Gah, I went to this performance/talk/workshop tonight. I don’t know what to say, I just want to mark the moment somehow. It was so good. What Julia does is something different. Seeing & hearing her makes it feel like we all just pretend to do music, but it’s not really music, not like this. Wow.
French-horn player Sarah Willis ventures to the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen, where scientist use state-of-the-art MRI and motion capture methods to investigate what goes on inside a musician’s body while playing an instrument.
Awesome. Basically, there’s a little frog that lives inside your mouth, and when it crouches down really small then the sound comes out. Also, from about 6:55 on it gets pretty freaky.
Today I’ve been watching this documentary from Vice on Narco-corridos, Mexican music about gangs and guns and drugs set to the music of traditional ballads. Super interesting.
I joined the gamelan at UBC this term, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I’ve been poking around on my own for recordings and collections, and while I haven’t found much of note yet I’ve been listening to this today: Gamelan Gong Kebyar – Bali 1928. It sounds like a period recording, so it’s pretty gritty (sounds like it could be cleaned up easily enough if someone wanted to take the time), but it’s a cool collection. I wonder about the circumstances of this recording: if it’s really 1928, would this have been Colin McPhee?
I got some new headphones last month, and it’s changed life at my very sweet little desk at UBC. My old isolating headphones stopped isolating somewhere through my fieldwork last year, and while I still like my grados, the open concept doesn’t work so hot for a shared office space.
Anyway, the upshot is that I’m listening again almost all day. Here’s what I’m hearing.
Today I’m listening to The Myth of the Golden Ratio by United Vibrations. It’s like a contemporary take on some afrobeat-inspired musical and political sensibilities: cool, short ostinati horn lines, moody jazz, 7/8 grooves, and sometimes-heavy-handed-but-at-least-they’re-not-love-songs political lyrics about climate change, the 99%, culture loss, and other troubles of the day. Dig it.
The other day I stumbled on a new record from Paolo Fresu, Richard Galliano, and Jan Lundgren called Mare Nostrum II. It’s slow, thoughtful, pretty, playable. It’s good for writing. I like trumpet & accordion together.
This record, by the Rhythm Future Quartet, rules too. I love the first track, Iberian Sunrise. I don’t need the cover of Come Together, but the rest is pretty killer if you like the Grappelli/Django thing, which you do because nobody doesn’t.