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Archive for June, 2006

Kenny G is the best example they could think of?

Monday, June 19th, 2006

Speaking of the Miami Heat, here’s something from the “Profiles in American History” part of their website (I’m not sure what the relationship is to the basketball team or why this is on their website, but I digress); emphasis is mine:

Art Tatum

Art Tatum began his piano career at the age of 13, after starting out on the violin as a small child. Tatum would go on to be regarded as one of jazz history’s most technically gifted pianists.

At the age of 21, Tatum moved to New York City and began to record and perform on radio programs. Tatum changed the sound of jazz piano by randomly inserting chord progressions into small frames of measures. By reharmonizing popular tunes, he set a standard that modern musicians from Kenny G. to Lauryn Hill now practice.

Art Tatum overcame his blindness to become a legendary musician.

I guess last night’s Clarence Clemons debacle makes more sense in this context. Yikes!

Clarence Clemons, gaaah

Sunday, June 18th, 2006

I just heard the worst butchering of the U.S. national anthem ever (the NBA finals, game 5). I’m no big fan of “The Star-Spangled Banner” (actually I kind of think it’s a pretty awful song), but this was a travesty: Clarence Clemons spewing his nasally smooth-jazz sax on top of a stunningly sappy piano accompaniment. Who thought that would be a good idea?

Of course, with a PA announcer that annoying, I guess I shouldn’t expect much better from Miami. Or the NBA for that fact, which is turned what should be a plain ol’ sports event into an embarrassing multimedia “entertainment” experience.

Popol Vuh at eMusic!

Friday, June 16th, 2006

Big news for those of us who do the legal-downloading thing: eMusic has put some of the SPV catalog up, including 19 (count ‘em) Popol Vuh releases! Pretty awesome news — I’ll use this to fill in the gaps in my Popol Vuh collection, like the lesser-praised albums that I wasn’t planning on buying on CD anyway.

Also, Alex Temple has begun updating his blog again — his project of writing about all of the albums in his collection in alphabetical order. As for my own similar project, well, I’ve slowed down, but I’m still working on it slowly but surely. I wanted to try to post what I’ve done so far, but I’m having trouble getting the PDF to look right. I’m going to put it up soon though, as soon as I figure out the problem, just so folks can see what I’ve been up to.

Other music blogs

Friday, June 2nd, 2006

As I tend to post here rather sporadically, here are a couple other music blogs I like that are relatively new to me. First is one that’s even more sporadic than mine, but readers of this site should follow it with a lot of interest: ex-Progweed reviewer Alex Temple’s indelicately titled “Revisting all my CDs in alphabetical order,” in which he does just that, giving each CD a pretty in-depth treatment. So far he’s almost through the A’s but hasn’t updated for over a month. I’ll give him a little nudge soon because I find his perspective invariably interesting.

Second is something called Outer Space Gamelan, which has more to do with space rock than Indonesian classical music but most often has nothing to do with either. This is another pretty new blog, but so far it’s updated pretty much daily with a new CD review. The writer seems interested in the darker, heavier side of independent rock, up to and including post-rock and metal. For those of you down with this particular niche, the list of reviewed labels is indicative and includes labels like Ipecac, Staubgold, Hydra Head and alien8. All good stuff that sometimes get reviewed in the bigger indie-rock sites but just as often gets overlooked.

Finally, today’s trio of reviews at Dusted features a batch of CDs that should also be of serious interest to readers of this website: Cluster’s Cluster 71 (also reviewed onsite by Matt), the new Faun Fables album, The Transit Rider, and the new Zombi album, Surface to Air. This latter I have, and it’s pretty good, though Zombi live definitely dwarfs Zombi on record (as prog fans will soon find out, as they’re going to be touring with Guapo this summer!). The Transit Rider sounds great, considering how much I liked Family Album, and I’m going to have to pick it up sometime.

NYT Mag writes up Sunn O))) - seriously

Friday, June 2nd, 2006

Another couple links: first is this fantastic article in the New York Times Magazine (!) about Sunn O))) and avant-metal. Centered around some illuminating interviews with both members of the band, this is a respectful, even admiring article about some of the most out-there metal going on today.

Second is Bagatellen’s I Hate Music forum, which is generally populated by the sorts of people who like seriously avant-garde music but also dig indie rock (and, more rarely, prog-rock). This is a great forum on which I’ve been lurking for the past few months and learning a lot about a shit-ton of artists I’ve never heard of before. If you’ve more or less tapped out the knowledge base of, say, ProgressiveEars (or if, like me, your tastes have shifted away from the sorts of stuff regularly discussed there), I Hate Music might be the next stop.

(This is not to be confused with this “I Hate Music,” which is amusing but hardly edifying.)