Saturday, September 14, 2013

30A30D- Day 7- "Funeral" - Arcade Fire

"Funeral" - Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire is just one of those bands that consistently puts out remarkable work. I've listened quite a ton to one of their other albums (The Suburbs) but I've never listened to this album which is their first. Overall, I think even on just the first listen, I think I may even have liked it more than The Suburbs. Their sound is so distinctive, and so atmospheric, based on layers of unique instrumentals (and their actual band is huge too, so many musicians.) The result is this deliciously textured sound. This is honestly the sort of album you just want to sit and listen to in one sitting, and do nothing else. It's so beautiful.

I need to listen to Arcade Fire more.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

30A30D- Day 6- "OK Computer"- Radiohead

"OK Computer"- Radiohead

Ok, so the inevitable has happened. Remember when I was saying that I try not to pass a judgement on music until I've heard it 10+ times? Yeah. So I listened to OK Computer today, and I'll be honest, although I really enjoyed it, it's just so dense and complex that after just a single listen I barely even scratched the surface. There's just no way I can write anything of intelligence without listening to it like 20 more times. But I really want to listen to Radiohead more, cause musically, they just sound so creative and interesting. So that's all for today- I did my listening, but I need to do more! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

30A30D- Day 5- "Random Access Memories"- Daft Punk

"Random Access Memories" - Daft Punk

Okay, I've been meaning to listen to this album for a long time, and I am SO GLAD that I finally did. It's just so good. I've been trying to come up with exactly why it's so good, and to be honest (and I guess this is a cop-out answer), but I don't even know how to describe it. There's just something incredibly likeable about their songs. I just kept listening to it going, "man this is a great song, this makes me so happy," and one song after another just kept making me feel the same way. Their beats are sophisticated and slick. It's more than a dance album, but it made every fibre of my being just want to groove. And then there are songs like, "Touch," which pulse and gradually unfold in a beautifully satisfying way. The overwhelming sense I got was of just how good these musicians are. The whole thing is so mature and well thought out and smooth.  Favourite tracks: "Give Life Back to Music," "The Game of Love," "Giorgio by Moroder," "Within," "Instant Crush," and "Get Lucky." I started listening to it on Youtube, but after the first 6 songs, I just went and bought it off of iTunes because I was enjoying it so much, and I've been listening to it all evening.

30A30D- Day 4- "Blue"- Joni Mitchell

"Blue" - Joni Mitchell 

So, I realize that I didn't post at all yesterday, BUT I DID listen to two albums today, so it's all good. First thing that I listened to today is Joni Mitchell's album, "Blue." I actually knew more songs off of this than I thought I did, so it was cool to actually sit down and listen to the whole album in one sitting. So many great songs. The beauty of this album, in my opinion, is just the fact the the production value etc. is so low, but it's still incredible just because her voice and lyrics shine- singer/songwriter goodness at its finest. Favourite songs: "All I Want," "A Case of You," "My Old Man,""A Case of You," "Blue," and "River." This is an album that I'm sure I can listen to a zillion times and keep discovering things in it. On first listen though, I definitely see why this album is so loved and regarded.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

30A30D- Day 3- "Land & Sea" - Sarah Slean

"LAND & SEA"- Sarah Slean

Sarah Slean is a renowned Canadian singer/songwriter/pianist, and again, I hadn't really heard much by her. Land & Sea is a 2-disc album, 9 songs on the first part, "Land" and 9 on the other, "Sea". Neat idea. Land is mostly comprised of more upbeat "pop" tunes, whereas Sea is full of rich, soulful ballads. Personally, I thought that Slean's voice shines a bit more in Sea, which is absolutely gorgeous. The first song on Sea, "Cosmic Ballet" is worth the entire album, as it's this sprawling, expansive, delicious 6 minute song. I'd be interested to hear her live, because I feel like she's the sort of performer who is probably absolutely amazing in concert. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

30A30D- Day 2- "El Camino"- The Black Keys

"El Camino"- The Black Keys

Ok, so I realize that I'm pretty late to the Black Keys parade, but until today, I'd never heard them (this is going to be a very common sentence from me this month).  I decided to listen to this one today because I was scrolling through the full albums on Youtube, and this one was the right length for the amount of time I had to listen. And boy, am I glad I did! This is SUCH a great album. Overall, the album is just so listenable. It's musically interesting, without being distracting, but head-boppy and catchy in all the right ways. It's rock, without being super in-your-face about it. The vocals are really strong, and it's just down-right groovy. And there isn't an "off" song on the album. This is definitely an album I'll be listening to again. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

30A30D- Day 1- "Gossamer"- Passion Pit

"Gossamer" - Passion Pit

Okay, I admit, this album wasn't brand new to me, but I hadn't sat and listened to the entire album until now. I listened to it twice today, and daaamn. It's like chipmunks-meets-electronic-indie-rock-meets-gorgeous-vocals. And it's kind of dazzling.

Notable tracks:
1. Take a Walk. Obviously. Definitely one of my favourites off the album. I love that pounding beat on beats 1 + 3 that just gives the whole song that groove and drive. 
3. Carried Away. Again, obviously. Probably my favourite. I adore the syncopation in the instrumentation in the chorus, against the vocals. 
7. On My Way and 8. Hideaway. Love how these borrow musical ideas from each other, and how Hideaway is a continuation, melodically and thematically, of On My Way. So so cool. And that grainy intro to Hideaway? Sweeet.
11. It's Not My Fault, I'm Happy. So gorgeous, and the lyrics are pretty powerful too. 
12. Where We Belong. Again, just gorgeous. I love the lyric, "All the things you can't control, should never destroy the world one holds." Great ending to an album.

Overall, man oh man. Passion Pit has such a unique sound, and I love how they combine an indie-rock feel with samples and electronics. Funny/sad story- I heard Passion Pit a short while ago live, but all their instruments/equipment was destroyed in a rain storm, so they did a DJ set, and weren't able to play their own stuff. Bummer. Next time I suppose. Still, it's not like it was their fault, and it's pretty great that they still came anyway to do something

Great, great album.

30 albums in 30 days

Hey hey!
I'm going to try something new! Despite the fact that I'm a music student and literally spend my days immersed in music, I'm finding that I just don't know as many artists/albums as I should/could. I just wish I was familiar with more.

SO. For the next 30 days (today-October 5), I'm going to be listening to a new album every day and then posting my thoughts on it. YES, it's going to be challenging, as it means ≈ 1 hour of solid listening everyday, but keep me accountable. It'll be all styles, just trying to get as much diversity as possible. Some may be stuff that I've listened to before, but mostly will be brand new. Also, I don't consider what I'll be writing "reviews" per se, as I'll only be listening to them once or perhaps twice. If you know me, you know that I'm very adamant about not making a judgement on music until I've listened to it at least ten times, so this will be a bit of a departure from that. But c'est la vie. Want to join me?

Tonight I'll be writing about Passion Pit's Gossamer. :) Any suggestions for what else to listen to? I'll definitely be doing Daft Punk's new album (cause I've been dying to listen to it), some Bill Evans, some Bjork, Phantogram's Eyelid Movies, and I expect some blind-cd-shelf-grabs from my University's library. But seriously, if you suggest something, and I haven't listened to it too much (and I can get a copy- I will certainly buy some, but I also don't have the $$$ right now to buy 30 albums atm, so I will also be relying on the library, and Youtube), I will be almost guaranteed to listen to it! Suggestions please!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Steve, Jobs, but not Steve Jobs.

You didn't believe me when I said I was going to post once a week, did you?


The past week has been good. My biggest news is that I have got a new job! In the past, I have been working for Safeway at a licensed Starbucks kiosk. It was a good job, I enjoyed it, and it was close enough to my house that I could walk to it (which was very important to me). However, given the choice, I would rather work in a corporate "stand-alone" Starbucks. But there wasn't one near my house. Until recently. A new store just opened! And conveniently, it is literally across the street from where I was working. So I applied, and got hired! I haven't started there yet, (just gave my 2-weeks at Safeway) but I'm excited! The manager seems great, I basically already know the job, and the perks are waaaay better. (WAAAAAY BETTER).

How's the reading going, you may ask? Well, I unfortunately had to return the Sondheim book to the library before I finished it, but I'm just to going to check it out again. In the meantime, I've been reading everything that I can get my hands on about Steve Reich. He's one of the world's greatest living composers, and there's like, a 95% chance that I'll be able to meet him in a few weeks. At any rate, I'll be in the same room with him. I can't even deal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Hey friends!

I was sitting in class this morning and thought, "I should write a blog post today," so here we are. January 8th, folks. How're the New Year's resolutions coming? Still going to the gym? My resolution last year was to drastically increase my intake of sushi (I'm not kidding, that was actually my 2012 resolution) and I succeeded! I don't really have one specific resolution this year, but I have a couple things that I'd like to work on.

The first thing is that I would like to get in that habit of composing every day. I've been feeling a bit musically uninspired in the past month, and it's easy to just say "oh, I've got writer's block blah blah blah," but writer's block is nothing more than a really bad excuse. 99% of the time, writing, composing etc does not come in flash of creative inspiration, but rather comes from just starting somewhere and practicing everyday, and working diligently on it. So I want to get in the habit of working on my music every single day, even if it's just getting one measure further on a piece, or just quickly jotting down a melody. Just something. 

My second "resolution" is to read more. I didn't read much last year. So I'm going to try to read 40 books/plays this year. Seems like a steep goal, cause it's almost one book/play a week, but I'll see how it goes. I'd also like to write more, so maybe I'll try to write a response here once I'm done each book?

The first book I'm reading is a book of interviews with one of my favourite composers, Stephen Sondheim. It's called Sondheim on Music: Minor Details and Major Decisions.

The next few books I'd like to read are:

  1. Life of Pi (I read this a few years ago, but I'm reading it this term for a literature class, so I'm looking forward to rereading it.)
  2. Pride and Prejudice (I've been enjoying the Lizzie Bennet Diaries on Youtube, which is a great vlog-style modern adaptation of the novel (excellently done), and I've seen a stage production of P&P but I've never actually finished the book. I've tried multiple times, but never really gotten into it, but I'm determined to finish it. Then maybe I'll read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? ;P)
  3. Cloud Atlas (I just watched the film, and thought it was fascinating, and thought-provoking, so I'd love to read the original.) 
Any other book suggestions?

Oh! And I'm going to try to write a blog post once a week! I'm not naive enough to believe that I will be consistent, especially once the term workload gets heavy, but I'm really going to try.

Hope all is well with y'all! 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer! And stuff! More exclamations points!

Hello friends! It's summer!

Believe it or not.

I have tons to write about! But I'm actually not sure how to begin. How about I just sum up my whole year? 

No? No? Okay.

So, the main thing is that I'm done school. Have been for a few weeks, actually. I survived a whole year in school! The main thing is that I wrote my final two diplomas, and now I just have to wait to get my marks. Assuming I passed those, I'm all set to study music at post-secondary this fall. I wrote Biology and Math, and though I'm not at all worried about my Biology mark, I'm slightly concerned about my Math one. Not that I don't think I'll pass it, but I found it quite difficult, and am not at all convinced that the exam went well. We'll see though! 

Overall though, I must admit that my school experience was pretty great. I met some nice fellow students, and my teachers we're absolutely wonderful. I actually really enjoyed it. I was really looking for something new this year, a change of scene, a change of pace. I'm not sure that I would want to do it for more than a year. But this year (for me) it was perfect. I also think it gave me a good preparation for university next year. I also love that I can homeschool for most of my school years, spending tons of time practicing my music, and then scamper into school for 10 months and get all the necessary courses to get into university. :)

Also, I'm almost done composing my piece for the symphony! I've composed it the point where I think it's done, then my mentor will study it, I'll edit the final final score, and then I just have to format the individual instrument parts and it'll be completely done! It's very different from anything I've written before, but I'm proud of it and happy with the outcome. And I've learned an enormous amount from the experience. The final cherry on top will be hearing a professional orchestra play it in front of 2000 people in September! Ahh! Excited/nervous.

Lastly, I have a job! Part-time at Starbucks! It's fun so far, though tons and tons to learn at first. My head feels like it'll explode from all the drinks and combinations to learn. But good, and my co-workers have been really nice and helpful. It's nice getting money deposited in my bank account every week too!

Anyway, that's all for now! Hope your summers are wonderful! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bonjour! Updates!

My life, you guys. My life. My life is crazy, and so busy. Anyway, lots new with me, but I'm going to try and keep this fairly short, mainly because I should be doing French homework, and I'm (obviously) not. Blogging is more enjoyable than homework. 

I just finished up with a concert production of Titanic: the musical, which was a really neat show to be a part of. This year marks 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic and I felt really fortunate and priviledged to be in the show. I played Robert Hitchens (the quartermaster). Great cast, great crew, 100 piece choir, 40 piece orchestra, and a huge concert hall. It was just huge in every aspect, and I think the show is a beautiful tribute to the Titanic. 

But now that the show is over, I have to really grit my teeth and ply myself to my school work. I think I only have about 50 school days left till I write my last diploma exam! And I have lots to do, and catch up on in that time! Sigh.

Anyway, that's all for now, cause as I said, I need to go do some French schoolwork! 

P.S. I just realized that I used an inordinate amount of exclamation points in that post.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Few Thoughts on (Mostly My) Education

I’ve been thinking a lot about my experience in school recently and about what I’ve learned, aside from the coursework. Mainly, I’ve thought about the education system, compared with the many years that I homeschooled, (which were the fundamental years of my education, and the years that really shaped how I think). Up until this past September, I’d been homeschooled for my whole life. Technically, I suppose this is my 4th year of high school and combined with the fact that my parents actually started “officially” educating me a year later than normal, the result is that I’m taking a year of “normal” school at an age where I’m older than any of the other students I’ve met. Since I’m spending a school year in “the system,” I feel that I’m finally allowed to comment on what I’ve seen and experienced, and the problems I have with the school system. I could go into the question of whether standardized testing is an accurate way of evaluating a student’s learning (my view: it isn’t), and I could go into a discussion of the school system’s poor attempts to take different learning styles into account, but I want to write about something completely different.
I had a pretty great childhood, and I certainly don’t take it for granted. Ever since I can remember, I had a lot of freedom to spend time doing things that I really wanted to do. I could learn about what I wanted to learn, and explore things that interested me. As far as my parents were concerned, so long as I was learning and exploring, it wasn’t a waste of time. I was about 14 when I started to seriously focus on music and theatre. I disciplined myself to diligent piano practice, started taking lessons for flute and voice, began composing music, and co-founded a youth theatre company with two driven friends of mine. As you can imagine, this didn’t exactly leave a lot of time for studying the provincially-prepared course load of Math, English, Social Studies, and Science.  It’s not like I was completely ignoring those subjects though. I plodded along through a math textbook, read and discussed great Classic literature, discussed current events with my family, and learned a great amount about the environment around me, (the perks of having a botanist for a father!). But I invested so much time in my arts studies that there simply wasn’t time to fill the government’s requirements for what constituted an education.
Fast forward to where I am now. I’ve cultivated skills in the areas I plan to pursue after high school, but I don’t have the courses required to get into post-secondary. No problem, that’s why I’m doing a year in normal school, simply to crash my way through some 30-level courses. Sure, I may be older than my fellow students, but I don’t regret a single minute of my education prior to this year. The school system is very heavily oriented to getting students their high school diploma and pushing them into a good university so that they can get a good career and make good money. Teachers often talk about how you should get a good career in something you love doing, but how can you possibly know what you’re passionate about if you haven’t been given the freedom to thoroughly explore your interests? I see lots of students and friends finish high school, and then either a) come to a stop and realise that they have absolutely no clue what they want to do, and/or b) go straight into University, not in a program that they’re really excited about, but rather just settling for one that seems okay. Bearable. Something that sounds relatively interesting, and would appease the parents. There are exceptions of course, students that have managed to find something they truly love doing, despite spending the majority of their childhood in school, but they do seem to be the exceptions.
            I wish that wasn’t the case. During the K-12 years, at an age when one doesn’t have to worry about paying the rent, affording food, or affording your electricity, I wish that every student could have the opportunity (as I did) to spend their childhood discovering what they loved, not to pass a test, but to cultivate a genuine love of learning and to figure out what they really, truly want to spend time in their life doing. For me, an extra year of high school is a small price to pay for spending my K-12 years figuring out what I’m excited about and what I’m interested in pursuing. If the school system spent more time allowing students to figure out their interests, and spent less time on exam marks, I believe that we’d have many more happier people spending their time on pursuits that fill them with joy, rather than drifting aimlessly through years of their lives spending money and time on post-secondary degrees only to realise that they weren’t all that interested in them in the first place.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I don't like titling posts.

In this day and age, it still boggles me that people think you need money and a high paying job to be happy. You don't. You need to absolutely love what you do, and the happiness will come. The living will too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Okay, sorry for another Oz-themed post.

Okay, I lied, I'm not sorry. :P

I've been thinking a lot lately about my character and who he is, what makes him "tick", per se etc. I think the characters in The Wizard of Oz are so wonderful, and so human. In my opinion, the reason that The Wizard of Oz has been around for so long and become a classic is because there's a bit of Dorothy in all of us, a bit of Scarecrow, and Tin Man and Lion, and we can all relate and resonate. I love the story, and I love the characters. Sure, they're larger than life, and somewhat caricatures, but there's beautiful, human elements in each one, and that's what I'm really excited and interested in exploring, finding and expressing.