Monthly Archives: August 2006

Listen: Tom Johnson – Failing: A Very Difficult Piece for String Bass

I can never be accused of being an early adopter, and I’m pretty sure I’ll look crass jumping on that whole MP3 blog thing. (They’re out of style yet now, aren’t they?)

But one thing I do miss about the old Musicwhore was the audio. It was a pain to maintain, but it was fun to hear music along side reviews.

So I’m going to take a page from those MP3 blogs and occassionally post a file now and then for two weeks at a time.

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Excuses and experiments

Yes, I know new content here on is sporadic — and in my opinion, quite half-assed — but I tend to spread myself thin. I keep hiding behind my bedroom music project as excuse, which is one of many really.

Eleven months ago, I promised to write every day in my online journal till the 10th anniversary of the site on Sept. 6, 2006. It’s just less than a month away now. I have to say, trying to come up with that much writing is a pain in the motherfucking ass. But there is one bright spot to all of it — I’m retiring that site come Sept. 6.

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Ever ‘since’

Spangle call Lilli line has always been a band I wanted to check out but didn’t feel too compelled to track their material down. The band has recorded a number of albums since forming in 1999, and on Oct. 11, they will release a best collection titled since, so says

Spangle call Lilli line is working on a new album, and one of their new tracks, "Until the end of time", appears on the collection.

Maybe this best collection will finally get me off my duff. I’m lazy like that.

From Chicago … from Chicago to New York …

Steve Reich turns 70 in October. A long time ago, I heard a radio broadcast that said Reich and Philip Glass were born on the same day. In reality, Reich was born on Oct. 3, 1936, and Glass followed about three months later on Jan. 31, 1937.

Reich and Glass are the two biggest names in classical composition. Both are credited with refining the minimalism pioneered by Terry Riley and La Monte Young.

When I was first seeking out classical music, I gravitated toward Glass’ more harmonically familiar work. But as my listening abilities matured, I found myself preferring Reich over Glass.

Reich has a nice sense of rhythm and his harmonies, while not atonal, aren’t strictly triadic either. The pulse is an important component to his work, and it’s that pulse — not unlike the muted chug of an electric guitar — that brings listeners in.

Currently playing right now: Different Trains/Electric Counterpoint.

This album won the Grammy Award for Best Classical Composition. I listened to it in high school and didn’t get it. I fell asleep. Seven years and a college degree in music later, I listened to the piece on the drive home, and I was moved.

Start there.

In Soviet Russia, you do not play piano — piano plays you

Young people in Russia are practically giving away pianos, many of which became the norm in Russian flats. The Soviet government encouraged piano production as way to boost culture among its citizenry.

The idea of a piano in every flat sounds terrific to me, but I’m biased because I know how to play the instrument. (And my 88-weighted key synth just doesn’t cut it sometimes.) I don’t get the impression the pianos in question were maintained very well, and while the depreciation of a piano is not like a car or computer, it’s still a big item to handle in a move.

Ah well.

mono: You Are There

It was easier being a mono fan back in 2000. The band was just starting out, and their earth-shaking sound held so much potential.

Six years and numerous releases later, it’s easy to anticipate to course of a mono piece. Slow, quiet start. Slow, gradual build. Big, destructive climax. Repeat. Conclude.

As expansive as the group’s pieces are, they’re certainly confined to a very specific set of parameters. So how can the band make one album distinctive from the other? The easiest answer is not to.

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Bleach: Migi mo Hidari mo Shihaisuru wa Kyoo mo Niku wo Kui Yodare wo Tarasu

Bleach — or Bleach03 or Bleachmobile — has the odd distinction of being one of my favorites bands whom I can’t listen to for very long.

The band’s music reaches a level of intensity requiring a very specific mindset to properly appreciate. In other words, that shit goes to a dark place, and I can’t go there often.

Bleach albums have historically clocked in at the half-hour mark — short by any other standard, but a perfect length for music as punishing as theirs. So the fact the band’s fourth album, Migi mo Hidari mo Shihaisuru wa Kyoo mo Niku wo Kui Yodare wo Tarasu, clocks in at 41 minutes feels more like eternity.

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