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Week one

January 5, 2012

As I’m starting off this blog properly for the first time, here’s an explanation of what I’m doing with it – weekly compilations of interesting texts/films/music/art/thoughts I’ve had in the preceding week. Posts will come at some point across a weekend, usually. Don’t forget to scroll down to read the big ol’ Dadasophers post I made yesterday too, as it’s probably much more interesting than this, and I’ve got more personal investment in the subject matter.

TEXT

Jacques Lacan’s writing on Poe’s Purloined Letter.

http://www.lacan.com/purloined.htm

I studied this story at A-level. We definitely didn’t wander into Lacan’s territory.

Roland Barthes’ Pleasure of the Text

http://www.scribd.com/doc/40288149/Barthes-Roland-The-Pleasure-of-the-Text#fullscreen:on

This is word porn. I literally love Barthes’ mind, how he sees and analyses the world, and the way in which he  articulates his thoughts.

Reading Blonsky’s ‘On Signs’. You can read most/all of  it here for free too, thanks to Google.

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=DRd1DZ-5MX0C&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

It’s full of pretentious people wrting pretentiously  about semiotics, so it makes me happy.  I had intended to read Hegel’s ‘Phenemonology of  Spirit’ for the past coupla weeks, but I got distracted  after the introduction. Must delve back into that  again.

Robin Collingwood was an interesting thinker:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/collingwood/

History and philosophy, innit.

FILM

Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher

As a portrayal of kink in a popular medium, I thought  this was pretty damn awesome. I love Haneke as a director anyway, but I thought he handled this one  particularly well – well-made film with good pacing and  storyline, albeit with typical ‘extreme’ Haneke   characters. A shit-ton better than the over-rated  ”Secretary’ film. For some reason on New Years Eve, at a party, a load of us were conversing about kink, and someone mentioned how to reconcile such acts with a  generally anarchist belief system of anti-kyriarchy,  and I nerded up the conversation by using Hegel’s   ‘Lordship and Bondage‘ (master-slave dialectic) to  purport that the slave is always on top. I think Sartre  classed all human relationships as sadomasochistic  anyway, so I figure BDSM issues are probably relevant to all, however interested in that sorta thing they are  or not. I should probably get around to reading  Deleuze’s writings on such thing properly at some  point.

Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Heath Ledger died part-way through filming (very sadly), and his character is continued by being played by 3 other actors – Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Colin Farrell – however, due to my absolutely atrocious facial recognition skills – they pretty much all looked the same to me. I really wish I could become familiar with faces quicker so I could differentiate easier, it’s really fucking irritating :D. It’s like the time I was was watching a film with housemates starring De Niro – who kept changing appearance due to flashbacks (ie. different clothes/hair/make-up), and to me he was literally unrecognisable all the time – so I flipped open my laptop and did an internet facial recognition test (and ultimately did terribly, obviously) – http://www.faceblind.org/facetests/ff/ff_intro.php – and my housemate looked over my shoulder and saw me click that I didn’t recognise De Niro’s face in the test, even though I’d just spent an hour looking at it on TV 😀

MUSIC

Music! Oh, oh!  Anyway, as anyone reading this probably knows, I  document new musical discoveries on my RYM, here –   http://rateyourmusic.com/~richeym – sometimes with  added little comments/reviews, but mostly in the form  of star-ratings out of 5, which is a fairly arbitrary   and geeky way to digest music, but, eh, I find it  useful and fun. Been mostly exploring avant-classical  stuff; no new artists (to me), just works I ain’t heard  before. Particularly interesting have been:

Horațiu Rădulescu’s _Inner Time II, for seven B-flat  clarinets (Angster, clarinet system)_  – which genuinely made me fear I was going to get   tinnitus from listening to it, as the first half hour  of the piece made my ear-drum vibrate a lot and make  weird noises inside my head. I imagine being at the   performance of this woulda been hella intense – the   clarinetists encircled the audience and blasted them  with this high-frequency spectral torture.  Awesome.

Kinothek Percussion Ensemble – _Industry!_ This was quite disappointing – I’m quite a fan of the  Futurist manifesto of The Art of Noises –   http://www.unknown.nu/futurism/noises.html – I’ve even  written an anti-choir composition based on it to be  performed by around two-dozen voices (Juxtavoices), heh. And so here  we have Russolo’s ideas put into effect with the noises  of the machine orchestra. Pretty well-made and  composed, but not as exciting (nor abrasive) as I’d  hoped, and it feels somewhat underdeveloped and  repetitive in places. Underwhelming, long, and a tad   dull – but still fairly cool due to the source of the   sonic palate – worth hearing a few tracks, for sure.

Karlheinz Stockhausen – Klavierstück I-XI [Kontarsky] – I’m not going to add anything more than this link that  you can click on and read about how these pieces were   ‘composed’: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klavierst%C3%BCcke_%28Stockhausen%29

Per Norgård – Expanding Space Vol 1 Vol. 2 – Norgard’s forays into electro-acoustics dark ambient,   but still utilising his atonal serialist and infinity  series composition style. Fascinating. I love Norgard’s Infinity Series anyway – I love how he creates such emotively powerful sounds out of what is a very mechanised mathematical foundation: http://pernoergaard.dk/eng/strukturer/uendelig/uindhold.html and http://unsungsymphonies.blogspot.com/2010/08/master-of-infinite-series-nrgards.html

IMAGE

Not really been perusing much art this week. See the Occursus blog for some cool Upperthorpe photos though in conjunction with the project.

THOUGHTS

I’ll write some interesting thoughts next time.

According to my RateYourMusic account, last year I rated just over 1000 releases that I was hearing for the first time in 2011. That’s almost 3 new releases, on average, per day, plus all the listens to all the music that I’ve already heard/rated in the past. Shit, that’s a lot of music.

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