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Avant Mellow

Avant-garde music has a bad rap for being screeching and unpleasant. Here’s a mix that proves otherwise.

Some of it is still weird, thankfully. And all of it is beautiful, to me. Sometimes it helps to know a bit about what you’re hearing. That track by Katie Peterson? That’s the sound of a glacier melting. “Starry Night” is a duet of sorts with Mazen Kerbaj improvising on trumpet while the Israeli air force drops bombs around his apartment in Beirut. The long electronic piece by Pôle was part of a project from the mid-1970s, in which albums “were sold door-to-door by students and other young people in the poor neighbourhoods of Paris.” Strange but apparently true.

And then there’s Zero Kama. According to the liner notes, “All instruments to be heard on this album were exclusively made from human bones and skulls by the hand of Zero Kama.” I’m really not sure if I believe that, but I can’t argue with the music. A great album from 25 years ago.

Of course it’s always possible to take issue with my choices, especially when it involves a term as nebulous as “avant-garde.” Some people will say that, for example, a Beatles cover would be automatically disqualified. But when the artist is Marc Ribot? You can make up your own mind.

I’m all alone at the office today, so it’s a good time to crank this stuff.

In other news:

  • We got a buyer for our house. They completed their inspections, requested a few repairs (all very reasonable) which we will be making. They just need to get the house appraised and then this deal should be a lock.
  • I’m a little concerned about the repairs being made to the house we’re buying. Rather I’m concerned because they haven’t begun work yet. If they don’t get on the stick soon it will be difficult to close the deal in time.
  • So it looks like this move may actually happen after all — though it could still be derailed. I’m predicting though that we will celebrate Thanksgiving in the new place.
  • Surprise, Monday (yesterday) was Columbus Day, which meant the daycare was closed. I only figured this out Friday evening. No problem, I was able to stay home and take care of Persephone. We had a fine day together, and as it turns out this is “fall break” at the University; classes aren’t in session and campus is very quiet. So I don’t think I was missed.
  • Bought a new bike. No, the “old” one wasn’t stolen, but it was having problems, despite not being old at all. I took it in last week for some work. The rear wheel was out of true and turned out to have several broken spokes. They repaired it but warned me the wheel looked to have issues. Sure ’nuff, it went out of true again over the weekend, so I was back at the shop Monday. They are sending the wheel in to have it rebuilt. In the meantime though I’ve got to have a ride, so I decided to buy the cheapest thing I could find, a $250 Elektra cruiser. It’s heavy with no gear shift and pedal brakes. And you know what? It’s great.
  • Speaking of bikes, I got a front-mounting child seat for the girl. Plus a toddler-sized helmet. It’s just about the cutest thing, and she loves riding so much that she now throws a fit when I use some other method of transportation. I’m still very cautious about riding around with her, but it seems to be working out OK, and I think this can provide a safe transit between home and daycare.
  • We went to see the Big Easy Rollergirls vs. the Southern Misfits Saturday night. We left at the half because it was getting to be someone’s bedtime, but the score was something like 82-5! Always a fun time.

Also, I’m presenting for FOLC tonight at the PRC. Here’s a sneak peek at the slideshow I’ll be using.

This was developed by our former secretary, who put a lot of work into it. After nine months it needs an update; the information is no longer entirely current. Still, right now it’s the best we’ve got, and it’s what I’ll be using.

Published inMiscellaneousMusic & Audio


  1. alli alli

    Electras are great! I ride an Electra Townie 3-speed with an internal shifter, and I love it. It’s exactly what I need and super-easy to get around town and run errands on. I was at the BERG bout too… what fun!

    Hope all goes well with the house deal!

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