Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Farewell to Blog

Well my loyal followers...that time has finally come. I've purchased myself a domain and web-hosting, and with the power of Wordpress I have blog capabilities on the new website. That being the case, for the sake of simplicity I'm going to retire my blogger site. In other words, The Funferblog is permanently moving to JAMESFUNFER DOT COM!!! (I did that to be deliberately obnoxious, as well as to compel you to click on the big letters). If you like what I put on this blog, please follow me there. If you use a reader of any kind (Google, etc.) this is the easiest way:

Thank you for following me so far...please feel free to leave a comment somewhere on the new website!

So long, farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, goodnight

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Songs I Never Get Tired Of #15

Concerto for sopranino recorder in C Major, RV 443 (Largo)
By Antonio Vivaldi

This post is also a test to see if my blogger imports to my website properly. It's over here if you want to check it out...still under construction, obviously. Pay no mind to the shifty eyes at the top of the page, they're a placeholder until I decide what to put there.

Ok! On to the song. This one is a rather long story, but I'd like to open by saying that Vivaldi is one of my favourite classical composers. How did he become so? Well, it all started with a children's music series called 'Classical Kids'. Each album would feature a classical composer - there was 'Bach Comes to Call', 'Beethoven Lives Upstairs', 'Mozart's Magic Fantasy' and of course...

There's fire in his music, too
I've always appreciated my mother for instilling in me a love of classical music, and I'm fairly certain that Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery found its way into our CD music collection because of her, along with Rachmaninoff, Grieg, etc. I must have listened to this CD dozens of times, just like my old Treasure Island cassette tape/graphic novel combo.

Sadly, my version was not read by Alfred Molina.
The CD itself, like all of the titles in the Classical Kids series, was an ingenious melding of narration and music. Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery managed to interweave beautiful baroque music with a compelling, touching story. At the same time, the tale teaches the listener a great deal about Vivaldi, his work, and Venice during the renaissance. Is it strange that a young boy fantasized about being a member of the Pieta? Yes, I know the school was for orphaned girls, but dammit, I wanted to play a Stradivarius!

Vivaldi used to boast that he could compose a complete concerto in less time than it took to copy out the parts. If this particular sopranino recorder concerto (replaced by the piccolo in a modern orchestra) was written that quickly, then I imagine that Vivaldi's vanity was well-earned. The largo movement is haunting and compelling, and in the Ring of Mystery it's combined quite well with the story to create a sense of chilling urgency.

Most are familiar with Vivaldi through his most famous work, The Four Seasons, which is well-represented in Vivaldi's Ring of Mystery. However, to this day that recorder concerto has stuck with me. Give it a listen, or do yourself a favour and check out the Ring of Mystery. It's a great introduction to the importance of classical music.

Better yet, get your kids to listen to it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Songs I Never Get Tired Of #16

'When You Were Young'
by The Killers

I didn't get into The Killers as quickly as many others did. Hot Fuss came and went and I didn't really pay too much attention. Don't get me wrong, I liked their sound, but sometimes an album really has to grab me.

Sam's Town did just that.

It was the goat that grabbed me, officer

Sam's Town is one of those albums that I can listen to from beginning to end and enjoy it all. Damn the critics, I say -- I don't care if they tried to emulate The Boss and I don't mind that their biggest hit off of Day & Age sounds like something I would have danced to in a high school gymnasium. A well-put together album is just that, and if you've seen these guys live, you've got to admire Brandon Flowers' stage presence.

Sometimes what you need is a refreshing sound, and I'm a bit of a sucker for concept albums.

Besides, When You Were Young is a great karaoke tune.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Songs I Never Get Tired Of #17

By: VNV Nation (Icon of Coil version)

Well it's no secret to those who know me that I went through an extended electronica/industrial phase. Some of the bands that I listened to heavily during this time (which was probably from 2001-2005, if anyone's curious) have stuck with me over the years for various reasons. Yes, some of it is good to dance to, but I'm not much of a dancer.

It's not just the touching, wistful tone of songs like Beloved, or the thought-provoking angst-ridden tunes like Carbon or Saviour that set VNV Nation above other electronic music. The reason that I don't skip VNV Nation tunes when they come up on my random playlist is that they're catchy like a pop song, but instead of hooks and watered-down generic lyrics they make you think...repetitive lunar-landing sampling aside.

I mean, let's be honest. When's the last time a top-40 tune made you think about the nature of the cosmos? If you can think of one, please write it in the comments...despite evidence to the contrary, I enjoy being proven wrong from time to time.

Songs like this make me want to look at Hubble Telescope pictures for hours on end. Anyone else?

God is the ultimate voyeur...