Saturday, February 03, 2007

turning up the heat and the volume

Damn, it is frigid here in Cleveland this weekend, with the temperature in single digits and negative wind chill factors. So what's a guy to do but stay indoors, crank the furnace, and play cool tunes?

I started the day with Arcadia Son by IEM, yet another project by Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree. IEM is possibly SW at his most self-indulgent, and I mean that as a compliment. The second release under the IEM name, Arcadia Son mixes psychedelia, Krautrock, electronica, and Miles-70's-era-jazz, creating a sonic atmosphere both trippy and menacing. Flutes, saxophones, and guitars whirl from speaker to speaker, battling for solo supremacy. This disc achieves what all of my favorite music does: it takes me someplace different with every listen.

Next I played Les elephants carillonneurs by Philharmonie (the title translates as the elephant bell-ringers--no, I don't know what that means either). Philharmonie are a French guitar trio very much in the vein of Robert Fripp's work with the Leauge of Crafty Guitarists and the RF String Quintet. Their music is intricate yet accessible, not showy or coldly academic. Chamber music that rocks? Maybe.

I just finished watching the first hour of the 1970 Albert Hall concert from the live Led Zeppelin DVD released in 2003. Damn, does this rock! Zeppelin had only been together for about a year at this point, but you wouldn't know it from this intense performance. Every crappy mall-punk band should be forced to watch this DVD until they cry with shame and admit that their fake rebellious posing is no substitute for musicianship.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder, and the Super Bowl is a non-event for me. So once again I will be kicking out the jams. Look out!

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