Saturday, June 27, 2009

13 Songs With The Calculus Affair: There is a lot of Math

Other than from friends, I find out about more good music from the playlists of baristas than probably any other source. It's how I found Sufjan Stevens, The Kings of Convenience, Dzihan and Kamien, Neutral Milk Hotel, and a bunch more things I can't remember right now. After breakfast on the mornings that I get up with the wee child, I take him and the dog on a walk to any one of the roughly 47 coffeeshops within a ten-block radius of my house; on Friday morning that Talking Heads song that goes "Hi! Hi-Hi-Hi-Hi-Hi! Hi-hi!" was playing when I walked into Tougo (which is by far the best of the 47 coffeshops I can walk to). Right after it was this instrumental song I had never heard before, it had sort of a 60's-70's jazz-rock vibe; the lead guitar was really present in the mix, but at the same time had a whole bunch of reverb on it, with the rest of the band unusually quiet. The guitarist was playing this really simple, really catchy melody which tied up at the end of each phrase in a way that I can't describe other than to say it was incredibly satisfying to listen to.

My college math professor Shahriar Shahriari once remarked as an aside during class, "there is a lot of math in the world. People don't realize how much math there is." He meant that most people's awareness of math essentially encompasses arithmetic, algebra, plane geometry, trigonometry, and calculus, which is the rough equivalent of someone's awareness of literature being comprised entirely of Greek tragedy, some medieval Islamic texts, and 17th century British novels that some people argue were actually written by Russians. Similarly, it frequently boggles my mind how much good music there is that I'm totally unaware of. It makes me both happy, for all the good music there is, and sad, because how on earth could one listen to it all, or ever compete for attention with all the rest of it?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

13 Songs With The Calculus Affair: So Apparently Michael Jackson is Dead, Then

Like everybody in the universe who is my age, Thriller was one of the first cassettes I ever owned. I remarked not too long ago that I thought we were due for a major resurgence of interest in that album, and that's pretty much guaranteed to happen now.

I for one will be glad that Thriller will be cool again. Michael Jackson was batshit insane, but that's one great record.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

13 Songs With The Calculus Affair: Roster

The album lineup changes from day to day, but as it stands is this (in alphabetical order, album order not in any way yet determined):
  • Aleksandr (You Forgot to be in Time)
  • Archer, The
  • Bicycle Down The Hill
  • Bone and Matter
  • Crying Again
  • Dukes of the Stratosphere
  • Every Day
  • Freight Train
  • Man Who Used to Hunt Cougars For Bounty, The
  • Men of Luggage
  • Poor Young Man
  • Prince of Tyre
  • Threnody
Some songs that have been on the list, but are currently off it:
  • The Bridge--a fine song, but has been on two other albums and I really don't have anything else I want to get out of it. I've also drawn a mental line that this album should only involve songs written after If You Lived Here....
  • My High School Mind--it just isn't working for me right now.
  • Pipe Dream--The only reason it isn't on this album is because I thought it was going to be the seed of the next album. That's increasingly seeming like a bad reason to leave it off, but so far I haven't added it.
This post is not long on content. I'll get more specific about songs and construction next time.

Monday, June 22, 2009

13* Songs With The Calculus Affair

If you are a just-slightly-fanatical follower of the band The Long Winters (which I am) you will know that their next record is currently mired in creative limbo as John Roderick attempts to, well, write the songs. It's "Chinese Democracy-ed", if you will. This slog through the creative mire is being documented by a videographer on YouTube in an ongoing work titled "13 Songs with John Roderick."

If you are follower of The Calculus Affair, you may be dimly aware that I promised the release of an album in "Spring of '09." Yesterday I officially missed that deadline, so now this record too resides (if far less notably) in the annals of AWOL rock and roll. Now, in fairness to me, during the "Spring of '09" I also "became" a "parent." This tends to put a strain on ones free time. On the other hand, I probably worked more on the album (during nap times**) in the last month and a half than I had in the previous six, so there was progress. There was also, I dunno, something like regress as I listened to what I'd done and thought, "Hmm...not quite."

I would like, when he is older and can read, for my son to continue speaking to me. So while he is occupying a lot of my brain and I have many revelations about parenting and such, I'm not going to publish any of them for the sake of our future relationship. Ergo, The Odds Are One will now commence documenting the only other thing which I can think of to write about, which is the ongoing progress, or lack thereof, on the record tentatively titled The Fellows are Opening for Jon and Ken***. Stay tuned.

*actual number of songs subject to change.
**the child's, not mine.
***mtg does not like this album title. She thinks it does not stick in the mind, so to speak. I've lately been flirting with Everyone Will Dance instead. Thoughts?