Sunday, October 30, 2005

Samhain Eve/Oidhche Shamhna/ FĂ©ile na Marbh

All Hallow's Eve as well...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Depeche Mood

I was looking over my CD collection the other day, after hearing that Depeche Mode has a new album due to arrive October 19th. I realized that somehow I had purchased three of their releases without remembering a single song from them--"Songs Of Faith and Devotion" (1993), "Ultra" (1997) and "Exciter" (2001). Money well spent, right?

I decided to listen to Depeche Mode's efforts, from "Black Celebration" to "Exciter" back-to-back, without skipping a single track. The process was long and not 100% enjoyable, similar to a trip to the DMV.

"Black Celebration" was the most fun. I remember memorizing the songs after playing the cassette tape over and over, and then belting out the tunes with friends during my freshman year at college. For some reason, the songs seem upbeat now even though the lyrics say otherwise.

"Music For The Masses" also still takes up quite a bit of drive space in my brain. It introduced the interludes--odd musical non sequitars squeezed in between real songs. This was a practice that continued all the way up to "Exciter". I remember buying the vinyl remixes, that were being spun in cool clubs far away from my neighborhood. I think Seph and I went to a concert in this album's accompanying tour. Afterwards, we still had no idea what Andrew Fletcher actually does in the band--tambourine player?

I have to remove items from the surfaces on and around my speakers when I listen to "Violator", because it can only be played really LOUD. I'm still not tempted to skip any tracks.

Now in the case of "Songs Of Faith and Devotion" I had heretical thoughts--" song." But I resisted. I was looking at the liner notes for all the discs, and realized this was Alan Wilder's last album with the group. Also, check out the Uileann pipes on "Judas" and the introduction of lots of acoustic/electric guitar stylings, as well as Brian Eno's quirky contributions. I recalled listening to the first two tracks, but after that it all seemed new.

"Ultra"--did I actually buy this? Now I realize why people are so eager to shovel MP3s into their computers from the Net for free. Check out Keith Le Blanc and Doug Wimbish on "Useless"--what's my mission now? Don't you dare skip a single song. There was actually a secret song tucked away at the very end (you can tell there's something there because the CD player keeps going). Alas, just an interlude. Only one more album...

"Exciter" was the just the opposite. I wonder what it would've been like to have other members write songs instead of Martin Gore alone? I know David Gahan had a solo album, I wonder what that was like. I guess it's good that I don't have all these albums saved into my memory, because I had room for U2, They Might Be Giants, Sting, Thomas Dolby and Roland Orzabal efforts. These are all Depeche contemporaries, who have gone through changes for the good, over the years (let the angry posts ensue).

It would have been cool for DM to appear on MTV's Unplugged series, to show they're capable of playing instruments vs. sequencing synths. Of course Martin plays guitar and writes all the tunes and lyrics, but what do the others do? Maybe they could mend the rift with Alan Wilder, and craft a few new tracks.

"Playing The Angel" may end up being really good, but after this I'm going to defragment my mind to rid myself of the DM-athon after-effects. Perhaps "Next Track" is a good invention after all.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Recently I realized I haven't written an actual letter to anyone in a very long time. That kind of bums me out, because I used to love scribbling correspondence to others. Plus it was great to actually get mail back--e-letters tend to be tossed off and underwhelming.

Some ways I'd like to start using the postal service again:

*McDonald's is starting their Monopoly game again, and I'd really like to win something (besides a burger or two). It would be cool to set-up a network with others in the USA, and send missing game pieces back and forth. Obviously you'll horde the best properties for yourself. It just seems like it would level the playing field if everyone shared, and a lot of more people might win things that way. Does anyone know of folks putting the game pieces on eBay? If I end up with six Marvin Gardens, I'll send out five, no charge! Who is with me? Let's beat the system and win!

*Postcards--there isn't an equivalent in the electronic world. Perhaps someday Disney World will have kiosks set-up so you can send out cards whilst on vacation. They could be personalized--carry around a reusuable digital camera, transfer the pics to the kiosk, grandparents can print out the results. I've noticed postcard vendors at antique shows; their collections are impressive.

*Musical collaboration--I'm working on my next "album," and I feel like I'm hermetically sealed from others' input. I go to work, arrive home, work on a few tracks, come up with a few tunes. I miss the days when I had all my musically inclined friends around to help refine my efforts. If you are interested, I will send you a CD in the mail (standard audio or MP3) for FREE! You can e-mail back with ideas or criticism. How about lyrics or vocals--those are not my forte. There is nothing to buy; you will not experience any side-effects such as nausea, shingles or blurred vision. Perhaps some drowsiness may occur (my music tends to be sedate vs. jarring) but how will you know if you don't act now? File transfers are OK, but getting stuff in the mail is fun!

The post office awaits...