A week ago tonight, New York’s famous Wierd party met its scheduled demise. Joshua Strawn retrospects on how Wierd carved out a space for doom-laden sounds that transcended subcultural clichés:
We were all painfully aware of what goth had become throughout the 1990s: spooky dolls, mainstream industrial rock, weak Tim Burton films, and dyed-blue dreadlocked types wearing goggles, platform boots, and cheap-looking PVC to go out and dance to music that basically sounded like La Bouche with an unlistenable male vocalist. In this sense we were elitists, and it would be hard to apologize for having been that way. There are different kinds of elitism. Some focus on the eliteness of people, and and that couldn’t be further from what we were about. The Wierd thrived on nothing if not inclusion of people. But it was elitist in the sense of a standard of excellence in art that most people then could have been forgiven for assuming never got anywhere near so-called dark music.
For those still craving that Very Rare vibe, there is good news:
Following a brief silence, some of the party’s affiliates — Soren Roi, Nikki Sneakers, Hillary Johnson, and Jasper McGandy — announced a new weekly whose name immediately addresses the void Wierd left. Named after a song from neofolk band Death In June, Nothing Changes will have a similar musical scope and continue to provide local and touring bands with a venue and eager audience.
I spent the weekend wiring together a couple of infrared remote controls to build a system that will trigger the shutters of 2 cameras simultaneously (part of my ongoing adventures in 3D photography). I plan to post more about this project soon.
But Chris Shen has accomplished a much more impressive feat of IR remote hacking — he’s hooked up 625 discarded remote controls to create a working television display:
Of course the light from the remotes is infrared, so it can’t be seen with the naked eye. And it looks like it would probably take a display at least twice as big to get a really coherent picture. Still, an ingenious achievement. Read more about the piece, titled INFRA, at Create Digital Motion.
Why? Because almost any audio recorded in the UK during that time will have the same hum embedded in it… so the cops can use their reference track to find out precisely when recordings entered into evidence were made — and whether they’ve been edited:
Any digital recording made anywhere near an electrical power source, be it plug socket, light or pylon, will pick up this noise and it will be embedded throughout the audio. …
Comparing the unique pattern of the frequencies on an audio recording with a database that has been logging these changes for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year provides a digital watermark: a date and time stamp on the recording. …
“Even if [the hum] is picked up at a very low level that you cannot hear, we can extract this information.”
That’s right: the UK now has nationwide audio timecode.
This week and next, you can pick up a CD of PARANOID STYLE — the album on which Maxx’s version of “First We Take Manhattan” was first featured — at CD Baby, for only $4.50. Better Mind Control has never been so reasonably priced!