Tuesday, August 25, 2009

João Gilberto - João Gilberto (1961)

I've been in kind of a "chord progression" mood recently, which means lots of Bossa Nova has been clogging up my ear canals. I've been learning quite a bit about extended chords and, as such, I've been working on creating chord melodies through voice leading. However, putting theory into practice is a different story altogether. As much as I kind of understand all of this wonderful crazy beautiful bullshit, I'm still terrible at it.

It's good for me to listen to real dudes like João Gilberto and think "someday I suppose" about my own musical abilities. It's also good for me to try to focus my raging jealousy of João's brain wrinkles into concerted efforts to add more wrinkles to my own brain. But really, the snug green tones of this record warm even my cold soul, and I click for it every time I need a thaw.

"A Primeira Vez" tickles the minimalist you all know that I am. With just a guitar and voice, it is very easy to hear the chord melodies that I'm talking about. Notice the way that the guitar playfully dances around under the somewhat somber, drawn out melody. This juxtaposition of subtle sadness with ostensibly bouncy and happy chording short circuits my analytical nature with tepid saltwater and a I float away in a logic deprivation tank.

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I will be on tour with Weekend Nachos for the next two weeks, so no updates until I come back. If you live east of Chicago, check the dates and enjoy a punishing audiovisual experience. Also I'm looking to win new friends and influence them, so e-mail me todd.nief at gmail.com if you're coming to any of the gigs and you want to talk about records most civilians don't care about.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Camp Lo - Uptown Saturday Night (1997)

I've been listening to "Pot Casts" of my brother Stephen C. Kane's radio show recently, which has been a really good experience for me. Motherfucker had a 90's hip-hop "Cast," which is as directly up my alley as one can really be. So come into this alley with me. I'm not lonely, but I do want some company.

On said "Cast," Joel played Camp Lo's Luchini and it really got me thinking. As a youth into rap music, I really only liked the super dark, raw production of RZA, Mobb Deep, Boot Camp Clik, etc. I was familiar with Camp Lo, but, like a true countercultural teen, I found them boring & mainstream. However, since I'm now a much more eclectic consumer of music, I was surprised by how much I really really liked that dang Camp Lo song.

This is a different type of post for me, since I'm posting about something that is relatively new to me. I haven't listened to this record dozens/scores/baker's dozens of times. In fact, I'm listening to it for the second time as I type this, and I'll probably have played it a total of three times when this post "goes live." As such, I can't really isolate my favorite moments of the record and dissect what's happening because, man, I don't even know what my favorite parts of the record are! This shit is new to me, dogg! I will say that the production is phenomenal, and at least a few lines made me smile. Listen to this BIG BANGER, love it, download the record, live my life for me.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Goran Bregović - Underground OST (1995)

Here is the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies. Periodically, I try to get into "film" or whatever, and I watch a lot of movies from my Netflix queue. Invariably, I find myself quickly losing patience with each movie I watch, and, as such, losing patience with "film" as a whole. It turns out that I am not well-wired for sitting passively taking in information. Anyway, Underground is one of the few movies that really struck a chord with me, in that I didn't at all feel like "why the fuck am I watching this I should really be doing something else." Not only that, but it nailed my skewed worldview, in which I find things that are not funny to anyone else beyond hilarious. Social tics and absurdist humor abound; if you ever want to know what kind of bizarro filter through which I view my interactions with other humans, Underground is a great place to start looking.

I feel associations with my memories of the film when I listen to this, which is how I think many people process music: in relation to significant memories in their lives. Usually, music is a very abstract "music for music's" sake with me, but, in this case, something is different, and the music is unequivocally tied to plotlines and scenes and characters. I am becoming a real boy after all.

I don't know a goddamn thing about Balkan brass music, but this shit is completely chaotic and awesome. A real sensory overload of nonsensical social dynamics, plotting, and deception. You're really gonna want to give this a try.