¿Y Tú, Qué Has Hecho?

Aleinu ve’al kol ha olam, Salaam

Pay For What You Get

“The turbulence of the music predicts the steadiness of the market,” Maymin explained. And Beyoncé’s chart dominance? Well, it may not mean good things for your pension.

Beyonce’s New Single Spells Economic Doom

Miles Runs The Voodoo Down

Registration for spring classes starts next week, and as I was perusing this Polcolonial Musicology course and other related tutorials, I came across the fascinating Dr Henkjan Honing.  Daniel Levitin mentions Honing’s research in his book, but Honing himself articulates the subject much better:

Watch this video.

I may try to sneak into a few lectures for Honing’s Music Cognition course next semester!

What I Be

As part of the world-wide protests this Saturday uniting the queer community against bigotry and hatred, my friends and I went to the Homomonument at the Westerkerk to join the organization Love Exiles in solidarity.

Click here for a great video

Love Exiles member Martha McDevitt-Pugh (the one interviewed in the above video) places the group’s activim this way:

Here in the Netherlands and other countries that respect the right of all loving couples to live together legally and in peace, are many thousands of US citizens who have left their homes to be with foreign same-sex partners. No doubt you know someone who is a “love exile”.  Ask any gay or lesbian American why they are here. For many if not most, it’s because they can’t sponsor their partner for a green card.

Love a foreigner, leave the country, has been the reality for gays and lesbians throughout the Bush years.

Great message, and it was wonderful to be a part of what’s changing in America even if I live a couple thousand miles away from it.

Another Way To Die

I’m a sucker for James Bond films.  And apparently the 22nd one, Quantum of Solace, which opened in Britain this weekend, did quite well at the box office (out-purchasing even the last Harry Potter in tickets sales).  Daniel Craig is a great Bond (and easy on the eyes), and I though Casino Royale really switched-up the Bond genre with some unexpected characterizations and murky plot moves.  However, I’m a little concerned about one review of the new film, which states:

But this is 007 without the established Bond cliches and stereotypes. Reviewers said the current Bond movie looked more like Bond-as-Bourne since it dropped Moneypenny, dropped Q, dropped the wit, dropped the gadgets, and dropped the line “The name is Bond, James Bond”.

WTF?  I know John Cleese wasn’t the most original replacement for Desmond Llewelyn, but how do we know Bond is Bond without Q (or ‘P’) and the cool fuckin’ gadgets??  At least Judi Dench is still kicking ass in it.

Regardless, below is the music video for ‘Another Way To Die’ with Jack White and Alicia Keys. It’s definitely within the range of most White Stripes songs, but instead of Meg banging around like a child, we have Alicia Keys looking fabulous, but showing some restraint with those pipes).

In a world where Dame Shirley Bassey isn’t the soundtrack to sex and guns anymore, I still think Shirley Manson and Garbage take the cake for best bond music and video.  The red dress Mason wears oozing over the world/bomb is just stunning.

Magic Time

On the off chance you need a birthday or Christmas gift idea (they conveniently converge for me), the live recording from Van Morrison’s concert this week is a great one.  Prompted by the (incredbily slow) buildup of popularity, Morrison will be at the Hollywood Bowl the 7, 8 and 9 of November reprising the album live with the original players.

Astral Weeks is by far my favorite Morrison album; from the titular track, with its crisp autumn-like tension, to the full tumble of ‘Sweet Thing’ and the electrical swirls on ‘Ballerina’, Astral Weeks is also an album I rarely listen to broken apart into songs.  As Sean O’Hagan for The Guardian put it,

Astral Weeks is that rare thing in pop music, an album that lives up to its own legend. Its singularity lies, as Costello points out, in its vaulting ambition. It is neither folk nor jazz nor blues, though there are traces of all three in the music and in Morrison’s raw and emotionally charged singing. There are no solos save for the ethereal flute and soprano saxophone improvisations that are woven through the last, and shortest, song, ‘Slim Slow Slider’, the album’s elegaic coda. Throughout, there are interludes of breathtaking beauty when the music surges and subsides, rises and falls, around Morrison’s voice.

It may not be the best album ever made – even I admit a preferance for Morrison’s earlier take of ‘Madame George’ (released on the New York Sessions ’67 album) – but every time I listen to it, it takes me to one of the most blissfully impressionistic places I can imagine.

Gimme Shelter

The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

At The Archive’s webpage, Paul Mawhinney highlights the scope and impact of the collection, writing:

If you started listening to the music in this collection on the day you were born, and listened every minute of every day, by the time you finished, you’d be 57 years old. That’s a lot of music. And it’s a lot of history.

Agreed.  Make one wonder how a place of higher education, like Miami University, can drop millions into expansion and construction, but apparently can’t consider the historic preservation of this music collection and the enrichment it would bring to the public.  In my head, I keep returning to what Mawhinney said in the documentary about how the Library of Congress had assessed that of Mawhinney’s recordings from 1948 through 1966 only 17 per cent of that music is available to the public currently.  Incredible.  That means, roughly, that 83 of every 100 songs recorded in those twenty years isn’t/can’t be listened to anymore.  In a discursive sense, it illuminates how the vast majority of those chords, harmonies, rhythms, expressions, behaviors and opinions committed to record–and given quite a chance to circulate–never make it in the end.  What facet of life did they reflect and reveal, narrate and question?  For Americans, just like our appetite for the easy, lifeless mp3, our sonic genealogies are compressed, reduced, and commodified.

A larger, HD video is also available here at director Sean Dunne‘s site.

C’est La Vie

Okay, so Joe.My.God linked to this sexy ‘Guess the Swimmer’ game at the NBC website.  I’m a big fan of this Superpippo/Fllippo Magnini dude.  Yum!

Eyes Of The World

I stumbled across a story at Boing Boing today, involving 15-year-olds on acid and the copyright fights they have.  Well, I guess that’s a conflation.  The real story comes from Poetry and Popular Culture blog, about young adult novelist J T Dutton’s legal battle between fair use of song lyrics in her forthcoming book ‘Freaked’ and Ice 9 Publishing’s copyright claims.  From the blog:

In her original manuscript, Dutton had opened every chapter with a quotation from a Dead song, titling each chapter with the title of the song being quoted from. When it came time to publish, though, Ice 9 Publishing—which somehow owns the rights to all of the Dead’s songs—wouldn’t grant permission to Dutton to use all of the lyrics she wanted to use. Ultimately, Dutton was allowed to quote from “Dire Wolf” and was given leave to use brief phrasings from the songs here and there within the text…So in short, because of the exigencies of copyright law and the concerns of Ice 9, the “Freaked” that you’ll see at the store is not the “Freaked” that Dutton had in mind.

Lame.  There’s clearly a difference between lifting lyrics and placing them in commerically-used literature without proper permission or credit.  The point of published work – no matter what its medium – is for it to evolve.  While I’m sure ‘Freaked’ isn’t high-quality fiction, it’s still important for any artist to be able to interpret and provide resonance to existing works.  The litmus test for Fair Use is exactly that – if you’re giving new meaning to something, its not plagiarizing it.

Wind in the willows playin’ tea for two;
The sky was yellow and the sun was blue,
Strangers stoppin’ strangers just to shake their hand,
Everybody’s playing in the heart of gold band, heart of gold band.

-Scarlet Begonias (written by Robert Hunter)