No World Order

Review by Roger Linder (Switch to

Let me tell you 'bout the No [sic] World Order...

With all of the tour excitement and top ten lists, no one seems to be microanalyzing No World Order, now wrapping up its first week as the prime pick for your CD player.

As for me, I really like this album (and always have) especially in its original form (we discuss NWO Lite at the end of the month). I also have the Mac CD-ROM version, but listen to the CD more than play with the CD-ROM. I do find it interesting, though, breaking down various performances on the CD-ROM and comparing them to those chosen for the linear version. In fact, working with the CD-ROM makes one appreciate the linear all the more, in that one can appreciate the intricate work in constructing it.

No World Order is one of the few CDs that doesn't logically lend itself to a side one/side two breakdown (Although it's also available on cassette, did anyone buy it?). Curiously enough, in my cd player today (and I digress) is Mike Oldfield's Amarok, a single 60-minute track, which in the totality concept can be seen as somewhat related.

A lot has been said about Todd's rapping/rhythmic speaking/whatever on NWO. For me, it works. Not exactly a fan of rap music, I find Todd's treatment a refreshing alternative.

As for favorite tracks, I initially picked Property, but now I believe that Word Made Flesh is my pick (gotta go change my entry on the web page).

As for the message in the lyrics, you'll get no judgement from me. Very rarely do I connect with lyrics in a song, in most cases I'd rather they didn't have them (I guess that's why I'm such a big new age music fan). Oh, sure, I'll pick up a catchy phrase while reading the lyrics and sometimes while listening, but songs don't speak to me as a whole. I realize for most this is Todd's greatest virtue, but it's just the way I am, sorry :)

I mentioned the CD-ROM and I think it's appropriate to also discuss it during this period. As a systems programmer, I like to dig deep into a program and accompanying data structure and No World Order allowed me to do that, and to turn up interesting information. I discovered that I could copy the whole data base to my hard disk (approximately 600MB) and extract the code and pointer portions (4-5 MB or so) and fiddle with that. Executing the code would still read the sample data from the CD but I could manipulate the pointers and create my own versions external to using the interface. In fact, I even was able to replace one of the producer's version with my own and got my name in the scrolling list. This makes it somewhat practical (if not a but tedious) to make very specific versions without resorting to the randomness that the normal interface provides. One could actually develop a completely new interface (perhaps web-based) and create a whole new experience (don't think I haven't toyed with this idea myself). For those who are curious, and have a Mac, use ResEdit to play around.

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