12.1.18

Jim Carrey's Mental Health



Jim Carrey's an interesting character. His roles frequently seem to revolve around mental illness. He's the go-to guy for "crazy".

There's: the eccentric "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", the Jekyll and Hyde split personality of "The Mask", the delusional paranoid of "The Truman Show", the amnesiac of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", the Andy Kaufman reconstruction of "Man on the Moon" and the seeming ECT casualty of "Dumb and Dumber" - and that's just the ones I've seen.

I was really intrigued to find this first, slightly disturbing, video which shows him deeply engrossed in conspiracy theories. In the second Carrey reveals he understands acting itself as a pathological activity and character formation as arbitrary.

I like him very much but he's a long-way short of his stated ambition to shed his ego. In the third video it's funny how he skewers the audience at the 2016 Golden Globes and deprecates Hollywood's ambitions - but it's the kind of speech that he could only make in the context of his own splendor. Imagine for a moment that the introductory voice said: "Ladies and Gentlemen - please welcome the has-been Jim Carrey."

8.1.18

Shrigley Frisbee


My children gave this to me for my Christmas Present. I really love it.

Of course I didn't say on receipt: "I'm not actually buying many records these days"; even though that's true. I mean, let's face it, on the back of my behavior for as long as they've known me it's entirely accurate.

I don't think a CD would make a good conceptual art frisbee.

5.1.18

Scott Joplin "Magnetic Rag" Animation


Here's a neat bit of conceptual art for you. I was really fascinated by the fact that Scott Joplin and many other Ragtime composers composed for piano rolls. Let's face it, this is Techno! Especially when you consider that those piano rolls have now been converted into MIDI information by enthusiasts like Walter Trachtman and Robert at Pianola.co.nz.

I remember interviewing Andy from Plaid and him explaining to me how he used an old bit of MIDI to score a (then) new track for an ART compilation which I was writing the linernotes for. I took one of the old Joplin MIDI files, the suitably entitled "Magnetic Rag" a "haunting" rag whose title references hypnotism and the parapsychological, which eerily was the last rag Joplin composed before his death. "Magnetic Rag" makes perfect sense too for a digital rendition and the magnetic environment of hard drives. I loaded it in to the MPC 4000 and chained that to my Yamaha SY99. I recorded the output through an Eventide H9 pedal.

Then I imported the MIDI file itself into After Effects using an almost antique plug-in from the Omino website. It still works extremely well and produced six streams of data (Pitch, Velocity and Duration for the left and right hands). Using a simple expression I hooked these up to some scaling circles.

And because Joplin died in 1917 this is safely in the public domain...phew!

27.12.17

WOEBOT

Last night I had a dream. I was sitting with my father and we were watching a VHS together. We were looking down at the side of a green hill. There was a man, painted head-to-toe in charcoal-black, running around. His movements were in an exaggerated Buster Keaton-style manner. As he jumped up and down, and rolled about, and sprinted hither and thither, I thought: "This is brilliant!" It's weird, funny, and inventive - bonkers! Then I realised that it was me; I was watching a video of myself.

At this point in the video I saw that I started lying down on the hillside, my arms spread wide. And because I was covered in paint I saw that I was leaving figure-shaped marks on the grass. As I moved into another position I made another connecting shape imprinted black on the turf. Suddenly the video looped. Now I was watching the start. This time I was alone watching. There I was, close-up, painting my white face in charcoal-black paint. I pressed my face onto the ground and it left the mark of a large black W. I moved myself around and, printed the letters O, E, B, O, T in a tight circle, a rosary.

25.12.17

Covers


Check this fantastic book. A must-see for any London-based Reggae fan of Psychogeographical bent.

22.12.17

R.D. Laing on Music



Adrian Laing's book about his father is interesting and useful, but at the end of the day a bit of a hatchet job. If you want to get in touch with Laing as he really was this YouTube video is pretty much indispensable. It cuts away a lot of the bullshit and reveals Ronnie plainly as a highly intelligent, empathetic individual.

Yes, if you read "R.D. Laing - A Life" he does come across as a shit parent, a really, really shit parent - but even that doesn't negate him as an individual. Some people aren't cut out for parenthood, it's worse than a shame, it's often a disgrace, but it still doesn't necessarily make them bad people. Of course, some bad parents ARE bad people too...

If there's a highlight here it has to be Laing talking about music. Click above to play the relevant section which I've cued up. It's one of those great, insightful cultural moments in my opinion.  I talked the other day about "the window in the sky" - Laing prefers "a connection with the heart of humanity" - but yes, that's precisely why the woeful among us gravitated to music.

14.12.17

Dr Lloyd's Discs


One of my all-time favourite people Dr Lloyd Berrow, just the most beautiful guy, and a sincere, erudite and passionate music fan, has set up a record store in a van. What a fucking excellent idea!

Check out this great video where you can see Lloyd's Store - running in what looks like very inclement weather. I only wish I had more opportunities to head to Lyon!

And then head over to Mixcloud and hear Lloyd's sweet survey of 2017.