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Deadicated

Alex Wise is a professional musician (alexwise.com) and longtime Deadhead. As an accomplished guitarist, he listens to the music of the Grateful Dead with a careful ear for detail and can speak to the evolution of their style in a much more nuanced way than your average Deadhead.

Listening to Alex’s interview with Brokedown Podcast’s JM Hart is like listening to two baseball stat nerds get into the weeds on the specifics of the game. I love it. The cracks about Weir’s attempts at slide guitar are something that would make any member of this particular tribe smile.

If you have a passing interest in the the music of the Grateful Dead and wondered what all the fuss was about and how people can listen to so many different versions of Morning Dew, this podcast episode will unveil some of layers of that fan-hood.

The entire episode is above but the two get down to details at around 18:30.

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Current Events

Little Big

Anybody who thinks that the Russians have no sense of humor has not seen Little Big, Russia’s entry in this year’s Eurovision contest.

With over 125M views, Little Big’s Uno video is the most watched video on the Eurovision channel. The annual contest was unfortunately cancelled this year due to the pandemic but there’s plenty more to see on the Eurovision YouTube channel.

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Current Events

For Deadheads Only

When Deadheads try to explain their appreciation for the Grateful Dead, they will probably point you to a concert at Cornell University in 1977, in particular the sequence from Scarlet Begonias to Fire on the Mountain.

YouTuber Michael Palmisano has built up his channel, Guitar Teacher REACTS around the deconstruction of live music jams. To celebrate his 100,000th subscriber, Michael deconstructed Scarlet > Fire from 5/8/77.

I’ve listened to this version many times but following the Guitar Teacher through his hour-long analysis revealed flourishes that I knew all along were there but never fully appreciated or had the vocabulary to explain. From Scarlet’s “mixolidian lick” to Keith’s arpeggiating progressions – he calls out all the shiny bits and holds each one up to the light like its own little gem.

At the transition into Fire at around 21 minutes, Michael breaks down how each musician transitions over “step-by-step” until the band collectively agree it’s time to jump over. Watching him walk you thru the magic, painted in real-time as only a band that plays together, night after night, can do is infectious.

Related:

Listener’s Notes

Live for Live review

Jambase review

If you’re interested in hearing the recording, straight thru, without interruption, here’s a link to the recording.

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Current Events

Can’t keep us down

The human spirit is irrepressibly creative.

https://twitter.com/RexChapman/status/1243935674895605761

Three mates stuck in their apartment Barcelona hit a chord with their bit, Stay Homas and have now become an internet sensation with their own YouTube channel and a profile in the New Yorker.

When British sportscasters get bored.
Daniel is a Flyers fan when he’s not parodying Broadway
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Current Events

Group Play

Stuck at home, the world’s symphonies are using technology to play, together.

Rotterdam Philharmonic plays Beethoven’s 9th

I learned later that each of the Rotterdam musicians did their bit without practice.

Toronto Symphony Orchestra plays Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring
Orquesta Sinfonica de Castilla y Leon plays Beethoven’s 9th symphony
Jerusalem Street Orchestra plays Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Students at Berklee College of Music play Love Sweet Love
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Current Events

Tokyo Train Station Melodies

If you’ve been to Tokyo, you’ve heard the melodies. Meet the man behind the music, the colorful Minoru Mukaiya. H/T to Tyler for finding this wonderful video.

Oh, and if you want to hear samples, I linked to a site that exhaustively recorded and cataloged all the jingles back in 2004.

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Current Events

Rocket Man as Refugee

You’ll never listen to this song and not think of the story as imagined by Iranian filmmaker and refugee Majid Adin. Elton John’s Rocket Man is a “story of adventure, loneliness and hope.”

To learn more about Majid and his backstory, here’s a short interview.

h/t to @JStrauss for sharing

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Current Events

Kagura, making music with your body

Brian Eno once said, “The problem with computers is that there is not enough Africa in them.” The interfaces we use to interact with computers are too digital, not fuzzy enough to sense analog inputs. We’re stuck with mouse and keyboard.

Kagura is a game that runs on a laptop and uses the camera to detect movement of the players as they interact with musical instruments projected on the screen in front of them to play along or riff on a musical track.

Part Dance Dance Revolution and part Guitar Hero, the UI is intuitive and easy and fun to pick up. All that’s required is a Windows laptop (Mac coming later) and they launched a Kickstarter today to fund the final development and release in August.

Shunsuke Nakamura, the inventor of the game, stopped by the SmartNews offices on Friday to show us how the game works. He’s been working on the concept of using your body to make music for 14 years but only now has technology reached a point where his dream could be realized.

We truly live in amazing times.

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Prince – Rest In Peace

The story behind Prince’s solo above

Had to also include this rare 13 minute recording of the debut of Purple Rain which was so epic that long passages of it were used on the album.

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Current Events

Analog

As the world around us transforms to the digital, we are increasingly drawn to the analog. Check out Swedish musician Martin Molin from the band Wintergatan make music from his marvelous, human-powered marble machine.