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Archive for the ‘Xanadu’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: LIGHTSPEED CHAMPION (“Field Recording” March 2, 2009).

Years before NPR created a category called “Field Recordings,” they were creating Field Recordings–“backstage” (or elsewhere) recordings of bands.  Most of these seem to happen at Music Festivals where musicians just seem to be hanging around anyway.

I have no idea how many of these there are.  In fact, the only reason I discovered this one is because there was a link to it from the Blood Orange Tiny Desk Concert.

Because it turns out that Devonté Hyness, the guy behind Blood Orange was once Dev Hynes, the guy behind Lightspeed Champion.

And so, eleven years ago, Lightspeed Champion played SXSW.

It was a spectacularly beautiful day in Austin, TX when Lightspeed Champion’s Dev Hynes and violinist Mike Siddell met with All Songs Considered’s Bob Boilen for this exclusive outdoor performance. Hynes and Siddell offered up an intimate little set as they ran through four songs, opening with “Tell Me What It’s Worth,” followed by “Everyone I Know is Listening to Crunk,” “Galaxy of the Lost” and an inspired cover of Olivia Newton John’s “Xanadu.”

For all four songs, it’s Dev on acoustic guitar and Mike on violin.  Like on “Tell Me What It’s Worth” Dev sings mostly quietly with his accent audible.  The violin adds sweet touches and occasional solos.

He introduces “Everyone I Know is Listening to Crunk” by saying that crunk is a musical genre that originated about two hours east of here.  Li’l John more or less started it and the queen of crunk is Sierra.  It features this amusing chorus (?)

my drawings are starting to suck
My best friends are all listening to crunk
i feel like the world’s gone crazy
…sometimes in the cold night my phone rings but it’s not you

“Galaxy of the Lost” is a slow pretty ballad with a lovely rising scale in the middle.

Finally comes his cover of “Xanadu” (a song I love).  The opening guitar sounds like “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” and I love the way he resolves it into “Xanadu.”  The sprinkles of violin are a nice touch.

It’s pretty amazing how different this sounds from Blood Orange.  It’s an impressive development for an artist.

[READ: January 23, 2019] Secret Coders: Potions & Parameters

Secret Coders 4 ended with a puzzle.  But I read it months ago, so I haven’t even thought about it since then.  In fact, I have conceded that I will not learn basic programming from this series, so I’m not even trying.  I could see, though, that if you were reading these in quick succession that it would be fun to learn how to do what they are doing and to try the tests.

When we last left our heroes they were being attacked by biting ducks (!).  They use their program skills and the hard-light-generating Light-Light to escape.  And they wind up in a room with all the people who have drunk the green soda.  Including Hopper’s dad.  What?

As they try to snap him out of the “green!” stupor he is in, Dr. One-Zero arrives with Paz.  Turns out Paz was double crossing the kids all along and now Dr. One-Zero has the hard light generator and has the kids trapped.  He’s that much closer to winning–and his final plan is pretty terrible. (more…)

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mazeppa[ATTENDED: July 13, 2014] Xanadu

The movie Xanadu has been a long lost guilty pleasure of mine since I was a kid. I remember watching the movie and not caring that it was weird or, stupid or whatever. I loved Grease and therefore I loved Olivia Newton John.  And while I didn’t love E.L.O., I certainly loved the soundtrack to this movie about, well, whatever it was about.

I have the soundtrack on vinyl, and I clearly listened to it hundreds of times because when the songs popped up in this production, I knew if not all the words, then certainly the melodies.  I haven’t seen the movie since the 80s, though, and I didn’t watch it before going into this play.  And, indeed, I didn’t even know that the play was different from the movie, but I am so glad it was.

The musical (which was on Broadway) takes the basic sketches of the movie (which was pretty much just sketches anyway) and makes a new, very funny and very meta- (jokes about the movie and about the 80s among other things) look at the original, while keeping the characters and the music.  And man did I laugh a lot.  It helped that I knew the movie, but it wasn’t necessary for full enjoyment.

The basic plot is that Sonny is an artist.  He is inspired by a mural of Greek muses.  And after he gives up on his latest painting, the muses come to life and decide to inspire him.  The main muse is Clio who will come to earth “with an Australian accent” (for Olivia Newton John, of course) and call herself Kira.  Kira plans to help Sonny to open a club.  A club where there will be roller disco.  Naturally there is a bad guy–the creator of the club who once loved music but is now all about money.  And, since there are gods involved, there is bound to be mischief, as Clio’s sisters don’t want to see her get Xanadu as she was promised.  Their mischief is to make her fall in love–which will get her banished from Mt Olympus.

Amazingly enough, this crazy plot is much simpler and sensible than the original movie plot. (more…)

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