Posts Tagged ‘music’

tangerine dream

September 8, 2012

The next concert of the season was Tangerine Dream, also at the Mountain Winery, July 14.

In a word, it was LOUD!  With a stringed instrument like an electric bass for example, the sound of a note will decay and fade out as time goes on.  Not so with a synthesizer!  The sound just starts going, and keeps on going as long as the guy holds the key down, until everything around is vibrating.  I had earplugs in for a lot of this.

The visual stage tableau was well thought out.  There were the hot chicks around the edges (not to be sexist, but even Joanie commented on the outfit worn by the blue-eyed blonde in a mad-hatter style black hat to the left to the left of the stage) and at the center was the grumpy old German guy who started the band, however many years ago.  The only remaining original member.

Behind the two main keyboard players were two large flat-screen displays of the current synthesizer patch panels in use (at least from what I could tell).  Behind, projected on the winery wall, was a quite effective psychedelic light show.  Between the sheer volume and the dizzying effects, no drugs required to achieve a mind-blowing state of consciousness.  Like, wow, man!

I’ve never been a great fan of the mechanical rhythms, but at least when Tangerine Dream started using them, it was innovative and experimental.  Not like nowadays when it’s the tedious norm.  And their manner of using them is a bit different from your average pop slush.

Also, the drums were live, which helped.  By which I mean that the drummer played the rhythms live, though the sounds were largely sampled.  Other instruments were an electronic cello, saxophone (genuine), and electric guitar.  I felt that the music did best when the electronic texture provided the backdrop for the solo work on the live instruments.  And that it did quite often, reaching soaring heights of blended electronics with human talent.

It was nice at intermission to find other listeners familiar with some of my favorite bands recently: Ozric Tentacles and Porcupine tree, &c.


Ani DiFranco

July 14, 2012

Continuing my summer musings on shows seen:

We saw Ani DiFranco at the Mountain winery, July 12.  I was only vaguely familiar with her before the concert, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Screaming young fans.  Lots of women. 

It’s worth mentioning the opening band, whose name I’ve forgotten, but “Androgyny” would have fit well.  The only person whose gender I felt I knew for certain was the drummer, but that was only because the lead singer referred to her as “a lesbian.”  Unless there are male lesbians nowadays.  I wouldn’t want to presume.  They were having an awful lot of fun, but I wished the lead singer were more in tune.

Anyhow, I was immediately impressed with Ani.  Her presence and warmth made themselves known from the very first she stepped on stage.  I won’t belabor her well-known self-taught style, as I am sure there are clips on YouTube.  I have to respect anyone who can stand up on stage by themselves and entertain a whole audience for a couple of hours.  The other person on stage, to be fair, was a guy who stood in the shadows in the back corner and tuned guitars, handing them to her when she swapped them for different songs. All wireless.  I was impressed how little one noticed the technicalities of the sound, because I know how much work that takes.

Her sexual politics were a point of controversy, no doubt.  She made it clear that her religion is promiscuity, which in some ways is a refreshing change from the insipid “abstinence” rhetoric we here so much from those with political power.  So I guess her method has been to have angsty desire-driven affairs with many people, and turn them into fodder for songs.  Kind of like a more modern Joni Mitchell.  What saves her from being as tedious and whiney as Joni Mitchell are her political interests. 

Power to her, I guess, though I have never followed that path.  It felt a little shallow, like there was something missing.  I think if Tesla (who just had a birthday), who gave up sex because it interfered with his pursuit of science.  I wonder if her viewpoint will change as her daughter turns into a teenager.

Oh, and this was not a concert for someone who dislikes swear words.