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?
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.
Again, a walking bass. I love them! Dong dong dong dong dong. I tried to add less mechanical music. I added string chords, but interrupted them sometimes. I tried another style for the end, a long stroll of bass string going nowhere…
The pictures I took along a long walk strangely fit the song: creatures. Birds. Drawings. Things.
For this one I found an old voice from the London docks, with a bell, announcing something.
The game is the Moby one: add drums, JP, bass, strings, saxes and whistles. Then it’s a puzzle around this loop: adding things/cutting things. I should chorus but nope. I should double the bass with somme upper pianos… maybe.
I’m casual, I know. When I compose I don’t finish. I draft. I need a producer!
Also, I sing and I shouldn’t. But well, I’m the only singer around 🙂
Also, I build films with a few pictures and the Ken Burns effect. I don’t want to finish, it’s boring. Voilà.
These days I have fun with poems.
“Aimez-vous le passé ?” means “Do you love the past?”. I googletranslated the poem for you:
Do you like the past And dream of stories Evocative With erased outlines?
Old rooms Widows of steps Who smell all low Iris and amber;
The pallor of the portraits, The worn-out relics That the dead have kissed, Dear, I would like
May they be dear to you, And talk to you a little Of a dusty heart And full of mystery.
“Veuve de pas” : widowed of steps, meaning “deprived of people walking in these rooms”.
I found pictures I took in Cabourg ten years ago in Normandy (yes it’s near the D-Day beaches), hop, iMovied.
The music is an exercise about obsession: there’s no change, no chorus, it “walks” all the time.
I wrote the bass after hearing “In the Army Now” by Status Quo : dong, dong, dong, dong, adding a tatatatata guitar over it.
The game was to weaveknit chords under this walk. I added little dissonnances in the piano, it’s a bit irritating for ears and all – but now so much. Here it is:
Aimez-vous le passé
Aimez-vous le passé Et rêver d’histoires Évocatoires Aux contours effacés ?
Les vieilles chambres Veuves de pas Qui sentent tout bas L’iris et l’ambre ;
La pâleur des portraits, Les reliques usées Que des morts ont baisées, Chère, je voudrais
Qu’elles vous soient chères, Et vous parlent un peu D’un coeur poussiéreux Et plein de mystère.
Paul-Jean Toulet, Chansons
I wanted to try another one, so I googled “dance in poetry” to find this “Dansez, Petites Reines” (Dance, Little Queens). I found a possible translation (I did not use the whole poem) which changes things a bit:
THE GRANDFATHER'S SONG.
Dance, little Queens,
All in a ring ;
Loves to Lasses
Sweet kisses will bring.
Dance, little Madcaps,
All in a ring ;
The crabbed old mistress
Will grumble and fling.
Dance, little beauties,
All in a ring ;
The birds will applaud you
With clapping of wing.
Dance, little Fairies,
All in a ring ;
With corn-flower garlands
And fair as the spring.
Dance, little women,
All in a ring ;
Each Beau to his Lady
Says some pretty thing.
The game here was to alternate a crappy vintage sound and a more luxurious one in the choruses (voices and instruments). I had fun with the bass line, and linked parts with a golden trumpet.
I found images with ducks for YouTube, because why not, right?
( thequietus.com ) is a magazine about intelligent music, movies and some other arts like graphic novels or architecture. It’s typically the chest-like website, full of possible discoveries.
Many (most of the) musics I don’t like here, but it’s always interesting, even when it’s awful or ridiculous. My brain is playing like a kid with colorbricks, analyzing how the artists push the cork a little or much too far.
Even the texts, the critics, are cool. Vocabulary gives a hint for each musician. “an album designed to both inspire calm as well as disrupt it” makes me want to listen.
What I selected here is, I agree, the less avant-garde possible. My pearls, emeralds and nuggets come often like this, digging, finding
I’ve been amazed by Hen Ogledd (26), who begins like Robert Wyatt then develop a… splendid pleasure of making music (I’m probably influenced by his great eyes). The most adorable guy of the list?
Katie Gately (49 )surprised me with her Waltz. I loved, immediately, the way she marked the first beat of this dance. Then, it’s a crescendo, weaved with surprises, sounds, breaks. It puts her into the territory of Björk, Kate Bush, even Dead Can Dance. Lyricism! Modulation under a bridge, responding voices, changes, this climbing. Fascinating, right?
I found another clip (same musician), which frightens me a bit more, but the clip is so fantastic that I had to keep listening. She explores limits, between pleasure and chaos. This music is like… growing like she’s alive.
I listened the broken things of Malibu Liquor Store, the swarming The Homesick (try The Pawing), the floating pedal steel guitar or Susan Alcorn, the acid synth loops of Lorenzo Senni, the rotating sickness of Sex Swing, the laments of Keeley Forsyth, Nadine Shah, the strange clips of UKAEA, the silly repeats of Horse Lords.
Then Memnon Sa (76 ), an insisting music with synths. Simple and haunted.
Mary Lattimore (35)? Quiet, but neve too much (which is always hard to achieve). Try Ana Roxanne too.
Thanks for reading!
Next to this I found two names you can explore : Chapelier Fou & Olafur Arnalds. Good day!
I just read a book from Michael Herr, an American writer and war correspondent, who wrote Dispatch, a great book about the Vietnam war.
He wrote a book, a “personal biography” about Stanley Kubrick. He worked for him for years as a writer (he co-wrote Full Metal Jacket).
Kubrick was exhausting, very intelligent, and constantly calling people on the phone. He was living near London but spent many hours a day talking to friends and collaborators. He stayed American all his life and stayed connected to his country all the time.
Herr writes that when Kubrick ended a conversation (called by him a “strenuous intercourse”) with you, he knew everything about what you had in your head about a subject. Devouring your brain…
Well, I didn’t know this word, “strenuous“, so I found: energetic, vigorous, requiring strength. Also: unremitting, dogged, tenacious. OK!
But “intercourse“, really? For me, it was about sex only, but I found: discussion, and this example: “The two businesses had a lot of intercourse over the years”. OKeyyyy!
I ADORE this ambiguity. If in this blog I look for structures, I can’t agree more:
A great conversation is very similar to great sex.
I read a good book about a… harpsichord player. I found ideas. Here they are.
The easy question is “What is it?”. Another question is “What does that mean?”, therefore “What does the artist want to say to us?”. This is a totally higher question, right? Instead of the work, you ask about the artist’s mind, and their will. Does art need a meaning, after all?
Where should we, instead of focusing of things in front of us, focus on what the maker wants?
If you are a Bach (b 1685) specialist and you want to study or play Mozart (b 1762), you have to make a jump in time and music, and Mozart will appear very modern. But if you come from 19th Century, it will feel like a loss.
From where will you come, to study this or that?
If you’re enthusiastic, do you master your work?
Does elegance need the existence of another person? What about the idea telling that real elegance consists in not getting noticed. And Balzac says that to reveal some economy of means is inelegant.
It’s from Latin “elegans”: who knows how to choose.
A pretentious simplicity, does that exist?
Goethe : When an intention is too visible, it irritates
Who plays – and how – the tango of strength/delicacy?
Purity of the sensation, or of the landscape?
When you touch the harpsichord‘s key, the note appears, that simple. There’s no possibilities of ppp or fff. It’s “the note”, always the same intensity, it’s a yes or no thing.
Without any possibity of nuances, of touch, the subtleties must come from elwhere: the phrases.
Where else do we have this?
“Deep understanding” and at the same time, “spontaneity” (or precision/passion). Both. Same time.
Where? Sex? Conversation? Acting? What kind of skill is this?
When a rule emerges, its exceptions appear at the same time.
In French: “Déroger à la règle” (The English “to contravene” and “to infringe” sound “to go against”, to fight, but the French one sounds “to take a hidden door”, to depart from, to invent my own path).
An artist who knows enough rules to depart from them: to explore/invent.
What is a work of art with simultaneity of significations? Sorrow and courage at the same time; violence and sweetness; pride and vanity. What kind of richness is that?
“To admit” (it’s the same in French, admettre) is a curious verb: to confess, to acknowledge, to allow entry, to accept validity, to place, to permit, to conceide or recognize.
A style emerges, how?
When can’t we prevent aggravation (or stop worsening)?
Baudelaire: The restless crowd, whipped on by pleasure
Do you produce differently (by other means) or something else?
Is the existence of the past Law, or Force?
Acknowlegment or recognition? Even gratitude, if you push?
Which one is the most interesting? Beauty created by nature, or beauty created by men?
Could you go that far, without the resistance of it?
It is the moment to explore Japanese Post Rock because why not.
So what is “Post Rock”? Let’s Wiki:
Post-rock is a form of experimental rock characterized by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords, or riffs. Post-rock artists are often instrumental, typically combining rock instrumentation with electronics.
Good! The tool here is easy:
Find a field you don’t know at all
Explore a micro-part of it
It can be Hungarian jewelry, or Italian photography, and then you choose a century, or a single artist…
The game here is to listen to things, randomly, like a kid picks up shells on a shore. Here we go:
A Picture of Her is a bit boring with their jazz-rock, technical and with a always-the-same guitar sound.
Anoice: Quiet music with piano, sometimes a little dissonant, sometimes a little “japanish”. Climates, like sad movie music. Some violin. I like it, and some colors are interesting, but… too shy.
Behind the Shadow Drops: simplistic naive melancholia is terrible, right? It is! There’s a laziness, here. Dumb ideas stretched for too long. Not a single harmonic spark. Shame!
Floating in Space has the same problem, but it’s a little better. Too much sugar, and no colors. I couldn’t find a single good track.
Gargle is mildly more interesting, because of the accordion. But, well, sigh…
Kukangendai is Math Rock (a subdivision of Post Rock, more complex). This music is pulsating, it’s like watching fabric, or machines. I find it boring but interesting. Brain, brain, brain. No body.
Lite is much, much better. They’re good, fast, intellingent, complex :
Mono seems the most prolific band on this list. Plenty of albums, between prog rock and film music. They take their time, and they like big badaboum crescendoes. It sounds sometimes like Joe Hisaishi. It’s too conventional for me, but many people love them! Here’s a best of :
Mouse on the Keys, two keyboards and a drummer! More dynamic, more jazz, I like it with a but, always. A bit too… disheveled, maybe?
Nabowa? Cool! :
Ovum seems to like loud music and electric guitars, hmmm.
Qujaku, dark, intense, too much.
Toe, math rock, it knits! :
World’s End Girlfriend, the lone young genius type. First album, 15 years old. Devilish energy in the 1st vid, and a cool waltz to finish this page.
Thanks for reading! What did you like here?
(For this last one wait until 5:20 for a cloud of fantastic harmonies)
My daughter told me that she wanted to create “another” Instagram account to post, this time, only good pictures, like according to the ancient laws of this social media, which was: one picture (not many), square, no video, no story.
It is a tool for this page, right? I call it on the spot : “Second One Aside”.
You have a house, a home, but you rent a small apartment downtown, to write. It’s cool, alone, quiet, and in the middle of the city life.
You read a great big book, but you begin a small essay aside, to make the first one last longer, to make a pause, to breathe, to invent the pleasure to go back.
You’re married, but you have a lover or a friend you like to walk with because it’s another body – another brain.
You have a passion, a hobby, but you have another one aside. As a photographer, you paint, for example. The other craft brings you joy, a distraction, but also teaches you other things, it… enhances you.
It’s infinite! Where’d you apply that? Where’s/what’s the “second one aside”, and what could it bring?