peteg's blog

Rohinton Mistry: Such a Long Journey

/noise/books | Link

I heard about this book via Pankaj Mishra a while back. He tends to cite it at every opportunity; I think I got excited by the introduction to a piece of his in the New Yorker. This lead me to think it provided insight into the birth of Bangladesh, but that topic is dispatched in perhaps ten pages spread over 337, and in a way that assumes you know about the Pakistan of the day. Everything telegraphed turns out as you expect, so surprises come suddenly and tend to feel like tangents from the already discursive narrative. For instance, it's a bit tedious when a previously-unshown Parsi's "domestic vulture" wife turns out to be shrewish at his funeral. In some ways this is something on the topic of Salman Rushdie's Shame but an (1991) imitation of his Midnight's Children, or looking at it another way, a clunky Ishiguro. There are some funny bits, but nothing laugh-out-loud. The focus is on the Parsis in Bombay.

LAMPO: Rene Hell (Jeff Witscher): Bifurcating a Resounding No!

/noise/music | Link

I signed up to the LAMPO list a while back, and finally their season has commenced. Unfortunately it is very short, at only four widely-spaced gigs. The The Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts is some fantastical anachronistic outfit that believes that art can be advanced, perhaps even systematically, by hosting things like this. They've got a beautiful old building in an upscale part of town that was packed to the gills and beyond with cool trendy types. While waiting to get in I got talking to Kyle, from Indianapolis, who was himself waiting for a friend who had also driven up for the day. We pondered why they didn't charge for what seemed to be an incredibly popular performance.

This is the type of music that NOW now showcases: here they call it "electroacoustic" but really it's samples from all over the map, or man-plays-laptop if you prefer. Some of it was coherent, but never for long, and I could have sworn there were some chip tunes in the middle. Rene Hell showcases some of his paranoia on his bandcamp page.

Here's the blurb:

You say yes; Rene Hell premieres "Bifurcating a Resounding No!" The latest project from Rene née Jeff draws from years of recorded sounds (acoustic instruments, field recordings and voice), collected in cities across the U.S. and shaped with various digital techniques, to make one new weird work.

There was no lightshow so all I could do was space out to the calm between the mild bouts of audience abuse. I enjoyed it, and I'm certainly going to the rest.