ESSENTIAL CDs in the Age of ITunes #15-10 – Under Construction

In the age of ITunes, easy and user tailored content of individual songs at whim, is there a place for CDs?

For great ones, I would say yes.

MP3 is a great sampling medium, a very good compression medium, but it should not be considered an end onto itself, especially where music is concerned.

There is some value in the physical medium, when it comes to a great album. A great CD that stands up from first song to last, is worthy of the process.Of listening to that music in high-fidelity without the compression of MP3. Is worthy of the cover art and liner notes, and more is worthy of the tangible, tactile experience of engaging with that physical medium as a touchstone to the process and enjoyment of the physical medium.

From LPs to CDs, their is something as vital in the form of the medium as well as the function, something in the beauty of interacting with a great LP presentation or a great CD presentation in a physical space, that is not replicated in a digital download.

But it has to be a CD/Album worthy of putting on and listening and enjoying from first song to last. Something with sporadic good songs isn’t going to cut it. For that you might as well stick with the Itunes model of downloading random songs.

But for those CD and LP releases of music as functional and vital novel, as compelling art, the medium matters, has value.

Without further ado, here is a list of 5 essential CDs and/or LPs worth owning in the age of Itunes, where increasingly we own nothing:

incoldbloodIN COLD BLOOD – One of the seminal and ground-breaking movie soundtracks of all time. Quincy Jones’ finest work. Last I looked only available on LP.IN COLD BLOOD (ORIGINAL SOUNDTRACK LP, 1968)

BACH THE GOLDBERG VARIATIONS:GLENN GOULD – This album began my love and appreciation for the piano and remains one of the great classical recordings.

JIMI HENDRIX:THE ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE- Lives up to its name. One of the pivotal and formative icons of modern Rock and Roll.

speakyourpeaceSPEAK YOUR PEACE:TERRY CALLIER- Overlooked during the heyday of Soul, Terry Callier was rediscovered by a British promoter in the early days of the 21st century, which lead to his old albums being reissued, and Terry Callier producing new albums. SPEAK YOUR PEACE is one of those albums, and more it is one of the great Albums of all time. Terry Callier being a devastatingly beautiful and poetic songwriter, easily on par with the best of Dylan, with a voice far superior to just about anyone’s.Speak Your Peace

SNAKES AND LADDERS- This Alan Moore and Tim Perkin’s helmed spoken word CD in many ways is a reworking of an earlier and no less mind-blowing Alan Moore CD, THE MOON AND SERPENT GRAND EGYPTIAN THEATRE OF MARVELS. However SNAKES AND LADDERS manages not only to be its own thing, but manages to be a great and compulsively listenable experience in its own right.Alan Moore and Tim Perkins – Snakes and Ladders

Well that’s this installment’s picks. Come back next time for five more. And if you are moved to buy the CDs and add them to your collection, please you the supplied links to do so. Thanks and go out there and hug somebody today. (but ask first :))

BEST PODCASTS OF 2011: Comic Geek Speak Best Episodes of 2011!

From episode 995 to episode 1169 (as of this writing), The gang of the popular comic book pod-cast Comic Geek Speak, managed to crank out a staggering 174 episodes in 2011. And they will likely sneak in a couple more before 2011 arrives.

That is just a staggering amount of work, and a staggering labor of love, particularly when you factor in they are providing all this great entertainment free to you the listener. But for them it is definitely costly in terms of time, energy, and expense.

I realize the massive expenditure of time and energy and effort, and yes expense, that a blog can take, so a multi-cast pod-cast is an even more staggering commitment of time and energy, that you have to try and juggle in between your pay the bills jobs, and responsibilities of hearth, home, and family.

So yeah, the crew at CGS deserve much appreciation, and respect for their work ethic, because it is a massive undertaking. Made all the more impressive because not only are they prolific, one of the most prolific pod-casts of any kind, but they do it while also putting out a consistently excellent and fun to listen to product. And here they are in 2011, years later, still going strong. And still gaining new listeners.

Now all that said, a 174 episodes could could make it daunting for people coming in to CGS in 2011 and trying to decide where to start. The obvious question to most newcomers trying to get a handle on a new show is… ‘What episodes are the keepers?’.

Well that’s going to change depending on everyone’s interests. Some people like to start from the first episode, some people from the latest episode.

But most everybody at some point wants a best of list.

Recently needing to free up some drive space, I had to delete some episodes, which gave me a good excuse to go through 2011 and determine, which episodes for me were keepers. Which episodes did I see myself listening to or referring to again?

So it was a good bit of house cleaning I’ve just completed (freeing up gigs of Data), and I’ve decided to share the results with you.

As far as which type of episodes factor most prominently in my too-keep list?

Well, for purchasing reasons I find the ‘Previews’ episodes good ones to revisit, as they help me when I’m looking for stuff to pick up in trade or collections, that I might have missed the first time around. So the bulk of the episodes I’ve saved from 2011 are ‘Previews’ episodes ( A preview episode is, as the name implies, an episode where they look at upcoming books to be released).

Also the ‘Drunk Cap’ and ‘Uncle Sal’ episodes figure high on my to keep list. So I’m going to give you a string of numbers, and your mission if you choose to accept it is to head over to the CGS site (link below) where they give you the description and download link to the episodes I recommend.

So without further ado my biased list of the essential Comic Geek Speak episodes of 2011:

995,996,998,999,1000-1003,1005,1011-1012,1016-1017,1019,1031-1032,1035-1036,1050,1057,1059,1065-1068, 1071-1072,1089,1095,1098-1100,1110-1111,1118,1126,1135,1143,1145,1150,1154,1155,1159,1164,1165

Go here to get details on the episodes mentioned!

MUMBO JUMBO by Ishmael Reed Book Review: A novel about Haiti and America and Ragtime 90 Years Ago

“It’s a way we had over here for living with ourselves. We cut ‘em in half with a machine gun and give ‘em a Band-Aid. It was a lie. And the more I saw them, the more I hated lies.”– Apocalypse Now


I just finished Ishmael Reed’s 1971 Novel MUMBO JUMBO, a biting, absurdist, fantastic satire, that also happens to be, like the best of satires, a cutting and revealing and true depiction of our ids and our angsts. It is for a work of fiction, far more true than are so-called “history”. It is such a rich and deep and sprawling and compelling and… brilliant novel.

I consider myself a pretty informed reader, and this 4 decade old novel had insights into not just our history but our humanity, that i had never even considered.

Example?

How it defined Museums as store-houses for Pirated/Stolen goods.

I’ve been in and out of museums all my life, and it never even occurred to me to consider them in the context of Robber-Baron’s basically raping and destroying civilizations and bringing home to the west their trophies. Their stolen goods.

And this was like a throw away line in the novel, and it blew my mind. That I who consider myself relatively afro-centric that it did not even occur to me to question the origin and rightness of Museums. And the whole novel is like this, one smashing revelation after another.

And yes it’s a work of sensational fiction, but what makes it even more sensational are the parts of it… that ring true, are true. And speak even today… of true things.

From the hidden Haitian War and Holocaust of the early 20th century, which oddly mirrors the conflicts in Haiti today, even to the search for a talking Android to lead the people astray, which without too much of a jump can be compared to today’s President Obama…. it is almost a prophetic work. Or perhaps it just illustrates how history not learned from, is repeated.

This is the type of book that school curriculums that teach children of color… should cover. Must cover. It’s the kind of book… written with brilliance, and that inspires, ignites a real fire… for more brilliance, and more questions and answers.

It’s the kind of book that inspires… real learning.

It is a challenging read, but stick with it as it does all come together. And I highly recommend hunting down the griot audio book version which is FANTASTIC! It is an essential read, and in light of recent issues in Haiti, I think a surprisingly timely and insightful one. A satire that hints at much that is true, about Haiti’s tumultuous and troubled relationship with Western Powers.

It is an essential purchase. B+/A-

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