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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Monday, January 05, 2004
The Hidden Song archive catalogues those tricksy artists who like to slot in an extra track on the very end of a CD album or single (via Bifurcated Rivets). Although the nature of CD technology means that this was never exactly a well-concealed device, put in a ‘hidden track’ album, such as PJ Harvey's Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (the track 'This Hidden Tongue' is tucked away at the very end: it's credited, but not given a track number and is therefore not mentioned on the Hidden Song site) and you’re duped into thinking you’ve a much longer disc than you actually have.

So, less of a hidden delight, then, and more of a bit of a disappointment (although few of us haven’t been caught out by the hidden track bursting into life after ten minutes of relaxing silence, in which time you’ve assumed the disc has come to a stop). What's surprising is that no-one has used the device to really freak people out. Imagine spooky ambient noises slowly fading up, all creaking floorboards and distant footsteps, perhaps with whistling wind and clanking chains thrown in for good measure. These sounds could be purloined from the BBC’s excellent series of 1970s Sound Effects records, brought to life by the corporation's humming electronics laboratory, the Radiophonic Workshop. See the covers of some of these classic, and now highly sought-after, horror sound effect albums.

However flawed the idea of 'hiding' tracks on a CD is, though, it's just one more that'll be lost as music slips its phyiscal moorings and becomes a wholly digital entity. Stephen Moss's 'iPod – therefore I am' in last week's Guardian was a brief look at the gadget's swift ascension to urban essential, and the accompanying evangelical zeal of the device's users. For the record, things doesn’t have an iPod just yet, despite being overrun by many, many gigabytes of mp3 files. They’re delightful objects, to be sure, but we’ll resist the total separation of music and object for now (related: this is not the new mini iPod).

But as for hidden tracks, surely hiding - embedding - digital music will be the simplest trick of all? Who knows where new songs will lurk? As Easter Eggs in the operating systems of electronic gadgets, or covertly downloaded by our mobile phones or Tivos and only offered up if we’ve taken the trouble to watch everything we recorded (which, as everyone knows, is not what such recorders are for – just like Douglas Adam’s Electric Monk)? Will embedded music be a new form of spam?

Other things. Read the background story of Nigel Kneale's terrifying 1958 television drama 'Quatermass and the Pit' (more), later re-made as a film. Explore this online museum of science fiction toys and collectables, courtesy of the TheLogBook.com. Learn fun facts about Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion Ride (see also Doombuggies.com, the ride's slick but unofficial tribute page).

Photography by RoTK star Viggo Mortensen (via cup, half empty). Reminscent of that other movie star photographer, Jeff Bridges / what was hot in 2003, courtesy of Google's Zeitgeist. Isn't it strange that a low-volume, prestige manufacturer like Ferrari should be the number one brand of the year? The graphical depictions of the ebb and flow of search terms are most revealing: SARS, Paula Radcliffe, Iraq, NASA.

George Eastman House is home to the International Museum of Photography and Film, and, as you'd expect, hosts many online galleries. See spirit photographs, stereo views, an incredible series of the moon, real and fictional, images of auto racing in the 1910s (unbeatable), and the occasional exhibition, such as The Object Photographed, with its emphasis on Surrealist and Modernist imagery. Related. Postcards from Mars, the first images from NASA’s Spirit Rover.

A visual diagram of computer evolution (via muxway), including how did this happen?, Alan Turing’s perplexed scribble on an early Autocode print-out. For some reason this made me think of the hand-written tape covers that accompanied the saved copies of laboriously typed out program listings from computer magazines / Basingstoke Life, a weblog / Slip Ups, which unusually includes books as well as the usual continuinity errors, factual blunders and fluffed lines from movies and TV / Utopia Station, 158 artist-designed posters to print out.

Barista, a weblog / things Creationists hate, via Oblinks / early comics archive at Bugpowder / we came to the Anti-Mega Christmas quiz, 58 London Things too late to have a decent crack at it, but it’s still worth a visit for a tour around some of London’s more obscure architectural elements / California Architecture, via Plep. New Libeskind building in collapsing shock.