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Researchers have developed a tiny wireless camera that is light enough to be carried by live beetles.

The team at the University of Washington in the US drew inspiration from the insects to create its low-powered camera system.

Its beetle-cam can stream up to five frames per second of low-resolution, black and white footage to a nearby smartphone.

The research was published in the Science Robotics journal.

The entire camera rig weighs just 250 milligrams, which is about a tenth of the weight of a playing card.

While the sensor itself is low resolution, capturing just 160 by 120 pixel images, it is mounted on a mechanical arm that can shift from side to side.

That allows the camera to look side to side and scan the environment, just like a beetle, and capture a higher-resolution panoramic image.

READ MORE HERE

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My next interview is with the wonderful Limpe Fuchs who is going to talk to us about Muusiccia. Limpe has been a recording artist since at least 1972, the year of the classic self-titled album by Anima Sound - and when I first got in touch with her I was temped to cover one of these older records. Yet the hyper-textural music of 'Muusiccia' which is from 1993 (still the earliest recording yet covered on Navel-Gazers) captivates me in a way which is so personal and so intense that I knew that was what we had to talk about instead. Before reading this interview - or perhaps while reading - I recommend you to put in your favourite headphones and allow Limpe's handmade percussion sounds to usher you in. 'Muusiccia' is no mere album, it's a sublime sound art gallery where surprises lurk around the corners and where music and sculpture seem to collide. Let's find out more!





AC: Not to lead off with anything too topical, but you had mentioned to me that 'Muusiccia' was recorded when you were living in Italy, which is a place that has been all over the news lately. And it sounds as though your surroundings were remarkably calm and serene then, living in a quiet house in the woods... So the timing of our discussion is quite interesting. Could you tell me how it is you found yourself in Italy at that time, and/or anything else about the environment this music originated from?

Limpe Fuchs: In 1976 we sold part of our house in Bavaria and bought 12 hectares of land and an old farmhouse in the Colline Metallifere of Upper Toscana. We wanted to expand our agricultural activities. In this area the wives of the workers in the Pyrit mines each owned a piece of land to grow a garden and some animals. When the mines were outgone, they sold the land to foreigners - Germans, Dutch, Swiss. The place was so lonely - no road, no water, no electricity - that we only got there with an off-road car at daytime. But step by step we built up what we needed and enjoyed the lovely wilderness. Only on holidays were we disturbed by lots of hunters driving through the woods with their small Fiat cars.


I think from this time on, my instruments were better-developed, and also my playing of them. One thing I would like to say about 'Muusiccia' is that at this time field recording was a practice I followed nearly every day. Especially when I had the opportunity to join the Squadra Malossi though the woods to record their chase of the wild pigs.

In this time - between my solo percussion work - I also did experimental theatre work, sponsored by the city of Munich, by taking parts of a poem and working out with my music, to a play. One was called 'Gesang Zur Nacht' with the expressionistic poetry of Georg Trakl, who lived from 1887 - 1914. For this "shooting track" I chose his poem about the battle of Grodek. He was involved as a sanitary assistant in the camps of the wounded soldiers. He was so scared that he suicided.

I am part of the first generation of Germans not involved in war in hundreds of years, and very engaged in peace. So I took the opportunity to work with this poem as a warning.

AC: Of course you're referring here to The Chase, the magnificent 17-minute piece at the centre of 'Muusiccia' where we can hear your recitation of Georg Trakl's poem. The theatrical component was unknown to me. I'm interested to know more about your experience on the wild pig chase with the squadron in the woods - we can also hear your field recordings of this throughout 'The Chase' and the effect is quite dramatic. Who were the Squadra Malossi and how did you come into contact with them? How did you come to accompany them on the chase? How did they react to your field-recording the event?

Limpe Fuchs: The members of the Squadra were our neighbours. They also had a house in the wilderness, but normally only stayed there on holidays - or for the chase. I did not tell them about my project. Perhaps they thought me to be a fan of the shooting - I really was not, I liked the peaceful surroundings.

But I also had trouble with the pigs, because we did not have large fields. The harvesters from the Maremma, where the flat big fields were, always came very late up the hills and in the meantime the pigs were eating the grain - also the grain from the neighbours! But I followed a different more creative strategy. From an organic farm in Germany I got two plants of a variety of wheat with kemp on the grains. I planted two rows in my garden, then 10 m2 in the field, and in three years we could harvest our grain without loss!

I was very influenced by soundscape artists. I do not separate noises and music: all of what comes to my ears is interesting and influences my thinking. Especially for this project, I worked it into the title: MUU is mooh (in German pronounced muuh!) for the song with our cow and my bowing of the pendulum string instrument. MuSIc is in the word and CaCCIA (pronounced katscha), the Italian word for chase. My compositions revolve around these terms. After the dramatic chase track, the water sound soothes-down and opens the ears for different sounds, and the end is very light with the dance track.

READ THE WHOLE INTERVIEW HERE

Shirley Collins is a folk singer from Sussex, UK. In the 1960s and ’70s, she and her sister Dolly—along with groups like Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span—reinvigorated British folk music by staging the ageless songs in modern and elaborate arrangements. Collins is one of folk music’s most enduring voices, and after a period of over 30 years where she did not record or sing publicly, she released the album Lodestar in 2016. Her follow up, Heart’s Ease, is out July 24th. Jonathan Williger called Collins on July 1st to discuss life during quarantine, her new album, how she’s feeling more comfortable with herself, Boris Johnson, and more. 

Jonathan Williger: How are you doing?

Shirley Collins: Alright, still locked down of course—because of the virus—but I don’t know. I’m sort of fine, really, and there’s plenty going on. So it’s good, how are you?

I’m doing okay. Do you live with anyone right now?

No, I live alone, but I’ve lived alone for a great many years, so I’m sort of used to it. So I’m okay, you know?

What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied?

Well, I’ve got a garden at the back of my cottage, so I do a bit of gardening. I’m finding I’m doing lots of reading—sort of consuming books in piles, really, more than I’m listening to music, which is funny, and a bit odd. I walk up and down my little street and garden, and that’s about it.

What have you read? Do you find yourself gravitating towards novels or nonfiction?

I love Anne Tyler—I read all her books over and over. I’ve been reading the Pat Barker book, the Regeneration trilogy. And I read an English writer called Kate Atkinson. People just put books through the letterbox and I read them. And I re-read whatever I can pick up. But it’s good, I'm sort of enjoying that, because I love reading anyway. I’m busy at the moment, too.

Do you feel like you’ve been able to keep a sense of community? It seems like people are dropping by to give you books… have you been able to keep in touch with a lot of people?

There’s a good feeling in the streets because there’s lots of families with little children, and they’re playing outside most of the time. And the trouble with this lockdown thing is that you can only really see your friends. I’ve seen my musicians as well. Ian Kearey, who does all the arranging, he lives close by and he comes and visits once a week and we sit and talk about things.

Yeah, it is interesting that acquaintances have become somewhat of a thing of the past.

True! Not that it’s their fault, you know. I don’t blame anyone. You know, as people keep away, they sort of drop away as well.

Yeah, I think that’s true. What music have you been listening to? At least personally, I’ve gravitated towards certain music that I have loved for a long time. I find that certain music, at least for me, has been harder to engage with than other types, and I’m wondering if you have felt the same way.

Well, I listen to a lot of early music, which I love. I like Italian Renaissance music, the music of Monteverdi and the music of Thomas Tallis. I’ve always loved the sound of that because when it’s somber it’s wonderfully somber, and when it’s merry then it’s very happy music, very lively. I’ve been listening recently to a group, an Irish group—I don’t know if you’ve heard of them—called Lankum. They have a singer called Radie Peat who has just got the most incredible voice. She reminds me of one of the old Irish Tinker women that Alan Lomax recorded in the 1950s. She’s got that same deep, powerful voice that she just throws at you. It’s really remarkable.

Have you been able to see them live?

Yes, I have. They were on locally last year, and I wish I’d gone up to say hello to them but I didn’t. Because there were so many people there, and you always feel a bit reluctant to sort of wander up and say “Hello, I’m Shirley Collins.” (laughter).

 

READ THE WHOLE INTERVIEW HERE

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NJØRD"SewForLife"EMPOWERMENT is a pioneering project for the social and economic inclusion of undocumented women in Brussels. The concept is simple, sustainable and practical: the creation of a school and circular economy-based sewing atelier where undocumented women get specialized training in professional sewing and business skills, and where Brussels fashion students can buy their services locally.

Because inclusion is a relationship where everyone wins!

ALL INFO HERE

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This is the first episode of a new podcast series that we will run throughout the year. Here's a modern take on the sounds and music of historical Romania, through an intimate journey into the music universe of Anton Pann, a distinguished personality that shaped the Romanian culture of the past two centuries.  

Anton Pann was a man of many talents. A composer, writer, musicologist, poet, folklorist, translator and schoolteacher, he was born at the end of the 18th century in today’s Bulgaria. Born Antonie Pantoleon-Petroveanu, he was among the first major collectors of Romanian folklore in 19th-century literature. His creations have been celebrated for their familiar tone, during a period when literary language was beginning to rely on formalism and a large number of neologisms. The writer himself made frequent excuses to the more educated of his readers for any flaws they were to find in his texts. 

Anton Pann showed interest in other musical traditions too; in his churchly practice, he endorsed the tradition of Byzantine chants and removed intonations of Levantine inspiration, while being among the first of his generation to use modern notation and Italian markings for tempo. He was a passionate collector of classical-Ottoman music, as well as religious Byzantine music. He used the diverse sources of his work to complement his own view of the world. Reflecting on the perspective of simple folk, Anton Pann’s poems often show sarcastic remarks on social contrasts, Westernisation, superstitions, as well as tensions between estate lessors and workers, in a unique style borrowed from traditional storytelling.

In modern times, most of Pann’s music repertoire is collected, documented and performed by the Anton Pann Ensemble, a music group founded in 2004 and comprising of Constantin Răileanu (conductor, composer, vocalist, percussionist, and kanun player), whom I've had the pleasure to talk to, Sabin Penea (violin), Alexandru Stoica (lute), Andrei Nițescu (cello), Issam Garfi (flute / bansouri / ney) and Oana Benko (video-projection).

Their performances shine new light on these classical sounds and bring the Byzantine repertoire into contemporary consciousness. They include music once played at the courts of Romanian princes and boyars, but also songs that sprung from slums and villages. The Ensemble’s youthful interpretations regenerate Anton Pann’s legacy and offer an accessible approach to traditional music.

In this episode, my guest Constantin Răileanu talks about his research and study of Anton Pann's work, how he founded the Anton Pann Ensemble and his endeavour to decontextualise the music of Dimitrie Cantemir. The show presents a wide selection of music* from different interpreters, musicians, groups and ensembles who approached the music of Anton Pann throughout history. 

*special thanks to Victor Plastic for the contributions

Tune in! We're also on Soundcloud.

Irmin Schmidt is a German composer and musician whose life is long and storied: he grew up during WWII, he soundtracked numerous films and theater pieces, he studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage, he was a founding member of Can, and he continues to make solo music today. His newest album is titled Nocturne, and features live recordings of performances at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. Joshua Minsoo Kim talked with Schmidt on the phone on May 2nd to discuss his childhood, Can, his solo career, and more.

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Hello, this is Joshua!

Irmin Schmidt: Ah, excuse me! I forgot that I had an interview.

Do you need some time? It’s okay if you do.

No, no, it’s totally okay. It’s absolutely okay. Just give me a second. (gets ready for the interview). Okay, so here I am for you. I’m all yours.

How are you doing today?

Fine, fine. Very well. It’s a nice day. It’s less frightening here in the countryside, having space around to walk and everything. It’s bearable.

Are you taking walks regularly?

Yes, I am. There’s nothing around here, it’s trees, forests, and fields so I can walk around.

I wanted to start off by asking about your childhood. If you were to describe your early life, like when you were a child up until you were a teenager, what are the immediate memories that come to mind?

Hmm… what comes to mind… well the very, very, very, very early years… there was a huge room because it’s these old Berlin apartments. They have in between the living room and the kitchen and the bedrooms and bathrooms this one huge room—this is famous in Berlin architecture—and it has only one window out to the court but it’s a huge room. This, I remember I could drive around with my little car—you know, where I could sit in and move it with my legs. And it was very dark playing in there. It was strange and interesting in this room because it was so far from everything. This apartment is where I lived until I was four-and-a-half or four.

I’ve described this already in the book a couple times but there was a balcony and opposite to the balcony there was a doctor who had a very elegant car. There was this gravel opposite to where the car was always parking, and I loved that sound when the car came in and parked. I tried to find gravel where I could drive my car but it never had that same feeling, the same sound. So that was a very important thing.

Of course, there’s the beginning of the bombing. We were in circus one day in a very famous, huge hall which was all made from wood. It was the biggest wooden construction at the time and it was able to hold, I don’t know, a couple thousand people. I didn’t like the circus, I hated the whole thing! I didn’t like the animals which had to do things, jump through rings or whatever. I hated this. And above everything, I hated the clown. I hated him, I was frightened by him.

So a couple of days later, after a bombing attack, we came out of the cellar we had in our house and came out into the garden and the sky was red. My father came from the house and heard on the radio that this hall was burning, and I was happy. They would never have a circus in the hall! So that’s one thing.

 

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Floris Vanhoof, lauréat du Young Belgian Art Prize en 2015 est connu pour ses performances ou installations qui mêlent son, image et lumière. Venez découvrir plusieurs installations en écho avec nos collections muséales dont un zootrope bricolé par l’artiste : “À une époque où les informations se succèdent à un rythme effréné, s’immobiliser devant l’archéologie des médias est une affaire pertinente. Je suis impatient d’ajouter aux vitrines de la collection permanente des éléments de ma propre collection de fossiles pour essayer ainsi d’approcher la préhistoire du cinéma dans la perspective de notre propre préhistoire…”

Entrée libre pendant les heures d’ouverture du musée.

More info about the expo HERE

Ben Bertrand recording new material with Otto Lindholm for Café OTO at Les Ateliers Claus

 

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Previously unreleased, mesmerising document of Mika Vainio, Charlemagne Palestine and Eric Thielemans’ studio sessions at Les Ateliers Claus, Belgium in 2013.

In a suite of haunting scenes that call to mind Akira Rabelais and Elodie as much as Ghédalia Tazartès, revered avant gardist Charlemagne Palestine supplies possessed vocals, piano and organ to Vainio’s electronics for the first time since their 1997 meeting alongside Pita.

This time they’re joined by the live drums of Belgium’s Eric Thielemans, who makes a vital variable in the mix with a deft range of tonalities and percussion that punctuate and frame the album’s looming electro-acoustic dimensions, as they shapeshift and shadow strafe from scenes that recall amore genteel adjunct to Pan Sonic and Keiji Hainio’s outings, and thru to more avant, ritualistic themes giving space for some of Palestine’s strangest vocals and covering tracts of scorched earth doom.

ORDER IT HERE

  • PALESTINE VAINIO THIELEMANS
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By 1990, Sonic Youth no longer belonged to the cool kids. Before Goo was released that June, they were a band you had to read about in music magazines, as none of the record shops in our area carried the SST catalog. Now signed to the newly established Geffen subsidiary DGC, they were no longer confined to the arty New York scene. Finding the beautiful sadness of Karen Carpenter’s story and inner peace in a whirlwind of guitar feedback, these nine tracks hit their uninitiated new fanbase with the force of a pipe bomb.

Sonic Youth’s sixth proper full-length remains arguably their most culturally (rather than critically) beloved album — whose iconic Raymond Pettibon cover may be surpassing Sgt. Pepper’s as the most parodied ever. As the Black Lives Matter movement fights for justice, it’s equally remarkable and revolting how relevant Goo’s subtext remains: outsiders, particularly women and people of color, uniting against “male, white corporate oppression.” It was an interview that concerned just that, between Kim Gordon and LL Cool J, in this publication back in 1989, that inspired Goo’s signature hit “Kool Thing,” which featured Public Enemy’s Chuck D.

For the first time since the band hung it up in 2011, SPIN spoke to all four members of Sonic Youth, as well as Pettibon himself, about how one of the koolest albums ever made was conceived, unforgettably packaged, and taken out on the road with Neil Young, who became consequently noisier himself as a result.

THE MAJOR LABEL

Steve Shelley: We met with a lot of labels after Daydream Nation; we were having a problem with the labels that we’d been on keeping up with us. It was hard to get paid for the records that you sold. Geffen was still small compared to the other majors. It was still technically an independent label run by David Geffen. That soon changed after we signed with them, the mergers with MCA and other labels, which was a little bit of a letdown. We met more people than just our A&R guy, Gary Gersh. But a big factor to us signing was this guy Mark Kates, who was in charge of college radio at the time. Mark was more familiar with Sonic Youth and our world than maybe even Gary was, and we related to Mark and we are still friends with him today. We all liked the buzz that they had with this rock band Guns N’ Roses at the time, and they seemed to be doing well.

Lee Ranaldo: It was the first record for the major label and we wanted it to be really good. We were getting five or 10 times the amount of money to make a record than we’ve ever spent before. How good can we make a record sound compared to Aerosmith, who spends that much money on every record? We did tons and tons of overdubs. And I remember thinking at one point ,if we had just taken the basic tracks we did as a group and added the vocals that we would have this record that would be even more powerful than what we ended up with. Maybe that’s a dream for someday to try a remix like that.

Shelley: To a degree, it felt like they were putting us in the college rock ghetto. But it turned out to be a good thing, because before you knew it there was Teenage Fanclub and Nirvana and Beck. So we had a little family on DGC.

Thurston Moore: I think we validated the DGC Geffen label for a lot of bands, certainly for Beck and Nirvana. If we weren’t on it, it would have been a different scene. The only reason we worked with Geffen was because of the fact that Mark Kates was working there and he came out of college radio. It was all about following the people who supported you. Nobody else would play our records, but they did. And a lot of them got work at major labels doing their radio divisions. Mark was a classic example of somebody coming out of college radio, who always heralded bands like us, all of a sudden he’s working at a major label and he wants bands that he likes to be represented on the label. And that’s the only reason we would sign to a label like that. If the A&R guy from Guns & Roses came to see us, we probably wouldn’t have been signed.

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British brothers Clive and Mark Ives, have been recording together since the seventies. Over that time they have developed a sound wholly their own, combining acoustic instrumentation (primarily guitar and clarinet) and electronics in a way that reflects the past, present and future. Touching upon jazz, psychedelic, ambient and folk/pop idioms.

“Our approach has always been quite random”


To begin with, when and where were you born and was music a big part of life in Ives household?
Clive Ives: Mark and I were born in South London. Mark was born in 1953 and I in 1956.
In 1963 the Beatles released their first album ‘Please Please Me’. So when I was 7 and Mark was 10 years old, we were both completely overcome with Beatle Mania! Inspired by their awesomeness, we created our first band called ‘The Tescades’. We got two of our mates involved, so we could each be one of the Fab Four. I had my grandad’s drum kit, so I guess that made me Ringo, and Mark and the other guys all had guitars. We would put on gigs for the neighbourhood kids in our street in our garage and sing ‘She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah’ into tin cans with strings, which we were convinced made the vocals louder. None of us could play our instruments…it must have been bad!


I have a vivid memory of my dad trying to get Mark and me into classical music, playing Schubert’s ‘Trout Quintet’ on our record player at 45rpm, and us discovering half way through that it should have been at 33rpm.


My mum and dad only had three records – 1912 Overture, The Trout and the musical Gigi. On rainy days when we were stuck indoors, we would play the 1912 Overture loud at 78rpm and run really fast around the dinning room table until the rain stopped.
Our main influence from our family was our uncle who played tenor sax in jazz bands. We grew up with many visits to lunchtime gigs in South London pubs with him playing in various jazz combos. In his teens Mark would sometimes play the clarinet at these gigs. Our uncle opened our eyes and ears to some of the great jazz players and even took us to see Count Basie and his orchestra. Watching the Count play his minimal piano phrases over this amazing cool orchestra was an incredible inspiration.


At what age did you begin playing music and what were the first instruments that you played?
Mark started to write songs on his guitar when he was 13. I was his biggest fan! I spent several years getting all the pots and pans out of the kitchen and bashing them to accompany his songs.

How did you decide that you want to create something together, something your very own? What were your intentions when you started playing together?
Well, as I have explained, playing music had been a part of our lives from our childhood, but recording music became something particularly special. It had the feeling of Alice going through the mirror. Once you put your headphones on and start making noises with a synth or through a mike, add a little echo and begin to layer track upon track, there is no knowing where it’s going and what mysterious moods might emerge. Our approach has always been quite random, but the process has a purity that can bring unexpected results. At their best, once a track is finished and a title is required, the words appear and there is a satisfying feeling that this title belongs. More often than not, no words appear and you end up calling it something like ‘Tea Cup’ or ‘Blocked Nose’!
 

READ THE WHOLE INTERVIEW HERE