Monday, July 28, 2014

Steve Earle on NPR with a Christgau Edited Book Crammed Neatly in the Unassuming Background

Soooooooo, I was watching this performance of Steve Earle's on NPR Music Desk and, in the midst of the token Led Zeppelin and Elliot Smith discs hastily yet reverently crammed into the background fixtures of the broadcast set I noticed a familiar spine of a book that I recognized but never read actually read. Yes, in the midst of this smorgasbordian altar of acceptable "cool" memorabilia I happened to catch a glimpse of a collection of music essays edited by, none other than, famous music critic Robert Christgau (I've circled it for you skeptic neatherals).

My wife (then fiance) gave me this book as a present on my birthday some years ago (it was 2007, I think I was 27). I really had no interest in reading it. Apart from David Byrne listed on the back cover, I had no idea who the other thirty eight contributing authors were. And, more importantly, I didn't care. The back-page paragraph read "Featuring insightful writing on hip-hop, rock, pop, R&B, jazz, folk and more." Wow, Boring.

Then why did I recognize the book's spine from such a distance? Well, the superficial answer would be that I remembered it because of it's intriguing cover design. This is actually true. I kid you not, I was able to recognize the book amidst the extremely colourful and crammed background of the NPR broadcast. It stuck out. But more importantly, Christgau's association with the publication brought it clearer into my periphery.




I first noticed Christgau because of his power of negativity. (This is the guy who gave Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" a 'B'). This guy hates so many records that most reviewers like that I started to pay attention to him. It's not that I think that everything contrarian is good, it's just that I believe there's more substance to someone who's really invested in something giving an honest opinion of his impressions (be they right or wrong) that's so refreshing.

As of writing this entry, I have not yet read any of Christgau's reviews/essays. Perhaps one day I will. Perhaps not. I respect his honestly and candour. Honesty is all that keeps integrity in art (or science) afloat. Bury it or idolize it.

By the way, do check out Steve Earle's performance and NPR in general. This is stuff worth following!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Improv Jazz

You've heard of the 100 Hour Film Fest. Well, have you heard of the 15 Minute Jazz Improvisation / Album Design Challenge? If such a thing existed, it would probably look and sound a lot like this.

https://soundcloud.com/ihordawidiuk/jazz-improv

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Halls of Sky

The brand new full length Halls of Sky will be out September 2nd on Oxide Tones. Available in digipack format or as a digital download for $0 or more. This record was recorded back in the autumn of 2012 and has been finished since last summer. It feels great to finally have it see the light of day.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fringe Party

This is my most political post ever. Mainly because it features a trailer for a documentary about fringe political parties in Canada and contains some of my original score. The piece is truncated so this really is just a small preview to whet the proverbial 'whistle' (whatever that might mean). Brought to you by the producers of The Scene: An Exploration of Music in Toronto, this feature documentary provides an inside look at political outsiders in Canadian federal politics.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Játékok

I first discovered György Kurtág's Játékok on ECM Records some years go. Játékok (games), are two and four-handed performances of some of György's own compositions as well as several of his Bach transcriptions. I don't know what it was about this particular collection that so touched me. Perhaps the delicate interplay between 'serious' compositions and childish doodlings, perhaps a healthy does of reverence and blasphemy all mixed into one steaming sonic cauldron of honest finger tapping. It was like running into a long lost friend when I stumbled across a beautiful live performance of this online.



My favourite piece starts are 43:25.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

State of Non-Return

This song rocks hard... get stoned and listen to some om.



Traveler now reach the stream. The astral flight adapter.
From the pain-sheath life ascends - the Non-returner sees.
Empathy release me - and the phoenix rise triumphant.
And walks onto the certitude ground - the soul's submergence ends.

From the rounds of rebirth - he arrives onto the deathless.
Light bores through the adjunct worlds - the soul-galleon prevails.
Liberates in wisdom to complete state of negation.
The five roads subsumed by grace - emancipates from dream.

Introspective Kitchen Photograpgy