Sunday, February 28, 2010

a review of Tom Milsom's Explorers 1, or: You're a beautiful person, Tom Milsom.

Tom Milsom's 5 song EP Explorers 1 is a mix of many things. It is filled with emotion, both giddy and melancholy. Pin/South explores the continuum between sound and music, and the album as a whole explores the continuum between music and art. As a huge Alan Kaprow fan, it forces me to reexamine my perceptions of art and music, and why I only know one John Cage piece (4'33"). It forces me to question why I only listen to the more "palatable" songs by Deerhoof and Animal Collective, yet will sit listening to whatever in a gallery for 45 minutes.

And furthermore, why do I consider Miranda July's The Binet-Simon Test and 10 Million Hours a Mile art while I merely think of No One Belongs Here More Than You as simply 'short stories'?

All that said, I think you'll find Flags of Every Color and Super Sunshine to your liking if you are already a fan of Porphyrophobia and Summersong.

Have a listen.

And Tom, I don't typically review music....but I do critique art. And I didn't want to let you down.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Attn: Video Editors

How can I get this effect? (Using Final Cut Express)


Hey, Emily...what are your thoughts on Omegle?

Um, I think this sums it up quite nicely:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Venting blog 25Million: Copyright

I am so frustrated right now.

The other night we all went down to the music building and jammed. We do this many nights. It's what we do. I even jammed; I brought my ukulele.

At some point, I handed my Flip camera to this woman who was hanging out. I asked her to take some video once we got playing, and she happily agreed to.

At the end of the night, as we all packed up our instruments and started heading back to our rooms, one guy, let's call him Rajesh, stopped me.

"You got some video?" he sounded excited.

"Oh, yea, I asked her to film some."

"Well can I see it?" still sounding excited.

"Of course. I'll put it on the internet --- that is, of course, unless you'd rather I didn't. I know some people are funny about that."

"Right. I'm one of those people. I'm funny about that. I'll need to see it before it goes on the internet."

Admittedly, I've thought myself into a box here in terms of video sharing. "But in order for you to see it, it will have to be on the internet."

"Can't you play it from that right there?"

I took out my camera and played him the last clip. Rajesh held it up to his ear and commented that it sounds great, and to put it on the internet. This was Sunday.

No one stayed out Monday because of the late Saturday and Sunday nights, so I stayed in and finished editing my Travel Vlog. I thought about uploading the stuff from the music building, but I didn't get around to it. Just not high on my priorities.

Today (Tuesday) at dinner, he comes and sits next to me. Not sitting next to me to eat dinner with me, but sitting next to me with his jacket on and nothing in his hands, like he wants to tell me something. I assume he's going to say something about bringing some instrument to the music building tonight, something like that.

"Oh, hey. Did you put those videos on the internet yet?"

"No, I haven't had a chance."

"OK, because I'm going to need to see them before you do."

At this point, something inside me snaps. Interacting with this guy is usually pretty awkward, as he sometimes takes things too literally. I'm going to do that annoying thing and say that I think he's on the spectrum.

Little tiny fencers start jabbing the insides of my brains. I want to smack this guy.

I stare at him in disbelief.

"I'm sorry, the other night you told me to go ahead and put them up."

"Yeah, but now I'm thinking about it, and that was a bad idea."

"I don't know how you are going to see them large format without me putting them on the internet."

Now he's frustrated with me. "You just have to go get a cord and plug your camera into a computer. This place is like, computer-central."


He sits there staring at me, not sure if my 'Fine' was a consent. I start to tear little pieces off my buttered roll and shove them into my mouth.

"So...are you going to?"

"Yeah, but right now I'm going to finish my dinner. And to be honest, I'm really frustrated because you gave me your yes the other day. What if I had put it on the internet already?"

"But you haven't, so it's OK."


"It might be whatever to you, but it matters to me."

"Yeah, but what if I had already put it up?"

"Well, then, maybe I'd ask you to take it down."

For another five minutes he sort of stared at me while I ate, repeatedly asking me in different ways whether or not I was going to be posting this without his approval. I asserted that indeed, I'd show him on the computer after I was done with my dinner. Finally, he went away. I wanted to scream, but all I was afforded was raised eyebrows at someone else sitting with us.

After I put my dinner things away I began heading toward the computer lounge, and I ran into him right outside of the dining hall. It took a lot of energy to formulate a nice way to speak to him.

"Um, if you have a minute, I can show you this on the computer. I've got some time now."

He was standing with another one of the people we play music with. Let's call this other guy Carlos. "OK" and to Carlos: "let's go watch this."

The three of us make our way into the computer lab, and to be quite honest, I have no hope for these videos actually playing. Yes my camera plugs into a USB port, but I had tried to watch some videos on YouTube earlier in the residency, and while the sound was fairly consistent, the picture was extraordinarily jumpy.

As the computer recognized my camera and I opened the first file, he said "Alright Carlos, let's check this out."

Not "let's check this out" like when I say: "hey, check this out! This is awesome!" No, more like when an overfed pasty policeman spots a young black male duck into an alleyway. There was something faux-authoritarian and accusatory in his statement that really grated on me.

I tried to play the video files straight off my camera, but the sound cut in and out and the picture was jumpy, even worse than the YT videos I had tried to play earlier. I tried to copy the files to the desktop, and as the time for them to copy was about 9 minutes, Rajesh decided to check his e-mail at another computer.

I started to explain to Carlos my two YouTube accounts, and how I would be uploading this to my second account, where there are only 9 subscribers, and I upload whatever crap I want. Rajesh looked over and said, "let's just try to figure this out right now." As though, somehow, my killing the 9 minutes was wasted time, but him checking his e-mail was completely acceptable.

The pinwheel of death indicated to me that I should 'Force Quit' Finder, and then I found myself trying to explain to Rajesh that it wasn't that there was a problem with my video, but that this computer just didn't seem to be able to handle playing them.

I finally copied one of the files to the desktop and opened it with little hope for it to play smoothly. My expectations were met. It played just slightly better than when I attempted to play it straight off the camera. I internally cringed a bit because the woman who filmed this for me had used the zoom, which makes the poor-quality footage (a side effect of low lighting) even worse. Rajesh asked me to just let the video play, and I tried to explain that I was, that the computer was making it jumpy. Frustrated at not being able to hear it all the way through, Rajesh said, "why don't we just say 'don't'? It is amateurish anyway."

The quality of the video was such that his likeness was barely recognizable, and he was one of maybe 7 musicians contributing to the sound, one of two musicians playing his particular instrument.

I couldn't help it. I had to pry.

"Is it because you don't want your likeness on there? Because you can hardly see you anyhow."

"This is how I make my living and I can't have anything like this out there."

"I wasn't going to attach your name with it anyhow."

"Either way, I don't want it on there."

"OK, that's fine, but you should know, I may use a clip that just shows me playing."

"No, because that still has me on there. You can't put that on there without my consent."

"I don't understand. It won't have your name attached, no one will be able to see your face, no one will know it is you playing. It could be anyone playing."

"Just because you bought a $100 camera does not give you the right to post videos of my art on the internet! What gives you the right to say it could be just anyone? It is my creation and you do not have the right to put it on there."

"I'm not trying to argue property laws with you. I just don't get why you don't want me to put it on there. I don't understand how it would be detrimental to your career if your face and name are not associated with it."

"It's just that I want a say at what things I create do and do not get put on the internet. I've had to ask people to take things down before."

The anger started to become audible in my response. "Fine. Then I'll put the footage of me playing with the sound removed. Your face won't be in it. Your playing won't be in it. Nothing of you!"

He stared at me. Just stared like he was doing at dinner. Stared like he didn't believe me. Stared like he thought I was just telling him what he wanted to hear and that I was going to go do what I wanted.

I returned his stare with an exasperated, pained expression. "I DON'T BULLSH%T!"

This seemed to satisfy him. Not only that, but it also seemed to put him in a cheery mood. "Thanks!" As he walked out of the computer lab, I looked at some other student trying to convey in my glance that my head was about to explode. Rajesh stopped in the doorway and looked at me before walking away.

I usually don't ask permission when I record. I try to not record anything I think people would be upset about, and I would of course comply if someone asked me to remove something. The thing is, my scope isn't really large enough for people to get upset. I understand that Rajesh has the right to say whether or not his stuff goes on the internet, but his reasons were bullisht. It isn't going to ruin your career if NO ONE COULD KNOW THAT IT WAS YOU. I don't even know his last name. I would understand if he was singing, but he was merely contributing a small amount of the instrumentation. NO ONE WOULD KNOW.

What else is ridiculous? So many people are desperate for their video to reach many people, and this guy is upset about the probably-less-than-9 views this video, uploaded on my second channel, would receive.

I made this angry music playlist for times like this.