The Null Device


And now, a few quick mini-reviews of CDs I've listened to recently:

  • Origami, Please Exit Quietly. Their first release on Stewart Anderson's 555 label, and they got a proper jewel case in the deal too. It's pretty much standard guitar-and-Casio garage indie-rock, somewhat reminiscent of Life Without Buildings in places, only the lyrics are less vague and more politically charged (in the riot-grrl sense). It certainly has some of the most sweetly sung smash-the-system vocals, with the possible exception of Stereolab.
  • Sarah Sarah, Sing Till It Hurts: Loud, brash and about as subtle as the Australian sun in summer. They have a promising career ahead of them, possibly doing theme songs for youth-oriented TV soaps.
  • Club 8, Spring Came, Rain Fell: I've been listening to this quite a bit lately. A very nice (if somewhat brief) indie-pop album from Sweden. Shimmering guitars, subtle keyboards, understated boy-girl vocals, quietly lush harmonies, fey, bittersweet lyrics, handclaps, and the token synthpop number or two. Think The Field Mice meet Saint Etienne, or possibly a combination of Birdie, GusGus and a less stilted Kings of Convenience.

I also picked up Sigur Rós' (); I haven't listened to it in its entirety yet, but it certainly doesn't seem like they're going for the mass audience, what with the near-complete lack of text in the packaging; not to mention with cheerful tracks like the 13-minute Death Song. So far, it sounds a bit more lush than Agætis Byrjun.

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Tim O'Reilly (of the books with animals on their covers fame) has an essay on file sharing, piracy and copy-denial technologies; in it he argues that piracy is progressive taxation, taking from established producers and giving (distribution, recognition, etc.) to the up-and-coming. (Via Slashdot, to whose readers the article was undoubtedly crafted to appeal, right down to the Star Wars reference at the end.)

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The bizarre story of Solresol, a musical language, designed by a 19th-century French inventor, in which sequences of notes represent words.

The following June, the Paris newspaper La Quotidienne asked Sudre for a private demonstration. The paper's editor picked up his pen and scratched out a single word onto a slip of paper: "Victoire!" Sudre played a few notes on his violin. His students, in another room, dutifully translated this into perfect French. To the staff's bewilderment, Sudre then asked them to give him words in English, German, Spanish, Italian, Arabic, or Chinese... because he had already completed these dictionaries.

After its inventor passed away in 1862 or so, and Solresol soon vanished into obscurity, unable to compete against more user-friendly languages such as Volapuk and Esperanto. However, a revival is under way, led by various cryptographers, musicologists and miscellaneous enthusiasts across the world, with a website (unreachable at time of writing), proposed automated translation programs, and seven Solresol characters are apparently in the Unicode spec (though I couldn't find them). (via Found)

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I just got a spam trying to sell me "Handcrafted Angel Figurines from Texas". Yee-ha!

(There's something quintessentially middle-American about the combination of sympathetic magick, superficially Christian symbolism and mall consumerism encapsulated in the whole angel phenomenon. It's the America of Jerry Springer, Wal-Mart and late night infomercials.)

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Ah yes; the second part of Charlie and Cory's post-singularity story Jury Service is out, and it's a corker.

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