#111: The Dance

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Today I’m going to discuss dancing, the process of dancing, and what it’s like to dance. Today (the day I’m writing this, not the day it’s published) is the day of the junior high, upper school dance at work. When I was a kid, school dances were huge events featuring fundraisers, raffles, food, drink, loud music, and lots of forced and uncomfortable socialization. That’s what being in school as a kid is mostly like, actually.

Being a bit of a class clown myself, I loved to draw attention to myself as a kid, knowing that it would be mostly positive because I was young and full of energy. People would applaud me for being brave and outgoing, when in reality, I did it because I liked to please people (and still do, ultimately). I danced at weddings all over the place, taking over the dance floor with terrible, god awful renditions of the cha cha slide and cotton-eyed Joe. This is who I was, and it almost feels weird to look back on that self, knowing who I would become in the years to come.

When I was much younger, in junior high school, I liked to dance at home to the songs I liked. Not frequently, but occasionally. I remember learning how to dance from Dance Dance Revolution, actually, because the game taught me that just moving your legs back and forth a lot can bear resemblance to a dance if you try hard enough. And I was initially pretty good at that game series, especially the Mario-themed one for the Gamecube. I was also a fan of Rock Band and other rhythm-based games, but unfortunately I never really succeeded in becoming a musical artist. Being a teenager is all about trying new things over and over, hoping that something sticks, but very few things did. Especially not dancing, now that I’m much older than then!

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Discursive Ramblings: Daft Punk

Hello, welcome to the second edition of my rambling blog posts, which I don’t bother to give a structure or a second look grammatically. This time I’ll be featuring my sudden, rekindled feelings for none other than the ever-changing musical duo Daft Punk, hot off their most recent album, “Random Access Memories.”

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Just LOOK at these guys. They ooze trendy musical greatness.

As (sort of) a youngin, I discovered Daft Punk around the release of Tron Legacy in 2010. At the time, I was about 15 years old, and had started my sophomore year of high school. There’s something about Daft Punk’s reluctance to adhere to the norms of popular music that made me attach myself to their mission and music. Little did I know that their Tron Legacy soundtrack would be their first studio-made “album” in five years. So, when I heard that “Random Access Memories” would be released in 2013, I jumped for joy. This was exactly what I needed.

Before its release, the album was made to seem as a different, but logical step forward for the duo: they were quoted as saying that they felt discontent toward the current state of EDM (Electronic Dance Music). When they were undergoing the recording process, the duo felt a need to use real, human performers in the studio, instead of their typical use of musical samples and tracks.

“We wanted to do what we used to do with machines and samplers, but with people,” said Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk.

This sort of dramatic change doesn’t happen without trial and error. But, like all great musicians, their art requires many, many tries until they find something that sticks. And as a fan of Daft Punk, I love their decision to manipulate human performers’ ideas and sounds to create something wonderful. That’s why “Random Access Memories” feels so different, yet so similar to Daft Punk’s musical flavor: it showcases and captures the change that they set out to make, and embodies the duo’s spirit for creating imaginative, fantastical music that brings joy to its listeners.

What a group!

Nothing compares nowadays. In an industry flooded by synthesizers and computer-created samples, music has become much more “technological,” so to speak. As a result of this change the opportunity to create music has reached more people. Who do they look to as their idols? Who should they look to?

These guys.

They reinvented themselves on “Random Access Memories” at the perfect time: during a period when people are experimenting with new music.

Unlike some of the contemporary giants of the EDM genre, Daft Punk keeps to their traditions while presenting new developments with every track. That’s admirable.

In summary, I love this group, and I love what kind of image they have. They represent contemporary music incredibly. I hope they continue to do what they do best: create awesome music, inspire millions, and change music as a whole.

That’s it for now, fellas. Until next time…

Chris Hadfield’s “Space Oddity”

In case my followers or anyone really has yet to see this wonderful video, I want to share it on my blog out of sheer respect for the man who made it. It’s no surprise to people that know me well that I hold space exploration, NASA, and the ISS in high regard. Many of my poems are inspired by thoughts of space and all of the grand possibilities out there. I wanted to be an astronaut once, but now I can rest easy and admire those who have the courage to take that path.

Commander Chris Hadfield keeps up with social media (such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) while he’s aboard the International Space Station. In the past, he’s explained how to play the guitar while in space, and why tears stick to your face when you cry in space. There’s a heaping of more insightful videos around, too, but his latest video takes the cake in the form of an inspirational message. Here, Commander Hadfield performs a slightly-edited version of “Space Oddity” by David Bowie. He is about to leave the ISS and pass his role of commander to a fellow attendee of the station. As a farewell, he recorded this video with the help of some friends down on Earth. Enjoy!

Hopefully you were as inspired as I was when I first watched the video. If you enjoyed this video, I recommend you watch the rest of his collection on his YouTube channel. His insights into science and space are tremendous.

Until next time, friends. To infinity…and beyond!

Music Class

best memories of music class

Three times over I say I’ll sing you a song,

I’ll sing you a great song, you know, a big,

Beautiful fantastical long one

Like when we used to play with the recorders in music class

And the keyboards in the sixth grade

And I would sing, sing, sing along to your tunes and

Love the songs we made,

Love the music we made,

Our duo unstoppable invincible.

I want to sing a new song with you, like in music class,

But this time I want to play the keyboard, the recorder, the flute,

And you can sing, because I don’t think I’ve ever, ever heard

You sing before.

You’ve got a green, violet-blue-red-yellow voice for my emotions,

A voice for every season, holiday, and mood.

Please sing me a song, so

We could be in music class again.