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Leviathan Jams, the Inventory Cut: a DJ mix & fair dealing field-test for ACCUTE 2022’s soundtable

Stream the mix at the link above. Access a transcript at https://academicalism.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/mccutcheon_leviathanjamsinventorycut-djmix-transcriptaccute2022soundtable.pdf — and for the hearing impaired, loud playback or wearing a device like SubPac is recommended. Access a downloadable mp3 of the mix at https://drive.google.com/file/d/16EMfdi7blsSjq1ORhuQoSMLhnDsbWYbA/view?usp=sharing

Leviathan Jams mixes music used in James S.A.Corey’s #TheExpanse and Dionne Brand’s Inventory; field-tests a countermeasure against copyright bot overreach; and exercises #fairdealing in #openaccess research. The track list and abstract follow below.

Track List

00:00 The Carpenters, “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft” (A&M, 1977; cover of Klaatu’s 1976 record)

* 00:03 Deep Purple, “Highway Star” (Purple, 1972)

00:04 CC radio static sample

00:05 Rush, “Cygnus X1 Book I: The Voyage” (Anthem, 1977)

00:11 CC radio dial tuning sample

00:12 sample of dialogue from “Flu Season,” Season 3 Episode 2 of Parks and Recreation (NBC, 2011) by Tom Haverford (perf. Aziz Ansari)

* 00:18 sample of dialogue from “Intransigence,” Season 3 Episode 9 of The Expanse (SyFy, 2015) by Drummer (perf. Cara Gee)

00:19 sample of The Beatles, “Revolution 9” (Apple, 1968)

00:21 Marvin Gaye, “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” (1971)

00:29 Deadmau5, “Do It Again” (2006; samples Sneaker Pimps, “Spin Spin Sugar [Armand’s Dark Garage mix]” [Clean Up/Virgin, 1996])

* 00:37 [Cheb] Khaled, “Didi” (Barclay, 1992)

01:10 CT Burners and Jubilee, “Kick It (The Squire of Gothos remix)” (Nightshifters, 2009)

* 04:46 Joey Cramsey, “Radio Free Eros (OPA Fan remix)” (no label, 2017; fan-made song sampling dialogue and music from “Static,” Season 2 Episode 3 of The Expanse [SyFy, 2017]) https://soundcloud.com/user-444579259/the-expanse-whispers-of-eros

04:46 Crisp Biscuit, “Wink1” (no label, 2002; remix of Josh Wink’s “Higher state of consciousness” [Strictly Rhythm, 1995] sampling Incredible Bongo Band’s “Apache” [Pride, 1973])

* 08:29 Gatekeeper, “Tense Past” (Punch Drunk, 2007; used in “Rock Bottom,” Season 1 Episode 6 of The Expanse [SyFy, 2015])

08:41 Lou Reed, “Romeo Had Juliette” (Sire, 1989)

08:45 Fader Gladiator, “Battle of the Planets” (Kickin, 1997; samples John Williams’ “Imperial March” [RSO, 1980])

09:12 The Beatles, “Revolution 1” (Apple, 1968)

* 09:30 Tigerstyle feat. Kaur-B, “Zulfaan De Naag (Monstaboy remix)” (AK Music, 2013; used in “Remember the Cant,” Season 1 Episode 3 of The Expanse [SyFy, 2015])

13:19 CC radio static sample * 13:19 sample of dialogue from “Pyre,” Season 2 Episode 8 of The Expanse (SyFy, 2017) by Anderson Daws (perf. Richard Harris)

About “Leviathan Jams”

You can seldom criticize [intellectual property] law by breaking it and yet expect the law to forgive your infraction as criticism. (Saint-Amour 19)

My ACCUTE soundtable contribution is a music mix, “Leviathan Jams,” designed to field-test a particular DJ mixing technique—the sustained synchronization of two to four tracks—in social media platforms surveilled by automated copyright enforcement mechanisms (copyright bots). This mix field-tests the hypothesis that a sufficiently complex music mix can jam the signals copyright bots use to suppress the unlicensed reproduction of copyrighted music on Internet social platforms, where users’ rights (e.g. fair dealing) supposedly apply but copyright bots routinely override them.

My mixing methodology is based on the approaches of DJs like Jeff Mills, Z-Trip, and Grandmaster Flash; on the “CV Dazzle” makeup strategy developed by artist Adam Harvey to resist facial recognition technology; and on arguments for appropriative forms as creative expression (see Amani, Coombe et al, Shields). This music-mixing methodology’s basis in playback and repetition also engages with critical theories of slowness (see Berg and Seeber, Bureau).

“Leviathan Jams” imagines a dialectical dialogue between two improbably paired literary works—Dionne Brand’s 2006 long poem Inventory and James S.A. Corey’s roman fleuve, The Expanse (2011-21)—by combining music cited in Inventory (listed above in bold) with music cited in The Expanse, (listed with asterisk *). Both Brand’s and Corey’s works share practices of quoting music, the exercise of fair dealing and fair use (the unauthorized use of copyrighted works for specific purposes like research), articulations of labour solidarity, and dialectical elements of form. Inventory quotes music by major artists like the Beatles, whose song lyrics command astronomical licensing fees (see Orr); complementarily, The Expanse often mentions poetry (e.g. Corey, Leviathan Wakes, p. 520), and the series’ plots involve intellectual property, open access, piracy, and audio remixing (Babylon’s Ashes, p. 245-6, 248; Leviathan Wakes, p. 445; Nemesis Games, p. 454), while self-reflexively acknowledging their own contradictory status as openly derivative (Leviathan Wakes, p. x) intellectual property (Leviathan Wakes, pp. 211, 343; Babylon’s 222). Both works also share a specific anti-colonial trope. In Inventory, Brand writes: “does she care about “the human species / spreading out across the cosmos” / no, God forbid, stop them, and forgive her this one / imprecation to a deity” (p. 48). In the first Expanse novel, the detective Miller (whose investigation of Juliet Mao’s case informs my renaming Lou Reed’s titular “Juliette” with the Beatles’ line in “Revolution 1” about “Mao”), reflecting: “‘Stars are better off without us,’ he said, but too softly for anyone but Julie to hear” (Corey, Leviathan Wakes, p. 465). In the subsequent third novel another character, referring to “the stars,” “wonder[s] if we should have them” (Abaddon’s Gate, p. 539). “Leviathan Jams” echoes this anti-colonial trope in a song Inventory quotes, Marvin Gaye’s 1971 “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)”: “rockets / moonshots / spend it on / the have-nots.” Gaye’s track mixes with “Didi” by the raï musician Cheb Khaled, the only real-world pop star named in the Expanse books (Babylon’s Ashes, p. 168), which refer often to raï music (e.g. Memory’s Legion, pp. 6, 76, 144; Nemesis Games, p. 433). As this shared anti-colonial trope thematizes deterritorialization, so does the mix’s form practice depropertization.

By synchronizing and juxtaposing samples of music cited by Inventory and the Expanse franchise “Leviathan Jams” field-tests copyright bots’ capacity to identify discrete songs. (That listening to the mix resonates with a major plot point in the last Expanse novel, Leviathan Falls, is a happy, uncanny coincidence.) “Leviathan Jams,” then, both prototypes a “jamming” device (Corey, Leviathan Falls, pp. 266, 442) and models fair dealing. Notice or takedown of the mix would prove my hypothesis wrong. The mix was recorded using DJay for iPad (fig. 1), edited using Audacity (fig. 2), and saved as mp3 for sharing; the file is available on request, and a transcript is forthcoming.

Works cited and consulted

1971: The Year That Music Changed Everything. Prod. and dir. Asif Kapadia et al, Apple TV+, 2021.

Amani, Bita. “Copyright and Freedom of Expression: Fair Dealing between Work and Play.” Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online, edited by Rosemary J. Coombe et al, U of Toronto P, 2014, pp. 43-55.

Berg, Maggie and Barbara K. Seeber. The Slow Professor: Challenging the Culture of Speed in the Academy. U of Toronto P, 2016.

Brand, Dionne. Inventory. McClelland & Stewart, 2006.

The Bureau of Noncompetitive Research [Victoria Stanton and Stacey Cann]. Slowness and the Institution: Doing Research Differently [webinar series]. 29 Sept.-24 Nov. 2021.

Corey, James S.A. Abaddon’s Gate (2013). Orbit, 2014.

—. Leviathan Falls. Orbit, 2021.

—. Leviathan Wakes (2011). Tenth anniversary ed. Orbit, 2021.

—. Memory’s Legion. Orbit, 2022.

—. Nemesis Games (2015). Orbit, 2016.

—. Babylon’s Ashes (2016). Orbit, 2017.

Eshun, Kodwo. More Brilliant Than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction. Serpent’s Tail, 1998.

Guertin, Carolyn. Digital Prohibition: Piracy and Authorship in New Media Art. Continuum, 2012.

Harvey, Adam. “Computer Vision Dazzle Camouflage.” https://cvdazzle.com/, 2020.

Jameson, Frederic. Marxism and Form: 20th-Century Dialectical Theories of Literature. Princeton UP, 1974.

Katz, Ariel. “Fair Use 2.0: The Rebirth of Fair Dealing in Canada.” The Copyright Pentalogy: How the Supreme Court of Canada Shook 20 the Foundations of Canadian Copyright Law, edited by Michael Geist. U of Ottawa P, 2013, pp. 93-156.  

McRobbie, Angela. “Thinking With Music.” Stars Don’t Stand Still in the Sky: Music and Myth, edited by Karen Kelly and Evelyn McDonell, New York UP, 1999, pp. 37-49.

Murray, Laura J., and Samuel E. Trosow. Canadian Copyright: A Citizen’s Guide. 2nd ed., Between the Lines, 2013.

Nair, Meera. “How Canadian Education Really Hurts Creators.” Fair Duty, 16 Oct. 2017, https://fairduty.wordpress.com/2017/10/16/how-canadian-education-really-hurts-creators/.

Orr, David. “When Quoting Verse, One Must Be Terse.” New York Times, 8 Sept. 2011, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/09/opinion/when-quoting-verse-one-must-be- terse.html.

Reynolds, Simon. Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno & Rave Culture. Little, Brown & Co., 1998.

Richardson, Tasman. “Jawa Manifesto” (1997), ed. Elenore Chesnutt, Incite!, 2008, https://incite-online.net/richardson2.html

Saint-Amour, Paul K. The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination. Cornell UP, 2003. Shields, David, Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (2010). Vintage, 2011.

Open letter to Government of Canada against new online harms rules

Dear members of the Canadian government’s “Digital Citizen Initiative,”
I am writing to express my alarm and disapproval over the proposed “online harms rules” legislation that the Canadian government now proposes—a combination, it seems, of the worst, most rights-violating regulations adopted in other jurisdictions, many of which aren’t exactly known as bastions of democracy and expressive freedoms.
Your proposed legislation’s combination of
* prohibitions of broad and poorly defined speech categories;
* disproportionate penalties for insufficient blocking; and
* requirement of rapid compliance without time for adequate assessment or counter-notifications
all guarantee that the major tech firms, on which the onus of your proposed regulations falls, will block all kinds of legitimate speech — and will disproportionately affect marginalized and minorities to persons and communities, as has been shown where such rules have been implemented elsewhere. (See @doctorow’s analysis and that by U Ottawa professor Michael Geist.) Online harms rules have proven a human rights disaster in other jurisdictions; France’s rules were recently ruled as unconstitutional.
I urge you to take this whole proposal either back to the proverbial drawing board—or entirely off the table. The Canadian government surely has bigger and more urgent priorities then over-regulating and preferentially censoring citizens’ constitutional expressive rights and freedoms.
Sincerely
– Mark A. McCutcheon
Professor, Literary Studies
Chair, Centre for Humanities
Athabasca University

[PS: Have your say—contact the Government of Canada’s “Digital Citizen Initiative” to tell them what you think of the new online harms rules legislation.]

Review of The Expanse TV series

with apology for an erratum

A new review of The Expanse TV series, co-written by SFF writer Heather Clitheroe and yours truly, is out today in the SFRA Review.

The Expanse may ruin other space opera for you…It’s worth it.”

And then the Expanse creators shared a very kind shout-out about the piece…making today this fan’s best ever May the 4th.

An unlooked-for kindness that an astute reader promptly rendered ironic by observing (to my mortification) that I’d misrepresented an Indigenous actor’s identity:

In working to correct this error, I’m reminded how attentive, sensitive readers like this speak to the calibre of the series and its capacity to generate and (mayhaps) organize such ardent community.

Forthcoming articles and reviews

I’m excited to announce a bunch of newly written (and co-written) articles and reviews have been accepted for publication and are forthcoming soon:

  • McCutcheon, Mark A. “Reading poetry and its paratexts for evidence of fair dealing.” Studies in Canadian Literature / Études en littérature canadienne, in press.
  • —-. “Paratextual and ‘sampladelic’ techniques for ‘committing centonism’ in contemporary poetry published in Canada.” Cento-Texts in the Making: Aesthetics and Poetics of Cento-Techniques from Homer to Zong!, edited by Manuel Baumbach, Bochumer Altertumswissenschaftliches Colloquium series, in press.
  • —. “Frankenstein meets the FAANG five: figures of monstrous technology in digital media discourse.” Beyond Modern Science: Essays on Frankenstein and STEAM for Charles E. Robinson, edited by Robin Hammerman. Delaware UP, in press.
  • Clitheroe, Heather and Mark A. McCutcheon. Review of The Expanse [TV series]. SFRA Review, in press.
  • McCutcheon, Mark A. Review of The Monster Theory Reader, edited by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, U of Minnesota P, 2020. Extrapolation, in press.

Ol’ Dirty Cohen and The Wu Tang Wang Chung Clan

Recently, a colleague accidentally referred to Wang Chung as the Wu Tang Clan, and to Leonard Cohen as Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Most took this as a good joke. I took it as a DJ challenge. Here’s an hour-long mix in which Cohen duets with ODB and Wang Chung jams with the Wu Tang Clan.
You do two-tone your way, I’ll do mine.

Downloadable mp3 version

Track list:


A Shoegaze Abecedarius: new music mix & tracklist

An A-to-Z of my shoegaze faves, from Asobi Seksu to Zoon.
Because shoegaze is an August 2020 mood.
Complete tracklist below.

 

Drum & Bass Country: a new #TwoTone or a crime against nature?

Click here for downloadable MP3 version.

Just in time for #CanadaDay, I thought I’d share a DJ mix in which I improve US country anthems (by the late great Kenny Rogers, and Taylor Swift, among others) with infusions of UK drum & bass (and, yes, some CanCon rock too — cue to the 20-minute mark to hear The Guess Who meet Shy FX).‬#PlayItLoud #BlameCanada

Track list:

Dr Teeth's Drum & Bass Country DJ mix tracklist

New book: Shape Your Eyes By Shutting Them

It’s a delight to announce the publication of my debut book of poems, Shape Your Eyes By Shutting Them, from Athabasca University Press. At the link you can buy a print copy or download a free, open-access PDF copy. I’m a firm believer that open access doesn’t mean losing sales, it means gaining audience, and the audience for poetry (which has grown significantly of late) can always use broadening. Open access publishing with AU Press lets me extend a web-wide invitation to #OpenPoetry.

I’m surprised and honoured by the early praise given the book by two major Canadian writers. Di Brandt (author of Glitter & Fall) calls the book “a brilliant, crazy, deliciously carnivalesque romp through the surreal landscape of our times”; and Douglas Barbour (author of Listen. If) calls it “a wild mixtape of literary forms.” I’m inexpressibly grateful for these authors’ kind, generous words.

The book uses Surrealist techniques, like cut-up, juxtaposition, and détournement, in a fugue of poetic forms (centos, science fiction, sonnets, etc.) to tackle subjects ranging from love and work to anxiety disorders and ecological crisis. Moving from eroticism to the macabre and from transformative quotation to the individual idiom, the book enacts Northrop Frye’s claim that “poems can only be made from other poems,” and shows how citation is integral to creativity; authors need fair dealing too.

To give a sense of my work’s debts to others, I’ve created a mixtape of the songs that the book quotes, alludes to, or otherwise references. This mix sequences songs in the order in which their excerpts appear in the book. (Some poems quote no music, and some poems quote more than one song.) The mix includes all songs listed in the book’s Acknowledgments, and other songs from which the book uses short excerpts like titles or very short phrases. More than just further acknowledgment, this mix also means remuneration: Mixcloud pays royalties (to labels at least, and hopefully to artists too). And many artists featured in this mix are Canadian. (Support Can con!)

Whether you #OpenPoetry in print or digitally, I hope you like what you find. Thanks for reading.

Track list

00:00 Peter Gabriel, “Gethsemane”
01:36 Karyn Levitt, “Ah! Sweet Mystery of Life”
03:28 Heart, “These Dreams”
07:46 The Bee Gees, “More Than a Woman”
11:03 Shania Twain, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman”
14:51 The Zombies, “She’s Not There”
17:25 Wu-Tang Clan, “Da Mystery of Chessboxin'”
22:08 R.E.M., “So. Central Rain”
25:34 R.E.M., “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”
29:12 The Tragically Hip, “New Orleans is Sinking”
33:13 Paul Robeson, “Ol’ Man River”
37:50 Michael Jackson, “Thriller”
43:47 The Jesus and Mary Chain, “April Skies”
47:44 Bob Geldof, “Thinking Voyager 2 Type Things”
55:54 Stevie Wonder, “Heaven Help Us All”
59:24 The Muppet Show cast, “Why Can’t We Be Friends”
1:01:35 The Boys Next Door, “Shivers”
1:06:20 Brewer and Shipley, “One Toke Over the Line”
1:09:43 The Velvet Underground, “Sister Ray”
1:27:05 Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, “Breathless”
1:30:11 Kate Bush, “Wuthering Heights”
1:34:48 Erasure, “Blue Savannah”
1:38:59 Sarah McLachlan, “O Canada”
1:40:39 Louis Armstrong, “I Guess I’ll Get The Papers and Go Home”
1:43:08 Tori Amos, “Tear In Your Hand”
1:48:06 The English Beat, “Mirror In the Bathroom”
1:50:55 Aphrodite, “Tower Bass”
1:56:24 The Spoons, “Romantic Traffic”
1:59:50 Enigma, “Mea Culpa”
2:04:21 Cowboy Junkies, “‘Cause Cheap is How I Feel”

Full Tracklist for _DJ practice outtakes (warmups for ACCUTE at #CongreSSH 2019) Vol 2_

“Demand a better future”: a #ClimateStrike soundtrack

 

Shared in solidarity with everyone demanding #climateaction for a better future.

Track list:

  • 00:00:00 “Eyes open” by Taylor Swift
  • 00:03:52 “Dog days are over” by Florence + the Machine
  • 00:08:01 “You got to run (spirit of the wind)” by Buffy Ste Marie & Tanya Tagaq
  • 00:11:35 “Dangerous times” by Wildlife
  • 00:16:10 “Welcome to the terrordome” by Public Enemy
  • 00:21:34 “Change the world” by Wake Self feat. Gift of Gab
  • 00:24:01 “Drop it like it’s hot” by Snoop Dogg feat. Pharrell Williams
  • 00:27:35 “A report to the shareholders: kill your masters” by Run The Jewels
  • 00:34:26 “Corporate cannibal (Dan Donovan remix)” by Grace Jones (feat. samples of “Chapter 69” by Shifted)
  • 00:41:26 “Downpressor man” by Peter Tosh
  • 00:47:53 “Run ’em out” by Roots Manuva & Breakage
  • 00:51:45 “Killing in the name of” by Rage Against The Machine
  • 00:56:35 “Gettin’ down on the mountain” by Corb Lund
  • 01:00:00 “Harmony hall” by Vampire Weekend (feat. samples of “Freedom ’90” by George Michael)
  • 01:04:52 “Inside out” by Crash Vegas
  • 01:08:38 “It’s the end of the world as we know it” by Great Big Sea
  • 01:11:21 “Big yellow taxi” by Joni Mitchell
  • 01:13:25 “The great song of indifference” by Bob Geldof
  • 01:17:38 “God save the queen” by the Sex Pistols
  • 01:20:50 “Wait until tomorrow” by Crocodiles
  • 01:24:18 “Salvation” by the Strumbellas
  • 01:27:23 “A better future” by David Bowie
  • 01:31:09 “Back to the streets (S.P.Y. remix)” by Bcee
  • 01:35:52 “In the future” by Camo & Krooked
  • 01:40:14 “The tide is high” by the Paragons
  • 01:43:04 “Death to my hometown” by Bruce Springsteen
  • 01:46:40 “Not without a fight” by Crystal Shawanda
  • 01:49:51 “Under your always light” by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
  • 01:54:33 “Sister moon” by Transvision Vamp
  • 01:58:42 “Bring on the lucie” (Freeda Peeple)” by John Lennon
  • 02:02:22 “There is no time” by Lou Reed
  • 02:06:05 “Think” by Aretha Franklin
  • 02:08:17 “Electricity” by Silk City & Dua Lipa feat. Diplo & Mark Ronson
  • 02:12:26 “Steal my sunshine” by LEN
  • 02:15:03 “Wild things” by Alessia Cara
  • 02:18:08 “You are the everything” by R.E.M.
  • 02:21:44 “We shall overcome” by Pete Seeger