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Archive for the ‘The O.C.’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: IMOGEN HEAP-Tiny Desk Concert #859 (June 20, 2019).

I know of Imogen Heap from a song called “Come Here Boy” that she released way back in 1998.  It was stark and dramatic and somewhat sexual. In short, a quintessential 90s track.

Then she disappeared.

Well, she actually made an album with Guy Sigsworth as Frou Frou.  And then she disappeared a again.

Actually she didn’t disappear at all. She released a song, “Hide and Seek” which was mostly just her singing into a vocoder (and was quite transfixing.  It became a huge hit (which I didn’t know about because I didn’t watch The O.C.).

But in 2011, she started experimenting with these high tech gloves that allowed her to do all kinds of audio manipulation just by moving her hands.

She even says, some people know me because I am interested in block chain technology and some people know me for these gloves.  They don’t even know I make music they just know about the gloves.

But in this Concert, the gloves come last.

Up first is the first song that she and Guy Sigsworth have written together in 17 years.  “Guitar Song” (she tends to leave placeholder names, so that will likely change) is a quiet pretty song with a lot of, yes, guitar from Steve Jones.  It’s a simple melody fleshed out with keys from Sigsworth.  It’s really pretty and very catchy.

Up next is “Speeding Cars” which she says was a B-side that was never released as a single but which her fans really love.  Zoë Keating plays cello and Imogen says she has a terrific album of her own called Snowmelt and she hopes Keating gets her own Tiny Desk someday.  Tim Keiper is on drums and vast array of percussion.  Imogen is on the piano she has an excellent falsetto for this very pretty song.

Then she puts on the Mi.Mu gloves.

Imogen Heap not only has an enchanting voice but also the talents of a world-class audio engineer. She’s completely engrossed in a technology she’s helped to develop, one that makes it possible to alter sounds, create loops and compose tunes all with the wave of her glove-wearing hands. The high-tech gloves, now called Mi.Mu Gloves, were first shown at a TEDGlobal conference eight years ago. Her performances, with her sound-altering arm and hand gestures, resemble a summoning of spirits, a far more compelling live experience than what Imogen said used to look like she was standing behind her laptop checking email.

She gives a lengthy explanation and brief demonstration of these very cool loves.  Then it’s on to “Hide and Seek,” which she had re-imagined for the Broadway play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and which she says that if she doesn’t play people throw tomatoes at her.

It really sounds nothing like the original but it is amazing to watch her make the song with her hands waving around.

[READ: June 1, 2019] “The Maid’s Story”

This story introduces us to the Gersons, a family on vacation in a hotel. The husband is small and insignificant. But the wife is larger than life.  Both physically and in personality.

Hannah Kohl, the maid, was taken with Mr Gerson’s red brooch and when she went to clean the room later, she pocketed it.  As she did so, she promised herself it would be the last thing she ever took from a patron.

But Mrs Gershon walked in before the maid had time to close the jewelry box.  She told her it was costume and worth nothing but how could the maid have thought Mrs Gerson wouldn’t notice?

The maid is very apologetic.  She begs not to be ratted out and pleads with the woman.  She says her eight-year-old son has polio (“So did our president, but Eleanor doesn’t go around stealing jewelry).

Mrs Gerson asks where Hannah is from–Wroclaw Poland.  In the camp? No, her father moved them before.  And the hotel owner’s second cousin helped them.  Then Hannah did something unexpected–she opened up to Mrs Gerson about her travels and her life.

Mrs Gerson diagnosed her as a kleptomaniac (she compulsively stile things she didn’t need).  But she was mostly concerned about the boy, Isaac.  She insisted that he receive proper care for his polio  The doctor Hannah’d been going to was an elder in the old country synagogue who showed no evidence that he knew anything about medicine  He said the polio would clear up and go away on its own.

The new doctor was in Manhattan, a lengthy trip for Hannah and Isaac.  Mrs Gerson said they could stay with her family when they traveled in.

The doctor gave many recommendations and said that Mrs Gerson was paying for it all.

The Gerson children were uninterested in Isaac until he told them a story about people dying at the hotel.  They found his story (which was partly made up) to be engrossing.

After dinner Mr Gerson excused himself and left the two women to talk.  Mrs Gerson pulled Hannah on to her lap  She soothed her and stroked her head but soon the stroking became sexual.  This made Hannah very uncomfortable and she froze, enduring the touches which gave her revulsed pleasure.

Hannah and Issac went to Manhattan twice a month.  Each time, the same thing happened.  Mrs Gerson never said anything about it, but it happened nonetheless. It was especially upsetting because Hannah very much liked Mrs Gerson otherwise. She was funny and bold and seemed genuinely interested in their health and prosperity.  And Hannah would put p with anything for Isaac;s welfare.

Soon, Issac was deemed just about normal;–one more visit would do it.

One night, Mrs Gerson revealed that all of their money was her husband’s–her family is as poor as Hannah’s. Nobody least of all Mrs Gerson really understood why Bert chose her.  Plus, he always knew that Mrs Gerson liked girls better.

Bert wants things to be easy.  So Mrs Gerson does everything—raises the kids, takes care of family affairs.

The thing with wives is they can leave. Mothers can’t.

Finally Mrs Gerson declared that she loved Hannah.

Hannah grabbed her things and Isaac and left.

When Hannah returned to the hotel, she was called to the office and informed that a guest said that Hannah had stolen from them.  They had to let her go.

What could Hannah possibly do?

 

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10SOUNDTRACK: FATHER JOHN MISTY-Fear Fun (2012).

fjmI can’t get over how much I’ve been enjoying this album for the last two years.  Father John Misty is J Tillman from Fleet Foxes.

This disc is a gentle folk album with vaguely country leanings.  The arrangements are spare and yet the verses and choruses are so great to sing along to. “Funtimes in Babylon” has this infectious chorus: “I would like to abuse my lungs, smoke everything in sight with every girl I’ve ever loved.  Ride around the wreckage on a horse knee deep in mud.  Look out, Hollywood, here I come.”  “Nancy from Now On” has a great propulsive chorus with oohs and tinkling bells and pianos and Misty’s engaging falsetto.

I was introduced to this album by “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” which opens with the super catchy line, “Jeeeeesus Christ, girl.”  I love the big crashing drum sound he has here.  “I’m Writing a Novel” is a fun romp, with the great line “I’m writing a novel because it’s never been done before.”  “O I Long to Feel Your Arms Around Me” introduces a great organ sound.  It’s a full song at only 2 and a half minutes.

“Misty’s Nightmares 1 & 2” opens with a slide guitar and turns into a stomping song with more Ooohs and a great chorus.  “Only Son of the Ladiesman” has a great chorus with the fun couple: “I’m a steady hand, I’m a Dodgers fan.”  “This is Sally Hatchet” has cool guitar blasts and a great bridge.

“Well You Can Do It Without Me” is a countrified 2 minute stomper.  “Tee Pees 1-12” is a big stompin’ honkey tonk song with fiddles and slide guitar.  The disc ends with “Everyman Needs a Companion” a slow ballad with a great piano melody and a fun to sing along with verse and chorus.

I love the lyrics on this album, especially the song “Now I’m Learning to Love the War” a slow ballad with a great story:

Try not to think so much about
The truly staggering amount of oil that it takes to make a record
All the shipping, the vinyl, the cellophane lining, the high gloss
The tape and the gear

Try not to become too consumed
With what’s a criminal volume of oil that it takes to paint a portrait
The acrylic, the varnish, aluminum tubes filled with latex
The solvents and dye

Lets just call this what it is
The gentler side of mankind’s death wish
When it’s my time to go
Gonna leave behind things that won’t decompose

In addition to all of the great music on here, the CD packaging is fantastic with that great cover, done in a cardboard gatefold sleeve including two huge books full of words and drawings and lyrics and everything.  I’m really looking forward to his next release.

[READ: September 14, 2014] Grantland #10

Despite my being in the middle of reading several other things, I was looking for a short article to read the other night and grabbed my Grantland 10.  And, of course, once I started, I couldn’t stop. I put everything else on hold and blasted through this issue.

And so all of my loves and hates are the same with this issue.  I never know how anything they talk about nearly a year ago turned out, which stinks.  And yet I get so wrapped up in the writing that I don’t care.  I’m not sure what it is about the writing for Grantland that i enjoy so much.  It is casual but knowledgeable.  Often funny but not obnoxiously silly. And I suppose that now I feel like I’m in on all of the secret stuff they talk about so I’m part of the club.  I fear that if I were to ever go to the website I would get sucked into a black hole and never emerge.

I often wonder how they choose what goes into the book.  This issue has some new writers and the surprising absence of some regulars.  I wonder what went on there.  And as always, the book could use some editing and maybe actually listing the urls of the links that were once in the online version.  But I think I’m talking to deaf ears on that one.

This issue covers October-December 2013 (that’s ten-twelve months ago!  Some of this stuff feels ancient!)

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  9SOUNDTRACK: UNIVORE-“Vampire” (2013).

univoreI never watch the ads that come before Youtube videos.  But this came on as an ad and I was utterly mesmerized by it.

I didn’t even know what it was for.  Turns out that Univore is a band and “Vampire” is one of their songs.  The 1 minute ad video was actually the whole thing.

It’s got a simple buzzy synthesized riff, backing vocalists singing “Oh yea” when appropriate and an occasional deep voiced man saying “vampire.”  The video is of an older gentleman (who a little research suggests is Marco Casale) dressed like a vampire running around a small green space on a campus.  The whole video looks like it took 15 minutes to film.  It is weird and wonderful.

I still know nothing about Univore, which may be for the better, but I did enjoy this video.

[READ: April 6, 2014] Grantland #9

I’m surprised that there aren’t better cover images online for these books.  For #8 i had to use one with a big flash in the middle of it and this one is the illustration from the Grantland website.  The books are quite pretty so why uses these pale imitations?

So this issue proved to be a lot better about weird typos and “we just took this from the web and pasted it and never bothered to check to see if there was anything weird” problems.  So thanks for at least running it through Spellcheck.  The only other thing left is to either remove the lines that talk about attached links/images if they are not there or to include the url or make up a tiny url (but that would be actual work!).  Oh, and please make sure all of the footnotes are included.

I have given up on ever finding out how these things turned out several months after the fact–I’ll just happily live in ignorance of reality there.

This issue was taken from during basketball’s downtime which was a nice change (even though the still managed to talk about basketball).  There was more pop culture and some wonderful articles about team nicknames and mascots–something I absolutely love.  So this is one of my favorite issues overall.  (more…)

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