Thursday, June 30, 2005

Who's Smarter?: Round Two

Welcome to round two of The Supreme Battle of Intellect we call "WHO'S SMARTER ?. This week we have two new but rough n' ready contestants ready to battle it out to see who's the smartest! They are:
From ABC's "The View", shallow narcissist and devotee of Hardee's "Monster Burger", Star Jones!:

And from the world of Astrophysics, "the father of X-ray astronomy" and pioneer of Black Hole and cosmic X-ray studies for NASA, ,Nobel Prize recipient, Riccardo Giacconi!:

And the winner is...Riccardo Giacconi! Congratulations Mr. Giacconi and thanks for your years of groundbreaking research so central in helping us understand our universe.
And to you Mrs. Star lost some weight. So...good job there!
Do You Like to Buy Things For Me?

If so, you should go and look at my " Wish List", and buy me several items off the list. Especially the incredibly overpriced book "Modal and Tonal Counterpoint: From Josquin to Stravinsky" by Harold Owen. It's $72 dollars new and barely 400 pages. But remember-it's for me. A really great guy.
If You See Someone Wearing This Shirt:

Do them a favor and just end their life. A quick gun shot to the head, maybe some hemlock like Socrates, just end their pain and misery. They obviously have some serious problems and have given up on having dignity or being happy. Just end it. Now.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

BTK Killer is Going to Jail

He pleaded guilty and will be getting several life sentences. However, I do not feel particularly more safe. The B2K Killer is still at large.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Summer In Minneapolis

Minneapolis has the reputation as being a culturally and artistically vibrant city, with a diverse population. A beacon of a light in a troubled country with its effective educational system and progressive environmental laws. Also, Minneapolis is famous for being colder than a gravedigger's ass. Both are true, but one isn't true. So one is true. The first part.

Minneapolis gets hot in the summer. Really hot. And it isn't an enjoyable California warm. It's full on Vietnamese jungle swelter. While residents of San Fransisco in the summer rise each morning to a light breeze from the bay, the sun lighting and warming their smiling faces, I wake each morning thirty clicks out of Hải Phòng, my hand on my gun, lying in a section of thick tropical vegetation, my black friend from Philly J.T. at my side. As the sweat drips down my forehead and I realize I'm still in this hellish war, I reach down for my junk and needles, only to find the plate with some half-eaten Pizza Rolls on my bedroom floor. Minneapolis, Minneapolis. I can't believe I'm still in Minneapolis and so on and so forth.

Comparing experiencing an intense, but tolerable midwestern summer heatwave in the relative comfort of my room with being in a soldier in the Vietnam war is quite absurd, and quite offensive. I realize that. Also, I use the stereotype of the white soldier having the "black friend" a'la Tim O'Brien, and the cliche that all our soldiers were addicted to heroin. That is very offensive and unresponsible of me. Just for a lame joke I basically smeared all veterans of the Vietnam war, and the memory of those who died in combat. But please, let me explain. It is really hot right now.

The reason Minneapolis is so hot in the summer is the humidity. The air is thick, muggy, and the dew point is suffocating. There is the famous cliche about the air being so thick as to cut it with a knife. I decided to test this last night. I took a large knife from my kitchen and walked the streets waving it around wildly. Some of the neighbors took interest in my experiment by looking through their windows. I kept shouting back to them "I'm trying to cut it. Cut it open good. I'm going to cut it reeeallly goooooood....!" Some of them also may have been interested as I was wearing no shirt (or pants-so you know the ladies were lookin'!). Before I could see if I could cut the air, I had to run back to my house as I heard several police sirens in my area. Probably some gang violence or something.

I am sorry to sound so Andy Rooneyish about such trivial annoyances as heat, but it really gets to me. I'm really worried for the universe. Although Inflationary Cosmologists have recently disputed the notion of the future Heat Death of the universe, the Second Law of Thermodynamics still looms large and must be dealed with firmly if such a theory of entropy is to be cast out. I will continue to keep notice of the hot air suffocating us and report back to you on my findings. Whether global warming or the final entropy of life as we know it, I as a native Minnesotan, feel the heat.
We can only sit in our air conditioned rooms and eat Totino's Pizza Rolls and wait.
The Teddy Bears with the Dangerous Minds

I have been listening all night to some old interviews with composers Morton Feldman (left) and John Cage (right). What fascinating, sweet, brilliant and funny guys. Listening to a question and answer session with Feldman and some university. The moderator (named Charles) is asked by Feldman why he likes his earlier work. He replies that it's more 'pretty' and 'consonant', and that it's 'consonance' makes it more accessible to the ear. Feldman questions the meaning of the word and that everything is 'right' and everything is 'consonant' because it's all created and real. Feldman, who talks like a zen wiseguy from the streets of Brooklyn and who's music is often as quiet as a church mouse, says:
"Charles, if you use the term 'consonance' to describe something I'm writing, I will go quietly down into the basement, and hang myself."
Uproars of laughter.

Remind me to listen to more of Feldman's music. I recently bought a copy of his "Rothko Chapel" and "Why Patterns?" and I love them. Also his writings must be aquired. I have a feeling these guys from the post WWII American scene grasped what music must do(if it must do anything) and where it must go (if it must go anywhere) with far more subtlety then their peers in Europe who still toiled with number systems and electronics. They have left the door open-Boulez et. al, as incredible as they were and are, show you a few incredibly narrow ways, and you have to spill some blood to get there.

But please-remind me to listen to more of Feldman. Also remind me to find a way to harness the power of the sun to destroy mosquitoes. I went outside tonight for three minutes and was bitten a couple thousand times. I have enough use for my blood. I need it to fight infection and carry oxygen to my cells. I have none to spare for these little bastards. I tried to explain this to them. Goes in one Culcicine Palpus and out the other I tell ya...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Who's Smarter?: Round 1

Hello friends, welcome to the first Round of the Supreme Battle of the Intellect, known as "WHO'S SMARTER ?"!!

Let me explain the rules. Every week, two contestants will step up to the challenge to find out once and for all, "who's smarter"! This week the contestants are:

Dancer, husband of Britney Spears, and admirer of African-Americans, KEVIN "K-FED" FEDERLINE!


From Vienna Austria, groundbreaking philosopher of logic and language, and author of the revolutionary Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN!

Okay, I'm tabulating the results...and the winner is.....LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN! Nice try K-Fed, but you will get some lovely parting gifts. Mr. Wittgenstein you tried your hardest and pulled through. As our winner for this edition of "Who's Smarter??" 12 roses will be sent to your grave! Congratulations!
Why I Hate Blogs, the word 'Blog', and Bloggers

Blogs. What the fuck? The word itself just makes me want to throw up in my pants. Everyone is a fucking expert on world affairs now. Everyone has something funny, sarcastic, insightful to say.
"Hey Shanna! What do you think of Karl Rove? Please tell me! I have to know what you think! No! I will NOT let go. I don't care if you are bleeding! Tell me what you think about world affairs you dirty whore! AHHHHHH!"

I will refrain from using the word 'blog' for the rest of this essay. The word is ugly, and unless it is the name of a 13th century Romanian warrior ('Blog the Merciless' for example), I will refuse to write it. Also the word 'blogosphere' is eternally embarrassing. While 'bloggers' use it casually and often, for me and any other dignified human being, the word is as painfully homoerotic as a Robert Mapelthorpe photo of Liberace and Oscar Wilde in moon boots dancing with Haley Joel Osment. I should say in all fairness there is nothing wrong with a little homo-eroticism. I know for me, it is a luring reminder of all I secretly yearn for in the deepest recesses of my being, but 'blogsphere'? GAY!
In all straight-laced seriousness, 'Web bulletin thingy' is my preferred nomenclature.

WBTs are everywhere these days. From politcal WBTs to celebrity news WBTs, anyone with a laptop can now wax endlessly about anything from Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes to revolutionary socialist ideals. Now I think everyone has a right to have a WBT, but it really annoys me that so many people really believe anyone gives a flying fuckfish what they think.
Now of course you also will point out the irony of someone writing on their WBT about how much they hate them and the people who write on them. You bring up a good point, but you have failed to see the simple fact that I do hate this page, and myself. In fact, three times during the writing of this paragraph I have attempted to kill myself with a shotgun.
As for people caring what I say, I also will admit that I write about the most random, elitist, odd and really absurd nonsensical things ever. NO ONE could possibly care about any of this shit but me. I try to make it entertaining for people in the process, but how entertaining can a post about Guillaume Dufay be? These posts are just me practicing writing and spelling while bored. Amazingly-this often comes out as extremely irritating and pretentious. My favorite piece of feedback so far was from my friend Alex, who reading the post about Berg quoted my asshole-elitist line about "Post-Wagnerian" harmonies, and said sarcastically 'my thoughts exactly.' What Alex didn't include in his little sarcastic jab at my post, was that he has been having some trouble at home. He makes fun of me because his dad beats him and his brothers.
Pray for him.

One thing that annoys me about WBTs is how similar so many of them are. Here's an example of your typical political WBT.

First let's call our WBT something lame: "Leaf by Leaf" how bout? It's poetic, multi-layered, stupid. Perfect
Okay, now to get started posting pithy bullshit. Find an article on the web. Something about the Iraq war let's say. Okay here we go: "Rumsfeld: Iraq Insurgency Could Last for Years". Great. Okay, now to title our entry something pithy and lame: "Rummy pessimistic" how bout? It's stupid, uses a cute nickname, it's retarded, it's meaningless. Perfect.
Okay so write the title in bold and write your post. Be sure to say something really casual and condescending. Also! This is very important!: Do NOT go in to detail or write anything of substantial length, quality or acumen. You are a WBT-er! Your job is to act like you understand more about the world than anyone else, and cut and paste shit you find online to prove it. Okay here we go!:

Rummy pessimistic

Well, it looks like ol' Rummy ain't so sure about the whole insurgency in it's "last throes" now. Totally expected, but do you see him and Cheney going hunting any time soon because of their little disagreement? Hmm....

Awesome! You did it! Now cable news channels will take time from their already shoddy reporting on important issues to read your arrogant bullshit!

There is nothing more to say about WBTs or the people who write them. I've found some funny ones, but usually I stick to my usual internet activity of buying things and finding cute pictures of sea otters. Sadly, most are just like my parody, if not worse. Just as no one was "dirty" until they invented "soap", now that they've invented "WBTs", everyone is a "know-it-all" with a sagacious eye on current events. Thanks to computers, anyone can be a little George Will or Christopher Hitchens. These little know it all pricks can use an online thesaurus when needed to find another word for 'insightful', such as 'sagacious'. Assholes!
And all this WBT-ing is accomplished by stealing another source's news, writing a few snappy one liners, and all without leaving the house (or rather mom's basement).

Only in 21st century America would we feel the need to listen to faceless people's opinions on the web. I am not saying that there aren't smart, well-learned people out there on the web. But I for one, would rather listen to a Maureen Dowd or a Christopher Hitchens, two people who both smart AND don't have Cooler Ranch Dorito stains on their mouse pad.

Well, except Hitchens. That fat drunk traitor bastard.
Lace Passes into Nothingness...

My dream is to learn French and read Proust and Mallarmé in the original. I would also like to fly and create super novas and galaxies with my kneecaps and grant wishes to rainbow colored ponies.

Stéphane Mallarmé, damn.This man's poetry reminds me of Principal Blackman's line from "Strangers with Candy": 'I'm an obtuse man, so let me be oblique.'
I am excited to buy a nice edition of his complete poems in both French and English. I'm going to read the shit out of this pretentious oblique shit! I kid of course-for my semi-ignorance of a lot of poetry, he is probably my 'favorite'. Joyce was influenced by him too, but I only found that out recently. It's a small world. And Mallarmé hates it and wants to die and become nothing, and Joyce loveshates it and wants to live and become who knows what? A stain on some woman's panties?

In all manner of poetic seriousnes:


Lace passes into nothingness,
With the ultimate Gamble in doubt,
In blasphemy revealing just
Eternal absence of any bed.

This concordant enmity
Of a white garland and the same,
In flight against the pallid glass,
Hovers and does not enshroud.

But where, limned gold, the dreamer dwells,
There sleeps a mournful mandola,
Its deep lacuna source of song,

Of a kind that toward some window,
Formed by that belly or none at all,
Filial, one might have been born.

(translated by Patricia Terry and Maurice Z. Shroder)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Guillaume Dufay

I've been listening a lot to this Naxos CD of Dufay's Chansons for three voices interpreted by the unfortunately titled Ensemble Unicorn and Bernhard Landauer. Performed on late Medieval/Renaissance instruments and pretty damn authentically by the looks of the liner notes, it's a relief to hear some of this super duper music played with a little vigor. Too much Renaissance music is performed lackadaiscally, making it nothing but intelligent new age bathwater incense. But this is ballsy, austere and cut-dry music on which Landauer's voice floats over ethereally. For once this music sounds hard-edged and dirty. After all, this is music from the 15th century. I'm sure even the aristocratic and highly respected Dufay had several diseases and smelled like the Black Death itself.
Listening to the Ensemble Lisa Frank perform these songs brings you back in time. You are outside a French village listening to the village band play the newest of Dufay's songs on their instruments. You have several diseases and you smell of the Black Death.

Beautiful stuff. Also-Guillaume Dufay is perhaps my favorite composer name. Except perhaps, Engelbert Humperdinck.
My God Courtney Love is a Beast

Not only did this women release a couple horrible albums, appear in some horrible movies, and kill her first husband, she's now fucked up her face and gotten fat:

This is what they call Karmic retribution for bad deeds. She always wanted to be an a sex symbol, a member of rock royalty by marrying it's crown prince, a punk, a controversial public figure, a glamorous actress but she made the mistake of failing at each and now look what's happened to her. This controversial glamorous punk rock actress now looks like one of your mom's pathetic co-workers that flirts with you at a wedding.
Rave On, John Donne

The popularity of the phenomenon known as the 'Rave' seems to be dying, along with most ravers hopefully, finally succombing to Ecstasy laced with anaesthetic Ketamine-related acute renal failure and cerebral hemorrhage.
Raving and ravers had a good run though. The foggy memories of the absurdly loud German techno, strobe lights, neon wrist bands, pacifiers and the constant awkward sex between drugged up Anime fanatics will always remain.

If you never got a chance to go to a rave, this site recreates the experience perfectly. Go here, and be SURE to turn the sound up!
Rock Stars Plan to Save the World

I'm really getting sick about reading about 'Live 8', or as I call it, 'Live-Aid 2: Electric Boogaloo". Crappy music is not going to save the world. Of course, Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney are on the bill, but sadly are two men that hit their peaks years ago. I hate to be such bastard cynicist. The heart is in the right place, and poverty in Africa is a wonderful start for such an endeavor, but there has to be more done to inspire the American people. While politicians concern us with terrorists killing a couple hundred people with a bomb, or gay people having sex, millions are dying. Of course I am over-simplifying an incredibly complex issue. My point is why is it only the UN and Bono that seem to give a shit? It's time we start doing something so we won't have to have Bob Geldolf tell us every 20 years. Twice is enough. And from the looks of the picture, Mr. Geldolf hasn't aged too well. Too much self-righteous narcisism? Too much smoke blown in his face? He looks like he's been cremated and then put back together.
Why do I have to get online to read about Darfur? The media is so wacky. No one seems to care.

"We'll crown the conqueror in oak wreaths or bay,
But as for these buffoons, let's harness them
In scarlet rags that scream to keep away."

When all of us have spat out our disdain
Reduced to nothing, their eclipse complete,
These ciphers call down thunderbolts-and then

Go hang themselves on lampposts in the street.

-Stéphane Mallarmé: The Jinx (translated by Henry Weinfeld)

Friday, June 24, 2005


Like the autumn with its coloring and dying of leaves, or the budding plant life and greenery of the Earth bursting with new life in the spring, each season of MTV's "Real World" is a sign post of the everchanging everthesame mill wheel of time. And you can bet your sweet bippy there is going to be some sparks flyin' and hookin' up with this wild and hot cast of young guyz n' galz!!!

This season the sparks will be flying in Austin Texas. Austin, like all the cities in the South, is a disgusting den of inequity, full of racists, drunks and eternally ignorant 'townsfolk'. The only reason these most forsaken of God's children don't continue to lynch black people is that they have Nascar to follow on television, and they are too poor to afford rope.

Even on the first episode of the season, members of the cast manage to be attacked and beaten by a group of wandering 'Good Ol' Boys' when they ask where their black friend went. While usually the Real World places disgusting people into beautiful houses in richly cosmopolitan and sophisticated cities (New York, London, Paris, San Francisco), this season they decided to shake things up and place the disgusting people into a disgusting city. I couldn't be more glad. It will be a pleasure to watch.

This season's cast is faceless and dull to me. There are 3 girls who look exactly the same, a couple frat dudes, an ugly emo girl, and the token black man with the Biblical name.
Let me quick do a run-down of the new cast and my thoughts on each:

Danny-Danny is the 'sensitive' one. 'Sensitive' I guess because he rocks the haircut of a 1st century Roman centurion guard. Other than that, he is constantly drinking and staring at fellow castmember Melinda's breasts and giving his fellow male castmembers high-fives on said breasts.

Johanna-On the MTV website she is described as a "stunning and fiery Peruvian living in Southern California, Johanna knows that the combination of her looks and intellect can get her just about anything she wants". This modern day Elizabeth Cady Stanton gets drunk, makes out with Danny, and gets into a fight on the first episode.

Lacey-How did this woman get on the show? "The Real World" is not "The Real World" without painfully gorgeous and stupid men and women. First of all-she isn't attractive. Her broad and forceful chin brings to mind that piano-playing/moon-man character "Mac Tonight" from old McDonald's advertisements. And on top of that, she is articulate, friendly, morally grounded and artistic. GET HER OFF THE SHOW!!

Melinda-Melinda is blonde and dumb and has big breasts. Hopelessly bland, and dully pretty, she is the object of high praise from every guy that she comes into contact with. Danny describes her to castmate Nehemiah as the "perfect woman", which is sort of like calling Funyons the "perfect food".

Nehemiah-Nehemiah is black. While that in addition to his difficult life is all that MTV cares about, he's the only one in the house that doesn't ellicit violent hatred or boredom. He seems sweet-natured, quiet and thoughtful. This sympathetic personality comes into conflict with the other assholes on the show. For example on the first night he is physically abused by Johanna after he tells her she's had enough to drink-something she told him to do the night before. Poor guy. He then gets yelled at by the two frat guys for being thoughtful and leaving before violence erupts. What a bastard!

Rachel-A dull-witted veteran of the Iraq war, she often uses her war experience to lord over her castmates. In her bio on she lists 'Jenna Jameson' as her hero. Another reason why I don't support the Iraq war, or the troops fighting it.

Wes-Wes is a Kansas frat boy. As expected with such a background, he is an ignorant jock. He is nonetheless described as being 'bright and entrepreneurial', which means gets into deep philsophical discussions about competition, pussy and money.

I can't wait for the rest of the season!
It is Officially 1 Billion Million Degrees

Jesus Christ. It's hotter than the Devil's balls here. The ones that I really feel sorry for are not the elderly but the cats and dogs. Imagine having all that fur!
Fuck you old people. Stop complaining about the heat. Your time has come. Buster the Long-Haired Tabby on the other hand, has a bright future of sleeping, grooming, vomiting and snapping the necks of gophers ahead of him.
So I say this to that shut-in Mrs. Holkemstrom-do us all a favor and DROP. DEAD.
Before you do, 1) Put a fan on your 24 cats. 2) Give all your money to your children or charity. 3) Stop complaining. 4) Throw out all your Ginger Ale from the 1994 Holiday Season. 5) Put on several layers of the most suffocating fabric (such as Sheplands Sheep's Wool, or Jute). 6) Lock yourself in the 115-degree attic. 7). Think over your pathetic waste of a life. 8) Die.

Oh by the way-
Thank God for this Man:

Sufjan Stevens really gives me renewed faith in rock music, pop music, folk music, country music, minimalist music, indie music, gospel music, soul music, acoustic music, electronic music, love, God, life, women, the 1942 Brooklyn Dodgers, and everything else. He is a Godsend. Music really needs someone this perfect. His upcoming Illinois is his best work yet. A complete and utter masterpiece of songwriting and arranging. It's funny, it's sad, it's pretty, it's strange. It actually sort of pisses me off. Look at him in that picture knitting. He knows he's the shit.

This album will be a classic. Mark my words. And YES-I stole it off the internet 3 months early. You can tell Lars Ulrich, I don't care, I'm still buying the thing too.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Quote of the Week:

Paul Hindemith observed that comparisons of his earlier works with
those written during his American exile found his more recent
compositions to lack the wildness and audacity of his earlier style.
In 1949 he heard that New Music enthusiasts at the Darmstadt summer
courses had dismissed his most recent compositions as 'old iron'. In
response Hindemith commented, 'It is an honour to belong with the "old
iron". Music history is full of old iron, and it was always more
durable than new bullshit'
-From the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians

Hindemith is often accused of being boring, cold, drab and dull. I find most of the his music quite the contrary. I'm looking forward to this fall's Minnesota Orchestra concert with his Four Temperments, Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, and Ravel's Daphnis et Chloe. I like to think of Hindemith as a medieval master, or a 20th century Bach just for the fact that the man could write for any instrument, any form, any ensemble/orchestral combination, any degree of difficulty on time, any time and always with superb artistry and knowledge. So even if you don't like his music-you have to acknowledge him as a masterful creator.

I once saw an video that included an interview with him shortly before his death in the 60s. Expecting a dour, old school master, he was incredibly witty, perky and spoke in a bittersweet, meloncholic tone, with perfect English.
Here are the two witty masters themselves, whom despite Stravinsky's total indifference and condescension towards his music, shared a close friendship:

I must say that I also think Paul Hindemith looks a lot like a shorter and chunkier version of XTC's Andy Partridge, another master in his own right:

I Buy Compact Discs Sometimes

A recent visit to Cheapo's Emporium of Artful/Artless Goods on Optical Discs Stored With Digital Data (Est. 1897), or as it's usually known, "Cheapo", and I'm 60 dollars poorer. I bought these things four:

-Jean Phillipe Rameau-Castor et Pollux (Opera in 5 Acts, 1754 version)
Super cheap on Naxos. Sound is very good. I read it's pretty authentically performed. I bought this because I have loved all the Rameau I have heard, and I have never really had much time for Baroque Opera because I've been so busy with having girlfriends and going to parties and such. So I thought this would be a good start. Haven't listened to the whole thing, but it is pretty damn good. Stravinsky must have had this in mind for parts of Oedipus Rex. One thing that angers me-the libretto is in French with no translation. Not that I really care what's going on-it's typically Baroque with its Greek Gods falling in love and fucking and crying and dancing, but I still found that strange.

-Erik Satie-Piano Music (Frank Glazer)
8 dollars for a cheaply made CD with most of Satie's music for piano. The sound is fine. The cover confuses me. What does that northern scene of a setting sun over a Finnish farm have to do with Satie? At least find some old picture of him, or at maybe some guy smoking opium under the Eifel Tower.

-Andrew Hill-"Hommage"
Hill's only solo piano studio album(1974) just released on CD. It is wonderful and really blows "Live at Montreux" (his other solo album) away. Good sound and of course as always with Hill, his compositions are stunning. This guy deserves something more than he gets. Like...give him a...golden car or something. He deserves more goshdarn it!

-Henri Dutilleux-Works for Piano (Anne Queffelec)
Dutilleux is a composer that has always interested me, and I just have had trouble finding his CDs. Just listening to samples of his orchestral works has made me promise to good ol' Jesus Christ himself that I will buy everything I can find by this man-which is not much. He's not prolific, and an infamously self-critical perfectionist. More known for his orchestral and chamber music, this CD collects all his works for piano. Some of the early stuff he has disowned, but it's ALL fantastic. From just listening to his Preludes pour Piano or Sonata, I can say that he is in my opinion the heir to the French throne of Ravel and Debussy. He of course may want to wipe down the throne, as Debussy died of Rectal cancer, but still-his music is incredibly crafted, beautifully jazzy and rhymically complex, with a Bartokian/Bergian eye for structure and form (all three men use mirror forms and fan structures often-Dutilleux however claims Bartok and Proust as his main models in this respect). The harmonies are reminiscient of a more effervescant (alliteration!) Messiaen-but without the somewhat vulgar melodic element and block-repetition. Clean, but hazy as a painting by Redon.
I use all these artists names in his honor. The man can't talk about one artist without bringing up several others. His world like mine, is too often ruled by these flawed but fascinating artists. I think we both may have some Freudian issues with our fathers.
Dutilleux is 91 years old. He hasn't written anything since his Violin Concerto in 2001. I'm guessing it will be his last work. When you get to be in your 90s, it must take super-human energy to be so obsessed with cutting such perfect diamonds all day. Oh well. I hope he lives out his days quietly and stops hating his music so much-he's a giant and gets less respect and attention than he deserves. Forever an ever. Aman.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mix-CD 1.0:

Kid Icarus presents "Calm Yourself, Fool"-some darkly soothing jazz, classical and ambient choices destined to bore and enchant you, in equal mediocrity. Well, he likes then any way, and hey-who made you king? Fucker.

1. Pas de Deux (from Apollo)-Igor Stravinsky, performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's conducted by Robert Craft

2. What Reason Could I Give?-Bobo Stenson/Don Cherry

3. Fratres (for violin and piano)-Arvo Part, performed by Keith Jarrett and Gideon Kremer

4. Treefingers-Radiohead

5. Improvisation (from Au gré des ondes for piano)-Henri Dutilleux, performed by Anne Queffelec

6. Apotheose (from Orpheus)-Igor Stravinsky, performed by the Orchestra of St. Luke's conducted by Robert Craft

7. Opening-Keith Jarrett

8. down 3 -Stars of the Lid

9./10.- Danse Sacree/Danse Profane (from Danses pour Harpe et Orchestre)-Claude Debussy, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitnik

11. Six Marimbas-Steve Reich, performed by the Steve Reich Ensemble

12. Elegie (for solo viola)-Igor Stravinsky, performed by some violist boy/girl

Ask me for a copy if you are interested. If not-do NOT by ANY MEANS ask. This will mean that you are lying, and we can't have any of that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005



"Agon and the Canticum Sacrum are often thought of together because both make partial use of 12-note rows, the first Stravinsky works to do so. But only a narrow-minded obsession with the mechanics of serialism could obscure the profound differences between these two works, which are sure evidence, incidentally, that the Stravinsky of Pulcinella and the Symphonies d'instruments à vent was still alive and kicking hard in his mid-seventies. Agon, surely, is an astonishing work for a composer who, not three years before starting it, had supposedly been in the grip of a creative aphasia brought on by a terror of stylistic inadequacy. For this score is nothing if not stylistically fearless. It combines Renaissance dances, recognizable yet utterly rethought in movement, tonality and sonority, with a high-speed stream-of-consciousness chromaticism apparently indebted in manner, though hardly method, to the Boulez of Structures. It has a galliard in C major built round a strict canon between harp and mandolin with high flutes and double-bass harmonics, propped up by a thick C major chord for solo viola and cellos which breaks every known rule of instrumental voicing. It has an atonal ‘Bransle simple’ which opens with a rapid canon for two trumpets, and a nearly atonal ‘Bransle gay’ with a castanet ostinato. It starts and ends in a Stravinskian C major, and its four sections or sequences are linked by tonally fixed interludes which tick over like a car engine while the dancers take up their new positions. But the dances themselves gradually ‘take fire in the twentieth century and explode’ (notably in the coda to the ‘Pas de deux’ and the following duos and trios), to the extent that it was long thought that the stylistic discrepancies were due to the break in composition. We can now see that the changes are a reflection of the original subject idea (not clearly retained in Balanchine's highly abstract choreography), and are perfectly deliberate. In fact this is proved by the smooth jointure between the chromatic trios and the final coda, which reprises the opening ‘Pas de quatre’ with no sense of disruption or incongruity."
-Stephen Walsh

I've been listening to this all day. Let's hope when I'm 75 I'll be doing something as amazing. More amazing than the puddles of urine and feces I'll be sleeping in in my confused, crippled old age I mean.
I Don't Know.

Here is Shakespeare's Sonnet 88 translated into Spanish, and then back into English on an online translator. It still is beautiful in it's own way:

Of you have I been absent in the means,
when April proud-of several colors,
dress in all its adjustment,
Hath put an alcohol of youth in everything,
that heavy Saturn laughed and jumped with him,
nor sexes of birds yet,
nor flowers of smell Of sweet the diverse ones in scent and in tonality,
it could do to me that the history of any summer says,
or of its proud lap plucks where that made grew
Nor I it asks in the target of the iris,
nor praise vermilion deep in the rose;
They were only the candy, the figures of the pleasure, drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet still looked like he winter, and, you far, with.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Wayne "Superman" Shorter

Wayne Shorter is the greatest jazz composer of all time. Yes-better than Mingus. Better than Ellington. Better than Monk. The greatest.
Such a statement would be blasphemy in many quarters, and many dimes too (LOL!). Why? Because Wayne Shorter has released some HORRIBLE sounding albums. I'm talking about the stuff in the 80s (Atlantis, Joy Ryder, Phantom Navigator) and 1995's High Life. The key word though-is horrible SOUNDING. The electronic drum machines, the synths, the smooth jazz production, the hyper-homoerotic slap bass. High Life less so, but Marcus Miller still botched what could have been a masterpiece with a engineering job that gave the music the sheen of Kenny G's testicles, warm and dripping water, rising out of a hot tub on vacation at St. Bart's.
But buried beneath that Gorelically sag-scrotum production, the compositions were fucking amazing. Dense, harmonically and melodically as sophisticated as any modern classical work, through-composed, minimal improv. Sit down and play "Children of the Night" or "Black Swan" on the piano (if you happen to be a 80 year old Japanese man from Hiroshima with 23 fingers)-the music is incredible.

The fusion haters will put down Shorter but they aren't looking deep enough. Mingus and Ellington and Monk, as great as they were, often lapsed into bluesy noodling, and (Mingus especially) tricks and run of the mill self-plagiarising quirks.. Shorter always writes pieces that are so...Shorter-esque. I am too tired to explain what makes a Shorter composition-the child like melody repeating over ever changing harmonies. The bizzare structures and halting rhythms. They are hazy, beautiful, quirky, witty, mysterious and over-all, Wayne-tastic.
To me, the greatest jazz composers of the 60s-Andrew Hill and Shorter-both released masterpieces in 1964 that show their brilliance in its most pure form-Point of Departure and Shorter's Speak No Evil. Buy them-study them.

Being such a fan of Wayne's solo work, not only the avowed high points of the 60s Blue Note albums, but also moments of his testicle music (the rule of THREES my son), it was sort of amazing to have him form a band like his new Quartet. This band is badass. If you listen to their version of Shorter's 60s composition for Miles Davis, "Masquelero" (from 2002's Footprints Live!), and you don't cream your jeans-you are a probably either lame, or a woman. (Female ejaculation notwithstanding.) Drummer Brian Blade makes Dave King from The Bad Plus look like nothing more than a bald version of Animal from the Muppets.

After that amazing live album, and a legitimately well produced and wonderfully lovelyful solo album AlegriaI was happy to find out he was releasing another live album with his quartet. Also an added bonus-I found out THE NIGHT BEFORE IT CAME OUT. So I didn't even have to wait. Ain't life a peach? No-I know, it's sad and meaningless, but seriously-isn't it like a nice juicy Georgia Peach!??

Beyond the Sound Barrier is the title, and although I don't think it's as cohesive or awe-inspiring as Footprints Live!, it's still pretty damn cohesive and awe-inspiring. Buy it. Study it. And keep your cream to your self you fuckin' perv.

And now-I will present some random thoughts I have on Alban Berg's Lulu:

-This music is constructed with the craftsmanship of a musical Merlin type wizard combined with Bob Villa.

-This music is jittery. The vocal lines and melody is less pointilistic or interval leaping than Schoenberg, Webern, or if you want a contemporary figure-Birtwistle. The melodies (diatonically skipping from poles) are often memorable and tuneful, while being rhymically jittery. Jitterness.

-The harmonies are often described as "Post-Wagnerian". Nigga please. These harmonies are much more complex than that (which is really saying something). Not that the chords themselves are complicated or Messiaen-esque, but the progressions and harmonic flow are much more lush than any Wagner, or 'Post-Wagner' like Richard Strauss/Hans Pfitzner, and follow more complicated rules and maze like trajectories.

-If you feel any sort of connection or affintity with any of these characters (except perhaps Geshwitz), you are a loser. These characters are total jerkz d00d!

-Lulu is very much alive. Everytime you listen to it-you will find new things. Berg was an artist that in the most calculating and precise way created some incredibly ambigous connections that lead to the music's incredibly incredibly unity and unconscious connections. Even if you don't know for sure that the opening circus music of the 'Prologue' is played backwards at the end of it as the Animal-Tamer leaves, you feel it. Dig nig?

It is a musical scripture. A revelation. A living breathing puzzle. Enter if you dare-but beware-the waters are FUCKING DEEP MOTHERFUCKER.