115 posts tagged with avantgarde.
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Death Grips: Zombie holocaust in seconds

It started two months ago to the day, when a stuttering/strobing video of angry man obscenely rapping over a spasmodic drumbeat was posted on YouTube from an unknown group who called themselves Death Grips, with the promise of an album and a mixtape within the year. The next day, a new track went up, not furious like the day before, but the rapper sounded a bit hoarse now. More tracks were uploaded every few days, and on April 26th the mixtape was on YouTube, soundcloud, and available to download from their website and other places. Still, little is known about the group, beyond that it's probably a trio and Zach Hill is involved. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 8, 2011 - 16 comments

"Come with me into the tormented, haunted, half-lit night of the insane."

Daughter of Horror (original title: Dementia) was a 1955 avant garde film featuring a noir style, a surrealist sensibility, and virtually no dialogue. A later version of the film even included an over-the-top voice over by none other than Tonight Show sidekick Ed McMahon, but like Blade Runner the flick is better off without the narration. Daughter of Horror is probably most famous for being the film playing in the theater overrun by The Blob. And with a few more surrealistic elements and peculiar dialogue added, this could have been done by David Lynch in a later decade. The film, recently featured on Turner Classic Movies, is available for free on archive.org.
posted by Celsius1414 on May 1, 2011 - 7 comments

Music From Nowhere

Since the late '70s, Gordon Monahan has been making a career of extracting the unheard from pretty much anything he can get his hands on. Monahan's works for piano, loudspeakers, video, kinetic sculpture, and computer-controlled sound environments span various genres from avant-garde concert music to multi-media installation and sound art. Such pieces include long string installations activated by wind (Long Aeolian Piano, 1984-88), by water vortices (Aquaeolian Whirlpool, 1990) and by indoor air draughts (Spontaneously Harmonious in Certain Kinds of Weather, 1996). His work for electronic tone generators and human speaker swingers (Speaker Swinging, 1982), is a hybrid of science, music, and performance art, where minimalistic trance music based on the Doppler Effect contrasts with issues central to performance art such as physical struggle and 'implied threat'. John Cage once said, "At the piano, Gordon Monahan produces sounds we haven't heard before." [more inside]
posted by wcfields on Apr 29, 2011 - 4 comments

Roland Kayn 1933 - 2011

On January 5th, 2011 largely unknown modern composer, and pioneer of long format compositions on early computer systems Roland Kayn "... left this world today from his home". [more inside]
posted by wcfields on Jan 21, 2011 - 8 comments

Why I Hate the Avant-Garde

Why I Hate the Avant-Garde or, Why Laurie Anderson is less Avant-Garde than DJ Kool Herc. A rant with videos. Via The Front Section.
posted by mediareport on Jan 17, 2011 - 110 comments

"One thing just happens after another."

Tao Lin will have the scallops.
posted by TheWash on Aug 18, 2010 - 40 comments

"I soon learned that if I was asked to play something over again, it meant that they didn't understand it, not that they liked it."

"But this wasn't quite enough and so then I got the idea of having all thirteen of the lowest tones of the piano played together... In other words, I was inventing a new musical sound later to be called 'tone clusters'... Anyway, this was my professional debut as a composer." Henry Cowell's musical autobiography. Cowell was one of the most important figures in 20th-century American music, described by John Cage as "the open sesame for new music in America." In this hour-long program recorded four years before his death in 1965, compositions from every stage in Cowell's career are contextualized and discussed by the man himself.
posted by No-sword on Aug 8, 2010 - 10 comments

If Macedonio hadn't invented Borges, Borges would've invented him

In those years I imitated him, to the point of transcription, to the point of devoted and impassioned plagiarism. I felt: Macedonio is metaphysics, is literature. Whoever preceded him might shine in history, but they were all rough drafts of Macedonio, imperfect previous versions. To not imitate this canon would have represented incredible negligence.
From Jorge Luis Borges' eulogy for Macedonio Fernández. Borges' relationship with Macedonio was complicated, as recounted in The Man Who Invented Borges, a fine essay by Marcelo Ballvé. Macedonio's most famous work, the posthumous-by-design work (he believed literature should be aged like good whiskey) The Museum of Eterna's Novel has finally been translated and published in English translation, here is an excerpt from the novel (one of the ninety or so prologues). The introduction to the novel, written by its translator Margaret Schwartz, has been put online by the publisher (parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Schwartz also sat down for a short interview. You can download an mp3 of a great hour-long panel discussion on Macedonio and a master's thesis on Macedonio by Peter Loggie [pdf]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 21, 2010 - 7 comments

Last Call at the Velvet Lounge

Fred Anderson was a monster on the tenor sax. Fred Anderson was one of the founders of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and his "home court," the Velvet Lounge, remains a place for Chicago creative musicians to find welcoming audience. Fred died June 24 in Chicago. A wake will take place from 5 to 6 PM this Tuesday (June 29) at Leak and Sons Funeral Chapel, 7838 S. Cottage Grove, followed immediately by Anderson’s Going Home service. [more inside]
posted by beelzbubba on Jun 26, 2010 - 14 comments

Old. Tired. Sick. Alone. Broke.

David Markson has died. David Foster Wallace called his Wittgenstein's Mistress "pretty much the high point of experimental fiction in this country"; but Markson also wrote, earlier in his career, an oddball Western, hardboiled detective fiction (Here is a tribute constructed entirely from text from Epitaph for a Dead Beat), and some uncommonly lusty stuff for a dedicated experimentalist. [more inside]
posted by kenko on Jun 6, 2010 - 29 comments

The dream of a reading machine.

"The written word hasn't kept up with the age. The movies have outmanoeuvered it. We have the talkies, but as yet no Readies." So wrote Rob Brown in 1930 in his book The Readies. Putting his money where his mouth was, he made a prototype readie, which has since been lost. Brown's story is recounted by Jennifer Schuessler in The New York Times. Brown expert Craig Saper has created a replica Readie online, which includes amongst others texts by Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, F. T. Marinetti as well as translations from Horace by Ezra Pound. [Some of the texts shock modern sensibilities]
posted by Kattullus on Apr 28, 2010 - 17 comments

Impossible Music

A favorite of John Cage and Gyorgy Ligeti, the latter describing his music as "so utterly original, enjoyable, perfectly constructed but at the same time emotional...the best of any composer living today," Conlon Nancarrow's musical ideas were nevertheless too complex and technically demanding for human performers, and his political ideas too radical and leftist for McCarthy-era America. Expatriated to Mexico, the Texarkana-born avant-gardeist lived most of his life in isolation, in a cluttered, dusty studio surrounded by records, piles of books, empty Vodka bottles, newspapers, cigarette cartons, and the tools of his trade: 2 old player pianos and a custom-built piano roll press. [more inside]
posted by swift on Feb 15, 2010 - 16 comments

Futurism in Russia

Tango With Cows is an exhibition by the Getty Museum of the book art of the Russian avant-garde from 1910 to 1917, which included a performance of sound poetry, all captured on video, both of Futurist poems, other historical sound poems, and contemporary works. Among performers are Christian Bök and Steve McCaffery. The exhibition takes its name from the book of ferro-concrete poems, one of 21 books can be downloaded as PDFs, most are by Alexei Kruchenykh but there are also works by Roman Jakobson, Vladimir Mayakovsky, David Burliuk, Andrei Kravtsov, Vasily Kamensky and Velimir Khlebnikov. These were all Futurists. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Feb 2, 2010 - 12 comments

domestication of the avant garde

Processing the Signal == Part 1 - Bill Viola// Part 2 - Nam June Paik// Part 3 - The Medium// Part 4 - Technology// Part 5 - Audience// [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Feb 2, 2010 - 5 comments

"Ruthlessly simple and mind-boggling"

Never Again is a novel in which no word occurs more than once. Published in Ubuweb's contemporary collection. [more inside]
posted by kenko on Sep 12, 2009 - 101 comments

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Primiti Too Taa is an animated excerpt from Kurt Schwitters' Ursonate. You can see the whole text, and hear the whole thing as voiced by Schwitters or many others, including a text-to-speech program and the author of Eunoia. [more inside]
posted by kenko on Aug 19, 2009 - 11 comments

Kathleen Supove rocks

Kathleen Supove, pianist extraordinaire. [via] [more inside]
posted by fcummins on May 23, 2009 - 10 comments

Trimpin: Musical Sculptor

Seattle-based German artist Trimpin makes sculptural musical instruments. He was profiled in a mini-documentary by Washington public TV station KBTC a couple of years ago. Here are videos of some other works of art he's created, Fire Organ, Liquid Percussion, Cello, Sensors and Record Players, Contraption at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, MIDI-controlled Player Piano and Sheng High. Kyle Gann wrote an essay by that placed Trimpin in the tradition of John Cage, Harry Partch and other avant-garde American musical inventors. The audio of a nearly hour and a half long 1990 interview with Trimpin by Charles Amirkhanian can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Another, more light-hearted interview in connection to his show at this year's SXSW, where a documentary about him premiered (trailer).
posted by Kattullus on May 4, 2009 - 5 comments

Carter at 100

Elliot Carter, American Composer, turns 100 Born in 1908, Carter's life is a virtual biography of twentieth century music. He attended the US premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and studied with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. Perhaps a slow developer, Carter didn't write his first opera until he was over the age of 90. He turns 100 tomorrow, December 11th. [more inside]
posted by ob on Dec 10, 2008 - 17 comments

Break it down, Martin! Yo, I'm tr-tr-tr-tr-tr-tr-tr-try-try-try-try-tryin' to.

Cinemnesis, filmmaker Martin Arnold's 41 minute compilation of the films of his "compulsive repetition" trilogy, is available to you online. The quality is lacking, small details are missed, but I thought you'd enjoy these nonetheless. Time codes for the three pieces and more inside. [more inside]
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur on Dec 4, 2008 - 6 comments

i made this. you play this. we are enemies

i made this. you play this. we are enemies - A new game by Jason Nelson (previously). Featuring Metafilter's own, uh, everything!
posted by flatluigi on Dec 1, 2008 - 61 comments

Holy Fucking Shit: 40,000

Connecticut's Have a Nice Life is responsible for one of the year's most acclaimed, highly conceptual albums this year, Deathconsciousness. The two discs (entitled The Plow That Broke The Plains and The Future, respectively) feature music spanning over five years of collaboration between the two artists, and are accompanied by a 75-page booklet on medieval Italian heretics in lieu of liner notes. Combining elements of shoegaze, new wave, ambient drone, post-rock, experimental industrial, avant-garde dark metal, and electronic music, and citing references such as My Bloody Valentine and Joy Division to their credit, the original and only pressings sold out within hours. Full stream of all 85 minutes available here. Direct mp3 samples here and here. [more inside]
posted by Christ, what an asshole on Jun 28, 2008 - 34 comments

The World Beyond What?

About twenty years ago, HBO aired The Mondo Beyondo Show, a sort-of send-up of avant-garde performance shows like Alive From Off Center and Night Flight. Hosted by Bette Midler (as the character Mondo Beyondo), it showcased artists that covered the broad spectrum between performance art, dance, and absurdist comedy. Strap on your Eighties Goggles; here's the meat of the show: Bill Irwin | La La La Human Steps | The Kipper Kids | Yes/No People | Paul Zaloom | David Cale | and the Divine Miss M as Eudora P. Quickly [more inside]
posted by not_on_display on May 29, 2008 - 16 comments

Bebe Barron, RIP

Bebe Barron, 82, Pioneer of Electronic Scores, Is Dead. Best known for the soundtrack to the 1956 sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet -- the first full-length feature to use only electronic music -- she and her husband Louis Barron recorded the film's pre-synthesizer "electronic tonalities" with electronic circuits of their own invention. She never scored another feature film, but remained active in the avant-garde music scene.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 8, 2008 - 17 comments

A loveable old wheelchair-bound Stalinist...

Robert Wyatt is not dead. In fact, he recently released a new album titled Comicopera. [more inside]
posted by sleepy pete on Feb 2, 2008 - 15 comments

Vis(ual)po(etry)

Vispo is a site dedicated to visual poetry, both static and animated, run by Jim Andrews (though there's also a sound section). Among my favorites are bpNichol's First Screening (made in Hypercard), poem game Arteroids, the works of Ana Maria Uribe, Oppen Do Down (warning: audio starts immediately), Enigma M, strings and a selection of typographic works by Clemente Padin
posted by Kattullus on Jan 27, 2008 - 5 comments

20th Century Avant-Garde

20th Century Avant-Garde is a great resource guide to experimental art from 1900 onwards. Special sections for dada, the situationists and fluxus. You can also browse by categories such as artists, film and video art, movements in art, publishers and many more. If you're interested in experimental art of the 20th Century you can get lost in this site for hours.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 23, 2008 - 8 comments

A series of sacrifices in which the victims are words.

Eclipse is a free on-line archive focusing on digital facsimiles of the most radical small-press writing from the last quarter century. [more inside]
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur on Dec 15, 2007 - 10 comments

Freaky Flicks

Freaky Flicks is a p2p community with a radical mascot that collects arthouse and cult cinema.

Browse the selection on The Pirate Bay or look at their list of Red Letter Directors.

The FF Forum is pretty good for recommendations and links to non-p2p and legal online video.
posted by sushiwiththejury on Dec 4, 2007 - 20 comments

20th-century classical-experimental-electroacoustic music

The Avant Garde Project is a bunch of experimental outofprint music digitized from LPs. Free. Available in Flac and 192 kbps MP3. Start off at the Archive.
posted by sushiwiththejury on Nov 30, 2007 - 14 comments

The writings of Owen Hatherley

Owen Hatherley, has three blogs where he expounds on culture and architecture from an English Leftist perspective, sit down man, you're a bloody tragedy, The Measures Taken (which has longer essays than the previous blog) and the group film blog kino fist. To give you an idea of the range of subjects he covers, here's a sampling of his blogposts: Towards a Communist Couture? Sartorial Socialism from Huey P Newton to Honecker, Zuckendes Fleischer (on pre-WWII American cartoons), Industrial Island Machine - Vorticism and the absence of an English Avant-Garde, Hurrah for the Black Box Recorder (on songwriter Luke Haines and The Daily Mail), The Children’s Book as a Revolutionary Object (with a bunch of pictures from Soviet avant-garde children's books), Architectural Drawings of the 1960s, Art is a branch of Mathematics (Taylorism and Russian SF classic We), Brechtian Productivism in an age of Mechanical Stagnation and Notes towards an attempted refutation of the 'Associational Fallacy' (on architecture). All of the blogs are heavily adorned with pretty pictures, some not safe for work. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Nov 13, 2007 - 7 comments

Asemic Writing

Asemic is a magazine of asemic writing, which is writing without semantic content. The editor is Australian Tim Gaze, who's made the asemic books Aussie Runes and The Oxygen of Truth, volumes 1 and 2. "Only words lie; asemic texts cannot lie." [more inside]
posted by Kattullus on Oct 13, 2007 - 74 comments

Living in the Mall

Living in the Mall is an art project by Providence artist Michael J. Townsend that has come to an abrubt end. "Eight artists snuck into the depths of Providence Place mall and built a secret studio apartment in which they stayed, on and off, for nearly four years until mall security finally caught their leader last week." Townsend's wife, Adriana Yoto, also documented the project at her website.
posted by Kattullus on Oct 2, 2007 - 73 comments

Stainless Steel Ondine

Steve Mann's hydraulophone with sculpture gallery and performance video snippets: [1] [2] [3]
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 27, 2007 - 9 comments

Ingmar Bergman's Soap Commercials

The 9 soap commercials Ingmar Bergman made are a little known part of his oeuvre. Slate's Dana Stevens explains how they came about.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 7, 2007 - 5 comments

The Force inspiration

21-87 is a short film from Arthur Lipsett that has been discussed before.
posted by tellurian on Aug 2, 2007 - 12 comments

Sean Bonney's Translations of Baudelaire

Sean Bonney's translations of Baudelaire are unconventional. Instead of following the form of the French originals they are semi-concrete typewriter poetry. In a review of the book, everyone's cup of tea, onedit magazine says that they are "certainly the best translations of Baudelaire in English ever written." Which might explain why they published 35 of them in their latest issue. You can listen to Bonney read his translations here [mp3]
posted by Kattullus on Jul 18, 2007 - 61 comments

I'll take what's behind door number 4'33".

John Cage gives a little concert on a 1960's gameshow called "I've Got a Secret." (Flashvid)
posted by converge on May 18, 2007 - 33 comments

"We were just trying to write songs about prostitutes and lesbians, that's all."

Introduced to Western culture by the Beatles in their single Norwegian Wood, the sitar has featured prominently in North Indian classical music for centuries. Princeton-based computer scientist Ajay Kapur updates the instrument with his ESitar, an audio and video controller that uses gesture input (PDF) and machine learning algorithms to facilitate joining the computer with Ajay in his sitar performance. Undergraduate engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania work from the other direction, building RAVI-bot, an award-winning, self-playing robotic sitar (YouTube) programmed to generate music from classical Raga scales and melodies all on its own. For those in the Philadelphia area, be sure to check out a live performance of RAVI-bot at the local Klein Art Gallery.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 19, 2007 - 32 comments

Gentrification and Tonic

Tonic closes. At the end of a farewell performance, Marc Ribot and Rebecca Moore refused to leave the stage. They were arrested for trespassing, and hope to bring attention to New York's dwindling number of performance spaces for independent music. Previous discussions.
posted by Benjamin Nushmutt on Apr 17, 2007 - 73 comments

Music with Roots in the Aether

"These are my friends. I love their music. They are among the most important people in my life. The portrait is shattered because I could not make it whole." If you're bored this weekend, check out Robert Ashley's Music with Roots in the Aether. Each episode features a "landscape" (unusually-staged informal discussion) with a contemporary American composer, followed by a one-hour performance of his or her work. Subjects include the recently discussed Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, and Philip Glass. More on Ashley from NewMusicBox and Ubu.
posted by roll truck roll on Apr 7, 2007 - 7 comments

Mad, Risky Ventures

A short history of Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theatre. // "[Richard Foreman's] 'Strong Medicine' (Quicktime) is the kind of mad, risky venture one hesitates to interrupt." // A recent interview with Richard Foreman. (Youtube) // "This website contains hundreds of pages of unedited text which Richard Foreman is making available freely for use by theatrical authors/directors from which to create plays of their own." (Richard Foreman Previously)
posted by jrb223 on Jan 29, 2007 - 7 comments

Eyeballs in the Sky

What are The Residents up to these days? The avant garde band (if you can legitimately call them avant garde or a band) made an odd choice with their last/ongoing release, The River of Crime. If you like physical objects, you can purchase a package with cover art, a blank cd-r and codes to a website where you can download them; if you don't, you can purchase the episodes, which are styled after old radio noirs, as podcasts or as a double album through itunes. Concurrently, they have been putting out a series of short films via youtube. The Timmy series, based on a character created for the 1995 cd-ROM "A Day at The Midway", uses a mix of found footage, animation, music and voiceover to tell a series of short unrelated stories. As much as the band has done to keep up with technology over the last thirty-five years, they vehemently ">oppose file sharing of their work, including the sharing of mp3s that they have put out for free on their own website. With that in mind, I wonder how the band feels about the amazing collection of concerts, videos, interviews and assorted other weirdness you get when you type their name into YouTube. [more inside]
posted by elr on Dec 29, 2006 - 16 comments

UbuWeb Film Now Streaming

UbuWeb has converted all of its rare and out-of-print film & video holdings to on-demand streaming formats. via WFMU.
posted by treepour on Nov 28, 2006 - 11 comments

The Summer Has Ended!

Starting January 1st, the so-called 'Godfather' of avant-garde cinema, Jonas Mekas will podcast one short film per day, for a full year. If you can't wait till January here are 2 of Mekas's films to tide you over: Zefiro Torna and Hare Krishna. Or see the 40 short films being shown at a gallery in New York. [Via this NPR report, which, if you're already familiar with Mekas and his work, is likely the most interesting link here.]
posted by jrb223 on Nov 6, 2006 - 2 comments

Who actually calls it "New Music"?

N E W - M U S I C
posted by a_green_man on Oct 17, 2006 - 8 comments

"I’m very sure that medical science will want to examine his brain."

D. F. Lewis: Weirdmonger. "Lewis is either a genius graced with madness, a madman cursed with genius, both, or neither ... But there is more to Lewis than that. Believe you me, my pretties. Oh yes, much more. Because every so often you catch sight of something stirring beneath the frosted surfaces of his dreamy prose, something brilliant yet dark and brooding, something revelatory, something true, something that were you to see it all in a single glance would burn you to a cinder; but you still want to see; it speaks to you. In sibilant whispers. It tells you something you've been waiting to hear."—SAMHAIN review of BEST OF DF LEWIS. "I have a paranoid sensation that I'm always being followed by DF Lewis ... he's always there to torment me ... I can't get away from him even if I switch genres... Is he for real or did somebody invent him purely to annoy me?"—Problem page of OVERSPACE #13. "Then I turned over the page and AAARGH! DF f**king Lewis again!"—from THE SCANNER #11. "DF Lewis? When he's bad, he's awful, but when he's good there's no-one can touch him."—Rhys Hughes.
posted by Sticherbeast on Sep 20, 2006 - 1 comment

"There has never really been any modernity, never any real progress, never any assured liberation."

Meditations on: the poetic and profane; on silence; death; catastrophe; Cage — and yet more strangeness and beauty from David Ralph Lichtensteiger's travels within the world of 20th C. avant garde music and postmodernism.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 17, 2006 - 2 comments

I am going to play it back into the room again and again...

"I am sitting in a room (mp3), different from the one you are in now." is the opening phrase from Alvin Lucier's (Wikipedia) best known work, simply titled 'I am sitting in a room'. The piece involves playing a recording of a short speech back into the room and re-recording the result. This is done again and again, with the resonant frequencies of the room reinforced each time, until all that is left are the characteristics and resonances of the room. (Interview and documentary also available at ubu.com
posted by TwoWordReview on Jul 14, 2006 - 28 comments

20th C. avant-garde films

A video broadcast of György Ligeti's Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes (AVI, French), with helpful background on the controversial piece located here. For those who know French, you may also be interested in 1993's György Ligeti: Portrait, A Documentary by Michel Follin, showing Ligeti as "the displaced cosmopolitan", through the metaphor of train ride through the European countryside. These and many other avant-garde films can be found at Ubuweb, including features with William Burroughs, a recent "performance" of Cage's 4'33", and Varése and Le Corbusier's 1958 World Fair collaboration Poême électronique, a 400-speaker soundspace installation predating later, more experimental feedback pieces.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 2, 2006 - 14 comments

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