Saturday February 5 2022
Real quick? I love this KIRBY album. R&B in its fullness. Check her last two album titles, in order.
If you’re in the mood to keep going, here is a short R&B playlist Joe Levy made.
In 1980, a young Japanese musician named Okuda Hiroko got a job with Casio. Six months later, she created a rhythm for the new Casiotone MT-40 keyboard. The idea, nominally, was to code a “rock” preset to go with the others, but she had a “head full of reggae” and her programming showed it. What Okuda synthesized was a driving bassline and a tiny kick and snare backbeat, neither rock nor reggae nor strictly anything else. This rhythm was compelling enough to be borrowed, in full, for this Wayne Smith song, forever tagging it as the “Sleng Teng” rididm. It’s impossible to hear it as anything else.
What do we call innovators like Okuda? Unknown figures whose contributions shape music more than musicians? What should we call her, or Ikutaro Kakehashi, inventor of the Roland 808 drum machine? An Oz? A legislator? A priest?
Here is Okuda in 1980:
Let’s stay with machines. Alan Licht has just posted A.I. Oblique Strategies, which serves as an unintentional 102nd anniversary tribute to the OG of automatic writing. Les Champs magnétiques. It’s a free PDF bundled with a meaningless widget of silence (presumably to enable the download on Bandcamp). What is this PDF? Licht explains, “A.I. generated texts I derived from the Oblique Strategies card deck by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. I took each Oblique Strategies instruction and fed it as a prompt into two different auto text-generation models, EleutherAI and DeepAI, and each model triggered texts in response. Juxtaposed with the original Oblique Strategy, the results constitute a kind of surrealist, virtual automatic writing, more like poetry than something intended to guide the recording process as the cards were meant to do.”
Returning to reggae from machines, Max Abelson recently blessed us. He interviewed Paul Nagle, aka Snoopy, the dub fan who created one of the most useful lists ever to emerge from obsession. Here is a scan of the original 1977 article.
Everyone on the internet, including Stephen Malkmus of the internet, loved this post. Max wrote to me: “Why did this post resonate with so many people? Not sure, but feel grateful that my Dad gave me his copy of Rockers Meets King Tubbys In A Fire House, with that big picture of Augustus Pablo on the back, when I was a kid. The more dub in the world the merrier.”
Eric Harvey’s made a YouTube playlist of some Snoopy favorites, as most of it is not on the evil bastard platforms. Related/unrelated, here are two great dub mixes inspired by Martin “Skyjuice” Blomqvist’s 100 Days of Dub, a book.
I love this interview with Elissa Altman for Oldster, in which she details how her mother lies. To celebrate my 55th birthday, my elevation to becoming an oldster, I spoke to Nick Catucci about the internet and what exactly is going on there! Another person, who is also old, is La Monte Young. He spoke with Jung Hee Choi and Andy Battaglia last week. If you want to know what the greatest piece of music ever written is, La Monte’s got you. And this co-DJ set on NTS from Kara Walker and her daughter, Octavia Bürgel, is great. Find out how Kara’s classmates reacted to her liking the Police! Whomst introduced Solange to whomst?
This just in—someone posted the 1994 Godspeed You! Black Emperor tape that almost nobody has ever heard. Life!