#364: The Great Release

scenic view of rocky mountain during evening

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I’m not sure what kind of mood I’m currently in, as I’m having difficulty articulating my feelings which are so overwhelming and all-encompassing. More than anything, what I want is to feel comfortable. Comfort is essential, as are safety and security and those other important values.

“Great Release” is a song by the band LCD Soundsystem, and it’s fairly underrated. It’s a bit on the long side, at about six minutes long, but I’m currently listening to it as a way to calm myself down. It helps me get back into a better mood, or at least relax my senses and calm myself down.

The song is about space, it’s about love, it’s about releasing and letting go and making yourself happy again, by whatever means necessary. It’s about dying, it’s about letting go of inhibitions and drifting off into space. It’s relaxing, and the music applies to the themes of the song. I love when songs are consistent like that because it actually makes me motivated to write, too, believe it or not.

The song is either heavily inspired by Brian Eno, the famous music producer, or he’s actually involved on the track. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was, considering he’s friends with the guy who runs the band. They both play with each other frequently.

To me, sometimes you need music to calm yourself down. Not all tracks are going to have the same effect, and not all people will feel the same way because of the same music. More often than not, I realize I don’t have the same music taste as other people, and because of that, I’m a bit isolated. I can’t talk about the same subjects as other people when it comes to music because I don’t relate as heavily with other people. Such is life.

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#350: The Subway

abandoned ancient antique arch

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An abandoned, ancient arch. What’s that have to do with a subway? Honestly, I don’t know, but it showed up anyway so I’m keeping it there.

Subways are fun, from time to time. I don’t like that I don’t seem to ever get service in them, and my phone usually has pretty good service wherever I go. The fact that data doesn’t seem to work underground makes a lot of sense, obviously, and I’m not complaining about that, but rather, I wish I could listen to music without having it downloaded on my phone. I usually go on YouTube and play music from the videos I see on there. It’s easier for me than downloading music, as I don’t have iTunes or any sort of streaming service that I pay for, and I also don’t listen to traditional music when I’m up and about. I like soundtracks and OSTs, and all the variety of music offered through that. There’s so much to love and appreciate there!

The subway is fun, though, in spite of its craziness and the tumult of being in the city, surrounded by so many people. Alex tells me stories all the time of the people she sees on the subway, and all their ridiculous antics. I remember when I studied abroad in London having stories of people on the London Underground. One girl clipping her eyebrows, another playing the tuba. The list goes on and on. It would be impossible for me to list them all, you just have to experience the magic for yourself sometime.

When I took the subway this past week, I spent a lot of time with my head rested between my legs, trying to console myself. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the city is enough to quiet your nerves and make you feel at peace with things.

#302: The OST

black cassette tape on top of red and yellow surface

Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

I love listening to soundtracks, or OSTs. I have a deep fascination in the different songs that games and movies have, and I love listening to them when I can to bring back the memories of those experiences. When I listen to a song from a particular level, for example, it brings me into the situation, and it’s like I’m experiencing it all over again. Nothing will top that initial, first experience, but there’s value in re-experiencing the world and its wonderful moments when you can. I think that’s one of the key rewards of being into soundtracks. Though, it limits the amount of music I can discuss with other people because my recommendations are mostly built on personal novelty and nostalgia, which vary by the person.

As I write, I’m listening to “Chasing Daybreak,” a new song from the Fire Emblem: Three Houses video game. It’s no secret how much I love that game, but I don’t think I’ve talked about its soundtrack at length before.

There’s also “The Apex of the World,” which plays during the final map for each campaign and features a remixed “Fódlan Winds.” It’s intense, and the stakes couldn’t be higher during this encounter. I love when music matches the emotional beats of the level it’s a part of. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze did that really well with its soundtrack; it seems to be a Nintendo staple to have great music.

Then there’s “Between Heaven and Earth,” another track that plays near the end of each campaign during the battle at Gronder Field. It’s particularly memorable because it plays during a tense, consequential battle, and it features some character deaths on the opposing side of whichever house you are playing as. It’s always uncomfortable to have to see deaths on either side, especially after you got to know these characters.

#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!

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.