Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Roy Orbison Dreams Up Rock Music’s Most Original Song

September 12, 2010

Silverwolf is growing hungry, for it is well past his oatmeal and banana, (with  side order of boiled stinging nettles), breakfast time. But it can’t be helped because he has been captured by the necessity, now eighteen times repeated in a row, of listening to Roy Orbison’s masterful Masterpiece, “In Dreams”.

In some ways, this is one of the most amazing songs Silverwolf can recall. Firstly, because unlike many great rock songs, it begins with a conventional introduction so trite sounding, as if it were the beginning of a thousand other songs that were written in that era, that Silverwolf might easily have raised the stylus (he means hit cancel) before the 27th second, when the meat of the song begins. How many songs you strongly like begin with something you don’t like? We’d bet not many.

But once past this hurdle into musical paradise, one enters the Realm. Orbison writes a song like no other every written in pop-rock music that Silverwolf can ever recall.

Listen to it. What is so unique about it? Well, in the word “unique” lies the seed that produces the nutshell, for if you attend the song several times effortlessly, your consciousness may discern the fact that this song, unlike all others, really has no repeatable pattern to it. Virtually all rock songs one can think of, let’s say the first 98% of them, have a beginning chorus or verse, a middle break section, and then either a return to chorus or verse, or both. But in Orbison’s “In Dreams” you will notice that there is no repetition, but rather a growing, or constant movement or evolvement towards something else, always indefinable except as a vector in a certain direction, and that something else seems to grow in intensity and feeling as the song progresses. Towards the end, Orbison’s amazing tenor voice seems to redouble in strength and soar parabolically like a third Elliott wave, as pellucidly clear and penetrating as a bell tone, unwavering in its true pitch, and truly amazing in a man who had been singing from the time many of us were wolfcubs to the time we became “greytinges” (the first mark of wisdom, or rather the first recognition of foolishness, amongst aging silverwolves).

But what will really amaze you when you come out of the dream of listening to this song is that aforementioned lack of repetition or form in a song that could really be said to be one complete musical phrase or movement taking place over two-and-a-half minutes, raising the listener ever higher, ever higher, like Phoebus, until one burns out with the intensity of the song as it approaches its zenith. Can you recall another like it in Rock?

And lastly, if the creation of such a song, and its masterful arrangement, were not enough from the Genius Orbison, we get live performances from Orbison that sound as true to pitch, and as chillingly pellucid to the ear as a violin, as were the originals recorded long before. Perhaps no other rock singer has ever kept their voice so incredibly unaltered into old age as Orbison did (though Joe Cocker’s performance almost 40 years later of “The Letter” comes close), but when one hears him actually singing into the microphone with it, one realizes one is witnessing a miracle, a Mi Dori (child prodigy violinist) in reverse, a miracle that is a fact.

A song that is a miracle; a voice that is a miracle. And it is a fact before your eyes and in your ears: Roy Orbison

We can have the oatmeal, banana, and boiled nettles a little later, Silverwolf thinks to himself. Let’s hear it again!

Hooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

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The Acid Machine of Music: Liberation Corelli

March 15, 2010

With what conceit modern man thinks his inventions and shortcuts the ultimate in levels of happiness. The invention and intervention of the internet into modern life has made many of its users regard the past hassles of doing without it as a kind of Dark Age, preceding the beginnings of decency. Life was never really worth living, or was insufficiently liberated, before the internet (or B.I. as the new dating system introduced by the World Government now classifies years), is the attitude unconsciously implanted in us by the net. No need to listen to 20 minutes of commercials to get to a weather report that was vital to you 15 minutes ago. Now you have it in advance, and your life is more commodious as a result.

But this conceit overlooks a psychological reality that few ever bother to contemplate, and that is that in previous times every liberating transformation of society, whether through technology or art, was viewed by its possessors as an equally liberating and equally significant event in Human History. Its aficionados were just as enthusiastic and eager about its liberating effects as we are about the internet, or the possibilities of influencing the world through blogging or other net activities. Yet, if they (or we) knew for certain what the next development would be, and could see it,  they and we would not be so currently enamoured with our current paramour.

Such advances in technology can seem puerile now to the modern generation, but to those who lived through the reality of them, they did not seem so. Silverwolf was reminiscing with Blue Dog about the thrill we both experienced as cubs and pups when we acquired our first crystal radios, little diode jobs that you clipped onto a piece of metal, and listened to with one earpiece. In an age when you had to buy batteries to power the “new” 6 transistor radios (made in Japan), the idea of being able to listen to Thomas Cassidy’s incredible voice presenting the Gas Company’s Evening Concert for free, even under the covers if you clipped it to a house ground, was a thrill not incomparable to getting hooked up to hi-speed internet.

Likewise, earlier thrills must have been equally rushy or more so to the participants. A horseless carriage! Well, hoss, what will that lead to? An electric percolator? No need to build a stove fire on a sub-freezing morning to have a hot cup of wolfbane. An electric typewriter? Doubled the firm’s productivity in the first year. A chain saw? Hang up the “misery whip” pushed back and forth for an hour by two men in the fog. The wheel? Well, that sure makes things a lot easier, Pharaoh.

And the electric guitar and amplifier: now every teenage boy whose parents have a garage can sound not that far different from the 45rpm he just played on that newfangled phonograph that even has the speakers come off, so you can put them where ever you want, as long as it’s within three feet of the console.  A band that actually sounds like the band on the record, and without a whole lot of talent needed to do it. Wow! And then Stereo. Why, it sounds like it’s live, right in the room! Who needs a real band?

But Silverwolf thinks that one of the biggest explosions ever of what he wants to call “the acid machine” came with the liberation of music during the transition of Renaissance to Baroque music, under the aegis of the Italian composers like Vivaldi, Corelli, and Albinoni. But let him first explain what he means by “an acid machine”.

An “acid machine” is a social process, technological or artistic, that provides its enthusiasts with a mechanism with which they feel they can control or conquer either the world, or their own artistic aspirations, while eating away at all the restrictions that formerly hampered that art or technology. It usually feels like a revolution. The video recorder and VHS cassette are one example which those readers not yet gaga will still remember. Frailer minds may recall that in frailer times, in the kinematic arts, the same effect was accomplished by the 8mm and Super8 mediums, which gave the amateur a crack at duplicating the effects of the multimillion dollar feature film, for a fraction of the cost. As Jean Cocteau so rightly observed, film would never be liberated until it was as easy to make a film as it was to write a poem. 80 years later, the accurate predictions of that opium visionary have come true with the point and click video card camera.

So an acid machine can be the internet, a crystal set, a Fender amp or pickup, a bicycle, or an entirely new way of looking at an art that has slumbered for centuries and millenia in a comatose state of underdevelopment. Such was the state of Western European music going into the 1500s, and by the emergence of the 1700s it was as radically changed as is our internet world from the world of 1880.

And if you want to hear what this “acid machine” of music really meant to the composers of that time, listen to the works of Corelli, Albinoni, and Vivaldi, and hear for the first time a joy and energy that would have been impossible to express if not for the  advances of Monteverdi and Frescobaldi. In that ebullient euphoria of their music, you can hear the excitement of the men of that time as they discovered their “acid machine”.

787 years from now, Trina Sorensen will be sitting under the palm trees of the University of Uppsala in Sweden, working on her required paper on “early bloggers of the 21st century”. It will seem a bore, and she will wonder how they could get so excited over such a primitive technology as the internet. And she will hardly be able to wait to get home and explore the “acid machine” of her times.

What will it be then?

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwww! — Silverwolf

Silverwolf’s Unorthodox View on Copyright

December 24, 2008

Silverwolf believes that, when it comes to artistic creations such as writings, conventional music, photography and film, and virtually any other medium, there should be no such thing as intellectual copyright.

First, let’s examine the worst reason for this view: the often bandied about Leftist “solidarity” of so many artists with “The People”. Anyone who adopts a Communistic attitude towards material goods should surely support such a Communistic view towards copyright. So, Silverwolf must wonder why, after so many decades, he still sees those little circled “c”s on so many artistic products emanating from Stage Left. Surely, such individuals should believe that they owe their all to the proletariat, and certainly forcing the prolls to have to purchase artistic creations is one of the most hypocritical activities a Leftist could undertake, in Silverwolf’s view.

But now let’s examine the actual reasons for why virtually all artistic Copyright is a fraud.

Firstly, all the components used in these creations are themselves creations of others, who are not receiving one iota of credit or material compensation for having their creations used currently. Do Shakespeare, or the Hathaway descendants, receive one penny in royalties when someone uses a word first coined by Shakespeare in one of their verbal compositions? Literally, every word we use is the creation of an individual, or a collective society which spread the use of a word (and probably a word created by someone long forgotten). When contemporary writers use these inventions of others, do they ever bother to annotate each word with a reference, or even a word of thanks, to the first person listed as having used it in the Oxford English (Unabridged) Dictionary? Silverwolf has never seen it. Are not these writers committing flagrant theft? Yet, they then have the gall to claim that their arrangement of these creations of others deserves some kind of special treatment, and even belongs to them, and that people should have to pay money for their arrangement of these words, for a very long time indeed.

Music presents a very similar situation. The notes were invented long ago, as were the instruments used to reproduce them. Anyone claiming copyright on music, should actually have to pay copyright to the inventors of notes and silence, and the inventors of musical instruments. Likewise, virtually all musical ideas are based on previous musical ideas, often created by a forgotten musician at a fraternity beerbash, or created hundreds of years back by some drunken Renaissance man. Monteverdi and Frescobaldi are probably at the root of all modern music, but who ever gives them a cheer, or even a word of thanks, at the rock concert? Such ingratitude!

Of course, photography and film also fall into this category. Since all photons are created by Providence, and the photographer or film maker is certainly not creating the light but rather the Process of G-d, it really is a bit much to have people claim that a photograph is “theirs”.  And Cinema presents us with merely a more complex art which is at core made up of the other arts we are discussing: writing, music, the capture of photons. Actors, as Hitchcock realized, are merely cattle, conditioned to deflect the photons in whatever pattern the director chooses to choose (and then claim as his own).

(And here we digress to record an actual conversation that took place, so legend goes, on the old Hollywood trail.

Billy: Mornin, Hitch. Sure is a fine lookin herd of actors we got us here.

Hitch: Yep, they ought to make some fine prime sirloin, once we drive em in to Hollywood.

Billy: Man, they sure are dumb critters, aint they?

Hitch: Yep, jes give em a little of that buttered flattery, and they’s is tame as a caponed rabbit. Then you can move em around, just so, so that the photons hit there faces just right. And voila, you got another hit.

Billy: Whats vowala mean Hitch?

Hitch: I dunno? Say, you and the boys are certainly gettin a reputation out in these parts. They’s startin to call you the Wilder Bunch.

Billy: Hitch, one day the names of Billy and the Wilder Bunch will be known from coast to coast.

Hitch: Well, you jes make sure it’s for the right reasons, or they’ll be no shortages of witnesses for the prosecution.

Billy: You sure got a strange sense of humor, Hitch.

Hitch: Yeh, and you got what they call “Prisoner’s Ears”. Well, Billy, I’d say it’s goin to get dark pretty soon round here.

Billy: You sure know your lighting, Hitch.

Hitch: Yep, I sure do, don’t I. Better get them doggies bedded down for the night, Billy, and pronto.

Billy: Aw, Hitch, you know it dun’t take more than a minute or two to get an actor and them heifers bedded down together.)

 In fact, the Copyright notion is so ridiculous when it comes to film, that filmmakers have often given a sop to their collaborators by endlessly listing their names at the end or the beginnings of “their” films. The Collectivist nature of filmmaking must be overlooked, and the fiction maintained that it is a film by “so and so”. But you’ll notice that the Producer, the fellow who writes the check that sets the whole process in motion, is the one who usually gets the last credit. In his mind “He” is the real maker of the film. Yet, none of these will admit that it is the photons, the ancient words, the long-ago created notes, the previously discovered technical effects, and the hit-and-miss theatricals of quondam films, that brings about the latest “creation”? Kinda like saying the cook made the meal, when it was the farmer who actually grew the food, and the trucker who hauled it to town, and the boxboy who unpacked it onto the shelf, and the gas company that supplied the cooking fuel. Nor do they ever point to the creators and the manufacturers of cameras as the real creators of photography and film. Have you ever seen a film created by “Bolex” with the assistance of a lot of so-and-sos?

Moving on to a completely different class (apparently), we come to that of “inventions”, those devilishly ingenious gizmos that eccentric American grumpy old men have been developing in their “shops” for a good century now. “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”, is the ubiquitous response when readers come across these gems in some popular mechanical magazine. Up to that moment, no one had ever thought of that, but when presented to the mind of the non-inventor, the first question is “That’s so obvious, why did that never strike me?”  Well, the obvious and existential answer is that  it never struck you because you were not bright enough to ever have it cross your mind.

The famous “grapefruit squirter shield spoon cum juice wiper” is a prime example. What enterprising mind came up with the idea of a grapefruit spoon with an attached shield to protect the devourer from those nasty spits of acid juice that have wreck so many a suit? It was bad enough to not have thought of such an obvious one. But to not transcend this very obvious improvement with the further refinement of a battery operated shield wiper, so that the devourer could continue to make sure he wasn’t swallowing any seeds, shows the non-inventor the poverty of his imagination.

But in this case, has the inventor really invented something new, or merely taken two old ideas, the windshield, and the windshield wiper, and applied them to the necessity of FED officials who have to attend early morning prayer breakfasts, in which the main prayer is that the world will continue to believe in the US Dollar, before they attend Congressional hearings ,where the entire financial nation will be watching every bead of sweat on their beaded brows?  To have grapefruit juice stains on their FED official ties could seriously undermine the international stability of the Dollar, and therefore there was a huge market for these spoons, at whatever price one could unload them to the FED for, certainly many times their actual value, as is permitted now. When the penny dropped, and it finally dawned on the Democrats that it could also be used to keep egg off their ties, before they questioned the FED officials on television, it’s use spread to the Liberal halls of congress. Some of the Congressional Women even used it to keep egg off their coiffures.

The point being, inventions follow the same pattern as so-called artistic creations. They are constructed from the tiny atoms of truth found by earlier scientists, and then re-arranged into new patterns, but certainly not created from scratch. (The exception being when there is a scientific revolution that completely sweeps away all the former misbeliefs, like the abandonment of the “ether” and “phlogiston” theories. Or the discovery of sub-atomic particles, which look more and more like patterns of energy without substance, save for that energy. And does this prove that Bishop Berkeley’s Subjectivism is perhaps the ultimately true philosophy?)

So lets away with the fraud of Copyright, of invention, of creation! There is only the tired repetition of the artistic maxims,  ad nauseum ad infinitum, over and over, and occasionally a new arrangement which the artistically starved pounce on as “the latest creation”.

G-d created everything long ago. All Copyright is is the malappropriation of G-d’s creations under the guise of the ego.

Silverwolf’s blogs were created a billion years ago. All he is doing is manifesting ancient atoms of axioms. There is no creation involved. Why, Silverwolf’s so-called “creations”  are as determined by the laws of physics, as much as a black hole, or the start of combustion in the old potbellied stove. So if you don’t like them, don’t put the blame on him. It’s not his fault, and he really had nothing to do with it.

Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwww! — Silverwolf