Archive for the 'Music' Category

Walden.

A friend complained that I’ve taken too long to post anything new here, so here goes.

1.  It’s true, I haven’t written in a while.  Work is still busy.  Also, I haven’t been posting as much since I started writing in my moleskine pocket journal.  In the month of May, I became very sick and didn’t want to bother with computers or technology.  I completely withdrew from television and print media.  And something strange happened.  I started having cinematic, vivid dreams.  Sometimes, while I was awake.  Sure, you can blame the medicine, but I think the absence of media consumption forced my brain to return to its imagination.  It was straight out of Thoreau’s Walden.

2.  I am starting to grow weary of New York City.  I went home the other day, and as the historic downpour continued, I realized how beautiful it was out on the island.  Suddenly, the rain turned from something to resent into something to relish.  You could smell the earth, the trees, and all of the vegetation.  Everything was so green.  All I smell in New York is car exhaust, garbage, fetid steam vents, overly burned meat on a stick and the farts of the guy just up the street.

3.  More than anything, a lot of the excitement of New York seems to have left.  Ever since the economy tanked, the energy is just not there.  The massive layoffs in New York have affected everyone, including the still-employed.  Bars are morose, parties are muted.  I, for one, don’t like partying as much knowing that many of my friends are in debt, unemployed through no fault of their own, and hoping to ride out the storm.  There’s just less to celebrate these days.

4.  I just went to the Beyonce concert last night.  Man can she sing.  I don’t think that there is any female artist today who even comes close.  Our children are going to be hearing stories about her, the way people talk about Ella, Tina, and Aretha now.

5.  I am obsessed with building a home theater PC, or HTPC.  I know all the parts I want, but I just can’t settle on a case I like.  It is ridiculous to me that Time Warner can charge 100 bucks a month for cable TV, when Hulu is out there pushing content for free.  The entire business model of Time Warner is going to change, and I think they know it, which is why they are trying to promote bandwidth-use caps.  Unlike Netflix, which is attempting to craft creative solutions to its soon-to-be-obsolete business model, Time Warner takes an opposite approach, similar to the one taken by the MPAA and RIAA, and one that is destined to fail.  The HTPC will be a symbol of that failed business strategy, as hopefully I will be able to view all video content that I currently watch on cable through my HTPC, for free or near-free.  Soon, episodes of shows will pop up via RSS feed, allowing you to watch right then and there.  I expect the back-end to be sleeker than Google Reader, so that it is a video-friendly interface that automatically downloads and updates the shows you select.  I think Boxee already does this.  If you are interested in a similar project, I recommend you read up on the forums at AVSForum and Silent PC Review.  In case you are wondering, I am thinking an E5200, 4GB ram, 1TB WD Green, LG Blu-Ray, and either the Zotac 9300 (mini-ITX) or the Gigabyte 9400 (mATX).

6. Speaking of media, this preview for “The Pacific” gave me chills.  It’s the sequel to Band of Brothers, and it looks incredible.  I can’t wait.

Digital Mixing Ninja

This guy’s skills are sick.  If you maximize, you can see the names of the tracks.

Look Into The Air

Finally, I am done with my Guatemala blogging! Interesting post script – I was watching Nova last night and they had a special on Mayan hieroglyphs, which was fascinating. You can watch the entire special here. When we were in Tikal, the guides there said that the language had been lost, but the show explained that they had deciphered many of Mayan hieroglyphics, if not completely broken the code. It reminded me of this picture I took (at left). Recent scholars have deciphered much of the code, and generally stelae like the one pictured at left was a historical account of kings and their family. Anyway, if you get a chance to go to Guatemala, take as many pictures of the glyphs as you can! I didn’t take as many as I would have liked and now I regret it.

Now, on to other things. I’ve been going to a lot of concerts lately. First, I saw Jose Gonzales at the Highline Ballroom. The line went from one end of 11th avenue to the other (11th is a long block)! We managed to get in and score a table with a great view. Here are some pictures I took from the event.

The concert was great. He played a lot of his new stuff, including one of my favorites off his new album, Cycling Trivialities. Have a listen.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This man has unbelievable control over the guitar – it is practically an extension of him when he plays.

More recently, we went to the Explosions in the Sky concert. It was raw and awesome. They proved that they are not a post rock band, they are a rock band. A friend of a friend took some terrific pictures of the concert here. They played a lot of great songs, but not my favorite (and my friend’s) song, Your Hand In Mine. Check it out.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

It was a straight set with no encore. Being entirely instrumental, many worry that the band will be boring, but I can tell you that fear is unjustified. The music was hypnotic, and EITS are experts at building their music and the crowd into a frenzied crescendo. It was blisteringly loud – at points I could have used earplugs. My friends joke that setting the radio to a moderate volume is a sign of old age.

On that point, I am turning thirty in 9 days. Christ.

Finally, I put together a little mixtape of some songs I’ve been enjoying lately. If you want to, you can check it out here. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Mice Parade

Thanks to Wes, my imaginary band-mate in The World’s Fattest Twins (f/k/a Motion Picture Soundtrack), I have been turned on to Mice Parade, a fantastic real band. It has influences from all over, including atmospheric, hard-rock, electronic and flamenco. They’re absolutely brilliant. I recommend listening to the track “Steady as She Goes,” but pretty much all of their tracks are awesome. You can listen to any of their tracks on Amazon’s listing for Mice Parade. Check it out. You can thank me for dropping this musical gem on you by replying below.

The World’s Fattest Twins will likely make a showing at Mice Parade’s upcoming concert in NYC. More info here.

Sweep the Leg!

So the site went down for a while. My host said that I was using too much memory. But I think it was a corrupted database or template. In any event, I recently saw something cracked me up – a music video with all the old characters from the Karate Kid. The music is meh but the video is great!

Amazing Fingerpicking

The only thing you are amazing at fingerpicking is that giant sebaceous hook-nose on your that ugly mug of yours. Not so with Andy McKee, who is a master of fingerstyle guitar. This video is one of his most impressive, though you can find more on You Tube. In addition to his technical skills, his music is pretty good.

He also does a pretty damn good rendition of Africa (Toto):