Tag: music

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Sound of the Season

 

While watching the 876th remake of the first Hallmark “original” Christmas film, I got to thinking about the two men responsible for the modern sound of the holiday season. The first one is obvious. When Irving Berlin sat down and penned White Christmas (somewhere between 1938 and 1941, nobody is really quite sure) he ushered in the flood of the secular Christmas song. While Santa Claus is Coming to Town was released years earlier in 1934, it was Berlin’s wartime ballad of longing, combined with the baritone of Bing Crosby, that propelled the genre to stratospheric heights.

The other would toil away in relative obscurity as a pianist in jazz clubs around his native San Francisco until he penned a modest hit called Cast Your Fate to the Wind which won the 1963 Grammy for Best Original Jazz Composition. Lee Mendelson, an independent television producer who was putting together a documentary on “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz, heard Cast playing on a taxi cab radio. He liked what he heard and tracked the composer down through the jazz critic of the San Francisco Chronicle and asked him to score his film.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. What Unites Obama-Trump Swing Voters? Heavy Metal.

 
Trump shooting the horns with West Coast Choppers‘ Jesse James.

Researchers at The Economist wondered if musical preferences factored into political opinions, especially among the millions who voted for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. They discovered that if Trump wants to win independents in 2020, he should strap on a flying-V guitar and start wearing studded leather.

Working with Vivid Seats, they compared county-level musical preferences with election results. It seems Obama-Trump voters just wanna rock. The hard rock/metal genre was the favorite of this group, defined by bands such as Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, AC/DC, Tool, and Iron Maiden, and was calculated by concert ticket sales.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Anime and Openings

 

Because some people complained about it, I’ve threatened to do a series on Anime Even Haters* Should See. However, I’m not quite ready there. To hold us over until I start, I’d like to talk about how they open. I love Anime openings for many reasons. In several cases, there are story reveals and visual expositions within them that when you later watch, you can be surprised with or give yourself a pat on the back for cleverness. A good example of this is Your Lie in April.**

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Music critic and historian Ted Gioia joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss the 4,000-year history of music as a global source of power, change, and upheaval—topics explored in his new book, Music: A Subversive History. The music business is a $10 billion industry today. But according to Gioia, innovative songs have always come from outsiders—the poor, the unruly, and the marginalized. […]

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It was one of those unbelievable news days. It started around 4 am while I was trying to rock the baby back to sleep. I learned that TobyMac’s oldest son had died tragically at his home. Before the sun was up in Alaska the news blanketed the internet, and grief for the family soured the […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. How Lame Is Our Awesome God?

 

“When He rolls up His sleeves / He ain’t just puttin’ on the Ritz” must be one of the least promising ways to begin a worship song ever. Nobody rolling up their sleeves is “puttin’ on the Ritz.” The rolled-up sleeve-position used for manual labor is the opposite of the sleeve-position used for an old-fashioned fancy night out. And yet, that’s how Richard Mullins’s best-known song, Awesome God opens. Mullins himself considered Awesome God something of a failure, remarking, “the thing I like about Awesome God is that it’s one of the worst-written songs that I ever wrote; it’s just poorly crafted.” And yet it’s a song many of us remember fondly. Why?

To be fair, the lyrics get better from there: “There is THUNder in His footsteps / And lightnin’ in His fists.” Although not by much. Awesome God alternates patter in the verses with an expansive chorus, and the patter is hardly scintillating prose, much less verse. (“Eden” rhymes with “be believin’” — really?) The patter does, though, address themes often left out of “Jesus is my boyfriend”-style worship songs. God as Judge. Sin and its wages. God as God not just of happy, shiny, fluffy things, but also of the storm. And, when the song is sung at proper tempo (no slower than Mullins himself performed it), the rapid-fire, syncopated sixteenth-note patter creates an effect that surpasses its individual words. Especially when the worship leader delivers the patter in a half-snarled, half-whispered mutter, as if he’s letting you in on the secret of something dangerous — which he is: Aslan’s not safe, after all, just good. Notice I called the worship leader he. That’s important. Awesome God is made for a masculine musical delivery, and the difference between liking the song and hating it can simply be the difference between having learned it as masculine and driven, or crooning and wimpy.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

After looking up a piece by the Guckenheimer Sour Sauer Kraut Band,* remedying an oversight in my “Colorful Korean Meal” musings, I happened upon this first item, since I had in mind the link between kimchi and sauerkraut: More

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When we see the moon, it is by the reflected light of the sun. Still, we speak of “moonlight” to describe a tone as well as a reality. It is the tone of Gothic cathedrals, ghost stories, and dark beauty. In Greek theory, the Mixolydian tonos (the term “mode” is a later Latin term) employs […]

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“Stay Crunchy” by Ronald Jenkees is not a sort of music I often listen to. But it fascinates me, every time. Perhaps that is partly because it represents a creative process with which I am familiar: repetition. More

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Post of the Week Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

… all of a sudden, it’s 1989, and I’m hanging out with Chrissy at an “Art and Fashion Event” at some nameless club up in Scottsdale. The DJ is playing this song, and the beautiful people who normally inhabit the club don’t quite know how to react. They’re confused, as isn’t the 120 BPM pablum […]

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Friday evening (September 20) I had the opportunity to participate in the North American premier of a new composition, Te Deum Latinoamericano, prepared by composer Carlos Colon to honor the 2018 elevation to sainthood of the late Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, who was assassinated in 1980 while celebrating Mass. More

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. My Music Contribution for the Week: Hard Times of Old England

 

Steeleye Span is one of my most favorite groups, and they have been around since the 1970s. For some unknown reason, their rendition of Hard Times of Old England has been playing on my internal tape today. So, I wandered through YouTube, looking for something the Ricochetti might like. There are the usual, just cuts from an album with audio only, or audio and still photos. But I found this unusual recording from 1984. I’m sorry the sound level isn’t what it could be, but the video is pretty cool!

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Cloudburst — only a paper cloud?

 

“Tell me, burnt earth: Is there no water? Is there only dust? Is there only the blood of bare-footed footsteps on the thorns?” “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.”

Eric Whitacre is a conductor and composer with matinee-idol good looks, personal magnetism, a slick marketing strategy, and arguably common sense, too: he recommends young composers not waste time acquiring training in academic theory beyond what they need to write music that sounds good. Whitacre is beloved in the choral world, but also, sometimes, disdained — for being overrated (he is, although overrated can still be good), for being gimmicky (also true, though his gimmicks often land), and for writing music “suffused with a sense of easy spiritual uplift… Everything [is] maximally radiant and beautiful, and beautifully sung. And that [is] the problem.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Familiarity, Contempt, and All That Jazz

 

I would normally post something like this on PIT 14 or the “What Are You Listening To?” group, but this tune seems suddenly to be everywhere. KJAZ in Long Beach, CA, plays it but, more than that, it is popping up on phone hold queues everywhere.

It’s catchy enough, but I fear I will become as annoyed with it as I am with the Pachelbel Canon in D, another instance of an old tune that was catapulted into ubiquity.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. To Herb Meyer’s Memory

 

Over the years, Ricochet has inspired lasting friendships, not least of which is many members’ friendship with @tommeyer, who’s not only a great guy, but someone who rendered Ricochet great service before he moved on to other things. When Herb Meyer, Tom’s father, died, the outpouring of thanksgiving for Herb’s life was tremendous. At the time, I dedicated a motet I was working on to Herb’s memory, but life having gotten in the way, I haven’t had a chance to share it with the Ricoverse until now:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Echo in the Canyon

 

Laurel Canyon is a beautiful hilly area just a few miles northwest of downtown Hollywood. And in the late ’60s, it became ground zero for a sort of Cambrian Explosion of rock music. Somehow, all the greats collected there at the same time: Frank Zappa, CSNY, The Mamas and the Papas, the Monkees, the Doors, Carol King, Joni Mitchell, the Byrds, and so many more. And they were all feeding off of each other’s musical creativity (and drugs).

Bob Dylan’s son, Jakob, has just released an impressive documentary of the scene.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. ‘Yesterday’: A Cute Beatles Fairy Tale You Shouldn’t Think Too Much About

 

Yesterday is really two movies, one better than the other.

The better movie in Yesterday, the latest by director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), with a script by Richard Curtis (Love Actually), is a light, cute, modern fairy tale that assumes one’s love of the Beatles* (yes, this movie could not get more British). It presents a simple yet striking what-if: Jack** Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling, mediocre musician, suddenly enters a world that resembles our own in (almost) every way but one: Only he remembers The Beatles.*** Through a series of convenient but credibly implausible circumstances, he then rides this newfound knowledge to astronomical success, doling out hit after hit seemingly from divine inspiration to all around him, while only he (?) knows the truth.

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I read somewhere, that 95% of revenue in the music industry goes to the top 100 acts. So the top 1% of the 1% make almost all the money. Considering the rock star lifestyles of well, rock stars, this might actually be true. Its one thing about the internet, Unknown acts can become well known […]

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