Tag: music

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:

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.

But there’s more here, not surprisingly. Jakob Dylan brings together the old musicians for their stories, newer musicians to connect, and creates fascinating cultural bonding.

‘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.

Yesterday hits all the classic beats of the rise-to-fame morality tale. Success soon forces Jack to abandon his friends and family in England. Most important of all these to him is Ellie Appleton (Lily James), a teacher, his part-time manager while he was still playing at bars and empty tents at music festivals, and–much to his dismay–not quite his love interest. Meanwhile, he struggles to maintain his integrity against the wages of commercialism in the music industry, embodied with enthusiastic cynicism by Kate McKinnon, playing a cutthroat record executive. 

Member Post

 

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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The Number One Song When You Were Born

 

As we know, in the study of Astrology the positions of the celestial bodies at the time of birth shape the rest of one’s life.

Pseudoscience? Perhaps. I’m not going to be judgmental here.

However, I will take the opportunity to offer my own, alternate, theory. Dare I say, an improvement on Astrology. That the number one song in the charts at the time of birth shapes the rest of one’s life. I mean, if planets 100’s of millions of miles away should have an influence, why not something much closer?

Member Post

 

  Some days, when my own academic self-expectations seem crushing and even a six mile run can’t seem to exhaust my endless, bouncing anxiety, I can feel my fingers itch to play the harp. I’ve played for more than half of my life, and having to leave it so suddenly behind (when I could continue […]

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Jay Nordlinger begins a new podcast, a music ’cast. As he says, he’ll talk about music – make some points, tell some stories, tell some jokes – but mainly play music. Because why talk when you can listen? He begins this inaugural episode with the song from which he swipes his title (“Music for a While”). There is also some piano music by Prokofiev – music seldom heard. Jay remembers a couple of musicians who have died recently. And he closes with a song from “Kiss Me, Kate,” which is back on Broadway.

“Music for a while,” goes Henry Purcell’s song, “shall all your cares beguile.”

Memorial Day Weekend “To Do” List

 

You have been bombarded with messages about sales, specials, and entertainment opportunities for this weekend. Please add the following items at the top of your list for the weekend, slipping the big sale a little ways down the page.

If you have not seen the HBO movie Taking Chance (included in Amazon Prime, available elsewhere), watch it. Have a box of tissues or a couple hankies handy. If you had other entertainment plans, watch this trailer, and reassess your priorities for the weekend:

Why I Love Freddie Mercury

 

Freddie Mercury was gay, very gay. That’s not what this post is about, but I thought we might as well recognize that fact right out of the gate. We may end up circling around to it later on.

I love Queen. A few of their songs rank among my favorites; “One Vision” and “Another One Bites The Dust” are up there in the top 50, and “Somebody to Love” has a nice penthouse view from the top 20 alongside Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor and David Crowder Band’s “Only You.” I loved the song “Bohemian Rhapsody” when I first heard it, and got annoyed when Wayne’s World ruined it. But Freddie Mercury was Queen, and when he died so did the band, no matter how much Brian May and Adam Lambert would have you believe otherwise.

I remember finding out about his death in sophomore gym class. I never pondered the fact he died from AIDS and I didn’t know anyone who did; he was profoundly talented and I simply saw it as a loss. I enjoyed Freddie Mercury’s talent and didn’t think much about his lifestyle. I felt the same way about Derrick Thomas.

The Muse

 

The Muse was a digital algorithmic music composing machine invented in 1969 by Artificial Intelligence researchers Marvin Minsky and Edward Fredkin at MIT. It was built with the digital logic circuitry of the day; gates, registers, and counters in simple integrated circuits.

While strongly associated with electronic music, The Muse was not a “synthesizer” as it only played a fixed level square wave. Instead, it created original melodies from algorithmic processes, something that hadn’t been seen before. There were no pre-programmed sequences or random sources involved.

Minsky and Fredkin formed a company named Triadex to manufacture the units, which sold for $300. Accessories included an amplifier and a light show in matching enclosures. Multiple Muses could be linked together and synchronized.

Kate Gets Kicked to the Curb

 

I came across this story the other day at Powerline and I thought I’d write about it here at Ricochet. It’s a now all too familiar story, that of a dead white person being expunged from our culture for some real or perceived transgression against one of the pillars of today’s identity politics (those pillars being race and sex). And that most recent transgressor is singer Kate Smith (1907-1986), most well known for her version of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America“. And what was Ms. Smith’s sin and the punishment therefor? First, the sin. It turns out that way back in 1931 she recorded the song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born”. It was a minor hit, reaching #12 on the Billboard chart. Here’s the song as performed by Ms. Smith;

Member Post

 

With four different causes of redaction in the Report On The Investigation Into Russian Interference In The 2016 Presidential Election, something must be done to make the Mueller Report audio version both listenable and intelligible. Hereafter are offered some helpful suggestions. The publisher could certainly save money by just playing four distinct tones or having […]

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Men and Women: Together in Perfect Harmony?

 

I first heard “Suzanne” on Judy Collins’ 1972 compilation album, Colors of the Day. In my youth, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was especially captured by the beauty of the voices of some songstresses. I remember getting to Judy Collins’ Fifth Album by way of Bob Dylan, whose songs and, shall we say vocal stylings, I appreciated.

[Fair warning, we have a few great recordings to work through here, any one of which may lead you down a rabbit hole. No, hopefully not that one! So, if you are too busy midweek, bookmark this post for your end-of-week wind-down.]

A Moment in Time

 

I’m not a fan of the Disney Parks. I think they are contrived fantasy (yes, there is legitimate fantasy), overly expensive, and boring. But there are simple moments in life when you have the chance to see into a father-daughter relationship: adoration, pride and beauty, demonstrated in a few sweet moments. I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do.

An Unexpected Gift of Speech

 

https://ametia.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/dr-martin-luther-king-i-have-a-dream-speech4.jpgIn the American government’s secular liturgical calendar, February is African-American History Month, and March is Women’s History Month. The subjects of these two observances converge in a historical event we think we know, but which actually was an unexpected gift to the nation: Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Over the years, the secularist left has not only erased King’s religious identity, they have also blotted out her-story. She was uncompromisingly faithful to her Lord and Savior in her music, so the leftists hated her words then and buried herstory.

The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom

The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom marked the centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation and was driven by the long series of unfulfilled promises and setbacks since that moment. Martin Luther King, Jr. was not a senior leader in the civil rights movement, but recognized as a powerful younger voice. The impetus for the march, then, came from A. Philip Randolph, who founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and who had driven limited concessions with a threatened march on Washington twenty years earlier.