Monday, 25 August 2014
Friday, 7 June 2013
Leslie Clarke makes music by only clicking his fingers. He would play his fingers and sell tapes around Melbourne for a dollar or two and give the money to charity. I bought a tape some years ago and recently stumbled across it in my studio. I found a tape deck and digitised the music while listening to it.
Leslie Clarke — The Man Who Plays Music on His Fingers (sides 1 & 2) [21.7MB .mp3 file]
It's an interesting listen. The tonal range Leslie achieves is incredible and the tunes are easily identifiable. Each track is introduced by Leslie and he opens the tape by introducing himself and explaining his technique. Each song isn't titled explicitly but alluded to like it's a shared story Leslie and the listener have heard with Leslie asking questions about each song and their subjects, often asking the listener if they remember them.
The tape itself is perfectly white and unlabeled. It is housed in a piece of paper folded around the tape with a stamped title on it (above). No artist credit is present.
When looking into the songs I found this video, which Leslie covers on the tape:
I love the lyric 'Kingdoms may come, kingdoms may go, whatever the end may be. Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea.' Nature as perpetual and anthropomorphised.
The only stuff I could find on the web about Leslie was this site from 2006. I emailed the contact listed but haven't received a reply. If anyone finding this has any info on Leslie, please let me know via a comment!
Thursday, 30 May 2013
Here is a mix I made of music from some of my favourite video game soundtracks. This is quite a broad task so I limited myself to tracks that used recorded music rather than music made through sounds synthesised by the game media itself.
Music for Opposable Thumbs [128MB Mediafire link].
Tracklist (game titles are in bold):
Yu Miyake — Lovely Angel [Katamari Damacy]
Akira Yamaoka (credited as Konami Kukeiha Club) — Promise (Reprise) [Silent Hill 2]
Yutaka Minobe — Backbiting [Rule of Rose]
Shunsuke Kida — Maiden Astraea [Demon's Souls]
Tatsuhiko Asano — Bonfire [Doshin the Giant]
Tim Haywood — Trials of the Gad [Shadowman]
Akira Yamaoka — Chouchin Song 2 [Shadows of the Damned]
Tim Follin — Dolphin's Intrigue [Ecco the Dolphin : Defender of the Future]
Masafumi Takada — Island Edge [Killer 7]
Masaya Matsuura — Prince Fleaswallow's RAP [Parappa the Rapper]
Akitaka Tohyama — You are Smart [Katamari Damacy]
Deavid Soul — Up-Set Attack [Jet Set Radio]
Unknown — The Bear's Trials [Tokyo Jungle]
Vocal: King Robo — Katamari Dancing All Night [Katamari Forever/Katamari Tribute]
M.O.O.N. — Crystals [Hotline Miami]
Laugh and Beats — Vib Ribbon Blues [Vib Ribbon]
Masatoshi Moriwaki — The Virgin Child Makes Her Wish Without Feeling Anything [No More Heroes]
COIL — The Legendary Theme (Acoustic Version) [Gitaroo Man]
Ryou Watanabe — The Theme of Girl [Noby Noby Boy]
I chose tracks that are unique, unconventional and predominantly not orchestral as well as being music I enjoy in it's own right. Three tracks are from the Katamari Damacy series of games but I included them due to my deep love for this game and for the fact that hearing the a track from the soundtrack on an .mp3 blog ('You are Smart', included in this mix) was what made me initially decide to buy the game site-unseen from America (the game didn't get an Australian release until it's sort-of sequel, 'We Love Katamari' about 18 months later).
Thursday, 18 April 2013
Ten years ago Elizabeth Boyce, an art school colleague of mine, did a project called Postcards From Before which involved interviewing people about the spaces they lived in and loved. I volunteered to be a part of the project. Liz recently contacted me asking for my current address as she was resolving the project and sending postcards to the participants (here is her blog about it). Mine arrived yesterday.
The first five cards read:
Initially I thought the postcards were unordered fragments of a whole but after leafing through them sequentially I realised they were feeding me a linear story, card by card. These were partially a document of things I had said around 10 years ago and my memory of those times is pretty hazy and a little uncomfortable. Should I continue reading the card's stories in sequence, seeing what these regimented letters conjure up?
I flip through the cards getting a vague sense of what I said and Liz's interpretation. The format of the postcards limits the amount of text on each card and breaks each word at the edges. The text is made up of tiny little dots, some flowing together and others being isolated. They feel like a physical manifestation of memories — patchy, fragmented and full of gaps. The fact that the stories are broken up by the format and physical space of the postcards enhances this — individually each moment is vague and abstract, like those seemingly arbitrary moments that you end up unintentionally memorising that appear completely context free and seem to pop into your head almost of their own accord.
These words are knitted together with such care but gaps still remain like the inevitable incompleteness of memory. No document of memory is every truly accurate and complete. The postcards show that the gaps could potentially make imemories even more beautiful and interesting.
I'm staggered by the altruism in these postcards. The idea that someone would take your ramblings and painstakingly spell them out by hand over 50-odd postcards and then give them to you is incredible — a single one would have been an absolute gift on it's own. I had to make doubly sure that they were bespoke and not reproductions as I'm so accustomed to stuff (especially text) being generated by machine.
I chose some cards to scan and decide not to keep them in sequence to further emulate what I imagine is my version of today's memory. I think I'll send some of them on to other people in a similarly altruistic act as Liz has done and further fragment and share these components of a perpetually incomplete memory.
EDIT: Here is Liz's post talking about my cards and responding to this post.