We’re really good at music now

The world’s talent pool is rich right now. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about music or water polo or investment banking – the sheer ability of human beings is incredible. Add to that the increasing efficiency of business, what Thomas Friedman would call an increasingly “flat” world, the Baby Boom generation not retiring because they spent too much money during the “good times,” and the hellacious student loan debt being accumulated in pursuit of jobs that are actually worth pursuing that debt for and you have all the ingredients for what we have now: quality labor at Walmart prices. Continue reading

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On the world’s most hateable game…

UdineseLast week at this time I was at the outlet mall in an attempt to find some shoes to fit my grotesquely wide feet comfortably (I failed) and enjoy a pretty nice day outside. But thanks to the absolute miracle of technology, I was also watching a soccer game taking place 7000 miles away, essentially right where Italy’s boot is kicking Sicily’s ass if we follow that time-tested analogy. On my phone. I don’t know what deal with Satan we had to make to accomplish things like this, but if Faust had gotten this kind of deal perhaps he wouldn’t have needed the Eternal Feminine and could have just lived a tasteful bachelor lifestyle (although this “miracle” also brought us the 24-hour news cycle and people’s annoying Facebook updates, so perhaps I need to think this through a bit more). Continue reading

Hey, remember when “Clapping Music” sounded pretty complicated?

rhythm

It’s kinda like this…

A few weeks ago I was having dinner with a composer friend who introduced me to a lot of music that I didn’t know much or at all. We listened to The Zombies, the lasting memory of which was their superb pitch that makes me hate American Idol and The Voice even more. We listened to Mikel Rouse, whose inner sense of rhythm veers dangerously into half human/half genius-robot territory. We listened to “Marquee Moon” by Television with the epic Tom Verlaine guitar solo. And we listened to a couple of his own works, including a piece for percussion called Chronomosaic.

Here is a good time to mention that I studied music in college and received a Masters Degree in Instrumental Conducting, so the concept of reading a score is not alien to me in any way. But this score, which was given to me to follow along with a recording, was insane. I flipped through the first couple pages and saw that it was all in 9/8 time and didn’t pay too much attention to where the actual notes were within the measures. And then it started… Continue reading

Wagner is a total dick, but still…

Richard Wagner

“…and unleavened bread is gross, and I don’t like those hats they wear at church, and the shofar needs valves, and who wants to stay in Egypt anyway, and I’ll bet they had more oil than they thought, and…

The intersection of a cultural personality and the world around them is an interesting thing. I, like most people (I suspect), find people like Sean Penn, George Clooney, Ted Nugent, and Kelsey Grammer incredibly obnoxious when they’re espousing their political beliefs that I don’t give a shit about. Even Alec Baldwin, who I find hilarious and who is a massive Mahler fan and the announcer for the NYPO radio broadcasts, is a giant douche when talking politics. I thought Green Day’s American Idiot was retarded, if only because I don’t think we should be taking our cues on real world situations from the guys who brought us lyrics like:

Sit around and watch the phone, but no one’s calling Call me pathetic, call me what you will
My mother says to get a job But she don’t like the one she’s got When masturbation’s lost its fun You’re fucking lonely
Bite my lip and close my eyes Take me away to paradise I’m so damn bored I’m going blind And loneliness has to suffice
Bite my lip and close my eyes I was slipping away to paradise Some say, “Quit or I’ll go blind.” But it’s just a myth

Yes, now tell me what ails our nation! Continue reading