TUMBLR

A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...



Sep 12, 2014
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Getting tagged with cool pictures of my books on Instagram never gets old. Makes me wonder why I even bother taking my own photos of them…

(Credit: 1 2 3 4 5 6 )

Sep 11, 2014
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Sep 10, 2014
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Lee Scratch Perry recording in Black Ark Studios

thenearsightedmonkey:

Dear Students,

Lee Scratch Perry putting layers of music together in the Black Ark Studio.  What’s guiding him?

From Wikipedia:

Perry once buried microphones at the base of a palm tree and thumped it rhythmically to produce a mystifying bass drum effect and his drum booth at the Black Ark was for a time surrounded with chicken wire to further his distinctive sound. Many of his songs are layered with a variety of subtle effects created from broken glass, ghastly sighs and screeches, crying babies, falling rain and cow noises. While it was thought to believe that Perry recorded the “mooing” noises from actual cows, it was actually the baritone voice of Watty Burnett through a tin foil laced cardboard tube that produced the cow-like noises. These and other notable recording techniques helped define the Black Ark sound, as well as Lee Perry’s creative legacy.

Perry was known for his eccentric and superstitious behavior during production sessions. He would often “bless” his recording equipment with mystical invocations, blow ganja smoke onto his tapes while recording, bury unprotected tapes in the soil outside of his studio, and surround himself with burning candles and incense, whose wax and dust remnants were allowed to infest his electronic recording equipment. He would also spray tapes with a variety of fluids, including urine, blood and whisky, ostensibly to enhance their spiritual properties. Later commentators have drawn a direct relationship between the decay of Perry’s facility and the unique sounds he was able to create from his studio equipment.

Perry has described his relationship to the studio thus:

“I see the studio must be like a living thing, a life itself. The machine must be live and intelligent. Then I put my mind into the machine and the machine perform reality. Invisible thought waves - you put them into the machine by sending them through the controls and the knobs or you jack it into the jack panel. The jack panel is the brain itself, so you got to patch up the brain and make the brain a living man, that the brain can take what you sending into it and live.

Filed under: recording

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John Cage’s score for “Water Walk”

Watch him perform it and browse the archive of Cage’s manuscripts.

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John Cage performing “Water Walk” on the TV show I’ve Got A Secret in 1960

I consider laughter preferable to tears.

I’m reading a really good book about Cage and Zen Buddhism right now called Where The Heart Beats.

(Source: youtube.com)

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I give this one-star review of my book five stars.

I give this one-star review of my book five stars.

Sep 09, 2014
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Edward Gorey’s covers for Doubleday Anchor Paperbacks

From goreyography.com:

In April 1953, Anchor opened up a new market for paperbacks: the “serious” or academic book. They were the brainchild of twenty-five year old Jason Epstein who convinced Doubleday of the market need for such books in paper editions particularly suited for college use. Epstein’s research so impressed the Doubleday executives that they created such a line and made him editor. The format was the same as the taller mass market size (Signet, Ballantine, etc.), but higher in price: 65¢ to $1.45. Anchor was well received from the start, reaching a mass audience through trade book outlets, campus bookstores and some drugstores. And they had Edward Gorey in charge of the covers.

As art editor, Gorey was responsible for the total cover package, supplying the lettering, typography and design layouts. Often other artist contributed the actual illustration: Leonard Baskin, Milton Glaser, Philippe Julian and even Andy Warhol; but Gorey then designed the finished product lending a uniform appearance to the whole line.

Gorey worked in this capacity from 1953 until 1960, a period which roughly corresponds with Anchor’s first two hundred titles. About a fourth of these have line drawn covers by Gorey. He also designed various covers for Vintage, Capricorn, Compass and other publications that followed Anchor’s lead.

Browse a wonderful set of these covers on Flickr→

Filed under: Edward Gorey

Sep 08, 2014
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3 thoughts on Twitter

1) “My feed (full of people I admire) is mostly just a loud, stupid, sad place… I think I’m following the right people, I’m just seeing the worst side of them while they’re stuck in an inhospitable environment. […] Christopher Alexander made a great diagram, a spectrum of privacy: street to sidewalk to porch to living room to bedroom. I think for many of us Twitter started as the porch—our space, our friends, with the occasional neighborhood passer-by. As the service grew and we gained followers, we slid across the spectrum of privacy into the street.”

2) “I have found that my greatest frustrations with Twitter come not from people who are being nasty — though there are far too many of them — but from people who just misunderstand. They reply questioningly or challengingly to a tweet without reading any of the preceding or succeeding tweets that would give it context, or without reading the post that it links to. They take jokes seriously — Oh Lord do they take jokes seriously. And far too often they don’t take the time to formulate their responses with care and so write tweets that I can’t make sense of at all. And I don’t want to have to deal with all this. I just want to sit here on the porch and have a nice chat with my friends and neighbors.”

3) “Why do we give people such access to us? Why do we read what every random asshole says two seconds after we post anything? We allow people access to us 24/7. We’re always in public, constantly checking an anonymous comment box, trying to explain ourselves to everyone, and trying to win unwinnable arguments with strangers who don’t matter in our lives at all.”

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Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother?

Ken Parille has some really smart observations about this book:


  More than any other graphic novel I’ve read, the book records the process of its own organization; it’s a “metabook,” as Bechdel’s mother calls it. It’s all about patterns, correspondences, similarities that Bechdel obsessively organizes into an archive of (hopefully) meaningful experience (with more telling than showing). […] Are You My Mother? is a material graphic archive, with transcriptions of personal experiences, psychoanalytical reflections, recounted memories of other people, along with excerpts from letters, journals, newspapers, and the writings of Winnicott, Woolf, Adrienne Rich, and others, all rigorously interpolated and neatly organized. It treats life as a kind of research project that, to validate itself, must be perfected, visually and structurally. It’s a fascinating look into a cartoonist’s thought process and a book’s difficult creation…It’s a process memoir, both for Fun Home and Are You My Mother?


The book made me want to read more D.W. Winnicott and Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child.

Filed under: my reading year 2014

Alison Bechdel, Are You My Mother?

Ken Parille has some really smart observations about this book:

More than any other graphic novel I’ve read, the book records the process of its own organization; it’s a “metabook,” as Bechdel’s mother calls it. It’s all about patterns, correspondences, similarities that Bechdel obsessively organizes into an archive of (hopefully) meaningful experience (with more telling than showing). […] Are You My Mother? is a material graphic archive, with transcriptions of personal experiences, psychoanalytical reflections, recounted memories of other people, along with excerpts from letters, journals, newspapers, and the writings of Winnicott, Woolf, Adrienne Rich, and others, all rigorously interpolated and neatly organized. It treats life as a kind of research project that, to validate itself, must be perfected, visually and structurally. It’s a fascinating look into a cartoonist’s thought process and a book’s difficult creation…It’s a process memoir, both for Fun Home and Are You My Mother?

The book made me want to read more D.W. Winnicott and Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child.

Filed under: my reading year 2014

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