Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Singring and the Glass Guitar! Pure Utopia

I absolutely love this piece by Todd Rundgren's Utopia. A cheesy story. Goofy 70s costumes. What's not to love? Oh, and did I mention amazing musicianship?

The story is about Singring, the spirit of peace and happiness, being trapped in a glass guitar and locked way, with 4 keys scattered to the ends of the earth, with 4 heroes (the 4 band members) sent out to find them and bring happiness back to the land. The best thing about this piece is each of the band members gets their own section to sing lead (how many bands could do that?) and then play an extended solo portraying their quest to retrieve their key. Then they finally return with their keys, unlock the chest, and smash the glass guitar (apparently in many of their concerts they had a guitar made out of ice that they would literally smash) and free Singring.

So here it is, an old video from 1977, complete with less than ideal sound quality, synch problems, and video glitches: Singring and the Glass Guitar, spread over 3 YouTube video clips. Sit back and watch the adventure unfold!

And if that wasn't enough, here is a live recording of my favorite Utopia track. Just listen to those harmonies--and they're playing pretty complex parts at the same time. Pretty amazing. Not the best sound or video quality, so check out the studio recording if you want to hear it a lot cleaner.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Barock Project: 3 Songs from Rebus on Youtube!

If you're following the blog you might start to notice that one of my favorite new bands is the Italian band Barock Project. They just posted 3 new videos on YouTube! They're video montages using 3 different songs from their Rebus album as the soundtracks. While some of the video footage might be a bit distracting from the music, it's still a great chance to hear some more of the album if you don't yet own it. Chances are you'll want to get it once you've heard enough of them!

See my other post concerning Barock Project

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Ethan Winer: A Cello Rondo, Tele Vision -- AMAZING

Time for an old favorite. I originally discovered Ethan Winer a year a go when I was considering doing more episodes for my show. I keep telling myself maybe someday, but it's very time consuming... so for now, on with the blog entries.

Ethan is a genius. He's a sound engineer by profession. You can see quite a few videos on his YouTube channel where he describes the acoustic properties of rooms and various audio absorbers, diffusers, etc. But then he's also an amazing musician! And he's just and all around nice guy. I had the opportunity to correspond with him via e-mail about show posibilities, and enjoyed it. He also has a fun sense of humor.

So, put that technical knowledge together with musical talent and a bit of cheesy humor and what do you get?

A Cello Rondo!

Ethan composed the music, Played and filmed all 27 cello parts himself, and did all the video compositing. Wow.

And if that isn't enough, check this one out:

A light-hearted 12-minute instrumental ecclectic prog rock epic. It's got multiple electric guitar, steel and nylon acoustic guitar, country style playing, bass, a classical string ensemble, piano and electric keyboard, men's do-whop choir, harmonica, banjo, and even slide whistles -- ALL PLAYED BY ETHAN. The only thing Ethan doesn't play is the drum kit and a couple of the guitar parts. he says on his site it took him over a year to make it. He goes all out for this one, wearing fun costumes for the various roles. he even has a bit of morse code in there...spelling "Jeff Beck" (no, I didn't figure that out for myself-it's in the youtube comments).

Pure genius, in a down-to-earth, entertaining way.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

New Favorites 1/3: Circus Maximus

I'm not a huge fan of metal, so I'm always excited when a new prog metal band comes along that I really like! And Circus Maximus has done more than just impress me; they've made my #1 spot of new favorite bands. Every track on their two albums is delicious. They're working on their third now. But rather than going on and on about them, I'll let their music speak for them.

And I just found some great live videos! I've looked before but not found these until today, so I'm very happy to share them with you. First, one of my favorite tracks, "The Prophesy," with extended solos from each band member worked in to the end of it.

And then two more:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Favorites 2/3: Kaipa

Ok, well, they're not exactly new. Kaipa is where the Flower Kings' Roine Stolt got his start way back in the 70s. However, the band has been reborn with its keyboardist being the only original player, so I'm comfortable listing them in my "New" favorites. Their 2010 Album In the Wake of Evolution completely astounded me. It's surprisingly joyful music! A real must-have album. Here is the 11-minute opening track.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Favorites 3/3: Presto Ballet

I've decided to write posts about three of my favorite new bands, as sort of a countdown. In the number 3 slot is Presto Ballet. They've released 3 great albums in the last 6 years. Founded by guitarist Kurdt Vanderhoof in order to explore his progressive leanings, he remains the only constant throughout the band's career to date. Recordings use all vintage analog gear, for a warm "old fashioned" sound. I'm hoping for a lot more from Presto Ballet!

Since I've not been able to find any good live videos, here are some album tracks instead:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Some Music by Paul Erdman

I enjoy writing and arranging music. My approach is different from many musicians in that I prefer to work in notation software; this is probably mostly due to the fact that I'm not terribly proficient at any musical instruments! I also enjoy music theory, and so it's important to me to be able to see the notes and make sure all my harmonies and melodic lines work well together.

I recently took some time to create video slideshows for three of my pieces and upload them to YouTube. The recordings are all of MIDI playback from Finale notation software through a Roland Sound Canvas—so it sounds halfway decent. Maybe someday I'll have live recordings of them, but for now, use your imagination!