Category Archives: music

Scenes From Sasquatch 2011

The Sasquatch Music Festival: Four days of music, mischief, and very little bathing. The weather was decent  so I busted out my Nikon F camera and shot a few rolls of film over the course of the weekend. I figured since there were tons of press photogs with high-powered lenses already taking pictures of the bands, that I’d look around for other sights and scenes. Mostly I ended up taking pictures of people, which, in my honest opinion,  are always the best part of any music festival (see above). Below are a few of my favorites. Click to embiggen:

Well, that’s it for now. See you at Sasquatch 2012. You bring the tent, I’ll bring the camera.

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“Wishery” – Pogo

Happy Monday! How ’bout you get your week started off right and check out this new video from Pogo, the audio alchamist who specializes in remixing bits of sound from Disney movies. Those dwarves sure can rock a beat. More here.

The Vonnegut/Flaming Lips Connection

Maybe it’s all the down time I’ve had recently, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about writing a short story or two. I haven’t written one for a while now, so I went online to find some tips to help jump start the process. After a little bit of searching, I came across this gem from one of my favorite writers, the one and only Kurt Vonnegut. I remember reading his story “EPICAC” back in 8th grade, about a computer that learns to fall in love. The way Vonnegut packs so much punch into such a small package is truly incredible. Here’s the first paragraph. It basically defies the reader not to continue on:

Hell, it’s about time someone told about my friend EPICAC. After all, he cost the taxpayers $776,434,927.54. They have a right to know about him, picking up a check like that. EPICAC got a big send off in the papers when Dr. Ormand von Kleigstadt designed him for the Government people. Since then, there hasn’t been a peep about him–not a peep. It isn’t any military secret about what happened to EPICAC, although the Brass has been acting as though it were. The story is embarrassing, that’s all. After all that money, EPICAC didn’t work out the way he was supposed to. (Read the full text here)

There’s no question Vonnegut inspired countless other writers with his unique blend of satire, black humor, and science fiction, but it seems musicians were also taking note. As I was writing this little blurb, my iTunes shuffle randomly decided to play the Flaming Lips’ song “One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21.” Maybe iTunes has a new feature where it matches songs to what you’re writing about (which would be kind of awesome but also very creepy), but I couldn’t help but feel that Wayne Coyne’s lyrics and music would be a perfect companion piece for Vonnegut’s short story. The lyrics and music are below:

Unit 3021 is warming
Makes a humming sound – when its circuits
Duplicate emotions – and a sense of coldness detaches
As it tries to comfort your sadness –
One more robot learns to be something more than
A machine – when it tries the way it does – make it seem
Like it can love –
Cause it’s hard to say what’s real – when you know the
Way you feel – is it wrong to think it’s love
When it tries the way it does…
Feeling a synthetic kind of love
Dreaming a sympathetic wish –
As the lights blink faster and brighter –
One more robot learns to be something more than
A machine – when it tries the way it does – make it seem
Like it can love –
Cause it’s hard to say what’s real – when you know the
Way you feel – is it wrong to think it’s love
When it tries the way it does…

After listening to it a few times I am fairly convinced that the song’s lyrics are derived directly from “EPICAC,” but I could be always be wrong. Maybe robots falling in love is a common sci-fi trope? Wht do you think? Either way, both the story and the song are awesome and are worthy of a read/listen.

New Demo

Here’s a demo of a song I’m working on with my friend Luke. I wrote it and he produced it. It’s still a work in progress, so comments and suggestions are welcomed. Also, the pictures have nothing to do with the video, but I needed something to go on the screen so I just threw a few in there. Most of them are pix I took with my holga 135.

My Attempt at “Political Science”

My high school English teacher once told me that what makes something “a classic” is its ability to remain relevant across generations. This might explain why Randy Newman’s “Sail Away” album, first released in 1972, is currently in heavy rotation on my iPod. If you haven’t heard this album you should definitely track it down and give it a listen. The songs are more akin to short stories than actual sing-a-longs. There are tracks about dancing bears, drinking tea in Dayton, Ohio, and one about a river in Cleveland. My favorite track of the bunch is “Political Science,” a song about American foreign policy, which despite being written nearly 40 years ago, is still lyrically relevant in today’s political climate. Musical fads may come and go (auto-tune and rap-metal anyone?) but good song writing never goes out of style.

Above is my rough rendition of the song played on guitar, and accompanied by my mechanical waving cat. It’s a little different than the original, but it’s fun to play so I thought I’d share it on the intertubes. Check it out and lemme know what you think.

BoA

Recently got introduced to the music of BoA. Already a well-established pop sensation in Korea, BoA is now setting her sights on the States. She’s been working with some top-flight producers and her new single, “Eat You Up,” is burning up the charts of the iTunes music store, which in this sad state of music purchasing, has now become a pretty good indicator of what’s hot and what’s not.

Now, normally I’m not into Korean music because a) I can’t understand any of it b) it’s either a painfully sappy ballad or c) produced at a tempo upwards of 160 BPMs. This single, however, overcomes all those obstacles. Not only is it in English, but it also has a downright nasty beat to back it up (nasty in the “Janet Jackson” sense of the tern, not the “gross” sense). Sure her English singing abilities are a little choppy, but everyone knows that no one really listens to pop music for the lyrics anyway. That’s like buying Pringles for the nutritional value. Plus her dance moves are crazy good – although one shouldn’t put to much weight into that endorsement considering that my only dancing experience comes when I shared a slow-dance with my mother during my Bar Mitzvah party…but I digress. So here’s to the future stateside success of BoA. I just hope she makes it to the top of the charts before Bank of America sues her and forces her to change her name.

Check out her official website here [best part: her bio says her interests are “conversational Japanese and English.” I wonder what hogwan she went to?]

Be Like Mike

So This Is Retirement?: Jordan hangs out in a PC room stairwell.

Yesterday I wandered up a random set of stairs because sometimes random sets of stairs need to be wondered upon, and lo and behold what did I find staring back at me on the second floor landing but a life-sized replica of Michael Jordan. Actually, there’s no way of knowing for sure if was truly Michael Jordan because the number was inverted and the name replaced on the jersey, but let’s just call this one a hunch.

Once I got over the initial shock of seeing his slightly terrifying visage frozen forever in shiny plastic, I couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit of sadness tugging at me. After all, Michael Jordan used to be one of my boyhood heroes. I used to go down to the nearby school yard and pretend we were playing on the same team, even calling out fake play-by-play just like Marv Albert. I never actually pretended to be Jordan himself (that would have done him a great disservice) but rather the guy that was partly responsible for his great games and massive success; more like a Pippen than his Royal Airness. I would make ghost-passes to myself pretending to set up ghost give-and-go’s or fundamentally sound ghost pick-and-rolls. When I missed, fake Jordan got the board, when fake Jordan missed I was there for the put-back. It’s what little boys do, and I did it exceedingly well. Sometimes when I was all tuckered out after a few hours of shooting I would just sit on the steps near the rusty hoop with the chain netting and imagine what I would say in the post-game interview. “My shot was a bit off, but thankfully Mike was there to bail me out,” I would think to myself. “He really knows how to take over a game.” I was always gracious, but I knew he’d say the same about me. In reality, time spent down at the schoolyard was really less basketball than it was a highly choreographed form of daydreaming.

And now here we are some 15-odd years later, standing face to face outside a forgettable PC room in a dusty stairwell in a backwater town in South Korea. We’re surrounded by beaten up old sofas, junk boxes and other assorted garbage; it’s like we’re stuck in the middle of some permanent garage sale. Unflattering florescent lights buzz away in the background. My one-time hero has become someone else’s afterthought. I used to to imagine what it would be like to meet this man – to shake his hand, to play some one on one – but I gotta say, I never pictured it like this.

Related Listening:

“Back In The Day” – Ahmad

“Michael” – Franz Ferdinand