I read an interview of a French original soundtrack composer, fan of Ennio Morricone.
Well, he talked about his musical qualities, about his multifaceted style (7 styles, he said!), but in the end told that what he preferred was his morriconesque way to accept almost everything, and then his way to work all the time, constantly, year after year.
Indeed, if you Wikipedia Ennio, you’ll find more than 100 classical works and more than 400 scores for cinema and television.
This says something, but can also ring false alarms.
If you produce a lot, there will be fantastic things AND more ordinary lukewarm other things.
It says that one should not be too solemn before beginning a work. It says to stop thinking too much, and to begin, to try, explore and experiment.
It DOES NOT say (in my opinion) that you can be casual when you work. You will work hard, you’ll really do your best.
“Il fallait qu’un bâton de chaise fût bien fait”, says Charles Peguy in France: The chair rung must be well made, not for the boss, or for connoisseurs, but it had to be well made itself, in itself, for itself, in its very self.
I just finished reading Woody Allen’s biography, when he says he’s an “imperfectionist”. I really felt it was the same pattern.
In fact, most of the great artists are like that. Picasso. Mozart. They work a lot, like crazy, they refuse no experience, they’re like “OK, let’s do that!”. Instead of thinking of is it the good moment or find the perfect way to work, they just begin.
Well, I like that because it’s the way I began my blog. I was sooo solemn about it, about the theme, and the perfect way of doing this or that, and when.
When I watched tutorials on YouTube about starting my channel Quick-Eyed Sky, I often found clips like “Errors new Youtubers make”. One was always: “Stop waiting for the good moment and gear to begin: post now, post today”.
Have a great summer! Sorry for the mistakes in this article, I’ll check it in a few days. I wrote it fast, but I want it cool, right?
I remember the little book of Akira Kurosawa, who remembers that when the movies were silent in Japan, there were people in each cinema, playing music, dialogs, and some sound effect. When the talking pictures came, these people were in the streets, protesting. And well…
It’s the same for everything. Electricity killed the oil lamps market. Cars killed the horse cart market. Electric cars will harm the gas stations, little by little (in Norway, today, more than 60% of new cars are electric).
Today I make images with AIs, and that’s cool because… I don’t know how to draw. I just describe what I want, add some little tricks in words (I’m learning) to precise textures (painting, digital, video game?), and I get pictures, plenty of them, all unique and different. The AI invents for me. And batches plenty.
“Luminescent mushrooms in a mystical forest, twilight, fireflies, clearing, bokeh” gives as many as these as you want (hundreds, if you like):
So I found out that some digital artists find it “unfair”. In a way, I understand that!
But what I feel is they should use it, today.
I can switch on the light, but I don’t have an oil lamp. I can drive a car, but I can’t take care of a horse (and I’m short of room in my apartment).
When I post images in forums, like in Reddit, I got things like:
So, people love it, but some want to ban it. And I’ve been banned from many of them! The viewers love them, but the moderators hate them. It’s not “real art” (and is it, after all)?
Today, it’s a bit difficult to use these Google Colabs. And it’s lonnng. If you use the free option, you need one hour for an image. I pay, and I need 6-7 minutes/image.
There are hundreds of colabs, and very soon (this year, next year?) you’ll be able to get images in seconds. Concept artists will use these tools (or teach them), for sketching, to get ideas, for colors, composition, etc.
Some sites offer this already, in a simple form: Wombo Art, Hypnogram.xyz.
There’s no horse-skill in driving fast cars, it’s like… unfair, right? Drivers developed other skills. Today, to get cool images, you have to know what words are useful, and how to combine them. Unfair, maybe, but people have fun, and are creative (in their own way), and I kind of like it.
I began to make tutorials (on YT) for digital artists, how they could use this. I’ll make more, concept art for characters, using initial sketches to create something else, etc.
Maybe it’ll create a new job: “digital ideas provider”. Hmm…
1 An adjective indicating a variety of accentuation demanded by the nature of a particular musical phrase, rather than by the regular metric pulse of the mus. The first note of a phrase, for instance, may be felt to suggest a slight lingering which confers the effect of an accent: similarly, a leap to note significantly higher or lower than the preceding notes, or a strong discord resolving to a concord, may convey an effect of accentuation (by means of lingering, pressure, etc.) and there are other examples. The complementary term to ‘agogic accent’ (accent of movement) is ‘dynamic accent’ (accent of force), which implies the normal and regular rhythmic accentuation of a piece of music.
2 In a wider sense, ‘agogic’ covers everything connected with ‘expression’, e.g. rallentando, accelerando, rubato, pause, accentuation as described above, etc.
Well of course it’s a tool, a state of mind.
I read about this in a Sol Gabetta (a cello player) interview. If we follow the score, it’s gives a computer mood. One needs groove, or rubato, expression. And it’s linked of course (because we follow the sheet music score, right?) to the idea of “freedom blossoming on constraint”. And it’s linked to the two-to-tango idea of “singing melody seems free but it’s conducted”, enchanted and tamed at the same time.
“The interpreter juggles with spells”. Ces sortilèges sont l’agogique.
Of course we have to dig the “-agogy” word. Pedagogy. Andragogy?
And also, seeing this as a pattern for life, action, methods, rules, creation, art. Follow some rules but add some life, some “expression”, freedom into frames, etc.
Hi everyone! The “Prompt To Image” processes are blossoming everywhere on the web since Katherine Crowson presented the VQGAN+CLIP tool and made it public. This “Synthetic Imagery” (or GAN Art) was fantastic, but a bit difficult and slow to use.
You’ll find plenty of articles about this, and hundreds of “Google Colabs” with the code to play with. The result is often slow (about one hour to get an image).
There are tricks you quickly learn to use with each tool. Adding words to the prompt, like artists names or words like steampunk – here are bridges, a mantis, an owl, and for the first one “bird leather gold“:
Each site has its flaws, and one must use them to get things. For example, GauGAN2 is made for landscapes, so if you ask “Lake and forest” you get a realistic scenery. But if you ask “Totem” it’s lost, and there come the cool things:
The possibilities are infinite. Just give two words like “Airship Fire”:
Not what we expected, but good images, inspiring maybe if you write stories, poetry, or if you draw. Make 20 of them with automation and you’ll find a few great pictures.
I made plenty of movies with these:
This year the Russians invented ruDALL-E ( https://rudalle.ru/en/demo ) and it’s different, more realistic, and MUCH FASTER than every other similar tools. It needs about 1-2 minutes to make one image.
The results are less “digital artist”, and much more realistic, because it’s trained on millions of photographies (an AI must be “trained”). This morning, today, I made a few dozens, like these 3:
Yessss possibilities are great. And you don’t have to write in Russian, they translate. Good.
This team made a BOT, which is on Telegram (yes, the app, it’s on your phone and your Mac, right?). You’ll find it on the page, it’s here: https://t.me/sber_rudalle_xl_bot
On this bot, you use the ruDALL-E Malevich (XL) Model, which is very powerful.
Each prompt gives you THREE images, you just have to save them on your computer, and it works on your phone too.
You have to prompt in Russian. Therefore you have to use a translation tool like Google Translate to invoke it.
If you find a good prompt, you can and must repeat it: each time you’ll get NEW images.
Here are images with the prompt “Airship in the mist”, which is “дирижабль в тумане”. I made 135 of the same prompt today. I’ll make a clip later. Here are 12 of them:
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.