Public Works Productions

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July 2001

New Reactions to “Numbers” EP from Critics
and Non-critics Alike

2001-07-25 / New Review of Numbers. Another review of our newest release, the 9-inch EP by Public Works entitled Numbers, has been received and posted. Written by Antron S. Meister of the UK site Freq, we are pleased to announce that the review is generally positive.

In addition, a number of ‘ordinary’ (and by that I mean, ‘non-reviewing’) listeners have written in about the disc to express their approval. Here’s the evidence:

“By the way, Numbers is a phenomenal piece. It totally nails the uneasiness/dread of the Conet and Ghost Orchid records — in a way, it really gets to the effectiveness of the source material. Arguably, the whole reason that numbers stations and EVP are frightening (not just accounting for the pure sound of them) is because they are random, unexpected, and impossible to order in the rational mind. Instead of putting on a CD that says, ‘You are going to hear a neatly ordered catalogue of disembodied voices,’ which effectively prepares and therefore somewhat numbs the listener to the shock of the experience, the Public Works piece reinstates the illusion of randomness — and creating a context. Anyway, it’s great. I love it. Thank you for sending it.” [Myke Weiskopf, Jamaica Plain MA, compiler of the Obscure-Disk CD releases]

we are listening

And one more:

“I just wanted to let you know that I very much like Numbers. It has some hörspiel (radio play)-like touch that is not only bound to political statements/media discourse which got a bit tiring after 15 years, though still actual and important. … If you should ever plan to play in Hamburg i’d be happy to help you.” [Felix Kubin, Hamburg DE, of Syndicat für gegenlärm]

Read the review from Freq

Public Enemy ‘Open’, but not ‘Open Source’

2001-07-26 / The writer of the MusicDish article Public Enemy Goes ‘Open Source’? got it wrong. To call a song contest promotion ‘open source’ is to stretch an overused phrase out of proportion of its established meaning. The free use of an open source work is granted provided any works based upon it are also open source. Public Enemy’s latest project (detailed in the article in question) is simply the making of another PE album, with PE apparently taking ownership of the derived works. To call this project ‘Open Source’ belies both a complete misunderstanding of the practice, as well as lazy journalism signalled by an over-eagerness to pepper the text with trendy buzzwords. The one responsible for the misleading invitation is the writer of the article:

In PE’s defense, neither they nor their site use the phrase ‘open source’ in their texts concerning the project. Mr. ltvnet should know better, as he’s close to the business, that the kind of contracts provided to music entities, entertainers, and media personnel don’t allow the freedom to give away the goods.

Open source is like a truly public library filled with public domain materials, where you are granted the key to the stacks for the simple fact that you live in the community. The result of so many young persons having access to such a powerful institution through their formative years forms the hope that someday one of them may make a mature contribution to those stacks, to the benefit of all.

Public Enemy has made significant contributions to music, and we mean them no disrespect, but their output has been locked up by and shelved behind a cash register down the street. Their current project exploits their fanbase, many of whom are no doubt eager to appear on a PE release, regardless of the legal requirements. The Tape-beatles see the offering of $1000 as a kind of insult; why not simply ask the public to collaborate without the collusion of lucre?

Mr. ‘ltvnet’ responded:

I apologize if I mislead anyone with my recent MusicDish article about Public Enemy.

Our target audience is substantially new media professionals. When I placed quotations around the phrase ‘open source’, I assumed most of our readers would understand that I was being ‘tongue in cheek’ and not literal.

Either way, I take responsibility if this caused any misunderstanding. I will forward your info to my superiors. We will publish a clarification if necessary.

Read the notice in MusicDish that started it all.

Tape-beatles Rent New Digs; New Neighbors Apprehensive

2001-07-19 / New digs. “This will be our sixth studio space,” opined John Heck as we hauled the heavy Czech-made «Meopta» projectors, and our American-made «Pageant»s, up the two flights of stairs to our new base of operations. We thought back to the spaces we’d worked in; the bedroom floors strewn with cables and discarded A/V equipment; the squalid cubicles not intended for habitation, yet someone always seemed to be drying socks in the shared restroom; the firetraps; the sleazy landlords. But enough of this wistfulness.

Our current space involves a slightly unorthodox arrangement, based on a network of Czech friends and friends-of-friends, all of which seems simply normal in this Republic. A musician-composer named Pepa, who needs money, has a spare bedroom in his flat, vacant until the fall, when someone will be moving in to live there. We propose to make films and noise in it in exchange for a modest sum. He accepts, and we have a studio space with all the comforts of home (including a friendly black dog named Tomaš). Located on the third floor of a gray building overlooking Vysočanské Naměstí (which the accompanying photograph shows from our window), the space will suffice for the purpose of assembling our found cultural fragments into cohesive works of Great Art™. Or at least we’ll see, anyway.

Our first day of work began late, but steady work during the afternoon nearly compensated. The result was a good beginning of an organizational method for the monumental task of sorting through all the found footage we’ve collected, in an attempt to assemble only the best shots in only the most particular order to create a controlled and sensitive impact on the viewing public. Only time will tell whether we will be successful in this task, etc.

Vysočanské Naměstí

View of Vysočanské Naměstí from the Tape-beatles’ third-floor studio space

Off to Twinkle Among the Stars

2001-07-04 / Just another day. To those of you in those States over there, Happy Fourth of July, but here in the Czech lands, it’s just another Wednesday, or ‘středa,’ as it’s known over here. And tomorrow is ‘čtvrtek,’ and that is the day John Heck and Lloyd Dunn, currently known as The Tape-beatles, make their way to Karlovy Vary for the International Film Festival held there every year. In their role as idle thrill-seekers, they will take in as many films as they can, and return to Prague in a week refreshed, rejuvenated, and with a quiver full of new ideas to fit their muse’s bow. At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

The break will be a welcome one, since much of the last few weeks has been spent in a bleary-eyed stupor, watching the long-winded reels given to us by our Czech friends (mentioned below). With such scintillating titles as ‘Injury to Internal Organs’ (Parts 1 and 2) and ‘Extinguishing Accidental Fires’ one gets the impression that the Czech nation is ready for any catastrophe, having been well-trained by its educational film industry. Assuming the audience was able to remain awake.

After Karlovy Vary, we will repair to our temporary studio space and begin actually cutting into the above reels. Time will tell if such labors will bear fruit. You will read it here first.

Films to look at

Pictured above are just a few of the reels that The Tape-beatles will have to sort through to find material for their new work of “expanded cinema”

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