Friday, April 28, 2006

What's Animated Opera, Doc?

This video of Wagner opera scenes, starring Bugs and Elmer, should probably not be available on Google Video. But it is - and if you've never seen it, click here. It has the one essential quality I demand of all my exposure to Wagner - it's less than 7 minutes.

Here's a video of Fanny Bryce pretending to be an opera diva. (the REAL Fanny Brice - not Barbra Streisand pretending to be Fanny Bryce.)

Here's another opera video previously on Mixed Meters.

If you're not into opera, maybe you'd prefer some animated Japanese soft drink commercials, each one based on a different style of dance & music. Then click here to watch Let's Qoo Dance. I wonder if this is better if you understand Japanese.

Finally, if you're more low brow there's this animated video of a farting pig from a children's show in Belgium It features a tune, sung by a chorus of chickens, which easily qualifies for the "It's A Small World After All Files" (Thanks to Kill Ugly Radio.)

Here's a good explanation of the "real" meaning of the word Belgium.

Music Video

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Up in the air

Copyright (c) 2006 David OckerWish you could fly?
Copyright (c) 2006 David OckerWant to get away from your humdrum?
Copyright (c) 2006 David OckerLike interactive animations?
Click here and explore. (Make sure your sound is turned on.) (Highly recommended.) Watch out for the electric eel.

(Another link I found on WFMU Beware of the Blog.)

On a Different Note a Different Note:
Are you more of a down-to-earth type? Here's a video of a man listening to Philip Glass music in his car. (Thanks to Aworks for this.)

Music Video

Saturday, April 22, 2006

In which Pop Music Sucks

Copyright (c) 2006 David OckerPop music all sounds like crap to me. But when I learned that AOL Radio has a station with the 111 worst songs ever, I couldn't resist.
Copyright (c) 2006 David OckerSurprisingly AOL Radio is a nifty service. It's free, runs a tolerable number of commercials, demands very low bandwidth and the sound quality is reasonable. There are a lot of channels, mostly crap, each purified according to musical genetics. My current favorite is Acoustic Blues. I'd also recommend Bollywood.
Copyright (c) 2006 David OckerGo to click on "AOL RADIO" in the link bar at the top or bottom. Then click on "Launch AOL Radio with XM" from the pull down. A player window will open and click on "Launch AOL Radio" again. "111 Worst Songs" is in the Pop category. Duh!
Copyright (c) 2006 David Ocker111 Worst Songs is in "countdown format" I'll just tell you - the worst song ever (according to AOL Radio - and they're really only dealing with a couple decades) is Who Let the Dogs Out. Want to know what the other 110 are? I'll never tell. I've never heard most of them. They all sound like crap to me.

Not interested in pop songs? Here's a video of a cockroach controlling a robot that I found via the WFMU blog. Other robot videos are at the bottom of this post.

Interested in pop songs, sorta? Here are some other "fascinating" Mixed Meters posts dealing vaguely with the subject of popular music, sorta.
Leon Redbone versus Tico Tico
Pandora Radio, Musical Genomes & J.S.Bach

Music Reviews

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

30 Second Spots - The Laptop in Live Performance?

For about a week it seemed that every music review I read said "And s/he used a laptop." The repeated mentions of laptops in concert provided the inspiration for the title. The music itself is something else altogether.

click here to hear The Laptop in Live Performance?
Copyright © March 14, 2006 by David Ocker - 35 seconds

No doubt you can do a lot of different very musical things with a laptop in performance. But the mere presence of electronic equipment to process live sound seems totally unremarkable to me. Over thirty years ago, as a graduate composition student, I even took a formal course in using live electronics in performance.

For that course I wrote a piece called "Voluntary Solitude" for clarinet (me) and live electronics. It involved large panels of Buchla synthesizers which modified the clarinet sound via envelope followers and modulation. The clarinet was the only sound source. I performed it from the center of a large tape loop. It uses a melody inexpertly stolen from Stravinsky.

Voluntary Solitude had only one attempted performance in front of an audience, on a recital I gave as a graduate clarinet student. The performance was a total, complete abject failure. The electronics just didn't work - I never found out why. No sound came out. I started it twice or three times while the audience fidgeted - and finally went on to the next piece. (The complete program is reproduced below.)

A few days later I recorded Voluntary Solitude in a studio and I thought it was completely forgotten. But when I was discussing laptops in performance with my friend John Steinmetz, he still remembered it. And now
the recording of Voluntary Solitude is available here for you to hear.

But first ask yourself, "How many composers do you know who would post recordings of their worst student compositional failures on the Internet for just anyone to hear?" I'd be surprised if this becomes a trend.

click here to hear Voluntary Solitude
Copyright © 1975 & 2006 by David Ocker - 784 seconds

Here's a picture of PLOrk "the Princeton Laptop Orchestra" just after nap time. (I'm glad they didn't call it PLO.) Read about and listen to them here.

Here's an academic article about Laptops in Live Performance that I didn't have the patience to read. Would anyone who reads this blog use the word "Performativity"? Not me.

Here's a video of a woman, apparently a respected academic, giving vocal commands to her blender in its native language.

If you're looking for a better piece of music with a question mark in the title, one that involves no live electronics, I recommend Naval Aviation in Art? by Frank Zappa. You can download it here for one thin dime.

Frank wrote that Naval Aviation in Art? "shows a sailor-artist, standing before his easel, squinting through a porthole for inspiration, while wiser men sleep in hammocks all around him"

Yes, to be a great artist you have to go without sleep. And avoid the word performativity.

Here's the program of my 1975 Clarinet recital:

Capriccio (1946) clarinet solo by H. Sutermeister
Madrigal I pour clarinette seule (1958) by Henri Pousseur
Discourses (1968) for solo clarinet by Harold Oliver
In Delius' Sleep (1974) clarinet & piano by Hal Budd
B,A,B,B,IT,T (5/16/66) clarinet with extensions by Donald Martino
Voluntary Solitude (1975) clarinet and electronics by David Ocker
Suite from L'Histoire du Soldat (1918) for clarinet, violin, piano and percussion by Igor Stravinsky
with Cody Gillette, pianist, Eeda Shenkman, violinist, Paul Anceau, percussionist, Leonid Hambro, pianist - "and the spirit of Donald Buchla"
UPDATE!!! - Here's a BBC video news clip showing a more popular form of live electronic music from 1975.

Explanation of 30 second spots

30 Second Spots
Music Reviews
Cat Pictures

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Paying More Taxes

Click here to watch "The Spirit of 1943" starring Donald Duck.

It's wartime propaganda, but it's "good" propaganda 'cause it was for our side.

Google Video calls it a "Banned Cartoon".

Maybe it's banned because it advocates PAYING MORE TAXES.

Let me say that again. This cartoon suggests that it's every American's patriotic duty to pay MORE taxes. Failure to do so helps the enemy.

What a difference 63 years makes.

Today we're "at war" too. But now politicians consistently pander for our votes by promising lower taxes. No one has the courage to suggest that if we want decent government services (fighting a war is a "service", right?) - that we all must pay a little more for it.

One Democratic candidate for California governor is suggesting that we raise taxes on rich people and corporations.
While I'm all for a more progressive tax structure, when a politician mentions higher taxes today it's the same as giving a concession speech.

Of course it doesn't matter who the Dems nominate because Governor Schwarzenegger is going to get re-elected. He'll just lie through his teeth about everything he stands for between now and November. Remember, you heard it here first.

Haven't had enough of the governor?
Here's a Governator Rap video.
Here's a short video of young Arnold toking up.
And this is Arnold's Japanese TV commercial

We're filing an extension.

Update: the L.A. Times ran this article about the effects of our current nearly flat income tax rates. Steve Forbes must be even richer because of it. Plus some interesting history: for example the top rates in 1943 were more than double what they are today.

Music Video

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mixed Meters celebrates its Susquicentennial

(Prescript: If you're reading this because you searched Google for "Susquicentennial" try this search instead for the correct spelling. You'll get hundreds of thousands of hits. Don't make my mistake and find out too late that the word is actually spelt "sesquicentennial" "Sesqui" is a prefix which means "one and a half." Read about Mixed Meters' Bi-Sesquicentennial posting here.)

I now return you to my original posting ...

Even Leslie, who is not Mixed Meters' most regular reader, said "It's been more than three days." So here's a quick and easy posting - the 150th in Mixed Meters history.

Copyright 2004 David Ocker
Here's a video described as
the "Worst Music Video Ever"

Copyright 2004 David Ocker
Here's a website devoted to shoelaces.

Copyright 2004 David Ocker
This video was described as the world's
worst half time show

Copyright 2004 David Ocker
Here are instructions, written by Charles Mingus,
on how to train your cat to use the toilet.

And here's a talking cat video.
(we're talkin' real cats)

Copyright 2004 David Ocker
Here's the Hall of Doucebags
(an unimaginable number of
bad band publicity photos)

Some of these links came from:
WFMU Beware of the Blog and
Music Thing

The dead tree trunk is
at the LA County Arboretum
For a clue why I think these
pictures are neat, click here.

Pictures of Plants
Music Video

Saturday, April 08, 2006

In which David Doesn't Like Poetry

I've never liked reading poetry - although I've occasionally enjoyed poets reading out loud as long as they were upbeat and funny.

On NPR's Saturday Morning Edition I heard the host, Scott Simon, interview a poet named Edward Hirsch. (Click here and you can hear it too.)

Together they read a poem by someone named William Matthews. I guess it's called "the four subjects of poetry" Here it is:

Copyright 2004 David Ocker

"1. I went out into the woods today, and it made me feel, you know, sort of religious.

Copyright 2004 David Ocker2. We're not getting any younger.

Copyright 2004 David Ocker
3. It sure is cold and lonely (a) without you, honey, or (b) with you, honey.

Copyright 2004 David Ocker4. Sadness seems but the other side of the coin of happiness, and vice versa, and in any case the coin is too soon spent, and on what we know not what."

And I thought - "Yes, that was perfectly expressed. It explains exactly why I don't like poetry."

For no apparent reason I've illustrated the poem with photos from our December 2004 trip to Mexico.

Relevant: A poet named Mike uses a mike in performance.
On a different note: Fifties Fashion Hats
or top ten foods not to eat in your car (food fight like)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

30 Second Spots - That's The Point of It - Extended

Copyright 2006 David Ockerclick here to hear That's the Point of It - Extended - See if you can tell where the extension begins.

Copyright © 2006 by David Ocker - 79 seconds

Explanation of 30 second spots

Video? The Spirit of Rube Goldberg Lives (cool even if it is a Honda commercial.) Are you the sort who wonders who set the first gear rolling ? Then click here.

30 Second Spots
Pictures of Plants