August 4, 2017

The latest 99% Invisible podcast is about Time and "Ways of Hearing", some fascinating stuff about how digital timekeeping and click tracks have changed music, along with digital's weird flexibility, and some interesting tangents. At about 12:00 in Damon Krukowski talks about the classical musicians' "Tempo Rubato", stealing time here, but give it back here, and says it's called "Swing" in jazz or "Groove" in Rock and Funk...

At around 24:30 he says:
There's something very distinct about an experience of analog time, time that flexes slower and quicker -"Tempo Rubato" - and this feeling of "blurred time" from latency. For one, I can't think of a musical term for "latency", perhaps because it's not like anything we experience in lived time.
That seems false to me. As a student brass player I was frequently instructed to "anticipate", that if I started the mechanics of playing a note exactly on the beat, I'd be late.

For large ensembles (especially ones spread out like a marching band taking the field) the instruction was to use our eyes on the conductor or drum major to keep time, listening to our neighbors would result in slowing down at best, chronologically disjoint chaos at worst.

Even non-musicians have experienced the delay in thunder after lightning, or with a firework and its report.

Hell, our whole lives are lived in a weird bit of latency that our brains edit out! That's why have concepts of fast or slow reflexes... (not to mention an illusion of free will, but that's a different story.

(And at the far end of the spectrum, Einstein says that the speed of the light is the latency that we can never, ever get away from!)

While hanging out with my folks in NJ, Melissa and I fired up "Warioware" for GameCube. (She sometimes wonder if her life would have been slightly more interesting had she grown up with games). Those microgames, little tiny doses of gameplay, are cool and fun, and accessible to non-veteran gamers... Anyway, listening to an old Retronauts podcast about the N64, I found out that a very recognizable version of the mircogames, effectively a prototype in retrospect, came bundled in Mario Artist: Polygon Studio, a 3D modeling program that used the rare disk add-on for the N64...

See also this interview with some of the WarioWare team...