Sunday, 3 September 2023

diskลพokej (10. 980)

Courtesy of Fancy Notions, we are directed to Czecho-slovakian animator Jiล™รญ Barta’s 1981 short Disc Jockey, that documents the day in the life of a DJ with a day-job in a world dominated by circles (as opposed to rectangles) where their beats evoke the mechanisms of the gears of the daily grind—as consolation in kind for music fests missed due to the climate catastrophe. Specialising in stop-motion techniques, Barta created an adaptation of the Pied Piper fable whilst working in the studio of Jiล™รญ Trnka and later became a member of the teaching faculty at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen in addition to continuing to produce projects in film and theatre.


one year ago: a visit to the Saalfeld Fairy Grottos

two years ago: Gumbasia (1955), The Quadripartite Agreement renewed over a divided Berlin (1971), attempts to discredit the Pentagon Papers leak, more mushroom mania plus Ukraine at Thirty

three years ago: pioneering journalist Marguerite Higgins Hall,  a peaceful transition of power in question in the US plus assorted links to revisit

four years ago: a diplomatic gaffe in Iceland, la Maison du Gouffre plus the founding of San Marino

five years ago: right wing activity in Germany plus more links to check out

Monday, 21 August 2023

i can listen to you—it keeps me stable for nights (10. 956)

Courtesy of our faithful chronicler, we learn that the foundational New Wave track by Gary Numan, launching his career as a solo artist after disbanding Tubeway Army, the lead single from his debut album, The Pleasure Principle, was released on this day in 1979. Although genre-defining first and foremost, the song is a bit transcend and bigger than its era—particularly in the postamble with rather epic harmonisation of a second synthesiser, a Minimoog and a Polymoog. The lyrics were inspired by an escalated road rage incident that Numan escaped by driving over the kerb and on to the sidewalk, the autonomy and splendid isolation responsible for both inciting and diffusing situations like this. In cars.


one year ago: medieval chess gaming conventions, assorted links to revisit plus the third album from Oasis (1997)

two years ago: visiting all the rudest toponyms in the UK plus The Baltics are Waking Up! (1991)

three years ago: only one saint per jurisdiction, please (1970), Comrade Gulliver, the history of paper ballots, the Hundred-Horse Chestnut Tree protected (1745) plus vintage Japanese meal wrappers

four years ago: GAP founded (1969), more links to enjoy plus face-swapping for 2001

five years ago: medieval alewives, a gigantic inner-bellum seaplane plus real-time tube maps

Wednesday, 9 August 2023

it’s all too beautiful (10. 932)

Peaking at number three after entering the UK singles charts on this day in 1967, bested by Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco” (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) and The Beatles’ “All You Need is Love,” The Small Faces’ “Itchycoo Park” was among the first songs to use the technique called flanging that can be heard in the post-refrain bridges—the swooshing audio effect is produced by mixing two identical signals one with a delay of a few milliseconds that resolves in harmonisation. Classed as psychedelic-pop, the identity of the titular park has been subject to debate, proposals ranging from Manor Park or Wansteads Flats in East London to Little Ilford or Valentine’s Park in Charring Cross—regardless of the location, so nicknamed for the preponderance of stinging nettles. Regarded as “refreshing” and inspired with their other hits “All or Nothing,” “Lazy Sunday” and “Tin Soldier,” The Small Faces’ classic had a 1995 techno version released by M People.


one year ago: a 1970 promotional short from Bell Labs plus an artist homage to cinematic classics

two years ago: assorted links to revisit plus the 1975 Song of the Summer

three years ago: science lost to aggressive formatting, an anthology of Tarot cards, more links to revisit plus St Edith Stein

four years ago: a short by Ishu Patel,  Nixon tenders his resignation (1974), Solomon’s Paradox plus more US gun-violence

five years ago: the bombing of Nagasaki (1945), bokeh plus a search-and-rescue robot

Friday, 28 July 2023

7x7 (10. 912)

barbieworld: a survey of a thousand advertisements contextualises the box-office phenomenon—see also 

gigo: a fundamental law of computing will ultimately thwart digital dictatorships  

lake berryessa: Dorothea Lange (previously) documented the flooding of a Napa Valley community in the 1950s—via Strange Company 

chamber music: a poorly received Baroque Beatles Book from 1965

i want to do whatever common people people do: a new genre was born in the sixteenth century when Pieter Bruegel began specialising in peasants, merchants and mongers  

word vectors: a bit of demystifying for Large Language Models—via Waxy 

 a census-designated place: explore Oppenheimer’s secret city of Los Alamos

Thursday, 29 June 2023

captain planet, arab spring, la riots, rodney king (10. 844)

Quite a meaningful reflection at the time though the artist—vis-a-vis “57 Channels and Nothing’s Ondidn’t think much of its composition at the time other than a realisation of turning forty, Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” which covered a litany of events of note and circumstance from 1949 to 1989 has been remade to highlight anachronistically (to preserve the rhyme scheme) moments from 1989 on. What else do I have to say? While perhaps speaking to later generations who have also lived through a lot, this version from Fall Out Boy is a bit infuriating. What do you think? Oklahoma City bomb, Kurt Cobain, Pokรฉmon, Crimean Peninsula, Cambridge Anaylica, Kim Jong Un.

Tuesday, 20 June 2023

stars on 45 (10. 821)

On this day in 1981, a medley of Beatles songs reinterpreted as disco topped the US singles charts, launching an onslaught of similar remixes, including for the Beach Boys, The Carpenters, Stevie Wonder, the Andrews Sisters and various punk compilations.

The concept originated when the sessions band cum novelty pop group had visited a record store and heard what was expected to be a cacophonous playlist but realised that the rhythms complemented each other. The long-play album, “Let’s Do It In the 80s Greatest Hits” was regarded as a bootleg release at first since the band had not secured permission from the original artist or recording labels. The US title (the longest at forty-one words to reach number one) was “Intro Venus/Sugar Sugar/No Reply/I’ll Be Back/Drive My Car/Do You Want to Know a Secret/We Can Work It Out/I Should Have Known Better/You’re Going to Lose That Girl/Stars on 45” as the artists insisted that the cover tracks‘ names be included. Stars on 54 produced the soundtrack for the 1988 film about the New York City nightclub, including the dance version of Gordon Lightfoot’s “If You Could Read My Mind.”


one year ago: the second Glastonbury Festival (1972) plus more on the formulaic nature of streaming shows  

two years ago: Germany decides to move the capital to Berlin (1991), wandering like a cloud, the Rosemary Stretch (1972), Nazi rocketry plus some good sportsmanship (1932)

three years ago: North Korean character coding, Cher performs all the parts for West Side Story (1978) plus the premiere of Jaws (1975)

Thursday, 15 June 2023

9x9 (10. 808)

seo arms race: ploys for attention bifurcate the internet marketplace—one for humans and the other for robots 

please have your boarding pass and identification ready: an appreciation of departure soundtracks of airliners—via Things Magazine 

musical tangents: a genius, deranged mashup compilation—via Waxy 

dynasty x: the world’s first curated, public museum established by Babylonian Princess and High Priestess Ennigaldi-Nanna, rediscovered in 1925, had a collection of artefacts as far removed from its time as Ur was from ours 

literal lexical calques: a new Spanish-English dialect emerges in southern Florida 

nada: car dealer trade group writing state legislation prohibiting factory sales, requiring manufacturers to work with middlemen—more here  

convergent evolution: Nature keeps making crabs and scientists aren’t sure why—via Kottke  

phrygian mode: Ancient Roman popular music  

unfulfilled: Amazon’s predatory cycle is transforming the EU into a planned economy

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

8x8 (10. 747)

me and coolio down by the school yard: a treasury of DJ Cummbund’s mash-ups—see previously  

pedestrianised zone: Tokyo, the largest city in the world, achieved at level of automobile usage almost without compare to all other urban areas—via Kottke 

oo-de-lally: Disney’s Robin Hood at fifty—via Waxy  

was involved in a quid pro crow: during an interview, a politician introduces an interesting error  

sentence grimes: tag yourself in the unimpeachable list of seventh- and eighteenth century Quaker names—see also—Experience Cuppage is also very good 

contes de ma mรจre l’oye: fabulist, architect and meteorologist, the passions of the Brothers Perrault informed the modern age  

conservancy: the gradient of corporate and public, historic interest for digital preservation and possible solutions—see previously 

soda stereo: an appreciation of the Argentine musical sensation, four decades on

Sunday, 5 February 2023

9x9 (10. 527)

famous one hundred twenty-three metre spire of salisbury cathedral: Polish coast guard rescues divers near critical infrastructure who were searching for amber 

macroagression: some GOP members in the US congress have switched their American flag lapels for tiny assault rifles—see also  

backbox: watch composer and sound designer Suzanne Ciani, Diva of the Diode, create a soundscape for a pinball game  

donks: a new animated short from Felix Colgrave explores lost cargo, avatars and adaptive bottom feeders  

mastodon flock: find your following—via Waxy  

cel-ray: a peppery, celery soda that one can still find for sale  

rosetta stone: two trilingual ancient clay tablets rediscovered help scholars decipher a lost Canaanite script  

brought down by the left-wing economic establishment: Liz Truss attempts to revive her political career with a long screed in the Sunday Telegraph  

sรฆstrengur: Iceland developing contingency plans in case the undersea cables connecting it to the rest of the world are severed

Saturday, 7 January 2023

๐ŸŽผ (10. 393)

Via Waxy and Things Magazine, we are introduced to an ingenious bit of coding, a sleek JavaScript application programming interface, a complier under twenty kilobytes for making generative remixes—like this stand-out reimagining of Jean-Michel Jarre’s 1976 Oxygรจne, Part IV, inspired by the track “Popcorn” by electronic composer Gershon Kingsley. Give it a spin yourself or browse the extensive catalogue of contributors.

Saturday, 5 November 2022

the commodordion (10. 273)

Fellow Internet Caretaker Miss Cellania directs us to the latest project by Linus ร…kesson (see previously here and here) with eight-bit modified accordion made with two Commodore 64s and a bellows made out of floppy disks. We suspect that ร…kesson’s next ingenious instrument will be C64 bagpipes after this exercise and master-class. More at the links above.

Thursday, 3 November 2022

7x7 (10. 269)

memorymoog: Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo shares his synthesizer collection  

erry & merry: the portfolio illustrator Walter Schnackenberg whose subject and style was informed by Toulouse-Lautec’s Parisian cabarets 

unalloyed: scientists discover a way to synthesise a cosmic compound that may be a cheap and abundant substitute for rare earth elements  

star-bellied sneech: verification for sale 

astronomicum caesareum: an exploration of an intricate, antique tome commissioned to prognosticate one’s destiny  

waverly abbey: an ancient yew in Surrey is accorded the UK Tree of the Year title  

ondioline: a demonstration of this precursor to the synthesizer from Jean-Jacques Perry—via Pasa Bon!

Tuesday, 13 September 2022

fiftyshapes ltd (10. 130)

Incorporated on this day in 1967, the Beatles’ Apple Electronics venture was headed by a television repair technician named Yannis Alexis Madras, whom had been discovered by John Lennon two years prior after seeing a selection of his Nothing Boxes (plastic housing with blinking lights) at a London Gallery. Given the moniker “Magic Alex,” he reputedly pitched a series of increasingly fantastical (but ones we’d like to see) inventions including a seventy-two track tape machine, an air-buffer to prevent car accidents, replacing Ringo’s drums with a sonic force field, a wallpaper sound-system, invisibility paint and an artificial sun—none of which unfortunately materialised. 

Later that same year, Madras tried to help broker a deal for the band to purchase a Greek island but that deal fell through as well. Though the majority of Madras’ inventions were dismissed as impossible (perhaps rather inexplicably, he was nonetheless entrusted him with the design of their new recording studio once they left Abbey Road), one of his proposals for a scrambling device that would prevent fans from recording their songs from the radio was better received. Parting ways in 1969—ostensibly jealous over the influence that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had over Lennon after they were all in India together, Madras took up a career in security and anti-terrorism, offering custom bullet-proof vehicles, bug-detectors, etc—his clients primarily exiled heads-of-state living in London, Crown Prince Juan Carlos, the Shah of Iran and fellow countryman Constantine II.

Monday, 5 September 2022

7x7 (10. 110)

ch-ch-ch-chia: University of Virginia research team 3D prints living walls and roofs  

the road to rhรปn: more interactive LOTR maps to explore—see previously  

defenestration: accident-prone energy executives  

doctor doolittle: translating non-human animal vocalisations into language with artificial intelligence 

the hunt for the golden walnut brain of ronald reagan: an adventure from John Hoare (previously)—via Things Magazine  

lady woman: a sample track from Boris Midney’s reimagining of 1979 “Evita” as a disco opera 

reefer madness: researchers make an advance in the race to save Caribbean coral, whose health also affects hurricane intensity

Thursday, 18 August 2022

๐Ÿฟ (10, 071)

Via Waxy, we learn that chindลgu engineer and friend Simone Giertz has created a music box that produces its melodies from popping bubble-wrap, configured specifically to play the Moog-standard “Popcorn” by the group Hot Butter. The dedication to the project and process is admirable and quite ingenious.

Wednesday, 17 August 2022

i let the music speak (10. 067)

Released as a record album at the end of November 1981 and the groups last studio album for four decades until their 2021 reunion, ABBA’s The Visitors was among the first to be digitally mixed and recorded and on this day in 1982 became among the first to be pressed and issued in CD format (Polygram Records also put out a disk of Chopin waltzes and Phillips would be releasing a tranche of some fifty artists including Billy Joel available in stores in the autumn). Despite personal conflicts that strained their professional relationship and musical partnership, this final collaboration was a success, cathartic and critically well received. Still getting accustomed to the new technology, the sound engineers thought the recording to be too clean and missed notes and beats would be harder to overlook.

Sunday, 14 August 2022

everybody wants to rule the tuba (10. 060)

Our gratitude to our peripatetic friends at Marco McClean’s Memo of the Air for directing us back to the musical stylings of Seb Skelly (see previously) in his latest perfectly arranged for brass quintet and masterfully performed (all by Skelly) Tears for Fears’ track. Much more to explore at the links above.

Monday, 20 June 2022

glastonbury fayre

The free four-day concert hosted in Pilton—the second Glastonbury festival, opened on this day in 1971 with the venue of a special Pyramid Stage, a one-tenth scale model of the one at Giza constructed of sheet metal and positioned over a water source discovered with dousing and was documented by filmmakers Nicolas Roeg and David Puttnam—released the following May. Performances included numbers by Melanie, David Bowie, Traffic, Fairport Convention, Tonto’s Expanding Head Band, Mighty Baby and Hawkwind.

Saturday, 4 June 2022


2slgbtqia+: a calendar of Native American and First Nations’ Pride events—the 2S is for “Two-Spirits”  

about the damn end: DJ Cummerbund (previously) mixes Lizzo and Linkin Park—via Waxy  

sacred modernity: McGregor Smith explores Europe’s superlative post-war churches—via Things magazine

why ernest saves christmas: wholly machine-generated articles on any number of topics—the logorrhoea of infinite neural networks producing infinite copy, via Web Curios  

signature sound: a 1957 musical horoscope album (see also here and here) orchestrated by Hal Mooney  

the endangered california bumbletrout: court declares bees are fish to afford them better defence under the state’s species protection act  

night of a thousand judys: a tribute concert for charity on what would have been Garland’s one-hundredth birthday

Friday, 4 March 2022

that’s how the cookie crumbles

Via Web Curios we learn about a clever browser extension (along with a suite of similar incognito tools) sponsored by UNESCO that is designed to reveal the subjectivity of one’s tailored and idiosyncratic experience online by inviting one to adopt a range of personae that influences the direction and tone of one’s directed advertising and anticipation in inscrutable ways (see also) that the user would have no way of knowing was markedly different than the underpinnings presented to someone else.  While we may not be able to exactly remove the blinders, we can at least perhaps be attuned to different pitches, perspectives.