Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Steeling Sheep

one of my Scottish ancestors was hung for stealing sheep,
but that was then and this is now!
and while Morris dancing usually creeps me out,
this is OK.

more than OK- it's very, very cool!

Stealing Sheep - Apparition from Dougal Wilson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Music Marketing Fail - Classical vol. 1

Rock and roll kind of took the music industry by surprise.
Why? Who knows? Perhaps they thought that all those baby boomer kids
were going to just step into their mom and dad's shoes and start buying
Martin Denny records or Mitch Miller one day.

But eventually it became clear even to music executives
that this rock'n'roll thing was not a passing fad. One of the things
that may have brought it to their attention was the kids'
lack of attention to classical music.
So began the great struggle to catch up...

What were all those crazy kids into anyway?

Rock and roll, obviously, but also sex (duh)
and as it would turn out, drugs.
Both would have an influence on the marketing of classical music,
including the design of album covers.

Chicken feet? Who ordered the chicken feet?

a tribute to Divine maybe?

a little of the old Ludwig van, my droogies?

Mozart make me so horny.

Holst - the Barbarella cheapo remix.

Ummmm...OK, sure... whatever.

Ravel de Orale.

Wagner's bad karma?

Thank-you Thing...

Opus as orgasm?

Did you recognize Catwoman?


much more of this sort of thing at...


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Ozomatli... got the look?

Gig posters have always been a big part of music for me.
It's like if there's no poster, my eyes get jealous of my ears
or something.

I get the feeling posters are an important part of music
for Ozomatli too.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Jimi Hendrix guitar tech

                     interesting... it seems he didn't use a "Jimi Hendrix gadget" in his rig.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Music - Something is always killing it!

Music lovers of a certain age will remember this cute little graphic
from back in the 80s.

There were no computers then, and no internet, but nonetheless
the music industry was keen to hip quadrillions of young music
lovers to the fact that the mix tapes they were making for themselves
and their friends were "killing music"...

...and if we didn't stop, one day there would be no more music.

It was all bullshit, of course. People kept taping and music
kept getting made and the beat, as they say, went on.

Fast forward a couple of decades, during which the music
industry made sick profits selling people the same music
many of them already owned on vinyl in the form of fabulously
over-priced CDs and holy doodle- music was getting killed again!

Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!

Blah, blah, blah... and the beat goes on.

For a zone of human creativity and commerce that likes
to represent as "hip" and "cool" and "cutting edge", popular
music on an industrial scale is curiously resistant to any sort
of cultural and/or technological change.

Once upon a time, record players were going to kill music
by making it available to people in their homes. Next, radio
stations that were going to kill music by playing records
on the air... but somehow, the beat went on.

Along the way, there was another music killer waiting in
the wings - the use of "canned music" in theatres as opposed
to "Real Music" made by AF of M members. The text in these
ads is very familiar in both tone and topics to that which came
along with home taping and file sharing, don't you think?
Sadly though, they were right. Music died and now there isn't
any more and it's really, really sad. If only we'd listened to them...

Oh, the humanity...


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Singing Blade

It conjures a delicate, haunting sound that, once heard,
is never forgotten. It predates the theremin and the history
of recording and serious composers have written serious
music for it, but the musical saw remains something of
a musical enigma.

The saw has been a part of human life for 5,000 years -
everyone from the ancient Egyptians down has used the
saw to shape and build their worlds, but no one is quite
sure where exactly the idea came up of making music with it.

Some say the idea came from up a dark holler in the Ozarks.
Some say it was a drunken violinist in an Argentinian lumber
camp while others are quite certain it was woodcutters in France.

The musical saw became popular in the hands of circus and
variety-theatre artists from 1900 onwards. It was cheap, easy
to carry and hard to break. Street musicians, circus clowns,
singers, rock bands and country music groups had taken it to
the people long before ‘serious’ like Henri Sauguet and
Georges Crumb began to compose for it.

One of the greatest exponents of the musical saw was Marlene Dietrich.
Marlene was musically gifted- in addition to singing, she also played the
drums, piano, guitar and accordion.

She was taught to play in 1927 by her fellow actor Igo Sym, who gave
her the instrument as a farewell gift. She took it with her to Hollywood
and mesmerized directors and crew by playing on the set of at least
six films between takes.

People who play the saw are known as "sawists" or "sawcerors".

You play the saw seated or (more rarely) standing, holding the
wooden handle between your legs, and the end of the blade with
your left hand to bend the blade to an ‘S’ shape. Rubbing a given
spot of the blade (depending on its curvature) with a violin bow
alters the pitch of the note.

Like the glass harmonica and the waterphone, the saw belongs to
the family of friction idiophones. When well mastered, it can reach
great delicacy of expression. Its sound range can cover over three octaves.

While the French may or may not have invented it, they are
perhaps the world's leading manufacturers of musical saws,
notably thanks to the singing blade, a toothless version of the
saw invented by Jacques Keller in 1948.

It's popularity started a long, slow decline after 1921, when
the Hawaiian steel guitar came in but like many folk instruments
in recent years, it has seen a revival of interest.

There are clubs and festivals dedicated to it and musicians
pursuing it's ghostly tones in Germany, Finland, France,
Japan, China, Canada and the US.   

Learn all kinds of things about the musical saw
with these helpful links!