DJ Blonde Spooky Redhead

by pieces of moments

So far the year is shaping up really well musically. Already I have had the pleasure of:

In the very near future (like, this weekend) I will be enjoying a BMOP concert, an opera (to see my friend Becki perform…the only other vocalist besides Dawn Upshaw herself that I will go anywhere to hear) and soon after I’ll be listening to choreographer Elizabeth Streb and physicist Brian Greene (my favorite string theorist!) talk about (moving through) space and time, among other hot topics.

So, breaking it down (and glossing over new years since that was so 25 days ago):

Blonde Redhead

BRH 6

If you don’t know the work of this band, STOP READING RIGHT NOW and check them out on itunes/youtube/whatevermethodyoupossiblycan. Seriously kids. If you know me well enough you will be able to vouch for the fact that I don’t just hand out mad props like free perfume samples in department stores. It is such a pleasure to find bands in these overly produced times that actually sound even better live than on CD, which is a format they already utilize exceptionally well. Hallelujah. What a concept – actual trained musicians.

The show was at The Paradise, which wasn’t terribly great for the acoustical experience, but spot on for the intimate factor. I had just gotten back from being in New York City all weekend and after frantically dashing upstairs to my room and dumping my luggage I ran down the street, grabbed the nearest taxi, and headed out in breathless exhaustion. Once inside I was stunned to find myself walking up to my roommate who was maybe 4 feet from the stage. After the usual jostling with the rest of the incoming crowd and making funny faces to each other about the kids near us who were clearly strung out (waaaaaaaaaaaaaay out) it was finally time for the main event. Kazu came out and sat at her Rhodes (we surmised it as such – anyone with a better hypothesis about her mystery keyboard model please come forth)  closed her eyes, and released the sound. I love the texture of three musicians. It has enough power and force to get your heart racing but leaves enough space for a guise of delicacy to be evident.

BRH 5

They played oldies and stuff from their newest album, 23, and a little over an hour later walked off stage. The applause was thunderous and utterly eternal, of course, so after teasing us for about 8 minutes they finally came back out and played additional 5 songs. Thankfully, my favorite, “Misery Is A Butterfly”, was on their encore set list.

BRH 4

Another thing I love about them is their no frills approach. They don’t have a huge publicity machine. You can see them strolling around lower Manhattan frequently. They don’t have lots of fancy strobe lights and other entertainment filler (which is really just like packing peanuts – a waste – in my opinion, unless you are Weezer, and then it’s acceptable). THEY JUST PLAY (and they do it so well). Not a lot of unnecessary banter. The most we got for an hour was “thank you”, and even after the encore Kazu only shortly quipped about the opening band not paying their rent (uh..oops). Another thing that drives me nuts is too much talking from the band. More play less talk is my advice. Okay, I’m done ranting.

Fender. Bench.

It was so amazing that I bought a freakin’ t-shirt. Who does that? I never buy t-shirts at concerts. But, I couldn’t help it. I walked out and there they were, these amazing yellow jersey creations I couldn’t help myself. Besides, it was only $20, which seems to be a steal in todays world-o-merch. At least, these are the things I’m telling myself. Regardless, I’ve worn it twice already and love it.

the shirt

S w i t c h i n g g e a r s . . .

Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid

Yesterday afternoon my roommate alerted me to the fact that DJ Spooky (Paul Miller) was going to be at the ICA for the next three days for three different projects. So, I left my office a bit early and we headed down to the water front for the lecture/demonstration. I was really excited, but quite frankly, not sure what to expect. After braving the cold we arrived to the big-box-o-modern-art (thank you Diller Scofidio+Renfro) and stood in line for a while with a large crowd of similar minded folks. Once inside we found a huge projection screen on the wall and Paul Miller standing behind his trusty Mac and decks.

The discussion was really interesting and a wonderful exploration of the philosophical issues surrounding music and the arts in general especially as they pertain to urban life and urban genres specifically. Miller returned a matter of days ago from Antarctica where he was shooting a film recently shown at Sundance (to be released nationwide later this year). His purpose in being there was to explore further the relationship between content and context and what happens when you divorce the two, as so often happens in our modern global culture. It’s a very pertinent topic, and one that I have been contemplating for a while. Although, it’s the origin of the content and its influence on the content that intrigues me more than taking it out of context. He also discussed media and its influence on how we perceive events through edited content, copyright and issues surrounding copyright (at which point he handed out free CDs to us all to prove his point by encouraging us to share and proclaimed that the CDs were a physical manifestation of the fact that “when you leave a place you take fragments of the experience with you”), collage technique, and demonstrated some live sampling to accompany his visual work.

Perhaps the best thing about Miller is watching him work. He has extremely long fingers (eat your heart out Rachmaninoff) and uses them in the most adroit, elegant way (as seen here in a clip from 2005).

All in all it was one of the more interesting evenings I have had in a while.

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