Monday, March 19, 2012

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends

Three years since my last entry here? Impossible! Imagine how many births, deaths, marriages, and divorces (none of them mine, thankfully) have occurred in all that time. And how much music I have obsessed over without you. (Unless you are a Facebook friend, which is where I've done most of my online music writing for the last few years, in the form of an ongoing "Album/Artist of the Night" project. If you want in on that, send me a friend request and let me know you found me through this blog. At which point you will also learn more about me than anyone really should.)

I still tend to explore stuff in waves or phases (if I had paid attention in Physics I would remember the difference between those two), punctuated by periods of burnout where I return to good old indie rock as a palate cleanser. Which is to say the Brazilian music that first inspired me to start this blog almost eight (ulp) years ago is still part of my listening life, but not nearly as big a part. I still get excited by new discoveries in that realm, but the Compulsive Acquisition Phase is long over. Went for a few years without technically obsessing about any thing music wise, with a lot of that energy directed toward gardening, of all things, instead. That too waxes and wanes (do I have enough metaphors going simultaneously here yet?) lately, which is fine by me when I remember to focus on perennials rather than annuals or veggies.

As a side note, my main gardening mentor once drew a parallel between the Rolling Stones and black-eyed Susans in an attempt to encourage me to seek out and grow less obvious plants. Would I really want a yard--or an iTunes playlist--filled entirely with classic rock Top 40 hits? Wouldn't it be more interesting for all concerned if I threw in some Ethiopian jazz and some Judee Sill here and there?

Which brings me back to the subject at hand--I recall now that my love affair with the late Ms. Sill came and went in the time since my last entry, but she is such a lovable affair that I may have to reconstruct my original passion sometime in hopes of turning more folks on to her.

More recently there's been about a year of what is unfortunately referred to as Krautrock in heavy rotation, along with a boxed set of John Coltrane's "classic quartet" that actually propelled me into the long-dreaded waters of jazz, all the more so when I got a whiff of his widow Alice, read a history of Impulse Records, and decided to dive deeper still.

The Kraut stuff is back on the front burner again, along with old and new psychedelia (I can't bring myself to use the trendier term "psych" just yet), thanks to a few lost hours of idle but fun blog browsing in search of various obscure German albums from the 60s and early 70s.

The only downside of all this dipping and diving is that, based on my browsing and purchasing habits of late, Amazon's recommendation engine has decided I really need some Emerson Lake & Palmer in my life, and that just ain't gonna happen in this lifetime. If it didn't take in the 70s, it's not going to take now. Scout's honor.

What's that sound? (The Lost Post)

I wrote a draft of this post about 3 years ago (in 2009, from the looks of it) and just rediscovered it now (in 2012) while making some long-overdue tweaks to the blog. But hey, I'm all about rediscovering lost music, so why not lost posts, too?

It's tempting to resume posting here after a three-month absence without any explanation whatsoever. Okay, I guess I could toss out a clue or two, but otherwise, let's just move on as if it was only yesterday I was going on about this guy.

A few random items from here and there:
*An interesting longish NPR interview with Greg Milner, author of Perfecting Sound Forever. I didn't hear the entire thing live, so this is as much a reminder for me as it is a heads-up to you. Not just to listen, but to read the book.

*Depending on when you see this and where you live, you might still be able to catch The Music Instinct: Science and Song, a PBS documentary (premiering tonight around these parts) about "how and why music penetrates the brain and the emotions," according to the capsule summary on our pseudoTiVo. Check out the show's site for video clips on birdsong, various McFerrins, and the duo of Jarvis Cocker and Richard Hawley, among much other material. (As I suspected, the program appears to focus on the work of Daniel Levitin, who wrote one of two kinda recent pop-scientific books on musical obsession. (Oliver Sacks wrote the other.) Full disclosure: I haven't read either one yet, despite the passage of a couple of years. But I've always planned to, and to write about them here.