Drive Time Selections
: Where I pick a random release from my collection and perform a close listening, or as close of one as I can achieve while driving to and from work :)

Artist:Animal Logic
Name:Animal Logic
Label: I.R.S., Virgin
Track Listing:

  1. There’s A Spy (In The House Of Love)
  2. Someday We’ll Understand
  3. Winds Of Santa Ana
  4. I’m Through With Love
  5. As Soon As The Sun Goes Down
  6. I Still Feel For You
  7. Elijah
  8. Firing Up The Sunset Gun
  9. Someone To Come Home To
  10. I’m Sorry Baby (I Want You In My Life)

From Wikipedia:

Animal Logic is the debut album by Animal Logic.


Animal Logic is the kind of band that could’ve existed only in the late ’80s — a cross between fusion, art rock, and album rock, all blended with a slight eye on the charts. Since Stewart Copeland and Stanley Clarke provided the musical backbone of the project, there’s little question that the outfit had the potential to be a dynamic exploration of the middle ground between adventurous rock and jazz.

From me:

In addition to exploring jazz fusion, Animal Logic throws in more than a healthy dosage of modern (as of the late eighties) Country / Western, and it seems to me that the recording works best when there is a balance between the three distinct genres. Songs in which one attempts to predominate – I’m thinking of “I Still Feel For You” (which tries to be straight-out rocker), “Elijah” (Country) and “I’m Sorry Baby (I Want You In My Life)” (Jazz) – tend to come out forced and more than a bit muddled. Gems here include “Winds Of Santa Ana”, “As Soon As The Sun Goes Down” and “Someday We’ll Understand”; with its lilting Reggae beat almost sounds like it could have been written in the off-hours by The Police. Sorry to say that Deborah Holland is the weak link in this trio; her vocals can best be described as “adequate” and her songwriting fails to consistently live up to the sheer raw talent that her bandmates provide. Bassist Stanley Clarke is a powerhouse, providing a solid, yet at times deft, foundation, while drummerStewart Copeland is both delicate and deliberate.

AV Slug:
The only official music video that I could find from this release was There’s a Spy In The House of Love, which is a shame because there are much more deserving songs here, even though this one serves as a pretty decent introduction to Animal Logic’s overall oeuvre. There is a pretty good live rendition of Firing Up the Sunset Gun, one song that I wished would have been made into an official video.

Here we are at the Inaugural Edition of the Song of the Month feature, which is really just like the old Song of the Week, but with two distinct differences ;)

Normally, there would be more (I think) entries, but I’m still working out a few kinks in the Python Algorithm that I use to pick and list the songs; for this month, I’ve emptied out the remainder of the choices that were originally slated for 2015.

  • Rush: Earthshine
  • Jennifer Brown: Alive
  • The Black Eyed Peas: Don’t Lie
  • Wax Audio: Maiden Goes To Bollywood
  • Dave Mathew’s Band: Everyday
  • Gnarl’s Barkley: Run
  • MCAB: Smiling for my Honey
  • Ministry: WKYJ
  • Mitch Moses’ Acid Blues Project: Lonely Blues
  • Throwing Muses: Soon

The best thing about having more songs in contention is the fact that I can choose more winners each month! For this month, I’m going with songs that could be polar opposites- Earthshine, by Rush, and my own Smiling for my honey.

Every month this year, I will try to pair a drink with one of my favorite releases. This month, I begin with the drink / CD that inspired this series, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, paired with…Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew, which is a handcrafted brew that was made especially for the 40th annivesary release of the Jazz Classic.

Artist: Miles Davis
Release: Bitches Brew
Year / Label: 1970 / Columbia
Track Listing:

  1. Pharaoh’s Dance
  2. Bitches Brew
  3. Spanish Key
  4. John McLaughlin
  5. Miles Runs the Voodoo Down
  6. Sanctuary

From WikiPedia:

Bitches Brew is a studio double album by jazz musician Miles Davis, released on March 30, 1970 on Columbia Records. The album continued his experimentation with electric instruments previously featured on his critically acclaimed In a Silent Way album. With the use of these instruments, such as the electric piano and guitar, Davis rejected traditional jazz rhythms in favor of a looser, rock-influenced improvisational style.

Bitches Brew was Davis’s first gold record;[2] it sold more than half a million copies.[3] Upon release, it received a mixed response, due to the album’s unconventional style and experimental sound. Later, Bitches Brew gained recognition as one of jazz’s greatest albums and a progenitor of the jazz rock genre, as well as a major influence on rock and funk musicians.[4] The album won a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 1971.[5] In 1998, Columbia Records released The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions, a four-disc box set that included the original album as well as the studio sessions through February 1970.

From the AllMusic review:

Thought by many to be among the most revolutionary albums in jazz history, Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew solidified the genre known as jazz-rock fusion. The original double LP included only six cuts and featured up to 12 musicians at any given time, some of whom were already established while others would become high-profile players later, Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Airto, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Don Alias, Bennie Maupin, Larry Young, and Lenny White among them. Originally thought to be a series of long jams locked into grooves around keyboard, bass, or guitar vamps, Bitches Brew is actually a recording that producer Teo Macero assembled from various jams and takes by razor blade, splice to splice, section to section. “Pharaoh’s Dance” opens the set with its slippery trumpet lines, McLaughlin’s snaky guitar figures skirting the edge of the rhythm section and Don Alias’ conga slipping through the middle. Corea and Zawinul’s keyboards create a haunted, riffing modal groove, echoed and accented by the basses of Harvey Brooks and Holland. The title cut was originally composed as a five-part suite, though only three were used. Here the keyboards punch through the mix and big chords ring up distorted harmonics for Davis to solo rhythmically over, outside the mode. McLaughlin’s comping creates a vamp, and the bass and drums carry the rest. It’s a small taste of the deep voodoo funk to appear on Davis’ later records. Side three opens with McLaughlin and Davis trading fours and eights over a lockstep hypnotic vamp on “Spanish Key.” Zawinul’s lyric sensibility provides a near chorus for Corea to flit around in; the congas and drummers juxtapose themselves against the basslines. It nearly segues into the brief “John McLaughlin,” featuring an organ playing modes below arpeggiated blues guitar runs. The end of Bitches Brew, signified by the stellar “Miles Runs the Voodoo Down,” reflects the influence of Jimi Hendrix with its chunky, slipped chords and Davis playing a ghostly melody through the funkiness of the rhythm section. It seemingly dances, becoming increasingly more chaotic until it nearly disintegrates before shimmering into a loose foggy nadir. The disc closes with “Sanctuary,” completely redone here as a moody electric ballad that was reworked for this band while keeping enough of its integrity to be recognizable. Bitches Brew is so forward-thinking that it retains its freshness and mystery in the 21st century. [Some reissues add “Feio,” recorded in early 1970 with much of the same band.]

Random thoughts:

  • About the Beer – Rich, smooth, kinda oaky, hints of sweetness – comes from the Tej – and chocolate. Definitely a high-end brew, almost a desert beer.
  • Pharaoh’s Dance – Kinda random. Heavily processed – really can tell! A really soft open, IMHO.
  • Bitches Brew – I like how the bass refrain is played at different volumes while Miles & co. dance around it- totally gets you into it!
  • Spanish Key – Definitely a fusion track – rock influence super strong here. One of the tightest grooves that I’ve heard ever here. Nice. Probably the best track in the release.
  • John McLaughlin – What! A sub-ten-minute songs? Would be a throwaway if it weren’t for the fact that John McLaughlin is such a kick-ass guitarist!
  • Miles Runs the Voodoo Down – Yeah – a strong groove here. Makes ya wanna swing a bit – very nice and mellow. Another really strong track.
  • Sanctuary – A nice, smooth ending to the effort – pretty calming and relaxing, amidst the occasional bouts of frenzy. This track is why I am electing not to include the bonus track that comes with many later releases of this double-album.

AV Slug: You can listen to the entire release as a YouTube playlist here.

This past Saturday, Carrie held a Tea Party Social for about a dozen or so of her friends. The event featured tea sandwiches, bon-bons, cookies (even a gluten-free offering), champagne, and three (or four, I cannot remember) different types of teas, including one kick-ass offering of Earl Grey obtained from Market Spice. In her usual excellent manner, Carrie made just about everything herself; The only thing she didn’t do was bake the bread for the sandwiches, but that was partly due to  the fact that Gabe got sick on what was supposed to be baking day, and Carrie had to watch over him. I had a chance to sample most of the offerings, and, as usual, they were very good.

In order to give her the space and wherewithal to pull off this feat, I took  the boys on an overnight to lower Queen Anne, where we spent the night at a hotel. We walked over on Friday night to the Armory and had our usual meal of Mod Pizzas, went back to the hotel room, slept, then got up for breakfast, after which we went to the Pacific Science Center to look at the model train exhibit before heading home, by which time the social had concluded.

I’m happy and proud of the fact that in Carrie I have found a person who shares my love of (and even exceeds me in) not just good food and drink,  but the pride taken in making said excellent foods from scratch. I always like it when we are able to show off our talents in such to others :)

(cue song by Queen, whose said video is a tad NSFW)

Last weekend, I rode my bicycle to the market and (most of the way) back. Up until that point, it had been over a year since I had ridden my bike, and well over ten years since I had done so seriously; I used to ride my bike to and from school when I lived in Florida, but evidently I was getting too much exercise and fresh air, and a kind neighbor decided to remedy this by snipping the cable that I was using to secure my bike to one of the stanchions on my front porch and removing the offending machination from my presence.

My busy schedule prevents me from riding my bike on anything but an occasional basis, but it felt good to get out there and just ride. Riding downtown was very harrowing for me, but I’m sure that’s due to the fact that last week was the first time that I rode a bike in a truly urban setting. I’m hoping that, when the weather becomes a bit more conducive, I’ll be able to perhaps ride some of the longer trails in Seattle. Two possibilities include the Chief Sealth Trail and the Burke-Gilman trail.

Drive Time Selections: Where I pick a random release from my collection and perform a close listening, or as close of one as I can achieve while driving to and from work :)

Artist: Ali Farke Toure
Name: Ali and Toumani
Label:World Circuit
Track Listing

  1. Ruby
  2. Sabu Yerkoy
  3. Bé Mankan
  4. Doudou
  5. Warbé
  6. Samba Geladio
  7. Sina Mory
  8. 56
  9. Fantasy
  10. Machengoidi
  11. Kala Djula

From Wikipedia:

Ali and Toumani is a 2010 record by Malian musicians Ali Farka Touré on the guitar and providing vocals and Toumani Diabaté on the kora. The album was released after Touré’s death in 2006.

From the review on The Guardian:

To the untrained ear, too, the music on In the Heart of the Moon and its successor, Ali and Toumani, seems to exist in a kind of beatific dream state; lyrical, as only mostly instrumental music can be. West African music buffs will recognise tunes both ancient and modern reinterpreted with boldness and sagacity. On both albums, Touré’s supple guitar plays a sly chicken and egg game in which the African roots of the blues entwine with the echo of the American south. Diabaté then pours eloquent cascades of kora (a polyphonous 21-stringed instrument) over the top. These brilliant, beautiful albums are the very opposite of musicianly duels; anachronous in the best possible way.

From me:

One can easily slip into a dream state while listening to this recording, or, at the very least, a state of heightened introspection. The guitar work here is extremely intricate, and I found myself wondering at times exactly how many people there were playing these very detailed melodies. Compared to some of his earlier works, this could come across as being a little sparse and repetitive at times, but perhaps those are some of the qualities that endears this work to me.

This post marks the last post in the Song of the Week series. This is not due to my not having enjoyed writing this series – I have – nor me running out of material – I haven’t – but, rather, because I have a couple of other blogging initiatives that I would like to pursue next year, amongst them a couple of music-related monthly posts, writing a bit more about life as it happens, and spending a bit more time working on my open-source project and finishing the first draft of my novel.

I will still be posting about these randomly-selected songs; however it will not be on a weekly basis but rather a bi-weekly one for the duration of 2016.

Without further ado:

  • Fishbone: Faceplant Scorpion Backpinch
  • DJ Shadow: The Numbers Song
  • Siouxse and the Banshees: 92 Degrees
  • Public Enemy: 1 Million Bottlebags
  • The Stanley Clarke Trio With Hiromi & Lenny White: Bass Folk Song No. 5 & 6

And the final winner of the Song of the Week award for 2015 is, somewhat ironically (if you are reading this in the northern hemisphere) 92 Degrees by Siouxse and the Banshees.


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