Fred Frith – No Birds (1974)

“Fred Frith was a classically-trained violinist who turned to playing blues guitar while still at school. In 1967 he went to Cambridge University where he and fellow student, Tim Hodgkinson formed Henry Cow. While at University, Frith read John Cage’s Silence: Lectures and Writings, which changed his attitude to music completely. He realised that “sound, in and of itself, can be as important as […] melody and harmony and rhythm.” This changed his approach to the guitar, “just to see what I could get out of it” and initiated a long period of experimentation that continued throughout Frith’s musical career.”

Read more on Wikipedia
Album available on Amazon.

Video

Phonobellow

International Contemporary Ensemble | Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk: Phonobellow (2015), WORLD PREMIERE from ICE on Vimeo.

“Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk’s Phonobellow, an hour-long new music theater work for five musicians, electronics, and large-scale performative installation, is the result of this collaborative process. Taking as their starting point the year 1877, Di Castri and Adamcyk explore how Muybridge’s high-speed camera and Edison’s phonograph have marked human perception. Via a heterogeneous assemblage of music, images, recorded texts/sounds, electronics, movement, sculpture, and lighting, the piece seeks to capture how deeply these inventions reverberated with people at the time, and continue to reverberate to this day.”

I saw this the other day and it was an experience – exciting, energetic, and unpredictable. Composed by Zosha Di Castri and David Adamcyk, performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble. More information here.

MTA’s Comedy of Errors

Fascinating and face-palm-worthy article on MTA’s haphazard attempts to wrangle 1930s-era subway technology into the 21st century.

The MTA has a thankless and extremely difficult job: They have to keep the trains running. They have to do it with equipment from the 1930s, in a hostile funding environment, as administrations come and go, as public interest comes and goes, in the face of storms and accidents and pieces of aluminum foil. This they manage to do. 1.6 billion people every year take the New York subway. The system carries more than 60 percent of all people coming into Manhattan every day. It is, for the most part, safe, affordable, and there.

But still, a reasonable person looking at three projects that aim to do roughly the same thing, projects that have different teams and different agendas and seem to take, always, five years longer than planned and seem to cost, always, hundreds of millions of dollars—well, this person has to wonder whether there’s some law of the universe that makes large government software projects an expensive drag or whether in fact there’s a better way.

Read more on The Atlantic:
http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/11/why-dont-we-know-where-all-the-trains-are/415152/

Bogotá and Beyond

Earlier this year I visited Colombia to learn about how coffee is grown & harvested, and processed & exported, with Café de Colombia (you know, the Juan Valdez people).

I just posted a review of Catación Pública on my other blog. It’s one of the most inspiring coffee companies I’ve come across, with the potential to make a big impact on the Colombian coffee scene. While waiting for owner Jaime Duque to arrive, I shot a few photos of the neighborhood around the cafe along with Chermelle Edwards (whose Coffeetographer blog has great photography). I’ve posted a few shots below, plus a couple more from around Bogotá.

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5496

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5509

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5516

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5533

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5535

Bogota photo

misc-3764

misc-3769

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5483

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5512

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5528

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5541

catacion-publica-bogota-colombia-FRSHGRND-5546

Japan’s Disposable Homes

Found this interesting, after seeing Muji’s beautiful prefab homes, and all the eccentric residential architecture that comes out of Japan.

“IN THE UNITED STATES, people buy homes as an investment. […] Not so in Japan […]

Since few Japanese homeowners plan to sell the home and flip it for profit, there’s little incentive to maintain the house. “This whole DIY concept that’s super popular here [in the U.S.]—you have TV shows devoted to it, you have Home Depot and Lowe’s and all these things that are devoted to building equity in your home—none of that exists in Japan,””

Link: Pacific Standard

“It turns out that half of all homes in Japan are demolished within 38 years — compared to 100 years in the U.S. There is virtually no market for pre-owned homes in Japan, and 60 percent of all homes were built after 1980. In Yoshida’s estimation, while land continues to hold value, physical homes become worthless within 30 years. Other studies have shown this to happen in as little as 15 years.”

Link: Freakonomics