Every One Loves Alain: More Badiou Resources (UPDATED)

There are a number of interesting resources available on the website of the Colloque Autour de Logiques des Mondes de Alain Badiou, including a couple of 2006 lectures by usual suspects Oliver Felthman and Peter Hallward:

Via the comments to this post, Moses Boudourides was kind enough to alert us to some other lectures Badiou gave in Greece:

Alain Badiou’s Lecture “La méditation philosophique sur la guerre autrefois et aujourd’hui” (”Philosophical Meditation on War in the Past and Presently”) at the Institut Francais d’Athenes on 29 Jan 2008 (5 videos)


Alain Badiou’s Lecture “Introduction à L’Etre et l’événement et aux Logiques des mondes” at the National Technical University of Athens on 30 Jan 2008 (10 videos)


Review of Mind in Life

The NDPR has an interesteing review of Evan Thompson’s Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind, which draws from Husserl and Mereleau Ponty, as well as biological theories of self-organization and systems theory

In Mind in Life Evan Thompson aims to assemble a framework for cognitive science that will begin to harmonize biology and phenomenology so as to help close the notorious “explanatory gap” between consciousness and nature. Thompson does not claim to close this gap completely, but to “enrich the philosophical and scientific resources we have for addressing” it (p. x). It may not yet be easy to tell how much headway has been made on the problem of the gap. But we should acknowledge what Thompson has clearly achieved: a remarkable and complex synthesis, in which phenomenology as he understands it is joined with what he calls “embodied dynamicism” in a manner that helps define an important emerging vision of the place of consciousness in nature. Continue reading

Charles Gayle: Touchin’ on Trane


Charles Gayle has a newly available now more affordable (re)release on the Jazzwerkstatt label–Touchin’ On Trane–with the always fine William Parker (double bass) and the great Rashied Ali (drums). Here’s the description from the label:

This is Charles Gayle’s most accessible work. Gayle’s mastery of free jazz is blended with a more traditional compositional style of jazz on this disc. Touchin’ on Trane is composed of five original songs, and even includes ex-Coltrane drummer Rashied Ali. As the title insists, Coltrane is the influence for the music on this disc. The influence ranges from the upbeat tempo of “Giant Steps” in “Part A,” while “Part D” is reminiscent of Coltrane’s “Live in Japan” performances. Gayle, bassist William Parker, and Ali don’t copy Coltrane, but rather expand on his accomplishments. Without covering any songs, Touchin’ on Trane is the greatest John Coltrane tribute album.

Jazzwerkstatt has a number of free downloads and some excellent podcasts here. In other exciting news, Anthony Braxton’s latest release 12+1tet looks good, for info and samples, see here. Finally, if you were like me and couldn’t make it to a local screening of the limited release documentary My Name is Albert Ayler, it will be available to purchase soon here.  For more Charles Gayle, here’s a clip from a performance last year featuring Gayle with Hilliard Green and Klaus Kugel: Continue reading

Alex Ross: On Jonny Greenwood’s Music

Welling Up

A film score and an orchestral work by Jonny Greenwood, of Radiohead.

by Alex Ross February 4, 2008

Greenwood, an admired guitarist, trained as a violist. Photograph by Mick Hutson.

There may be no scarcer commodity in modern Hollywood than a distinctive and original film score. Most soundtracks lean so heavily on a few preprocessed musical devices—those synthetic swells of strings and cymbals, urging us to swoon in tandem with the cheerleader in love—that when a composer adopts a more personal language the effect is revelatory: an entire dimension of the film experience is liberated from cliché. So it is with Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie “There Will Be Blood,” which has an unearthly, beautiful score by the young English composer Jonny Greenwood. The early scenes show, in painstaking detail, a maverick oilman assembling a network of wells at the turn of the last century. Filmgoers who find themselves falling into a claustrophobic trance during these sequences may be inclined to credit the director, who, indeed, has forged some indelible images. But, as Orson Welles once said of Bernard Herrmann’s contribution to “Citizen Kane,” the music does fifty per cent of the work.

The movie opens with a shot of dry, bare Western hills. Then we see a man prospecting for silver at the bottom of a shaft. He blasts the hole deeper with dynamite, falls and breaks his leg, and, with a titanic struggle, draws himself back up. Finally, we see him lying on the floor of an assay office, his leg in a splint, signing for the earnings that will enable him to drill for oil. The sequence is almost entirely wordless, but it is framed by music, much of it dense and dissonant. At the very beginning, you hear a chord of twelve notes played by a smoldering mass of string instruments. After seven measures, the strings begin sliding along various trajectories toward the note F-sharp. This music comes from a Greenwood piece called “Popcorn Superhet Receiver,” and, although it wasn’t composed for the film, it supplies a precise metaphor for the central character. The coalescence of a wide range of notes into a monomaniacal unison may tell us most of what we need to know about the crushed soul of the future tycoon Daniel Plainview. Continue reading

Elliott Carter Is Older Than You.

NYTimes: A Composer Who’s 99 With Plenty to Celebrate:

The composer Elliott Carter, left, and the conductor Pierre Boulez after a Focus! concert.

Perhaps it’s true that composers of formidably complex music, like Elliott Carter, are tough sells for mainstream audiences. That is why the scene at the Juilliard School on Friday night was so encouraging. Outside the school’s Peter Jay Sharp Theater a long line of people stood in the wintry chill, hoping to get tickets for the first concert of Focus! 2008: All About Elliott, the school’s free, weeklong festival devoted to music by Mr. Carter, interspersed with works by composers who influenced him and by sympathetic colleagues.

The rest of the article is here. Go Carter!

The Song of Sufficient Reason: Deleuze on Leibniz.

I am not sure if this is a resource that is known and used by those who, like me, are not specializing in Deleuze, but there are some of Deleuze’s lectures available in transcription (both in French and English) here. There are several lectures devoted to Leibniz and I think they clearly show Deleuze’s appreciation of Leibniz, a sort of a personal appreciation as opposed to the “official” mention or engagement. This is from the very first lecture on Leibniz (4/15/1980): Continue reading

John Currin in The New Yorker


There is a profile of painter John Currin in this week’s issue of The New Yorker and it’s well worth picking it up. If you’re in London, hecurrin.jpg has a forthcoming show there, I believe at the Serpentine Gallery, I had seen a large mid-career retrospective of his work at the Whitney in 2003 in NY and found it to be quite good. He has a kind of very classical style that he mixes with paintings of disproportionate bodies, a sarcastic and twisted sense of humor, and slightly surrealistic takes on Norman Rockwell along with references to painters as diverse as Vermeer, Lucien Freud and Goya. As Tomkins writes in the article, “More than any artist I know, John Currin exemplifies the productive struggle between self-confidence and self-doubt.” From the New Yorker: “Currin’s work ranges from riffs on high-school-yearbook head shots–reminiscent I think of Richter’s Nurse Paintings used most recently by Sonic Youth for the cover art to their album Sonic Nurse–to scenes inspired by Internet pornography, to portraits of family members, including his wife, Rachel, and his son Francis.

The New Yorker has a portfolio of some of Currin’s recent work online here.




Provincial Ecstacy: Mikhail Anticipates Enjoyment (Updated)

As a youngster I used to hate “classical music” partly because it was always around – in fact, this hate was probably carefully cultivated by the Soviet state, if only for the purposes of torturing the masses with a 24-hour broadcasts of orchestral music as a way of mourning the leader’s death. There was a sequence of sudden departures of heads of states after Brezhnev died – all I remember is “classical music” on TV all day… But through what I’ve referred to as “coercion of taste” elsewhere I’ve acquired a rather exciting (if burdensome in the absence of cultural stimulation) addiction to music of such Russian giants as Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Schnittke, Gubaidulina, and even Tchaikovsky and Stravinsky. Thus I am very excited – or maybe it’s just caffeine – to see that my provincial orchestra is presenting a following program this afternoon: Continue reading