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December 9, 2012

“Sacred music for the age of Big Data”
Posted by Patrick at 09:07 PM * 18 comments

From the brilliant Vienna Teng, a rough draft of a song-in-progress called “The Hymn of Axciom”:

leave your life open. you don’t have. you don’t have.
leave your life open. you don’t have to hide.
someone is gathering every crumb you drop, these
(mindless decisions and) moments you long forgot.
keep them all.
[…]
now we possess you. you’ll own that. you’ll own that.
now we possess you. you’ll own that in time.
now we will build you an endlessly upward world,
(reach in your pocket) embrace you for all you’re worth.

is that wrong?
isn’t this what you want?
amen.

Can’t get it out of my head.
Comments on "Sacred music for the age of Big Data":
#1 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2012, 10:48 PM:

Beautiful and scary. Vienna Tang writes a hymn for Facebook stockholders.

What was reasonable and prudent to reveal in one year may, in another, unlock whole ranges of private information.

All the most durable puzzle formats -- crosswords, cryptograms, sudoku -- constrain possibilities at the trivial intersections of data. A letter each from three or four or five scattered vertical crossword answers can define an entire horizontal row. Spotting a required three in a Sudoku grid may force every seven out of hiding. Single-letter substitution ciphers in natural English, however advanced their vocabulary, will be cracked by common and unavoidable words: esp, espy, espj, esle, espcp hspcp hsle hspy hsj eszdp apzawp hsz nly ldv zynp zc ehtnp qzc aepczolnejwd le l atnytn pletyr sftewlnznsp htes El-Ypstdt Nzlepd ...

Hsz estyvd ehtnp lmzfe ly zwo olelmldp mlnvfa qczx l yzh-opqfyne nzxalyj?

#2 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2012, 11:12 PM:

But there gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows...

#3 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2012, 11:48 PM:

Teresa: X at different times means m or w or p. n is consistently c except where first introduced.

And Patrick, Vienna Teng has indeed created another of her stunning and easily earwormed songs - whose lyrics are terrible. Thank you, I think.

#4 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2012, 12:08 AM:

That's what I get for using a programmer-type text editor instead of just coding it by hand. Let me see what happened...

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2012, 12:19 AM:

Got it. Lost the last few rounds of replacement. I think they're all fixed now.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2012, 12:22 AM:

Lenora, what do you mean by "whose lyrics are terrible"? Not being confrontational; just want to know what you mean.

#7 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2012, 01:08 AM:

Terrible as in "featuring quietly terrible things happening", not as in badly written. (I was thinking of My Medea as another example, or NO Gringo, or, in an entirely different way, Passage). Teng has an excellent way with lyrics.


My bad. What I get for trying to correct someone else's error. it's clearly related to typo-correction, but the complexity no doubt confused the imps that insert typos into those sorts of posts.

#8 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2012, 06:32 AM:

Teresa @ #1:

T hld hzcctpo qzc l xzxpye esle T hldy'e rztyr ez rpe lww esp wpeepcd - espy T cplwtdpo hsle esp qtcde sjaspylepo hzco hld, lyo lqepc esle te hld awlty dltwtyr. Te aczmlmwj dljd dzxpestyr lmzfe esp hlj xj xtyo hzcvd esle T otoy'e yzetnp esp ntaspc vpj hld dslatyr fa ez mp l mldtn czeletzy fyetw T'o lwcploj qtrfcpo xzde zq esp wpeepcd zfe esp slco hlj. T hld piapnetyr dzxpestyr dwtrsewj xzcp pwlmzclep.

Te lwdz aczmlmwj dljd dzxpestyr lmzfe esp hlj xj xtyo hzcvd esle yzh T hlye ez dlj dzxpestyr lmzfe octgtyr l Glfislww ez esp bftk ytrse, ufde dz esle lww esp wpeepcd slgp mppy fdpo le wplde zynp.

(Hmm. And speaking of common and easily-recognisable words, I didn't half make use of one of the ones Teresa managed to avoid.)

#9 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2012, 08:18 PM:

Vienna Teng is wonderful for those sweet, subliminally terrifying songs. Here is Antebellum, a completely gorgeous report of recovering after a broken relationship. I also recommend "Radio," which I can't find a studio recording of. In "Radio," there's nothing particular going on, is there? You can hear the sirens, but they're probably coming from the radio, and it's someone else's problem, after all.

#10 ::: Rymenhild is gnomed ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2012, 08:19 PM:

I don't have any food to share, but I did provide some creepy and disturbing Vienna Teng songs for gnomic entertainment.

#11 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2012, 11:55 PM:

I am unspeakably happy to find a thread about Vienna Teng's music here on Making Light. Carry on. :)

(I've known her for years, and been a huge fan of her music for almost as long. She is indeed One Of Us. I'll always owe her for introducing me to Strong Bad over the weekend she played a couple concerts in our living room, many years ago.)

#12 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2012, 03:36 PM:

Vienna Teng is really, really good.

#13 ::: Dave Fried ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2012, 08:31 PM:

Yes, thank you for the link. This is something really special I would never have stumbled across otherwise.

#14 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2012, 12:45 PM:

Teng has a CS degree from Stanford and worked for Cisco for a couple of years before leaving to do music full-time. I love seeing art by folks like her, Ellen Ullman, Randall Munroe, Jonathan Coulton, and other ex-programmers. There's stuff they *get*.

#15 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2012, 01:01 PM:

Can’t get it out of my head.

It's been stuck in my head since you shared the link. Which is a considerable number of days now.

#16 ::: Erik ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2012, 12:47 AM:

After years of lurking I'm delurking to say I've been playing this obsessively. It's remarkable. Thank you for sharing it, and thanks Vienna Teng for inventing it.

#17 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2012, 03:11 PM:

My favourite Vienna Teng song is The Atheist Christmas Carol, not least because, as Paul Cornell says here, "I don't think it's anything of the sort, being beautiful to my theist philosophy, but you'd have to ask her..."

Lovely song, whatever you believe....

#18 ::: Mark_Wales ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2012, 03:20 PM:

Think I've been gnomed, apologies if it's my fault, know the gnomes must be extra busy over the festive season.....

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