More Talking About Buildings And Music
August 25, 2011 9:37 PM   Subscribe

 
Dancing about architecture.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:43 PM on August 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


That was my original post title, but I decided to go Talking Heads instead of Martin Mull.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:45 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's an interesting perspective. Would Talking Heads have worked outside CBGBs?
posted by Gilbert at 10:27 PM on August 25, 2011


Of course. They played other places as well.
posted by basicchannel at 10:49 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Loved ones, loved ones visit the building,
take the highway, park and come up and see me
I'll be working, working but if you come visit
I'll put down what I'm doing, my friends are important

posted by hal_c_on at 10:53 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there a transcript?

I go to way too many gigs, and I prefer seeing a rock band in a dingy pub (but secretly envy the shinier dance clubs). But I doubt Byrne is talking about something that basic.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:53 PM on August 25, 2011


No, it's pretty much that basic.
posted by greta simone at 11:10 PM on August 25, 2011


Does anyone else buy a band's CD/EP because they're awesome live and find out that they're really bad/mediocre when listened to at home? O
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 11:11 PM on August 25, 2011


Is there a transcript?

You don't need a transcript. He's SP EAK IN GI N GE NERA LIT IES for a generalist audience.

Anyway, most of the meaning in his talk is conveyed by showing pictures of places while playing bits of music he says was composed for those places. You probably wouldn't get much out of a text transcript compared to just watching it.
posted by pracowity at 11:12 PM on August 25, 2011


Does anyone else buy a band's CD/EP because they're awesome live and find out that they're really bad/mediocre when listened to at home?

More often than I care to remember. I've also experienced (as have we all, I imagine) bands that are brilliant recorded but dismal live.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:15 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are a ton of dance records that were written with specific clubs in mind -- Twilo Thunder and West on 27th (which was Twilo's address), were specifically written for Twilo in NYC. There was a whole style of 'big room' dark progressive house created just for that club at some other big east coast clubs like Nation.

Most of the big clubs were built in old warehouses, so they had this huge cavernous space with thousands of people in it and huge thumping bass speakers, but really echo'd in the higher frequencies. Vocals were really, really hard to understand so they were rarely used. The songs started being produced to take advantage of the space, though. DJs that used to play trance records with tons of reverb and delays built into the melodies started stripping away the complexity and playing lots records that were simple and bass heavy and had very sparse sounds in the higher frequency ranges that echoed around the space naturally creating a really amazing environment of sound. One of the big signifiers of that sound was the big wooshing filter sweep that's barely noticeable listening at home but echoed around the entire place in a really amazing way at the right club.

A good example of one of these records was Smoke Machine, the signature sound of which wasn't actually in the record! It sampled the sounds of smoke being replaced from the ubiquitous smoke machines at the clubs, but the record wasn't really complete until the breakdown at (starting at 2:30 or so) when the guy running the lights would trigger all the smoke machines in the club, which always meshed perfectly with the sounds on the record -- something that only really worked at the super clubs that had huge amounts of loud smoke machines.
posted by empath at 11:16 PM on August 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


All TED talks have an interactive transcript, available through a button at the right. You can just read the text straight through, or click a phrase to jump to that point in the video.
posted by maudlin at 11:53 PM on August 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, and the transcript is available in a variety of languages. I have been overwhelmed with TED podcasts and can't remember the last time I watched a whole talk (although I caught the Byrne talk a while ago and liked it well enough), but it was good to be reminded that they have such a clear and helpful site.
posted by maudlin at 11:55 PM on August 25, 2011


WTF? Music started in 1989. All this old world revisionism is doing my head in. Talking heads? What a load of god planted fossils.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 1:54 AM on August 26, 2011


So, basically he's saying, "Same as it ever was."

Thanks, I really enjoyed that.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:54 AM on August 26, 2011


Needs more bicycles.
posted by Fizz at 5:35 AM on August 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This music was made here. And it worked.

Hmmmmmmm.....
posted by noaccident at 7:35 AM on August 26, 2011


Stop making sense.
posted by goethean at 7:37 AM on August 26, 2011


This was really interesting to watch and discuss with my husband, who has worked as a recording engineer for local bands. A lot of it is obvious when you're into historical music and architecture and think about it, but that's not something a lot of people spend time thinking about. Byrne is exactly the kind of guy who would.
posted by immlass at 7:48 AM on August 26, 2011


so my friend dave (not byrne), who is an architect, went to a lecture a decade or so ago out in southern california. speaker was a well-known architect/artist (not my bag so i don't remember the name). my friend dave (not byrne) was acquainted with the speaker, and decided to attend the lecture, which was packed. he arrived late & found a place in the back. lecture starts, he's listening intently but happens to look over as another late arrival sneaks in & finds a place to stand in the back. this late arrival happened to be not an architect, but interested in architecture, and my friend dave (not byrne) figured that david byrne not an architect, but interested in architecture wanted to hear the lecture but didn't want to deal with being recognized.

it's all good. the lecture continues and at some point the speaker looks out into the audience & recognizes my friend dave (not byrne). speaker smiles, nods, says 'hey, dave. thanks for coming' and continues the lecture, but everyone turns around to look, and they see ... david byrne not an architect, but interested in architecture, *not* my friend dave (not byrne). so my friend dave (not byrne), outted david byrne not an architect, but interested in architecture at an architecture lecture years before this ted talk.

not sure how much of a point is in there, but i like the story : )
posted by msconduct at 8:11 AM on August 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Intesting how a room's acoustics, and later evolving home electronics has affected the type of music that we listen to.

I looked up David Byrne's bio, and found this gem:

At Rhode Island School Of Design, David studied a functional design programme known as the Bauhaus Theory course. He also took a conceptual art course. The staff were not sure about David, particularly when he put on a performance in which he had his hair and beard shaved off onstage to a piano accordion accompaniment and a showgirl displaying cue cards written in Russian.

The professors at RISD were less charmed, however, and David found himself out on the street.

posted by eye of newt at 8:26 AM on August 26, 2011


msconduct: wait, so you're friends with dave byrne?
posted by metaBugs at 8:58 AM on August 26, 2011


metaBugs : nah. my friend dave not byrne is way cooler.
posted by msconduct at 9:59 AM on August 26, 2011


I admire Byrne, but I'll disagree with his premise. Music has been around a lot longer. It's *music* that helped *architecture* evolve. (Proof of this assertion is left to the student as an exercise.)
posted by Twang at 4:57 PM on August 26, 2011


(Proof of this assertion is left to the student as an exercise.)

Well, it seems pretty obvious that some of those music halls were designed to listen to music in.
posted by delmoi at 9:40 PM on August 26, 2011


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