Friday, December 31, 2010
It was the year the lovely people I graduated with were finished with high school and the arduousness that was IB.
It was the year I changed country; after 13 years of 30 degree equatorial heat, I was plunged into the cold depths of Europe. Weather, food, people alike have been a shock. The mixture of pleasant, foreign and peculiar still persists, but I'm slowly processing this cornucopia of change with an outsiders view; likewise I'm sure I look just as unfamiliar!
It was also the year of ongoing tough times, stalwart progressions with environmental change, negative commitments. Finding a person's way with so much is probably what constitutes following a transgression or following a plan.
I don't know what I hope for in 2011 [personal and/or universal]. Disappointments will probably ensue; death, destruction, disaster! However a spark exists in all of mankind, so I again hope for light, lots and lots of light.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
10. Plastic Beach - Gorillaz The album is far more experimental than its predecessor, bringing in more collaborations and eccentricities to make a fantastic pop album.
Recommended track: Stylo
9. The Suburbs - Arcade FireA bit more rock 'n' roll; like The National, Arcade Fire sing about disenchantment, the dark of life, the paranoia; however still holding us on a string of hope.
Recommended track: Rococo
8. The Creatures in The Garden of Lady Walton - Clogs
Beautifully structured folk pieces. Shara Worden's voice is always a delight. The album is enchanting; moving through a forest, finding peace and rest.
Recommended track: The Owl Of Love
7. All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu - Rufus Wainwright
A far underrated album of 2010. Heartbreaking. Rarely do we get an album that allows the listener to directly connect to what has recently happened to the artist in his personal life. It is Wainwright's personal catharsis released to us.
Recommended track: Zebulon
6. I'm New Here - Gil Scott-HeronI'm admittedly pretty new to Gil Scott-Heron, but this album has confirmed my interest. The spoken word, lyrical flow is dark and transcending.
Recommended track: Running
5. Becoming a Jackal - VillagersGreat debut from Conor O'Brien; haunting, melodious.
Recommended track: Becoming a Jackal
4. Have One On Me - Joanna NewsomI will admit, nothing beats Ys, but this is a close competitor. Newsom's vocals are more earthy and subtle, but her lyrics are just as stream-like and descriptive as they've always been. It requires a lot of patience and commitment to go through this album start to finish, but it is worth it in the end.
Recommended track: Good Intentions Paving Company
3. Teen Dreams - Beach HouseTeen Dream probably exceeds Devotion and the debut in terms of being far more structured and thought out, a little more hi-fi, whilst still maintaining the band's defining dream-like sound. The repetitive style of Beach House's sound is beautiful and outstandingly catchy, and Victoria LeGrand's voice is soulful and ethereal. Seeing them live this year was also a bonus.
Recommended track (besides every single track on the album!): Real Love
2. High Violet - The NationalThe National never fail to delight; and High Violet is definitely a top National album. Berninger's lyrics continue to be the main highlight for me. An oddly written but universal exploration of the common man.
Recommended track (besides every single track on the album!): Lemonworld
1. The Age of Adz - Sufjan StevensMy expectation for Sufjan Steven's new album was pretty high, but again and again he aims higher. The Age of Adz [Odds] has everything; weird blitzy blop drum beats and textures, beautiful string arrangements, structured noise, strong melodies. There is no way to describe this album besides listening to it. With every listen, something new is discovered and explored. The articulation and precision of this album is amazing. Lyrically it is still personal and spiritual, with a more conventional slant towards love; however this is unconventionalized by connecting love to parnaoia, schizophrenia and the apocalypse!
Recommended track (besides every single track on the album!): I Want To Be Well
Monday, December 13, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
How many awkward turtles are needed here.
Jez: Ah, you see! He did do it, but for a nice reason. Who's the racist now, Mark?
Mark: [on telephone] Er, Sophie. If you heard that, please ignore it. I'm not a racist. Far from it. Anyway... it's good to hear your voice. I know it's only a recording but you have got a bloody nice voice and...
Mark: God, I just called up to say hi and then...
Mark: Then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like... I like you. I mean, not that. But anyway... I noticed that the paper in the photocopier is running a bit low so... I know it's not really your job but... You know, so... see you tomorrow.
[puts the telephone down]
Mark: Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!
Jez: Oh, fuck!
Mark: Oh, my God.
Mark: I've really fucked it. Have I fucked it?
Jez: Maybe it was...charming?
Mark: It was the behaviour of an oddball.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
& this update is mainly for Aisha.
So much to update on! It's currently cold, freezing, my hands are always cold, vampiric, inhumane. But the people are brilliant, different & liberated. Even the little things, chewing gum is legal, WAHEY. I can protest if I want.
My existential crises are slightly more regular now though, it's probably because I'm not officially in high school any more; but it makes for less writer's block. I do miss my amazing friends, but I'm slowly making new ones which is good. My BIMM songwriting classmates seem to be lovely people in general; and I think there's a growing sense of comradeship & support, which helps with confidence!
& this is lovely, lovely, lovely. Sufjan has gone and mixed folk, orchestra, electronica & shades of hip hop all into one album. A 25 minute song? Genius, genius. Lyrically much more personal, comparisons of love with the apocalypse which seems just about right.
The Age of Adz
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
As for your aspirations...
-Aspiring musician. Well that changed a bit.
And future education?
-BIMM attendee this fall.
And musical interests?
-Oh 2010 has been rather impressive for musical releases.
-Personally, I've found an interest in eccentric drum beats. Making a cymbal go through a distortion filter, loaded on Atari game blitzes.
-I am in love with atonality. I love when a musician moves from love to hate just through the changing of a chord. Life to death. Kick the guitar strings, kick 'em!
-I don't think I've found a sound, but maybe that's a good thing. When people border themselves around something, breaking it makes them feel more fulfilled than what is necessary. I like a foot in folk, a foot in rock, another foot (my feet are unlimited) in classical even.
Interests on the scale of normality?
-I've been fence painting! But that's not an interest, though therapeutic. It gives me the time to go through a whole album on my iPod. I don't particularly enjoy shuffling as much. Oh, shuffling feet are a drag as well.
-I've been cooking! I cook every friday. I also baked cookies; first two batches went awry. I burned them to a crisp, and am now forced to eat them. A taste of my own...actions [medicine is too brilliant a word].
-Musical making, but my boxes have yet to arrive from Singapore which means...I'm limited in my scope. That has given me the chance to do different things though. I'm currently working on a song that touches on the subject of memory loss; spooky, ennui.
Stop there please...
-Yup, still trying to limit the lyrical cheese. Sometimes lyrical cheesiness can actually be limited through the write kind of singing. It's amazing but true.
On to literature
-I'm reading The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. This is where memory loss inspired me lyrically. There's a certain part of the first chapter which is so flawlessly written, it makes me question my ellipsis glitches, and blank stares. If you're talking to me and I don't answer, it probably isn't on purpose.
Highlights of the summer?
-Going to Thailand and living in an oven for 2 weeks. Realizing the potential for self-sufficiency and sustainability of the whole world, if just all of the equatorial countries went for solar power.
And on to future prospects.
-Hilarious, my answer to this question two years ago was marry Superman/Someone who thinks big. I think I'd stay with that prospect.
-Save the world. Break the sound of silence.
And as for now?
-I've got my IB results! We all dropped down 2-3 points. Teachers and their grade inflation; it's not the same as money!!
-I'm thinking up a band name for myself.
Any last words?
-I didn't dress up as the Joker for Halloween 2008! What a swiz!
End this please.
Monday, August 9, 2010
We could say it’s about a month since graduation, since the end of high school life. Updates?
- I’m in the UK. I’m understanding trousers.
- I have begun painting the fence. The fence for the backyard and the drive way. It is going to be a long painful process which I may not be able to finish in time before my start to…
- BIMM. Is starting some time late September. Basically done with my accommodation. Staying with 5 people, who seem very friendly, easy going, and down to earth. Finalizing tomorrow.
- I’ve realized that a car is still the only means of proper transport around here. Bus rides and train rides to cities are not routed well. Who wants to go from Southampton - London - Brighton in 6 hours by bus, when you can go from Southampton - Brighton in 70 minutes by car.
- I’ve being challenged to learn a metal song. My shredding skills are a hilarity. My facial expression is the same as when I eat food. Chatsworth lunchtime buddies would know the face.
- My dog snores.
- Spring onions are far spicier here. The same pain as wasabi.
- I can add cannelloni to my list of “things I can cook”.
- I misseth my fwenz. X
Monday, July 26, 2010
I love the Literal Doctor from Arrested Development.
Lindsay Bluth Fünke: [Tobias was run over by a car] How is he?
The Literal Doctor: It looks like he's dead.
[everyone gasps in shock]
Michael Bluth: Wait, is he really dead or does it look like he's dead?
The Literal Doctor: It looks like he's dead. He's covered in blue paint or something.
[everyone starts shouting and throwing things at him]
The Literal Doctor: I'm sorry, but I'm afraid there's nothing more that I can do.
Michael: Let him keep talking.
The Literal Doctor: Because Dr. Stein has been assigned to your case.
Lucille: [the family is waiting for news on Buster from a very literal doctor] How's my son?
The Literal Doctor: He's going to be all right.
Lindsay Funke: Finally some good news from this guy.
George Michael Bluth: There's no other way to take that.
The Literal Doctor: That's a great attitude. I got to tell you, if I was getting this news, I don't know that I'd take it this well.
Lucille: But you said he was all right.
The Literal Doctor: Yes, he's lost his left hand. So he's going to be "all right."
Lucille: [Jumping on the doctor] You son of a bitch! I hate this doctor!
Lindsay Funke: How do we keep getting this guy?
Michael: Mom, he's a very literal man.
The Literal Doctor: Yes, that's more the way I would take the news.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
It’s July 21st! I think I can say I am slowly settling into England, though I actually haven’t left the house to meet ANYONE - not that I know anyone. My boxes haven’t arrived so I sometimes feel like I’m just on a holiday and will be back to school soon. But no! I’ve graduated! Class 2010! [Not 2009-2010 Chatsworth….we only need a day to graduate, what in the world].
Graduation was July 2, it was nice. It screamed Chatsworth, whether that’s a good or bad thing - I have no idea. The student roasting speech failed, it was some teacher rebellion for that I’m sure. The power failed. The surprise special guest speaker wasn’t a surprise. But Priya’s teacher roast was amazing and so well executed. For that we will be remembered because I doubt anyone could top that.
I did my speech which went well besides the fact that I could have burst into tears any second. I had to think happy thoughts. If I could see the audience, I would have done the underwear thing.
Got a yearbook signed, Tanya complained about her missing page; our homeroom didn’t even have a page, but the TARDIS was there so I’m not complaining.
I felt sick after graduation, too much crying, possible non-fresh dory fish from the fancy dancy French restaurant the night before.
Aisha and I hung around school because of the rain [and maybe because we realized it really was the last day]. We went home. Or I went to a hotel which would be the perfect spaceship hotel design that Richard Branson would think of. 2001 Space Odyssey.
Had a nap. Went to Applebees for a grad/aisha birthday celebration. I felt extra sick which was terrible because I knew I wouldn’t see some of these people again.
Early morning next day was a flight to Thailand! Aisha, Jessa, Priya and Hayato were generous enough to say farewell at the airport which was really sweet. I’m sorry Aisha I had to leave on your birthday!!
I thought it would be the end of Chatsworth mishaps, but it turned out they cancelled my student card on the 30th of June, still days before I were to graduate. Nice Chatsworth, nice. I was already upset that I was leaving friends, so it was difficult to keep myself calm in front of strict, insincere immigration officers. They wanted a cancellation letter. And the old man was trying to have a go at me. It wasn’t until they saw my dad that they decided to back down. Numptys.
Thailand was an oven. A big hot massive oven. It was a lose-lose situation. The less clothes I wore, the more I’d get bitten by mosquitoes. The more clothes I wore, the more likely I’d suffer from a heatstroke. The only place I could think straight was in the rental car where there was an aircon. Equatorial countries could save the world, if they had solar panels. The amount of energy they could produce would probably be able to power the whole world. At the moment, so much energy is wasted. We power our homes through the inefficiency of oil, and we produce more heat. Aircon just makes it worse.
I also had my first “almost-faint” I lost power to all my limbs, my heart rate quickened and I lost visual focus. It was fascinating, and note this was at NIGHT.
I made a new puppy friend. She’s a white mixed terrier sort of dog named Bo Bo.
Ba Ba Bo Bo means insane in Thai, so the dog managed to acquire semi-insanity.
I couldn’t live in Thailand, it’s so hot, and the infrastructure sucks. Sustainability is a foreign word. There is no governmental recycling programme, people throw trash onto the streets thinking it will decompose as quickly as food. The only thing that would keep me there would be the food, the simplicity of finding a toilet and the hilarious adverts.
Plus, with the current political growing animosity I’d give the place some space until the people can sort out the problems. There is SO much disinformation out there between the red shirts and yellow shirts. I still can barely grasp what the difference is and what each party is fighting for. There is propaganda on TV, assassinations of party leaders, a Bangkok elite and poor farmers who’s only saviour was that of Thaksin and his corruption. But truly, every side is corrupt; it’s this politician need of power, but at times that’s not democratic power, it’s almost fascist power.
I did get my IB results. I’m glad that wait is over. I was pretty pleased with the results but I think everyone got a bit lower than expected which would have been a bummer for many people.
I cut my thumb today, I was trying to shred ginger. Been watching recorded Jools Holland shows, so great. Getting back to the guitar but waiting on some equipment currently being shipped. Brownie has lost a bit of weight and continues to enjoy sunbathing. In fact the weather has been quite pleasant, actually not cold! I sweated the other day, this is good news. I watched Where The Wild Things Are last night, that’s a nice film, it screams Dave Eggers dialogue!
Over & Out!
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
The National's High Violet has that perfect mix of heartbreak and paranoia; the recognized sustained brass notes, that are held with the echo of guitar is a signature National sound, but it is always tested, experimented and re-integrated back in.
I have found no weak song in this album, the National touches on all sorts of characters. From a person simply stuck in sorrow, all the way to some dude that is afraid he'd eat someone's brains (there is meaning in there somewhere trust me!), nothing is boring, everything is fresh. Sufjan Stevens and Justin Vernon [Bon Iver] feature too.
Overall, this album is probably more 'accessible' to the modern human ear than previous albums. Melodies are easier to catch on to, it isn't Joanna Newsom; but it never sacrifices creativity for availability.
Berninger's lyrics are not specific to the individual, it is all open for your interpretation, so enjoy your own little personal story as you move through 50 minutes of gold. :)
The National on Letterman
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
BUT, push us further with pointless rules, then your faces will probably melt/light up under angst-ridden candle flames.
"Oh it is simple false, but our system has been compromised."
Saturday, March 20, 2010
"It's like we've been flung back in time. Here we are in the Stone Age, knowing all these great things after centuries of progress but what can we do to make life easier for the Stone Agers? Can we make a refrigerator? Can we even explain how it works? What is electricity? What is light? We experience these things every day of our lives but what good does it do if we find ourselves hurled back in time and we can't even tell people the basic principles much less actually make something that would improve conditions. Name one thing you could make. Could you make a simple wooden match that you could strike on a rock to make a flame? We think we're so great and modern. Moon landings, artificial hearts. But what if you were hurled into a time warp and came face to face with the ancient Greeks. The Greeks invented trigonometry. They did autopsies and dissections. What could you tell an ancient Greek that he couldn't say, 'Big deal.' Could you tell him about the atom? Atom is a Greek word. The Greeks knew that the major events in the universe can't be seen by the eye of man. It's waves, it's rays, it's particles.
"We're doing all right."
"We're sitting in this huge mouldy room. It's like we're flung back."
"We have heat, we have light."
"These are Stone Age things. They had heat and light. They had fire. They rubbed flints together and made sparks. Could you rub flints together? Would you know a flint if you saw one? If a Stone Ager asked you what a nucleotide is, could you tell him? How do we make carbon paper? What is glass? If you came awake tomorrow in the Middle Ages and there was an epidemic raging, what could you do to stop it, knowing what you know about the progress of medicines and diseases? Here it is practically the twenty-first century and you've read hundreds of books and magazines and seen a hundred TV shows about science and medicine. Could you tell those people one little crucial thing that might save a million and a half lives?"
"Boil your water."
"Sure, what about 'washing behind your ears.' That's about as good."
"I still think we're doing fairly well. There was no warning. We have food, we have radios."
"What is a radio? What is the principle of a radio? Go ahead, explain. You're sitting in the middle of this circle of people. They use pebble tools. They eat grubs. Explain a radio."
"There's no mystery. Powerful transmitters send signals. They travel through the air, to be picked up by receivers."
"They travel through the air. What, like birds? Why not tell them magic? They travel through the air in magic waves. What is a nucleotide? You don't know, do you? Yet these are the building blocks of life. What good is knowledge if it just floats in the air? It goes from computer to computer. It changes and grows every second of every day. But nobody actually knows anything."
Sunday, March 7, 2010
2010 has gotton off to a great start in music.
Beach House - "Teen Dream".
My verdict: A beautiful and colourful adventure; you can literally see and feel the audio turn into swirling, shimmering visuals.
A top song [if you're one of those people] - Silver Soul or Walk In The Park
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
So, so, so golden. Two beautiful hours, striding through mixed time signatures, strings, mythic imagery.
This could be better than Ys; not sure yet, but I am already going to shortlist this for the top 2010 album. Of course, there are tonnes more new albums coming out this year that are going to be great - The National, Yeasayer, She & Him, The Clogs, possibly Sufjan Stevens.