thewayne: (Default)
We drove up to Albuquerque yesterday for the show, leaving home at 2pm and getting home about 3am! A long day and lots of driving, but well worth it. We both hate casinos because we both have bad lungs and asthma. The poodle was with us, so Russet gave him a stroll while I went in to the casino and found the theater so we could get to it as rapidly as possible, and that worked well.

Here's the set list: Living in the Past Nothing is Easy Heavy Horses Thick as a Brick Jack-in-the-Green Bourrée Farm on the Freeway Songs from the Wood Pastime with Good Company/Henry VIII Sweet Dream Dharma For One A New Day Yesterday Toccata and Fugue in D Minor ? Aqualung Locomotive Breath

The opening was both awesome and sad: for some reason they pointed Ian's microphone too high, and he was having problems singing in to it, making it sound like he had almost no voice. So that song was almost wasted. But let's face it, much of Tull's music is a third vocals and two thirds instruments. While they were playing Nothing Is Easy, you'd see Ian playing, then on the projection screen behind them, they'd show Ian from the '70s playing the same piece! It was very interesting, seeing the massively shaggy hair, compared to the almost 70 year old almost bald Ian. Same process for Florian, the lead guitarist. Very cool effect.

When they performed Heavy Horses, they synced a projected video performance with Icelander Unnur Birna Björnsdóttir(?), singer and violinist, which was really cool - that's one way to make up for a small stage! Very good use of back projection throughout the show.

Dharma For One was a very funny intro. Ian was talking about how (IIRC) Clive Bunker would go in to this ridiculously long drum solos that would last hours, days, weeks! He then says something about respectfully dedicating this next song to Clive, respectful clapping follows. Ian then says "Oh, he's not dead! He was quite well the last I spoke with him on the phone!" They then go in to play Dharma to give their touring drummer, Scott Hammond, a solo. And he did a very good solo. Which gave the rest of the band five minutes to nip off the stage for a drink and a sit.

Throughout the show, aside from the flute, Ian also played guitar and harmonica. And gamboled around the stage with his left leg bent and keeping time.

Here's what I don't understand. People paid probably $100 or more for a pair of tickets, came in late, and left early. One couple ahead of us the girl wouldn't stop yapping at her man for a song or two. A couple arrived late for the seats next to ours, the guy clearly already drunk and stinking of beer, yelling what an honor it was to see Ian Anderson. Gee, what a respectful way to be honored: showing up late, drunk, and leaving early. Why would you pay $100 to hear five or six songs then leave? I just don't get it. Is it just to be able to say "I saw Tull, dude!"

This is the banner for the tour. It'll probably break eventually as I'm linking it directly from what I thought was the Tull web site, but it's something else.

Left to right that's John O'Hara on keyboards, Scott Hammond on drums, Ian Anderson who plays the flute or something, Florian Ophale on lead guitar, and David Goodier on bass.

In other Ian Anderson news, he has a new album which released in March called Jethro Tull - The String Quartets. He got together with the Carducci String Quartet, conducted by John O'Hara, his keyboardist. It released complete with a factory defect! For some reason on the first pressing the track list on the back of the box does not match what is on the disc, so they slapped a sticker on top of the shrinkwrap, which doesn't do you much good after you remove the shrinkwrap! But once you rip it to MP3 or whatever, you're OK.

The album is quite good, but one track strikes me as kind of odd: Living In The Past. It's already practically a chamber piece: I think it would have been better to put a violin in a high register playing the vocal and put Ian on the flute in to playing trills, I think that would have been more interesting. But what do I know.

Here's the album cover. Definitely recommended.

I expect that eventually there will be an album/DVD released of this tour, which I will probably buy. Saturday night was their third USA stop: Friday night was in Colorado at Red Rock with a full symphony orchestra, and a night or two before was in Utah. If you pull up the tour schedule from the web site, you'll see that they tour like mad men!

EDIT: for some reason paragraph breaks appeared when I previewed it, but not when I posted it. Odd.
thewayne: (Default)
On an extremely rare occasion we didn't zip through commercials on our DVR and caught an ad for "JETHRO TULL performed by Ian Anderson" performing at the Route 66 Casino in Albuquerque. Naturally it's a week from tonight when my wife would be working. ABQ is almost 4 hours from here. She's a huge Ian Anderson fan. She pulled up the tour info and they were performing the following night in El Paso, which is only two hours from here, unfortunately not only was she working, she was running a special program that she couldn't skip.

Yesterday she bought tickets for the Route 66 Casino so we're driving up next Saturday to see Tull!

I think the last full-on concert that I saw was 1994's The Division Bell by Pink Floyd. I honestly didn't want to see it as I'd heard poor reviews of the album, and I'd seen the tour for Momentary Lapse of Reason just a few years before. But my brother had bought the tix and wanted to do brotherly things with me, so we went. And frankly, I was not impressed.

Still, this should be interesting. I'm curious exactly what the name implies. Normally tours are named like that when there's horrible breakups and lawsuits, I'm curious what's going on here.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Sir George really helped make the Beatles what they became. This tribute in Rolling Stone is quite interesting, contrasting his approach compared to Brian Epstein's. He was 91.

Keith Emerson took me by surprise. He was one of my 'introduction to rock' bands when back in the late '60s/early '70s my brother and I and some friends discovered a station wagon with boxes of LPs in the back. It was in a semi-demolished apartment complex, the car clearly abandoned and undriveable. There were albums by Elton John, King Crimson, Crosby Stills and Nash, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Moody Blues: it was an amazing find and totally changed my taste in music as my dad was an inveterate C&W listener and mom listened to whatever he did. I have no idea where my taste in classical came from.

Anyway, Keith passed Friday at 71. Comments to this Rolling Stone article (with auto-start music video) mention that he was diagnosed with cancer last year: apparently his death was a suicide and may have been from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

In addition to Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Keith recorded with Greg Lake and Cozy Powell as Emerson, Lake and Powell and later got back together with Carl Palmer and recorded the album 3.

I don't have a lot of ELP on my phone, but I was able to put together a 15-20 song playlist and listen to it tonight while doing errands, we're in Phoenix right now for my mother's birthday so I don't have access to my full library.

Very sad. I would say that it's been a rough year for musicians, which it has, but I imagine that any given year there are lots of musician deaths.
thewayne: (Cyranose)

John Scalzi had this on his blog recently. It's mostly classical string doing six covers of Bowie. Amanda Palmer, if I recall correctly, is Neil Gaiman's main squeeze. If you're familiar with the Hampton String Quartet and their album What If Mozart Wrote 'Born To Be Wild', Strung Out is very reminiscent.

The album is available on Bandcamp, and if you buy it before March 5, 54% of proceeds go in Bowie's name to the cancer research wing of Tufts Medical Center.

Listen to it. I think you might like it.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Mojo Nixon had a song "Don Henley must die!" which contained the line "Don't ever let him get back together with Glenn Frey!" Well, Don is safe: Glenn died yesterday at age 67.

The cause was reported as pneumonia along with rheumatoid arthritis and acute ulcerative colitis, sounds like he might have had an autoimmune disorder. Sounds like a very unpleasant collection of symptoms.

Elsewhere in the good news/bad news department, Rolling Stone spoke with David Bowie's long-time producer, Tony Visconti. Tony reports that Bowie wrote and demo'd five tracks for a new album to follow Blackstar! So there's a chance that we'll see an EP at some point if Bowie's estate decides to complete the tracks.

There was one paragraph that was particularly touching to me:

Bowie had already finished Blackstar by November. But even before then, Visconti noticed the tone of some of the lyrics and told him, "You canny bastard. You're writing a farewell album." Bowie simply laughed in response. "He was so brave and courageous," says Visconti. "And his energy was still incredible for a man who had cancer. He never showed any fear. He was just all business about making the album."

Last night my wife and I watched Galaxy Quest, what a wonderful Rickman movie. We also have Love Actually, which we watched last month, and all of the Potters. While the role of Snape was a great and memorable performance, I really don't want to watch them as a memorial to Rickman. My wife mentioned, while reading IMDB, that he also did Quigly Down Under. Not a great movie, but it had its moments. I'd like to get ahold of his movie January Man, starring Kevin Kline, where Rickman played a gay architect and did a really great job.
thewayne: (Cyranose)

David Bowie's final album was released last week Friday. I was in a book store in Las Cruces on Thursday and saw the notice on the wall behind the register and was looking forward to it, obviously I wasn't prepared for it to be his final album. But he clearly knew it was likely to be his last work, and he put a lot in to it.

I picked it up yesterday at lunch and listened to it twice, and I quite like it.

The title track, which is also the first track, is very different and it's long, clocking in at over 9 minutes. It's almost two songs. The rest of the album is a little more conventional (compares well with his previous work) and very good. There's a lot of familiarity to it, some tracks are reminiscent of Black Tie White Noise, others evoke images of earlier work.

All in all, an excellent album and a great capstone to his career and life.

I'd like to talk more specifically about individual tracks, but I leant the disc to my boss and my iMac is in the shop, which holds my music collection and is also what I sync my iPhone to, so I can't load it on my phone right now which makes me very unhappy (CURSE YOU, APPLE, FOR NOT LETTING US SYNC OUR iDEVICES ON MULTIPLE COMPUTERS!)

Anyway, it is an excellent album and I highly recommend it.

Also, I recommend Wil Wheaton's remembrance of working on a film in the early '80s with Susan Sarandon and her turning him on to Bowie's Space Oddity via a cassette in a Sony Waklkman. It's a very good story.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
My wife turned me on to an unusual Scottish group called The Easy Club. Their blurb on Amazon describes them thusly: "Easy Club was formed by four musicians who had been playing together in Edinburgh’s legendary folk pub, Sandy Bell’s Bar in 1982. The Easy Club name comes from an eighteenth century Edinburgh drinking club which had been opposed to the union between Scotland and England.

The idea of The Easy Club was to explore new possibilities in Scottish music, by bringing in influences from more modern music such as jazz and early pop. The band saw that traditional musicians were inevitably influenced in some way by the culture of their own era. The Easy Club were happy to embrace modern styles and ideas, because this is the way that traditions develop naturally. It’s actually unnatural, in their opinion, to try to play music in a ‘historical’ manner, as this usually results in a fossilised, ‘heritage’ culture instead of on that is living and breathing.

The band found that they could bring Scottish music and swing rhythms together very successfully, in a way that sounded completely natural. They even found a quotation from the Duke Ellington, who apparently said that "There are only two types of music – jazz and Scottish music." The Easy Club went on to develop its signature style of ultra-swingy Scottish traditional music."

Pretty cool stuff, swing/jazz/folk. They were short-lived, formed in '82 and dissolving around '89. I read that they've released three albums, but I've only been able to identify two: Skirlie Beat and Chance Or Design.  My wife already had the latter, so I ordered the former last week.

And now for something completely different.

I've been a fan of Devo for a long time. Back around '90 I was in San Jose doing a massive solo drive from Phoenix to San Jose up to Portland then back to Phoenix via Twin Falls, Idaho (2700 miles, Google Map.) All to attend an anime convention and take a vacation (and it was a very good vacation). Anyway, whilst in San Jose, I stopped in a music store. They had a dozen copies of a Devo album that I'd never heard of, it was called the E-Z Listening Disc. Apparently someone commented to Mark Mothersbaugh that "You never have to worry about someone recording Muzak versions of your music! Yuk yuk."

So Mothersbaugh wrote an album of 19 cuts, all E-Z listening. I am listening to it right now, and it's quite amusing, I think it will probably be a regular on my iPhone for listening at work, I think it's good background music.

Well, the problem is that I didn't buy it in San Jose, and I hadn't seen it since. Sure enough, it's available on Amazon, but for an utterly ridiculous price, on the order of $50! Well, I am a patient man, and eventually someone listed a used copy for $12 or so. I snagged it toot sweet.

(It is definitely my longest solo driving trip, and it was my longest driving trip until 2012 when my wife and I drove 7,000 miles in 7 weeks. The Google map doesn't show you the whole route, but basically we just went back to New Mexico after Milwaukee.)

What do these albums have in common, truly alternative alternative and jazz/swing/folk?

They came out in the same year, 1987.

I am amused.
thewayne: (Cyranose)
Richard Wright, keyboardist for Floyd, passed away in 2008. This album, probably their last non-Greatest Hits album, was assembled and re-worked from material when they were experimenting with what would become The Division Bell.

18 tracks, 53 minutes, and only one song with vocals. Very atmospheric. To me it seems to run from the Wish You Were Here period onward. The material seems very familiar, and very comfortable. Like I said, very atmospheric. This could be a good album for background music for a dinner party.

Anyway, recommended. It's available as vinyl, a CD, a CD with a video disc, and of course all sorts of digital download. The physical editions are in an interesting booklet that's very nicely produced with session photos with Wright.

And for whatever reason, I can't post the image of the cover, so just follow the link to see it on Wikipedia.
thewayne: (Default)
And I also like sharing it.

Last year on Project Kickstarter, there was a project to fund researching, recording, and releasing under a free Creative Commons license a new recording of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations by pianist Kimiko Ishizaka. Apparently transcripts of classical music are as locked down as modern music today is when it comes to licensing, so part of the funding was for the original folios to be researched and a new score to be transposed. It was also to pay for Ms. Ishizaka's services in recording this project.

The project is now done!

In addition to being able to download all the music for free, you can also download an app for the iPad that lets you follow the score while the music is playing, and you can download the score which can be used in the MuseScore app, which I know nothing about.

This link lets you download tracks individually in MP3 or Flac or if you scroll down a bit there's a 132 meg zip that you can download or Torrent down. I was really happy to help fund this project, I should be getting my CD in the mail real soon now.
thewayne: (Default)
MUCH better than the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, if you like bagpipe music (and who doesn't?).

I'm definitely ordering some.

Obligatory bagpipe joke: why do pipers always walk? To get away from the noise.
thewayne: (Default)
I caught part of NPR's Weekend Edition, they had an interview segment with him and apparently it's finally getting released. I'm probably going to have to wait until Saturday and pick it up in Las Cruces, I doubt my local book store or Wal Mart is going to stock it.
thewayne: (Default)
This guy wants to create a recording of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, but he wanted to record it as an 8-bit chiptune style, like the old Nintendo recordings of years gone by.

Cool. He gets funded massively. Gets a guy to do a pixel interpretation of the album cover.

And then he gets sued by the photographer and has to settle.

What was done was clearly transformative, but equally clearly he didn't have the money to fight and win. He even got the EFF on his side, but still he had to settle. The photographer said he would never license his work for for such a pixelated transformation.

Very sad.

The original project:

The loss:

The project, with samples of the recordings:

(I'm assuming Kyle already knows of this)
thewayne: (Default)
Well, I did it Friday, but I missed the outgoing truck, so it went out Saturday.

Stupid headphone jack needed replacing. It was rather odd in that it played well with my Toyota, but not with my wife's Subaru. I paid to have it expressed back, so I should have it before we head up to Colorado in 3 weeks.

It's an iPod Touch, only a little 8 gig. But it's an insanely useful device as I use it as a PDA+. I started using Palm Pilots probably 15+ years ago with a Palm III given to me by my best friend who had no interest in it. It was crazy love at first pen stroke. It became my alarm clock, address book, note pad, ebook reader, etc. I went from the III to a Vx, wore out the Vx and got a second, when that one died I bought a TX which was an utter piece of garbage. Replaced that with a Z22 (IIRC) and when that started flaking I bought a Dell WinCE PDA. Another utter piece of garbage.

Just over two years ago I heard about the applications available for the iPod Touch.

I can't say it's a perfect PDA, but it is pretty darn good. I have some specific gripes with their calendar program and the rather inflexible repeat date arrangement, plus you can't snooze alarms. I love it as an ebook reader, and recently found a notepad program that actually encrypts your entries, so now I feel better about having private information stored on it.

And now I'm without it for a week or so.

The thing is, it's a half hour drive to town or the observatory with pretty much no radio coverage, not that I'm too keen on local radio. It then occurred to me that my car stereo can play MP3 CD's....

I grabbed a box of CD-RW's at Walmart and started burning yesterday. I burned a couple of playlists that I tend to frequent, and learned that you can make playlists of podcasts in iTunes! Definite bonus, as I listen to lots of podcasts. So I make a podcast CD. And then I think about the 2,000 mile trip we're taking to Colorado, back to Santa Fe, over/down to Phoenix, then back to Cloudcroft. And I think about all those Onion podcasts sitting around...

So I make an Onion podcast playlist and copy all the unplayed podcasts into it. I plug in 8 months of podcasts, a total of 126 recordings for 3 hours taking 750 meg. Then I look at my podcast playlist: 14 podcasts, 6.5 hours, 200 meg. Huh. There must be something in the MP3 lossy compression that favors longer run times as a percentage of file compression. The Onion podcasts are between 30 seconds and 4 minutes whereas the other podcast playlist has two at 5 minutes and the rest between 15 and 60 minutes. I've always wanted to look in to how MP3 compression works, maybe one of these days I will.

One very important thing to remember when burning playlists to CD is to watch the sorting of the list before you click Burn. For podcasts, I prefer sorted by date so that I get them in pretty much the order that I downloaded them in. For music, I generally go alphabetical by song title so that I don't usually get the same artist back to back. And when doing this, make sure you use CD-RW so that they can be erased and re-recorded as you decide to make changes or add/remove podcasts.
thewayne: (Default)
First, the Open Goldberg Variations. From the Kickstarter page: "We are creating a new score and studio recording of J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations, and we're placing them in the public domain* for everyone to own and use without limitations on licensing.

Bach wrote his seminal work over 270 years ago, yet public domain scores and recordings are hard or impossible to find. Until now!

This project will start by creating a new engraving of the Goldberg Variations using the MuseScore notation software. The edition will be subject to scholarly review, and when it is finished, it will be available to everyone to own and use without limitations.

Then we're working with pianist Kimiko Ishizaka to create a professional studio recording of the Goldbergs. This recording will also be made available to everyone to own and use without limitations.

Next, game designer Daniel Solis is funding production of his new game, Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. It funds on May 24, and the original $4,000 being looked for has been slightly exceeded and is already up to $21.6k.

Do is a story-telling game, "You tell the story of young travelers who mean well, but spend most of their time getting into trouble. You use your creativity and strategy to create a humorous coming of age story. It's like a comedic crossover between Avatar: the Last Airbender, the Little Prince and Kino's Journey."

Both are getting some bucks from me.
thewayne: (Default)
I have odd things that I do with music, like my previous "listen to all of my music in alphabetical order." Yes, I listen to my favs, I have several cool play lists on my iPod, etc. We were driving up to my aunt's Tuesday night and I was playing a new list that I made a couple of weeks ago of songs on my iPod that hadn't been played in 2008. They actually probably had been, but I had to reinitialize and reformat my iPod when it glitched on me earlier this year. So the iPod starts playing "Too Many People" and my wife starts looking a little perplexed. Finally she asks "Is that Roger Daltrey?" I almost laughed. Instead I said "Nope. But it's from the same era, and like The Who, the band has also had two members die." Which isn't technically accurate, as I was thinking of The Beatles vs The Who. She wasn't in a trivia game mood, so finally I picked up the iPod and showed her: Paul & Linda McCartney, Ram.

I think she is still a little perplexed.
thewayne: (Default)
I occasionally do somewhat strange things in iTunes. I made a playlist of songs containing the word Love or Heart, I made one for our new Champions characters that was pretty cool, and now I have a new one: Dead.

It contains only musicians or bands that are dead or a member of said band has died.

At the moment it contains: B-52's, Beatles, Blues Brothers, The Cars, The Doors, Elvis, Grateful Dead, John Lennon, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Led Zeppelin, Ofra Haza, Paul & Linda McCartney, Pink Floyd, Queen, Roy Orbison, Stan Rogers, Styx, Traveling Wilburys, and The Who.

Interestingly, it would appear that no member of Electric Light Orchestra has died.

And no, I don't own any Elvis records, but I do have a set of his songs covered by some rock greats, such as Robert Plant, The Pogues, Paul McCartney, Jesus & Mary Chain, and Bruce Springsteen.

I'm looking forward to hearing how this list works out, though I need to whittle it down: it's at 661 songs, 1.7 days of music, and 3.3 gig: it won't fit on my iPod as-is, gotta do some whacking.
thewayne: (Default)
Yep, the synthesizer people, have made an absolutely amazing guitar. And for $6,500US, it had better be. The video in the article has the likes of Lou Reed playing and being blown away by its capabilities. You can play it with just fretting: you don't have to strum.

thewayne: (Default)
An interview with Thome Yorke about Radiohead and the music biz, Yorke says that the album they released online made them more money than all their previous albums combined. Of course, they were established before they did this.

Byrne talking about survival strategies for emerging artists.
thewayne: (Default)
This is kind of amusing.

"Every little college kid, every freshly-scrubbed little kid's face should have been sued off the face of the earth. They should have taken their houses and cars and nipped it right there in the beginning. Those kids are putting 100,000 to a million people out of work."

The Story (long URL) and The Slashdot Thread (not quite as long an URL)

Funny, I was unaware that the music industry had layed off 100,000 to 1,000,000 people. I must have missed that report.

The thing that I find amusing about him is that he's such a blowhard. Can't argue about success: he's earned a metric fuckton of money, as some say, and he continues to make it. Good for him. He's a rock god. Good for him. But at the same time, there are 41 Kiss albums on iTunes. So clearly he has no problem with music being distributed electronically, unless he's utterly ignorant of Kiss music being sold electronically, which I rather doubt that he is. Apparently he hasn't seen the reports, or he's entirely discounted them, that people who download music BUY MORE MUSIC.

I don't buy much music, and I don't download any. The last big expansion of my music library was when I got married and assimilated Russet's library, and I've since bought some more from the groups that she had. I would like to expand my music horizons a bit, just haven't gotten around to it. I'm expanding more in exploring other groups from the 70's and 80's rather than more modern bands because the groups that I liked simply are not recording any more, or in the case of people like Stan Rogers, are dead, or The Who, who are 50% dead.
thewayne: (Default)
Jonathan Coulton started a podcast where he released one new song a week. For a year. He now has a decent fan following and on the scale that goes between starving artist and megastar, he's comfortable. He also sells music through the "pay what you want" scheme and they're finding that fans that really like the music are willing to pay more. Jonathan's also being favorably compared to They Might Be Giants for edginess and humor.

He has this really cool song called Code Monkey which Anyeone recently posted:

Anyway, interesting musician. I definitely need to check out his site.

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