Monday, March 26, 2007

Time Magazine Makes An Observation

"Achewood", "Penny Arcade" and "PvP" are among the internet-only comics mentioned in an article at the Time magazine website last week...

In one story arc a wealthy pleasure-loving cat named Ray dies and goes to hell, where he's forced to drive a 1982 Subaru Brat and gets drunk with legendary bluesman Robert Johnson at a Best Western. This kind of thing never happens to Garfield.

Read the full article here, or just click some of the webcomics links on the left.

Oh, and another recent add to my regular web browsing: "xkcd", which occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

Thursday, March 08, 2007


John Oswald is a Canadian avant-garde composer and conceptualist who was involved in audio splice 'n dice years before the ubiquity of computer sound cards made mash-ups the the domain of so many DJ's, music lovers and tech geeks.

"Plexure" is a composition Oswald created in 1992, constructed entirely from brief fragments cloned from thousands of mostly pop recordings from 1982-1992, the first decade of the compact disc era. It's built on a structure that begins with the slowest songs from that time (mostly ballads and blues), and proceeds gradually to the fastest (bluegrass and speed metal).

Since Plexure's release, Oswald has continued to play with, tweak, and refine the piece, resulting, more than ten years later in "prePlex". The original bar-of-each-song version of "prePlex" was about 33 minutes long. But, Oswald thought there were parts that worked, and parts that didn't; he wished to hear a version that in a way, swung all the way through.

Lengthy rounds of editing, throwing out material, listening, and making further improvements ensued. He couldn't listen to the thing right through without stopping the playback to change something. Finally, he began playing back "prePlex" all the way through without stopping, for himself, and for others. After a few minor adjustments, he decided it was working like accelerating clockwork, and ready to be heard by the world. Which is not to say that there won't be more revisions before the track ends up on vinyl and DVD.

In its current "final" form, "prePlex" is fourteen minutes and twelve seconds, not necessarily just the intros, but often recognizeable samples of a whole lotta different songs, blended, mixed, morphed and organized into a composition of steadily increasing tempo. The original 1993 CD version included artists such as Aretha Vanilli, Bing Stingspreen, Bo No Ma, Sam & Deee-Lite, Sam & Dead, Engelbert Costello, Ice Garfunkle, Bolton Chili Overdire, Moody Crue, XTZ Top, John Lennoncamp, Bee Jesus, B.T.O'Conner, Sinead O'Connick Jr., Twisted Steely, Axl Galas, 9 Inch Monkees, Bo Dire, Percy Faithful, Joni Cocker, Superloaf, Jon Bon Elton, Little Keith Richard, Twisted Kross, Madonna & Englishmen, Fats Bono, Spinal Top, Dire No More, Doobie Osmond, Debbie Idol, Frank Sinappa, Allman Dominoes, They Might Be Grateful, Anthrax Squeeze Factory, Halen Oates, U-52s, Depeche Mould, AC/Dylan, Marianne Faith No Morrisey, Blondie Sabbath, Ozzie Osmond, Cheap Pixie Peppers, Beastie Shop Beach, Lynrd Lovett, Cream Styx, Jerry Harry, Jello Bellafonte, Milli Fudge, Ozzy Loaf, The Captain & Terence, Joni Shithead, Spiro Giants, Stevie Ray Vangelis, Jethro Byrne, Mariah Cocker, Sound Garth, Yo Yo McCartney, T.L.C.& C. Meat Factor, Whitney REMTV Hammercamp, Bonnie Ratt, Alannarama, 10,000 Nine Inch Megasmiths, Bobby Bon Jackson, Julian Lennox, Paula McCarey, and Kool Mo Chuck. Yeah, I hear a lot of that!

Click to read more about "prePlex" and other Plunderphonics projects...

And here's the "Save As..." option.