Interactive Moments

This website is mostly a collection of memorable scraps that I cannot ignore but don't have anywhere else to put it. It is mostly a visual response on current affairs with short commentary, as well as looking at ongoing socio-political problems from a creative angle (mainly music).

I'm also bringing stuff over from my other blogs slowly, so please forgive me when I make new posts with old dates on them for the next few weeks...

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2 months since the Japan earthquake…there is still a lot to repair.

ILLUSTRATION COMMEMORATING BIN LADEN’S DEATH

In my view, Osama bin Laden should not have been killed. America should have proved its capability to apply international law even in the most difficult circumstances such as these. In killing Bin Laden, America has put themselves in the same line as the Jihadi terrorists.

KODO - IRODORI, TRADITIONAL JAPANESE DRUMMING

In the episode of Music for Dance – Japan, a series of short 15-minute show for primary school children presented by Richard Lloyd King for BBC Schools Radio, King introduced the traditional spectrum of Japanese dance music by featuring music by the ‘taiko’, the Japanese drum. To begin the the Old Meets New episode, King pointed out that the music is fast and energy, but he somehow suggested that this has some relation to Kendo, the marshal art for Japanese sword fighters. King would have been correct had he said that the music is often heard in modern adaptations of a historical television drama, but to play music straight after spelling out the history of kendo is simply misleading, as the two don’t really have a connection.

To be fair, the music King selected wasn’t at all a misrepresentation. But as he doesn’t seem to reveal the titles of the works he plays nor the artist, I guess I’ll have to select one for you. Kodo, an taiko ensemble signed to Sony records, has a 30-year history of playing taiko music. Here is a video of them playing in a full-on taiko ensemble with Japanese flutes, the shakuhachi, playing away a tuneful melody.

RYUICHI SAKAMOTO - SEVEN SAMURAI

In the episode of Music for Dance – Japan, a series of short 15-minute show for primary school children presented by Richard Lloyd King for BBC Schools Radio, King expressed that a sense of tranquility can be heard in traditional Japanese music. I’m not sure whether this was relevant in the Old Meets New episode, as it has no connection to dance music.

Either way, I don’t think there is any loss in knowing how this tranquility can be expressed alongside Western instruments by contemporary composers. Ryuichi Sakamoto, a classically trained musician who is musically diverse and versatile in a range of genres including jazz and techno, is famous for his fusion of the Japanese and Western soundscape. Here, I have featured have Seven Samurai, a track from his album Chasm. I think this would have been a better fit for introducing an example of tranquil music from Japan on the BBC…

RHYTHM AND POLICE - SOUNDTRACK FOR A JAPANESE TV SERIES AND FILM

In the episode of Music for Dance – Japan, a series of short 15-minute show for primary school children presented by Richard Lloyd King for BBC Schools Radio, a busy and technological character was considered to be a common element in Japanese dance music. In the Old Meets New episode, King did not tell his listeners who the music was by, but that was not too much of a loss in this particular case as the music was not at all representative.  Instead, I would suggest this soundtrack to Rhythm and Police, a TV series and film which was popular in the 00s. The catchy riffs which have a Japanese twang with rhythms full of trance-like drum machines evoke the hecticness of a modern Japanese city.

TECHNOPOLIS - YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA

In the episode of Music for Dance – Japan, a series of short 15-minute show for primary school children presented by Richard Lloyd King for BBC Schools Radio, robotic music was considered by the presenter to be one of the characteristics of Japanese dance music. On the Old Meets New episode, King wanted to feature what he would consider to be robotic rhythms.  However, what he played sounded like an electro tune from the 80s with lots of high-pitched synths. This genre of music did exist, but it would certainly be wrong to classify it as robotic.

If King’s lesson for primary school children was supposed to be about robotic sounds as an element of Japanese electronica music from the 80s, he should have played Technopolis by Yellow Magic Orchestra. If you listen to the song, you will immediately realise that it is evoking the bustling of Tokyo, a technological city which can be interpreted as robotic. It would not be wrong to say that the band is a Japanese equivalent of Kraftwerk. Check out the crazy video and whilst enjoying what I think King from the BBC should have played instead.

Broken Haze - block

In the episode of Music for Dance – Japan, a series of short 15-minute show for primary school children presented by Richard Lloyd King for BBC Schools Radio, robotic music was considered by the presenter to be one of the characteristics of Japanese dance music. I disagreed with what King had presented on the Old Meets New episode and would like to suggest alternatives. 

To indulge your ears into a trendier representation of robotic music, I would highly recommend Block by Broken Haze. An underground artist who blends hip-hop rhythms through an electronic soundscape, he creates dubstep with a robotic feel. It is a very musical piece of work with lots of little melodies (or, technically speaking, motifs) within different parts, with an edgy rhythm which gives it that robotic character.

Check out www.myspace.com/broken_haze for more glitchy music emerging from Japan.

IF YOU’RE THINKING OF WASTING A VOTE TOMORROW, DON’T - VOTE YES FOR ME

Because the British government won’t allow me one even though I’ve lived in London for 15 years! Please vote yes to change the existing voting system. AV is not perfect, but it will democratize the existing system by another step.

PATRIOTIC FASHION ON ROYAL WEDDING DAY

Look at those beautifully straight union jack jeans!

(Photo taken in Notting Hill, London)

HORSE GUARDS LEAVE BUCKINGHAM PALACE 

Photo taken after the newly wed Duke and Duchess of Cambridge depart Buckingham Palace for Clarence House

A dog celebrates the Royal Wedding. Note the cheeky crown on his bottom!

(Photo taken on 29th April, 2011 in Westminster)

Probably one of the best shots I have ever taken - a boy queues outside Westminster Abbey a good few days ahead of the Royal Wedding.


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