Pat’s Picks

You will probably recognize the brass introduction to Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. This piece was originally composed for Solo Piano in 1874 and brilliantly arranged for Symphony Orchestra by Maurice Ravel in 1922. Full of imagery, Pictures at an Exhibition was inspired by 10 paintings by the artist Viktor Hartmann. Each painting is represented by a movement and there is a Promenade that36077-large comes back with variations.

Le Sacre du Printemps or The Rite of Spring just celebrated the 100th anniversary of its premiere on May 29th, 2013. Heard now as a one of the most influential pieces in recent western music, it initially caused an infamous riot at its first performance because of its avant-garde sound. Igor Stravinsky composed The Rite of Spring in two parts, the first, “The Adoration of the Earth”, and the second, “The Sacrifice”. If any piece of classical music could also be categorized as Metal, it would be this one.

36225-largeThese six movements of Glassworks take the us on an auditory journey like nothing we have experienced before. We start in the familiar realm of the solo piano and travel through a whirlwind of synthesizers, wind instruments, and strings. After experiencing many different colors and shapes, the journey ends in the same place that it started, leaving us unharmed and with a new perception of the sounds around us. Philip Glass released Glassworks in 1982 with the walkman in mind. Composed in a very repetitive style, this recording is all about getting lost in the tones of the instruments and the interaction between them.
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Speaking of musical journeys…this is one of the best albums to get absolutely lost in. Bitches Brew (Disc 1, Disc 2) is full of both musical and studio innovations that are mimicked even today.

Find more:
Classical albums on MurfieJazz albums on Murfie
MussorgskyStravinskyPhilip GlassMiles Davis

This Week in Music History (April 24th-30th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

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4/24- After hearing Ray Charles perform the classic tune “Georgia on My Mind”, the Georgia State Senate and House of Representatives decided to make it their official State Song  on this date in 1979. Ray Charles was born in Georgia, of course.

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4/25- Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of the hit band TLC was tragically killed from injuries that resulted from a car accident in Honduras on this day in 2002. Several albums featuring Lopes would be released posthumously, including Eye Legacy.

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4/26- On this day in 1964, The Beatles headlined at The New Musical Express Annual Poll Winner’s Concert. They performed many hits, including “She Loves You” and “Twist and Shout”. Groovy!

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4/27- The Eagles began playing shows for their Hell Freezes Over tour on this day in 1994. Recordings from this series of shows would later be used to create their second live album, Hell Freezes Over, which stayed at #1 on the Billboard album charts for two weeks.

138-large4/28- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers received their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on this day in 1999. Talk about runnin’ down a dream!124469-large

4/29- Duke Ellington was born on this day in 1899. Duke majorly contributed to the big band music scene for over 50 years, and continues to be a key influence in jazz to this day.

205-large4/30- On this day in 2005, The Dave Matthews Band agreed to pay $200,000 in a lawsuit settlement. The band & their bus driver were being charged for dumping human waste from their tour bus onto a boatload of tourists while the bus was crossing a bridge over the Chicago River. Splash!!!

Oh, you wanna own any of these albums, or hear ‘em in lossless format? Well whaddya know…we just so happen to have them for sale! Right now these titles start at just $1!

Staff Picks: Pat’s Picks

Everybody loves to listen to music at work, especially here at Murfie. Our office is equipped with the Sonos System, so we can stream music right from out own Murfie accounts while we plug away. Often times when the tracks are coming from me, people will wonder what the noises are that are coming out of the speakers. Some things are new, some are older, but most is a little bit different. 

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Four Organs – Phase Patterns – Steve Reich
Steve Reich’s piece Four Organs starts with very short notes on a single chord. Over the course of the piece these notes grow in length by anticipating the chord and trailing after it, causing a general deconstruction of the chord and changing the way it sounds and feels. It is performed by (as you may have guessed) four organs, accompanied by a Maraca. If minimal and repetitive music are your bag, check out more of Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Terry Riley. 

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Ascension – John Coltrane
John Coltrane is a household name. What is not as well known is some of the music he made in his final few years. The early and mid-60’s was a time that many musicians, including Coltrane, started to take jazz in a new direction. Ascension is a transition from more conventional jazz into the world of free jazz. This album does not have tunes so much as it has an alternating pattern of collective improvisations and solo improvisations. Without being constrained to chords or a form, the musicians are able to express themselves in new and unconventional ways. The world of free jazz is huge, and musicians continue to add to the tradition. Check out names like Ken Vandermark and Ornette Coleman.

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Tago Mago – Can
Can is one of those bands I wish I would have discovered long before I did. Tago Mago mixes groove and weird as good as any band before or after it, but sounds nothing like anything before or after. This album is from 1971 and has been described as highly influential by many artists even today. This is a good album to play loud.

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Black Angels – Kronos Quartet
Here the Kronos Quartet plays two of my all time favorite quartets. George Crumb’s Black Angels and Dmitri Shostakovich‘s String Quartet No. 8. Being the Kronos Quartet, they deliver these pieces with a mastery not known by many other groups. Black Angels is an interesting string quartet in that is calls for amplified string instruments and glasses and tam-tams to be played by the members of the group. Crumb uses the numerical values of 7 and 13 throughout the piece.

Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 is one of the most emotional pieces on the earth. Dedicated to “the victims of fascism and war,” this twenty or so minute piece projects extreme sadness, anger, and eventually acceptance.

48501-largeTrout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band 
One of Captain Beefheart’s Commandments for guitar playing included practicing in front of a bush. He instructed guitarists to “Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grain piece of bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread.” This album is incredibly challenging for the first few listens, but over time it begins to make sense. It is regarded as one of the best rock albums of all time, and it was added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in 2010. “A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?”

Happy Earth Day 2013!

Happy Earth day to all our fellow Earth citizens! Today is the perfect day to pick out some tunes that deepen our appreciation for this great blue/green planet.

What music inspires you to think about nature? What music ignites your environmental activist flame? What music makes you think of flowing waters, fields of flowers, and happy squirrels?

Here’s what our Murfie staffers have to say!

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Steel PulseAfrican Holocaust
Kayla: The song “Global Warning” is a smash hit. It points out the harsh reality that a lot of environmental problems are created by humans. But it is hopeful, calling us towards a common goal to re-arrange.

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Earth – Pentastar: In the Style of Demons
Jeff: A wall of slow, crushing sludge-rock from the forefathers of doom. How could this album not make you think about the Earth, especially its immense size, and how it would feel if it rolled over you?

1dbb9dc8-e007-11e1-af0b-12313d184814Ani DiFrancoRed Letter Year
Noah: The song “The Atom” is almost a hymn, calling for taking care of the Earth and disparaging the use of nature to destroy.

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R.E.M.Green
Matt: Look at the title and cover. Need I say more?

MI0000392903Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack
Matt: Best experienced while sailing on a windy night, listening to this soundtrack really puts me in the groove of the ocean.

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Yo La Tengo I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One
Glynnis: “Green Arrow” has always perfectly encapsulated a lazy, aimless summer evening for me. Follow it up with “Autumn Sweater”, and you’ve got me longing for all my favorite kinds of weather, ready to go outside and enjoy a nice evening breeze.

e1d4cafe-85cb-11e1-9f65-1231381d530bBen Sollee 
RJ: My pick for Earth Day is any album by Ben Sollee. The reason I picked this wonderful musician is because he travels by bicycle when he tours. You can’t get any more earthy then Ben!

Bob DylanThe Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan6840-large
Tiffany: Bob Dylan hails from Minnesota and his music always seems to come straight from the agricultural heart of the Midwest. This album was the one that put Dylan on the map as a folk protest singer.

MI0001645112Nick Drake Fruit Tree
Pete: Fruit Tree by Nick Drake is my choice. As well as being a great song in itself, it’s also the title of a four-disc box set featuring all three of Nick Drake’s studio albums. His music always reminds me of the English countryside. 6748-large

 

Midnight OilDiesel and Dust
Preston: The track “Dreamworld” in particular makes me feel all warm and full of hope.

MI0001767347GojiraFrom Mars to Sirius
Keith: Not many people know this, but a lot of metal can be spiritual. Many of Gojira’s songs are about getting energy from the Earth and from nature. This is a great album, although it’s not for those who are new to the traditional death-metal sound.6351-large

RadioheadHail to the Thief
Henry: Stick it to the man.

We’re hoping that everyone gets a bit of sunshine today, and a chance to think about the great planet that we call home! Maybe one of these albums will become your top Earth Day pick too!