Through the Aire, David G-P, 2013
System3, David G-P, 2013
Heads Duh Stamps, David G-P, 2013
Not as Good, David G-P, 2013
Almost kept the posts coming each week right on time, right on time. Yet, I’ve gone to two different emergency rooms this month, leaving each time before I could get a proper diagnosis. Yesterday was one of those days. I’m becoming somebody who hates hospitals. Or maybe I’ve always wanted to get the hell out of sickly healthcare settings and just never had the guts to leave before. Anyway here are some scans of collages from last year. Many all are too big to fit on the scanner, so you’ll notice some fold lines. More images are found on my tumblr. These ones here are my favs. Collect them all!
Not so much to look at in these eye files except for some apps I use for work. People, including me, always talk about using technology then rarely get specific with what they mean. So I looked at my devices (iPhone, iPad, notebooks) to tally which apps I use the most. Isn’t there an app out there that calculates how much you use what on your devices? Tell me if you know of one. Otherwise here’s my rundown of top five apps for my work. My work is at a public library, doing teen services, using the library space in a new way. Some of these might be obvious choices, but the things that are the most obvious can be thrown in the newest way. Like all the old drum machines and bass machines that people hooked up to emulate old disco records, turning out house and dance music. While using something familiar, creating something totally new.
For when I’m hanging out with teens or tweens and nobody has their music to play, HOT 97 rocks the house. I usually don’t listen to this kind of music on my own, but hearing it with these age groups makes it fresh. Today a tween had to stop her conversation with me about something because, “I, wait, I, um, I LOVE this song!” This app makes me hear mainstream music in a new way, complete with New York City shout outs. Also the songs are trimmed just enough in the mix to move things along.
I copy interview questions from various magazines, blogs, and websites onto google drive, then copy that into an AudioNote document. Then I let people interview each other with this app. It’s designed for recording lecture notes, but it works well to give someone the official feeling of recording what another person is saying. It comes with the capability of typing text while recording audio. While I have yet to meet a teen who also types while recording, the possibility is there. Note taking transformed. I use a classroom app to let people record each other outside of a classroom, and to give people that powerful feeling of recording something serious. I only wish this app came with an automatic transcription service.
Copy and paste. Go to another computer. Open. Copy and paste. Go to another device. Open. Copy and paste. Repeat. Sometimes the file opening process takes the longest. New typefaces added all the time making Google Drive more versatile than I thought. I’ve replaced many graphic design programs in a pinch with google drive when I don’t have access to my own computer. Quick and dirty replacement drawings, layouts, and announcements. This app re-makes word processing and file sharing in such a major way that it’s easy to take for granted.
Skype comes in handy when you’re meeting with people who aren’t actually there, in a mjaor obvious way. You already know how today’s busy people – teens or any age – can benefit from doing a quick skype session with each other. I’ve been in skype calls where the sound doesn’t work on one end so that person used google chat to help get the message across. Not sure how this is being used in a new way. Skype doesn’t need to be tweaked or re-made.
Crunk Box, Bunk Fox, Whuut Shocks, Funkadocks. All done to the rhythm. Includes Prince’s favorite drum machine the Linn. I use this during music programs. I mostly use this like a bullhorn or a whistle. The thumping 808 kick drum gets people to look and listen. Then when they start playing it, the app becomes a drum machine again.
Most anticipated app on this list. Bossjock is a podcasting studio that cues up tracks to play in a vocal audio mix. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this bossjock, though it’s already making me wish for a iPad-friendly USB microphone. Stay tuned.
What is up readers, listeners, and emergency room waiters under blankets. I saw all of you the last couple days, my hurt eye is getting better, and I’m starting to post works and things on my website. Inspired by Alec Soth’s 52 popsicles, I’m attempting to post once a week about something. Possibly scans of new works I’ve made, maybe a review, maybe a music chart. This is all updating attempt, mostly a scrapbook of all this stuff I keep piling and not filing. I’m a piler not a filer. Here is #1 of my eye files.
All these are collages I made in December 2013. I made many cards to send people, stamped them with a 2014 date, and now they’re waiting for the proper mail in a plastic bag. If you want to get one of these cards, you should say so. I will send you one.
Dash Shaw’s 3 New Stories on an iPad and New School.
How many times have my arms opened the enormous pages of Dash Shaw’s New School? How often have I lugged around the heavy publication on my shoulders? Why am I talking like a soothsayer? How often do I dig into a jar of nutty peanut butter, pouring chocolate chips directly into the jar? It’s a rare treat that nearly makes me choke on the spoon. Get me a glass of water with this delicious peanut butter. Or should I say I predict a waterfall of clear, soothing aqua will evaporate this peanut butter. Pouring water.
Those two disparate happenings – opening a large graphic novel and snacking on the lavish peanut butter and chocolate combo – are the start of understanding Dash Shaw’s new works. Why am I wondering how often I crack open a comic book? What does this massive work have to do with eating the rough mix of chocolate chips and peanut butter? How does this relate to my life? So many tasty questions. So here goes swallowing the peanut butter. Here goes packing the graphic novel into a bag because I’ve already renewed it twice from my local public library. Here goes pouring my ideas onto a computer screen.
Dash Shaw has two new projects out in 2013. New School is the graphic novel/comic is an epic that reminds me of William Blake’s mystical prints. The other new work is a digital comic book and much shorter in length. It’s called 3 New Stories. The digital comic is available from Comixology, an excellent digital retailer of digital comics. The works depict journeys of discovery, disappointment, and ecstasy. Stories involve teens growing up, people questioning their worldviews, and today’s current dreadful economy. The settings are weird schools for weird curricula, and escape. Escaping to anywhere, escaping to anyplace from wherever the current location. The grass is always greener, or in Shaw’s works, the grass is always splashier with messy green, neon, and color splatters. Amid this colorful landscape characters often suggest “Damning the man”. There’s also characters’ psychedelic trip of damning it all, feeling overpowered, and emotionally overwhelmed. People and abstract lines hover over perilous situations. There are dangerous lights and beautiful shadows.
I experience three emotions mentioned above: discovery, disappointment, and ecstasy. I travel through new layers of artwork and storytelling and see how a story can flow in drastically different ways. I’m bummed out and exhilarated by the thick marker lines over background layers of color and collage. These marker lines are part of the main style of Shaw’s drawing style: executed quickly, laid down onto paper with a manic pace. The magic marker lines feel fleeting, immediate, and confident. Layered beneath the markers are swathes of color, collage, and shape. The two layers create a different speed to reading the work, a hyper speed, faster than manga comics full of speed lines and action scenes. It feels quick, as though my eyes zoom over shapes and patterns drawn across the layouts that emphasize layouts. This reads similar to Frank Santoro’s studies of comic book panels featuring lines criss-crossing through classic comic book layouts (Santoro and Shaw have collaborated together, notably in Kramer’s Ergot 8). The speed is also choppy, if you look at just the overlays, you might miss the story. If you look at the story, you miss pausing over the overlays. Or this is what I thought was happening at first.
The background layers require reading the shapes and movements of the stories separately from what happens at any precise moment. So first I read the stories in a linear straight-ahead fashion. Then I randomly paged through the works, admiring the dazzling light show created by Shaw’s use of overlapping line and color swatches. Sometimes the blocks look like serene Mark Rothko blocks. Other times a Rauschenberg collage effect occurs. Yet what happened a third time while paging through New School suggests that referencing these two artists is problematic.
Shaw’s work is flat, though if feels sculptural. The total effect shares the disorienting energy of Lygia Clark’s living experiences of sculpture and performance. Lines wrap around bodies, and structures turn into actions. Events unfurl through explosions and leading up to even larger damaged scenarios. Blue pieces break along with broken bike parts. Theme parks vandalized. Jail yards razed by murderous gunfire. After seeing the overlays more like a light show of bodies, buildings, and broken parts that combined with magic marker swatches, the work reveals an incredible swirling flow. I can’t overestimate or even stop talking about the flow. Even when my wife says flow isn’t the best way to describe anything specific, it seems like the best way to describe Shaw’s work. Especially in New School, the work is something that moves fluidly and strangely, ebbing and rushing readers along through dreams crushed, missions accepted, jealousies torn asunder, and drunken binges slammed down on the cold ground. The flow is like jumping into an ocean wave, or leaping into a swimming pool, or hitting the bottom of a pool with your feet, suddenly too fast, then too slow to rise back up to the surface for air. The experience feels like a person who turns and breathes underneath water or about to break through the surface. A person doesn’t just see works on the wall, or panels on the page, a person might be part of the activity, feeling swept up into the events by landing on a completely separate portion of the whole.
The choppiness of the story, combined with the dramatic soothsayer wordiness of the main character in New School creates a heady experience. This comic might have more to do with light shows and walking through an exhibition of minimalist sculptures than reading a comic book. Yet I was still thumbing through a comic book. If Shaw’s work lacks elegance and smoothness, it abounds with an energy focused on immersion. These huge pages, with colorful layers and sweeping magic marker lines, unfold in a gigantic emotional sway. Wonder and messy disappointment are always good feelings to feel while reading a comic book.
Shaw’s shorter e-comic features is not as overwhelming as New School, yet it might be better for readers to take in smaller bits of his unique flow. The stories render moments even more heartbreaking than those in New School, with dire economic situations creating soul-sucking tragedy turned into opportunity. Hurt people appear in these three new stories in bizarre alternate realities. For example there are children escaping from a prison. Disappointment is a character co-starring in these pieces. Things do not end well. There is sweat, tears and seeking fears face on. Shaw’s shorter work is recommended for readers not quite ready to delve as deep into New School.
Overall the best part of these works are all about the flow. Or whatever other phrase you want to use for the choppy, lapping over your feet movement. It’s created by the colorful bursts of kinetic line overlapped mixed with solid marker. The perfect way to depict characters’ change from thrilled enthusiasm to disgruntled coping mechanisms.
Here’s a playlist of my favorite music for summer 2013. I installed baseboards backwards and upside down in order to display records as a rotating display, so this list is both sound and vision. I’m excited and weirded out at how much it makes my living place look like a record store or an art installation.
With the number nine, formatting the numerals is easy because no extra zero are needed. It’s also the same name as the daily playlist from Rochester, MN’s mainstream radio station. My hometown’s radio played belatedly cool and horrible pop music. We always made fun of it because it’s always late-blooming Top 40 songs, instead of music we actually listened to. Once in awhile my brother and I waited for a song to come on: possibly by Prince, Beck, Nirvana or another anomaly in the broadcast stream. Expect tons of anomalies like that in this playlist and any future ones.
I just got my favorite bike stolen so this playlist is sure to change with sad bastard bike riding tunes and sleazy sliced bike lock fantasies. All I feel is a dull frown, mostly frustration at having to get other transportation to work. Watch this space for downtrodden soundtracks to hear while you wish you were riding your bike. Until, this is David G-P presenting tonight’s Top Nine at 9.
1. JAMES RUSHFORD & JOE TALIA manhunter
2. KEVIN DRUMM imperial distortion
3. TEISCO tuscan castle & country seat
4. DVA DAMAS nightshade
5. ROBERT HOOD black technician ur mad mike remix
6. FACTORY FLOOR fall back
7. STREETWALKER future fusion
8. METASPLICE infratracts
9. TEENAGE FILMSTARS star
1. JAMES RUSHFORD & JOE TALIA manhunter (kye)
A soundtrack or such work inspired by the Michael Mann 1980s moody, mystery, and mangled Miami Vice-like movie. Focused and falling apart feeling, like all characters finally collapsed under the immense pressure they endured during the movie. Possibly the actors and filmmakers eventually relax and breathe a huge sigh of building-crushing relief, creating this recording. Ambient for people who don’t really like chilling out. Or chilling out music for people that like driving away garbage bin sounds. This sounds like field recordings of somebody jamming electronically with their friend whilst watching the movie. Unsettling in its calmness.
2. KEVIN DRUMM imperial distortion (hospital productions)
Seminal extended drone sounds. Remastered, repressed on three records instead of two, and perfect for green dreams. Feels like sinking way beneath every stressful surface then flattening out to watch things from a distance. I wish my records were the limited green vinyl. Black is still good, and probably sounds better. I’m surprised at how much other people like this and don’t think it’s just a long tone, probably because it’s nothing close to one tone and swells something beautiful and dynamic. Lussuria was on an earlier version of this list, but Kevin Drumm needs to be shared more often. Real relaxation.
3. TEISCO tuscan castle & country seat (roundtable)
Bizarre library record reissue. I keep listening to this and saying to people straight up, “This is a weird record”. Psychedelic and sauerkraut rocky. Wandering piano scenes. Adventurous and energetic. I cannot see the connection between the Tuscan countryside and this music. Maybe if Ray Bradbury needed pastoral music for a scary story. Throbbing pastoral science fiction themes.
4. DVA DAMAS nightshade (downwards)
Direct echo vocals, Ennio Morricone western-riff guitars that surf, and tight drum machines. Incoming austerity and minimalism, if those qualities can be found emanating from an electronic surf band. Much more potent than I can possibly explain. This music takes up entire landscapes with exact production and seemingly nothing special captured at all. A swoop of blackness. It’s over before you know what happened.
5. ROBERT HOOD black technician ur mad mike remix (music man)
Detroit Techno, made by a man who’s lived in rural Alabama for seven years, remixed by Mad Mike from the Underground Resistance. Mad Mike makes a moody synth introduction followed by straight ahead four to the floor-tronica. The original is futuristic jazz music, ending with a stunner of chords, pillow fighting each other to fall down land. This record does not work if played quiet, you need to turn it way up. Mixes well with some of the new L.I.E.S. records, or transitions between genres. An Omp-Omp-Omp-Omp steady lift-off.
6. FACTORY FLOOR fall back (dfa records)
Can’t wait for Factory Floor’s new album. Disco plus industrial plus major dance-in-this-place attitude. This record mixes well with almost anything. The hi-hats alone are enough to hype people up. Insane synth repetition. Bonus points for the b-side separating the parts of the song into beats, synths, and vocals. Nothing like a sexy, frantic, industrial vocal to throw into any mix. The world is a better place when there’s an rhythmic acapella at the ready. Steady the pattern down.
7. STREETWALKER future fusion (cititrax)
Speaking of mixing Rob Hood with L.I.E.S. records, this record is made by the distractingly named Streetwalker, which has one Beau Wanzer who records dance music as Mutant Beat Dance on L.I.E.S. The other guy in the band plays in White Car, making other dance music. This project is dissonant Chicago house licks and hand claps, mixed with estranged and tense vocals. Probably the most futuristic sounding album on this list. Also a totally different approach to all the recent Chicago house research methods going on in dance music. This is not chords and beats, this is snaps and wattage bumping ghetto house into a sneering punk rock monotone. Might be too pretentious for people who like either of their vintage cold wave or chicago house, yet strikes a pleasing combination of voltage for me. Lick the batteries.
8. METASPLICE infratracts (morphine records)
Hefty miniaturized industrial sounds. Electronic music that never sounds like glitched up computer filters, instead it sounds like malfunctions at the emergency room. Imagine if you zoomed into a emergency room and caught all the tense stress and fractured anxieties from everybody there. Metasplice sounds like building up those sounds into a layer of rich, pummelling, anxiety. Prismatic Sway is my favorite track with its wafting melody that sounds like a bent piece of metal warped back and forth. This record reminds me of old Drop Bass Network and Six Sixty Six records – distortion pedals applied to drum machines, freaked out acid lines, and 909 kick drums. Except Metasplice’s work sounds even clearer or cleaner, like all the bits are detailed enough to become new screws or revitalized turnbuckles or other tools precisely heard, felt, and working hard.
9. TEENAGE FILMSTARS star (creation records)
Side project of My Bloody Valentine. So MBV has a new album out? Ok, um, wait. Listen to this first. A collage of swirling guitars and romantic ooohs will cascade over you. This sounds like my kind of slightly wierd indie rock like your first lovely kiss in a driveway. That first kiss ruined or improved into a music video, channeled back using prismatic colors for your nostalgic enjoyment. Repeat. Breakbeats! Musique concrete! And circular song structures.
Once I met a veteran working as a TSA agent at the airport. He was wearing a metallic bracelet with a series of codes, metal marks, or symbols. I asked him what it was. He said, “My buddies in the army”. I said that was awesome. He looked at me hard, dumbfounded and pissed off. “Awesome?” I thought I was about to get my head ripped off. “Naw, that’s not what I meant.” I cowered and added, “Thanks for your service.” He glowered at me and I hustled ahead in the line, so nobody behind me would notice my complete dick move. I sped ahead through the rest of the check-out, scared and embarrassed. I knew nothing about what he’d been through much less any other veterans I knew somewhat closely or didn’t know at all.
Later on I met another veteran who for a short while became my good friend. He was the first person I met in a new city, helping us move, showing us which traffic lights to avoid, and sharing somewhat of his complicated background. Soon he started acting too tense to hang out around. He was frustrated, hurting, and trying to fit into a drastically different world. I actually cut all my contact off with him, feeling again embarrassed and sort of scared. What was going on? I usually can shoot any sort of conversational breeze with any person, especially guys. Yet here I was feeling claustrophobic and nervous. Maybe I should have mentioned this.
Anyway all that to say that these stories deal with the above. Meaning my complete lack of understanding about how to talk about war with people face to face. I still have no idea after reading this, so don’t expect to learn how to handle PTSD while hanging out. Do expect to be grappling with heavy issues and unanswerable questions. These stories suggest how people’s total nullification of normalcy during war forever alters their ordinary day-to-day events. Phil Klay’s story about dogs and the frankness of the narrator’s voice is immense and carefully raw. Siobhan Fallon’s work about intimacy and hurriedness of returned husbands is devastating and wracks the mind with how many other people are experiencing the same relationship-tugging thing. This collection is a rare combination of ok stories mixed with incredibly powerful works. Recommended for anybody who likes war stories, biographies, and well-crafted short stories. Though I after reading this I cannot accurately use the description “likes war stories”. This should be required reading for anybody touched by today’s war-related horrors and erosions.
I usually just post reviews on my goodreads page so I can remember what I’ve read and is part of a bigger process of engaging with the world. I’m going to start posting especially meaningful works on here. Mostly so I can highlight what really counts in the flood of materials. Stay tuned for more updates on the shackablog.