You know me, I love “Meticulous & Casual”, it’s almost an inner motto.
I talked here about Nietzsche and his cow:
Three-quarter Strength. A work that is meant to give an impression of health should be produced with three-quarters, at the most, of the strength of its creator. If he has gone to his farthest limit, the work excites the observer and disconcerts him by its tension. All good things have something lazy about them and lie like cows in the meadow.
When I write an article here, I’m focused and at the same time I listen to music (here: Poulenc, “Les Biches”), I prepare, but not that much. I re-read, but quickly. It’s always a tango between control and letting go.
These weeks, I revisit my 2 CDs “Farist“, which were made for contemporary dance. I made them with work (awww the mixing of music, a pain in the monkey!), but also with… well you got my point.
To make the clip, I make images with a Artificial Intelligence. It often gives nightmarish creatures! Therefore I posted a bunch of frightening clips – I’ll post them here for Halloween, OK?
So I wanted to created cooler things. So I played for Yuleska (which is a Polish name) with the words “bokeh” or “emerald”. It was abstract enough to give cool little things like:
The music was innocent and it worked.
For the second one, I had a story in mind. A Folletti (who is a little magic boyfaery) in Italy consoles a little girl. So I got Tuscany, wheat fields and angels. It’s a slow waltz.
For these I find/make images with random words. The first in the row? “Icy Bokeh”, that’s it. So I orient, but not too much.
When I edit the clips, I upscale the pictures with Automator (on Mac) piloting Pixelmator Pro, then I throw them all in iMovie. Random order, that I have to correct… or not. I use markers for the tempo, but I don’t follow them all the time. I’m meticulous (I work days on a clip), but I don’t really polish, finish, I let go and so there.
Yes it’s a tool for the toolbox! Where do we need to be meticulous and casual? Sex? Cooking? At work? Poetry writing?
Who are the artists who you know work like that? Picasso? Fellini? Any musician?
Do you like them?
Have a great day! Thanks for reading! I’ll post photos of Brussels soon. This week.
Choose a phrase, “Brazil Morning Landscape” or “Giant Robot in Taiga”, whatever. You can just ask “The wind”!. You can increase the size of the image to 500 (pixels – more will crash the program). I also tend to put “steps per image” to 20 (I’ll get more steps to “see” the machine work). In the menu bar on the top of the webpage, go to “Runtime”, then “Run All”. And oh, OK, you need 30 minutes to get the last image.
On another page, I invoked “The Wind” and got this. The AI clearly needs more invocations 🙂
You can “color” this by another word. Here’s the wind with…
A painter (Alex Colville, Pict.1).
A website (Artstation, Pict.2).
A tool used for video games (Unreal Engine, Pict.3).
A way of painting for the movies (Matte Painting, Pict.4).
Here are Picasso and Klee for the wind. Who else would you try?
The word Artstation is commonly used because this site is full of great fantasy artists, and it gives dramatic pictures. I just added mist, dragon, emerald, dawn or airships…
It’s interesting to see how the pictures are built. “Storm Circus Tent Artstation Matte Painting” begins with a cloud and finishes this way. Here are steps 20, 40, 400:
It’s been a long time I’ve been that excited with a computer invention. I’m old enough to have seen (is this phrase English?) the birth of Apple II, Pong, Macintosh, the Internet (and the web), personal then laser printers, or… First Person Shooters!
My last “Oh waow” moment is the discovery of VQGAN+CLIP images. This artificial intelligence tool is available for everybody. You’ll find tutorials in articles or on YouTube.
There’s an interesting SubReddit called LeopardAteMyFace (‘I never thought leopards would eat MY face,’ sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party. Revel in the schadenfreude anytime someone has a sad because they’re suffering consequences from something they voted for or supported or wanted to impose on other people.). Schadenfreude is something we all understand and feel anywhere in the world, but the concept-word seems almost unknown in France. It’s been often used with Brexit (when you want to Brexit and then your company crashes because of all problems caused by it).
Of course they made a CovidAteMyFace, a very schadenfreudish place…
In 2000, the French “plural left government” voted the “35 hours workweek” law. From then, it’s how we work in France! As I work in a store there’s been a little agreement: we work 36h, then 39h in December when it’s crowdy, and get 12 more days off (plus the legal normal 5 weeks off, c’est la France!).
In this company, there’s a senior new thing: when you’re 55 and more (which is me), you can work 80% (28h) in four days, you lose the salary part, but not for your retirement. I chose 85%/30h and I’m the happiest man since.
Reading a bunch of books about Barbarossa, the 1941 attack of USSR by the Germans. I have a huge book written by two historians, but I completed with a Wehrmacht soldier memories book, a Red Army compilation of stories, two photography books (on each side), a more complete book about all this German/Russia war (1941-1945), the fantastic Alexander Werth’s book Russia at War.
And it IS a tool here: when you want to explore an era, an artist, a country, one must combine sources from different perspectives and heights. It builds a knowledge-web, and more comprehensive way to always remember it’s complex as hell.
There’s a site named Vodkaster where you add your film critics in… 140 characters only! Less than two lines, which is a great exercise for concision.
Where do you need to exercise your concision’s skills?
I have been obsessed with Francis Poulenc, a French composer (1899-1963). There’s absolutely nobody I can’t talk about Poulenc with, but, well, that’s life! I had the visit from a friend working at the Opéra Garnier in Paris, who is a classical music lover, and we could talk a bit.
He told me and I agreed that Poulenc sounds “so French” that it made us smile. We wondered about what “sounds French” in classical music, which is a real question.
You can do that for many countries, I think of Italy or Russia, or the United Kingdom. There IS a British sound in pop (and classical) music, right? There IS something Russian in Prokofiev’s music. Is it in harmony, style, movement?
Poulenc is unframable, it changes all the time, it’s “insanity and beauty”, triangle and sharp like the Russians, and a second later sweet and dreamy. It’s not that serious, it’s lovely but jerky. It modulates in strange delicious ways…
French composers we know: Ravel and Debussy. You can spend a few weeks with the Web and YouTube to explore what is common or different with these guys. Debussy is fluid, impressionist, Ravel is more “Fauve”, with stronger colors. But that’s not that simple…
From Ravel, listen to the Piano Concerto. From Debussy listen to Nocturnes.
Russian Painters are fantastic. When you need a little “good old academic painting” session, you need a book about Russian painting.
Google : “russian paintings trees”.
You need to have someone on the Internet who explores fields you could like. In music, I talked for a long time to a French guy named EdWood since the nineties (we were among the first French diarists on the web, before it was called “blogging”). He’s an explorer! So every year, he posts his best films or best albums of the year, and I dig!
This week I listened to 50 albums, downloaded plenty, and kept 3 names : Weyes Blood, Anna Meredith, The Twilight Sad.
What is YOUR source for musical discoveries?
I just uploaded a new track on YouTube, and I added a post on the GarageBand SubReddit, telling:
Hi everyone! I had fun yesterday building a crescendo based on a loop of “4 bars” + “4 bars with a modulation”. This makes the audience… need a melody based on it, right?
This is based on a single note called “arr1”, the famous “Moments in Love” Fairlight sound of Art of Noise. I wanted this note to be like a wind (like, in a way, the sound of the wind in Fellini’s movies). I added reverb and some distortion, and it’s just a “Hhhaaaaaaaa” all along the track. The carpet note, if you want.
I found this sound on the web after a few Google searches. “”Moments in Love” Fairlight sound of Art of Noise”.
I added pictures of flowers and frogs to make a YouTube movie.
So it’s 4 chords then 4 other chords with a little modulation. This is boring therefore I literally PILED other sounds with echoes, arpeggios, and some drums here or there. I love stairs!
I separated each step (hhhaaaaa) with a one-bar break. It’s like a… “pause then go on”.
There are two breaks, just for the pleasure of “Let’s climb again”.
In the end, I added louder drums and strings. The two guitars give some relief. They… use the modulation to bring something, I suppose.
Is it acceptable? Should I add a “chorus”? What kind of music is it? Should I use a “I’m a man playing piano notes” over the chords? (I admit I always love to build… little machines). Some lyrics?
Thanks for reading and listening!
The other one is built on a “pianist fingers exercise” (notes around one central note).
My YouTube text:
So I wanted to build an ambient loop around these photos of ants. I lost myself a bit, with this somber piano, but voilà. Insects are cool, right? But ants are cooler when you watch them worrying about « having to go », having to quit, to go away, to find a new home… It’s their dawn, their beginning. Queens within soldiers protecting them until they fly… I played with the idea of unstable harmonies. Some things are sweet, some others are bitter, or uncertain. The music loops but constantly stops. The weaving instruments are sometimes dissonant… this was all a funny game, like Lego.
Game of contrast : acoustic/electronic, reverb/dry, rooted on the loop/evoluting.
“Finasser” is a funny French verb. When I read it in a book I immediatly asked myself “How do you say than in English?”.
Reverso Context tells me plenty of solutions, which means we touched, here, a complex translation point.
To play games
To move slowly
To try to be clever
To get into the niceties
To use trickery
Well, in French it’s clear it means you don’t really fancy doing something when you have to, then you do as if you need to focus on some details, find excuses and pretexts not to do the job.
“Arrête de finasser !” : Stop finassing, sounds very parenting, patronizing.
To play games sounds good, but finasser is not “being inconsistent” to annoy someone, it’s more “to be smiling and lazy”.
To move slowly would be the consequence of finasser.
To try to be clever seems sarcastic and mean or witty. Finasser is not sarcastic though. It’s just a lack of will.
I love “to get into the niceties“, because it’s really that. To focus on small details… not to work.
To use trickery is not correct, or maybe just a little. To dazzle: the same. Finasser is not about cheating of misleading, it’s more about hesitation or a small will to slow down things.
To equivocate is right. To prevaricate seems better! But the verbs in French are “chipoter” or “tergiverser”, it’s another problem. Chipoter: to haggle over. Tergiverser: to um and ah, to procrastinate (and oh there’s a “to tergiversate” in English?).
Then it’s leads to : to sit on the fence, to punt, to pussyfoot around (seems perfect, though we’d say “faire des manières”, which is… to fuss), to waffle back and forth (more about changing mind all the time – être une girouette (to be a weathercock)), to dillydally (oh marvel!!), haver (sillier?), punt (evading the issue, to pass the buck), shilly-shally (oh, cool!).
Finasser is a little this and that. It shows a will to be slow, find excuses not to work, but not really to annoy someone else.
The Larousse dictionary says: “User de finesses, de subterfuges pour se dérober ou obtenir un avantage ; ruser.”- Use finesse, subterfuge to evade or gain an advantage; cunning.
Hmmm, that’s complicated, right?
The “asser” we add to words is a bit negative. Bavasser means “to prattle”, it’s bad and vulgar.
There are many bad insults in French finishing by “asse” (connasse, pouffiasse, grognasse, pétasse, blondasse), these are loud and mean! If “tiède” means “lukewarm”, tiédasse is like “it’s sadly lukewarm”, like bad soup, haha.
I always loved to explore trees of words. This was a good one. Of course my interpretations of words’ “colors” is probably wrong at times. Tell me in the comments?
The Geometric Mind and the Spirit of Finesse: Pascal was a French philosopher. He played with these to ways:
Geometric Mind: “the skill or capacity for demonstrating truths already found, and of elucidating them in such a manner that the proof of them shall be irresistible”. Thinking with principles, causes and consequences. Also, geometry separates things, draws lines.
Spirit of Finesse: “The intuitive mind, with its instinctive twists and turns, lucky hunches, and inspired guesswork”. Intuition. You feel things, but it will maybe not clear for others. Finesse embraces things.
Excellence needing both, of course!
It’s about “to adapt your mindset to the problem”. You need to have the “right” view not to think wrongly on… known principles. One way of thinking helps the other way.
Then we can have fun with it. What do we prefer? Are we able to tango with both? What does it bring? What do we lose? How to communicate with one type of spirit?
What are the most harmonically complex songs of Bob Dylan?, I asked in BobDylan SubReddit. I got many interesting answers…
To Fall in Love With You, which was never really finished, has an extended progression which takes a long long time to get to the key chord.
I’ve always found On a Rainy Afternoon to have a very elegant chord progression, though it wasn’t ever completed. Very simple in the beginning, but the resolution of the progression gets much more involved.
Lay Lady Lay actually has kind of a weird chord progression, which I just realized yesterday.
Nashville Skyline has soooo many amazing changes. Among my top 5 faves
I threw it all away has some funky changes as well now that I think of it
I’m very partial to Tell Me it Isn’t True
I was going to say Oh Sister but I just remembered I thought the other day that it sounded like Knockin on Heavens Door … not Lay Lady Lay … so I am not helpful lol but I want to see if someone knows!
I think it’s similar to All Along the Watchtower, but not exactly the same if I’m remembering correctly
Frankie Lee And Judas Priest – FLJP is G with a capo on the 7th fret (so effectively C), but it’s G, Bm, Am, G (I iii ii) whereas LLL is A, C#m, G, Bm (I iii bVII ii). The G (bVII) in LLL gives it a unique characteristic not present in FLJP. It also gives it a chromatically descending bassline – A – G# – G – F#. I can’t recall any other BD songs with a chromatically descending bassline like that (though I suspect there are some bridges which do it.
House of the resizing sun and death of emmit till have a C/G D/F# F bassline which gets close and simple twist of fate has E, EMaj7, E7, A which gets close but it’s not the bassline so much.
The rolling thunder review SToF were G, Bm, G7, C which is the closest song, in spirit, to LLL I can think of offhand.
Make You feel My Love also has a rather nice chromatically descending bassline.
There is an interesting ascending bassline in the pre-chorus of Too Much of Nothing.
Ballad of a Thin Man has another chromatic descending bassline in the start of the verse.
There it is! I really need to listen to JWH more I’m pretty unfamiliar with it compared to the rest of 60s/70s work
I will say that Dylan and folk music in general though is not where you go for harmonic complexity. If you compare Dylan and, say, Steely Dan or queen by that metric, he’s pretty primitive. But he does have some deceptively great melodies and chord progressions, as evidenced by the number of artists who want to cover his work. And as for that one-of-a-kind voice and those lyrics, well, we all know about that.
One of the first ones that comes to mind is Forever Young Fast Version
Dear Landlord and In the Garden have some interesting stuff going on. A lot of the gospel songs have chord progressions that vary from the “standard” folk patterns.
Black Rider, In the Garden, Dear Landlord.
Just listening to In the Garden, wow, these constant stairs-like modulations (transpositions?) are amazing!
I Contain Multitudes has some pretty complex chords
In search of little Sadie (or whichever of the two plays first on self portrait) has a strange chromatic chord progression that’s very unusual, and it’s literally Dylan reharmonizing an old folk song so that in itself is pretty interesting to me
Dear Landlord. And if I hear it right, blind willie mctell has an interesting chord progression too
Tears of Rage comes to mind, its sooo pretty and a really unique structure. Richard Manuel composed the music to Bob’s words on that one though.
On A Night Like This uses an Am/F# (F# half-diminished)
“In the Garden” is probably the answer, as it modulates four or five times in the space of a verse while the melody employs a couple scales.
“Dear Landlord” modulates all over the place as well
“Black Rider” is a truly novel progression and the final contender for most harmonically advanced song with its chromaticism and modulations.
“Covenant Woman”, “Moonlight”, “I Contain Multitudes”, “Make You Feel My Love”, “Too Much of Nothing”, “Ring Them Bells” all deserve honorable mention but are not as complex as the three listed at the top.
‘Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You’ has some pretty interesting stuff going on. The verses are a pretty straight forward G-C thing, but then in the B-section the C swaps to a minor chord, and all of a sudden there’s an A-flat major thrown in there which transitions back to C-maj and then A-min.
Mama, You Been On My Mind – I believe it is in the key of C and uses an E7, D7, and G#dim7.
Gates of eden really stands out, because most of his early stuff is very simple chord wise. But here he modulated between g major and c major all the time. And then that Bb major comes out of nowhere and it sounds just great. That Bb to C to G is actually kind of an early punk chord progression.
This Wheel’s on Fire has more chords than most Dylan tunes and a diminished chord in there as well, which he doesn’t use a lot. Rick Danko is credited for composing the music with Dylans lyrics.
Baby let me follow you down
“It’s all over now baby blue” which is in C, uses an E major on the transition, which is and sounds interesting
In thE Garden, Dear Landlord, Moonlight, and Black Rider are the ones I see most commonly mentioned here
I’ve seen people post before that In the Garden is probably his most complex song harmonically which I would have to agree with.
New English words I learned recently. Learning a language is a continuous experience. Everyday I’m surprised! Like:
Insofar sounds very formal, right? I’d be happy to find a moment in a conversation when I could use it, alone or with “insofar as”, which in French is “dans la mesure de”.
Lackadaisical is apathetic but sound so silly, right? I DO wonder what is the color of it. Is it casual or nonchalant, is it lazy? Blithe, blasé? Can lackadaisical be voluntary, sarcastic? Cool?
Trespass is a common word but I really can remember it, each time I have to check.
Call time is maybe “ladies and gentlement we close the store!”, but it’s also “to say stop”, right? To announce the end.
Onus as a law word, but also obligation, responsability. Is it common?
Make do for “be content with what is available”. In French we say “faire avec” : to make with.
To doll up, oh I love this one so much! We have great verbs for this one. Bichonner is when you doll up a friend, you help her. Se pomponner is based on the noun “pompon” (yes the decorative fluffy ball). It’s something like “to pompon myself”.
Tryingness (The state or condition of being trying (arduous, difficult to endure) sounds difficult to use.
To scatter, disperser, éparpiller, with all the rest : across, on, over.
Harumphingly was amazing to discover. Harumph is maybe the way French say “Pfff”. And I wonder if I could say I’m an harumpher.
Snug, I wonder how come it could mean “warm cumfortable” AND “tight-fitting”. So “a dress fits very snug” can be something to say? To fit snugly? I love the “form fitting” color of it though. We say “épouser à merveille” for this marvellous dress : “It spouses you at marvel”, somthing like that.
So there’s that gives “alors voilà” (so there). Urban Dic says : “A phrase said after describing something strange, awkward, ironic, hilarious, crazy, or otherwise profound.” Good!
Photography: “La Dordogne”, a French river. How to photograph a river? She’s like the lady you’re in love with: she’s complex, multiple, given, elusive, clear, dark, changing and marvellous. What do I choose? The light? Water? Trees? Rocks? Here are 14 pictures of La Dordogne, near the little town of Carsac.
I have a big problem with landscape and urban photography. I chose 5 examples for you, randomly in Google Images. I call this problem the “Intention of Effect“.
Long pauses transform cars into lines. Choosing sunset time gives “interesting” colours to the mountains. Using a drone makes you fly and shows lines. Putting the camera on the ground brings “interesting” lines and reflections.
Well, in each of these pictures I FEEL the photographer’s will, which seems to YELL at me “I AM SMART HAVE YOU SEEN IT?”. Yeah, I’ve seen it, buddy.
Each time I see one picture like this (and they are a majority), I’m rolling eyes. I’m like : “Okey little man, I see what you do”; and this is ABSOLUTELY boring.
Intention of effect kills effect.
This is not art, no art at all. It’s all waxywet, schmaltzy and wishy-washy, it is not gorgeous: it’s ridiculous and I’m already out, goodbye.
They knew the “pretty” urban or landscape pictures were ridiculous, and very, very far behind the Art Movement.
They had to find another way to show cities and nature. To stop being a show-off little idiot.
So they experimented a more neutral “way”, becoming an amateur-beginner, or becoming a tech-photographer. I think they wanted to show us the mood of a place, or maybe to be precise, or maybe they simply wanted to stop appearing like a smart-ass “look how I’m good” photographer. How to achieve that?
Of course they began to take pictures of the ordinary, empty urban spaces, parking lots, roads and houses. This was much more interesting and “charged” with the sense of a place.
I chose some Stephen Shore‘s pictures. This man makes my eyes stop. I want to wander on the photography. I (ain’t it strange)… breathe. I almost understand WHY the guy stopped there. This shadow. These lines. An horizon. The light of the day!
You’ll find many texts, articles and interviews about him and his influence on the web. Have fun!
I wanted, at the beginning, to sound like English New Wave from the eighties, but I added some percs, and a piano, and I lost everything about this, so there.
I tried many ways to sing the words, then the “Watch it drip, wait for it”, and failed. This is why I whispered all of it.
Really, I like to destroy the usual structure of a song. This is why it doesn’t verse/chorus. This is why I changed the beat in 1’44”, mutation, towards a “walking thing”.
It’s again about “modulation in the 4th bar”, and I think the reason this song exists is in the two guitars in the end.
I used old picture of my mom’s garden in the rain.
Eventail means “fan”, it’s a very complex poem from Mallarmé, which is really funny to interpret. Again, the usual song structure is melted. I added some tunnels with rockets of sound, which lead to this synth sound I love.
I tripled my voice I had to sing very low. The end brings a sweet chaos.
Same garden, another year: rain, birds, insects.
De frigides roses pour vivre Toutes la même interrompront Avec un blanc calice prompt Votre souffle devenu givre
Mais que mon battement délivre La touffe par un choc profond Cette frigidité se fond En du rire de fleurir ivre
A jeter le ciel en détail Voilà comme bon éventail Tu conviens mieux qu’une fiole
Nul n’enfermant à l’émeri Sans qu’il y perde ou le viole L’arôme émané de Méry.
Frigid roses to live
All the same will interrupt
With a white prompt chalice
Your breath turned to frost
But let my beat deliver
The tuft by a deep shock
This frigidity melts
In the laughter of blooming drunk
To throw the sky in detail
Here is a good fan
You are better suited than a vial
No one enclosing with emery
Without losing or violating it
The aroma emanating from Méry.
Someone tries this:
Belonging to Méry Laurent
Frigid roses to exist
all alike will interrupt
your frosted breath
with a quick white calyx
but should my ﬂuttering liberate
the whole bunch with a profound shock
that frigidity will melt into the laughter
of a rapturous blossoming
see how like a good fan
you are better than a phial
at carving the sky into fragments
no ﬂask could be stoppered
without losing or violating
the fragrance of Méry.