Monthly Archives: January 2009

Animal Collective, Steve Reich.

I just listened to the new album by Animal Collective- an avant-garde electronic folk-rock band. I’ve been listening to them for a long time, and have enjoyed (mostly) their wide spectrum, which ranges from almost straight-rock to nearly techno-ish electronic music. 

Their new album, ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’, blends all their styles together very well. The past few years have been very dynamic for them, as I was starting to notice a strong shift towards heavy electronic in their last album, ‘Strawberry Jam’. I also noticed this when I saw them live in 2007- a show that I actually walked out of because they didn’t use any real instruments. 

Their new album is better then their last, but definitely weaker than some of their earlier work. Paired with a ridiculous level of hype, and a really trippy album cover, this album should be among many top 10 lists by the end of the year. Probably not mine, though. 

Ok, definitely not mine. I just don’t understand what they’re trying to do anymore. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy it.

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My uncle gave me a $25 iTunes gift card, the ritual Hanukkah gift, the spending of which I deliberated over for a long time. I really couldn’t make up my mind at all, until I stumbled over something so mind-blowing that before I even had a chance to think, it was already downloading to my computer. For a mere $30, I bought the 5-cd box set of Steve Reich’s music, called Steve Reich Phases, which somewhat chronicles his tenure with the record label Nonesuch. Among the many great pieces I got were ‘Music for 18 Musicians’, ‘Different Trains’, ‘New York Counterpoint’, ‘Drumming’, and ‘Triple Quartet’. All-in-all, I think there were 51 tracks spanning the 5 cds, which should give me plenty to listen to over the next few weeks.

Upon rediscovery, I’ve been really obsessed with ‘Music for 18 Musicians’ for the past few days, listening to it almost non-stop on my computer, on my iPod, and in the car. It’s one of the most engrossing things I’ve listened to in a while- one of the great examples of why I love minimalism so much. 

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I just got a new job. I’m going to be working in Webster Univeristy’s Music Library. I’m really excited about it; I start Monday. Hopefully it will be a good jumping-off point for my career in musicology, wherever it leads me. I’ve often considered getting a degree in Library Science in the future, so that I could work with a Symphony or something, behind the scenes. We’ll see what happens.

In the record player.

I haven’t been to many live concerts lately because there hasn’t been much going on, but I did go to see the SLSO play along with The Wizard of Oz, which was a lot of fun. I thought they played really well with the film, and both my girlfriend and I enjoyed the experience. The tickets were a bit pricey but it was definitely worth it, as it’s not something I’m likely to see again during my lifetime.

I’ve been on break for two weeks now, and I’ve been taking a lot of time off from practicing and studying. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to a bunch of good music and read some great books. 

Right now I’m reading John Adams’ autobiography, “Hallelujah Junction”. It’s really a very fascinating book- I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

I’ve been on a jazz kick for the past few weeks- maybe because of the baroque overload at the end of Survey of Music History 1 this past semester. I guess a month of Bach and Handel warrants a few weeks of Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Cannonball, etc.

I’ve been listening to Art Blakey’s “Moanin'”. Really a great album.

Also spinning have been Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”, Thelonious Monk’s classic “Monk’s Dream”, and Oliver Nelson’s “Blues and the Abstract Truth”, which is one of my all-time favorite albums.

That’s about all I have going on right now. I’m about to sign off and watch Wall-E.

Happy New Year.