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Zappa, Live Bands and Improv

Over at one of my favorite blogs on the net, Dangerous Minds, a video was featured a few days ago of a performance of Frank Zappa’s band at the Roxy back in ’73.

I’ve been planning to do some posts on live bands, seeing as how i have to assemble one and reinterpet the music on the album for the performance showcase in Nov. This video offers a perfect start. It illustrates:

a. How to have one of the most stunning live bands on the planet

b. A lesson in improvisation, which for me is essential in order to be one of my favorite live bands. To be clear, the band for the show will NOT be improvising. This is not that kind of music or thing. I’m just saying, my personal taste in live acts prefers structured improvisation. Structured meaning there are songs, there are carefully composed sections, but there are also long sections of utter improvisation. Like this video.

c. This video is REALLY interesting in that Frank Zappa had an improvisational methodology that was absolutely unique. Not only would the band “jam” but Zappa used a range of conducter like hand gestures to signal the types of on the fly stuff he wanted the band to do. The band cane be laying down a groove while a member is soloing, and then Zappa comes in and starts… with the hand gestures and the type of…. structured improvisation that follows is unlike any other band out there.

So do me a favor, skip to the 10:30 mark and start watching from there. It’s the end of the song as they groove out and into a keyboard solo (by the legendary George Duke). Watch and listen. You’ll see the song getting more and more improvisational, more and more away from the written groove, and then Zappa will start with the hand gestures and you’ll something really amazing go down. It’s worth it even if this music isn’t normally your type of thing.

10:30 mark. Go to it. Watch this and i’ll see you fine, sweet things tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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H+ or More Future Apps Coming To Take Over Your Brain

Hear me out.

I know know what you think of the concept of a webseries. I’ve seen a few, but they were all light, comedic stuff. I’m aware that they are a burgeoning media form and are getting more serious and ambitious, but none of substance have interested me or crossed my radar. Until now.

Following the theme of that vid i posted a few days ago, here are the first two (and only so far) episodes of this webseries called H+, which honestly seems pretty damn cool. It’s also working the theme of next gen apps installed into your widdle brains.

 
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Posted by on August 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Goat Rodeo Sessions

This was brought to my attention by reader Patrick Plonski last week and i loved it and must share it.

They’re called Goat Rodeo Sessions. A goat rodeo refers to a situation in which a thousand things must go absolutely without error for it to succeed. Ever tried to get a bunch of goats together and throw a rodeo? It’s really, REALLY difficult.

Who are they? Ever heard of Yo-Yo Ma? Stuart Duncan? Chris Thile? Edgar Meyer? Well, these four giants of music decided to form a band. The results are exquisite.

Much like the albums Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer made together, Appalachian Waltz and Appalachian Journey, the style is technically classical crossover, in this case crossing over to bluegrass and Americana. The level of musicianship is through the roof and yet the music is fun and accessible.  Look, let’s just cut to the chase. it’s fantastic.

Here listen to some more. This video has them playing 3 songs, although the first one is a repeat of the one in the first video. Maybe like me you find it interested to hear 2 different live version… but otherwise be sure to catch the other two. The album is available at all major online stores.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Sight

This is an excellent short video about the next step in apps. Totally worth a few minutes of your time.

Even more impressively, it’s the graduation project by film makers Eran May-raz and Daniel Lazo from Bezaleal Academy of the Arts.

Just watch. It’s good and cleverly poignant.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Cold Fairyland

I’ve been researching bands that use a cello and a bass guitar at the same time, since the band for the Steampunk Opera performance in Nov may in fact have some cello in it. I debated whether, if that’s the case, to do away with bass guitar and let the cello handle what would have been the bass guitarist’s duties.

I’m still contemplating but i am leaning away from it. I believe i prefer bass guitar handling the in the pocket groove making with the drummer, and the cello adding another range and type of musicality above that. In any case, to help with my thought process i’ve looked for some bands that utilize both bass guitar and cello which led me to this wonderful Chinese proggish band Cold Fairyland.

The name Cold Fairyland is taken from the Chinese translation of the internationally famous book by Haruki Murakami which in English is translated as “Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World”. You’ve read it perhaps? If not, take my advice. Go read it. It’s awesome.

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Hilum

Welcome to the weirdest, creepiest marionette video you will see all day. For most of you who don’t seek this stuff out (what DO you do with your days?) this will probably be the top creepy marionette thing of your week, even your month.

This is made by Les Antliclastes, a puppet theater company in Allier France. They have this to say about their short little film:

“Hilum is a micro comic-tragedy based on the cycles of the washing machine. A mixed batch of nursery rhymes, cartoon images, partial objects and other references to childhood locution are thrown into the spin cycle with the aim of airing the fairy tale’s dirty laundry.

Hilum takes place in the basement laundry room of a second-rate Natural History Museum. The cellarage is populated by a host of dubiously adorable urchins who have, for some reason or other, been cut off from the rest of the kingdom of curiosities that has remained ordered upstairs. Orphaned and liberated from their hosts, the prenatal rascals amuse themselves as most children would do at this age. Washer-women attend to their opus of bleaching laundry, despite the frequent shenanigans of the children.What starts off as mere women’s work and child’s play eventually becomes impossible. In the cubic crucible- whites mix with colours, wools are washed with warm water, the cat is chucked into the heavy duty rinse… and playtime quickly becomes a downright theatre of cruelty.”

They are currently at work on a puppet opera. I would love to do a puppet opera. If you ever want to do one, email me.

Hilum:

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Most Amusing Steampunk Video You Will See Today.

Why would someone make this? Who knows, why does anyone make anything?  Wtf? Hell if i know, but if you are sitting at your computer at this moment, crying out “I DEMAND 7 MINUTES OF AMUSEMENT! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU VASSALS THAT YOU CANNOT PROVIDE ME WITH 7 MINUTES OF AMUSEMENT?!” then fear not. This video is here to satiate your need.

Who made it? My skills at cutting and pasting are once again here to insure you do not die of curiosity:

“A short film from Media Design School based on the sci-fi world of Dr Grordbort created by writer and artist Greg Broadmore from Weta Workshop.

The live action/CGI film was created by 11 students over 22 weeks under the direction of 3D animation program leader James Cunningham.”

Without further ado your 7 minutes of amusement. After that you’re on your own.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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