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Archive for the ‘Al Gore’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: KING CRIMSON-The Elements Of King Crimson – 2014 Tour Box (2014).

When King Crimson reunited in 2013, they prepared to tour as a seven piece behemoth the following year.  There would be three drummers, two guitarists, bass and horns.

And they were totally reinvigorated.

To celebrate this tour, Fripp and his minions created this Elements Tour Box, a 2 -disc set dedicated to displaying the elements that made up the band from the beginning until now.  It was made up of alternate takes, excerpt (lots of excerpts), live recordings and rehearsals from the entirety of the Crimson canon, including some of the 2014 shows.

It is a treasure trove for Crimson fanatics.  But it is also an excellent resource for anyone looking to explore the Crimson underworld without buying $150 boxsets.

The discs follow a vaguely chronological overview, starting in 1969 and moving on through 2008.  But there are 2014 takes of old songs thrown in as well–some sound better than others, but overall the quality is quite good.

The first disc covers 1969-1974.  It opens with
“Wind Extract,” which is the sound of Fripp’s mellotron being turned on back in 1969.
“I Talk To The Wind” is an instrumental version of the second song on ITCOTCK.  Purists will be able to tell how many things are different between this version and the actually-released product, but in a nutshell, this is the album version with no vocals.  It’s really interesting to focus just on the music and not the words for a change.  The song is quite pretty, with lots of flute.

“Cadence and Cascade” is from In the Wake of Poseidon and no one involved in the recording remembered Greg Lake singing a version of it.  Guest vocalist Gordon Haskell sang the album version.  Then someone recently found this “guide vocal” version of Lake singing it for apparently the first and only time.

The boxes often contain brief excerpts like this one–fifteen seconds of Fripp’s classical sounding guitars from “Cirkus.”  This is kind of an acoustic bridge before we hear the full song recorded in 1971 on the Lizard tour.  This song in particular sounds very dated live and the middle “circus sounds” sections are 70s crazy.
“Hoodoo (extract)” is a 2014 rehearsal that’s all of 20 seconds which segues into a raucous recording of Fripp playing a wild guitar solo for “Sailor’s Tale.”  It’s wild and really shows Fripp throwing everything he can at the song.
“The Talking Drum” is an early alternate mix which sounds great to me.  It gets really crazy by the end.

The “Lark’s Tongues in Aspect I” excerpt is from 2014 and is just Mel’s flute for 2 minutes.  It’s followed by a 1972 extract that’s just violin and dulcimer and harp.

This turns into a great new mix of the 11 minute “Fracture.”
After a minute of gorgeous harmonics by Fripp from “Fallen Angel,” we get a full, gorgeous 6-minute instrumental version of the song.  Because Crimson songs are so complicated and so carefully constructed, they are one of the few bands whose songs can have lyrics removed without them falling flat.
There’s a weird-sounding version of “21st Century Schizoid Man” from 1974, which sounds so very mid-70s in the recording style.  It seems somewhat slapdash compared to the utter tightness of the 2014 band.  The disc ends with Mark Charig’s cornet recording for the end of “Starless.”  On the proper release they use Mel Collin’s saxophone, but the cornet sounds delightful.

Disc two covers 1981-2008.

  This is pretty much the Adrian Belew era.  Belew was not invited back for the new incarnation, so that’s a little awkward.

It begins with an alternate take of the instrumental “Discipline.”  After a 45 second drum intermission, there’s a track called “Manhattan (Neurotica)” which is an instrumental version of “Neurotica.”  I love that the opening guitar sounds like sirens and car horns.
A minute and a half of the middle of “Neal and Jack and Me” is followed by the Steven Wilson mix of “Sleepless (Bearsville)” with an incredibly 80’s sounding slap bass from Tony Levin.

Then there’s a recording session of “Sex, Sleep, Eat, Drink, Dream.”  We hear lots of stops and starts, bass only, guitar parts and someone repeating “this is tough, tough shit.”
There’s a live version of “THRAK” followed by a minute of Fripp soloing around “Larks Tongue” called “Venturing Into Joy.”

This is followed by two tracks from Fripp’s side ProjeKcts,  “The Deception of the Thrush” is performed live by ProjeKct Four in 1998 with big thumping almost splatting-sounding drums.  Then there’s a trippy and ambient early version of “Heaven & Earth” by ProjeKct X.

After a scorching “Level Five” from 2008, there’s a minute long drum solo which would ultimately morph more fully into “The Hell-Hounds of Krim” and then two tracks from A Scarcity of Miracles.  “Separation” is an edited version of the bonus track (the disc label calls it something else).  And there’s an alternate take of “A Scarcity Of Miracles”–still long and a little too jazz-lite for me.

This is a really solid collection of all eras and styles of Crimson.  And it also showcases the various parts coming together.  A great production all along.

[READ: January 19, 2018] Monsters of the Ivy League

This book collects a series of Ivy League graduates and puts them in context with a they have a lot of support for all of their declarations.  Each entry gives a brief (biased) biography that highlights their flaws, outrages and downright unforgivable behavior.

So, rather than rewrite summaries of these assholes, I’ll present a grid with the shortcut (and some choice tidbits).  You can find the book and read the details for why our Ivy leagues have bred so many shitheads, including current miscreants:

Samuel Alito, Ben Carson, Ann Coulter, Ted Cruz, Laura Ingraham, Henry Kissinger, Dr. Oz, trump, and many more.

The introduction says that the term Ivy League refers to a bunch of football teams. (That’s why it says “league”).  The League was formed in 1954 to formalize the sporting relationship between eight teams: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Univ of Penn, Princeton and Yale.

Of course, no one goes to these schools for sports, they go to find the best future contacts for your budding careers.

But read this book and remember:

An ivy education doesn’t force you to become a hideous person, but it doesn’t necessarily prevent it, either.

What follows is a smart-shopper warning to those applying, a count-your-blessings consolation to those who have been rejected and a watch-your-back caution to those already attending.

(more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BAD BRAINS-I Against I (1983).

I don’t remember buying this album, but I remember getting it because of the connection to SST records (not because Bad Brains were an amazing hardcore band–I didn’t know that yet).

All of these years later, this album is still pretty astonishing.  The heavy punk blends so well with the reggae-inspired jams.  Perhaps the biggest band where Bad Brains influence is evident is Fishbone (especially their later metal songs).  But you can hear t hem in Faith No More and many other mid 90’s bands as well.

The disc opens with a great off-beat instrumental (“Intro”) which leads into the amazing yell-along “I Against I.”  “House of Suffering” follows with some more speedy hardcore.  Then it all slows down with “Re-Ignition,” the first indication that this is an album unafraid to take risks.  Although the thumpy riff and heavy beats are still there, the vocals are more of a reggae style (especially towards the end).  “Secret 77” follows with a kind of funk experiment (but those drums are still loud and stark–Earl is a maniac!).

Darryl’s bass work is tremendous throughout the disc, and Dr. Know’s guitar is amazing–speeding fast soloing, heavy punk riffs and delicate intricate reggae sections intermingle with ease.  And, of course, we can’t forget about H.R.’s vocals.  He has several different delivery styles from the speedy punk to the reggae deliveries and the all over the place (including high-pitched shrieks on “Return to Heaven”).

The second half of the disc experiments with more diversity, and it is somewhat less punk sounding (although not by much).

Historically, it’s hard (for me) to place exactly how influential they were.  Listening to  the disc today (which doesn’t sound dated in any way) it sounds utterly contemporary in stylistic choices.  Did they come up with the mosh break?  They certainly are the first punk band the embrace Jah (that’s a trend that never really took off though, eh?), but their funk metal sound predates the popular Faith No More style by over a decade.

[READ: November 21, 2010] “The Kids Are Far-Right”

I know I subscribed to Harper’s when this article was published (I distinctly remember the jelly bean portraits of Reagan), but I’m pretty sure I didn’t read it then because the whole idea of it sounded depressing (the subtitle: “Hippie hunting, bunny bashing, and the new conservatism”) was just too much for me in 2006 (and was almost too much for me in 2010).

And so our correspondent (not long after his trip through the Bush/Cheney volunteer minefield) heads out to the twenty-eighth National Conservative Student Conference.  He meets exactly what you would expect: right-wing campus types (several from ultra-religious schools) who are there to learn to hate liberals even more than they already do (and boy do they).

Wells’ article is full of details about all of the speeches and programs, as well as biographical information about some of the attendees.  Most of them just want to get rid of liberals on campus, but some want to go into politics themselves someday (they are viewed with suspicion here).  Many also hate George W. Bush because he raised taxes.  In hindsight what we have here is the origins of the tea party.

The only comforting news to come from the article is that only 400 people attended (but they were willing to spend a few hundred dollars and give up a week of their summer vacation, so it’s still a pretty high number). (more…)

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