Laurie Anderson – Big Science

I don’t know a lot about this album, except that I remember hearing O Superman years ago.  Lately, it’s become one of those recurring references.  Even before I heard that it was being rereleased, it seems like I kept hearing and reading hesuperman-11.gifr name and especially O Superman.  The song seems to have been given new significance since the September 11 attacks.  (It’s Sept 11 as I write this and that had nothing to do with my choosing Big Science.  But interesting anyway.)  Laurie Anderson herself seems like quite a piece of work. 

     “One of her most-cited performances, Duets on Ice, which she conducted in New York and other cities around the world, involved her playing violin along with a recording while wearing ice skates with the blades frozen into a block of ice; the performance ended only when the ice had melted away.”

Not bad.  I guess before Big Science she was known mainly for her performance art.  According to wiki, Big Science is musical segments from an 8-hour performance piece called United States Live.  Hmm…, I think I’ll stick to the 60 minute album. 

I searched for her on you tube, but didn’t find anything I wanted to post here.  O Superman might be the best song you’ve ever heard.  I hope the rest of this is just as good. 

Nina Nastasia – The Blackened Air

So I haven’t listened to this album at all yet. I haven’t really listened to any of her stuff all that much. But I like her voice. I guess that’s all there is to say, really. Oh yeah, she’s cool looking, I think:

nina nastasia

Anyway, pretty basic contemporary indie-folk pick (which is a kind of music I’ve really liked this past little while). I hope it works out.

ooooooh baby

oooooooh babyMy girlfriend’s sister asked me to dj her wedding.  It sounds like fun, but I’m looking at my list, and getting a little worried.  Even at its most upbeat, the music I like tends be to be pretty melancholy.  I need everyone to help me with this.  Try to come up with a few songs that would be good for a wedding.  I especially want some happy, danceable suggestions.  I know you were thinking Livin Thing, but you’re too late.  I already picked that one.

Thanks buds.

jim o’rourke eureka

if you haven’t heard of Jim O’Rourke then you haven’t been paying attention. Apparently he won a Grammy for producing Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. He also joined Sonic Youth on a few albums and eps. Oh yeah and he scored the movie Love Liza. i like that movie. Eureka, released by Drag City in 1999 was named after the 1984 Nicolas Roeg film of the same name. he named 3 more of his albums after Roeg films. you can read pitchforkmedia’s stupid review here. but don’t base your opinion on that idiots review. listen for yourself. i like this album a lot, but it is kind of all over the place. it’s both beautiful and strange.

david bowie – station to station

how many records did david bowie make in the seventies? eleven. and how many of them are totally awesome? i would say all of them except pin ups which is just a record of covers. many of us have the disadvantage of not being alive in the seventies, so we’ll never know the feeling of hitching a ride downtown on the trolley, stopping by the local record store, picking up the new david bowie record and then riding all the way back home before listening to it on our hi-fi systems. but i prefer now. since we now have instant access to almost all music ever recorded, we don’t have to wait for the next mind-blowing david bowie record, the record finds us when we’re ready for it.

station to station falls right after young americans but just before the berlin trilogy (low, “heroes” and lodger). due to a diet of red peppers, milk and cocaine, bowie doesn’t remember anything about recording this record. supposedly bowie had spent the year in a drug-terror sharing his home with egyptian artifacts, having his semen stolen by witches and receiving secret and possibly satanic messages from the rolling stones.

Tom Waits — Alice

I’m sorry about the delay. I just moved cross country and I simultaneously lost both of my computers. My pick for this week is Tom Waits’ Alice.

Alice seems like one of those albums that people own but have forgotten. I for one bought this album its first week in stores. I might have listened to it three times before forgetting it and subsequently loosing it. It was only the Alice theme that stuck with me as I was I racking my brain for ideas.

The songs on Alice were written for an avant-garde Robert Wilson opera performed at the Thalia Theatre in Hamburg, Germany in 1992. It is loosely based on the inner life of Lewis Carroll and his seeming obsession with the young Alice Liddell (who inspired Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass). He describes his work this way:

“Alice is adult songs for children, or children’s songs for adults. It’s a maelstrom or fever-dream, a tone poem, with torch songs and waltzes…an odyssey in dream logic and nonsense.”

Waits also sources his wife, Kathleen Brennan, as a major inspiration for the album. “Kathleen is my Alice,” said Waits. “We met on New Year’s Eve, 1980. We used to play a game called ‘Let’s Go Get Lost.’ She’d say ‘turn here, turn here…until we were lost. It’s kind of like writing songs together. In the studio, Kathleen will submerge herself in seven newspapers and a novel, and then at just the right time she’ll raise her head and make a remark that will become the eyes and ears of the song. Will and Ariel Durant said, ‘A book is like a quarrel. One word leads to another and may erupt irrevocably in blood or ink.’ That’s kind of like me and Kathleen writing. When we’re totally lost, we know we have something.”

On second listen, I’ve decided it’s a shame I lost this record. It’s everything you might expect from Waits collected into one album, crooning and madness. Much like the Alice books, at any moment anything could happen. Metacritic chose Alice as the best album of the 1990’s.

wynton kelly — kelly blue

wynton kelly was a jazz pianist from brooklyn that recorded mostly on blue note.  he was fantastic at accompaniment.  he was part of most of dizzy gillespie’s bands, he played with charles mingus early in mingus’ career, he backed dinah washington, sonny rollins, billie holiday, cannonball adderly, and paul chambers.  most notably, he spent four years in miles davis’ band and he can be heard on freddie freeloader on davis’ kind of blue.  he also played on one track of john coltrane’s giant steps, naima.  throughout this time he also recorded 14 of his own albums, many of which he recorded as part of the trio that backed miles davis from 1959 to 1963.  miles davis called him a cross between red garland and bill evans.

kelly1142sa.jpgkelly blue features wynton kelly on piano,  paul chambers on bass, and jimmy cobb on drums.  the 1st, 6th and 7th tracks also feature nat adderley on cornet, bobby jasper on flute, and benny golson on tenor saxophone.

track 6 and 7 are two versions of the same song by kelly.  the first and the last track are also original compositions while tracks 2,3,4, and 5 are wynton kelly renditions of some jazz standards.