Friday, May 22, 2009

Stuck In Head Tracks # 3
(Six Month Stickies)
Sept'08 - Feb '09

First off I want to say how ashamed I am that I'm so late with this sticky list. Almost three months late! That's considerable! I've been working eighteen hour days for a while now, taken on far too many freelance assignments, and have been traveling far more than I'm used to, as a result I've had to re-prioritize what I OCD'ishly commit my time to. Anyway, enough gibber jabber, on to the music!

These are the tracks of music that got stuck in my head in the course of the last six months. (In order)

*Click Image to download a rar of the compilation

Antony And The Johnsons - Shake That Devil

It's hard to articulate my impressions of Antony and the Johnsons. He reminds me of Bjork, in that he's just doing his own thing, and does it with enough precision and ability, you have to take him on his own terms. This song in particular seems to be a personal vision, and that he wasn't concerned with it's audience appeal. I think as a result there is more richness in the song which throbs and sizzles beneath the surface for the first half, then confidently strides forward in the second , and you find yourself marching along with it, as you have learned the vocabulary during the first half when you were confused and worried.

Definitely an interesting song and not to be discounted on the grounds of it's weirdness as I fear most people do.

Antony And The Johnsons - River of Sorrow

I love the modulations of his voice as he elongates his words, and the instrumentation is rather lovely and restrained throughout.

Cat Power - What Would the Community Think

If you're wondering why Cat Power is so over represented on this sticky list, frankly so do I!
I wouldn't say I especially like Cat Power. Yet I've listened to her more than ninety percent of the artists in my music library. I have to admit she has a very broad and satisfying style throughout her albums, and almost always has a song or album for whatever mood I'm in.

In this song, I like the way her patient vocals lightly drag across yawning guitars and amps.

Joe Cocker - With a little help from my friends

I know you're suspecting the explanation for this sticky is that I caught an episode of the wonder years. But actually no! I just randomly got this cover stuck in my head one day. It took a while to track down the proper album, but When I did, it re lit my craving, and I listened to it a bizarre amount over the course of a week.

Watching wonder years as a kid I always thought the lyrics were:

What would you do with that zang attitude
when you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song
I will try not to sing out of key.

Why I've a little help without me!

My Bloody Valentine - Soft as Snow But Warm Inside

I suspected at some point I'd get on board the My Bloody Valentine Train. All my friends with similar but more veteran tastes in music praised them, yet I found them boring and inactive. Then recently I finally unlocked them (probably my progression from Galaxy 500, to Low, lead the way) Honestly I got a fuzzy soup of about about ten MBV songs stuck in my head, but this one edged out in stickiness above the rest. I like the persistent lazy lurching rhythm.

Cat Power - Not What You Want

Cat power again. This time unbelievably raw and unapologetic. I imagine her bleary eyed at three a.m huddled in a corner on dusty wood floors, while a four track spins in the middle of an otherwise empty room. She's strumming her guitar and loosing herself in the meditative expression of whatever she's singing about. I love the arc of volume and intensity. I'm glad she had the insight to preserve these dynamic ranges. This track is so wonderfully bare and intense.

Cat Power - Water and Air

I don't have much to say about this song. I like it's heavy stride, and the wandering nature of her voice, and the tenuous, sawing motions of the background guitar.

King Crimson - Moonchild

* This is the edited version off the Buffalo '66 soundtrack. I was going to use the proper track off In the Court of the Crimson King, but there is about six minutes of trying ambient nonsense appended to the end, so I thought better of it.

If I was a more developed musician, this is exactly the kind of song I would write. I love it both lyrically and musically. I think of Angel's Egg, the early Mamoro Oshi film with its bare color palate, large black spaces, harsh light, and mute characters, when I hear this song. Which is appropriate because that would be exactly the kind of film I hope to direct one day, assuming I ever sharpen my skills to that level of mastery.

Mogwai - Batcat

I think of this as a 'suiting up song'. The kind of song that would play in a Michael Mann movie where you're watching a bunch of characters silently suiting up to pull a heist or something. The driving focused quality of the music totally gets me pumped up. I could totally somersault through a moving web of detection lasers to this.

Mogwai - The Sun Smells Too Loud

I just kind of like this track, and it's catchy in sort of a weird way, the guitar is almost serving the roll you might expect a voice to. Anyway that's all I have to say about that!

Neutral Milk Hotel - In the Aeroplane Over the Sea

A friend sold me on Neutral Milk Hotel when he described me the lyrical content of 'Holland, 1945'. I got this album immediately and fell in love with it. This song reminds me of when I'm in a plane and sneaking glances at a pretty woman nodding off to sleep across the hall, which happens on a nearly monthly basis.

Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945

This song is great! It's so conceptually interesting. The idea of being in love with someone who died before you were born and acknowledging their current re-incarnation, all set to a really kinetic horn laden musical blitz. I love the drum rolls and the sound of clustered instruments rushing forward with infectious energy. I wish more musicians had this kind of insight.

Chad VanGaalen - Molten Light

I stumbled across the music video online and thought it was such a perfect visual synthesis of the song. Then I discovered it's because the musician who crafted the song, did the same for the video. There is a cohesion to both separately, and all the more together, that makes watching/listening to the video oddly satisfying. After two weeks, I was still watching it at least five times a day. My friends for whom I linked the video all suffered the same fate. Proceed with caution...

The Legends - Today

I don't much care for this song. Sounds like a paint by numbers to early New Order. But hey! I can't choose what gets stuck in my head.

Peter Gabriel - I Don't Remember

I started devoting time to Peter Gabriel after I heard he was friends with Kate Bush. And by golly if his company is good enough for Kate, it's good enough for me. To be fair I wish I liked his music more consistently than I do. But there certainly isn't anything wrong with this track except for maybe the prominent repetitious snare hit. The song makes me kind of want to shake my shoulders back and forth. It's my awkward little Peter Gabriel dance!

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - The Line

I like the steady confidence of this song. My favorite part is the humming refrain, and how satisfying the subtle bass drum and snare accents add by way of release.

I also like the removed ascending quality in the second part of the song when he sings:

Pull me up
on either side
don't leave me standing alone in the light

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Ain't No Easy Way

It's not everyday you find such a satisfying contemporary rock song laden with tambourine and containing such well integrated harmonica jamming.

The Ting Tings - Shut Up and Let Me Go

This song is on regular rotation at the hipstery dance club/bar I shake my groove thing at every Friday night. And as weird as it sounds, I shake it harder to this song than any other. Which is bizarre to think that this song gets me moving more than all rock, soul, motown etc. IN EXISTENCE. So it doesn't loose it's dance juice (the way MGMT's "Kids" did for me) from overplaying, I try to save this song for when, and only when I'm free to get down with my bad self.

Hot Chip - Over and Over

I could take or leave Hot Chip, though some of his songs really do strike a chord with me. I first heard this song at my friends new years party, which quickly degenerated into a dance-athon. It's pretty standard fair until 3:25... That is the moment... I black out and things get straight crazy. I could be at dinner with the president, and if the restaurant was stupid enough to play this song, then at the 3:25 mark I would have to just grab the nearest cute waitress and dance up the place something fierce. Economic policy can wait until AFTER GROOVE SHAKING.

Ghostland Observatory - Piano Man

This song was also introduced to me at the above mentioned new years party. Half way through I turned to my friend and asked "Who is this?" He said "Ghostland Observatory" I thought "Damn! now if I ever form a band I can at best only hope to come up with the second best band name ever." I find most of their songs a bit too abrasive, but the rest ride that fine line thrillingly, this song is a perfect example.

Ok here come a slew of Beatles songs. As is usually the case, the genius of most Beatles songs is on time release for me, and after hearing a song a hundred times, I suddenly key into it's brilliance. That happened this time with Sgt. Peppe'rs Lonley Hearts Club Band album and Abbey Road. Abbey road has always been my favorite Beatles album, but Sgt. Pepper's never really spoke to me until recently when the songs off it started getting stuck in my head one after the other.

The Beatles - You Never Give Me Your Money

2:28 starts getting pretty sweet
2:47 gets heavy awesome

And the fading voice modulation and guitar licks at 3:00 - 3:08 is just inspired... I am in awe when I hear it.

I also realized much later that this song was one of the inspirations for a piece I had written called 'Clear Skies and Summer'.

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

I like the far away shouting quality of the vocals, and the chugging guitars half way through.

The Beatles - A Day In the Life

There are so many different interesting ideas, themes, moments, music and lyrics in constant procession in this song. I especially like the beginning narration about the man in the car, the splotchy drumming that accompanies that passage, and the calm tone of the vocals throughout. All the rest of the elements are so masterfully balanced. It's Beatles songs like this one that makes them still seem cutting edge, more so than almost any other band, almost fifty years later.

The Beatles - Maxwells Silver Hammer

A reminder that this is a list of songs which have gotten stuck in my head, and that I'm not always happy about it. This song demonstrates the vacant styling of Mcartney. It's his showman clownishness which serves as a perfect sobering element to Lennon's acrid political and personal indulgences. But when allowed free reign, McCartney's songs result in the third person nonsense of Maxwell's Silver hammer. That not withstanding, McCartney is an extremely talented song writer, and even I am not immune to his black arts.

The Beatles - The End

And in the end
the love you take
is equal to the love you make.

Bach/Gould - Aria
Bach/Gould - Aria da capo (reprise)

(1981 recording)

Bach is the most beautiful thing to happen to the human race.
No one understood Bach better than Glen Gould.
This is perhaps the best performance of Bach Gould ever recorded.
Turn off all distractions, double the volume, and listen.

Bach/Gould - Partita II in C minor I. Sinfonia.

It was through this piece I discovered Glen Gould
I really don't know what to write about this.. please just listen.

Also if you want to see a rather awesome video of Gould playing passages from this piece:

Fauré - Piano Quintet No. 1 in D Minor Op 89: Molto moderato

I recently discovered Faure, and modern-ish composers in general. I absolutely love the way he combines keys and strings in his music. There is such a watery emergent quality to this piece. I imagine shafts of light scattered through thick streams of water. Yet the violins have such a desperate and resolute yearning. It's amazing how evocatively the strings fade and re emerge as if swimming around you. This is the rapture of being lost, pouring through a kaleidoscope of sensation that overwhelms and dizzies, and teaches you: that to be lost is to be free.

Previous sticky lists:

Six Month Stickies # 2
Six Month Stickies # 1

No Talking Tuesday # 86

No list. Nothing special to report.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

No Talking Tuesday # 85

My friend Bob (female) was throwing her birthday party Tuesday.
And decided to make it a roast. She rented out a back room in a bar
and invited all her friends to come prepared to burn her with some sassy material.

I of course never need an excuse to be sassy, and when given one
can be counted on to take the reigns and run with it. Her birthday being on a
Tuesday however, I decided to write my material on index cards and
stand up on stage with a friend to whom I passed the cards for him to read.

I punctuated his reciting with gesture and expression but for the most part
played the roll of straight man, as if it was a formal occasion.

I decided to write all my jokes in an ironic antiquated forties-esque
bad joke style. (A tip of the hat to Norm McDonald) But to my surprise,
the jokes played as completely normal. I didn't anticipate the stage
to provide such a different context and my ironic bad jokes actually
came off as normal and successful. Well most of them, the religion joke
and one or two others didn't do so hot, the rest slayed.

The List:

i'm going to a birthday roast of bob who you met

i'm doing my roast on flash cards and another friend is reading them

When Bob invited me to
her roast, she mentioned
that her friends where having
trouble coming up with mean
things to say...

... I replied:
" It sounds like they hardly
know you."

You know, if you re-arrange
the letters in "Bob"
you get OBB, and, BBO

I wonder if either of
them smell as bad?

... I can't imagine
how they could.

I didn't know Bob was
religious. But when she told
me she takes a shower every
other day, I knew from the
smell she meant biblical days...

...which are thousands of years
or something...

I don't know how many
exactly. Go ask Bob, she's
the bible nut...

... If you can fight the
stench to get within a
cubits length of her

So the dictionary people
contacted me. And
wanted me to do an illustration
for the world "repulsive"...

...So I sent them a photo
of Bob...

...And they replied:
"What the hell is this!?"
..."We asked for an illustration
not a photo!"

So I was watching some
landscapers spreading
manure today and remembered
" Oh yea! I'm late for Bob's roast!"

I'll admit like many people in
this room, I've wondered what
it's like to kiss Bob...

... But I accidentally ate
some rotten cabbage for lunch.
...Mystery solved!

The first time I hung out
with Bob, we walked a dog
she was helping to take care of...

... The dog kept stopping
to smell Bob's face...

... You know... Because
she has a butt face.

Bob thinks "hygiene"
is a style of pants

Speaking of style...
Oh never mind, I guess
we shouldn't change the
subject from Bob

So I went to a fancy
french restaurant with friends.
And someone proposed we order
the super smelly cheese...

... I said:
"Bob's just in the bathroom
she'll be right out."

They say smell is linked
to taste...

... I guess that's why
when I'm around Bob, I
taste dirty raccoon ass.

As many of you know
Bob is a photographer
...and she's actually
quite good...

...But her photos suffer
from one major flaw...

... She's often in them!

Of course this is all
in good fun. And that's
what's so great about
Bob. She has such a
great sense of humor...

... I mean just look
at how she's dressed!

Well I'm about out of time.
I wanted to say finally that Bob,
I consider you one of my close
friends. And I hope one day
we can be even closer...

... The day you take
a shower.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

In the High School Over the Hill

We can live in that old high school over the hill
i'll take care of you
you can kiss me in the morning if you like
on sundays we can sleep late
tell stories or just lay around like lazy cats
we can swim in the lake when it's warm
and cut each others hair if you show me how
we can keep rabbits
and plant tomatoes
i can sew a little
if we tear our clothes
and make a fire
if it gets cold

i bet we can find an old piano if we look
and play it if we get bored
i know sometimes you like to be alone
and you worry about things you don't tell me
but i'll do my best to help you if i can
i'll draw circles on your back when you can't sleep
and promise to wake you when you have bad dreams

remember when we went walking in the woods behind your house?
we found that dead bird and you cried
i think about that sometimes
and i know sad things will sometimes happen
but as long as you want me
i'll stay with you
we can live in the old high school over the hill
and figure out life together.


This may be too cheesy-sweet and gag inducing even for me. Which is really saying a lot. Probably one of those pieces I'll look at in a couple months and shake my head and wonder how I can be so indulgently sappy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Staccato Thoughts # 1

At work my brain tends to wander then fixate in a weird meditative loop on certain almost random things. I suspect they are things that have subtle, interesting, elusive psychological currents running beneath that my mind works to untangle. Lately at work I've been spending lots of time sculpting/reconstructing a huge intricate Mayan frieze, and I find my mind will fixate on a theme or scene from a film or lyrics to a song and I'll just churn it over in my brain for hours. Usually they are things I haven't seen or thought about in years, but suddenly present themselves center stage in my thoughts while I work. I thought I should start keeping track of those thoughts to see if when collected in mass there is any design or pattern in them. Of course this is of no interest to anyone other than myself, but I have always viewed my blog as a personal archive of the things I would want to look back on in the years ahead. So if you're misguided enough to be reading this as a form of entertainment, then I'm sorry for all the neurotic nonsense you have to endure.

First I kept finding myself thinking about certain scenes from Indecent Proposal. I saw the film once many years ago and didn't especially care for it, but I kept thinking about the lawyer character from it and how we are introduced to his ruthlessness. First when he fields the call about the proposal in front of clients who are looking for an especially cut throat lawyer. Also later when Robert Redford admires his thoroughness in having the heart attack stipulation in the sex contract, and again later when he suddenly becomes interested in Woody Harrelson's regrets when he senses he can get Woody's money and suddenly leaps off the treadmill. Why am I so invested in this character? I have no idea. But I thought about him for at least a couple hours.

These beautiful Fever Ray lyrics haunted my mind:

Dangling feet from window frame
will I ever ever reach the floor?
More, give me more, give me more
Crushed and filled with all I found
underneath and inside just to come around
More, give me more, give me more

I kept thinking about this I Love Lucy episode where the gang goes to France and everybody buys the same painting from a conman artist for each other. Of course much hilarity ensues when they all reveal their presents later.

I thought for a while about the scene in Kill Bill where Uma Thermon's character isn't ninja enough to get that one guy and he stops her from fighting him by asking if she wants to be buried with a knife (or was it a flashlight?). There was something oddly respectful about that, and interesting in the psychology in how that got her to stop resisting him.

Got fixated on the Elliot Smith lyrics:

"You got a look in your eye when you're saying goodbye like you want to say hi"

Imagined a showdown conversation with a woman from my nearish past who did me wrong. I almost never berate people because nine times out of ten I regret it later. Unlike when I say something nice about someone, and I usually feel good about it later. Still in my mind I imagined what I would say to her if I gave voice to my frustrations:

I have just enough sympathy left for you to feel bad that your good looks are probably going to ruin your life
it seems you've decided to learn from them that there is no accountability and that you can take whatever you want from whomever has it
but though the ripples seem benign and you're sailing safely water tight and buoyed
at some point probably in the far future you'll look back and realize you payed for those short term gains at far too high a price
and those ripples returned as waves that smashed and splintered you leaving the resounding crash of thunder in your ears
...but maybe it won't.
Maybe the universe doesn't keep as tight a spreadsheet as I think
and you can slip through unharmed and never earn what you get or get what you deserve.
I wonder which will be worse for you?

More Elliot Smith lyrics:

everybody knows
everybody knows
you only live a day
but it's brilliant anyway

Flaming Lips Lyrics:

one more robot want's to be
something more than a machine

No Talking Tuesday # 84

The List:

jun went back and re did the u'vs for me
to straighten them up so it would be easier for me to paint

or maybe the normal map was cast from previous u.v

quick easy solution would
be to have a high rez map
on another u.v set and
mix it in via the shader
this second texture/u.v. set
would also be a tiling texture

there is a suggestion of
it in the 3D scan data
so it must be stone
to some extent

Remember you re-did
uv's for me
did you re cast a normal?

are you using version 5 or 6?

the obj i'm working on is version 5

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