We Listen

~~~Remembered Music

‘Tis said, the pipe and lute that charm our ears
Derive their melody from rolling spheres;
But Faith, o’erpassing speculation’s bound,
Can see what sweetens every jangled sound.

We, who are parts of Adam, heard with him
The song of angels and of seraphim.

Some echo still of those unearthly strains.
Oh, music is the meat of all who love,
Music uplifts the soul to realms above.
The ashes glow, the latent fires increase:
We listen and are fed with joy and peace.

~Rumi; tr: R. A. Nicholson

Slider Nikki Brown


Many lap players make a fetish to a minor degree of the vintage, brand, stature, of their guitar. Some player collectors have tens of instruments. I don’t like to see the photos of galleries of lap steels hanging on a wall where they cannot receive some active love. Nikki, on the other hand, is stormin’ on this video using a $100 Chinese-made short scale guitar.

African Music Podcasts

Although I am unsettled about pointing to legally unqualified digital music resources, in the case of podcasts, since I’m offering my own miniature sets, quality podcasts qualify for mention here. I’ll have more on the world’s bestest record store and it’s wild west nature to editorialize about at a later date.

Head on over to World Passport for their labor of love focused on rare compilations of African music. Enjoy and please think about making a comment two on what you really enjoyed.

Just For Now

My musobro Jamie sent me the link to this video by Imogen Heap. Fantastic. Jamie is my oldest musical compadre. He turned me on to Moby Grape and Marcel Duchamp in 1969 and followed up with a zillion more pointers. He’s a musician, producer, artist, writer, actor, wild man. You’ll be hearing more about the Ham Bone.

Imogen Heap now gains my attention.

Bizness Time

I really like the silly HBO show The Flight of The Conchords. It’s about how slack and ambition combine in the unlikely pairing of wannabee soulmen Bret and Jemaine. In the storyline they move to New York and get nowhere yet, evidently, their muse can’t help herself. The droll folk-soul they create and drop into verite videos litters the show and subverts the sit-com conventions. The series itself caps off four years of pomo foolery since the Conchords have a real comedic career launched first in the duo’s native New Zealand and boosted by the BBC.

Play Something Sweet

Make this land a better land
In the world in which we live
And help each man be a better man
With the kindness that you give–Yes We Can

Allen Toussaint

My soul bro Jamie dropped me an email reminding me today is Allen Toussaint‘s birthday. I’m not sentimental about birthdays, even to the extent of being careless. Nor do I track the birthdays of the hundreds of musicians I favor. Yet, the reminder got me to thinking and reflecting upon Mr. Toussaint. This same friend some 26 years ago turned me onto this giant of American music when he dropped the diamond on a Meters record produced by Toussaint. If I remember that day provided a party package of ‘awlins funk as he kept skipped to his stacks and brought me my first taste of Chris Kenner, and Lee Dorsey, and Fats Domino.

So it started.My softest spot remains for Allen Toussaint. Of course he’s basically the king of the entire N.O. crew. I think the only way you can account for a 50+ year career that, for example, reached yet another high musical spot with his record made for Verve Forecast in 2006, The River In Reverse, is that Allen Toussaint is a genius. Life, Love and Faith (Reprise 1972) is an all-time favorite Toussaint record.

Kamelmauz Studio Sketch: Faeon version 1

If you load up the effects channels on a software hard disc recorder, sometimes bad stuff happens. The computer might crash or the effects go dead. In this case, the output was glitchy and seemed worth looking at in an editor but not worth saving.

Except the glitches scattered throughout the drone, including many artifacts left from editing out total drop outs, sounded of a piece with the darn improv. I whacked a few but left many in this rough mix.

This is a crunchy series of drones played on an Indy Rail 6 string lap steel guitar and run through Absynth and some sympathetically nasty distortion and other tricky effects. Okay but it’s a throwaway…crumple, crumple…

Faeon v1b (studio sketch)

Szigeti/Walter Play Beethoven Violin Concerto

DESERT ISLAND RECORDING

I enjoy all sorts of different types of music, but it is only in the genre of classical music that my favorite recording is literally ‘second-to-none.’ Years ago I ran a music department in the back of a bookstore. Somewhat awkwardly, my work desk was stuck in the rear corner. Right behind me was the stereo system for the whole store, and underneath it was the shelf of records from which the store’s musical ambiance could be programmed. I inherited a lot of programming choices, from long gone staff members and current ones. The small collection tended to classical as did the store’s ambiance. (This would change over my tenure.) Packaged in a flimsy jacket, the imported EMI issue of the 1932 concert found its way into my hands. It was as if somebody handed me a diamond but I didn’t know what the heck a diamond was or what the big deal could be.

It was 1976. I auditioned Szigeti’s traversal of Beethoven’s violin masterwork made 44 years earlier; 75 years ago from today.

Amidst the bustle of the store Szigeti’s violin climbed upward. I was transfixed.

It ascended the ladder of my esteemed classical players immediately and, as it turned out, irrevocably. Beethoven’s violin concerto demands virtuosity. It also demands sublime magnanimity. Its cadenza has to be integrated into the heroic contours of the concerto. Finally, it seems to me this particular masterwork must be made to soar without for a second mitigating its gravely humanistic, bittersweet, dimension.

EMI Cover

LP cover

Ludwig Von Beethoven
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61
Joseph Szigeti (Violin)
Bruno Walter

British Symphony Orchestra
4/18/1932
Central Hall, Westminster, London

This is part of the Joseph Szigeti CD box from Andante.

15 Seconds

(Frederic Rzewski, recounted by Derek Bailey) “One day in 1968. I ran into Steve Lacy on the street in Rome. I took out my pocket tape recorder and asked him to describe in fifteen seconds the difference between composition and improvisation. He answered, “In fifteen seconds, the difference between composition and improvisation is that in composition you have all the time you want to decide what to say in fifteen seconds, while in improvisation you have fifteen seconds”.

via the huppeshyalites jazz blog.