really

by pieces of moments

Well, it’s really Friday. On Tuesday I kept being convinced for recurring fleeting moments that it was Friday only to realize once and for all I was ignoring reality in favor of the blissful idea of Friday that kept scrolling through my mind’s eye. Those are cruel moments. But let’s relive the past…it’s Friday.

I spent the majority of the day preparing/sending out rejection letters to students we are not inviting on our show. It’s such a strange thing to spend a day rejecting people. A range of emotions from despondency to a sense of pure, unadulterated, justice is experienced. A full day of saying “no” makes one hungry and thank goodness there was a plan in place: dinner at East Coast Grill with Johanna, her mom (visiting from Philly), and Meymot (a.k.a. “Jenny”). I had the spice crusted mahi mahi (so did Johana’s mom) while Meymot and Johana picked the special – trout stuffed with crab and a whole host of other things. Johana’s mom is a music critic and had recently been to hear Richard Goode…which led to a very intriguing conversation about what she perceived as his musical honesty and what I perceive as his lack of imagination. Okay, okay…I have only ever listened to his Beethoven recordings but was so not into it that I never bothered to listen to him again. She might have convinced me to give him another shot – but not on Beethoven. No. I refuse. Passionately. But, I digress. We speculated on when in the (hopefully) near future The Met might stage Wozzeck (I am so there) and universally decried poor programming. A delightful way to pass an evening, not to mention delicous.

Have you seen this amazing trailer? I love Spike Jonze (whose Director’s Label DVD is one of the favorite in my collection), and he wrote this screenplay with Dave Eggers? That is a one-two punch.

Yup, the music you hear is “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire. Don’t you love Arcade Fire? I think Stephen Deusner has it pretty close to the mark with the description “nervy earnestness”. I might add to that “theatrical aggression” or something along those lines. I think they do brilliant work. Not only is their instrumentation great (making them like, the Ravel or Berlioz…maybe both? of the indie world) but their ear for counter melody is very acute. The trick is not getting bogged down in the details and I think they accomplish this really well. It’s detailed ideas put together to exude a soaring catchiness and gritty determination to live and play with intention. I particularly love what they did on Letterman back in the day. Check out how you are kinda thrown off by the fact they are playing full force exactly at the moment the introduction is over. The effect is brilliant taking the viewer slightly off guard: “maybe they made a bad edit? maybe time hiccuped and we missed the beginning? where’s the beginning?”

I just can’t get enough of watching how fully they throw themselves into every note. It’s fantastic. That’s the way it should be – play it like you mean it!!! Or conversely, if you don’t mean it…don’t play it. Also, if you can’t interview because you have no ability to interact with people, don’t subject a band or us to your awkwardness. Thank goodness that’s not the case here – it’s actually a decently intelligent interview. I really appreciate what Win says (around 2:53ish on the video) about jazz standards and the rarity of finding someone who can actually find their own self, their own interpretation in the music.

What he says, “everyone’s just learning how to copy the other singers at this point”, is so spot on (though I don’t agree that jazz is “worse off” than rock in this…I think every genre has its copycats). The availability of recordings via every possible means has to some degree created a ubiquity of sound and has certainly put us in danger of it. Don’t worry, I’m not one of those absurdly dismal people, I’m not going there with this thought. I’m just sayin’ that the reality is that humans mimic and whether you want to or not if you listen to something too much you will end up mimicking even if it is just a wee bit. That’s why I feel is it important to not listen too much to recordings in your own genre. A listen or two, even a few, is fine, but to preserve the creative freedom of my ear I try to mostly listen multiple times to something I am totally not in danger of playing myself. Besides, figuratively visiting the lands of other genres help you have fresh ears when you come home to your own genre. Right?

Also, I have spent the last couple of days really listening to both Girl Talk albums and man, oh, man…that is amazing stuff kids. Have you listened to it? No, jumping around and rockin’ out to it (though I like to do that, too) doesn’t count as listening. I mean like, headphones on, sitting down, listening to what’s really going on every second…that kinda listening. The sonic landscape that is Gregg Gillis‘ mind must be like a giant Memory game matching up things. It reminds me of the music game my friend Jeremy and I play every once in a while when we’re in a club pumping beats. Simply put you listen to whatever beat is being played and then think fast to sing a song that corresponds to that beat and the more songs you can think of and sing and the more you can switch them out the better. Super, super fun. You should try it sometime.

And uh…Beastie’s new album?!

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