Eyes That Can See in the Dark

a music journal

November 18, 2003 (link)

12:15 AM

"...some have turned the discarded Mind/Body split into pure Body -- as if that is what Hip Hop is supposed to be, though it never has been from the very beginning. The fascism of the Rump is as smothering as the fascism of the Mind."


Current music: Morgan and Phil - "Untitled (11-16-03)"

(Comments for November 18, 2003)

November 10, 2003 (link)

11:36 AM

Damn, I hadn't heard that Dub Narcotic Sound System was in an accident. I first met DNSS when they played at my college (and stayed the night in my suite) about six years ago (!!), and they were thoroughly nice folks who put on a great show. Best wishes to them in their recovery -- I'm just glad no one was killed.

Current music: Cocteau Twins - "Primitive Heart"

(Are these the real lyrics? "Smooth things frame till sugared / Midnight he'll sing blue / Cuz he's silly"? I'm not sure whether it's funnier if they are, or if they're an earnest mistranscription by some Cocteau Twins fan whose native language isn't English...)

(Comments for November 10, 2003) (3 comments so far)

November 8, 2003 (link)

9:26 PM

For some weeks now, they've been working on the road I live on, tearing up the pavement and putting it back again. They cover it up at night with big metal plates, which make loud clanking sounds -- generally two of them -- when cars drive over them. As a result, it's been sounding like I've got Siegfrieds Tod going on outside my window all the time: "Dun-dun!......Dun-dun!......"

I've been on a Beatles kick lately, thanks in no small part to Mark C.'s kind gift to me of Abbey Road, an album I'd only heard in its entirety once or twice before. It's hardly news -- but it's new to me -- that there's something remarkable and brilliant about the way Side 2 builds and builds. I hate the word "medley", and the concept usually doesn't sit well with me either, but here it feels like pulling out all the stops in the best possible sense, particularly when McCartney comes in with "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window" and, later, "The End". I prefer the alternate take of the latter that's enshrined on the Anthology, but it's still strong. It feels like a huge, generous summing-up of their entire careers to that point, culminating first in that three-way guitar solo -- as if to say, Look, we're all playing together, we're giving this to you -- and then in that simple, lovely final sentiment. I have to admit, I'd rather "Her Majesty" had been left off, and Let It Be had been released first, because I can hardly imagine a better fullstop to the Beatles' career. (Again, not exactly a new sentiment.)

Tracklist of my new Waldo the Poodle Club CD, Singing a Song in the Morning:

  1. Portsmouth Sinfonia - "Also Sprach Zarathustra (excerpt)"
  2. The American Analog Set - "Hard to Find"
  3. Very Strange Voice Mail - Part 1
  4. Harmonium - "Harmonium"
  5. The Electric Six - "Danger! High Voltage"
  6. Pancho the Parrot - "I Left My Heart in San Francisco"
  7. The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band - "Roundabout"
  8. Very Strange Voice Mail - Part 2
  9. Secret Machines - "What Used to Be French"
  10. The For Carnation - "Grace Beneath the Pines"
  11. Led Zeppelin - "No Quarter (Instrumental Outtake)"
  12. Boards of Canada - "I Love My New Shears"
  13. Self - "What a Fool Believes"
  14. Very Strange Voice Mail - Part 3
  15. Digable Planets - "Jettin'"
  16. A. C. - "I Respect Your Feelings as a Woman and a Human"
  17. Phil - "09-12-03"
  18. Emmanuel Chabrier - "Que les amants ont de la peine!"
  19. Marvin Gaye - "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You"
  20. Yes - "Then"
  21. L. C. Bee and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board - "Kids March"
  22. Kevin Ayers - "Singing a Song in the Morning"
  23. Shooby Taylor (with Erroll Garner) - "Over the Rainbow"

If someone asks you "Do you want some beer?", you just say "No, I don't want it near!"

Current music: Johannes Brahms - Tragic Overture, Op. 81

(Comments for November 8, 2003)

November 3, 2003 (link)

2:31 PM

Reading The War of the Worlds -- which for the most part I've been quite enjoying -- I came across this episode, which tasted a bit "off" (for want of a better way of putting it) and left me wondering: "Am I reading too much into this, or...?"

I don't know that I can answer that question, and haven't yet found any real discussion of it anywhere on the web. But there is this, and, more generally, this observation. [Check the bottom of the respective pages for the passages I mean.] So is the brief appearance of the "bearded, eagle-faced man" meant to be, as this study guide says, "emblematic of insane greed...humanity is not at its best in these scenes"? Or is it something rather more unpleasant and specific -- or worse yet, meant to be a sort of macabre comic relief?

I'm honestly not sure -- it could be innocuous, for all I know. But I'm curious as to what others think.

Current music: first, AC/DC - "Back in Black"; then, Three Dog Night - "One"
(If you've guessed that I'm listening to the radio, you win a cookie.)

(Comments for November 3, 2003)

November 2, 2003 (link)

10:02 PM

A song-poem review needs to happen soon, I think.

9:48 PM

About a year and a half ago, I asked this question:

I got on a minor Weather Report kick last week, too, digging out my [copy] of Heavy Weather...I poked around on Google for a transcription/translation of "Rumba Mama", but couldn't find a damn thing, much to my surprise: anyone know what Manolo Badrena is singing?

And -- this is one of the nice things about having a website! -- a few days ago, I got a pleasant surprise in my inbox:

From: Max Z.
Subject: rumba mama
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 02:51:17 -0800

Osa melle kan-kana ere kabo-e
Con el kan-ka-ne core oro chango elegua e
Ake bo-re bo-re tori toru
La ya fi yoru a-re
Ore oro mama kena
Ore o chango chango ere mio
E oro mama kena pero chango chango kabo-e
Omi omo mama kena ko-ye yan-se cheribu

This is a boricuan incantation, meant to summon the golden god of the drum to dance with a young maiden. Puerto Ricans like Manolo identify themselves with the Boricua, the native Caribbean peoples who inhabit the island.

And, a bit later:

I've been trying to get a literal translation for years and this is as close to the meaning I could get. The incantation is a combination of both the African and the Boricuan influences and represents a time when the slaves communicated with each other through drums. It is an incantation for a good harvest, and to please the gods through the golden god of the drum, Bata. It is usually part of a larger voodoo/Santeria ceremony which features more drums and dance. Some of the words are Spanish dialect, native Boricuan, and the African tribe of Yoruba [Nigeria]. The fast conga pattern is called a guanguanco [pronounced wan wan ko] and is a staple in afro-cuban music. The info was given to me from various drum scholars, most notably Michael Spiro, who is a master of handdrumming, and gave me an invaluable lesson about the history of drums in the Caribbean.

Thanks to Max (and Michael)! As I wrote to him, "how nice to know the answer to this after all these years"! Things like that (as well as this -- check the comments -- and this) make me glad I keep this site going.

Current music: Salvatore Sciarrino - "Infinito nero" (interesting, but I think I prefer "Le voci sottovetro" from the same disc)

(Comments for November 2, 2003)


Current reading:

Euripides III, ed. Richmond Lattimore and David Grene

Platform, Michel Houellebecq

The War of the Worlds, H. G. Wells


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