video(s): Sunsetcorp

December 8, 2010

Music: Oneohtrix Point Never

Video: “Nobody Here”

Video: “Angel”

Video: “Demerol”

Check out: Sunsetcorp, OPN

I felt some sort of weird triumphalism when MTV officially buried Generation X in their target audience grave (we being too cynical and not civic-minded enough to enjoy the authenticity and family elements of Jersey Shore and such.  Ha.).  With my with jaded mind firmly in tow, I’ll take 90’s nostalgia – i.e, the pre-internet Gen X critical mass of DIY/indiedom – over the Gen Y version any day.   Y’know when crudely played vitriolic songs about bad jobs, self destructive behavior, tasteless humor, and questionable sexual behavior seemed perfectly obvious on the same record next to songs like “Nervous Guy”, a “limited edition” of 500 Icky Boyfriends records most likely meant 400 were sitting in someone’s basement somewhere getting water damaged rather than being re-sold on e-bay by “collectors” within 24 hours, and going viral had more to do with the aftermath of actually going down on Frank’s Mom than people blogging about a song about going down on Frank’s Mom.  I know, I know.

Icky Boyfriends – “Nervous Guy” (1991, 2:14)

Samuel Charters once penned the sounds of a New Orleans funeral parade as “the sweet melancholy of sadness”.  Casually stumbling into its rhythm, the recording mournful “West Lawn Dirge” from 1951 stands as one of our favorite pieces of music, with Emanuel Paul’s tenor sax solos (around 2:30 and 4:30) serving as some time-stopping highlights:

Playing a funeral for the Young Men Olympians Benevolent Association, 1951

Eureka Brass Band – “West Lawn Dirge” (1951, 5:32)

Daphne Oram was founder (with Desmond Briscoe) of the BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop in 1958.   She left a year after its opening to focus on composition, including designing and building her own studio equipment.  While best know for her design of her “Oramics” system which transformed graph paper drawings into sound (“drawn sound”), her most prolific period pre-dates the late 1960’s implementation of the system.   It is not clear how much of her recorded material utilizes this technique (conceived as early as 1962), as composing work for radio, TV commercials, peformance, film and contemporary ballet and theater helped fund and keep her independent studio afloat.

Made for Rayant Films in 1967, “Rotolock” is dizzying space-age carousel ride:

Daphne Oram – “Rotolock” (1967, 1:31)

1963’s “Snow” was the soundtrack to a prize-winning documentary film directed by Geoffrey Jones for British Transport Films about railway operations conducted in winter weather conditions.

Daphne Oram – “Snow” (1963, 7:45)

The gradual increase in tempo parallels the increasing pace of the visual action in the film.

The track is also loosely based on Sandy Nelson’s “Teen Beat” from 1959:

Check out the Daphne Oram archives.

From the album Distant Early Warning, a warm, serene melody nestled in a distant, frigid,  lonely scene.

Icebreaker – “Melody For NATO” (1999, 5:09)

The Distant Early Warning (DEW) system is a series of radar stations which stretch along the northern periphery of Canada and Alaska, a line nearly 3,600 miles long.  Constructed during the height of the cold war, these stations were intended to alert NATO member states in the event of a Soviet nuclear striker over the pole.

In 1985, the more capable of the DEW Line stations were upgraded and merged with newly-built stations into the North Warning System (NWS). Automation was increased and a number of additional stations were closed. In 1990, with the end of the Cold War and collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States withdrew all their personnel and turned full operation of the Canadian stations over to Canada, while retaining responsibility for NWS Stations located in Alaska and Greenland.

Although now mostly unmanned, the distant early warning system continues to operate.