Jul 132013
 

And now I will talk about an album that actually just came out recently instead of 5 or 10 years ago!

I started out my Boards of Canada fandom slowly – I picked up the EP In a Beautiful Place Out in the Country on a whim at Newbie’s because it was cheap and I’d heard good things about BoC, but I never really got into it – it was only four songs, and while they were enjoyable they were not especially memorable. But a few years later, when I finally shelled out the money for a copy of their then-most-recent album, The Campfire Headphase, it was a different story. From the first listen I was absolutely in love. These were sounds I felt I needed to hear at the time – they filled a void in me in the way that only really, really good music can. Only a couple of days (and probably 5 or 6 full listens) later, I wrote this intimidating block of text about how fucking wonderful this album was. I was, and still am, completely enamoured with BoC generally and that album in particular. Having said that, I have since gone back and dipped into the rest of their catalogue. While I’ve found other lovely music (Music Has the Right to Children basically lives up to the hype), none of it has affected me like The Campfire Headphase. But Tomorrow’s Harvest is a close second.

I don’t know how to describe this music. It’s walking along city-bright streets at night, the lights in windows high above glinting sharp in the corners of your vision. You’re trying to get home, and you’d take the train but you missed the last one, so you’re walking alone. You’re a bit wary – this isn’t a part of the city you’re very familiar with. But the city at night is beautiful in a harsh sort of way – all reflections and angles and shades of grey.

It’s uneasy music, yes, but soothing at the same time – I was feeling particularly anxious when I listened to it for the first time earlier, and while it didn’t compound the anxiousness, it sort of validated it. Like I felt better about being anxious because this music agreed with me – the world can be a scary, uncertain place sometimes. But it’s also beautiful because of that.

While I really enjoy Music Has the Right to Children, it doesn’t affect me in the same way. It’s too light, too sunny and airy, to really stick. I listen to it a fair amount, when I can’t take anything else – emotionally loaded lyrics, or vapid pop, or moody electronica. So I guess it does fill a need. It’s music unencumbered with associations – it simply is, it fills the air with sweetness, it’s immensely enjoyable. But it’s not important in the same way.

But with Tomorrow’s Harvest, BoC has again filled a void. I needed this music earlier tonight, and music I need is music I will keep coming back to.

Jan 132012
 

So the boy and I (and Misoface) are moving to Somerville at the end of the month! After a 6 month or so battle with the bullshit that is renting in Boston, we have found an apartment that is in a really nifty, convenient location, and we think we can fit our stuff in. The kitchen is much less epically wonderful than the one we have in Gloucester, but being able to walk to the red line makes up for that, I think.

I will really miss this view, though….

In other news, I have started some crafty things up on my break from school. I recently finished a pair of cabled fingerless mittens in a forest green, which unfortunately I have deemed odd and ill-fitting… so I got more yarn, in a lovely pale purple this time, to try again. I think I’m going to alter the pattern a bit (which I have never attempted before…) to make them fit better/lay flat. They curl a lot on both ends, which bugs me. I’d take a photo of the finished gloves, but I’m lazy. And they’re weird looking. But I do have a photo of them in progress…

Also, I baked a bunch of gingerbread cookies for New Year’s, which Stace was kind enough to take a few photos of.

Clearly, there was beer involved.

Ooooo macro photography of sugary cookie dough!

And the finished cookies, plus a glimpse into just how much of my old ceramics I still have floating around/don’t know what the hell to do with.

Oh oh and some photos of Miso. Because I can’t resist.

Other people are occasionally in our apartment, and when they are, Miso will sometimes sit on them. Sarah and Scott are not allowed to move, apparently.

So I couldn’t title this post with lyrics, because the music I’m listening to is completely instrumental. I’m rediscovering Dropsonde by Biosphere after letting it get lost in my insane music collection for a year or so. It’s perfect music to let fade into the background without completely disappearing. Warm tones and jazzy drums and crickets. Organic and lovely and wonderful.

More soon hopefully! <3

Sep 152011
 

Following is my impressions of The Campfire Headphase by Boards of Canada, written around 1:00 am while I was crazy with sleep deprivation. I’ve been listening to a lot of new (to me) music lately, what with all the driving and homeworking, and I figure if I’m too tired or busy to do much else I should at least write about that. Also, I’ve been reading a lot of Headphone Commute, which is really nifty if you’re into this sort of music. Enjoy my crazy.

Warbly, sparkly, tape-decayed guitar and synth; solid, syncopated rhythms clicking and popping and etching their way across my tired skull; field recordings of ocean waves and chatter and traffic; tiny, repeated melodies that stick to the insides of my head like warm soup on a chilly fall day, nourishing me, softening my hard edges. I can’t believe how late I’m discovering this music. I’ve had the EP In a Beautiful Place Out In the Country for a couple of years now, and I’ve enjoyed it, but it’s only four tracks and not nearly as large in scope as The Campfire Headphase. Apparently, this is the Boards of Canada album that fans of Boards of Canada dislike, I guess because it’s a huge departure from their earlier albums. Not knowing much of their other music, I can’t comment on this, but as a newcomer to BoC and appreciator/collector of IDM/glitch/ambient/whatever generally, I think this album is totally fantastic. I guess maybe it’s like Tusk was to Fleetwood Mac fans when it came out: totally out of left field, a complete departure from the “signature sound” of Rumours, and not what people were expecting or hoping for. But with time, this irritation tends to smooth itself out, I think, if the music is actually good. Despite not being in line with people’s expectations, Tusk is a great album, maybe even better than Rumours in some ways. Maybe this is true of The Campfire Headphase also? I intend to get the other albums BoC has out to answer this question for myself. At any rate, to quote Editors, “I’m so glad I found this, I’m so glad I did.” Even if I’m six years late.

Jul 222010
 

A lot of ridiculous crap is going on right now, but eh. This blog is meant to exist outside of my drama spewing. I made brownies from scratch like a month ago, and Stacey took a lot of great photos, but I never got around to posting about it. So I will now. For the record, the brownies were pretty good. I didn’t mix them as well as I should have early on, so there were chunks of buttery sugar in the bottom of the pan (Oscar called them “flavor crystals”), but they tasted pretty good regardless. They were actually zucchini brownies, with shredded zucchini serving the textural purposes of an egg. The frosting was definitely the best part (also from scratch!). It was classic fudge frosting like you’d put on cupcakes or something and it was DANGEROUSLY tasty. The main taste issue with the brownies was a slightly too large pinch of Kosher salt, which was totally my own fault. Either way, Stace and Oscar seemed to like them well enough, so I did succeed in making my first batch of from-scratch brownies. Hooray!

So now, PHOTOS:

70's kitchen

Kind of a yellow picture but it makes my kitchen feel all 70’s.

mebaking

I’m a hippie.

mixin

Ingredients!

browniemix

Progress!

misochair

Miso looks on.

hazyfrosting

Mixing frosting in an enchanted forest.

oscar

Oscar prepares for his role as Official Brownie Tester.

facecat

Miso looks on disapprovingly.

BROWNIES23

LOOK GUYS, BROWNIES.

In other news, I heard Jumper by Third Eye Blind on the radio a few days ago and decided I should own that album again. I got the CD in something like 1997, but somewhere along the way I lost the case and then stopped listening to it entirely because I developed a bad association with it (this happens to me an unfortunate amount). Anyway, I was about to break down and spend the $8.99 to download it when I thought to check around my room just in case it had survived the 10 moves (I seriously just counted) that have taken place since I bought the damn CD, and… I FOUND IT! This was pretty miraculous. It felt like the universe said, “You’re having a shitty time. Here’s a CD you thought you lost under your bed 10 years ago!” It’s still a pretty good album; it’s aged surprisingly well. (Edit: except for the use of the term “cyberspace.” That does rather date this.) And I’m 25 now instead of 13, so it makes a lot more sense. I had this same epiphany about Jagged Little Pill a while back – turns out music written by 20-somethings is far more relevant when you’re 20-something. I was the wrong age in the mid to late 90’s to appreciate most of the music I was listening to at the time.

So beer? I think so. Right now we have some Southern Tier IPA, which is fantastic. If you like super-hoppy IPAs, please try this. It’s delicious. On a related note, I might be brewing beer in the near future (with help from Stacey). If it happens, I will blog about it!

May 302010
 

It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon – time for music nerdery and kitty photos!

A couple of weeks ago, Stacey and I were really bored one night and  decided to check who was playing at Great Scott in Allston – turned out it was Eluvium, an ambient band I had heard of before. We ended up going, and it was a really great show. I need to go to more ambient shows in the future. I wasn’t sure what to expect, really, as ambient music is by nature pretty quiet, but it’s also really beautiful turned up super loud on nice speakers, I found out. I also wasn’t sure how much of the show would be live instruments, but there was a lot of live piano and guitar mixed with samples/loops from a computer. And a Wii remote being used to trigger some samples. That was pretty nifty.

After the show we lurked at the merch table and ended up with some vinyl of both Eluvium and the opening act, Julianna Barwick. I also picked up the newest Eluvium release, Similes, at Newbie’s the other day. Both albums I ended up with are really nice, although I’m partial to Similes, which includes a lot of quiet vocals that decidedly add to everything else going on. The album I got on vinyl, Miniatures, seems to be somewhat less cohesive.  On both releases there’s tons of lovely piano, in particular on the song The Motion Makes Me Last, off Similes. I could listen that over and over, and have been…

I’m having a hard time describing this – it’s perfect music to think by. Unobtrusive, but beautiful and affecting. Like most really good ambient, it’s effective either as background or for intent listening, quiet or loud, speakers or headphones.

I also mentioned kitty photos:

sleepy

lazy

keyboard pillow

There are more of these, but I’ll save them for another post.

(I’ve been at home a lot lately, so Miso and I have been hanging out. He’s just so photogenic, I can’t help myself…)

Apr 172010
 

So I made delicious food! Twice! Last week I decided I should start cooking again, so I dug out a cookbook I picked up when I worked at Barnes & Noble. Sifted through and found a recipe for “Scrumptious Sage Soup” which turned out as more of a stew, but still very tasty.  I made it for the first time last Saturday, and it was good enough that Stacey went to Trader Joe’s after work earlier in the week to pick up ingredients so I could make it again. If I sound full of myself, it’s only because I have a history of sucking royally at cooking, so this transformation is fairly miraculous. And makes me feel better about myself. : P

dancin

The cooking itself when smoothly for the most part. Half of this is just chopping vegetables, which I need more practice with, but don’t actually mind a whole lot. Chopping fresh herbs in particular is nice because they exude all their lovely scents. And chopping onions did clear out my sinuses…

chopping

cooking

But yeah, lots of fun all around. And super healthy! I think we’ve been eating better recently, which is great.

aftermath

Note: Photos are mostly by the lovely Stacey, who could safely hold my camera because he was not covered in lemon juice all night.

On a mostly unrelated note, on Tuesday I picked up Kaki King’s new album, Junior. I actually went out to the Leominster Newbie’s to get it because I was in Ayer anyway. I hadn’t been out there in a long time and it was gloriously nostalgic buying a CD there on the release date. I listened to it on the way home and quickly discovered that, like every Kaki King album, it doesn’t do well on car speakers. There’s way too much road/other ambient noise to hear all the subtleties, so today I played it twice through over my good stereo speakers in the kitchen while I cooked.

First, it does well with repeated listens. I was kind of ambivalent the first time through, but by the third I was rewinding to songs I really liked and singing along to some of it. That itself is worth mentioning… there are a lot of lyrics. She sings on all but two or three of the tracks, which surprised me. Reading some reviews online, I found a lot of complaints about her voice. I don’t think that’s entirely fair. True, she doesn’t have a flawless or necessarily well-trained voice. But I think it suits the songs. The vocals are echoey and distant, wavering and melancholy. They’re actually great. I feel like her voice is more of another instrument than vocals on top of the music. It adds texture and color. So whatever complaints people have about her technique, I think they’re missing the big picture here.

There isn’t much to be said about the guitar that hasn’t been said a hundred times over. The girl can play a goddamn guitar like nobody’s business. I do miss the tapping and complex acoustic stuff, but she introduces electric solos here that are equally awesome. And the instrumentals are still unbelievably beautiful. Kaki King’s music makes everything glow.

Now that I’ve written way too much and drank a bunch of wine, I think I’ll peace out. Hope all is well with the… three people who read this? Right.

Mar 092010
 

Still listening to the masterpiece of Engrish that is Waste Management by t.A.T.u. Admittedly, this album has some great remixes that weren’t on the Russian version. But keep in mind, the remixes are almost all in Russian. I’m sure there’s a reason for that.

Also, on the song “Running Blind,” which was in English to begin with, I couldn’t for the life of me under the word “echoes” until I looked up the lyrics online because the “k” sound is completely missing. I guess the pronunciation is weird coming from Russian or something. But now there’s this remix of said song, and they totally punched in the missing syllable! I find this unspeakably entertaining.

My computer doesn’t seem to appreciate so much running Firefox and Songbird (my pretty Linux-compatible music player) and transferring about a hundred photos at once. But some of those photos (the ones that aren’t from April of LAST YEAR) are of hopefully delicious bread! So prepare yourself, dear reader, for a barrage of really bad photos:

bread1

bread2

And here’s Stacey doing dishes! He gets husband points.

dishes

And finally, one of the cat. Because he was laying in our clean laundry.

cutie

AWWW so cute. But so much fur in our laundry…

Mar 082010
 

Hey look, I’m baking bread! How exciting! Hopefully it will not come out like crap. I’ll take some sexy baking photos once it’s done.

In other news, I downloaded the English version of the most recent t.A.T.u. album (yes I know the correct punctuation shut up). It’s not bad. But I’m realizing I always get their albums in English first and then in Russian, and that seems to make a difference… the English lyrics now sound totally stupid. As evidenced by the title of this post. Way to go, whoever is translating this stuff…

“Little people, reassemble.”

Right.

I’m going to post this now before I think better of it. If there are baking photos to be had, I will post them separately. I am going to start using this damn blog. I swear.

Nov 182009
 

So Stacey and I have web hosting again, and I’m resurrecting my sadly under-used blog from last year! I liked this idea a lot, so I’ll try to actually post in it this time. Hopefully this will consist of baking, painting, hair dying, knitting (if I ever start knitting again…), photography, and whatever other creative/crafty things I find myself doing. Winter’s coming here in New England, so I’ll have plenty of time stuck inside to get myself into trouble. ^.^

In other news, WordPress has changed a lot since last I used it.  I’ve been messing with a super customizable theme (Suffusion, there’s a link at the bottom of the page), which I think is now tweaked to my satisfaction. The header image is from a photo I took a few years ago (like, five) somewhere out in Gardner/Winchendon.

sunset23

Also, GIMP is my friend.

But I should probably get more sleep. Until next time, this is your crazy insomniac internet junkie, signing off.

(and re: the title, I just got the new Collective Soul album, it’s actually really good)