August 15, 2009

Playlist 8-15-09

* Hesperion XXI: Orient – Occident: 1200-1700 (Alia Vox SACD)
* J.S. Bach: The Sonatas & Partitas for Solo Violin (John Holloway) (ECM 2CD)
* Corelli: 12 Concerti Grossi, Op. 6 (English Concert/Pinnock) (Arkiv Produktion 2CD)
* Veracini: Sonatas (Holloway/ter Linden/Mortensen) (ECM CD)
* LeClair: Sonatas (Holloway/ter Linden/Mortensen) (ECM CD)
* Rebel: Violin Sonatas (Manze/ter Linden/Egarr) (Harmonia Mundi CD)
* John Coltrane: Coltrane Time (Blue Note CD)
* John Coltrane: Ballads (Impulse! CD)
* John Coltrane: Transition (Impulse! CD)
* John Coltrane: Crescent (Impulse! CD)
* John Coltrane: A Love Supreme (Impulse! SACD)
* John Coltrane: First Meditations (for quartet) (Impulse! CD)
* John Coltrane: One Down, One Up: Live at the Half Note (Impulse! 2CD)
* John Coltrane: Living Space (Impulse! CD)
* Sun Ra: Night of the Purple Moon (Atavistic CD)
* The Brothers Johnson: Look Out For #1 (A&M CD)
* Grateful Dead: Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Haven, CT 10-25-79 II (SBD 2CDR)
* Grateful Dead: Boston Garden, Boston, MA 10-1-94 (SBD 3 CDR)
* Bob Dylan & The Band: A Tree with Roots: Complete Basement Tapes, v.1 (Fan/boot 2CDR)
* Frank Zappa: Sheik Yerbouti (Zappa Records 2LP)
* The Cars: Heartbeat City (Elektra LP)
* Sonic Youth: The Eternal (Matador 2LP)
* Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe (Matador 2 CD)
* Boston Spaceships: Brown Submarine (GBV, Inc. CD)
* Robert Pollard: Elephant Jokes (GBV, Inc. LP/CD)
* Circus Devils: Gringo (HJRR CD)
* Helios Creed: Boxing the Clown (Amphetamine Reptile LP)
* Boredoms: Onanie Bomb Meets the Sex Pistols (Reprise CD)


As you can see, I’ve been on a Coltrane binge this week. Not sure why exactly, but as much as I love Coltrane’s music, his sound is so intense, so emotionally heavy, that I have to be in the right mood to listen to him. I guess this was one of those weeks. Incidentally, Coltrane Time was originally released under Cecil Taylor’s name as Stereo Drive. While it’s not the sort of spectacular “clash of the titans” you might expect (after all, it was recorded fairly early in Taylor’s career, and several years prior to Coltrane’s own “New Thing”-styled recordings on Impulse!), it is a wonderfully inventive album for the period (1958).

Update: I only just learned that drummer Rashied Ali died on August 12th. While he does not play on any of the selections listed, he was an integral part of Coltrane's final, most aggressively avant garde band. No wonder I had Coltrane on the brain! R.I.P. Rashied Ali.


Oh, boy. I hadn’t listened to Sheik Yerbouti all the way through in very, very long time. By 1979, Zappa was, in many ways, at the height of his powers. Yet he insisted on deploying them in the service of utterly puerile material which was, admittedly, titillating and uproariously funny back when I was a pimply teenager but now seems downright offensive (e.g. “Bobby Brown,” etc.). It’s not so much that I’ve become more conservative (hardly!); it just seems a shame that Zappa would squander his gifts for cheap, hurtful laughs. Well, ‘twas ever thus with Frank. Be that as it may, this album contains some of Zappa’s strongest guitar playing on record: the closing “Wild Love”>”Yo’ Mama” sequence is a stunning tour de force of guitar heroism (and deft editing). It remains pretty darn impressive even all these years later.

About the photograph:

After three years of semi-frustration with our Nikon Coolpix L3 point-and-shoot camera, we decided to take the plunge and upgrade to a digital SLR. After doing a little research (which we probably should have done prior to purchasing a point-and-shoot), we went with the venerable Nikon D40 for its light weight; ease of use; Nikkor’s super-high-quality lenses; and, of course, its (relatively) low price. Right out of the box, in automatic mode, the D40 took photographs that were impossible for me to capture with the L3, such as this full-body portrait of our beloved “rocking kangaroo.” I’ve been spending the weekend experimenting with it and I’m really looking forward to having some fun with photography again. We’ll probably hang on to the L3 since its pocket-size dimensions make it so convenient, but it will be really nice to have the flexibility of a full-function SLR with all the advantages of digital technology. And those advantages are huge! The ability to see the effect of various settings immediately after taking the picture is extremely useful! Back in the days of 35mm film, I could only take a rudimentarily educated guess at what the final result might look like but would have to wait for developing the film and printing -- which could be days (or months) later. With the D40’s big, bright LCD, I know right away whether any particular adjustment improves or degrades the image. Cool! Look for more amateur photography on the blog.

1 comment:

Sam said...

I hear you about the Coltrane. I have gone through a few Trane "binges" myself, where it's about all I listen to, then at times I have to back off. And the Japan stuff is almost unbearably beautiful, so intense, that even I have to brace myself before putting it on. A while back I had a lofty goal of listening to Trane at least once a week, as part of a "top ten" regimen of listening to something by my faves every week (which I had not often done). Well, I haven't been able to keep that up, but I still try to get in some Trane, and once I start it often turns into a binge. Last week I spent some time with the Atlantic box, which still continues to amaze me. That and the Newport CD have been my most recent Trane excursions.