A fascinating talk at TED presented by Tod Machover and Dan Ellsey. Tod is a composer and a researcher at the MIT Media lab. His mission is to perform innovative experiments on how modern technology can help us better express ourselves with music. The famous Guitar Hero came out of this lab.
Expression with music, Tod claims, is much more profound than words and can make us do amazing things beyond “just” creating music. With music the researchers were able to help physically and mentally ill people to better receive treatment. More than that, they believe that they should help everyone create music with custom shaped instruments. This is true for Yo Yo Ma and Prince as well as people strand to their wheel chairs like Dan Ellsy. Dan is giving an amazing and heroic performance with a beautiful piece of music that he wrote.
This is a truly inspirational talk about people who are transforming the world with music, and I’m not exaggerating.
Naxos, the first budget CD label is celebrating 25 years. Anastasia Tsioulcas from NPR Classical has interviewed Klaus Heymann the founder of Naxos, click here to read ,listen and to learn more about how he did it.
Naxos have changes the classical music landscape even before the appearance of the digital formats. Some of my favorite CD’s are from Naxos so I don’t care giving them some free publicity in return to those great hours…
The original Genesis line-up in 1967, with Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Peter Gabriel and Chris Stewart. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rhythm is one of the things that get me in music. The more a-symmetric the rhythm the more it draws me into it and the more I feel the need to decipher it.
“Apocalypse in 9/8 (Co-Starring the Delicious Talents of Gabble Ratchet)” is an extraordinary piece of music which is actually the 6th part in Genesis’ Supper’s Ready (Originally from Foxtrot). The Apocalypse is played in 9/8 meaning 9 beats in a bar. It is very complex and hard to follow for the untrained ear. As you can imagine it had a magnetic effect me. The rhythm plus the organ sound and the out of sync melodies heard in the background draw me completely into the music. It’s almost like a religious experience.
I never really searched on what was is behind the Apocalypse. Only now when writing this post, I looked at Wikipedia under “Supper’s Ready”. It all became clear: “In an interview, Peter Gabriel summed up “Supper’s Ready” as “a personal journey which ends up walking through scenes from Revelation in the Bible….I’ll leave it at that”.
Drums are used in tribal ceremonies as a mean to get the audience excited, a similar effect exist in modern days popular music. If rock music was a religion then the “Apocalypse in 9/8” would definitely qualify for its Mass.
To get to Foxtrot on amazon please click here.
Cover of Tubular Bells
Now where did Mike Oldfield go? If I had enough patience to watch the opening ceremony of the London Olympics I could have seen him there…
The hours I spend listening to Tubular Bells… Almost all of its first part is instrumental but at the end, Oldfield “invites” each instrument one by one to join the music. The last to join is of course the Tubular Bells. This brings the 1st part to a wonderful, yet still gentle climax. The 2nd part features a very musically gifted caveman and the cheerful tune of the Sailor’s Hornpipe. You’ve got to listen to it to understand.
Tubular Bells was the first record to appear on Richard Branson’s Virgin Records in 1973. Its opening theme also appeared on the soundtrack of The Exorcist.
It was nice to see how the two parts are about 20 something minutes long. Just enough to fit one side of a vinyl record.
Mike Oldfield is still active, now that I know where he is I have some musical catching up to do…
Click here to get to Tubular Bells on Amazon
Heard Camel‘s Rhayader on my cable’s music channels. It was great hearing them again. I’m always impressed by how much Progressive Rock groups were able to get inspired by Classical Music without loosing their own touch and sound. Camel’s Rhayader is a good example to that.
The following YouTube video shows Camel live doing Rhayader and then Rhayader Goes To Town live in 1977.
Click here to go to the The Snow Goose album on Amazon
Portion of the Psalms Scroll (Tehilim) from Qumran (credit: Wikipedia)
The music I hear in the morning has the most effect on me. Usually I find Baroque music the most enjoyable to listen to as the day starts. I guess this is because its festive and very structured. It’s very repetitive and has all kinds of exciting forms of combining musical themes together. Altogether Baroque music have meditative and focusing effects on me, exactly what I need in the morning…
A few years back, I flew from Tel Aviv to London. I was about to meet my new bosses in a new firm I just joined. Away from my family I needed a musical companionship that morning more than the usual. I tuned the radio in the hotel room to one of the classical music stations. The music I heard was meditative and composed with all kind of interesting structures. In addition I suddenly heard familiar words sung. About 3,500KM (2,200 miles) from home I heard a musical piece in Hebrew. It sounded too modern to be Baroque but it had many common feature. What I heard was Steve Reich‘s “Tehilim” (Psalms) and it certainly made me closer to home and at the same time ready for the new starts waiting for me on that morning.
Steve Reich (born 1936) composed “Tehilim” in 1981 and its his first piece to reflect his Jewish heritage. You can listen to it on YouTube below don’t let the background lights distract you from the music:
Pink Floyd—The Wall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Saw a real good documentary on the history of the rock last night. 60’s to 80’s rock to be precise. History of music in general is all about the continuous chains of inspirations and influences, starting as early as the dawn of humankind. The program’s starting point was Syd Barret and his influence on Pink Floyd, David Bowie, all the way to Roxy Music.
Watching this excellent program you can understand who did what and to whom but as I’m sure you’ll agree, to really understand music you need to spend much more than one hour listening to it.
The constant tension between the search for the right form of expression and the way the audience perceive them, haunted musicians long before the 60’s. Roger Waters wanted to protest against the rioting crowd at the grandiose Pink Floyd performances. In order to prove the disconnection between the group and its crowd, he conceived the idea of building The Wall, live on concert, to symbolize this gap (as well as other ideas). Continue reading