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Archive for the ‘The Pope’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JOHN ZORN’s A Dreamer’s Christmas (2011).

You can never say with certainty what kind of music you will get with a John Zorn record.  It could be beautiful; it could be scary.  It could be chaotic; it could be traditional.  There’s could be death metal or gentle jazz.  There could be vocals or not.

Some time in 2008, Zorn started yet another project.  This one was called The Dreamers and it proved to be on the mellow, jazzy side of his spectrum.

The members have been Cyro Baptista − percussion; Joey Baron − drums; Trevor Dunn − acoustic and electric Bass; Marc Ribot − guitars; Jamie Saft − keyboards and Kenny Wollesen − vibes, chimes, glockenspiel.  For A Dreamer’s Christmas, Mike Patton (notorious for making a racket) sings some delightful vocals on 2 songs.

The album contains eight tracks: six traditional and two original Zorn compositions.

“Winter Wonderland” is played on vibes.  There’s a cool repeating bass signature that bounces the song along and a groovy jazzy keyboard background before the electric guitar comes in to play the main riff.

“Snowfall” is just lovely with more vibes and a delicate guitar and twinkling piano.  There’s even some hand drums to add some cool percussive effects.  the songs is primarily a lovely piano instrumental.  I don’t understand why I don’t know this song.  Why isn’t it on other Christmas albums?  It’s lovely.

“Christmastime is Here” is, indeed, the song from The Peanuts movie.  The main melody is guitar and vibes and this version is possibly more entertaining than the original.

“Santa’s Workshop” is a John Zorn composition.  It’s faster and a bit more upbeat than the others, but with a really groovy riff and some fun vibes to match it.  There’s also a fun keyboard solo.  This song first in perfectly with the others.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”  begins with a quiet and somber piano playing the melody.  It’s a lovely piece with some fun piano noodling.

“Let It Snow” starts with a bell and a rather funky bass line.  After a minute or so the guitar takes over to play the main melody.  There’s some weird and wacky 70s keys playing around in the background that you don’t really notice right away.

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” is the first odd-sounding track on the disc.  The guitar is plucked and the percussion seems to be all kinds of small wooden things clattering around.  I assume someone is playing the rims of glasses as well.  That goes on for a minute before the piano comes in and it gets very jazzy (with an upright bass).  It sounds a lot like the kind of piano playing featured in Charlie Brown.  The end of the song features a kind of whispered, slightly sinister take on the lyric by Patton.

“Magical Sleigh Ride” is the second Zorn original.  It is a swift-moving treat–fluid bass, repeated guitar licks and solos, and a fast percussion beat before the melody kicks in.  After about 2 minutes there’s a pretty wild and rollicking guitar solo.  It’s the most intense thing on the record (which isn’t very intense really) but all along the jazzy pianos and percussion remains.  Its followed by a similarly exuberant vibes solo.  It’s another great Christmas song and fits in perfectly with the others.

“The Christmas Song” returns to the traditional with a lovely, quiet piano rendition of the song and a nice vocal delivery from Mike Patton.  Patton is in perfectly deep-voiced crooner mode and it suits everything perfectly.  There’s a lengthy piano solo in the middle and then Patton finishes the song.

The disc ends with everyone wishing us a Merry Christmas.

It is a surprising and wonderful Christmas album worthy of addition to everyone’s collection.

[READ: November 26, 2017] The Crown of Fire

This is the fourth and final book in the Copernicus series.  There is no third or fourth mini book (I wonder why there wasn’t at least at third one).

I found this book to be exhausting and depressing.   And that’s because for the most part that’s how the characters felt–exhausted and depressed.  I also felt more exhausted by the series than I apparently felt after book three.  I thought I had stopped because I was burnt out on the series, but that’s not the impression I get from reading my post.  But this book did get very dark for most of its 500+ pages.

Lily and Darrell are together by themselves and they are fleeing once again.  They eventually find someone who will help them leave the country in a cargo ship–two weeks in a tiny hold by themselves.  Even Darrell who is still crazy about Lily finds it a bit much.

Back in the other part of the world, Becca Wade and Sara have just gotten a message from Roald.  But it turns out to be a trap. (more…)

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peach6SOUNDTRACK: BOB MOULD-Workbook (1989).

workbI actually wrote this while reading Bob Mould’s book, I assumed I attached it to something and then wrote about Mould’s second disc Black Sheets of Rain.  And now I see that I never attached this to anything.

This is Mould’s solo debut, an album that I think of as being a mellow acoustic album.  And it is, kind of, at least if you go by the opening song, “Sunspots” a  beautiful little acoustic guitar instrumental.  And the rest of the instrumentation on the record includes strings, which are prominent on “Wishing Well.”  Although the song rocks a lot harder than I remember–especially the rollicking solo which has some real screaming guitars and angst in it. It sticks out a bit in the album because most of the album is more along the lines of “Heartbreak a Stranger”–opening with a gentle pretty acoustic guitar and Bob’s emotional voice (and really nice harmonies).

And then comes “See a Little Light” Mould’s first solo hit (and a big one at that).  It’s bright and has great harmonies.  There’s strings which really accentuate the song and a few moments which even now all these years later give me chills. “Poison Years” has more of that acoustic vibe but it brings in a big chorus (oh his harmonies!) and a harsh guitar solo (and a chilling final note)–a great song all around.

“Sinners and Their Repentances” is a minor key masterpiece in which Mould’s voice seems like the main instrument.  “Brasilia Crossed with Trenton” is a six and a half-minute song.  (This album is full of long songs actually–which comes as something of a surprise given Mould’s past success with three-minute pop songs–three of these are over 5 minutes and two are over 6!).  “Compositions for the Young and Old” is a great song all around.  “Lonely Afternoon” has some Hüsker Dü elements.   “Dreaming I Am” has a great mid-song riff (which sounds like a mandolin) and there’s something so great about the chorus.

“Whichever Way the Wind Blows’ ends the disc with a loud abrasive guitar sound. And his singing is practically inaudible shouting.   It sounds angry and has a rough riff and loud guitars.  At nearly 7 minutes it’s quite the cathartic ending.  It’s a strange ending to such a gentle disc, but maybe Mould wanted to show that he hadn’t gone entirely soft.  It’s an amazing debut and an auspicious start to his solo career.

[READ: April 21, 2013] “Last Supper”

As I mentioned, this issue of Lucky Peach is about the apocalypse.  So it’s only fitting that one of the two stories be about a Last Supper.  The story is a series of letters from Adrian to Crowley.

Adrian invites Crowley over for a special meal that his mother is making in honor of the Pope and his Last Tweets of the Apocalypse.  Adrian explains that her mother is a huge fan of Crowley’s work and would love it if he could come to this meal.  There is an enclosed (grotesque) picture of a pig which Adrian says they will be serving and, although it looks like pig, it is not made of pig at all.

Crowley demurs this invitation–he is extremely reticent to eat anything that is not what it purports to be (he had a bad experience once).  But he wishes them well. (more…)

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pope.jpgSOUNDTRACK: Big Bad Love [Soundtrack] (2002).

bigbad.jpgSomehow, I came upon a free copy of this CD. I hadn’t really listened to it at all, save for the Tom Waits songs (which turned up on Orphans anyhow). But I listened to it the other day and it’s a really good collection of unorthodox/noisy blues. I’m not a huge fan of the blues, but I can get into short bursts of it. The R.L. Burnside songs are lots of fun, as is the Junior Kimbrough piece. And, there’s a great piece by T-Model Ford called “She Asked Me So I Told Her” which seems to consist entirely of the lyrics, “So she asked me, so I told her, why I’m here” over a very raucous blues riff. There’s also some nice instrumentals by Tom Verlaine & Kronos Quartet.

It’s not the kind of thing I’d listen to a lot, and I’ve no idea what the movie is about, but I think it fills a niche in my collection.

[READ: October 22, 2007] How to Dress for Every Occasion by the Pope.

This is a silly book, as you might gather from the title. The illustrations are quite amusing (and seem to be of Pope Benedict, rather that John Paul II–unless they’re actually Dick Cheney–that sneer is pretty hard to decipher.) (more…)

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