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“All of time / Is right here / Is right now” 🌈

Current listening: “Mystic Familiar” by Dan Deacon

I listen to music while working but usually it’s something like Max Richter or Jon Hopkins, something without lyrics. I just can’t do lyrics and work on logic or systems, my brain gets mixed up.

This album is different, no problem working to it. And it’s so damn joyous, it’s the electro-pop mantra I need right now. See also the video for the first song from the album, “Become a Mountain”. And if you use Spotify, try setting up a Dan Deacon artist radio. Highly recommend it.

“Mystic Familiar” was released at the very end of January 2020, so at least one beautiful thing resulted from this unfathomably dark year. And my cousin getting engaged, and our dear friends telling us they’re having a baby. Continue connecting the dots between the good, feel lighter already.

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Independent live music venues in San Francisco

A list of independent live music venues in San Francisco sorted by capacity. Obviously not for right now, but I’d like to check them out when possible. Most of the list is from this 2018 article on the DNA Lounge blog (came across it on Twitter but can’t find the original tweet now…).

If someone reads this and goes “hey, that’s not independent!”, tell me and I’ll tweak the list.

In terms of outdoor venues in the Bay Area, I think that Stern Grove and Jerry Garcia Amphitheater are owned by the SF Parks Dept. and the Greek Theatre is owned by UC Berkeley? Not sure. I imagine some of their gigs are organized by the major conglomerates, but it looks like the Stern Grove Festival is independent.

For independent venues elsewhere in the US, incl. The White Horse in Austin ❤️, check out the National Independent Venue Association.

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time, scratching, snow, and white noise

🔮🦷👁🌙

Last night was Musarc’s winter concert The Orrery on the first day of LCMF 2019. Our performance included a new commission from Lina Lapelytė Time to Become One, the UK premiere of Jennifer Walshe’s The White Noisery, György Ligeti’s Poème symphonique, Un soir de neige by Francis Poulenc, and Fritz Hauser’s Schraffur (Hatchings).

A glowing orb suspended over an audience and an assortment of metronomes in a darkened room

Everything revolved around a floating, glowing orb.

The evening was conceived in collaboration between Sam Belinfante, the contributing composers / artists, members of Musarc, and our inimitable directors Cathy Heller Jones and Joseph Kohlmaier. It all came together with a ton of help from friends and metronome-sitters, and exceedingly delicious vegan food was offered by Return to Shashamane.

It was intense and meditative. I’ve spoken to a few friends in the audience who had nice things to say, but also I’m curious to know what others in the audience thought. I’ve seen at least one good blurb, which is lovely.

Big things for the choir next year I expect. In the shorter term, I’m looking forward to the rest of LCMF’s Witchy Methodologies. Particularly On Rites and Reenchantment and On Gossip & Eavesdropping.

Image via LCMF

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The wonderful world of BBC Sounds

BBC Sounds is such a treasure trove.

It introduced me to You’re Dead to Me, a very funny history podcast by Greg Jenner. My favourite episodes so far are probably the ones on Mansa Musa and Harriet Tubman.

Around Halloween I came across Haunted Women, a one-off program exploring how women have used the ghost story form. Reminds me, I am way overdue reading some Shirley Jackson. I’ll probably start with the bookends, The Road Through the Wall and We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Will definitely have to read The Haunting of Hill House as well, The Haunting is one of my favourite horror films. The film was released in 1963 under the Hays Code, so I’ll be interested to see how much more of Theodora’s character is revealed in the book.

Other BBC Sounds programms that I’m planning to listen to include:

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Gogo Penguin + Koyaanisqatsi, and the memory of a tower in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Last night I went to a live screening of Koyaanisqatsi at EartH in Hackney with GC. I knew Gogo Penguin would be playing live, but I didn’t realise they’d be playing their own re-scoring! Pretty impressive, both the execution and to even take it on considering the epic proportions of Philip Glass’s original score. The synchronisation of the rhythm and the visual was maybe not quite as intricate as the original but it was expertly handled, particularly for a live performance. Most of the time the pace was frenetic, frantic. There weren’t quite as many despairing moments as in Glass’s score, but the overall vibe was very similar.

I need to listen to more Gogo Penguin and definitely need to watch the original film, before this I’d only seen small bits of it.

The derelict facade of the Ljubljanska Banka Tower, or “Sniper’s Tower”, in Mostar (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Photo taken 15 April 2009

The second half of the film includes many clips of derelict housing projects and other buildings. Those clips unearthed a ten-year-old memory of a tower I’d seen when visiting a good friend in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. The angular concrete structure loomed over the playground in Park Zrinjevac. It was an inanimate casualty of the catastrophic conflicts that consumed the region in the early 1990s, abandoned but clinging to a few remnants of glass and insulation.

That much I knew from the pocked concrete, but I didn’t know the specific role it played in the war until today. Once called the Ljubljanska Banka Tower, it’s now known to some as the Sniper’s Tower. It was used by gunmen targeting people below during the 1993–1994 Siege of Mostar. The multiple sieges led to the widespread destruction of the city, and almost 100,000 people fled.

I searched everywhere online for pre-war photos of the tower but couldn’t find any, just this photo taken a few months after I was there. The photographer captured it in much better light than I, the photo hints at the building’s formerly mirrored, golden facade. It still stands from what I gather, but the exterior structure has been removed and the entries have been blocked off. Graffiti artists use it, and urban explorers try to have a poke around. It looks like a skeleton in the more recent images I’ve seen. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable going in.

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Hum-worthy tunes

There are a few tunes that you turn up and hum along to when they come on. “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” by Jimmy Ruffin ticks the box for me. It’s one of those weird ones though, a song that has a kind of uplifting melodic line but some pretty sad lyrics.

Quick edit: Oh man, and “Crying” by Roy Orbison, and “Heaven Help Us All” by Stevie Wonder, and “Bye Bye Love” by the Everly Brothers. (Solid playlist on right now, clearly.) That last one will always have the softest spot in my heart.

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#pianogoals

Songs I’ll learn when I get a piano:

  • Chopin, Nocturne en bi bémol majeur opus 9 no2: Ballade en Sol Mineur No.1
  • Tom Waits, I’m Still Here
  • Chilly Gonzales, Armellodie
  • Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou, The Song of the Sea

Some of these are almost certainly wishful thinking, it’s been a while. Reach for the moon… 💫


Tips for buying a secondhand piano (focus on uprights):


Want to moonlight as a piano tuner someday, but looks like it might be difficult to find any courses… Supposedly there’s only one left in the UK. Maybe it’s this one? Pretty formal though.

Time to turn to the #1 self-teaching resource, the WORLD WIDE WEB. Have quickly discovered some circa-2000 diamonds in the rough. Sometimes the writing is a little salty, and it always has a pointed perspective, but pretty useful and fun. Need more room for tools.

And a few books: