Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Six Month Stickies # 7
September '10 - February '11

As usual the tracks of music that got stuck in my head in the last six months, in order.

And only 3 months overdue wohoo!

* Click image to download a ZIP of the compilation:

Bee Gees - I've Gotta Get A Message To You

At the height of my disco obsession I acquired the entire Bee Gees discography. I have a rule with myself where I only allow an album into my library after listening to it uninterrupted at least two times through, then I decide if it's worth keeping or not. The Bee Gees discography was so expansive it took me over a week of pure Bee Gees listening to get through it all.

I was surprised that the earlier albums sounded so much like The Beatles. This song in particular infected me much the way a Beatles song might.

Bee Gees - Marley Purt Drive

Another early Bee Gees song. I don't know what it is, but something about this song is so uplifting and powerful, in this lazy smiling sort of way. The restrained banjo strumming, calmly impassioned singing, confusing lyrics, and plodding drums, slide guitar accents, and background strings are all perfectly combined.

Joanna Newsom - On a Good Day

I turned one of my friend on to Joanna Newsom after over exposing him with endless plays while he was visiting me. He told me later that this song got stuck in his head, and that he liked to wake up and start his days to it. I had previously overlooked this song, but started paying greater attention to it after he brought it up. And sure enough it became another in the seemingly endless list of Joanna Newsom songs to get stuck in my head.

Joanna Newsom - '81

This song got stuck in my head after I saw a video of her playing it live on some talk show. I love the conversation between the dark heavy strings and the bright light ones. I'm not going to link the video here because I don't want you to get your heart broken.

Briano Eno & David Byrne - Moonlight in Glory

After having this album for years and hardly listening to it, I suddenly couldn't get enough and was listening to it on repeat for about a week.

This song is an interesting mix of visceral percussion, staccato bass line, synthetic stings and augmented samples. So masterfully handled as only Brian Eno can. My favorite is at the end where the woman relates the anecdote about Jack knocking on the door of old-lady house. "Oh yes. Come on in."

Joanna Newsom - In California

I can count on one hand the number of times I've cried as an adult. And all but one of those times has been to music. I don't think I've ever been so effected by a song as I was with this song by Joanna Newsom. I had listened to it at least fifty times without effect, before suddenly, one day, something unlocked in it for me, and I was overcome by emotion listening to it. There are two parts in the song where I have trouble breathing:

Well, I have sown untidy furrows 'cross my soul
but I am still a coward
content to see my garden grow so sweet
and full of someone else's flowers

sometimes I can almost feel the power
sometimes I am so in love with you


I don't belong to anyone
my heart is heavy as an oil drum
and i don't want to be alone
my heart is yellow as an ear of corn

and I have torn my soul apart
from pulling artlessly with fool commands
some nights I just never go to sleep at all
and I stand
shaking in the doorway like a sentinel, all alone
bracing like the bow upon a ship
and fully abandoning
any thought of anywhere but home
my home
sometimes I can almost feel the power
and I do love you
is it only timing that has made it such a dark hour

The Cranberries - Empty

I've been super into the Cranberries since I was in elementary school. And always wondered why no one ever agreed with me. Now that nineties music is becoming cool again to teenagers in much the same way 80's music was rediscovered as cool to my generation, bands like The Cranberries have been allowed to exist again. Unfortunately it's with a sense of irony or kitsch or something. But I maintain as I always have, that they are a rad band that makes rad music. What's the problem? Listen to how she controls the way her voice cracks and how un-apologetically she draws out the last syllable of "empty". PURE RADNESS.

Joni Mitchell - California

I'm so creepily obsessed with Joanna Newsom's music, and have heard her described so many times as "The new Joni Mitchell" that I figured I might as well cover at least one of my many embarrassing musical blind spots and finally check her out.

To be completely honest, after listening to her discography five times through, I wasn't as blown away as I expected to be. But I did think the Blue album is amazing on every level. This song is my favorite. "Oh the rouge! The red red rouge!"

If your heart can take it, find the video of her playing this song for the BBC in 1970.

Joni Mitchel - All I Want

I really like the way she paces her singing throughout.

I want to have fun, I want to shine like the sun
I want to be the one that you want to see
I want to knit you a sweater
Want to write you a love letter
I want to make you feel better
I want to make you feel free
I want to make you feel free

Jesu - Tired of Me, We All Faulter, Farewell

Jesu is another band I've been listening to for years, but that suddenly took center stage in my music listening.

Their music seems impassively dense and heavy at first, but once I acclimated to it I found it incredibly expressive.

I feel vaguely like I'm having a heart attack while being swept under water by large waves crashing above, as lights slowly blink and strobe deep within the dark waters.

Cat Power - Ramblin' (Wo)man

Well I love you
I love you baby
But you've got to understand
When the Lord made me
He made me

Cat Power - Metal Heart (Jukebox version)

Cat power is the master of covers. This cover of her own song is so shockingly different and beautiful it's almost bewildering. I love listening to both together and marveling at the breadth of her insight and artistic mastery.

Paul Simon - Obvious Child

Figured it was time to finally check out Paul Simone's other albums, after burning a hole listening to Graceland. This infectious, uplifting, abstractly poignant, sensitive, exhilarating song pretty neatly sums up why Paul is so completely fantastic.

Paul Simon - The Coast

I don't even know what to say about this. It would have only occurred to Paul Simon to make this. There are so many great ideas here, all astonishingly well conceived and executed throughout. A contemporary singer/songwriter would be lucky if he/she had even one of the thirty ideas packed into this song.


Six Month Stickies # 6
Six Month Stickies # 5
Six Month Stickies # 4
Six Month Stickies # 3
Six Month Stickies # 2
Six Month Stickies # 1

Saturday, May 28, 2011

5 A Month Club: February

Sadly my ambitious plan for the 5 a month club, died after it's second month... It's proven too much work to fit in 5 projects each month without removing other projects I've already invested too much time into. Ah well, live and learn.

(To see the January Installment: 5 A Month Club: January )

Below are the results of the February installment of the 5 A Month Club:






First Date

[Interior. Living room. Day]

Josh and Blake playing video games (Teenagers)
Josh's older brother Todd walks in:

Alright get your shit together; Liz got you a date with her sister.
You're picking her up at six,
and keep her out for at least a few hours; me and Liz finally got her parents house to ourselves.

(Not looking up from TV, continuing to play video games)
What's she look like?

She looks nice, like Liz.

Is she fat?

No she's not fat. I said she looks like Liz. Is Liz fat?

Well she ain't thin.

A monster would want to eat her.

(Todd looks up confused and annoyed and distracted, Josh doesn't bat an eye.)


You know, if a monster wanted to eat someone
they wouldn't want someone who's all skin and bones,
and they wouldn't want someone with only fat,
they would want someone meaty...
I guess if monster food is too distracting, mountain lion food works just as well.

Whatever, I don't know why I asked.
(looks back to Josh still playing video games)
So pick her up at six.

I don't think so.

Why the fuck not?
What the hell are you doing that's so important?
Playing Mario Bros. with this fuck face?


Relax I'm just not interested.
Find somewhere else to fuck your girlfriend.

(Takes a deep breath)
This isn't about me fucking Liz,
this is about you sitting around all day playing video games
and rotting in a pile of gummy bears and pretzels with this ass hat,
(Blake: Hey!)
and that's pathetic and you need to realize that.

Damn, what the hell.
So I don't want to go out with your girlfriend's sister, so what?
You don't hear me making demands of you, so why are you all up in my shit for?

Listen, I'm your brother, I don't want to care but I do.
You're eighteen and you've never had a girlfriend,
you've never felt a pair of tits,
you can't manage your dick any better than a job or bank account.
And now you have an opportunity to go out with a real girl, do you understand?
Not that Japanese cartoon shit you jerk off to.

Dude lay off him, it's not like he committed a crime or so--

Blake shut up.
You can enter this conversation when it becomes normal to describe women as monster food.

(Turns back to Josh)
Come on Josh, just go out with her, if you don't like her you don't have to see her again.

(Takes hand off controller and pumps fist into air)
Yes! you got worked!
(In reference to video game)

(Exasperated at having lost game, throws down controller and looks up at Todd angry and annoyed)
Okay fine!
God damn, I'll take her out, just stop grilling me.

Good and take a shower first,
you smell like a moldy butt crack.
No offense Blake.


(Todd exits room)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Weird Dream

I had a weird dream a few nights ago, and shared it with a friend through I.M:

last night I had a dream that Samuel L Jackson and I were crying to a Nora Jones song.
So I woke up and was like "whoa, I guess I better listen to that song..."

Of course I don't have any of her albums, and wasn't even sure who she is or if it was even her song
but in any case I downloaded it and am listening now.

Not crying though, probably because Sam ain't around.
That's how gangsta I am.

Jamie: Ha ha! That's awesome. The craziest part of that is that you are listening to Norah Jones

me: Hahaha

Jamie: Faith found this old thing she wrote down years ago that said she had a dream where Colonel Sanders told her "There's a kernel of truth in everything."

me: Hahahahaha

My interpretation of the dream is that due to recent events in my life (which I won't get into here), I've had reason to feel sadness. Instead, I've reacted to these events with indignant anger. I think my subconscious in an attempt to connect me with my unprocessed feelings of sadness, was trying to manipulate me in dream, where my defenses are low.

(A common strategy by my subconscious in response to my many different exercises of abstinence. Often these attempts to manipulate me are comical in the degree of desperation shown and cluelessness as to what motivates and tempts me.)

My subconscious hoped to encourage me to cry by showing that even the embodiment of masculine toughness (Samuel L. Jackson) isn't too tough to cry. And by encouraging me with a sad beautiful song.

My subconscious is apparently a really bad production company though, because it chose a song for the soundtrack that I find neither sad nor emotionally poignant, by an artist I'm not familiar with, and that I don't like, and poorly casted the part of the masculine archetype.

Just to make sure there wasn't some higher level message encoded in the song lyrics or music I downloaded the Nora Jones album "Come Away With Me" and listened to the song in question (Don't Know Why") in real life. I braced myself for a good cry but nothing really happened. Maybe I need Samuel L. Jackson?

Norah Jones - Don't Know Why

Thursday, May 26, 2011

No Talking Tuesday # 184

Despite what my ever present supper burrito order may suggest, this Tuesday found me at a cheese fondue party organized by a gaggle of Swiss and German roommates and friends. I kept dropping my bread wads into the cheese and ordered to run naked through the snow for redemption. Of course there is no snow in Berkeley, so I guess I'm destined to die in sin?

The List:

One super prawn burrito please
-black beans
-wheat tortilla

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Robot Animal Concepts

I sketched some robot concepts for an upcoming animated music video.

No Talking Tuesday # 183

No list. Nothing special to report.

No Talking Tuesday # 182

No list. Nothing special to report.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Writing Section Updated

Updated the writing section of my site with these pieces:

Feathers in Smoke

At Arm's Length

Still Remaking

Song's in Sleep


Saturday, May 14, 2011

100,000 Songs

I recently logged my 100,000th song with last.fm,
which has been tracking my music listening since I signed up with the service a few years ago.
(To see what it looked like at 50,000, click here)

Of course this doesn't count all the music I've listened to from records, or at other computers that aren't set up to track my music library plays etc. But for the most part I would say it's a pretty accurate portrait of my musical tastes, neatly summed up and visually represented for me to nerd out on.

In observance of my 100,000 played song,
I've uploaded a music mix of my top fifteen listened songs.

Click the image below to download the mix:

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Some Recent Larger Scale Artwork

I finally got around to scanning and photographing my larger scale art I've produced over the last few months.

You can see the work here: www.artofali.com/2011art

Or scroll down.

No Talking Tuesday # 181

No list. Nothing special to report.

No Talking Tuesday # 180

No list. Nothing special to report.

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