Utopian Turtletop. Monsieur Croche's Bête Noire. Contact: turtletop [at] hotmail [dot] com

Sunday, June 25, 2006

just another purveyor of background music from Seattle
(3/5ths of my band at my birthday party a few weeks ago -- Robert, Mac, and me)

Ali Marcus talks about the overwhelming amount of available music.

Why do I crave new musics?

When I hear something new that pings my just-right buttons in any sort of unique way, I learn something about myself. Music reshapes reality. When I resonate or vibrate happily with a piece or a song, it’s like the resonating note in a bathroom, the perfect pitch that makes the whole room echo, only I’m the room & the music finds me. Music tunes us. So “With the Beatles” may find my pitches more consistently than “Beatles for Sale,” and with you it may be the reverse, or maybe the Beatles don’t find your pitches at all. When I hear new music that finds my inner pitches, I become aware of capacities within myself I didn’t know were there.

Ali is absolutely right that the amount of already-physically-extant musical possibilities outstrips one’s capacity to listen: Every year more music is recorded and distributed than there are hours in a year. She’s also right that because of music’s ubiquitousness, its value is downplayed, and more of it becomes background music for most of us -- me included, and, I’m willing to bet money, her included too. But the background-ness of music is not a simple product of the age of canned music. The rich characters in Edith Wharton’s great book The Age of Innocence, which takes place just before the age of recording, go to the opera to flirt and gossip. Hang out with toddlers and even babies and you learn: Music is fundamentally human. Babies respond to music many months before they can crawl, much less talk. Don’t be ashamed if you like it as a background to other activities.

Check out Ali’s music. It’s free. She’s a solo-acoustic singer-songwriter. Her songs are tuneful, her voice is a rich and pleasant pop-folk alto with emotional-tone-color nuance, she strums solidly and with energy. I’ve been enjoying her stuff.

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Nice jam session with Fingers Hilarity after dinner tonight. He had asked whether we have a violin. I said no, we have a mandolin. He asked to see the “vandolin.” His mispronunciation made me realize that the “man-” prefix of “mandolin” meant “hand” (“manual” = “by hand”; “mano a mano” = “hand-to-hand” [NOT man-to-man!]). I showed him the mandolin, and he got out my $40 beater guitar that I bought for road trips, and he led us in a bunch of songs he made up on the spot. My mandolin will never be in tune -- it was my great-grandfather’s and is very pretty but not in good shape. Nice tone, poor action and intonation. Fingers Hilarity didn’t mind that my licks were out of tune. It was just good to play.

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Shots from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” cut to Outkast’s “Hey Ya” over at Corndog’s new place. (And yes, I must update my links page -- this week!) Believe it or not, I had never heard the Outkast song. The video is totally charming, as is the song. I really dig how the whole thing is built on a riff 5 and a half bars long.

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Lots of music this week-end. Will report as I have TIME.

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For Beatles obsessives: Ben.H in comments to my recent Beatles post mentioned that the Australian cover of “With the Beatles” was different than the UK edition, and it’s true of “Beatles for Sale” and “Magical Mystery Tour” too.

Sorry, I just read Woebot's original article and he convinced me all over again that Beatles for Sale is the business.

And yes, my folks had the Australian concert tour cover of Sale, along with that "Essential Beatles" LP: what a bizarre compilation!

I seem to recall the Sale photos were taken from the Sydney gig, although I guess that would mean the front cover would feature Jimmy Nicol.
"No Reply," "I'm a Loser," and "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" are three of my favorites. & I love the acoustic guitar sounds throughout "Sale."

The dynamics explosion of "I saw the light" and "I nearly died" in "No Reply" -- thrilling.
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