Prog Rock Friday

There is an inexpressibly sad story re: the prog rock mega-group Yes in the news this week. I won’t go into here, save to say it prompted me to look back at Steve Howe’s guitar work for adolescent Yes in the 1970s. Please find below a track from Yessongs, Yes’ first live album, released in 1973 (although recorded in 1972). The song is Yours is No Disgrace (from the Yes Album). I also include a video recording of the group performing the same song for your viewing enjoyment. What we hear and see is Howe just beginning to wield the full might…

Photography is dead, thanks to the culture algorithms

Algorithmic, formula-driven music was the topic of a much longer (2200-word) post I wrote this weekend. Now Apple gives us unashamedly algorithmic photography, to take all the work out of creating an interesting picture. So now twentysomethings can not only make people think they’re having far more fun than they really are on Instagram, they can make people think they’re far more talented than they really are as well.  Cultural bankruptcy. The iPhone 7 outsources photography decisions (100 billion operations in 25 ms) to AI #AppleEvent pic.twitter.com/txbBGhDhlc — Wong Joon Ian (@joonian) September 7, 2016  

Glam Rock Monday (Against the Culture Algorithms)

I have this little thesis that the height of western culture was at some point around 1975, with the crescendo beginning in in 1965 and the echo slowly fading through the late 1980s. As evidenced by the fact that popular music from that roughly twenty-year period, give or take, is awesome. The best genre to illustrate this, in my view, is progressive rock – though all manner of art back then, from popular music to children’s films, sought to edify their “consumers,” and elevate themselves, by aspiring to the status of “high art.” For this reason, I have a series of blog posts I occasionally…