tunequest week in review

for the week ending may 20, 2006.

stats: a superlative week here at tunequest. 394 songs played over 25 hours and 40 minutes. a further 5 songs were removed from the library for a net progress of 399, a new record. frankly, i'm surprised by the results. an afternoon braves game and a couple of extented meetings cut into my normal office listening time and i didn't really expect saturday's listening to be able to compensate. not that i'm complaining about it. i'm thrilled.

highlights for the week include sharing the chicago symphony's performance of mahler's no 6 with the neighborhood, revisiting some  grunge and post-grunge rock from nirvana's bleach and soundgarden's down on the upside, appreciating the smooth grooves of the well-pollished idm of to rococo rot's hotel morgen, getting funky with morton steven's very compelling tv score to hawaii five-o (best tv theme song ever!), and finally finally finally finally getting through all those babylon 5 scores* (it took 7 weeks, but i did it), as well as enjoying a host of other really great music.

also mixed in this week were a couple of james bond scores (john barry's diamonds are forever and david arnold's die another day. both excellent) and william shatner's has been. now don't laugh at this, but that shatner album is some powerful stuff. he's got a very engaging spoken-word delivery as well as some respectable collaborators. the result is 11 songs that pack more heartfelt sentiment than all the songs on top 40 radio in the past 10 years combined. i mean that.

it was also apparently "records that time forgot week" here at tunequest. i only covered 7 albums in that short-lived series, and 3 of them managed to pop up this week: can's ege bamyasi, louis and bebe barron's score to forbidden planet and martin denny's space-exotica extravaganza exotic moog. as soon as i track down that file, i'll post it.

see this week's complete list of albums in the extended entry.

*technically, i have one album left, a compilation called 'the best of babylon 5.' it's currently not eligible for play because the tunequest-ipod is into the I's and it's not smart enough to ignore the "the" at the beginning of album names. artists yes, albums no.

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We Can Be Heroes

Today’s I-285 adventure was sponsored by Philip Glass’ 1996 "Heroes" Symphony (or Glass’ Symphony No 4), a fantastic orchestral suite in 6 parts that’s based on but not an orchestral transcription of the Bowie/Eno album of the same name.

Unlike some of glass compositions, which can be inaccessable at times, this symphony is very compelling. Yeah, it’s full of his trademark cyclicality, but because it is rooted in a more popular form of music, this record really draws you in.

I’m particularly enthralled by the tension in Abdulmajid.

American Composers Orchestra & Dennis Russell Davies - Philip Glass: Heroes Symphony

Wherein I ponder all the music I could listen to in my lifetime

I did some thinking today about my library and listening to music in general. I’m 27; given the average American life expectancy, I’ve got another 50 years in me. If the size of my iTunes library remains constant (big if), I could expect to listen to every song in it a maximum of 429 times, if i were to listen to each song an equal number of times. However, that would require listening for 24 hours a day for the next 18,000+ days, so that is really not a practical measurement.

Given that on days when I’m really trying hard to listen to as much music as possible, I only clock about 3 hours of listening, it brings the number of listens down to 53 per song, roughly enough time to play each song only once per year, That’s all the more reason to clear out the less-than-stellar songs and albums from my collection, because I know I’ve got music i want to hear more than once per year.

meanwhile, here’s today’s tracks.

  • broken social scene [bee hives]
  • uakti [aguas de amazonia]
  • nautilis [are you an axolotl]
  • mouse on mars [cache coeur naif]
  • counting crows [august and everything after]
  • underworld [beaucoup fish]

No laughing at the Counting Crows. I’ve only got a handful of tracks from their first album (from before they tanked) and I don’t care what anyone says, Omaha is a damn impressive song; it’s their best. •

Honestly, today was a great day for music. Underworld’s Beaucoup Fish is a masterpiece of progressive house music that relies more on songcraft than thumping beats–though their are plenty–to create some compellingly danceable music that’s not just for dancing. It’s enjoyable as music in its own right. I’ve had the album for more than six years and it has consistently been among my favorites. It’s surprising to me that the group’s others albums haven’t broken through the clutter in my library. •

Mouse on Mars teams up with Stereolab on the Cache Coeur Naif ep. Two powerhouses of the upper echelon of indie-dom combine to create… a rather run-of-the-mill couple of tracks. It’s good; don’t get me wrong, just not very compelling. I think it suffers from “too much expectation” syndrome. •

Lastly, I was totally prepared to weed the Uakti album. Despite the fact that it’s a collaboration with Philip Glass (or perhaps because of), I was ready to write it off as a superfluous acquisition from a more experimental time in my listening habits. But it appears my perceptions of it had become corrupted over time (it had been quite a while since i last heard it). Aguas de Amazonia’s unique percussive style really makes this album a fascinating listen. Then again, I’ve always been a sucker for percussion, which is funny, ’cause Ican’t dance. at all.