Friday, February 15, 2013

APOSTATES - Ashtray (1995)

The cat's fangs on this cover grabbed my attention. It's a pretty straightforward album, energetic songs that grind away from start to finish. Super fun time. Not much more to say. How was my day? Pretty good so far; I watched a video of goats sounding like humans. I'm still so impressed by how similar their voices can sound to ours, it's really uncanny. Sometimes it seems like they are humans who can only communicate by saying "Bah!" Quite nightmarish....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

BEEP BEEP - Business Casual (2001)

To honor the recent snow day, let us listen to some jangly rhythms and psycho vocals satirizing office culture!!! Good, unclean, wild and incredibly infectious rock music, as far removed from water-cooler banter as it gets.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

El Arpa al Estilo de RITO PEDERSEN

It's  one of those afternoons where you wake up and listen to tongue-in-cheek latin-esque harp music and go "fuck you elitist pricks who scoff at the music I listen to." Sometimes I just want some latin-esque, OK? Harp sounds are just super cool, no matter what is being played on them. If the Eagles came out with a greatest hits album scored for solo harp, I'd give it a listen. Here's the thing: there are a billion CD's like this one out there. But do you own one?

Also, there are a bunch of extended harp techniques being used in pretty funny ways, and a bassoon makes a guest appearance at some point. Sorry for spoiling the surprise, but trust me, you still won't be expecting it when it comes. Can't for the life of me find the year on this album...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

JEREMY JUSTESON - Pimpin' (2011)

I'm sorry for being the buzzkill here, but I don't like this cover. Really, I don't like it. It's not funny. When a group of elite white composers put out an album intending to scoff at the culture surrounding a socio-economic class beneath them, that's when a little red flag goes up in my head. Clearly this sax pimp on the cover is self-aware and poking fun at himself, that doesn't make the picture OK. It's classist, sexist, and doesn't belong on the cover of anything. My friend Peter said it's as bad as if he had put on a Native American headdress on and called the album "Powwowin'." HOWEVER......... classical composers are also the most adamant proponents of "absolute music," music which stands for nothing other than itself, so I am going to look the other way on the cover art thing, because there's a big chance that much of the music on this album has absolutely nothing to do with the titles of the pieces. And there is actually very good music on here.

Now, this is going to sound ironic: my favorite piece on here is the last one, by Jacob TV, for which I simply cannot make an argument as to it being absolute music - he samples recordings of hookers and pimps recounting some of their experiences throughout the piece. If these are authentic recordings, then I'm almost inclined to say the composer is exploiting these people for the sake of his elitist musical vision. HOWEVER.......... the piece does something so moving, something I've in fact never heard before, except in another piece of his: he takes well-known hip-hop idioms and pushes them in a direction that no hip-hop artist has or probably ever will. The meters are crazy; the formal construction is like nothing else around it. Conversely, no classical composer would ever touch hip-hop, one of the reasons being that they find it to be beneath them (not just music-wise but class-wise as well), which makes Jacob TV's decision to do so incredibly unique, maybe even redeeming of the awful manner in which it is presented. And I have to say he did an amazing job making this piece fit into both genres in an equally unconventional way.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

COUCH - Fantasy (2000)

Ever had a couch fantasy? Go to your couch and listen to this. You can sit on it for a while. Couch, that is. You can really look into the depths of it, maybe you'll pull out an emotion that you forgot all about, or had misplaced and couldn't figure out where you had put it. Instrumental music from the remote country of Germany. Sink into the comfort of Couch. Fantasize...

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This is DIRTY. Bluesy fuzz rock meets musique-concrète. A filthy amount of diversity on here. Don't really know what else to say. Kind of a mixed bag of esoteric and idiomatically on-point sounds. Download it? You can show your friends and act like you discovered this. It's probably better than what they're listening to.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DONALD ASHWANDER - Traditional Patterns (1987)

Unlike the tag says, it was actually a dollar. But i guess in March of '98 it was five. Tongue-in-cheek burlesque music by Donald Ashwander. Some incredibly morbid lines in these songs, accompanied by very sprightly and lighthearted stride piano. I'd say there's some black humor in here... A lot of influences on this album: cabaret, ragtime, early broadway, etc. I just watched Docks of New York last night (the one by von Sternberg); some of the bar scenes in that movie stick in my head when I hear this stuff. It's got that old "pour a keg of beer over yourself and get in a couple fights before deciding to marry a girl you just fished out of the river" kind of swing to it. I wish more bars nowadays played music like this. I'd spend my money there.