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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Yes, I know it's Wednesday already, but I've been busy putting together our 15th album release! The stork should arrive by the end of the week bearing another gem from National Holographic.

I made it to some of Signalfest this weekend. I have the feeling I only got a small slice of the music and fun that was going on, but I did get to see Negativland at the Cradle Saturday night. Negativland's approach to art/music is using what I would call "found sound", though they use a number of sound generating devices, even their own voices! At times they have also been known to play what we brainwashed folks recognize as "instruments". They also do video, essays, whoopee cushions, and more.

According to Mark Hosler of Negativland, who gave a talk at the end of the BarCampSignal sessions Saturday, the Cradle show was the most "out there" of any of their performances, being largely unplanned. It was a damn good time, I'll say that much. One question I ask myself: "Self, what is it we like about all this noise?" The answer: "Because it takes us places." In a sense it's like an amusement park ride. It throws us off balance, disorients us, or rather reorients us into some ScaryHappyFunnyNegativUnpredictableland.

Negativland's work is really more than putting together sounds from commercials, cartoons, and elsewhere. They have become leading proponents of the concept of fair use in art, due mostly to the fact that they have been sued by so many people over the years. This itself is a fascinating story, and in fact they published the text of the lawsuit (annotated with various clippings, conversations, and commentary) brought against them by U2. You may have heard of that band. To get a real sense of their work you should check out their website. These guys have been around for 27 years, so there is no way I can really do them justice in a couple of paragraphs. I did have the good fortune to pick up their album/book/video/whoopee cushion entitled "No Business". Seriously, it comes with a whoopee cushion. It doesn't get any better than that! I also picked up their must have CD, "Escape From Noise".

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