I've been into really old-fashioned music lately.

I've been trying to be more productive at work, and as such, I've resorted to an old trick I used while studying in high school: noise-canceling headphones and listening to soundtrack music.  Music with words is too distracting, and classical music often takes too much focus/brainpower.  So a nice medium is music from movie soundtracks -- just interesting enough but kind of repetitive and one-dimensional, which is good for white noise.

I built a new Pandora station starting with the score from Braveheart, one of my favorite movies (and also one of my favorite soundtracks), and also the score from The Mission.

One song I discovered through this station, which I've been obsessed with, is "Pavane," the second movement from Peter Warlock's beautiful, but very short, Capriol Suite.  I listen to it and think of a stately and grand, perhaps royal, Medieval wedding.

Another song I've loved since I studied it in a Chamber Music class in college is also a second movement, from Schubert's Piano Trio in B-flat major, "Andante un poco mosso." It's so achingly lovely, and this video shows cello virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin playing so soulfully, along with Maurice Gendron and Hepzibah Menuhin.

And lastly, I always love the songs used for dance sequences in some of my favorite Jane Austen-type movies, like the gorgeous Henry Purcell's "Hole in the Wall" used in Becoming Jane (the movie itself is only ok, but I think the moment Tom LeFroy shows up at 1:07 in the dance, after Jane has been waiting and pining for him all night, makes the whole thing worth it!).  And of course, "Mr. Beveridge's Magot" from the scene where Lizzy and Darcy first dance in the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. Le sigh.

Something beautiful for your day...

by Anne Porter

When I was a child
I once sat sobbing on the floor
Beside my mother's piano
As she played and sang
For there was in her singing
A shy yet solemn glory
My smallness could not hold

And when I was asked
Why I was crying
I had no words for it
I only shook my head
And went on crying

Why is it that music
At its most beautiful
Opens a wound in us
An ache a desolation
Deep as a homesickness
For some far-off
And half-forgotten country

I've never understood
Why this is so

Bur there's an ancient legend
From the other side of the world
That gives away the secret
Of this mysterious sorrow

For centuries on centuries
We have been wandering
But we were made for Paradise
As deer for the forest

And when music comes to us
With its heavenly beauty
It brings us desolation
For when we hear it
We half remember
That lost native country

We dimly remember the fields
Their fragrant windswept clover
The birdsongs in the orchards
The wild white violets in the moss
By the transparent streams

And shining at the heart of it
Is the longed-for beauty
Of the One who waits for us
Who will always wait for us
In those radiant meadows

Yet also came to live with us
And wanders where we wander.

"Music" by Anne Porter from Living Things: Collected Poems. 
via Deborah's FB profile

Sum 41 going soft.

Or more likely, they were always a little soft.  But I can't deny that I too turn into a big pile of mushy-mush when I hear this song, especially when watching the scene from GG where I first heard it--Blair and Chuck getting it on for the first time in the back of his limo in Episode 7, Season 1. Lord I'm such a fangirl.

The YouTube comments for Sum 41's video of "With Me" are hilarious:

UndeadForHollywood (1 day ago)
this song makes me think of my best guy friend that i really like as more than a friend

bds41 (1 week ago) 
I miss the jumping around, and breaking things, and real-time.
now theyre serious, and I miss their old ways

bLiNk182LyRiCs (1 week ago) 
this song reminds me of summer and fall put into 1

nacho1016 (1 week ago)
wat exactly is this song about?

drowningmysoul (2 weeks ago) 
if i ever find the right girl, she will want this song at our wedding. lol

meganstacey (3 weeks ago) 
I can't hear this song without thinking about the Chuck/Blair limo sex scene from Gossip Girl... which I love... so I love this song. :)

RiverPhoenix1993 (4 weeks ago) 
this is me and my boyfriends song(:

franklinthetanklin10 (1 month ago) 
anyone else notice Jimi Hendrix at 2:14
skillitbizkit13 (1 month ago) 
its not jimi.. its the black guy in the bath tub...
Tali2500 (1 month ago) 
who's jimi hendrix?
afiVSblaqkaudio (1 month ago) 
are you fucking serious

Reading the comments almost makes me like the song a little less.  Almost.

Omg I found it.

In case you can't tell, I have a thing for finding obscure songs and posting them (especially different versions of songs).  I've been pining away for Lisa Hannigan's demo version of Sea Song, which is SO much more awesome than the album version.  She posted it on her MySpace page, but it was nowhere to be found on Amazon/iTunes.  

I mean, I wanted to buy it legitimately. As that was impossible, I went tromping around Google looking for a bootleg version.  I found this guy who had uploaded not just this song, but all these awesome covers, collaborations, and other tracks that never made it to Lisa's debut album.  Hallelujah.  It's miiiiiine.

Thank you, DJ Muzzell

I've been obsessed with finding this song after hearing it on a video demo of the i draw girls guy doing a portrait of Natalie Portman. The guy credited a DJ Muzzell (he spelled it "Muzzle"), and it was sampled from "La Noyee" off the Amelie soundtrack, but that's as far as I got -- not like it was easily available on iTunes.  I posted a comment to the artist, hoping to get more clues, I searched on MySpace, I asked Garry to try using that iPhone app that recognizes songs... all to no avail.

Then, the other day, I get a personal message on YouTube from the slightly sketchy username, crack34:

here's that track your looking for: http://www.myspace.com/muzzell called shanty town
I did the track for wandans mixtape here http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=36053032&blogID=460016724

Turns out to be just the track I was looking for, and with a bunch of other great mixes from another UK hip hop artist called Wandan.  Kickass! 

Small bone to pick..

..with Mr. Jason Mraz.  There's a line in "I'm Yours" where he says, "it's your God-forsaken right to be loved..."

I think what he actually means is "God-given."  I mean, why would God forsake (M-W: To renounce or turn away from entirely) one's right to be loved?  That doesn't sound like something God would do.  So either Mr. Mraz needs to brush up on his English-language idioms, or he has a very peculiar and twisted notion of God.  -______-

Well, this sounds like an interesting job for my skillset...

...except it's for Britney Spears' team, and these ppl clearly have no idea what 'digital media' even means.  Lord, I don't even know how to react to people who talk like this (e.g., "leveraged by a branded social network.")

IF, for some reason, this sounds appealing to you, let me know and I can try forwarding on your resume.


Job Posting - Britney Spears 2.0 Media Manager

Thu Jan 8, 2009 3:43 pm (PST)

Hey H-Bomb Britney Fans,

Brandcasting Unlimited currently manages BritneySpears.com and all Britney's digital media and online properties (YT, Fb, MS, Twitter, ect). We are looking for a Social Media guru to help manage Britney's network and other high profile branded networks, the job description and responsibilities are listed below.

Job Description:
  • Manage a high profile branded online network of digital properties for one of World's top celebrities.
  • Responsible for driving and optimizing traffic from exclusive photos and videos.
  • Decide which content to feature on the branded social network's blogs, discussion forms, and other features.
  • Work with Talent and management to ensure that new and approved content is constantly being added to the network.
  • Moderate videos, photos and comments added to the network.
  • Manage a team of Administrators to assist you with Managing the network.
  • Develop interactive programs such as contests, for Members of the social network.
  • Design new skins of the social network and assign Administrators.
  • Produce marketing campaigns via email and on other websites to spread the awareness of the network.
  • Manage the social networks' traffic analytics reports and Membership data.
  • Engage with fans by posting messages, responding to questions, and moderating discussions.
  • Analyze community activity and conversation to deliver key learnings to advise content strategy and brand positioning.
Jobs Skills Needed:
  • You are a Social media expert with Googloe Analytics, SEO and SEM experience.
  • You have experience building, launching and managing communities online.
  • You are addicted to social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, technology and social media blogs, and playing around with new technologies such as Twitter. You are constantly thinking about how they can be leveraged by a branded social network.
  • You love creating and maintaining relationships.
  • You are an analytics nerd and adore metrics because they show-off your success and help you determine new goals.
  • You have some design / photo-shop experience.
  • You know how to moderate content and when to ban party crashers.
  • You are a popular culture addict and passionate about the intersection of Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

I want to give Lisa Hannigan a hug.

I finally downloaded Lisa Hannigan's debut album, Sea Sew off of Amazon MP3 and I really like it.  She has an achingly lovely voice and I think she's doing much better for herself since her musical breakup with Damien Rice.

I was just disappointed that the album version of "Sea Song" is so very different from the demo version she has on her MySpace page.  Sad.  Still, very enjoyable for a cold December night!

Alex Wong's latest project: The Paper Raincoat

This weekend I organized a bunch of coworkers to go take in the sultry sounds of Vienna Teng (more on her later).  We started the evening with delicious Nepalese food at Taste of the Himalayas , then off to the Palace of Fine Arts, and capped the night with dessert at Kowloon Tong Dessert Cafe (more on that later, too).

What I really wanted to talk about though, is The Paper Raincoat, the latest in a series of collaborations by the talented Alex Wong of The Animators, an Asian-American singer-songwriter-producer who can play an incredible number of instruments, from guitar to drums to glockenspiel.  Alex usually accompanies Vienna on tour, playing percussion and producing for her, but I'd never really seen him perform center stage.  He and his partner Amber made for a surprising treat of an opening act--you know how those are always hit or miss, but mostly miss?  Not so here. 

I like how they're kind of fun/whimsical, a living fantasy of sounds, and more upbeat and wonder-filled than neurotic and whiny.  Hats off to them for being optimistic in this day and age.

Something I haven't done in a while: Early 90s Monday

I get the feeling there are a lot of people who don't quite know what to make of my early 90s Monday series, and maybe like 3 people who think it's totally awesome.  I'm catering to those 3 people right now with two mid-school (certainly not oldschool, and not quite newschool) Michael Jackson hits.  Man, I totally LOVED these videos when they first came out--still do.

Michael Jackson, "Black or White," 1991
Macauley Culkin on the heels of his Home Alone success, Jackson's still-present nose, Tyra Banks, and video people-morphing.  Need I say more?

Michael Jackson, "Remember the Time," 1992
A really involved production, a short film studded with stars like Magic Johnson, Eddie Murphy, IMAN, George Foreman.  Murphy puts on his "Coming to America" face.