Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: DEODATO-Prelude (1973).

I know this artist because of Phish.  For years I thought that they “wrote” the discoey, funky. super cool version of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” which they play at a lot of shows.

I should have realized that the “Deodato” in the credits was the actual arranger of this cool piece, but I guess I never really thought about it.  I’ve no idea where the realization came to me, but once it did I decided  to check out the album from which it comes.

It turns out that Deodato is Eumir Deodato de Almeida (Brazilian Portuguese: [ẽʊ̃ˈmiχ djoˈdatu]; born June 22, 1942) is a Brazilian pianist, composer, arranger, and record producer, primarily in jazz but who has been known for his eclectic melding of genres, such as pop, rock, disco, rhythm and blues, classical, Latin and bossa nova.  Prelude was his first album released in the U.S. (released when he was 31) and eighth overall.  In addition to making over 30 albums, he has also been a producer and arranger on everything from Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” to Bjork’s albums PostTelegram, and Homogenic

“Also Sprach Zarathustra” begins with twinkling and guitar noises for 30 seconds before the 5-note funky keyboard comes in.  And then about a minute in the horns join to create the familiar Richard Strauss “Also Sprach Zarathustra” crescendo.  Even though that melody is barely a minute long, this version is 9 minutes long with a lengthy funky keyboard solo occasionally punctuated by horns.  It then switches to a more rocking sound with a 70s sounding guitar solo.  It really never loses the funk for the entirety of the piece.

“Spirit Of Summer” is a slow moody song that sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a noir film with slinky horn lines and jazzy bass.  I love the opening and how it then switches to an almost easy listening string section before adding a mellow keyboard solo and a surprising very fast flamenco guitar solo as well.   The song is only four minutes and ends with a flute solo and then a return to the opening horns.

“Carly & Carole” is an easy, mildly funky jazzy number.  There’s lead flute combined with the keys that push the song along.

“Baubles, Bangles, & Beads” is a jaunty five-minute romp that sounds like it would have been very popular at swinging parties in the 1970s.  There’s more flute and keys and two lengthy wild Santana-like guitar solos that run through to the end of the song.

“Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Faun” opens with a mournful flute that sounds a lot like the weird Snoopy interludes when he is the World War I Flying Ace in the old Peanuts cartoons.  The melody is quite nice and is then repeated by several instruments throughout the piece.   After 2 minutes it tuns into a swinging jazzy number with a flute solo and wah wah guitars and a bright trumpet solo.  I see now that this piece was done by Debussy and this is another arrangement.  It is not used in Peanuts although Schulz does reference the song in a strip.

“September 13” ends the disc with an upbeat funky song with groovy bass and keys and wah wah guitars.  There’s a wild mildly distorted guitar solo with fun effects put on it.  It’s a fun way to end an album that is short but really captures a moment in time.

[READ: September 3, 2019] Herbert’s Wormhole Book 2

I accidentally read Book 3 before Book 2.  I am embarrassed that that happened because I am a librarian and I should know better, but I checked on Goodreads and must have read a paperback reprint pub date and though that book 3 was in fact book 2.

Having read book three I basically knew a lot of what happened in book 2.  But primarily this is because in book 3 they make offhanded comments to things they did in book 2.  Incidentally, while I was reading book 3 I thought it was a really fun, bold move on the author’s part to reference adventurers that we hadn’t read about.  That should have dawned on me but I just persisted in believing that the author was being really daring. Oh well.

Knowing what happened didn’t really spoil anything, because the book is silly and funny anyhow.

This book opens with a paneled cartoon recap of book 1.

It’s followed by a hilarious opening sequence in which Alex’s dad has become hooked on video games.  He was trying to bond with Alex over Alex’s love of video games.  But in book 1, Alex’s memory of video games is wiped out.  So now his father is playing them and Alex doesn’t really see the point.  But Alex’s father is now as addicted as Alex was. (more…)

Read Full Post »

 oct6SOUNDTRACK: LIMBOMANIACS-Stinky Grooves (1990).

limboSo this album was a favorite of mine in college (amazingly you can’t find very much about it online–I kind of assumed it was huge, but apparently only in my head).  Why does it fit here?  Because the drummer, Brian “Brain” Mantia is who replaced Tim Alexander on Primus’ next few albums.

The Limbomaniacs album is a big stupid funk rock album that is absolutely college age appropriate (if not terribly sexist).  It’s about sex, butts, porn, poop and getting funky.  You can’t play any of the songs on the radio: “Butt Funkin’,” “Porno” (which has a good riff) “That’s the Way” (which is much more vulgar than I realized) or “The Toilet’s Flooded” (with a great big ….).

The biggest surprise about this album , which is clearly kinda dumb fun, is that it attracted such big names to it. It was produced by Bill Laswell and has vocals from Bootsy Collins and sax from Maceo Parker.  This record must have come out before you had to pay for samples, because they seem to be sampling everything, most of it to good use–2001, Blade Runner, William S. Burroughs and Public Enemy.

Probably the best songs on the disc are the ones that are a bit cleaner (like they emphasized the music over the lyrics) “Maniac” with some good horn samples and quotes from Network, is fun and funky–catchy as anything and still sounds good.  “Free Style” is a fun dancey song (with a sax solo from Parker).  “Shake It” is also a fun song (to me it sounds like a college party–although I guess kids these days don’t listen to funk rock).

“Pavlov’s Frothing Dogs” has extensive samples from a William S. Burroughs story, which works interestingly well.

The little you can find out about them online suggests that the band was well-respected musically (but quickly disbanded after a lot of local success).  I find these songs to be rather simple in structure and performance so it seems hard to imagine them inspiring anyone.  And yet, Laswell is involved and immediately started using Brain on drums in his “supergroup” Praxis.  (The Limbomaniacs also introduced Laswell to Buckethead who was a friend) and Buckethead is in Praxis as well.

I more or less know what happened to everyone in the band.  Mirv, the guitarist went on to form M.I.R.V., but I’m not sure what happened to Butthouse the singer.  This album is a totally time capsule for me.  And the little voice at the end of “The Toilet’s Flooded” made me laugh like I was 20 years old again.

[READ: January 9, 2014] “Story, with Bird”

It’s fun to read a two-page story from time to time.  This story felt quite elliptical–a lot happened, but all in a rather quick way.

As the story begins, we know the couple’s relationship is about to end.  As a last ditch effort at staying together, they decided to give up drinking–but it didn’t really work (obviously).

The bird in the title is a bird which flew into their house.  She tried to attack it to get it out, but he used the more pacifist approach of turning off the lights and leaving the windows opened so the bird could leave on its own.  They fought about who was right, but his way did work. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SOUNDTRACKNADA SURF-Lucky (2008).

Just as I was thinking that Nada Surf had dropped off the face of the earth, I discovered that they were releasing LuckyLucky continues Nada Surf’s fantastic output of beautiful melodies and poppy, almost folky songs.  I hate to make it sound like Nada Surf have mellowed, but they certainly have.  Nevertheless, their song craft has risen to even newer heights.  The first three songs are some of the best singles you’ll hear (and you may have heard “Whose Authority” which got some airplay…. If you liked that then you’ll love the rest of the album.)

There are obvious precedents for who Nada Surf now sound like, but it’s not an aping of sounds where you say, oh they sound just like Matthew Sweet or Semisonic or something, but they have that kind of vibe.  If the jangly alternapop of the late nineties were still popular, Nada Surf would be leading the pack.  As it is, they don’t sound retro in any way, the songs just exist, almost timelessly.

The middle songs culminate with “I Like What You Say.”  There’s no reason this song shouldn’t be a huge hit.  The lyrics are slightly hard to sing along to (which usually makes for the kind of song that people like to learn) “You say, I like what you say, I like what you say, you say,” but the chorus of “Baby, I only want to make you happy” lifts your spirits.  All eleven tracks are solid, and there’s enough diversity, even within the limited palette to keep you interested.  There’s even a short oom-pah-pah at the end of “Ice on the Wing.”  I’m not sure why it’s there, but it adds a nice bit of texture to the album.

This disc came with a bonus EP (something Nada Surf seems to like doing) which comes with acoustic versions of two of the songs from the album, and two new songs.  The last one, “Everyone’s on Tour” shows a rare glimpse of Nada Surf really rocking out.  It’s something of a throwaway song, but it shows off an interesting side of the band, just in case you were afraid they were getting too mellow.

[READ: Fall 2007] To Kill a Mockingbird.

There was some impetus that made me want to read this book and watch the movie.  I think it’s because Sarah likes to repeat her favorite line from the movie (see below) and I wanted to see it myself.  I wasn’t entirely sure what it was even about.  I think it was simply that I knew so many cultural references to this book without knowing the original.  It made me say, okay, time to read this thing.  (Similarly, if you’ve never actually seen 2001, A Space Odyssey, you are missing hundreds of cultural reference points every day).

And I am so glad I did.  Now, obviously, its a Pulitzer Prize winning story, and everyone is supposed to read it in school (why didn’t I?), so I’m not the only one to think it’s good.  But in addition to being Substantial and Substantive, it was also a really enjoyable read.  I admit that some of the classics are difficult to get through, but this one was so great I practically rushed through to the end.

So, of course, this is where Boo Radley comes from.  It’s also where Atticus Finch comes from.  It’s also a story about race, rape and a lawyer who is willing to stand up for what’s right even in the face of violence. That’s a lot to pack into a small book. (more…)

Read Full Post »