Music of John Williams Performed On Piano!

Enguerrand-Friedrich Lühl-Dolgorukiy

You’ve got to check out this French pianist named Enguerrand-Friedrich Lühl-Dolgorukiy.

He has an album on iTunes called John Williams – Piano and a few others, including long-form works for TWO pianos! I’ve been listening to it and am blown away — it gives me that vibe from Steve Vai Piano Reductions by Mike Keneally. Except this is of course very famous musical cues from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T., etc. It is quite detailed.

His stuff is also on Amazon. You can preview it on this iTunes player:

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On ’80s Music and Originality

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I listened to 80s Radio on Spotify this morning in the shower.

First song: Land Of Confusion by Genesis. I thought about how inferior the nu metal cover by Disturbed was. Squashed dynamics, missing harmonic material, missing the lydian bridge melody. (Why?!) The original recording brought back memories, because I’m old enough to remember watching this video on TV many times when it came out. It was powerful to see, especially for a kid growing up with Ronald Reagan as president.

Second song: I Shot The Sheriff by Bob Marley. I was already in the shower when this one started, so I had to suffer through it. But by the time the first verse ended, I realized this is where Sting got his vocal style. Not sure if Bob Marley also stole his style from someone else. Also not sure why this was on 80s radio, if it was released in 1973.

Third song: Word Up by Cameo. I don’t think I ever realized Korn didn’t write this song. In the lyrics, I noticed the cliché phrase “Wave your hands in the air like you don’t care.” Is this where it originated, in 1986? I doubt it was from an earlier time (not caring about things is a recent invention). I don’t recall Korn’s version being all that inventive. A note-for-note replay with a different timbre.

As I turned off Spotify and left for the studio, I realized how those three songs in a row all just happened to trigger thoughts about remakes and originality in music.

What’s the difference between good and bad here? I have some ideas:

1.) If you’re going to cover a song, don’t leave out the best parts.
2.) If you’re going to copy someone, use their element in a new mixture.
3.) Introduce some new ideas!

Leave things better than you found them, right?

In my opinion, Eyal Amir and friends did just that in the video above.

-Carl.

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Review: Opeth / Heritage

Opeth’s Heritage is probably the only “mainstream” album that got my attention in all of 2011. It may seem I’m a little late in reviewing an album that came out last year — but I’m a believer in the timelessness of art (a.k.a the ability for it to be valid for more than four months), so here we go.

Understand that I don’t regularly listen to music aside from Classical KUSC. But Mike Olekshy suggested I give it a try. I’m surprised that I did, but he knows how old I am and how much I hate music, so why not?

The first thing I noticed about Heritage is what I noticed about other Opeth albums: The lack of posing. It was self-confident. It didn’t beg for validation, screaming, “please listen to me and like me.” It leaned back and took its time.

The songs had no aggressive ear-worms, and it was hard for me to predict where it was going next. It stimulated curiosity, in just the right way for me — at a time that I was tired of music being reduced to worn-out patterns.

Sure, on the surface, some of this music (especially The Devil’s Orchard) has a retro or “classic 60s / 70s rock” vibe to it, for its use of organ, fuzzy guitars, and ambient-mic’d drums. It brought back memories of King Crimson’s 21st Century Schizoid Man. That’s an easy comparison. And it wasn’t unintentional.

But forget all of that. Soon after discovering this album, I had an enlightening conversation with Henrik Linde, in which he made the funny observation that when a band writes long, dynamic songs with organ, it is instantly entombed in the label of classic or progressive rock. I can see the same has happened to a band like Spock’s Beard, another band I love.

A common complaint about this album is a “lack of growling.” Huh? Do you find it strange to judge a work of art by the number of growls contained in it? I do.

So it was easy for me to see past those clichés and hear that this was an album of substance. I listened to Heritage many times, saw the band perform it in concert, and even picked up my guitar to learn the opening riff of The Devil’s Orchard.

What I appreciate most about this album (and I mean it) is that is exploits all of the The Elements of Music. For the purpose of this review, those are:

Melody
Harmony
Rhythm
Tempo
Dynamics
Timbre
Texture
Form

And what I mean is, all of those Elements were used in a way that grabbed my attention. “That was clever, how they did that.”

If you’re a fan of rock and looking for a way to expand your appreciation of music, listen to Heritage with the elements of music in mind.

I give this album 5 Pentooplets.

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New eBook: Beyond Guitar (In Only 15 Minutes)

I decided to write this little eBook during my 2011 Holiday Vacation. It was a “fun” little project that took me a few days to get together, send around to my friends, get their input.

As of right now, it’s only available on Amazon Kindle Publisher Select for only 99 Cents. It’s 2500 words long. It only takes 15 minutes to read.

Description:

Guitarists of all levels: this eBook is not for your fingers. It is for your mind.

It contains simple, yet counter-intuitive musical concepts that many professional guitarists fail to understand after playing for 15 years. But you can discover them here in only 15 minutes.

I offer you no sweep-picking exercises. No scales, no chords, and no “tricks.” I am leaving out all of the specific data and techniques that you would typically practice and commit to memory while taking guitar lessons. But I promise you that the most creative and accomplished guitarists in the world have mastered these high-level principles of musicianship.

At the time of writing this eBook, I have (intentionally or otherwise) studied the guitar as a tool of artistic expression for 24 years. My experience as an eccentric musician called Sir Millard Mulch took me as far as an invite-only audition with Steve Vai. But I never trained to be a musical soldier in someone else’s army, so I continued to make my own albums with guest musicians such as Virgil Donati, Marco Minnemann, Devin Townsend, and many other unique creative geniuses.

I have personally directed approximately 3,000 guitar instructional videos for GuitarTricks.com—regularly working with some of the most talented graduates and private instructors from Musicians Institute and Berklee College of Music.

However, if you’re like me—ready to break free of the limitations of a traditional guitar education—this short guide is for you. And to my knowledge, you cannot find this information compiled anywhere else.

I challenge you to question all of these ideas, and apply them to your guitar-playing at your own risk. Each idea will be accompanied by a musical example, which I encourage you to seek out and listen to (and I mean really listen to) on your own.

Buy It Now: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-Guitar-Only-Minutes-ebook/dp/B006RB2BY4

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Behold… The Arctopus

This is a video of Behold… The Arctopus performing live at Knitting Factory NYC on Oct 23 2005.

Take note of the following elements:

• The asymmetrical rhythmic patterns and counterpointilism. They do not hold down a steady pulse in the shape of a square. They are much like an amoeba. 
• The “through-composed” form — it does not repeat in a standard verse / chorus sequence.
• The guitarist does not use an over-saturated distortion like Dr. Zoltan does.

{ This post was written and approved by Dr. Zoltan! If you believe that plumbers should have perfect pitch and a photographic aural memory, visit http://www.drzoltan.com/blog. Or just chomp your teeth at the ferret. }

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Dr. Zoltan Guitarist Plays Coltrane

Dr. Zoltan’s lead guitarist, 20-year-old Jake Willson (who appeared on Emily Dickinson Kindly Stops For Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors EP) is seen here performing saxophone solos by John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. Watch in intense fear as he looks around the room and chews his gum, barely paying attention to the complex musical passages he is performing.

Find out more about Jake: http://www.myspace.com/jakewillson

{ This post was written and approved by Dr. Zoltan! If you believe that Jake Willson should be playing in Chick Corea’s band, visit http://www.drzoltan.com/blog. Or just give up. This is ridiculous. }

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Winger Releases Demo Anthology

Winger has released a charming collection of demos, including those for Seventeen, Headed For A Heartbreak, and Hungry. Some of the mixes give a better insight into the syncopated rhythm guitar arrangements of Reb Beach. But where is the hi-hat? Best experienced through headphones!

Find out more at the iTunes Store.

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