Extra Credit(?) Industrial Music.

Electronic music is one of the most popular types of music today. Dub-step, Trance, House, EDM, Electro-pop and Electro-punk are just a few examples of the many genres and sub-genres of electronic music, however all of these modern-day styles have their roots in my favorite genre: Industrial music.

Throbbing Gristle, and their label Industrial Records, were the first to use the term Industrial to describe their music in the mid 1970’s. This genre was the first to heavily use synthesizers in the making of the sounds. Also, samples and “found sounds” were often used as well. The music itself was extremely experimental at times and elements of the sounds used many times invoke images of factories and other heavy construction activities, thus giving birth to the term. Others in the 70’s, like the electronic German band Kraftwerk furthered the growing popularity (but mostly underground) of this genre.

While Industrial was mostly exindustrialperimental during the 70’s, it started toking on its modern day form during the 1980. KMDFM (Kein Merheit Fur Die Mitleid or loosely translated, No Pity For The Majority) who started as a performance art piece at an art gallery in France was among the first to incorporate dance beats with hard rock guitars. Others like Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly continued more with the experimental electronic aspect of the music, but still were heavy with dance beats and heavy guitar riffs. My favorite way to describe this music is, “a ultra-heavy dance beat in a head on collision with a heavy-metal guitar riff at 300mph.”

While still considered underground and not wildly popular, Industrial music is owed a lot from the popularity of today’s electronic music.

And the winner is…

I would be lying if I said I didn’t like this class. I would also be lying if I said I did like this class. The truth is that I like and disliked it, but either way I’m probably lying. Words have never been a good friend of mine and yet they fascinate me at times. Communicating my meaning to others, even in a face-to-face conversation can be challenging, however, I am in awe of how others can relay a thought wwordsith just a few carefully chosen words, spoken or written. I struggle with finding the right words to use in not only during one-on-one dialogue, but mostly in writing them down. I enjoyed all of the subjects that we covered in this class, but communicating my thoughts and feelings is a battle. That is why I like and dislike this course.

What were my favorite and least favorite things about this class? As is probably obvious from the paragraph above is that the actual writing was my least favorite part. As far as a favorite part, I would have to say it was reading Octavia E. Butlers novel Kindred. I am a huge science fiction fan, not so much of the laser gun intergalactic alien invasion type (except for Star Wars, the original 1977 release mind you), but mostly I like the stories which evolve from actual science and the situations that can arise from developing new technologies. My interest in this book peaked when I was led to the science fiction section at the book store the day I purchased the book and my interest grew as I started to read, and got further into the story. I really like how Butler uses time travel as a tool to tell Dana’s story, yet does not give us any explanation as to how it is all happening. Honestly, I never thought that I would be interested in a book dealing with the subject matter that Kindred focuses on.

Despite the never-ending wrestling match that I have with words, I must say that I have improved my writing skills because of this class. It has become easier to find the words, although still very, very challenging at times. One thing I can see improvement on is writing drafts. The biggest struggle I have is just writing and not caring what is coming out the first time. I always stop and re-write a sentence over and over and over because I want it to be perfect the first time (or I just can’t find the damn word I want to use). Now however, it is a bit easier to type the words even if they don’t make sense the first time. I am happy it has gotten easier. I am happy that I win the wrestling match occasionally.

If I had to sum up my thoughts about the course it would be this: I hope I pass. I would consider that winning this battle with words. I earned a “D” in my first writing class, and would be excited to repeat that accomplishment, and I would be ecstatic to receive any higher grade (although its not expected).

Also, I’m considering keeping the blog going (after the current bruises heal of course).

If I Could Turn Back Time

In Octavia E. Butler’s novel Kindred, the main character Dana, a young black woman from Los Angeles, is pulled back through time to the antebellum south to protect one of her ancestors, who just happens to be a white, slave holding, plantation owner. Dana’s life is forever changed as she has to make compromises and sacrifices in order to survive her time traveling adventure. It is a fantastic journey that is difficult to imaginwingwatche going on, and definitely an expedition one would like to avoid if possible (in Dana’s case at least).

I consider myself to have lived a more or less ordinary life. I spent the first few years of my life as an Air Force brat, being born in California and then being located in Mississippi, South Dakota, then back to Mississippi before my dad retired and the family moved to Spokane, Washington. I graduated from high school with a C average and didn’t go to college immediately afterwards. I have consistently had a job and have been able to support myself with minimal help from others, but I cannot consider myself successful at anything….yet. Also, sadly I must admit, I have never been married, do not have any children and honestly have never had a romantic relationship last longer than two years (most being a few months at best).

Although the memories of those failed relationships have faded in time, only being recalled at random times for random reasons, and fading away just as quickly, there are a few that are lingered on. The ones that you really wish you could go back and do something different, because maybe, just maybe, that one different decision would be the one that would make the love with that person last forever. That is the situation I can see myself being put in. Honestly, I think most people would like to have that opportunity.

Frye Art Museum

I had no idea that the Frey Art Museum existed until last week. If I would have known about it before then, I would have been a regular by this time. This is an amazing museum and I am sure that I will be back soon. The museum itself is a contemporary building with large rooms and hallways. It is nice that there are no barriers between you and the art pieces and the large rooms and hallways make it easy to view the exhibits.Frye3

The current exhibition is entitled “Your feast has ended”. The exhibition is a collection of works from three artists speaking about the appropriation and exploitation of human culture and natural resources. Also featured was “The Unicorn Incorporated”, works by Curtis R. Barnes and a re-staging of the Frye collection. I really liked most of the exhibits that were featured, especially “Sacred”, a multi-media display about the exploitation of water by Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes. Most impressive to me was the Frye collection itself. The collection itself is almost overwhelming and many hours could be spent browsing the paintings displayed.

I am really happy to have found out about this museum. It is incredibly admirable that the Fryes have decided to share their collection with the public and I am looking forward to more visits to this museum.

Kindred Review

Science Fiction is my favorite genre of literature, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was led to the Science Fiction section of the bookstore when I asked if they had the book. To be honest, that was the last section I would have expected to find the book. It’s not that I had judged the book by its cover, but science fiction was lowest on the list of genres I imagined the book might have been. This did however peak my interest in the book and I found myself excited to read it

The book was KindKindred book coverred, written by Octavia E. Butler and published in Nineteen Seventy Nine. The story follows Dana, a twenty six year old black woman living in Los Angeles in nineteen seventy six who is suddenly transported back in time to the antebellum south. Dana soon finds out that her purpose in being drawn back in time is to protect a distant ancestor who happens to be the son of a slave holding plantation owner.

Although being classified as science fiction, Butler only uses the time traveling aspect as a vehicle to tell the story. Each section of the book focuses on an excursion to and from her ancestor’s plantation. The structure of the story and the pace of each section make the book very easy to read.

There is no “happy ending” in Kindred. Most of the characters suffer bitter tragedies throughout the story and we are left with no resolution to, or explanation for the events in the book. This however was a great way for Butler to tell the story that she wanted to tell. It speaks to the dark themes of power, weakness, sacrifice and selfishness and how there might not ever be a happy resolution to these things.

I liked this book a lot.

Octavia E. Butler

Octavia Estelle Butler was born in Pasadena, California on June 22, 1947 and dies at her home in Lake Forest Park, Washington on February 24, 2006, she was 58. She was raised by her mother after her father died while she was very young. Her mother supported them primarily by working as a maid and Octavia worked odd jobs while working on her writing after she received her associate degree from Pasadena City College. Standing out for being a black woman science fiction writer, she went on to write a dozen novels, gaining widespread critical acclaim and winning two Hugo and one Nebula award. Octavia was also the only science fiction writer to be awarded the Genius Grant. She died unexpectedly due to a fall at her home and left no children.

Undoubtedly her writing was influenced by the civil rights struggle during the sixties. She used science fiction not to tell fantastic stories, but to speak of the human condition as she had witnessed it. Many of her stories centered on strong black octaviafemale characters. Kindred is the prime example of this. Dana, the main character in Kindred, is based on a combination of herself and her mother. Specifically, Dana’s working for a temp agency parallels the odd jobs Octavia worked while keeping a ridged writing schedule, and her mothers work as a maid is reflects Dana’s position on the plantation.

“When I began writing science fiction, when I began reading, heck, I wasn’t in any of this stuff I read,” Ms. Butler told The New York Times in 2000. “The only black people you found were occasional characters or characters who were so feeble-witted that they couldn’t manage anything, anyway. I wrote myself in, since I’m me and I’m here and I’m writing.”

A common theme through most of her writing is family and society hierarchy. I would imagine that this influence came from her lack of an immediate family during her life. Also, being shy and awkward as a child was influenced by the actions of children on the playground. In her NPR ESSAY – UN RACISM CONFERENCE she says, “Simple peck-order bullying is only the beginning of the kind of hierarchical behavior that can lead to racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, and all the other “isms” that cause so much suffering in the world.” This theme is also a big part of Kindred.

 

“Octavia Estelle Butler.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 30 Aug. 2014.

Fox, Margalit. “Octavia E. Butler, Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 58.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 28 Feb. 2006. Web. 30 Aug. 2014.

Butler, Octavia E. “NPR ESSAY – UN RACISM CONFERENCE.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2014.