No piece of music captures loneliness more than the adagio from the Gayane Ballet Suite. It's no wonder that Kubrick chose it to illustrate the loneliness of the Discovery astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Hugo is a singularly wonderful film. Go see it and you will carry it with you for the rest of your life. It is the gentlest of love letters. It's a love letter to magic. It's a love letter to films. It's a love letter to dreams.
The story – actually, stories – draw you in without much dialog, and that’s when you remember that this used to be the magic of movies, telling your stories with visuals and music. Fitting then that this is a monument to the earliest days of filmmaking, before there was sound, before there were movie stars.
Every performance is marvelous, from the main roles to the supporting players. The 3-D visuals are stunning, and the words as well as the pictures are sheer poetry. This is a film to see many times, inspiring, beautiful, and the kind of art that makes you ache at the wonder of it.
Friday, November 25, 2011
Remember Windows 95? The little theme that would play when you booted up? Turns out it was composed by Brian Eno... on a Mac.
Music legend Brian Eno has recently described the process of being hired by Microsoft to create a selection of possible themes for Windows 95.
Speaking on BBC’s The Museum of Curiosity Eno said the he was given a list of adjectives which the four second piece should convey -- including inspirational, sexy, driving, provocative and nostalgic.
Then he revealed that he used an Apple Mac to knock up 83 pieces for Microsoft to choose from before adding the kicker.
No I wrote it on a Mac. I've never used a PC in my life; I don't like them," he said.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Bill Wyman (not THAT Bill Wyman, the OTHER Bill Wyman, the one who’s the former arts editor of NPR and Salon) has written an article at Slate called “The Best Live Albums: From Axl to Zeppelin,” and while many of the classic live LPs he notes are in my collection, I don’t agree with all his choices. For example, he doesn’t include the massive Yessongs by Yes on his list of best live albums.
Yes, Yessongs was three records long, a little excessive. Yes, it sounded like it was recorded in a phone booth. But it’s still my personal favorite live album, the best of what is today an almost nonexistent breed. And yes, Yes is my favorite group of all time, so I freely admit my bias.
Yes eventually became known for disappearing up its own posterior in spectacular, awe-inspiring ways, but on Yessongs they sound raw, fresh, young and energetic. Guitar god Steve Howe, who as he got older got slower and more anal, obsessively wanting us to hear every – single – note of his early leads, here sounds vigorous, passionate, sometimes racing, a way he hasn't played in decades. Jon Anderson sounds young and innocent (as opposed to older but still innocent). Rick Wakeman has star power with his massive keyboard array and shining robes. And new member (at the time) Alan White is furiously pounding away on the drums, sounding just a tad bit unrehearsed but making up for it with fire and passion.
This live album captures them at a time when the band was still relevant, had yet to jump over any sharks, and had just come off a string of three studio albums that made their marks on music history – The Yes Album, Fragile, and Close To The Edge – a band at the height of their powers.
Yessongs was how I was introduced to Yes. The first versions I heard of their classics were here, and sometimes the later revelation of the studio tracks was just a tiny bit of a letdown, so yeah, I have an emotional attachment. But I challenge any fan of moderately complex music to listen to the live version of Yours Is No Disgrace and not admit that damn, it shreds.
Monday, November 21, 2011
I sometimes think about alternate realities. I imagine a world where, instead of coffee being the morning drink of choice, everyone drinks Brussels sprout juice. I vomit a little in my mouth and think that coffee is a fair trade for having to live in a world where Brussels sprouts exist at all.
Saturday, November 19, 2011
I missed Rango when it was in theaters. For some reason the previews didn't fill me with an urge to see it, and when it showed up in my Netflix queue, I almost bypassed it. I finally put it on to get it out of the way.
Holy crap - what an awesome flick! One of the best I've ever seen... the animation is uncommonly good, the voice actors are flawless, and the story funny and entertaining with smart dialog. Five out of five bullets. I'm buying this one.
Monday, November 14, 2011
America tonight had a chance to watch two interviews. One, with child molester Jerry Sandusky. Another with American hero Gabby Giffords. I chose Giffords. Sandusky isn't worthy to breathe the same air as Gabby. It is an insult to the universe that Sandusky lives on the same planet.