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Archive for June, 2000

Droney Anekdoten

Thursday, June 29th, 2000

In Bob’s new review of Anekdoten’s From Within, he refers to a lot of long, drawn-out, droning passages that don’t go anywhere. He’s right on the mark - they appear quite a bit. Oddly enough, I like them. I can’t explain it, but I think “Hole” - the song most guilty of droning on and on and on - is a kick-ass song. Weird.

My mom likes Alberto Piras’ singing.

Send me your NEARfest reviews!

Friday, June 23rd, 2000

I’m working on an archive of NEARfest reviews, so if you’ve written one or plan on it, feel free to send it to me. I’m only going to post good reviews without too many spelling or grammatical errors, so if you send me some crap written in two minutes don’t expect to see it on here anytime soon. :)

Ayreon = ridiculous

Wednesday, June 21st, 2000

Just how stupid is Into the Electric Castle?

Welcome! You have entered the cranial vistas of psychogenesis. This is the place of no time and no space. Do not be afraid for I am merely the vocal manifestation of your eternal dreams. I am as water, as air - like breath itself. Do not be afraid…
You have a task: To release yourselves from this Web of Wisdom, this knotted Maze of Delirium, you must enter the nuclear portals of the Electric Castle!
— Peter Daltrey, “Welcome to the New Dimension”

As much as I bitch and moan about how much money I spend, I just keep getting new stuff. Yesterday the order I placed with Discipline Global Mobile a week or two ago came in. I now have a CD copy of The Great Deceiver. The new pressing is exactly the same as the old (which I was introduced to through my brother’s copy and have been searching after ever since), but that’s fine with me and it probably makes completists happy too - they don’t have to spend another $70 for a couple bonus tracks. My question is: so what the hell took so long?

I’ve already changed my mind about the Landberk disc I called “boring” in yesterday’s entry. I’m starting to like it quite a bit, though I doubt it appeals to prog fans that dig the more complex stuff.

“At least I managed to limit my spending to three digits. Well, before converting back to Canadian dollars anyway.”
— Brad Evans

My NEARfest haul

Tuesday, June 20th, 2000

Got back from NEARfest, which I enjoyed immensely. I’ll be posting a review in due time, along with some photos (100+ total) I took with the digital camera I mentioned before. In the meantime I have some new reviews to put up. Workload at my job has suddenly increased as I’ve been given a real project to work on instead of “update the website when it needs to be updated”, and I can’t use the computer at home thanks to some serious renovations, so these updates might be a bit slow, but they’ll be coming.

For now, another list: what I bought at NEARfest. Ouch.

  • After Crying - Struggle for Life [2CD] - yum
  • Aghora - Aghora - it’s like Cynic minus the cookie monster vocals… not bad
  • Landberk - Riktigt Akta - some call it “brooding” I call it “boring”
  • Le Orme - Contrappunti - in preparation for the San Francisco show
  • Samla Mammas Manna - Klossa Knapitatet - about as I expected; good stuff
  • Samla Mammas Manna - Kaka - even sillier than I figured it’d be
  • Spiral Architect - A Sceptic’s Universe - technical metal; not to my liking yet
  • Thinking Plague - In This Life - haven’t listened to it yet
  • Thinking Plague - Early Plague Years - this rawks!… nuff said
  • T-shirts: Anekdoten, Thinking Plague

In which I spend lots of money

Thursday, June 15th, 2000

Sweet Jesus. After NEARfest, no more big CD purchases for me for a while. I just plonked a chunk of cash down for a digital camera (something I’ve wanted for a while), and it looks like an equal amount of cash will go down in the near future for accessories: memory cards, carrying case, zoom lens. Why can’t they include more of this stuff in the camera package itself? Sheesh.

That said, I am getting a ton of CDs in soon (mostly for my birthday which was a few days back) -

  • Blast - A Sophisticated Face
  • Daniel Denis - Sirius and the Ghosts
  • DFA - Duty Free Area
  • Kollar Attila - Musical Witchcraft
  • Magma - Magma
  • Pär Lindh Project - Gothic Impressions
  • The Residents - Meet the Residents
  • Jorge Reyes - Ek-Tunkul
  • Yochk’o Seffer - Chromophonie
  • U Totem - U Totem

A mix of RIO-ish stuff and NEARfest-related stuff. I’ve never heard DFA or Par Lindh Project, so I figured I might as well at least give myself a passing familiarity before seeing them live. I plan to do the same with Le Orme before I see them in San Francisco (no, I’m not flying out there just for that show - just will happen to be in the right place at the right time!). Speaking of which, there’s so much Italian stuff out there I haven’t had the inclination to explore yet… and I feel dumb because so much of it seems to be going out of print.

Pat Metheny smacks down Kenny G

Friday, June 9th, 2000

I wonder why NME, in its review of XTC’s Apple Venus Vol. 1, decided to blame the band’s seven years between releases on laziness rather than conflicts with their record label. Hmm.

A tidbit stolen from josh blog: Pat Metheny rips Kenny G. Read the whole article, it’s… fascinating. For those of you too impatient for that, I chose two excerpts. The first paragraph is candy for Kenny-haters, and the second is, well… read on (it refers to Kenny G’s dubbing himself into a Louis Armstrong piece). Please note that Metheny refers to his viewpoint in the first paragraph as “benign”. Ouch.

kenny g is not a musician i really had much of an opinion about at all until recently. there was not much about the way he played that interested me one way or the other either live or on records. i first heard him a number of years ago playing as a sideman with jeff lorber when they opened a concert for my band. my impression was that he was someone who had spent a fair amount of time listening to the more pop oriented sax players of that time, like grover washington or david sanborn, but was not really an advanced player, even in that style. he had major rhythmic problems and his harmonic and melodic vocabulary was extremely limited, mostly to pentatonic based and blues-lick derived patterns, and he basically exhibited only a rudimentary understanding of how to function as a professional soloist in an ensemble - lorber was basically playing him off the bandstand in terms of actual music. but he did show a knack for connecting to the basest impulses of the large crowd by deploying his two or three most effective licks (holding long notes and playing fast runs - never mind that there were lots of harmonic clams in them) at the keys moments to elicit a powerful crowd reaction (over and over again) . the other main thing i noticed was that he also, as he does to this day, play horribly out of tune - consistently sharp.

…when kenny g decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great louis’s tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that i would not have imagined possible. he, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, shit all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that louis armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician. by disrespecting louis, his legacy and by default, everyone who has ever tried to do something positive with improvised music and what it can be, kenny g has created a new low point in modern culture - something that we all should be totally embarrassed about - and afraid of. we ignore this, “let it slide”, at our own peril.

There are many albums I own that I haven’t reviewed. In many cases I just haven’t gotten around to it. But in some cases I just don’t feel comfortable reviewing them because I don’t feel I have a good handle on them (a la Bob’s feelings about In Praise of Learning). I always feel like, if I don’t like a particular album, it just means I’m missing something, so I refrain from reviewing it. It seems like a cop-out to say “this album hasn’t made an impression on me” and judge it based on that kind of non-opinion. But, when an album doesn’t make an impression on me after repeated listenings, I have less incentive to go back and keep trying, so nothing gets done. Isildurs Bane albums (particularly MIND Volume 1), Cast albums (though I did write a sort-of cop-out review of Beyond Reality), and most neo albums have this effect on me.

On the other hand, there are those albums that I shelve for a while after numerous futile listens, then come back to and think, “A ha!” A few King Crimson albums are like this. Same with Henry Cow, Miles Davis, Banco, Deus ex Machina… you get the idea.

Hey, I remembered that I like Phish

Monday, June 5th, 2000

During the drive to the Ultimate tournament I played in last weekend, I rediscovered Phish’s A Picture of Nectar. Back when I sincerely believed that Pink Floyd was the greatest band on the planet, with no other band even coming close, Phish was a distant second favorite mostly based on the merits of the aforementioned album. Listening to it again, I like it just as much, maybe even more. It has some very, very progressive moments, some great jams, and some very well-orchestrated songs. “Stash” is my favorite song - the way the jam at the end resolves itself from dissonance to consonance is wonderful. (This text will probably show up in my review whenever I get around to reviewing this album.) Unfortunately, no other Phish album does this much for me, though Rift comes close.

Fun stuff at the DGM diaries

Friday, June 2nd, 2000

More good stuff from the diaries at DGM, this time Trey Gunn’s. This is fun reading to dig through when bored at work. Here, Gunn writes about the second King Crimson show in Copenhagen (May 27th, 2000, or is it 28th?).

Larks’ was a disaster from the beginning and it crumpled away throughout. Although, I don’t think it was SO obvious for the audience. Even Richard, our manager, thought it was better than last night. It must be the energy of us struggling to hold the piece together.

But, if Lark’s was a disaster then Vrooom was an unleashing of unspeakable horror. At least for me. I completely lost track of where I was in the second fairy fingers section. And being as exposed as I was, well….. what can I say. I knew a viscous crashing was coming several bars before I hit the section — I could feel myself losing my own presence. I played the first three phrases right on, and then I skipped over to the fifth phrase. Yikes, where am I now? By the time that I figured out where I was the rest of the guys had moved forward a few bars — exactly where they should be. By then I was even further out. I knew that I had to keep a totally straight face and not stop playing. Just keep moving chromatically, feigning the air of confidence until I could figure out where I should be just before I need to be there. Eventually I made it (Yes!) and all wasn’t lost. But it sure felt like it.

After the show Robert said to me: “Now you know what it feels like to be the guitar player on FraKctured. All the way through!”

Speaking of this latest incarnation of King Crimson, their new album has really started growing on me. Dark and abrasive, but I didn’t expect anything that would be easy to listen to. It seems most similar in style to the 1980s version of the band, but less pop-influenced with longer, more developed compositions. The 1980s Crimson is by far my least favorite, but somehow I like this stuff much, much better. A full review should be coming soon.

It’s odd to think that I saw what must have been one of Tito Puente’s final shows. Even odder to think that he passed away yesterday - at that show at Yale he was easily the most lively member of his band (despite probably being three times the age of some of the instrumentalists!), flailing at his set and jumping around like a madman.

Music listening at work

Thursday, June 1st, 2000

Yeesh, that was some hiatus. I’m now home for the summer, working at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center as a web programmer. My supervisor, the webmaster, is away for a week so all I have to do right now is keep the site updated and deal with whatever comes my way… the rest of my time goes to teaching myself Photoshop and working on my own projects. The first fruits of my Photoshop adventures are on the site, in the form of a replacement “logo” on the main screen. Not much, but it’s a start.

As with last summer, a job in information services allows me to listen to plenty of music throughout the day. Today I brought:

  • Miles Davis - Miles in the Sky - found it used, haven’t listened to it yet
  • Into Another - Ignaurus - emo with some interesting bass parts, but overall kind of annoying
  • King Crimson - The ConstruKction of Light - it’s growing on me, but slowly
  • Metallica - …And Justice For All - when I start feeling tired, I’ll pop this in
  • ProjeKct Four - West Coast Live - right now, the ProjeKct I’m most interested in
  • Symphony X - Twilight in Olympus - prog metal; not nearly as good as its predecessor
  • XTC - Nonsuch - found it a while back for $5 new at Circuit City

In his diary, Robert Fripp states that “I am happier in this band than any other of which I have been a member”. I wonder why? The current King Crimson certainly isn’t any more creative than most incarnations, but I suppose it is far more stable. I wonder if there’s a connection there.