Downtempo, Chill, and OceanLab

Every day, I listen to quite a bit of bouncy, uptempo music.

But not as much as I listen to chill out and downtempo.

I think it has something to do with my personality. I’m normally… well, frantic isn’t the word, more like frenetic. My mind is definitely a multi-track affair and that’s not something I’m saying to put forth an image that I’m smarter than the average bear. Actually, I would probably be a lot smarter if my mind wasn’t like that.

I need to do a thing to the library website. I should finish that book on Ruby programming. Oh my god, William Gibson has a new book out this fall. I really wanna play Remember Me, I should buy it when I get home. Look! Here’s a website with some free eBooks! I wonder what’s for dinner tonight. Should I go running?

It gets to be a little much.

So, because I’m not into taking drugs or smoking pot, I turn to the next best thing — downtempo music. It’s a soul-soothing thing where I can find something with a beat, but a soft melody underneath. It’s not driving, it’s not going to push me to greater things, at least not directly. It will calm me down, centre me, and allow me to breathe in, breathe out….


So, with that in mind, OceanLab. I’ve been digging on them for the last couple of days. You should too.


Racism and Stereotypes in Sports

I’m not a sports person. I like the occasional soccer game (or football to people around the world except Australia where they too call it soccer) and a decent tennis match. I fenced in college and I run on a very regular basis. In the end, pro sports just don’t appeal to me. Still, you can’t escape the news and when it comes down to the recent spat over the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins and their racist, stereotypical logos and mascots; well, I just can’t help but notice that a few things were missing from the discussion.

Racism in Sports


The World’s Smartest Accordion

I can play damn near anything with a keyboard. Pianos, organs, melodicas, harpsichords, keytars, celestes, digital keyboards, synths, and whatever. If you play it via black and white keys, I can play it.

Except the accordion.

Don’t get me wrong, I can get the basics of a song out of the damn thing, but it’s like walking and chewing gum. Trying to keep both hands going, in time, with a rhythm, keeping a melody, all the while pumping the bellows in a manner to keep the air flowing in a controlled manner? Nope. I’d be better off trying to play bagpipes, because there’s less to do.

It’s funny how the Web can take you down little rabbit holes and tangents. A few days back, I was searching for something about Weird Al Yankovic and came across this video. It’s a demo and promo for the Roland FR-8x-V, an accordion that’s more like a digital keyboard than the thing you’d listen to in an Italian bistro. Apparently, Weird Al himself uses this accordion on stage and in production and it’s not hard to see why. The host, and performer, is wonderful and she’s a fantastic musician and she’ll guide you through this things many features.

First, it’s an accordion. Second, it’s actually four accordions because it’s a French, Italian, Jazz, and Cajun accordion. I’m sure that, in a pinch, it’ll do German just as well and thus it could be considered five accordions. It’s got a slew of voices so it’s also a piano, bass guitar, orchestra, steel drum, and more. You can even use it Zen Drum-like and have percussion going on one hand while you play the melody on the other. It has MIDI hookups, on-board sequencing, the ability to load new voices from the Roland Library, and of course you can plug it into an amp or theatre PA system.

I mean, I’m not even a huge fan of accordion music, but I have to say, I’m impressed. This thing has every single feature my keyboards do, including a couple extras since they’re specific to an accordion.

Accordions grew up, joined the digital world, and actually became kinda awesome. Who knew?

And if that doesn’t trip your trigger, here’s a pair of twins (for twins tend to come in pairs) singing a German ditty, playing accordions, and rollerblading. I don’t even know where to go with that. Had it been me, I’d have skated out, made the first turn and ate most of that accordion along with some of the floor as I went sliding under some table, leaving a blood trail behind me littered with the wreckage of a once perfectly good accordion.