Tag Archives: music

Saturday Dance Party

Here’s my latest musical obsession: “Futer City” by Aavikko.

Says the liner notes, “A strong PWM-sound melody line opens this energetic ‘dance’ tune which combines the vocal performing of a home sick musical singing cyborg and a grown up men’s choir. The lyrics being in two languages, this is a true international effort.”

Since I can’t quite make out the English bits, and I don’t speak Finnish, I have no idea what the song is actually about. I’m guessing the chorus is from Futer City? And the cyborg wants to find his way there or back? And what about the woman who repeats the word “vegenia” between the two verses?

It’s a mystery.

Saturday Dance Party

Memory is a strange thing. A scent, a flavor, or a sound can bring forth a rush of vivid memories. For example, the scent of lemons and oranges recalls the memory of my grandmother’s kitchen. The scent of a pine tree made cloying by central heating recalls the memory of my fifth grade classroom. And the sound of Michael Jackson’s Thriller recalls the memory of the Christmas when I was in fourth grade.

My parents bought Thriller for my little brother, who’d been obsessed with Michael Jackson. Naturally, from the moment it was unwrapped, that album was played incessantly in our home. One might have thought our parents would have learned their lesson after they’d bought me Styx’s Kilroy Was Here a year or two before. (We still know the words to “Mr. Roboto” by heart.)

Listening to this track, I vividly recall the overcast day and the light in the apartment. I got a silvery green hologram sticker. A Transformers comic book. And I most distinctly remember the glow in the dark Construx set and the gummy-candy texture of its transparent tires.

I think it was this one:
Glow in the Dark Construx Set

But, can the song get me to recall anything we said to each other that day? Anything we did other than unwrap gifts? Sadly, it can not.

Saturday Dance Party

I’d like to take this opportunity to share another non-holiday-themed track that nonetheless manages to remind me of dark and cold December nights, but in a good way. After hearing some of the tracks on Pandora, I bought the STS9 album Peaceblaster in 2009, coincidentally the first year we had the Robo-Tree here at La Casa de los Replicantes. I’ve bought a few of the band’s other albums and even seen them live, but rarely have they returned to the exact sort of synthesizer-y space opera sound heard in the track below.

That Infernal Music

It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas everywhere you go. That is, seemingly no matter what establishment one might enter— grocery store, coffee shoppe, or seedy used-car lot— one hears exactly the same relentlessly repetitive playlist everywhere. Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Jingle Bell Rock, Silent Night, Deck the Halls, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.

“But Erik,” you may protest, possibly in a reproachful sing-song voice, “But Eeeeerik, those songs are supposed to make you feel jolly! Don’t you feel jolly?”

No, the Muzak does not make me feel jolly. It drives me mad.

animated screaming spiral freak out

Personally, I’d love to seal all those worn-out songs into a time capsule, and give them all a well-deserved break, but I don’t think that would ever be allowed to happen. I suspect that retailers find them useful in stimulating Christmas Mania among shoppers, as a constant reminder that gifts and decoration must be purchased and consumed.

“But Erik,” you may protest, possibly in a reproachful sing-song voice, “But Eeeeerik, that’s awfully cynical. Some of us have fond memories associated with those songs. Isn’t there any music that reminds you of fond Christmas memories?”

Actually, yes, there is. I like to call it coffee-shop jazz, that unobtrusive sort of stuff that one often hears in coffee shops. The sort of thing that makes an interesting background, but doesn’t try to drown out your conversations, or boss you around, or tell you how to feel. Except maybe… to be mellow, to relax. And isn’t that what holidays should be about?

A Hard Time

The question has been posed: What are you having a hard time with?

Getting this song out of my head:

They say that when an earworm strikes, one should try to mentally sing over it. Something catchy, like “The Spider-Man Theme”, or “We All Live in a Yellow Submarine.” This doesn’t always work. But sometimes, it works too well.

As I was driving to brunch yesterday, I heard a jingle on the radio that just felt like it would turn into an earworm. I don’t even remember it now, just something about “a wiggly tooth.” Anyway, somehow during the meal I said something that reminded me of the song above. And voila, the wiggly tooth was utterly forgotten, swept aside by “Bare-nare-NEE-nare! Science! Bare-nare-NARR-nare!”

Saturday Dance Party

Today’s prompt is to share “a YouTube video.” Again, another oddly specific request. However, I think it is fair to assume only that the question writer intended for us to share an online video of some kind. Thus I present to you “Bassoforte.” In this video, a broken piano and electric bass were fused together into a strange and new musical instrument.

Via Make

On Music, Again

Today’s prompt is to share “a song that makes you cry (or nearly).”

I’ll tell you the story of the last time a song got me all choked up and misty eyed, since I can’t think of any particular song that will reliably bring on the tears. And if you didn’t already think I was a huge nerd after reading yesterday’s post, I expect that you will have no doubts after reading this post.

Now, I am sure you are probably guessing that I turned on the waterworks at the Star Wars concert that I went to a few weeks ago. Nice guess, but that was actually not the case. I would say that my mood that night was more excited than reverent. I’ve also heard most of those songs a hundred times before.

Quite some time back, I was asked to find some better hold music for a certain company’s phone system. Immediately, I knew exactly which song would make perfect hold music and started Googling for “Sim City 3000 Music.” I was expecting to find a crappy MIDI file or a bootleg MP3. Instead, I found to my considerable and pleasant surprise that EA has made the music available for free.

So I immediately downloaded “Night Life” and submitted it to the interested party. Sadly, but not at all surprisingly, it was rejected. In the end, I think that person went with something like a collection of absolutely thrilling sound bites narrated soulfully by someone from New Zealand, or was it India? Maybe it was Brookyln. Whatever. I just wish I knew why certain people waste my time by asking for my advice when they’re just going to disregard it because they’ve already made up their minds as to what it is they want to do.

So you might, at this point, be guessing that “Night Life” brings me tears of frustration because it reminds me of former co-workers. Another nice guess, but still not correct.

The true story is not quite as interesting of a story as the tangental story. One day, I learned that my new car stereo could not only detect my phone via Bluetooth, but could also use it as a media player. I wanted to try that out immediately, but my phone had no music loaded, and I was at my work PC, which didn’t have any, either. I searched again for the EA site and downloaded all the SimCity 3000 tracks to my phone. That evening, I set up the Bluetooth link between phone and stereo, and began the arduous journey home.

As I rolled along the downtown streets, the song “New Terrain” filled the car. The violin seemed so sorrowful, and when the deep pianos finally joined in, they seemed to offer it such hope and support. And that was the moment that I had to take a deep breath and try to hold it together.

That moment was certainly due mostly to my state of mind at the time.  The fact that I was hearing the music through a proper sound system and not from a $5 pair of speakers could certainly also have been a contributing factor. And there’s also the fact that I’m a huge nerd.

I’ll tell you the story of the last time a song got me all choked up and misty eyed.