Public Works Productions

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November 1999

Get This: Department Store Caught Selling Junk

30.11.1999 / Excerpted from the Amsterdam daily Het Parool 25.11.1999, posted to Nettime, and then further edited:

AMSTERDAM — A group calling itself The Institute for Economic Disharmonisation has admitted to placing over 200 items, each of them pulled from the trash, onto the shelves of Bijenkorf’s, a major department store here. A number of these items have actually been purchased by unsuspecting shoppers.

The group, numbering fifteen people, collected items from the garbage of a well-to-do residential area of the Dutch capital. After cleaning them up a bit, they then affixed an original Bijenkorf price sticker to each item. The rehabilitated refuse was then placed among Bijenkorf’s regular stock on the store’s shelves. The objects range from garments, cutlery, and even a bed cover.

‘Trash and luxury goods are apparently not very easy to distinguish,’ states Sven De Graaf, spokesperson for the Institute. ‘A further increase in production in order to satisfy the alleged demand by the public would not appear to be called for.’

When contacted, Bijenkorf’s frazzled management was unable to come up with a coherent statement on the matter.

Browse the Nettime archives for more and better

Mp3s by Public Works 28.11.1999 / 5. The human machine. Vittore Baroni, music critic for the Italian magazine Rumore, makes the following proclamation about our CD Good Times in a recent review:

Una della migliori opere espresse negli ultimi tempi dal sottobosco di sperimentatori dediti a taglia-ecuci ‘no copyright’ [One of the best works to come out of the cut-and-paste ‘no copyright’ underground scene].

This is the first full review of the work we have received, and we hope to report on many more in the coming weeks. We have posted a relevant excerpt from Baroni’s review, beyond the earlier sentence, on this site.

Read the review

At the same time, we have posted and hereby announce that The human machine, this week’s mp3 track from Good Times is up and ready for the hearing. It is track 14 from the CD, and is a sonic and thematic continuation of last week’s track (below), and why wouldn’t it be?

Mp3s by Public Works 20.11.1999 / 4. Education of the will. This is track 13 from the CD Good Times, our ongoing serialization of our latest release in mp3 form. It opens up one of the bolder sections of the synthety, which will be revealed here in due course. A ‘voice of authority’ explains the value of attitudes in the work place, and begins the saga of Miguel Perez and the ascent of the beverage worker. In the four tracks so far uploaded, one can begin to hear the contour of a structural pivot within the overall work. This meaning will also be made clear in due course on this web site.

Snap Judgments and Spurious Opinions

snap judgments 20.11.1999 / Here at the Glassed-in Laboratories, people use the postal system to send us many things. It wouldn’t be fair to say that our mail box groans under the strain or that our mailman or woman is undergoing any form of back trauma due to the heavy lifting. But it would, on the other hand, be fair to say that we get enough stuff that it just doesn’t seem right to leave it lying around doing nothing.

Around here, we generally address such concerns by thinking of the very least we can do. With that in mind, it’s certainly the very least we can do to recognize these contributions to our cultural ecosphere by mentioning them here briefly. Our heartfelt thanks are extended to those who slip these cultural works into the mail stream.

This is a partial listing. Watch for more to follow as we gradually reduce the backlog, and then watch for even more to appear as they continue to roll in. We have a mailing address in case you feel compelled to send us something of yours.

The Listening Voice: The Newsletter of the Equi-Phallic Alliance, Issue 4. Under a seal that reads ‘Unity is Length,’ TLV offers a well-written 4-page screed of a different sort, taking on, in part, the power-propping value of history and how it is manipulated. Write: EPA, 33 Hartington Rd, Southampton SO14 0EW, UK.

People Like Us meet the Jet Black Hair People … in concert! On this CD, all the sweet-sounding pop riffs from here and neighboring galaxies, it seems, meet on a level playing field together with bargain-bin recorded refuse. The result is a remarkable cocktail of mixed emotions; track 4, for example is brilliant in its combination of sobriety and humor, knocking its mother out of the way. People Like Us; Jet Black Hair People; Lowlands Distribution, Hoornstraat 6, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium.

Spring (time)/The bridge by Colin Andrew Sheffield. At first the groove on this 7-inch record works your ears like meaningless blips, but they gradually reveal an immense and even subtle beauty. The bleak electronic space in these mixes is large and in headphones, you’re really in it; the (I suspect) analog production of these tracks only serves to heighten this effect. Colin Andrew Sheffield; Elevator Bath, P.O. Box 211501, Bedford TX 76095-8501.

18.11.1999 / Here’s an interesting link about a ‘Good Times’ computer virus (no relation). Nothing to it, other than the serendipitous connection that ties our new CD to a notorious IT hoax. Bear in mind that our CD Good Times is not a hoax.

Read about the “good times” computer virus

Mp3s by Public Works 12.11.1999 / 3. The urge of the idea. Working on backwards in the track sequence, we come to track 10 in the sequence of Good Times, which becomes this week’s new mp3 up’n’download. Listeners may be interested to know that the James Brown samples heard in this piece are really John Oswald samples. We were working in our makeshift Prague studio last October and thought the work needed some punch, so we grabbed from our limited supply of pre-recorded CDs the 1991 compilation Death of Vinyl, released by DOVentertainment, Inc. It just so happens that a work by Oswald entitled Brown appears on the disc, together with a sharerights proviso. Share and share alike, and so Oswald’s Brown’s quips became the salt and pepper to the bubbling stew of this energetic mix. Listen for the famous scratch near the end in which the Canadian composer sacrifices one of his LPs to the spirits of concrète music.

Tape-beatle/Public Works Status Report

12.11.1999 / If this text were not before your eyes, then you would not be reading it. This frightfully obvious declaration has no bearing on whether or not the content herebefore actually interests you. Nonetheless, you are here and it is ‘in your face,’ and so it probably isn’t a complete waste of your time. Not that that alone would make any difference to us, for we would upload these carefully selected alphanumerics in any event.

You’d think, from recent advertising on the subject, that it is everyone’s fondest and long-held wish to peruse screens of information such as this one in their underwear, possibly selecting from them certain items and arranging to have them delivered by a man (or woman) in a brown suit. We have one over on them: it’s always been possible to listen to the Tape-beatles in your underwear. Go ahead, you don’t need our permission. In fact, many of our mindless ‘fans’ write and tell us that they actually prefer to partially disrobe before playing our work. According to Dame Mae Whittie, from the porch of her Iowa City bungalow, our ‘ … messages come through so much the better when intimate apparel is selected for the listening.’ Well, all right, comes our response after a pause. Just don’t get any on ya.

Whether listening in their underwear or not, reactions to our latest release Good Times have been fast and furious. I am saying it, and I am meaning it, too. One response went: ‘ … it’s excellent, excellent, EXCELLENT! (And dig that swanky back cover!)’ while another chimed in ‘It’s good to hear “sample” based music that has some dramatic intelligence & flavors of sound not entirely subjugated to beats. … ’ and still another checked in to say ‘I think this record will go very far. It was a wonderful dinner and talk to you soon … ’ and one more said ‘ … CD is fabulous. ... I laughed aloud repeatedly. Especially salads and vegetables.’ (All these are real quotes from actual listener correspondence concerning Good Times.)

We are heartened by these responses. They help us to trudge through our long days, weather the wrist and lower back pain, and refrain from excessive sweets.

• Guess what? The “Good Times” is still for sale!

Mp3s by Public Works 6.11.1999 / 2. Dashed against the rock. This week’s new mp3 file from the new CD Good Times is a little number is called Dashed against the rock, track 11 in the sequence. It is made up of audio stolen from video rentals of Hollywood disaster flicks, and what a sweet little number it is! (If you are fortunate enough to have a Dolby 5.1 playback system, you can enhance the experience of listening to this track, because most of the encoding effects from the source material have survived our cut’n’paste process.)

5.11.1999 / Information requested! According to Stan Boman of Joplin MO, he heard work by The Tape-beatles on a compilation called Video Games of the 12th Century. We are unaware of any such compilation, and would be interested to find out more about it. If any of you have come across this collection, please tell us more about it.

Updated 8.11.1999. / A routine trip to the Tape-beatle P.O. Box revealed copies of said compilation waiting for us. Consisting of 42 tracks and a running time of nearly 74 minutes, Video Games of the 12th Century is a project of Burping Turds Musick, 4 Elm St. #204, Lancaster NH 03584, and, they have a web site: The Tape-beatle track Earlids from Music with Sound appears on the compilation.

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