Category Archives: Music

Music: The Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu

The Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu

The Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu (2005)

J. Ralph

The iTunes music store has a nifty feature called “iMix.” Users can assemble musical collages of songs available through iTunes and save the resultant samplers in the music store. That way, when I’m interested in hearing tunes made popular in television commercials, I can do a search for “commercials” and the iMixes created by industrious advertisement music afficionados. This is precisely how I came across the J. Ralph tune “One Million Miles Away”, which was used in a Volkswagen commercial.It is also how I wound up spending ninety-nine of my hard-earned pennies to purchase the song “Da Da Da” — also used in a Volkswagen commercial — by German group Trio and ninety-nine more of those pennies to purchase “The Child Inside” (used in a SeaWorld commercial) by Qkumba Zoo. Not all iMixes are quite so useful, but there are certainly some diamonds in the rough.

In the case of “One Million Miles Away,” I opted not to download the song from iTunes. I decided that I wanted the actual CD, The Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu. I didn’t have much hope of finding the disc at Barnes & Noble this evening, especially given that I couldn’t recall the artist’s name it took me 10 minutes of browsing the store’s Red dot Net terminal before I remembered that the title was not “The Imaginary…” something-or-other. Thankfully, J. Ralph has another CD out right now, the soundtrack to Lucky Number Slevin, and it just so happened that they were featuring The Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu right alongside the soundtrack at the sales counter.

The disc I bought tonight is actually a re-release of The Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu, which was originally released in 2003. The re-release features a ninth track that was not on the original. This track, “When She Dances”, was used in a Honda Civic Hybrid commerical. J. Ralph has a talent, it would seem, for making car commercial music.

There’s a good reason for this, I think. J. Ralph creates music that burrows deep into your brain and sticks there. They’re not the type of tunes that you hum, but rather the ones that play over and over in your head as you’re slogging your way across a snow-covered grocery store parking lot at ten-thirty on a Thursday night with a bag containing cough drops and a two-liter bottle of Sprite in one hand and your car keys in the other. You’re not sure where you heard the strange little classical guitar riff or the haunting, simplistic piano melody, and you may not associate it with German engineering or superior gas mileage, but there it is, running on a seemingly endless loop through your inner ear.

The Illusionary Movements of Geraldine and Nazu is eight tracks of orchestral, operatic music followed by a bonus track that is neither of those things, but fits in with the rest because it makes itself at home in your subconscious, choosing the most unexpected moments to remind you that it lives there.

First of May

I woke up this morning
I had a scone and a large house blend
Then a little conversation
with my squirrel and chipmunk friends

I said, “I’m sick and tired of winter,
and I wish that it was spring.”
Then a little fella named Robin Red Breast
began to sing.

And he sang,
Ooh-ooh, child
what you think the cold winter’s gonna last forever?
Ooh-ooh, child,
now’s the time for all the people to get together…
outside.

‘Cause it’s the first of May,
first of May…

— “First of May”* by Jonathan Coulton

Yes, it’s the first of May, and as Robin Red Breast says, it’s the time for all the people to get together outside.

So find that special someone and explore the great outdoors in a very special way.

* Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics

Podcast: Coverville

If you haven’t checked out Coverville — and you’re a video game geek — Tuesday’s episode (#181) may be right up your alley. Coverville, hosted by Brian Ibbott and released three times a week, is a podcast devoted solely to covers, songs by popular artists performed by … someone else. Episode 181 is the Video Game Cover Show and features music from the Sonic, Super Mario and Zelda video game series as performed by Martin Jeung, the Minibosses, the Video Game Cover Band and more.

Check it out!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Men say “I Love You” with flowers and jewelry. Laura says “I Love You” with CDs and science-fiction DVDs. Ladies, you’re getting a raw deal.

B-Tribe - Spiritual Spiritual

Spiritual Spiritual
B-Tribe

This is the fourth B-Tribe CD in my collection. The others — ¡Fiesta Fatal!, Sensual Sensual and Suave Suave — are all excellent. The “B” in B-Tribe stands for “Barcelona,” and the music is a sort of techno-latin: flamenco guitars and Spanish vocals mixed with a lot of synthesizers. Spiritual Spiritual is definitely the most low-key and mellow of the four albums, but it still has all the elements that keep me listening to B-Tribe. In fact, I’m listening to it as I write this, and wishing I’d gotten around to replacing my crappy headphones.

The Legend of Johnny Cash

The Legend of Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash

Twenty-one tracks that trace the Man in Black’s nearly half-century career in music, from “Cry! Cry! Cry!” originally recorded in 1955 to his 2003 cover of Trent Reznor’s “Hurt.” One of my personal favorites is “Delia’s Gone,” which appeared on American Recordings, Cash’s first outing with famed rock producer Rick Rubin. A bit of Man in Black trivia: the song “A Boy Named Sue” was written by Where the Sidewalk Ends author Shel Silverstein.

Enya - Amarantine

Amarantine
Enya

Amarantine is at least the seventh Enya album in my collection, not counting her work on the soundtrack for The Fellowship of the Ring and the two-track single Oíche Chiún. Alas, my copies of Watermark and Shepherd Moons have gone missing. Enya doesn’t disappoint on her latest release, which is rich with her signature sound. I read a review last week that points to this familiarity as being a bad thing, but for me it’s very, very good. Did I mention that I need new headphones? Man, these things suck.

Serenity

Serenity

Cross another item off the Amazon Wish List. I thought about picking this up about a week after Christmas, but couldn’t find it in the two or three stores I normally visit. I was a latecomer to the fandom of Joss Whedon’s Firefly series, but was just as eager to see Serenity when it hit theaters as the most rabid of Browncoats. If you have to ask what a Browncoat is, I suggest finding a copy of the Firefly box set and setting aside a weekend to watch the entire short-lived series. Then do the same with Serenity. If you ask nicely, I may even loan you my copy.

Supertramp: Original Playa

Supertramp - Breakfast in America (CD)A couple of weeks ago I was listening to KJToonz in the MvOD and Supertramp’s “Goodbye Stranger” queued up on the playlist. It’s a song that I’d probably heard a hundred times, recognized instantly, could hum the melody and sing along with the chorus… and had never actually listened to. Certain snippets of the lyrics (“Like a ship without an anchor, like a slave without a chain…”) stuck in my head, but I didn’t attach any real meaning to them. To me, it was just a guy saying goodbye to a couple of women:

Goodbye stranger, it’s been nice,
hope you find your paradise.

Goodbye Mary. Goodbye Jane,
will we ever meet again?

For whatever reason, I processed the song differently that night, and it was like hearing it for the first time. Underneath that familiar and—dare I say—beloved melody Roger Hodgson was telling a story that I’d never really heard before. Roger Hodgson was telling the story of a stone cold playa: the early morning lover who must be movin’ on.

The snippets of lyrics I knew so well were immediately followed by the shocking truth:

Just the thought of those sweet ladies
sends a shiver through my veins

I’ve been listening to Supertramp since I was six! How could I possibly go twenty-six years without realizing that “Goodbye Stranger” is about the king of one-night stands? It’s enough to make one question everything.

Actually, I think the key is that I have been familiar with the song for so long. When I was six years old, I hadn’t the faintest idea why Hodgson would be saying goodbye to Mary and Jane, much less what a one-night stand was. Yet I heard the song enough times (thanks to my older brothers and the wonders of vinyl) that the whole of it became imprinted in my memory and it never occurred to me during the intervening years to apply my expanded knowledge of the world to a song I’d been listening to since I was six.

Now that I’m done having my epiphany I have to go figure out what the hell “Lord is it Mine” is about.

Multi-Media

After dinner at Max & Erma’s last night, Laura and I did a little shopping at the Barnes & Noble where she used to work. We picked up On Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt, Robbing the Bees by Holley Bishop and Christian Wisdom of the Jedi Masters by Dick Staub, which Laura presented to me and said she wanted “just because of the title”.

I searched for but was unable to find the CD Discozone by The O Zone. Their ridiculously catchy tune, Dragostea Din Tei (AKA Mi Ya Hi), has been in my head all week thanks to that blasted Numa Numa Dance. I’ve listened to snippets of the other tracks on the disc, and I liked what I heard, so I’m looking to buy it (else I’d just download the one song from iTunes). Better luck next time, I guess.

Later, we watched What the Bleep Do We Know?, which isn’t exactly an easy movie to describe. If I had to summarize its content I would do so thusly: Science meets spirituality meets mysticism and they discuss the nature of God, the human experience and mind over matter on a quantum level.