liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Let's get the political complaining off the top of my journal, and talk about One of your favourite classical songs.

Because I always end up picking Fauré's Requiem every time I answer a meme about music, I'll stick to a strict definition of 'song' and go with Les roses d'Ispahan instead:

video (singing over animation of the score) )

The story behind this is that I fell in love with Fauré when I heard the school choir singing the Requiem when I was 12, and the singing teacher saw me falling in love and decided to try to teach me to sing, even though I notoriously couldn't hold a tune. And we talked a lot about singing Christian sacred music, but she also pointed out that Fauré wrote plenty of secular stuff, so I could learn that. Alongside lots of simpler things more appropriate for a beginning singer. And I loved all the repertoire I learned, but Les roses d'Ispahan best. Spending absolutely months trying to learn songs that were too hard for me gave me an appreciation that just listening to them never would.

Or, if I'm going with a strict definition of Classical, to get even further away from always going on about Fauré... most of the music I like is either Baroque or Romantic really, but I'm not against the entire Classical period. So let's go with Schubert, whom I always reliably like. I'm choosing the song Heidenröslein for the tune, even though I'm not wholly enamoured of the lyrics. I mean, it's Goethe, but it's also about the poet destroying his lover to punish her for rejecting him. Also because I discovered recently that there's a Rammstein song alluding to it, so I'm using the meme as an excuse to tell you about that.

video embed, containing religious violence )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
I'm getting really behind the wave on this, aren't I? Still, there's more than one person still working through the list! Today is One of your favourite 70's songs. I'm not very good at knowing which songs come from which decade, and most of the music on my computer has really inaccurate metadata. But one song which I know is from the 70s, and which is definitely one of my favourites, is Go to Hell by Alice Cooper. I'm not sure if it's actually my favourite 70s song, but I really ought to have something by Alice Cooper in the meme.

I'm really very fond of Alice Cooper goes to Hell; it was my first encounter with the idea of a concept album. I especially love this opening track because it's a bit of (darkly) humorous intro, with the bathos of ridiculously specific examples of depravity:
You'd gift-wrap a leper and mail him to your aunt Jane
You'd even force feed a diabetic a candy cane


I often tell the story of how when I went to university I gained a certain amount of respect among the alternative crowd by explaining that Alice Cooper was in fact a ouijia board chosen stage name for a definitely male singer. Despite not looking like the sort of person who would know rock music trivia. But I love Alice Cooper for being so gloriously terrible, and occasionally coming out with works of sheer genius like Poison (not from the 70s) in among all the McGonagall stuff.

video embed (borderline NSFW) )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
A song from your pre-teen years is a challenge for me, because I almost didn't listen to recorded music at all before I was in secondary school, and the only singing I did was in school or synagogue.

I'm probably not going to find online versions of the Jewish music I grew up with because the anglo-Reform tradition is very little recorded anywhere. I think this אין כאלהינו at least shares some musical ancestry with the one I used to get my Dad to sing to me when I was really tiny, because I liked the repetitive structure of the hymn, There is none like our God, there is none like our Lord, there is none like our king, there is none like our saviour. I think this memory is from when we still lived in my first house ie when I was under five, and being an unmusical child from an unmusical family, I didn't have a clear idea that songs were supposed to be tuneful, I thought of them as like poems but with even more obvious rhythm.

And I'm certainly not going to find a recording of the children's musical my music teacher wrote based on our learning to read system. I remember being terribly impressed that the song about the 'round' letter Oscar Orange was in the musical form of a 'round'. So there must have been a smattering of nursery rhymes, I think we had one tape at least, plus the stuff you learn as part of early school acculturation. And the obvious children's hyms from a bit older.

When we visited my cousins in Australia when I was 7 or 8, we listened to songs from the children's TV show Feathers, fur or fins. I was fond of Please don't call me a koala bear because it's about taxonomical pedantry.

So I think the choice for this item in the meme is going to have to be I should be so lucky by Kylie Minogue. I reckon I was listening to this when I was 10 or 11, so just about pre-teen. A few years later some of my classmates put on a play with a character who was really obviously a parody of me and was so uncool she listened to Kylie and even... Mozart, and I remember being offended not that my classmates thought I was uncool – that was obvious – but that one of the greats of the European classical tradition was somehow being associated with some pop singer so ephemeral that it was a social faux pas to admit to still liking her three years I'd tried to listen to her stuff in an attempt to fit in.

Honestly my immediate pre-teen years in the late 80s were a pretty terrible time for easily accessible music, as they were for fashion, (wow, look at Kylie's hair and clothes in that video!) Well, for white music at least, I was peripherally aware of Michael Jackson's Bad which is just magisterial, but it was well outside my musical context. And the alt scene, especially rock, had plenty of good stuff going on, but that's only with hindsight, as a child at the time I was almost entirely unaware of rock music, and it was still considered somewhat taboo, not respectable.

the most 80s possible video embed )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
A song that you never get tired of. I am kind of over-thinking this one, because there are a few songs I have definitely liked for 20 years or so. Once I've been listening to a song for ages, rather than getting tired of it, I'm more likely to feel warm towards it because it's so much part of my life. At the same time, there are a few songs I've got into more recently, which I expect to always love, but I can't be sure that I won't ever get tired of them.

So I think the best candidates are:
  • Teardrop by Massive Attack
  • Nothing else matters by Metallica
  • Concrete by Thea Gilmore
Of those, the Metallica is probably the most musically interesting, so I'm going to go for that as the one I'm most likely never to get tired of. Also Concrete doesn't appear to be on YouTube, so I've linked to the Last.fm page which may or may not let you listen to the track via Spotify.

video embed )
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
A song that makes you want to dance. I'm not much of a dancer, really. What gets me on the dancefloor is old skool goth stuff that I'm nostalgic about, stuff that's mostly beat rather than rhythm that makes me feel not self conscious if I just jump about and headbang in a not really coordinated way. Or I'll sometimes do folk dancing; most of the Scottish dance music I know is tunes rather than songs, though I have been known to dance Israeli folk stuff that more commonly has songs to go with it, eg Od lo ahavti dai ['I haven't loved enough yet'].

So I've picked a song that is quite bouncy and has lyrics which are about wanting to dance: Because it's not love (but it's still a feeling) by The Pipettes. I think it's [personal profile] blue_mai who got me into this band.

video embed )

I had a weekend full of extrovert delights, a day with [personal profile] jack and an evening with [personal profile] doseybat and [personal profile] pplfichi and an extra bonus [personal profile] ewt, when we talked and talked and were surprised to find it was after midnight. And had a long phonecall with my mother who's more of a morning person than most of my friends, and then [personal profile] cjwatson joined us for dim sum at my perennial favourite Joy King Lau, and lots lots lots more talking until it was time to go back to Keele.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] ghoti_mhic_uait and a bunch of other people are doing a 30 day music meme, and it's really interesting to see people's choices! In some ways music isn't a big part of my life, so I might struggle with this one, and anyway I'm not going to commit to posting every day for 30 consecutive days, but I thought I'd give it a go.

The first is A song you like with a colour in the title, so I went for White winter hymnal by Fleet Foxes. I don't always love the kind of very blurry musical style that Fleet Foxes go for, but I got really fond of this song a few years back and it's one that always raises a smile when it comes on shuffle.

People are generally linking to YouTube, and I'd never actually seen the accompanying video for this one before. It's kind of a cool claymation thing, so I'm glad I searched it up.

Embedded video )
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Which is the kind of thing I not only don't do, but never have done. Only [livejournal.com profile] ghoti wanted me to go to a Blue Öyster Cult gig with her and although they claim they're always on tour they are not so very young any more and their only UK gig was Ramblin' Man Fair. So we decided to attend the fair, and in fact had a great time.

not very successfully pretending to be cool )

So yes, I'm really too boring for rock festivals, but it was fun to pretend for a few days that I'm the kind of person who travels across country and sleeps in a tent (albeit a posh tent) and stands around in muddy fields in the rain to hear bands I like.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
Back in England, back to work – exams season starts in earnest today. Also back to an official presence on LJ, after a six year gap. So, hi, LJ folks! There will probably be more noodling about this shift later, but for now:

what I did on my holidays )

Basically I really want to go back in time twenty years and tell my teenage self that she'll grow up to be the sort of person whose friends invite her to goth festivals, as a brief break from a grown-up life with a proper job. That she'll be able to wear the goth clothes she's just starting to pine after, and that people will think she looks good rather than ridiculous. And she'll come home to loved ones. I find it quite hard to believe that the past two decades have been so good to me, really.
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
I feel like I'm turning into a terrible old fogey when it comes to music. I mean, not that I was ever at the cutting edge of fashion, but I used to at least recognize some current stuff. long-winded description of my problem )

Recommendations of actual music always welcome, of course. I really appreciate people who do share music on their journals, like [personal profile] oursin and [personal profile] seekingferret and [personal profile] ceb. But what I'm really looking for is recommendations of how to music in 2015. How to discover new music, how to do music in a modern social media context, recommendations of places to go to look for recommendations. And how to buy music once I've discovered it. Any suggestions appreciated!
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] ephemera asked about seasonal music. (And a bunch of other things, but unfortunately I'd filled all my December slots before getting round to those ones.) And I found it an interesting and thought-provoking question, so let's see.

culture is complicated )

And I suppose there's no reason why I shouldn't listen to carols at other times of year, since I'm not listening for religious reasons anyway. But somehow I like spending the dark days of the year listening to ths particular style of music when it's at least approximately seasonal.

[December Days masterpost]
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
So [personal profile] sfred asked:
what would your eight Desert Island Discs be? (Optionally, also pick a book and a luxury item.)
I'd been meaning to do DID ever since I saw [personal profile] hollymath's excellent post on the topic, and then I wasn't sure I wanted to do it in December because it's the kind of thing that takes thought to do well. But I'm going to give it a go anyway, it's not going to be as polished as it would be if I hypothetically actually went on the show, but I'll have a go at 8 pieces of music.

my musical tastes are embarrassingly conventional )

[December Days masterpost]
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
[personal profile] angelofthenorth asked for Music - that make you think of people

play on )

Anyway, rather than embedding individual YouTube links, I've put most of these on Grooveshark. I think I've checked most of those that they are the original versions of the song in question and play correctly, but Grooveshark is always a bit random.

[December Days masterpost]
liv: alternating calligraphed and modern letters (letters)
[personal profile] ceb asked: What kinds of music do you enjoy and what do you get out of them?

music musings )

[January Journal masterlist]
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I just bought my 1000th song in mp3 format (Vienna Teng's Whatever you want). This seems a good excuse to talk about buying digital music.

nobody will be surprised to hear I hate DRM )

This is pretty grim for actual musicians, and not that promising for consumers. I'm just hoping that capitalism will prevail, and the desire of millions of people like me to find a way to spend money on music we like, in convenient format, will create enough of a demand that the market will act to fill it. There are traces of it; the fact that it's even possible to buy plain mp3s from mainstream distributors like Amazon and iTunes is a promising sign. But it is very weird to find myself in the position of being almost forced to steal things because nobody will sell me them!

Cambridge

Oct. 25th, 2009 10:14 am
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
It's quite weird getting a lift to Cambridge, leaving work at 5 o'clock and finding myself in Cambridge three hours later, with no intervening hassle! It was almost as if I teleported from Stoke-on-Trent with its shabbiness and its rolling English countryside setting, to this alternate reality full of Mediaeval buildings and ludicrously young people in gowns and / or evening dress.

yay lovely people )
liv: methane on Mars, labelled "squeeee!!!" (squee)
When I first started expressing vague thoughts about coming to New York this summer, [personal profile] redbird bought a ticket for me for the VNV Nation concert. I've been looking forward to it for ages and it totally lived up to my expectations!

bouncebouncebouncebounce )

Yeah, I know I have 2 weeks' worth of reviews and blog posts backed up, but I needed to write about this while the memory of that emotional intensity is still fresh.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
SA invited me to hear Noa, an Israeli singer she introduced me to. I wasn't totally convinced I like her enough to be worth seeing live, but I wanted the excuse to spend the evening with SA, so I agreed.

fusion music done well )

I am very glad indeed that I let myself be persuaded into attending, because she's really special live. Now I need to get to sleep, because I am going to Germany straight from work tomorrow, and haven't packed or anything. I'm very, very excited about spending a weekend doing Progressive community building stuff in Berlin. Of all places; the conference looks exciting in its own right, but with that factor I just have to be there.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Wednesday night I went to the most amazing concert ever ever ever!

too much raving to call a review )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] redbird and some friends have set up a blog to collect songs that portray healthy love. This is a fun game; I think there are more songs about breakups than about happy relationships, but even among songs that are supposed to be positive, there is a lot of sexism, stalkery possessiveness, co-dependence, deeply back-handed compliments and other such junk. So, can you think of any songs which describe a relationship you'd be willing to aspire to?

My suggestions: Nothing else matters (Metallica); Independent love song (Scarlet); Hey there Delilah (Plain White Ts); When I was a boy (Dar Williams); and If I could save time in a bottle (Jim Croce).

I'm making a playlist of some of the suggestions, but as usual it's pretty random what is available at any given moment.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
VNV Nation are fantastic live. Just real artists, wow.

concert review including girlie stuff about clothes )

Oh, and I have no voice left at all, cos when there was no room to move I was screaming instead of jumping!

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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