Thursday, May 29, 2008

All I hear is

Here's a potentially not-so-little update on what I'm listening to these days.

To start, the actual "Listening Project" proper, as it were, has been dragging its heals. One reason, mentioned previously in this blog, has been the presence of so many artists that I want to take my time with. Along side that, is that time has been short what with working and all. The other, and possibly bigger, problem has been the lack of a system. When the project started I was commuting to Providence, so I had my car time as project listening. Then last summer I was painting a house in the woods and had all that time to devote to the project. I currently have no system, so things are moving slower. Next up: Gordon Mumma.

Today (or yesterday if I don't publish this before I go to bed)* I basically bought and/or ordered 17 discs. Here's the break-down: 2 I had ordered awhile ago via Amazon and they hadn't come in yet. I called and they are re-sending them. They are Nico Muhly~Speaks Volumes, and Joe Jackson~Rain, the latter of which is the only non-classical disc. Through work I ordered two new releases from Naxos, an Ives and a Varese. And what really kicked things into over-drive was the fact that B&N brought back their buy two get one free sale. So. Online I ordered Time of the Templars (3 discs set) a Lou Harrison disc, and a Ruth Crawford Seeger disc. At the store I bought, Monteverdi (2 disc) Carl Nielsen (2 disc) Steve Reich~Early Works, Kronos Quartet~Early Music, Terry Riley~The Cusp of Magic, and Philip Glass~Symphony #2. The Monteverdi and Templars discs are really representative of my increased interest in early vocal music.

And now, for what I'm being forced to listen to.

ay ya yay ya ay....

At work we listen to mostly crap. I knew this going in. I mean, god forbid we should be a music store that plays cool music. And we listen exclusively to full albums, so you know within a few seconds what the next 40-60 minutes is going to be like. There are a few discs we play that I like, mostly leaning towards the old-guy-rock category. Mudcrutch (Tom Petty's old band) Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, the new Bruce Springsteen. Although some in that range are pretty boring. Steve Winwood sounds like he's been dusting off his old Dead records, and Van Morrison sounds like a Cialis commercial. The most telling moment on the Van disc is when he literally sings "Blah, blah, blah..." for about a minute. The biggest, and most annoying, category we listen to is the female pop singers. Musically, most of them are just a highly produced beat and female voice with very little music. Almost all of them have these moments where the singer hits the highest, loudest, longest note she's capable of. Why? Why is that necessary? Most of them I find to be indistinguishable, except for the fact that I'm starting to learn which songs are certain singers. And the worst offenders are the old broads. Mariah? Who let the dolphins out? Madonna? Hard Candy is basically an admission that her music no longer gets played anywhere other than gay night clubs. The disc I probably like the best right now (at work) is Duffy. She's exploring the same 60's territory as Amy Winehouse, but without the drunken bad girl attitude. I just hope I don't get burned out on it, like I have with Amy (which I like, but we listen to too much.) Now if I could just get Hannah Montana out of my head....

*So I started writing this on Thursday, and I'm just finishing and publishing it on Sunday. Most of the discs I've gotten are pretty damn good, but I have to say that the Nico Muhly disc is quite possibly the most amazing thing I've heard in quite some time.

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