Alloy's blog

A concise and quick piano master class with legend Oscar Peterson

As Dick Cavett best described it, this quick video is “a master lesson” with legendary pianist, Oscar Peterson. In under ten minutes, and from the great archive that was the Dick Cavettt Show, the piano master illustrates stylistic trademarks from Art Tatum’s stride, to Nat King Cole’s percussive approach, to Erroll Garner’s unique lyrical style, and much more. All in less than ten minutes, brilliant. Thanks to my cousin for directing me to this great video.

Isao Tomita

Isao Tomita

I only learned recently that on May 5th synthesist Isao Tomita passed away at the age of 84. Both synthtopia and the syndicated radio show, "Echoes" paid a tribute to this unique artist/composer. I must admit I was only familiar with the work that is linked below. It was always one of my ambient favorites, a work that always invoked a sense of nostalgia. In part because a segment of this track was used as a theme song for a radio show I used to listen to ages and ages ago that, surprisingly, I cannot for the life of me remember the name of. If you know it, let me know. I've since listened to more of his work and he what he created synthetically possesses a very organic quality. His creative force will be missed.

Explosions In The Sky Interview

Explosions In The Sky (image courtesy of Pitchfork)

Explosions In The Sky officially released their latest recording, today. The new release is titled The Wilderness. NPR's All Songs Considered is featuring an excellent interview with members of the band and the discussion peels backs several layers of the creative onion revealing a fair amount about the process of making this album.

Some quotable quotes:

On the challenge of balancing computer/electronic sounds versus human-generated sound:

Rayani: We were all pretty hesitant to apply it to this thing of ours because we all have that interest of it feeling very human, very tangible. We don't want to become an electronic band. We don't want it to be where you just hit play and the song plays on its own, you know? We want to interact with these new technologies and it feel more human than robotic — and robotic is too rude of a word because music comes from so many different places now. And so we would have a conversation about, "Man this melody is strong, but what other instrument could we play it on? Or what other sound manipulation could we present it through?" These conversations were really deep and interesting, and the result was what we put onto these nine tracks.

On the dark(er) sounds that permeate places throughout the albums tracks:

James: There can't be light without darkness. If there's no shadows then you'll never see the lights. So you got to turn the whole thing up and experience the really, sort of Kubrickian terror that we're trying on some songs if you really want to hear the more delicate parts. It's a challenge, I think, as a listener, but it was something that we were OK, making it challenging. I think "challenging" was something we were searching for.

Really nice interview and well worth a listen.

Alarm Will Sound: Revolution 9 (The Beatles)

On April 29 Cantaloupe Music will be releasing Alarm Will Sound presents Modernists the latest recording by the creative tour de force ensemble, Alarm Will Sound.

"Random Name Generator"

In case you missed it, Wilco (w/Nels Cline) played "Random Name Generator" on Colbert's Late Show last week. This is a real nice companion to the studio version complete with classic three guitar fills and leads being shared between Tweedy, Cline, and Sansone. This tune is found on their latest Grammy-nominated release, Star Wars (found here and here). Be forewarned, after watching it you might find yourself saying the all-too-catchy song title, "random name generator, random name generator...(repeat)." Enjoy!


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