Friday Random Ten, Feb 16

  1. Frameshift, “Walking through Genetic Space”: a track from an album inspired by the writings of Steven Jay Gould about genetics and evolution. The leader of the project is the lead singer of Dream Theater; the end result has a very DT like feeling to it. The album overall is quite good; bit this track is a slow ballad, and a ballad about genetics just doesn’t really work.
  2. Robert Fripp and David Sylvian, “Jean the Birdman”: Fun, interesting piece of work, from a project that David Sylvian and Robert Fripp did a few years back. Sylvian’s usual crooning voice, over his and Fripp’s guitar work. Very cool.
  3. King Crimson, “Starless and Bible Black”. A track from one of my all-time favorite albums – free improv from King Crimson in the “Red” days.
  4. Gordian Knot, “Muttersprach”: instrumental neo-prog rock from Sean Malone and whoever he can get to work with him. This track features a solo by Steve Hackett, the guitarist from the early days of Genesis.
  5. Jonathon Coulton, “Mandelbrot Set”: One of the greatest math geek songs of all time. What math geek could not love a rock song that literally includes the procedure for computing the mandelbrot set as part of the lyrics: “Take a point called Z in the complex plane/
    Let Z1 be Z squared plus C/
    And Z2 is Z1 squared plus C/
    And Z3 is Z2 squared plus C and so on/
    If the series of Z’s should always stay/
    Close to Z and never trend away/
    That point is in the Mandelbrot Set”
  6. Väsen, “Slunken” Traditional Swedish music, prominently featuring the Nickelharpa – aka keyed violin. Väsen is absolutely amazin if you get a chance to hear them live.
  7. Tony Trischka, “Doggy Salt”: a track off of Tony’s latest, which is mostly duets played with other banjo players, including Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, and Steve Martin. Pure fun – exuberant music played by amazing musicians having the time of their lives.
  8. Tan Dun, “Water Passion after St. Matthew, 1st Movement”. A new operatic passion by the Chinese composer Tan Dun. Tan Dun is one of the finest composers working today, with a great range in his composing style. If you’ve seen the movie “Hero”, the soundtrack is also his work. The Water Passion is an extremely ambitious work, and damned if it isn’t completely successful. He manages to merge bits of traditional Chinese opera, modern semitone composition, and Bach-style fugues into a coherent and beatiful piece of music.
  9. Mogwai, “Moses? I Amn’t”: You didn’t think you were going to get through one of my friday random tens without any post-rock, now did you?
  10. Igor Stravinsky, “Concertino”: chamber music from Stravinsky, one of the musical geniuses of the 20th century. It’s very interesting listening to this shortly after Tan Dun; you can hear the influence that Stravinsky had.

0 thoughts on “Friday Random Ten, Feb 16

  1. Joe Shelby

    I was about to ask if you’d heard of Steve Reich, given some of the other names dropped in these lists so far, but a quick search in that little textfield in the corner found 3 entries where his name’s come up, so I guess so.
    I picked up the 2000 re-recording of Music for 18 Musicians and have been drooling over it ever since, much to the dismay of my mp3 player. 🙂

  2. Matthew Neeley

    I love Jonathan Coulton’s Mandelbrot set, but he got the formula for the mandelbrot set wrong! What he describes is a Julia set, in which the constant C is held fixed for each Z whose membership in the set is to be determined. To calculate the Mandelbrot set, one should start the iteration with the point Z, rather than a fixed constant C. The lyric should be:
    “Take a point called Z in the complex plane/ Let Z1 be Z squared plus Z/ And Z2 is Z1 squared plus Z/ And Z3 is Z2 squared plus Z and so on/ If the series of Z’s should always stay/ Close to Z and never trend away/ That point is in the Mandelbrot Set”
    Fabulous song, nonetheless.

  3. Patrick

    I’ve seen you throw Gordian Knot in your Random Ten a few times. Have you ever checked out Sean Malone’s work with Cynic? He played on Focus.
    Malone has had the guitarist and drummer from Cynic jam with Gordian Knot on a few occasions as well.

  4. Reinier

    On item 3: confusingly, the track’s official title, on the “Red” album, is “Starless”, while “Starless and Bible Black” is the title of another album with far more improvisation (but not the “Starless” track).

  5. Don Cox

    The Stravinsky Concertino exists in two versions: for string quartet, and for 12 instruments. The quartet version is on a good CD by the Alban Berg Quartet, which besides the works by Stravinsky also contains the Debussy and Ravel quartets. Recommended.


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