Friday, January 27, 2006

Gigs Galore

Went to two very different gigs the last two days... both were very awesome too..

On Tuesday I went to see the Brodsky Quartet at Angel Place as part of the Sydney Festival. I had never heard any of their performances before, but knew that they had a big reputation... On the night they did not play any of the traditional string quartet repertoire (well, I guess you can consider Janacek "traditional"), but instead the program consisted of works by Sculthorpe, Janacek, Sally Beamish, Percy Grainger and Andrew Ford. Sculthorpe and Ford were both present at the performance as well. Australian soprano Jane Edwards sang the pieces by Granger, Ford and Beamish.

I must say this is the most unusual string quartet performance I've ever been to. The music, specially that of Sculthorpe is very dramatic and sometimes was simply sound effects played on strings. I found the pieces to be very technical and could appreciate them from a distance but was never emotionally involved with the music, so I guess I have mixed feeling about the whole show... I LIKE my Canon in D. :)

On Wednesday, xtn and I went to see the White Stripes, and BOY what a show it was. The Horden Pavillion was packed to the rafters by the time Jack and Meg stepped out. Meg looking absolutely gorgeous in her usual white jeans and red top and Jack looking like he stepped out from the set of a Tim Burton movie.

They put out an amazing sound and presense for just two people. Meg is pretty much always behind the drums, but Jack dances around with his guitar and sits at the piano (he switches between piano and guitar in the same song).. They played quite a few of the hits from Elephant as well as a punk rock version of Hotel Yorba.. of course the crowd went off during the big songs.. they did a bunch of songs from Satan but only the hard core followers were singing along to that.

The thing I will take away from the gig however, is the mythology they have about them. Everything from the set, the whole Adam and Eve thing and the apple (and as Xtn noticed - Jack dancing around Meg as she sang, re-creating the whole temptation of Eve thing). There wasn't any banter between songs either (they usually started the next song while the notes from the last song still hung in the air). Anyways, very memorable gig indeed. Definately go see them live, if you get the chance.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Pandora

Pandora is my latest obsession. It really is simply amazing. It's basically an internet radio station that modifies it's playlist based on your tastes in music. And it's free!! Well, supported by ads anyways.

I think this truely is the future of music as network access becomes ubiquitous. I love my iTunes, but that is just a glorified CD collection. Yahoo! Music is a more intelligent CD collection (i.e. subscription based, lives on the network). But Pandora introduces INTELLIGENCE into the equation. Mind you I don't think Pandora is the pinnacle.. something like being able to listen to an artist when you want would be necessary too..

Still, Pandora is amazing. Even the paid version at US$36 is a bargain!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Recovery

Big weeknd, this last weekend. Still feeling pretty seedy, infact.. Started on Friday night at Bar Europa for My-Linh's farewell (yet another person heading to London).. had a few drinks there till about 7:30 and then headed out to James Squire Brewery to catch up with some old mates from Proxima. It's amazing how little (and how much) has changed. It felt just like the good old days.. missed Mariusz, Sherali and Jonathan, tho.. This went on till the wee hours of the morning and ended up with Pete and Mel crashing at my place in Pyrmont... We had brekky nearby, with your correspondent feeling less than stellar.

After some more attempted sleeping and feeling sorry for one's self, I napped till 9pm(!!) and was about 2 hours late to Chunga's b'day(sorry Chunga!).. I was very pointedly keeping away from alcohol that night and still managed to have a good time! I remember much Habibs was consumed and spread amongst the faithful. Then headed home at about 2am (?) to Newington.. got there and noticed folks were watching a match on TV (Foxtel Digital is EVIL!) so I decided to watch that through till 5am!!!

By this stage Y.T. was very, very seedy. I somehow managed to make my way to Pyrmont and got cleaned up and made it to Myle's surprise party early! So proud of my self. A couple of double shot black coffees later, I was actually able to keep my eyes open for more than 10 seconds! Everyone had a great time having good food (mussels!) and beer and stuff. Except for me. No beer for me. :( We played "dodge the bird shit" for a while and wrapped up later in the arvo. This was at The Oaks in Neutral Bay, BTW.

Some of us (Mey, Nhi, Q1, Q2 and myself) headed to Colour Me Mine and tried our hand at painting ceramics... ended up at Pyrmont (via Newtington!) by about 10pm. Watched cricket, tried to sleep, without much luck.

Turned up to work in the pouring rain (left umbrella at work on Friday!). Great start. So yup, still feeling seedy.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hottest 100

OK so I'm gonna use my blog for some public ruminations.. You see, one of the hardest things I've got to do at the start of every year is to decide what I'm going to vote for in Triple j's Hottest 100... There are sooo many awesome songs that it's hard to pick just 10... so, I'm gonna make my shortlist here, and narrow it down from this list.

Update - ok, so I've decided to keep 1 song each from Architecture, The Cat Empire and Sigur Ros. I really can't decide on one song by Emiliana, so I'm keeping both for now. I've put * against the songs I'm definately keeping, so that leaves 2 to pick from the remaining 9... I'll sleep on it..

Update 2 - A couple of big changes. I added Sarah Blasko's version of Flame Trees (from the Little Fish soundtrack). I can't believe I left it out of the shortlist!! Also added Shoot Frank by Cage. Removed The Go! Team's Lady Flash coz apparently that isn't from 2005. So after much rumination, I've decided to pick Clare, Missy and Sarah (of course). So my Hottest 100 votes turn out like:

  • Architecture In Helsinki - Do The Whirlwind
  • Architecture In Helsinki - The Cemetery
  • Architecture In Helsinki - Wishbone
  • Bernard Fanning - Wish You Well
  • Clare Bowditch - Divorcee By 23
  • Emiliana Torrini - Heartstopper
  • Emiliana Torrini - Sunny Road
  • Lady Sovereign- Random
  • Lior - Autumn Flow
  • Missy Higgins - The Special Two
  • Panics - Sleeps Like A Curse
  • Cage - Shoot Frank
  • Sarah Blasko - Flame Trees
  • Sigur Ros - Glosoli
  • Sigur Ros - Hoppipolla
  • Sufjan Stevens - Chicago
  • The Cat Empire - Miserere
  • The Cat Empire - Party Started
  • The Cat Empire - Sly
  • The Knife - Heartbeats
  • M.I.A - Bucky Done Gun
  • Herd - We Can't Hear You
  • Little Birdy Six Months In A Leaky Boat

NYE Photos

Finally got around to putting up some photos from the NYE 06 party we had at our aparment. Most of the photos were taken by other folks so credit/blame goes to them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Mylo

Last few days I've been listening to Mylo's album Destroy Rock & Roll, and it's really grown on me. There are a couple of outstanding tracks on there, particularly Drop the Pressure, Sunworshipper, Valley of the Dolls and In My Arms. The whimsical tracks like Muscle Cars and Destroy Rock & Roll don't really do it for me.. but the other tracks are very good too.

Not bad considering Mylo is just a single guy (Myles MacInnes) who did the whole album by himself at home... Gives us all hope, I guess. BTW there are downloads from one of his live DJ sets on the website. Great stuff.

Monday, January 2, 2006

Obligatory New Years Post

Looking back at the last few "first entry for the year" posts it seems that I didn't bother to do something "proper"... so I will start this year.. I was going to do this as one big post, but then it got too big. So split into a few entries below. Oh, and happy new year, readers!

Near Years 05/06

It had been decided earlier (and NOT by us, let me add) that JC and I were hosting the folks for a new years eve party... having no choice we opened the door to all the riff-raff that we could invite (I mean that literally, the door buzzer thing wasn't working properly)... I think there were about 30 people at the height of the party, which wasn't as bad/crowded as I thought the place would be. Pretty sooon everyone was suitably boozed up and playing various games of pictionary (abandoned after one game), Poker, Xbox and spin the bottle. I kid you not.

We watched the 2100 fireworks from our front balcony but headed down to Pyrmont point for the midnight ones. We had a pretty good view, but unfortunately the wind was from the east and obscured the bridge and some of the fireworks with smoke. I never realised just how MUCH smoke the fireworks generate.

Anyways, after that it was back to the apartment for more driking and snacks. Somewhere in here JC mixed up the sugar and salt and we ended up taking taquila shots with sugar! THAT was an experience. We also drank some absolutely horribile Chinese sprit that burned my throat all the way down... After all this excessive drining my dear co-host decided to get comatose and passed out on his bed. Only to be violated by the guys and have love letters written on his body by Yui.

The last folks headed off at about 5am just as the Sun was coming up, poor Phi and Duong who were crashing here coz of field day the next day only got about 4 hours of sleep. Blame Nhi for not leaving earlier, guys. :)

So that was new years eve. New years day was an absolute shocker with temperatures hitting 45 degrees!!! It was dreadful! I went to Newington, turned up the AC and slept for about 5 hours! Then a cold change roared in later at night and dropped the temp by 20 degrees!

Year in Review

OK, so what happened in 2005? Couple of big things I guess. Firstly I got off my ass and moved out. Found a nice place in Pyrmont and moved in with JC. That had been something I had been contemplating for a while, particularly since getting back from Europe, but never really got going with it... Once Chi, Minh and JC started talking seriously about it I finally got the impetus to jump in too..

The other big change was me leaving IBM (I thought that was going to be a long term career - funny how things end up) and joining DiData. There was no single thing that prompted this but after a year at IBM I found that I wasn't particularly challenged or interested in the work I was doing... DD has been interesting in the last 3 months. Definately a shock in terms of culture from IBM, but certainly more fun. No comments about long term careers this time. I've learnt my lesson.

Been haning out with friends a lot and having a good time. Some of them got married! Others hooked up (yay for them!) and others chugged along as before... Went to a lot of gigs, including Splendour, got crazy fanatical about Serenity and Sin City... Became Web 2.0 compliant. :) Won an Oztag Premiership. Family wise I got a new nephew this year.. my old man decided to retire and take up golf/fishing/bridge full time..

That about wraps it up... Nothing as exiting as a trip to Europe, I guess, but there are plans in the wings. Plans I tells ya!