Tuesday, February 27, 2007

DrudgeReport: Hard-hitting News

I love Matt Drudge's use of the "Developing..." for stories on his despicable website. Here's one from today on the old and hot Oscar Winner Helen Mirren:
"ROYAL COMMANDO: Film Queen Dame Helen Mirren admits she didn't wear undies at Oscars.... Developing..."

How can this story be "Developing"? Why is Matt Drudge alive?

Monday, February 26, 2007

If Abraham Lincoln Was Part of the "Myspace Generation"

"*lol..4 $C0Re AnD 7 yEarS aGo r fAtHeR$ bRoT 4tH oN thIS c0ntINenT, A nEw NaTI0n...lol...*%^&....LMAO" -Abraham Lincoln (Myspace comment on Gettysburg's Myspace page, 11/19/1863)

*Under this address, Lincoln added these GIFs, apparently as the epilogue of his Historic comment on the Gettysburg Myspace site:

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Greatest Songs of All-Time (An Ongoing Youtube Journey of Light and Sound)

The Flaming Lips-"One More Robot/Sympathy 3000-21"

Friday, February 23, 2007

Alban Berg at the Movies

Berg was a devoted moviegoer, and his pioneering use of film in Lulu attests to a real respect for its dramatic possibilities. His sketches for the palindromic Filmmusik (the famous center mirror phrase of which you can see as my profile picture) show that he racked his brain trying to imagine a plausible scenario for the film, and his music for it, as always, was painstakingly written to match this scenario.

Berg also had an obsession with the occultic properties of the number 23, which pervades many of his mature masterpieces, most assiduously in the Chamber Concerto for 13 winds, piano and violin and the Lyric Suite for string quartet. The fascination with occultism and astrology was rampant in Vienna's intellectual climate during Berg's time, and after his death his widow Helene Berg reportedly even had seances and conversations with her late husband's ghost.

I wonder if Berg would be interested in going to see Jim Carrey's new psychological thriller The Number 23. Most likely, he would have seen the original 1998 German version, both of which strongly deal with the mystical associations of the number. He would have seen the German version, not only because he knew little English, but because he had good taste and would never forgive Joel Schumacher for all the awful movies he has made.

I am also sure that Berg's favorite movie candy would be, like myself, Dots. I'm also sure he would agree that "after a while you start to hate them"; there are too many in a box!:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Alles Gut zum Geburtstag!

A very Happy Birthday, if such a thing is possible, to my beloved Arthur Schopenhauer. He would have turned 219 today, if hadn't died. Fuckin' life! Add him on Myspace and send him good wishes. Interestingly, his top 8 includes Heraclitus, Kant, Krishna, Niezsche, Mozart, Walter Benjamin and one "Jayson Tigerclaw", who appears to be a 21 year old Samurai from Texas. Myspace: Where history's great ones can meet and comment in Tila Tequila and Fall Out Boy's picture sections!

"There are moments in life when our senses obtain a higher and rarer degree of clearness, apart from any particular occasion for it in the nature of our surroundings; and explicable, rather, on physiological grounds alone, as the result of some enhanced state of susceptibility,
working from within outwards. Such moments remain indelibly impressed upon the memory, and preserve themselves in their individuality entire. We can assign no reason for it, nor explain why this among so many thousand moments like it should be specially remembered. It seems as much a matter of chance as when single specimens of a whole race of animals now extinct are discovered in the layers of a rock; or when, on opening a book, we light upon an insect accidentally crushed within the leaves. Memories of this kind are always sweet and pleasant."

-Arthur Schopenhauer ("Studies in Pessimism", trans. T. Bailey Saunders)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Anyone Good at the Interweb?

I am thinking that this blog needs a new design. How does one do this on Blogspot? I can't tell you. Could any of you tell me?
Waiting for Spring

"Somebody's boring me. I think it's me."
-Dylan Thomas

Monday, February 19, 2007

Joyce Hatto Scandal: An Admission

I never thought I would do this, but the recent scandal has made it impossible for me to remain silent.
No, I have not stolen recordings and passed them off as my own. On the contrary, people have stolen my recordings and passed them off as theirs, with my full knowledge and support (I'm awfully shy).

So, it here goes.

Karl Bohm conducting Mozart's late symphonies? Yep. That was me.
Boulez conducting Petrushka and Le Sacre du Printemps? C'├ętait moi.
Karajan's Parsifal? Jawohl.
Glenn Gould's original recording of the Goldberg Variations? Yes. I didn't even know they were recording. I was just fucking around seeing how fast and fucked up I could play the damn thing.
Gould's re-recording of the same work? That was him. But he was copying me.
Maria Callas in Manon Lescaut? Me as well. I didn't admit it to it because I thought my buddies would think it was kinda gay.

I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can breathe!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

You Care What I'm Watching, Reading, Listening to (Volume Billion Trillion)




Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Birthday John Adams

I speak as someone who has been to Big Sur when I can say this to John Adams upon listening to his exquisite Dharma at Big Sur: "I wholeheartedly agree."

Happy Birthday John Adams

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Awesome Show: Tonight!

The night we've all been waiting for. Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! premieres tonight on Adult Swim (Cartoon Network) at 11:45pm eastern. Be there.
Here's a promo of this new greatness from Tim and Eric (featuring comedy genius Bob Odenkirk):

Thursday, February 08, 2007

An Important Message to My Readers

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Brother From Another Mother

You find the strangest things on YouTube.
I have to track this guy down. Who would have known my internet heterosexual lifepartner soulmate would go by the moniker the "Hooded Negro"?
Nearly Identical (for at least a couple of seconds...)!

Strange bedfellows these. Try out the opening seconds of Sibelius' masterful Sixth and compare it with the opening seconds of the final movement of Zemlinsky's masterful Die Seejungfrau.
It would be fun to go through the annals of written music to find all the identical music that has been composed unawares. This phenomenon, two people writing the same music without knowing it is by no means given a good example in my above comparison (as it's only a bar of music and is not voiced the same way-but is in the same key and has the same descending string figure); I for one find that the overwhelming feeling I get when I love a particular piece of music, or a book, or even just a melody or a paragraph, is that "I know this from somewhere." It is less a moment of revelation and more of one of self-recognition, that somewhere, the seeds for every single thing, every thought feeling and piece of knowledge are inside waiting for something to call it back into being. In this sense, we all are capable of writing the same music, the same novel, painting the same portrait, saying the same words and thinking the same thoughts.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Greatest Songs of All-Time (A YouTube Hullaballoo)

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five-"The Message"

Friday, February 02, 2007


The great group blog Dial "M" for Musicology throws down the gauntlet:
So, in the spirit of ripping off other people's ideas, I issue this challenge to my fellow pointy-headed music-bloggers: post a randomly-generated Ipod playlist on your blog, with relevant commentary.

I don't know if I'm pointy-headed-I have a freakishly large, fleshy Irish head, but I will accept. Also look in the comment section over there for some of the pointy-headed's answers...
Here are mine with meager, running commentary as I skip through them:

1. "Beware the Friendly Stranger"-Boards of Canada
-This is one of Boards of Canada's effective, creepy interludes. 37 seconds of an insistent synth line and audio of a steadily burning fire. Boards of Canada (whom I've written about here) are one of the most stylistically consistent electronic artists out there. Their fondness for 70s educational film samples, drum machine loops, ambient synth noodles or backmasking, contributes to a warm, analog sound. They are smart without being pretentious, quirky without being wildly eclectic. Haunting, hypnotic.

2. "What a Fool Believes"-Doobie Brothers
-One of the greatest pop songs ever. Yacht-Soul at its best. Rameau and Voltaire. Boito and Verdi. Lennon and McCartney. Kenny Loggins and Michael McDonald. Deadly combinations.

3. Intermezzo, from Suite for Piano Op.25-Arnold Schoenberg
-The Suite for Piano, Op. 25 is an early 12-tone piece. Not entirely convincing, but still interesting.

4. Lunnotar-Jean Sibelius
-Wow. I've really liked everything that has come up so far. Maybe except the Schoenberg. This is a trance piece. Sibelius has a real interesting approach to the voice. You have seeds of L'amour de loin here.

5. Lecture 1h (Romeo and Juliet)-Harold Bloom
-One of my heroes talking in his wonderful, pompous way about the best plays ever. Still, not what I was hoping to come up.

6. The Window (from The Turn of the Screw)-Benjamin Britten
-This is from the great recording by Daniel Harding and with Ian Bostridge as Quint. I think Britten is at his best with chamber ensembles like this. His handling of each instrument and the voices is absolutely flawless. This sort of technical brilliance puts one in awe. To say nothing of the dramatic power (which I admit has always been secondary for me-I like Britten's operas musically beyond all else).

7. Send One Your Love-Stevie Wonder
-You know, my tastes are unmatched. Really. This is a goshdarn classic from Stevie's strange "A Journey Through the Secret Lives of Plants", a soundtrack to a documentary that I don't think was ever released. I'm not sure if this song has anything to do with plants. If so, there is some Pteridospermatophyta that is going to get laid tonight.* Side by side, Wonder's harmonic genius is the equal of Britten. Also he is a better harmonica player.

8. Scene 2, Pas de Deux (from Orpheus)-Igor Stravinsky
-Orpheus is one of my favorite pieces of music ever. This is a beautiful section from Stravinsky's greatest neo-classical ballet. Orpheus is in a category, albeit an odd one, with Mozart's Magic Flute, Berg's Lulu, Bartok's Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta and a few others, of works that I hold dearest either for my own pompous aesthetic reasons or their importance personally. Magic Flute was the opera that got me into to classical music as a youngin'. Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta was the first real piece of 20th century modern music that I got into. Hearing the final Allegro Molto on a tape of my brothers (which he had for a class on Music History) shocked me as a 12 year old by its strangeness and brutality, and still to this day is a work I hold as one of the supreme masterpieces of the century. Lulu absolutely devastated me through reading George Perle's book on it and looking at score at the U of M library in the last few years. The true reaction Berg's opera should have to someone studying it deeply will be veneration and also extreme vertigo. It has no end; the amount of thought put into the intricate web of ideas is at once astonishing and frightening. It swallows everything. Orpheus is simply timeless and sublime. Stravinsky musically depicts Orpheus looking back on Eurydice in Hades, the event that cements their eternal separation and his death, with a bar of silence. Perfection.

9. "Up For the Downstroke"-Parliament
-Early Parliament track. Bootsy Collins on bass. This is in its own very very funky way, timeless and sublime.

10. "I Can't Reach You"-The Who
-Beautiful pop song from the great "Who Sell Out" album. Pete Townshend on vocals. Even in his pretty songs there is an edge of violence: "The distances grow greater now, you drink champagne and pass me plow/You fly your plane right over my head, you're still alive and I'm nearly dead." Townshend also joins Britten as the second person on my random shuffle accused of pedophilia. When they are as great composers and songwriters as Britten and Townshends I can only hope for more pedophiles!

11. "Parisian Thoroughfare"-Bud Powell
-Unstoppable! Until he cuts it out midway. Tragic the way this man's life direction took after these first few sessions in the late 40s, early 50s. And Chris Botti releases another album and is sound of mind. Meaningless world we live in.

That's all for now. Nothing too embarrassing. Admittedly, the spectre of the two-disc Styx greatest hits album was always overhanging me with dread every change of song. But, alas, no "Grand Illusion" or "Renegade."

*I looked it up and this species is a long extinct prehistoric plant and thus, Pteridospermatophyta, sadly will not be getting laid tonight. It must have seeped into my unconscious as I read way too much about prehistory and evolution and have a fascination with long dead flora and fauna, extinct rivers and lakes and so forth. Sadly, this means I will not be getting laid tonight either.