Archive for the ‘music’ Category

It’s July-hot here in central Illinois on this Memorial Day weekend with a hot breeze. Hot. As in it’s-90-degrees-at-noon hot, with at least 6 more degrees to go. I did the garden tasks early (watering & weeding, plus replanting of sunflowers and cucumbers because we have a slug/squirrel problem) while I had my (hot) coffee and now I’m holed up in our air-conditioned indoors, watching a replay of Lilly’s soccer game from yesterday. The grocery store is my next victim. I feel wholly unproductive, but will soldier on and buy groceries and make pesto for dinner, even though it’s May.

Fun: My friend and former co-worker Millicent Souris, with whom I recently reconnected, is coming from Brooklyn to visit. She’s hitting the road in a couple of weeks to promote her new book, which is about pie, and will be all over the place. Here’s the book:

Hopefully we’ll be setting something up locally for her, but she is also coming to help me learn how to poach eggs perfectly every time and maybe we’ll make biscuits like the ones she demonstrates in this video. And probably a pie crust. I’m really excited about this because, well, I had no idea that Millicent was working in food – was kicking ass in food, actually – and could be that person who could tell me, in a most no-nonsense way, what to do with a leg of lamb. This is actually a real question I have: What do I do with this leg of lamb that Cathe from Seven Sisters Farm made me take that one time I was there for IMBY? She’ll be here in mid-June.

Here are some recent photos that are sort of descriptive of life around here for the last few days, taken with my phone and with a DSLR.

Calendula about to bloom, taken with a new (to me) lens.

Drawn by a young woman at the farmers market who was frustrated at having to wait in the heat to perform on her ukulele. All the market’s performer slots were taken.

Lettuce in my garden.

Last year’s pea/greens bed is fallow this season, but a volunteer persists. I think zinnias are going in here after the pea vine is done.

Local artists Deathtram slaying the audience at the first-ever CU Flea yesterday. Our pals Millie and Cole are the founders of CU Flea and it was slamming.


94 degrees now. Welcome, summer 2012.


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Immerse in That One Moment

Photo by Cody Bralts

I have some time off from my day job coming up, which I’m hoping to use to clear out all kinds of clutter and detritus. There is the closet upstairs, there is the basement, and there is my brain; all three need some help. I also hope to write quite a bit, and clean up the yard a bit, and read and sleep a bit. I might even get to House Pet‘s place this weekend if I can swing a vehicle. It’ll be good to have some time away from my office.

This weekend I spent some time thinking about Talk Talk and Mark Hollis, the band’s singer, as I often do. I blame iTunes for the frequency of these thoughts, as all of the band’s albums, a live thing, and MH’s solo record come up in the old iTunes DJ feature on the regular. This weekend I was mostly listening to Talk Talk’s Live in London release (1986) and was blown away. Again. In a different way than I was last time. I listen to the damn thing about twice a month, and every time it sends me into a different space than the time before.

I found Talk Talk the same way many people my age in the early 80s in the US found them: on MTV, with this video. A couple of years later, there was this video, and then this fantastic video. Then, later, there was this:

Fast forward many years. A couple of years ago, I discovered some video for the aforementioned Live in London performance:

… and realized that they were far more awesome than I ever realized.  O, to have been there in 1986! It still sounds great. As in, I’m playing this stuff right now and it sounds fabulous. Just last night I was reading something, somewhere, on the internet, that said Hollis and Co. might have used Steve Winwood’s “Spanish Dancer” (from Arc of a Diver, 1980) as a bit of a template for some of the sounds/moods on The Colour of Spring. Some might disagree, but considering Winwood played on The Colour of Spring (Steve Winwood! From Blind Faith and Traffic!), I wouldn’t say it’s too far off.

Talk Talk went on to mess with everyone’s minds by releasing ambient, so-called “post-rock” stuff long before anyone knew what to do with such a thing (Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock, 1988 and 1991, respectively). This is “I Believe in You” from 1988:

I hear Winwood’s influence here, too, just a bit. Phrasing, maybe. It could be all that piano. I bet Mark Eitzel of American Music Club gave this song a spin more than a few times. Gorgeous.

Mark Hollis released a self-titled solo record in 1998. I remember the day it arrived at Parasol, where I was working at the time. It was wintry and cold outside and, after I liberated it from the delivery box and put it in the CD player, it sounded like Mark Hollis’ head was in the speaker right near my desk – that voice. That voice! It remains an extraordinary piece of music; it’s spare, with just a suggestion of warmth and light… very much the sound of late winter for me. There was no tour.

Now… nothing. He’s disappeared, retired from the music business, no website, no farewell, nothing. It seems so old-fashioned, this notion of falling off the face of the earth, disappearing. Can people really do that these days?

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