Archive for January, 2012

WDT Archive Updates

January 27, 2012


WDT Archive updates will be on hold for a short time, until Easter or so. I’m intending to continue updating on a more textual basis in the mean time, and finding all the appropriate bits and pieces for each archive release is becoming increasingly tricky. Am ironing out the kinks so to speak. It will also give me the chance to tidy up a number of out of date/updated entries on this site to reflect, you know, things that are and have actually happened. Up next, a review of one of my albums of the year, and a Quarterly Report on my academic pursuits, such as they are (I believe this blog was initially started with that in mind. Oops).


RVR: Bjork – Biophilia

January 20, 2012

Bjork – Biophilia

Bjork’s latest album Biophilia is a foray into the unknown, within the mass audience fan-base in album concept and form. It is devised as a series of digital music toys that attempt to embody her collection of songs written for this album into an all singing and dancing multimedia iPad app. Within this ‘mother’ app each individual song becomes a ‘child’ toy. The toys function so that you can explore the songs chords, tempo and other compositional elements. On top of this some of the toys give you the option of either listening, watching animations of the music represented visually or interacting with a system or electronic instrument/interface to build your own variation of the song; so you’re not lost in the array of quirky toys, Bjork has left footnotes which are mostly about tonal range and choices of chords. These may seem trivial to most but probably interesting for a trained musician or those interested in scoring music.

When interacting with some of these extended toys you have have the option to play with the songs chords sequences that can also, excitingly, be sent via wifi to any other standalone midi enabled device. Each songs chords can be played through to your microkorg , keyboard or laptop for example. While the idea is somewhat genuine, and despite being aimed at very particular audience, it still feels a bit forced and unnecessarily restrictive to make an album for just one operating system. It also sits at odds with the biophillic nature of the project – from a simplistic view argues that environments rich in nature act to reduce stress and enhance focus and concentration – as iPads do not really do this; they channel the stress of millions of social media channels right into your hands, anywhere at any time. It’s never disconnected and its round edged and shiny, unlike anything nature could ever produce. So far I’ve not really even mentioned anything about the music and I probably won’t.

I’m sceptical of the word “multimedia”; despite doing a degree in multimedia arts, the term summons up feelings of the 90’s digital encyclopedia Microsoft Encarta, whereby people somehow would become excited abut seeing a video clip or sound clip alongside text information, as if it’s a new concept.  This is now standard fare in a wikipedia entry, just as it was standard fare years ago to hear a music sample or video clip alongside a display at a museum or suchlike.From the get go, this idea felt as if Bjork was desperately attempting to crystalize a concept but got lost and ran out of ideas so figured a bunch of unrelated music toys and some footnotes would suffice. It’s also hard to work out what came first, the music or the app. The songs are simple for Bjork and while not exactly stripped down or minimal, they lack the textured and electronic ambience of previous greats such as Vespertine.Also Biophillia’s apps are surprisingly limited in functionality, fun and lack a meaningful experience. Considering the depth and addictive nature of time-wasting games available on iOS, it’s as if all thought that is usually present in the design of these games (user experience, meaningful interaction) has been lost. But by not moving away from typical game format archetypes (Yes! you can complete ‘levels’ in one of the songs!) you essentially have the format of most IOS games albeit a throwaway time waster ideal for a days commute to work. Not an album from Bjork.

If Biophillia is the world’s first popular “app as album”, a concept that could become popular and a viable commercial format in the near future (given the radical nature of commercial music recently), I don’t think we are quite ready for it yet.

Some new music I HAVE enjoyed this year:

Battles – Gloss Drop
Burial – Street Halo
Grouper – A I A : Alien Observer
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
The Weeknd – House of Balloons
The Weeknd – Echoes of Silence
Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact
Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage

The Recollections of Cohorts

January 16, 2012

Over Christmas I went through a number of boxes that had been sitting on top of a wardrobe in my parents house for a number of years. Inside one of the boxes I found some notes for a project which was never finished (like most of them), apparently based on some sort of hybird mega dream that everyone I knew – almost – was involved in. I think at the time I was curious to know whether or not there was any commonality between themes or images; I meant this not in the standard way of the Dream Dictionary sort, but rather that people I knew might have similar things happening as a result of knowing one another. Something like that. They are also nice and sketchy because I took notes as people spoke, rather than letting them write them themselves. Not sure why that is. So here is that list. Any one involved who might read this is welcome to try and remember if these descriptions are accurate or not. Any way, I think one of the sheets is missing. Any patterns? I see alarms, animals and lots of running.

Liam 1
Taken over by gorillas. A gorilla threw him off the cliff

Football match. West Ham versus Arsenal. Looked at the screen and it was rugby

Walking through town with a giant. Talking about it to people. Giant lives beneath the town. When it wakes up it chases people. They are all running away from it. He tries to go through a fire escape but it wont open.


Lee 1
On a plane, crashed in California. It’s on the East Coast for some reason. A constant map. In a big house. Soap opera story line. 3 year gap where something happened. Something needed doing, an urge. Lots of water involved. Dark house. Old woman there.

Cafe in a volcano. All dressed in period costume. All the time you can see the lava welling up.

Munna 1
Lights keep going off. Standing by the switch. Saw some kind of creature and told him to fuck off.

Walking up the road with Andrew and younger brother coming towards her. A big car transporter explodes over the hill. Hides under a coat. Finger cut, then war, big guns, helicopters.

Liam 2
People try and tell him something. Speaking too softly to hear. He says he has no dreams really. Incredibly large people holding forks – small people big forks. All eating some stinking shit. When they speak it is all in French horns.

Went to the house, but it is all burnt and cold. Then breathing out, people float off in the air with it. Little lads. On a plane and the passengers turn on her, leave her behind.

Dating Will Young from Pop Idol, cheating on him with a first year. A man came along and used the climbing frame as an executioners block. Woke up as sister was killed.

In a house with a big kitchen filled with lots of words. Three animals are there in the garden – a massive badger, a rabbit and a fox. Home alone. They are trying to break in.

Walking along A Block, Luke shouting, he’s dressed like a French aristocrat. Says something about Rachels aunt, how she hates Rachel’s mum. Mick thinks he murders him, but there is no physical attack. He’s at the bottom of some stairs. After a fall?

Slit tyres on car. Running down stairs so fast she takes off.

On a trampoline. Gets so high the sky starts coming down.

Asleep in an apartment in Turkey. Mum went out, doesn’t know where she is. A bell rings. Runs to the door yelling. A man dressed as the devil. With cement, he starts bricking up the door. Behind him is all fire.

Lee 2
Where the common room is. John Candy was playing pool jockey. The brown ball kept getting bigger and smaller. Chevy Chase demonstrated magic tricks with string. Asked for fruit to be stolen. Started a conga line. John Candy joined in. Round to what was the [not sure what the was/is] but changed in to a shitter with a buffet, which the conga line snaked around. Woman shouted stuff. Weird curly hair. Same as the other dream. Swimming pool people are swimming.

On a remote island. Hunted down by cannibals. Some people are eaten. Made a raft, went to sea.

Eating dinner at school. Fire bell rings but it is the wolf alarm. Everyone runs down a staircase under the floor and puts on headphones. Sarah is the last one down. She runs through lots of cages where wolves were presumably kept. The dream cuts, and she’s outside her home, in a carriage, getting married to a female wolf.


By Junior School, taking a piss. Funny feeling. Shadow across the toilet. Goblin thing came out and grabbed at him, folded him in half and threw him in the bin. Screaming.

Going to school naked.

Munna 2
Screaming somewhere, so leaves house. Outside the library. People on the floor with slit throats. No blood on people, just on walls and ceiling. A voice repeats ‘nothing you can do…’. Went to J. Saw people alive there – outcast brother and a girl. Girl mouths ‘death is gonna get you’. Looked up towards a skylight, shadow there. Climbed to roof to find shadow but it is gone. Something grabs his leg. He wakes up.

A final unattributed note at the top of the last page says ‘the sprinkler people’.

2011 – The Review

January 5, 2012

Random Selection of Things Done on Certain Days:

Friday April 8th 2011

1500 words of LNT
Recutting 4 audio files for thesis advisory panel
Clearing out the chimney
30 mins in the garden reading Iain Sinclair’s ‘Lights Out’
Paid council tax and water bill

Tuesday May 3rd 2011

Taught 3 classes on contemporary social theory revision
Edited thesis advisory panel submission
Discussed the dumb ass nature of exam invigilation
Agreed to a new office partner (subsequently fell through)
Flicked through The Dictionary of Visual Discourse
Cooked smoked salmon tagliatelle, having abandoned crab linguine due to lack of crab and lack of linguine

Wednesday June 8th 2011

Went food shopping
Watched an Adam Curtis documentary
Added new music to my mobile phone
Did some work on an intro for a Working Papers collection
Invigilated an evening exam
Watched The Apprentice

Monday July 25th

Walked around York City Centre with Tom and Jeannie
Ate a pastrami, soft cheese and dill pickle sandwich
Went to Leeds on the train
Had a drink or two in Mr Foley’s
Went to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Leeds Met
Waited for a bus outside York station whilst a couple had a huge row

Tuesday October 4th

Accidentally deleted my entire PhD and spend most of the morning attempting to recover it
Said hello to someone I hadn’t spoken to in 2+ years
Read Chekov’s account of a Russian prison camp in Siberia
Listened to Stuart Busby’s ‘Drift’
Bought a desk lamp
Made a complicated sandwich
Composed the music that Zoe would walk down the aisle to
Shopped at Tesco for the first time in 5 years. It was still dire.

Albums of the Year, in Reverse Order

20.        *AR – Wolf Notes
19.        Advisory Circle – As The Crow Flies
18.        Bellows – Handcut
17.        Wolves In The Throne Room – Celestial Lineage
16.        Rene Hell – The Terminal Symphony
15.        Jasper TX – The Black Sun Transmissions
14.        David Thomas Freeman – The Beauty of Doubting Yourself
13.        Dalglish – Benacah Drann Deachd
12.        Gang Gang Dance – Eye Contact
11.        Kuedo – Severant
10.        Tim Hecker – Ravedeath 1972
9.          PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
8.          Natural Snow Buildings – Waves of the Random Sea
7.          The Weekend – House of Balloons
6.          Roly Porter – After Time
5.          The Caretaker – An Empty Bliss Beyond This World
4.          Valerion Tricoli and Thomas Ankersmit – Forma II
3.          Ben Frost & Daniel Bjarnason – Solaris
2.          The Haxan Cloak – Self Titled
1.          Sean McCann – The Capital

EPs of the Year in Reverse Order

5.          Tomutonttu – Elävänä Planeetalla
4.          Warm Ghost – Uncut Diamond
3.          Holy Other – With U
2.          Burial – Street Halo
1.          Fennesz – Seven Stars

Compilation of the Year:

John Fahey – Your Past Comes Back To Haunt You

Best Track:

Araabmuzik – AT2
M83 – Midnight City

Worst Track:

Bibio – Take Off Your Shirt

Surprising Musical Appearance of The Year:

Lou Reed and Metallica on Later with Jools Holland. Narrowly followed by Mastodon on Later with Jools Holland.

Books Read, as of Dec 14th

China Mievelle – Kracken
J G Ballard – High Rise
Italo Calvino – Invisible Cities
Iain Banks – Transition
Stephen Fry – The Fry Chronicles
Max Collins – Road to Perdition
Basho – Collected Hokku Works
Lu Xun – Silent China
Bryan Lee O’Malley – Scott Pilgrim Vol 1-2
Eiji Otsuka – The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service Vol 1-4
Paul Auster/Karasik/David Mazzuccheli – City of Glass
T.H.White – The Goshawk
Walter Moseley – Devil In A Blue Dress
John Ajvide Lindqvist – Handling the Undead
Naguib Mahfouz – Karnak Cafe
Junichiro Tanizaki – Seven Japanese Tales
Orhan Pamuk – The New Life
Jorge Luis Borges – Selected Poems 1923 to 1967
Kazuo Ishiguro – Nocturnes
Apostolos Das – Logicomix
Tim Powers – On Stranger Tides
Richard Matheson – The Shrinking Man
Keith Roberts – Pavane
Richard Morgan – The Steel Remains
Kim Newman – Anno Dracula
V.S.Naipal – An Area of Darkness
Alan Lomax – The Land Where The Blues Began
Neal Stephenson – Snow Crash
J.G.Ballard – Complete Short Stories
Robert Macfarlane – Mountains of the Mind
David Mitchell – The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet
Mark Fisher – Capitalist Realism
Ivor Southwood – Non Stop Inertia
Alfred Bester – Tiger! Tiger!
Anton Chekov – A Journey To The End of the Russian Empire
David Toop – Sinister Resonance
Lynne Truss – Eats, Shoots and Leaves
Iain Banks – The Song of Stone
John Connolly – Nocturnes
Haruki Murakami – Underground
Tim Powers – The Anubis Gates
Walter Isaacson – Einstein
Alan Moore – Complete Future Shocks
Simon Reynolds – Retromania
Leo Tolstoy – War and Peace (ending on a tough one)

(Less than last year, but I think some of them are longer and I have had considerably less time to read outside of ‘work’)

Pints Consumed:


Overall cost, at an average of £3:


Pints consumed per day:


Beers of the year

Seeing as a fair amount of my time is done drinking, and writing down what I’ve had to drink, this year I’ve added a top ten beers category. In reverse order…

10.   Buxton – Tsar
9.     Blackwater Brewery – Kangaroo Court
8.     Brewdog – Nelson Sauvin
7.     York – Citra
6.     Cairngorm – Black Gold
5.     Thornbridge – Versa
4.     White Dog – Boot Hill
3.     Brewdog – Riptide
2.     Magic Rock – Cannonball
1.     Dark Star – Over The Moon

Top News Stories – March

These stories really do typify what last year was like.

1st        Gender equalisation in the insurance market
2nd       Afghan campaign needs rethink
3rd       BSkyB takeover gets the green light
4th       Clegg defiant despite poll slump
5th       Mortars and airstrikes used in Western Libya
6th       SAS members ‘captured in Libya’
7th       Police pay review wants perks cut
8th       SAS members released from Libya
9th       Tobacco displays face shop ban
10th      Public pension shake up announced
11th      8.9 magnitude earthquake and tsunami hit Japan
12th      Aftershocks and power cuts across Japan
13th      Clegg says ‘We Have Not Lost Our Soul’
14th      Threat of nuclear meltdown at plant in Japan
15th      Doctors discuss risky NHS plans
16th      Red tape forces quake team home
17th      Japanese authorities increase radiation threat level
18th      PM will ‘judge Gaddafi by his actions’
19th      PM attends Libya crisis meeting in Paris
20th      United States enforces no-fly zone
21st       UK Missiles Bombard Libya
22nd      UK inflation rises to 4.4%
23rd      Osbourne delivers ‘growth’ budget
24th      Man guilty in ‘Night Stalker’ case
25th      Sian O’Callaghan’s body found
26th      TUC March expects 500,000 protestors
27th      TUC condemn March violence
28th      147 charges over demo violence
29th      Tomlinson jury sees fresh video
30th      Police face ‘big cuts challenge’
31st      Libyan foreign minister defects to UK

Deaths during Feb

1st – Les Stubbs, 81, British footballer
2nd-René Verdon, 86, French-born American White House Executive Chef, leukemia
3rd – Tony Levin, 71, British jazz drummer
4th – Tura Satana, 72, American actress (Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!), heart failure
5th – Brian Jacques, 71, British fantasy author (Redwall), heart attack
6th – Robert William Gary Moore, 58, Guitarist, heart attack
7th – William Morais, 19, Brazilian footballer (América-MG), shot
8th – Charles O. Perry, 81, American sculptor, stomach cancer
9th – Jimmy Lemi Milla, 62, Southern Sudanese politician, shot
10th – Blanche Honegger Moyse, 101, American conductor
11th – Christian J. Lambertsen, 93, inventor of SCUBA, renal failure
12th – Mato Damjanovic, 83, Croatian chess grandmaster
13th – Shi Yafeng, 91, Chinese geologist
14th – Catherine Masters, 111, British supercentenarian.
15th – Charles Epstein, 77, American geneticist, pancreatic cancer
16th – Justinas Marcinkevicius, 80, Lithuanian poet and playwright
17th – Phil Vane, 46, British crust punk vocalist (Extreme Noise Terror)
18th – Spook Jacobs, 85, American baseball player (Pittsburgh Pirates)
19th – Omar Bocoum, 40, Senegalese soldier, self-immolation
20th – Barbara Harmer, 57, first female Concorde pilot, cancer
21st – Abdi Salaan Mohamed Ali, 20, Somali footballer, bombing
22nd – Nicholas Courtney, 81, British actor (Doctor Who)
23rd – Jean Lartéguy, 90, French soldier, war correspondent and writer
24th – Sergei Nikitich Kovalev, 91, Russian designer of nuclear submarines
25th – Carola Scarpa, 40, Brazilian socialite, multiple organ failure.
26th – Zhu Guangya, 86, Chinese nuclear physicist, helped develop nation’s first atomic bomb
27th – Amparo Muñoz, 56, Spanish actress, Miss Universe 1974.
28th – Emmy, 22, Albanian singer, vehicular homicide

(Natural causes, if nots stated)

2012: The Pipeline

      1. Lecturing Master’s students on methodologies, very briefly
      2. Conference paper in April
      3. Performances in Leeds (possibly)
      4. Field work: Jan – July
      5. Completing 2 more chapters of thesis: Spatiality and Technology

2012: The Resolutions

    1. Make more than a passing acquaintance with classical music
    2. Listen to the radio (possibly in conjunction with no. 1)
    3. Make more headway with LNT
    4. Return to learning Mandarin

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