Archive for the ‘Dice’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: KURSTIN x GROHL-“Rainy Day Women 12 & 35″ (The Hanukkah Sessions: Night Five” December 14, 2020).

   Producer Greg Kurstin (who I have not heard of) and Dave Grohl (who I have) decided that, rather than releasing a Christmas song this year, they would record eight covers of songs by Jewish artists and release them one each night for Hanukkah.

“With all the mishegas of 2020, @GregKurstin and I were kibbitzing about how we could make Hannukah extra-special this year. Festival of Lights?! How about a festival of tasty LICKS! So hold on to your tuchuses… We’ve got something special coming for your shayna punims. L’chaim!!”

The fifth night is a classic rock staple: a singalong from Bob Dylan.

So now everybody must get stoned (not in the Law of Moses sense) as we put some blood on this track: Rainy Day Women 12&35 by the immortal Bob Dylan!

Anyone who has listened to classic rock radio has heard this song a hundred times.  And if you heard it when you were younger, it made you chuckle because he says “everybody must get stoned.”  I have often wondered if there is any more depth to the song than that.  Also, why it is called “Rainy Day Women 12 & 35.”

Kurstin plays the piano on this one–a bouncy barroom piano rag.  He also adds harmonica.

Grohl plays drums and sings.  These drums are about the simplest thing that he’s ever played–a two beat snare and bass drum. He doesn’t try to sing like Dylan (that would be too obvious), although he definitely sings more like Dylan than himself.

It’s a straightforward song and both of them have a lot of fun with it.

[READ: December 15, 2020] “The Game”

This year, S. ordered me The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This is my fifth time reading the Calendar.  I didn’t know about the first one until it was long out of print (sigh), but each year since has been very enjoyable.  Here’s what they say this year

You know the drill by now. The 2020 Short Story Advent Calendar is a deluxe box set of individually bound short stories from some of the best writers in North America.

This year’s slipcase is a thing of beauty, too, with electric-yellow lining and spot-glossed lettering. It also comes wrapped in two rubber bands to keep those booklets snug in their beds.

As always, each story is a surprise, so you won’t know what you’re getting until you crack the seal every morning starting December 1. Once you’ve read that day’s story, check back here to read an exclusive interview with the author.

It’s December 15. Kris Bertin, author of Use Your Imagination!, would like to buy a vowel. [Click the link to the H&O extras for the story].

This story is about allowing fate to control your life.

The narrator and his friend Brad both work at a University.  They are both published authors although neither has written anything since they got the jobs.

Brad believed in “all that shit”–he got his fortune told,  did Tarot, I Ching, Ouija–he did it all. He believes that he is fucked on a cosmic level.  He is trying to bring his wife and child to where he is working, but he can’t afford to do so yet.

The narrator tries to convince him it’s all junk and says he’ll do a fortune for him right now.  But Brad knows that having any of that divination shit in your house is bad luck.  However, he does have a can of dice.

The dice are a large assortment of letters–from multiple Boggle games.  Brad tells him you roll the dice and you read what it says–not all the letters obviously, just what speaks to you.

The first roll produced


So they did.  The roof was beautiful–a lovely night, a lovely view, and a flat surface to keep rolling. (more…)

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december 11SOUNDTRACK: KAWABATA MAKOTO [河端一]-Astro Love & Infinite Kisses (2017).

Kawabata Makoto [河端一] is the guitarist and mastermind behind Acid Mothers Temple. The band is hugely prolific. But he still had time to record solo albums. Often times without any guitar.

This was a Kawabata solo LP, now available on bandcamp.

Astro Love is the first widely available solo release in several years from Kawabata, emerging from a period of relative quiet with this blockbuster Krautrock-flavored epic. On the whole, this a lovely and impressionistic record, the other side of Makoto’s outrageous works with Acid Mothers’ Temple. Taking cues from classics of the genre like Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra and Steve Hillage’s Rainbow Dome Music.  Cover by Japanese youth art sensation Okumura Mondo!

“Dos Nurages” (40:30) is the centerpiece of the record, a 41 minute hypnotic epic, with echoplex’d guitar anchoring a stream of expertly done glissando. It is a fast, pulsing Krautrock experience with a swirling drone and fast repeated notes on the echoing guitar.  The waves of sound fade in and out leaving just the echoing guitar and then replacing it with more of the same.

“Astro Love & Infinite Kisses” (17:41) is a darker drone, in the traditions of Kawabata’s INUI series of releases for VHF. Scraping sounds and pizzicato string melodies converge over the drone.  This melody runs throughout the song as the backing drones grow bigger and louder.  These drone progressions add a lot of tension.

“Woman From Dream Island” (18:22) finishes the record with a thick buzz of tamboura overlaid with trippy backwards guitar, before giving way to a gentle finger-picked acoustic coda.  The drone sounds like a sitar or a hurdy gurdy.  There also seems to be a kind of strummed sitar over the top.  At 13 minutes a lovely pizzicato melody is added on top.

This is certainly one of the less harsh solo creations that Kawabata has unveiled.

[READ: September 10, 2019] “The Story of Dice”

I haven’t read a lot by Ricky Jay.  I had heard of him just before he died and I’d like to see more of what he has done.  Especially if they are as interesting as this.

Jay has a book out called Dice: Deception, Fate & Rotten Luck.  It has pictures by Rosamund Purcell.  The book is 64 pages.  I have to wonder, since the book is full of lavish photos, if this essay is the entirety of the book.

This essays is divided into parts, with each small section focusing on a different aspect of the history of dice–which is more interesting than you might expect.

In “Dice in a Bottle” he talks about a pair of dice found in the Thames.  They were in a waterproof cage dating from the 15th century.  They had been drilled and weighted with quicksilver to the throwers advantage.  There were also “high men” dice that only had a 4, 5 and 6 and “low men” that only had a 1, 2 and 3. They were clearly tossed into the river by a hustler trying to avoid detection. (more…)

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