Did Not Do the Research

I understand that metal’s tendency to classify subgenres and styles to a very high resolution can make it impenetrable to outsiders. We’re over here distinguishing between five different kinds of grindcore, while there are people out there that don’t know there’s a difference between metal and punk. And that’s fine! Not everyone needs to understand everyone’s hobbies.

But this is one of the most impressive examples of getting it wrong that I am aware of.

(Large picture below the cut.) Continue reading

Nonsense and Woo – Tree Rings on a Record Player

I hate this article.

I have no issue with the project itself; it’s a rather interesting one, and on further inspection Bartholomäus Traubeck seems like an interesting artist. But the way the website “SpiritScienceandMetaphysics.com” (at this point, every nonsense detector flag I possess has been raised) portrays it is entirely misleading.

It is not what it sounds like when you put tree rings on a record player. It’s what it sounds like when software designed to interpret visual data from a camera pointed at a disc of wood on a turntable is connected to a synthesizer. They explain this in the body of the text, but not after the linkbait-y title has done its job of drawing in readers, and without ever bothering to link to the artist himself. (Here is the project’s page on the artist’s website.)

They then follow it up with “It makes you wonder what kind of music other parts of nature would play.” Well, it makes me wonder how other natural materials could be used as data to generate music according to schemes created by composers, sure. If anyone has an old turntable and some wood, let’s make an honest video with their title and see how it sounds.

But I guess “This is What Happens When Specially-Written Software Looks at Tree Rings and Processes it and Outputs it as Synthesized Piano Which is Then Played to an Audience With Significant Biological and Cultural Reasons to Hear Patterns in This Kind of Sound” isn’t really stop-the-presses material.

It makes you wonder what types of music other parts of nature would play. – See more at: http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/this-is-what-it-sounds-like-when-you-put-tree-rings-on-a-record-player/#sthash.jKNsxf01.dpuf
It makes you wonder what types of music other parts of nature would play. – See more at: http://www.spiritscienceandmetaphysics.com/this-is-what-it-sounds-like-when-you-put-tree-rings-on-a-record-player/#sthash.jKNsxf01.dpuf

Not only does this site offend me by posting this rubbish (with echoes of so much other natural medicine/spirituality nonsense that you find online), and the text of the article diminishing the composer’s agency in the whole process, the YouTube video is posted by some seemingly-defunct channel that has no other related content or link to the artist, even though the artist has his own video on Vimeo:

So as well as actively harming people with illnesses through the dangerous things they post about cancer and medication, they also don’t seem to care enough about art give direct pageviews to the artists they write about.

I look forward to seeing their banner art on the cover of Tool’s next album though.

Metal in Botswana: Part Three – Other Issues, Recommendations, and Sources

This is the final (for now) entry in my series on metal in Botswana. Here are Parts One and Two.

The previous posts covered the research I have done so far; this one will be about problems with this topic, where else this research could go, my personal recommendations, and finally a list of sources.

Problems

Not surprisingly, it’s hard to research a scene in a different country without ever visiting that country. That’s part of the reason I looked at the othering, exoticizing aspects of the media’s presentation of the scene – and of course there’s perhaps an irony or a methodological problem in taking all of my sources from the media and then accusing the media of a bias, but I’m confident my point is a valid one still.

The volume and variety of information that can be gathered purely through online press and scholarly sources is limited, and there are huge gaps and inconsistencies in some of what I’ve found. Not all bands update their social media as often as others, and sometimes different social media sites may contradict each other. Encyclopaedia Metallum doesn’t list every Botswanan band that I’ve found, for example. Some bands I only know from references on others bands’ pages or gig programmes.

Continue reading