Tuesday, July 24, 2007

My monthly emusic purchases included the remaining tracks from Panda Bear's Person Pitch and a record called Boxer by the National. This latter record is quite good. Interesting voice, interesting and tasteful use of polyrhythmic guitars, drums, piano, etc. I hesitate to use the word "polyrhythm," as that term immediately conjures up images of the "world" music genre, which I haven't had a lot of success in navigating through (the dreck therein, that is). I guess I'm just an old crank. Anyway, it's a good record and I was pleasantly surprised. It's nice to have that happen with music every now and again. As my attention is moving farther and farther away from keeping current on music, I'll take anything new that I can get with as minimal effort as possible due to my time being necessary to concentrate on other things. Wow, that's loopy syntax, huh?

Monday, July 09, 2007

When we were in Wisconsin, one of my dad's ideas was to take the boys to visit the International Crane Foundation, just five miles south of Baraboo. I'm glad we went. They do great work, and we got to see two whooping cranes feeding their chick. You can see the best picture K took posted here. Thanks to the ICF, the once severely endangered whooping crane population is recovering. At one time there were 21 birds left. Now they are over 200. Part of this is because cranes hatch one chick at a time.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Our peanut enters the third trimester and it won't be long now. The summer's humming along, and I'm back to work now after a two week respite in Wisconsin to celebrate my dad's 80th (he wouldn't call it a celebration, exactly). Time flies. As Dad says, "The years between 50 and 80 just flew by." Indeed. As for me, 37 years old is a babe even still.

With my monthly bare bones subscription to eMusic, which I re-initiated when desperately seeking an authentic James Bond theme to provide to my boss at work for a short film we were doing for our company kickoff, I purchased the new Andrew Bird record, Armchair Apocrypha today. Andrew first caught my attention when K & I were staying at a bed and breakfast in Galena, Illinois for Jason's wedding. I'll refrain from identifying which one since I get the sense that he probably wants to keep his privacy. Anyway, the folks there, after hearing I was (at the time) a somewhat traveled musician, mentioned the name Andrew Bird and popped in a disk. Where had I heard that name before? I whipped out my iPod and noticed I'd downloaded his song "Lull," probably either from Epitonic or Insound. I was sold.

Fast forward a couple of years and this brilliant new record comes out. And I've come to learn his early path into music was very similar to mine. We both come from musical families, and both were enrolled into the Suzuki program at a fairly young age. He started earlier. Many kids would start at age three. He was four and I was seven. It doesn't matter what age (so long as it's still in single digits, I'm guessing). You start out by holding up a cereal box with a ruler sticking out of it, and later, a sponge underneath the actual violin, which is a fraction of the real size. The main thing is that it teaches you to listen to others and not rely on sight reading. This method can cause problems later in life should you choose to take the conventional route into an orchestra or something. I had problems at such conventional auditions that relied heavily on sight reading. But if you choose to carve your own path, you're better off. I can go into a session now and get the line down in no time flat. And I'm better off at picking up the phrasing of the lead vocalist for harmonizing because of this early training.

There's the other coincidence I have with Andrew Bird about sharing ornithological last names. The difference? Well, I sucked at violin and switched to trumpet. But I'd play horn on a record of his in a heartbeat.