dwenius: (pic#968210)

I know I keep saying this, but: I can't do anything these days without running into the memory of Brett. Search email, he's in the results list; same for chat logs. Clean off desk, here's a postcard of one of his artworks. Sort pictures, duh, there he is. Except he's not. It's going to be like this for a long time, I get that, but I would like to move further down towards the "Acceptance" part of the Kubler-Ross model just about any old time now, please.

Today's example: I clicked over to SoundCloud to find an example track to test out shortcode-embeds on the blog [Note to LJ and DW mirror-readers; I have no idea if this will work for you, apologies in advance]. As soon as I log in, there is Brett peering at me from the sidebar with a ridiculous hat and bug-eyed DJ goggles. And yes, of course I clicked, and I listened, and I wept. So my example track is the ~9 minute collaboration below, "Wednesday."

These were the first sounds to come out of the studio when Brett and re-built it in 2009, after the water-heater flood and remodeling in the El Cerrito house. We were just noodling around testing out all the routing and for once, hit record. Brett is playing the Waldorf Q and I am on guitar; the clean guitar part and a dry Q part were laid down in the first take. Then we came back in and Brett played with the FX on the synth track while I overdubbed the fuzzy e-bow line. So this is composed solely of first takes. It's not perfect; we lost the plot partway through because of some now-forgotten distraction and after that point it's a little less together all around, but I am very happy with the first few minutes. Brett took it home and did some post-processing to create this final version; if you listen closely, you can hear him working pretty hard to "fix it in the mix" :)

As far as I can remember, this is the only piece of music we ever put to tape together. I have plenty of regrets about my life but that's at the top of the list. I have some of Brett's studio gear here with me now, and on that gear there are patterns, sequences, and samples. I have unfinished business to attend to, which is part of the reason for the changes I'm making in how I spend my time. More later, for certain.

Mirrored from Dwenius. Please comment here or There

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Hi all. I am waiting on an electronic copy of the "stories and memories" section of Brett's service, at which point I will post a complete transcript.

In the meantime, tune in to Chilled Chewy Choosedays on fnoob.com underground radio at 3PM Eastern time to hear LX Paterson of the Orb drop a DJ set which will include selections in memory of Brett Palomar. Many thanks in advance to LX!

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So it's a little too early in the day to break a new set of glowsticks for the kiddies, so I put on Joan Jett.

No, wait, work with me here a minute.

So I put on Joan Jett, or rather I put on Calvin's iPod playlist, to which I have just added Joan Jett, and because the iPod shuffle algorithm is shadowy and mysterious, it pulls out "I Love Rock and Roll" first up. It should here be noted that when A. is away, it gets kind of loud around here.

It takes all of 3 chords before both of the little ones are rocking out in their own way. Calvin is trying to keep his feet in the same place and see how far he can get his hips from his hands without falling over. Rose is hopping around like a frog on all fours and wiggling her butt in the air with no sense of rhythm whatsoever.

Alas, an elbow hits a nose moments later and the spell is broken. But just for a minute there, heart asplode.
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Sometime around Halloween, Calvin piped up at dinner and said, "I want to learn how to read." When probed for the source of his sudden interest, he replied that "You need to know how to read to be able to use an iPod!"

The end justifies the means, right? [livejournal.com profile] canetoad pulled out the workbooks we used with Nina and they started working through them at bedtime. Calvin being Calvin, attention-span was an issue, but by the same token his glee at figuring out words and phonics and so forth lit up the room. There was a brief moment of iPod touch lust (over a lava lamp game, actually), but in a subsequent pillow conversation Calvin declared that it was all up to Santa which version he got and he mostly wanted to play his songs over and over again. Shortly thereafter, he read about half of _Go Dog, Go_ to me, including working out about 10 new words all on his own. Santa was satisfied, and Calvin received the same iPod Nano 4g that his father and sister own.

and what did he want to listen to? )
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Dear Lazyweb,

My Arcam A85 has died for the second time and we've decided to replace rather than repair. So I am in the market for an integrated amplifier, 3-4 input channels, at least 80 watts per channel output into 4 ohms to drive my power hungry Dynaudio Audience 85s. This is just for a 2 channel audio system, not plugged into a tv/home theater; a phono stage would be nice but is not required. Budget is somewhere in the $1-2K range. What hidden gems should I be looking at? I've already looked into the current gear from Rotel (slightly underpowered), NAD (bad quality reviews on the intarweb), Krell (lovely but too expensive), and Marantz (the pm-8003 looks quite nice).

So...what do you recommend?

No on 8

Nov. 3rd, 2008 05:18 pm
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Fear's the strongest motivation
for keeping those unlike you hidden far away.
Rear springs readily from ignorance;
intolerance isn't far away.

Those confining little boxes,
self inflicted labels from which they never stray.
In a frenzy of righteous indignation
they try to outlaw shades of gray.

How many colors does a rainbow have?
Can you see boundaries between them?
In the continuum between the dark and light
are vibrant shades of gray.

Fear's behind the legislation
That dictates how we live, who we love and what we say.
Those who worship black and white,
see red, when faced with shades of gray.

Let me think for myself
because my brain is working fine, fine, fine.
Let me make my own choices and mistakes
at least they will be mine.

And if your road is superior to mine,
then I may someday find it and your kids will never stray.
Are you free? Your citadel of absolutes
will succumb to shades of gray.

How many colors does a rainbow have?
Can you see boundaries between them?
In the continuum between the dark and light
are vibrant shades of gray.

-- Babes with Axes, Eugene Oregon, 1996
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[livejournal.com profile] boutell interviewed me. Leave a comment if you want to be interviewed, I'll give you 5 questions, please offer to interview others when you post your responses. Click here for performance news, geekery, music, and more proud-papa gushing than you can stand )
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[livejournal.com profile] fredfred tagged me (indirectly) with the 7 songs you are into right now, so clicky clicky for the tracks in high rotation )
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Based on other recent, similar mistakes that Sony has made, I'm just going to assume that Nellie McKay's album "Pretty Little Head", if it is ever released, will be a work of unparalleled genius. What is it with Sony and talented female performers?
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Some time ago (en route to [livejournal.com profile] crisper and [livejournal.com profile] cda's baby shower?), in need of car music we all could handle, I loaded a playlist of Seamus Kennedy songs. I saw Seamus perform at the late lamented Ireland's Own pub in Old Town Alexandria probably 200 times in the early 90's.

Then, after mentioning them in a response to [livejournal.com profile] ilanarama, I put on an old VHS tape of the the King's Singers.

And I remain, as has been noted, a damned dirty hippie.

So this is what we have been singing lately )


Nov. 4th, 2005 08:41 am
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"The thing about India is...you know, in the west, we have this whole thing where Jesus was born and that's when everything important starts, and before that is ancient history, prehistory. But Indian culture goes back thousands of years before that, and for long stretches in that period, they didn't have any wars. So they had a lot of time to themselves, you know, to figure stuff out. And what did they do with it? The figured out music reeeeeally well. They figured out spirituality almost completely. And they did a pretty good job with sex and food, too."

Intriguing theory, although personally I'd respect Indian culture more if they had also figured out social structure and class politics somewhere in there.

Speaking of Indian music, though: Debashish Battacharya plays some insanely mesmerizing ragas on slide guitar on this album, while Ry Cooder and Vishwa Mohan Bhatt's deliver similarly wondrous slide playing on A Meeting by the River. One fun thing about the Cooder/Bhatt recording: their sons play all the percussion, Cooder's son on Djembe, and Bhatt's son tearing it up on tabla. This was apparently a spontaneous jam session, which just happened to be recorded because Cooder is no dummy, and travels with superb recording gear wherever he goes. They were going to produce/mix/master it, but upon hearing the tapes decided to just release it as is. It's impossibly lovely, if a bit short.
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Before her bedtime this evening, Nina was in my studio composing something she called "Alien Fiesta". This consisted mostly of a high pitched arpeggiated line that was not a little agitating (think "Ventolin"), overlayed with some completely arbitrary howling, screeching, modwheel wankery on the SH-101. I mean, she was rocking it, Roky Erickson Captain Beefheart style.

So she turns to me and asks for help with the drums. We dial around the kits on the MPC until she says "That one, that one! I like that sound right there", and gee, what do you know, it's the TR-808 hi-hat. What can I say, she knows what works.

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This is a repost of someone on my FL that at least half of my readership does not know, and therefore would have missed, but I knew you'd like it. Yanked from [livejournal.com profile] megasus4 reposting some guy going by [livejournal.com profile] geoff_chaucer (and discovered by [livejournal.com profile] brannen):

Wha be tha blake prevy lawe
That bene wantoun too alle tha feres?
Ya damne righte!

Wha be tha carl tha riske is hals wolt
Fro is allye leve?
Konne ye?

Wha be tha carl wha wolden flee
Whan peril bene all aboughte?

Alle clepe tha carl ane badde mooder-swyver
Speken of Shaft bene I.

He be a man konne unnethes
Namo save is mayde konnes im.
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I have now listened to the official Extraordinary Machine album release three times. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt, listen with open ears to the new arrangements and production, but to no avail. Sony, in some misguided hope of creating a radio-friendly release, has managed to squeeze almost every bit of fire and life out of the songs. The weakest tracks, they managed to improve a little, but the rest of the album was dumbed down to match that new, low standard. Now, it...well I dunno, I don't listen to the radio, but it sounds like what my concept of "what everything on the radio sounds like" ought to sound like. I'm exceedingly disappointed. Not angry, per se...I'm saving my anger for the Bush administration. But definitely disappointed enough to give you this track by track review of HOW THEY SCREWED THE SONGS UP )
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...because I need an outrage break. But I'm still going to segue into music from Katrina, via Kayne West.

West's "Bush doesn't care about Black people" line, although censored from the West coast broadcast, gets dropped into about every 10th or 12th opinion/editorial piece I have read this week. There should be t-shirts. Prior to that, West came out calling for an end to gay-bashing in hip hop. And his latest release, Late Registration, has uncompromisingly rich production by Jon Brion all over it. I may have to break down and give it a listen; my most recent hip-hop related purchase was, hmmmm...probably the Body Count album with "Cop Killer" on it. Unless you count Cibo Matto, but I don't, I file them under "Other."

I did not know Brion did the "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" soundtrack, but I can definitely hear it. It makes me appreciate Brion AND the film even more.

More Brion news, it's official: Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine will be released...but not the Brion-produced versions that were leaked to the net. The actual release has production by Mike Elizondo of Dr. Dre and Brian Kehew of the Moog Cookbook. That's not a bad combination, but I wonder if this isn't a huge mistake. A handful of the Brion-produced tracks are instant classics, and I can't imagine them different. They'll be like Apple covering her own stuff with an inferior backing band. I don't know. I'll probably buy it, but I am SO glad I have the deleted versions safely stored.

I am more and more interested in seeing Brion perform at Largo on some random Friday night.

Finally, Ace records has re-released the first four Funkadelic albums, at least two of which You All Should Own. Pitchfork has a review, which includes this classic line: "[T]hey had it all: great players, great singers, a great look, a great concept, actual hits, great albums, great drugs, freaky sex, disputes over money-- everything Led Zeppelin (or Spinal Tap) taught us was necessary to make the world's greatest rock music."
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Calvin likes to be sung songs before bed. Unfortunately, most children's songs (and many others) have nonsense syllables in them, so when he asks for them by name, it can get complicated. Try to guess what song Calvin means when he says the following (easy ones first):

  • Cradle and all

  • Fidlee-i-Oh!

  • Rolling home!

  • What dee see?

  • Fair Jata

  • Jelly Stream!

  • Up a Rail?

  • Manadeedee!

  • What Where? What Where? (trick question)

  • Tickle-tee-tin? (Bonus round. Consider the parent in question)


Jul. 6th, 2005 10:45 am
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So, David Byrne apparently did a few gigs recently (as discussed in his blog, scroll down to "June 27, Los Angeles")with the Extra Action Marching Band, which as far as I know is all that remains of the once mighty, awe-inspiring, never-to-be-surpassed entity of ecstasy, Crash Worship.

I'm guessing that Byrne's partially sufferable pretension, when matched with the fire/bumpin' horn section/wine cannon/flag-corps-whores/drum apocalypse madness of EAMB, made for a tremendous concert experience. Pity they didn't come through the Bay area :(
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From the Improbable Blog: Video of Tom Lehrer performing a handful of beautiful/horrible math songs at a colleague's 80th birthday celebration. Possibly the only video of him performing available anywhere (mad props to archive.org), and charming as all hell, as he is completely in his element, that being a room filled with mathematicians.

In related news, I had NO IDEA that Lehrer wrote some songs for the children's program The Electric Company. Yep, soundtracks for animated ditties like "Silent E", "N apostrophe T", and the one I know you will remember, "L-Y", featuring lines like:
On the lake your boat upset,
and your clothes got soaking wet
how do you stand and wait for them to dry?

So, for those of you still keeping score at home, let us all raise a glass and fondly recall The Electric Company, starring Bill Cosby, Rita Moreno, Morgan Freeman as "Easy Reader" (the reading-crazed hippie biker equivalent to the Count on Sesame street, according to , this entertaining article, which also contains the classic phrase "Do two funny minutes on the blend 'fl' - it's a nightmare for a writer"), plus occasional music by Tom Lehrer. Short of the Muppet Show, was there anything even halfway as awesome on TV in the 70s? Why is modern children's TV so utterly bereft of kick ass actors laying it down with the mad phonics? Seriously, now.


Jun. 5th, 2005 09:14 pm
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Some of you are no doubt aware that there is a new Fiona Apple Album, Extraordinary Machine, which Sony has declined to release for over two years, having decreed it has "no commercial appeal" (NY Post link, BugMeNot (or Registration, ugh) required). Well, I wasn't familiar with Apple's music at all prior to hearing this news, but the last time I heard the phrase "no commercial appeal" applied to an album, it was referring to Yanke Hotel Foxtrot, so my interest was piqued. And I have to say, avoiding for the moment the glaring question of whether Sony's opinion on the commercial viability of <i>anything</i> has merit (cough, pushing minidiscs over mp3 players), in this case they are completely puffing on the stupid pipe. )


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