Thursday, November 15, 2012

COUNTDOWN OF 10 MASTERPIECE ALBUMS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - #10 Black Celebration by Depeche Mode

BLACK CELEBRATION (1986)

Depeche Mode are my favorite pop band in the universe.  Martin Gore, the composer, writes music with a layer of sentimentality that is compellingly unique and beautiful.  Non-fans may be familiar with hits such as Enjoy the Silence, Personal Jesus, and Just Can't Get Enough (often being unable to attribute the artist to these songs).  I assure you that the entire DM discography is vital to academic study of both electronic music and psychological music theory.  Black Celebration is an album that has transformed my personality over the last several years.  Would you care to know why and how?  Continue.  

Can music implant false memories into the subconscious?  When I listen to Black Celebration as a whole album, I feel as if I am in the culture of 1986, despite the fact that I was not born until years later.  My mind literally believes that I am experiencing nostalgia.  I am known for my atheism/nihilism and lack of spirituality, so please do not think I am trying to profess some kind of new-agey idea.  There is just a mostly inexplicable experience that I have throughout the album.  I read a Depeche Mode biography that stated the band was very fond of reverb during the recording of BC.  I think the airy hall sound that attaches itself to the tracks has something to do with my strange reactions.  Please comment below if you share in these thoughts.  
Dave Gahan in Shake the Disease

Martin Gore in Stripped
Martin Gore sings more lead vocals on Black than any other Depeche album.  I always gravitate to his voice more than Dave Gahan, the usual lead singer.  This is definitely one of the major traits that pulls me to our particular place in the band's history (including the Shake the Disease single in between BC and the previous album).  Martin's voice is more powerful than anything we have heard previously in A Question of Lust, and his backing lines in Stripped are heavy on the heart (as that standard love metaphor!).  "Let me hear you speaking just for me" from Stripped is the quote I usually give to girls when I decide to break up with them for differences of sensitivity.        

I have always thought that Martin Gore sees BC as his first fully mature album as a composer and poet.  Generally, I go back and forth on Black and Some Great Reward as the definitive landmark from my musical perspective.  Lyrically, we interpret new surroundings.  Just what is a black celebration?  How naked is Martin willing to get for his fans (disregard the recording of Somebody - nuff said)?  His voice talks of his fragile side and losing your virginity.  "Let me hear you make decisions without your television" is one of the most philosophical Gore ideas of all time.  I always took it to be a Cartesian kind of means of discovering reality by ignoring assumed impressions from third parties.  I'll fight you if you say that this lyric is anything beneath outstanding.

Speaking of implants into the subconscious, I am currently listening to Christmas Island, a Black era b-side, for the 10th time in a row.  The melody is making my body generate an enormous amount of adrenaline.  How did I miss this piece?  Do not let the name tone down the merit of this composition.  It may have claimed the #2 spot of my favorite instrumentals after Just Like You Imagined by Nine Inch Nails.  There is so much more I would like to say about this album, but I primarily wanted to communicate that it is complex, sensitive, smart, sexy, ANOMALOUS, heartwarming, and heavenly to an atheist.  Discovering Black Celebration was one of the most beneficial moments of my entire life, and it continues to develop how I see myself in the world.  

-Sachem Orenda

Listen to Christmas Island here: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&NR=1&v=XF63sxurQ4A        

Sachem Orenda's third album, Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge, is now available.  
www.sachemorenda.com


Monday, November 12, 2012

HYBRID SYMPHONY HALL CONCERT - “Wow” and other unintentional aspects of the musical experience


I almost lost track of my calendar, but it suddenly occurred to me that Allentown Symphony Hall had an upcoming classical concert.  Tears would have been falling from my face if I missed a show from the season.  Let us save those for the more physical tragedies in life!  During my calenderic time of anarchy, I have elected to incorporate an important artistic theme into all of my writings.  For Allentown Symphony's Americana concert in their 62nd season, I want to discuss the relevance of the unintentional sounds that infiltrate the music and provide a greater context to what an aural experience can mean. 

Classical music audiences tend to be respectful and are quiet when people are speaking (such as Sheila Evans and Diane Wittry) or performing.  The opposite of this would be something such as a Nine Inch Nails rock concert where the audience is screaming incessantly from the time before Trent Reznor takes the stage until well after the last song has concluded.  Despite this attentiveness from our high-art audience, it is still quite impossible to hear nothing but the orchestra.  Most obviously, if the music has a second of silence within a musical passage, you can hear various noises throughout the hall.  The Cagian (or Cajun) philosopher in me argues that any additional noises become part of the music (a.k.a. all sound is music and unintentional sound cannot truly be separated from the simultaneous interpretation of the vibrations).  A great instance of this is when I listen to Synthesized Socratic Police, an electronic music piece that I composed, in my car stereo.  There is a moment where I hold out a nonsensical vocal syllable of the “ooh” persuasion.  While playing loudly in my car, the speakers vibrate heavily, and I hear a vibrato in my voice that does not actually exist in the recorded sound wave.  I'll include the piece below, but be sure not to stop it during the 4'33” (John Cage pictured above) inspired section.        

Are my words ridiculous yet?  If not, please contact me for a better attempt at absurdity.  I will begin to apply my thoughts.  The program began with an intro of the Star Spangled Banner (with unquantifiable audience participation) and then moved on to Bernstein.  Bernstein's Overture to Candide was a short piece that sounded like old-timey film music and had gorgeous chord changes.  During the piece, I heard coughing, stomping, and other random taps from the audience.  This delighted me, but I wanted more unconventional noises to write about.  Time traveling - before the intro played, it was announced that Allentown Symphony Hall's name was changing to Miller Symphony Hall.  From the words of Gandhi, "SAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT"? 

One of the major highlights of the night was a double violin concerto by Mark O' Connor.  It began with some funky melodies that gripped my stomach like a ride at an amusement park and made me legitimately excited at what kind of art I was about to hear.  Chance would have it that O' Connor (as he was one of the two lead violinists) would tap his foot at times with the beat.  Oh yeah – Chance is the name of my friend that accompanied me to the hall.  Was this tapping written or unwritten?  The world is in the dark.  At intermission Chance asked me who I thought was better of the lead violinists.  It was funny because I was taken aback and told him that I had not even thought about it while I watched them.  This moment taught me about my achieved level of maturity as an artist and composer.  To me, this conversation also became part of the program. 

I was gifted with two amazing noises from the audience before the evening ended.  During an American in Paris by George Gershwin, I heard some type of percussive tap from an audience member during a rest that literally felt like a calculated sort of pickup note into the melody.  The other noise was an attendee verbalizing a “Wow” at the end of the Aaron Copland headliner.  It was instant as the piece ended and most everyone in the hall must have heard it.  It implanted thoughts into our head that mingled with our reactions to the conclusion of the theme song to “Beef, it's what's for dinner.”  Sorry Copland, I had to include that.  I longed for ceiling panels to fall off or for a cell phone to ring with “I'm too sexy for my shirt” but these sounds were the best I was going to get tonight.  I'll keep listening.  Try it for yourself!

Miller Symphony Hall concerts:  www.millersymphonyhall.org

Sachem Orenda's Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge is now available:



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I KNOW I SAID THAT SHIT WAS PRESIDENTIAL, BUT THIS SHIT IS UNBIASEDLY PRESIDENTIAL! - A Political Analysis of Chris Big Money's Beats


I can tell what you are thinking.  It is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  This will go down in history as a historical firework.  Money Beats have arrived.  They were delivered from the Chris.  Thank you Based God (for allowing us to live long enough to hear this release).  I finally met Chris Big Money in September, and his description of the upcoming album, Money Beats, left me drooling in anticipation.    

Today's artistic principle is that an album has extremely important musical significance.  Digital music has led us further into a single-driven music world.  I have oft considered giving up on albums and pushing only singles in my career as a composer.  Chris Big Money taught me a lesson with Money Beats.  Let me explain, you interrupting ass!  Up and coming electronic music podcast, The TechnoPod, gave us the first glimpse at what Money Beats had to offer.  They played Passion (House Is The).  I was impressed with timbral qualities but reasonably unmoved by the composition.  Passion is the third track on the album, and it created fulfillment through contrast.  The musical context of the passage from the perspective of an album was glorious!  I now see full-length albums as the modern evolution of large-scale classical music pieces.  You can't understand all of Beethoven's genius in one middle fragment of a work.

The introductory dollar pulse is called All Your Money Are Belong To Me.  This amused me before I hit play.  I was drastically more amused afterwards.  There is no hesitation with professionalism or entertainment.  Chris SHOWS US THE MONEY right away!  I didn't even get to say "Give us the shit."  ...Belong To Me is funky, dubstepy, and god damn dance-tastic!  Additionally this is an amazing track of continuous excitement.  It gets better as it goes!  Damn damn damn can't write sentences ljdalfkjdlfksj I'm dancing in my damn damn chair lkjdalsfhdl as I listen to this mother FUCKING track!!!!!!! kdjalfsdkjflsakfjdsl.  

I've heard the powers of Chris Big Money in the past, but he took his game to a completely different island of sex, love, kitty kats, humor, and rock.  I'm literally dragging with time commitments because I keep dancing instead of thinking thoughts to finish this article.  Let's get back to da kitties.  Kitty Kat Swag sounds like it could be the most popular song of the album.  I won't spoil the lyrics, but they made me laugh out loud while sitting by myself in the studio.  Seriously check this one out (full album context preferred!).  

Vote Big Money!  There is still time!  A day of elections?  I was feeling a slightly different word while listening to these hoTT tracks.  Neva did I think such inspiration would invigorate my blood as I awoke this morning.  If you see it coming, it probably will not hit you.  Please feel free to email me (sachemorenda@gmail.com) your reactions to Money Beats.  CBM, thank you for your artistic contributions.  With all of that in mind, let the conservatives have sex and the liberals go to the hospital! 

-Sachem Orenda

Listen to Money Beats on Spotify or get the album on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/money-beats/id572757132
Check out The TechnoPod here:   www.thetechnopod.com


Sachem Orenda's Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge is now available.
www.sachemorenda.bandcamp.com
www.sachemorenda.com