by carl wilson

Sonic Youth 'Ahead of Curve' Reputation
Takes V1agra Hit Lee RU OK?

Gee, Mr. Ranaldo, that's such an amazingly kooky, original idea.

No harm in an idea being reused of course. But it would be more exciting if he were making a spam-based album. I am still waiting for flarf rock to happen. (Question: Who would you nominate as flarf rock practitioners? Aside from The Fall.)

General | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, November 15 at 3:38 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (16)



One day, Flarf's finest will be archived on Project Gutenberg. Then the spammers will harvest it and send it to us along with offers for intimate and useful products. This style of writing will be called Splarf.

Posted by e.b. on November 19, 2007 9:06 AM



sorry to spam, the link didn't stick right first.

Posted by r. on November 18, 2007 1:25 AM



Babelcast is flat out flarf.

Posted by r. on November 17, 2007 11:43 PM



"Knuckles the dog...that helps people."

Killdozer = Best marxist band ever

Posted by Brian Joseph Davis on November 17, 2007 6:04 PM



This only tangentially related, but Killdozer used to use a lot of "found" lyrics -- flat summaries of The Poseidon Adventure or of a Flannery O'Connor story. In one song the lyrics were a full lifting of that good old "I am the customer who never comes back" essay that they use in training people for service jobs.

Posted by DW. on November 17, 2007 2:15 PM



Part of me wants to suggest Life Without Buildings, but I'm not sure if that fits what you're talking about.

Posted by Ian Mathers on November 17, 2007 4:27 AM



How about an application that mines mp3 blogs using tag searches ( "Scotland, death, berry" for example), grabbing the first second of dozens of different sound files and then assembling.

Bill Kennedy, are you reading?

Posted by Brian Joseph Davis on November 16, 2007 9:37 PM



Of course there's tons of collage-based experimental music, not to mention sampling in toto, but flarf is more than spam collage (spoetry) - I was thinking too of the unhinged-badness tone of it, the way it runs through levels of language, the self-abasement, all that. As I often do I think of those early-sixties DJ records that simulated "interviews" with rock'n'rollers like Jerry Lee Lewis by making their "answers" snatches and lines from their songs.

But yeah, there's also that spam-sampling-from-literature, literature-sampling-from-spam ouroboros to think about...

Posted by zoilus on November 16, 2007 6:25 PM



Colin Newman of Wire used spam as lyrics for several songs on Send, circa 2002. Relatively first, and growled in Newman's "scary" voice, somewhat effective, yet still a bad idea. But not bad enough to be interesting. Spam just doesn't lend itself to readymade-ness. Unlike plumbing, it's just too present and can't survive a context shift without major re-framing and tweaking, which then negates the wonderful automated simplicity of it. Maybe spam is just too good for art?

Any music reviewer/label worker has already encountered the musical analog of spam...the unsolicited CD!

Posted by Brian Joseph Davis on November 16, 2007 12:53 PM



What about The Books, or John Oswald, or even (sometimes) They Might Be Giants?

As for somewhat flarfy sonnets that scan, I'm currently working on just such a project: my "sonnagrams," which are Shakespeare's sonnets anagrammatized into all-new sonnets in an ABABCDCDEFEFGG rhyme scheme and iambic pentameter, but containing things like "seagull panties" and "Hawaiian Coffee Overdose Dot Com."

Posted by K. Silem Mohammad on November 16, 2007 12:42 PM



I think one of the reasons of the enduring (?) appeal of Spoetry is that its source materials are often harvested from Project Gutenberg and such sites. Even after running these texts through the spammers' "Oulipo in a box" algorithms, you still get some of the original's literary flavour. See the following snippet: it's so romantic!
"Both of them moved back, as the huge stone toppled swiftly to the devil's jig, waist-high, in one another's arms."

An interesting article:

Posted by michelangelo on November 16, 2007 9:18 AM



It had to happen:
"ESOPUS CD #8: SPAM. For our eighth CD invitational, we asked musicians to brave the darkest corners of the Internet: their junk-mail folders. Out of the ghostly text-jumbles, incredible spelling aberrations, pharmaceutical discounts, and pron packaged in Asian languages, 10 acts were able to make good on something so, so bad. ";=3458

Posted by michelangelo on November 16, 2007 8:59 AM



I'm not entirely sure "rock" is a good descriptor...but Momus has written several lyrics derived from amusingly Google-translated texts, for one. And apparently I'm ahead of Lee Ranaldo on the curve: I wrote two spam-based "songs" a couple of years ago (one of which, eventually entitled "Tinsnip Idol Mandate," was an explicit Fall homage)...

Posted by 2fs on November 16, 2007 12:32 AM



You know, I was saying this about them not long after Washing Machine. I just don't know why it took everyone else so long to come around.

Posted by Matt Collins on November 15, 2007 7:47 PM



There's plenty of extant rock that does not stick to non-stop 4/4, at least not in all its parts, which was part of the point of mentioning the Fall (along with their spammy lyrics). Noise-rock in general. I was using "rock" in the broadest sense there - flarf rock would be "not rock" in the same way flarf poems are "not poetry."

It does seem much easier to make listenable flarf-hop, though, I agree, and I like the question of what the musical equivalent of spam is. I don't think muzak is a good answer because muzak doesn't lend itself to use as "found" material so much - it is whole rather than broken, so you'd have to break it to use it. And music played loud in cars going by is good formally but isn't trying to sell you anything (except the driver of the car!). Hold music broken by recorded messages might work. Businessmen walking by talking loudly on cell phones. The phone ringing at dinner time when you don't answer it but know it's a solicitation call...

Posted by zoilus on November 15, 2007 6:26 PM



Kyle Gann has written about a collage musician who creates sonic densities from his collages unlike anything in pop, but I don't remember the guy's name. Flarf rock isn't possible, unless maybe traditionally scanscioned flarf sonnets are. Flarf is a modernist thang; the regular meters of 95%+ of rock puts it out of contention.

And -- what would the musical equivalent of spam be? PA's in public places playing muzak, which, in Seattle, is usually straight classical. And: the booming metallic rattling of cars blasting hip hop so bassy & loud that the cars shake. OK, flarf-hop is possible, especially when collaged with PA classical & PA country. As long as it doesn't have a beat, and you can't dance to it!

Posted by john on November 15, 2007 6:10 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson