Archive for the ‘Listening’ Category

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143 – Sunday 23 May 2010 : seeing in the dark

In audio,Listening on May 23, 2010 by Gabor Tagged: ,

I am really enjoying the album How I Learned To See In The Dark by Chris Pureka.

The album was sent to me by a PR company, and I will be playing a track on electrical language soon.

Essentially this is an album of acoustic songs by a female musician, fitting into the “americana” and “folk” categories (I hate the word “folk” – it sends all the wrong messages).  I suppose you could say that this is excellent singer-songwriter music from a tradition that includes Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, even though those are not the best comparisons.

Chris Pureka’s web site: http://www.chrispureka.com

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76 – Wednesday 17 March 2010 : the steals

In Listening on March 17, 2010 by Gabor Tagged:

I am listening to Static Kingdom by The Steals (www.thesteals.com).  A really enjoyable album.  This has been described as shoegaze folk-rock.  To my mind a good comparison is the Cocteau Twins’ recording of Song of the Siren.

Well worth the money from Faun Records.

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13 – Wednesday 13 January 2010 : Squonk!

In I never knew that!,Listening on January 13, 2010 by Gabor Tagged: ,

(image from A Trick Of The Tail album artwork)

This evening I was participating in a word association thread on an Internet forum that I belong to. The previous words had been: labour; birth; genesis. I responded with squonk

What?

Squonk is the title of the third track on Genesis’s 1976 album A Trick Of The Tail (Genesis’s first album following the departure of Peter Gabriel; everyone assumed that the band would not last very long thereafter, but that is another story).

My use of the word squonk in the word association thread led to some discussion, and so I explained that it was the title of a song about a creature that lives in the forest and is prone to bouts of tears, sometimes dissolving into a little wet patch on the ground. The song recounts how a huntsman set out to capture the squonk, and ends up luring the animal into his sack. The song continues:

Walking home that night
The sack across my back, the sound of sobbing on my shoulder
When suddenly it stopped
I opened up the sack, all that I had
A pool of bubbles and tears, just a pool of tears

For more than 30 years I had thought that this was simply a jolly little story made up by Phil Collins and Co.  But no: it turns out that the legend of the squonk is rather older. The squonk is a mythical creature found in the hemlock forests of Pennsylvania. Legend has it that a Mr Joseph Wentling set out to capture a squonk with the results described in the song. You can read the Wikipedia entry in full here.

And here is the final verse:

All in all you are a very dying race
Placing trust upon a cruel world.
You never had the things you thought you should have had
And you’ll not get them now,
And all the while in perfect time
Your tears are falling on the ground.

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11 – Monday 11 January 2010 : birthday present

In audio,Listening on January 11, 2010 by Gabor Tagged: ,

It’s my brother’s birthday today. So he gave me a present: something’s the wrong way round there! Anyway, I am enjoying listening to The Essential Alison Krauss.

Happy birthday, Robert!

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4 – Monday 4 January 2010 : Garrison Keillor

In Listening,wise words on January 4, 2010 by Gabor Tagged:

“The power of face-to-face communication with people you’ve known all of your life is as strong as it ever was; and the winds of Twitter let them blow, and Facebook and Myspace and all; and do what you will and say what you wish to people you will never ever meet; but when it comes right down to it, the people you can count on are the people all around you, so find out who they are and you learn about yourself.”

Driving into work this morning I listened to the podcast of BBC Radio 4’s Excess Baggage programme of Saturday 2 January, in which Sandi Toksvig was in conversation with Garrison Keillor.  A very interesting and indeed charming man, one might say a Midwestern gentleman.  The words that I have quoted caught my ear, and I listened again at lunchtime to make sure that I could report them accurately.

I earnestly recommend you to listen to that broadcast if you can.  It does not seem to be available on BBC iplayer.