Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Sorry I haven’t posted

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

cory_arcangel_cma_exhibiton-5910

Sorry I haven’t posted… We opened Cory Arcangel: Masters on November 2nd, 2012, with a special artist talk with Cory. The same evening we also launched a social media intervention designed by Cory. Here are some of the results. Visit us during this last week of the exhibition and don’t miss Arcangel’s band, Title TK, perform this Saturday at the Carnegie Lecture Hall. They open for Bonnie Prince Billy.

P, Public Enemy, Pittsburgh

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Pop City Media – Pittsburgh just sent out the link to the new Public Enemy song & video, Everything. First reason to watch it: an unexpected song for Public Enemy (not sure if it isn’t kitsch though). Second reason to watch it: a lot of it is filmed in Pittsburgh and it renders some of the city’s mood. I always argue that Pittsburgh is a real city with real people (and no boring boutique town) and it pretty much looks like it is in this film. Love it!

Demosplash 2012

Friday, October 26th, 2012

Second Reality

Still from Second Reality, by Future Crew, 1993

With artists Cory Arcangel and Jacob Ciocci, I entered the world of the demoparty. The first night of Demosplash 2012 kicked off with pizza, soft drinks, and a screening of Second Reality, perhaps one of the best known and most imitated demos in history by a Finnish group called Future Crew. For those not in-the-know, demos are short, real-time videos played directly on a computer that feature prismatic color graphics, 3D-like spatial effects at times mesmerizing and dizzying, and catchy techno sounds that make you feel like dancing.  Old computer demos are artworks in themselves. Feats of technical skill meant to showcase and stretch the hardware of a computer through the prowess of programming, like Second Reality (originally released as a PC demo in 1993), set the rhythm for Demosplash’s weekend-long events hosted by the 30-year old Computer Club of Carnegie Mellon. On stage that evening was the Club’s collection of antiques made miraculously functional by a band of miked expert/commentators wearing Demosplash t-shirts running back and forth trading cables between various pieces of hardware, including the Commodore 64, the Amiga, Atari 8-bit, and both the Apple II and Apple’s Lisa to name a few. Sadly, the chiptune rave was postponed due to technical difficulties—all the more reason to come back next year.

The Bayernhof or Little Bavaria, Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Have 3 free hours and $10 to burn in Pittsburgh on a Saturday? You could easily put down 6.67 drafts of cheap beer and while away the hours in a dark smoky dive bar. But here, I give you a far superior alternative, one that is possibly just as cave-like and trippy: the Bayernhof Museum. Perched on a hill overlooking the Allegheny River sits a beautifully elaborate and, at times, awkward mansion built to house one of the largest privately owned collections of antique mechanical musical instruments. Outside the main entrance, an ominous sign greets visitors: if you arrive early, kindly wait in your car until the tour begins. On the dot, the door creaks open and you think you’ve entered the Neuschwanstein Castle—if the Bavarian kingdom abutted the era of 1980s home entertainment technology. Each room of the Bayernhof houses a different enchanting machine for listening: nickelodeon player pianos, nickel-operated Wurlitzer organs, harps and banjos, phonographs, an enormous pipe organ orchestra made for silent films, even a dainty singing bird cage. The tour, led by the museum’s curator, takes a circuitous path from room to room of German kitsch, beer steins, and Hummel figurines, past the 18 stocked bars of the house, a shower with over 10 shower heads, an observatory, down a small hidden staircase into a subterranean lair through a cool, dark wine grotto that leads to a large pool room littered with colorful, rustic wallpaper murals and faux flower arrangements. There is even a purple felt billiards table along the way, but alas, I’ve already said too much. Advanced reservations recommended, no nickels required. In one final word: magical.

Rammellzee

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Back in 1982, over in Switzerland, we got into rap and were constantly searching for new releases. One of the important series was Street Sounds Electro 1–22, with the outstanding no. 2 that included “Beat Bop” by Rammellzee versus K-Rob. Rap was part-party, part-pushy (and who remembers the short-lived Washington Go Go?), but “Beat Bop” wasn’t. It was a slow and lazy 10-minute piece (listen below) and we loved it for this.

In the mid-1980s, I visited Rome with my father and we happened to walk by Piazza di Spagna where we suddenly saw a big crowd. It was a public fashion show by Valentino and all flashes were directed on the Italian actor Gina Lollobrigida. But the really important thing (at least to me) followed once the show started: Rammellzee came on stage and did the live music. Later on I found out that Basquiat had done the sleeve for the 45 rpm release (see images below). And only many years later, when researching Rammellzee on the net I found his site, Gothic Futurism, with a mind-boggling text on “Ikonoklast Letters Racerism” and the Letter Racers. I always wanted to see them and finally did, last week, at The Suzanne Geiss Company (until April 21). The show is great, although suffering from Rammellzee’s absence (he died in 2010), but it included an amazing drawing from 1979 (see a detail above). And MoMA (I can’t believe that they did) included his work in Print/Out (until May 14). So Christophe, are you going to add Rammellzee’s work to MoMA’s collection? Can you go that far?