Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Context Is Everything

I've said often that the soundtrack of our lives often chooses us, not the other way around.  Another way to put it would be to say "context is everything".  If you'd ask me to sit down and listen to the funeral march from Beethoven's "Eroica", most likely it would register emotionally in a very limited way. Stuff like "oh, that's a nice piece" and "I wonder if the bassist is playing with a French bow or a German bow" might pass through my thoughts.  If I liked it enough, I might even try to remember the piece to download it/listen to it again later.

But in light of the introduction in the video below, I don't think I'll forget it now.  Listening to this piece in my cozy (but lame) office 50 years after it was performed, it sent chills down my spine.  I was transfixed.

Uploader "sexgulag" (LOLz on that name, by the way) has the full explanation of the video in the "about" section on You Tube, but for the full emotional impact, listen to the first 3 minutes or so before clicking over to You Tube to read it.

UPDATE:  This entry has had multiple formatting issues that have been fixed.

Monday, November 25, 2013


So I was trying to sell some stuff to offset the cost of an exciting new eBay purchase:  A stunning, early 80s G&L L-1000 fretless bass.  The long and short of it is it's a bust.  The bass is a piece of junk and I haven't had the heart to blog about because I'm so profoundly disappointed.  There are dead spots in the neck up past the heel (where the neck joins the body) and I'm not sure the electronics are working correctly.  Now that I've put higher tension strings on the bass, it appears as though the neck might even be warped.  I will still take it to a local guitar tech to see if it can be salvaged in some way; but I am in no hurry and I don't want to dump too much more money into it.  This entry is intentionally vague because I don't want it to turn into a self-induced public flagellation - my own guilt/shame on the issue is enough.  Let's just say I made multiple mistakes; and now I might be stuck with a shiny, black, fretless turd.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stuff That You Need

Hey you - yes, you.  Can we talk?  Christmas is coming up and  you haven't even thought about all the stuff you need to do to be ready.  Do you have sidewalk salt stowed away in case it snows?  No?  Man, you're going to feel horrible if mom falls down on  your sidewalk.  What about snow tires?  You get those snow tires on your car?  No?  It's cool - just pretend like your driving an expensive, heated sled.  Okay, well then you've started at least brainstorming for gifts, right?  YOU HAVEN'T?   Don't worry - I have you covered.  I've got to make way for a new addition to the stable (more on that soon, trust me) and so the way I see it, we can help each other out.  I'm selling some really dope stuff on Craig's List right now.  Go look at it now before it gets moved to eBay or Reverb.  Buy the T20 for yourself.  You deserve it - you've been good this year and it's a bad ass bass.  Pick up that Yeti mic for your nerdy nephew.  You should be encouraging his creative endeavors.  And the Fishman preamp?  Well, just like it's a good idea to keep candles and bottled water around for emergencies, you never know when you'll need a quality preamp.

Move on this stuff fast before it moves on you!  Move on them before I change my mind and keep them, yo!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Around The Internet [Updated]

Here's some of the stuff that's got my attention on the Internet:

  • PBS's documentary on Jimi Hendrix is getting some attention.  I'm looking forward to checking it out even though I only recognized two people (Steve Winwood and Paul McCartney) they interviewed in the trailer.  I don't listen to Hendrix too often, but hearing even his old standards like "Voodoo Chile" in the background of the trailer got me excited to check out this documentary.
  • NPR has a great interview with the Bad Plus's Dave King despite the horrible, horrible interviewer.  (Some gems:  "Is being a drummer hard work?" and "As a Minnesotan, you probably know a thing or two about hockey."  When Dave mentions his Midwestern roots/band mates, she changes the subject.)  I think it gives some valuable insight on a musician of which I had very limited knowledge.  He's so much more than just an amazing, powerful drummer.
  • Dave's website is super interesting too.  He's a pretty funny dude.  You can tell he has super active, super creative mind and a killer work ethic.
  • Here's a profile of "sound collector" Justin Boyd.  He does what I try to do with my dopey little "Audio Scratch Pad" entries, only he is infinitely more proficient at it than I am.
  • And finally, enjoy this French site, wherein contributors record the sounds of their neighbors having sex.  Sweet revenge?  Erotic enjoyment?  Who knows.  One thing is for sure:  privacy is dead.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Not Having To Use Your AK And Other Reasons To Be Thankful

It's weird:  I lament the end of summer. . . until November rolls around.  And when November DOES roll around, I'm okay with weather that usually gets me down.  Bring on the gray, windy skies.  Rain at night and branches tapping on the windows?  Fine.  Colder temperatures - I'll deal with it.  (I scored one of those sweet Columbia puffy jackets for $25 at Plato's Closet.)  My house is a tad drafty, but we've got plenty of blankets, so I'll be fine.

All that staying indoors in November turns into a subconscious biological imperative to turn inward to reflect and to remember.  There is much taking stock of my life, thinking of the future, and remembering the twisted path my life has taken to this point.  This inward focus manifests itself in pleasant indoor pursuits like reading, journalling, looking at old snap shots and family movies, watching DVDs, whiskey sipping, Foosball, and if I had a dart board, darts.  It's like a "staycation" for my soul.  It makes me feel cozy just thinking about it.

All of this pondering ends up becoming a warm up for my favorite holiday:  Thanksgiving.  Sure, Thanksgiving lacks retail sales, the glitz and amazing music of Christmas.  It does not afford adults the occasion to put on costumes and act like jack asses.  It is, in many ways, the meditative breath on the calendar between the craziness of the holidays.  Thanksgiving is Christmas without the pressure:  you have the socializing, the great food, the comfortable house - all without the hassle of gift-giving or mandatory mass. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, what with all the thinkin' and reflectin' I've done by the point, I'm usually awash in a spirit of humble gratitude and a hankering for turkey, giblet gravy, Cherokee dressing and rolls.  Thanksgiving is truly the most wonderful time of the year.

In honor of this over looked, completely awesome holiday, here is a playlist for you.  I'm not saying I like everything on this list, but have a listen and get thankful, mofos.

Poi Dog Pondering - "Thanksgiving"
Led Zepplin - "Thank You"
Natalie Merchant - "Kind and Generous"
Big Star - "Thank You Friends"
Beastie Boys - "Gratitude"
Neko Case - "Thanks Alot"
Dido - "Thank You"
Sly and the Family Stone - "Thank You (Fallettenme Be Mice Elf Agin)"
Sam and Dave - "I Thank You"
Ice Cube - "Today Was A Good Day"

Got any tunes of thankfulness you'd add to the list?  Put 'em in the comments section below.