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3 GoodThings (Really Cool Version) January 24, 2010

Posted by Beth in 3 Good Things, Art, Music.
Tags: ,

How often do you stop to think about how really cool this universe is?  I’ve had a few great reminders lately that I’d like to share with all of you out there in bloggy-land.

#1. Simple Pleasures and Gratitude post by The Thinking Mother.

On the importance of paying attention to the small joys we encounter, because they add up to something huge: your life!

#2. Aerogel.

Never heard of it? It is the lightest solid in the universe. Read about it in a post “Playing with NASA’s Solid Smoke” at Bashing in Minds. And while you are there marveling at this amazingly weird stuff, be sure to notice the quote by Captain Hammer at the top of the blog.

(And if you don’t know who Captain Hammer is… Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog should be  #2.5–a fun story and great music–I just wish it had a different ending.)
#3. Amy X Neuberg and Solstice

Last night, my daughter and I drove 1 1/5 hours to see her voice coach’s a capella ensemble perform with an avante-guarde singer-composer.

The first part of the program was a set of songs by Solstice. Two of my favorite songs are Hotaru Koi, a Japanesechildren’s song about fireflies, and Ergen Deda. (Scroll down on this page to find them.)

The second half of the performance were pieces from Fill as Desired, a work of Amy’s commissioned by the Jewish Music Festival. From last night’s event program:

The songs are based (very!) loosely on selections from “In Memory’s Kitchen” (ed. Cara de Silva, 1993, used with permission)–a collection of recipes that were discussed and documented by women of the Terezin concentration camp during WW II. The additional English texts are Amy’s own musings on fantasy as a means of survival.

The music is definitely something different–a combination of melody, harmony, off-beat rhythms and atonal vocalizations —all mixed and layered using a computerized  live-looping technique which is unique and fascinating.  It’s not classically beautiful or soothing, but the end result is awesome—awesome in the inventiveness and the technical expertise necessary to create and perform a composition this complex. Constantly attention-grabbing, and occasionally haunting– it brought me a slice of joy and definitely belongs on this list.

Sample of the Fill as Desired music: Flaky Strudel

Amy also performed one solo piece. Listening to “Every Little Stain” will only give you an inkling of what she is doing. Her performance last night was a capella…..but by using the live looping technique, the end result created a depth and fullness to the music that approached that of a symphony orchestra.  I wish the sample I link to above did not have any instrumentals in it so you could experience the amazing sound she was able to create by layering only her voice…but it does come close. She also has a visual presence, and way of gesturing that adds to the overall experience. None of the video clips I could find presented her well enough to link to–so you will just have to imagine a petite, graceful woman with hands, face and swaying body as expressive as her voice.

You still have time to catch them —performances in San Fransisco tonight and next Friday.


1. Rational Jenn - January 25, 2010

You know what’s awesome? I loved Christine’s post AND the Aerogel, too! And I probably found them in a different way than you did. I’ll check out your number 3. :o)

2. Beth - January 25, 2010

I think my original post gave you credit for sending me #1 and #2 —but that fact got lost in the rewrite. Thanks so much for passing them on!!

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