument proper mastered disc).

And if I can get proper pass for my reinterpretations (total remix with lyrics from the original) of tracks on this new Internal Dialogue LP - but then this one would be a free giveaway disc in respect of the creators.

A fresh Foci's Left CD-R that I'd need proper copyrights checking to release. It won't happen overnight, but I can share the continuous improvised sounds LP for free on CD.

I find it interesting how larger companies are under such legislation that remixes and reinterpretations don't automatically pass clause 4.0 of copyright, which means when we hsve bought or interpreted music, it's the same as when we sell it. We are performing it, we are living and breathing it, spinning a new web from it, creating our own version, discomputing the score and starting afresh.

And at the same time, we are paying tribute to the creators of the very music that inspired us. It's a healthy relationship if machinery grants you easy access to copying and henceforth disctribution - if it doesn't, maybe things should stay that way.