Tag 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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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.

Thru-You: Pure Internet Awesomeness

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“Thru-You” is a recent mashup project by Israeli producer/musician Kutiman, and it is without a doubt one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. So what is Thru-You exactly? Lemme break it down for you. Take one part mad genius music producer, add in a couple hundred instructional YouTube clips and season with a whole lot of editing, and what you get is an instant internet classic. If you haven’t seen this yet, do yourself a favor and click the picture above to check out the songs. It’s like DJ Shadow for the YouTube generation.

Bonus: If you like Thru You you’ll also probably get a kick out this: “Amateur” – Lasse Gjertsen

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?]

Korean Shred-sation

What’s not to love about this video? It’s got a Korean Youtube sensation, a Seattle music connection, and sweet-ass metal riffage all in one package. 24 year-old Jeong-Hyun Lim made a splash a few years back when he posted a video of himself playing a rock version of “Pachebel’s Canon.” 49 million views later, Lim is currently the top favorited music Youtube video of all time – quite a feat for a shy kid who doesn’t even show his face in his posts. So what’s he up to now? A New Zealand news program caught up with him to find out.

Itsy Bitsy Big Deal

Four six-year olds. Singing. Together. In English. It took two days and a fair amount of sticker bribery, but today I reached my teaching high water mark when my kindergarten class sang a rousing rendition of “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” At times it felt like herding cats, but by the end of the class we were even busting out hand motions. Sure the pronunciation wasn’t perfect, but we made it to the end and we had a good time doing it. I accompanied the kids with my guitar, strumming along as they sang. The kids really liked it when I played fast and loud – maybe we’ll take the show on the road performing punk-rock kids songs. Our band could be called Modern English. Already taken? I’ll work on it. Anyway, I’m sure this isn’t a big deal to most experienced teachers, but to a newbie like me it was a great feeling. It’s been one of the unexpected rewards of teaching, but every now and again when a lesson really clicks, when something you say connects with your students, it’s almost as if you can actually see little tiny light bulbs flickering on their heads. It’s satisfying. Now it’s on to the next song. Any requests? We’ll be here all year.

“I’ll Melt With You” – Modern English

Beatle Mania

I don’t know why, but ever since buying my guitar I’ve been obsessed with learning Beatles songs. I guess if I’m going to play songs by a particular band, they might as well be by the most influential band on the face of the planet (Dylan will come next). I’ve already got “Yesterday” pretty much down, and I think my next challenge will be either “Across the Universe,” or “Blackbird.” But no matter how hard I practice, I’m fairly certain I will never sound as good as this guy. His name is Eduardo Diaz, and that’s about all I know. I stumbled across his music while looking for guitar lessons on YouTube, and he basically dominates everyone else out there (side note to all aspiring guitarists: don’t pay for lessons, virtually any song you can imagine has a free lesson on YouTube). Diaz’s classical guitar renditions amplify the gorgeous melodies and beautiful song structures contained within the music of Beatles. Don’t let his laid-back and casual playing style fool you – his face might look like he’s on painkillers, but his fingers look like they’re on speed. Playing both the bass notes and the accompanying melodies with ease, Diaz’s fingers deftly maneuver around the fretboard the same way a skilled pianist’s hands can navigate a keyboard. If you like The Beatles, or even if you don’t, I’m betting dollars to donuts you’ll be impressed by these interpretations.

“Here Comes The Sun”

“Blackbird

*Extra* Here’s a link to Fiona Apple’s most excellent rendition of “Across the Universe,” which was featured on the Pleasantville Soundtrack .