George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Wolf Vostell, Benjamin Patterson & Emmett Williams Performing Philip Corner’s Piano Activities at Fluxus Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik, Weisbaden, 1962 Photograph by Hartmut Rekort
((My original piano composition -and impropmptu- ))
((Funny thing, a storm was raging outside while playing this and the moods of the full 5 minutes of the song are alligned to the pace of the storm.))
((When composing this, I had in mind a voice calling out “Why?” in denial, anger, depression and acceptance (which are the 4 freudian stages of mourning) which is the melody notes, whereas the rhythm notes represent another voice, replying cynically “Do not ask”. In the end, both voices concur that it is meaningless to ask anyway.))
((As a final reminder, I need to clarify that unlike my muse, I am merely an amateur, so “please don’t shoot the pianist, he’s doing his best”–Oscar Wilde))
On this day in music history: July 1, 1997 - “OK Computer”, the third studio album by Radiohead is released. Produced by Radiohead and Nigel Godrich, it is recorded at Canned Applause in Didcot, Oxfordshire, UK, and St. Catherine’s Court in Bath, UK. Following their highly acclaimed sophomore release “The Bends”, the band shifts musical directions yet again, producing a much more experimental, layered piano based sound than their first two albums. Initially, Radiohead’s US record label Capitol has low expectations for the albums commercial potential as it strays far from the bands trademark “Britpop” rock sound. The album is launched in the US with an unusual promotional campaign. 1,000 cassette review copies are sent to the press and music industry taste makers with the tape permanently glued inside the player. It receives universal acclaim upon its release, frequently drawing comparisons to Pink Floyd’s classic “The Dark Side Of The Moon”, though the band themselves disagree with the assessment. “Computer” becomes Radiohead’s best selling album worldwide, spinning off three singles including “Paranoid Android” (#3 UK) and “Karma Police” (#8 UK, #14 US Modern Rock). The album is nominated for three Grammy Awards in 1998 including Album Of The Year, winning for Best Alternative Music Performance. “OK Computer” hits number one on the UK album chart, peaking at its chart debut of number twenty one on the Billboard Top 200 on July 19, 1997, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
There’s something to be said about the character that lo-fi recording techniques add to a particular song. With new effects and programs that make everything sound cleaner than ever before available to anyone, scaling back has become a more valued commodity in today’s musical landscape. It serves as a reminder that music is made by real human beings every day, in fascinating and beautiful ways.
Recorded in a small town in Portugal in 2011, Grouper's Ruins is one of 2014’s shining examples of lo-fi recording prowess. “Lighthouse”, featured here, is driven by the interplay between a shape-shifting piano melody and Liz Harris’ gentle vocals. In the background, the listener can hear the sounds of frogs croaking. As “Lighthouse” reaches its conclusion, the vocals have faded away, as has the piano; we’re left with the sound of life living, blissfully unaware of their own recording. If there’s a message we can learn from Ruins, it’s that life can find a way in even the darkest shadows.
This is an experimental piano song I created a few years ago, after a very emotional situation (then again, I suppose I could say that about most of music). I stumbled across it recently and felt compelled to share it on Soundcloud. Let me know what you think!