After having done “themed” posts for the past few weeks, I decided to let my nifty randmonizing script do its’ work and see what it came up with. If anything, I do like to listen to a good range of music :)

This week’s candidates:

  • Adam and the Ants: Picasso Visita El Planeta De Los Simios. I first got turned on to this group in the mid-80’s when I was in high school. I’ll thank MTV for introducing me to these guys.
  • Cat Stevens: Tuesday’s Dead. This comes directly from Carrie’s collection :)
  • Cocteau Twins: Heaven or Las Vegas. I remember hearing this song for the first time at a bar on South Street when I was in Phillidelphia almost 25 years ago. It’s something how time flies.
  • The Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out. A favorite from my childhood (way back when…)
  • DJ Shadow: Giving up the Ghost. I was turned onto DJ Shadow by a fellow classmate while I was attending the University of Washington. I acquired this release during a wi-fi sharing party towards the end of my first year in the Informatics program.
  • LTJ Bukem: Viewpoint. I discovered LTJ Bukem during my time in Hawaii. I was sent a sampler CD by the now-defunct Revolutions magazine that contained an abbreviated version of one of his songs, and I was so impressed I went to a music store in Aiea and bought the CD. It’s a shame that (at least to my knowledge) he’s only released a single CD’s worth of original material.
  • Ministry: Rio Grande Blood. This is another group that I started listening to when I was in the Navy.
  • Noah and the Whale: Five Years Time. I forget when and where I first heard this song – I’m thinking that it must have been fairly recently, within the past three or so years.

Winner:
This week I’m going with the more upbeat (sounding) Tuesday’s Dead by Cat Stevens.

Years ago, I composed a few songs with the aid of relatively easy-to-use mixing software. I’ve tried several different packages over the years, but my favorites are the EJay line and Garage Band.

* Smiling for my Honey – 1999, Hip Hop EJay
* Yesterday’s High – 1999, Hip Hip EJay
* Spartan Regressions – 2004, Garage Band
* Windam Hill – 2003, Garage Band
* An Interlude – 2003, Garage Band
* Cesamee Strasse – 2000, Hip Hop EJay
* Stewart Copeland’s Wrecked Toyshop – 1999, Techno EJay
* Les beux nuits d’ete – 2000, Hip Hop EJay

Winner:
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite from music that I’ve composed, but for today I’ll go with Cesamee Strasse.

I’m not really a big fan of Heavy Metal as a (meta) genre, but I do occasionally appreciate heavier songs that have an emphasis on melody vs. an aggressively pounding rhythm. This weeks selection includes a cross section of Industrial Metal, Hard Rock, Emo and Punk.

* Fishbone – Faceplant Scorpion Backpinch
* Ministry – NWO
* Rush – Peaceable Kingdom
* Midnight Oil – Redneck Wonderland
* Nine Inch Nails – Last
* Sugar – JC Auto
* Kings’ X – The Train
* Whole Wheat Bread – Miss Perfection

Winner:
This week, I’ll take a detour and nominate Whole Wheat Bread’s Miss Perfection as my fave for the week.

Sometimes I find myself in the mood to listen to music that is not necessarily by a certain artist but rather fits a certain broad genre. I have a few playlists that I have curated over the years that are just for those occasions. For this outing we’ll be taking a look at one of those, my dedicated Chillout playlist. Songs in this playlist can be classified as being anything from Downtempo. Chillout, Jazz, some of your slower pop songs and Ambient.

* Dzihan & Kamien – Basmati: I first started listening to this group after I heard a sampling of them on an iTunes radio station.
* Desmond Williams – Cadence: I discovered this artist after the Thievery Corporation did a remix of one of his songs and it was included in one of the free CDs that I used to get from the now-defunct Revolutions magazine.
* Tycho – Daydream & Sunrise Projector: I heard snippets of this artist during an NPR music interview and was pretty much hooked right away.
* Count Basic – Gotta Jazz: Count Basic was one of the artists that I downloaded during a massive MP3 sharing party that I attended during my final year at UW.
* Sound Tribe Sector 9 – Otherwise Formless: I found this group while sampling some of the music that Carrie had collected / aquiered throughout the years.
* The Orb – Star 6 & 7 8 9: Another artist that I discovered via Revolutions magazine circa 2
* LTJ Bukem – Point of View: Another artist that I discovered via Revolutions magazine circa 2000.
* Mr. Electric Triangle - The track formerly known as ?: I found this one on a compilation of Acid Jazz tracks that a friend from work gave me.

Winner:

I’ll go again with Tycho and the wonderful Daydream from his “Awake” recording.

(Revised, 20 February 2014). I had completely forgotten to add and consider “The track formerly known as?” during the original posting. Upon listening to that song, I decided that was to be my new fave for the week. So, consider this a twofer :)

I’ve never really been a big concert-goer; I can count the number of times that I’ve seen music live in my adult life on – well – two hands. By far and large, the majority of my concert-going experiences occurred whilst I was in the Navy. This weeks selection is dedicated to groups that I have seen live.

  • Van Halen – Summer Nights – Monsters of Rock, Washington DC, Summer of 1989
  • Living Colour - Elvis is Dead – Lollapalooza, Mountain View, CA 1991 and Tijuana, Mexico 1993
  • Lionel Ritchie – Dancing on the Ceiling – Seattle, WA 2014
  • Siouxsie & The Banshees – Oh Baby – Lollapalooza, Mountain View, CA 1991 and San Francisco, CA 1992
  • Dream Catcha – Hey How ya Doin’? – Whaling Days, Silverdale, WA, Summer 2004
  • Butthole Surfers – Who was in my room last night? – Lollapalooza, Mountain View, CA 1991
  • Nine Inch Nails – Terrible Lie – Lollapalooza, Mountain View, CA 1991
  • Rush – Ceiling Unlimited – Auburn WA, 2004

Favorite: This week, I’m going with Dream Catcha’s Hey How ya Doin. I caught this band during their self-funded US tour during Silverdale’s Whaling Days back in 2004, and as far as I know this five-member Australian outfit only released a single EP. Too bad, because I really had fun listening to their live set, and the EP was full of fun songs like this one.

For  the fifth (!) year in the row, I present to you what has become a proud tradition of the Anderson-Burrell household – the Gabe and Ollie birthday video! This year, instead of trying to come up with an obvious birthday related song(s), we turned instead to the two stars themselves and chose one of their favorite songs – “The Legend is True” by The Aquabats.

Enjoy!

Back in the mid-nineties towards the end of my two-year long stay in Italy (courtesy of the United States Navy), I became good friends with one of the people who worked in the same shop as I, Ryan. Our friendship started slowly and nondescriptly enough, but we soon found ourselves whiling away hours both on ship and off talking about many topics, literature amongst them. I happened to mention one day that I was an ardent reader of Science Fiction. Without blinking, he said offhandedly “Oh, fluff.” At the time, I didn’t have the ammunition with which to effectively counter the rather sidereal broadside that had been launched against my genre of choice; to be honest, I hadn’t even thought to do so at the time, there being other more worthwhile things to devote our combined acumen towards than.

Well over 15 years later, however, my thoughts drift back to that remark. What is it about Science Fiction (and by extension, Fantasy) that makes one so casually dismiss the two genres as being somehow vacuous in a literary sense? As genres go, one could fairly say that the percentage of “lesser” works in that particular oeuvre is equal to the percentage of such in others. Not every work in a particular genre can be defined as being substantial (even though what marks substance is purely subjective), nor should it be – but to insist that the  totality of a genre doesn’t quite measure up so some subjective mark, and never could – is a bit extreme.

As evidence for my point – not all Science Fiction and Fantasy should be casually dismissed as being “fluff,” I offer the following examples:

  • Isaac Asimov The Foundation trilogy
  • J.R.R Toleins’s The Lord of the Rings
  • Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, The Sirens of Titan, Cat’s Cradle and Galapagos
  • George Orwell’s 1984
  • Robert Heinlan’s Starship Troopers
  • Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
  • Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
  • China Miéville’s The City & The City, Embassytown and Railsea
  • Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Quantum Thief, The Fractal Prince and The Casual Angel

Those are just the books that I have read, and this is far from being an exhaustive list of even such; I’m sure that there are plenty others. My point is that each of the above works is regarded as being culturally significant and weighty in its own right, even though  it nominally belongs to this genre called “Science Fiction” or “Fantasy.” Some might regard the inclusion of such works on the roster of  the “greats” as exceptions that fail to negate the rule, but I hold a different point of view: that the inclusion of such fantastical works  are actually de rigeur and not to be dismissed. Simply neglecting to read works SF or Fantasy in favor of more “Classic”-type tomes gives one a diminished world-view of all that is available in Literature.

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