Sunday, May 29, 2005

Scale of the Day: E Flat Mixolydian 1% narrow

The E Flat Mixolydian 1% narrow Scale. Posted by Hello


Swimming in the shallow end of the meme pool. Posted by Hello

When not singing, parking or Amoeba-ing in San Francisco, The Standing Room has been known to toss a meme baton or two. So the current music meme visits this spare corner of the blogosphere...

Total Volume of Music on your computer?
On this machine I have personal and professional music stuff mingled together running the gamut from love to pay-the-bills filling up 33.2 GB with 68,979 files in 7,731 folders. If I include all the computers, removable hard drives and portable digital audio players in my life I probably close in on close to 100GB of ripped music. But the real treasures are the 670MB slices found on all the CDs piling up all over the place and the sounds that echo within undocumented recesses of my mind.

Last CD you bought?
I put in one last order at the Downtown Music Gallery just prior to packing everything up for the big move a few weeks ago. This included music by two composers observing their 70th birthdays this year: James Tenney and Terry Riley.

Pika-Don and Atlantis Nath deserve some serious raving in this space when I get a chance to give them a proper, focused listening.

Song currently playing?
No track running now. My head is still clearing from some scale exercises I was running through on a pseudo-just intonation E Flat Lydian.

Mornings at the gym have been the best time for zoning out on some ripped music. Some things that got my attention this past week:

Thomas Chapin: Nightbird Song. Chapin had a great range of tones on both flute and saxophones. His compositions are solid but it's the inventiveness of his solos and the quality of his unaccompanied improvisations that really impressed me this time around. Also, Mario Pavone on bass... the more I hear, the more I like.

Myra Melford: Even The Sounds Shine. chronologically, this recording was the first to feature Melford's longer, open-space improvisation compositions that really crystallized in the Same River Twice discs that followed. I love spotting the elements that give these pieces cohesion while still extending lots of room for Dave Douglas and Marty Ehrlich to really stretch out and do their thing.

This week I hope to sweat to these discs in my cue list:

Five songs that I listen to a lot or that mean a lot to me?
I'm going to stick to a formal definition of "song" and focus on music with lyrics that represent a satisfying fusion of poetry and music to me:

1) "Don't Worry About the Government" by David Byrne and Talking Heads. Definitive recording from Talking Heads '77.
2) "Love in Outer Space" by Sun Ra. Definitive recording from Sun Ra: The Singles.
3) "Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me" by Duke Ellington. Definitive recording from Knitting Factory: What is Jazz 1991, performed by the wonderful Jazz Passengers.
4) "Dream Keeper" by Carla Bley/Charlie Haden/Liberation Music Orchestra. Definitive recording from Dream Keeper.
5) "Postcard" by Chris Cochran. Definitive recording by Curlew on Paradise.

Five people to whom I'm passing the baton:
Paul Bailey, CelesteH, Daniel Wolf, John Shaw, and the delightful non-music blogger Echidne of the Snakes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Mellow Gold

Life's been busy at HurdAudio. Setting up house in a new location and ramping up on a new job have been pretty intense. It's all good though.

My ears have been thirsting for music as there's been less time for drinking it in lately. I did enjoy working out at the gym with Mellow Gold streaming through the headphones this morning.

Beck: Mellow Gold Posted by Hello

This CD has aged remarkably well. Which is unusual for music of such a commercially viable genre. Many of the drum loops are a little dated but so much of the song writing really taps into something genuine while the sonic textures shift frequently and careen dangerously close to musique concrete-esque manipulations.

Aside from the opening hit "Loser" there's also the viscerally appealing punk/paranoia "Everyone's Out To Get You Motherf#@%er" and the story telling masterpiece of "Soul Sucking Jerk." "Nightmare Hippy Girl" is full of great one-liners ("she's playing footsie in another dimension"). Beck has a real talent for stringing words together.

Scale of the Day: E Flat Mixolydian augmented 4 mapped to the Triative

The E Flat Mixolydian augmented 4 mapped to the Triative Scale. Posted by Hello

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Scale of the Day: E Flat Mixolydian diminished 5

The E Flat Mixolydian diminished 5 Scale as you would find it on any conventionally tuned equal tempered instrument. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Scale of the Day: G Dorian mapped to the Triative

The G Dorian mapped to the Triative Scale. Posted by Hello

Sight Unheard

Jamie Baum: Sight Unheard. Posted by Hello

I don't know much about Jamie Baum. Just knowing that Dave Douglas is in the band is enough reason to check this disc out. And Kenny Werner's piano solo on the title track also catches my ear.

Baum plays flute. And these compositions and arrangements are constructed around showcasing her range and creativity with this instrument. The balance between her and Dave Douglas on trumpet is a surprising blend that reveals a fresh sonic compatibility between instruments normally scored in dynamic opposition.

Given the fluid quality of Baum's melodic lines it's easy to see the appeal of arranging one of the great melodic lines of all time: "Una Muy Bonita" by Ornette Coleman. Baum draws upon Coleman to paint colorful strokes with the piano and flute as the rhythm section provides an understated harmelodic backdrop. Shifting into double-time for Dave Douglas's Don Cherry-esque solo is a nice touch.

The original compositions feature some great writing and smart arrangements. The qualities of these great players are refracted through the timbre and personality of Baum's flute playing and the end result is sonically vivid.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Scale of the Day: E Flat Dorian mapped to the Square-root of 2

The intervallic content of the E Flat Dorian mapped to the Square-root of 2 Scale. Posted by Hello

Band On The Wall

Marilyn Crispell/Eddie Prevost: Band On The Wall. Posted by Hello

I'm currently spinning this fine disc from 1994 as I unwind in my new surroundings. It's interesting to contrast this particular piano/drums combination with the fantastic Duo CD from 1989 where the drummer is Gerry Hemingway (essentially a duet featuring half of the legendary Anthony Braxton Quartet).

Band On The Wall
features many familiar Crispell gestures and riffs. What is different is the flavor of Prevost in this decidedly non-AMM setting. Prevost is an incredibly sensitive improviser and he seems to know when to match Crispell's kinetic outbursts and when to find a contrasting role.

A real surprise on this disc is the inclusion of a Denny Zeitlin tune: "Quiet Now." There's such a wealth of relatively untapped compositions from that great pianist. I really wish there was a comprehensive box set of Zeitlin's early creative output so I could wrap my head around it. Performances like this one should help generate more interest in Zeitlin's music.

Friday, May 13, 2005

The Long Walk

More than doubling my chances at having the "home" team make the post-season. Posted by Hello

Given the miserable start the Mariners are off to it seems like a good time to find a new geography. They could get HurdAudio to manage that team for half of what they pay that Hargrove guy.

The trek from north to south with a heavy pack is largely complete now. The local new music scene is promising and things are doing well on the employment/life front. It will be nice to unpack the CDs and get ramped up for more scale posts. I have plenty of new recordings of Terry Riley, James Tenney, Marilyn Crispell, Giacinto Scelsi and even Ludwig Van Beethoven that I look forward to listening to and writing about. I've barely had a chance to have my ears thoroughly flattened by the incredible Bow River Falls by Dave Douglas/Peggy Lee/Louis Sclavis/Dylan Van Der Schyff. More later on that incredible gem.

It figures that the Seattle Symphony would wait until I skip town before performing the Charles Ives Third Symphony. Now that I'm gone they can go ahead with that Edgard Varese marathon concert I've been longing for.