Tuesday, December 23, 2008


My first real love in music was the music of Debussy. Throughout my early teens it became a goal of mine to own and listen to every note, every scribble that man ever put on paper. I listened to dozens of obscure works and unpopular pieces, some unpublished works that i could find recordings of.... and yet my thirst for finding unheard works never ended. I still bemoan the fact that he didn't write more. Its safe to say that Ive heard the entire bedth of his musical language. I know all kinds of pieces... from the Six épigraphes antiques of 1915 to the Printemps of 1888. and everything obscure in between.

Originally I preferred his earlier, lush and pretty pieces like the Arabesques to his more abstract, fragmented and dissonant later work. This changed. I soon found his earlier compositions to be too "fluffy", too "belle epoque" for me, and I began to favor his later, more angular pieces like
En Blanc et Noir. Recently I found the Images pour Orchestre ( including Iberia) on glorious Imeem, re-affirming my old love of these works. Its from his Images pour orchestra that I found out what a cor anglais is. I heard the solo lines of that instrumentin the Gigues And Rondres des Printemps - and It mystified me. I still remember listening to it over and over again to figure out what instrument it was. I searched all over to try and figure it out.Anyway, those floating melodic fragments still make me melt.

how can you not love this? So many sublimely beautiful moments in this opening of Iberia:

Images, II. Ibéria: 1. Par les rues et par les chemins - Sir Simon Rattle

And that slow, languid Gigues, with its haunting cor anglais.

Images: I. Gigues - Sir Simon Rattle


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Etude Idea

With new technology on hand i can now make this a greater vanity site than it already is-

I recently got a camera and a means to record myself on my keyboard. Heres an etude idea that i'm playing around with, posted on my youtube account. I think its technically challenging enough to be a real etude.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Well, i really doubt there are any republicans or undecideds reading this blog, but for historical reference i'd thought i'd just throw it out there. So there you go- future- i'm a supporter of Barack Obama, i hope he wins, i really do. More than that- i hope that the US will improve its relations abroad, and I hope that it inspires people, i hope that this will move people, shake things and ignite a sense of social progress towards a more humanistic, more egalitarian, more rational civilization.

All hopes.

I feel sometimes that this country is dominated by people who live with half their mind in the dark ages. Gay? horror! muslims? Evil! foriegners? dangerous!

there will always be idiots, thats a given, and there will always be bigots, there will always be racists, xenophobes, homophobes, morons of all stripes and shapes, but i can only hope they dwindle in numbers with the passing of time. Society never changes quickly. People will hold onto their stupid ideas till they're in their graves. Human technology may advance, but the general human wisdom of society will never improve much.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Palin Song

Move over Steve Reich. What an interesting speaking-melody this song has. All jittery and jumbled, fragmented and jazzy.

Anyway, this is fucking brilliant.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Its Fall, again. The third since i started this blog. School again, this time I'm happy to report that I'm taking Spanish. I'm enthusiastic about it, there are lots of similarities with french and i can't help but francify what i'm studing. I've been writing "L'Hombre qui hablar..." things like that. Anyway, I can understand a lot of it already. Hopefully i'll reach a decent level of spoken spanish before my life's out.

In music news, well, theres no real music news. I work occasionally on the third movement of Suburban Scene, i know it could be done in a few days if i actually put energy into it. I just don't have it. I lack a personal drive to finish it up quickly. Maybe things cook better when they're cooked slow? Maybe not. The first and second movements both took me all of two weeks to write, and they enjoyable to write, which is something kinda rare. I work on things piecemeal anyway, a half hour here and there, day to day it piles it up into some 5 minutes of music. Kinda satisfying.

Troy- thank you so much for your conversions of the midi files. I have dozens of these of my dozens of pieces, I'm not going to shove them all your way, don't worry. But I really do need to thank you. They sound beautiful. I'll (re?) post them soon. :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Midis for My Music

*Edit* fixed the link for mov. 2 so now it actually linking to the second movement!

So here are some basic, mechanical midi files of the two movements of Music for a Suburban Scene finished so far. The third may be on its way soon. Do not hesitate to tell me what you think. I depend on it.... so comment please. Thanks.

Suburban Scene Mov. 1

Suburban Scene Mov. 2
It is true that i've been abscent from this blog. I just havent felt the energy. I've been busy. Other excuses like work and school come to mind. Frankly, i just havent had anything particularly meaningful to say. I feel like I'm stagnating in terms of my musical development a little. I want to stretch the piano in different directions but don't feel incapable at that. What i need is a good electronic keyboard that offers some interesting new sounds to work with.

I've been writing more of Music for a Suburban scene. I'm just starting the third piece, which is the one im most hesitant at adding anything too. Ironically its the piece i know the best when i play it.

Sometimes I feel like this kind of thing is an embarassing mistake, a display of my inability to be fresh or original. Some days I feel confident that my piano works have some merit to them and that they're worth presenting to people. I go back and forth. I like my works, most of the time, if that means anything. The movement of suburban scene has got a solid energy and even virtuositic touches. Its structured, maybe too structured. Maybe bordering on stilted, maybe just poorly structured. Maybe well structured? Maybe its too archaic in format, maybe its refreshing and effective? Is my music a watered down compromise or is it still interesting? I guess you guys can tell me. I'll post it soon.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Monday, August 18, 2008

Suburban Scene Part 1

I'm finally getting to work writing out pieces of music that i intended to finish 3 years ago. The work, which was framed with parts written while i was still in highschool, has waited for 3 years for me to feel musically mature enough to make something coherent out of it.

While i dont necessarily think i'm "musically mature" Its more or less high time that i get to work on it, regardless as to how i feel about my own compositional voice. Everything is a learning process, so why not just dive in? I'm not going to get anywhere with it if i dont try. So thats what i've undertaken, the first piece is almost finished and... its intended to be a set of maybe 8 piano pieces. So one of 8 so far... a ways to go, but i have a lot of time and i'm in no rush. They've waited for 3 years or more... they can sit on the burner a while.

Anyway, the interesting part about all this is that i knew what i wanted to call this set of pieces long before i knew exactly what would be in it. And the name of it actually gave the name of this blog. The set is entitled "Music for a Suburban Scene" and its sort of my attempt at a summation and melding of the musical influences that inevitably resulted from my years in suburban america. Kinda a lofty goal, i'd say. But hey, aim high right? Really, its a set of pieces meant to evoke life in a cul-de-sac, life around SUVs , Burger King, Safeways, traffic and parking lots.life around families with teenagers, dogs, Sprinklers and unkept lawns. I'm not actually sure as to the titles of all the set but i sure as hell know that one of them is going to called "The Mandingo", you can google to figure out what that means.

other ideas for titles were "beige carpets" and "tricycles".

I guess those are still on the drawing board. Anyway, this first piece has turned out to be much more technically demanding than i expected, and it was *supposed* to be the simple introduction. Ah well, makes things more fun to play.

This is the only opera i can honestly say i enjoy, and thankfully some kind dude posted the entire thing on youtube.

I fucking love mussorgsky and I wish he had written more in his short life.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I am guilty of not always viewing some of the blogs I hold in highest esteem and link on the sidebar there. But i recently stumbled upon some excellent posts in On An Overgrown path (which is named after one of my favorite works for piano)

This post reflects several of my thoughts at the moment, so i figure I best divert attention that way.

My one beef is with the term itself.- "world music" seems like an insult if we somehow exclude western classical traditions from the group. If we're talking about "traditional world musics" It better as hell include it ALL, balinese gamelan to native american pow-wow musics, to shostakovich and back. (i dont think many people would approve, though) Otherwise, we're using an essentially categorizing music in a very ethnocentric way- ie. "classical music" and "everything else thats traditional on the planet", knowing full well that separate is inherently unequal in this kind of dialogue**, I would propose that we specify which traditions we're talking about. If its Northern Hindustani Classical or Tuvan Throat singing, or Taureg traditional music. "world music" just doesn't cut it.

**I'm not going to sit around and discuss music in terms of one kind being more or less important than some other kind, and thereby creating value judgments about the nature of different music traditions. Nor am I automatically calling all music equal. The "importance" in the western sense can not be applied to other cultures where music functions and is perceived differently, and the musical values do not necessarily translate. It is simply stupid to try weigh the importance of someone like Veena Sahasraddhe against Pavarotti, just as one does not judge a Kandinsky as they would a Botticelli.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Yesterday I went to the capitol hill block party, good times.

Fleet Foxes played, it was good stuff. Listened to different bands, but the foxes were why I even went. That, and i had nothing else to do yesterday.

Good band, great music. Local group who might be bringing plad back, or at least in this region. They've certainly cultivated a 1970s eco-hippy mountain-man image.

I approve.

Friday, July 11, 2008

This music gets my back all tingly and crap.

no, really. Just this first movement. I love the whole thing, but man, this is gorgeous. And is it wrong for me to hear just a little Don Giovanni in it? I've known this music for years, but im back to it, after watching an episode of Curb your enthusiasm, which features two excerpts of Berlioz.

I said to my roommates. "THATS BERLIOZ!!! OMFG!!!"

alright, maybe not quite like that, but pretty close. so now im on a romanticist kick i guess. Berlioz and Liszt. Oh, trusty old Liszt, i always listen to him. Anytime i need something cool to listen to, i pull out a transcendental etude or mephisto waltz. This morning i was almost late to work because i was obsessing over the beauty of this performance:

I love the intensity. Its really just perfect and amazing.

{romanitic} sigh.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Beirut captures my sentimentality

And im talking about the band, not the Lebanese capital. (which i'd love to visit some day)

is the second track on Beirut's second album The Flying Club Cup, a great new album. While I generally make a point of strongly disliking people who are my age or younger and more successful than me, I'll make an exception for Beirut's lead singer.

The music in this album is an eclectic- mixing folk, french chanson, brass band, even lounge sounds and other influences into a sweet lyrical and graceful expression. There are many french references in the music and title, which is kinda fun (for me anyway). The greatest song on the album is the sublime Mausoleum, but this is less of a album review and more of a personal note, so im not going to dive into any detail, so just trust me.... its good.

Nantes, the song makes no references to my city in its lyrics (its MY city now days), but just that title is enough to capture my attention, and the beauty of the song taps into my nostalgia for last year and my idle life as un etudiant etranger en france.

But the place (though beautiful and charming as it is) i miss a lot less than my friends i left.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Its hot.

Its 70 degrees at 8:30 in the morning. Yesterday it was 92 here, and last night my bedroom did not dip below 85 degrees, ugh. Seattle is in heat-wave, a rare but shocking occurrence that arrives a few times every summer. Since we (collectively as the people of seattle) own no air conditioners, we have to bear it out with fans and crap. And let me tell you- you can fan yourself all you want, but when your apartment is, at 7 in the evening, hovering around 93 degrees, it doesnt really matter. Its been hot since friday, and its going to stay nice and warm all week long.

Don't get me wrong, its gorgeous weather, and i'm really doing well on my farmers tan, but man oh man, it comes as a surprise after the shittiest spring in memory.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Two Little Pieces from 2006

So Sibelius has been an EXCELLENT program for me, and has given me the opportunity to write up in classy fashion some old pieces from 2006. Its amazing to me how much things change in 2 years, i would never write music like this anymore, but these two i've hung on to because i really like them a lot.

This Berceuse written back around 2006 and is one of my favorite pieces i've written. Its extremely simple, but if played correctly, very delicate. This is a midi version of the piece, which i have from the Sibelius, and it aint playing it with any delicacy, but thats ok, you get the idea.

Midi Version: http://www.zshare.net/audio/13795384e1fb620e/

Another super easy little piece (one of those few that i really enjoyed both writing and playing) is this untitled piece, written a little earlier. Any ideas for a nice little title for it? I'd name it after you if it sounds right... Personally, though i like the piece, its too retro for me, sounds too much like Ravel- but thats ok, I tried. And at least its pretty. Anyway, it is also pretty delicate and simple, and all the same i have a crude midi version here to go along with the sheet music


Anyway, like i said. I wouldnt write music like sounds like this now adays, not because of some change in attitude, but because i know how now. But I'll have to prove that another day.
"I am never sea sick- only sea drunk..... (toasting) To good health!"

-igor stravinsky.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Paradise Moment #2--

I have just had a paradise moment. It was right here, just now. Sitting on my bed, laptop on lap. Sweet, delicious, me-made teriyaki chicken with bell peppers and onions, and a mug of organic (real) lemonade. Listening to the sublime, sublime Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices and Organ (Steve Riech)

I love life.

(....i love lamp)

Monday, May 05, 2008

Alright, you guys, my 2-3 readers, you may be aware that im, uhhh... taking a little sabbatical right now. So i give you this musical youtube beauty to relax with- and this little pseudoguru moment:

i often get the feeling that the majority of people's problems come from a lack of perspective. When im angry i like to look at Hubble photographs and reflect for a few seconds about the amazingness of it.... I should just post hubble pictures one of these days

(Oh yeah, and thats my sister in the photograph)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Veena Sahasrabuddhe

I am no scholar of Hindustani music, but i know what i love..

This woman is a master of music . She is amazing, and by far my favorite Indian Classical musician. Incredibly beautiful singing, elegant lines, warmth and variety of melodic invention. Her music is poignant, haunting, so what more could you ask for?

Im a big fat fan.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The radiohead concert is sold out :( on the first day tickets go on sale, they're gone. Hows that even possible? People are nuts... Either way, i was planning on going with a friend this august, but i guess thats not gonna happen :(

I've been working on Sibelius-ing (as in the program, not the awesome dude) my great Anti-masterpiece Junk Folder, which i mentioned (and even scanned a page of the score) a long time ago, like 2 summers ago, when i wrote most of it. Its so fun to be able to hear my piece, even if its on these shitty midi voices, it still is cool. Easier to conceptualize, i guess. Who knows if i'll ever get anyone to play it.

i'll probably post some of the score on here one of these days. Ive layed out the first 2 of 5 songs. (the 5th was never finished) so i have some work to do. The whole thing wont be ready before summer, im sure of that. Anyway, its been fun to work on between homeworks...

Monday, March 31, 2008

like O.M.G.

Alarm will sound, my most favoritest group ever, is doing something fan-fucking-tastic. Aside from covering THIS:

(how the hell they're doing that, i dont know) they're also going ahead and doing covers of


yeah, thats right, the mutherfucking shaggs.

And if i was in new york, i would be all up in that kitchen business. Do they tour? Maybe their website has clues (oh wait, theres no tour schedule posted for 2008... DO'H). Eitherway, this 69' thing they've got going makes me feel... so.... much... love.

I guess there is nothing for me to do but buy their merchandise. hurray!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Animal Collective- Strawberry Jam

My recently acquired recording of Strawberry Jam is pretty sweet.

Maybe a little tame in comparison to some of the earlier works of Animal collective, but sweet all the same. I was familiar via Youtube with several of the tracks already, like the eccentrically lyrical Fireworks and the darkly hallucinogenic-electronic folk of Peacebone.

the third track, feels like a kind of homage to the The Shaggs, and their only release- philosophy of the world. The track 06 #1 has a continuous minimalistic electronic organ pattern reminiscent of Riley's Persian Surgery Dervishes or Glass' Music in a Similar motion.

The 8th song in the set, Cuckoo Cuckoo, uses a sample of a luscious late-Romantic piano chord progression (i don't know what its lifted from, Faure? Scriabin? cant tell), repeated endlessly with the groups typically strident vocals and electronics layered over that peaceful piano sound bite.
All in all, in this disk we get a continuation and development of the groups' ability of creating simple, folksy lyricism along side visceral, experimental electronics, dissonances and a strong eclecticism and energy.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Which just begs the question..... why aren't there more weightlifting classical musicians and fans? I dont get it. Is it that persistent platonic/cartesian dualism crap? that (incorrect) mentality that the body is meaningless and has no effect on our supposedly independent intellect? Meh, for the record, I'd like the say that weightlifting is quantifiable awesome*. And for you fellow pianists, it strengthens the forearms, which is excellent for extended tremolo passages and possibly the Concord Sonata.

Anyway, i think classical musicians could always use a little more muscle... in the various meanings of the word.

* i could list the reasons, but i wont here. unless you really, really want me to.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Monday, February 25, 2008

30 second improv

Me again. Making noise.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Terry Riley - Poppy No Good and the Phantom Band (1968)

I love you Poppy No good, and the band aint bad either.

....Currently reading about Mughals and their reforms. Have a midterm in my Mughal history class on tuesday. Lots and lots of history to cover, from the Delhi Sultanate till emperor Jahangir. I should say- I think Akbar is my favorite emperor ever, but Hadrian comes in a close second.m Then again, we havent yet gotten to Shah Jahan, and i like me my architecture.

But then again, almost all emporors were assholes. Kinda comes with the job.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Pyramid song-radiohead-2001

Beautiful music. They played this at the laser show i went to not long ago.

Im sick again. fucking viruses. This is my comfort for the evening

In Imitation

  • What’s your purpose?
    • To eat. To eat well, to share the passion of eating well with others.
  • What’s your passion?
    • Butter chicken, panang curry. Good and interesting sounds.
  • What are your peak experiences?
    • pretending to be arab and getting away with it....My sister says i look like Ali Baba with a turban.
  • What are the top qualities you look for in a good friend?
    • Someone with their feet on the fucking ground. Is that so hard to find? someone authentic, someone with the ability to accept unusual and new things/experiences. I also very much like rude people who are funny about it.
  • Who are your heroes and heroines from mythology and legend, and from history and religion?
    • Helen Thomas, Kurt Vonnegut and the Cookie Monster.
  • What are your unique talents and how do you like to express them?
    • Unique? um. being able to philosophize about weightlifting by attacking moronic platonic/Cartesian dualism. I love weightlifting.
    • I speak french. I express it by speaking french, usually in the context of criticizing france.
  • What are the best qualities you express in your relationships? (Those are the qualities that allow soul to manifest in the world and in the work place.)
    • Strange Noises. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa- is a personal favorite, also known to use BWAAAAAAAAAH and WAAAAAAAh (usually in the context of pouncing on somthing) as well as Bleeeeah and mmmmnaaaaaayh

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

2 more

these are the longer ones. haha. Its wierd to think that a 1 Minute 20 some second piece could be long, but its all relative. doing these short pieces each second feels significant. I write some 4 bars that last 15 seconds and i sit back and cant help but think how much music i made in 4 bars. haha.
These are by far the most technically demanding pieces in the set. In fact, im thinking they almost go beyond the range of what i was initially trying to do, which was really write tiny un-intimidating works that any one could play. But aside from the repetition which simplifies things the demands in number 12 ^ above are beyond the abilities of the person i wrote for in (say) number 7 below. I'm happy to keep em though.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

hey, do any of you want to play this?

The radiohead laser show last night was sweet. They did a good job with "pyramid song" in particular

Um, i said i'd "publish" the fruits of my winter vacation, so here are 5 samples of some 12 pieces i've written up. The title of the set is "music for begining" the idea here is that they're incredibly easy pieces that would serve as music for a novice pianist, or music thats good for warmups good for sight-reading etc. So they are sort of functional-music type things. I havent written any performance indications, but i've been kinda lazy. Anyway, i know how they're supposed to be played, it should be obvious from the way they sound and are written, but hey, who knows. Do any of you 3/4 guys who see this site want to play my music? they're super easy! hahaa

Anyway, heres the first few:

Friday, January 18, 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008

Aphex Twin- Drukqs

I swear every time i try to post something half-way serious or intelligent it just comes out looking ridiculous and stupid.

On the other hand, i've been listening to these great pieces of Aphex twin. The work as a whole is extremely diverse, and I was surprised to hear how well he handles the piano! The prepared piano pieces are charming and beautiful, while the"techno" tracks are facinating, manic and really well done.

I recently got Sibelius and im writing down a few of my tiny piano pieces that ive composed over break. Its a great tool, im enjoying it. I plan on sending off a few of my files off to some friends, im even tempted to post my little pieces on here

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sorry if this reads like a Manifesto.

One conception of music that i hope develops in the 21st century is the idea of music constructed without borders, without particular contries or nationalities or traditions defining them. This is inherently opposite from the modernist euro-centric conception of art-music/music art as a western and only western phenomenon and the rest of the worlds music output as a lesser category of "world music". Of course that concept is today known to be absurd, so instead, this is the idea that every music culture on earth had material to contribute to the learning of a musician and that these experiences are inherently valuable, and that judgments of inferiority should not be imposed upon non-European musical traditions.

This is not an argument about equality or inequality of the richness of musical traditions around the world, but the idea that music, as an artistic creation of individuals, is not something that has to be confined to specific traditions and instrumentation, and that learning is cross-cultural. This idea does not encourage some musical pastiche of style, but rather the understandings of the possibility of song forms and singing, instrumental or human.

I can imagine that my school on campus could offer classes on indian raga as well as piano performance, or west african drumming along side introduction courses to Gamelan. Today those wonderful subjects are all sort of grouped together in those "world music" sections, marginalized in a country which has grown less and less culturally Dependant on europe in the 20th century.

On a smaller scale, focusing in on the united states and canada, I suppose my hope for the 21st century is this : cultural dependence on europe will finally end and that a well grown hybrid and mixing will develop that would allow for a new musical environment that is not just older european or older east asian or middle eastern notions of music, but something that has absorbed both, and all, and comes up with something new and fresh.

Here in the US and Canada, we are living in (thank god) an increasingly diverse society with people coming from cultures completely different from those of the europeans that settled these two countries. Asian, African, Polynesian and Middle Eastern cultures are already mixing and enriching the lives of citizens in this country. Our music today should aim to reflect these wonderful changes and not just rely on older instrumentation, dispite its familiarity, and aim to speak a musical language that speaks to people, no matter where they're from.

I guess our problem is that a lot of people cant step out of our own generally white-European culture, into a different view, where musical traditions are not treated as superior or inferior, but just as matters of fact. One of things that bothered me in living in france was its mono-culture. Its one, singular self-absorbed culture that just doesn't invite others to the party. That was unbearable to me , and why i realized that i was glad to be American, and to be able to eat my pad thai one night and my chicken masala the next, to live in a country that doesnt (in principal) treat people with other ethnic and cultural origins as inferior.