Sunday, January 25, 2015

Memory and Matter by Manual

Always by your side,
You always want to be touched.
I'm not going cruel.

Jonas Munk's (aka Manual) Memory and Matter is a 2 CD compilation of mixes and unreleased tracks and I'll steal another reviewer's words to describe them: "lush vibes."

One of the tracks that really resonated with me was the remixed Annie Barker track Cruel. The way he's layered the recording expands Barker's vocals and the backing work to fill the entire room. This is notable because it's not the type of tune I normally bond with. Hear for yourself with the video below. (Plus the lyrics prove the song isn't exactly what you think it's about.)

Also, I found Miraparque to be a throbbing, intoxicating arrangement. You can hear it on the Bandcamp page where the album is for sale.


I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

There is danger in being persuaded...

Turn on the rainy mood.

Stream this collaboration of Taylor Deupree and Marcus Fischer.

Singles from Trey Gunn's upcoming The Waters, They Are Rising are available on Bandcamp. They include his live improvised intros to Here Comes the Flood from the Security Project tour.

Jazz defined by 100 tracks. A lifetime of reading defined by 100 books. I think I counted 14 or 18 of the latter.

Gerhard Richter, Fuji, up for auction next month with an estimated price of $400,000.
Ray Lewis thinks the tuck rule is the only reason Tom Brady is famous. Of course, I think we all know why we know who Ray Lewis is.

"Creative spontaneity takes practice" and other thoughts on wit.

"Joviality, joking, relaxed kidding are the essence of creativeness.

"What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important."

Are you programming a "safety critical" application? If so, you might be interested in NASA's ten rules for writing such code. #4 No more than 60 lines of code per function.

The most iconic restaurant in each state. Texas = Salt Lick BBQ. OK, I get that one.  Ohio = The Golden Lamb. Never heard of it.

Most popular food by state. Texas = Tex-Mex? Sure. Ohio = Soup? What the hell is that?
Craft pr0n: umbrellas, Japanese wooden dolls.

Famous Disney artist Walt Peregoy recently passed away. In his memory, I rewatched 4 Artists Paint 1 Tree, one of the most interesting Disney things I've ever seen. What I wouldn't pay for 1 of these and to have all 4 would be too much to dream.

When a penny is worth $2.5 million - the 1792 Birch cent. And this only slightly outdid the $2.3 million paid for a 1793 Chain cent.

This seems incredibly cruel but for $10 you can have a package of glitter mailed to your friend (who will soon be your enemy when the stuff goes everywhere).

Science shares 8 reasons why reading real books is better than e-books. #4 Turning pages aids comprehension.

Who is too young for you to date? Half your age plus 7. 33? Really?

Think you know your hex color codes? Do you know them well enough to play and win Hex Invaders? I got through level 5.

...before one understands. ~Thomas Wilson

Friday, January 23, 2015

The Heist by Daniel Silva

The old witch told him
no harm must come to the girl.
She's at the center.

The Heist is the latest in a long line of novels I've read by Daniel Silva. It's centered on the exploits of Gabriel Allon, master restorer of Baroque Christian paintings and super spy from Israel's intelligence service.

This time we find Gabriel between jobs - he's restoring an altar masterpiece in Venice before returning to Tel Aviv to take over as head of The Office. So what better time to be tasked with locating one of the most famous stolen paintings: Caravaggio's Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence.

Where there's one stolen painting there are bound to be more and what complicates matters is who's stealing them and for what purpose.

Although the ending left me a bit unsatisfied, I enjoyed this installment perhaps more than any other of Silva's books and look forward to seeing what he has in store for Gabriel when he arrives home.

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

Beyond the Seventh Wave by Silhouette

This is a rare chance
to hear new music without
any biases.

Silhouette's album Beyond the Seventh Wave landed in my mailbox one day a couple of weeks ago completely unsolicited. In fact, I knew absolutely nothing about the band prior to receiving the CD.

So I decided to have a little fun with this. I would refrain from any and all research on the band, its members, or this album. Instead I would just listen and let my ears do the talking.

Prologue (2:32): OK, this sounds like it's contemporary progressive rock. Nice guitar solo layered over keyboards. Some wind instruments too.

Betrayed (1:42): No doubt. This is prog.

Web of Lies, Part I - The Vow (8:20): The mix is a little too light. Needs a bit more low end. Oh no, the vocals remind me of Al Yankovic. That's gonna be hard to get out of my head. If I had to guess, the vocalist is not a native English speaker; not in a bad way, but there's something in his annunciation.

Web of Lies, Part II - The Plot (4:31): Hits all the prog requisites.

In Solitary (6:16): Opening keyboard bit gives me a Tony Banks vibe. OK, this sounds like a concept album based on the story in the lyrics. It's hard to resist the urge to Google.

Escape (5:14): Ah, nice buzzy edge and pounding guitars to start this one. Nice build with keys. Probably my favorite track thus far.

Lost Paradise (10:19): Vocals and acoustic guitar to start. I'm wondering why the heavier tracks don't have vocals too.

Betrayed Again (1:25): Dang. Strong Genesis "Watcher of the Skies" sound.

Devil's Island (8:55): Al Yankovic is back. I knew I wouldn't forget that mental image. Speaking of images, I'm trying to figure out the significance of the butterfly on the cover which has been mentioned a couple of times in the lyrics.(Yes, I am looking at the CD's front and back covers but not reading any of the details or looking at the inside.)

Beyond the Seventh Wave (7:39): The title track ought to reveal something. This pulls together all the best bits of the other tracks - orchestration, keyboards, rumbling guitars. The bit with the violin gave me a Kansas flashback.

Wings to Fly (5:09): Just one more track and I can find out who these guys are. Drums sound kinda flat in this recording, especially the snare. Are they a new band with young folks? Prog vets come together for something new?

There's a lot of music on this album as you can tell from the track timings. And overall, this is a solid prog rock album. Admittedly, I haven't kept up with modern prog so I don't have a good basis for comparison. And therefore, I thank my mystery friend for sharing this fine bit of work.

And now, off to my Googling.

I received no compensation of any kind for this review. However, I did receive the CD at no cost.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Red Hope by J.J. Dreese

Images from Mars
then darkness. Who will we send
to discover hope?

It's cool and unique to personally know someone who has authored and published a book. J.J. Dreese is the latest with Red Hope, a sci-fi tale of portentous images beamed back to earth by the Mars rover Curiosity - right before the rover goes dark.

I recommend you give it a try.

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Confidence in others' honesty...

A "Hidden Mickey" is the deliberate placement of a Mickey Mouse head and ears (i.e. 3 circles) in obscure places. Books have been published about all the Hidden Mickeys at the Disneyland and Disney World parks. But they're in Disney movies too as revealed by the animators themselves.

Richard Diebenkorn, Ocean Park #54, 1972. source. Today seemed like a good day for something especially beautiful.
If you need to get caught up on your reading of Newton's works, checkout the Newton Project.

Here's a behind-the-scenes preview of how 20 Go-Pro cameras were used to capture The Aristocrats live performance in Tokyo for their upcoming DVD.

An extensive interview from Innerviews with bassist Colin Edwin, "a serial collaborator."

The Hubble Space Telescope retook this image of  the Eagle Nebula (aka The Pillars of Creation)  with spectacular results. I have the original 1995 image framed at the office.
RANT

When Malcom Gladwell quotes from Steven Brill's Obamacare book "It [Obamacare] did heroic [emphasis mine] work in broadening coverage and redistributing wealth from the haves to the have-nots." I feel only disgust and anger. The review describes a psuedo-intellectual exercise in social engineering that is contemptuous and vacuous and leaves one feeling stained by its deceit.

On a related note, read how America's intelligentsia at Harvard feel about things when they're on the receiving end.

Mr. Gladwell should stick to writing pop-psychology du jour masquerading as business text. That's just for this review. God knows what Brill's book is actually like.

/RANT

They've discovered a new antibiotic (in dirt) that seems to be effective and resistant to resistance.

Remember Ebola? If so, your computer can help in the fight against this disease via World Community Grid.

Damp derrieres leads to diaper rash. Hence the Baby Butt Fan. My only question: do they have an adult version?

...is no light testimony of one's own integrity. ~Michel de Montaigne

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Candylion by Harold Budd & Clive Wright

Oh Candylion,
your sweet roar whispers to me
mysteriously.

Released only seven months apart, Candylion is the sequel to the previous collaboration between Harold Budd and Clive Wright, A Song for Lost Blossoms. (You can read my thoughts on that album here.)

Unlike its predecessor's longer tracks, Candylion features shorter, more structured, and perhaps more conventional tracks that approach almost soundtrack-ish quality. (I may be influenced by my recent listening to Budd's collaboration with Robin Guthrie on the soundtrack to White Bird in a Blizzard.)

The title track (clocking in at 5:41) is a perfect example of the interplay of Wright's guitar and Budd's keyboards, gliding in waves over and around each other. You can hear it yourself here.

Down to the cover art for both albums that features a heart nested within boxes, Candylion and Lost Blossoms are a superb ambient pairing.

Now all that remains is to add the third work in this trio: Little Windows.

I received no compensation of any kind for this review.