Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Happy Birfday, Phil

I wish I could remember who snarkily mentioned that the true measure of a blog was how many entries were left after you take out all the apologies to write more often. Anyway, while I looked like I was living the life of a hip blogginista last semester, I was really just working at a library and watching bootlegged episodes of Good Eats. Oh what a change has happened, yesterday I went to Lee Hyla's sendoff at NEC, tomorrow I go to a gallery reception before jetting off to see the BSO; the weekend holds an opera, another composer spotlight, and that Annual Football Championship. I'll blog as much of it as I can, but the last week doesn't bode well.

Anyway, Mr. Glass turns 70 today with remarkably less fanfare than Mr. Reich did a couple months ago. I'll admit that I'm considerably less familiar with Glass's oeuvre as Reich's, something that the thinkers over at Sequenza21 attribute to Glass's rather more prodigious output. In the comments I mentioned that it sounded like the difference between writing when you have ideas and writing in order to get idea, so we'll see if I get creamed. This makes a lot of sense for me, since Glass's works are really hit or miss for me. While I love his String Quartet #5, "Low" Symphony, and score to Koyannisqatsi, I cannot stand his operas. This might also have something to do with my problems with hearing operas before I see them.

While the actual day of his birth caught me off guard, I had been hearing that this was to be the Year of Glass since the new year. So unless your birthday celebrations are made special by freakish longevity (knock on wood), no one takes stocks until the year actually ticks over. That explains it, it's way easier to put together a concert in ten months than three weeks.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A Tale of Two Orchestras

 I've mentioned both the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project here before, but I attended concerts by both in the span of three days and couldn't help but notice the occasional contrast and comparison.

The BSO concert I attended was featured Mozart and Haydn, a program which probably wouldn't have attracted me if not the promise of discounted tickets and my recent enrollment in a seminar on Haydn. The discounted tickets ended up not materializing, but providence struck when a scalper was berated by the box office for being too close and she surrendered her tickets to us rather than continue her business outside. What's with scalpers in Boston standing so close to the ticket window?

Clearly the mission of BMOP doesn't allow for a real analogue program, but the concert was as nostaglic as BMOP really allows themselves to get. All the composers have some connection to the Boston area (this can usually be narrowed further to an NEC connection, but I digress...) and have worked with BMOP before, but the program included two world premieres.

The suprising thing is that for both of these concerts I struggled with how I should be listening. I feel that most of this had to with the fact that I didn't really have a program to fiddle with and distract me, during the BSO concert I had pinkeye and couldn't read it (I could barely see the musicians) and the BMOP concert I simply didn't get one. In addition to actually listening to the music more, I noticed some really whacky things about the audience itself.

As a precursor, I dressed up to go to the BSO. Not a suit, I sort of half-assed it but definitely paid attention to what I looked like. Not a moment's thought of it going to BMOP. Accordingly, there were a lot of bluehairs at the BSO, perhaps the Mozart reminds them of their youth. The BMOP crowd was noticeably younger (albeit smaller), part of this is expected since an NEC prof and recent alum were soloists, but there was an extremely unexpected population spike.


I saw five or six kids with their parents at the BMOP show. I don't know if you could manage that at most concerts that don't have Peter and The Wolf on the dockets, and this was rather uncompromising modern music. Perhaps it was the more relaxed atmosphere of the BMOP show as opposed to the rigid structure of Symphony Hall? Greg Sandow has been ballyhooing the death of the classical music environment for some time, maybe I'll tell him about this and see how he responds.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Most Annoying Song - Semifinals

Two songs continue to march towards history, causing increasingly unlikely pairing of songs that no one would expect to find in the same sentence. Lamb Chop def. Mark Dinning, Ludacris def. Dashboard. (Although I agree with that, I wonder if that has more to do with the sensibilities of the crowd, but whatever.)

If I had actually assigned numerical seeds I imagine we'd be dealing with three #1's. Vile empress Ray's continued success surprises me, since her's is merely the spectre of evil.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Blow Your Gats On This One

Darcy James Argue posted a million years ago about the long tradition of really terribly awful rock saxophone solos, but why did no one ask of metal saxophone solos? I'm sure may of you are thinking that's because the previous phrase was absurd and rediculous. However, I have a an example! A good one! So you know I'm not talking about Dick Parry.

I've sat on Yakuza's Samsara for almost a year now, it was one of the last CDs that came in during my watch as metal director at WLFM. The first track "Cancer of Industry" was pretty br00tal and the muezzin-styled intro, that I assumed to be sampled, stuck it in my head. It wasn't until last week that I finally got back to listening to the rest of the album, it turns out that those saxophones at the beginning are real, and that the sax player is a dedicated member of the band. He's also listed as a vocalist, so I'm not sure if he's the one doing the standard hardcore scream or actually singing ("clean vocals" as we in the biz call them). The standout in my opinion is "Exterminator" which primarily features the aforementioned clean vocals and our saxophone friend with the courage to play that most metal of instruments, the soprano sax.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Back to the Light

 Another set of airports for me today as I head back to Boston for Act 2. I'll post if Milwaukee happens to have free wifi, but if all else fails I've got my trusty new pocketbook to corral all my thoughts in. (My lunch in Logan last month was one of the more productive thinking times I've had in awhile.)

This seems like a good time to mention that to prevent myself from going to a coma due to lack of trivia at the end of month I'm tentatively planning on attending Vericon up at Harvard, a nerdfest I'm admittedly going to primarily to meet demi-hero Jeffrey Rowland. However I plan on throwing my hat into the ring at the Verilympics, primarily looking at the Betrayal at House on the Hill event. I notice on the schedule at the Monopoly event is only given two hours, so they must play some extra bloodlusty version of the game.

Monday, January 15, 2007

No Knock

I plan on posting about a couple metal albums that have intrigued me lately, but for today I'll make sure to honour the occasion.

A lot of people suggest listening to Coltrane's (John) Alabama, but I still recommend Alive at the Village Vanguard...Again! Additionally, Destination: Out has reinstated some of her solo jams, as well as a second helping.

Dial M suggests Gil Scott-Heron, but not the one that you're thinking of.

Big ups to the public library for staying open so the kids off of school have a place to get educated against ignorance.

I was planning on posting earlier to describe some of the events in Boston and in my neck of the woods, but I've been packing due to my neck of the woods becoming Boston again tomorrow.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Celebrity Deathwatch: IAJE Edition

Concerning the passing of Michael Brecker, the Internets agree that Mark Turner said it best (although we all heard it first on Do the Math)

Fuck those motherfuckers who don't give it up for Michael Brecker.

In the jazz circles I rolled with in Wisconsin, Brecker was nigh invincible. I can't think of anyone else that a widely diverse of pretentious jazzholes can unanimously agree on, especially someone who could be unapologetically accessible while continuing to blow your goddamn brains out.

One of the first posts I made to this blog was bitching about how classical composers seem to only achieve acceptance upon death. I've mellowed this stance a bit, if you're dead anyway why not let it be a final press release. I hope that happens in the case of Alice Coltrane, who we lost almost simultaneously. Any dumb bastard can talk about Giant Steps or the albums with the classic , but the real hipsters know to go later to find the hard stuff. I'm going to go listen to Live at the Village Vanguard Again!....again.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Most Annoyin Song - Quarterfinals 2

A pair of shutouts again this week, despite the fact that I never ended up fixing the links for the first battel. Which is why the second battel (the fearsome Rachel Ray) got more than three times more votes, unless everyone agrees with Toki. For the unobservant, Tenney def. Lightning Bolt, Ray def. Muzak.

Other than the battel of ascending proportions, I didn't think much past initial seedings. Thusly I didn't expect either of these, allowing the mechanic of the tournament to create new and exciting combinations.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Countryside, The Peasants...

Why is it that as soon as I find a sweet place where cool things happen it burns to the ground?

This is slightly incorrect, I heard about Pan9 at the same time as hearing about how they didn't exist anymore. Here's a page where helping can happen, although most of the big events happened already.

Also, if anyone knows any similiar "hippie communes" with sweet avant music, you should let me know.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fanboy Diminished

I've been using Macs for as long as I've been using computers, but I would hesitate to call myself an Apple fanboy. Sure, I've never had a non-Apple computer and tippity-type upon a MacBook at the moment. I also am a Pod person, and take every swipe at Microsoft that's available. (The "Surgery" pairing of the Hodg-man and the guy from the next Die Hard movie is especially delicious) But this is where the buck ends.

A couple of years ago my iPod at the time committed some sort of dignified seppuku, which upon sending to Apple was diagnosed as fine despite still not working when I recieved it back. Back in the present, after some typical memory issues with the battery of my MacBook it has chosen to stop taking any sort of charge. Since I assumed it to be similiar memory problems I let it drain completely. Now the fantastically designed MagSafe power connection that I showed off to everyone upon has allowed swift winds to rob me of whatever work I happen to have not saved.

To extend the bitterness I'm not particularly juiced by any of the Macworld announcement, I would have preferred information about Leopard or something I can afford. Even my slavish devotion fails to see the quantum leap between the iPhone and the current CrackBerry marketplace. It was more fun when we were the underdogs.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Few Quick Ones

!) I've finally thought of a New Year's resolution. Eat more fish, I live on a goddamn harbor for Chrissakes.

@) Despite living in a bigger city, I find myself less in touch with popular music. Despite Rolling Stone officially not being cool at all, I couldn't help but feel bad when I did rather poorly at recognizing their 100 greatest albums of the year. I certainly do miss working at a radio station. However, I did considerable better on this list of the best metal albums of the year, as decided by metallists themselves!

#) The aforementioned list and all the Queen references got me to break down and get My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade. I've got fond remembrances of MCR, their Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge was the first damn CD I ever opened working as a music director at WLFM. However, I do know Queen, and My Chemical Romance is no Queen. Still a fantastic album, however. The great hilarity is all this is that MCR is heavily rooted in punk rawk and Queen's attempt at punk ("Sheer Heart Attack", the song not the album) is awful.

$) Speaking of Queen, rumour has it (okay, actually Wikipedia) that Brian May is planning on finishing his doctorate in astrophysics this year. You know, the one he quit to tour with Queen in 1974. This gives me hope that a) I still could still join/form an awexome even doing higher education b) even 30 years down the line I can finish up that physics degree.

%) Since I forgot to fix the links for Lightning Bolt and James Tenney, this round of the tournament will run a week long. And those links still aren't fix, I r teh sUke.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Boston Without A Lens II

I did do some more shenanigans with the Populist II (PDF) before coming back and haven't gotten my dumb ass around to posting them, until now!!!!11

Huntington Ave

This is Huntington Avenue right in front of the Shaw's by the Pru. Almost a decent compromise of movement and clarity. I like it anyway.

Evangelism on Mass Ave

Earlier in the year I took a bunch of pictures at night with my cameraphone, but couldn't figure out how to get them off whatever memory it has. So I took most of the pictures again with the Populist, this is actually a much more attractive picture of Mass Ave.

Sensorium @ MIT

One thing that'll be cool when I back is that the second part of the Sensorium exhibit at MIT will be up. My dad is the one that gave me the camera, and he digs 2001 so I'm glad that I was able to get a picture here. The three of us are actually sitting on the couch discussing whether the camera will be able to sit there long enough to get an exposure without getting confiscated or otherwise fiddled with.

As before, these are the greatest hits of the larger Flickr set. (I added them to the same one as last time) I have about half a roll of film to burn in Wisconsin before I can use the new and improved Populist III that my dad recently developed.