Wandering into Lists of Best 2017 Albums

I googled “Best 2017 Albums” and found many things. Today I wander.

 

Charlotte Gainsbourg is pretty good. Gourmet production, crescendos, gorgeous harmonic shifts. Ring a Ring o’Roses is a great song. 4

Fever Ray and her icy voice… The album looks like a disconcerting big chest, full of sharp patterns, eargasming sounds and a constant sense of drive. There’s a lack of harmony-magic though 3

Fleet Foxes gives me smiles with strange rhythms, but it’s badly produced (too much reverb, buddy) and too casual for me. Voice is boring. Harmonic colors are great, full of moving clouds and facets, and architecture surprises. 3

Girlpool places itself in a clear “indie sound”. Average, but some rare good surprises (the slippery waltz of Powerplant – oh this bass player), the stairs, squeaking risks & breaks of She Goes By).

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith like a baby Fever Ray. Harmless and insipid, but sweet. Stupid voice and funny sounds at times (To Follow & Lead). I like her good will.

Kamasi Washington, a splendid saxophonist, great to listen in your car

Kehlani got me immediately with Keep On. Irresistible! The rest is crap, sadly.

Kelela loves the sound of her own voice. It’s not good, but it’s good enough to keep me listening to the album. There’s always an element (a sound, a loop, a production idea) which makes you wonder.

Kendrick Lamar. Rap is not my cup of beer, but I really LOVED “King Kunta” in 2015 (which is perfection : the implacability of the bass, the laddered construction). Sadly I didn’t hear anything at this level today…

 

(to be continued)

 

 

In the trash :

Dead water puddles : Boring lazy, examples of “I am ecstatic about myself and I don’t work” : Björk, Future, Jay Z, Julie Byrne and Julien Baker (“I bathe in my voice and empty music”)

Stressed boring mosquitoes : Drunk, slippery and unorganized “experimentations with machines” that goes to trash pretty quickly : Arca, Jlin

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Eno & U2 : a freezing creative process

Brian Eno produced a few U2’s albums. I read one day in an interview that he had to restrain these guys’ creativity : they have too many ideas, all the time, and it’s exhausting!

Therefore, as the person in charge, he sometimes has to decide a STOP.

This is what he does, then :

As each musician is recorded on his own track, the freedom is total, which leads to infinite choices. At this time of the composition, Eno decides to pre-mix what he has, freezing the whole song in stereo. Instead of having for example 12 tracks you can move, mix and change all the time, he reduces all the pack in 2 tracks, left and right. From there, nobody can touch it anymore – then he trashes the source.

He transforms, this way, the big tree of possibilities into a “this is how it is now” song.

 

Of course you see it’s a tool : what are the consequences of this? Displacing creativity? (what do they do “from this”?). Is closing inventiveness from here allow people to invent elsewhere? Another thing? When do we need, in our work, to stop inventing and move forward? Why? When do we have too many ideas? What to do? What if you remove an element?

When do you need to have a thinker in charge?

You can also read : Fecundity of Limits

Thanks for reading !

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Coding & Composing : What are your lost Kingdoms?

I call a Lost Kingdom an activity you loved in the past, and you don’t do anymore today.

For me it’s coding (I programmed a lot when I was maybe 15) and composing (from 20 to 25). Today, it’s over.

But :

  • In 1993 I had to learn HTML because I wanted to have a clean code for my http://www.maison-page.net – it was delightful, and I have to say I felt this really weird feeling to put on these old shoes. Coding is building something, with immediate tests and gratifications. It’s a little mathematics too. Logic. It puts your brain in a grid of logic, building, making tools. I love it so much! De facto, my page was and stays very fast. Sorry, no PHP or Java here…
  • Five years ago I bought a midi keyboard and began to work with GarageBand. It amazed me, gave me pleasure, and I composed maybe 20 or 30 new tracks. And I remember now… not the music, but the state I was in when I was working on them.

 

The idea of Lost Kingdoms leads me to this idea. Some activities push us in different states. You can play Lego, have a clever conversation for hours, write a poem, take your cam in the countryside, watch a mantis praying, build a cabin in your garden : it’s a “way of thinking”, and your brains knows and recognizes it. Your grow from this.

Lamenting on Kingdoms lost is useless, I agree. Go back to it. Or find new ones : learn an instrument, travel Italy, begin Chinese or horseback riding (question : why not simply “horse riding”??). Bake new cakes . Put your brain in new grids. It’s good, believe me.

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

 

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Instagram : teget

 

 

Digitalism’s Blitz & Vitalic’s Scholar Inebriation : Dance now!

Dance, today. Listen to this loud.

I wrote recently about Artificial Powerlessness. It’s when you can do better, but you don’t. You’re lazy and knacky, good to you.

But, hell, sometimes it works!!

Digitalism used here a few little tricks.

  1. The contrast between a nosy phony sound and a clear dancy rhythm (it’s at 0’30”, BAM).
  2. Listen to the bass : they do the “James Bond” John Barry trick (three halftones played in a row). It’s a little harmonic danger that Röyksopp uses all the time.
  3. At 1’23” then shup the beat off, rebuilding it until 1’58” (it’s an old knack, oui?).

 

They get more than 2 millions views thanks to a few simple ideas. Bravo!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Vitalic and their extatic bended harmonies (pardon my French) :

 

The scholar drunkenness of this :

 

 

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“I wanna say come on let’s go just when I oughta say nix” – Oklahoma (the movie)

If I take a map of the United States of America, the heart of the country if obviously Kansas.

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Oklahoma is under Kansas, this state with a stick on the upper left. It exists since… 1907. The name comes from the Indians.

Foot! Tonight I watched the musical film Oklahoma, 1955, adapted from a 1943 stage musical. The music comes from Richard Rodgers and the lyrics from Oscar Hammerstein (yeah, the guys who made The Sound of Music).

You have to accept it’s a musical, an innocent story (“In Oklahoma, several farmers, cowboys and a traveling salesman compete for the romantic favors of various local ladies”, says IMDB), with good songs, gorgeous skies and great “stylized western dancing”. So, in a way, it’s seems clean, light hearted and conservative. And you really don’t care that much about the characters, from transparent semi-idiots “pretty” girls to really dumb cow-boys.

In fact, the treasure of the film is Ado Annie, played by Gloria Grahame, who is a funny featherbrain who likes to kiss everyone who passes by. There are so many details along the movie that you quickly realize the movie is all about sex. There are songs (like this “I cain’t say no”) in which she “has the sex coming out of her eyes, right along with the innocence”. Many times during the movie I was like “How did they dare that in a family movie??”. And it’s constant.

The film happens when the state of Oklahoma is not in the union already. There are fights, but not with immigrants : between farmers with “their fences”, and cow-boys…

Today I watched it with plenty of fun. Sex lovers in Oklahoma : Yeepeeee!

And this music is taking modulation bends that I love!

 

 

Annie:
It ain’t so much a question of not knowin’ what to do
I knowed what’s right an’ wrong since I been ten.
I heared a lot of stories an’ I reckon they are true
About how girls are put upon by men.
I know I mustn’t fall into the pit
But when I’m with a feller, I fergit!

I’m just a girl who cain’t say ‘No’
I’m in a terrible fix!
I always say ‘Come on, let’s go’
just when I oughta say ‘Nix.’
When a person tries to kiss a girl
I know she oughta give his face a smack!
But as soon as someone kisses me
I somehow sorta wanna kiss him back!
I’m just a fool when lights are low
I cain’t be prissy an’ quaint
I ain’t the type that can faint
How can I be what I ain’t?
I cain’t say ‘No!’

Whatcha gonna do when a feller gets flirty
An’ starts to talk purty
Whatcha gonna do?
Sposin’ that he says
That your lips are like cherries,
Or roses, or berries?
Whatcha gonna do?
Sposin’ that he says
That yer sweeter ‘n cream
and he’s gotta have cream or die?
Whatcha gonna do when he talks that way?
Spit in his eye?

I’m jist a girl who cain’t say ‘No’,
Cain’t seem to say it at all
I hate to disserpoint a beau
When he is payin’ a call!
Fer a while I ack refined and cool,
A settin on the velveteen setee
Nen I think of thet ol’ Golden Rule,
And do fer him what he would do fer me!
I cain’t resist a Romeo
In a sombrero and chaps
Soon as I sit on their laps
Somethin’ inside of me snaps
I cain’t say ‘No’!

[Additional Verse]
I’m jist a girl who cain’t say ‘No’
Kissin’s my favorite food!
With or without the mistletoe
I’m in a holiday mood!
Other girls are coy an’ hard to catch
But other girls ain’t havin’ any fun!
Ev’ry time I lose a wrastlin’ match
I have a funny feelin’ that I won!
Though I can feel the undertoe
I never make a complaint
Till it’s too late for restraint
Then when I want to, I cain’t
I cain’t say ‘No!’

 

 

Losing My Religion, Every Breath you Take

Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees

 

I wrote here, a few days ago, something about Every Breath you Take, from Police :

  • The strange lyrics of Police‘s Every Breath you Take, the story of a stalker after a break up. “Sting later said he was disconcerted by how many people think the song is more positive than it is. He insists it is about the obsession with a lost lover, and the jealousy and surveillance that follow.” – and not a gentle love song.

Tonight I just watched a documentary about Pixies, R.E.M. and Nirvana. I saw the clip of Losing my Religion, then discovered this on Wikipedia :

  • The phrase “losing my religion” is an expression from the southern region of the United States that means losing one’s temper or civility, or “being at the end of one’s rope.” Stipe told The New York Times the song was about romantic expression. He told Q that “Losing My Religion” is about “someone who pines for someone else. It’s unrequited love, what have you.” Stipe compared the song’s theme to “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, saying, “It’s just a classic obsession pop song. I’ve always felt the best kinds of songs are the ones where anybody can listen to it, put themselves in it and say, ‘Yeah, that’s me.'”

 

Well, I suppose everybody remembers these two songs. In France, I admit both were hits, though we didn’t care that much about the lyrics. Though we felt that R.E.M.’s song and clip was, indeed, about a powerless obsession. The mandolin…

 

Yep, it’s a tool for my blog, a dial for creatives. Stipes says it perfectly :

I’ve always felt the best kinds of songs are the ones where anybody can listen to it, put themselves in it and say, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’

It’s true I admire poets, photographers and musicians who are able to talk about subtle things “between words”. Words are simplifyiers, and it’s sometimes boring. They put life, and moving shades into immobile boxes.

We talk here about another thing. When words are “so” flat, grey, imprecise, that anyone will find what one wants. Haziness as a talent. The audience jumps into it. We apply it to our story…

Sting told the story of a stalker, but lovers love it, they play the song at weddings! Stipes sings about past pining, but never explains what it is about in the song. It’s like a tropism, a flake of feeling. One person is “losing religion” – and we all understand the frustration.

It’s like the “But I could be wrong” image. You don’t know the author, and why we see that picture, what does this mean. You raise an eyebrow in wonder. And YES, you could be wrong, dear!

 

Awweeee. Have a nice day…

 

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Life is bigger
It’s bigger
And you, you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I set it up

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

Every whisper
Of every waking hour
I’m choosing my confessions
Trying to keep an eye on you
Like a hurt lost and blinded fool
Oh no, I’ve said too much
I set it up

Consider this
The hint of the century
Consider this
The slip that brought me
To my knees failed
What if all these fantasies
Come flailing around
Now I’ve said too much

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream
That was just a dream

That’s me in the corner
That’s me in the spotlight
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don’t know if I can do it
Oh no I’ve said too much
I haven’t said enough

I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try

But that was just a dream, try, cry, why, try
That was just a dream, just a dream, just a dream
Dream

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“Sways & Totters” : Teetering Harmonies in Bear in Heaven

One motto of art is “What’s new here?”, right?

Therefore my inner dial is the “Eyebrow Criteria” – one has to move up.

Like : “What??!”

Thus today I gathered some sick pop songs.

 

If the verses sounds minimalistic plastic “I make you wait”, the choruses lift you up dangerously in uncertain harmonies. Don’t be sick.

 

This one is pleasantly teetering, right? Your ears warn your brain : there’s a mistake! There ARE mistakes! But… Errr… these ears of yours also say : I feel pleasure. Mmmh. Maybe. When it climbs?

 

I opened a community about dissonant pop in G+ :

https://plus.google.com/communities/115751320828152239563