June 15, 2007

Don't you ever have anything nice to say?

Yeah, I do. I'd like to say that this music is incredibly effective for creating a mental state conducive to reading and writing.


Hoosier Daddy said...

I recommend Enigma for some good relaxing music. Spanish instrumental group. Good stuff.

George said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
George said...

Solo trombone in the palace of the Pope...


TMink said...

Eno is so cool. I prefer his more melodic stuff, and I love the old records where he sang, but Eno has the Holy Fire.

With my ADD, I usually have music on when I need to write but do not want to. When I want to write, I can conentrate on it so much that I do not notice the music.

I guess it is different with people who's attention process works more normally.


Roost on the Moon said...

Given this and your "Angels want to wear my Red Shoes" reference a while back, I feel compelled to recommend a collaboration between Eno and Elvis Costello, a strange little song called "My Dark Life". Very pretty, with a sad melody and sly lyrics. It's probably available on itunes.

Ann Althouse said...

Roost: Thanks. I would have bought it, but it wasn't there.

Roost on the Moon said...

Shoot. I only have it on cassette. The compilation that it comes from is on sale at Amazon here, but it's not worth it; I doubt most of it would suit your taste. It's pretty dorky. (I love it.) It looks like there is a free sample there, but it develops kind of slowly and an excerpt probably won't be enough. Anyway, keep an eye out for it, it's a unique song.

Going overboard on the recommendations, but: If you do check out that sample, you may want to try the Screamin' Jay Hawkins (the previous track on the album) while you're there. I've never met a person who could hear that without grinning.

John Stodder said...

Before there was ambient music, there was a brief movement that arose from an unlikely marriage of be-bop with vaguely eastern spirituality, best exemplified in the music of Alice Coltrane, John's widow, who just recently died. If you're looking for music that good to read/think to, her stuff is wonderful. Even though Eno is an electronic musician, I have to think he picked up some of that sense of physical space, evolution and journey from albums like "Journey in Satchidananda."

TMink said...

Roost, great post, I never knew such a thing existed, and Elvis dominates my iPod.

Screaming Jay Hawkins was quite interesting when I saw him on tv. He was singing a wonderful version of "Old Man River" in a fine, deep baritone. He had a bone through his nose and a skull on the piano, and was dressed in a Dracula get up.

After singing a line or two of the song, he would bang on the piano and tear off some demented scat singing, then return back to the placid and lyrical ballad.

It was disturbing, mesmerizing, and sticks with me in a vivid manner many years after the experience. I gots to get that recording of Elvis and Eno.



Roost on the Moon said...

"Buhbuhbuhbuhbuh -LAAAH!"

I've seen him in his Dracula get-up, too. That's something else. It doesn't seem too odd these days, but back then everyone must have thought he was completely insane. Warms my heart.

At any rate, thanks for the feedback and enjoy the album. (There are well-hidden tracks, on there, too!)

John Stodder said...

William Burroughs and REM????

Please describe that. It's one thing for REM (sans the tedious Michael Stipe) to back up Warren Zevon. But William Burroughs?

I'm trying to think of a comparison: Charles Bukoski and the Dave Matthews Band? Bob Dylan and WHAM?

(p.s. I'm writing about this b/c the Burroughs/REM track is on the same soundtrack CD as the Elvis/Eno song under discussion.)

Hazy Dave said...

Glenn Gould's "Goldberg Variations" is great concentration music if you're not Glenn-phobic on any particular day...

Clips from Screamin' Jay's memorable visit to David Sanborn's "Night Music" show can be found on YouTube, including "Old Man River":


Also, don't miss Bongwater along with Screamin' Jay, Bob Weir, and Rob Wasserman covering Roky Erickson:


Mmmmm, that's good strangeness. Have a productive Friday, everyone!

Burroughs brags that he can make up lyrics on the fly and croaks some nonsense like "f*ck me, kitten" whilst Buck, Berry & Mills excrete a standard b-side instrumental. The must-have track on that disc is the hidden "Track Zero" by Nick Cave, "Time Iesum Transeuntem et non Reverendem".

TMink said...

Burroughs "sang" but I think Laurie Anderson wrote:

"He says: You know, I can see two tiny pictures of myself And there's one in each of you eyes. And they're doin' everything I do. Every time I light a cigarette, they light up theirs. I take a drink and I look in and they're drinkin' too. It's drivin' me crazy. It's drivin' me nuts."

I could never read more than 5 pages of his writing, but I love to hear him talk.


Roost on the Moon said...

Please describe that.

Burroughs explains "...just kinda picked up a knack, for going along with someone else's song; putting myself into it. It evolved from Lili Marleen; Marlene Dietrich. Not one of my favorite people, but, that's where it comes from..."

Then the song starts. It's the incredibly boring R.E.M. instrumental "Kitten" (from Murmur, maybe?) But with Burroughs "putting himself into it" by coming on to a woman in a haltingly rhythmic old-man song-speech. It's very creepy, kind of sweet, and an undeniable improvement.

Hazy Dave said...

Or, maybe it's called "Time Jesum Transeuntem Et Non Reverendum"... (Translated: Dread the passage of Jesus for he will not return.)

I'm pretty sure Laurie Anderson also appears on the spoken-word CD that includes Frank Zappa reading an excerpt from "The Naked Lunch"..

Ooh, it's here:

Maxine Weiss said...


Ann Althouse said...

Hazy Dave said..."Glenn Gould's "Goldberg Variations" is great concentration music if you're not Glenn-phobic on any particular day..."

Actually, I have used that a lot for concentration music, but it is a little distracting to me (which is not a criticism of the music, of course). The Brian Eno thing I used today was absolutely magical -- and I needed it to mask construction noise (and the construction workers' radio), noise that was really bothering me.

I spent part of today working in two cafés, and I left my computer at home (to avoid that distraction) and forgot the iPod, so I had to listen to their music. At the first café, Latin music was impossible to read to. At the second café, it was one oldie after another -- Supremes, Chuck Berry, Simon and Garfunkel -- that were terribly distracting.

Pogo said...

I love Eno's ambient pieces. His work with Harold Budd is stunning.

You might also like the ambient work of William Basinski.
Listen to parts of Melancholia here; especially cuts 2, 3, 6, 11
Listen to Variations: A Movement in Chrome Primitive here

A beautiful and sad piece is Disintegration loop 1.1, which he couples to a film which consists of one static shot of lower
Manhattan shot from his roof in Brooklyn on the evening of September 11th, 2001. Watch the whole thing here; it lasts an hour.

"In the process of archiving and digitizing old loops, Basinski discovered a group of bucolic loops that began to disintegrate during the recording process. These pieces seem to portray the life and death of the American pastoral landscape."

mickey said...

primus pretty much does it for me.

Ron said...

Screamin Jay fathered so many children, ~75(!), that they had a website to figure out who's who and a gathering of them after he died... hilarious!