Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Happy Snaps: Sculpture by the Sea

Every year Australia's iconic Bondi beach plays host to one of the best accessible outdoor art instalments: Sculpture by the Sea. There's a fantastic walk from Bondi to Tamarama and for a couple of weeks in November it is lined by sculptures. Last year was the first year I ever went, but this year I wasn't able to walk all the way to Tamarama beach because of some time restrictions. I thought the selection of sculptures this year was much better than last year and so here are a few happy snaps of the day.

This one was my favourite sculpture: colourful and worked with the surroundings.
How gorgeous is this little cutie? She's a stranger, just snapped this when I saw her.
Bondi: you can see why it's Sydney's most iconic beach. Although you can't actually see the beach in this photo.. awesome outdoor swimming pool.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Something Old, Something New

This week for Something New I bring you the artist Banoffee and her song Ninja. Her name is Martha Brown from Melbourne and there was something mysterious about this song that drew me in at first. I think it's her voice, or the way the lyrics appear to be quite happy but her singing is grey, if I were to put a colour on it, "I will make you breakfast, before you wake up, I'll sneak down to the shops, and make it just the way you like it". As far as I can ascertain this is her first song out, and it definitely makes me curious to see what an album of hers would be like. And although I like the beginning the ending is actually my favourite SPOILER ALERT: when the synths cut out and we're left with her singing "I'm a     " ok, I couldn't actually spoil it for you (and insert language warning here). The music video is a bit like a cheese sandwich but made with Singles cheese. I sometimes hate the whole concept of the music video: I want to listen to the music thankyouverymuch! So many are just sleazy dudes with oily babes grinding around them. It's only when I come across the art that is the music video for Breezeblocks by Alt-J that I'm convinced otherwise. In the end it should all be down to the aural atmosphere and we should all pretend we're blind for a minute and floating around in a big black space. Enough metaphors now... go watch listen.

Now for something completely different.. I can never go past stuff that I'm playing at the moment, or about to play, for Something Old because it's what I'm listening to the most. The fellowship is nearing it's end and for our final concert we're playing a chamber group arrangement of Mahler's first symphony. Nicknamed "The Titan" we're naturally a bit dubious as to how it's going to sound as a small group arrangement.. I'm going to make a little confession right now: Mahler 1 and Mahler 9 are actually the only Mahler symphonies I've listened to (cue gasps of shock and fainting in the musician crowd out there). Symphonies, and classical music itself, are quite daunting/intimidating/am-I-supposed-to-be-getting-this? but it's important to realise that although it may seem like that it's like most pop music: you just need to listen a few times to catch your favourite riffs and bits you like to singalong to. Just because pop songs are only 3 minutes and you can latch on and only need to listen to the given song twice is a sign of the attention span of our time, if you ask me (which I guess no one actually is). Classical music served as the aural entertainment for hundreds and hundreds of years and it can still be so. So on your next train/bus/plane/rocket trip listen to a movement of this Mahler symphony (I actually think you should start with the first or you're reading the later chapters of the book first which doesn't make any sense) and listen to it a few times (you'll definitely need more than three) and then come back here and tell me what you think. I believe we can all sing (read: warble) at the top of our voices to Mahler in our cars, or dancing around our room, or in the shower. Now, off my box of soap and back to sharing a video with you: the second movement of the first symphony by Mahler is one of my favourite movements. Enjoy the slides, the windiness, the all of it (and Dudamel!)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Something Old, Something New

Here I am, attempting a comeback... you all must hassle me about blogging! It's been a while and a lot of things have happened but I'll try and update you throughout my posts with some Happy Snaps. But as always on a Monday I'm doing my music segment. I found for a while that I wasn't very inspired by any new music; finding myself listening to the same songs over in a loop, and this is why I'm a big fan of the radio! The radio allows you to listen to all kinds of music you don't know, especially if it's a station like FBi that plays all new bands and music (and sometimes you win a few free movie tickets!).

Something New this week is something I shazammed a while back: Runner by Go Violets, a band out of Brisbane. It's got a nice little happy vibe to it, and something that screams 80's like the music my parents listen to, perhaps something in the groove and timbre of voices. Anyway.. it's a great song to listen to in the car and there's a free download from triple j's unearthed page so go nuts.

Something Old this week is by Brahms: undoubtedly in my mind one of the best classical composers ever. The Fellowship group I'm in has been playing this lately and just last Friday we had a masterclass with Pinchas Zukerman (mega-famous violinist). It was mind-blowing and inspiring and I was so happy to be playing such a masterpiece for such a master of the violin (seriously look this guy up on youtube). This movement is my favourite so far, it's so calm and beautiful and then in the middle you get this gypsy improviso section and there is the most amazing chord change in the second bar of it (3'45" in this youtube video, which doesn't actually do it justice). So here you have it, the amazingly beautiful second movement from Brahms' clarinet quintet. I don't know who these performers are but my recording of Sabine Meyer and the Alban Berg Quartet is my favourite.

I hope these tracks brighten up the beginning of your week! And if you're tuning in to radio have a listen to Fine Music 102.5fm at 5:30pm on the 30th of November for the Fellowship's version of Brahms' Clarinet Quintet.