Monday, June 6, 2011

Music Journal

Can You Dig It?

I really love music- love listening to new music. A while back, I finally signed up for a trial offer of a service called Qriocity available on the PS3. I’d assumed it was just like Pandora. However, it turned out to be more than that. It is a streaming music service where you can build a library and playlists (on a PC for the latter). But importantly you can save and listen to whole albums. Since I like classical, I really want to be able to hear all of a piece rather than a section or a movement. Qriocity doesn’t have everything- there are some pretty big gaps among pop and rock musicians. Some artists are absent, while others have significant gaps (for example Kansas doesn’t have Leftoverture, Joe Jackson doesn’t have Big World, there’s only a single Neko Case album). But if you’re exploring different kinds of music, it is an amazing service. Right away I was listening to new things and albums I hadn’t heard in years- stuff I used to have on cassette.

Then of course the Playstation network got hacked and went down for four weeks. Then back up and then down again.

It has finally been up for about a solid week now. I’m a little irritated that since I’d only signed up for the trial I won’t be getting extended days back on Qriocity. Still I suspect I will keep up with the service. I’ve started keeping a music journal so I can note what I’ve listened to and what I thought of it. I've been partly inspired by Scott's posts on jazz over at Huge Ruined Pile. I’ve left some things out, but here’s what I’ve listened to recently:

Albums I Used to Have

Midnight Oil Blue Sky Burning and 10, 9, 8, 7…: Both of these hold up for me. I have Red Sails in the Sunset and that’s the album I listened to the most before, I’d forgotten how good these were.

REM Life’s Rich Pageant, Document, Automatic for the People, Orange: I put those in order of enjoyment. I think Life’s Rich Pageant’s a great, greta album but it has a couple of songs that wear on me in relistening.

Sinead O’Connor I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got: Wow. That did not hold up. That was painful to listen to.

New Pop/Rock

Aimee Mann I’m With Stupid, @#%&*! Smilers, Bachelor No. 2, Lost in Space: All great, and I’m going to have to buy those eventually.

Envelopes Demon: Starts out weirdly mixed and compelling. However, the more I listen the less I like. Gets more and more twangy as it goes along. Might have to check other stuff.

Kinky Kinky: Fun and crazy. Not sure how much more I’d want to listen to.

Kathryn Calder Are You My Mother?: Somewhere between Aimee Mann and Neko Case lies this album. Good stuff.

New Crazy Stuff

Makrosoft Stereo Also Playable Mono: 1950’s/60’s lounge remixes of modern songs like “Enter the Sandman” and “Blac Hole Sun”- great fun. I bought the mp3 after listening to it to throw into the Changeling soundtrack.

Various Artists Whipped Cream & Other Delights Re-Whipped: A remix album of the classic Herb Alpert record. Fun, goofy, but fun.


John Adams Portrait: Chamber music performed by Angele Dubeau and La Pieta…which I assume is her violin’s name. Very chamber-y, but listenable. Seems like later period Adams and I kept thinking of Ravel.

Britten War Requiem: Hadn’t listened to this before. I really like Britten’s orchestral stuff, but his other stuff- voice and chamber leave me cold. I’m not sure why.

John Adams Century Rolls: His Piano concerto, plus a few other really fun pieces. Enjoyed very much- listened to a couple of times.

Ades Violin Concerto: Good, but I’m going to have to hear that a few more times for it to resolve.

Bernstein Candide Overture and others: Who has two thumbs and likes Bernstein’s compositions. Not this guy.

Foerster Violin Concertos: Eminently forgettable. I have no notes by them. I remember having them on and thinking, “You know, I should put on some music…”


Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood Out Louder: Fun- the extra member kicks things up.

Medeski, Martin and Wood 20 (Part 1), 20 (Part 2): The first good and the second, meh.

Jackie McLean Bluesnik: Classic, solid jazz. Nothing that absolutely grabbed me, though.

Art Blakey A Night in Tunisia: Another nice, but basic album.

John Coltrane Giant Steps: I wish I had a better vocabulary to describe jazz. I’m just starting to listen to it so I feel like I’m reaching for the words. I found this album lovely and evocative, but not one that hooked me. I think I want more energy from my jazz.

Sonny Rollins: Listened to a bunch of his stuff. One of the “Best Of…” albums I found was really, really good. That led me to What’s New? Which I loved- a mix of classic songs and avant garde performance. There’s on annoying song on it- I don’t like voice with my jazz. Saxophone Colossus and Our Man in Jazz also excellent.

Jimmy Smith: Another one that hooked me right away and I listened to several albums by. The Sermon! is great, as is Hobo Flats. Angel Eyes is later period and is just OK. Off the Top feels really 1970’s and kind of lame to me. But the album Damn! is unbelievably great.

Buddy Rich: Blues Caravan and Buddy’s Rock were both good. I have to listen to some more. I like solid jazz percussion and he’s listed several places as one of the best jazz drummers.


  1. Isn't it interesting how music can take you back to a snapshot in time? It's even more interesting that there are songs that were meaningful at the time but now are meaningless.
    On another note (pun intended), Steve and I discovered a jazz musician from Chicago. Her name is Alison Ruble. She's terrific. Steve and I saw her perform at Trio's. I bought the CD and spoke with her momentarily.

  2. I missed your music posts!

    I've been watching Treme season 1, which is fascinating for it's peek into a less than glamorous music scene and an amazingly dysfunctional town. With all that, it's still a love letter to New Orleans. I'm not going to run out and buy all the music, but I like all of it. Especially Galactic.

  3. Makrosoft is officially on my list now. And I'm guessing that Re-Whipped is a must-buy for me, too.

  4. I can probably fill a hard drive with Jazz music for you.

    I agree with Gene. Treme is an interesting watch. I don't think I would run out and buy it, but I like to watch it while I'm in hotels. Parts of it are pretty true.

    I love Coltrane, but my love comes from an understanding of what he's doing with his music. You're right, he doesn't bop or really swing.

    Miles Davis may be of interest to you, though some of his work may be too close to Coltrane's though. If you find that you like his later works, which are more experiemental, check out Weather Report. The guys in that band came out of Miles' studio work.

    Branford Marsalis may be your speed. I have Footsteps of Our Fathers and it definetly has more "zing" than Coltrane.

    Thelonious Monk is another one I really enjoy. I associate him with Miles and Coltrane. I know all three gigged together, but I would go so far as to say each has their own definitive sound.

    Charles Mingus is another fave. It could be because he's bass player.

    Chick Corea is another awesome musician, but some of his stuff is only enjoyable by other musicians, in my opinion. Some of the hardest tunes I ever played were by Chick.

    If you haven't listened to Hiromi, I think you'd like her work. She's often classified as jazz, but I associate her with classical. Brain and Spiral are pretty awesome.

    The New Orleans Social Club is fun, if you like the sounds of Treme or NOLA style jazz. Same with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. They actually come to town on occassion and play at ND.

    I've linked to Wikipedia and Amazon for the bands. Those pages often list other musicians that are similar and if you like their sounds, more bands that are similar are good. Everyone has their favourite music source, so I'll let you pull up the music where you are comfortable listening to it. If you find you like any of these folks and want to listen to a full album, or just want some stuff to listen to, let me know and I'll get you CDs.

    Jazz is a big world, just like classical or rock. Don't limit yourself.

    And if you want something completely unrelated, but quite interesting, check out Drive By Truckers. Read up on them first, if they don't sound interesting, keep walking. If they do, check 'em out. The first song on each album bugs me, but I'm good after that. I picked them up after hearing Booker T did some work with them.

  5. There's a random link in there. I can't edit it from here. Just ignore it and I'll edit it out later if my home comp will let me.

  6. Thanks for the heads up, D (and Gene). I'm not really a NOLA Jazz listener- I've tried to get into that stuff, but it doesn't work all that well for me. I've got some strange musical hang ups- things which leave me cold- reggae and most metal for example. Even in classical, I've got some genres that do not work for me at all- despite liking 20th Century and dissonant music.

    I'll go through your suggestions on Qriocity and throw those into my library.