Saturday, June 25, 2016

No one lies so boldly...

Longitude and latitude are so last century. With what3words, any three-meter squared plot of land on the planet can be addressed with a unique combination of three words. For example, angers.class.wakes.

Pie chart of the world's spoken languages.
"Name your price" (including $0) music from Markus Reuter: How Things Turned Out.

In other music news, jazz fusion band Brand-X will start a reunion tour later this year.

Ever wonder where your favorite food originated? Use this interactive map to find out.
I think I posted a version of this before but it's still cool. An interactive world map of lightning strikes, with a little audible click for each strike. I suppose this is for weather geeks only.

Favorite quote from this article: "Every week that Donald Trump remains the Republican nominee, the party comes closer to removing itself from the presidential gene pool." Trump is repugnant.

Star Wars geeks: it's confirmed that James Earl Jones will voice Darth Vader in Rogue One.

Bluegrass, with his 10 foot horns, may soon be coming to the Fort Worth herd. is the self-proclaimed greatest cheese resource. Let's see, mimolette? Yep.

Swiss Army Man is like a virtual "Weekend at Bernie's." But if you watch the trailer for this movie, it gets even weirder.

From the Department of Misleading Titles comes "There's a Mysterious Sound Coming From The Carribean That's So Loud It Can Be Heard From Space."
  • It's not a mystery. It's the Rossby Whistle caused by planetary waves pushing east to west across the ocean that build up and resonate when they reach the partially Carribean.
  • They can't actually be heard because they're below the threshold of human hearing. 
  • In outer space, the phenomenon is detected as gravity field oscillations. the man who is indignant. ~Friedrich Nietzsche (This explains teh interwebs, realm of self-righteous indignation.)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Live 1 by The Security Project

One is tempted to think, "What is old is new again." The Security Project is a group of performers who revisit the early solo music of Peter Gabriel. These musicians have the maturity to freshen the music without scrubbing it raw. And they have the musicality to authentically and delightfully enhance the songs.

The Security Project consists of Jerry Marotta (drums) - from Gabriel's original touring band - Trey Gunn (guitar), Michael Cozzi (guitar) (do not go to his website as it appears to have been hacked), and David Jameson (keyboards). The band is fronted by Brian Cummins whose vocal similarity to Gabriel is uncanny and to a large extent one might say that it's Cummins' performances that are central to making this whole thing work.  Without him you might end up with re-interpretations of Gabriel's songs which takes you down and entirely different path. (A friend who walked into my office while Live 1 was playing asked which Peter Gabriel album I was listening to.)

The Live 1 album consists of twelve tracks.
  1. Lay Your Hands on Me (from Gabriel's 4th album, aka Security)
  2. I Don't Remember (from Gabriel's 3rd album, aka Melt)
  3. No Self Control (from Melt)
  4. The Family and the Fishing Net (from Security)
  5. I Have the Touch (from Security)
  6. Intruder (from Melt)
  7. The Rhythm of the Heat (from Security)
  8. San Jacinto (from Security)
  9. Games Without Frontiers / Of These, Hope (from Melt)
  10. Here Comes the Flood (from Gabriel's 1st album, aka Car)
  11. Back in N.Y.C. (from the Genesis album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway)
  12. Biko (from Melt)
Let the music speak for itself.

My personal history with Gabriel's music goes back to his time with Genesis. But it wasn't until his third solo album (Melt) that he really came into his own (in my opinion). But his fourth solo album (Security) really felt intimate to me. Which gave me a good feeling about Live 1 because a lot of the material is from albums three and four. 

The first thing I'll note is the fact that despite being recorded and named "live," this album sounds as though it was recorded in the studio. While there's some audience clapping between tracks, I couldn't detect any of other the typical artifacts you get in a live recording. This speaks to the band's high level of musicianship and the quality of the engineering and production of the album.

Second, the band's individual and collective performances of each track are done with vast spaciousness, where each part has the opportunity to be heard and shine on its own with a sonic separation from the other parts that doesn't compromise the whole. To my ear, Steely Dan's music has a similar quality (e.g. Aja). Another analogy is Steven Wilson's remastering of some of King Crimson's work. Either way, the end result is fantastic.

Here Comes the Flood, one of my favorite Gabriel songs, deserves special mention here due to Trey Gunn's superb guitar work.

The Security Project's Live 1 is a tribute to the music of Peter Gabriel that doesn't suffer the flaws of many tributes, a live recording that doesn't suffer the flaws of many live recordings, and a musical performance that doesn't suffer from high purpose and self-importance. Live 1 is a musically fresh and impeccably recorded performance of really good music.

The good news is that Live 2 is due for release in October 2016. What I'd really like to hear is The Security Project's version of White Shadow from Gabriel's second solo album (aka Scratch). I've always felt that song had potential that wasn't fully realized. (15 minutes after writing that sentence I find a video on YouTube of The Security Project performing White Shadow in concert. I therefore pray it makes it onto Live 2.)

You can read more about The Security Project at the band's website,, and their Twitter feed, @TheSecurProject. You can purchase their music on Bandcamp at

"I don't know much about music, but I sure like the way it sounds."

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

In politics, stupidity...

The second album from trio Tony Levin (bass), Marco Minnemann (drums) and Jordan Rudess (keyboards) is now available for pre-order for release in mid-July. Here's a preview on Soundcloud. You can pre-order here.

I'm not quite certain of the value, but Predominantly let's you find albums by the predominant color of their cover.

Less silly than most, this periodic table documents societal issues.
This is an amazing, brief story of two B-17s in WWII that got stuck together: piggyback hero.

Who or what is Mr. Trash Wheel? Seems like a good guy to me cuz he keeps the waterway clean.

Very cool animated map showing the history of urbanization, as cities appear around the globe from 3700 BC to 2000 AD.
Another map you say? How about this one showing the worldwide origins of crops.

Newly discovered element 117 is to be called Tennissine (Ts) to honor Oak Ridge National Lab.

I didn't know there was a name for it: ikigai
Related to the picture above is this quote from Tim O'Reilly: "Pursue something so important that even if you fail, the world is better off with you having tried."

People ask, "Why do you have a fish? It's not like a dog or cat with which you can have a true relationship." Science to the rescue. Fish can recognize human faces. My fish knows me. not a handicap. ~Napolean Bonaparte

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Any man may easily do harm...

Here's the first of a multi-part series of videos in which Bill Evans talks about the creative process. While his focus is music, the ideas can be applied to virtually anything.

Philip Guston, Position I, 1965. This article describes how Guston found the sublime as he re-introduced figuration into his abstraction. Honestly, I prefer his pure abstractions over his later figurative works.
Library of sounds with a British accent.

See an animation of your county's daily commuters.
Yes, this is all.

...but not every man can do good to another. ~Plato

Monday, May 30, 2016

In Praise Of Shadows by Eraldo Bernocchi and Shinkiro

I remember being in my hotel room on a business trip checking my Facebook page and reading that the new album from guitarist Eraldo Bernocchi and Shinkiro was available for purchase. Giddy with anticipation, I could not order it soon enough. After all, Bernocchi is responsible for one of the most beautiful pieces of recorded music I have ever heard, 2011's Winter Garden with Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie (read a nice review and hear a bit here).

Like being in my hotel room, ambient music for me is about creating a sense of place, within or without, real or imagined. Last year's From Worlds Unseen a Light Yet Streams A Sound Replete created a vast, distant place. From 2012's Sublunar rose a gritty, nearby landscape. For Please Stop Loving Me, it was a singular eternity inside my own head.

In Praise of Shadows takes me to places only feet away, to the corners, crevices, shadowed nooks, and hidden voids inside this very room, making audible the invisible, giving voice to the unseen. As I type this, the outside light is fading, the album is playing, and the effect is like hearing through a fish-eye lens. I've seen the album described as dark ambient, as industrial. I'm reminded of a quote that Bernocchi shared online "I have found so much beauty in the dark, as I have found a lot of horrors in the light."

The album's eight tracks are Fluorescent Memories, Shadow Ghosts, A Scene of Kaleidoscopic Changes, Old Man Looking At A Window, Bloody Footsteps On A Ceiling Temple, Hikari, City Vultures, and Black Magic Train. My ears found the tracks to be wonderfully grouped.

Begin Inadequate Descriptions

Fluorescent Memories weaves its languid melodic line through the mechanical workings of clock-like percussion. Shadow Ghosts flips that motif on its head, with the beat almost reduced to a scratching static and while keyboards and bass exchange a throbbing dialog. Almost vocal in quality, Kaleidoscopic Changes beckons you to come closer, to fall, to swirl into the shadow.

Old Man Looking At A Window (perhaps not unsurprisingly) resonates with me, a barrier I can only look "at" and not through, a barrier to true understanding of what these artists have created, a detachment between seeing versus experiencing what's beyond. Old Man may also be the most "traditionally" structured track on the album. And then along comes Bloody Footsteps and tradition is gone and replaced by the need to hear and see things from an entirely new perspective. After all, why would there be footsteps on the ceiling?

Hikari (Japanese for Light) brings back a traditional percussion line and covers it with layer upon layer of rich, pulsing, sparkling, suffused sound. City Vultures indeed evokes a sense of tense scavengers waiting in the dark. And Black Magic Train leaves us with the sense of a ticking, hulking beast shrouded in steam, waiting to take us somewhere.

End Inadequate Descriptions

You can get a taste of the entire album in this video:

And hear Shadow Ghosts on Soundcloud:

The album's title refers to an essay by Junichiro Tanizaki on the contrast between Western and Japanese aesthetics, light vs. dark, shine vs. gleam, new vs. worn. What Bernocchi and Shinkiro have achieved is nothing short of a sonic exemplar of Tanizaki's aesthetic.

I highly recommend In Praise of Shadows by Eraldo Bernocchi and Shinkiro for all who enjoy ambient music and all who enjoy good music.
"I don't know much about music, but I sure like the way it sounds."

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

True nobility lies in...

Google Chrome messed up my bookmarks again so I'm having to spend time sorting through them and figuring out why a bookmark I archived months ago is now back in my current bookmark list - and repeated multiple times. Granted, when I export bookmarks out of Chrome to HTML the resulting file is 50 MB. But I would prefer it not do this. So today's post is another uncategorized link dump. (Isn't that what it always is?)

Joel Shapiro's sculptures are currently on display at the Nasher in Dallas. Anyone want to go?
Here's a nice video interview with Frank Stella about his 60-year retrospective, currently on display in Fort Worth.

Use Linify to recreate any image as line art.
Google's Tilt Brush and Virtual Art Sessions.

Also from Google is Art Camera, preserving works of art with ultra-high resolution images.

If you thought there were only four fundamental forces (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear, and weak nuclear) you might be surprised to know there might be a fifth.

Clyfford Still's paintings were so impactful on the 20th century art world despite the fact that only 6% of them were outside his estate at the time of his death. Take 7 minutes with this video to find out how and why.
Well, they discovered yet another species of dinosaur.

Craft pr0n: wood turning (i.e. wordworking on a lathe). One nice touch in the video is the parallel between sawdust falling inside the studio while snowflakes fall outside.

Visually learn about flags of the world at Flag Stories.

Find music albums by their dominant cover color with Predominantly.

...being superior to your formal self. ~Ernest Hemingway

Saturday, May 21, 2016

We are perishing for want of wonder...

Excerpts from a live performance by J. Peter Schwalm, Eivind Aarset, and Sophie Clements.

What do physics and jazz have in common? More than you might think, starting with Pythagoras of theorem fame who also created the Western music scale. But Coltrane and Einstein?

How Fort Worth got its name.

How much money you need to live comfortably in Fort Worth is $51,759 which corresponds nicely with $52,492, the city's median income. (While the precision of those figures is doubtful, the article's criteria of income uses (50% necessary expenses, 30% fun, 20% savings) is perhaps the more thought provoking factoid.)

Fort Worth is also the 21st best city in the U.S. to start a career. Madison, WI is lucky #13.

How loud is it where you are? Get a rating between 50 (loud) and 100 (quiet) using Soundscore by just typing in your address. (Work got a 70, home got a 78.)

Frank Stella 

Frank Stella, Chodorow II, 1971. source

An article about the Frank Stella retrospective at The Modern. Frank's body of work makes younger artists think "Man, I hope I can still piss people off when I'm 80 years old."

Fort Worth Texas magazine includes this quote about Stella: "I would argue that they are the most physical paintings made in the 20th century."

The WSJ wrote about Stella's retrospective at it appeared at the Whitney.

A Stella-inspired floral arrangement.

Frank Stella was interviewed on the Modern Art Notes podcast.

A bit about Michael Auping, curator of the Stella retrospective.

Recording of Auping interviewing Stella at The Modern.


Space Geeks: a photo essay on the evolution of spacecraft cockpit displays. Sci Fi geeks: fold an origami Tie Fighter.

The periodic table of typefaces. See this one and more here
Eric Schlosser's excellent book Command and Control, about a 1980 incident in Arkansas that had the potential to detonate a 9 Mt nuke, has been turned into a film that I would really like to see. Since it's one of those American Experience films, I'm hoping it'll end up on PBS some day.

In 1956, the U.S. nuke target list included over 1,100 targets in Europe, Russia, and China. See them here.

Physicists tell us our universe only has three spatial dimensions because of the laws of thermodynamics. Interesting, but the article is a bit hard to follow. What would be more interesting to me is why our fourth dimension, time, is the only one in which we can't travel backwards.

Sleeping Beauty, long exposure photograph by Jason Shulman. See more at his site.
A new outfit for the Predator's 2018 movie?

This video series is from 1999 but it's still good. This is Modern Art by Matthew Collings.

  1. I Am a Genius
  2. Shock! Horror!
  3. Lovely Lovely
  4. Nothing Matters
  5. Hollow Laughter
  6. The Shock of the Now

Can deep learning help create The Next Rembrandt?

If we can create the next Rembrandt, will CaptionBot recognize it?

Of these 16 body language mistakes that make people mistrust you, I do seven. Crap.

Why do old statues have small penises? (Answer: they really don't relatively speaking.)

...not for want of wonders. ~G.K. Chesterton