The Great Developmental Professor Elemental

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Paul Alborough (Professor Elemental), available here.

In our last podcast, we spoke to David Liebe Hart. In that particular case, we had a personality on our hands who’s very difficult to detach from his character. The flip-side of that is a creative whose use of a character is acutely deliberate. That’s precisely the bill that Paul Alborough, best known for his popular Professor Elemental alter-ego, fits in spades. However, Alborough is a vast talent regardless of such construction. He calls to mind an important truth; something we’re all guilty of in an age of information.…   [continue reading]

WWE Money in the Bank 2017 [LIVE TWEET STREAM/REPORT]

For some reason, despite an intriguing card, I found myself unable to get too excited for Money in the Bank this year. I put that down to some personal rumblings going on in my life at the moment. That aside, I knew we’d be in for something worth seeing. I’d probably resigned to just watch the damn thing, rather than overthinking it too much. With a historic women’s Money in the Bank match scheduled, along with the standard edition as the main event, this pay-per-view was certain to be memorable in some way.

In the end, this was surely one of the strangest cards I’ve ever seen.…   [continue reading]

The Last Joke of the Scene: Sitcoms and Sincerity

Television imitates life. The fact that it’s only an imitation is clearer in a sitcom than any other genre. If you distil TV down to its most basic elements — and then simplify each element further — you’re left with the sitcom.

Many sitcoms break the formula, but the most popular (and sometimes older) shows don’t. The Big Bang Theory, Full House, That 70s Show. Even newer releases like The Ranch. They are in the usual form of television but predigested and tidied up to the point where any mystery, crisis, tension or deeper meaning is diffused almost instantaneously, whether that’s at the end of the episode, or at the end of a scene.…   [continue reading]

The Enduring Mystery of David Liebe Hart

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with David Liebe Hart, available here.

If you’ve ever spent any time with a toe dipped into Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!then you’re probably aware of David Liebe Hart. His first appearance came in the episode Salame, which heavily featured his music, puppets and thoughts on extra-terrestrial mythology. From there, he’s seen himself cast in numerous editions of that show, as well as various spin-offs, promotional materials and live tours. He’s become an integral part of their universe, whether Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim approve of it or not.…   [continue reading]

Life is Chronological, But Social Media Can’t Be

In March 2016, Twitter made the switch away from a purely chronological timeline to one partially ordered by algorithms. By looking at Twitter’s origins — a simple way to update groups of people — the switch away from ordering information chronologically is more interesting than it first seems, and represents the state of the internet and the way we use it in 2017.

The origins of Twitter

When it started, Twitter (or twttr as it was then called) was just an SMS service linked to a website.

Famously influential tech critic Om Malik wrote the world’s first blog post on Twitter a few months after it launched.…   [continue reading]

Dion Lunadon (The D4, A Place to Bury Strangers) Interview: On his Debut Solo LP

Having spent over two decades with several bands including A Place to Bury Strangers, The D4 and The Scavengers, it’s surprising to realize Dion Lunadon hadn’t released a solo work sooner and, even more so, to learn it wasn’t planned to exist.

“I hadn’t written by myself for years and felt I needed to create something with no compromises and something that reflected who I am. Out of anything I’ve ever done, this record definitely captures that more than any other. I wasn’t planning on releasing any of it, which is a great place to write from. I wrote it for me.” 

With the help of Bambara’s Blaze Batch, APTBS bandmate Robi Gonzalez and Chris Woodhouse (recording engineer for Thee Oh Sees and Ty Segall), Lunadon wrote and completed the album over three months in Brooklyn, NY.…   [continue reading]

WWE Extreme Rules 2017 [LIVE TWEET STREAM/REPORT]

Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups. I had assumed that this was going to be one of those pay-per-views that just hits on every level. My expectations going into this one were unbelievably high, since Extreme Rules boasted a deeply promising card. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver quite to the level I had hoped. It is, however, easily the best PPV since this year’s WrestleMania. The main-event delivered in spades, while we also saw great matches for the Cruiserweight and Intercontinental Championships. Another thing of note is how well it dealt with its stories. The beautifully edited promo-packages only helped get these narratives across.…   [continue reading]

Stefan Bohacek Interview: The Ethics and Humanity of Bots

Stefan Bohacek is the founder of BotWiki, a project that aims to catalog the useful, friendly and artistic bots of the world. He also has a number of side-projects on his site, fourtonfish.com. The projects include Detective, a chat-based game that randomly pairs you with a human or a bot and makes you decide which you’re chatting with.

We spoke about the philosophy and ethics of bots, as well as the ideas behind BotWiki, Detective, and his other exciting projects.

Listen to the interview below:

Or read the transcript for all the links we refer to:

BotWiki’s been a fascinating project for me lately.…   [continue reading]

Secret Cave Office Chart [JUNE 2017]

Having been rather busy this month, on a variety of projects, June’s Office Chart is much more off-the-cuff. It found itself put together in short spots of downtime. Its choices were more impulsive; thrown on in the moment, as the whim took me. That said, I may have accidentally come out with the best end-product yet. Perhaps, in the past, my agonising over equal genre-mixes and ordering was a mistake. While I have spent some time making sure that there’s some coherence in the flow, a lot of the work did itself. The songs just seemed to make sense next to each other.…   [continue reading]

Your Bot Art Belongs in a Museum

Recently I interviewed BotWiki founder Stefan Bohacek on the distinction between art made by a human and art made by a machine. “If you think art is these deep thoughts expressed by a human, then of course what bots make isn’t art”, he said. “If you think art is anything that looks good, then bots make art”.

Thinking more on the issue, I realized that a bot’s output is just the randomized result of human input. Even advanced bots with neural networks either learn from human input or learn from other bots that were programmed by humans. In the end, there’s no distinction between art created by bots and humans because humans are the ones that set boundaries for the bot and say what it can and can’t generate.…   [continue reading]