Dig through the Glass Engine.
March 1, 2002 10:04 PM   Subscribe

Dig through the Glass Engine. A truly cool little app that indexes Mp3 samples of over 60 compositions by Philip Glass. Play with the buttons or drag the blue bar at the top of the screen to browse by year (with or without a filter thrown on to get just film scores, opera, etc.). Drag the second series of blue bars to get presented with other selections with more or less joy, sorrow, intensity, density and velocity. Even if you don't care for Glass, think how you could use something like this elsewhere. (via Jerry Kindall)
posted by maudlin (26 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Very cool. And fun. Thanks.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:06 PM on March 1, 2002

...and impressive too. Nice link.
posted by XiBe at 6:46 AM on March 2, 2002

Very impressed. This is such a clever way to organise a medium-sized bunch of things. Takes a second to get the interface, but once you have it's so easy to see how all the pieces compare and fit together.
posted by chrismear at 7:06 AM on March 2, 2002

At first I thought, who knows how my brain misfires like this, that I could crossfade/mix the different MP3s. After getting past my initial disappointment, I realized that being able to tour Glass' music in such an inventive interface was cool enough.
posted by eyeballkid at 7:59 AM on March 2, 2002

What an incredible device. Great link, maudlin. I haven't been much into Glass for years, but that may be changing...
posted by jpoulos at 8:21 AM on March 2, 2002

Very cool. suggests an interesting way to organize files. Also, Glass is probably the first classical musician alive while I am. Really amazing stuff. I wonder what Mozart would have thought.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:26 AM on March 2, 2002

There's a plug-in for Winamp called MoodLogic, ParisParamus, which allows you to organize your mp3 collection along these same lines. It identifies the tracks for you and assigns it values on "happy" and "energetic" scales, etc. It's a little clumsy, and if you don't want to pay for it to profile your collection, you have to "earn" credits by profiling songs for their database. I used it for about 2 days before I got sick of it, but it could someday be a worthwhile product.
posted by jpoulos at 8:37 AM on March 2, 2002

There's a plug-in for Winamp called MoodLogic, ParisParamus

Um. I am a little over 35 and do not have any MP3s. (Also, I don't have cable and my television is from 1983.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:03 AM on March 2, 2002

There's a plug-in for Winamp called MoodLogic, ParisParamus

Um. I am a little over 35 and do not have any MP3s. (Also, I don't have cable and my television is from 1983.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:12 AM on March 2, 2002

Ah, the dangers of listening to Glass: even your MeFi postings become become become becomebecomebecome repetitive. :-)
posted by maudlin at 9:43 AM on March 2, 2002

There's an excellent Glass spoof on one of Peter Schickele's "PDQ Bach" albums titled "Einstein on the Fritz."

As for classical composers alive while you are, how about Steve Reich? He's another minimalist composer and he's done some wonderful stuff -- I like him better than Glass. I don't think Terry Riley's doing much composing these days but I could be wrong about that; in any case he's still alive too, I believe. Michael Nyman is a serious composer who does a lot of film scores (including "Gattaca," which is beautiful). All these guys come at composing more or less from a modern, minimalist angle, although that's just my impression and I am hardly an expert.

There are undoubtedly others currently composing in the classical tradition as well, I'm just not familiar with very many of their names.
posted by kindall at 10:01 AM on March 2, 2002

Hrm. I almost posted this a while back but figured pretty much everybody in the world hated Phillip Glass. Surprise.
posted by Su at 10:17 AM on March 2, 2002

A lot of people just think of Glass and think.. oh yeah, Koyaanisqatsi, organ drones and constant arpeggios.

They have not heard Uakti's rendition of his Aguas da Amazonia, the choral Three Songs, Violin Concerto, or Powaqqatsi.. which all rate as extremely lyrical, non repetitive, works. Not to mention the music from The Truman Show.

Of course, it is so easy to judge when you only hear the most famous works.
posted by wackybrit at 11:30 AM on March 2, 2002

Maudlin, you have made my day.
posted by Darke at 11:36 AM on March 2, 2002

So what do you all figure Glass' most accessible pieces are? Adding to what wackybrit has mentioned, I'd suggest that newbies try: Mishima (1985) -- especially Osamu's Theme with the hammering and chiming of electric guitar against violin (this is track 6: remember that you have to go to the 4th bar down the page to access different tracks in each work); String Quartet No. 3 (1985, based on Mishima); the soundtrack to the horror film Candyman (1992 -- try track 15); Wichita Sutra Vortex (1989); and The Photographer (1983). And I remember being thrilled and spooked by Einstein on the Beach (1984) when the local indie station played all of side 1 in the early morning hours while I was in university, but that one may not be everyone's cup of Red Rose.

There are more samples available at the official site.
posted by maudlin at 12:17 PM on March 2, 2002

(Oh, and track 5 of Mishima, too -- hell, the whole soundtrack is great -- I must go out sometime today and finally pick up the CD).
posted by maudlin at 12:21 PM on March 2, 2002

Another recent link of quality, maudlin, mass props in your and Jerry Kindall's direction.
posted by y2karl at 12:33 PM on March 2, 2002

kindall, you see living composers work generally shelved under "new music", "contemporary classical", "post war" or "20th century", and there's a great collection of links and music and information at www.kalvos.org, including a page specifically about living composers. some of my favorite younger composers (influenced by glass/reich/riley, but also incorporating ideas from rock and other modern musical forms are: the bang on a can composers (michael gordon, david lang, julia wolfe), lois v vierk, michael torke, graham fitkin, pauline oliveros, scott johnson, steve mackey, louis andriessen, phil kline, eve beglarian. there's also terrific stuff coming out of japan, more towards the realm of electronica. also genre-blurring work like that of dj spooky, scanner, etc. another great resource for this sort of music is the wnyc program "new sounds", available online.
posted by judith at 12:58 PM on March 2, 2002

Also a lot of stuff turns up on BBC Radio 3 and particularly Late Junction (late-afternoon/mid-evening junction in the States, obviously). Check out the playlists to see the sorts of things they play.

Also available as a RealAudio stream.

And "Dig Through the Glass Engine" is a wonderful phrase.
posted by Grangousier at 1:32 PM on March 2, 2002

maudlin said: So what do you all figure Glass' most accessible pieces are?

You already mentioned me, but hey.. I'll go for it. I love talking Glass.

Powaqqatsi, all of it.. especially Serra Pelada, New Cities in Ancient Lands, and CAUGHT!
Lightning with Suzanne Vega.
Crouch End Festival performance of Changing Opinion.
Uakti - Japura River
Violin Concerto - 1st and 3rd movements
Company parts 1 through 5.
The Canyon.

I would definitely NOT recommend.. North Star, Music in Twelve Parts, Passages, Dracula, Metamorphosis or Koyaanisqatsi to casual listeners. Although 'The Grid' is possibly one of the finest achievements in classical music in modern times. Those studying orchestra would probably love The Canyon from the Itaipu album.. lots of interesting things going on here, and finally a composer uses the tambourine properly!

Can't wait to see how the Naqoyqatsi music turns out.
posted by wackybrit at 1:43 PM on March 2, 2002

maudlin: And, yes, Einstein On The Beach is great.. but.. definitely not everyone's cup of tea. If I'm not in the right mood, it could definitely drive me up the wall. Those kneeplays.. 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,4,etc.
posted by wackybrit at 1:44 PM on March 2, 2002

1, 2, 3, 4 ; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2, 3, 4 ; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2, 3, 4 ; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 2, 3, --

wha? whaaa? huh? up the walls or on your knees? don't worry, wackybrit, everyone's safe: I told them it was a 1984 release instead of 1976 so they'll never find it on the engine

-- 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2, 3, 4 ; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8; 2, 3, 4 ; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 ...
posted by maudlin at 1:58 PM on March 2, 2002

I had never heard Dracula before. It's wonderful. I just listened to it all the way through. Kronos Quartet r0X0r5.
posted by jpoulos at 2:08 PM on March 2, 2002

Very cool! I always thought Koyaanisqatsi, whenever Glass's name cropped up ...this stuff looks very interesting.
posted by justlooking at 11:08 AM on March 3, 2002

Hydrogen Jukebox is cool. Watching Cocteau's La Belle et La Bete with Glass's music is fun, but requires a little tweaking of the remote to sync up right with the action --really good when it fits though. I haven't seen Dracula with the Glass score yet.
posted by mblandi at 12:00 PM on March 4, 2002

posted by crunchland at 7:49 PM on March 4, 2002

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