Bob Schwartz

Category: Music

Music: The Magic of John Fahey

Music is transportation. And as many vehicles as have been built by masters and magicians of acoustic or electric guitar, none has built a more magical one than John Fahey.

From AllMusic:

One of acoustic music’s true innovators and eccentrics, John Fahey was a crucial figure in expanding the boundaries of the acoustic guitar over the last few decades. His music was so eclectic that it’s arguable whether he should be defined as a “folk” artist. In a career that saw him issue several dozen albums, he drew from blues, Native American music, Indian ragas, experimental dissonance, and pop. …The more meditative aspects of his work foreshadowed new age music, yet Fahey played with a fierce imagination and versatility that outshone any of the guitarists in that category. His idiosyncrasy may have limited him to a cult following, but it also ensured that his work continues to sound fresh. …

Fahey’s early albums for Takoma in the mid-’60s laid out much of the territory he would explore. His instrumentals, filtering numerous genres of music into his own style, evoked haunting and open spaces. At times they could be soothing and plaintive; at other times they were disquieting, even dissonant. The more experimental aspects of his material even foreshadowed psychedelia in their lengthy improvisations (some cuts lasted as long as 20 minutes), use of Indian modes, unpredictable stylistic shifts, and overall eerie strangeness. His persona as a weirdo of sorts was amplified by his bizarre and lengthy song titles and liner notes. He also employed odd guitar tunings that continue to exert an overlooked influence on contemporary musicians to this day.

Never once have I not been transported the moment I hear Fahey’s fingers dancing impossibly on those strings. His music is proof of the alchemy of heart mind body soul that is the essence and power of music. With someone so gifted, we are literally better for having heard even just one song.

Advertisements

Trump: King Midas in Reverse Works His Magic on Kanye

He’s King Midas with a curse.
He’s King Midas in reverse.
He’s not the man to hold your trust,
Everything he touches turns to dust in his hands.
King Midas in Reverse, The Hollies

From The Hill:

President Trump on Friday thanked Kanye West during his speech at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual convention, giving the artist credit for his rising popularity in the polls among African Americans.

“And by the way, Kanye West must have some power, because you probably saw, I doubled my African-American support numbers,” the president told those gathered in Dallas, Texas. “I went from 11 to 22 in one week.”

“Thank you Kanye, thank you,” he added….

West has sparked outrage and intense debate among the hip-hop and African-American communities in recent days with tweets in support of Trump, with some celebrities expressing support for West while others, including many of his fans, have expressed disappointment.

“We are both dragon energy. He is my brother,” West tweeted in one of his pro-Trump messages starting April 25….

Trump has previously thanked West for the support on Twitter, tweeting that it was “very cool!”

Kanye is only the latest in a long series of those who have seen their careers or lives turn to “dirt” (to be polite) simply by having anything to do with Trump. Sometimes it happens relatively quickly, as in the case of Dr. Ronny Jackson. Sometimes it happens after years and years, as in the case of Michael Cohen. Besides being an exceptional artist—which he has been—Kanye seems to have a bunch of other problems, not totally related to his Trump thing. But he seems to have been able to overcome some of those difficulties—until this. Being thanked by Trump at the NRA Convention is almost certainly the coup de grace.

The moral of the story: If you think it necessary or advantageous to get in bed with a pathological narcissist, know that you will wake up alone and covered in dirt. Possibly under a bus. Which is never very cool.

Facebook Releases Oculus Go—Its First Self-contained VR Headset

This isn’t a review of the Oculus Go released today—Facebook’s first self-contained Virtual Reality headset, requiring no phone or computer.

This isn’t a review of the photo above of Mark Zuckerberg demonstrating the Oculus Go. (Note: you can use the Oculus Go wearing a t-shirt or the occasional business suit, if you are demonstrating it to a Congressional committee.)

This is a mention of the growing movement to travel to and colonize Mars, a movement Trump supports. Until that dream comes true, if we want to avoid and escape the depressing and often insoluble problems we are faced with, problems that some are daily making even worse, a self-contained VR headset—from Facebook!—seems like just the ticket.

“He’s in the bestselling show. Is there life on Mars?”

Strands

Strands

Separate the strands of spring song
From these ten thousand birds.
Sweet and strident
Simple and symphonic.
Follow just one
I am already lost
Follow them all
I am gladly ready
To listen and disappear.

©

Welcome to Bubba,s

© Bob Schwartz

Music: Avicii Dead at 28

Superstar musician Avicii (Tim Bergling) has died at the age of 28.

You will see him identified as a DJ and producer, which is true as far as it goes. Actually, he was simply a musician—an extraordinarily talented one. So if someone asks “what did he play?” you can just reply “music.”

Producers have always been important for recording music, and became more important in the modern pop era. Beatle’s producer George Martin was appropriately called “the Fifth Beatle”; without him, the epic music would never have sounded the same.

Hip-hop and dance music introduced performers who “played” turntables and mixed bits of recorded music, which collaboration evolved into full-scale production and creation. The role is a combination of composition and conducting. Avicii came along with a new generation of young DJs and producers, and in the ears of many, was top of the class.

From Billboard:

Bergling started out releasing music on Laidback Luke Forum in the late ’00s, where DJs and producers would post music and seek feedback from budding peers. In 2011, he broke through to an international audience with the progressive house track “Levels,” which hit No. 1 in his native Sweden and on the U.S. Billboard Dance Club Songs chart — and earned him a Grammy nod. His 2012 David Guetta collab “Sunshine” earned him a Grammy nomination as well, and that same year, he became the first electronic artist to headline New York City’s storied Radio City Music Hall.

In 2013, Avicii released his debut studio album, True, which featured the game-changing, massive international hit “Wake Me Up!” ft. Aloe Blacc. Combining EDM, folk and country music, the song became a No. 1 hit in many countries and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100. His second album, Stories, dropped in 2015 and featured vocals from Chris Martin, Wyclef Jean, Robbie Williams, Matisyahu, Brandon Flowers, Gavin DeGraw and more. The EP Avīci (01) came out in Aug. 2017 and featured his Rita Ora collaboration “Lonely Together.”

The place to start, if you don’t know Avicii, is with his debut album True. When I first heard it, my joy was mixed with a sense that this was some new kind of music that he had created. Losing artists of that talent and achievement is difficult and sad.

Music for the Holidays: Redemption Song by Bob Marley

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Bob Marley, Redemption Song

Passover. Easter. The 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Bob Marley. Redemption Song.

Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the Almighty
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Have no fear for atomic energy
Cause none of them can stop the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Some say it’s just a part of it
We’ve got to fulfill the Book

Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Redemption songs

March for Our Lives

And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They’re quite aware of what they’re goin’ through
David Bowie, Changes

To the NRA, the politicians in their pocket, Fox News and all the others who bully and lie as a regular self-serving practice:

These astonishingly active and articulate children you dismiss as naïve pawns of special interests are anything but. They are smart and caring voters and voters-to-be, they are inspirational organizers, they are brave warriors for peace, common sense and truth.

They are the edge of a wave of American humanity that will wash you away. If you believe your own nonsense and are too stupid to be afraid of being sidelined and replaced, you should be very afraid. Nothing happens without struggle, and you may think this is a struggle that you are bound to win. But if you are students of American history, you know how this eventually goes. If you are students of history, watching (or more likely ignoring) this extraordinary moment, you would know that you are history. The arc of history is long, MLK said, but it bends toward justice.

And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone.
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.
Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A Changin’

Morning Music Uplift: You Get What You Give

Don’t let go
You’ve got the music in you

It is too easy to begin the day thinking and writing about the latest outrage. Which is why after the first cup of coffee I select some music to move me and the moment elsewise.

This morning the path led to New Radicals’ You Get What You Give. It doesn’t get more uplifting than this! Listen! Dance!

But when the night is falling
You cannot find the light
You feel your dreams are dying
Hold tight
You’ve got the music in you
Don’t let go
You’ve got the music in you
One dance left
This world is gonna pull through
Don’t give up
You’ve got a reason to live
Can’t forget
We only get what we give

 

Bird Talk

Bird Talk

In China
Chinese food is just food
In the yard
Bird song is just
Morning chatter

©