Cherished. Smooth. Sade.

Sade has to be one of the most underrated singers of our time. Sure, she’s fairly well known but if someone were to ask you to name a soul singer, or an R&B singer… would Sade be the first name you think of?

Oddly enough, Sade is actually the name of the musical ensemble, the project if you will. Helen Folasade Adu happens to be the lead singer of that group. It’s kind of like how Air Force One is whatever airplane the President happens to be on, the members of Sade can rotate in and out, but the group that she’s fronting is Sade.

I have to confess that, for a long time, I pronounced it “sahd” as in “Marquis de,” but you have to remember that this was a time before the Internet. For some reason, the radio station that often played her music rarely announced who they played or who was coming up later in the hour. They just hopped from one song to another, occasionally doing weather and station identification, and then the commercials, before dropping back into the music. There’s still a song or two from that station where I only remember the melody and haven’t the faintest idea what the tune was.

Oh well….

When I first laid eyes on Sade, I fell head over heels for her. I’d heard her singing on the radio, but when I saw a music video on MTV (Back when they played music videos, so I’m dating myself here.) it was a magical moment. I had pictured this woman in my head and, other than the length of her hair, my mental image was mostly correct. The hair? I’d given her a shorter style. I don’t know what that says about the effect of her voice upon me, but I’ve been a lifelong fan ever since. I would listen to Sade sing the phone book, and that’s not an exaggeration.

When I saw some video of her live performances, I noticed that she and I share a quirk in performance. I don’t get on a stage very often these days, maybe once or twice a year and usually for a small audience. When I do, no matter if I’m playing keyboard, bass, drums, or congas; I’m almost always barefoot. For me, it’s a matter of comfort and feeling. If I’m playing drums, I can better control the kick and high-hat pedals with bare feet because I can feel them far better than I can wearing sneakers. Beyond that, if I’m playing bass or keyboards, I can feel the beat through the floor.

She has her own reasons, I’m sure. Maybe they’re similar to mine or maybe it’s something from her Yoruba heritage. I don’t know. All I know is that she’s magical, and here she is doing two of my favourite songs.

From the Days of the Demoscene

The demoscene isn’t gone, it’s just a bit more underground than it ever was to begin with. After all, the demoscene itself grew out of piracy and bragging screens where a given group would take credit for the cracked programme you were installing on your computer. It soon caught on that you didn’t have to pirate a programme to see a stunning audiovisual presentation on your computer.

So when you dig on this video you might think, “Wow, they did some amazing things with the Commodore 64 back then!” And you’d be right, except that this video was made in 2010. Just like the classic 8 bit sound of chiptunes, the demoscene brings the visual side of retro to the forefront. I love this kind of thing, and hope you dig it too.

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)

 

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)

A History of the Sky – Time Lapse of a Year

Ken Murphey; an artist, musician, and photographer; plopped a camera down on the roof of the Exploratorium in San Francisco. He set the camera to take a picture every ten seconds and then he left it there to do its work for a year. He took all the footage, brought it together, and created a video-mosaic of what the sky looks like over the course of a day for a year. One by one you can see the seasons change, the length of the day change, the weather, the height of the sun, the presence of the moon — it’s all there and it’s absolutely lovely.

A History of the Sky from Ken Murphy on Vimeo.
 

 

Before Halo…

Before Halo, there was Ringworld by Larry Niven. The funny thing is that, for all the awesomeness that is Halo, it pales in comparison to the size of the Ringworld. If you’re a science fiction fan, then you need to check out Ringworld. It’s quite literally a classic mastery of science fiction storytelling. As to …

Another Country

I have strange musical memories, from times that I don’t always care to remember. For me, middle school sucked. I know I’m not alone in that regard, but I was overweight, shy, nerdy, and unable to play sports due to hemophilia and a complete lack of interest. That singled me …