Monday, March 31, 2008
Here's a sample:
How Francis Bacon predicted the recording studio in 'New Atlantis' in 1626
If you can get hold of a copy, I recommend the April 2008 issue of Sound on Sound, which includes Steve Marshall's epic 12 page history of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which was founded 50 years ago in April 1958.
His piece is full of goodness, but the thing that really amazed me was this "We have also sound-houses" quote from Francis Bacon's 1626 book 'The New Atlantis', which Workshop founder Daphne Oram had pinned on the wall of the Workshop. It's all there: "We represent small sounds as great and deep" = Waves Ultramaximiser, "We represent and imitate all articulate sounds and letters" = a circuit-bend Speak'n'Spell, and "divers tremblings and warblings of sounds" pretty well describes my entire musical output.
[Posted: 23.3.08 by Tom Whitwell] [STORY LINK] [5 comments]
Came across this while searching for the lyrics from Tullycraft's slightly brilliant "Popsongs (your new boyfriend's too stupid to know about)", Tullycraft's adaptation of an equally brilliant BMX Bandits song:
...and here (@ around 3'30") is the BMX Bandits original, enoy!
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Just coming off a stomach virus, haven't eaten in a few days, but I found it in my heart to drink a few glasses of wine, and now I feel compelled to post these videos relating to music in Japan. As a bit of back story...My boys have a little plastic storm trooper toy. Our German friend's son borrowed it, and his dad threw it away!! because of it's nazi associations. I can understand his sentiments, and felt chastised, but, honestly, my sons think storm troopers dance the day away...
I'm just back from Tyrol, but I've been reading about Marco Polo so feel prepared for this week's theme.. here are my asian picks, geographically arranged from west to east...
1. Harmonic, by Hex. Persian legend about a bug in a rug..
2. singer/pianist Aziza Mustafa Zadeh with a reworking of an Azeri folk song
3. Nepalese Bliss, Ninja Tunes breakbeats by Irresistable Force, remixed by Jimpster
4. Dancing on one foot, Charles Lloyd with Eric Harland and tabla player Zakir Hussain- not really about Asia, but some awesome tabla playing.
5. In place of a morale- Geography, by Kip Hanrahan- capital wanted Vietnam...
6. Fink remix of "we are ninja" by Frank Chickens
7. Shin-Sekai, by DJ Krush.
As promised (threatened?) here's a little Podbean including They Might Be Giant's take on Istanbul (not Constantinople). Lonnie, if you're out there, I'd be interested to know if it does anything for you - at least it would be heartening to hear that you might consider removing it from your worst songs of all time list!
Also here, Jonathan Richman's beautiful version of The Sweeping Wind (Kwa Ti Feng), Scritti Polliti's Asylums in Jerusalem, the spuriously included Indian by Eg & Alice (any excuse) and to round things off, Yoshimi's here to sort out all your Manga-style robot problems for you. Is there a better rhyming couplet in contemporary pop than this:
"She's gotta be strong to fight them,
So she's taking lots of vitamins"
On the right is the 7 star Burj Al Arab taken from Madinat Jumeirah holiday resort and shopping mall. The waterway is man-made. The word Burj means tower. You can get afternoon tea here for a cool 35 quid a throw. I was once able to get a guided tour for some guests and we were shown the 'standard' rooms. All the standard rooms in the hotels are 'duplexes' - 2 floored suites. Each floor has its own check in. The rooms have gold fittings. Every bedroom has a ceiling mirror. This is covered for Chineses guests as it is considered bad luck.
Dubai is an amazing city, but at the moment it is more like an enormous building site. On the backs of cheap Asian labour, they are constructing a space-age city. It could be a case of building on shifting sands. If I choose to visit the top of the Burj Arab,I'll do it as soon as possible.
Friday, March 28, 2008
I haven’t been seeking out tracks from Accelerate online. On Monday, I shall buy a physical copy of the album, take it home and listen to it from start to finish, reverentially, examining the inlay card for hidden meanings. Because this is what an REM album deserves. Still.
I know there are those who don’t think so, as has been discussed on RR a few times. I guess we’re all agreed that everything up until Automatic For The People is pure gold. Since then, conventional wisdom says, it’s been downhill all the way. But anyone who’s given up on them is missing out on some real treats.
Monster is hard to love (there’s some filler, and somebody really should have told Pete Buck to switch that bloody e-bow off) but when it’s good (“Strange Currencies”, “Let Me In”) it’s very, very good. New Adventures In Hi-Fi is raw, overlong, intense and frequently brilliant. Up, after a slow start, is a classic. Reveal is a little too FM-radio-shiny, but has some wonderful songs. Only Around The Sun really disappoints, with too many of the songs simultaneously half-baked and over-cooked.
1. What’s The Frequency Kenneth?
2. How The West Was Won and Where It Got Us
4. Leaving New York
5. Strange Currencies
6. E-Bow The Letter
7. Walk Unafraid
8. Let Me In
9. I’ll Take The Rain
10. Falls To Climb
And there’s plenty more (“Leave”, “Electrolite”, “The Lifting”, “At My Most Beautiful” etc. etc.) where those came from.
Bring on Accelerate…
I'd almost forgotten how much I loved Thin Lizzy, but, whether or not it's relevant to this week's topic, it's in my deezerlist and has just helped shake out the scarycobwebs. Not quite sure what Kenny G had to do with Wong Kar Wai's film soundtrack, however...
Thursday, March 27, 2008
There's a conversation going on over there on the side about books and I thought it might be a worthwhile subject for all of us to share our favorites. I've got quite a few but for now I'll limit myself to a just couple of authors. The first is Len Deighton, I loved all his espionage stories and read them as fast as he wrote them, I was always in a state of expectancy awaiting the next chapter in his ongoing sagas. After a series of generally unrelated novels in the 60's and 70's he came up with a character Bernard Sampson in 1983, he's a British agent operating mostly in Europe throughout the cold war.
He wrote a trilogy based on this character which comprised:
Berlin Game, 1983
Mexico Set, 1984
London Match, 1985
These were so successful that in 1988 he continued the series with a second trilogy, this one was:
Spy Hook, 1988
Spy Line, 1989
Spy Sinker, 1990
And in 1994 he released the last in the series:
All nine novels are closely related, they all have the same cast of characters and the stories interrelate. They're a fabulous read, but you must start at the beginning.
Right in the middle, in 1987 he wrote a 'prequel' to the series, 'Winter', it's a standalone novel but it also relates historically to the cast of characters in the trilogies, I found it to be fascinating but I don't know where to suggest in the chronology it fits ideally, perhaps right in the middle where once you know the characters it provides historical background.
He's also written many non fiction books all of which are very worthwhile including one that I think is the best in it's field:
Blood, Tears and Folly: An Objective Look at World War II, 1993
If you want to get an understanding about what was going on in that period, then this is well worth reading.
There's a large blog of readers devoted to his work, it's at:
There's one other author that I'd like to recommend, Bill Bryson, I've enjoyed most of his work but there's one book that I think is fabulous, it's:
"A short History of Nearly Everything". It's the history of science which you might think sounds deadly dull but it isn't, it reads like a thriller and is extremely interesting, I literally could not put it down and since 2003 I've read it three times. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
OK, Those are mine for now, what are yours?
Many of these songs were a result of that period, and I had to listen to mountains of atonal drivel so that you don't have to (Eric Dolphy's 'Out To Lunch' anyone?) to emerge reeking and battered clutching these in my memory. They all have vocals you could sing along to, do not noodle endlessly in 11/4 tempo but whether or not you can dance to them is such a subjective issue I won't go into it. I haven't given links because the Ministry of Joy have blocked my YouTube. I'm sure you can listen for free somewhere.
1. New Ghosts - Albert Ayler
2. St James Infirmary Blues - Louis Armstrong
3. A Feeling of Harmony - Terje Rypdal
4. Strange Fruit - Billie Holiday
5. The Dry Cleaner from Des Moines - Joni Mitchell
6. Salt Peanuts, live at the Massey Hall, Toronto, 1953,- Dizzy Gillespie et al.
7. Don't You Make Me High - Merline Johnson
8. I Get a Kick Out of You - Ella Fitzgerald
9. That's My Desire - Louis Armstrong & Velma Middleton
10. Take 5. Look I heard someone do a version with words. It sucked.
There you are. I would seriously avoid gyrating to Strange Fruit but there's nowt so queer as folk.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Just list 10 songs by a personal fave writer. Mine is Carole King.
"Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow"
"You've Got a Friend"
"Up on the Roof"
"One Fine Day"
"(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman"
"So Far Away"
"It Might As Well Rain Until September"
"Wasn't born to follow"
"It's Too Late"
OK, some are Goffin/King but what the hell, I love these songs.
First up, from the Biblical thread, is Gilad Atzmon and the Orient House Ensemble with 'Rearranging the 20th Century': 'It Ain't Necessarily So' combined with a couple of other tunes a Robert Wyatt narration on the Creation. Secondly, for space travel, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio's lovely, floaty 'From Gagarin's Point Of View'. Third up, one of my great obsessions, the Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko with his version of Krzysztof Komeda's theme from Rosemary's Baby, equally good for babies or sleep. Fourthly, true jazz madness from Bud Powell with 'Un Poco Loco'.
Finally, a great cover version, from the Brad Mehldau Trio, of Radiohead's 'Exit Music (For A Film)'. If the final topic from Dorian has anything to do with exits, or farewells - or great final tracks from albums, as someone suggested this week - could someone nominate this on my behalf? Have a great couple of weeks, and many thanks and best wishes to Dorian...
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
For the benefit of anyone who's had problems with Podbean this is how I do it.
This might look like a lot but it's very quick, all you're doing is clicking boxes.
You've already got your account with Podbean and you've put your MP3's in a file on your desktop.
1. open Podbean.
2. Click 'Publish a Podcast'
4. click 'Publish new show'.
5. click 'Add your audio/video'
6. same page. click 'upload new files.
7. click the green arrow 'upload'
8. on media manager page click choose file' select your MP3 from your desktop and click 'upload'. You will see 'uploading now'
9. When it shows that it's uploaded, choose 'My Playlist' from the top menu.
10. Click 'create a new playlist'
11. Select a player and click continue. If you select a multiple player you'll get a page where you input the titles on the left and select them also from 'your account' on the right and down at the bottom it'll ask for a playlist name - one word.
12. If you chose a single player click 'select from your account' - you'll get a list of all the music you've uploaded, choose your selection and click 'continue.
13. Pull the bottom corner of the box that contains your html code down and select and copy it.
14. Paste that into the 'New Posts' box at the Spill.
I made a flippent remark in response to TracyK saying that she has a hard time with jazz, the Princess suggested that Bill Evans 'Waltz for Debbie' might be a good starting point to expose someone to jazz and asked if not that, what? I'd like to suggest this one; it's a piece that's been mentioned quite often on RR but I've never seen a reference to this version. It's the Charlie Haden 'Liberation Music Orchestra' and it's from the CD, 'Not in our Name'. It's a jazz orchestration of a classical piece arranged by Carla Bley. If this works there's plenty more where it came from.
dEUS - Slow
Johnny Marr joined them, one of the US's finer bands, coolest animated video I have seen in a long time...:
Modest Mouse - Fly trapped in a jar
Best band in Belgium, dEUS, joined by original member Stef Kamil Carlens (now of Zita Swoon), do a blistering version of their first hit, at the 0110 Festival against Racism:
dEUS - Suds & Soda (live @ 0110)
Monday, March 24, 2008
Flashing back to our recent discussion re. insomnia, I awoke Sunday morning at 3am, I turned on the bedside radio and there was a very interesting program just starting, it was a 4 part documentary and the topic was 'Pop Music.' the first segment fit so many of the sort of comments here, it was about mix tapes between an man and his wife and it rang many bells. The second was about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, her origins and influences on rock, her first recording in 1938 was titled 'Rock Me', the next was the origins of the UK's Pub Rock which laid the groundwork for the success of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, and the final segment was about a novel set in LA and structured around a pop group.
When I heard it I wished I could share it so I checked online and I found it, if you have an hour to spare [in 15 min segments] you'd find them all interesting, it's at http://www.wpr.org/book/070401a.html
To the ATCQ song Award Tour...
Also sampled in the song are Malcolm McClaren's Hobo ,
Milt Jackson's Olinga and Charles Earland's Lowdown
Having hopelessly over-indulged yesterday we are basically recovering from too much good food. And the Terry's chocolate orange had to eat in bed last night. Just to get rid of it so my post-Easter diet can start today. I am chilling out listening to the man they call 'The Professor' - Manuel Göttsching. Manuel created the band ASH RA TEMPEL in 1970, thus creating the one of the foundations of the "Krautrock" movement about which Julian Cope was later to write (the two of them are pals, incidentally). He recorded 'by accident' the ground-breaking E2-E4 which was regarded as the music which gave birth to techno and has been sampled on dance floors all over the world. Manuel still continues to write and perform music of astonishing beauty and innovation and is, rightly so, regarded as one of the best guitarists in the world. I got to know his music because his lady wife, Ilona Ziok, a film director and producer of extraordinary talent and originality, based in Germany, is a good friend of mine. She does the creative documentaries and he writes beautiful music. I don't think they'll sue my ass for posting this song - one of my favourites - "Saint and sinner" - which is the perfect soundtrack for chilling out today. I'd be interested to hear what you think of this music - Manuel will read it - and will certainly keep you informed about any of his future concerts. He's a really good bloke, by the way. And Ilona's a very loyal friend. I'm proud to know them. Hope you had a lovely Easter, guys.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
My first attempt at embedding a YouTube video on this blog. Not sure when and where this was recorded; judging by the lineup of the band it must me at least three years ago.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I don't usually cry at music for no reason. It is always linked to emotional states, events, life's usual SNAFUs etc.
Songs don't make me cry because they dip into a D min thing or because they have swelling violas and cellos. I have never usually fallen for those sucker punches - OK, if you read RR you will know that Turandot makes me cry at the big set pieces at the ends of each Act, but even then, it is down to things I remember from living with my ex.
OK, too close to raw there, she said, steering back to the middle of the road.
It is something else mostly, with me. I really think that in the right state of deep blackness I'd blub at the Laughing Gnome.
I am not sure that this week's RR was ever going to be satisfactory. I really couldn't dond anyone. Their songs don't match my emotional lows and I am sure it is the same for others.
Not Dorian's fault, mine. I am just emotionally naked in a personal way.
I think if the topic had been "songs you first had sex to" you would have had more congruency than this one.
By the way, if anyone read my comments about "By the time I get to Phoenix", it still works. I found it on YouTube and, yes, I cried.
The last long-term relationship I was in was probably my most serious. At least for me. It ended in a catalogue of complaints and recriminations, as they do, but the vast majority were directed at me. I wanted to fight for it, and made all sorts of vows and promises, but the decision had been made. About six weeks later, while I was still numbly mourning, she began a new relationship with someone she had met not long before we broke up. I was hugely wounded by this, suspicious, and angry at her too, and very soon, communication had irreparably broken down, a state which continues to this day. Through me, she had gotten really into Magnetic Fields, and we both loved this song. Now, listening to the lyrics, it just takes me back and stirs all sorts of introspective and regretful thoughts. This video makes me even sadder, all that faded glamour.
Jane's Addiction's "Jane Says", along with The Velvet Underground's "Candy Says" (not posted, I'm sure everyone knows it), remind me of a friend I made when I started college. Her life was like a horror story, between abuse, suicide attempts, substance abuse . . . the list went on. While I didn't share her experiences, there was, somehow, a really strong connection and bond between us that's there still. However, the relationship became so intense that it was becoming unhealthy for us both. It was becoming a bit "Dead Ringers" (the Cronenberg film, not that other thing), and was a very mentally confusing time. In the end, we had to extricate ourselves, to untwine. We had no contact for a few years, but then bumped into one another while out one night. Having said that, the reasons these songs make me cry, especially listened to back to back, is that she's had a happy ending - married, a beautiful daughter, trying to get into acting. It's so amazing to see her now and think of her then. I'm immensely proud of her for getting such a life together, and I couldn't be happier for her.
Finally, two versions of the same song. I don't have any particular associations with it, which is why it's probably the hardest to write about, on every level. I just think it's a beautiful song, and the lyrics have a resonance for me. Daniel Johnston's original is so plaintive, the simultaneous hope and despair in his voice, that I can't help but well up. Seeing him play this song in Dublin last year will remain an unforgettable moment for me, and necessitated a moment alone and a stiff drink afterwards. I thought the effect of the song may have had something to do with knowing something about his life, the context of the song as he sings it, but I also saw Spiritualized perform it on their acoustic tour in a church in Nottingham a few years ago, and it had me welling up then too. The surroundings, the version, it was just heartbreaking. I've been hoping ever since that Jason Pierce records his version, as if ever I get married, I want this to be the song we have our first dance to.
Anyway, that's it. I wanted to try to elaborate a little, and have already written more than planned. It's been quite cathartic writing a post like this. Thanks for reading.
these are happy/sad sweaty eyeball songs for me..as you may have guess.. I'm one of lifes more emotional individuals.
track two should have been mention St. Patricks Day
track five is for the memory of my nan.
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wayward song is one of my all time top ten, and yes it is all because of the big little one..made me think of what my dad put up with.
...little eyes played a lot when he was born, along with some of the sleep ones from last week.
various times in my life this galaxie 500 cover has meant the world to me..
the saul williams might be too close to abandonment .. thought provoking.
just didn't know what soulsavers track to go with, but my o/h adores this so...
enjoy in a worried parent kind of way. (ignore otherwise!)
er.. it's probably my hay fever kicking in early this year..
Three tracks I go all weepy over...
The cello, oboe and generally watery mood of Submarine Bells by The Chills...
Keith Jarrett's solo near the end of Inamorata- not the Live-Evil version, but one recorded 4 days earlier on the opening day of the Cellar Door residency.
Miles Davis' group was at a peak here, blending funk, rock and jazz to devastating effect. Jarrett and Gary Bartz in particular explored some emotional extremes in these performances.
I'll repost Bill Evans' performance of the theme from M*A*S*H, which I posted a few weeks ago, it had me prickling up then...
this thunderous performance is heart wrenching but enormously affirming...
(Podbean player removed)
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Some weeks ago I posted a piece about a story I'd written about an odd character in Guatemala, it was a work in progress and I didn't know how to resolve it. Since then I've found a lot of new info and written a final 'chapter' and also included a lot more photographs of the art involved. There were several nice comments and some real interest, I think you'll find the finale worthwhile.
I've also updated and rewritten a story that's been sitting on my blog for a while, it involves my travels in Jamaica and I've added more details and quite a few photos to illustrate the events. The music is by Monty Alexander.
I think it's finally working, check it at - http://goneforeign.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
This is only the second song I've ever tried with garageband, and the first time I've tried to record a voice, so...HA HA HA
Yesterday I was listening to Mikey Dread's song Jumping Master, and I realized that dub exactly fit my mood at the moment. So here's a sampler of dub songs. If I had more room in podbean, there'd be more songs. I guess this fits under the category of "What I'm listening to right now."
Oh bother, it's not St Patrick's Day any more and I've lost my chance to tell you about the beard-growing competition they have in Shamrock, Texas, where the competitors shave on New Year's Day and then don't shave again till the winner is chosen on St Patrick's Day...there's a half-hour documentary about it with music by the Gourds!
You can find out about it here.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Seeing as how it St Paddy's day, our minds turn to things Irish, like Bushmills, the Troubles, dead Kennedys, and rain. And, of course, Irish music. The Black family have a long musical history, but Mary & Frances have both done some good pop. So here's Frances' from the 'Talk to me' album, and Mary from her rock album 'Shine'. I'd post Bell XI's wonderful 'Lampposts' but the only one I have is copy protected. Finally, back when Van the Man was just a singer in a band, here's Them with 'Here comes the night'
Leaving aside U2, what are your favorites from the Emerald Isle?
Sunday, March 16, 2008
OK, Just because today's the big day, at least on this side of the pond, we're going to celebrate by singing the national anthem. So you won't feel left out I've given you a fair selection, though I had to exclude Aaron Neville, Charlie Haden, Al Hibbler, Don Byas, Tony Bennett, Rufus Wainwright, Roy Orbison, Glenn Miller, Bill Evans and possibly hundreds of other versions. So, everybody on their feet with their glasses raised: Ladies and Gentlemen, the National Anthem...
Seeing as I'll most likely be fulfilling my patriotic and semi-legal obligation to get ratarsed tomorrow, I wanted to post some songs by lesser-known Irish artists today, hopefully for your listening pleasure. Sadly, Deezer hates me. Anyway, happy St. Patrick's Day! And if you don't have any Irish in you, would you like some (old-school chat-up line, also obligatory, unfortunately)?