Glenn Branca was an American composer and guitarist who debuted with Lesson No. 1 (above) on cult label 99 Records in 1980. His earlier music was performed in no wave bands of the late 1970s, namely The Static and Theoretical Girls.
Reading Roger Scruton’s “Flesh from the Butcher” for my thesis I noticed the word Tafelmusik. My encyclopedia brought up “Tafelmusik für König Ubu“. Anything with the word Ubu in its title piques my interest. “Tafelmusik für König Ubu” appeared to be a German version of Musique pour les soupers du Roi Ubu (1966), a musical composition by Bernd Alois Zimmermann.
I played it [above], it’s wonderful, it’s a sound collage. Not really. It’s a musical composition filled with quotations.
YouTube’s autoplay is on.
The next track [above] starts very sweet and gentle. At 4:55 the most wonderful waltz waltzes in.
Waltzes have these pauses that remind me of weightlessness.
I ended up listening to Alfred Schnittke’s music for most of the weekend.
Cecil Taylor was an American pianist and poet. Classically trained, Taylor is generally acknowledged as having been one of the pioneers of free jazz. His music is characterized by an extremely energetic, physical approach, producing complex improvised sounds, frequently involving tone clusters and intricate polyrhythms. His piano technique has been likened to percussion, for example described as “eighty-eight tuned drums” (referring to the number of keys on a standard piano). He has also been described as “like Art Tatum with contemporary-classical leanings”.
Jacques Higelin was a French pop singer who rose to prominence in the early 1970s. Early in his career, many of Higelin’s songs were effectively blacklisted from French radio because of his controversial left wing political beliefs, and his association with socialist groups.
Dance of the Peacock by Chechen actor/dancer Makhmud Esambayev is a clip which is currently doing the rounds on Facebook.
It intrigued me because of its kitschiness and I decided to investigate.
It did not take long to figure out that the soundtrack to which Esambayev is dancing, is a cover of the theme of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by Sergio Leone. It has a drum break which is not in the original.
It took me more than an hour to find the original film the clip was taken from.
First I found a version with a little bit more footage at the beginning (below).
For a while I thought it came from a children’s movie and I scrubbed through two. These were actually quite nice.
Then, by machine translating the Russian Wikipedia page of Esambayev I found out that the clip comes from a film called Dances of the Peoples of the World (above) in which the Chechen dancer performs a huge number of various dances: “Chaban” (Chechen-Ingush, Uzbek), “Warrior” (Bashkir), “Golden God” (Indian), ritual “Dance of Fire” to the music of de Falla, “La Corrida” (Spanish ) and “Dance with knives” (Tajik)”.
When someone this young dies suddenly, I always think: suicide.
He scored a solo hit in 1984 with “Don’t Look Any Further” (day-o day-o, mombajee ai-o!), the video of which [above] is in the top ten of worst videos ever. Just watching it fills you with vicarious shame.
For the jaded and tired among us, it’s a good thing to listen to “City Lights” by William Pitt [above], which rips the bassline and chord structure.
The first well-known sample of the song’s distinctive bassline is in Eric B. & Rakim’s 1987 single “Paid in Full” [above].
P.S. The train footage in the clip of “Big New Prinz” is an example of slow television.
Above is “African Secret Society”, a 1974 composition by Masekela, soft, breezy and jazzy (and I love the idea of an African secret society).
Also [above] a recent find I discovered after France Gall’s death, “Umqokozo (Children’s Game Song About A New Red Dress)“, a song French musician Serge Gainsbourg used without credit as “Pauvre Lola” and on which you can hear Masekela playing at 0:55.