Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rock This Bitch!!

Ben Folds has captured my heart yet again!

I go through periods where my Ben Folds admiration peters off. His albums were on high rotation at my house for a little while, but in general his songs are very hit and miss. I love the songs of his that I like, but am completely indifferent to those of his I don't.

I've just come back from his Melbourne gig with the MSO, and that has completely changed my view on all the songs I thought I hated. Literally, any Ben Folds song that I previously didn't like he put in the playlist for the evening, but with the orchestra, and his enthusiasm it gave those songs a brand new lease on life. He was passionate, fun, quirky, and in all ways the most talented piano player I've ever seen - for his style of music at least.

If you get a chance to see this gig, if he hasn't come to your city yet (and there's an extra matinee show announced for Melbourne on Sunday, as well as the performance on Saturday for those of you interested) do! It is one of the most amasing things you will ever see, and completely unlike any 'rock' concert you have ever been to.

Ben Folds, you are a god!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Nacho Libre


This is of course Jack Black's new film. I saw it last night with a few friends, and I have to say it left me vaguely confused. I didnt' know quite how I felt about it when it ended. I couldn't even decide if it was funny or just plain silly.

The basic premise is this: The story revolves around Nacho (Black), an orphan with no skills, who is a cook — and a bad one — at the monastery where he was raised.

Nacho wants to earn money to buy better ingredients so he can cook better meals for the orphans and priests — as well as the newly arrived Sister Encarnacion.

Nacho decides to become a wrestler.

The humour in it is very juvenile, and Jack Black actually seems like he's holding back. There are moments when he starts singing where the true Jack Black comedy shines through, and at those points I was in stitches; for the rest of the film however I laughed mainly in the hope that there was going to be more. It has nothing of the black, mature, yet deprecating wit that made Napoleon Dynamite such a great hit, and this film only goes to show that cult classics happen by accident, and can't be made. Instead of playing on cliches and stereotypes it simply reinforced them, but in a juvenile and predicatble way. The cinematography didn't hang together, and the plot wasn't engaging enough to keep you interested. This is one of the only films where I got half way through and actually thought that I'd like it to end.

All in all a disappointing film, and I would only give it 2 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Sound Adults Can't Hear

The 'Mosquito' sonic deterrent device was installed by the Wyvern Theatre in Swindon, England in an attempt to stop groups of up to 100 youngsters from gathering around Theatre Square.

It was named the 'Mosquito' because the sound resembles that of a buzzing insect. And it works by emitting a harmless ultra sonic tone that generally can only be heard by people aged 25 and under. In trials, it has proven that the longer someone is exposed to the sound, the more annoying it becomes.

School children have now turned it to their own ends by making it into a ringtone that can be used in class, and can't be heard by their teachers. Damn the man!! :D

As we get older, we lose the ability to hear sounds within a higher frequency. The ringtone is around the 17khz mark, and most ears over 25 can no longer hear anything over 13khz; although, like any rule there are exceptions.

Listen to the sound
here and let me know if you can hear it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Hungarian Suicide Song


Most of you may not know that my favourite song in the world is a song called "Gloomy Sunday" by the Hungarian composer Rezso Seress. Forget the fact that it's a damn depressing song, and you'll realise just how hauntingly beautiful it is. There are dozens of versions of it, and each remains individual yet beautiful. One of the prettiest is the version by Sarah Brightman on her record La Luna. Download it if you get a chance. Another really good one is Billie Holiday's. For those of you who have seen the film "The Man Who Cried" with Christina Ricci and Johnny Depp you might recognise it as being the song she sings on the ship at the end.

It is only later that I learned of the urban legend surrounding the song itself. It's largely untrue (although many British and American radio stations did refuse to give it air time because of how depressing it was) but it makes a damn good story anyway.



g l o o m y s u n d a y

o v e r t u r e t o d e a t h


D. P. MacDonald

In February of 1936, Budapest Police were investigating the suicide of a local shoemaker, Joseph Keller. The investigation showed that Keller had left a suicide note in which he quoted the lyrics of a recent popular song. The song was "Gloomy Sunday".
The fact that a man chose to quote the lyrics of a little-known song may not seem very strange. However, the fact that over the years, this song has been directly associated with the deaths of over 100 people is quite strange indeed.


Following the event described above, seventeen additional people took their own lives. In each case, "Gloomy Sunday" was closely connected with the circumstances surrounding the suicide.
Among those included are two people who shot themselves while listening to a gypsy band playing the tune. Several others drowned themselves in the Danube while clutching the sheet music of "Gloomy Sunday". One gentleman reportedly walked out of a nightclub and blew his brains out after having requested the band to play "The Suicide Song".


The adverse effect of "Gloomy Sunday" was becoming so great that the Budapest Police thought it best to ban the song. However, the suppression of "Gloomy Sunday" was not restricted to Budapest, nor was its seemingly evil effects. In Berlin, a young shopkeeper hung herself. Beneath her feet lay a copy of "Gloomy Sunday".
In New York, a pretty typist gassed herself leaving a request that "Gloomy Sunday" should be played at her funeral.


Many claim that broken romances are the true causes of these suicides. However, this is debatable. For instance, one man jumped to his death from a seventh story window followed by the wailing strains of "Gloomy Sunday". He was over 80 years old! In contrast to this, a 14 year old girl drowned herself while clutching a copy of "The Suicide Song".
Perhaps the strongest of all was the case of an errand boy in Rome, who, having heard a beggar humming the tune, parked his cycle, walked over to the beggar, gave him all his money, and then sought his death in the waters beneath a nearby bridge.


As the death toll climbed, the B.B.C. felt it necesssary to suppress the song, and the U.S. network quickly followed suit. A French station even brought in psychic experts to study the effects of "Gloomy Sunday" but had no effect on the ever climbing death rate.
The composer, Rezsô Seress, who in 1933 wrote "Gloomy Sunday", was as bewildered as the rest of the world. Although he wrote the song on the breakup of his own romance, he never dreamed of the results which would follow. However, as fate would have it, not even Seress could escape the song's strange effects.


At first he had a difficult time getting someone to publish the song. Quite frankly, no one would have anything to do with it. As one publisher stated, "It is not that the song is sad, there is a sort of terrible compelling despair about it. I don't think it would do anyone any good to hear a song like that."

However, time passed and Seress finally got his song published. Within the week "Gloomy Sunday" became a best seller, Seress contacted his ex-lover and made plans for a reunion. The next day the girl took her life through the use of poison. By her side was a piece of paper containing two words: "Gloomy Sunday".

When questioned as to just what he had in mind when he wrote the song, Seress replied, "I stand in the midst of this deadly success as an accused man. This fatal fame hurts me. I cried all of the disappointments of my heart into this song, and it seems that others with feelings like mine have found their own hurt in it."

As the months went by and the excitement died down, the B.B.C. agreed to release "Gloomy Sunday", but only as an instrumental. This version was later made into a record. A London policemen heard this particular arrangement being repeatedly and endlessly played in a nearby apartment. He considered this to be worthy of investigation. Upon entering the apartment, he found an automatic phonograph playing and replaying the tune. Next to it was a woman, dead from an overdose of barbiturates. It was this incident which prompted the B.B.C. to reimpose its ban on the song. To this day it has not been lifted.

As a final note, "Gloomy Sunday" was introduced to the U.S. market in 1936. However, getting it recorded was no easy matter. Bob Allen and members of the Hal Kemp band were the first to record "Gloomy Sunday" in the U.S. They were noticeably affected while making the record. It took twenty-one takes to turn out a record good enough to publish. Few people who have ever listened to the melody and lyrics fail to confess that it has a horribly depressing effect.
Finally, it is not surprising to note that Rezsô Seress, the composer of "Gloomy Sunday", committed suicide in 1968.



This article was stolen by http://www.phespirit.info/gloomysunday/article_01.htm from the 'JUSTIN AND ANJI' web site; it was originally published to augment their now defunct 'Gloomy Sunday Radio Show'.
In the introduction they say:


This message was forwarded to us by a visitor to our web site. There is some good historical information on the song intermixed with some information of more dubious repute. The accounts begin to take on the feel of a satiric e-mail chain letter after a while, but then, sometimes truth is indeed stranger than fiction. The story does read a little bit like the script of a segment from Strange Universe! So take this with a grain of salt ..... The text was [supposedly] quoted from the Cincinatti Journal of Ceremonial Magick, vol I, no I, printed in 1976.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Just a quick introduction to music that rocks!

It has recently come to my attention that there is a lot of music out there that people are unaware of. It may seem pretty straight forward; especially to a lot of my close friends, since we generally share CDs anyway, but for the rest of the world, I've decided to compile a short list of bands that are on high rotation at my place at the moment.

First off The Butterfly Effect. Why are they first? Because they rock. And I mean, seriously rock!

The Butterfly Effect are a hard rock band from Brisbane, Australia. The members of the band are: Clint Boge, vocals; Ben Hall, drums; Glenn Esmond, bass; and Kurt Goedhart, guitar.

Discography:

  • The Butterfly Effect EP (2001)
  • Begins Here (2003) #23 Australia
  • Imago (2006) #2 Australia


TV on the Radio is a New York City

avant-garde indie-rock vocal band formed in 2001 whose music spans genres as diverse as free jazz, a cappella/doo-wop, psychedelia, trip-hop and electro.

If you look at some of my previous posts you'll see that I went to their gig. Their music is hauntingly beautiful at the same ti me as being powerful. I hightly recommend them.

The core members are Tunde Adebimpe (vocals/loops), Kyp Malone (vocals/guitars/loops) and David Andrew Sitek (music/guitars/keys/loops) Jaleel Bunton (drums) & Gerard Smith (bass). They record and play live with their circle of friends, including Katrina Ford of the band Celebration (vocals), Martin Perna (flute/bari & alto sax) of Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra and Nick Zinner (guitar) of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Discography:
  • OK Calculator [Demo LP] (2002), self-released
  • Young Liars [EP] (2003), Touch and Go Records
  • Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes [LP] (2004), Touch and Go Records
  • New Health Rock [EP] (2004), Touch and Go Records
  • Return to Cookie Mountain [LP] (2006), Interscope

Third Eye Blind (frequently abbreviated 3eb) is an alternative rock band formed in the early 1990s and my favourite band of all time. Most of you will know their single Semi Charmed Kind of Life and will have thought it was a bit of fun, but don't let that fool you. That is not one of their best songs, so I challenge you all to have a listen and see what you think. Blue has the best individual songs, but Out of the Vein is a better album as a whole. The original members were Stephan Jenkins (singer, song writer, electric guitar) - and ex boyfriend to Charlize Theron for those of you interested - , Kevin Cadogan (guitar), Brad Hargreaves (drums), and Arion Salazar (bass guitar). The band's line-up changed shortly after the release of their second album Blue — at which point guitarist Kevin Cadogan was released from the band under circumstances that still elicit controversy among fans. Third Eye Blind's current line-up is Stephan Jenkins (vocals, electric guitar), Arion Salazar (bass guitar), Brad Hargreaves (drums), and Tony Fredianelli (electric guitar). For a time the band also featured future Smash Mouth drummer Michael Urbano.
Discography:

  • Third Eye Blind (1997)
  • Blue (1999)
  • Out of the Vein (2003)
  • A Collection (2006)

Joydrop was a Canadian alternative rock band in the late 1990s and early 2000s from Hamilton Ontario. The band consisted of vocalist Tara Slone, guitarist Thomas Payne, bassist Tom McKay and drummer Tony Rabalao.

The band released two CDs, and had notable chart hits in Canada with "Beautiful" and "Sometimes Wanna Die".

I don't know how well known they are, but I only heard of them through a friend, so if you get a chance, listen in. Especially to their album Metasexual.

Discography:

  • Metasexual (1999)
  • Viberate (2001)

Nightmares on Wax is DJ and musician George Evelyn (born c. 1970), also known as DJ EASE (Experimental Sample Expert), from Leeds, UK. The musical style is a combination of electronic sounds and hip hop beats, often regarded as "Chill Out". Nightmares on Wax's music is released on Warp Records.

Evelyn got his start in the music industry through an interest in hip hop and on joining a local breakdancing crew, he met Kevin Harper and together they released their first album in 1991, a techno-edged record entitled A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter.

Evelyn went on to run The Headz Club in Leeds, and started his own record label, Poverty records. The next Nightmares on Wax release was not until Smoker's Delight in 1995, by which time Harper had left to pursue a career in DJing, reducing the band to a solo project. Evelyn began to record more of his trademark chill-out tracks, and brought in a variety of musicians and vocalists, giving the music a greater variety as well as allowing him to take the band out on tour.

In 2000, Evelyn assisted in the comeback of hip hop pioneers De La Soul, when they appeared on the EP The Sound of N.O.W.. Although De La Soul have maintained a steady, loyal and strong fanbase since the beginning of their career some have argued that Evelyn's EP helped push them back into the public eye.

In 2005, Evelyn started his own independent record label, Wax On.


Discography:

  • A Word Of Science: The First And Final Chapter (September 16, 1991)
  • Smokers Delight (September 25, 1995)
  • Carboot Soul (December 4, 1999)
  • DJ-Kicks: Nightmares on Wax (October 2, 2000) (DJ mix album)
  • Mind Elevation (September 2, 2002)
  • Late Night Tales: Nightmares on Wax (May 12, 2003) (DJ mix album)
  • In a Space Outta Sound (March 7, 2006)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

In Loving Memory of Colin Thiele


Well, everyone in the world knows that Steve Irwin died a few days ago. The media has turned it into as big a spectacle as he was during his lifetime. While I send my condolences to his family, I really, truly believe that the loss of Steve Irwin pales next to the veritably unmentioned man who also died on the same day...

Colin Milton Thiele AC (16 November 1920 – 4 September 2006) was an Australian author and educator. He was renowned for his award-winning children's fiction, most notably for the novel Storm Boy.

Thiele was born in Eudunda in South Australia. He was educated at several country schools including Kapunda High School before studying at the University of Adelaide. He served with the Australian Army and RAAF attaining the rank of corporal during World War II and later taught in high schools and colleges.

Thiele published almost 80 books, which often described life in rural Australia, particularly the Coorong region of coastal South Australia. Several of his books have been made into movies, including Sun on the Stubble, The Fire in the Stone, Blue Fin and Storm Boy.

In 1977 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (the highest level of the award) for his services to literature and education.

Thiele suffered from severe arthritis and left South Australia to settle in warmer conditions near Dayboro, Queensland, where he spent his last years. Thiele died from heart failure in a Brisbane hospital on 4 September 2006 , aged 85.

He was survived by his wife, Rhonda, two children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

9/11 Conspiracy?


Anyone who doesn't know the website http://maddox.xmission.com should. He is one of the funniest guys out there. He basically pulls fun at every member of society without bias, with the precision of a surgeon.

I really appreciated his newest article on the supposed 9/11 conspiracy that was told to us by the "documentary" Loose Change.

Check out what Maddox had to say about it here. I promise it will be worth the read.