The Null Device


Odd coincidence of the day: ethereal-ambient artist Sara Ayers has, on her web site, a page on outsider artist Henry Darger.


Ye gods; Adrian Mole, the Harry Potter of the kitchen-sink socialist-realist 1980s, is still around at 37, a father and celebrity chef, and still pining for his childhood sweetheart Pandora:

Mangan added: "I want Adrian and Pandora to get together in their 80s. He can change her incontinence pants and wipe dribble from her chin." "It's the only way he'll ever get near her, when she's completely ga-ga. I can tell you that," retorted Sue Townsend.


Something to think about: Has the pace of technological progress slowed in the second half of the 20th century? Yes, the Internet and computers are very exciting, but have they had as much of an effect as electric light and the internal combustion engine? As the author of the article argues, life in 2000 is a lot more similar to life in 1950 than life in 1950 was to life in 1900.


31/12; 7 hours remaining (cont.):
Favourite CDs of 2000:

Cocteau Twins - Stars and Topsoil
A collection of some of the Cocteau Twins' best material from 1982 to 1990. Has some great songs, like Aikea-Guinea and Heaven or Las Vegas
Radiohead - Kid A
Yes, it was over-hyped; the press wouldn't shut up about it and your local Sanity/HMV had stacks of it. And yes, others said it was a load of wank. But once you get past that, you have an interesting album. Some have compared it to The Cure's Pornography, perhaps fairly, only with more of a Warp influence and some odd time signatures. Favourite track: probably How To Disappear Completely.
Minimum Chips - Freckles
An EP from a local act, in a sort of Stereolabish vein; hope they do a full album soon.
Baxendale - You Will Have Your Revenge
Electronic pop (though not synthpop) with tongue firmly in cheek. Some of the songs get boring after a while, but I Love the Sound of Dance Music is a classic.
Stone Roses - The Remixes
Some great reworkings of the Stone Roses, ranging from Rabbit in the Moon's acid-rave remix of I Wanna Be Adored (which sounds as if they could have done most of it with ReBirth) to Kinobe's mellow reworking of Elizabeth My Dear.
FourPlay String Quartet, The Joy Of
Their second album, with some great tracks, including a dub/klezmer two-part and a vicious-sounding PWEI remake. Their remix CD, slated for early 2001, will be something to look out for.
Piano Magic, Artists' Rifles
Arty and understated and hard to describe, though something I've been listening to a lot.

With honourable mentions going to Broadcast, Extended Play Two, Björk, SelmaSongs, Beulah, When Your Heartstrings Break, Deepchild, Hymns from Babylon, LTJ Bukem, Journey Inwards, Yo La Tengo, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out and Black Box Recorder's various EPs (mostly for the B-sides), (Note: this is counting only CDs I acquired this year.)

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The rock stars of the new millennium: A researcher at Hewlett-Packard in the UK has created a program which simulates a club DJ, well enough to fool more than a third of clubbers.

"I muck around as a DJ myself, and I became aware that some of the DJing I was doing was quite mechanical"

If this evolves into a system that consistently passes the DJ Turing test, we may have a wee crisis on our hands; i.e., who will front up for electronic dance music. The unphotogenic back-room geeks who make the stuff generally aren't rock-star material, so the mantle has been passed down to mediagenic wideboys who play the records, and who have achieved rock-star status by just playing and mixing discs. If a computer program obsoletes human DJs, what will happen to electronic music performance? Will the rock star of the new millennium be the person who starts the computer, or who dances to the mix on the podium? Even if such a dancer is wired up with motion-capture sensors to provide feedback to the mix, does that make them a star, or a human component of a machine?


31/12: So, you ask, what has happened in Your Humble Narrator's life during the past year? Well, it all started when the world didn't end, and my plans of becoming Warlord of Post-Apocalyptic Melbourne were dashed yet again; oh well, I went back to living in a first-floor flat in Carnegie, subsisting on the dole and casual tutoring work and playing around with music and writing in my spare time.

In the past year I have (in no particular order): started working full-time at Melbourne University, stopped hanging around Monash University, moved from a one bedroom flat in a rather ordinary suburb to a shared house in the inner city, travelled to Sydney (where I hung around with Peter and saw an ultradoovy live band named Prop), caught a train to Seymour (a smallish, fairly typical country town) and back one Saturday afternoon (because I had a concession card due to expire soon), uploaded some music I created to various MP3 services (here, here and here, if you're curious; mind you, that's all about 6 months old (except for vmunix, which is from 1995 or so)), played with some Aibos, appeared on 3RRR (in an interview about Grouse), shaved my head, saw The Cure play live, met a number of people, including some I hadn't seen for years, worked on various projects (more about which in due time), read books, saw live bands, saw a few plays, and picked up an electric guitar, a (mostly) new Linux box and too many CDs to list here without boring the non-trainspotters in the audience. Well, that's the first 365 days and 4 hours of 2000; though I will probably be spending a goodly chunk of the remainder asleep.


Death Disco: Is Hillary Clinton a key investor in a Nazi-themed disco near Auschwitz, or did someone along the way forget to take their medication? The mind boggles indeed. (from the Psychoceramics list)

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I wouldn't mind a copy of this: The Oulipo Compedium.