Friday, February 16, 2007

What did I ever do without last.fm? And how am I going to be a dad?

The former fits perfectly with my random nature, and the latter? It's time we've long planned for without the wherewithal. K & I are both grateful that we could consider having a child on our own terms, wherewithal or not...when we're ready.

As I write this, Brazilian artists I never would have considered seeking out (without being able to travel the world at leisure like my childhood hero David Byrne) are piping right in, simply by typing Joao Gilberto, and then later, Baden Powell. I knew the former from somewhere in the three semesters of studying Portuguese for my BA language requirement at UW Madison, not the latter. But how hard is it to type in the latter in place of the former? Now I know who Edu Labo is, too. Prog-Jazz with Brazilian scat singing and odd chord changes, a tad on the cheesy side. And Walter Wanderley?

"Organist from Sao Paulo Brasil. A Brazilian organist/composer who stumbled upon a gold mine in the 1960s, Walter Wanderley has been resurrected posthumously in the 1990s almost as a camp figure, a purveyor of plastic lounge music for a cynical young generation. Yet his sound on the organ, generated by a crisp, lightweight, staccato attack, can be mistaken for no one else's - and his choice of material showed much good taste, particularly when exploring his countrymen's songs."

How in the fuck would have I discovered a dude like Walter Wanderley (and can you think of a better last name for this subject) without having to buy a bunch of other records that I'd end up spending twelve bucks on and hating along the way? If I hate Walter Wanderly in lastfm, I simply hit the forward button. But I don't.

And as I speak here comes Azymuth, a nice mix of bad disco bass (doinky octaves), conventional mid 70s jazz fusion with a hint of prog rock. I feel like I'm reviewing a cheap bottle of wine. And like the bottle of wine when I'm well into it, I don't hit (or spill) forward because I find other reasons to stick with it, in this case a long held theory I've had. And that theory is once again reinforced, no matter the tongue...the unifying trait of 70s recordings: "sound sucker" studios making the drums sound like someone decided to bang on a basketball in a room with shag carpeted floors, walls and in this case I'm guessing ceilings. And when I hear that I am transfixed, with my what-the-hell-were-they-thinking detector. They were thinking it would be a good idea to isolate everything they possibly could for the after-the-fact control of adding it in later...also known as "fixing it in the mix." I am comforted by any universal truth I can identify with, no matter how bad it may be for some stupid reason. How bad was it to be a child of the 70s after all?

Now comes Stan Getz, Donald Byrd, Os Mutantes.

I'd been of the mind that whenever the theoretical subject of our kids came up during the past ten years or so, that we better be prepared for things in the world being way, way more devolved when they're in their late teens. And now that we have a real kid on the way, I've always known that I could refuse to be the parent that is stuck in a place in time, and I also refuse to be the parent that tries too hard to stay current. And in a present where things like lastfm are possible, things aren't so bad, are they? There are ways of finding things out now in the world that don't require you to have to sit through a mainstream media that stumbles all over itself to be the first to put out another ten minute update on the death of Anna Nicole Smith (and really, what is there to update at this point, right?), or an exclusive video of Britney Spears in a tattoo parlor getting her head shaved. Who knows what's to come, but I haven't felt as hopeful for the future as I do at this very moment.

In that future, and it's coming fast now, I think that when the word I hold near and dear, that best describes how I feel about a lot of things, comes up in some debate or argument as I am sure it will, and that word is balance, dare say it? I reserve the right to then downplay its significance in any way that I possibly can, to make it seem as milquetoast as...sliced bread.

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If FB decides to reinstate the account of the former "president" tomorrow, I expect an uptick of activity here for random updates ...