Monday, June 22, 2009

Show Tunes

So I haven't heard anything new in the realm of experimental music lately, but I have switched up my music selection. I've started listening to soundtracks from movies and musical during my morning run (hey! don't laugh!). I like it because I can run through the movie in my head. I'm not sure what Cage would have thought of movie soundtracks, but I get the feeling that he wouldn't have thought to highly of them . They aren't about the sound as much as they are about narrating the story, they communicate moods and emotions, and it totally goes against the whole idea of music and dance being able to exist independently and simultaneously. So Beethoven was wrong, Andrew Lloyd Webber was wrong, Rogers and Hammerstein were wrong, we're all wrong. But it certainly keeps me entertained on my morning run :)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

NOMO show at Southgate House tonight

A band called NOMO (from Chicago, I think) is playing the upstairs parlor of the Southgate House this evening. The group's website mentions a number of musicians we discussed in the Cage seminar as influences, including Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane, Can, the Talking Heads and Steve ("It's Gonna Rain") Reich. They also seem very groovy and danceable. Here is their Myspace website, which features some fantastic music.

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Bleg

I found my orange Cage CD somewhere, and I remembered that I liked at least one of the songs on it. (There was a Radiohead song, and a Kraftwerk song I liked). But I lost the sheet with the track names on it. Does anyone have the list of tracks on the orange CD?

Even if you don't, have a nice summer if I don't see you before school.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Soundwalks in New York

A group of musicians and sound artists participated in a "soundwalk marathon" yesterday in New York City. I am certain Cage would have approved. Please see Cagelinks for a link to the event website.

Perhaps we should organize something similar for Thomas More next year.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Giacomo Puccini

I was reading an article about composer, Giacamo Puccini today, and learned some fun stuff that I just wanted to share. So, to start out, Puccini is most famous for his operas, most notably Madame Butterfly (yeah, he's kind of a big deal). Breaking into the business wasn't exactly easy for him, though. His family was pretty poor when he was growing up, and his mother had to convince the queen of Italy at the time to grant him a scholarship so that he could go to music school. He got his first big break when he attempted to enter an opera that he wrote into a contest. He had submitted it on the very last day possible (because he wanted to get it just right, of course) but sill didn't win. Shortly after, he found himself at a party with the judges of the competition and they got to discussing his entry. The judges admitted that they didn't even remember Puccini's entry, but asked him to play it out for them on the piano. It hadn't been good enough to win the competition -or even good enough for the judges to remember it- but apparently it was good enough to blow the socks off of everyone at the party and inspired the judges to offer to produce his opera then and there.

All his operas were written in Italian, but Puccini liked to set them in far off places. Madame Butterfly, for one (which, by the way, no one liked when it first premiered, but is currently on the top ten most frequently performed operas list) is set in Japan, as are a couple others. He even -and this made me spit out my cheerios this morning- composed an opera called La Fanciulla del West, set during the California gold rush in America. There's a sheriff, a prospector, a bandit and even a horse in the story -only, the horse doesn't sing. Never thought I would have heard about something like that. :)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

McCartney and Starr meet... Bob Dylan

So I recently read that Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Bob Dylan are getting together to collaborate and write music together. Apparently, they've performed together before, but never actually written anything together like this. It should be pretty exciting and I'm curious to see what comes out of it. Ringo's supposed to be playing the drums, while McCartney and Dylan are putting the songs together. Should make for an interesting summer...