Category: Art

More music

My mixing fun continues, and I am starting to develop a fan base, which is just delightful. The second one is A Rolling Sanctuary, and I have a third nearly planned out enough to record.

I also found a fun mashup last weekend, and the third mix will include my first small steps in that direction, overlaying a vocal track from 2000’s Bullet in the Gun on top of Tritonal’s new Apex.

One of my favorite finds for the third mix was a new electro house remix of a favorite old trance song, As the Rush Comes by Motorcycle. Hopefully I will get it recorded and posted this week.

Let’s talk about music?

I really haven’t been thinking of things to share on a blog lately, as can be seen by the length of time from the last post. Most of my online interactions are happening other places, like Facebook. But recently I dove into a new hobby (or expanded a longstanding passion, depending on how you look at it). Rather than just listening to and collecting tons of music, I have finally realized that I can curate and mix it and share it with other people, both online, and live. I have been having a tremendous amount of fun gathering tools and building skills in that direction, and this blog seems like it might be a good outlet for some of the discoveries.

To start with, Traktor for mixing is fantastic! At first I was a bit put off by its interface, but the power in there is worth getting used to it, and the choices the designers made do work well once you understand them. And especially when you pair the software with their amazing hardware controllers.

The edge of the new kitchen will be a perfect place to mix during parties.

Last Monday I finally recorded a mix, while I was working off some stress, and I am really pleased with how it came out. And today I found what looks like an ideal way to share mixes with the world, ensuring the original artists of the underlying songs get their full credit and royalties. So you can now find A Concrete Abacus on Mixcloud.

When you put it that way…

Somehow Locke and Demosthenes seemed a lot more plausible when I read Ender’s Game in the ’80s as a teenager!

Hitchhiker’s Guide Jackpot

I’ve been undertaking a project this summer to replace the lost or stolen media which has left gaps in my library from the years before I started tracking loans using Delicious Library. As part of that I decided to tackle the two 120 minute cassettes I had made in Mexico City from the condensed record album versions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. They were my first exposure to the series, and remained my favorite incarnation of it—pressed in England,  borrowed from the library of my British school, dubbed on my dad’s stereo, and lovingly hand-labeled… Then loaned to someone while I was in graduate school in Madison, and that someone evidently moved away with them, and I forgot who it had been.

Of course, they are nowhere to be found in today’s media landscape. But I did find a BBC set of 14 CDs containing the full original radio plays from which the albums had been condensed. I’ve just started listening to them, and much to my delight, they are clearly the raw material for the “Reader’s Digest” version I had previously loved. I am having a blast listening to them. And obviously I will have to rip them into audio book format so they can move in to my iPhone.

Hurrah!

Reunited at last, better than ever!

Reunited at last, better than ever!

Promise of Spring

A few weekends ago, back when spring seemed imminent and the ice on Lake Monona was breaking up, I walked around the bay and snapped a few photos. I finally got around to uploading them, and you can find them on my Mobile Me page. They’re nothing spectacular, I just had my point-and-shoot and an enthusiasm for spring. And I do hope it will return soon!

A Poetry Post?

I thought this was a tech blog, and he’s writing about poetry?
What gives? 

No, Arcadia is where I muse about anything I think might be interesting. That happens to have mostly been about tech so far (and in all honestly, has been very little and sporadic—this is never going to be a high traffic site; the ads are basically irony).

But yes, poetry. I really don’t have time for it, even though my English V teacher (in my senior year at Reserve) seemed to think I had a real aptitude for analyzing and appreciating it. Nobody was more surprised than I. Still, I read a review in The Nation this morning of The Golden Age of Paraphernalia, a new book by Jordan Davis that I will have to make time for.

The whole review was intriguing, but I had to share one excerpt in particular. In order to get the formatting right, which is important, I put it on its own web page rather than typing it into this blog entry. You can find it here. Go read it, and see if it strikes the same kind of deep chord with you as it does with me, a profound and funny (yet worrisome) statement about the kind of world in which I increasingly find myself—and which I am indeed helping to create.

Ironically, I thought it might be a wonderful first book to buy on my second-generation Kindle, which should be arriving next week, but it is not currently available in that format.

Fun in Milwaukee

Last night I joined Judy for the first performance in our season subscription to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Many of the people I hope to see on these excursions were still traveling as summer draws to a close, but I can already tell it will be a wonderful way to stay connected with friends I met through Joe. And, of course, it was a great night of theater. The play was State of the Union, and as much as I worried about being burned out on the concept of presidential elections, it was interesting being reminded that politics were just as dirty in the 1940s, and the story’s human side was engaging and moving, especially given the quality of the production and acting.

This morning I joined Oliver at the Milwaukee Art Museum to see Sensory Overload, and I definitely recommend a trip to check it out before it closes in October if you can make it. I’ve always been interested in op art, and the restored “walk-in infinity chamber” was a truly breathtaking effect to experience, and it was nicely complemented by the new “Matrix XV” walk-through experience. There were some other fun interactive pieces, and of course the op art that I expected.

When we were getting our tickets (unexpectedly free, thanks to some guest passes generously shared with us by a friend at the Rep), we were told not to miss the photography exhibit on the mezzanine level just above Sensory Overload, and we were both very glad of that advice. The photos were surprisingly interesting and moving, contrasting some of the earliest daguerrotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes with very recent photographs made with similar techniques, and which look like they come from another time. Although Madison comes off seeming more eccentric and less classy than I like to think of it in the couple of pictures taken here, I now have much more interest in Manitowoc than before seeing this exhibit. These photographers developed the kinds of personal connections with their subjects that enable amazing portraiture, the kind that is completely impossible for me. It closes on November 30, and is definitely worth checking out too, if you can make the trip.

Another interesting find upstairs in the museum was “sphere #5” sculpted by Arnaldo Pomodoro, with intricate “machinery” showing through cracks. The effect is very steampunk, and reminded me strongly of some columns I had enjoyed very much at the new Amaliehaven park in Copenhagen when Joe and I were there last summer. Sure enough, they are by the same artist.

I felt a very strong connection with Joe while walking and driving around the city, and could not help feeling a bit wistful about the fact that, but for his cancer, we would probably be living there together today. I definitely want to spend more time hanging out there and even just enjoying walking and sitting in the lakefront parks.

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