Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Things worth noting down right this moment:

  • J.G.Ballard. I'm going to take my time with this book. 'The Drowned World'.
  • My list is coming along well.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I've been a serious music fan for about 6 years now. And I've listened to a wide range of music, and although I probably have missed out on plenty of genres and tons of legendary tunes, I'm more than literate. Here I present a list of the songs which years and years of listening and re-listening has ensured a place in Tito's rock and roll hall of fame. In other words, the following list (which I'll be adding to every now and then) contains what I think are the most perfectly executed songs in the History of popular music.

1) Song: Key to the Highway
Album: Riding With The King
Artist: Eric Clapton/ B.B.King

The very first time I heard Key to the Highway, I was completely blown away. To me, it represents everything that makes Blues so beautiful: the melancholy yet hopeful feel in every guitar lick, the notes that seem to almost talk to you and the soulful vocals. I was stunned, and it sold me onto blues for good. This song has had several renditions over the years, and while I love the Derek and Dominoes version (which was more of a jam session), my absolute favourite has to be Clapton and King's collaborative effort. There's nothing quite like the sound of the acoustic guitar when it comes to the blues. To me, this is probably one of the greatest blues songs ever.

2) Song: Voodoo Child (Slight Return)
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Album: Electric Ladyland

Okay, now this is a thoroughbred classic. Everyone's heard it. If you had to name ONE Hendrix song, this would be probably it. The playing is simply phenomenal. There's no word for it. The kind of song that might make converts out of even the mellowest of rockers. Voodoo Child is probably reason enough why Hendrix is still held to be a legend.

3) Distance vs Desire
Artist: Allan Holdsworth
Album: Sand

Very few songs actually have made me cry. And even fewer have made me readily admit that in public. It's a strange pick, this one, because I've never listened to much Holdsworth. But Distance vs Desire is what music is all about. This is the kind of stuff that takes you gently off to faraway lands. Holdsworth is a criminally overlooked guitarist. On this track, he plays the synthaxe, which is a guitar shaped synthesizer of sorts. Very crude description, I know, but you get the idea. I'm just glad there isn't any vocals in this one.

4) The Great Gig in the Sky
Artist: Pink Floyd/ Clare Torry
Album: The Dark Side of the Moon

I didn't go with any obvious Floyd song because they have been done to death on other lists and quite frankly I am a bigger fan of their more experimental outings. I'm talking about Atom Heart Mother and Echoes and Shine on you.... But Great Gig is my choice because of several factors. One: it was completely spontaneous as far as the story goes. Clare Torry, the singer, admitted to have gotten carried away a bit but she did the job beautifully. There's an almost primal sense of fear, anger, sadness and all out expression in her voice, and it fits in with the concept album theme marvelously. Secondly, it stands for what Pink Floyd was originally about: taking rock to new emotional heights and highs. And while it's all over in 4:48 minutes, but it feels like a progressive rock epic. Very dark yet hauntingly beautiful, this is the Floyd song for the ages.

5)Bohemian Rhapsody
Artist: Queen
Album: A Night At The Opera

Frankly, they don't make them like they used to. Show me something as wild and unpredictable but consistently brilliant as Bohemian Rhapsody, and...well, you can't. Yes, a few songs do come to mind, (Radiohead's Paranoid Android, Yes's And You and I, but they are either too whiny, or don't make sense, or both), but none that could compete with Mercury's soaring vocals or May's ripping guitar solo. And the song knows when it should end. It doesn't drag, yet is long enough to have the three parts perfectly complement each other. Amazing.

6) One More Red Nightmare
Artist: King Crimson
Album: Red

If there's one King Crimson album you should absolutely listen to, its Red. It proved progressive rock could actually rock, for one, and didn't have to resort to elaborate pretentious noodling, as some of the critics called it(just for the record, I love Moonchild when I'm in the mood....and yes, the whole of it). It also proved how much of a sucker I am for monster saxophone solos. And boy is there a treat for all you sax lovers. Ian McDonald features on the alto-saxophone and he grabs you by the collar and thrusts you into a musical phantasmagoria thats exhilarating and downright disturbing at the same time. It leaves you a little crazy by the end of it. John Wetton's vocals, Fripp's characteristic manic guitar and Bill Bruford's versatile drumming makes this one an all time rock classic.

7) Little Wing
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Album: Axis: Bold as Love

The second Hendrix song on my list. Little Wing has been covered by Clapton on his Derek and Dominoes album and more famously perhaps, by Stevie Ray Vaughan as an instrumental which got him a Grammy. I'm including the original, because frankly (and this is going to get people angry, provided anyone at all reads my blog apart from my sister) Clapton's version ruined the beauty of the song, and Vaughan's instrumental stretches on a little too long for my liking. Little Wing just went to show Hendrix could be an exquisitely melodic player, and a great singer when he felt like it, and wasn't all about burning guitars and technique and wild soloing. That said, the guitar solo that does feature on the original is a tad too short.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Philip K Dick feels like someone I would have liked to know. Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch was a harrowing, disturbing and ultimately, weird-but-wonderful read, and it has finally made a PKD fan out of me.

I miss my playstation 2 so bad.

Duck Tales, and Henry Vaughan. Strange combination to say the least.

Friday, May 7, 2010

ScienceFictiony song

A science fiction junkie like me
has a question he asks all around
whenever there's chance for conversation
or a suitable time to be found,
I ask my friends if they really believe
that we two legged freaks are IT,
And does noplace else in our universe
harbor any logic or wit?
Isn't there any life (or unlife) anywhere
if not our galaxy, beyond?
Is it really too hard to imagine God
did not after all abscond,
with all his magic and vivid imagination
the minute he His error realised?
back to wherever he hid all along,
no longer willing; for He tried
and came up with fascinating beings,
but put some on too long a leash
and these apes, they soon cried for the moon
and utter chaos did unleash!
He was divided upon this brand new form:
For while they knew wrong from right,
Some extended their hands to help,
And others did hatred ignite,
while some genuinely felt Duty tug
at their heart strings and acquiesced,
the rest couldn't really have cared any less
and joined in the perverse feast.
and I'm sure seeing this all, and seeing their gall,
He packed up his things and left,
and though he felt bad for the good 'uns few,
by then he was too sad and bereft,
and so the mere thought of a separate world
teeming with the corrected kind,
must've given Him nightmares and wracked him up good,
but perhaps never even crossed his Mind.
But this science fiction fan would still pretend
that Faith the Creator still had
upon us and upon his awesome powers,
to have ever stopped taking a stand.
Perhaps in a galaxy far far away
we have counterparts better
not chained by prejudices and petty mistrust,
by personal beliefs not fettered.
One sure likes to dream, and dream in color
curious, wonder struck dreams,
about Him getting everything right, for once
and a world not ripping at the seams.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Party

Celebration end, time sheds its cloak
And all who were stuck, unwind
and emotions, once so easily stoked,
seem to have grown their own minds.
Those in the limelight pack up and leave
Forgotten in the instant it ended,
And enmities and jealousies dissolved in the glitter,
don't really seem to have been mended.
The beauty and laughter, so innocent at first
reveal the paint and pretense
While insecurities which relaxed in the music
return armed with new found sense.
The talk that might have turned a few heads
is remembered with a wicked glee
that lets itself loose with enormous frenzy,
oh, such upright people, we!
This labeled wrong, that, "too strong!
surely too rude and indecent!"
but what is unsaid and most cruelly implied
certainly could not have been meant!
Why, when people so immediately pretty
decked in costumes so striking,
pay you attention you've always deserved
you instantly start taking a liking.
"They understand me, they like me, they do!"
And when it gets a bit chilly,
You wonder if its the windows that's open or
something you said that's quite silly.
You only thought you were being yourself,
but no matter, if an elevated style,
is what they desire, by god! you won't tire,
You'll make yourself well-worth their while.
But at the end of the evening, whens all said and done,
its left you with a bitter taste,
But, you keep reassuring yourself,
it can't have been ALL a waste.
Finding good folk is so hard, as it is,
Intelligent discussions so few!
No, you count your blessings and pack up your thoughts,
and until next time, bid adieu.