A Song A Day: April 4th – A Very Big Monday Morning

4 04 2011

Today is a very big day for me. I have a job interview this morning. I’m nervous in a positive way (if that makes sense) in that I’m excited about where it could lead, the work it involves etc. It’s mornings like this where I’m normally rather regimented and organised. The work is up my street and it’s great to be able to support local business like this. Fingers crossed that this will turn up trumps for me. It’s easy to get to, the company looks and sounds superb and I’m hoping that I can make a valuable contribution to them.

Today’s song is what I’m actually waking up to today. It should be a nice way to ease myself into the day and to get myself into the right frame of mind and mindset for the interview. The melody, the phrasing and the orchestration on this one is great. What a great way to be starting the day!

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My Top 10 Favourite Classical Pieces – Part 1

31 03 2011

Classical music might just be my favourite genre of music, in what is now a 21 year love affair. Don’t get me wrong. I love allsorts of music, I do genuinely listen to everything from Top 40 pop songs to classic rock via blues, jazz, fusion, world, hip hop, dance, progressive rock, metal, reggae etc. My iPod is a melting pot of 6059 tracks (at time of writing) and I still have another 20GB or so to play with!

One true constant about my life though has been how much I just enjoy classical music. It’s always evocative and can just evoke emotion like nothing else. It’s a sad fact though that not everybody likes it. You look at some of the current stars in the mainstream musical world and I feel a little bit like it’s just so unjust that people with what seems like very little talent can rack up huge amounts of digital downloads, and score top 10 hits across the world whereas the legacy of some of these artists and composers seems to take a back seat. However, I don’t want to get into a rant, digressing over!

Attempting to choose my top 10 pieces wasn’t easy. I had to really think about this!! So, without further ado… Let’s begin the countdown [cue the cheesy countdown intro music!]

#10 – Bolero – Popularised by Torvil and Dean’s ice skating heroics in the 1984 winter Olympics, this piece builds and builds gradually in dynamics and mood until it comes at you full pelt. The piece is a highly repetitive piece, but for me, it’s about how it grows and flows throughout. Incidentally, the film was the subject of a French shot film. An 8 minute single shot piece called Le batteur du bolero. This film focuses on one of the percussionists and his changing emotions throughout, it’s a very subtly amusing film.

#9 – Rule Britannia – Ah yes, +1 for England! A patriotic song which is the staple of the last night of the proms as well as numerous international sporting events, football particularly. This song is all about the chorus! ‘Rule Britannia, Britannia holds the waves, Britain’s never never never shall be slaves’ – Having been in LNoTP type concerts and everybody singing it proudly and waving the union jack. That’s pretty cool! One of the things I like though is how, despite the fact that this song could be non-more British even if it was holding a warm beer watching Andy Murray get knocked out of the semi’s at Wimbledon, it brings people together. I’ve seen people from a whole host of nations singing along and waving flags. That’s a truly beautiful thing.

#8 – Canon in D – The original one hit wonder, anybody who is anybody has heard Canon in D at some point in their life. Be it the classical piece or the uber-rocking Canon Rock covers on Youtube (thanks Jerry C!) this song is everywhere. The chord progression has run rampant over music, and any self-respecting artist has written a song using at least, the first 4 chords, if not all 8. Those of you who have seen Rob Paravonian’s viral rant video will know what I mean.

#7 – Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto in Eb No. 1 – Allergo – Yes, the title is a little intricate, but this piece is superb. Its allergo, it’s happy, it’s joyous, it’s symphonic, it’s just good! A great showcase for the trumpet also. One of the pieces I like to listen to in the mornings whilst commuting!

#6 – Listz’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 – Another piece I’m sure a lot of you will no doubt recognise. There’s a Tom and Jerry cartoon based on this cartoon. Victor Borge did a wonderful comedy performance of it. I also believe it was theme music to BBC Cartoons for a short period when I was just a wee nipper. The ending will be familiar I’m sure. Just one piano throughout, this piece is wonderful. It changes moods and tempos a few times throughout also, and always leaves me with a smile on my face.





A Song A Day – 31st March: My Intentions Are Good!

31 03 2011

Yesterday was an interesting day indeed. I had my haircut by an old friend from school (it was nice to catch up like) – and then… I got a job interview! It’s this coming Monday. I’m really excited. My role will be ‘Technical Tester’ – It’s up my street, the company looks great and it’s local also (which is good for several reasons) Fingers crossed!!

I want to give a nod towards my other blog which is now up and running. I’m going to attempt to put something on there everyday also if I can. This blog here is all about music. My 2nd blog is going to be about films and video games (retro gaming especially) – There’s going to be video content soon (hopefully) as well as recurring articles. You can check it out at http://thedigitaldomain.wordpress.com/ – Yes, I was surprised I got that domain name also!

Today’s song is another cut from the Kill Bill soundtrack. This one is called Don’t let me be misunderstood by Santa Esmeralda. It’s a funky upbeat disco number which makes you feel good. I love to crank this one. I totally dig these lyrics too.

Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But, don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I seem to be bad

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy
I want you to know
That I never meant to take it out on you
Life has its problems
And I got my share
And that’s one thing I never meant to do
‘Cause I love you

Baby, don’t you know I’m just human
And I’ve got thoughts like any other one
And sometimes I find myself, oh Lord, regretting
Some foolish thing, some foolish thing I’ve done

But I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Oh Lord, don’t let me be misunderstood
Please don’t let me be misunderstood

Baby, do you understand me now?
Sometimes I feel a little mad
But, don’t you know that no one alive can always be an angel
When things go wrong I seem to be bad

‘Cause I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

Baby, sometimes I’m so carefree
With a joy that’s hard to hide
And sometimes it seems that, all I have to do is worry
And then you’re bound to see my other side

‘Cause I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy
I want you to know
That I never meant to take it out on you
Life has its problems
And I got my share
And that’s one thing I never meant to do
‘Cause I love you

Oh, baby, don’t you know I’m human
I have thoughts like any other one
And sometimes I find myself, oh Lord, regretting
Some foolish thing, some foolish thing I’ve done

‘Cause I’m just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

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A Song A Day: Wordless Wednesday – 30th March, 2011

30 03 2011

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A Song A Day – March 29th: If You Try Sometimes…You Get What You Need

28 03 2011

Today’s song is one of my favourites, especially this cover. It’s a cracking version of the rolling stones uber-excellent song, You can’t always get what you want. This version if by a group called Band From TV, and features famed actor Hugh Laurie in the lineup. It’s a stonkingly brilliant rendition. I hope you enjoy it – I’m a little pressed for time at the moment. Now isn’t the best time to be blogging. RL things to sort out – but, I wanted to get this out there whilst I think about it.

I saw her today at the reception
A glass of wine in her hand.
I knew she was gonna meet her connection,
At her feet was a footloose man.

You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, yeah,
You just might find
You get what you need!

I went down to the demonstration
To get our fair share of abuse,
Singing, “we gonna vent our frustration.”
If we don’t we’re gonna blow a fifty amp fuse.

You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want,
But if you try sometimes, yeah,
You just might find
You get what you need!

So, I went to the chelsea drugstore
To get your prescription filled.
I was standing in line with Mr. Jimmy.
And man, did he look pretty ill.
We decided that we would have a soda,
My favorite flavour, cherry red.
I song my song to Mr. Jimmy,
And he said one word to me and that was “dead”.

You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, yeah,
You just might find,
But if you try sometimes, yeah,
You just might find,
You get what you need!

You can’t always get what you want,
You can’t always get what you want.
You can’t always get what you want…

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A Song A Day – March 28th: Here it goes again!

27 03 2011

They say the devil makes work for idle thumbs and sure enough that was true tonight as youtube got the better of me. Nicely killing an hour or so on the big Y, I got watching some music videos and live performances from some the likes of Guns and Roses, Tomoyasu Hotei and Pink Floyd, as well as watching some web series episodes on gametrailers.

It was with the former that I rewatched a favourite music video of mine for the umpteenth time, and it always gets better with age. In a ridiculously simple video (it’s one shot) the content and choreography is bang on the money – a unique hybrid between awesome and comedy.

It’s pretty easy to see why this video went viral and has been referenced in popular culture several times. Throw in the fact that the song is decent also and you’ve got a winner on both counts.

8 treadmills, 4 guys and 1 piece of epic winning awesomeness – OK Go – Here It Goes Again. Contender for greatest music video ever.

It could be ten, but then again, I can’t remember half an hour since a quarter to four.
Throw on your clothes, the second side of Surfer Rosa, and you leave me with my jaw on the floor.

[Chorus:]
Just when you think that you’re in control,
just when you think that you’ve got a hold,
just when you get on a roll,
here it goes, here it goes, here it goes again.
Oh, here it goes again.
I should have known,
should have known,
should have known again,
but here it goes again.
Oh, here it goes again.

It starts out easy, something simple, something sleazy, something inching past the edge of the reserve.
Now through lines of the cheap venetian blinds your car is pulling off of the curb.

[Chorus]

I guess there’s got to be a break in the monotony, but Jesus, when it rains how it pours.
Throw on your clothes, the second side of Surfer Rosa, and you leave me, yeah, you leave me.

[Chorus]

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A Song A Day – March 27th: Starting Over…Again!

27 03 2011

Britains Hope For F1 Glory

Some people like to go out for their saturday night, some people like to get their mates around, grab a takeaway and have a lad’s/girl’s night in. What was I doing this Saturday night just gone? I was sat on my sofa, cup of tea beside me (with the obligatory biscuits for dunking) creating and setting up a new blog on WP for a place where I can blog about film and games. This is so everything doesn’t get all muddled up and lost. The fact that I also got an uber-cool domain name was a bonus.

Once I’ve finished setting up and I’ve got things in place to start posting content properly I’ll link it up here. The blog is ‘under-construction’ if you will, but I’ve got some ideas and that so I’m going to run with it and see where it goes. I’m going to be aiming for a web-series type feel to it, similar to those you get on screw attack and simply syndicated (which were big sources of inspiration for me)

Anyway, enough of the updates and that, onwards and upwards to today’s song posting. I cannot believe that Sunday has come around so fast again. I’m really looking forward to today – I have a big roast turkey dinner coming – what’s not too like, throw in the australian GP also and you’re onto a winner. I’m half tempted to get up at 6am my time to watch it live. This will likely throw me out sleep wise for the evening, and I’ll fall asleep midway through the GP i’m sure, but hey, nothing to loose!

Speaking of which, the Aussie GP is the first stop on this years Formula One calendar which means weekends just got a whole letter better between now and November. I think it’s only fitting that I post the theme to BBC 1’s F1 coverage today! This is Fleetwood Mac – The Chain.

Listen to the wind blow, watch the sun rise

Run in the shadows
Damn your love, damn your lies

And if you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain
And if you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain

Listen to the wind blow, down comes the night

Run in the shadows
Damn your love, damn your lies

Break the silence
Damn the dark, damn the light

And if you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain
And if you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain
And if you don’t love me now
You will never love me again
I can still hear you saying you would never break the chain

Chain…keeps us together
(run into the shadows)
Chain…keeps us together
(run into the shadows)
Chain…keeps us together
(run into the shadows)

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A Song A Day: 26th March – What If Tetris…Had Lyrics?!

26 03 2011

What if Tetris had lyrics? Well, this is one of the many conondrums of life, but was answered by a guy called Brentalfloss on Youtube. He specialises in video game music (especially retro nintendo titles) reworked with humourous lyrics. He’s given the brentalfloss treatment to Mario, Zelda, Megaman, Ducktales, and more.

Yes, I am revealling my inner-nerd here (we all have one) but it’s just too funny not to pass up. Today’s song shouldn’t be taken too seriously clearly, but a light-hearted piece of fun taking the mickey out of a video game classic.

There are some slightly adult lyrics in here – just a quick warning incase you have small children nearby. But, nothing majorly offensive!

(One-y and a two-ey and a three and four)
Shapes made of four colored blocks like a T or a box come down like falling bricks
You can place them in rows, but everybody knows that they made this game for chicks (HEY!)

Mom just loves to flip and stack
Grandma says this shit is like crack! (Well it is!)

This is the game girls deserve, there is no learning curve
Which makes it great for noobs (grrreat for noobs!)
It will fill you with glee, especially if you have a vaj and boobs (HEY!)

Your mom loves it, mine does too (mine does too)
Call me sexist, bitch it’s still true (just kidding about the bitch part)

Deep in a girl’s dainty brain, there’s a spot near a vein (Right here)
Which regulates their bliss (The T-spot)
Once they see falling blocks, the T-spot unlocks
And they start to sing like this (SING!)

LA LA LA LA LA LA LA
WE LOVE TETRIS, LA LA LA LA

Here is a trick I have learned
To avoid getting burned
When you piss off your chick (I’m so mad!)

If you sing this on key,
Immediately she’ll forget that you’re a dick (Try it!)

LA LA LA LA (I’m still mad.) LA LA LA (Is that the Tetris song?)
LA LA LA LA (I love Tetris!) LA LA LA (I’m happy now!)

Tetris helps when chicks want to neuter us (Snip, snip, snip)
If you love it, you probably have a uterus!

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A Song A Day: March 25th – I’m here, it’s now, and I feel fine!

25 03 2011

I first came across todays offering whilst I was a DJ in Second Life. A fellow DJ (and reader of this blog) would often play this song and it grew on me slowly but surely. I got him to send me the MP3, and since then it’s been on the iPod and had decent play rotation.

It’s a very upbeat song, with a heavy slab of feel good factor. You get a carnival feel coming from it in my opinion. I’m still waiting for this song to come up on Strictly Come Dancing (Dancing with the Stars to USA Folks) — it’s a surprise they’ve not used it yet. We got Mr. Pinstripe Suit by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy on there last year, so not all bad I guess.

The track is called Cellophane (although I thought i’d be called ‘I feel fine’ because of the way chorus is played out and sung etc) and is by a guy called Ashley Slater. Get out your swinging shoes for this one!

I am lying lying flat out on my back and light is shining
light is shining from your eyes
and the darkness all around me like a cloak of velvet deep and soft
seductive I could slip into a fold
then I’m blinded blinded by the memory of events recent
recently I realise something’s changing, changing in my world cause
I’m not feeling quite the way I used to feel when I was in control
I start to lose it. I hear the crackling of the flames but I’m wrong you
know, it’s only cellophane.
it’s you unwrapping a chocolate box and smiling sweetly through my
haze, like an angel, standing watching through my windowpane
hey there mister standing over by the door could you take a minute to
turn this water into wine cos I’m here, it’s now and I feel fine.
how did I get here, here is where I never thought I’d be but thinking,
evidently this is me.
many questions racing round my brain like crazy greyhounds chasing
after rubber rabbits never to grab hold
I start to lose it. I hear the crackling of the flames but I’m wrong you
know, it’s only cellophane. it’s you unwrapping a pack of cigarettes
and offering them around like the angel, coming crashing through my
windowpane
hey there mister standing over by the door could you take a minute to
turn this water into wine. well I’m here it’s now and I feel fine.
and if I lose it and hear the crackling of the flames, well just remind
me please, it’s only cellophane it’s you unwrapping a shiny gun to hold
directly to my brain like an angel, you came crawling through my
windowpane
hey there mister standing over by the door could you take a minute to
turn this water into wine cos I’m here it’s now and I feel fine.

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A Song A Day – March 24th – Beauty Song (from another life)

24 03 2011

So there I was, listening to a load of film soundtracks on spotify, when todays song came on. It’s from what is possibly my all time favourite film. I’m actually writing this from the past (the main bulk of todays post comes from a post on my old forgotten blog, but it’s apt today) but it gives a good insight into how I came to fall in love with this wonderfully engaging piece of cinema.

Those of you who have seen Zhang Yimou’s wuxia masterpice House of Flying Daggers will know what a full frontal cinematic attack it is. In a good way. Mind boggling visuals coupled with a great narrative puts this film as one of my all time favourites. I remember the first time that I watched this film. I’d watched two films before it, Naked Gun 33 1/3 and Vantage Point. House of Flying Daggers was rounding off an impromptu movie night. I’d actually picked the film up on an impulsive spur whilst in the local branch of HMV. I’m currently attempting to learn Mandarin and being able to combine a film with a learning experience seemed a good excuse to plough through a bag of popcorn with a pint of the fizzy stuff whilst relaxing in my easy chair! I wandered down to the martial arts section to see what was on offer. I figured the martial arts film might be in eastern languages, and if I could find one or two in Mandarin Chinese then I’m quids in.House of Flying Daggers OST Cover

It was always one of those ‘films-I-want-to-see-but-just-haven’t-done-so-yet’ so I saw it on the shelf, it ticked the boxes so I paid up and headed home. I came to put it on. Plugged in headphones, got comfy (popcorn and beer had already gone missing) so it was just me, the film and a darkened room. That’s not such a bad thing!

I had no idea just how breath-taking (and I use that term literally) the film would be. From the opening credits, I had a feeling it was going to be good… But, THIS good? Scoring 89 on Metacritic and ‘universal acclaim’ I can see why! I’d not seen anything like it.

Now, someone like me who has studied film for a fair few years now, will often watch a film a little bit differently from the average cinema-goer. One thing I always pick up on are the technical sides of it. It struck me that the soundstage in this film was quite remarkable. The sound was crisp, clear and was audibly detailed. Naturally, the soundtrack followed suit.

Shigeru Umebayashi’s soundtrack is really good. The tracks evoke a range of feelings such as urgency (The Echo Game) beauty (Beauty Song (Jia Ren Qi)) and even just straight up heart tugging (Lovers) – The final track (Until the End) is also an emotional piece, those of you who know the ending will no doubt be seeing that in your minds upon hearing this track. I don’t know about yourselves, but I didn’t see it coming or ending like that.

This is also a wonderfully evocative score and captures the heart and soul of the film as well as its ancient chinese location. Traditional chinese instruments such as the pipa and erhu are used to great effect throughout and there is a range of moods and tempos across the tracks. Just like any good soundtrack should have. If you’re not overly used to the chinese sound, it may take a few listens to get your head around. If you are one of those people, then I advise you to at least have a go. You will not be disappointed.

The specific piece I’m going to feature today comes from a scene rather early on in the film, where we first come across Zhang Ziyi. I also learnt how to read erhu notation, converted into the regular notes, plotted it on a guitar tab, and learnt it on the guitar. That was a fun evening! This song is called ‘The Beauty Song’ and is an arrangement of an old chinese poem. I’ve provided the english translation below the video.

Excuse the slighty blurry picture quality – youtube restrictions meant dailymotion was the source today. The bloke singing along is Andy Lau (a famous cantonese/chinese film star/singer — and in this film at this time, the guy is slightly tipsy, which explains his singing, the version without him was bound by embedding restrictions)

An extraordinary beauty in the North…

The most beautiful being of the world

From her first glance the city bows before her

From her second glance the empire falls into ruins

But there aren’t such an empire or a city

what we can laud more than this beauty

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