December 04, 2012

Substitute Meditation

So the evening activities run on beyond the normal routine, and you don't have the energy to do your normal night time meditation. What to do? Slip on the wireless headphones, close your eyes, and listen to Baby's on Fire (the original, not Die Antwoord, ugh, Google!).

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2012

Why haven't I had these albums for years?

I'm way behind on recording what I've bought musically. So what else is new? So let us briefly visit what has been added to my pop culture archive.

My habit, when discovering a new artist, or revisiting one I've known but not 'owned', is to do a little research (in the last decade, "Google"), and settle on an album which is representative of the artist's ouvre. Typically, one album is enough. Sometimes it is a "best of" album, and sometimes, it is that snapshot in time, the crystalline essence of an artist's potential (cf. Harvest, Tapestry, etc.). Yes, I know those are both ancient. Sorry, so am I. [They date from my high school years or even before].

Despite the last two examples being from my childhood/teens, some of my favorite music dates from before I was born. Collectively, I absolutely love bebop and hard bop. One of the classics of the era is Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus. This is one of those albums which has very few filler pieces. I'm hard-pressed to name a piece off this album which is sub-standard.

Given that, I have to ask, "Why haven't I had The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady for all those decades? While there are only four compositions on this album, each is steeped in its era. I listen to this and I revisit every album, every film from the mid-sixties, when I was but a wee tot. All that pop culture was just background noise as I was growing up. But now, and yes, even for many years, it has been a vital part of my musical tapestry ('I see what you did there').

"Mingus Ah Um" is a great, perhaps magnificent album. But while "Black Saint" isn't quite the crystalization of concepts, it is still in my top 100 albums of all time. So to repeat the refrain, "why haven't I had this album for years?"

About the same time that I procured 'Saint', I also picked up a copy of Come Dance With Me, a 1959 Frank Sinatra album arranged and conducted by Billy May. I already had two best-of albums and Watertown. Some of them I've had for many years. But 'Come Dance with Me!' is undeniably catchy, upbeat and fun. It's purely Frank, in a positive mood. Once again, why had I not heard of this one, or gotten it, before?

I've picked up a number of other albums in the interrim since getting these, but none are so notable, so I think I'll leave it at that (I'm sure you're relieved to hear). Just check these two out on Spotify or your own favorite sampling site, and see if you like them as much as I do.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2011

New Music

I realized I need to catch up on what I've acquired recently. No hotlinks, just Google if you care...

Those last four have been on my want list for years (used to own them in LP format in my college years). They are the four classic albums in the 'pop' series by Brian Eno, who has done a lot of cool music in many genres, including inventing a couple on his own. He has also produced albums for such 'formerly famous' groups as Roxy Music and Talking Heads.

The major emusic players all wanted $9.50 for each, and that seemed a little steep for albums from the 70's. But today I got email from Google that they were running a new music store, and when I checked, these were all available for $5 apiece. So I bought them all. Seems that capitalism works in my favor sometimes.

Assuming that Music for Airports is still $5 when I get my next paycheck, I'll grab that one too. That's not from his 'pop' series, but from his 'ambient music' series. I consider him one of the primary inventors of that genre.

While downloading these, I spent the evening browsing Spotify, and discovered that they had the collaboration between Brian Eno and David Byrne (Talking Heads) entitled "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts", which is an album of compositions mixed over samples from Southern Evangelical radio shows. It was one of my favorite albums of the period. Unfortunately, it is still 'expensive'. Guess I'll just have to wait for more 'capitalist' competition to bring the price down!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2011

New Back Catalog Acquisitions

Amazon's September $5 sale includes two albums from my high school years, so I grabbed 'em:

Hunky Dory
Sheer Heart Attack

Hunky Dory is of course due to my tracking down the song Kooks after it was played in the movie Hanna. I still think this album is one of those pivotal works that should appear on every top-X albums of the history of pop/rock.

Sheer Heart Attack is just my nod to Freddie's birthday, which was nicely acknowledged by a Google Doodle recently.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:52 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2011

QOTD

"If the whole thing is a put-on, a bit of Vincent Gallo life-as-theater for the benefit of whoever happens to be sitting next to them, that's no excuse. It's being an asshole about being an asshole."

Steve Albini on Odd Future

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:35 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2011

Spotify

If you check my Last.FM list, you'll see that instead of getting ready for bed and tomorrow, I've been frittering away the evening playing with the free stream from Spotify, which launched in the US today (Hacker News was full of free invites, and in fact included a Python program to scan for available invites, so I used that).

Like all music services, for sale or streaming, it is incomplete, failing some of my 'acid test' list of hard-to-find musicians and albums, but it nevertheless has an impressive playlist with many 'soundtrack-of-my-life' songs. It won't replace eMusic, or anyway, it won't replace the eMusic I liked before they tried to become iTunes-only-more-expensive-and-less-convenient, but it will let me play in the more popular streams. Still need a good indie/jazz/world/outsider vendor to force me outside of my comfort zone, but this will be fun for more conventional needs.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

April 29, 2011

Hunky Dory (and Hanna)

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Hanna, after reading this interview with the director, Joe Wright, who had previously been known for more arty fare, such as Pride and Prejudice. The conflict between a tense spy action movie and a coming of age drama struck me as intriguing. As it turns out, I enjoyed the movie very much. Saoirse Ronan is striking and has great stage presence. The supporting cast seemed perfect. And, the jumps between action and long, contemplative passages where Hanna revels in the new world, are very appealing.

However! There was one scene which tormented me for the last couple of weeks. In it, Hanna has 'stowed away' in a family's van as they drive across Europe on holiday. The scene is meant to show how she is exposed to the casual love and playfulness of a family, so unlike her own boot camp relationship with her own father, played by Eric Bana. But as the family is playfully mucking about, with Hanna observing from her hiding place in the laundry box at the back of the van, a whimsical tune is playing. I knew I had heard this tune many times, but just could not place it.

Well, I tried to look up the song in the soundtrack credits, but they don't include it. The soundtrack for sale is just all Chemical Brothers (the electronica duo responsible for most of the music). Okay, they are fun, but this was not what I wanted to know. No matter how I rephrased my search in Google, it always turned up Chemical Brothers. Wrong!

I had given up.

So tonight, for some reason, I'm browsing album samples on Amazon MP3. I come across an old David Bowie album, Hunky Dory, which I remember listening to in early college years (it had already been out perhaps five years by then). And what a surprise, Kooks is the damn song I was looking for! Interesting synchronicity there, as the song was written by Bowie for his son, whom I knew for years as Zowie Bowie, but whose full legal name is Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones. He is now a well regarded director, responsible for the lovely scifi film Moon (starring Sam Rockwell), and the more recent scifi puzzle/thriller (echoing Philip K. Dick): Source Code.

Anyway, I'm thrilled to uncover this when the Internet failed me. So I'm logging it here in case anyone else is going through the same struggle I did.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:01 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2010

Princess Pangolin

As I jokingly told my wife yesterday evening, I've been "in mourning" since leaving eMusic. Despite my complaints about the escalating costs increasing the risk of experimentation, and the dilution of truly unique music with standard major-label dreck, eMusic served one purpose very well. It got me out of my comfort zone.

I got very used to listening to bands I'd never heard of, and often got whole albums on the strength of the curated reviews. Now I'm mostly adrift, and honing my sifting and winnowing skills anew. Since early October, my listening time has fallen off a cliff, and it's mostly due to the fact that I'd grown used to a steady stream of new music forming the playlists on my iPod. That stopped, and I stopped listening.

Now, the pain is fading (wink), and I've begun to cast an eye about for new interests. Happily, Mark at BoingBoing chose to vocally declare the beauty of Princess Pangolin, a lovely, soft, folky debut album by an indie artist. It is a short album, clocking in at around thirty minutes, and at $3, is a damn bargain. My favorite song of the week, and due to the hiatus, the month, is "The Great Divide", which could easily be a single on the right radio station.

And now I have to spend at least an evening a week perusing Bandcamp. It's not eMusic, and doesn't try to be, but it is another place to hang out and stretch my boundaries.

P.S. - Chromatophore is nearly as good as The Great Divide. And yes, I am listening to it right now.

Posted by dpwakefield at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2010

Secrets of the Ra

Yay! The LXD is back! I'm actually a little bit giddy!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2010

Glee! and Halloween

I've watched the first few episodes of Glee!, and while it is somewhat fun, it somehow just didn't stick with me, unlike LXG. But I hope you can guess which episode I'll be making a point of watching as Halloween rolls around.

Later...

Holy Cow! Netflix has Rocky Horror available streaming now! Just keep lining 'em up!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2010

End of an Experiment

I cancelled my eMusic account tonight. I came home from work after buying a new office chair for the den, and checked my email only to find a message that they were once again planning on bumping prices. It's only been about a year since the last bump (and they used the same excuse: "we're adding a major label to our line-up. More choice!").

Given that I joined eMusic to experiment, taking chances on new and indie music to broaden my horizons, this second price hike pushed me over the edge. The fact that they are now able to offer more of the mainstream music I can get elsewhere isn't much of an attraction. The fact that I must now spend quite a lot more to take a chance on an unknown is the final straw.

Goodbye, eMusic. You were the source of some inspired discoveries, and a lot of so-so experiments. At the new price points, I can't justify that model anymore.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2010

Cranes

Another odd album from the 90's: Loved by Cranes. I like it, but think it will grow on me with repeated listenings...

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

Carl Stalling Project

Okay, I know, SOMEWHERE in this stinking house, there is a cd of this album, but I just can't find it. So after listening to Be the Frog for the millionth time, I finally decided to spend some eMusic credits to download a new copy of Carl Stalling. It's such fun!

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:28 AM | Comments (2)

May 17, 2010

The Blue Album

Just grabbed this album by Orbital. It was their last album, and contains samples from a Russell T. Davies show with Christoper Eccleston (first Doctor Who in the new series). This is what first piqued my interest. Gonna listen to it while writing code tomorrow!

Update

Dunno why, but I just frickin' love You Lot...

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2010

New Music

Picked up lots of singles: two Joy Division songs, "She's Lost Control" and "Love Will Tear Us Apart"; Dr. John's "Right Place, Wrong Time"; Louis Prima's "Sing Sing Sing"; Adam Ant's "Dog Eat Dog"; Love and Rockets' "Kundalini Express", "Ball of Confusion", "So Alive".

Three albums:

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:10 AM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2010

Two New Albums

Broken Bells - Broken Bells. This is a new collaboration for Danger Mouse (of Gnarls Barkley fame), this time with James Mercer, of The Shins. Sounds promising.

Battles - Battles. This is a band which features members of Don Caballero, another band which I enjoy, so I thought I'd take a stab at it.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:37 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2010

Musical Lapses

Okay, I know I've been on vacation from the weblog, and even when I do attend to it, I'm just using it as offboard memory, i.e. to remind me what I've recently seen on Netflix, or grabbed from eMusic, for instance. Guess what? This is another one of those posts!

I'm just starting it here to remind me to fish out the past few albums when I get home, but as I'm at work, I'll keep it short. I just wanted to note the new album I'm listening to right now:

The Edge of the Forest - Darren Johnston

Oddly, Darren is not in the Big Fat Book of Jazz, which gave me some pause. Is he a fly-by-night Jazz scammer? But the samples on eMusic sounded intriguing, so I decided to take a chance, and grabbed the whole thing (I know, eMusic bumped prices, how can I justify such a wild gamble? Just a fool for music, I guess...).

It's pretty avant-garde, and I'm not sure if it is going to grow on me, or 'go' on me, if you catch my meaning. But I'm attracted/repelled by the first composition, "Be the Frog", a nine minute journey from Gershwin to Cage to Carl Stalling (where is my damn Carl Stalling Project CD???) to who-knows-who. At times I'm just bouncing in my chair digging the music, while at others I'm sorta wagging my hand in the universal gesture of get-on-with-it.

Digging around on the net, I find he studied under Fred Frith, which is as good a pedigree as any. And why don't I have any Fred Frith, for frack's sake (I guess since I have a lot of The Residents I sorta have him, as he guested with them tons)?

Wow, pent-up weblogging fury! I better stop before I kill again. Anyway, I'll tag the other recent albums onto the end of this post when I get home. Ciao!

Updates

And two piano compositions by Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou from the 'Ethiopiques Volume 21 - Ethiopia Song'. I plan to grab the rest of this album over time.


Posted by dpwakefield at 08:30 AM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2010

More Indian-American Jazz

Apti, by Rudresh Mahanthappa and his Indo-Pak Coalition. I love the title composition.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2010

Historicity

Newest album from Vijay Iyer, Historicity is a collection of homages to compositions in other genres. Gotta say I really dig his version of Galang.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:00 PM | Comments (0)

January 14, 2010

New Music

First, a rather kicky modern jazz album: Renegades - Nicole Mitchell's Black Earth Ensemble.

And now eMusic has The Cure! But I've run low on credits, so for now, just three of my favorite songs:

Update

And it turns out, if I leave for work early enough to beat the traffic, three Cure songs exactly cover my commute! Nothing quite like pulling into the parking lot as Why Can't I Be You? is ending it's final riff...

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2010

Recent Music

Since I've been lazy as usual, I'll update the music in a bunch:

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2009

Vince Guaraldi

Most recent acquisition from eMusic: In Person, a live album of Vince Guaraldi, whom most people know through his work on the Charlie Brown animated specials. Perhaps it's because of growing up with these that I really like his piano work, even though I'm not generally partial to piano jazz (with some notable exceptions).

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2009

Your Ghost

I'm usually a little tickled whenever I recognize the music used to back a show on radio or tv. In fact, it seems I'm getting to be an old hand with PBS. They use a lot of Miles Davis, like Freddy Freeloader from Kind of Blue. And recently, I was quite pleased to hear some Amon Tobin on This American Life.

But I don't know what to think about the recent music on Dollhouse. I watched A Love Supreme (nice shout out to Coltrane, once again), and they were playing Your Ghost, originally found on Hips and Makers, perhaps my favorite Kristin Hersh solo album. However, it wasn't Kristin singing the song, it was some dude (sadly, not Michael Stipe, who did the backing vocals and harmonies in the original version). Okay, covers can be fine in many cases, but this is one of the best damn songs she ever performed! What gives?

I assume they couldn't clear the rights. I hope they didn't think the cover was somehow cooler.

So anyway, to make up in some small way for that bad karma, I'm going to recommend Hips and Makers to everyone.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 07, 2009

New eMusic Acquisition

Imidiwan by Tinariwen. This group of musicians from Mali have pushed out music for thirty years, but are currently enjoying a bit of buzz in America. I finally saw one too many positive reviews and grabbed this one off eMusic.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2009

The Fall (and music)

So as noted, Jean and I watched The Fall. I was intrigued by the trailers and the opening credits which are online, and folk like Roger Ebert recommended it highly, so I decided to inflict it on Jean.

Short summary: a stunt man breaks his back during a stunt and ends up in a hospital, where he meets a little girl. She asks him to tell her a story, which he does. It is a fantastical story of a quest for vengeance, and we are treated to the child's imagined images of the story.

It's pretty simplistic on the surface, and a bit juvenile, but I nevertheless found it very entertaining, and beautiful. No details, just that you should see it.

The opening credits are online. Here's one version. If that alone doesn't intrigue you, then maybe I should give up. But the music in that trailer is the next item I want to address. It is Symphony No. 7 in A Major: II. Allegretto, by Beethoven, and I for one think it makes for a beautiful flow with the images. I grabbed this version off of eMusic.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 25, 2009

Free Chip Tunes

Picked up a number of free chip tunes from the artists known as 8bitweapon. It's fun.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

More Free Jazz

Amazon is having an electronic 'Black Friday' sale on mp3s, with $3 off on any purchase, so I decided to try another of the recommendations from A Blog Supreme. I'm not ready to review it yet, just wanted to record it:

Black Stars - Jason Moran

Update

Okay, several listens later, I'll say that many of the compositions on this album are pretty fun. The best one is Kinda Dukish, which is a cover/interpretation of this Duke Ellington piece. According to the linked article, my impression that it is two separate pieces joined together is correct. The second piece is 'the funeral march from Ellington's "Black and Tan Fantasy"'.

Also, just a quick note. I realized that my use of the phrase 'free jazz' might be interepreted as music available for free. But no, I'm referring to the genre/approach to jazz known by that label.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2009

Free Jazz

By a series of links starting at Metafilter and ending at A Blog Supreme (nice Coltrane reference there, Whitebread), I found myself considering Jazz beyond Bebop and Hard Bop. Now granted, I've already dipped my toes into the cold, cold water, listening to the British composer/musician Graham Collier (and liking it), and Dutch artist Hank Bennink, not to mention Warne Marsh. But the vast majority of my collection is centered around various kinds of Bop.

So I read on Metafilter about an article to be found on A Blog Supreme called Jazz Now, recommending 'modern' jazz starter albums. I started grazing, listening to the sample compositions included in the articles, and ended up finding something I found interesting, which had the salutory trait of being available on eMusic.

So I picked up Nu Bop, by Matthew Shipp. I've been listening to it on and off for several days and am ready to give an overly broad opinion: I like it. The opening tune, Space Shipp somehow reminds me of Herbie Hancock, during his experimental breakout period, though it is unique to Shipp. The second tune, Nu-Bop, makes me think that Shipp was listening to a lot of Amon Tobin when he composed it. This is a good thing.

So in short, I like it, but am still learning the contours of the album. I'm not sure I will like everything on it, but it was a worthwhile experiment. I'll be digging into the other entries on A Blog Supreme in hopes of finding other stretching exercises which are available on eMusic (and hence not so painful an expense for pure experimentation -- though even eMusic has become more risky with the recent price hikes).

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2009

eMusic & Amazon MP3 Acquisitions

From eMusic, I picked up the 50th anniversary edition of Time Out by Dave Brubeck. I already have an album called Blue Rondo, and of course the classic Take Five, but this is a seminal album, and includes a number of live performances on the 'second disc', so I grabbed it, duplicates and all.

Amazon MP3 was offering a one-day only freebie, and for a change, it was for an artist I care about. The album was "The Orange Mountain Music Philip Glass Sampler Vol.I". Lots of surprisingly short works on this album. I guess not surprising for a sampler, but I think of Philip Glass as a composer of longer, minimalist works, so it's an interesting variation.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:00 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2009

Newest Album

Monk's Dream - Thelonious Monk Quartet

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2009

iPods 'Shuffle'

I usually try to wait longer than two years to recycle a gadget, and with rumors that the iPod Touch would eventually get a camera, I thought about waiting at least until next summer, but truth to tell, I've built up such a large music library between twenty-five years of CDs and however long I've been on eMusic, and there's not enough room on my original iPod Touch. So I broke down and got a 64GB one today.

Renee inherited the first one, which was a 16GB G1. She surrendered her nano (also inherited from me), so that I could get the 10% discount. That was my price for giving her my old unit.

One observation I'll make is that while the iPod Touch still doesn't do some of the things I used to use my PalmPilot for, it has come along far enough that I don't use the Palm at all any more. It sits in a drawer in the den.

The other observation I'll make is that I've always had a habit of naming my computers, including PDAs, after anime characters, usually female. I haven't watched an anime show regularly for several months now, so I'm out of options. Instead, I decided to name this one after my penpal Nami. Hi, Nami! We got the shirts you sent, and Renee is going to wear one of them. Surprise, even a Japanese XL is too small for me.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:10 PM | Comments (2)

October 08, 2009

Nostalgia Music

Grabbed a best-of album for Electric Light Orchestra, Strange Magic. I've listened to the whole 29 tunes, and while I remember many of them fondly, I just re-listened to Mr. Blue Sky, and gotta say that that's very nearly my fave ELO song of all time. Play It Loud!

Then on a slightly more experimental note, I grabbed the well-known Celtic Punk band Flogging Molly. The album in question is called Swagger, and sounds pretty good so far. I didn't buy these guys in a vacuum, as I've heard some of their stuff in the past, and Renee has two of their songs.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2009

Fable of Faubus

I think someone at This American Life got a blanket license on the music of Charles Mingus, or at least to the composition Fable of Faubus. It seems not a week goes by when they don't use a clip from 'Fable' as a bridge in one of their stories. Just googling, I'm unable to find any direct admission, but by gob it's there!

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:28 PM | Comments (0)

Other Albums I Forgot

And just recently acquired:

Update

Oops, I did indeed mention the first two albums, and Jimmy Heath, in this entry. It's just that I forgot to tag that entry 'Music', so my metadata search missed it. Fixed!

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

September 24, 2009

The Thumper

Just a quick note, since I'm at work. I am playing The Thumper, by Jimmy Heath, and I realized that I never recorded here when I got it. It's an eMusic acquisition, and is somewhat above average...

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)

September 21, 2009

Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat

I'd already been contemplating picking up some edition of Guys and Dolls after seeing a 'cute' rendition of "Sit Down You're Rockin' the Boat" in the premiere of Glee, but it was Renee who pushed for me to grab one. Go figure.

Now she and I both have copies on our iPods, and while I won't speak for her, I'm enjoying it immensely.

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:31 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2009

Our Man In Amsterdam

Our Man In Amsterdam is my latest eMusic pick. One of the albums from Dexter Gordon's self-imposed European exile, it's not considered definitive (see Our Man In Paris for that), it is nonetheless a fun little album.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:24 AM | Comments (0)

September 07, 2009

Squeaky Wheels

I guess eMusic got worried about all the grousing people were doing over their price increases and clumsy 'album pricing'. They gave me an extra 50 credits for being a 'loyal customer'. So I used a bunch of them to grab these:

The Rachael Yamagata album contains Letter Read and Be Be Your Love, both of which I got when she gave them away free, so I decided to grab the album now that I could 'afford' to experiment. Most of the other songs are nice, but nothing to write home about. Still like her voice.

David Gilmour is an album I had in high school, just replacing it.

The Jimmy Heath album is just an experiment, based on browsing and seeing it labelled bebop. Seems pretty fun so far.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2009

Music, Music

Minor Hope - Gypsophilia. These guys are a contemporary band from Nova Scotia. They're a pretty versatile bunch, and from the eMusic previews, you can't really be certain from one album to the next whether you'll like them. But this album is charming, and sometimes reminds me of Django Reinhardt.

Ethiopiques Vol. 4 - featuring Mulatu Astatqe. I found this one just browsing the eMusic 'stacks' and following comment threads. The sub-caption for this album is "ethio jazz & musique instrumentale 1969-1974". The "ethio" is for Ethiopia, Astatqe's native land. Very nice music, both for background while programming, and for attentive listening.

Holst's The Planets - Royal Philharmonic Orchestra w/Andre Previn. I don't suppose that this needs any introduction. I just had a hankering for 'Mars' and got the whole 'Holst' of planets.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2009

Miles Davis Express

If I'm not careful Miles Davis albums will represent a significant fraction of my music library. A few days ago I grabbed Steamin' off of eMusic. Some say it is one of his better albums. I can't rank it up there with Kind of Blue, but it is very nice background music while coding.

Speaking of Kind of Blue, one of my more quirky acquisitions arrived over the bit pipe last week: Kind of Bloop, about which it's creative driver said:

What would the pioneers of jazz sound like on a Nintendo Entertainment System? Coltrane on a C-64? Mingus on Amiga? For years, I've wondered what "chiptune jazz" would sound like, but there are only a tiny handful of jazz covers ever made.

To satisfy my curiosity — and commemorate the 50th anniversary of Miles Davis's "Kind of Blue" — I've asked five brilliant chiptune musicians to collaborate and reinvent the entire album in the 8-bit sound.

I have enjoyed Kind of Blue for close to two years now, and have once or twice dipped into the chiptune world (for example, diplodocus ds10). So I sprang for a copy of Kind of Bloop and have been playing it in the background ever since. It's also good music to pick up pine cones by!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2009

Takeshi Terauchi versus The Royal Fingers

A few years ago, Boing Boing pointed me at a band called Takeshi Terauchi and The Bunnys. They based their sound around a classic 'American Invasion' of Japan by The Ventures, one of the primary surf guitar groups in the history of music (Hawaii 5-0 ring any bells?). Terauchi managed to take that sound and make it his own, lacing the surf guitar with liberal oriental notes and a self-deprecating humor. I've listened to the album This is Terauchi Bushi dozens of times in the ensuing years.

Well, Boing Boing tried to do it again, this time pointing me at The Royal Fingers, another Eleki band. The Royal Fingers had one album, Wild Eleki Deluxe, and I've listened to it now a few times. Maybe it's just that I've listened to Terauchi so many times, but I doubt it. Bunnies are just so much more distinct and fun than The Royal Fingers, who sound like a generic knock-off band of The Ventures. I gave it a chance, but it's going permanently off-rotation.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2009

Benny Golson

Another eMusic jazz selection, not any given seminal album, but a best of collection, The Best of Benny Golson.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:46 AM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2009

Jazz, Not Pornography

One of the nice things about eMusic is their 'curated' articles, introducing an artist, a label or a genre from the viewpoint of the curator's love affair with same. Towards the bottom of the front page is the 'fresh stuff' heading, Today's Buzz. It isn't refreshed daily, but frequently enough, and this evening, it was full of Criss Cross New Arrivals. Criss Cross is a Dutch label run nearly single-handedly by Gerry Teekens, and has promoted new jazz artists since 1980.

The Today's Buzz block included a link to The eMusic Dozen: Criss Cross, and after spending the last hour of my evening grazing through samples from this article, I settled on Consenting Adults, which despite the title, is not a pornographic film, but rather a nine-year old album by Mark Turner, Brad Mehldau and Peter Bernstein, channeling '60s jazz ala Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and McCoy Tyner.

I've only given it a brief listen, but I'm looking forward to putting it on repeat while I code tomorrow...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2009

Graham Collier

This album is actually three, Dark Blue Centre/Portraits/The Alternate Mosaics. It's not my usual cup of jazz, consisting not of Hard Bop, but more British Avante-garde jazz.

It's by turns introspective, intellectual, abstract and frenetic. It reminds me of an era of movies late in Frank Sinatra's film career. I'm really just grasping at straws here, but perhaps a specific movie or movies will come to me in time.

In any case, it is a welcome change of pace from my comfort zone.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

July 09, 2009

Two 'New' Albums

And I'm out of credits. Next cycle sees my reduced allotment, effectively limiting me to three albums, instead of four. Already feeling the pinch...

So what did I get this time?

Horses arrived with the Sony catalog, but I'll forgive them, as I've always enjoyed Patti Smith. One of my favorite albums is Radio Ethiopia, which I first owned on vinyl, and bought during a long break in my shift at WHDF, my first round in college, at Michigan Tech. RE was actually her second album, Horses being first. So now I finally own it.

The other album is found in slot 177 of the Top 200 Jazz CDs list. I was just looking to grab some jazz from eMusic by an artist that I have yet to hear. This fit that bill. It's not up there with The Sidewinder or Kind of Blue, but it's nice background music.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

July 04, 2009

Bitches Brew

One of the albums I used for my gripe-fest with eMusic and their new album 'cap' policy was Miles Davis' Bitches Brew. Based on it's historical format as two CDs, and the long jazz tracks, eMusic wanted 24 credits, which for me works out to $9.60.

If you go to the Amazon MP3 entry for the same album, they want $16.99! So why not just pony up the $9.60 at eMusic and quit my belly-aching? Because Amazon will sell me every one of the tracks on Bitches Brew separately. At $0.99 apiece. Buying all seven tracks on the album this way costs me $6.93. It works, because that's what I did last night! So eMusic lost another sale! Will they lose a customer entirely? I still don't know.

I do know that there are currently quite a few albums available, including Sony catalog items, that do not apply the reverse-cap of 12 credits. I have my eye on Patti Smith's Horses and Leonard Cohen's I'm Your Man, for instance.

Still, a lot of the jazz albums I had queued went up from two, four, five, etc. credits to 12. In many cases, they were not classics of the field, but rather interesting live albums by name artists, or even artists I'd not yet heard of. Experiments, mostly. Now they are not so attractive as experiments.

Whine, whine, whine... Anyway, I now have Bitches Brew, and the first listen was very fun!

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:54 PM | Comments (0)

Head Hunters

As I mentioned earlier, I queued Head Hunters, a classic album by Herbie Hancock, which I owned in my early college days. I picked it up last night. This is one of those jazz albums which has four tracks but due to their length ends up costing the 12 credit cap. I did the research, and even at that price, it's significantly cheaper (around 50%) than either Amazon MP3 or iTunes Music Store. So I went ahead and grabbed it.

I've listened to it several times already, and am listening to it again while I write this. What a great album!

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

July 01, 2009

Musical Backfill

In keeping with my promise to explore the back catalog of Sony items now available on eMusic, I downloaded two albums that I wore out on vinyl decades ago. Both are from that overbroad umbrella category, jazz fusion:

Birds of Fire was the second album by John McLaughlin's band, and the last with their original line-up, losing Billy Cobham, but gaining Jean-Luc Ponty for their next effort, Apocalypse. Birds of Fire came out in 1973, while I was still in high school ("Drink and drive, drink and drive, we're the class of '75!"), but to be honest, I probably didn't really find out about it until my freshman year in college. As I understand it, it was a watershed album, diminished in impact only by the fact that it followed their first album, The Inner Mounting Flame. However, my own experience is that the years of high school and college were filled with so many unique and rich bands that this just seemed appropriate. Listening to it now, I can say it is still a great favorite of mine.

Heavy Weather is probably the only Weather Report album I owned. My memory is vague. Looking over the album info now, I am amused to find that Wayne Shorter was in Weather Report. He was a great bebop jazz musician who both led bands of his own and appeared in many other important bands such as Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis' second quintet. This is kind of like the revelation I got when I first found out that Herbie Hancock, whom I'd previously known from another favorite 1973 album, Head Hunters (in my queue at eMusic), had a prior life full of jazz appearances, including a stint with Miles Davis in his second quintet!. Urp! I think I just swallowed my tail!

Anyway, just living off of fond memories, I can mine the Sony catalog for years, if I want to. They think they're soooo clever, only agreeing to put albums that are at least two years old onto eMusic! Is 1973 old enough for you, Sony! Thpppt!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

eMusic on Probation

Today, eMusic launched their partnership with Sony music. A ton of albums owned by Sony got added to the roster, and coincidentally, the rates were raised. I say coincidentally because the eMusic honcho says they were planning on raising rates in response to their main indie labels' request, and viewed Sony's entry as the catalyzing event.

Here's how eMusic works. You subscribe, and you get a certain number of 'credits' per month. Credits do not roll over. Every song you download is worth one credit. Originally, the more credits per month you bought, the lower the 'price' of each credit. They've mostly eliminated that with this revision. Here is what I've been paying since I joined eMusic:

At that price, experimentation is a no-brainer for me. iTunes wants $1.29 for a track of DRM-free music. Amazon MP3 wants $0.99 and up. So at around a third to a quarter of the going price, I often downloaded an album by a group I'd never heard of, just to listen at my leisure. I learned about groups I'd never listen to otherwise, and have even downloaded more albums by these no-names after the initial experiment.

Here's my new plan (non-standard, grandfathered):

My price per track increased by a third. A newcomer supposedly will only get 35 credits, and pay $15.98. We'll see if I get the grandfather rate or not.

Now you may say that $0.40 is still significantly less than the majors. You may say that I should still be, what, two-thirds as enthusiastic for experimentation as I was before the hike. Unfortunately, I find my response is somewhat more non-linear.

With the original announcement of these coming changes, eMusic tried to take some of the sting out of the hike by adding that they were going to cap 'some' albums' prices at twelve credits. So if you like albums with dozens of short tracks, and they tag those albums with the cap, you come out ahead.

However, they've also implemented another policy, which they didn't announce. If a track is longer than ten minutes, the only way to download it is by purchasing the entire album it is on. Right up front, let me say that I object to being pushed to download an album to acquire a single tune. If I'm experimenting, I may willingly download an entire album of unknown songs. But if I'm trying to pick up an old favorite, I will be damned if I will pick up the eight or ten filler songs on the same album. Screw you, eMusic.

But that's not really the key problem with this issue. Consider Miles Davis' album "Bitches Brew". It has 7 tracks, but is a 'two cd' set (two long tracks on the first 'cd', five more on the second). The 'album price', therefore, is 24 credits (no option is given to buy the first or second 'cd' only). Six of the songs are over ten minutes apiece (jazz, remember?). Only one short track can be downloaded separately. To get any of the others, you have to download them all, and pay 24 credits!

Result: Bitches Brew costs (me) $9.60. Given that I can buy separate tracks at Amazon and thereby get the entire album for $7, eMusic has very little to offer here.

I buy a lot of jazz albums. Jazz albums often feature long tracks, but also frequently have fewer than twelve tracks. Between the 12-credit 'cap' per 'cd', and the rule forbidding downloading longer tracks without downloading the entire album, I end up getting the short end of the stick. Just to be balanced, the Sony back catalog has a lot of great albums. For the first few iterations (however long I last) I'll probably be dipping into that.

However, eMusic justified it's existence for me by offering a low-friction avenue to experiment. If I feel compelled to perform the kind of math juggling I've used above before each purchase, then the friction has just increased dramatically. I'll continue to subscribe for now, but I'm definitely feeling reduced value for my given tastes.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2009

New Music

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2009

Passel o' New Music

I'm getting lazier every month. Here's the list of recent eMusic:


Posted by dpwakefield at 04:45 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2009

More Music

And a short album, The Blues Book by Booker Ervin.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:17 PM | Comments (0)

Legion of Boom

Grabbed a copy of Legion of Boom (The Crystal Method) from eMusic after Brent let me sample it. These are the guys responsible for the theme to House.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2009

Duck Stab / Buster and Glen

I already had a best-of for The Residents, but I've nevertheless been curious about this album, which had two or three overlaps, so I grabbed Duck Stab/Buster and Glen this evening. More as I listen to it...

And to wind things up for this allotment of eMusic credits, I decided to get Celebrity Golf, a fifteen minute standup routine by Mike Birbiglia that I first heard on This American Life, mostly so I could inflict it on friends and family.


Posted by dpwakefield at 09:01 PM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2009

Clarence "Frogman" Henry

After hearing a mashup featuring Ain't Got No Home (thanks Jean), I had to get the source material, and fortunately eMusic had a best-of. So we're digging it now.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2009

And Another...

The decade-old solo album by my favorite female vocalist/composer of all time, Kristin Hersh, Sky Motel. God I love her voice!

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:52 PM | Comments (0)

New Music

Ninja Tour, a sampler of songs from the bands touring with NIN this year.

Blue Rondo, a very nice Dave Brubeck album.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2009

Klaus Nomi

I was browsing the web tonight when I ran across this link about Jobriath Boone on BoingBoing. I'd never heard of him before, but Metzger found a handful of videos, and gave a capsule career overview comparing him to early David Bowie and Lou Reed, at least in terms of sexual ambiguity. I watched the primary clip, and musically I can see a bit of a resemblance to Bowie, but his costume had me thinking of Klaus Nomi (Metzger actually mentions Klaus in passing while documenting Jobriath).

I'd like to describe Nomi, but I think it's better if you follow the Wikipedia link, and maybe watch a video or two, to get an idea of what he was like. I like "Lightning Strikes" for the surreal costume, but Renee seemed to prefer "Just a Man".

Thank you, Klaus Nomi!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2009

New Musical Entries

I've added two new Amon Tobin albums to my collection:

I grabbed a new Balkan Beat Box album (the only other one they have), Nu Med.

I've also rounded out my allotment from eMusic this period with a handful of piano pieces from Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack: The Legendary Sessions Volume 1. I plan to get the whole album, but couldn't bring myself to wait until I had the entire lump of credits. I'll pick the rest up when my next bundle of 50 credits comes around.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2009

Amon Tobin

Today involved lots of emails, lots of document reviews with careful annotation and lather, rinse, repeat. In cases like these, I want some background music that I can occasionally surface from my concentration to enjoy, but which otherwise forms an unobtrusive background tapestry. What Brian Eno dubbed ambient music. An album like Music for Airports is a classic example of this, but I'm willing to stray into more traditional fare such as Waltz for Debby, if it is not too 'excitable'.

So anyway, today I decided that the particular genre-unto-himself that is Amon Tobin would make a great background for the day, and just started the playlist of multiple albums that I have in my default list-of-playlists on my iPod. If you go to my Last.FM tracks page for today, you'll see the result. Cujo is just one of his early aliases...

Amon Tobin got me to thinking about my semi-random approach to music discovery. Some of my favorite albums of all time were nearly-random purchases. Judas Priest's Sad Wings of Destiny and Patti Smith's Radio Ethiopia were both bought in a record store in Houghton, Michigan while I was working at a radio station there. I'd put an LP on the turntable, lock up the studio, and walk down to the record store. Browsing covers, I'd say, "That's a cool cover, I wonder what the band sounds like?" Many times, the result was a dud, but sometimes, as with Judas Priest and Patti Smith, they became albums that have followed me my entire life.

A funny side-effect of this approach to buying music is that I sometimes fall in love with an album or albums by an artist, when it is generally agreed by their main followers that that album is one of their weakest or most atypical efforts. Amon Düül II is a good example of this effect, where I have Vive La Trance and Hijack, both of which came about during a flirtation with more commercial music by the band which upset it's core followers.

Another example would be Guided By Voices, a band renowned as a seminal force in the low-fi music movement. I picked up Do the Collapse, enjoyed it quite a lot, and only later discovered that it was Robert Pollard's "sell-out moment", taking the band into the studio for a polished production at the hands of Ric Ocasek.

Of course, sometimes the effect is reversed, and I pick an album only seemingly at random, which I've somehow heard about via the Zeitgeist. My exposure to Amon Tobin was of this nature. Some years ago, browsing the Internet, I came across a mention of a shot-by-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark, done by a bunch of teenage friends. The article included a link to a short video clip showing the teenage actor portraying Indy, fleeing the giant boulder trap from the beginning of the film. Instead of copping John Williams' soundtrack, they overlaid some electronic music I'd never heard, but which I found intriguing. I had to hunt for awhile before I found the claim that it was in fact Four Ton Mantis by Amon Tobin. A little bit more hunting uncovered Supermodified as the album on which it could be found. I had to hunt a few record stores, but I got it and it remains my favorite Amon Tobin album. Guess what I'll be listening to tomorrow?

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2009

Take Twelve

Okay, only I could get giggly over acquiring a new Lee Morgan album. I know I just used up my monthly allotment of credits from eMusic, but they don't roll over on the calendar month, so I've got a new bundle to play with.

And so I went to the eMusic home page, and up there under Music You'll Love, the very first item was Take Twelve. I listened to the samples, and decided I had to have it. So now I have the classic The Sidewinder, the uneven but still fun Expoobident, and this new one. Can't wait to play it while coding!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2009

Rounding out the Month

Two final acquisitions. I already heard Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven by Godspeed You! Black Emperor thanks to a loaner from Brent, and eMusic carries it, so into the iTunes library it goes.

Second, a bit of an experiment:

Godfather - Tamil Movie Soundrack by A. R. Rahman.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2009

Surfing on Sine Waves

I'm taking the entire weekend off this time around to try to nurse a cold into submission. I have a history of really embracing a cold, so I doubt it will be easy. Anyway, I decided to grab some music off of eMusic, and this is what I'm listening to now:

Polygon Window is another name for Richard D. James, best known as Aphex Twin. Lots of rhythmic electronic noise, sort of a 20th century canon. It's good for zoning out, or to play in the background when coding.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

January 31, 2009

Last Few Music Acquisitions

Find yer own links!

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

January 05, 2009

Two New Albums

The first is a spin-off of a loaner from Brent:

The other, as threatened earlier, is

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:37 PM | Comments (0)

December 27, 2008

Holy Crap

I got my eMusic credits for the coming month, and based on the thirty second samples and some positive reviews, grabbed Mountain Battles by The Breeders. It's the only Breeders album on eMusic, and browsing around, it's not considered their best, but damn! It's pretty damn good.

It feels a lot like Throwing Muses, while being very distinctly it's own sound. I guess it's not too surprising, considering that Kim Deal originally cofounded The Breeders with Tanya Donelly, one-half of the creative heart of Throwing Muses (the other half being Kristin Hersh, who still consistently hits the top of my list).

I seldom grab two albums by the same group, as the ocean of music is quite big, but I might reconsider for The Breeders. Also, Kim Deal was in The Pixies, so I'll probably be picking up Surfer Rosa or Doolittle.

Update

After a few more listens of Mountain Battles, I've concluded that the first half of the album is great. The second half is just okay (sometimes good). Still, a great half-an-album is like a great EP, and the rest is just sorta bonus tracks. It doesn't really hurt to have 'em.

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2008

New Music

Got these two a few days ago:


I find I'm now waiting anxiously for my next eMusic renewal, as there are a couple of albums I've decided sound quite intriguing. I'll let you know once I get them...

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:56 PM | Comments (0)

Something To Look Forward To

A new 50FOOTWAVE album. Go Kristin Hersh!

P.S. - I just finished listening to the streaming album, and can't wait to buy it.

Posted by dpwakefield at 02:57 PM | Comments (0)

December 13, 2008

Saint Dymphna

By Gang Gang Dance...

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:19 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2008

More Albums

Totally lazy, so find your own links. These were gathered from eMusic over at least a couple months:

Plus two songs from the London Roxy version of Rocky Horror...

And miscellaneous Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2008

Music

And I finally got around to buying the two Radiohead songs I've wanted now that Capitol/EMI has unbundled them:

Posted by dpwakefield at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

September 14, 2008

Carla Bruni

I missed mentioning picking up Comme si de rien n'était by Carla Bruni. All French, but still pretty fun to listen to even if I can't speak a lick.

While I'm at it, let me mention a neat album of open-source music by a collection of amateurs composed on their Nintendo DS's, using the Korg DS-10 program. The album is called diplodocus ds10 compo.

Finally, as we speak I'm downloading one of the more poppy and accessible albums by Animal Collective, Strawberry Jam. Grab some of their earlier stuff, and it can become quite abstract. I decided to go for accessible first. Reports later after a listen.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2008

Latest eMusic Purchases

Creeping up on the end of the month, so I just grabbed these:

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:36 PM | Comments (0)

Glenn Miller Orchestra

Out in the cloud, Ade42 wrote of his success in hunting down a transitional classic on vinyl, Something New - The Glenn Miller Orchestra under the direction of Buddy DeFranco, translates The Tijuana Brass Hits. Wow, that's a mouthful! Anyway, he digitized it and put it up for consideration. It's pretty fun.

If that's not enough, Derrick Bostrom wrote of another album from this stage in the band's life, Do You Wanna Dance?, same lineup, same leader, doing songs from the Top 40's of the period. Gave that one a listen too. Again, harmless fun.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 03, 2008

Musical Update

I've been ever so lazy of late (okay, the last two months), so I'll warm up by posting most of my recent musical acquisitions. Since there's a backlog, you'll have to do your own links:

Also picked up another couple of tunes by Rodrigo y Gabriela: Juan Loco, and Orion.

Finally, I was bemoaning to Tom how I only had two of the Cowboy Bebop albums:

Tom, as it turns out, has all seven, and so he loaned me the remainder. I have listened to them all now, including:

My conclusion is that I purchased the two best in the lot. There are a lot of interesting tunes, and some real standouts, in this latter batch, but on the whole, they sound like what they are, incidental music for a quirky anime series. So thanks, Tom, you saved me from having to dump forty or fifty bucks per CD on these albums as imports. I'm happy with what I have.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:35 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2008

Music Virus

Happy is the man who infects his friends with superior albums. I turned work buddy Brent onto Cowboy Bebop yesterday, and he and I are shooting notes back and forth in real time as he absorbs the awesomeness that is Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts!

And yes, you can only hear Tank! for the first time once, but you can enjoy it almost as much on the hundredth listen.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:33 PM | Comments (0)

June 05, 2008

Boogie Stop Shuffle

I still remember the day at Anime Expo that I bought the first Cowboy Bebop album, and listened to it on a portable CD player in my hotel room. I was stunned. Stunned and joyous. This was some of the best, most striking music I'd ever heard. I still have that album, and Blue, both of which I listen to occasionally.

So this morning I'm listening to Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus. It's one of my favorite albums from the Jazz 100 website. I've had it for going on six months, and I still can't stop listening to it.

Funny then, that it's taken me this long to write down the correspondence I see between the Cowboy Bebop albums and this one. I've seen it for awhile, but now I just can't resist pointing out the obvious homage. If you know the Cowboy Bebop albums I've mentioned, but not Charles Mingus, then listen to Boogie Stop Shuffle and tell me the connection is not there!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

June 03, 2008

Mothership

Amazon's MP3 store was selling Led Zeppelin's Mothership for $5! So naturally, I caved and bought it. It's amazing how many of the tunes on this compilation CD I'm ranking four or five stars.

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:01 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2008

Music

Running up on the end of this month's eMusic credits, so I grabbed a bunch in one fell swoop:

and two more from Rodrigo y Gabriela:

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:40 PM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2008

New Music

Just had a hankering for new, and I mean new music. Straying outside my familiar territory, as it were. Three from eMusic:

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2008

Let It Bleed

Things truly seem to be changing in the music world. eMusic now has every album by the Rolling Stones from 1964-1970. Dunno how that happened. And I'm a bit peeved at that cutoff date, as Sticky Fingers, one of my all time faves from their ouvre, came out in 1971.

Still, there are a lot of good albums in the given interval, and I picked up Let It Bleed, to which I'm listening now. Good stuff.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2008

Rounding Out the Month

An album from 1980, Movies by Holger Czukay.

Three more songs from Rodrigo y Gabriela: Diablo Rojo, Vikingman, Satori.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2008

Passel O' Jazz (and more)

Creepin' up on the end of the month again, and I have a hankering for some new music to accompany my solo coding at work. So I spent an hour or so in a feverish haze (mild cold at the end of a long week) listening to eMusic samples, and settled on:

As if that weren't enough, I've been looping over another mash-up album by dj BC, who made the excellent mash-up of Wu Tang Clan and New Orleans Dixieland jazz, Wu Orleans. The new album is actually a few years old, but given my recent kick on minimalist classical composers, it seems appropriate. The album is a mash-up of Philip Glass and various rappers, called Glassbreaks.

And finally, I've been listening to the free first volume of Trent Reznor's Ghosts I-IV. And while I haven't gotten the remaining three volumes yet, I'm pretty sure I'll be grabbing them, at the low, LOW price of $5. Sweet deal if the others are as good as the first. In fact, the first was worth $5 by itself.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2008

Neutral Milk Hotel

Rafe Colburn linked to two articles celebrating the fact that In The Aeroplane, Over The Sea is now ten years old. I once listened to several samples from the album and decided that though it had a unique voice, it was a little too intense and idiosyncratic even for me, so I gave it a pass.

Based on these two remembrances, though I've decided to use the fact that the entire album is available on eMusic to take the plunge, at relatively low cost. Who knows? Perhaps I will come to consider it one of my favorite albums.

Posted by dpwakefield at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2008

Silly Music Mensch

I was just downloading some new albums from eMusic, and I realized that I hadn't noted a few from earlier this month. They are:

Now for the 'new' albums I've just picked up.

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

February 03, 2008

Two Songs

Jean picked out a song specifically for me:

Then, one evening on the way home from work, I heard a song that I was intrigued with, so I hunted it down:

I've got a new queue of credits for the month at eMusic, so look for more experiments soon...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2008

Sun Ra

I had seven credits left this month on eMusic, and in my 'to buy' list was an album with seven tracks:

The Solar-Myth Approach Volume 1, by Sun Ra. Listening to it now, and I'm sure tomorrow while coding.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2008

Music and More

Two brief items.

One, I used my Christmas money and some allowance to buy myself an iPod Touch. It's pretty neat.

Two, I found out that Dance Raja Dance is available on Amazon's MP3 store, and bought it. I've had "Aatavu Chanda (Dancing Is Beautiful)" for years, and to finally find the rest of this album available is pretty neat. Funny thing, when I searched for it on eMusic, I couldn't find it, but Googling just now, one of the last links on the first page was to the eMusic offering of same. Guess I'll have to look more carefully in future.

Update

The album is good, though I have to admit that the first song, the one I've had forever and which is available for free from Last.FM, is still the best.

And I forgot to mention the name of my new iPod Touch: Toa

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2008

Two New Albums

In addition to picking up Mink Car by They Might Be Giants (which I've already been listening to on a loaner from Tom, so it's almost not a new acquisition), I picked up two new ones tonight:

The former was on Jamie Zawinski's best of 2005 list (mentioned in his 2007 list since Gram Rabbit shows up with a new album in each of 2005 and 2006 as well).

The latter is just the result of browsing. It's a really short album, about a half hour in four pieces. But it's pretty cool. Looking forward to streaming it at work tomorrow.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2008

Fantastic Frank Strozier

I've been living a never-ending stream of hot and cold running They Might Be Giants (thanks, Tom!) lately, so I decided it was time for a new Jazz album. The album Fantastic Frank Strozier was featured on eMusic, so I gave the previews a listen. Sounds nice, methinks, so here we are.

I'll be listening to this and Mink Car, one of the albums by They Might Be Giants that is carried by eMusic and recommended by Tom, tomorrow.

Update

Frank Strozier is indeed a good jazzman. Not gonna see this off-label compilation on anybody's Top 100 list, but it makes for a nice, upbeat bop background when programming.

I also downloaded my own copy of Mink Car, after listening to Tom's copy multiple times. That eMusic queue for January is dwindling, but more soon!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2007

End of an Era

It is with some sadness but understanding that I have to announce that Renee is bidding adieu to flute. She'll finish out the year at school, but no more outside lessons, and no flute next year at school. She just isn't feeling a connection anymore. I wish it weren't so, but I'm not one of those parents who force a child to learn an instrument for their own good. At least she had two good years.

So enjoy this image, as it's likely the last of her playing a flute.

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

New Musical Intrusions

Jean has been active on the mash-up network again. Here's her most recent net:

I'll also mention that I have two new Kristin Hersh songs:

Both are available at her new venture, CASH Music

Posted by dpwakefield at 05:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2007

Mingus Ah Um

Number Three at the Jazz 100 site, my self-gifted stocking stuffer for this Christmas is Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus. So far it really does sound like a number-three-of-all-time album. More as I get a chance to absorb it. Merry Christmas!

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2007

Winter Concert

Renee's 2007 seventh grade Winter concert was this evening. I took a few quick snapshots that I'll try to upload to Flickr over the next few days. Too beat now.

I feel, and Jean agrees with me, that Renee is one of the better musicians in the Cadet Band. Go Renee!

Update

The single minimally acceptable image from the concert is now in the banner.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2007

Kelly Great

Okay, Kelly Great is the other Not-Jazz-100-CD album I had my eye on. It's only five songs, so it fills out my December queue nicely. And since eMusic charges by the song, I don't have to feel like I'm getting gouged for a short album.

Wynton Kelly was a jazz pianist, perhaps less well known than Thelonius Monk, but well-travelled nevertheless. So I decided to grab one or two of his albums and give him a listen. I like the first number on this album, "Wrinkles", a lot, already sure it's at least four stars. We'll see about the others.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:41 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2007

From the Not-Jazz-100-CD Files

One of the two jazz albums I promised I'd be getting, this is People I Like, by The Blueprint Project, with Han Bennink. A bit avant-garde and arrhythmic, but in a way that really tickles my novelty gland. We'll see how it holds up to multiple listens.

Tom, I only had fourteen slots left on eMusic this month, and Mink Car has seventeen tracks, so I opted to wait until January to pick it up!

Oh, and it's now exactly two weeks until Christmas Day, so I can start listening in earnest to A Charlie Brown Christmas, a Vince Guaraldi piano album I seem to have neglected to mention here. So sorry.

Update

So People I Like is generally very strange. The atonality is a bit precious, so I'll have to say that this was an experiment with a short lifespan. I'll take it out occasionally, dust it off and give it a listen, but while I rated two songs four-star, none of them got five. Not so much memorable as novel.

Funny, but I had a book in the queue at the library, and it arrived shortly after I started listening to this album. It's called The Rest Is Noise, by Alex Ross, the New Yorker music critic. In it he explores the history of modern music, with a lot of attention given to more experimental approaches, atonality, differing scales and the road less travelled. I think of this album as sort of kicking off my browse of this book.

Oh, and I've listened to A Charlie Brown Christmas every morning since I posted about it. Definitely more conventional and regular than People I Like, and certainly less cloying most of the time than the broad swath of Christmas music out there.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2007

Expoobident

Okay, it's not on the Jazz 100 list, but I liked The Sidewinder so much that I decided to grab Expoobident (apparently jazz slang for extraordinary, phenomenal, wonderful.) from eMusic tonight.

There are a couple other not-Jazz-100 albums that have caught my eye at eMusic, so I have a feeling I'm gonna rip through my quota early this month. I'll note them here if I grab them, of course.

Update

Yes, The Sidewinder is an album where everything pretty much gels, and Expoobident is not. The songs, though hard bop, seem a little too relaxed, and sometimes aimless. But even so, it's a fun album, and will continue to get a spot in the rotation.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2007

Wes Montgomery

Grabbed #25 of the Top 100 Jazz CDs tonight from eMusic. It's called The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery. I've just started listening to it. I'll post impressions here in a couple of days.

Also, if that's too highbrow for you, I grabbed, at Jean's behest, Milkshake by Kelis, from the iTunes Music Store.

Update

Very nice album. Definitely worth owning. I've practically tranced out to several of the numbers on this album, and look forward to many more listenings.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 27, 2007

New Musical Experience

It's pretty common for a radio news show or a radio magazine like This American Life to play some music in the background, or between segments, as a sort of audio wallpaper. I've often had the experience of picking out the individual tune, naming it and the artist, and getting a little flush of pleasure. A lot of times on PBS, though, they stretch, playing compositions that I'm unfamiliar with, and which I often wish I could find later. But of course I forget to look them up.

Lately, PBS has been playing snippets of songs that I suspect they think are alternative, or obscure, and I've been pegging them. On two occasions, I've spotted them using Camper Van Beethoven, right back to Telephone Free Landslide Victory, their first album, from back when Jean and I were in Ohio. Nice to see David Lowery and gang getting recognized in such a pedestrian setting.

But yesterday morning, I was driving to work, listening to On the Media, and during their final segment, they were playing a jazz composition. And I recognized it! No, it wasn't "In the Mood", or "Begin the Beguine", or any other Big Band standard. It was "Freddie Freeloader", from Kind of Blue, by Miles Davis. One of my Jazz 100 CDs. And I named the artist, if not the title of the composition. That's a new experience for me. And "Kind of Nice."

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:47 AM | Comments (0)

November 26, 2007

New Music

Yes, despite all the free stuff I have available, I'm still spending eMusic points. This time, another album from the Jazz 100 site, Portrait In Jazz - Bill Evans.

Then to round out my credits for the month, I picked up URAQT by M.I.A.

Update

Regarding Bill Evans, I've now had three uninterrupted listens of this album, in different settings. And once again, I have to say that the Jazz 100 site's ranking, #112, feels fair to me. Listening to this album, I felt I was in a piano lounge at some generic hotel bar. There were a few definite thumbs-up moments, a lot of "meh", not much inspiration evident. Piano virtuosity aside, I don't find much memorable about this album. It's not offensive, it just doesn't reach my inner musical ear.

So it looks as if the top rated albums, like Kind of Blue and Saxaphone Colossus, are pretty easy to agree with. But after #100 (probably even earlier, as below #20 or so, I'm just picking ones that are available on eMusic), it becomes pretty much a matter of taste as to whether the album should be on any list. Anyway, Bill Evans Trio shows up twice in the top 30 (Waltz for Debby at #13, Sunday at the Village Vanguard at #26) so maybe I'll buy one of those to give Evans another chance.

But not before buying, for instance, Mingus Ah Um (#3).

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2007

Overwhelmed with Music

I've now reached the point that I have more music coming down the pipe than I can reasonably listen to. Brent has given me a sampler from his library, which I'm listening to in bits, then deleting. I have my eMusic subscription, currently supplying a lot of jazz and the occasional surprise. And now I have Jamendo. This website was mentioned on Slashdot yesterday. It was founded by French musicians, and is a gathering place for independent artists to post their work.

Since it was founded by French folk, there are a lot of French albums, which Renee is thrilled by, since she's studying French right now. She had me download Lonah - Pièces, which I'm listening to right now. I also downloaded Revolution Void - Increase the Dosage. I'm of course going to be listening to both over the next few days. Not sure if I'll keep either, but they're free, cost and license, so I can take my time deciding.

Update

Renee had me download another, Saint-Jean - Allo barjo. Then Brent pointed me at an album by a group I'd already mentioned: t r y ^ d - Public Domain. More than I can keep up with, like I said...

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

November 18, 2007

Shriekback

When Jamie Zawinski first mentioned Glory Bumps, by Shriekback, I checked eMusic to see if they carried them. I don't recall now if they had even minimal entries, but they didn't have Glory Bumps, so since it was a great unknown to me I filed it away for later reference. More recently he brought the album up again, saying "I think I've just listened to 'Amaryllis in the Sprawl' about 25 times in a row."

Today I was browsing eMusic, typing in hits and misses from the past into the search bar, and lo and behold, there it was. So given that I had credits to burn before the end of the month, I grabbed it. Two albums in two days. Is that too excessive?

Anyway, I agree that "Amaryllis in the Sprawl" is a cool song, but I actually like the starter song ("Hooray for Everything") better. I'll be listening to this thing a bit over the next few days...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2007

The Sidewinder

I was shopping for stocking stuffers at Borders this afternoon, and just decided to browse the jazz CD section while I was there. Turns out they had a reasonably priced copy of The Sidewinder, Lee Morgan's entry in the Top Jazz 100 list. So I grabbed it, and I'm giving it a listen right now. Sounds pretty good so far...

Update

Well, I've given this thing a couple of listens, and for now I'd have to say that it has a pretty high replay value. Definitely more enjoyable than "Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section". I'm almost tempted to say that it can hold it's own against "Kind of Blue", though I suspect these two will swap places from time to time as my mood changes. Anyway, four out of six of the tunes on this disc ranked four stars. Kewl!

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:42 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2007

Another Jazz 200 Album

Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section. Going to give it a better listen tomorrow while coding/digging.

Update

Heh. This album was released the year I was born (1957). Many of the compositions on this album could reach four stars, but for a minor flaw. Too much drum solo. This is pretty funny, since as a kid I really liked drum solos (having grown up on old movies featuring and about Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich). That second link to a clip of Buddy Rich with Jerry Lewis is actually pretty fun.

In my teenage years rock drum solos were also pretty common, and I had no complaints. And as I've listened to the various albums I've grabbed off of the Jazz 200 list (this one, Thelonius Monk's "Brilliant Corners" and "Monk's Music", John Coltrane's "Giant Steps", Sonny Rollins' "Saxaphone Colossus" and Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue") it's dawned on me that most of these albums center on compositions using a framing melody, with intervals for improvisational solos by the various band members. So drum solos fit right in.

So I'm not sure why they detract from this album. Maybe it's just that none of the other albums feature drum solos. Maybe the drum solos strike me as jarring, or unimaginative. I really don't know. As I've been reading up on each of these albums, I've learned that some of the key ones were milestones precisely because they broke with the last musical style. Kind of Blue, for instance, is based on "a new formulation using scales or a series of scales for improvisations", or modal jazz.

I lack any kind of formal musical training, even as a dabbler. So directly observing these foundations and how they affect the way the musicians play (and play) is mostly lost to me. I still get the aesthetic pleasure of the music, but if a composition is notable to a musically trained listener mainly for technique, I probably am not going to "get it." Maybe that's what's going on with "Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section."

In any case, unskilled though I may be, I have no problem accepting that this album came in ranked #38, while "Kind of Blue" is Number One.

Please note: I do not regret getting this album. It has a lot of good music, and I've already listened to it several times. I just have a few peeves with some of the compositions. Overall, it's definitely worth having.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

November 05, 2007

Saxophone Colossus

Okay, the Bauhaus album is fun, but the Miles Davis album got me in the mood for more jazz I haven't already heard, so I went back to the Top 200 CD list and found one that eMusic carries:

I'm listening to it now, sounds promising. I'll give it a full play during coding tomorrow.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

November 02, 2007

Bauhaus

My odometer at eMusic rolled over with the start of the month, and I picked up Bauhaus - 1979-1983 Volume One. They were the predecessor of Love and Rockets, which I liked a bit back in the day, so I thought I would grab a 'survey collection' of their works. There seemed to be some burps during the downloads, so I may retry in a day or two. That is a nice feature of eMusic, you can re-download tunes you've paid for in the past, something that iTunes Music Store claims is impractical to track. So in your face, iTMS!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:05 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2007

Top 200 Jazz CDs

Go to Jazz 100 for a handful of interesting jazz 'best of' lists. I started looking at the Top 200 Jazz CDs (it says 100, but then links to a second 100 on another page). I have a handful of pieces scattered over the list, but mainly have three albums from the list that I recently purchased (mentioned here previously). I bought these albums before finding this list:

So tonight I decided to grab the two-years-running number one ranked album, Kind of Blue by Miles Davis (thank you iTunes -- eMusic doesn't have the clout to carry this one). Listening to it right now. It's really nice. I'll probably play this on a loop while working on grungy code all day tomorrow.

So am I going to buy all 200 Jazz CDs? To say nothing of their New Breed 100? Probably not. But I'll be picking and choosing samples from this list, perhaps for a long time. I hope it stays online a long while, as I'm too lazy to grab a copy for myself.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:47 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2007

Rounding Out October

Just to use up my allotment for October at eMusic, I picked up a few nice tunes:

The latter two are from a more recent (1994) album of his (20th Century Blues, go figure), but there's no mistaking his style.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2007

New Music

Two new albums:

I think the song I already had from Gogol Bordello (Start Wearing Purple) is most likely the best one on the album, but I still wanted to give them a closer listen than 30-second samples allowed.

Matmos is an unusual electronic duo, and I have a handful of their music from various free samplers. One of them is one of my all-time favorites in any genre, The Struggle Against Unreality Begins, from The Civil War, so I finally decided to burn some of my eMusic credits to grab it.

I also picked up a couple individual songs:

Jean has also added to the playlist:

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2007

Mash-Up Report

I don't really know if these are Mash-Ups yet, Jean moves too fast for me to listen to all these guys...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

Balkan Beat Box

Latest eMusic album: Balkan Beat Box. I was actually listening to samples of Gogol Bordello, and saw a link to BBB. Checking them out, I discovered that they make music that is ideal to program to, texturally rich, but amenable as background music. Looking forward to using it tomorrow at work.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2007

The Music Pipeline

I've been wading through the freebies from the 2006 SXSW (I haven't even started on 2007's free content). Nice discoveries:

From Jean's Mash-Up Train, we have some new contenders as well:

Then a cool little culture collision I picked up scanning the web:

I've also been previewing a couple of albums:

The first is a cover album of Ramones tunes, done in the style of surf guitar. It's not too bad, but I've been spoiled listening to Takeshi Terauchi, who is a Japanese surf guitar god, so they have a steep hill to climb.

The second album is Radiohead's latest, and their first without being under contract to a major label. It's 'free', in that they let you decide how much to pay for it. I'm previewing before I give them any money, as I am generally annoyed with Thom Yorke's policy of only allowing sales of complete albums since he feels that allowing purchase of individual tracks destroys the artistic integrity of his music. Rii-ight. Anyway, so far there are only a couple of songs I'd pay for, so I'll probably delete this one in a day or two.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2007

Mash-Update

Jean still busily mines the mashup world:

Then, for a more conventional take, I grabbed these two from AmazonMP3 Store:

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2007

Vive La Trance

Another twenty-some odd year-old album, from my early college years. Ook! Make that thirty years. The album first came out in 1974, and I remember listening to it at Michigan Tech, in Houghton, Michigan, which would put it at around 1976 or 1977. God I'm old!

Anyway, Vive La Trance is something like the seventh album by Amon Düül II. Yes, that's a Roman numeral two there. There was an Amon Düül first. I won't reiterate the history from Wikipedia here, it's an interesting read. Suffice to say that I've had two of their albums, the remains of which exist still in my desk at work, on a double-length cassette tape. I've played it infrequently over the years, well aware that it was degrading and would eventually cease playing listenable music.

Now I've grabbed this album from eMusic, and I finally found the near-impossible-to-locate Hijack, now back in print. So it's winging it's way through the mail to me, and I'll note it here when it arrives. Such good memories...

Update

Hijack arrived in the mail yesterday, and I've been listening to it ever since. It's as good as I remember, and better even than Vive La Trance. Guess I should follow my instinct to restore all those old albums I was fond of. Hmm, what's next? Voyage of the Acolyte?

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:33 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2007

Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Okay, I know I already got a version of I Put a Spell on You from eMusic, but that was an inferior version, Hawkins 'covering' himself, trying to be goofier without really topping the classic recording.

So now I went ahead and got the version I first heard, which was included in Stranger Than Paradise, a very strange, slow, but wonderful movie by Jim Jarmusch.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:57 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2007

And In the Mash-Up Corner...

Jean's been busy, that's all I can say:

The Joe Bega mashup is kinda funny since the first time I ever heard his
Mambo #5 was in an Anime Music Video (though not the one I link here). As you may know, AMVs are a whole genre of mashups!

And some freebies from Last.FM:

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

Gulag Orkestar

This is my other eMusic grab for the end of September, by the Band Beirut. I'm still listening to it, so I haven't formed a solid opinion yet, but got it based on it's 2006 kudos. More later.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:00 PM | Comments (0)

Now Listening...

I categorized this post under Music, but I will add Movies as well, as this is a note about one of my two remaining acquisitions for September from eMusic:

It is the soundtrack album for the movie of the same name by Fellini. Nino Rota, along with Ennio Morricone, is one of the primary Italian popular composers that I've enjoyed over the years. This is a great album, and will be background music for many programming sessions.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:53 PM | Comments (0)

September 28, 2007

Toes in the Water

If you're technologically challenged, or just have a life, you may not have heard that Amazon is jumping into the online music store business. Since any DRM they could use would not be compatible with iPods (Apple does not license Fairplay), they have chosen to offer unencumbered MP3 files (following in Apple's footsteps after Apple negotiated a similar deal -- in their case for unencumbered AAC files -- with EMI).

Songs and albums are generally cheaper on Amazon than the DRM-locked versions on the iTunes Music Store. Songs most often cost 89 cents, though songs longer than seven minutes are nearly two dollars, and songs longer than fourteen minutes are even more. A strange variable pricing scheme, but one imagines the record companies have to get that camel's nose into the tent somehow. Not all the record companies have climbed aboard the DRM-free wagon, so Amazon currently has about one third of the offerings of Apple.

I imagine the fondest dreams of the RIAA cabal involve selling cheap to cut the legs out from under Apple during future contract negotiations, and once Apple has buckled (or simply been made irrelevant) we will see gradually escalating prices at Amazon. Probably much multi-tier nonsense, with 'popular' tunes going for $5 a pop, and older standards costing 'only' $1.98. I don't really think I'm being cynical here. But as a counterweight to this viewpoint, I don't think that the record companies will be able to push prices back up across the board, and that instead, this step away from DRM will just become the expected default. Sorry, RIAA...

Last night I went to my daughter's school for the usual yearly grind of 'meeting' all her teachers in a cattle call wandering from classroom to classroom, collecting bits of paper, but not really being able to talk to the teachers, since we were all on the clock, literally (hear the bell, move on). So this morning, as a treat for disrupting my routine evening, I've dipped my toes into the Amazon pool, buying a copy of Under Pressure, by David Bowie and Queen (really, to me, just Freddie Mercury). It's a very acceptable encoding of the song, and now that I've looked at the album it came from (Best of Bowie) I almost wish I'd just gotten the whole thing.

So now I'm getting my music from three vendors, eMusic, iTunes and Amazon MP3. Will I forsake the iTunes Music Store for a cheaper vendor? I already have, giving preference to eMusic when they carry the same artist as iTunes. This is partly for the average price of a song on eMusic, and partly due to the fact that they don't use DRM. So I'm not, in my opinion, playing into the hands of the RIAA, as I won't purchase a song for $5, ever. I won't purchase a song separately for $1.98, either, though I'll buy it if it is part of an album I'm buying, and the average price of the songs works out to 99 cents or less. An example of that would be this album by Hawkwind, where there are multiple songs priced at $1.94 (that dreaded seven minute limit, damn bandwidth costs !) but the whole (double) album comes in under $23. I don't think I'll actually buy this album, as I only want two or three of the songs, but you get the gist.

Also, Thom Yorke, get over yourself. OK Computer is not such a precious unified work of art that it can only be experienced as a complete entity. Sure, I liked Kid A, which I bought on CD years ago, but I only want Paranoid Android, and I'm not willing to pay $8.99 for it. 'Album Only' indeed!

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2007

Jean, Jean, the Mash-Up Queen

I introduced Jean to the concept of mash-ups, and she's grabbed a few, and highlighted a few that I otherwise gave only a light listen to, making them favorites. Now, the student has overtaken the master. She's using music from my iTunes library to compose exercise discs, and spicing them up with mash-ups. But her desire for them outstrips my rather casual discovery methods (i.e. did someone mention it on Boing Boing?)

So she's out there trawling the net alone, unprotected. She's doing it for herself, she's doing it for me, Hell, she's doing it for you! Here are the latest catches:

And in case all that unconventional music makes your head hurt, I also grabbed (via eMusic):

A fine song, later covered by the Blues Brothers. I like both versions.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

Recovered Albums

Like a lot of trailing edge post-Boomers, I spend a fair portion of my music budget on acquiring digital versions of music I've already owned on vinyl. My most recent album is a case in point. This Nation's Saving Grace, by The Fall. It's the only album I've ever owned by them (or by him -- The Fall is primarily Mark E. Smith: "If it's me, and your granny on bongos, it's a Fall gig""), but I plan to correct this via eMusic later with Hex Enduction Hour.

Anyway, it's just as fun as I remember, some twenty years ago, when I was disturbing the normals by boogying at the bus stop with a cassette walkmen and headphones. The only other band I did that with was Camper Van Beethoven, another band I've slowly been replacing with bits.

Funniest of all, I bet if I went out into the garage and dug through a box full of old records, I'd find The Fall, pristine and unchanged, ready to play but for the lack of a working record player. Bet the record companies are giddy about that.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2007

Mo' Music

Some more music acquired recently:

The first is a song I first heard on Thistle and Shamrock. It struck me as interesting for being an Irish reel with bagpipes and harmonica.

The second is a mash-up that Jean found, blending 'Evil Woman' by E.L.O. with Marvin Gaye singing 'Too Busy Thinking About My Baby'.

Finally, I got another album from a Portland, Oregon, group. I seem to have quite a lot of luck with local groups. This one is called The Prids, and the album is called Until the World Is Beautiful. I've heard it described as 'Proto-Goth', and that would not be too bad a label.

Update

I've had a chance to listen to The Prids several times now. Even when I'm not sure I'm going to like more than a song, I like to buy the entire album when sampling a local Portland group, sort of a home culture support policy. In this cased, I can say that I like several of their songs quite a lot. Even if I only liked the first one, though, that'd justify the album for me. "The Glow" has been stuck in my head since I first heard it. Talk about putting your best foot forward!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

A-Key Kyou

To demonstrate how lazy I've been with the posting, today's banner photo is of a concert at last weekend's Japan Festival, in the Uwajimaya parking lot in Beaverton. Renee and I went there, primarily so that she and her friend Sammi could get together and roam the store. Unfortunately, we were never able to hook up with her friend, so we stayed around an hour.

While we were there, we saw A-Key Kyou, who had also played at Kumoricon. As before, they displayed reasonable stage presence, and the instruments were competently played. At Kumoricon, the amplification was so loud that it was hard to tell just what the singing was like. This time, it seemed off-key, but I marked that up to bad equipment, as I saw one of the sound crew repeatedly fiddling with the settings and then walking out to the back of the audience to check the levels.

You might notice in the foreground of the picture a sign for a 'Free Demo CD'. Well, I ambled up and grabbed one, making a donation of five dollars, since free didn't seem fair after attending two of their concerts.

I've given it a listen more than once, and I asked Renee if she agreed with me. She does. The singers (I think both of them) seem to have trouble hitting the notes, quite often. Not the high notes, or the low notes, but notes that might have been intended to be sharp or flat, sustained for a bit, anything slightly off the melody. It's a bit disconcerting, and I'm sad to report it. I had fun watching them perform, much as I enjoy watching kids do cosplay. I just feel sad that they miss the notes.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2007

Two New Songs

I'm gonna be grabbing something from eMusic soon, so I should update my record of things I've gotten recently. These two were bought at the behest of my spouse:

Also, sampling music over the ether:

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

September 01, 2007

New Music

You may recall that I was sampling a band called Tilly and the Wall. I've concluded that there are only two songs I really like, so I've bought them on iTunes Music Store and deleted the remainder of my sample music:

I also did my part at Kumoricon today, and bought a CD by one of the musical guests, a Portland area band called The Slants. The album is called "Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts". The other musical guests, A-Key Kyo, were not represented in the dealer's room (which was set up in the hotel parking garage), so I don't know if I'll get a CD by them. I'll try anyway...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2007

Giant Steps Indeed

Early this week I had to go in for a root planing at my dentist. Unpleasant business, and it left me feeling worn and a bit depressed. So come Friday I decided to treat myself, and I picked up a copy of Giant Steps by John Coltrane. I mentioned it earlier when talking about my acquisition of some Thelonius Monk albums. Well, I'm surely gonna get a lot of mileage out of this album.

What I've discovered while listening to these three albums is that I don't recognize individual numbers as such. I do recognize some of the signature works, but mostly, I enjoy these compositions as uplifting but unobtrusive background music, while I work (or read more recreationally). In any case, they are a welcome addition to my library.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2007

Jazz

Way back in my college days I listened to a lot of different genres of music. For instance, I listened to a lot of jazz. Mostly Latin and jazz fusion. Lots of Passport, Weather Report, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, some Ramsey Lewis. By some stretches, Frank Zappa and John McLaughlin (Mahavishnu Orchestra) fit the jazz label as well. I still have a handful of that music in my collection, but most of it didn't survive the transition from LP to CD.

I dipped my toe into the jazz waters recently when I grabbed some Bix Biederbecke music for Jean. I've been listening too, and it's great music. Now, with my remaining 'August' allotment from eMusic, I decided to branch out once again. Not in any systematic way, but taking an almost random stab into the huge corpus of jazz history, I've grabbed two new (old) albums:

Brilliant Corners
Monk's Music

Both by Thelonious Monk. I'm not ready to comment in any depth, but I've been playing them on heavy rotation, and they make for great contemplative music, as in, for instance, deep programming sessions. I'd like to get Giant Steps, by John Coltrane, but it's not on eMusic, so I'll have to grab it from iTunes or via a traditional CD. Later...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 09, 2007

Kristin Hersh

If you search my site for Throwing Muses or Kristin Hersh (sometimes mispellled by yours truly as Kristen), you'll find a number of mentions, unequivocally positive. I first heard Throwing Muses in two albums that I bought based on reviews I read in Factsheet Five. I first saw Throwing Muses in Cleveland, decades ago. I've been a fan, however casually, ever since. And now, as I mentioned in a recent post, I've bought Golden Ocean, by Kristin's new band 50 Foot Wave.

So what do I find in the comment queue today, but a message from Billy O'Connell ("Throwing Management") pointing me to an EP by 50 Foot Wave called, appropriately enough, Free Music ("please share this music in any and every way you see fit. ")!

Well, over the years, I've bought vinyl and CDs from the whole Throwing Muses dynasty. By Throwing Muses, I originally bought the vinyl for their untitled album that I called Green, due to the cover and the song Green on that album. I also bought The Fat Skier, House Tornado and Hunkpapa in vinyl editions. When those wore out, I bought their CD equivalents, along with The Real Ramona. eMusic.com has the 2003 eponymous album, so I'll be picking it up eventually.

I can't remember what all solo Kristin Hersh albums I bought over the years, but the only one to survive is the CD Hips and Makers.

So in any case, between earlier purchases and future planned purchases, I don't feel guilty accepting a little charity here. Thanks, Billy!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2007

New Music

I started downloading songs as part of my new subscription to eMusic (after the free trial period, which I mentioned earlier). The first couple of albums consist of:

Bix Beiderbecke and the Chicago Cornets

which I got mainly for Jean, who's a big Bix fan, but I'll be listening to it as well.

For my own itch, I got

Golden Ocean - 50 Foot Wave

which is Kristin Hersch's new-ish rock band (less arty than Throwing Muses, much harder than most of her solo work). It's pretty funny hearing her harsh, gutteral singing, after so many years of her dulcet voice. Love it either way.

I'm also enjoying a new mash-up album (not eMusic sourced):

Forgotten Hits, compiled by Simon Iddol

and exploring the music of Tilly and the Wall, specifically I'm evaluating Bottoms of Barrels. I'm particularly fond of Bad Education.

Update

I forgot to mention some neat single songs I've gotten recently: Back in Your Head - Tegan and Sara (Salon Audiofile), Open Your Heart - Lavender Diamond (eMusic) and Star Witness - Neko Case (Pitchfork Media freebie).

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:27 PM | Comments (1)

July 28, 2007

New Music

Blood Money, one of two albums capturing the music written by Waits for plays directed by Robert Wilson. It's based on an unfinished German play entitled Woyzeck, by Georg Büchner. Definitely feels Brechtian to me, along with that "ramshackle apocalyptic carnival" ... "flaunting a keen otherworldly nostalgia and a preoccupation with freaks" (see the review). The other album is titled Alice, and I'll probably be getting it in the next few weeks.

Sound of zZz. Jamie W. Zawinski pointed to a performance art video set to the song House of Sin, and featuring the two members (Daan Schinkel, Björn Ottenheim) of the band, zZz, as well as a troupe of acrobats and a trampoline. It was visually captivating, in a silly, self-deprecating way, and the song reminded me of Joy Division, so I had to check them out. I ended up picking up the album.

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 27, 2007

New Music

The Anthrax tune is due to director Kevin Smith's iTunes Celebrity Playlist, which was too long for their format and regretfully rejected. So Kevin Smith published it on his own weblog. I'm not a big heavy metal fan, limiting myself mostly to bands which were popular when I was in high school (Black Sabbath, anyone?) but this is not too shabby.

B.B. King is just a favorite of mine, and this is a quintessential selection that I've always wanted to own.

'Girls on Film' was the opening credit music for Speed Grapher, a show Adam turned me onto, and one of the top ten anime of all time, as far as my own viewing goes. When they brought the series over to the US, they were unable to get the rights to the Duran Duran song, so I bought it instead.

'The Harrry Lime Theme' is from The Third Man, a post WWII film set in Allied-occupied Austria. I remember being struck both by the story and the music. This is the central theme, and it's quirky zither music made the surreal postwar Austria limbo that much more alive.

Another movie reference. The Marcels' version of 'Blue Moon' first made my aquaintance in An American Werewolf in London, one of John Landis' better films. Two friends are attacked on the Yorkshire moors by a beast that kills one and injures the other, David Kessler (played by David Naughton). After recovering, he moves in with his nurse, and one moonlit night, experiences the painful transformation to werewolf, all the while 'Blue Moon' plays.

So, pop culture aplenty in this batch of tunes.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:39 PM | Comments (0)

April 28, 2007

Musical Serendipity

Ages ago, at Anime Expo, I was sitting in the Anime Music Video contest, and there was a very clever, cute AMV called Anime Polka set to the song Polka Power!, by "Weird Al" Yankovic. Recently, as I've noted here, I tracked down the song and bought it, setting Renee off on an endless "Weird Al" trek. What I didn't know is what one of the particular snippets of music in that polka medley was from.

So here I was this evening, browsing various weblogs, when one pointed to a video some youngsters at some Web 2.0 company put together, where they lip-synched to a song called Flagpole Sitta, by Harvey Danger. And whattaya know, there they are, singing "I'm not sick, but I'm not well, and I'm so hot cause I'm in hell." Now that I've heard it again, I know that song, but for years, the only connection I had was Polka Power! (and Anime Polka).

If that was not enough, I was reading Metafilter and stumbled onto this thread. In it is described Stephen Sondheim's "favorite song" out of all his body of work. The pointer led to a rare piece of video footage of the 1976 Broadway musical Pacific Overtures, specifically, the performance of the song, "Someone In a Tree". I watched it, not knowing what to expect.

Now if you are not like me, you probably think musical theatre is some sort of aberration of the human mind, and avoid it, as so many people I know do. One comment on Metafilter illustrates this attitude: "Musical theater gives me an urge to break things." I can show you a thing or two you can break, buddy.

But for me, a well done musical is a gem of human achievement. Ten or twenty seconds into this video clip, I was enraptured. Now I wish there were some way to recover this entire video performance. But a comment on YouTube notes:

It's on a tape at the New York Public Library's special collections dept. The only copy in America, as far as I know. You can make an appointment to view it there if you're ever in NYC. I wish they'd get the rights and distribute that tape. This is the only footage I've ever seen from that original Broadway show.

Please, somebody (Criterion Collection?) get the rights to this, and restore it proper. I'll be there with money in hand!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2007

Two Albums

I feel like I've dropped a couple of stitches here. Impulse buys, Internet freebies and such will just have to go unannounced. But I did get:

We Are Pilots - Shiny Toy Guns
Beggar's Banquet - Rolling Stones

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:51 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2007

Costello Music

You can find an EP of Scottish sensations the Fratellis at iTunes United States, for instance, but their hit glam singalong "Chelsea Dagger" is in nearly every country except the United States. (Their randy burlesque video for it, naturally, is all over YouTube.)

The insanely great songs Apple won't let you hear

So the album, Costello Music, was not available on iTunes Music Store (US), as the article mentions, but the song, Chelsea Dagger, was really cool. So I took it into my head to search the net for it. Internally, I promised myself that if it became available in the US, say on the iTunes Music Store, I'd buy it.

I've been listening to the bootleg on and off for weeks now, and it's one of my favorite albums of the last year. And a day or so ago, I noticed it on the 'new releases' list at iTunes Music Store. So I bought it. So there, I'm an honest man again.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:29 PM | Comments (0)

March 03, 2007

Solo Flute Recital

Today was Renee's solo flute recital, at Lake Oswego High School. Hundreds of kids from all over the area converged on L.O.H.S. today to perform and be judged. I didn't want to make her more nervous than she already was, so I didn't take my camera to the event. Instead, I snapped a few pictures of her wearing her solo outfit, one of which is now in the banner.

She chose a piece called "Allegro" by Mozart, which is short, bright, and a little bit challenging. She's been practicing it for days now. We arrived at the high school nearly an hour before her time slot, as perr the directions of her flute instructor, Denise Westby. We went to the practice auditorium, where a couple dozen soloists and duets were each practicing their pieces at the same time. Cacophany reigned supreme.

Eventually, Renee's time neared and we wandered over to 'Flute 2', one of presumably two rooms devoted to examining flautists. We entered near the end of one exam, after a young woman had performed her piece. The judge was walking her through various drillls, and giving her advice. It was fascinating to watch, even though I'm completely uneducated in formal music. This young woman was obviously quite advanced, and the judge took that into account, pressing her to do more and more. Eventually she let her go, and it was time for another young woman.

This young woman had picked a piece that was clearly beyond her. She hit sour notes, missed beats and generally had a difficult time. The judge was kind, and came up to walk her through some of the issues the young woman had been having problems with. The judge asked her how long she'd been playing, and though I can't remember the particular answer, it was for significantly longer than Renee has been studying.

Next came Renee's turn. She was obviously a little nervous, but she handled herself quite well. She introduced herself, and her piano accompanist, Miss Davis, who is also her teacher in band class at Hazelbrook. Then she launched into "Allegro", suddenly quite confident. I have untrained ears, but she sounded perfect to me. Apparently the judge agreed, as she said she really liked it and wished it were longer.

Then the judge began probing Renee on her techniques, trying to find out what she had been exposed to, and what she could make her flute do. The judge took out her own flute (something she had not done for the other two young women while we were there), and began giving Renee some tips on various techniques, illustrating them on her flute. The demo on harmonics was really neat. She was playing Reveille and Taps solely using harmonics (keeping her fingers in the D position and changing notes only with mouth shape and air pressure). Renee attempted to duplicate her, and did a pretty darn good job.

"How long have you been playing?", asked the judge.

"Around seven months."

The judge was amazed and pleased. She asked Renee how old she was, and where she studied. Renee told her, and the judge said "I started at your age, and took private lessons too. It's really the only way. In band, a teacher cannot hear if you flub a note, because there are forty other students there."

As we were leaving, Renee asked the judge how she did. The judge looked up and said "One Plus!"

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:43 PM | Comments (0)

January 11, 2007

Two QOTDs Two!

I loaned Brent a mix CD with some of the music I got recently, and of CSS he said:

After listening to some of the CSS songs, Jen said: "Are you sure Don wasn't a teenage girl in the mid-80's?" Heh.

While listening to Let's Make Love And Listen To Death From Above, Jen said it sounded like "Dr Who meets the Spice Girls", and found it annoying.

And yes, I did listen to the Spice Girls when they were popular. And Ace of Base. I could go on. I'm not proud. Or tired.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2007

On a Roll, Here

Recent iTunes purchases, in order:


  1. One More Try - My Robot Friend

  2. Polka Power! - "Weird Al" Yankovic

  3. Tetrishead - Zoe Keating

  4. Goldfinger - Shirley Bassey

  5. Girl Anachronism - The Dresden Dolls

  6. Coin Operated Boy - The Dresden Dolls

"One More Try" is atypical for My Robot Friend, as it has a guest vocalist, Antony. And typically for me, it's the one song I really like off this album, Dial Zero.

"Polka Power!" I first heard as the music for the anime music video Anime Polka. I showed it to Renee, which set her off on a grand adventure hunting down every darn song that "Weird Al" has on iTunes and YouTube. I bought this one out of a sense of nostalgia.

"Tetrishead" is a tune off One Cello x 16: Natoma. Zoe Keating is a cello artist who creates compositions with tape looping of her cello performances. This tune is particularly captivating.

Goldfinger I hope everybody recognizes.

The two songs by The Dresden Dolls are the best ones off their premiere album. They also have music videos of these online. Oh, and I love their self-description: Brechtian Punk Opera.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)

December 20, 2006

Mo' Music

The mash-ups and obscure 60s Japanese Surf Guitar have been kind of fallow of late, so I gave in and bought a couple of albums that have been in the queue:

Bring Me the Workhorse - My Brightest Diamond

Waking the Mystics - Sophe Lux

The latter are actually a Portland band!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 10, 2006

The Flute Recital

Thursday evening was Renee's flute recital at Hazelbrook Middle School. She's been taking lessons since this Summer, and now she's had a chance to strut her stuff. The young woman she's playing a duet with in the image above is named Ashley, and they appeared to get along famously, unlike some other famous duets.

I didn't want to use my SB-600 flash in such a setting, so I was constrained to ambient lighting, and of course only own fairly slow glass. So apologies that the image is not crystal clear. Maybe next time, I'll just use the flash and irritate all the other parents...

Posted by dpwakefield at 02:12 PM | Comments (0)

November 24, 2006

Madonna

My friend Nami asked me if I could record the Madonna special on NBC this week. It's a mark of how out of touch I am with most mainstream television that I had no idea it was happening, but a young woman in Fukuoka, Japan did. I set up the downstairs VCR, which is used mostly for playback by my wife. Jean set up her VCR in the living room. Mine didn't work, but Jean's did, so I'll be mailing off a VHS videotape at the beginning of the week.

It's been years since I've listened to anything by Madonna. I never really paid a lot of attention to her stuff. I watched and enjoyed her film performance in Evita, and even bought the album, but that's it. I watched snippets of the videotape to ensure that it had completed recording.

Synchronicity struck, as part of the spectacle was a group of athletes, running around the concert performing acts of Parkour and free running. It turns out that Sebastian Foucan, who played the Parkour-performing bomb-builder in Casino Royale, was also the choreographer for this aspect of the concert. When you're hot, you're hot...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2006

Q-Unit

Q-Unit: Greatest Hits is another mash-up album. Moreover, it's another mashup of a rap artist with a 'melody' artist. In this case it's 50 Cent and Queen. The mashers this time are called The Silence Xperiment, an electronica group.

Did I like it? A little. Would I buy it? Nah. Whereas Wu Orleans felt like a genuine fusion of period Dixieland jazz and rap, this feels like somebody playing Queen kinda low, and then dumping a rap track on top. In other words, not a lot of creative modification here. Rather like noticing that some of the lengthier space rock tracks from early Yes seem to synch up perfectly with your favorite anime, or overlaying Dark Side of the Moon onto The Wizard of Oz.

So give it a listen, then move on...

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2006

Takeshi Terauchi

And Bunnys!

This album is not as captivating to me as Wu Orleans, but it is pretty neat. Recorded in the Sixties, this is Surf Guitar music seen through the lens of Japanese minyo. Takeshi Terauchi was apparently inspired by The Ventures, who did a tour of Japan in 1962.

At last count, I've played the entire album maybe five times!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 05, 2006

Wu Orleans

My current favorite hit on my iPod, playing over and over, is Wu Orleans, a mash-up of Wu Tang Clan and Dixieland jazz by djBC. I've never been much of a fan of Wu Tang Clan, but set their rap/hip-hop to artfully selected jazz from New Orleans, and it just works. I wish I could buy this album. Guess I'll have to buy some Wu Tang Clan to support their work, even though it's this mash-up that I really like...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:13 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2006

Jean's New Mix CD Purchases

  1. Love Shack - The B-52's
  2. Dance This Mess Around - The B-52's
  3. Word Up - Cameo
  4. Keep Your Hands To Yourself - The Georgia Satellites
  5. Our Lips Are Sealed - The Go-Go's
  6. Mr. Big Stuff (Remix) - Heavy D & the Boyz
  7. Mr. Big Stuff - Jean Knight
  8. What'd I Say, Pt. 1 - Ray Charles
  9. Straight Up - Paula Abdul
  10. In the Midnight Hour - Wilson Pickett
  11. Walk This Way - Run-DMC
  12. Shake It Up - The Cars
  13. Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
  14. Cut the Cake - Average White Band

Addendum

Jean thinks I should mention all the songs on her mix CD, including the ones I already owned, so here is the remainder:

  1. (We're A) Bad Trip - Camper Van Beethoven
  2. Down and Out - Camper Van Beethoven
  3. (Don't You Go To) Goleta - Camper Van Beethoven
  4. Galang (Radio Edit) - M.I.A.
  5. Me Myself I - Joan Armatrading

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:51 PM | Comments (2)

July 06, 2006

New Music

Pickin' 'em up in dribs 'n' drabbles of late:

The first is the original television theme, although a longer orchestration. I got it so Renee could hear what can be done with flute besides scales...

Got 'Perhaps' after watching the first three episodes of season one of Coupling, where it is the opening theme music. It just reminded me of how much I like this song.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:52 PM | Comments (0)

June 28, 2006

Musical Interlude

Tonight has been a musical one. Renee turned 11 on the 20th this month, and one of her presents was a dance pad and Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix 3. So when I got home, she and Jean were taking turns doing the dances.

I went upstairs and had some supper, watching a movie in the den. The movie is Koi ... Mil Gaya, which apparently means "I've Found Someone". Like so many Bollywood movies, it is a musical. This is my first Indian musical, and I have to say I'm pretty fond of it. Production values are low, the choreography is strange at best, the storyline is charitably characterized as a kid's movie, but it still tickles me.

After I ate, I paused the movie and went down to watch Renee DDR away. She's manic, and I got nervous just watching. I got on the treadmill for some exercise, since I knew it was futile to try to hit even one arrow in the game. I actually stumbled a couple of times watching the arrows scroll up the screen while walking!

Soon the DDR extravaganza was over, and I went upstairs, took a shower, and returned to my Bollywood movie. Eventually Renee joined me, and confirmed my suspicion that Koi ... Mil Gaya makes a pretty good kid's movie. We watched it right up to Jean's bedtime, when I had to stop it, since the den is right next to the bedroom. Two and a quarter hours have elapsed in the movie, and the final crisis hasn't even occurred! How long is this thing?

So anyway, looking forward to finishing it, hopefully tomorrow night after work. I think my next Bollywood movie will be a horror movie ... and of course, a musical.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2006

Musical Acquisitions

It's been awhile since I bought a new album or song. About a week ago I bought one that's been getting mostly positive feedback on the weblogs I make the rounds of, and I'm pretty happy with it:

Saint Elsewhere by Gnarls Barkley

I also bought a single song by another group I've never listened to before, Architecture in Helsinki. The song was Do the Whirlwind. Very pop, kicky kinda tune.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2005

Bach

Renee and I attended a free performance of the Portland Baroque Orchestra at my workplace Thursday night. I had asked her if she wanted to go and she made a mildly interested sound, but Jean tells me that she spent most of the day picking out her clothes and making references to the concert. I don't think she knew what to expect, since the only orchestral music she's seen has been full symphony music. The PBO performed with one flute, two violins, one oboe, one bassoon, one bass cello and one violoncello piccolo (sort of a tenor cello with five strings).

We arrived early, found seats in the gym, and chatted and goofed around until the performance started. The program was A Musical Offering, by J. S. Bach. This is a series of canons around a theme provided to Bach by Frederick II, then king of Prussia. Each canon is a variation on the original theme, and usually also a musical puzzle. As my friend Burr observed, the puzzles in canons are often mathematical exercises, and as a result, of interest only to the professional musician. But Bach was a musical genius, and could make these exercises beautiful to listen to as well as mathematically gratifying.

Renee listened with real appreciation for the first twenty minutes or so. Then she began resting her head on my shoulder, then leaning on me and holding my arm. Affectionate, but in those crappy folding chairs, my back was beginning to ache. I finally asked her if she wanted something to do while listening to the music, and handed her my Palm Pilot. She played Bejewelled, and I listened to the remainder of the concert.

I have no formal musical training, and make no pretense toward classical knowledge. I just let the music wash over me, and this evening was totally hypnotic. I was trancing out much of the time, entering a musical, mathematical meditative state. It was great fun. Renee assures me that she enjoyed the music very much as well.

After the concert there was a buffet. Corporate finger food. I made sure to stack my plate with raw vegetables and fruit, but also had a couple of mini sandwiches. Renee was not so discerning. I went there mostly for her, since I know that she enjoys these little buffets almost as much as the events. While there I ran into Alaine Warfield, who used to work in the same company, and whom I went to grad school with. She's offered to help network with my friends who were laid off, so I'm feeling a little better about that.

More interesting is that she's done tons of volunteer work with animals, and she gave Renee lots of advice on things she could do to get experience with animal care. Renee, at age ten, has many years to choose a career, but one of the things she's expressed interest in is veterinary medicine. So we've begun offering to take her to volunteer opportunities so that she can get a feel for the experience. Last summer she helped at the local no-kill cat shelter, but they were reorganizing, and it sort of tapered off. So maybe we'll be able to use one of Alaine's leads next...

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2005

The Rhythm of Life

So I was watching this video (very good, by the way), and the song just got stuck in my head. It took me awhile to nail it down, it's The Rhythm of Life, from Sweet Charity. I'm pretty sure I saw this movie when I was very young, but I don't remember it. More likely, I saw it while working the night shift at a ski lodge in my twenties. That's where I learned to love Fred Astaire, after all.

I'd like to buy it, but I'm not sure it's available. Sure, you can buy the CD for the current Broadway revival with Christina Applegate, but that's not the one in the commercial. The singer in the commercial does sound like Sammy Davis, Jr., who sang the movie version, but the sample on Amazon sounds like a different arrangement. I wonder if it's a remix? A few years ago I bought a remix of Elvis Presley's A Little Less Conversation. They used his original vocals, lots of filters, synthesizers, and what not to punch it up. I think something like that was done to The Rhythm of Life.

Well, I'll keep an eye open for it, and in the meantime, maybe I'll try to rent Sweet Charity.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:23 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2005

Kristen Hersh

More reasons to wish I were in Seattle more often. Kristen Hersh is touring with her new band, 50FOOTWAVE, and played at two locations in Seattle Friday and Saturday.

I first saw Throwing Muses, her original band, in Cleveland, in a cellar bar on the waterfront (though not in the upscale Nautica district). Cripes, this was probably '88 or '89! I had already bought the untitled album I called 'Green', due to it's cover. Apparently, Throwing Muses couldn't get an American label at first, but caught on in Britain, and this album got mentioned in Mike Gunderloy's Factsheet Five magazine.

I fell in love with their strange and quirky music, the dark, alien wailing vocals. When I heard they were playing in Cleveland, I got my co-worker Christine to drive up with me. I had my album in hand, in hopes of getting an autograph, but the bouncers rebuffed me. Kristen was amazing, and just as alien and remote in person as on vinyl. She rocked back and forth while playing her guitar, hair sweeping side to side. Tanya Donelly, her half sister, was still with the band.

I've since bought a number of Muses albums, and one of Kristen's solo projects. Gotta say I'm tempted to pick up the first 50FOOTWAVE album now, too. We'll see, they've got three freebie tunes up on ThrowingMusic, so I'll be giving it a listen first.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

September 09, 2005

Your Little Hoodrat Friend

Salon has a section called Audiofile, covering all things music scene. One feature I take advantage of is their Daily Download, which is just that, a sample of music made available for free on the web by artists and labels to promote themselves. I typically listen to each song once, and rarely a song or band grabs my interest. I got introduced to Four Tet and Nouvelle Vague this way.

Now I'm obsessing over a new song I discovered on Salon: Your Little Hoodrat Friend, by The Hold Steady. This song makes me think of a cross between Elvis Costello and The Ramones. That's not really accurate, I'm grasping at a description that somehow does this song justice. I know there's a good fit somewhere in my pop culture trunk, but I can't put my finger on it. If you've got thirty or forty years of musical culture, including some punk, in your history, download this song and give it a listen. Then tell me who it reminds you of.

I've also got their song The Swish, from their first album. As is so often the case, the first song grabs me much more than the second, and a little research indicates that most people think they've got one or two good songs. That's my fate lately, latching onto the One Hit Wonders (I had the same experience with The Tiny).

Oh, and I had to look up hoodrat. Feelin' old, feelin' old.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

May 03, 2005

iPod Down!

So I bought my iPod on April 25th, 2004, and foolishly opted for the default one-year warranty. Why foolishly? Because it is May 3, 2005, and my iPod is not responding to input. I can't even reset the thing, since it's not recognizing keypresses. We'll see if I can wake it up when I can tether it to the computer at home...

If it is DOA, I won't be repairing it at all, since the repair price for an out of warranty iPod is just $50 shy of buying a new one. And with Expo looming, I won't be buying a new one for awhile either. But I'm certainly enough of an addict to my portable audio device that I'll consider getting a new one (should this one be dead) eventually.

And I now call it my portable audio device instead of music device, because I tend to use it to listen to lectures and streamed radio shows the majority of the time. IT Conversations carries panels and lectures from all the hot technical conferences, and then there are four or five shows I listen to regularly, such as On the Media and Dr. Karl.

Update

I hooked the iPod up to my computer, fiddled, unhooked, did a deliberate battery drain, hooked up, successfully rebooted, and now can get Sumomo to recognize digit input again. So for the time being I'm able once again to listen to On the Media. But label this iPod finicky!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:59 AM

April 29, 2005

Growth

I came into the den to listen to Extraordinary Machine, the unreleased album by Fiona Apple that is supposed to be a work of genius (it isn't, but it's good). So Kelly followed me in, wearing headphones and listening to a CD I'd burned for her maybe six months ago. At the time, she didn't know what to make of Several Species of Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving with a Pict. Now she thinks it's hilarious.

I'd enjoy her musical growth more if she wasn't singing along with every damn song on the CD, all while Fiona is singing to me. Now she's rendering a fractured version of Stand. Earlier it was It's Your Thing. I don't know what's next...

Update

It was We Will Rock You. Now she's looped back to the beginning. "Hmm, hmmm, uh something ... Run Rudolph!" It's like having Rain Man in your room while trying to listen to a new album.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:26 PM

April 05, 2005

'High' Fidelity

Bluegrass, hothouse jazz, I'm grasping for labels to capture this Back Porch Vipers album I bought. But as I listen more carefully, the score is five songs out of seven devoted, to one degree or another, to marijuana. These folk love to toke!

I guess I should have guessed from the album title, "Light Up", and the subhead, "We never have too much fun."

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:24 PM

April 01, 2005

Dealership

I've had five of the eight songs from Secret American Livingroom for two or three years. Dealership make a lot of their music available online, especially this, their debut album, which was out of print for awhile. Now it's not, and it's mine:

  1. Jungle Gym
  2. My Box
  3. Nerdy Girl
  4. Fallout
  5. Perfectly Happy
  6. Montserrat
  7. You're Dumb
  8. Green

By the way, a very good album. I love You're Dumb (one of the tunes I've had for years now).

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:44 PM

March 28, 2005

Back Porch Vipers

Arrived in the mail today, Light Up:

Back Porch Vipers

  1. When I Get Low, I Get High
  2. Jack, I'm Mellow
  3. Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens
  4. If You're a Viper
  5. He Don't Care
  6. Caldonia
  7. Light Up

I heard the first song in the SXSW Sampler, of which I've still got 590 to listen to. But I've heard some good bands, and this gives me a chance to support indie labels.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:33 PM

March 24, 2005

The Bloodmobile

This one's for my friend Tom:

A Flash-based music video created by Dave Logan based on They Might Be Giants' The Bloodmobile. Enjoy, Tom!

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:57 PM | Comments (1)

March 16, 2005

Free and Legal Music Sampler

Cool, I've managed to listen to the first 28 songs from the SXSW Music Festival Sampler! Only 728 more to go.

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:57 PM

March 09, 2005

The Tiny

All praise to the MP3Blogs! I don't know which of my rotation of music blogs pointed to this tune, but indie record label Eyeball Records is making a high quality mp3 of one of their artists available on the web, and I have listened to it maybe ten times today. Closer, by Stockholm band The Tiny is quirky, quiet and unlike anything I've heard in years. An elfin-voiced Ellekari Laron, backed almost exclusively by a cello and a violin (spare piano and occasional guest instruments notwithstanding) lullls me into a mood I can't quite describe. I feel like I've entered an alternate reality. The last time I listened to a group that was so unrelentingly downtempo and avante garde was when I originally discovered Van der Graaf Generator. Now I'm just debating whether to buy the song, or the whole album.

Some of the reviews I've read say that the album is deeply repetitive ("As each song flows into the next without much of a change in tone, tempo or arrangement..."), and once you've heard one song, you're done. I went to CDBaby, and they have sample streams of the entire album, 2 minutes per song. I can see the point about repetition, but careful listening reveals subtleties among the songs that make me think I might enjoy them all. I'm pretty sure that I'll be buying Closer and Across the Bridge. Guess I'll just have to dig into the sample streams a few more times.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:17 PM

February 28, 2005

The Pillows

Good God. Suddenly The Pillows are everywhere. Literally. Physically. Except Tualatin, of course. The above link to SXSW posts Ride On Shooting Star, and since I own the FLCL album, and have it loaded on my laptop, I decided to queue it up. Technology eases my bitter disappointment at not living in a hep locale.

P.S. - I used Quicksilver keyboard shortcuts to insert this tune into my iTunes Party Shuffle playlist, as soon as the urge hit me. More technology giggles!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:34 PM

January 13, 2005

Dance Hall Crashers

Damn, I can't believe I waited this long to put this CD on my computer and iPod. I've owned it forever (okay, eight or nine years) and it was sitting in a shoebox, fercripesakes!

I really like the Dance Hall Crashers. They remind me of No Doubt before they ditched their Ska-rific notes. So now I'm really digging the songs while riffing on code here at work. Yeah!

Posted by dpwakefield at 04:22 PM

November 29, 2004

Beatallica

Okay, I was listening to Adam Curry's podcast, The Daily Source Code, and he played a song from an 'album' I'd only heard about. It's called Beatallica, and is a mashup of Beatles songs sung as if written and performed by Metallica. The example he played was Hey Dude, and it's ... just ... wrong.

Others I don't intend to try, but am amused by the titles:

Just visit the link and try to match up the originals with the mashups.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:59 PM

October 31, 2004

What's This, What's This?

I spent a large part of this morning riffing through my iTunes music collection playing Halloween appropriate music for Kelly. It started when I was at the music store and saw they had a Halloween playlist, and visited it. Nightmare Before Christmas was prominently displayed, so I played a number of samples for Kelly. She liked it, so I went hunting for my Danny Elfman stuff, playing some of his soundtrack music (Beetlejuice, Tales From the Crypt) and his work from Oingo Boingo (Dead Man's Party, Weird Science).

I played Glass Tubular Bells, explaining it's origin in The Exorcist, and what that was all about. Sifting for words like ghost, witch and monster yielded still more goodies, though I stretched the point and played Ghost Riders in the Sky (instrumental version by The Mermen). Finally we went back to the thirty second sample land of the iTunes Music Store, and Kelly played Jack's Obsession about a hundred times. So now I'm at work, and Kelly is at home in the den listening to the entire soundtrack to Nightmare Before Christmas, since I had to buy it after the hundredth repeat of Jack's Obsession. Welcome to Halloween!

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:27 AM

October 20, 2004

Taking My Money - By Strategy

I know where I'm going to drop my next thirty bucks. I was browsing Asian Mack Super Filter ("We sift through Apple's iTunes Music Store so you don't have to!") and there was a link to Viva! Roxy Music. I followed it, which opened iTunes and went to the music store. Then I checked out an iMix labelled AllEnoRoxyFerry, and clicked. And there was the pot of gold. Three of the pop rock albums by Brian Eno, which I glided through college on:

I can't tell you how many times I listened to these albums, on vinyl. Eno was as innovative in pop as he was in ambient and new wave, and I'm buying all three of these suckers the next time I do an iTMS purchase. I've been cursing Apple that they hadn't gotten the rights to sell these, for the longest time; now I'm cursing them for getting them all at once!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:28 PM | Comments (3)

September 30, 2004

New Music

Forgot to mention this, over a week ago:

These are mostly purchases for Jean, for a mix CD she wanted for long drives. But I enjoy nearly all of these, probably even more than Jean.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:51 PM

September 08, 2004

iTunes Music Store

New Purchase:

The Michelle Branch song was a Kelly request, and the Ivy song was one Jean heard on a television show and asked for, though for the record, I like it too. Going down the list otherwise...

Trail of Dead is an interesting band, I heard about them on a weblog, so I grabbed a single to wet my appetite. Gato Barbieri and I go way back, in fact all the way to high school, so make that thirty years, gosh! The Coasters are probably my dad's influence, but Kelly likes Yakety Yak, so now we can play it whenever the urge hits.

Leonard Cohen. Leonard. My wife and daughter both think I'm nuts, but Leonard is the prophet. I'll be buying more of his songs, mark my words. I recommend him to anyone, even folk who can't figure out why I like him.

Nat King Cole was Kelly's idea, but I took the initiative to hunt down the song, since I like it too. Devo goes back to my early college days, and it's about time I had some on my computer. Dido just sounded nice.

Echo & the Bunnyment and New Order are both the result of a posting of Blue Monday on Jason Kottke's weblog. His post of that sampled song, and the ensuing discussion in the group comments, spurred me to get off my keyster and buy a best-of album for NO. Echo & the Bunnymen was just a happy bonus. So now I'm wallowing in 80s New Wave. It helps that NO were the spin-off of Joy Division, another personal favorite.

They Might Be Giants are icons, so I grabbed one I could harass Kelly with. I'll be getting more in due time. The Pokemon movie song is for, wait for it, Kelly.

That leaves ... Leave It. I first heard this song on MTV, on April Fools day, the year it came out. Yes were promoting the album, and as a bit of clever silliness, they'd filmed over a dozen videos dubbing this song. In each one, the members of the band appeared, but in each successive video, they altered some bit of the scenery, or changed the order of the band, or shot upside down. Lots of silliness, and MTV played the same song for several hours, or so it seemed. I was at a friend's house playing videogames on his TRS-80 at the time. A dungeon crawl with vector graphics if I recall. So fun memories...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:12 PM | Comments (1)

August 03, 2004

The White Stripes

I have come to the conclusion that a little bit of The White Stripes goes a long way. I bought "Fell in Love with a Girl" and "St. James Infirmary Blues", and obviously like them both. But I've heard some other samples, among them "Hotel Yorba" and "Jimmy the Exploder", and, well, do they ever sound any different?

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:27 PM

July 04, 2004

They Might Be Giants

I'm sure Tom will be pleased to hear this. They Might Be Giants are now selling their own MP3's, both in 99 cent per song batches and in $9.99 album lots. Once their selection rises, I'll probably be shopping there myself.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:50 AM

June 25, 2004

P2P Helps the RIAA in Spite of Themselves

I grabbed a tune off the Internet someplace, because the reviewer wrote a poignant entry on the touching memories of said song. It was Last Goodbye by Jeff Buckley from his first (and last real) album Grace. It lived in my 'Deletables' playlist for weeks, getting airplay on my iPod several times. Finally, I decided it rated five stars. That's a solid buy recommendation, and the next time I went to Fry's (to buy The Office, Season One), I decided "what the heck?"

To my surprise, they actually had that very album. I bought it on the spot. If the song hadn't been on the Internet, I'd probably never have heard of Jeff Buckley, his sadly short career, or this album. I'm almost sorry I gave my money to these guys, as they'll just use it trying to sue music lovers like my benefactor off the net. Bleh.

And it even has a cover of one of my favorite Leonard Cohen songs, Hallelujah!

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:42 PM

June 09, 2004

Generation Gap

Kelly and I were listening to the freebies Apple's been giving away, and she jumped on Accidentally In Love by Counting Crows (the notion of counting crows, or crows that know how to count?). I had previously rated it two stars, out of five, for being typical pop rock with very little originality. Kelly wanted to hear it twice, probably because it's featured in Shrek 2.

This led to me looking for Holding Out for a Hero, which was in a pivotal, chaotic scene in the movie. I knew there were two versions, the 'original', and a trancey, electronica version that played over the closing credits. I found the original, by Bonnie Tyler, which I kinda like. Kelly found the remix, by a group called Frou Frou, and had me play it twice. So once again we diverge!

I was still more surprised to find that the 'original' was in fact sung by Jennifer Saunders, who played the voice of the fairy godmother. I really enjoy her character acting, but I was really surprised that she sang that well (maybe a little studio engineering help in there?). Either way, Kelly prefers the Frou Frou.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:06 PM

April 29, 2004

ITMS Freebies

To celebrate their one year anniversary, the iTunes Music Store is giving away a tune a day for eight days "to broaden your musical horizons" and thank users of the store. I got the first two tunes, and don't have very high hopes:

Upcoming songs might offer something better. I have hopes (and some trepidation) for the Courtney Love song, tomorrow, and I feel almost certain that I'll like Saturday's tune, from Annie Lennox. As for the remainder, I'm fearful that they're all just more corporate rock with little distinct personality. We'll see. The remaining freebies are from Jane's Addiction, Counting Crows, Renee Fleming and Nelly Furtado. Anyone like these guys?

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:59 PM

April 12, 2004

Why I Love the Internet, #453

So I'm using [NetNewsWire Lite](http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/) to scan through a bunch of weblogs fairly fast, using their RSS feeds. Some fellow mentions that his favorite band right now is [Mermen](http://www.mermen.net/), described as:
90's surf instrumentals, and utterly unique--a mix of Dick Dale-derived staccato picking and reverb with prog-rock touches and hints of punk and psychedelia, the latter a la Jimi Hendrix.
Best of all, these guys buy into the Grateful Dead/Phish ethos of encouraging fans to record concerts and share them with others gratis. So I went to the Internet Archive and grabbed [this concert](http://www.archive.org/audio/etree-details-db.php?id=5036&from=browsePopular&PHPSESSID=879510484f46f5ef2ee34f1b8ce4ad8f), recorded in January, 2003 at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. I've just about downloaded and converted it all to MP3, a concert exceeding two hours. I've spot-listened to several songs, and they are very fun, reminiscent of Phish in their playful improvisation. I'll probably end up buying an album by these guys before too long...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:39 PM

April 07, 2004

Joy, Joy Division

Okay, I'd forgotten what a kickass album this really is. Considering the deep black funks I used to pull back then, I'm surprised I lived through a single listen. And yet I remember listening to it many many times, and here I am. Yes, this is a good candidate for most depressing album in the history of rock, but it also shakes and boogies.

I ripped this as soon as I got home, and played the first song on the iLamp. I'd forgotten how damn funky and cool Atrocity Exhibition was! Man am I ever going to waste a few hours reacquainting myself with this CD. But not when I'm feeling depressed, oh no! Only when I'm happy and strong!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:26 PM

Closer is Closer

Whoo Hoo! I love electronic tracking numbers. The USPS says my cd is in Tualatin, having arrived at 4:03am! So with a little luck, I should be listening to the most depressing album in the history of rock this evening.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:49 AM

April 06, 2004

A Ghost Is Born

As I work away on my iLamp, waiting for Kelly to finish her shower, a new album is playing in the background. It won't be out until late June, but the band, Wilco, are gracious enough to stream the entire thing, in pretty high quality, across the Internet for my sampling enjoyment. The verdict so far: I will be buying this one.

Oooh! Handshake Drugs is playing right now! This was on their Enhanced EP, and is really nice. They made the digital version of the EP available to fans (like me) who bought Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I'm a fan for life, I tell ya!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:06 PM

March 07, 2004

Payback!

Yes, the new banner is an image of my settlement check with the RIAA for gouging me via price fixing for all those years on CD prices. This is the result of a class action lawsuit, and I'm only sorry they didn't have to pay more.

So what did I do with the money? I bought a CD

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:52 PM

February 25, 2004

Expanding Music Front

I don't know if the deal Apple cut with CDBaby is responsible for this, but nearly eight months after I bought Supermodifed from Amazon, it's available on the iTunes Music Store, along with several other Amon Tobin albums. They've also added Death Cab for Cutie and Dntel, though these might be more of a followup on the inclusion of The Postal Service, which is a side-work band for the leaders of Death Cab and Dntel.

Anyway, I'll be trying a few more probes to see how large my miss rate is now. Used to be 70-80%, without even trying. Now? I'll let you know.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:26 PM

January 14, 2004

No Mini, Me

But heres what they arent seeing. Apple isnt pricing the Mini to compete against the lineup of its own products. Its pricing the Mini against rivals, just like it should. The little machine is squarely in the same entry level price cluster as the Nomad MuVo2 and the Nitrus Rio (both the 1.5 and 4 GB versions).

Business 2.0

I missed this when it was posted a few days ago. To the comment "it's pricing the Mini against rivals" I reply, I'm not buying those either. When it drops to $150 (or better, $120), I'll be in the market. In the meantime, go ahead and gouge those early adopters!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:54 PM

January 10, 2004

Apple vs Apple

Since 1991, Apple Computer and Apple Corps. (founded by the Beatles as it's music label) have had an agreement (stemming out of a lawsuit) wherein Apple Computer agreed to use the name Apple only for computer equipment. With the creation of the iPod, I wondered when Apple Corps. would sue again.

Then came the Apple iTunes Music Store. And then came the lawsuit. So I wasn't surprised to discover that there were no Beatles albums on iMS.

Tonight, however, courtesy of Kelly Wakefield, I found out that this did not mean that there were no Beatles songs on iMS. Kelly had me play the Chipmunks Christmas songs we bought for her, then asked me if she could hear more of them, or at least the 30 second samples available on iMS.

And to my surprise, I found Please Please Me and She Loves You. I went another step and searched for "Beatles", turning up lots of covers, everything from "Eleanor Rigby" to "Penny Lane". I wonder if Apple Corps. knows about that?

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:21 PM

January 06, 2004

noPod

At $300, I wasn't ready (yet, anyway) to buy an iPod. I'll just continue to use my laptop for 'portable' music, at least between my office and home. This weekend, Tom, Alan and I were talking about the rumored iPod Mini, and we agreed that at $100-$150, they'd be great. I'd certainly consider getting one at that price and a capacity of one or two gigs.

Now the announcement has been made, and we have this. Nope, $250 is still too much. Come back later when you have something better. If I were ready to spring for $250, I'd scrape together the extra $50 and get 11 gigs more storage. I mean, come one.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:44 PM | Comments (2)

January 02, 2004

iTunes Music Store Purchases

I forgot to share my latest online music purchases. The Christmas songs are all Kelly picks:

  1. A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley (dance mix)
  2. A Little Less Conversation - Elvis Presley
  3. All That Jazz - Liza Minnelli
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
  5. Death on Two Legs - Queen
  6. Everywhere You Turn - Longwave
  7. Fell in Love with a Girl - White Stripes
  8. Fugue for the Tinhorns - Guys and Dolls (Edward Strauss & New Broadway Cast Recording)
  9. It's Your Thing (Single Version) - The Isley Brothers
  10. Jingle Bell Rock - The Moonglows
  11. Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  12. Molly's Chambers - Kings of Leon
  13. Mr. Record Man - Willie Nelson
  14. Olio - The Rapture
  15. One of These Days - Pink Floyd
  16. Per Un Pugno Di Dollari (Title Track from "A Fistful of Dollars") - Ennio Morricone
  17. Run Rudolph Run (Single Version) - Chuck Berry
  18. Several Species of Small Furry Animals Gathered Together in a Cave and Grooving With a Pict - Pink Floyd
  19. Silver Bells - Anne Murray
  20. Silver Bells - The Chipmunks
  21. Sleeping In - The Postal Service
  22. St. James Infirmary Blues - The White Stripes
  23. Stand - R.E.M.
  24. Untitled - Interpol
  25. Violet - Hole
  26. We Used to Be Friends - The Dandy Warhols
  27. We Will Rock You - Queen
  28. You Can't Go Home Again - DJ Shadow

Posted by dpwakefield at 03:55 PM

December 01, 2003

The Scottish Song

My new favorite song to obsess over and play continuously is The Light Before We Land by The Delgados. It actually took me a little while to figure out who did the song, as I heard it in the opening credits of Gunslinger Girl, a new anime making the rounds. It must be in vogue among anime creators to use Scottish groups, since these guys are Scottish, and I've been hearing a lot of bagpipes in anime lately (cf. Last Exile).

Now I know who did it, which album it's on (Hate) and that it's available on Amazon. Next batch of orders will include this CD!

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:40 PM

September 11, 2003

Apple vs Apple

I was wondering when this would happen...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:47 PM

iTunes Music Purchases

Next up on the musical purchase caravan (I just got my bill for the last load yesterday evening!):

Some Girls is possibly my favorite Stones album of all time. It seems more like a 'best of' album than just that year's output. In fact I just finished listening to it, and there is not one bad tune on there. Some better than others, but all winners.

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:33 PM

August 27, 2003

Britney Ain't Dylan

I'd recently shared with Alan and Tom about how computer tech has gotten good enough that engineers can correct singers' pitch in real-time, allowing Britney Spears to hit those notes even when she ain't havin' a good day. Here I present for your reading entertainment a decent description of autotuners.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:04 PM

August 18, 2003

iTunes Music Purchases

I've been trying to wait for my bill on a purchase before running off and buying more, and this time I managed. Here's the new stuff:

Apollo Four FortyStop the Rock
Bee GeesStayin' Alive
Billy SwanI Can Help
The CorrsBreathless
The CorrsDreams
The CorrsOnly When I Sleep
The CorrsRunaway
Fred AstairePuttin' On The Ritz
Jimmy CliffGive the People What They Want
Jimmy CliffThe Harder They Come (Reprise)
Limp BizkitBreak Stuff
Oak Ridge BoysElvira (Single)
PrinceKiss
Soft CellTainted Love (7" Single)
Three Dog NightNever Been to Spain (Single)
Tom JonesWhat's New Pussycat?

A fair amount of pop this time, though some of it's rather old. Stop the Rock was used in a music video at Anime Expo this year, and The Corrs were recommended to me by Alan Matzka while we were listening to stuff on our various portable players at Expo. The Limp Bizkit tune is used in the Red vs Blue machinima. Kiss is to complement my other copy, by The Art of Noise, featuring Tom Jones. Never Been to Spain makes a nice, slow cha-cha tune.

Posted by dpwakefield at 08:03 PM

July 29, 2003

Cha Cha Cha

Mentor offers the occasional extracurricular activity, such as a Summer Picnic, a Cinco de Mayo party, that sort of thing. Recently they've begun offering six-week mini-classes in various forms of dance. The last class, which we missed, was for waltz. This time around it is for cha-cha.

I knew I would suck horrendously as I have the coordination of a spastic corpse, but I still thought it might be fun, and would be a chance for Jean and I to hang out together. So I brought it up to her, and she agreed to come to class with me. So Tuesday nights, for one hour, we learn a new cha-cha each week. After six weeks, the class is over.

This is going to be a looooong class. I had a lot of fun trying to learrn the Travelling Cha-Cha, but it was pretty sad watching me trying to keep up with the instruction. I intend to practice a little each night, but next week it will be an entirely different dance, so even if I work out the steps for this one, I get a brand new opportunity to trip over my own feet next time.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:51 PM

July 21, 2003

Donuts, Music

Read Kottke's Business lessons from the donut and coffee guy for a nice, insightful, polite rant on trusting your customers.

Posted by dpwakefield at 10:17 PM

July 18, 2003

Scrubs Soundtrack

I'm a big ol' fan of the television series Scrubs, a comedy series set in a hospital. Jean thinks it's directed at guys, in the same way that the Three Stooges were, but I think it has more general appeal. Anyway, I got the Scrubs Soundtrack in the mail today. I ripped it this afternoon and listened to the whole thing. Two standouts so far:

Overkill - Colin Hay. He was the lead singer for Men At Work. They had a number of fun tunes, and I owned a couple of their albums. Most folk probably remember Down Under, since it gets played in just about every movie set in Australia ever made. I think it's a union rule. Colin Hay guest starred as an unnamed street musician who follows J. D. around in an episode aptly named My Overkill. I really enjoyed this episode, and it was Colin singing "Overkill" throughout the episode which inspired me to hunt down the song, and led to purchasing this album (since iTunes Music Store has no Colin Hay or even Men At Work -- yet).

Hallelujah - John Cale. I'm familiar with John Cale, and iTunes Music Store even has some of his songs. This one is very good, and the lyrics remind me of Leonard Cohen, which is a good thing, believe me. I think I'll be buying more John Cale online.

Other songs may or may not be good, but I'll have to listen to them all a few times to decide, as they don't immediately stand out like Hay and Cale. I know one other song I like, but it's from an album I already have: Do the Collapse - Guided by Voices. The song is Hold on Hope, and is one of the better songs on their album.

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:06 PM | Comments (1)

July 17, 2003

Echoes of Napster

Tuesday night I was sitting in the den, reading Slashdot while waiting for Kelly to finish her shower. One of my fatherly duties is to help Kelly with her dental hygiene every evening, since her dentist wants us to do it with her until she reaches age ten. So there I was, noodling about, and in walks Jean. She sat down and we started talking about a number of things, and somehow the subject of music came up.

I was sitting at the computer, so I just fired up iTunes and began picking off various songs that I liked that were appropriate to the conversation. We started talking about how I had bought a lot of those tunes at the iTunes Music Store, and I played a few of those for her as well. Before I knew it, we were using the Music Store interface to search for tunes that we remembered from way back when.

This was a lot like I remember Napster when it first came out, with the exception that my hit rate with Napster was a lot higher. In fact, I don't ever expect the online music stores to approach that ubiquity, because Napster, that is to say, the distributed network of peers who used Napster, had a constellation of music which was simply not on the Big Five's radar. If it ain't Top 40, the difficulty of finding it increases by an order of magnitude. Add the fact that a lot of my musical tastes are rather obscure, and Napster beat the tar out of anything that came before.

Napster of course had two problems: quality and legality. You could never be sure of the quality of the MP3 that you downloaded, or even if it was the song you thought it was. Download speed was also a total unknown. As for legality, I'd gladly have paid for the tunes I downloaded. I got Jerry Lewis' "I'm a Little Busybody" online because it was out of print. In fact, do a search of Google for I'm a Little Busybody. My weblog comes up three times in the top ten entries today. That's how rare the thing is. The Big Five doesn't want to sell it to me. To date, it's not available on the iTunes Music Store. This is unfortunately an economic fact of life. Music with a very small, specialized audience will tend to be ignored by the Masters of the Official Channel. I don't see this problem getting fixed any time soon.

Technology can fix a lot of this. Napster proved that somebody could make Jerry Lewis' classic available. The storage space is trivial, the digitization of the tune is a minor obstacle. The main problems lie with resources and licensing. If the rights owner (who is it?) made it available on iTunes Music store today, I'd buy it even though I have it, because I want to support the availability of obscure music, as well as the Brittney Spears' of today (actually instead of, but that's just me).

Anyway, end of rant. Getting back to Tuesday night...

My hit rate with iTunes Music Store is usually about 30%, because I'm so obstinate in searching out those old, odd bands I used to like, and those fringe indie bands I read about today. But with Jean in the saddle, my odds flipped. We were getting close to 70% success rates! Great! Jean has always said that she has her finger on the pulse of the heartland of America, and this is just more evidence in her favor. We even added a couple of songs to my shopping cart for her. She wanted to know first if I could burn mix CDs for her, since unlike me, she never sits at the computer listening to music. Once I said sure, she was okay with buying the tunes.

I don't have my laptop handy right now, so I won't enumerate what we bought for her until I actually buy the tunes. But I'll relate one more musical incident before closing here. I told Jean about how I'd bought an electronica album before the trip to Expo, to listen to on the plane. The group is Fischerspooner, and watching some of their online videos, I got the feeling that they are more of a performance art group that does music, than a band that does music videos. Check them out.

Then I selected one song by Fischerspooner to play for her: Emerge. It's lengthy, repetitive, rhythmic, ambient. After about two minutes Jean spoke up. "Turn it down. I think I'm going to run away screaming."

Not quite the reaction I was looking for, but entertaining, nonetheless. Just another example of they many ways in which Jean and I differ.

Posted by dpwakefield at 07:40 AM | Comments (1)

June 28, 2003

Two New Albums

The iTunes Music Store can't answer all my music needs. Not yet, anyway. They have neither of the two albums (or artists, for that matter) that I just purchased through Amazon:

Both of these albums are classified as 'electronica', presumably due to the heavy use of synthesizers and sampling. If the various tunes were not so variable and abrupt, I'd classify them as ambient music. That's how I'll be using them, anyway. Music to code by (software development trances are fun!).

First pass judgement is that they'll get a lot of listens on those days when I gotta crunch lots of code and don't want to do it in silence. Maybe i should get a new copy of Music for Airports too? I could listen to it on the trip down to Expo!

Posted by dpwakefield at 06:24 PM

May 28, 2003

Latest Music Purchase

Can't stay away! Here's my latest purchase of music online...

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:27 PM | Comments (3)

May 20, 2003

Apple iTunes Music Store, Round Two

My second selection contains a few more redneck rock'n'roll tunes:

And in my Shopping Cart for the next round:

Posted by dpwakefield at 01:22 PM

May 07, 2003

Apple Tunes

Pascale posted her first purchases from the Apple iTunes Music Store (check the comments section), so I thought I'd share mine as well:

And I've already got more tunes queued up, for my next paycheck:

So Pascale is right. The trick is avoiding the temptation to buy everything that comes to mind!

Posted by dpwakefield at 09:23 AM | Comments (1)

May 01, 2003

iTunes Music Store

Yesterday I had my laptop at work, and decided to take the plunge, in a minimal, experimental fashion, by buying around $15 worth of tunes off of the Apple iTunes Music Store. The iTunes 4 interface is great, and browsing is relatively easy. Honestly, searching for tunes that I would regularly listen to, I found that they missed more than 70% of the time. I was doing searches of things I'd already bought on CD or LP over the last thirty years, things which I had found successfully on Napster.

Still, they have plenty of music I do like, and as I'm only paying for the tunes I want, I can hardly complain about the ones I can't find -- yet. So I did a bit of browsing, adding items to my shopping cart, trying to keep a diverse range of selections so as to test out the codec for fidelity. I got everything from Elvis' "Viva Las Vegas" to a nice version of "Una Furtiva Lagrima". "Missing", by the retro duo Everything But the Girl is particularly nice.

I went to pay, and entered computer limbo. Apple kept telling me that there were changes in my online account that I needed to approve. But the form they put up had no invalid info that I could see, and indicated no changed fields. I approved it, tried to buy again, and back to the form!

Finally, I created a new account just for the music. That worked, and in no time flat I was listening to my new tunes. Someday I'm gonna have to buy an iPod, as my laptop is one of the original Blueberry iBooks, and has very limited storage, so it's a temporary solution to hauling my tunes to work.

Will I buy again? I'm thinking yes. Probably about an album's worth of music a month, until the novelty wears off. The key here is that I get to do this ala carte, like Napster (though with a much more limited choice than Napster gave me). Once again, having an online catalog which doesn't try to cram ten songs that suck down my throat in order to get two songs I like, is a huge advantage which reboots my enthusiasm for fresh music acquisition.

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:51 AM

April 28, 2003

Must...Go...To...Bed

It ain't Napster (shocking how many of my music searches come up empty), but the new Apple online music service looks like it's gonna suck up a lot of my money. I found out about it after I put everybody else to bed, and I just can't...stop...looking...up...songs!

Posted by dpwakefield at 11:17 PM