Miscellany

The inhabitants of the moon never see an earthrise or earthset. However, spacecraft orbiting the moon, e.g., the Kaguya, do. Here is the earth rising and setting, as recorded in HD. (Via Aziz.)

*****

Speed Racer is probably worth skipping (though I might listen to Racer X). If you’re looking for an exciting race story, I recommend instead the Kuricorder Quartet’s take on “Highway Star”:

Here’s the quartet again with some tunes you might recognize.

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Understatement of the week:

Something tells me the commenter hasn’t met all that many nuns.

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Give peas a chance:

(Via Blackadder.)

Still life with Marx and Engels

Fred recently discovered Komar and Melamid. I first encountered them half a lifetime ago when they made an appearance at Wichita State. Their schtick then was that they bought and sold souls. They were particularly proud of purchasing Andy Warhol’s. The business wasn’t as lucrative as they had hoped, though, so by then they only accepted souls on consignment.

They came to Fred’s attention through their fusion of musicology and statistics. By polling, they attempted to define the characteristics of the “most wanted” and “least wanted” songs, and then realize the songs. I’m afraid that I’m the in the 28% that dislike the wanted song. The unwanted song, however, is an amazing hodgepodge of accordion, bagpipes, tuba, banjo, operatic soprano and obnoxious kids, and it’s worth 22 minutes of your life. Once will probably be enough.

Oh, yeah, Komar and Melamid are painters, too.

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Mr. Darwin is the son of a planetarium lecturer. He reminisces about the artificial skies here.

Token Christmas post

When I first began maintaining a weblog, I posted a MIDI arrangement of a traditional tune every day. It was fun initially, but eventually it became more of a chore than a pleasure, so after a year I reduced the frequency to four times a week, and ultimately stopped posting the arrangements altogether. Earlier today I uploaded about 650 of the tunes. You can find them here. There are all kinds of melodies there, from Medieval bicinia to strathspeys and reels, rounds, Shaker songs and tunes from the Near East and Asia. The following are some of the Christmas (or Epiphany) songs I’ve arranged.

A la Media Noche
A la Nanita Nana
Berger Secoue Ton Sommeil
Brightest and Best
Corde natus ex parentis
Dziasiajw Betlejem
El Cant del Ocells
Masters in this Hall
Fum Fum Fum
Gesu Bambino le Nato
Hush, My Babe
La Journada
Menybol Ar Angyal
Nesem Vam Noviny
Noel Nouvelet
Pat-a-Pan
Puer Natus in Bethlehem
Quem Pastores Laudavere
Touro Louro Louro
Tu Scende Dalle Stelle
“Twas in the Moon of Wintertime

Danger

If you enjoy progressive rock and if you have work to do, under no circumstances visit Prog Archives. I just discovered that the site now has embedded players that let you listen to examples by the musicians discussed — entire pieces, too, not just twenty-second samples. Earlier I heard The Strawbs’ “Hero and Heroine” and “Benedictus” for the first time since my tape player died, and I’m listening to electronic music like Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream right now. I had plans for the evening, too.

Ghost hound dog

There’s about three and a half hours of Halloween left here, so let’s have a spooky tune. Here’s the opening theme of Ghost Hound, “Poltergeist” by Mayumi Kojima, I have no idea what the lyrics say, but the music tells you all you need to know.

[mp3]http://tancos.net/audio/Poltergeist.mp3[/mp3]

Is there a musicologist in the house?

(This would ordinarily go on my other weblog, but I suspect that I’m more likely to find knowledgeable musicians among the visitors here.)

One of the many distinctions of the eccentric anime Oh! Edo Rocket is the soundtrack. It’s mostly swing. Yusuke Homma (or Honma) is credited as the composer. A friend says that Homma didn’t merely use the big band numbers as models but plagiarized the tunes. Although much of the soundtrack sounds familiar to my ears, I don’t quite recognize any particular melodies. My knowledge of that musical era is slight, however, so I’m wondering if Homma can really claim to have written the music.

Here are three of the numbers, “Swing,”, “Laid Back” and “Matsuri.” Have you heard these before?

[mp3]http://tancos.net/audio/03-Swing.mp3[/mp3]

[mp3]http://tancos.net/audio/21-LaidBack.mp3[/mp3]

[mp3]http://tancos.net/audio/04-Matsuri.mp3[/mp3]

Two or three voices

When I first started fooling around with music on computers, one of my projects was to make my own primitive version of Switched-on Bach. I arranged Bach’s two- and three-part inventions and a few other things for software synths and sequencer. I recently unearthed the CD I recorded five years ago. Some of it didn’t hurt my ears. I’ve uploaded some selections to my music site for the curious. (Click on the little speaker icons next to the download link to preview the tunes.)