Archive for the ‘The Apples in Stereo’ 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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SOUNDTRACK: THE APPLES IN STEREO-King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 3 from Score! 20 Years of Merge Records: The Covers (2009).

The Apples in Stereo have made the first song on this covers disc in which I categorically like the original better.  I don’t know that much about the Apples in Stereo, although I know they are tangentially related to Neutral Milk Hotel.  But I don’t know if their style is in general like this version–keyboardy and simplistic, or if this is a goof project for them.

Of course, the original of this song, by Neutral Milk Hotel is an indie classic, so you’d be hard pressed to try to do a respectful version and make it sound better.  It’s nice they did something different, I just don’t like it as much.

[READ: April 6, 2012] “The Porn Critic”

This is a story that is superficially facile–it confirms the age-old belief that women just do not like porn.  And yet there’s some interesting dynamics at work that I found really enjoyable.

The story is about Kromer.  Kromer was believed to be a hedonistic satyr–that a life of partying, drugs and sex followed him wherever he went.  But that was not exactly true–he was around a lot of it, just never in the middle of it.  The debauchery in his life was all thanks to his friend Greta.

Greta has a trust fund that will not mature until she reaches 30.  She was so outraged at not having the trust fund that (and I love this phrasing) it “drove her mad with the determination to die squalorously before she became wealthy.”  Despite her lack of access to the fund, she did have at her disposal  her father’s “man.”  He would cater to her every whim at any hour of the day.

And so she lived the hedonistic lifestyle–drugs and drinking, closing out parties and hanging with wild transsexuals (and calling for deliveries from delis across town to the bar she was currently in).  And she also hung out with Kromer–who was terrified of her debauched friends, but loved the access to her father’s servant.

Kromer’s reputation was also helped because he worked in a porn shop called Sex Machines.  He worked for a local real estate maven who owned all kinds of stores–from coffee to video to adult marital aids.  I love the details of Sex Machines, and that its “interior and stock had been painstakingly derived from that of a famous San Francisco shop, founded by a sex-positive lesbian collective. In lieu of such a collective, the owner had installed Kromer,”  So instead of Toys in Babeland Manhattan got Sex Machine.

Sex Machine also published a newsletter which included reviews of the latest porn movies.  And Kromer was the sole reviewer–he watches dozens of films (the output is tremendous!) and tried to simplify their content for the clientele.

As a result, he had tons of porn movies lying around his house.  And as a result of that, very few people, women especially, had visited his apartment. (more…)

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