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Archive for March, 2000

Änglagård: eminently diggable

Thursday, March 30th, 2000

Classic moment this morning: I was playing Änglagård’s Hybris relatively loudly in the commons room of my suite with the door open, and as I listened and studied for an exam this afternoon, a custodian was standing outside the door, listening. He asked me what it was, I said blandly, “a weird Swedish band”, he listened for a bit more to the flute line rising above a miasma of keys and bass, with a contemplative look on his face, and then said, “I like it.” Apparently he produces music as a sort of hobby, and he liked the freshness of Änglagård’s rather different sound. Clearly this well-spoken man knows what’s up! :)

I was surprised, to say the least. He asked me for the band’s name and then asked if he could find it at the local record store.

I’ve never more regretted that prog rock is so difficult to find. I didn’t feel like telling him I’d blown $50 on my copy of the album (on eBay, if you must know) because it’s so obscure and so out-of-print that some of the most dedicated fans in the world can’t find it. Sigh. I am, however, making him a copy and referring him to this website.

Memo to me: stop buying CDs

Monday, March 20th, 2000

I am imposing on myself a severe CD-buying-limitation for the next month or two. Money is tight, a lot of road trips are staring me in the face, and something has to give. I still have a ton of CDs I haven’t listened to enough anyway, so I’ll work on listening to and reviewing those.

In the last 10 days I drove a total of about 1600 miles, and realized that the car provides me with my best listening time. Nothing much to distract me, especially during highway driving, so I can focus a lot of attention on the music. I’ve come to enjoy driving long distances alone, so I can listen to lots and lots of music.

This is dangerous

Monday, March 6th, 2000

The recent diversification of my musical tastes (jazz, Celtic, and rap, mostly) is a terrible thing for my wallet.

Picked up both October Project releases (self-titled and Falling Farther In), both for under $10. I wouldn’t call them prog by any stretch of the imagination, but I suppose it’s not too inappropriate to review them on this website, since I expect a lot of prog fans will like them. Both discs, especially the second, do have a kind of pop/adult-contemporary sheen to them, but they’re still good.

Anyone know anything about keyboardist Rachel Z? She played with some pretty big names in jazz (and participated in the recent Vertu project) but apparently sold out to smooth jazz recently - are there any of her solo albums worth picking up?

Does “smooth jazz” have anything to do with jazz at all?

Communication and improvisation

Thursday, March 2nd, 2000

Taken from Tony Levin’s 1996 speech at the Eastman School of Music (available at the Papabear website): Adrian Belew of King Crimson illustrating the importance of familiarity between musicians during collective improvisation:

I once asked Adrian Belew, one of the King Crimson guitarists, how he knew when to start the verse after Robert Fripp’s solo: “I look at Robert and when he grimaces in a certain way… and his hands are at the top of the neck and there’s no place else to go…then I know.”

Question about Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things”

Wednesday, March 1st, 2000

In Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” (the song, not the album), theme A - “raindrops and roses” in the Rodgers & Hammerstein piece - is repeated eleven times on either soprano sax or piano. Theme B - “when the dog bites” - is only played once on sax at the very end, just before an 8-bar closing tag. Why did Coltrane decide to get so much mileage out of one theme and relegate the second theme to a mere closing statement?