Friday, September 30, 2011

Mix No. 7 - the old, unknown world

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lukas Ligeti

I do have some more music posts to share, but first I would like to talk a little about Lukas Ligeti (left). If you're thinking what I was thinking when I first heard his name, then you are correct: he is the son of the late composer György Ligeti (right).

The reason I am bringing this up is because I actually got to see Lukas perform yesterday, since my school is hosting a sort of festival where we are able to be exposed to new music. Lukas Ligeti plays music of a strange kind... there are some, though I really wouldn't call myself one of them, that might even argue that what he does is not music.

Lukas Ligeti was born in Vienna, and studied from an early age at many different conservatories and schools. He first traveled to Africa in 1994, and from them on he began to study African music in a way no one has before. He started some groups, namely Beta Foly and Burkina Electric, which combined traditional African music with urban/techno/electronic music. When I saw him play, he was playing on a Marimba lumina, an instrument built by the synthesizer engineer Don Buchla. It is really quite a marvel to behold, played or just gazed upon.

From the way Lukas described it, I understand that there are magnetic coils beneath the different panels as well as inside of the color-coded mallets, of which he used four, so that when the mallet and the surface make contact, a pre-programmed sound can be heard. I was quite close to the stage and I could tell that each of the mallets on each of the different panels (or the "keys" of the instrument) produced a different sound, or series of noises. He had a computer up on the stage too, connected to the marimba lumina, but Ligeti noted earlier that in modern electronic performances, he dislikes how the artist is usually simply sitting on the stage with a computer. He would rather be engaged in the performance, active, constantly making decisions, so that the audience can clearly see the amount of effort put into the music.

I made the mistake of sitting right up at the front of the auditorium, and I was really close to the speakers. It. was. so. loud. I had to close my ears the whole time... I kept giggling to myself because this guy in front of me had his head in his hands and looked like he was in pain from the level of the noise. One of my friends told me he saw a girl crying! Anyway, I can't say I really enjoyed it, but I was reminded time and time again of... Coil. There was a guy alll the way in the front, right in front of the amplifier (and he never covered his ears!), who, I swear, looked exactly like Peter Christopherson. He was nodding his head and getting really into the music, so it was interesting to look at him and imagine that he was the spirit of Coil's late instrumentalist looking on at the manifold wonders of Ligeti's artistic expression.

Here is a group performing one of Lukas Ligeti's works, "Pattern Transformation."

Here is Ligeti himself performing "Great Circle's Tune II." This is the first piece he played for us at the performance I attended, but it is slightly different, as most live music is. What do you think of it?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Morphine - Good

1993; 13 tracks

Distant, suspended worlds. Reality experiences a slight abeyance as the sensual world caves in on all sides... a world of rain and failure.

Morphine was an acclaimed jazz/rock group based in Massachusettes. Good, a beautifully constructed work of soft jazz-infused alternative rock, was their debut album.

you look like rain

Mark Eitzel - Caught In a Trap and I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby

1998; 11 tracks

Mark Eitzel has a great voice. This isn't the greatest or most entertaining album of all time, but there is something to be said for it... Perhaps the hazy, faded, windy feel of it, or the collage of soft shapes. Highlights: "Queen of No One" (definitely my favorite) and "Go Away."


Azalia Snail - Burnt Sienna

1992; 13 tracks

Azalia Snail is an American multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter. Or at least, that's what Wikipedia says. She has quite an assortment of albums and other releases, but Burnt Sienna is her second full-length. It's really folky and dreamy and nostalgic, like stepping through time into your childhood bedroom to watch yourself sleep. Dream-catchers on the wall, a jar full of bugs on the dresser, drawings on the wall, your favorite blanket and stuffed animals cluttered around your bed. This is, for lack of better words, a very pleasant album.


The USA is a Monster - Wohaw

Penthouse - Gutter Erotica

1997; 16 tracks

More noise rock, but this time it's from the depths of hell.
Penthouse was a noise rock band, often tending on the blues/punk side, based in London and active during the mid-late 90s and early 00s. This is their first album. Crushing and stoner-metal-ish, this is good for fans of Killdozer and Cherubs.


Monday, September 26, 2011

I just got back from a piano recital in which Dutch pianist Vincent van Gelder performed four works for a fairly small audience. Here is what he played:

Franz Liszt

Sonata in b minor

Alberto Ginastera

Sonata No. 1, Op. 22
I. Allegro marcato

II. Presto misterioso

III. Adagio molto appassionato

IV. Ruvideo ed ostinato

John Corgiliano

Fantasia on an Ostinato

Vincent van Gelder

Fantasy on the "Dance of the Miller" (after the orchestral work by Manuel de Falla)

He was an incredible pianist, but to be honest, I didn't care much for the pieces. I'd never heard Liszt's sonata in its entirety before, and it was quite surprising. Powerful, mysterious, and kind of distant. The next piece was a conglomeration of many different sounds and styles, or at least that's how it seemed to me at the time. I think I liked the second movement the most. "Fantasy on an Ostinato" was definitely the most strange... it had a serious case of wanderlust. I couldn't follow it, and found the strange empty spaces in between the notes to be a little disconcerting. Still, I heard Beethoven's Seventh Symphony quoted in the left hand near the end!! Of course, while the fateful notes were played the right hand was completely off in its own world. It was an interesting piece, to say the least. The last piece was quite impressive, but I think I'd have preferred to hear the full work first.

Okay, enough of this.

I played Chopin's Nocturne in B-flat Minor, Op. 9, No. 1 (which I taught myself) yesterday in class and afterwards this guy came up to me and said he really liked the way I played the piece, and that he loves Chopin and is learning the Op. 15, No. 3 Nocturne. He was soooo cute... he looked a bit like Harry Potter, but even better. I keep going over the conversation we had in my head and I definitely feel like I sounded like an idiot. He kept asking me what pieces I was working on and I literally could not summon up any of the names of what I was learning. I said a Beethoven sonata, and like Ravel, even though I'm not really even doing those anymore. I told him I don't really like playing Beethoven as much as listening to it, and I went into talking about this recording I have of the Beethoven sonatas by Maria Grinberg (I have no idea why!) and he just looked at me weirdly. I have this problem of smiling every time I talk when I'm nervous and it is so annoying, but I really can't help it. I should have said how I'm learning Brahms' First Rhapsody... oh well :( I really wish I could do that whole thing over.

Here is the piece he is working on, Chopin's Nocturne in G minor, Op. 15, No. 3. It seems to be an overlooked piece, but I have no idea why because it is so lovely.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Genghis Tron - Cloak of Love

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Audion - Suckfish

2005; 11 tracks

Audion is Matthew Dear, a minimalistic techno musician from Detroit. Suckfish is his first and only full-length. The music of Audion is slightly on the abrasive side, but I like it a lot.


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rival Schools - United by Fate

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mix No. 6 - kotilo talossa

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Frank Zappa - The London Symphony Orchestra, Vols. 1 & 2

Kent Nagano / London Symphony Orchestra

Volume I

1983; 6 tracks


Volume II

1987; 3 tracks


"Something magnificent to move the air in your room around. Frank Zappa's compositions performed by the LSO, conducted by the now-well-known Kent Nagano. These are some of the most intricate compositions in all of Zappadom; even with the LSO working at full strength, Zappa has noted that it took many hundreds of tape splices to get the pieces just right. Along with the grandeur of 'Bogus Pomp' (much-expanded from its original appearance on Orchestral Favorites), there's the rich melodicism of 'Sad Jane' and the many musical nooks and crannies of 'Mo 'n' Herb's Vacation.'

Tracks from this session were originally scattered among two vinyl albums and one CD. This new and expanded edition includes all the LSO tracks on 2 CDs. Other highlights include 'Strictly Genteel' (also reworked from Orchestral Favorites) and 'Bob In Dacron.'"

A guy in my class who, apparently, is studying jazz and guitar asked me if I liked Frank Zappa a few days ago. I said that I did, but have only heard a small portion of what he's done. He asked me what album(s), I said We're Only in it For the Money. He shook his head and said that I had to hear his orchestral music, as well as his live and posthumous work. The London Symphony Orchestra albums and The Yellow Shark were the two he told me to start off with, and I was super excited when I found these in the library! This music, written for the orchestra, is insane and unpredictable. It is like watching a mind unravel through instruments, or like wandering through a universe simultaneously black and brightly colored, with shapes and ideas and thoughts floating past at various speeds and with various saturations. I am not a Zappa-expert, nor do I care much about what the general opinion of these works are. I was moved by their originality and I wonder if you might be too.
I took the train home from school yesterday evening and a storm followed me... now it is very rainy and cold and windy outside, and I am wearing clothes that I haven't worn in a long time and actual white socks. I just took a shower and my hair is still wet.

Last night I had a really Lynchian dream. The star of it, in fact, wasn't me... it was this girl I met at school I don't really like. At least that's who I thought it was, for I could only see her shoulder-length, wavy, ice-blonde hair. She was following something, or had collected clues that led her to this certain place: a large, large room, with many sunken-in rooms on the right-hand side each covered by a thick, red curtain. As she walked slowly forward, the curtains, one by one, lifted and behind them were mid-sized movie screens, each showing a black and white and fuzzy picture of two shoes. Each screen showed a different pair of shoes, but they were all old-fashioned shoes, as if from the early 20th century. To add to this, they were all moving. Invisible legs and invisible feet inclined the shoes and made them dance next to each other. Above this silent charade I remember hearing a terrible howling noise. The girl screamed and ran but the many curtained rooms never ended...

It was quite scary. And I distinctly remember it happening after I got up to turn off my computer then got back in bed. Most of the dreams I remember always take place after I get up then go back to sleep. Anyway.

I've chosen to devote today to listening to Agalloch's The White EP, which is utterly and perfectly gorgeous. This is one of my favorite songs, "Birch White," but they are all so beautiful. I posted it on the first day of November (or was it December?) of last year. It is basically their attempt at soft neo-folk, and while listening I think of Tenhi and Sol Invictus, but with a colder and more piercing sound. The basic atmosphere of the album is very nature-based and spiritual, often using quotes from the 1973 film The Wicker Man to further their point. Agalloch's music strengthens the statement - "God is dead." At least, the god of man.

"'Now, those children out there, they're jumping through the flames in the hope that the god of the fire will make them fruitful. Really, you can't blame them. After all, what girl would not prefer the child of a god to that of some acne-scarred artisan?'

'And, and you encourage them in this?'

'Actively! It's most important to teach new generation born of Summerisle be made aware that here the old gods aren't dead.'

'And what of the true God? To whose glory churches and monasteries have been built on these islands for generations past? Now, Sir, what of Him?'

'Oh, He's dead. He can't complain. He had his chance and, in modern parlance, blew it.'"


Currently reading:

Franz Kafka - The Trial, translated by Breon Mitchell.

It is one of those books (common to translated books) that's so very plainly written, even though the mysteries and puzzles contained in Kafka's wild and twisted imagination are truly breathtaking, that I am excited when I see a pretty word, like "snow" or "cloud." I love words.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

HTRK - Marry Me Tonight

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I went to a concert last night at my school where they played various classical music pieces from different time periods one after another without any applause in between. Highlights of the entire selection, which included 23 pieces:

"Allegro" from Diverimento for Strings by Einojuhani Rautavaara

"Ariel Fantasy" for violin and piano by Paul Moravec

"Allegro Vivace" from String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7 by Béla Bartók

"Allegro Molto" from Quatour by Jean Françaix

So maybe you can already see the varied nature of the pieces they played. So, um, I don't know where I was going with this. Oh yeah, that girl, Stephanie, is like my new best friend in the whole world. I don't really have many friends that are girls that I can relate to, but she and I somehow get along. We're total opposites but it works. The end.

Favorite music this week:

Have A Nice Life - Deathconsciousness
HTRK - Marry Me Tonight
Rah Bras - Ruy Blas!
Mendelssohn piano works

I've been reading a lot and practicing a lot of piano... ugghh my life is so boring. Anyway. I need to post more stuff here, I think.

Until then, continue to listen to Polvo, read good books, and enjoy life.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bastards - Monticello

1989; 11 track

Super blown-out and loud AHHH noise rock by Minneapolis-based duo
Bastards. This is their only full-length.

"This eleven-song exercise in ugliness wallows in a veritable ocean of churning, mid-tempo blues-cranked-to-11 grunge punk. The manic, creepy vocals that are the sonic equivocation of contempt match lyrics about torching neighbors houses, self-mutilation, public urination, infidelity and other similarly uncomfortable themes."

mutilation set me free

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jean Sibelius & Arthur Sullivan - The Tempest

2008; 10 tracks
Michael Stern / Kansas City Symphony

Arthur Sullivan was an English composer popular for his operas/collaborative works and theater-related music. The Tempest, Op. 1, a set of movements for Shakespeare's play, was Sullivan's first published music, as well as his graduation piece in conservatory. Along with these pieces, Stern also conducts the incidental music to the same play by the incredible Finnish composer, Jean Sibelius. I am not familiar with much of this composer's music, but his final three pieces included in this CD are worth all of the classical music in the world put together (possibly). Imaginative and rich, I cannot think of anything more brilliant.

A biggg thank you to Andrew (check out his awesome classical mixes) for sharing this with me. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Wugazi - 13 Chambers

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Lindstrøm & Christabelle - Real Life is No Cool

2009; 10 tracks

Lindstrøm & Christabelle is a Norwegian electronic/disco duo who have released a few things, Real Life is No Cool being the most recent. Their sound is overall fairly dark and club-like, but Christabelle's sultry vocals pair well with the wild beats.

"An edgy pop album of structured chaos and hypnotic beats."


TOKiMONSTA - Complete Discography

Bedtime Lullabies

2008; 5 tracks


Mary Anne Hobbs Mix

2009; 1 track


Midnight Menu

2010; 11 tracks


Cosmic Intoxication EP

2010; 6 tracks


TOKiMONSTA Live in London, Brainfeeder Sessions, 2010

2010; 1 track


Analogue Monsta

2011; 2 tracks


Creature Dreams

2011; 7 tracks


Re-mixes & Extras

23 tracks

01 Megajoy (TOKiMONSTA's Unsound Bliss Remix) [Original artist: Kidkanevil)
02 Mileena's Theme (Full Version)
03 Big City Lights (TOKiMONSTA Remix) [Original artist: Shing02]
04 Hot Boxing the Cockpit (TOKiMONSTA Remix) [Original artist: Shlohmo)
05 Horizontal Figuration (TOKiMONSTA Remix) [Original artist: TAKE]
06 Alive
07 Almost Free
08 Breaking Atoms
09 Breath on my Contacts
10 Cigarette Lust
11 Hungry Stomach
12 Last Nights Blurry Memories
13 Line To Dot
14 Little Bit (Remix)
15 Madness
16 Moving Forward (Remix)
17 Park Walks
18 So Sick (Instrumental)
19 Stargazing Coma
20 Taste
21 The Black Heart
22 The Word (Unreleased)
23 Yo B!


Beautifully constructed instrumental hip-hop by Jennifer Lee.

현아 - Bubble Pop! EP

2011; 5 tracks

현아 (Hyun Ah) is a South Korean singer, rapper, and dancer. She is also the main rapper in the popular girl group 4minute. This is her debut EP, after releasing a popular single last year, and the title track, "Bubble Pop!" is super catchy. I like this EP a whole lot, her voice has a lot of character and the music isn't overblown and obnoxious... The track "A Bitter Day" is actually quite beautiful, and "Downtown" is really awesome. Yes, I love this.



2008; 14 tracks

CDR is Japanese breakcore/electronic artist Hikaru Tsunematsu, who is sometimes called a "madman." It's not often you'll hear something this fast-paced and strange.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Georges Delerue - The Conformist

1970; 12 tracks

Georges Delerue was a French film score composer with an immense amount of work under his name. The Conformist, or Il Conformista was an Italian political drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. Among softer classical melodies (the title track "Il Conformista") some tracks rattle away in a more... exotic manner. I don't know any precise technical terms for this, but it's an enjoyable soundtrack.


Friday, September 2, 2011


I met someone in my theory class who has really big hands and also has memorized the openings (first 10 pages or so) of all four Rachamninoff piano concertos along with various other concertos and even a Grieg piano sonata. We went into a practice room and he actually taught me the opening chords to Rachmaninoff's Second!! My hands aren't quite big enough to reach everything (especially the F to A-flat stretch in the left hand) but still, for me to even create a fraction of the beauty contained in those monoliths of sound was one of the most powerful feelings I've ever experienced. No, I don't expect myself to ever conquer those pieces (not without an incredible amount of effort), but I love feeling like I can somehow partake in their unraveling...

Today I listened to Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures on the train, and Souvlaki and a lot a lot a lot of Polvo. Polvo is really, really good. I found out about some new things too, like Nico's Chelsea Girl, and my friend played Brahms' Intermezzo Op. 118, No. 2 in A major, Andante teneramente today for me, and it was the first time I'd ever heard it. I couldn't help myself, I cried... I'd never in my life heard something so gorgeous as that piece. It wasn't even so much how he played it (he is more interested in piano composition than piano performance), but the sheer beauty of the notes and chords and just everything inside of it. I'd include a video but... well, why not. Is it just me, or was Brahms one of the most gifted composers of heartwrenching, earthmoving music?

EDIT: on the train I met this girl I'd seen before and we started talking, and we sort of became bffs. we both like Girl's Generation (or at least we both have heard of them, which is kind of cool for this part of the world) and she said the next time we meet she'll give me the piano music for "Run Devil Run" and we'll practice it together. ummm. weird but awesome.

Polvo - This Eclipse EP

Cosmonauts Hail Satan - Hellraiser & Cape Cannibal Skull Island Apocalypse

1993; 2 tracks

1998; 12 tracks

Here are two releases by the mysterious 90s noise rock outfit
Cosmonauts Hail Satan. Hellraiser was two tracks dedicated to the first Hellraiser film and "Coil's shamefully unused soundtrack." I'm not sure how well these would have worked with the film, but one can speculate. Cape Cannibal Skull Island Apocalypse was their final work, a compilation of sorts, featuring my favorite track, "Serious Business."


70 Gwen Party - John Peel Sessions 1, 2, 3 & 4

Twin Sister - Color My Life

The Clean - Vehicle

1990; 13 tracks

The Clean was a leading and influential indie-rock band from the Dunedin music scene, and have now begun touring again and recently released a new album. Anyway, this album was their first. Enjoy some heavily light-hearted indie pop-rock/whatever you call this stuff.


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