I love the world because it's full of such amazing little surprises, every day. Today's surprise: the theremin.
Here we are leaving the church after the wedding... fast:
And this is when we arrived to the hotel for the dinner:
This is our first dance (where you admire our wide range of movements... ;)
Some more dancing...
... and a bit more...
... and even more!...
This is the throwing of the bouquet:
... and when I throw my tie:
Finally, this is when the cousins of Ewa throw us (!) in the air:
More of his work here:
The Polish consulate in London was the place where all the voters in southern England with surnames starting with the letters L to Z had to go to exercise their right to vote. It seems incredible and ridiculous to do such a thing given the amount of Polish people living in England (a great number of them in London): around 1 million Polish live, work and pay taxes in the U.K. In Mielec, a 60000-inhabitant Polish town, there were today 30 election polls. Today, in the whole U.K., just 20.
The results, therefore, did not surprise anyone. Queues were embarrassing. There is no excuse to such lack of organization from a government which claims to rule a democratic country. Absolute premeditation was in the mind of all of those waiting for hours in the cold to be able to vote, specially when the English government had offered help to the Polish authorities to open more election polls, help which was refused on the grounds of lack of time to prepare.
Overall, me and my Polish wife, Ewa, spent 3 hours since we arrived until we left the consulate. Finally leaving by 5pm, and seeing that the queue was then even longer than when we had arrived at 2pm, we wondered how many people would not make it in time, since the polls were closing at 8pm. What happened today actually broke the civil rights and was anti-constitutional: every Polish citizen has the right to exercise their right to vote in equal grounds. And this did not happen today. Not only were many people late to vote due to the queuing, but many others did not stand the wait and decided to go back home given the situation, which is certainly beneficial to Kaczinski's interest.
The ones that decided to stay and vote took it, at least, with humor and patience. Polish people do not complain when it comes to their governments, used as they are to these sort of situations. As Ewa was telling me, Poland is the country of queues. Let us hope that their effort today was worth it, and that today's negligence could not stop the necessary political change in Poland. They deserve it.
At least we have his music. And hell it's worth it. His guitar chords, his string works, were extremely innovative in music. Even more astonishing is the fact that he did not learn to play the guitar anywhere, he learn it by himself, in his bedroom, mostly during the night.
His three LPs, Five Leaves Left (1969), Bryter Layter (1970) and Pink Moon (1972) are all mind blowing. Detached lyrics, aching melancholy, make this the perfect music for when you are feeling miserable, by his songs, apart from sad, are immensely beautiful and dreamy. Definitely not to be missed. Some of his best pieces are Day Is Done, Pink Moon and the colossal River Man and Things Behind the Sun.
And to finish, River Man, with its compelling strings and sense of alienation ("Betty said she prayed today for the sky to blow away"). Nitenite:
Volando de Bruselas a Barcelona:
01.- 15 steps: already a favourite. The initial mess is meant to wake you up. Thom starts complaining about something when Johnny comes in to bring the melody, and the Thom follows with a beautiful voice melody on top. And then the glorious bass enters. And so the songs starts growing on you, and you feel better and better, feeling even like dancing. The kids shout, and all is joy. Then, towards the end, dreamy guitar sounds, together with a gorgeous bass again, take you around the universe and back. Love the distortion in the guitar towards the end. A highlight.
02.- Bodysnatchers: dirty sounds to start this fast, energetic song. It grows on you. It has some National Anthem hidden in it in the synth landscapes. Thom performs angrily to follow the drums, in speed. At the end, the airy guitar and the voice of Thom begging let loose and we reach the climax, among incredible chords. before the song dies not without putting up a good fight.
03.- Nude: as romantic as Radiohead ever got. The guitar is a pleasure throughout, so delicate. And the voice of Thom, always remarkable. The melody, though, lacks simplicity, directness, and it feels more like a succession of grand chords. Beautiful as it is, it will need several more listens to grasp it as a whole. The last voice crescendo is a moment to remember.
04.- Weird fishes / Arpeggi: it starts a bit like Song 2 of Blur, but it suddenly becomes so melancholic that it hurts. The guitar melody is just overwhelming, and Thom makes it feel so hopeless. The drums help you keep up the pace, while you just want to cry. And then everything stops and some hope arises. Weird fishes starts. And the song enters then an alarm stage, with Thom singing at low pitch, while the guitar is begging for escape with Thom, slightly reminding Knives out. Amazing ending.
05.- All I need: first time I heard this one I was not entirely convinced by the sound they've chosen for the melody notes, as I had only heard it with grand piano. But after a couple of times, it starts to work out fine with me. The tickling bells are a nice contrast to the sound that seems to get closer to a plain piano as the song advances. When the drums let loose, the crescendo is like a warm embrace, and then Thom wraps it up with his crescendos. Sweet.
06.- Faust Arp: this is a clear homage to Beatles. Even the initial One, two, three, four reminds us of Taxman. The rest of the songs has some Blackbird and some Dear Prudence in it, even in the length of the song. To me, another highlight in the album. The combination of acoustic guitar and strings works just great. I may be stretching it, but I hear some Nick Drake there too.
07.- Reckoner: this song has been there forever, although I didn't know it too much. The echo throughout the song give it a dreamy touch, which Thom helps as well with his whining. As always, the piano brings completeness to the composition. When it all stops and the voices come in, we can intuit 2+2=5 just before the you have not been paying attention part. But the song soon deviates from there to finish up quite poppily, with some more string work from Johnny. Is it me or I hear the same sound effects as in Pull pull revolving doors?. Not the strongest song in the album.
08.- House of cards: moody song, with a nice'n'slow pace, to lay back and enjoy. Echoing here and there help that effect. It is possibly the song in which Thom voice leads the most, above all other instruments. Everything else seems to float around it to keep it warm, but it's Thom who brings the action. Not a personal favourite, but very enjoyable.
09.- Jigsaw falling into place: this is a completely new song for me, and I love it. Starts fast and you feel like jumping on a running train. The voice goes up and down as in a roller coaster. Then, Thom starts singing a bit a la Edge in Numb, in contrast with the melodic background vocals. Guitar interlude and Thom gets crazy, jumps on the chair and starts shouting as the guitar brings some help. Nice familiar Radiohead structure. And the the guitar draws again a beautiful melody, together with the strings, while Thom says goodbye to the song.
10.- Videotape: as many other people, I've not been pleasantly surprised by this version of the song, as I considered the live version far far better, with the guitar crescendo and decrescendo, while Thom's voice wonders around. But again, what do I know what Thom and Co had in mind here. It is true, however, that this version is appealing on its own. The naked piano in the beginning gets you real deep, and the percussion work is, well, puzzling, until Phil comes in and makes a bit of sense with the cymbal. I'm still trying to figure out the background nonesense with the repetitive drum. As a reference, I attach here the live version:
He's an artist with a style of his own, very original. His songs tend to grow steadily to end up in an aphoteosis of mostly wind and percussion instruments, ressembling a full orchestra at times. This, together with choir voices, may sound pretentious, but after listening to some of his songs, one ends up understanding that he just can't help the grandiosity. Actually, the choirs and the abundance of sounds and instruments potentiates the lyricism and religiosity of his music.
He is a talented multi-instrumentalist. His lyrics are very spiritual most of the times, revolving around US landscapes, religion and human relationaships. What is more important, some of his melodies can give you the goose skin, that beautiful they are. And that's not common.
Some of his best songs include Casimir Pulaski Day, Come on! Feel the Illinoise, The Henney Buggy Band, John Wayne Garcy Jr and The Palm Sunday Tornado Hits Crystal Lake. This is Concerning the UFO sighting near highland:
And this is Chicago, his most famous song, soundtrack in the movie Little Miss Sunshine:
Polly Jean sings as a hurt cat. I don't mean she whines ans shrieks annoyingly. What I mean is that she's a wild sexy pussycat with a mini-skirt and a microphone, crying for love and understanding, most of the time. Don't expect many layers in her music, she's kinda raw. And powerful. And energetic, uncontrollable, untamed. Although not always: her last but one LP, Uh huh her, was close to crap. Almost everyone agreed on that one. The good news is that her latest cd, White Chalk, has generated all but unanimity. She has raised the pitch of her voice, changed the guitar for the piano, and sings her new songs quietly, as if in a long, peaceful hangover. Being very different from her previous cds, this is the kind of album that some consider her best and most intimate while others are left wondering what the hell is wrong with her. But that's good, see, because unanimity rarely means genius and more often than not means boring, lame. This cd shows that Polly Jean is changing, like the sea, the landscapes, like each of us. And that, for her music, can only be healthy.
Here goes my favourite PJ's song, Down by the water (don't miss the guy playing the guitar with a knife):
Love you all!!
One of her poems deals with the number pi. Ain't that nice. This is an extract, in Spanish:
tres coma uno cuatro uno.
Las cifras que siguen son también preliminares
cinco nueve dos porque jamás acaba.
No puede acabarlo seis cinco tres cinco la mirada,
ocho nueve ni el cálculo
siete nueve ni la imaginación, ...¨
And since R A D I O H E A D is by far my favourite band, it has to be added into the Music store straight away. Nobody out there is doing anything close to these guys, no one.
These guys are genius. Their ability to explore new melodies, the insatiable will to learn about new instruments and techniques, their pursuit of naked musical beauty... make them special. No other band, except the Beatles (to whom Radiohead owe so much) have felt to uncomfortable with their own success and have tried so hard to escape from commercial comfort findi
ng in their way new sounds of unexpected quality and artistic talent. And what the hell, no other band has made me feel like these guys have, and that's enough for me. From the lightest melodies (No surprises, Nice dream, Like spinning plates) to the angriest guitar riffs (Just, Myxomatosis, the colossal Paranoid android), Radiohead can take you emotionally around the world in a few songs, leaving you not knowing whether to laugh or to cry.Other Radiohead hits include Planet Telex, Fake plastic trees, Airbag, Karma police, Subterranean homesick alien, The national anthem, How to disappear completely (know as Yorke's favourite Radiohead song), Morning bell, Pyramid song, Optimistic, 2+2=5, Sail to the moon... the list is long. As you may know, they've just released their 7th PL, In Rainbows. Life could not be better.
It has been difficult for me to choose songs to post here, but to keep it low I've chosen two of the most inspiring, compelling songs these guys have composed. That anyone have composed for that matter: the live performances of Pyramid song (with Colin in the contrabass and three ondes martenot!) and Everything in it's right place. Enjoy.
The first Music store post goes for Midlake, a band from Texas whose music is so light and fragile that leaves you almost untouched, but caresses you with pure beauty. Check this out from the latest CD, The trials of Van Occupanther. This is called Roscoe:
Their first LP, Bamman and Silvercork, is less commercial and more experimental, showing the true talent in these guys for a debug album. The psychedelic sounds and delicate melodies take you somewhere new in music, reminiscent sometimes of Radiohead (the lead voice has been quoted as Thom Yorke on Valium) or Pink Floid. Either way, there's something making these guys special, the infinite looseness of their songs, the feeling of detachment, the apparent lack of hope and energy that hides, actually, a whole new world of musical textures.Some of their best songs are The jungler, Kingfish pies, Roscoe, Head home or We gathered in spring.
David explains in a few words how it was (as long as he can remember):
One of the most important concepts in this religion is the karass, described by Bokonon in this way: "If you find your life tangled up with somebody else's life for no very logical reasons, that person may be a member of your karass". For true love, Vonnegut describes an special karass, made up of only two people: a duprass. I like the idea of a karass: we all meet those people, once in a while, with which we feel a strange connection, a deep link, even if we only meet for an evening, for a week, for an hour, members of our particular karass, which then disappear in time as lightly as they came by.
But an even more revealing concept within Bokononism is that of Granfalloons: "it is a false karass, a seeming team that is meaningless in terms of the ways God gets things done. Other examples of grandfalloons are the Communist Party, the Daughters of the American Revolution, The General Electric Company, the International Order of Old Fellows - and any nation, anytime, anywhere.". So a Grandfalloon is a group of people that believe that they belong to something, while this something is just not there, it's an illusion. As I was saying, Grandfalloons everywhere.