moon_custafer: (Default)
 My co-worker's musical tastes are pretty eclectic, and despite being twenty-two she occasionally puts on Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist Again." I assume the 'again' part refers to his hit the year before with "The Twist," but it always strikes me as slightly weird that the song evokes nostalgia for... the previous summer.

I suppose a year *is* a long time in the music business, or when you're a teenager, or if something terrible has happened in the meantime (see: most of 2016). But the cheery tone of  "Let's Twist Again" doesn't really fit any of those scenarios. It's not "Let's twist again, like we did last summer, before you broke my heart," or " "Let's twist again, like we did last summer, before that bus crash killed the whole pep squad."

Come to think of it, both of those could have been hits in the early 'sixties, but they're not really in the same musical genre.
moon_custafer: (Default)
Years ago, I saw a production of Ullman's Der Kaiser von Atlantis and became fascinated by it. Last night I came across a 2006 production by Teatro Colón; no subtitles, but I remembered enough of the story to follow everything.

It's a balancing-act of an opera -- every production has to decide whether to emphasize its fairy-tale theme or its origins in Terezin, and the best juggle both until the epilogue. This production manages all the subtleties: Death is slightly comical right up the point where, despite his Uncle Fester make-up, he's not. Kaiser Overall is basically Hitler, except Ullman and the librettist Peter Kien made their villain complex and gave him a chance of redemption, even as they suffered under his real-life counterpart. The staging keeps Overall in a grotesque desk/motorized wheelchair contraption until Death frees him.

The interlude with the two soldiers, unable to die, who fall in love on the battlefield was performed with particular charm. Harlequin walks the tightrope between otherworldly clown and prisoner; there's a subtle diamond pattern overlaid on his shabby jacket, and a tattered yellow star on his left breast. I like the idea that he's won the Drummer over by the time Death comes through Overall's mirror.
moon_custafer: (acme)
I keep listening to "Mr. Tambourine Man," (this video on Youtube of Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival in 1964, not the Byrds' version.) It's a song I mostly hear about in joking references to Shatner's spoken-word cover, but I like it. Lately I've been thinking that it's an attempt to do a Symbolist poem in a 20th-century American idiom; then again maybe that could describe all of Dylan.
moon_custafer: (acme)
Via Google Books, I've found a brief humorous Victorian piece about a man obsessed with punctuality who finally gets into music when the concept of tempo is explained to him, but then decides that the best instrument is a metronome, and that the next best thing would be a fully-automated orchestra. Basically he wants electronica/synth about a hundred years before its time. Also has cute little illustrations of the steam-powered automaton musicians.
moon_custafer: (brain)
...by Jonathan Jenkins Ishikawa, the Savoyard/Assistant Philophy Prof I mentioned here. His youtube channel also features readings of spam emails, and Fraser-Simon's musical settings of "When We Were Very Young." The latter I haven't heard since I had them on LP as a kid. Highlights:

Spam:

Admit My Request

Same Last Name!

Singing:

Has anybody Seen My Mouse?
moon_custafer: (acme)
My brother is back in the music game after a hiatus of a couple of years: "Andrew Ennals and his Chequered Past" debut April 10 at The Piston in Toronto. I doubt I'll make it to the show myself, but he's posted a rehearsal track of one of the new songs, "Allen Key." I'm glad he's fronting again -- he was backup for Beth in Battle Mode, and while I'm obviously biased here, I always thought their lead singer's diction wasn't as good.

The tune for "Allen Key" hasn't quite won me over, but the lyrics feature his characteristic emotional ambiguity. The handyman husband singing
Hung the mirror up — maybe you should take a look;
See the frame around us, like the cover of a book
that you just can’t rewrite

might be celebrating an unromantic but happy marriage, or pleading that they have too much shared history to abandon:So I'll put up these shelves, if you'll put up with me.

I'm also feeling a dash of wry amusement -- if there's one skill my brother doesn't have, it's the ability to assemble flat-pack furniture. He can write about it, though.
moon_custafer: (thor tricked me)
Every so often I try to describe Façade to someone, and the best I can usually manage is "surrealist Edwardian rap." I've no idea what a Dutch audience would make of it; I'm not sure what most anglophone audiences make of it. I'm not completely satisfied with Sir Thomas Allen's readings -- he doesn't have the clearest diction at high speed, and he's a beat behind the music in a lot of places.

ETA -- but he *nails* the Valse (it's the one that begins Daisy and Lily, lazy and silly...) and the Jodeling Song.
moon_custafer: (acme)
Last night I came across a recording on YouTube of Procul Harum performing “Shine On Brightly” and “In the Wee Small Hours of Sixpence,” possibly for a Christmas special. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the latter – it seems to be playing with ghost-story tropes, though the cheerful tune says it’s less M. R. James and more Ruddigore.
moon_custafer: (Default)
For a couple of years, I've occasionally noticed a small piece of graffiti on a bus stop near my building that reads THE MOON IS SLICE! I've seen the phrase a couple of times in other places on the transit system, and always meant to look it up, but only just now did I get around to it.

As I half-expected, it's to do with a local band -- the only use of the phrase that turned up was as the title of a self-published album by a band called The Diamond Teeth. They're kind of a party/noise-rock garage band, not without charm. I'm not sure if they're still playing; I couldn't find anything else about them except their Myspace page; but I downloaded their song "The Moon Is the Coolest Planet On Earth."
moon_custafer: (Default)
For a couple of years, I've occasionally noticed a small piece of graffiti on a bus stop near my building that reads THE MOON IS SLICE! I've seen the phrase a couple of times in other places on the transit system, and always meant to look it up, but only just now did I get around to it.

As I half-expected, it's to do with a local band -- the only use of the phrase that turned up was as the title of a self-published album by a band called The Diamond Teeth. They're kind of a party/noise-rock garage band, not without charm. I'm not sure if they're still playing; I couldn't find anything else about them except their Myspace page; but I downloaded their song "The Moon Is the Coolest Planet On Earth."
moon_custafer: (Default)
On the way back from some errands this morning, I passed a poster for a performance of Mozart's Requiem, so naturally my thoughts turned to Peter Shaeffer's Amadeus. Leaving aside the story's fictional nature, it's a well-told story, enough to make the central premise believable; but now, when I strip that premise down, I'm not sure I buy the idea of the protagonist being homicidally envious of a man who's had less material success than he has, but who he knows has more actual talent.

The character is psychopathic enough to kill out of jealousy at others' success, but philosophical enough to judge success on aesthetics rather than money or acclaim; and I'm not sure those two things go together very often.

To be fair, Salieri in the play starts out just trying to make sure Mozart doesn't get any good gigs, and then his obsession sort of gets away with him. Like I said, it's well-told enough to be plausible.
moon_custafer: (Default)


"Love Song" is my favourite of Keri Maaren's songs -- I've seen her perform locally several times, and she deserves wider attention. This one is every love song by an alternative female songwriter you've ever heard on the radio.
moon_custafer: (Default)
So, am I the only one who didn't know Freddie Mercury was Parsi/Zoroastrian? Because that's kind of interesting, and I don't recall it ever coming up in conversations about Queen. But then I only found out Brian May is an astronomer last year. OK, maybe I just don't have that many conversations about Queen.

Also, there's a big statue of Mercury in Switzerland!
moon_custafer: (spoon)
For some reason I decided to look up Ernest Lough, the choirboy whose 1927 recording of "O for the Wings of a Dove" became iconic (and spawned a weird legend that he'd dropped dead immediately after finishing the last note).

Found this documentary on Youtube, in which the by-then eighty-year-old Lough reveals (at 4:33) that he prefers a later record, Mendelssohn's "Hear, O Israel;" and then casually mentions that the choirmaster, George Thalben-Ball, pulled the music off the shelf because the recording engineers had a spare wax cylinder and needed something just under ten minutes long.

Lough and the organist had *half-an-hour* to learn it.

He downplays this, saying "well it's a very straightforward solo," and when pressed on the subject, gives all the credit to Thalben-Ball's teaching ability. This is the recording of that "straightforward solo."

Wilkommen

Jan. 26th, 2013 11:39 am
moon_custafer: (gonzo)
Weather's let up today, and I found suitable lightbulbs for my kitchen and bathroom at the Dollarama, so I'm in a good mood despite our mayor winning his appeal. Here's some escapism courtesy of Joel Grey, who was pretty much born to interact with Muppets:



ETA -- Mr. Grey has a knitted Oscar-cozy!
moon_custafer: (no pie)
For sushidog -- this men's choir evidently shares your love for Tim Horton's.

Presented without further explanation on the CBC website; for all I know these guys do this every week after practice.
moon_custafer: (Default)
My Knitpicks yarn arrived today, and I've started this sweater in dark grey.

Tried to find the glockenspiel cover of 'Where Is My Mind?' that featured recently on Criminal Minds; it's not on iTunes, but I came across a bluegrass cover that's kind of neat. Also, I was sure I had 'Wave of Mutilation,' but it's not in my computer, so I downloaded it too. I recall thinking before that if 'Shadow Over Innsmouth' was a surfing movie, this is what would play over the last scene as the narrator (possibly with his cousin who he's busted out of the asylum) paddles out to join the sea for the last time. It would continue triumphantly over the closing credits.

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