Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Random Rules

Just because I think it will be fun, I'm doing a "Random Rules", based on the new occasional feature in The Onion. To quote their explanation: "In "Random Rules," we ask our favorite rockers, writers, comedians, or whatevers to set their MP3 players to "shuffle" and comment on the first few tracks that come up—no cheating or skipping allowed."

So, here's mine:

Kronos Quartet/Terry Riley - "Salome and Half-Wolf Descend Through the Gates to the Underworld"
Nice modern/minimalist string quartet. This is from a long work called Salome Dances For Peace. I first heard part of it that was included on one of the Kronos Quartet's albums ("Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight", on Winter Was Hard). Frenetic, I think would be the word to describe most of it.

Peter McConnell - "Blue Casket Bop"
This is from the soundtrack for the computer game, Grim Fandango. The game is, I think, the closest anyone has ever come to producing Literature in the video game medium, and the musical score is one of the best I've ever heard in a game. This particular bit is a cool jazz number.

Devo - "Booji Boy and General Boy/We're All Devo"
This is basically just a short "filler" track from their best-of anthology, Pioneers Who Got Scalped. Not much to say about that.

Frank Zappa - "Run Home Cues #3"
Some of the incidental music Zappa wrote for the obscure movie, Run Home Slow, which he included on the album The Lost Episodes. I've never seen the movie. The music is somewhat unusual: For some reason the Run Home Slow music reminds me of Mahler more than most of Zappa's other orchestral music, which usually sounds more like Stockhausen.

Frank Zappa - "Stinkfoot"
Well, my MP3 player is pretty heavily loaded with Zappa right now, it's only natural he'd be repeated. This particular track is from a bootleg concert recording - 23 May 1975, El Paso County Coliseum. As always, the musicianship is phenomenal. Decent guitar solo. This is one of Zappa's better band lineups, although my favorite lineup (at least at the moment) is probably the slightly-earlier Ruth Underwood era.

That's the usual five songs, but as an added bonus, here are the next ten that popped up, without comment (along with the album title they come from), just so you can see what a typical playlist would look like on the hypothetical Coolest Radio Station Ever:

nine inch nails - "All The Love In The World" (With Teeth)
Trey Parker - "The Trapper Song" (Cannibal: The Musical - Soundtrack)
Tom Waits - "Tango Till They're Sore" (Rain Dogs)
The Clash - "Police & Thieves" (The Story of The Clash, Volume 1)
Michael Nyman - "While You Here Do Snoring Lie" (Prospero's Books - Soundtrack)
Frank Zappa - "Intro" (Donna You Wanna)
Beastie Boys - "Alright Hear This" (Ill Communication)
The Chieftains w/ Gillian Welch - "Katie Dear"
Frank Zappa - "Muffin Man" (Kreega Bondola)
Frank Zappa - "Montana" (Cuccurullo Brillo Brullo)


Joseph said...

Shuffling may be the best thing that's happened to the music listening experience since compact discs. I have found that the serendipitous juxtaposition of formerly familiar songs adds a novelty akin to hearing the music for the very first time. Despite all my complaints about compression and the loss of audio quality, the shuffle is something I can no longer live without (though it should be noted that CD players always had the "random" play option, but I rarely used it).

Salvius said...

CD players have always had the "random" play option, but unless you can afford one of those 100-CD changers, it's pretty much just randomizing the order of songs on a single album. It would not, for instance, segue from a jazz-influenced, live-instrument-playing rap group (The Roots) to a minimalist string quartet piece, to Zappa, to a sound clip of an electronic voice saying "Welcome to your doom!", to Nick Cave and Shane MacGowan singing "What a Wonderful World". My MP3 player did that the other day.