24 May 2013

Music Day

I can't quite put my finger on why I like this song so much. It's not stereotypically-in-your-face eighties (though anybody who knows music could place the decade with no trouble). I don't have a particular standout memory attached to it (yet). But the guy can sing and the guitar groove of this thing is crazy infectious.

Now that I listen to it again, I'm really curious as to who plays that guitar -- the whole guitar track of this song is quite good, and on most songs I just see the guitar as (mostly unnecessary) background noise, far behind the bass, the keyboard/synth, and the drums. I know you need the guitar to fill in the mix, but usually guitar just doesn't capture me the way the bass and the keyboard do. However, this one does.

And actually, as I'm listening to the song, the version on YouTube sounds slightly different from the one I know, the one that I bought from iTunes after hearing it several times on classicchristian247.com. Just near the end... it's like the mix is slightly different. Or maybe I just hadn't picked up on those tracks in the song yet and they've always been there.

Title: Lookin' For The Light
Artist: David Martin
Album: Stronger Than The Weight
Year: 1985
Label: Home Sweet Home Records.
iTunes here; YouTube here.

Just looked it up... according to Discogs, the guitarist is Jon Goin. I've heard of him, though I'm currently drawing a complete blank on the artists/albums he's worked with... looking through the list on Discogs now, I see quite a few albums I recognise -- Silverwind's Set Apart, Michael W. Smith's Project, Rich Mullins' Winds Of Heaven, Stuff Of Earth, quite a bit of Steve Green, a bunch of Don Francisco...

Well, there we go. I learnt something today.

Closer To Another Dream

*total fangirl squeal*


It's all very tentative... no dates yet (and the odds that they'll come to Canada at all -- never mind small boring farmer-filled Alberta -- are slim to none), but IT STILL COUNTS!

Now, I've kind of got to temper this a little bit... a few years back there was a reunion tour in the works and the whole thing got cancelled rather far into the process, but eventually one of these tour plans has got to work out.

This is killing me... the suspense, the waiting, the not knowing -- not knowing if it'll even actually happen, not knowing if they'll come to Canada, having to face the very real possibility of knowing my favourite band EVER is actually on tour and there's a very good chance I won't be able to see them...

Man... if only I didn't have to pay for dance classes and college... I could spend all summer saving up so I could roadtrip to the nearest concert. Even if it is in the States. (Crap. In that case I would need to get a passport too.)

The announcement said six dates... well, Nashville is pretty much a given, so you've got five. Even Toront -- I mean The Centre Of The Universe would be hard-pressed to get one out of five when it's got the entirety of the States to compete with.

This is why we need an album. But touring is a good sign -- I hope (desperately).

23 May 2013

Alone In The Music World...

They need a 'Forever Alone' meme for DA fans. Especially us Canadian ones. Who were born after the '80's. Nobody understands us (or, more accurately, me).

I know a few White Heart fans, but nobody even tries to understand the sheer genius of Daniel Amos. I explain it and they say 'That sounds cool! I want to hear it,' but then I play for them and they say, 'I didn't understand it.' Hello? You understood it perfectly when I, in my bumbling horrid way of speaking, explained it to you, but listen to the actual unfiltered genius and you suddenly don't get it? What even?

P.S. -- Big huge screaming-deal exciting post coming up!

17 May 2013

Music Day

These guys sound like White Heart. That automatically makes them awesome. The first time I heard this song I spent the entire song thinking, 'That's not Rick Florian, is it? No, it's not... is it? No. Man, it sure sounds like him. Hmm, maybe... no, it can't be...' (For the record, it's not him, but I'm pretty sure the guy who sings this is his long-lost twin.)

Title: Kick It Down
Artist: Liaison
Album: Liaison
Year: 1989
Label: Frontline Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

16 May 2013

A Rare Bug, A Dance With Excitement, And A Choreography Update

So after several years of sleeping an average of five hours a night and subsisting primarily on nachos and salsa, my body finally hit panic mode and crashed.

I've known for a while that something needed to change, but [insert excuse here]. To boil it down, I was probably just too lazy to change. I liked my routine, and I was sort of... proud, I guess?... of being able to pull off a nice life-like appearance on only five hours of sleep and barely enough calories to keep a dog alive. (And just to be clear, no, I'm not nor have I ever been anorexic... just too busy to make myself real food.) In the past couple of months, with an increased dance workload and the additional stress of a last-minute college application (more on that once I feel better), the boundary I was pushing finally broke and Tuesday morning I woke up with the fires of Hell in my throat.

I'm not kidding. I've had colds and sore throats before, but this thing is the Big Daddy, the sore throat to end all sore throats. Plus it also managed to infect both my ears (during Unofficial National Choreography Month, of course, when I'm supposed to be listening to music every second of the day), and mess up my lungs. There have been a couple slightly terrifying moments over the past couple of days when it felt like the muscles in my ribs forgot how to work and there was a second of panic as I tried to remember how to breathe manually.

I haven't gone to the hospital yet, but if this continues, I just might. I'm kind of trying to avoid it because the dance team's first performance of the season is this Sunday and... wait for it... my choreography is going to be in it!

If I'm healthy enough to perform.

It's a ballet solo (for myself) that I choreographed for the gorgeous White Heart song Eighth Wonder (more about the dance here). If I'm feeling well enough to do it by Sunday, it'll be the first-ever public performance of something I've choreographed. Unfortunately, I kind of need to be in top physical condition to pull it off. I don't know what it is, but no matter how warmed up and well-fed and well-rested I am, I can't seem to make it to the end of that dance without nearly collapsing in a heap of breathless exhaustion. And that was before I got sick.

And since I'm writing anyway, here's a bit of an update on the Unofficial National Choreography Month thing... no, I haven't given up. There's too much stubborn German blood in me to give up. Plus, I actually managed to choreograph the Guitar Solo From Hell (mostly), and was thus finally able to finish the never-ending two minutes and forty-five seconds that make up Youth With A Machine. (Just to be clear, the label Guitar Solo From Hell is purely from a choreographer's standpoint. From a music lover's perspective, it's a pretty stinking good solo. But it's almost impossible to choreograph.) The bad news is that it was Day Twelve by the time I finally finished the thing and I still had three more dances to do (four if we're still counting Going Public).

So I plunged into Future Now (which really, really needs to show up on iTunes already so I can tell you in detail how freaking amazing this song is). It's supposed to be a jazz dance for six, but it somehow became very balletic. This amuses me, because seriously, listen to the link. Does anything about it suggest ballet to you?

But despite having the fires of Hell burning in my throat and threatening to blow out my eardrums (at least that's what it feels like), I've somehow managed to choreograph up to the second chorus of that one. I'm having a lot of fun writing this one, and I think it's turning out really well. Or maybe I'm suffering delusions due to illness.

What's scaring me a little bit is what's to come: Fade Into You and Sanctuary. I actually don't know the song Fade Into You all that well (it's a more recent addition to my collection), and I'm starting to worry that I won't have enough inspiration for it. I plan on doing that one next. And what scares me about Sanctuary is the fact that it's nearly six minutes long and I'm going to have to notate eight people for the thing. If Youth With A Machine -- half the length with half the dancers -- took me twelve days, how long is Sanctuary going to drag on?

So, there's your HUGE, once-every-couple-months post about my life and stuff that interests probably less people than I think it does. See you tomorrow for Music Day -- provided I'm not in the hospital...

11 May 2013

And Now, A Commercial

(Note: It's not an actual commercial -- no money's changing virtual hands here. I'm just a fan.)

Since I'm a Kickstarter supporter of the new Daniel Amos album, I just got to hear a rough mix of one of the songs on the upcoming album.

I won't get into too much detail (because I'm not sure how much I'm 'allowed' to share), but listen up, people -- you need this album. End of story. Whether you support the Kickstarter project and get it as a reward or whether you wait till it comes out and buy it then... you need this album.

I would seriously be content with that mix -- the 'rough' mix -- being the final mix on the record. Seriously. It's that good. There is nothing -- nothing -- that will be released this year, in fact, nothing that has been released in the last fifteen years (or more) that can touch this thing. And I've only heard one song.

But until that gets released (eventually...), you can check out a few of their live shows over the years here. (I particularly like the Through The Speakers 1981 show, but the 2011 Phoenix show is pretty good too... "3.5 million songs and the guy wants Sprinkler Head...")

10 May 2013

Music Day

So! Music day.

(I seriously just realised it was Friday.)

Just a little something I found on the 500 Greatest Christian Albums blog. The title of this song intrigued me and the preview was awesomely eighties, so I bought it.

Title: Radio Bikini
Artist: Magdallan
Album: Big Bang
Year: 1992
Label: Intense Records
iTunes here; YouTube here. (Note that the song fades in. Keep a hand on the volume button.)

I love the ending -- the very, very ending, after the chorus repeats and everything have ended, after the guitars and the drums have faded, leaving just the keyboard (I think it's a keyboard), playing that little phrase a couple of times, with a little echo. I don't know why. I just love that part.

I think this song is going to wind up being the soundtrack to my summer. Or at least some beach party or something.

08 May 2013

'Other' Choreography Month - Day Seven Recap

For the first three days or so of May, I worked on the tap dance to Going Public, however, I got sick of the song and my brain was starting to hurt from trying to keep up with formations and counts and everybody in the dance had somehow ended up doing stuff completely different from everybody else.

So before my brain shorted out and froze me for the next twenty-seven days, I began work on Youth With A Machine.

I still can't figure out how this one even got into the setlist. Literally the day before the contest it had been a toss-up between A Sigh For You and The Twist (same guy, different band). I have no clue where Youth With A Machine came from.

But it makes a decent jazz dance, and I'm currently trying to come up with something for the guitar solo.

As cool as guitar solos are to listen to (when they're done well), I hate choreographing them. It's much the same as choreographing a fadeout... there's nothing to advance the 'story,' so it ends up being meaningless pirouettes and pas de bouree piques and probably a half a dozen random flying hops. Except the speed and intricacy of the guitar solos in the music I tend to choreograph requires something more... intense. So what does my brain default to? Melodramatic modern dancing.

If there is any dancing I despise watching, it's modern dancing, and especially the melodramatic stuff where the dancer goes out of their way to make sure you know it's about pain -- they grimace, they cover their faces, they fall as if they've been shot and then writhe around on the floor in positions so inhuman they no longer impress, they only sicken. Why this is my mental default, I don't know. I never watch the stuff if I can avoid it. But it is, and I would rather do pretty much anything except contribute to such a falsely 'powerful' genre. So I try to come up with something, anything, less insipid and insulting to the (hopefully eventual) audience's intellect than that.

Unfortunately, in order to stay on track for this month, I had to finish this dance on Day Seven. Seeing as it is currently 10.37 pm on Day Eight, I'm now behind. And I have the sinking feeling that this was the easiest dance I'd had lined up for this month...

03 May 2013

Music Day

Last Sunday, a man from our church sang this song.

Now I've got to set this up a little. He's a soft-spoken, quiet Filipino guy. I don't know him well, but he seems quite reserved. Pleasant, but reserved.

But when that guy takes the microphone and starts to sing -- holy smokes. I would put him in my top five favourite vocalists of all time -- you know, the same list that Rick Florian would top.

I always look forward to hearing him sing. Not only does he have a singing voice that demands you sit up and pay attention, a voice that leads you with authority and gentleness and passion into a completely different world, he always picks the best songs to sing. While everybody else gets up and sings 10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord) for the umpteenth time, this dude is pulling stuff from as far back as the early '90s and backroads you'll-never-see-this-in-the-Christian-bookstore CCM that nobody knew about and those who did know about it have long since forgotten it existed.

But this man didn't. And he brings them to life in no uncertain form.

Honestly, I liked that guy's vocal take on this song better than the original artist's (though his is good too -- anybody who used to be with White Heart is indisputably talented). But since that one's not available on iTunes (or anywhere else for that matter) we'll have to settle for the original.

Oh, but even that is utterly amazing.

Title: In Brokenness You Shine
Artist: Steve Green
Album: Somewhere Between
Year: 2005
Label: Sparrow Records
iTunes here; YouTube here.

I love, love, love the orchestration on this. This kind of care in the arrangement, and this kind of beautiful dynamic is what's missing in music today (you know, in addition to good songwriting and synthscapes and textured, nuanced mixing and creativity in general...).