Monday, March 31, 2008

Oh what sounds!

Here are some miscellaneous musings on some musics I've been listening to.

First up, the main project. I'm one (eighteen minute) track away from completing Mood Processor, which was me and Kyle. There were two main varieties of MP, Mood Processor proper which was Kyle on acoustic guitar and me on tenor sax, and The Electric Mood Processor which was fun with the four-track and whatever/whomever we could get our hands on. In either instance we played what we called "Plook Grok," so you can see that my love of made up genres goes back a ways. The one definitive statement I can make about MP is "We sure did get the good drugs back then." Yowza.

I also just recently finished Thelonious Monk, which I really took my time with. I've always been a big Monk fan and it was nice to spend some time with that particular crazy man. I think the biggest surprise for me was the solo piano stuff. Listening to that I got a sense of the entire history of Jazz. It swings, it's often based on popular tunes, and yet it's deconstructed, dissonant, and somehow entirely listenable. At one point during January I went into a Starbucks and they were playing a Monk track and I thought how odd it is that this music, which is really quite challenging if you really listen to it, is being used as background music for my corporate coffee experience. What's next? Ives at Dunkin' Donuts? Messiaen at Petco? (extra nerd points for anyone who can identify the logic in those two examples)

And now, to work my way through commenting on some choice-based listening, yet going about it chronologically in terms of the technology.

You spin me 'round like a rekkid baby
For the first time in years I have a) easy access to my vinyl collection, and b) a turntable in my office. Let the Easy Listening begin!! A huge portion of my records came from thrift stores at a time when I was very interested in lounge music. And I have to say, I will freely admit to actually liking 50's and 60's Easy Listening. Enoch Light, Bert Kaempfert, Dick Hyman, Jackie Gleason... Oh yeah, bring it on. I also seem to have a sizable collection of Moog albums such as Switched on Country and Everything you ever wanted to hear on Moog but were afraid to ask. And I've been listening to a fair amount of quote good unquote albums/artists such as Joe Jackson, Eric Dolphy, Wayne Horvitz, the afore mentioned Monk, and (right now) Joni Mitchell.

I meant it when I said I got "all kinds" a' tapes
It's back to the Soccer-Mom-Mobile for me for a bit, which means (oh the horror!!) cassettes. Among these terrifying little plastic creatures we find my collection of Rhode Island death metal bands from the early nineties. So far I've listened to two of the five such tapes I have. It made me realize why I roll my eyes and get immediately bored with current hardcore/metal type bands. 'Cuz this shit was boring over fifteen years ago, and hasn't progressed much since then. Does that make me a grumpy old man? I don't care if it does.

Totally 'pod-dular!
As mentioned in the previous post, I've recently "gotten" some things. Some of this has been music I used to have/listen to (R.E.M., Led Zeppelin, etc..) but some of it has been filling in gaps in my knowledge. For example today I listened to the Genesis album Trespass for the first time....ever. As I did I realized that I was/am only familiar with Selling England by the pound and The lamb lies down on Broadway for Gabriel-era Genesis. Likewise, I've had a renewed interest in Pink Floyd and only really know Dark Side and the Wall. So sad. And I've discovered that it's a bad idea to listen to "sing-along" albums (i.e. albums that I like to sing along to) on my iPod as I end up looking like a crazy person as I walk along mouthing the words and/or mumbling them and/or straight-up signing them. (although I use the term signing loosely) Oh well, maybe I am just one of "those people."

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