AN INTERESTING MUSIC BLOG

I happened on this quite by chance this morning and thought it a wonderful find, I think most of us would enjoy it.

http://musicthing.blogspot.com/
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]

tokyo dance trooper

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…

Silkworms to Sake

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.

(Player removed)

Way Out East

(not Constantinople)

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”

I took this snap of the Burj Dubai – ‘the tallest building in the world to be’ – from a nearby hotel rooftop swimming pool. The streaking is a dirty window. The buildings at the foot are normal high rise office blocks. The main building is already over 600 metres tall, not counting the cranes on the top. They say they are a) keeping the height a secret and b) designing the top to be ‘add-onable’ to foil any challengers – the Chinese for example – who are also in pursuit of ‘the tallest building’ title. This shot makes the whole thing look like a massive space craft ready for blast -off.

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.

The Yin and the Yang – FP’s Asia Playlist

This is the week where I’ve most acutely felt the shortcomings of deezer (just to fuel the old debate). Dorian HAS to include a Japan track. Just has to. And none of the contenders are available. Just for the record, I think he has a choice between the early electronic Morodor – infused “Life in Tokyo” or the much later “Visions of China”, “Cantonese Boy” or “Sons of Pioneers”. Close call. I think I’d go for “Visions of China” if only for the beautifully produced, muscular percussion that became the hallmark of Steve Janssen’s contribution to their distinctive sound.
Never been to Asia myself. Never been out of Europe in fact. Isn’t that shocking? My teenage fascination for Japan (the group) alone should have spurred me on to make the journey. It just always seems that work or family considerations have been uppermost. Oh stop making excuses FP!
So what I want to know is: once I get the courage up to make that long haul flight to Asia (big place) which places would you recommend? Where should I go? What’s unmissable?

free music

Still love REM?

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.

Anyway, here’s a post-Automatic playlist, which I reckon stands up to anything REM have ever done:

1. What’s The Frequency Kenneth?

2. How The West Was Won and Where It Got Us

3. Daysleeper

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…

WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED READING?


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:
Faith, 1994
Hope, 1995
Charity, 1996

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:
http://www-staff.it.uts.edu.au/~tomlin/LD/

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?

The Salvation of TracyK!

Leave you in peace & ignorance? Never. RRers are a cross between Jehovah’s Witnesses and a Rottweiler when it comes to this sort of thing. It’s probably why Dorian is leaving- to get away from bloggers badgering him to listen to Peter Hammill or Steely Dan. I don’t like jazz and, like you, have roomed with a chin-stroking fan. At least he liked Astral Weeks too.
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.

You On The Run

One of my very favourite bands, The Black Angels, have finally got a new song to hear.
Some of the good things about The Black Angels:
1. Their motto is “Turn On, Tune In, Drone Out”
2. They manage to compress The Velvets, The Doors, The 13th Floor Elevators into a super dense ball of heaviosity
3. Their bassist was born in a cult compound
4. Their first record was a stand against the current war, with songs like “Young Men Dead”
5. They’re just fucking fantastic
6. They have an actual instrument called a “Drone Machine” that one of them built from shrapnel
7. They are lovely people
8. They rock like no one else

Ten reasons to celebrate…….

…..a favourite songwriter (who could be a performer too).

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”
“Goin’ Back”
“(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.

Leb wohl!

Well, as I mentioned on RR last week, I’m off to the Bavarian Forest for a fortnight, and so am going to miss the final weeks of Our Guru and the social. I thought therefore that I should get my tribute in early, with a list of Tracks That Dorian Really Ought To Have Selected…

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…

Bright Tomorrow

Jack White’s other concern have released a new LP, straight to the shops – no advance copies – everyone gets to hear the tunes at the same time type gimmick

The song in the above embedded player has Jack’s sticky icky thumping fingers all over it-irresistable, blazing, moreish and COMPLETELY vacuous with it. 
-edit- I watched the video again, for some reason the emptiness vexed me, I then went on over to youtube and checked out Fuck Buttons, a new band from Bristol, who release on ATP records, and were recorded by the chap from Mogwai. 

 Music can satiate one’s id accordingly and this in itself is a thing of wonder. 

UPLOADING TO PODBEAN

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’
3. Login
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.
Done.

SAMUEL BARBER’S ADAGIO FOR STRINGS BY THE LIBERATION MUSIC ORCHESTRA.

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.