Eyes That Can See in the Dark

a music journal
 

May 23, 2004 (link)

11:40 PM

I'm not feeling a great deal of enthusiasm for doing my French Open picks this year, but hey, why not:

Men's semifinalists: Roger Federer, Rainer Schuettler, Guillermo Coria, Tim Henman
Winner: Federer
Dark horses: Vince Spadea, Gaston Gaudio

Women's semifinalists: Justine Henin-Hardenne, Amelie Mauresmo, Venus Williams, Jennifer Capriati
Winner: Mauresmo
Dark horses: Karolina Sprem, Emilie Loit

11:26 PM

"That's called pumpin' to failure. It's putting yourself to the test."

Current music: Frank Zappa - "Inca Roads"

(Comments for May 23, 2004)

May 22, 2004 (link)

3:45 PM

Some nice transcripts from the Jazz Chat area on Prodigy, including chats with Bobby Hutcherson, Sonny Rollins, Pat Metheny, Howard Johnson, and Don Byron, among others. It's pretty surreal to see Hutcherson typing things like (in reference to alternate takes on box sets):

"lol, it's almost like building a house...lol...and the little tiny pieces of wood that you had laying on the side...lol....you know"

Also, Metheny's rankings of his own albums are way off: Secret Story at #1, with Bright Size Life only at #5? First Circle outranking Question and Answer and Song X? And Watercolors at the very bottom?! Jeez, man, he gets points for sincerity (as in "I-guess-he-really-does-like-his-fuzak-albums"), but...!

(Too bad Zero Tolerance for Silence hadn't come out then.)

Current music: Pink Floyd - Live at the Amstel Free Concert, Amsterdam, June 26th, 1971

(Comments for May 22, 2004)

May 17, 2004 (link)

2:16 PM

So there used to be a page out there documenting how to modify an Ibanez AD-100 analog delay unit in such a way so that the 300ms delay time would be doubled to 600ms. However, I can't seem to find the page in question: anybody know where it is, or went? This page mentions the mod; so did this page (which I bookmarked a while back, but which has since 404ed, so I've linked to the cache at archive.org). And I've found schematics.

But so far, I can't seem to turn up those mod instructions...even an old URL would help, since archive.org might have it. Anyone?

Current music: His Name is Alive - "Smooth"

(Comments for May 17, 2004)

May 12, 2004 (link)

9:34 PM

A question for anyone who owns Claudio Arrau's 3-CD set of the complete Beethoven piano concertos (released on the Musical Heritage label, with Sir Colin Davis conducting the Dresden Staatskapelle): does your copy have very audible clicking noises on some tracks?

Among other places, it shows up on Disc 1, Track 6, in the third movement (Rondo) of the second concerto, from about 1:37 - 2:12. It generally seems to be in the right channel, and is particularly evident whenever the piano is playing alone or with sparse accompaniment from the orchestra. I'm borrowing this CD from a friend of mine, and it's in pristine shape, so I don't think anything's wrong with the media; when I first heard the noises I'm describing, I was playing the disc through iTunes and thought I'd made a bad rip of the CD, until I realized I was listening to the original.

It's hard to tell whether the noise is a digital transfer glitch, or organic to the original analog recording; normally, with a dry, clicking sound like this, I'd guess the former -- but since it shows up so consistently when Arrau is on his own, it makes me wonder whether there's something physically happening that's getting picked up by the microphones: rings on his fingers? Long nails? A defect in the piano he's playing? But rhythmically, it doesn't seem to correspond that closely to anything going on in the music -- if it were Arrau's fingers, I'd expect to hear a steadier, typewriter-like cadence.

Anyway, whatever it is, it's kind of annoying now that I've noticed it -- though I didn't pick up on it until I tried playing the recording through my home speakers: on the little computer speakers in my office, the clicks don't really stand out. I've mentioned all this to my friend -- I hope I haven't ruined the CD for him! "Aww, man, now all I notice is the clicking!" (I once ruined the song "Paranoid Eyes" for someone by pointing out the place where Roger Waters goes way sharp on his vocals, so...)

So, I'm tossing the above question out there in case (a) someone else has the same problem, and/or (b) someone out there knows the story behind these noises. A long shot, but given the fact that this page has brought me information about "Rumba Mama" and Lolla Mont Gue, I'm feeling optimistic.

By the way, it's about time I added Master Control to my links sidebar. I know where he keeps his, etc.

Current music: Iron and Wine - Our Endless Numbered Days

(Comments for May 12, 2004)

May 11, 2004 (link)

4:14 PM

Thoughts, discoveries, insights, etc. gleaned during my week in New Hampshire:

  • Many of the Beatles' songs were in verse-chorus format, which can be a tricky format to work in: with each repetition of the form, there's a growing danger of predictability, of lack of tension -- in other words, it's easy to let things get stale. The Beatles have obviously found many different ways of dealing with this, some of which are pretty obvious (the crossfade between arrangements on "Strawberry Fields Forever", the time signature change on "Mean Mr. Mustard") and some of which are rather more subtle.

    In the latter category falls something I'd never noticed before, until picking up on it while driving into Vermont on Saturday: on Revolver (which I've written about before, the Beatles will frequently shorten the second verse as a way of making the song-form feel fresh and interesting. For instance, on "Yellow Submarine" there are only three lines in the second verse before it's interrupted by the little brass motto that comes in ("And the band begins to play"). The vocals on "For No One" get cut short by the horn solo, and on "Good Day Sunshine" it's a piano solo that comes in. You could also include the guitar solo in "I'm Only Sleeping", depending on how you want to count the verses out.

    I suspect these small cuts have a great deal to do with the album's success; I'm always amazed by how short the running time of Revolver is -- most songs are well under the three-minute mark (two break it, if only by a second: "I'm Only Sleeping" and "Love You To" clock in at 3:01), and a couple songs barely scrape the two-minute mark ("And Your Bird Can Sing" and "For No One"). Yet none of the songs feel abbreviated to me at all: testament, I suppose, to pop music's ability to pack a hell of a lot into under three minutes.

  • And then there's what Spherey J. brought to my attention. I'm sure the Germans have a word for "the feeling you get when you've had a website for three years and suddenly realize that all this time, you haven't known that it's named for a passage in one of your favorite books". (Maybe: Webseitesnamenunbekänntesbuchstückenschandervergnügen?)

  • Finally, here goes what little credibility I have left: no, I never realized that, as Morgan pointed out, "The Crunge" was a pisstake on James Brown. In my defense, I haven't listened to much -- um, actually, I think I'll just plead the Fifth here.

In other news: hey, a Gesualdo MP3. And a page about the CED disc for "The Return of the King".

Current music: Betty Davis - "Anti-Love Song"

(Comments for May 11, 2004)

 

Current reading:

Euripides II, ed. Richmond Lattimore and David Grene

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