It’s been a busy week… Time to take a breath before diving back in.
Archives For Music
So far this month feels like it is ZOOMING… or at least this past week certainly did.
This piece is much longer than I share typically, but take a break and listen to it all the way through if you don’t already know the piece— trust me.
This song has been stuck in my head lately. February is just about over and it seems to have been a tough month for some of us if nothing else because of the weather. Listening to this track on repeat (as I tend to when I write these weekly posts) a number of things come to mind including the greyness of winter but also movement.. and travel. My mind is on traveling lately as it tends to be on and off during the year. There’s something hardwired in me to make me want to travel and explore it seems.
How about you guys? Where does this track take you? What do you hear?
In Every Direction by Junip
Hard to believe it’s the eighth Friday of the year already.
In grad school, Fridays often meant taking the train to Stockholm and this album generally reminds me of Sweden. Have a nice weekend, friends.
Since it’s Valentine’s Day here’s a little love song of sort. This is by no means a new song, written & recorded in the 1950s originally by Phil Phillips, Sea of Love has been interpreted by a number of artists over the years. This version from 2006 by Tom Waits is my favorite (Iggy Pop’s version is pretty amusing though— truer to the original that one might expect. The Heptones’ version is pleasant as well.).
While I tend to like Tom Waits in general, it’s the dark interpretation of this song that I like. It takes a syrupy song and makes it a little sinister, a little… off; which nails love in my book— it’s a weird thing, love. It makes us a little crazy, a little more inclined to do stupid things, perhaps a bit obsessed. Love can be a wonderful, powerful thing that gives us strength but can also be something that blurs our vision and impairs our judgment. Like many things in life, it’s complicated.
Haven’t been feeling so hot this week. Hopefully this weekend things will turn the corner and the haze will lift.
Smooth by Car Stereo Wars
This week seemed to simultaneously zoom and crawl. Either way it’s Friday which means, among other things, that it’s time to share another piece of music. This song always makes me think of riding the train for some reason.
Swingtime in the Rockies by Benny Goodman
Feeling pretty blah today after a weird week. So here’s a little music to shake up your afternoon.
Always Alright by Alabama Shakes
By the way, on Sunday we’ll find out if these guys win a Grammy for their performance of this song for the Silver Linings Playbook soundtrack.
I don’t know about you guys, but it has been a crazy week on my end at least. Lots of days that felt longer than they were and a lot of distance covered. But it’s Friday and that means two things, we can (theoretically) sleep in tomorrow and “weird” music of the day for you guys. Enjoy!
Bicom by Monolake
Ok, I’ll admit it. This week’s installment of “weird” music of the day/week isn’t “weird,” at least not to my ears. But the pace and mood of it pretty well captures the busy pace of the week so far (Also, I just like this tune.). How about you? How was your week— productive? slow? icy? Here’s hoping for a pleasant weekend. Enjoy!
Hora Decubitus, Charles Mingus
A few years ago, when I lived in Colorado, Fridays became associated with weird music of the week or day (or wmotd if you will). At least once a week, usually Fridays, I’d share a piece of music with a co-worker who had a pretty brutal workload and crazy schedule in and out of the office. It was my small way of saying “hi” and “thinking of you” without interrupting workflow or productivity and giving them a little entertainment for their afternoon break.
It’s been a few years since we’ve worked together and the weird music has been shared consistently among friends. So today I thought about revisiting this habit and trying to re-introduce it into the mix for 2014 (though I can’t promise all of the music will be weird). And since it’s Friday, here’s your music for the week, enjoy:
Wire & Flashing Lights by Professor Kliq
It’s no secret that 2013 has not been my favorite year so far. Hell, let’s just admit it— 2013 pretty much sucked (at least for me and several others I know). It could’ve been worse, things could ALWAYS be (or get) worse; even so it was still pretty bad as years go, imho.
But tomorrow is not just a new day (and chance), tomorrow is a new YEAR. It’s been a long while since I’ve been this excited for the new year— a nice symbolic start to a new chapter and a chance to start fresh and begin again. After all the crap of this past year, I feel confident that making things better and more positive in 2014 will be within my reach.
And because I’m so excited for tomorrow’s new beginning, I can’t help but keep singing this song to myself (and have been for the last few days, to be honest):
If you already know me, you probably also know that I like music and movies from the 20s-40s. This song was written not long after the market crashed in ’29 (and was used at the ending of MGM’s movie Chasing Rainbows released the following year ). Leo Reisman & His Orchestra first recorded the song in late 1929 and perhaps that version may be better known or more popular, but for my money it’s Ben Selvin’s version shared above that does the trick.
If this song sounds familiar, you may have heard it in the context of FDR. It was played at the 1932 Democratic national convention during his presidential campaign and later became associated with the repeal of prohibition during Roosevelt’s first year in office. And while prohibition has been repealed officially for eighty years (as of December 5) and the Great Depression is long gone, this song was written and popular during a time when things weren’t so great. When things were pretty awful for far too many. I’ve felt pretty far from great this past year (or two) and have had more negative things happen to loved ones during the past year(s) than I care to revisit here. So listening to this song on repeat for me is not just amusing and smile-inducing, it’s a song of hope and happiness. It makes me feel better and helps me BELIEVE that tomorrow will be brighter and better (even if that means we have to make it so ourselves with some paint and better lighting). “So let’s tell the world about it now, happy days are here again…”
Anyway. How about you guys? How are you feeling about the coming year? Any big ideas, plans, hopes or goals? Do tell. It’s been too long since I’ve written like this and hope to renew a more conversational tone with you all. So let’s start the new year by talking about what we hope to see around the corner.
The autumn weather snapped finally, a pleasant enough change, but not so great for outdoor swimming. Instead, I’ve been enjoying the gym indoors for the last few weeks, switching things up and cranking the tunes while grinding away on equipment. It feels great (if exhausting) and allows me the same time to reflect that I get out of swimming (even if I miss out on the wind and sun on my arms).
But I found a solution to ease the indoor transition— a new playlist to keep myself happy and focused while kicking my butt at the gym. And while listening to this new playlist, a track came on that propelled me back in time. Back to brisk autumn weather in Göteborg and catching the morning train to get away to Stockholm for the weekend. This song brings it all back:
How about you? Do any songs propel you back in time or take you some place else? Which song(s) and where does it take you?
For days this song has been stuck in my head. DAYS. I don’t know if it’s the unconventional 7/4 time of the piece or its blues-y bass-heavy-ness that gets me, but DAMN. Adding to the greatness of this piece? Brubeck is reported to have thought this up and recorded it in a day.
Deceptively simple and so good!
Brubeck also arranged a version for orchestra which doesn’t seem to get performed very often. Here’s the London Symphony Orchestra taking a crack at it with Brubeck himself in 2001:
Not bad, but a disappointing recording—the symphony drowns out Brubeck’s playing. Would be interesting to hear the BSO taking it on, especially with Alsop conducting and while they have Jean-Yves Thibaudet visiting later this fall.
What’s been stuck in your heads lately, folks?
Today, this song by Ikebe Shakedown is stuck in my head:
What about you, dear readers, what has been stuck in your head lately?
Whether you’re a dad or not, today is a day for celebrating the father figures in our in lives. Dads this is for you:
Even though the books are long since published, and the movie(s) shot by two different directors in two different languages, I still can’t help but like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (aka Män Som Hatar Kvinnor) and the soundtrack produced for the American movie version directed by David Fincher.
There’s something about the album that just sounds like winter and captures the ominous tone of much of the story’s plot line(s).
This track especially makes me think of traveling through the snow. I listen to this album sometimes on long drives (or while working in the studio) especially if it’s snowing (like the video below)…
As I mentioned in an earlier post, a lot of the time when I’m doing creative work (concepting/sketching, designing, doing post production on photos, etc) I like to do so with my headphones on (even when I’m alone). Each year as the season change and the weather grows cooler, I find myself drawn outside to longer walks through the neighborhood to explore. On some of those walks I find myself wearing headphones too.. There’s something about “turning off” one sense of the external world that helps sharpen the other senses’ observations of the world I’m exploring..
One of my favorite songs to listen to on a walkabout through town is DJ Krush’s klub remix of Meiso (originally by DJ Shadow):
Listening to this song takes me a lot of different places.. though very often it sends me to walks along the water in Gothenburg…
How about you, dear readers? Do you listen to music while exploring your hometown or a vacation spot? Do you have favorite songs that transport you on different travels?
I don’t know about you, readers, but productivity seems less elusive with some headphones on, tuning out external distractions. Like a lot of people, I switch my working soundtrack around quite a bit, often times relative the current project(s) on my desk–using the music to put me in the right mood for the style of work I’m trying to achieve.
For the last few days, I’ve been listening to the album Ghosts. More often than not these days, I tend to prefer instrumental music–it’s easier to concentrate and plug along while still enjoying the layers of sound.
How about you, dear readers? Do you listen to music while you work? What helps you concentrate while you’re plugging along?
Ok, not really… but it IS a good song… This is pretty much what the inside of my head sounds like heading to work in the morning…