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Running to Nowhere

I never liked running on treadmills on that much. I’ve always been one of those weirdos who, if I’m going to run, I want the scenery around me to change. Sure, I wind up running in a circle because, after all, I leave home and usually wish to return to it. At least the world moves around me as I move through it.

Then I got a new job where I’m working four ten hour days.

Coming home after a long day only to leave again for another forty minutes seemed like a lousy thing to do. So when my wife brought up getting a treadmill from the neighbour, I figured it for a decent idea since I could get my run in without leaving home. So far, it’s been worth it. We put it in front of the telly, which means I can watch cartoons on Netflix while I run — something I probably shouldn’t try while running out in the real world.

The only downside is the distance meter on it. I know how fast I run, and I know how far I run, and I know that in 35 minutes I run five kilometers, or just over three miles. According to this thing, I run 2.5 miles in the same time. I think that part is off, but oh well. For 30 minutes, I can get my run, and stay home, and watch cartoons.

I think they call that a win/win scenario.

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Kaki King – Bowen Island

For me, I discovered Kaki King during a late night bout of insomnia, flipping through channels and eventually landing on MTV2. There was a time that MTV2 was like the original MTV in that it showed music videos. Last I checked, it’s gone down the same shit lined hallway as its predecessor and all you get is lousy reality shows and things that aren’t Beavis & Butthead.

So in that late night stupour I found her, beating out a tune called Playing With Pink Noise. I’d never heard anyone play guitar quite like that, and the next day I started seeking her out. To my knowledge, Kaki King holds the dubious distinction of being the last artist from whom I purchased physical media. I’m almost positive that Legs To Make Us Longer was the last CD I ever bought.

I purchased it at a Borders in Union Gap. The town remains but the store is long gone. Meanwhile, Kaki is still tops on the tapping and I still enjoy damn near everything she does. Here’s the song that introduced me to her, another chill track called Bowen Island, and a couple of Spotify links to get you started.

Legs To Make Us Longer (Spotify)

Glow (Spotify)

 

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Haim – The Best I’ve Heard in Years

I listen to a lot of weird stuff and anyone who reads this site will recognize that pretty quickly. The reason why I listen to so many odd choices in music is simple: I get incredibly bored with what’s on the radio. I love radio, don’t get me wrong, but 90% of the music you hear on the radio is only .01% of the stuff that’s out there and, of that, .001% is good. So I subscribe to several music blogs just to feed my need for tunes.

One of those sites fed me a newer band called Haim. Haim is three sisters whose last name is the name of the band. (It rhymes with “time” if you’re curious.) At first I thought “girl band” and then I thought “girl power” and I finally realized “I don’t give a damn what they’re gender is, they are goddamned amazing.” They’re writing and performing some of the tightest tracks I’ve heard in years. There’s a minimalism to their work, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything missing. I fell over their stuff last week and they’ve been on my replay ever since.

Their tracks are catchy, the music and lyrics just punctuate the hell out of each other, and well… all I can say is this. I’ve not been this excited about a musical group in, well, probably a decade. Yeah, at least a decade. Dig the videos and links below and I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

Haim – Days Are Gone (Spotify link)

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Bat For Lashes — What’s a Girl To Do?

BatForLashes-featureThis is one of those tracks where the only thing wrong with it is that it’s too damned short. Bat For Lashes is Natasha Khan, a singer and songwriter from the UK who brings an groove reminiscent of Kimbra, but with dirtier tones which roll quite a bit darker too. I fell over this song a few days ago and it’s gone through my head almost every day since. Dig her on Spotify if you have the app. (And you should. You can use it for free on your desktop or laptop.) Meanwhile, hit play and watch/listen to What’s a Girl To Do? It’s a great video too which combines constant forward motion with some of the creepiest stuff I’ve seen in a music video for quite some time.

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Hustlin’ Stars

My brain works in strange ways, and that’s assuming that it’s working at all. A while back something popped into my brain that hasn’t shown its face in years. That actually happens on a shockingly regular basis, where something appears out of nowhere holding a sign that says “Hey, do you remember this shit?”

This time around it was Star Hustler.

For those who weren’t growing up in the 80s and watching PBS at the time, Star Hustler was this strange little astronomy programme that rolled on the local PBS station sometime in the wee hours of the evening. I only caught it occasionally because it was usually on long after my bedtime. It featured a guy named Jack Horkheimer who would tell you all about something happening in the sky that week, provided of course that you lived in the northern hemisphere. It wasn’t Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, but it was fun. Here, dig on an episode.

Now, the thing that popped in my head wasn’t just the show, but more the music. I was driving home from work and, it being winter, it was dark outside. I live in an area where you can see the stars pretty well so I looked up, saw the stars, and started whistling the catchy little theme song from the show. That’s what kicked off the research because it occurred to me that, after all that time, I had no idea what that song was. It’s an odd song too in that, like the William Tell Overture always being associated with the Lone Ranger, I will always associate this song with a guy wandering along some strange cosmic catwalk.

As things go, it’s easy to find out what the song is because, according to the Star Gazers website, the show was renamed after search engines returned a totally different kind of Hustler in search results, the title of the song is the most frequently asked question. Screw the rings of Saturn or the amazing constellations you can see above you, let’s play Name That Tune.

I can name that tune in five notes and it’s called Arabesque No. 1 by Tomita. Turns out, I was tangentially familiar with that name, but had no idea of his association with that song. If you have Spotify, check out his work. He’s an amazing pioneer in the world of electronic music.

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