Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Problem With Tristan

I am attempting to write an essay on Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, for a history assessment, in the time it takes to listen to the complete opera. It has been the most turbulent and tumultuous essay-writing experience I have ever had, no doubt due the accompaniment, but also due to the thousands of words worth of other assignments written in previous days, and to be written in days still to come.

The end of this semester cannot come quickly enough, though while we all tear out hair out and nurse our performative limbs through this final bout of assessments, we can still bask in the brilliance of Böhm's rendition of this operatic masterpiece.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Berg's Lieder

These earlier works from Berg provide a backdrop to his stunning piano sonata, and further explore that same dark and sombre straining of tonality. If you are as smitten by the sonata as I am, then you will lap up this lieder, and the marvellous harmonic language this maestro built from.

These lieder also illustrate how obvious his programmatic interests were from the beginning; his wide-ranging interest in the arts no doubt having a strong influence.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vitabit x Jigabite

What we have here is a collab between two young beat-smiths from Melbourne, running the gamut of post-Dilla production. Whether it is 90's cheese, soul, jazz, or hints of Brainfeeder-esque wonkyness, it all coalesces into a kind of party vibe that keeps the heads nodding.

What is impressive is how these two have begun carving out their own styles so early; the close-working pair obviously feeding off each others creativity to great effect. The challenge they each face now is further refining their sounds, and distinguishing themselves in this now densely populated arena.

Full stream/download:

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


So I guess this thing is still going.

Music blogs have taken a bit of a hit in the recent months with the blocking of Megaupload, and various other sites either deleting files or changing their "services" in search of legality. One thing is for certain, which is that it is getting a little more difficult to find and download every obscure release you could think of. While there is still a substantial amount of music online, enough to occupy a life of listening and then some, it seems as though the combination of new streaming services and this attack on filesharing has made a significant dent in online music culture. The Golden Age, as it were, is over for filesharing. Of course it will never dry up, so long as the music industry has it's commercial interests, but the next phenomenon seems to be on the rise; streaming services are in the process of climbing to the top of online music experience.

Here is a very interesting post I read recently, which has a whole lot to say about the current situation concerning music and the internet, presenting a few points which never really get much focus.

I doubt I'll keep posting much music on here, or at least it won't be the only focus, as there are plenty of things you can find elsewhere, and I have never uploading things anyway. I'll keep sharing things here and there, but it will be more of a quality over quantity situation. This blog was always kind of open ended as far as content was concerned, but music has certainly occupied most of the space in my life up until now.

What to post then?

Well I have been watching/listening to a lot of this man playing the piano. His renditions of Debussy, which seem to be very popular, are fantastic. All of his videos on youtube are of superb quality (in performance, not necessarily sound).

I have been lucky enough to be exposed to some very interesting artists in one of my classes this semester, which is basically just seminars with various guests. It has challenged many of my classmates' tastes and perception of music, which is fun to see (and welcomed), and given us a chance to hear about alternate paths through music, without an emphasis on formal training. Some of the highlights were Mike Cooper, Ros Bandt, and Dure Dara.

Twentieth century Hungarian art is something that has piqued my interest of late, with the works of, well, of course Béla Bartok and György Ligeti, but mainly the author László Krasznahorkai and director Béla Tarr. Krasznahorkai has this dark and foreboding style that paints an unflattering portrait of humanity in general, but without any overblown apocalyptic melodrama; a Backettesque kind of darkness, without some of the absurdity. His two novels, The Melancholy of Resistance and  Sátántangó were thoroughly engrossing and really left me in awe of the man's style. Both of these novels, incidentally, have been adapted by Tarr; Melancholy...  becoming Werckmesiter Harmóniák and Sátántangó  becomes a seven hour film of the same name. Werckmeister really impressed me, simply because after reading the book, I did not know how well the dense narration and atmosphere, without much dialogue, would transfer to the screen. Tarr gets points not only for making it work, but for creating a work which stands wholly on it's own as a thing of immense beauty. The three disc set of Sátántangó will have to wait until the holidays, however.

I have become increasingly infatuated with GoodReads too, as I find some more lesser known modern literature, and classics also. Between it and Rate Your Music, I have more than enough inspiration at hand for a long time to come.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Holidays, Feldmania, and other pursuits

I guess this is what I have been up to, instead of posting on this precious little blog.

It's been an odd 8 months or so, since I broke my arm. I have developed a relationship with guitar that ranges from love/hate, to completely indifferent. I guess I am having a crisis of faith, so to speak, with that humble six-stringed instrument which has swallowed up countless hours of my time for the past 12 years.

As much as I love my course, I think the guitar side of things there is the main cause of my frustration. As much as I love all of the subjects, and can see the value of them all, slight differences in outlook and taste seemed to have destroyed my motivation in some respects. Perhaps my shifting interest into twentieth century classical music has taken a little of my passion for the '50s bop we seemingly can't move past at our institute; Morton Feldman has definitely served to sway my interests considerably.

In this same time that I have been losing interest in guitar, I have only been gaining more interest in contemporary classical, which has then pushed guitar further out of my mind. Feldman, among others, has inspired me to take a particular interest in composition, which may lead to me pursuing that instead of performance, as far as any further study goes. There is something in his music that has slowly charmed me, and now holds me in captivity.

*  *  *

Spending all of my time thinking about and listening to music may have had an effect in this case, as it is quite easy to be overwhelmed. Over the past couple of months I have taken a keen interested in philosophy, and have been delving a little more deeply into literature. I think taking a step back from music will ultimately be a good thing, as more art in more shapes and forms could only be good. More films, more books, and more time spent thinking about other things. Who knows, all of this may help breathe new life into this lowly online document of my life.

OK, that's a tad too dramatic for my tastes, but you get the point.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Morton Feldman - Palais de Mari

This man has become increasingly important to me over the past 6 months or so. More on this and my current musical outlook later.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Stendeck - Scintilla

Some quality IDM from this year, which, if a little fat were to be trimmed, could quite easily be in the top few releases of the year. But let us not dwell upon these things and indulge in these 72 minutes of gorgeous beats instead.

Taking obvious cues from the early Warp crew, especially Autechre, and also a lot of recent trends in the more emotive and atmospheric electronic music, Scintilla is a night-time journey through the various side-streets of IDM. What makes the length a little easier to digest is the variation on offer. As with most good electronic music of this nature, it sucks you in and takes you somewhere else (the cover is pretty suggestive).


Charles Bradley - No Time For Dreaming

With this being released on Daptone Records, you can pretty much tell straight away how this will sound: like it was recorded about 40 years ago. Sounding like a cross between James Brown and Otis Redding, and backed by the Menahan Street Band, Bradley screams his way through an assortment of revivalist soul as if his life depends upon it. Fans of the aforementioned artists, Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, or any other Daptone artist, enquire within.

No Time For Dreaming

Friday, December 9, 2011

Kevin Drumm - Imperial Distortion

Very minimal, yet dense tones from Chicago-based noise/drone musician Kevin Drumm.

This album is a great example of using the most minimal materials to startling effect, as the majority of it is made up of ambient drones. While this may seem excessively simple of the surface, the slightest ripple caused by a change in timbre or tone leads to the texture being altered (un)dramatically. These drones are like slowly moving monoliths, exposed to the elements and changing at an almost unnoticeable pace. The deep and complex textures only reveal themselves more as you give yourself over.

Imperial Distortion

Wraiths - Plaguebearer

Industrial horrors manifested in otherworldly drones. A condensation of pain and paranoia, in noise form.