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January 18, 2012 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-01-18

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - 5A

Exploring the
many meanings'
of silence

Step Afrika brings the beat

'11 always fear Odelay for
the same reason that I love
it. Beck's 1996 Grammy-
nominated (I'll let you decide
what that even signifies) album
and capital-p
Pop coming-
out party
diluted by my
age, an ado-
lescent non-
pareil. I've JOE
memorized DIMUZIO
its melodies
and its gim-
micks. Best of all, I've memo-
rized its silences - the pauses
between tracks, the tiny, pre-
chorus gaps in "High 5 (Rock
the Catskills)," and the fading,
vinyl crackle that opens "Where
It's At." Odelay has achieved,
through dedication, a burly
fusion with my consciousness.
Yet the one silence I can never
quite forecast - the moment that
keeps Odelay's guillotine-grip
on my head - comes with the
last track. After four minutes
of "Ramshackle" (which would
have been an apt title for the
album) and its doomy, casual
beauty, the track remains silent.
After about two minutes, what
sounds like a cyborg dry-heaving
eviscerates the afterglow, looping
for a minute before ending the
I vividly recall the first time
I heard it. I had put on Odelay
as a late-night, bedside accom-
paniment in high school. I had
fallen asleep within the first few
tracks. And in the middle of some
dream - which quickly became
a nightmare- the sound forced
me awake, staring into darkness,
terrified at nothing.
Ah, those hidden tracks. It's a
terrific trick.
One of the most prominent
early (though not the first)
instances of this trick is credited
to The Beatles - with a sinister
bit of looped babble concluding
the first UK pressings of Sgt. Pep-
per's, in what is called a "locked
groove." In a locked groove, the
vinyl is cut in a closed spiral so
that the needle constantly resets.
Your record can play until the
end of time, your needle erodes
or the power goes out.
Countless artists, from ABBA
to Weird Al, have done more than
simply put looped noises at the
end of their works. Full songs
found their way onto the tail ends
of albums' and singles' pregnant
pauses. Different pressings and
remasters have produced end-

less variables, with different
tracks, slight differences in speed
and runningtimes, occasion-
ally (or outrageously) stripping
the albums of them entirely. It's
become the lovely minutiae of
obsessive record collectors in
some tragically dazzlingballet
of distribution, obsolescence and
I've come to love hidden tracks
because they horrify me. I picked
up an old CD pressing (Discogs.
com lists 71 total versions) of
Nirvana's Nevermind last sum-
mer and was delighted to find
the final song, "Something In the
Way," listed with a hidden track.
I listened to the whole album on
a mid-day drive from Detroit to
Ann Arbor, waiting the entire
12, conclusive minutes to hear it.
I was treated to the cryptically,
wonderfully titled "Endless,
Nameless," which, Cobain was
furious to find, wasn't actually
included on Geffen's initial press-
ings of the album.
Be vewy, vewy
quiet, we're
hunting hidden
The track itself, a shrieking
sludge-bomb with Dave Grohl's
attempt at instilling orderby
whaling on every cymbal in
reach, didn'tgratify me as much
as the silence leading up to it. For
12 minutes, I gripped my steer-,
ing wheel. For 12 minutes, I tried
to predict it. For 12 minutes, I
Silence can be uncomfortable
for many people. And if you're
John Cage, it can be the basis of
an entire philosophy. To me, hid-
den tracks and locked grooves
are explorations of what silence
can do for you.
Hidden tracks are a chance
for me to willingly submit myself
into the tension of my own
expectations - in which any
sound, every sound, becomes
its own little cataclysm. Every
moment can be the last. I have
to ponder fate. And in locked
grooves, I can appreciate silence
and what it might mean to be
free. I've come to realize the ideal
of silence only exists in my head.
Traffic, crickets, my own heart-
beat - there's only one way to
escape that.
See DIMUZIO, Page 6A

a guit
out a
- hu
ies ca
tin Lu
'U' is
first p
ny dev
to the
the flo

ernational group ple slap of a foot on the ground
could only createa simple sound,
rforms for MLK but by using heels for a harsher
tap and toes for a lighter noise,
ay celebrations the sounds become distinct. Fur-
ther distinguishing between the
By LAURA KAYE speed of each movement and the
DailyArts Writer force used to exert it, the piece
becomes filled with melody and
en we listen to music, we established rhythm.
limes think of a piano or Step Afrika not only commu-
ar. But music can be con- nicates a greater understanding
ed with- of the stepping style, but also
manmade $tepAIka dedicates itself to educating and
Sment inspiring young people to become
man bod- Tomorrow at interested in the arts.
n become 7:30 p.m. "Stepping is a dance form cre-
ments, ated by African-American col-
ng song Mendelsohn lege students who were members
dance Theater of fraternities and sororities,"
gh ordi- Free said Step Afrika founder Brian
natural Williams. "During stepping we
ments, like walking or use our hands, feet, bodies and
ing. In celebration of Mar- our voices to make music. It is a
ther KingJr's birthday, the highly energetic and percussive
bringing Step Afrika, the dance form."
rofessional dance compa- Step Afrika's style of step-
voted to the art of stepping, ping originated from the Gum-
Mendelssohn Theater. boot dance of South Africa,
dancers wear hard-soled which was made popular by
with which to pound on men who migrated to Johan-
'or. One might think a sim- nesburg, South Africa to work

in the mines. In order to han-
dle the harsh conditions, the
workers, coming from diverse
backgrounds and languages,
developed Gumboot dance as a
means of communication and
Williams created Step Afri-
ka to develop a relationship
between stepping in America
and the dance forms of South
Africa. This not only established
an innovative dance form, but
also explored the connections
between movement and culture
between the two continents.
The upcoming performance
will feature South African Gum-
boot dance as well as Zulu dance
technique, a form derived from
the Zulu tribe designed to cele-
brate certain rituals. Throughout
the show, a traditional African
drum ensemble will mix their
rhythms with the beats the danc-
ers create.
"One piece is called 'Tribute,'
and this is our way of paying
homage to the African-American
step show and all different styles
of stepping," Williams said.
In addition toto the traditional

stepping of South Africa, more
interpretive pieces will be inter-
spersed into the show, covering
the history of a wide variety of
Throughout the performance,
dancers start and stop at sepa-
rate times, creating a continu-
ous piece. The music becomes
more powerful as a larger group
of dancers perform the same
rhythm at the same moment.
It then transitions into softer,
divergent tones as they break
away from the group and per-
form their own songs, provid-
ing a contrasted, complicated
dimension to the performance.
The show will also incorpo-
rate slam poetry, using voice as
another component of the per-
formance. Moreover, Step Afrika
encourages constant communi-
cation with audience members to
let thembecome part of the danc-
ers' songs.
Like a Morse code message,
the Step Afrika dancers will
clap, stomp, yell and, of course,
step to the beat of the drums,
speaking their own language to
the audience.

Still 'Rock' solid in sixth season

Daily Arts Writer
"30 Rock" has always been
the most unhinged of NBC's
Thursday-night block. At its
best, the show
veers toward
the cartoonish, *'**
throwing out
one-liners and 30 ROCk
ever-escalat- Season six
ing farce with premiere
abandon. After
a weak season Thursdays
four, "30 Rock" atll p.m.
recovered last NBC
season, devel-
oping its voice
while still maintaining the
laugh-a-minute, frenetic energy
that makes it so great. The sea-
son six premiere continues along
the same lines.
Everything "30 Rock" does
well is on full display in the pre-
miere. Appropriately enough for
a show about a show, "30 Rock"
has always been on-point yet
over-the-top hilarious when it
takes on current television forms
and tropes. Last season's high-
concept parody of Bravo shows
was funny, but most of its jokes
were too specific to the language
and form of that particular sub-
genre. Season six's first episode
returns to the low-hanging fruit
of reality television, and its take
on competition shows hits the
mark. Jenna (Jane Krakowski)

is brilliant as the Simon Cowell
character, telling characters to
jump back up their mothers and
demanding multiple takes to get
the best shot of crying children.
The reality-show-within-
the-show is tonally perfect. The
kids singing are vaguely creepy,
and John McEnroe's effusive
delivery of lines like "this will
just make us better friends" is
strangely convincing, consid-
ering his former life as a com-
bustible tennis star. "JO Rock"
is always great at coming upT
with titles, ("The Rural Juror";
"Werewolf Bar Mitzvah") -and
it strikes again with "America's
Kidz Got Singing."
"Free love and stretchy pants!"

tral con
ments fl
is able
show's c
have go
of humi
Fey), bu
this tim
a song i
in her s
of thing

ewxare the handled Liz's potential for self-
actualization by having a hobo
idito Blanco. spit in her mouth or sending her
to unknowingly make-out with
her cousin.
Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin)
n "30 Rock" nails its cen- narrating Liz's pathetic life in
ceit, the supporting ele- painstakingly accurate detail is
ow much more smoothly. one of the show's most familiar
of this, the premiere joke structures, but, unprecedent-
to venture outside the edly, he misses the mark this
omfort zone. The writers time - Liz is uncharacteristically
tten a lot of mileage out pursuing her own happiness. Of
liating Liz Lemon (Tina course, it wouldn't be "30 Rock"
t they take a step back if her happiness didn't involve
ae - she shows up with regular workouts as a part of New
n her heart and a spring York Liberty's middle-aged dance
tep. It's not like this kind team, and the show is better for
hasn't happened before, subverting this kind of character
the show has usually development.

Part of Liz's newfangled con-
tentment also involves ignoring
Tracy Jordan's (Tracy Morgan)
fantastic whims, and Tracy han-
dles this in classic Tracy fash-
ion: He follows Liz and becomes
convinced that she's hooked on
"Bandito Blanco," a name for
cocaine that he just made up. He
tries to do insane (and possibly
illegal) things to get her atten-
tion, all to no avail. One of the
hallmarks of the show is Tracy's
"Liz Lemon" lines, and he deliv-
ers an instant classic in this epi-
sode: "Liz Lemon, I just realized
that this summer, I started a
camp for kids. Now we have to
check on them to see if any of
See 30 ROCK, Page 6A

When the scientific experts have concluded that we are
changing our climate, why do many U.S. citizens remain
confused or skeptical? And what can communications experts
and social scientists teach us about how to help bridge the gap
between science and public understanding? Come discuss these
questions with leaders from politics, business, religion and
science and explore what we can do to find common ground.
Friday, January 20, 2012
Blau Auditorium, Ross School of Business
701 Tappan Street, Ann Arbor
" Rev.Canon Sally Bingham, President,
Interfaith Power and Light
- Rep. Bob Inglis, former US Congressman
(Republican, South Carolina)
- Steven W. Percy, former CEO of BP America
(retired 1999)
" Dr. Peter Frumhoff, Director of Science and Policy,
Union of Concerned Scientists
" Dr. Andrew Hoffman, Director,
Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise
ERB INSTITUTE Union of Concerned Scientists
Citizens and Scientists for Environmental Solutions


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