Archive for Tongue and Groove

It is how

First, to remind you:

Bibi H’s Allegedly Terrible Single is closing in on 2.4 million downthumbs on YouTube. (Still way short of 400,000 upthumbs.) The first time I mentioned it — this is the third — I complained thusly:

Irritatingly, “How It Is (Wap Bap)” is not yet for sale on this side of the Atlantic.

And I have a feeling it never will be. On a hunch, I dialed over to eBay and found a German entrepreneur with impeccable feedback who had three copies of the CD single on hand. The disc arrived today, and you may be certain that his feedback remained impeccable. And he has two copies left.

Oh, the price? I paid $12.88. This may be one reason why he has two copies left.

Equal Time: Music Video Sins really, really doesn’t like it.


Bently is driven

About the first of the month, one Bently McKenna wandered into my tweetstream, advising that her new single would be out on the first. Now this phenomenon isn’t exactly new: I can think of a dozen musical acts who think I’m somehow capable of getting their records out to the general public. (I think I’m better than average at it, but that doesn’t make me good at it.) McKenna didn’t seem all that distinguishable from the usual run of folks: wears a lot of black, is careful not to smile too much, and gives no indication of where I might have encountered her before.

Then I happened on this from GroovyTracks:

Though her life has been marred by lies and betrayal, Bently McKenna’s debut single, “I’m Growing Up” portrays the positives that come with overcoming difficult times.

The self-professed rookie artist makes up for a lack of natural talent with pure drive and dedication. She sees the trials she has faced as further motivation to pursue her dreams, and this mentality shows in the vast improvements she has made. While her first vocal coach lied to her, saying that he could make her an instantaneous star, she has since found a legitimate coach who has helped her drastically improve her vocal range. At this point in time, her progress seems limitless.

“Lies and betrayal”? Apparently it’s worse than that. That first “vocal coach” sold himself so hard that McKenna sold her house to help things along. (This is not, you’ll note, the usual post-adolescent with big dreams: McKenna is in her thirties.)

Still, she’s straightforward about where she is and how far she has to go:

I don’t know why, or exactly when it happened, but at some point in my life I completely stopped singing. I didn’t sing at all, not even when I was alone. I was a horrible singer and completely forgot the little instruction I received when I was young. The desire to be a professional singer was something I hid deep inside and never talked about. I was going through a difficult time in my life and was doing a lot of self-reflecting when I realized that singing was what was missing.

And there’s this:

I still have a lot of improving to do before I’d ever consider myself a professional, but I plan on training until I reach that caliber.

Finally, the single itself. It’s not really well suited to the vocal range she has — this is one of those few cases where you want to turn the Auto-Tune up toward 11 — but the words do have some serious resonance, and she’s confident enough to ask the top-line $1.29 price at the iTunes Store. I can see frustrated sixteen-year-olds singing along, and that ought to be enough to justify the effort right there.

The Watch List gets one more entry.

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Under the metal clouds

Solange Knowles, you know as Beyoncé’s kid sister, and occasionally as a fill-in in Destiny’s Child. But she’s had a recording career of her own, starting with Solo Star in 2002. (Now what could she mean by that?) She’s thirty-one, and distinctively different from Queen Bey.

Solange in yellow

Solange in Complex

Solange in a chair

The first single off her 2016 album A Place at the Table was called “Cranes in the Sky,” and it won her a Grammy for Best R&B Performance. It’s dreamy and reflective and, yes, sorrowful.

And props to Solange for beating the snot out of Jay Z, something that didn’t occur to Beyoncé until several months later.


The Friday newsreel

Let it be noted that Rebecca Black’s 20th birthday was Wednesday, I didn’t mention it here on Wednesday, and Thursday I was quizzed by readers: what the heck happened?

How I should have responded: “Waiting for Friday,” to the tune of Lisa Loeb’s “Waiting for Wednesday.” Alas, I wasn’t quite up to that level of smartassery.

Said I last week, after mentioning that 20th birthday:

The Cover-A-Week scheme goes on, though this is the first time she’s done a song older than she is. (The original “Straight Up” was waxed by Paula Abdul in 1988.)

I can just about imagine her reading that and chortling: “You ain’t seen nothing yet, Chuckie.” And so, from 1967 (!):

If I catch her singing any Tony Bennett stuff, I’ll let you know.


Hey, 19.98

Rebecca Black turns 20 on Wednesday, which means I’ve been following her for nearly six and a half years. A lot of things have happened, and a lot of things are happening: this weekend, she’s moving to a new apartment. And before too awfully long:

The Cover-A-Week scheme goes on, though this is the first time she’s done a song older than she is. (The original “Straight Up” was waxed by Paula Abdul in 1988.)

And the obligatory quasi-semi-glam picture:

Rebecca Black day before yesterday

EP still due Real Soon Now.

Addendum: For some vaguely solstice-related reason, I was looking at Wikipedia’s June 21 page, and I glanced at the list of Births. RB wasn’t there.

She is now.

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Imagine a co-writer

Credit where credit is demonstrably due:

Yoko Ono will, legalities willing, be added as a songwriter to one of the most famous pop songs in the world — and John Lennon’s biggest solo hit — “Imagine.”

“Tonight, it is my distinct honor to correct the record some 48 years later,” David Israelite, president and CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association, said Wednesday night in New York at his organization’s annual event.

Just before announcing Ono’s addition, a clip from a BBC interview with John Lennon was played in which he admits her centrality to its creation and his “macho” omission of her from its credits:

“Actually that should be credited as a Lennon-Ono song because a lot of it — the lyric and the concept — came from Yoko. But those days I was a bit more selfish, a bit more macho, and I sort of omitted to mention her contribution. But it was right out of Grapefruit, her book.”

I can’t help but wonder if Yoko pointed this out to John when “Imagine” was released in 1971; she’s never exactly been known for her reticence.

The first question that came to me, though, was “Will this extend the copyright on the song?” It will not: under the law in force in 1971, the song enters the public domain 70 years after the death of the last author, and at the time, John Lennon was the one and only author of record. Not that I’m going to put out a PD version of “Imagine” in 2050 or anything.

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You could almost call it “Thursday”

I saw it in a YouTube comment: “This was Rebecca Black before Rebecca Black.” No way could I not follow up on an assertion like that.

And actually, Jenna Rose’s 2010 recording of “My Jeans,” while it’s objectively pretty terrible, has some of the same irritatingly catchy quality that made “Friday” a viral hit, albeit with orders of magnitude more Auto-Tune. And she was paid back in much the same currency: online cruelty at a high level and all matter of real-life bullying by peers.

Jenna eventually disowned her early work, but continued to record and did some acting, including community theatre and a couple of TV pilots. And amusingly, she’s covered a couple of songs RB has covered, including “Scared to Be Lonely”. Her most recent single is “Do Or Die”:

She has survived, and of course we wish her well. Last we heard, she was working on a music degree.


You have the right to remain

In memory of the late Adam West, the only goddamn Batman that matters:

How I missed this in 1966, I’ll never know.

And apparently the wild, wild West lived in wild, wild Ketchum, Idaho:


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Stan tall

Actually, Romanian singer/songwriter Alexandra Stan is a middling five foot six, but it’s her birthday — she’s twenty-eight — and she has, shall we say, a certain visual appeal.

Alexandra Stan on the cover of FHM

Alexandra Stan looking sort of rural

Alexandra Stan looking not even slightly rural

Her signature song, “Mr. Saxobeat,” was #1 in Romania for eight weeks in 2011, and just missed the US Billboard Top 20.

She sold well in Japan, which may well explain “Cherry Pop,” a J-pop pastiche she recorded in 2014:

And her most recent single, “9 Lives,” got little chart action but lots of airplay. The chap who looks like a Bulgarian reggae jammer is Jahmmi, a Bulgarian reggae jammer.

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Gimme a Vee

Roger Green (remember him? I do) dropped a Bobby Vee reference into a recent post, including three of Bobby’s biggest hits.

Speaking of which, the late Tony Peluso, who played that amazing guitar solo on the Carpenters’ “Goodbye to Love,” also played narrator on “Yesterday Once More,” and suddenly I hear his perfect Top 40 voice over the last notes of “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes”: “One of Bobby Vee’s biggest hits!” True; Vee had one Number One, one Number Two and two Number Threes, and “Eyes” was a Number Three.

The other Number Three was “Come Back When You Grow Up,” listed as by “Bobby Vee and the Strangers.” “Come Back” was written by Nashville songwriter (and later label executive) Martha Sharp, who had written Sandy Posey’s first two charters, “Born a Woman” and “Single Girl.” (For a while, rumors persisted that Sharp really was Sandy Posey. She wasn’t.) “Come Back” was first recorded earlier a few months earlier by Shadden and the King Lears, and, yes, “Shadden” was Shadden’s real first name.

Over the years, Vee proved to be an astute selector of material, whether or not it would be a big hit for him. “Yesterday and You” made it to #55 in late 1963; the song, he got from labelmate Ross Bagdasarian, who had recorded it in his pre-David Seville days. (Yes, that David Seville.) As “Armen’s Theme” — Armen was Mrs Bagdasarian — Seville’s instrumental made #42 in 1956.

In the summer of 1966, Vee and the Strangers covered an indie-label song by Texas band The Playboys of Edinburg. “Look at Me Girl” wasn’t a big hit for Vee or for the Playboys, who immediately got picked up by a major label — Columbia, arguably the major-est — but the Strangers rather easily picked up on the Playboys’ modified norteño beat.

One more? In 1961, Vee put out a semi-successful cover of the Crickets’ “More Than I Can Say”:

It would have charted higher than #61, I think, had it not been relegated to a B-side. Nearly two decades later, British producer Alan Tarney remembered it, and suggested it to client Leo Sayer, who took it to #2 in both the UK and the States:

I think Tarney’s instructions included “Sound as much as you can like Bobby Vee.”

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I sing all kinds

The story goes that Sam Phillips, upon first meeting the young truck driver, asked him just what sort of songs he sang.

“I sing all kinds,” said Elvis Presley, and over the next twenty-odd years proved it.

Rebecca Black is no Elvis. She’s not even twenty yet. (Less than two weeks away, though.) But while she doles out her rare originals slowly and deliberately, nearly every week she’s covering something new, adding thirty thousand fresh YouTube views to the 150 million or so she already has. This time around it’s “Scared to Be Lonely,” a future-bass number by Dutch DJ Martin Garrix and British vocalist Dua Lipa, though RB’s arrangement is clearly based on a later acoustic remix:

(Then again, if the instrumental break on the Garrix/Lipa original reminds you of Crash Cove’s remix of RB’s “The Great Divide,” you are not alone.)


Johnny can only play one note

And the note he plays is B:

Domingos-Antonio Gomes, a professional musician who has been playing since he was 7 years old, set the Guinness World Record for “Most piano key hits in one minute” by playing the B7 key 824 times in 60 seconds.

Gomes’ technique, which involved alternating between two fingers to press the key on the unmodified Yamaha CFX concert grand piano, allowed him to beat the previous record of 765 hits.

He practiced the feat for four months and used a metronome to keep the rhythm as he frantically tapped each finger on the key in rapid succession.

I do hope your teeth don’t hurt after that.

I mean, 13.7 notes, and the same note at that, per second. It’s not a root canal, but it’s got to be close.

(Via Fark.)

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A piano set aside for me

In February of 2016, Sir Elton John had a piano shipped into St Pancras International rail station in London. (He didn’t have to; there are several pianos scattered around already.) Sir Elton played a few bits, then officially donated the piano to the station.

I get the impression that not everyone would touch it because it’s Elton John’s Piano, fergoshsakes, and surely our little keyboard noodlings are unworthy of this black-lacquered Yamaha.

Vika Yermolyeva’s keyboard noodlings are extremely worthy, as we see here:

What’ll you bet that at least one of the spectators missed his train?

I commend to you her entire YouTube channel.

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I shan’t holla at them

After 18 years or so, it probably isn’t a bad idea to check:

(Memory refresh, if needed. I’m betting it isn’t.)

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She’s half the band

The synthpop group Goldfrapp consists of two individuals: Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp. Both of them write, and both of them synthesize, if that’s the word, but generally only Alison sings. And they’ve been at it since 1999.

Alison Goldfrapp about the time of Super Nature

Alison Goldfrapp in some magazine spread

Alison Goldfrapp in multiple colors

This came up largely because I’d stumbled across a few tracks by the band, including “Beautiful,” which showed up on Sex and the City, Vol. 2: More Music alongside tracks by Ingrid Michaelson and Amy Winehouse. The melodies tend to be catchy, the vocals wide-ranging. (Alison is rumored to have a five-octave range, which might be something of a stretch.) My favorite of the bunch has been the Eighties-drenched “Rocket,” from the 2010 album Head First:

But lest you think they’re just pure pop for now people, here’s a 2001 live version of “Utopia,” from the Felt Mountain album, in front of Conan O’Brien.

At the very end, I got the feeling that Conan figured out what the song was about, and made up his mind not to mention it.

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Still up there after all these years

“Telstar,” the space-age instrumental composed by Joe Meek in 1962 for The Tornados, a band he was producing — the US pressing came out as by “The Tornadoes,” for reasons I cannot fathom — sold somewhere upward of five million copies, hit #1 in the US and the UK and lots of other places. (In fact, it made #5 on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart.) Inevitably, there would be cover versions and vocal versions by the score.

Perhaps the definitive vocal version — in English, anyway — was titled “Magic Star” and was sung by one Kenny Hollywood, born Kenny Plows in London. Meek produced it too, and it went nowhere in particular on the British charts, but Hollywood managed to sustain a career for the next few decades, though not Stateside, where “Magic Star” was covered by Nashville background singer Margie Singleton.

My favorite of the vocals, though, was this version by Slovenian singer Marjana Deržaj:

Inevitably, there would be a version played on the Moog synthesizer:

L’ingegner Giovanni e famiglia — “Engineer Giovanni and his family” — were actually our old friend Piero Umiliani (“Mah Nà Mah Nà”).

And somehow, Big Daddy managed to meld it with “Tara’s Theme” from Gone With the Wind. The video contains lots of nice extraneous 1950s sci-fi film. More than that, I cannot say.


A ration of frustration

Grace VanderWaal was trying to learn Lorde’s “Liability,” and she almost got it. Almost:

She titles this “RIP Headphone Users,” and eventually you will understand why.


Talkin’ bout my good intentions

Sometimes Roger Green deals me a solid without intending to. This piece about unintentional mispronunciations — and the occasional intentional mispronunciation — was titled “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good.” To persons of a Certain Age, this turns on the light bulb above the head. And sure enough, the last paragraph calls out the #15 hit for the Animals, “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” for which he was wise enough to provide a link to an actual live version. (This is the 45.)

I left him a namecheck — Nina Simone, who cut it first in 1964 with Horace Ott’s orchestra — and promptly stumbled across something I didn’t know: the Eric Is Here album, the first official Eric Burdon and the Animals LP in the States (the UK albums never matched up), was mostly Burdon, new drummer Barry Jenkins, and Horace Ott’s orchestra. While Eric Is Here produced only one hit single, “Help Me Girl,” it contained, somehow, three Randy Newman songs: “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” from Newman’s debut album; “Mama Told Me Not to Come,” from 12 Songs; and “Wait Till Next Year,” from God knows where. And these tracks were recorded in late 1966, long before anybody except maybe Van Dyke Parks had ever heard of Randy Newman. For this, I’m about ready to forgive Burdon for “Monterey,” and that takes a lot.

And of course, I’ve lifted that line of Eric’s, or Nina’s, myself. Cut to Canterlot General, where Twilight Sparkle’s coltfriend is getting the second degree from Twi’s parents:

“I had a younger sister and I was suspicious of just about every one of her dates.” He coughed once. “Eventually, she married. He was poor, but he was honest.”

“Not unlike yourself?” Night Light quipped.

Brush considered. “I’m not all that poor, but I do strive to be honest. Mostly. I’m just a soul whose intentions are good.”

But turning back to “Misunderstood” for a moment: during the disco era, a pair of French producers recruited singer Leroy Gómez for a remake, based on the Animals’ rearrangement but with elements of salsa and flamenco. It came out as a 16-minute LP side; a 3:48 edit came out for radio purposes. And I listened to that edit and thought it was wrong somehow. Turns out that in the States, Casablanca Records issued NB 902 twice, once at 3:48 and once at 5:25. It was the 5:25 version I remembered, and the only 5:25 version on YouTube was recorded from one of those 45s.

I have to assume that Casablanca founder Neil Bogart knew what he was doing: the Santa Esmeralda version of “Misunderstood” charted at #15, the same place the Animals had landed a dozen years before.

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No, not a new Yes album, but the main ZIP code for Malibu, California, the subject of a song by Miley Cyrus, released about three weeks ago, and promptly covered by Rebecca Black:

I almost wonder if this is going to show up on her EP Real Soon Now, since Miley’s next album is due in, um, October.

Then there’s this:

Come on. Even Bugs Bunny knows from Pismo Beach.

Or maybe he doesn’t.

Next expected RB sighting: Girl Talk Empowerment, 6/6 in Toronto.

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Real George

In 1987, George Harrison cut a bouncy cover of James Ray’s 1962 soul shouter “Got My Mind Set On You”; shortly thereafter, “Weird Al” Yankovic worked Harrison’s version into, well, just six words, because that’s what he does for a living.

Cut to the fall of 2014, when Apple Records got around to reissuing George’s solo albums, and the Fonda Theatre in L.A. held an all-star tribute called “George Fest.” Al was there, and he sang one of George’s greatest songs. With no jokes.

I’m almost sure I’d have lost it somewhere therein.

(Via Laughing Squid.)

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The newer, lower standard

The Fark blurb: Music video gets 2,215,444 dislikes in just one month. Rebecca Black impressed.

The story so far:

A video that racked up more than two million dislikes on YouTube has found viral success by being loathed.

Like Rebecca Black’s “Friday” smash, the German video is a pop song. Performed by YouTuber Bibi H the video has only been out for one month but has already been labelled as one of the worst.

Singer Bianca Heinicke has almost 5m subscribers but shocking numbers took umbrage with her latest musical effort.

No way am I going to pass by something like that.

And, like “Friday,” it’s catchy, if not at all cerebral.

Irritatingly, “How It Is (Wap Bap)” is not yet for sale on this side of the Atlantic.

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A cavalcade of Sherman

The lyric video, often with dynamic animated words, is a relatively new genre of time-killer; I never expected to see it on a 1965 song.

“Chim Chim Cheree” is, of course, a song from Mary Poppins, written by Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman. It won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Song.

And then Allan Sherman got hold of it:

A few long-forgotten names are rendered incorrectly: the brand of toothbrush, for example, is Py-co-pay. “Acrilan” is the name of that synthetic fabric; “Marfak” is the lubrication you got from the men of Texaco. Then again, if you remember all these things, you’re probably older than dirt. (Or maybe up there with Richard M. Sherman, the only Sherman of the three who’s still with us; he turns 89 in a couple of weeks.)

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One way out

The legend has already begun: Twitter was overrun with the idea that the last song Gregg Allman played on stage was, yes, “One Way Out,” a couple of years back. He’d had to pull back from touring after he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation; he’d sworn off meats and gluten. He’d had hepatitis C; he’d had a liver transplant. Had I had to deal with all these things, I’d never make it to 69, as Gregg did.

Still, his place in the Pantheon is assured; there essentially is no Southern Rock without the Allman Brothers Band, and while there are stacks of Allman vinyl everywhere down south, there are plenty of them up around the Canadian border as well. The band, for their part, didn’t much like the strictures suggested by the “Southern” tag, pointing to some of the cultural baggage thereof, but there’s little question that they did as much as anyone, and more than most, to create the genre. And like the best Southern rock, the Allmans’ music was firmly rooted in the blues.

This is the 1995 version of the band; Butch Trucks, Jaimoe Johanson and Dickey Betts were still around to make the trip to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. The song, by then, was more than thirty years old, and had originated with Elmore James circa 1961. The message, however, remains the same: whatever predicament you may have gotten yourself into — the specific narrative involves a bit of upstairs cheating while the actual husband has just arrived downstairs — ultimately you don’t have a Plan B to fall back on.

The band dissolved after their last show in 2014. (The last song they played was Muddy Waters’ “Trouble No More,” which makes perfect sense.) The legacy they leave behind is deep and wide. And Gregg, though he never considered himself the frontman — brother Duane, later Dickey Betts, were the nominal leaders of the band — was there for all of it. I hope he’s ready to jam among the clouds.

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Sweet jazz lady

Dee Dee Bridgewater has been singing for half a century, mostly jazz, some show tunes, but always, always singing. On her 67th birthday, we owe her a look and a listen.

She spent 23 of those years as host of NPR’s Jazz Set, whence comes this first image.

Dee Dee Bridgewater from her Jazz Set days

Dee Dee Bridgewater at Echo Jazz

Cover of Dee Dee Bridgewater's Feathers album

This latter shot appears on the front cover of Dee Dee’s Feathers, a 2015 album with Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. A track therefrom, with deep New Orleans roots:

Dee Dee has been nominated for nine Grammy Awards; she’s won three — so far.

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No change

This is apparently not going to be the new national anthem of Australia:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made it official:

Thank you for your letter dated 20 March 2017 regarding petition EN0094, which requests that the Australian Government change the Australian National Anthem to the 2003 song ‘Hey Ya’ by Outkast.

The words and tune of the Australian National Anthem were adopted only after exhaustive surveys of national opinion, starting in the 1970s, and were proclaimed by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on 19 April 1984.

The Australian National Anthem is widely accepted and popularly supported by a majority of Australians. The Australian Government has no plans to change the Anthem.

Thank you for bringing this petition to my attention. I appreciate the important work of the Standing Committee on Petitions in putting community concerns before the Parliament.

I haven’t been so downhearted since Washington state rejected a measure to make “Louie, Louie” the state song.

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There are no words

Ever since Neal Hefti’s theme to the 1960s Batman TV series, I’ve wondered if instruments really can be played in such a way as to sound like vocals. Apparently they can, under certain weird conditions:

Description more than explanation:

Was looking for a midi for a project, but I couldn’t find the one I needed. Came across a website that promised to convert MP3s to midis, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Aside from the fact that the result sounded like a piano factory exploding, I also could have sworn I heard sung lyrics in it, even though the only midi track was a piano. Not sure how the converter works, but I guess the way vocals are recreated via piano is similar enough to the real song for our brains to mentally fill in the words where there aren’t any. Maybe? Pianos usually don’t talk.

Now I wonder about the choruses (not so much the verses) in this track:

Incidentally, woe betide you if you have to look up “MakroSoft” on Bing.

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Not what you’d call a losing streak

From People, 9 June 1975:

Jagger and the Stones have endured at the top longer than any other rock band, but as for the future, Jagger admits that it could all suddenly end. “I only meant to do it for two years. I guess the band would just disperse one day and say goodbye. I would continue to write and sing, but I’d rather be dead than sing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m 45.”

Sir Mick Jagger, one month short of his 70th birthday:

I’m thinking he’s changed his mind.

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Resurrection songs

Cover art for The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk OperaMark Swetz had been asking himself for some time: “How do you open performance to those with low, no and full vision?” The question of “blind spectatorship” became a topic for research, and eventually a thesis. Part of Swetz’ research, though not formally a part of that thesis, was a musical he commissioned from composer Paul Shapera, first performed in 2012. The Dolls of New Albion: A Steampunk Opera runs just under an hour and a half, and of necessity it’s on the wordy side, so that it’s not necessary to have access to the visuals to comprehend the story.

Brief overview, so to speak:

The 1st Act is concerned with a scientist, Annabel McAlistair, and her attempt to bring back her dead love, placing him within the body of a mechanical mannequin. The 2nd Act follows her son Edgar, the 3rd Act his son Byron and the 4th Act Priscilla McAlistair. Each generation’s meddling with these Dolls contributes to the gradual fall of New Albion itself.

Jasper, Annabel’s object of fixation, only once actually noticed her; it turns out that he was already committed to another in an arranged marriage. That marriage did not go well, and when Jasper died, Annabel put her scientific (and beyond, perhaps) knowledge to bring him back, bring him to her.

This gets seriously complicated over the four generations of McAlistairs, as Annabel’s work, the work she’d tried to suppress, was eventually discovered by Edgar, who decided to go into business as the local re-animator. It made him a fortune; unfortunately, his wealth went to his head. Meanwhile, more and more Dolls were being created from the souls of New Albion’s deceased.

You can follow this rather easily from the audio. (Paul Shapera has put it up for sale at Bandcamp; he’s asking $10, and he got it from me.) And yes, you can watch a performance.

(With thanks to Roger Green.)

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Miles away

Robert Miles, pioneer of the short-lived dream-trance musical genre — the emphasis is on the melody, while the beats pound away at 4/4 — passed away a week and a half ago, and it turns out that he’d had metastatic cancer, already at Stage 4 within nine months.

Miles, born Roberto Concina in Switzerland in 1969, first clicked with “Children,” a sound with a very specific purpose:

The creation of dream trance was a response to social pressures in Italy during the early 1990s: the growth of rave culture among young adults, and the ensuing popularity of nightclub attendance, had created a weekly trend of deaths due to car accidents as clubbers drove across the country overnight, falling asleep at the wheel from strenuous dancing as well as alcohol and drug use. In mid-1996, deaths due to this phenomenon, called strage del sabato sera (Saturday night slaughter) in Italy, were being estimated at around 2000 since the start of the decade. The move by DJs such as Miles to play slower, calming music to conclude a night’s set, as a means to counteract the fast-paced, repetitive tracks that preceded, was met with approval by authorities and parents of car crash victims.

Miles’ album Dreamland followed. The second single, “Fable,” was released in several different versions, of which my favorite was the seven-minute “Dream Version.”

In 2012, Miles set up OpenLab, a radio station based in Ibiza; he was still perfecting it when he took ill.

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A new(ish) face

Where have you seen this face?

The sunny side of Son Na-eun

Another side of Son Na-eun

Answer: In the PSY video “New Face,” debuted last week, and presented right here yesterday.

Son Na-eun, twenty-three, born in Seoul, is perhaps better known for being in the K-pop girl-group Apink, here seen in the video for “Mr. Chu” (2014):

On her own, she’s done a couple of films, a lot of television, and several TV commercials, including this spot for a Korean diet supplement:

“Calobye,” indeed.

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