motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
Amd the answer is "no, I can't write two posts in under 1/2 hour."

I saw SUUNS live and made a dork of myself at the merch table with one of the band members and bought vinyl. I can't stop listening to the SUUNS and Jerusalem In My Heart album. Speaking of vinyl, I got a cheap thrift store receiver and finally hooked up my sister's turntable. I blasted myself with old records and may have made my neighbor laugh while I belted out "Movin' Right Along" courtesy Kermit and Fozzie.

I worked on my album and got everything edited.

I went through a few weeks of My Harp Mastery and discovered "30 Days to Done", which helped my fine-tune my practice schedules.

I played a wedding outdoors on a campground at the coast and it was wonderful. I got to play some Battlestar Galactica music for it!

I read "Unbroken" (despite writing it in my Christmas letter as "Broken") by Laura Hillenbrand. It was terrifying and hopeful. And read by Edward Herrmann, RIP.

I really liked "Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab. The coat that you can take off and fold and turn inside out to turn it into a different coat folded and turned my mind inside out.

Watching Jessica Jones, Grantchester, Luke Cage, and Westworld with friends has been a balm for my soul. I've also been watching the crap out of "The Mighty Boosh".

Seeing Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm was... wow, just wow. At the same theater, I saw Metropolis (1927) with live organ music.

My mom is recovering from her stroke. I trained for the next higher job classification. We did a TSD rally again. I made lost of socks.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I'm swinging wildly back and forth between liking and cringing at what we've managed to record for my album so far.  Right now I'm in the "sounds good" camp, so yay!

I found two music websites that are particularly helpful.  For harp, I discovered Harp Mastery by Anne Sullivan. She sends out very practical tips to improve your playing and technique and thought-provoking ideas for improving your musicality. Maybe not for harpists only? The other website is fiddlehed which is super organized into beginning, intermediate and advanced course outlines. He has a ton of videos, the most helpful of which are how to practice. I know how to practice the harp, but fiddle is completely different.  Both are enthusiastically, yet gently encouraging.

I found Girl Band, a band that hails from Ireland, has no girls in it, and do cool harmonics on the bass. A strong indicator of how much I like them is I thought they were good enough to buy their album. I also couldn't stop listening to Missy Elliot's album preview "WTF". I'm so glad she's back.  Both should be listened to super loud.

My two favorite books of 2015 were ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John  Mendel and ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke. ‘Station Eleven’ is a post-apocalyptic tale of a frightening pandemic, a traveling symphony, and Shakespeare. Mendel deftly weaves a small group of people together back and forth through time in a brilliant and beautiful way. I didn't want this one to end.

'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell’ is a hefty tome, anonymously and wittily narrated, and starts in the mid-1800s with two characters attempting to answer the question: “Why is there is no magic in England anymore?” It would not be out of place as a serial story told in monthly installments in a Victorian magazine. I was content to come along for a leisurely and delightful ride - then it got really thrilling.  And it has fantastic footnotes.

Mad Max: Fury Road - I loved this so much I don't even really know what to say about it. What We Do In the Shadows was hilarious and I can't wait for the werewolves (not swearwolves!) sequel. The two movies that surprised me were Trainwreck and Magic Mike XXL. Trainwreck had way more substance than I expected. I laughed, I cried. Despite that most of what was in the trailer was not in the movie. XXL was way more feminist than I expected and I really appreciated that.

ETA: Eep! I forgot I saw Girl Walks Home Alone At Night - it's one of the best vampire films I've seen in addition to WWDitS and Only Lovers Left Alive. And Love at First Bite.

The Blood Eclipse Moon was magical, the Pacific Ocean was dizzyingly cold, and the TSD Road Rally was tiring but sensational.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
This is a quote from an All Songs Considered podcast with Sylvan Esso talking about why they listen to music that sounds nothing like the music they make, and pretty much nails why I listen to so much music. And the quote was too long for twitter.

"It's a record that's just so perfectly representative of the artist that made it, and it feels like such a pure missive or expression from that person and it doesn't sound like anybody else could make it. My favorite part about records like that ... is that they don't make you want to make music like that, what they make you want to do is make an even better record that sounds like you." ~Nick Sanborn
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I've had an earworm off and on for probably the past decade (or two, ahem). I used to record a lot of video shows, one in particular called "Spin Off!". It was on a local access cable station, I think. There was a band - can't remember the name, only that the lead singer was a girl with the haircut I wanted (pageboy) and played guitar, and had a petticoated skirt I wanted. And the only lyrics I can remember are "get what you wanted, what you want-te-hed" (I also remembered the chord changes). She kind of sounded like Siouxsie. Googling provided not a thing.

The tapes are... Betamax! I've been moving around the old family Betamax, which hasn't worked in decades, saying "One day I'll fix this so I can find out who it was that sang that song that I've only had the fragment in my brain since 1996 AUUUUGH!"

I took apart the Sanyo as much as I could and noticed what I thought was a lot of grease on some pulleys and gears. "Weird," I thought, "why would you grease that." Then I found a piece of something in amongst the grease. It was not grease, it was the belt. MELTED. No wonder it wasn't working.
This stuff does NOT come off the hands easily, people!

I cleaned the pulleys with rubbing alcohol - that seemed to be the only thing that would dissolve the muck - and slapped on a rubber band as a tester, and LO AND BEHOLD IT WORKED! That is what the problem was!

And do you know, there are places that sell parts for these things?!? I'm buying a Sanyo Betamax Belt Kit from Studio Sound Electronics.

And here's the video that I was looking for: (I'm not embedding it because 1) livejournal, and 2) you can't embed videos and start them at a particular time. The rest of the video is basically cuts to the host saying what's coming up next and being slightly obnoxious in a bar.  (The interview with Strummer is good, though.))

Luckily, I watched "Tape 4" first, and found this within the first few videos, as I messed up the loading mechanism somehow. (Of course.) But some kind people have put the service manual online so I'm all set!  Woohoo!

ETA: The service manual is for the European models, however the mechanical stuff can't be too different, right?

ETA: Of course the video is gone and I didn't put the names of anything here. The band was called The Bel-Fires and the song was "What You Wanted". The singer was Cynthia Isabella, now Cynthia Mansourian. It's off the album "Fall for the Sky".
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Fennesz makes dark and staticy things: The Liar.

Tim Hecker makes similar epic instrumentals and I have this bookmarked for a later listen.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
A Winged Victory for the Sullen playing Minuet for a Cheap Piano No. 1 has that intimate, closely recorded piano sound I like. Can't find a separate recording of it, but it's here on all songs considered. Very spare and relaxing.  Off their new EP out at the end of April titled Atomos VII.

Swans have a new album coming out mid-May. The song A Little God In My Hands is densely layered and dark and makes me want more.

I think I'd like to check out more Metronomy. Retro electronic music with a tiny tinge of sadness.  Boy Racer is one of their instrumentals.

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger is Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Too Deep can be found again at all songs.  The kind of psychedelic rock I like. Album out late April.

More punk jazz? I thought The Lounge Lizards were the only ones.  Melt Yourself Down out of London may fill that hole.  Great sax and beats.  Oh! And they are on bandcamp! Be careful with the video below if you are at all epileptic. It's flashy.

I'm on the fence about Sylvan Esso.  I like the sounds they use, but not sure about how they use them. The street noise and the bass in Hey Mami is right up my alley.

Jambinai uses a geomungo amongst their metal guitars? And other traditional instruments? This Korean band creates dark landscapes that need a second (and third and xnth) listens. Time of Extinction is epic.

Described as a "garage rock version of Joy Division", Protomartyr is something I'd probably listen to in high school on a cloudy fall Saturday when I had nothing to do. Check out Maidenhead.

New music

5 Mar 2014 08:50 am
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I liked a lot of the music on the latest All Songs podcast I listened to.

The Faint are back? I missed them the first time around.  Loud, and I love all the noise in it:

Perfect Pussy is classified as punk, and it reminds me of early 90s Sonic Youth. Lots of static and feedback.

Hundred Waters reminds me just a skosh of Bjork, but it's folky. I really like whatever instruments they're using.

Christina Vantzou makes atmospheric modern classical music and I like the dissonance in it.

The one song that blew me away, that I can't stop thinking about because of the beat, the amazing beat, is Elon Mentana by Clap! Clap! It's electronic dance music that sounds a little like it's from the turn of the century.

motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)

If you are into LARPing, or not into LARPing, or like slasher-comedy flicks, get thee to a theater to see this if at all possible.  It was so incredibly entertaining, even though I wasn't able to hear quite a bit of the dialog, due to a couple reasons - the sound turned surprisingly low and the crowd (including myself) laughing. Oh, and the fact I'm deaf.  Wait, verily, that is three things.  I actually got a little hoarse because at one point I cheered louder than I usually would, or at all.

The movie showing was made possible by an SCA group The Shire of Hauksgarðr through Tugg.  It played at the Kiggins Theater in Vancouver, which is a very lovingly restored 1936 theater, and so easy to get to.  As I was waiting to get popcorn, a fellow line-stander filled me in on the restorations the owners had done - putting in less and new seats for more comfortable sitting, pouring a new concrete floor (!) to get the angle of the floor just right, putting a bar in upstairs, etc.  And I must say, those were the most comfortable theater seats I've ever sat in.  Most seats try to fold you into an uncomfortable fetal position like airplane seats, but these actually had lumbar support.  But they need to do something about the sound!

I would say about 75% of the audience was in costume and very boisterous. Everyone seemed to know everyone else. There was a lot of well-deserved laughter and cheering throughout the movie.

The movie itself is full of nerdy goodness.  Peter Dinklage, Ryan Kwanten, Summer Glau are the three people in the film I knew best for their strong nerd ties - Game of Thrones, True Blood, and everything, consecutively.  Steve Zahn isn't someone I usually associate with geeky things, but that didn't make him any less fun or funny to watch.  Then there were the people I recognized and needed to research a little more - Margarita Levieva from Revenge (THAT'S where I'd seen her before) was great as the demonic succubus (is there any other kind?), Jimmi Simpson from many many things, Brett Gipson who I thought I'd seen before but hadn't, as Gunther, did really well as a slightly lost soul who never 'breaks game' (I think that's the right term), and I can't figure out who the actor was at the beginning in the garage who looked familiar. I guess I'll have to wait for the DVD!

The other name I recognized was Bear McCreary. He's done the music for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Battlestar Galactica, Defiance, Eureka, and Terminator Sarah Connor Chronicles just to name a few.  He described the soundtrack as a “heavy metal fantasy concept album,”  and when he first read the script "my musical imagination filled with soaring bagpipes, drop-tuned distorted guitars, double kick drums, blaring horns, dulcimers and ethereal vocals – everything I love about music in one epic score." Yeah.

Here's a preview of the soundtrack:

McCreary has a blog where he talks about making music for movies, and here's his post about the Knights of Bassassdom that includes notation for each character's theme (warning: contains mild spoilers). Very cool!

I couldn't really find any information about the costumes, but I know that actual LARPers were used in the filming (and assume none of them were harmed :) ) so they probably had some input into that aspect.

This will definitely be a request for purchase at my library.  So much fun!
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
St. Vincent : Digital Witness - I still have varied responses to her work, but I really like this one.

Holly Herndon : Chorus - She somehow tracks her youtube/websurfing and combines it into song form. Wow.

John Lurie Orchestra : Men with Sticks (Album : The Invention of Animals) - He got Lyme disease and had to stop playing the sax? Ulp. This is early, pre-Lounge Lizards stuff. From what I've heard, I love it just as much as anything he's ever done.  Unfortunately, the title track, which clocks in at 17:40, is only available on vinyl.  Yet another reason to take apart and clean the potentiometers on my record player.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Did you know I play the harp? I don't mention it often, because for me it goes without saying. And guess what:  I have an album of music up on bandcamp! It's more of an EP, really. It's music I recorded many years ago, and am just now getting out. Since lj is refusing to embed the player, take a listen here:

Any proceeds go directly to helping pay rent. :)
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
The shoes have been put on hold while I waited for the book to come back to the library, so I switched to...

Making a swimsuit for a vacation that was also, however, put on hold while I waited for the fabric to be pre-washed, so I switched to...

Making things from my stash, which was what I had originally planned to do in January, but was sluggish and unmotivated at that time, which worked out ok because pattern review is having a stash-busting contest.  Based on the person who's already sewn 24 yards1, and the next who's sewn 14, I won't win, but whatevs.

So I've:
- gotten to the point where I'm going to finish the upper and wrap it around my last
- croquised my swimsuit and decided on a design
- made a beach cover-up
- finished the pinstriped dress
- re-fashioned a mohair sweater
- shortened another sweater
- made a headband
- made 3 t-shirts

I'm also working on getting some music I recorded about 7 or 8 years ago up on bandcamp. I need to make some sort of album artwork, and I think I'm close to being done with that.

1 Oh, pardon me, it's actually 36.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
While it's still fresh in my mind...

As per usual, they tore it up! They played their new stuff, they played their old stuff, and especially fun to hear was 'Transmissions from Venus', which is one of my favorite songs.  They also covered a Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet song, and I've completely forgotten which one. So cool!

The only slightly disappointing thing was no Tesla Coil. I can't remember a MOAM? show in the past where they didn't roll out the TC and roll back the crowds to finish up the show.  I got to talk to Coco after the show to ask "Wwwwwhyyyyyy!!!" (shakes fist at sky  towards angry, vengeful god) as I felt I didn't get the closure I needed. The answer is pretty interesting: Unfortunately, with all the clubs switching to digital equipment, and digital equipment being highly sensitive to RF signals, and Tesla Coils generating a LOT of RF, they were ending shows owing the clubs money to replace equipment (like thousands!).  Even though the Doug Fir is one of the last clubs to still be analog, they just didn't bother to bring it.  Goodbye analog, the future is now. :(

HOWEVER. That segued into me telling Coco the first show of theirs I went to, they had ended up having to buy all the alcohol in The 9:30 Club. And I finally found out the entire story. (Or was reminded, it was almost twenty years ago, after all.)  They had fire extinguishers as safety props on stage, and Birdstuff decided to run out into the crowd at the end of the previous show and douse everyone. It was one of the powdered extinguishers, though, so the powder contaminated EVERYTHING. They had to buy every bottle of open alcohol in the bar, plus pay $2000 to clean all the equipment.

Wow. A band that trashes places simply by being too nerdy.

At this point, I left because I could feel the stupids coming on and I was going to start asking things like "How do you guys ever even make money?" instead of more pertinent things like "How is your bass set up?" or "Is Victor Vector fully recovered?"


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