What else is there?

 

What Else Is There?
Röyksopp
It was me on that road
But you couldn’t see me
Too many lights out, but nowhere near here
It was me on that road
Still you couldn’t see me
And then flashlights and explosions
Roads end getting nearer
We cover distance but not together
I am the storm and I am the wonder
And the flashlights, nightmares
And sudden explosions
I don’t know what more to ask for
I was given just one wish
It’s about you and the sun
A morning run
The story of my maker
What I have and what I ache for
I’ve got a golden ear
I cut and I spear
What else is there?
Roads end getting nearer
We cover distance still not together
If I am the storm, if I am the wonder
Will I have flashlights, nightmares
And sudden explosions
There’s no room where I can go and
You’ve got secrets too
I don’t know what more to ask for
I was given just one wish

Digitalism’s Blitz & Vitalic’s Scholar Inebriation : Dance now!

Dance, today. Listen to this loud.

I wrote recently about Artificial Powerlessness. It’s when you can do better, but you don’t. You’re lazy and knacky, good to you.

But, hell, sometimes it works!!

Digitalism used here a few little tricks.

  1. The contrast between a nosy phony sound and a clear dancy rhythm (it’s at 0’30”, BAM).
  2. Listen to the bass : they do the “James Bond” John Barry trick (three halftones played in a row). It’s a little harmonic danger that Röyksopp uses all the time.
  3. At 1’23” then shup the beat off, rebuilding it until 1’58” (it’s an old knack, oui?).

 

They get more than 2 millions views thanks to a few simple ideas. Bravo!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Vitalic and their extatic bended harmonies (pardon my French) :

 

The scholar drunkenness of this :

 

 

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Beautiful day without you (ah) : Chronicle 25

 

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People buy books to prepare their travel.

There are books to prepare your travel into Arts. As a bookseller, I order and present piles of them. Not for the experts, who already have their own maps, for beginners.

I love this series of books. 1001 paintings you have to see in your life (“you must see before you die”, you say in America). You probably don’t “have to”, though! They do it for architecture, pop music, classical music or movies. Or beers, or whiskies.

They are mapbooks, they present windows and paths. What will you explore FROM there?

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There’s something to look at in the idea of laughing. Laughing is good, right? But when you think about it, there are many unpleasant ones. Coarse. Vulgar. Mean. Sarcastic. False. Crazy. Sniggers. And well, you die of laughing…

You have some laughs in you, who are sleeping.

 

I took this picture in 2004 in the park next to…

 

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Röyksopp’s lyrics :

Living on my guard (guarded)
Wind is on my neck (fateless)
Sun is on my face (have courage)
Beautiful day without you (ah)

I wonder about someone who have to say “Beautiful day without you”. Is it a lie? A way to be mean? A tearful saying, like “Ah, hell, of course not, how could it be?”. A Coué incantation (I say it I say it I say it, it’ll maybe become true)?

It’s a great song, though. This science of weaving!

 

I have a theory.

Have in your house something you dislike. If you hate whisky, have a bottle. Sauerkraut (c’est de la choucroute !) is too bitter tasting? Have a box in your closet. Chinese tea maybe?

My theory is that when you life is sad, boring and bitter, don’t fill you up with sugar. It makes you fat, and it does NOT work.

Have something bitter. Make a link. Quietly, discreetly create an harmony, a balance between your state and your stomach. It will create a match, your bitterness will sit on its ass, shupping off into a “OK Well, Fuck”.

Chinese tea is awful. Smoked. Gunpowder feeling. Terrible. Try it.

 

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More and more people replace crosswords by sudoku (where are the sparkles?). Kids are now evaluated with numbers (but how do you say about instability or shyness, then?). Jünger says that when numbers come, Gods retreat. A beautiful metaphor?

 

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Why are disappointed people interesting?

  • A disenchanted was enchanted, before, right? How come?
  • He wants to warn others. Or not. Why?
  • Failure leads to choices, lead to more failure (most of the time?).
  • How do you ride back on your horse?
  • What does he have to understand? To accept?
  • Did he expect too much?
  • Insisting. Waiting. Letting go.
  • Before disillusion, he’s a happy imbecile. What do you say to him?
  • “This time, it will work”.

 

 

What is this moment : “To become aware of” ?

 

Thanks for reading!

9hz

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Life is fucking short. Let’s dance.

 

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iPod’s Wheel Speed Dating & the Continuous Musical Invention

ONE

For a while, in order to discover musics, I was doing this : downloading archives like “100 Best Indie Tracks – June 2015”, stuffing these into my small iPod, and then, as I was walking along in the city, I was playing with the iPod wheel, wandering in random mode.

It’s awful for all these groups, I KNOW, but it is what it is : I listen to the intro, a few seconds. If I’m pleased, I go on. Then the song begins. If I’m pleased, I go on. Then the singer, then the chorus, etc.

It’s really like “music speed dating”. It’s wrong, I know.

I’m old enough and skilled enough to sort tracks like that, very quickly. Then I used the 1-5 stars system of the iPod like :

  • 1 star – trash
  • 2 stars – should relisten
  • 3 stars – not bad/I keep it
  • 4 stars – good/interesting
  • 5 stars – I love it!/masterpiece

TWO

If you think about pop-rock music, if you begin to analyze,  you can hopscotch with your brain and the “idea of pleasure”. What do you love in this track?

Energy? Lyrics? Sound? The guitar solo? Singer’s voice? Production? These are musician’s choices elements and how they are mixed together.

Makes you think about someone? A period of your life? Makes you feel you’re part of a community? These are other elements, right?…

One of the pleasures of pop music is the game with time. Listening to a music piece is “following it along its continuity”.

Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break or solo, verse, chorus, outro…

When you know the music already, there’s a pleasure in… knowing what’s going after : you can sing along, right? You wait for the pleasure which will come (ahhh this chorus is so good, move your shoulders, transform your hands in butterflies…).

THREE

I’m back with my iPod. The music begins. If I don’t like the beginning (sometimes I need 5 seconds to know it, but sometimes it’s more like a minute), I turn the wheel. I go from 0’15” to 1’20” – just to see how it will evolve, as you can guess…

Most of the time, my instinct was right : if the first verse is bad (music, singer, harmony, sound, whatever), it STAYS bad, and I see almost no difference between 0’15, 1’20” and 2’45”. This is how pop music is made, 98% of the time.

There’s pleasure in repetition, in “it comes back”.

The chorus idea is like the proof of it. A good chorus (or a great gimmick), and people sing, and you got a hit, Johnny!

FOUR

What I like the most, with my little wheel, is when I hear the beginning or a track, then I go to 1’10” and I hear something else, then I go to 2’20” and I hear again something else. Woah! Invention!

Most groups of the Progressive Music era worked like that : Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, King Crimson. They liked to invent structures similar to Classical Music

And well, yes, Classical Music has this “pleasure in repetition of themes”, but it’s much more complex, of course. A theme coming back is more like an event in a ocean of… :

Continuous Invention

In Pop-Rock, it’s VERY rare. Some groups are crazy enough to build a 5 minutes tracks like Pink Floyd did with 30 minutes.

  • Instead of : Intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break or solo, verse, chorus, outro
  • They do : Intro, verse, break, surprise, chorus, another music, double break, altered chorus, intro to triple variation, piano reprise, Irish drum arrival, guitar, false outro, reweaving of some previous with other instruments, choir silliness, new chorus, samples, etc etc…

Continuous Invention : you invent all along, continuously, surprising the audience with pleasant unexpectations.

Names I have in mind (for some tracks, not all of them) : Röyksopp. MGMT. St Vincent.

FIVE

In what discipline you could apply this tool of “Continuous Invention” instead of “Pleasant Structural Pattern Repetition”? Poetry? Mmmmhhh… Marketing?

What about the contrary? If most movies are based on “stories” – continuous invention – some of them are based on variations around a small story : Rashomon, or Run Lola Run. There’s a pleasure here, in viewing three or more times the same stories, viewed with another point of view…

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Run_Lola_Run
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Craftily Blurred Elements in Music Part II : Blonde Redhead ‘s #baking

In the Part I, I talked about how Röyksopp used tight weaving, hiding musical elements to create some complex, blurry ways to delight the audience.

Blonde Redhead is an alternative rock-band from New York City. It’s totally different than Röyksopp but they have a trait in common. Their way to use the production, the sound, often “complex and blurry”, drowned in reverb.

It’s often an awful low-level cunning trick, used by thousands of lazy groups playing the female-singer-whispering-melancholy-in-reverberation. But Blonde Redhead are masters, and they use it craftily, losing you in bliss, because it’s rich, complex, and harmonically inventive. You just HAVE TO prick up your ears!

Let’s go. Gimme some sound, dear. Thanks.

SW opens like in a WALL of throbbing grey bass, a droning cloud where you can not distinguish what’s happening. Echoes, piano, weaved guitars, bass, maybe? It’s blurry and complex. The instrumental break is a double-line melody surrounded by a bumpjumping piano (do you hear it?). They are aware of it and they play with that : some words appear sometimes more clearly out of the reverb (“it’s not what it seems”), as is they were coming close to you for a second. It’s like painting! The end is a disintegration, an über-reverberated coil of sounds in a golden space. Listen to the bass work, here… Next to this, even The Cure would lose their bearings (or eggs)! C’est beau, non ?

SW

 

Silently begins more normally – though you can try (and fail) to separate the elements of music. Behind the clear things (the voice, a bass, the percs), it’s a decor of veils, passing things and overdriven clouds.

Silently

 

The structure I see (or I decide to find) in Blonde Redhead, in Röyksopp, it the same

Tool :

The talent to build something rich and complex, but you don’t BOAST.

Put the surprises and the magic INTO the pastry. Hide them carefully.

Force the audience to listen, to taste, to find where all this pleasure comes from.

To me, it’s high level baking, nothing else.

Thanks for reading!

#alexandreségé #gravure #eugènefroment

 

Craftily Blurred Elements in Music Part I : Röyksopp’s science in use

Music and Songs are interesting to analyse, you can focus on many things : arrangements, melodies, lyrics, production, clip, comparing, etc…

For this article, you need headphones.

First you have to listen to : Paul Kalkbrenner – Boxig Leise. I really love that piece. The toxic pleasure comes from the extra-note, a sharp annoying one which constantly bend your brain. Listen to the sound now : despite its “perpetually changing” production values, it’s very SIMPLE. Based on like 3 chords and “moving cursors” (percs, etc).

It’s simple, effective, it’s a spoon of music. Lemonade.

Now push up the sound, dear, and listen to Röyksopp – Tricky Two. And bim : the differences jump to your face. The melodies weaving is MUCH more complex, it’s a very scientific construction of dozens, really dozens of sounds. It’s a festival, a quiet mastered rollercoaster of ideas.

(One good test you can do with Röyksopp is this : move the cursor randomly on the YouTube movie – each time you’ll get something else).

What I would like you to “watch” here, though, it’s the way they weave micro-melodies. You have to listen carefully, with headphones, and literally WATCH how the music is built. You’ll discover like STAIRS of arrangements. And what do they do ?

They weave. Most of the melodies are not “apparent and clear” like in these musics. They are like MELT in the fabric, in the flow. I don’t have an example to show you her : it’s CONSTANT.

Play this game with the extraordinaire Keyboard Milk. As many ideas in seven minutes than in seven electro albums of the average DJ Machin-Chose. And hidden, blurry, floating, fragmented, cut, unfinished melodies. Bass, strings, chords, sparklings, angelings, strangled, dusty sounds.

It’s not simple, it’s complexity craftily used. It’s rich. It’s not a spoon, it’s a caldron. It’s not Coca Cola, it’s a Saint-Emilion wine !

You can do that with every track of this group. I mean (almost) : really.

This is why I barely NEVER heard a good remix of Röyksopp. You know why ? The other guys have no idea of what to do with this complexity. So they pick a few elements, they put this bag in loop and lazily boost some elements or play with cursors. They never “play” with the harmonic joy, for example : too complicated !

Tool, Dial, Lever : Simple or Complex ? Lemonade or Bordeaux wine ? Where’s your mental camp ?

Tool : What’s the difference, in music, about “I have a melody here it is, clear and loud” (like everything I hear around), and the idea of weaving/hiding it in the flow ? The difference is : in the second case, the listener has to pay attention. What will you do with that ? How does it work with other concepts ? In drawing, architecture, painting, filming… baking ?

Thanks for reading !

#royksopp #extasy

Enregistrer

Enregistrer

“Without Music Life would be a Mistake” ? Nope…

“Without Music Life would be a Mistake”

You can find this quote from Nietzsche on all kinds of tee-shirts.

In fact, you can replace “Music” with some other pleasant words, like “Wine”, or “Love”, or “Philosophy”, “Fashion”, who cares ? Is it an order, some kind of pressure ?

Of course, without music life would not be a mistake AT ALL.

The Persuaders

If you suddenly take seriously how music is important to people, you’ll be SO surprised that you will be floored. I use this “floored” expression because I’m french and I LOVE it. Floored, you on the floor, voilà pour vous.

I asked about the opera, one day. One loves opera because of the magic of the place. Some because of the archetypal terrible stories. For some others, it’s the performance of the singers (ahhhh the “high notes” !). Some guys are in love with one voice only (Callas !). Some guys love only one composer (Wagner, or for me : Puccini). Many love opera and only opera. You can find fools who love to collect all versions of the same thing. Etc.

Elephant Woman

You should and you have to think about it when you want to SHARE a music. You give YouTube links to your lover and most all the time you’ll be surprised. She doesn’t care. What moves you does nothing to the others.

Personaly I love risky modulations (I love Mike Oldfield, John Barry, Progressive Rock and Royksopp, and Puccini, and Prokofiev for this reason). I love to analyse production (Floors of sound in Depeche Mode Violator, different veils in Brian Eno’s work). I love crescendos. I love when the magic is hidden in a mist (Royksopp, Blonde Redhead). I love David Sylvian’s voice. OK I stop here. What about YOU ?

Brilliant Trees

Some like an era (the sixties !), a style (new wave !), an energy (dance !), an attitude (punk !), a flow (rap !), productors (Trevor Horn ?), a sound, a label (4AD), a social field (gothic culture), a movement (house), a nostalgy (“I listened to The Police when she kissed me !”), the singer (Arctic Monkeys oh he’s so cute)…

Tools :

Oh, just this : It’s always more complicated.

Do not think that you have a human typology in mind. You’re wrong.

(and fuck Nietzsche on this quote)

https://youtu.be/cFig-OiIwDo

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