- That New Yorker story about the AD&D gaming group… what? Yes, really, and it’s pretty good, too. (Thanks for the link, was it Ben?)
- Some MP3s narrated by Miette: Alfred Jarry’s “The Passion Considered as an Uphill Bicycle Race” and the story it inspired, JG Ballard’s “The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race.”
- Okay, this is just a book review, but I loved this book, and have had it in my mind often lately, for reasons obvious to those who are in the know, but which those who don’t know might guess wrongly about.
- Things in 1957 were different for English-teachers in Korea… yet, so many eerie echoes of the present popped up for me in that article…
- Big change in beer laws in Korea.
- Okay, this amused me.
- This page, hosted by the MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub, has some information about Fukushima.
- There are some really unfortunate graphics about the reactors here. Makes one (wrongly, I hope) think nuclear engineers have only one thing on their minds.
- A site presenting daily measurements of radiation in Korea and Japan; of late Sokcho is unfortunately somewhat high, though (thank goodness) most of the country is roughly close to where it was a week ago.
- Since I’ve been looking into piano rolls today, I’ve been reminded of how interesting Conlon Nancarrow was.The way one of my professors put it, “He married a rich Japanese lady in Mexico City, and so he was able to spend all his time working on music when he wished; but he had few connections with musicians, and so composed most of his work for player pianos.” I don’t know how much of that is a fair representation (the Japanese archaeologist was his third wife, but I see no mention of her being wealthy online, and I don’t know whether he composed for player pianos out of necessity or preference) but one thing is for sure: the man had some interesting ideas about tempo and composition, and he didn’t just write music that was played on player pianos: he composed for the instrument specifically–treating the mechanisms in the player piano as a nonhuman performer whose particular strengths could be exploited in particularly interesting ways. There’s stuff he composed that I doubt any human could actually play, which, of course, is why he came to mind (as I’m trying to think of what player piano music would sound like if composed by posthuman, pseudo-Victorian-era, weird AIbots). Not only that, I heard wild claims that some of the compositions had never actually been notated in sheet music form–instead, being directly punched into the paper. I don’t know how realistic that is, but I suppose it’s possible. Or maybe Nancarrow recorded rolls at a very slow speed, and “overdubbed” multiple lines… I doubt he punched the piano rolls extemporaneously, though he did, we know, hand-punch them.) Anyway, check out Study #21, which is a canon, by the way, and basically insane (in a good way):
- Also, George Crumb has been on my mind today (Interview | Listen to his music). He is well-known for producing achingly beautiful, if dark, music, but also very graphically unique, evocative, and beautiful scores. There’s a bunch of images online, but this may whet your appetite for more. I believe it’s a movement titled “Spiral Galaxy”:
- I’d love to drop by this museum of mechanical music, someday.
- Marvels of Mechanical Music, a documentary which seems to be, in whole, available on Youtube. I’ve yet to watch the first part, but it’s interesting so far.