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Archive for the ‘Kevin Smith’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: ROBERT SCHNEIDER-“Reverie in Prime Time Signatures” (2009).

Robert Schneider is the lead singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer of The Apples in Stereo.  He also received a PhD in mathematics from Emory University in 2018.

So he seems like the perfect person to write this complex score (even if he wrote it before he got his PhD).

In the back of the book, Schneider explains in pretty great detail how he chose to write what he did.

He also says that the music was written and and first performed at an experiemntal reading of the original script at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton on Dec 12 2009. Schneider played synth along with cellist Heather McIntosh and clarinet Alex Kontorovich.  The musical score is included in the book and you can hear it here

The piece is two minutes with harpsichord and a lead cello and flute with a synthesizer underneath.

It is mournful and quite pretty.

For a song that is all about odd time signatures, it somehow doesn’t feel awkward or choppy.  I don’t know enough about time signatures to even tell where the different parts are–I can’t hear it at all.  But I find the piece to be quite nice.  And it is reasonable to think that the victims could have the melody stuck in their heads.

 

[READ: June 19, 2019] Prime Suspects

Raise your hand if you want a graphic novel (illustrated by Robert J. Lewis) that is a CSI-styled investigation but is actually a pretty thorough look into higher mathematics.

I have a hard time summing up what this book is all about because I didn’t get all the math that’s going on here.  But the story itself is pretty fun and easy to follow.

The book opens with two cops finding a dead body in a tunnel  There’s also a documentary crew filming everything for the show MSI: Mathematical Science investigation.

A man in a hat and trench coat welcomes us to his world–a world where you don’t have to understand everything to know something.  Where a legendary mathematics professor became the subject of a documentary.

That professor is Professor Gauss. His assistant Mr Langer is in the precinct with Gauss to talk about what hey have found.

Langer is a formally educated student.  A bit uptight and stuffy.  One day in Professor Gauss’ class a young woman with a ring in her nose and unique fashion sense came in.   Her name is Emmy Germain and she proves to be incredibly smart.  But she is self-educated–an abomination to Langer.  But she turns out to be a delightful surprise to the documentary crew that is inexplicably filming Guass’ class. (more…)

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spidermanSOUNDTRACK: THE FLAMING LIPS-The Fearless Freaks 1986-2006 (2006).

freakThis is an assemblage of ten recordings from twenty years of The Flaming Lips.  It’s something of a soundtrack to the movie of the same name, but it’s more of a collection of rare and unavailable tracks.  Most of the tracks are live, and, since I’m not a big collector of unreleased works, they were all new to me.

Except of course that track 2 is “Free Radicals” which is from the then-soon-to-be-released At War with the Mystics.  The opening track, “Wayne’s Intro…Smoking a J with the Fearless Freaks” is a pretty instrumental with an introduction to the album by Wayne himself.  I’ve since found the instrumental online and it’s a really good listen (with the intro, it’s not something you’d want to listen to all that often, frankly).

The next track is “Enthusiasm for Life Defeats Existential Fear.”  According to Wayne’s intro it’s a very rare track and it fits quite nicely into the time period of its recording (2005).  It’s a bit more acoustic sounding than most of their work at this time, but it’s still really good.

The rest of the disc is live tracks from various shows throughout their career.  And the thing that is somewhat amazing is how noisy/sloppy/untechnical the band sounds compared to their post Zaireeka explorations of sonic landscapes. “With You…” dates back to 1986, when the Lips were a noisy bunch of punks.  “Whole Lotta Love/You Can’t Stop the Spring” comes from 1988 and is a ramshackle mess–well the Led Zep cover is a mess– intentionally so. In fact all of the songs from this era have a feeling of what Wayne desribeds as “Our playing is on the verge of overtaking itself.”  It’s sloppy, noisy, fast and pretty wonderful.

The disc also contains a cover of “Space Age Love Song” by A Flock of Seagulls.  It’s from that same time period and is hard to determine if it’s reverent or not.

“When You Smile” clocks in at 12 minutes, although really the song itself is about 5, with a 7 minute noise-fest afterward.  Meanwhile, “Sleeping on the Roof” comes from the Parking Lot Experiment in which about 50 people all play a tape from simultaneously.  This version is considerably longer than the version from The Soft Bulletin and it is far more profane.  The last several minutes consist of several people telling each other to Fuck Off.  It’s not really worth repeated listenings but it’s interesting for curiosity seekers.

The last track, from 2003, is “The Observer” also from Bulletin.  It’s quite a change from the rest of the disc, as the playing is crisp and the recording is quite clean.

The disc is meant for diehard fans of the band.  Casual listeners probably won’t enjoy this as much, and should just seek out the original albums.

[READ: April 8, 2009] Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane

Even though I’m a fan of comics, I’ve never really enjoyed the superhero vein of them.  But every once in a while a writer I like will jump into the fray and I will follow.

Kevin Smith did Green Arrow, a superhero I’d not even heard of, but I read his run of that one.  And now Terry Moore has done a limited run of the series Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.  I didn’t know anything about this series when I first heard he would be writing it.  I have since learned that there were 20 issues published in 2004-2005.  And this 5 issue mini-series may or may not have anything to do with the previous series (I’ll probably never investigate that).

But after that big super-hero welcome, this series has very little to do with suprheroes.  It’s more of a love story, or at least a frustrated love story. (more…)

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