Friday, February 29, 2008
An alternative to popcorn... sweet things on the Romanian Black sea coast include Papanasi, sort of a whipped cream filled, semolina bun topped with cherry jam, and very large, juicy Bulgarian peaches. Add yoghurt and coffee, stretch yourself out on the sand...
This week's soundtrack has some tenous connections to the sweet food theme:
Herbie Hancock's original recording of Cantaloupe Island, for anyone wondering where US3 pinched it from.
Mongo Santamarias version of Hancock's Watermelon man, from the Out of Sight soundtrack.
The wonderful Gingerbread boy. The Miles Davis quintet fooling around.
I posted a Youtube clip of Lime in da coconut on RR. Two further tracks off the Cobblestone Jazz album 23 Seconds, a Canadian dance-techno-jazz combo with a knack for irresistible beats- the title track, and Saturday night.
Lastly, in the separate podbean package, Quincy Jones' version of A taste of honey. Roland Kirk on saxophone.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
- Leftfield instrumentation and fresh rhythms
- Slightly perverse and saucy lyrics
- Sticks in your head like a beautiful axe
Monday, February 25, 2008
That Matt Monro's pretty good innit?
Will this do? Be fair - it's me first post.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
Opening with the achingly gorgeous nostalgia of "The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1",Aeroplane immediately plays upon a potent conflation of cultural and personal past. The world of Aeroplane is haunted by Anne Frank-- the specter of childhood's unimpeachable innocence amidst the unfathomable horror of the holocaust. In the feverish "Oh Comely", Mangum longs to save her in "some sort of time machine." By "Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2", the album's indelible and heartbreaking closing track, he seems to have resigned himself to loving a ghost, singing with a thoroughly unnerving blend of heartbreak and exhaustion: "In my dreams you're alive, and you're crying/ As your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet." The way people have been affected byAeroplane is ample proof of its power and uniqueness. Like all classic art, it is widely misunderstood; yet to some, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has become a riddle the likes of The Wasteland-- an impossibly rich text that begs to be deciphered, yet continually evades any singular interpretation."
It took me years to click with Neutral Milk Hotel, as Jeff Mangum's voice can sound awful in passing, but when it did click - my god! It was like like the clouds parted and angels in party hats slid down a huge slide from the heavens, made out of rainbows and joy.
I'm also finding it hard to choose a song to post, as there's no official youtubes for any of them - so I've gone for the simple option:
What with this book business and all would it be a good idea to have an open post here where random thoughts and ideas might be collected. A couple occur to me, This party/event definitely needs to be documented, both photos and video, huge potential for after the fact creative editing etc.
I've always HATED nametags at social functions, we always started off by exchanging them with the most unlikely person present, but here, given the nom de plume business, I think a case could be made. We'd all like to see what lurks behind those shields and we are family after all.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I suspect there are other 'spillers out there who are undergoing or have already undergone the same process and no doubt, like me, you'll have come across a huge pile of dross up in the attic. But in amongst it all there are some long-forgotten gems. I thought it might make an interesting diversion from mental illness to share a few of these here. I'll start the ball rolling with a few of my own favourite recent rediscoveries:
Therese by The Bodines (single)
Texas Fever by Orange Juice
Crooked Mile and 39 Minutes by Microdisney
Volume, Control, Brilliance by the Monochrome Set
Signing Off by UB40
So what have you found in your attics?
One detail: Wiretap has 3 small windows on the front, click the centre one, that opens 'Preferences', You'll see 'Format' which will let you select which format to record in, I suggest MP3, but read the specs of the others, if you're recording for CD you'll probably want AIFF.
For PC users there are desktop recorders available, I'm not familiar with them but the procedure would be identical to the foregoing
Insomnia-induced playlist, courtesy of Brixton's finest.
Friday, February 22, 2008
What I'm interested in this week are the various colourful expressions for madness in the languages we all speak between us. I'll kick off with my favourite "two prawns short of a cocktail". Got any others....?
Anybody know anything about this US band, which we clearly ought to sponsor? They sound pretty good in the mp3 stream on their website at http://www.builttospill.com/ - I'm currently listening to 'Goin' against your mind', which nearly qualifies for this week's theme...and is triffic
They even sell buttons to save us making our own (see above)!
Give it a listen, eh?
'Grey Walls' by Richard Thompson
This also gets entangled with ambivalent feelings about the songs themselves. We can get embroiled very easily in arguments about authenticity, heroising the sickness of individuals like Cobain and Richie Edwards and condemning the less convincing or artistically persuasive pain of, I dunno, Alice in Chains. We can equally well get tied up in guilt about voyeurism and Schadenfreude. My mention of Charlie Parker's shambolic 'Lover Man' brought to mind the comment of the jazz critic Gary Giddens on the subject: "Does it appeal only to the voyeur in us, or is it musically valid? Why did so many musicians memorize the solo down to the last painful misstep?" Put another way, isn't the Manics' 'The Holy Bible' equally problematic if we enjoy it or identify with it, or both?
I like a good wallow as much as the next person, when I'm feeling reasonably up. When really down, I can't listen to anything. Oddly enough, when teetering on the brink - have we had a list of 'Songs that Saved My Life', or was that one of the suggestions when Dorian hinted that he was running out of ideas? - my customary recourse was to Kraftwerk, especially 'The Mix', which somehow seemed the most human and humane music in the world, bringing calm and order and peace without ever seeming trite or alienating.
Sorry about this; it's been a long week, but I feel better for this ramble...
It is truly difficult to write a review for this album without using superlatives (or expletives, for that matter). You are combining the great John Coltrane Quartet with a man whose voice was seemingly made to play duets with Coltrane. Johnny Hartman's smoky, dark baritone voice perfectly complements Coltrane's sound.
To add to this, McCoy Tyner provides a beautiful, airy piano accompaniment without being even remotely saccharine or cliched. Garrison and Jones are holding back quite a bit on this record, which seems to be the right move in this case.
Every track on this album is brilliant. However, "My One and Only Love" stands out above all of them. Coltrane's playing of the head is perfectly nuanced and delicate - he is considered a brilliant ballad player for a REASON. And when Hartman comes in with the vocals, my hair just stands on it.
This is an album of a level of beauty that smooth jazz wishes it could attain, but cannot possibly hope to reach. It is essential for anybody who loves music. [abstracted from Amazon reviews]
Thursday, February 21, 2008
A great source of free tracks, four per artist, usually recorded live in Daytrotter's scruffy studios. I can't remember how I found this site, might have been a fellow RRer but it would be a good addition to the linkety links. They've got Bonnie Prince Billy on there and Low, and I've just downloaded Lewis and Clarke, who are an interesting alt-country style band with a lovely cello in the mix.
It was Frogprincess's comment about TracyK's comment on 'swanning about in Baden Baden' that set me thinking.
I was travelling in Guatemala with my friend John in a VW camper back in the late '70's, and as is often the case in such situations we'd met other travellers and someone had recommended the baths at ...., I've stretched my memory and stared at the map but the name won't come. It was a very small mountain village high on the side of a volcano. The towns and villages of Guatemala almost all have a Saints name attached, I'm looking at my map and literally 80%+ are thus. The name doesn't matter.
We were not going anywhere in particular and we suddenly saw the name on our map, it was close so we decided we'd go. If I say road, you'll think of road; Guatemala doesn't have roads in that manner, there are lines on maps but usually they represent trails more suited to donkeys than vehicles. As we neared the village with the baths the 'road' was all uphill since we were on a volcano, Guatemala has many volcanoes. Suddenly we came to a clearing in the trees, there was a large flat area, possibly as large as a football field and within it there was a huge bath, about half the size of a football field, it was dug below ground level and was about 2-3ft deep. It was full of hot steaming water and there were hundreds of Mayan Indian families taking their weekly Saturday bath. Everyone was naked, dozens of kids, parents, grandparents, all scrubbing each other, the place was packed. The reason there was a bath there and the reason it was full of hot water was the volcano, there was a mountain stream that ran downhill alongside the trail that was steaming, they'd diverted it into their communal bath. As far as we could see it was totally free, anyone could come and go as they pleased, there was nothing formal.
We'd been told to continue up the hill to where we'd find a more formal indoor baths, more suited to gringos; we eventually found it right next to the stream alongside the trail. It was a single story stone building about 100 ft long, when we entered there were about a dozen private cubicles along the length, each one had a stone lined 'tub' sunk into the floor that was about 5ft square and 3ft deep. An attendant appeared and we paid him 50c each, he removed a 6" wooden plug from the side of the tub and it instantly filled with hot water; there was no adjusting the temperature but that was OK, it was perfect. We'd brought our supplies, two towels, a half gallon bottle of rum, a bag of limes, several glasses and a large bottle of coca cola. We asked our new friend if he like a drink and of course he would. We sank into the tub each armed with a tall glass and lay there, every 30 minutes or so the attendant would check to see if we needed more water, we always did and we always rewarded him. We spent the rest of that Saturday afternoon in there, I have no memory of what came later.
I have no photographs of that day but there's a good selection from our travels in Guatemala at my Picasa site:
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
It was TracyK's comment on 'swanning about in Baden Baden' that set me thinking. It's a lovely place to spend a week end - on the edge of the Black Forest and the site of two brilliant Roman bath complexes where you could actually spend the whole day just taking the waters. Everyone's travelling on a budget, myself included, and it strikes me that, if you were clever, you could do this for not too much dosh. Here's the plan:
- Flight: Ryanair do a direct flight from Stanstead to Karlsruhe - Baden airport. Which is really Baden Baden, not Karlsruhe. You'd have to get down to Stanstead via a cheapy flight and then you're off!
- Hotels: There's a great one called the Hotel Café Beeg which is situated just opposite the thermal baths. It's also a Konditorei or cake shop of some renown. Single rooms with B&B start at 85€ which is about £64. The Hotel am Friedrichsbad is also great - also situated just opposite the baths and boasts its own Czech restaurant - the Prager Stuben. A bit more expensive with a single starting at 99€ which is about £74.
- Bathing: You have two options, really. First of all, there's the Caracalla thermal baths situated in the heart of the town. It's basically a huge, landscaped indoor pool composed of baths with different temperatures. There are outdoor pools too with all kinds of groovy bubble bath features and waterfalls to play with. Great for kids I have to say. They have bubbling round hot tubs full of tourists. Frogprince and I joke that we will start chopping onions and carrots into the water to see if they get the joke. The upstairs is a sauna complex for the serious health fanatics. But if you want to get that authentic Madam Butterfly experience, then you have to go next door to the Friedrichsbad which has the most stunning architecture I've ever seen in a bath. OK excepting the Hotel Gellert (sorry Sourpus). They have old brass shower heads that measure a foot across. And steam rooms with beautifully tiled walls. And you can have your epidermis scrubbed off in a 'body brush massage'. At the end of the bathing experience, they wrap you up in clean sheets and you lie down and sleep for 20 minutes. And wake up feeling brand new. You just need to know that bathing suits aren't allowed in the Friedrichsbad, although you get a towel to cover your bits.
- Calories: Well, you're sweating them off in the baths, aren't you? You HAVE to have some Black Forest Gateau (Schwarzwälderkirschtorte). It's the law. Cake shops can be found in every street and they're all good. There are many nice restaurants in Baden Baden. Most do good quality German cuisine. and don't let anyone tell you the Germans eat badly. Not in the South West, they don't, gel Nilpferd?
- Otherwise: Baden Baden has a very well renowned Opera house. They get world class acts. Like Nigel Kennedy and Gary Mullen. And I'm not joking. Have a drink in the Medici before your concert... For the considerably more wealthy than myself, or those who fancy being an extra in 'Quantum of Solace', there's also a very beautiful Casino.
And don't forget to take the waters. They're supposed to cure everything from gout to rickets... And if you do make it to Baden Baden for your Madam Butterfly week end, be sure and let myself and Nilpferd know. We're not too far away after all...
GarageBand has been drinking not me.
I've been playing with the music recording program that came with the computer. I played a track on guitar, which I recorded using the microphone on my computer, then I added a few virtual instruments (dub horns!!) and here is the chaotic result. It's my first attempt, so please don't call me a looser. I plan to write some words, record a vocal track, make a video, which I will then post on youTube, and then await the start of my lucrative recording career.
' SLAM' by NICK HORNBY, I just read it in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it, as I have everything by him.
You all know of course 'HIGH FIDELITY' which is our group biography, if not, 'get thee to a library!' And if you've got adolescent kids, count them in as well. Oh, and then there's '31 songs' another one written specifically for this audience, here's a brief comment:
Original, well written and wholly lacking in pretension … as good a book about pop music as I have read in many years and the most accomplished of Honby's books so far'
"'A book about the joy of listening to great pop songs, about the elusive genius of a catchy chorus ... what shines most is Hornby himself - his wry self-awareness, his disarming honesty. Effortlessly readable, every chapter reminds us how special an observer of human behaviour Hornby is"
here's a couple of links: http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2003/jan/19/featuresreview.review
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
This song "Evil Bee" by Menomena, has been stuck on repeat on my ipod, on my stereo, on my mac endlessly and endlessly and endlessly.
Monday, February 18, 2008
(I'm having the same problems as DsD with podbean titles, so TMWTGA is track 1 and the others are The Big Bamboozle (also nominated this week) and his entertaining jazzed up take on the Bond theme (someone really needs to get him to do a Bond soundtrack sometime))
Take this week for example, there's 32 songs listed from Podbean and Deezer: there's only 5 comments.
Youtube has a better batting average, there's 7 videos with 14 responses.
I doubt that this shows disinterest but it would be nice if there was a system that at least showed activity at a musical posting, which were getting played etc. Is that a possibility? Any other thoughts or ideas?
Sunday, February 17, 2008
So when DarceysSis came home from school and said "Dad, we're doing Pavarotti at school" I -
(i) resisted the obvious necrophilia joke - she is only six!
(ii) realised I wasn't going to be much help.
Apart from a dodgy version of Nessun Dorma, the only track I own with Signor Pavarotti's powerful tenor on is this one, from the Passengers (U2/Eno) soundtrack:
She loves this, so much so it has become something of a bedtime comforter when she can't sleep (no jokes, please, I'm serious).
What I need is an introduction to opera for both of us: something with individual tracks short enough to hold the attention of a child whose other current obsession is High School Musical, but powerful enough to appeal to a bloke whose normal fare ranges from Mark Hollis' minimalism to wall-of-sound guitar powerchords. If it is specifically by the recently-deceased ex-goalkeeper, so much the better.
To reveal the full extent of my ignorance, and curiosity, below are the only other two songs with vaguely operatic vocal contributions that I (know I) own. I absolutely love'em both.
Give me some tips please, even if it is for compilations an opera-loving purist would find cheesy. I've decided this is the opportunity to travel a new road!!
*UPDATE* I just tried saving the first film as CD-Rom quality (15 fps instead of 12) And it didn't take much longer, but I think it looks much much better. So I've replaced it, and here's the new version...
1. 'The Overture' by the Who - Tommy.
2. The love theme by Nino Roto - The Godfather trilogy.
3. Adagio for Strings and Organ by Tomaso Albinoni - The Trial.
4. Cavalleria Rusticana by Mascagni - Raging Bull.
5. Lark Ascending by Vaughn Williams - don't know the film.
6. In Paradiso by Gabrielle Faure - The Thin Red Line.
7. Smile by Charlie Chaplin. - Modern Times
8. Theme music from Modern times by Charlie Chaplin.
Bill Evans: a selection of film and show themes..
Starting with the incredible "Spartacus". Always looking for near-telepathic understanding among the members of his trio, Evans dispensed with bass and drums and overdubbed himself twice to produce an exquisite rendition of this ballad. From the 1963 album "conversations with myself". An extraordinary experiment in improvisational composition.
The following three tracks are from his last recordings at Keystone Corner in San Francisco, only days before his death. It defies belief to think that at the time of these recordings he was a very sick man, severely damaged by heroin and cocaine use, beset by personal tragedy. The liner notes include a quote by Keystone owner Todd Barkan: "Like what you see before a light bulb goes out-that extra-bright incandescence".
Theme from M*A*S*H, a storming performance.
My Romance, the show-tune by Rodgers and Hart. The 3 minute intro alone probably outside the capabilities of any other pianist.
Days of wine and roses. Mancini's ballad given an uptempo treatment, the trio with Marc Johnson's bass and Joe la Barbera on drums is particularly brilliant here.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I had forgotten this:
Love the chimey way the guitar sounds.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Fat Albert Rotunda, Herbie Hancock
Right off, Miles Davis, from A tribute to Jack Johnson. An edit from the original masters.
Space March, Leftfield's remix of..
Capsule in Space, by John Barry. So that's what it sounds like when one spaceship swallows another.
To end with, Sheva by Goran Bregovic from Underground. Especially for Frogprincess.
80's soundtracks were mostly bombastic orchestrals, rock anthems, pop songs or hip-hop influenced synth workouts- I preferred the latter, and Harold Faltermeyer's themes for Eddie Murphy and Chevy Chase were two of the best... I had these tracks on a loop as a 15 yr old and revisiting them has been a pleasure..
No, what matters in Bundesvision is regionalism. The competition is organised around the different Lander, each of which selects its own local heroes, and it's a fascinating insight into regional taste (or lack thereof): grunge from Bremen, goth (with accompanying ballet) from Sachsen-Anhalt, soul-hip-hop-Spice Girls from Nordrhein-Westphalen, piss-poor rap-funk from Leipzig, and a Mittelalterrock-Folk-Metal-Truppe from Brandenburg singing an epic about (I think) noble Germanic seafarers returning to Kiel. Yes, they won.
Wouldn't 'Song For Europe' be so much more fun if it pitted, say, Portishead against Dizzee Rascal against some goths from Leeds, all for the honour of the region, rather than the current desperate attempt at combining vague credibility with a chance of winning?