Archive for the ‘music’ Category

the forest of signs

April 1, 2014

found here: The Forest of Signs (Budding Artists – Detail) 2008.

The Forest of Signs (Apple Record) 2008 

The Forest of Signs (Brake) 2008 



September 12, 2011

This was the summer reading for toddlers offered in my local store: children’s magazines with “free” toys: mock mp3-Player, iPhone and mobile phone. Selling early literacy clearly is tied to selling media technology. How to work with that once children start school – that is a question teachers will have to be concerned with.



March 16, 2011

by Rebecca Puig of Sugarboo Designs.

The quote is by Emily Dickinson “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.”

what the world needs now is love

September 27, 2009

by Dionne Warwick

This is great, bringing back childhood memories:  watching records spinning on the turntable and dreaming about being a hippie when I would grow up, living in a world of love and peace . :-)

taking video literal

March 14, 2009


White Wedding: Literal Video Version – watch more funny videos

This literal video version of White Wedding by Billy Idol made me laugh out loud. I guess you had to be there in the eighties, when some of your friends were Gothic, some of your friends were New Wave and some of your friends were Straight Edge, and you had a little brother tapping his feet in black leather pants, to really appreciate this wry comment on eighties pop culture.

via boing boing

On a more serious note, this video illustrates well how words and images work best together in juxtaposition. I am just reading Perry Nodelman, Words about Pictures. The Narrative Art of Childrens Picture Books, and here is a quote which fits perfectly: 

“In a discussion of the semiology of film, Christian Metz suggests that films demand from their viewer knowledge of at least five different systems of signification, most of which can also befound in slightly different ways in picture books: culturebound patterns of visual and auditory perception (such as knowing how to understand a perspectve drawing), recognition of the objects shown on screen (labeling), knowledge of their cultural significance (such as knowing that blackclothes stand for mourning), narrative structures (types of stories and how they usually work out) and purely cinematic means of implying significance, such as music and montage.

Metz suggests that each complete film “relying on all these codes, plays them one against the other, eventually arriving at its own individual system, its ultimate (or first?) principle of unification and intelligibility”. In other words, filmmakers make the use of differencees between various means of communication in the knowledge that each medium they bring into play will finally merely be part of the whole along with all the others; consequently, they deberately (or sometimes, given the varying narrative capabilities of different media, inevitably) make each incomplete so that it can indeed be part of a whole and so that the meaning will be communicated by the whole and not any specific part of the whole.

What the clothing and gesture do not reveal to us, the music or the narrative structure might; and what the clothing and music communicate separately is different from what they communicate together. So each medium that filmmakers use always communicates different information, and all of them express their fullest meaning in terms of the ironies inherent in their differencees from each other. Irony occurs in literature when we know something more and different from what we are being told.” (222-3)

Music videos play with visual codes and popular narratives adressing the viewers’s contextual, (sub) cultural knowledge and in contrasting, juxtaposing, contradicting and amplifying music and lyrics add to the overall meaning. In the case of this Billy Idol video spoof, the irony lies in the breaking of these film making and music video conventions, which we all know so well. The lyrics are a literal translation of what is seen, merely labeling the objects and actions on the screen (candelabra! black leather pants!) and the cinematic means of implying significance (letting in the fog, blowing up stuff, going outside) but ignoring their cultural significance. Taking language conventions literal is stand up comedy stuff, here it is applied to film. The new lyrics attempt to undermine the “subversive” interplay of original lyrics (about white weddings) and video narrative  drawing on a different kind of cultural knowledge by calling it what it plainly is in the eyes of a contemporary viewer – a goth wedding, an eighties pop video. 


pictures and poetry at play: (7) henry walks to paris

February 28, 2009

I really love the designs and movie credits by Saul Bass. But this is a children’s book by Saul Bass, apparantly the only one he designed: “Henri’s walk to Paris”is outof print too, but you can get to see a lot of it  on this Flickr set”Henri’s walk to Paris”  




Some more recent Saul Bass inspired opening sequence of  movies are “Catch me if you can” and the credits of “Lemony Snicket”. I found some of the title sequences on YouTube, you really have to see them on a big screen, the mini versions don’t do them any credit.  I think I enjoyed the very long five minutes of end credits of Lemony Snicket End as much as the whole film. 

Grassroots Obama Video

October 28, 2008

Watch this Grassroots Obama Video, unfortunately I can not embed it in the WordPress blog.  which I have now found on YouTube.

Thomas Finely from wrote:

Check out this original, grassroots-made music video supporting Barack Obama. The level of effort put into the design and video production is enviable, not to mention the message and impact of the video being incredible. Just… Wow.

Nothing much to add. It seems all the talk about participation enabled through new digital media is epitomized in this really well made video, combining the grassroots aesthetics of  “social realism” used by Obama supporters with Hip Hop lyrics and music and a visual interpretation though animated words and images, which has become so typical for Web 2.0 online video rhethoric.

A quick look at the Cafepress Website (where people can order T-Shirts, Mugs etc with thousands of different designs) and a comparison of the designs for Obama and the for McCain shows that at least one thing is definite: Obama seems to inspire a lot more creativity in people, not only in terms of numbers (87.000 versus 30.000) but also in terms of quality and originality of design. The CafePress Meter, which tracks sales also refelcts a clear Obama lead (in sales).

people take pictures of each other

July 26, 2008

I like this new advert for a Sony Ericson camera phone with the old Kinks song from 1968

People take pictures of the Summer,
Just in case someone thought they had missed it,
And to prove that it really existed.
Fathers take pictures of the mothers,
And the sisters take pictures of brothers,
Just to show that they love one another.

You can’t picture love that you took from me,
When we were young and the world was free.
Pictures of things as they used to be,
Don’t show me no more, please.

People take pictures of each other,
Just to prove that they really existed,
Just to prove that they really existed.
People take pictures of each other,
And the moment to last them for ever,
Of the time when they mattered to someone.

People take pictures of the Summer,
Just in case someone thought they had missed it,
Just to prove that it really existed.
People take pictures of each other,
And the moment to last them for ever,
Of the time when they mattered to someone.
Picture of me when I was just three,
Sucking my thumb by the old oak tree.
Oh how I love things as they used to be,
Don’t show me no more, please.

It is fun to compare this with this older advert by Kodak. The meaning of “instant” certainly is different – where earlier it related to the ease of taking pictures anytime, now it relates to the ease of taking and transmitting them anywhere, to share with others.

I have posted about this already here – a slightly different model, the Kodak Instamatic 33 camera was the first camera I owned, given to me when I was a girl, just about the time when the Kinks song was made. I was pleased to see it exhibited at the London Design Museum some years ago. 

sound and music and image

July 25, 2008

my album cover shot (it would have to be a very different album), originally uploaded by beavers abroad.

Come Fly With Me, originally uploaded by DreamValley.

The hills are definitely alive, originally uploaded by HorsesItch.

The words “the sound of music” in my mind are irreversibly linked to an image, the image of Julie Andrews spreading her arms, dancing and singing “the hills are alive …” from the film “The Sound of Music”. Most Non-Austrians usually associate certain things with, Austria – the mountains, and this film rank on top. However, “The Sound of Music” is or at least it used to be not that well known in Austria. I personally had never heard of it until I was in my twenties, went to the US and heard people talking about it. Now apparently every year some 300.000 tourists visit the film locations in Salzburg, so I guess that has changed. As far as musicals go, it is one of my favorites. “One of my favorite things” is one of my favorite things, and of course I like the title song, but not so much for the song but for the images and feelings associated. Maybe it is just because I am born near Salzburg among those mountains. But it is not only me who has the urge to stretch her arms and start singing, when I hit a mountain meadow. I know there are others, and I have proof of it. I have been checking on Flickr for the appearance of a “sound of music” or “the hills are alive” meme – pics like these are still quite rare but they are getting more! The real Maria van Trapp is still alive too, she is 93 and was actually born in the same town as me. I read this today in the newspaper and this random bit of trivia prompted my posting today!

all you need is

April 10, 2008


I did not get to go to the cinema often in my childhood, but one lasting impression was the animated movie Yellow Submarine (1968), an all time favourite. The Beatles, on their psychedelic journey to save Pepperland from the Blue Meanies beat Alice in Wonderland any time.

A Yellow Submarine Box Set with Beatles Action Figures is available here.

feeling good

January 24, 2008

Great music video of Nina Simone’s “Feeling good” by Tamara Conolly using just type and typographic elements in black and white.

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