1. Step one. Suppose you clear away all the happinesses that you distrust? Step two. Clear away all the unhappinesses that you have come to trust. Get rid of them too, don’t count on your miseries or your titillations. What will be left behind? Perhaps, after you’ve cleaned all that out, you might find in the back of your cupboard something like the theme of the Goldberg Variations. A deeply trustable happiness. A tender, discombobulating — but not discombobulated! — smile with just enough sadness and loss in it to be believable, to be endurable.

    — 

    Jeremy Denk's beautiful meditation on ”the mishmash of reverence and irreverence” in Bach’s Goldberg Variations.

    Lest we forget, happiness is a learned capacity

    (via explore-blog)

  2. alexhchung:

Marvel Girl iPod by Carlos Pacheco. Going clockwise on the Posters:
Mamas and the Papas
Beatles
Elvis (1967)
Simon and Garfunkel
Albums:
Monkees - Headquarters
Bee Gees - Morning My Life
Beach Boys - Four By The Beach Boys

    alexhchung:

    Marvel Girl iPod by Carlos Pacheco.

    Going clockwise on the Posters:

    • Mamas and the Papas
    • Beatles
    • Elvis (1967)
    • Simon and Garfunkel

    Albums:

    • Monkees - Headquarters
    • Bee Gees - Morning My Life
    • Beach Boys - Four By The Beach Boys

  3. thehappysorceress:

    I just need this earworm today, ok?

    Postmodern Jukebox featuring Cristina Gatti, Robyn Adele Anderson and Ashley Stroud  —- and the Flame-O-Phone! - “Burn”

  4. tally-art:

cattifer:

pizza-party:

Like kids comics, rock and roll, science, magic, and cats?! Get ready for Emily and the Strangers Vol. 2: Breaking the Record!

Yeaaahhhh!!!! So pumped for this!!

Ooooh yay!! Cat’s work is great!!! :D

    tally-art:

    cattifer:

    pizza-party:

    Like kids comics, rock and roll, science, magic, and cats?! Get ready for Emily and the Strangers Vol. 2: Breaking the Record!

    Yeaaahhhh!!!! So pumped for this!!

    Ooooh yay!! Cat’s work is great!!! :D

  5. Bookings done, Leipzig, here I come. Well, in 8 months; should give me some time to brush up on my German.

    Bookings done, Leipzig, here I come. Well, in 8 months; should give me some time to brush up on my German.

  6. houghtonlib:

    We recently had the opportunity to examine a manuscript of Johann Sebastian Bach under a microscope capable of capturing images. Fascinating details emerge at high magnification, revealing individual ink particles in the middle image, and the densely woven network of paper fibers visible below.

    Bach, Johann Sebastian, 1685-1750. Canon a 4 voc: perpetuo. A.MS.s.; Weimar, 2 Aug 1713.

    MS Eng 870 (35B)

    Houghton Library, Harvard University

  7. turhansbeycompany:

    Straight Up - Vintage Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers - Style Paula Abdul Cover ft. Ashley Stroud

    Postmodern Jukebox puts on the dancing shoes!

  8. onlytheyoungdieyoung:

    Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd, Television

  9. It’s official: I still am 15 years old.

  10. alexsegura:

Debbie Harry with Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the Weirdos at Bomp Records photographed by Jenny Lens, 1977

    alexsegura:

    Debbie Harry with Jeffrey Lee Pierce and the Weirdos at Bomp Records photographed by Jenny Lens, 1977

    (Source: superblackmarket)

  11. Wendy Carlos (released as Walter Carlos) “Switched on Bach II” (1973)

    alltherecords:

    image

    Based on my reading about Wendy Carlos, I know that the original Switched On Bach made her famous. Alex doesn’t have the first one, so I guess I’ll have to settle for the sequel! Such is the way of the Stupid Record Collection project. I must obey the shelf! I still have high hopes for this one though, I feel like it’s going to be weird and nerdy in a great way.

    There is a long essay on the back cover by Robert A. Moog or as Alex just said excitedly, Bob Moog! I do recognize the moog name- he’s the inventor of the Moog Synthesizer!

    Let’s put it on!

    I have to say that I’m not sure if I would have been able to tell that this is electronic music if I hadn’t known. Sure, it sounds a little electronic, but when I listen I’m picturing gold plated harpsichords instead of Moog synthesizers. It’s not like she has added a theremin or weird outer space effects. It’s just got that fat synthesizer sound sometimes.

    Oh! The first song is reminding me of the old Disney electric light parade music. That parade was SO AMAZING.

    Moving on. This is really relaxing and I could totally picture Bach floating in space, enjoying his music being pumped into his space suit. Side note: This is definitely one of the best album covers that I have come across so far. I especially like how you can see Earth in the background. Home sweet home to this crazy work of art.

    As someone who is not well versed in classical music, but does like to listen to the Glenn Gould Goldberg Variations sometimes, I think this is pretty great. 

    On to side two. I’m going from thinking Moog Bach is just as good Piano Bach, to thinking maybe I’ve had enough of they synthesizer. But side two starts out really great with “Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 In D Major, BWV 1050.” it feels like it could be in a Wes Anderson soundtrack. There’s something very playful and joyful about it, which is Bach’s doing, but I think the synthesizer does a great job of bringing that feeling out. Side two is turning out to be really good.

    There’s an interview that Wendy did when the re-released box set of Switched on Bach came out on CD on her website. At one point she says, “Oh, oh! The gray cat’s dry heaving a hairball. Just a minute. Subi’s okay, but he’s eighteen years old, so I have to watch him.” And Subi is linked to this picture:

    image

    I said it before, and I’ll say it again, Wendy Carlos has the best website filled with hours of entertainment. Read it while you’re listening to Switched on Bach II, and you’ll have the best Monday night ever! I promise.

    PS- Also listen to the Disney Main Street Electrical Parade, by Gershon Kingsley (his original version, often credited along with Jean-Jaques Perrey, is titled “Baroque Hoedown”)

  12. Wendy Carlos (released as Walter Carlos) “The Well-Tempered Synthesizer” (1969)

    alltherecords:

    image

    This record has a few essays on the back cover, starting with an essay by Rachel Elkind, who has the title of “producer,” but who Wendy Carlos describes on her website, as a silent and creative partner with Carlos.   Rachel writes: “Something went wrong. ‘Switched-On Bach’ was meant to be an artistic experiment, a learning and testing vehicle, an example of a contemporary composer trying to find himself- not the marked commercial success it has so clearly become.”

    Thomas Frost, the music director of Columbia Masterworks also writes, “Young people everywhere-college students, teenagers- many of whom ordinarily buy nothing but Rock and Folk, passed the word that here was a record with a new contemporary sound.” I just love that part about buying nothing but rock and folk music. I just watched The Source Family documentary that is streaming on Netflix right now, and am feeling pretty fascinated with the teenagers of the late 60’s and early 70s. I can’t believe there were runaway 12 year old girls living in the Source Family, most likely only buying rock and folk music. It’s a good documentary, but spoiler alert - by the end you will hate “Father Yod” or whatever the hell his name is. At least I did. 12 year old girls have a lot to do with it.

    The record sleeve also has this awesome list “Here’s How Records Give You More of What You Want.” I particularly like #4 and #8.

    image

    Okay, lets listen to some more Wendy Carlos, shall we?

    The first song, “Monteverdi: ‘Orfeo’ Suite,” sounds like something that should be played when astronauts graduate from astronaut training. It is very regal and feels celebratory yet serious, and of course the synthesizer makes it feel super space aged. Let’s not forget Bach flying through space with his Moog synthesizer on the last Wendy Carlos cover!

    This might also work if two astronauts were marrying each other. It could be played at their wedding ceremony, right before the ceremony was about to begin.

    The next songs, “Sonata in E Major and D Major,” have me picturing a classic ensemble scene for a space aged ballet. You know, your typical space aged village with some children running around playing games and pantomiming whispers into each others’ ears. A group of young men show of their brawn on one side of the stage and a group of young women giggling behind ornate fans on the other. But all with an outer space/ tomorrowland twist. I would go see that ballet.

    Not really knowing that much about synthesizers, even though Alex loves them, I’m having a hard time picturing how this music would look performed live. Is it all played by Wendy at different times, or the same time, or different people on different synthesizers? Alex and I just had a conversation about it where he drew this diagram to help explain. Alex likes to draw it out when he’s explaining stuff. It usually helps. (The computer part on the bottom is a MIDI, which was not invented yet in 1969. The half completed heart shaped spacecraft in the middle is a doodle.)

    image

    So, I get that if this was done live, there’d have to be a bunch of people on different synthesizers. But the way Wendy did it was by herself with one crazy looking synthesizers with a bunch of wires, and recorded each part separately before putting it all together. Pretty amazing.

    I think Wendy tries to explain it in her essay on the back cover but I still wouldn’t have gotten it without Alex’s diagram, and also, still don’t totally get what she’s talking about. Here’s an excerpt:

    The four Scarlatti Sonatas are quite different from anything I have done. Since they consist of two-part counterpoint with rarely more than three or four voices, I thought a straight performance of one color different or related, on each voice might not be particularly effective musically. So I tried to fragment each part among many colors, quasi-pointillistically, but with an over-all integral ‘feeling’ of the various phrasings and voice leadings.

    Either way, it mainly sounds like enjoyable classical music, good for when you’re in the mood for classical music, with a little bit of a space aged feel. The synthesizer makes this very old music feel modern, and yet it also dates it. It kind of sounds like it wouldn’t be out of place in the 70’s or 80’s. It’s an interesting thing to listen to in 2014, especially on vinyl, because “remember… it always happens first on records!” (I’m referring to the fabulous liner notes list here.)

    PS- I lovely reader made me aware of the fact that I made a mistake in my last post in crediting Ned Washington with writing the Disney Electric Light Parade music. It was actually Gershon Kingsley. Who, with a quick google search I’m seeing wrote the Popcorn song! Oh man, music is wonderful! And so is the internet!

    Thank you Dan from Doom Dong for letting me know! Here’s the email he sent me:

    Dear Sarah,

    I’m a big fan of the blog! I’d like to offer you a correction for your record review of Wendy Carlos - Switched on Bach II. You refer to the Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade song, one of my favorites. However, I feel obligated to point out that the main motif of the song was NOT written by Ned Washington, but rather by Gershon Kingsley (his original version, often credited along with Jean-Jaques Perrey, is titled “Baroque Hoedown”). Ned Washington is listed as a writer because he co-wrote “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which, I’m sure you know, is one of the song’s medley parts.

  13. americansongwriter:

Writer Of The Week: Madeleine Peyroux
Later this month jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux will release her first “best of” album, titled Keep Me In Your Heart While. We recently chatted with the peripatetic chanteuse about her many influences, the differences in writing songs in French versus English, and what she considers to be the “perfect” song.
How do you decide which songs are most fitting on a “Best Of” album?
Well, if you’re so lucky as to have more than one album and you can take a step back and look at what it is you may or may not have accomplished, I guess it’s like making coffee. You strain the contents and chuck the coffee grounds that made it all stick together. That’s what you do. And it’s quite a satisfying feeling too say that all of this can be looked at from another angle.
You’ve listed singers like Serge Gainsbourg and Edith Piaf as among your influences. Are there things you’ve learned from French songwriters that appear in your English songs?
What an interesting question! Actually, French is much more monotone as a spoken language than English, so the consonants of words, therefore, get more attention. I have found songwriters like Gainsbourg are able to use alliteration to make an idea come across more powerfully. And I don’t really find that we have used English that way in songwriting. So it has helped me think about consonants when singing. I’m sure that Spanish or Portuguese songs are even more focused on the vowels than we are in English. And all that affects the rhythm too. There’s a different sort of pause that is necessary in each. Also, I think that in French songs, if written in a formal tone, the lyric could go on for days, but the slang or more informal speech gets interesting because it can say more in less time. That is the most difficult way to write for me, I think, to make a conversation sound like a lyric, and the most rewarding. Then there are things that can be said more efficiently in each language, and I find that it is impossible to ever really say the same thing in a translation. So I guess above all, one can learn how much influence the music itself has on a song by studying other languages, because that is where the unspoken side of the song lives.
Click here to continue reading

    americansongwriter:

    Writer Of The Week: Madeleine Peyroux

    Later this month jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux will release her first “best of” album, titled Keep Me In Your Heart While. We recently chatted with the peripatetic chanteuse about her many influences, the differences in writing songs in French versus English, and what she considers to be the “perfect” song.

    How do you decide which songs are most fitting on a “Best Of” album?

    Well, if you’re so lucky as to have more than one album and you can take a step back and look at what it is you may or may not have accomplished, I guess it’s like making coffee. You strain the contents and chuck the coffee grounds that made it all stick together. That’s what you do. And it’s quite a satisfying feeling too say that all of this can be looked at from another angle.

    You’ve listed singers like Serge Gainsbourg and Edith Piaf as among your influences. Are there things you’ve learned from French songwriters that appear in your English songs?

    What an interesting question! Actually, French is much more monotone as a spoken language than English, so the consonants of words, therefore, get more attention. I have found songwriters like Gainsbourg are able to use alliteration to make an idea come across more powerfully. And I don’t really find that we have used English that way in songwriting. So it has helped me think about consonants when singing. I’m sure that Spanish or Portuguese songs are even more focused on the vowels than we are in English. And all that affects the rhythm too. There’s a different sort of pause that is necessary in each. Also, I think that in French songs, if written in a formal tone, the lyric could go on for days, but the slang or more informal speech gets interesting because it can say more in less time. That is the most difficult way to write for me, I think, to make a conversation sound like a lyric, and the most rewarding. Then there are things that can be said more efficiently in each language, and I find that it is impossible to ever really say the same thing in a translation. So I guess above all, one can learn how much influence the music itself has on a song by studying other languages, because that is where the unspoken side of the song lives.

    Click here to continue reading

  14. americansongwriter:

Patti Smith: Warrior Poet
This article originally appeared in our January/February 2011 issue. 
Since she was a kid, she knew she was an artist, and a serious one, willing to go the extra mile. As early as 11, she approached her own art with a remarkable singularity of purpose that has persisted ever since. “When I was a kid, I wanted to write a poem about Simón Bolívar,” says Patti Smith. “I went to the library and read everything I could. I wrote copious notes. I had 40 pages of notes just to write a small poem.” Decades later, the process persists. She spent months reading every book she could find about Ho Chi Minh before spontaneously improvising “Gung Ho.” She relies on her ability to shamanistically channel songs and poems, but never blindly; she deepens her well with information before delving into it.
Of course, she’s more than a songwriter. She’s an artist who recognizes that art needn’t be restricted to any one means of expression. Like her great friend, the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, about whom she wrote the beautiful memoir, Just Kids, she’s always been devoted to making art itself – whether a poem, a memoir, a novel, a record, a series of drawings, a play (with Sam Shepard she wrote Cowboy Mouth), or a song. As a child, art for her was both a refuge and a means of escape from the monotony of the everyday world. “I did not want to be trapped,” she says. “I grew up in the ’50s, when the girls wore really bright red lipstick and nail polish, and they smelled like Eau de Paris. Their world just didn’t attract me. I hid in the world of the artist: first the 19th-century artists, then the Beats. And Peter Pan.”
Click here to continue reading

    americansongwriter:

    Patti Smith: Warrior Poet

    This article originally appeared in our January/February 2011 issue. 

    Since she was a kid, she knew she was an artist, and a serious one, willing to go the extra mile. As early as 11, she approached her own art with a remarkable singularity of purpose that has persisted ever since. “When I was a kid, I wanted to write a poem about Simón Bolívar,” says Patti Smith. “I went to the library and read everything I could. I wrote copious notes. I had 40 pages of notes just to write a small poem.” Decades later, the process persists. She spent months reading every book she could find about Ho Chi Minh before spontaneously improvising “Gung Ho.” She relies on her ability to shamanistically channel songs and poems, but never blindly; she deepens her well with information before delving into it.

    Of course, she’s more than a songwriter. She’s an artist who recognizes that art needn’t be restricted to any one means of expression. Like her great friend, the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, about whom she wrote the beautiful memoir, Just Kids, she’s always been devoted to making art itself – whether a poem, a memoir, a novel, a record, a series of drawings, a play (with Sam Shepard she wrote Cowboy Mouth), or a song. As a child, art for her was both a refuge and a means of escape from the monotony of the everyday world. “I did not want to be trapped,” she says. “I grew up in the ’50s, when the girls wore really bright red lipstick and nail polish, and they smelled like Eau de Paris. Their world just didn’t attract me. I hid in the world of the artist: first the 19th-century artists, then the Beats. And Peter Pan.”

    Click here to continue reading

  15. laurentbelkacem:

    Postmodern Jukebox feat. Tony DeSare covering Bastille’s Pompei.