LATE REGISTRATION has 21 tracks and only two of them I would rate as worth listening to frequently, the addictive GOLD DIGGER and the blues powered GONE. The album is a fail, but those two songs are worth a listen.
The spirit of Motown is alive and well in the groovings of Sonny Knight and the Lakers. Listen here to the title track ‘HEY GIRL’.
Courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio’s excellent web presence THE CURRENT and their song of the day project.
2 Albums by Taureg music group TINARIWEN. Both come recommended. AMAN IMAN and TASSILLI
BIUTIFUL- by the director of BABEL, comes an intriguing and well performed, if pessimistic film. Not something to re-watch.
BLOW-UP – Highly overrated film and more than a bit boring
OPEN CITY – Italian neo-realism, not in the mood.
FRED THE CLOWN Graphic Novel -Excellent humor book, with lovely cartoony art. Worth owning
THE BEST OF THE SPIRIT- reads more than a bit dated, not as visually dynamic as I was led to believe. Plus the poor newsprint paper doesn’t help, as it muddies any details in Eisner’s art
AGONY- Surreal does not translate always into Good, as this experimental but not very engaging movie on the life of Russia’s mad monk, illustrates. Plodding.
THE WAY- excellent 2nd film by Emilio Estevez, stars his father Martin Sheen. Great film.
LIMITLESS- Visually imaginative, stylish, entertaining and addictive film
With 2013 still early in its run, an early contender for my favorite CD of the year is Carolina Chocolate Drops LEAVING EDEN (and yes I know it came out in 2012). It has been a while since I was so thoroughly in love with a CD from first song to last (Terry Callier’s opus SPEAK YOUR PEACE comes to mind, and that is high praise indeed).
I like their 2006 debut cd, DONA GOT A RAMBLIN MIND, but I don’t love it. The same can be said for their 2009 concert CD entitled CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS & JOE THOMPSON. However their latest LEAVING EDEN is another story. It is an album that is not only listenable from first song to last, it is immediately re-listenable. An album that can be on rotation in your cd player often without wearing out its welcome; no small feat in this day and age of too much, too fast, too poorly done.
What really endears me to this CD is how these young children of the Diaspora, these four children of the atom, of the early 21st century, are so thoroughly channeling and keeping alive this quintessential music of the early 20th century. What endears is how these young men and women of the race: Human, of the ethnic group: Nubian/Black, of the Nation: American and of the tribe: Artist; are creating music that incorporates the width and breath of all of the above.
LEAVING EDEN is at once joyous and jubilant and haunting and innovative, and sublime. The spirit of Robert Johnson moves strongly here, and well. ‘Howls in the bones of her face’ to borrow from Dylan, the cd LEAVING EDEN howls in the bones of your face.
Not only do I have a new favorite CD, I have a new favorite band. And luckily they are touring this year so if coming to a city anywhere close to you I highly recommend checking them out in person. I had the chance to see them in concert last year and missed it. I won’t miss them this year, and if you are smart neither will you.
Their touring schedule is here.
And their CD LEAVING EDEN? In an age of digital and Itunes do CDs still have a place? That appears to be the question of the moment. My answer? When they are this good, hell yeah CDs have a place. Owning just an mp3 sample would just be a crime. This is a work of art in the listening, and should be a work of art in the displaying. Grade: A+.
You can buy cds here:
And Don’t fail to also check out the following essential CDs:
And for more Carolina Chocolate Drops albums go here:
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:
IN 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.
SPEAK 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 :))
Ditty of the Day:
As you sow so uhhh
shall you reap
And as you walk
so uhhh shall you sleep
shall you sleep
I became a fan of Binaural recordings well over a decade ago. A technology that became briefly popular in the early days of the search for surround. Using a very interesting concept and relatively affordable requirements, Binaural allowed the effective reproduction of a surround sound environment, using only headphones. Unlike simple stereo in traditional recordings and systems, Binaural recordings created a definite spatial soundstage. Sound could be close or far, above or behind or in front. In other words it offered an alternative to expensive receiver/multi-speaker Dolby Surround setups, using only the binaural recording and a pair of headphones.
Needless to say the cost effective Binaural was crushed out of existence by multi-million dollar marketing push of competing technologies such as Dolby and licensing deals of companies whose livelihood depended on selling you expensive receivers/decoders and multi-speaker setups.
And don’t get me wrong, those things have their place. I grew up during the age of great speakers and receivers, from Polk to B&W 801s to Legacy Classic series; sound systems that cost more than cars. And I went through my share of such systems, but for personal entertainment, when you are not trying to blow the roof off or entertain a roomful of people… such systems are overkill.
Especially now in the age of miniaturization (and to some extent isolation) that the itunes and media player model has made of music listening, everyone is listening through headphones. And in such an environment Binaural not Dolby, is the surround scheme that is most impressive and immersive.
Unfortunately big business has a way of killing the affordable technology or alternative technology in favor of the bloated, controllable, and prohibitively expensive model. So for this reason there is only a handful of mass-produced binarual music cds in existance.
Thankfully the very nature of Binaural means anyone can produce recordings using this technology. The detriment of that being you get the binaural recording technique, coopted by ‘new agey’ and suspect alternative health types, putting out mostly awful CDs that are supposed to help you receive some exceptional brain state. Most of these CDs are what you would expect from such claims.
But the real fans of Binaural understand the technology is for making kick-ass ‘you are there’ sound recordings.
Binaural allows effective placement of sound using headphones. So yes it makes for effective recordings of environments, be it a rain forest or a subway or a concert hall.
So without further ado here are the best binaural recordings currently available:
The Mist Movie Tie-In: In 3 D Sound [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]
Release Date: October 2, 2007
Suspended in a haze of terror, humanity makes its last stand against unholy destruction!
Stephen King’s sinister imagination and the miracle of 3-D sound transport you to a hot, lazy day in a sleepy all-American town — where a sudden, violent storm leaves behind a mysterious mist that traps you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world.
The Mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. The Mist has you in its grip, and this masterpiece of 3-D sound engineering surrounds you with horror so real that you’ll be grabbing your own arm for reassurance. To one side — and whipping around your chair, a slither of tentacles. Swooping down upon you, a rush of grotesque, prehistoric wings. In the impenetrable mist, hearing is seeing — and believing. And what you’re about to hear, you’ll never forget.
Richard Strauss: Also Sprach Zarathustra; Camille Saint-Saëns: Symphony No. 3 (Organ)
‘This is my favorite classical recording in my whole collection. This is a true audiophile recording for those seeking recordings with above standard audio qualities. This recording uses the binaural Neumann KU 100 dummy head and 20-bit resolution. Binaural recordings produce natural ’3d’ audio, in 360 degree direction using only standard headphones. This is not Dolby surround. This is two-tracks. You don’t need a 5 speaker setup, all you need are headphones!
If you are a headphone user you should not hesitate one moment to get this, especially if you’ve never heard a binaural recording before. The difference is profound. When listening with headphones you will experience the orchestra as if you were there- all the instruments will be in their proper locations and distances all without using mixing board tricks.’
— Amazon reviewer
‘Binaural recordings are very rare and very unique. But in my opinion, binaural is the BEST way to record live music. Why? Because binaural captures the exact audio of a live event in 100 percent natural 360 degree audio.
To hear the binaural effect properly you must wear headphones while listening to this CD. And when you do, in effect, you will ‘be there’ like no other audio technolgy can offer. In fact, I’d say binuaral is far superior than Dolby or any other 3D technology.
When listening with headphones, thanks to the binaural recording technique, you will hear every instrument in every location exactly as they really are- the perspective is incredible. You can detect the exact distance and location of each musician. This is an UNBELIEVABLE experience! ‘– Amazon Reviewer
The lord of Mary and John
They tell me the fires that burn anon
The lord of Mary and John
“On judgment day it’s all the same
I wonder who the Lord will blame”
—from the great song FIX THE BLAME by Terry Callier
WEDNESDAYS WORDS is a new weekly installment that ranks the most interesting, intriguing books of the week (old, new, reissues, digital, etc). Contributors represent a variety of genres and sources. Each book includes Title and publisher blurb.
Publication Date: September 12, 2012
How Music Works is David Byrne’s remarkable and buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about. In it he explores how profoundly music is shaped by its time and place, and he explains how the advent of recording technology in the twentieth century forever changed our relationship to playing, performing, and listening to music.
Acting as historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, he searches for patterns—and shows how those patterns have affected his own work over the years with Talking Heads and his many collaborators, from Brian Eno to Caetano Veloso. Byrne sees music as part of a larger, almost Darwinian pattern of adaptations and responses to its cultural and physical context. His range is panoptic, taking us from Wagnerian opera houses to African villages, from his earliest high school reel-to-reel recordings to his latest work in a home music studio (and all the big studios in between).
Touching on the joy, the physics, and even the business of making music, How Music Works is a brainy, irresistible adventure and an impassioned argument about music’s liberating, life-affirming power.
Everything you need to read the new graphic novel Building Stories: 14 distinctively discrete Books, Booklets, Magazines, Newspapers, and Pamphlets.
With the increasing electronic incorporeality of existence, sometimes it’s reassuring—perhaps even necessary—to have something to hold on to. Thus within this colorful keepsake box the purchaser will find a fully-apportioned variety of reading material ready to address virtually any imaginable artistic or poetic taste, from the corrosive sarcasm of youth to the sickening earnestness of maturity—while discovering a protagonist wondering if she’ll ever move from the rented close quarters of lonely young adulthood to the mortgaged expanse of love and marriage. Whether you’re feeling alone by yourself or alone with someone else, this book is sure to sympathize with the crushing sense of life wasted, opportunities missed and creative dreams dashed which afflict the middle- and upper-class literary public (and which can return to them in somewhat damaged form during REM sleep).
A pictographic listing of all 14 items (260 pages total) appears on the back, with suggestions made as to appropriate places to set down, forget or completely lose any number of its contents within the walls of an average well-appointed home. As seen in the pages of The New Yorker, The New York Times and McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Building Stories collects a decade’s worth of work, with dozens of “never-before published” pages (i.e., those deemed too obtuse, filthy or just plain incoherent to offer to a respectable periodical).
Wanton youth seen through lush, dreamy, and sweeping watercolors.
Rendered in vivid watercolor where parquet floors and patterned dresses morph together, The Wrong Place revolves around the often absent Robbie, a charismatic lothario of mysterious celebrity who has the run of a city that is as chaotic as it is resplendent. Robbie’s sexual energy captivates the attention of men and women alike; his literal and figurative brightness is a startling foil to the dreariness of his childhood friend, Francis. With a hand as sensitive as it is exuberant, Brecht Evens’s first graphic novel in English captures the strange chemistry of social interaction as easily as he portrays the fragmented nature of identity. The Wrong Place contrasts life as it is, angst-ridden and awkward, with life as it can be: spontaneous, uninhibited, and free.
The Wrong Place
The WEDNESDAYS WORDS column is a new blog feature, appearing (you guessed it!) every Wednesday. Come back next week to see which books make the list!
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