Architecture Monday

A double bandstand, one facing east at ground level looking onto the city, one facing west and elevated looking onto the local volcano.  Both nestled within in a simple barrel-vault made of rough and vibrant local stone.  A space for community, for music learning and performance, and for theatre and gatherings.  A gem of a design.

Kithara Music Kiosk by TO Architects

Wonder Wednesday

This music might not be everyone’s cup of tea (and not sure if if other of its type would entice me either) but I have really dug this track for years!

(It’s certainly got the complex layering that I love so much in music, especially where each layer is brought in one at a time, then played in various overlapping ways, then stripped back down to the simplest bit at the tail end of the song…)

Philosophy Tuesday

“Individual notes start to decay the moment they are born.

No note can escape this fate.

But together they work toward a crescendo that cannot exist in any one note alone.”

— Vihart


(Another wonderful, poetic, and philosophy-filled observation that becomes introspection that becomes inspiration, by the amazing Vihart.  Taken from an equally amazing video about Pi and music and more, which can be found here — check it out, it includes a musical challenge!)

Wonder Wednesday

Ahhh, anyone else remember MOD files?  For the uninitiated, this was a musical file format (with some later derivatives) that were big in the late 90s and early to mid-90s.  They weren’t a sound file, instead they were, much like a bank of samples coupled to a piano roll.  When you played them, the software would essentially act like a multi-track synthesizer, playing the samples using the instructions on the piano roll.  Because it was procedurally generated, these files could be small, holding minutes worth of music for several hundred kB (not even a single MB!).

And what grand music and creations did people make with them!  Some were amazing takes and remixes of existing songs, such as this one of Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence (including audio from HAL 9000), or this extended version of Harold Faltermeyer’s Axel F (you likely know it better as the song from Beverly Hills Cop) that takes the base version and then plays with the different musical layers to stretch it out to 10+ minutes.  Good stuff.  (Note: you can play these tunes off the linked website directly in your browser.)

Then there’s the fun ones;  there were remixed pop culture references, like this megamix of cartoon/TV themes, while others took things decidedly non-musical and turned them into something unique, such as this piece using AT&T phone operators.    (Obligatory aside:  remember phone operators?)

Of course, there was also tonnes and tonnes of great, original, straight-up music as well.  Just as today people were sharing their creativity with the world.  Some of the most classic include Nemesis, 12th Warrior, and Ice Frontier.

Have a listen!  I’m off to seek out more… the format never died completely, and there’s great new stuff to discover.

Philosophy Tuesday

So, there’s this story about Van Halen and brown M&Ms.  Perhaps you’ve heard about it before.  If not, the gist of it is that tucked away in the 53 pages of the band’s rider (a contract that lists out their requirements for the venue) for their 1982 show was a little gem:  There was to be provided a bowl of M&Ms – which seems normal enough.  However!  There was a caveat: Absolutely no brown ones.

Which, on the one hand, seems like some weird arrogant stuck up super band celebrity weirdness and excess.

But, it wasn’t.  There was method to their seeming madness.

The 1982 VH tour was a large and intricate affair, requiring equally extensive and complex setup.  It was perhaps one of the largest rock concerts of the time.  It required serious prep work by the venue to ensure that the show went off without a hitch (or without anyone being injured).

The brown M&Ms, then, were an integrity check.

If the band went into the dressing room and found brown M&Ms, they were tipped off that either the promoter hadn’t read the rider carefully – which is bad enough – or that the promoter’s integrity was lacking and that if this thing was missed then more important aspects of the setup might well have been botched.  (Which meant the band would then spend the time to double and triple check everything.)

Integrity isn’t about morality; it’s about honouring your word as yourself.  It’s also, more importantly in this case, about doing complete and proper work.  And like on a racecar, even something a little bit loose, or missing, is not just a small ‘out of integrity’ – it will almost certainly cost you the race (and might lead to a crash).

Thus, the M&M rider.  A small detail whose legend is as big as the band’s, and a great little story to latch on to as we ponder the meaning of integrity and our relationship to it.