Wednesday, January 31, 2007

and three makes fifteen

Received three more discs over the last week via Ebay:

13. Landberk -- Indian Summer
14. Darkroom -- Carpetworld (four-song EP)
15. Darkroom -- Daylight

I'm too exhausted to post full reviews right now, but all three releases are excellent. (I must be grazing through Wikipedia too much lately. I reread all this and thought, This post is a stub.)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

the grinding gears of the quote machine

Blah, blah, blah.
-- Some jackass

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

11 & 12

Went to Border's in Westlake last night and picked up the following discs:

11. King Crimson -- The Collectable King Crimson: Volume One
12. Bill Bruford's Earthworks -- Random Acts of Happiness

The Crimson set contains two killer concerts from the 1974 lineup of Cross/Fripp/Wetton/Bruford. To me, this version of Crim could do no wrong, able to downshift on a dime from brutal to delicate. I already have many live versions of all of the songs featured on these two discs, yet I never tire of hearing more. There are always subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) variations that stroke my organ of Corti, such as the distorted electric-piano chords at the ten-minute mark of Starless from the Mainz performance--plaintive stabs that echo grainily like the sinister dub of Pole. To hear snippets from the Asbury Park concert, please visit this page.

The Bruford disc documents live performances from the 2003 lineup of Earthworks, an acoustic jazz quartet of saxophone/flute, piano, bass, and drums. Inventive and energetic, this music makes me want to dance around like an idiot (those who have witnessed my Chaplin-as-performance-art gyrations know what I mean). The disc also features whimsical artwork from Dave McKean, the director of the awesome fantasy-film Mirrormask (which itself features a playfully jazzy soundtrack by Earthworks alumnus Iain Ballamy). To hear snippets from Earthworks and other Bruford projects, please visit here.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

skeletons in the cartoon closet

Ever wonder what an x-ray of Betty Boop or Charlie Brown might look like?

Wonder no more.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

discs seven through ten

On Saturday I drove south to Checkered Records in Canton, a great little shop with plenty of used records and CDs, and scored the following used discs:

7. Kronos Quartet/Terry Riley -- Salome Dances for Peace
8. Mike Oldfield -- Boxed

The Oldfield set is a three-disc collection of his first three albums (Tubular Bells, Hergest Ridge, and Ommadawn), plus some rarities appended to the end of each disc. Tubular Bells is the album that everyone knows and talks about, but the next two albums are even better: long, pastoral compositions with lush arrangements and the occasional soul-piercing guitar solo.

I then went to CD Warehouse in Canton, a crappy little shop with plenty of wretched CDs, yet somehow managed to scavenge this used disc:

9. Blue Oyster Cult -- Extra-Terrestrial Live

I owned this one on vinyl back in high school. It has all the hits, plus killer versions of Joan Crawford and Veteran of the Psychic Wars. At $4.99, this find was a steal.

I arrived home to find the following mail parcel on the kitchen table:

10. Steven Wilson -- Cover Version IV

Known best for his band Porcupine Tree, SW has been releasing these two-song singles sporadically for the past couple years. The first track is always a cover version of an unnamed song, and the second track is an original song by SW that continues the mood of the first song. This is the first time that I did not recognize the cover song and had to Google the lyrics to learn the title and original artist. It's a creepy tune and a daring choice for SW (I won't spoil the surprise).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

who scared you?

While Googling randomly, I came across a blog entry with an interesting topic: have you ever been scared by a song not meant to be scary?

Immediately I thought of Is That All There Is? by Peggy Lee. Every Friday night my older brother and I would stay up late to watch Hoolihan & Big Chuck (later known as Big Chuck & Little John), a local program that showed horror/monster movies with comedy skits during the commercial breaks.

At 2:00 A.M. the show would end by playing the chorus of Is That All There Is? on scratchy vinyl. When the song hit the final line, the turntable would abruptly slow to a dead stop, causing Peggy Lee to morbidly croon "if that's aaaaallllllllll", her voice deepening to a bone-chilling croak. Then the station would sign off for the night, and the screen would burst into white noise and static.

This song scared the crap out of me every time. Sitting in that dark room with the television hissing menacingly, I would rush to turn the set off and dart into bed as if my ass were on fire. Thinking about it still makes my neck hairs tingle.

What songs scared you?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007

disc six: music of the cosmos

Tonight I went to Border's in Strongsville. Using my remaining $1.00 of their holiday rewards program plus a 25% off coupon, I purchased:

6. Fripp & Eno -- The Equatorial Stars

Someone once described Robert Fripp's guitar-playing as "the sound of the universe crying." I wish that I had said that--what a great phrase. This disc is well-named: listening to it on the drive home, I felt as if the music was coming down from the night sky, not my speakers. Fripp's haunting guitar floats peacefully through Eno's solar wind drones and black hole murmurs. Dave Bowman definitely would have had Fripp & Eno on his iPod as he traveled through the monolith. Beautiful.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

who sent for clowns?

A clown is funny in the circus ring, but what would be the normal reaction to opening a door at midnight and finding the same clown standing there in the moonlight? -- Lon Chaney Sr.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

rest in peace

Thank you and farewell to Michael Brecker and Alice Coltrane.

imaginary album cover i

Saturday, January 13, 2007

discs four and five

Went to Time Traveler in Cuyahoga Falls, snagged used copies of the following:

4. The Smiths -- The Smiths
5. Blue Oyster Cult -- Secret Treaties (remastered)

My prodigal thriftiness continues.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

don't think about it -- do it! do it!

2007 Resolutions:

Hi, my name is Matt, and I'm a procrastinator. How bad is it? Well, a friend bought me Shaun of the Dead for Christmas in 2005, and I watched it for the first time this evening (it's excellent--rent it this weekend). My front license plate was knocked off my front bumper in 2004, and I still have it perched on the dashboard where it slides off at every sharp left turn. I filed my local tax forms for 2003 about three weeks ago. Pathetic. Stunningly, absurdly, surreally pathetic.

No more. Nothing will be pushed aside in 2007. Dishes will be washed instantly. Laundry mountains will be even less than molehills. Movies will be watched as soon as they are rented or purchased. Items on loan will be returned to their proper owners in a fashion more timely than Big f*cking Ben.

My name is Matt, and I'm a devastator.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

embrace the lambdom?

sheeps get their groove on

They're a woolly version of The Necks; an ovine Medeski, Martin, and Wood; a barnyard ELP. Spot-off drumming and dodgy tuning but still quite entertaining.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Saturday, January 06, 2007

starting with three

2007 Resolutions:

This year I plan to keep a running count of how many CDs I buy.
Why? Why not.
The rain prevented me from walking in the park today, so instead I drove to Ultrasound in Willoughby and picked up the following discs:

1. Gentle Giant -- Acquiring the Taste
2. Nine Inch Nails -- March of the Pigs (CD single with remixes)
3. Spektr -- Near Death Experience

The NIN disc was used (only three dollars), and the other two were 15% off, so I was a smart shopper (ah, sweet rationalization, my dearest friend).

She has the blood of Reptar -- Trent Pickles

Friday, January 05, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

embrace the random xv


Intuitive and interactive, this page combines gentle loops and drones with digital watercolor canvases. Move your mouse around to create Rothkoesque washes of color.

The main Amorphoscapes site has links to many more interactive artworkouts. Dig deeper and enjoy.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Monday, January 01, 2007

happy new year!

2007 Resolutions:

More of what works. Less of what doesn't.
In 2006 I became more physically active, walking in the various Cleveland/Akron parks on a fairly regular basis--this activity set the endorphins flowing and also served as a kind of walking meditation. I practiced sitting meditation at home and at work--deep breathing and grounding kept the hurricane at bay on more than a few occasions. I tried to eat healthier with less success, often falling off the wagon and being run over by Ronald McDonald and his cronies. So for 2007, the goal is more peace, less grease.

I read quite a few books in 2006 and plan to read even more in 2007. Here's the current pile of books next to my nightstand waiting for perusal:
Our Ecstatic Days -- Steve Erickson
Dhalgren -- Samuel R. Delany
Only Revolutions -- Mark Z. Danielewski
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close -- Jonathan Safran Foer
Start Where You Are -- Pema Chodron
The Fifty Year Sword -- Mark Z. Danielewski
Plus I have two more Jeff Noon novels due to hit my mailbox in a week or two. Anybody have any good books to recommend?

More resolutions to come throughout the month. Why should January 1st get all the glory?