is a Web-based recreation/visualization of the first section of American "minimalist" composer Steve Reich
's landmark piece, Piano Phase
(1967). Created by interactive artist Alexander Chen
. [more inside]
I only agreed to do it because I thought it wouldn't happen. Twenty-one albums in 21 nights? More than 270 songs? Are you nuts? Sure, let's do it.
In May and June 2008, Sparks celebrated what was nearly their 40th year as a band with an astonishing three-week concert series: every night, they performed one of their then-21 albums in its entirety, ending with the just-released Exotic Creatures of the Deep
. Unlike most groups that formed in 1969
, Sparks has kept themselves appealing and intriguing through a series of reinventions that saw them playing glam rock
, new wave
and a couple varieties
. Unusually for a band in its third decade, 2002 saw a critically-acclaimed near-complete reinvention
of their musical approach, one that emphasized minimalist layering
, unusual (and hilarious) genre juxtapositions [note: kitties]
, and unusually clever and sinister approaches to lyricism
, then, was a virtuosic tribute to a virtuosic band, one whose appeal was far, far more than surface deep. Which is why, thank God, there is... [more inside]
With AWESOMeFEET you have to warm up to the idea that you will look like an idiot.
Detroit resident Marty Stano, minimalist, filmmaker, oddball, makes a joyous video in celebration of winter. [more inside]
Composer Sir John Tavener has died.
Most recently and popularly known for "Song for Athene," performed at the conclusion of Princess Diana's funeral
, and for Funeral Canticle
which was featured in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life
. His life and work was devoted to music as a search for deeply spiritual expression, having converted to Eastern Orthodoxy in 1977. In his last interview
he discussed how he had begun to turn again to some of the Western music he'd previously shunned, and turned his spiritual thoughts to other traditions as well. (What he called the "supreme achievement" of his life, the eight hour long all-night vigil The Veil of the Temple
contains Sufi, Buddhist and Hindu texts as well as Orthodox Christian.) [more inside]
Steve Reich's 3-movement (Fast, Slow, Fast) somewhat jazzy, somewhat rock-ish 2x5
was composed for 5 musicians and prerecorded tape, or two groups of five musicians. Here is Bang On A Can All-Stars (6 of them, no idea why) performing the piece
. [20m] Here is a large group of BOACA-S performing it as a 10-piece ensemble
. [21m] [more inside]
's "minimal realism" contributions to science and art are being celebrated by the graphic design blog Codex 99. Part 1 - Charley and Edie
. Part 2 - The Birds
. Part 3 - Tin Lizzie and Dinner for Two
. Part 4 - The Golden Book of Biology
. Part 5 - Bambi and Childcraft
. Part 6 - The Animal Kingdom
Take a copy of Monopoly, cover it in lye for a few days, boil from off the bones whatever flesh remains, and give the clean white skeleton a tasteful, minimalist paintjob, and you end up with ONOPO
, an extreme reduction of the original boardgame by Metafilter's own Matthew Hollett, aka oulipian
. Via mefi projects, hat tip to fastcodesign c/o Rock Paper Shotgun's always-lovely Sunday Papers feature.
"A composer's dream : a fail-safe orchestra at one's fingertips obeying ever so gently to his every command : a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music. This is, in a nutshell what Pierre Bastien's
"Mecanium" is all about" -Michel F. Côté.
Watch him in action Live at Faster than Sound
or enjoy a track from his album Mecanoid - Avid Diva. [more inside]
The Canto Ostinato
is a minimalist classical composition written in 1976-1979 consisting of "small, entirely tonal cells which are repeated - how many times is left to the performer". Usually performed by two
or four pianos
, it's also been adapted to other instruments like the harp
. The Canto Ostinato ("stubborn song") was written by Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt
, who passed away yesterday. [more inside]
: A frequently updated collection of beautifully minimal desks and workspaces, interspersed with occasional musings on minimalism, productivity, design and technology
Bill Bollinger was an important post minimalist
sculpture in the late 1960s and early 1970s. One of a generation of people who changed what sculpture meant. [more inside]
In honor of Philip Glass's 75th birthday (look at the cake!
), here are three rather odd albums of or based on his music, all free to play:
by U Can Unlearn Guitar ranges from drone to speed metal.
What Capitalism Was Plays Philip Glass on Accordion
is as described.
by dj BC mashes up Glass and Hip Hop. (previously
is a patchwork of photos and illustrations having a relationship with typography. AisleOne
is focused on graphic design, typography, grid systems, minimalism and modernism. iABC
is a collection of beautiful letters. Inspiration Bit
has a nice archive of articles about web typography. Nicetype
is about fonts, logos, posters and software. Twenty-Six Types
celebrates the beautiful letters. Typenuts
is type-themed iPhone and desktop wallpapers. Typoretum
is about typography, letterpress and printing history. Enjoy.
is a weird Scottish man
whose animated/puppeted videos are highly amusing. (Possible tiny cartoon nudity, if that is a worry.)
is a photo of him. He has also recently put out a book
(with an accompanying ad
.) [more inside]
Suppose you love to sail. Suppose, further, that you would like to do some cruising (travelling by sailboat) but can't afford the cost of an offshore-capable yacht
. Or suppose you're reluctant to become dependent upon
the many complicated systems
that a modern cruising sailboat relies on. Or suppose the whole luxury RV aesthetic
of modern cruising sailboats turns you off.
What then? Well, maybe you should think smaller
. [more inside]
"The day with its cares and perplexities is ended and the night is now upon us. The night should be a time of peace and tranquility; a time to relax and be calm. We have need of a soothing story to banish the disturbing thoughts of the day, to set at rest our troubled minds, and put at ease our ruffled spirits. And what sort of story shall we hear? Ah, it will be a familiar story. A story that is so very, very old, and yet it is so new. It is the old, old story of …" the 2012/13 touring production
of Einstein on the Beach
. [more inside]
Minimalist logos on labels.
I didn't realize this was possible, but I want to eat Nutella even more now.
Composer Henryk Górecki
, known for his choral and orchestral works in the "sacred minimalist
" style, has died
. He was best known for his Symphony #3, "Sorrowful Songs," (YT sample
) premiered in the U.S. in 1994. Górecki's Symphony #4, scheduled to premier in 2010, was postponed because of the composer's extended illness
, will not be completed.
When all your information is digital, meals are takeout, and your daily wardrobe consists of a black turtleneck and jeans, what’s the point of having, well… stuff? Meet
who have decided to purge their possessions
down to a hundred items or less.
Graphic designer Brandon Shaeffer
blends conceptualism, block graphic, op-art and deco/streamline sensibilities. His movie poster re-designs
are particularly fabulous. Much more can be found in his Flickr stream
and tumblr blog
Minimal origami is paper folding with just one fold. A single fold in a piece of paper is enough to make a swan
or an interesting curve
. Notably, Paul Jackson
has made beautiful one crease origami structures.
celebrates the 45th anniversary
of his groundbreaking composition, In C
. A major work in the history of minimalist music
, In C has an incredibly flexible score and performance guidelines
, which have inspired many musicians to make their own versions, including a French guitar quintet
, a traditional Chinese orchestra
, a keyboard ensemble
, an all-synthesizer group
, CalArts Music students
, French-Canadian hippies
, a Danish vocal and percussion ensemble
, another percussion ensemble
, Japanese acidheads
, a "laptop orchestra"
, the Bang on a Can Orchestra
, and a rock "orchestration"
by the Styrenes. No two versions can sound exactly the same, but it's still an open question how they will compare to the performance of In C at its Carnegie Hall debut
next month. No recording of the original 1964 performance has ever been publicly released, but some eyewitness accounts can be found here
Counting in groups of 12 the first performer claps on 1,2,3,5,6,8,10 and 11. The second performer starts by clapping the same pattern but gradually shifts the pattern one step to the right. You are playing Steve Reich's clapping music
. If you are serious you will want to study the score
- and perhaps a watch a performance
). If you are happen to be Evelyn Glennie you can have a go at both parts at once.
- those slightly less more mortal are likely to end up like this
. [more inside]
"“If the book were to be published as it is in its present edited form, I may never write another story, that’s how closely, God Forbid, some of those stories are to my sense of regaining my health and mental well-being.”
The New York Times reported today
that Raymond Carver's widow, Tess Gallagher, is pushing to republish the stories in Carver's acclaimed 1981 breakout collection, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," in their original, unedited form. [more inside]
Philip Glass on SNL
, Mr. Glass composed for Sesame Street: 1
, sounds a bit like North Star
if you ask me. Bonus: 1+1
. For the uninitiated
However interesting your life is, it probably pales in comparison to Moondog
. A homeless, blind composer who transcribed in braille, he went from a career as a street corner musician
in New York, to sitting in Carnegie Hall for rehersals at the invitation
of Artur Rodzinski
, he was invited to Germany and wrote a symphony for four conductors: "The Overtone Tree"
, he was covered by Janis Joplin
and worked with Julie Andrews
is an essay by Bob Grumman
about a strand of poetry that he claims is "unacclaimed but flourishing". Here are poems in this vein by Aram Saroyan
, LeRoy Gorman
, Michael Basinski
, John M. Bennett
, Karl Young
, John Martone
, Ian Hamilton Finlay
and finally some mathemaku
by Bob Grumman, the essay's author.
For over a decade, reclusive Berliners
Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald have published a distinctive style of minimalist techno through Basic Channel
and several other labels based out of their record store
. In 1996, they expanded into dub with Burial Mix
, a series of 10"s featuring long-lost reggae vocalists. (They've also begun reissuing out-of-print releases by NYC's Wackies
.) Although their vinyl-centric releases have always been relatively underground, they may soon be reaching a wider audience thanks to a domestic (US) release of their latest CD comp by Asphodel
. Also see the latest issue of The Wire
for a new quasi-interview.