Currently listening to(1991) by Jonathan Richman. Particularly “That Summer Feeling”, oof. Such a gentle song, and so brutal. Particularly this performance.
I think the best creative advice I ever got was from my tutor at CSM.
Don’t dot every I and cross every T, don’t tie up every loose end. Leave some questions unanswered. A piece of art, a movie, a song, a performance, they all tend to be more compelling when they leave you wondering.
I tended to be very goal-oriented in my visual art practice, with an idea of exactly what I wanted the final product to be. This usually left me with frustration when I couldn’t quite get it there, and a piece that was overworked and somehow boring, despite my efforts. When I spent a little more time just focusing on the process and letting go of the result, it was both more fun and far more interesting to look at in the end.
I don’t have much of an art practice at the moment, though sometimes I look at this website as one big, long-haul creative endeavor.
Four years ago today, in the V&A’s porcelain courtyard expansion not long after it opened. Was getting ready for an evening rehearsal outside, very chilly.
A bunch of the songs I’ve been singing or would like to sing to B. From friends, family, Musarc, etc. Some are lullabies, many are not, but they all have a lullaby feel to me.
Links are to YouTube.
- “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard of Oz, here sung by Judy Garland
- “Baby Mine” from Dumbo, here sung by Betty Noyes
- “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, here sung by Audrey Hepburn
- “Candle on the Water” from Pete’s Dragon, here sung by Helen Reddy
- “Feed the Birds” from Mary Poppins, here sung by Julie Andrews
- “Stay Awake” from Mary Poppins, here sung by Julie Andrews
- “Smile” by Charlie Chaplin, John Turner, and Geoffrey Parsons, here sung by Nat King Cole
- “Yesterday” by The Beatles, here
- “Danny Boy” or “The Derry Air”, here sung by Sinéad O’Connor
- “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music, here sung by Bill Lee
- Wiegenlied, Op. 49, No. 4 by Johannes Brahms, much better known as Brahms’ Lullaby or “Guten Abend, gute Nacht”, here sung in Hebrew, English, and German by Esther Ofarim
- “Es wird scho glei dumpa”, here sung by the Tölzer Boys Choir
- “Schlaf, Kindlein, Schlaf”, here sung by the Wernigerode Youth Choir
- “Vent Frais, Vent Du Matin”, here sung by Veronique Chalot
- “Ik ga slapen ik ben moe”, here sung by Jelske Ottema (I think?)
- “Turn Around”, here sung by Harry Belafonte
Would love to collect more.
Need to listen to A Secret Code by Pamela Z from Neuma Records.
Came across her via the article “Social Codebreaker” by Emily Pothast in the July issue of The Wire, shown to me by Sam. See also her 1988 self-issued cassette Echolocation, due to be reissued later this year on Freedom to Spend.
From the article:
I ask her about the obvious current of humour running through many of her works. “A lot of people ask me about that. I think it’s because they expect experimental and contemporary music to be this very serious thing.” […an extended description of John Cage’s 1960 performance of Water Walk on CBS comedy game show I’ve Got A Secret and the audience’s laughter…]
“When people ask me that question, they often phrase it like, ‘Why do you inject humour into your work?’ and I don’t think of it as injecting humour,” she continues. “I think of it as allowing humour. Because I think that life is weird, and my work is very much influenced by and inspired by the world around me.
What happened to the formerly flourishing experimental music scene in San Francisco? I’ve looked for it. Some of the musicians may still be present, but the gigs aren’t, unless I’m missing something.
Might be worth keeping an eye out for Volti performances, Pamela Z has collaborated with them in the past.
Just came across StaffPad via SB, music notation software for tablets. Looks very cool.
I used Sibelius pretty heavily in college, dabbled with Finale a bit as well. Looks like Sibelius is now a subscription app à la Adobe CS 😕 so I probably wouldn’t reach for it now. There is a free tier, but it’s pretty limiting. Finale’s not a subscription app, but it’s an eye-watering $600 for the most recent version. I’m all for paying for software when it’s worth it, but that seems steep.
StaffPad is $89.99 in the Mac App store as of right now, which seems very reasonable considering the features it offers. The handwriting recognition in particular looks pretty nifty, though I wonder how accurate it would be in practice…
My music notation needs are generally very intermittent (nonexistent at the moment…), so I’ll probably stick to LilyPond for now. It’s free, open source software that’s a lot like LaTeX but for music, does the job and can achieve some pretty complex notation. I do wish it was easier to control the text and notation fonts, but you can’t have everything. A huge upside of using LilyPond is keeping scores in version control via Git, which I think I’d miss if I moved to something with a more traditional UI.
Currently listening to(1998). Had no idea about them, came across them via two cool cats on Twitter.
These vibes are the perfect thing right now. Also, will be taking photos of the Alessi Bros to the hairdresser when that’s an option again.
Apple Music | Spotify
The album’s not on Bandcamp, but “Seabird” is included in Late Night Tales: Metronomy.
Currently listening to(2014) by King Creosote.
Sam took me to the lovely Howard Assembly Room in Leeds to hear him perform this back in October 2014. Probably one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to.
I return to this album a lot. But have to say, “Miserable Strangers” really hurts right now. I miss everyone so, so much.
Currently listening to Black Prince Fury//Jet Black Raider (2013) by Anna Meredith. Manic, insistent symphonic electro-pop 👍
Jet Black Raider EP on Bandcamp | Black Prince Fury EP on Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify
Currently listening to My Finest Work Yet (2019) by Andrew Bird. “Bloodless” is particularly on the nose.
Well, the best lack all conviction
And the worst keep sharpening their claws
They’re peddling in their dark fictions
While what’s left of us
Well, we just hem and we haw
And it’s so damn slinky, catchy.
LP from Loma Vista Records | Apple Music | Spotify