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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Finally; that music meme!

Hehe! What a great image I found; how appropriate! Sorry to those who tagged me for this meme (namely Zarah Maria and Johanna) for taking so long getting to do it. I'm not allowed internet access at work, as I'm working on a big, nasty, possible court case for a big, nasty, global chemical company, and as I'm privy to "sensitive information" I'm not allowed access to the real world. Like, whatever. As if I'm going to send anonymous notes to the newspapers. How draconian! How authoritarian! Then when I get home I'm exhausted, and usually have to go out again for a rehearsal or something and then home to bed, ready for another day surrounded by silent, frowning, non-toilet-going men. But I'm here now, so here 'tis!

What's the total amount of music files on your computer?
It's about 3GB at the moment, or 2.6 days worth of music, according to iTunes. I received an iPod for Christmas, hence the large (and growing number) of MP3s. Actually, if you count the stuff in my brother's files, the total amount on the computer would be closer to 6 GB; quite a bit.

What was the last CD you bought?
I ordered a CD last week, but I don't think that quite counts, so I'm pretty sure it was just before Christmas. I bought the Scissor Sisters album, Paris Combo 'Living Room' and a recording of Dvorak String Serenades; the last two were a present for a friend who made our Christmas pudding (a Roux brothers recipe!), and posted it down from Canberra, but didn't want payment!

What were you last listening to before you received this message?
Well, it was a while ago, so I'll answer what I am listening to right now which is a recording of composer Arvo Part's latest large work Kanon Pokajanen or 'Canon of Repentance', for which my vocal ensemble are giving the first Australian performance, broadcast live across the nation, just before Easter. I've been at a rehearsal for it tonight and am still trying to get my tongue around the text, which is in Church Slavonic!!! - not a language familiar to many any more! It's almost impossible to get some of the sounds out; seriously, we have 'syllables' such as : 'instv', 'vskorye', 'tvey' & 'shchu' printed underneath one note! How?? The sounds I make sometime make me burst into laughter; I sound like a bad actor trying to put on a Russian accent!
But it's a pretty mesmerising work; the type that would be perfect to perform in a dark, candlelit, incense-filled Orthodox church.

Read on for more...

Write down 5 songs that you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
Just 5 songs is far too difficult, so I'm going to list 5 albums that mean a lot or have influenced me:

Paris Combo Living Room
The most incredible French cafe jazz-type group. Original and amazingly talented. This album is just spectacular; you can't help but smile and sing along trying to match the rapid-fire French delivery of Belle du Berry's cheeky, original lyrics. And the brilliant trumpeter is Australian! If you close your eyes you can imagine being in a little Parisian cafe.
My friend loaned me this album for a drive I took with A. to Adelaide about 2 years ago, before we were a couple. We were both blown away by it, and didn't return it for months. To me, it's the soundtrack of an amazing, long car trip in which we chatted and really got to know each other... It wasn't long after that we got together!
I recommend this group to everybody, or buy them their own copy (see latest CD bought above)! It just everything good music should be.

The Smiths The Queen Is Dead
A friend I met on the internet gave me a cassette tape with this album, standing at King's Cross Station in London just before I caught the train to Heathrow and back to Australia and he to Cambridge to start university. It wasn't until back in Melbourne that I listened to it and totally fell for the unique sound of the 80s British group The Smiths. It didn't come out of my car's cassette player for months and I still class this as one of my favourite albums ever. Sad, depressing, uplifting, humourous; with excellent lyrics and melodies. The best Smiths album.

The Whitlams Eternal Nightcap
A brilliant Australian band - slightly alternative, with amazing songs. This was an album I listened to over and over during a 'difficult' period during my university days. They're a Sydney band, but have a song called "Melbourne" in which they sing of how much they love that 'rainy city'; you've gotta love that. Outstanding Australian talent, and something I always go back to; each time I hear it I'm reminded of how much I enjoy this group.
If you have a chance, click on the link and listen to the first song "No Aphrodisiac"; it's a stunner. (There's no aphrodisiac like loneliness...)

Pablo Pablo (samples available)
Pablo (website) is a vocal group of 5 male voices comprised of boys I have known for years. All talented, spunky Aussie blokes who sing really well. I've sung classically with all of them, and have been an enthusiastic groupie of their boy band almost since it began at a backyard BBQ in the late 90s. Their success has greatly increased and they are currently finalists in Australia's talent competition "The X Factor" . They released a CD a few years ago, and it's definitely one of my favourites. Their version of Billy Joel's "And so it goes" reduced me to tears at the CD launch and it's a CD I play for lots of people.

JS Bach, St Matthew Passion Collegium Vocale, Gent; Philippe Herreweghe .
This is the recording that turned me into a Bach fanatic when at uni and inspired the topic for my research thesis. Prior to this I had always maintained that I hated Bach; it was so boring, messy and repetitious. Many people had tried to sway this convictions without success, but it wasn't until I heard this recording that I 'saw the light'. I realise now that people had been trying to convince me by playing recordings of Bach with enormous choral societies and symphony orchestras; no wonder it sounded so messy and mushy to me! This is Bach performed as we understand his 'authentic performance practice' to be; reduced orchestra, period instruments, small vocal ensemble, Baroque tuning and pure, unaffected soloists. No slow dirges here! This is the only way I will listen to Bach now; it's rare to hear a full-blown Bach performance these days, anyway (thank goodness). Performances like this allow you to really hear the beauty and craftmanship of the music.
I'm actually performing the St Matthew Passion the day after the Arvo Part premiere....that's going to be a shocker of a weekend!

Of course, I probably should put in some mention of the fabulous, wonderful, spectacular, just-bewdy recording my vocal ensemble released for their European tour last year, but that'd be really sad and pathetic, wouldn't it?? ;-)

Who are you going to pass this on to?

Nobody. I think everyone has been tapped by now, and if they haven't posted they are not interested, too short of time or embarrassed by their CD collection! I'm probably wrong, but this thread is going to end here! :-)


  • YAY! Finally! And very interesting too - you sure do have a wide-spanned musical palate! Thanks for playing along!

    By Blogger Cerebrum, at 2/17/2005 02:08:00 am  

  • I came over here from Moira's place, and laughed out loud when I saw "Kitchen Girl" at the top of this meme post. I'm a fiddler, and used to play that tune a lot... and it seems perfect for you.

    Then I started reading, and had several "oh, yes!" moments. I love Arvo Part's music, could listen to those harmonies for days. Having sung some Russian, I remember those consonants, and know the cyrillic letters for some of them. That there's one letter for "shch" makes me laugh.

    I grew up playing classical violin, which of course meant playing large orchestral works. At some point I realized that the music I loved best was played by small ensembles and chamber orchestras. Not only did I want to hear every part, I wanted to hear each instrument playing every part. I still enjoy the occasional wall-of-sound symphony performance, but early music on period instruments is what really makes my heart sing.

    I'll be going to look for both Pablo and your vocal ensemble. And I agree with your assessment of the food photo contest; you and Moira got my vote. The other photos were nice; yours were art.

    By Blogger Kimberly, at 2/20/2005 05:28:00 am  

  • Thanks so much Kimberley. It really made my day to read your comment. I never actually expected anyone would read right to the end of the music meme, but that you did makes me smile.
    I can fully understand your preferences with Early Music and small ensembles. Like you, I also need my fix of huge Symphony orchestras playing Romantic wall-to-wall sound, but it's the precision combined with passion that makes me love Early music.

    By Blogger Niki, at 2/21/2005 09:51:00 pm  

  • Oh - and if you haven't yet, you should listen to one of the tracks from the Pablo CD, available on their label's page. Based on what I read of your enjoyment of folk music, I think you'd love their CD!

    By Blogger Niki, at 2/21/2005 09:52:00 pm  

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