music is life, music is breath, music is us

Archive for May, 2014

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The Verve – Lucky Man [Only voice and strings]

This song is special to me, not just because the Verve and Richard Ashcroft are huge inspirations to me musically. I got over my fear of singing in front of people by putting a cover of this on Youtube some odd months ago (I’ve since deleted THAT vid because the mic I used was terrible, I may do another cover with better audio at some point). This version is, in my opinion, the most powerful version I’ve ever heard of this song. Something about just Ashcroft’s voice and the strings that blows your mind.


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Miles Davis-“Black Satin”

This is truly a great example of Miles’ experimental musical predilections. Ensemble is experimental: Tabla, Electric Bass, Trumpet, Synthesizer, Electric Piano, Bongos, Saxophone, Electric Guitar, miscellaneous percussion (drum set, sleigh bells, possibly tambourine). Form is difficult to place in the confines of a traditional understanding. There is clearly a great deal of repetition, which gives the impression of a Hindustani tala or western classical minimalist structure (much like Philip Glass or Steve Reich). Overall the piece bears no resemblance to one specific style, as there are elements of funk, Hindustani classical, jazz, rock and modern western classical. The interaction of the instruments suggests polyphony, as there are vast numbers of distinct melodic lines (most recognizable are the bass, saxophone, synthesizer lines). One could argue that the bass and saxophone exist as solo entities in certain parts of “Black Satin” but it is really difficult to ascertain if they are truly taking a prominent melodic role. It seems more likely that these instruments are simply raised in volume to add tone colors to the piece, rather than to be singled out as solo instruments. The tonality of the piece is a mixture of tonal, atonal, and polymodal, which can result in a rather dissonant work at times. Additionally the piece incorporates a primarily duple meter of 4/4 (one could argue the piece is in cut time based on where certain beats fall).


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Music You Should Listen To: Irish rockers “Valentino is Dead”

These dudes got into contact with me via Twitter and they have a sound that is everything I personally look for in a band.

“No strangers to the music scene, Keith Smith (vocals, guitar) and Boey (guitar) have cut their teeth in other bands over the years, toured east coast America, played festivals and shows in Germany, toured with Rancid and played support to The Buzzcocks, Undertones, Less Than Jake and Bowling for Soup to name but a few.

Completing the line-up is David Black on drums and Clive Walsh on bass who have both played in a number of accomplished Irish bands over the years, and provide a very tight, exciting and dynamic quality to the line up.”

If you dig the sounds of Rancid, Less Than Jake and similar bands as much as I do, you won’t be disappointed (and hell I’m Celtic-American so the fact that these dudes are from the motherland makes it that much cooler). These guys have a sound that is both marketable and awesome to dance to (try it for yourselves!)

Valentino is Dead can be found at:

https://www.facebook.com/valentinoisdead

http://valentinoisdead.com/

https://twitter.com/valentinoisdead


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Terry Bozzio plays solo on all-cymbal kit

My friend (yes, really!) Terry Bozzio showing, with an all-cymbal kit, why he is truly one of the most imaginative drummers to ever live.


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On the rampage near UCSB

If you are looking at the news today, you’ll know that a guy not much younger than me shot and killed numerous people in Isla Vista near the UCSB campus. As a UCLA student, my heart goes out to anyone affected by this senseless violence. The UC school system is one large family, so I treat you all as such. You never totally get used to hearing things like this, but this one hits home more as, quite simply, this one is close to home. I know people who have gone to UCSB. This world man (shakes head).


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Philip Glass – Orquesta de Valencia: Concierto Fantasía para Timbales

I have played timpani longer than any other instrument (namely because in middle and high school no one in the percussion section wanted to play them haha). Philip Glass is one of my all-time biggest composition influences. I mean, what more could you want here?


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On this Monday’s Memorial Day

Any holiday involving the troops is personal for me, as I mentioned before my maternal great-grandfathers were infantry in WWI (arguably the closest to hell anyone can get), my great-uncle was a minesweeper and my great-great-uncle was in the army and was there when Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941. Memorial day is, as it says, a memorial. War is rarely just, and the wounds both emotionally and physically to soldiers and civilians are often great. Death is the inevitable for all of us, but to think of being killed in combat is a horrifying way to go (in my opinion). So these lyrics, in this song, this memorial day, make the most sense to me:

One by one they all fall down
Try to catch them when they hit the ground

I’m off to face my future
I’m off to face the war
How long must I stay here without you?
How long must I stay here alone?

I will fight for something that I do believe in
But I believe there’s nothing here worth fighting for
The war makes no mistakes
Your heart is going to break
But I’ll be there to catch you when you fall
(When you fall)

I’m off to face the reaper
(I’m off to face the reaper)
I’m off to face the dead
(I’m off to face the dead)
How long must I stay here with these falling shells around me?
How long must I stay here in hell?

I will fight for something that I do believe in
But I believe there’s nothing here worth fighting for
The war makes no mistakes
Your heart is going to break
But I’ll be there to catch you when you fall
The war makes no mistakes
Yeah, your heart is going to break
But I’ll be there to catch you when you fall
(When you fall)

One by one they all fall down
Try to catch them when they hit the ground

One by one they all fall down
Try to catch them when they hit the ground

The war makes no mistakes
Your heart is going to break
But I’ll be there to catch you when you fall
The war makes no mistakes
Your heart is going to break
But I’ll be there to catch you when you fall
(But I’ll be there to catch you when you fall)
But I’ll be there to catch you when you fall
(When you fall)

One by one they all fall down
Try to catch them when they hit the ground

One by one they all fall down
Try to catch them when they hit the ground