Bleat Lite week concludes with an audio extravangaza, plagiarism edition!
Why? Because it’s much later than I had anticipated, and because I was in a mood to do something completely different tonight. I managed to clear the decks of nine or ten things hanging over my head; I posted to buzz.mn a fair amount. Around eight I got out the keyboard to bang out a couple of ringtones, since I now have a program that lets you upload custom ringtones to your iPhone, and I will be switched if use snippets of pop songs as phone sounds. You have to operate on one general principle: everyone else hates your ringtones. Before they hear them. Given that, at least I could come up with something different. So I wrote a replacement for the Mac marimba default tone, and a special ringtone for all incoming StarTribune numbers. It has a teletype in the background, and it’s modeled after those old radio news top-of-the-hour sounders.
Elsewhere: last weekend’s noir was “Decoy,” and it had few interesting visuals. Interesting story, but visually flat. The soundtrack piqued my attention, though – not because it was good, but because I think the composer stole the love theme. He must have figured he was safe – B-movie, bottom of the bill, mouth-breather audience, who’d know? If he knew what he was doing, and had known that someone sixty years later would put up evidence of his plagiarism on the Vast World-Wide Computational Network, he might have been horrified. He wasn’t a nobody; imdb gives him almost 400 credits as a musical director or composer. His name was Edward J. Kay, and with all due respect to his talents, I’m calling him out. The first excerpt is from the “Decoy” score (complete with film noir dialogue) and the second is his source material, Howard Hanson’s sublime Second Symphony. Am I right?
If Hanson's piece sounds familiar: it was the music used for the closing sequence of "Aliens." Really.
While I was doing the ringtones, I looked out the window and noted that a storm was en route. I started picking away at something, realized in short order that I was plagiarizing Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois’ “Apollo” soundtrack Well, let’s just go all the way, then.
I put a microphone up to the window to record the storm coming in, and wrote – or rather faked – a piece that has the same resemblance to the Eno / Lanois album as the “Decoy” excerpt above.
Suddenly I have great sympathy for Mr. Kay.
Finally: Bleat Radio Theater. I’ve discovered an old show called “Quiet Please.” Highly unusual. It was the work of radio stalwart Willis Cooper, and has a quality you won’t find in any other show. It’s hit and miss – the strange elliptical format works sometimes, and sometimes it doesn’t. For the late 40s it’s almost avant-garde. You’ll see what I mean.
This episode is typical. The story might be conventional, but the way it’s presented - the tone of the narrator, the off-mike interjections, the chilling sounds at the end - put it miles above standard creepy old radio. More here; I understand “The Thing On the Fourbleboard” is the best. I haven’t listened to it – saving it for tonight. This was the last episode aired. Enjoy! And I’ll see you Monday with a brand-new revitalized Bleat, and more. (Note: Thursday's bleat was posted late, so if you missed it, here you go)
(Note: mail has reverted to a state of hellish hosedness. Cannot send or receive. I've emptied the trash. I've cleared out the queue. I don't know what else I can do, but this weekend I'll try to contact the host from the Strib account. Apologies.)