ksmith: (Default)

I like having music play while I’m writing, but I usually stick with instrumental/ambient because I find the words too distracting. I like classical, particularly music of the Baroque. When it comes to ambient, Timothy Wenzel and Brian Eno are favorites. Takashi Suzuki. 2002.

But sometimes a song with lyrics triggers something with respect to the story I’m working on. A scene. A feeling that reinforces a story line. And every so often, a character. I don’t go looking for these songs–like wands and wizards, the songs find the characters, and not every character gets a song. In my Jani Kilian series, no particular song found Jani. Each of the men in her life, however, had one find them.

Lucien Pascal, my engineered sociopath-assassin–has had a lot of darkness in his life. Some of it, he brought down on himself. But too many things were done to him at too young an age, and he alludes to them during his rare moments of self-reflection. When I hear Depeche Mode’s “Walking in My Shoes,” I think of him:

Now I’m not looking for absolution
Forgiveness for the things I do
But before you come to any conclusions
Try walking in my shoes

John Shroud, Jani’s on-again off-again lover, sees himself as a benevolent force, a benefactor. His song is “Time of the Season” by The Zombies :

What’s your name? 
Who’s your daddy? 
 Is he rich like me?

Niall Pierce is Jani’s best friend. He’s come a long way since the criminal life of his youth, but there are times when his past and present collide. His song is “Stolen Car” by Beth Orton:

You were sitting
Your fingers like fuses
Your eyes were cinnamon

Unlike the Jani books, the supernatural thrillers I wrote under the name Alex Gordon had specific theme songs. I forget when, over the course of writing Gideon, I first heard Vashti Bunyan’s The Train Song, but I remember it was used in an NFL commercial, eerie images of athletes marching into a stadium. The song inspired thoughts of a more private search, a journey that would end in confrontation:

It’s so many miles and so long since I’ve met you
Don’t even know what I’ll find when I get to you
But suddenly now, I know where I belong
It’s many hundred miles but it won’t be long

I found “Shivers,” the instrumental that served as Jericho’s theme, in a more roundabout way. A favorite show is A Chef’s Life, about Chef Vivian Howard’s life in Eastern North Carolina. The incidental music caught my attention–I hunted online, and found it had been composed by the North Carolina band Shark Quest. So off I went to iTunes, where I found their albums, played various excerpts, and found “Shivers.” It has a country feel, with the bell-ringing guitar that I love. Outdoor music. Walking in the woods music.

 

I listened to both songs over and over as I wrote. According to iTunes, I’ve listened to The Train Song almost 300 times. I only listened to “Shivers” 55 times, but I didn’t find it until Jericho was well on its way.

Mirrored from .

ksmith: (me)

Found this on Tumblr. Bought the song and sub’ed to Pentatonix’ You Tube feed (I had already sub’d to Stirling’s).

I first heard this song on AMC, IIRC during ads for “Defiance”. Maybe it was “Falling Skies.”

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Music

Nov. 11th, 2012 02:39 pm
ksmith: (teashop)

Made up a playlist of soundtracks and ambient/electronica to write by. SHERLOCK is currently playing. HALF-BLOOD PRINCE is in there somewhere. What an odd film. I disliked it when I first saw it because I didn’t see that it advanced the story despite some of the things that happened, but I will admit that it has grown on me. It’s not a cohesive whole, particularly–for me, it’s a movie of moments. Dumbledore and Harry standing on the rock in the middle of storm seas. Ginny and Harry’s first kiss. The scene where Hermione realizes that Harry did NOT put the Liquid Luck in Ron’s drink.

The soundtrack hits me the same way. I’ve read reviews describing it as a pause, an interlude, and I think that’s true. But that’s what I like about it. Like the film it scores, it’s an array of quiet moments. Hermione’s bird charm. Draco and the vanishing cabinet. Ginny and Harry in the Room of Requirement. I love those little pieces–they’ve stayed with me far longer than any of the pieces from the more momentous scores.

The list also contains Air, Delerium, Brian Eno. Soundtracks for The Social Network and Dr Who S5. Good choices for a windy Sunday afternoon on the cusp of winter.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (sun flare)

Last night. Hot night. 102F in the afternoon, and still in the high 90s at 6pm-ish, when I left for the Park. I debated staying home, but Joshua Bell is my favorite classical artist and I have seen him every summer for the last few years. So, off I went, sweating all the way.

Had a seat in the Pavilion, third row, right side. Great view of the stage.

The Chicago Symphony opened the recital with Barber’s School for Scandal Overture, Op. 5 and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in E-flat Major, Op. 70. I wasn’t familiar with either work and I am far from an expert. The CSO sounded marvelous, as usual, and I know they can’t play a Beethoven or Mozart symphony every night. All I can say is that I liked the Barber–that’s been a developing trend over the years–but felt the Shostakovich didn’t hold together as a coherent work. Good to have heard it, but not interested in hearing it again.

Intermission. I drank water, fanned myself, and watched the stagehands rearrange instruments, chairs, and stands. Even though the sun had set, the temp didn’t budge. Some of the female musicians wore skirts–the color scheme was white/off-white shirt with black skirt or trousers–but most of the men and women wore trousers and some wore long sleeves as well and I don’t know how they tolerated sitting under the lights.

The second half of the show was Bell’s. He wore casual trousers and a sensible t-shirt–black or dark brown, couldn’t tell which. Again, I wasn’t familiar with the works he played, Barber’s Violin Concerto, Op. 14 and Ravel’s Tzigane, Concert Rhapsody. But they were both works for a fast-fingered, passionate virtuoso, and that’s Bell. Hair tossing as he played. Rocking back and forth to the music during orchestral interludes, eyes closed. And sweating, the poor man. By the time he finished, his t-shirt was soaked and his face shone. He received a standing ovation and three curtain calls, and I think he would have played an encore if it had been cooler.

When I got back to my car, the thermometer read 91F. At 10 o’clock at night. I blasted the A/C, and watched the lightning flash in the far northwest as I headed home.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (numbers)

While looking up something else, tripped over the fact that Lou Reed is 70. Transformer. Perfect Day. Sunday Morning.

No. Just. No.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (me)

The video of the nursing home patient reawakened by the music he loved has been rocketing around the internet:

There’s a follow-up article in today’s Washington Post. You can donate old iPods so that others can feel the same magic again:

According to Dan Cohen, spokesman for the Music and Memory Project, the reaction to the clip has been tremendous. “I am truly delighted and surprised,” he told The Washington Post in a Thursday phone call.

For those interested in helping the project, Music and Memory accepts donations of iPods of any kind, he said. The group starts people out with the iPod shuffle, but also uses other iPods and iPads to help improve the lives of nursing home residents.

http://www.musicandmemory.org/index.html

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Ear worm

Feb. 29th, 2012 11:50 am
ksmith: (release the penguins)

I don’t often get classical earworms, but Beethoven’s Rage Over a Lost Penny has been looping through my head all day.

It’s appropriate. Not that I’ve lost anything, but the chasing one’s tail air of the tune just fits.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (davidbowie)
Happy 65th to the man who sold the world.

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] a_carnal_mink at Normal Bowie
Flavorwire have a pretty cool (and funny, let's face it) slideshow today in honour of the Duke's birthday - Pictures Of David Bowie Doing Normal Stuff



Enjoy!
ksmith: (teashop)

“Great hammer of Thor, that is powerfully hlefpul!”

Glad I could be of service.

In other news, it’s a sunny, calm morning…as long as the dog across the street doesn’t bark at folks walking/biking on the trail, setting off mine in the process.

I wish this were Saturday. I need a weekend reboot.

Music. Ivy released a new collection after years of gafiating. I like All Hours quite a bit, but I’m an 80s/90s pop/electronica fan. Lush. St Etienne. Delerium. Belle & Sebastian. The aforementioned Ivy. Good background music for sunny fall days.

Oh well, need to work. One load of laundry in the washer, another in the dryer. Morning’s almost gone. Sundays are, I swear, at least 30% shorter than other days.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (peter_smiling)

A strange week at the day job, holiday-shortened and broken up by a two-day brainstorming session. Feels like Wednesday, but it’s already the weekend. Not that I’m complaining, but sometimes the days seem to go by a little too quickly.

I was happy** to learn that Peter Murphy will be playing in Chicago in November. I haven’t seen him since my visit to Seattle in ’02, and I really would like to see him perform songs from Ninth, which is a dandy album. So. Making a note of the date. Something to look forward to.

King goes to the vet for his six-month check-up on Saturday. Hoping that his Lyme is still under control, and that his inevitable aging continues to proceed slowly and without incident. Any good thoughts appreciated. Not that I expect anything bad, but then things almost always happen when you least expect them.

Tomatoes continue to ripen, even as the weather cools. The bats aren’t as active at night. Hoping for a warm spell, just so they hang around a little while longer. I’ll miss the little flitters.

**Happy, yes. Fan girl squee, and a little writer contentment. Depeche Mode’s songs are Lucien’s, and Peter Murphy’s are John Shroud’s. Jani’s soundtrack is more song-specific, but there’s a healthy wodge of Shirley Manson in there.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

*blah*

Aug. 7th, 2011 01:26 am
ksmith: (gimme a break)
Did you ever have a lot to say, and absolutely no energy/will/urge to post any of it? It is late. Maybe I just need to get some sleep.

Did see HP7.2 today. I will admit that I shed a tear or three at various times, but even so, I was disappointed. The story arc went off the rails for me from Half-Blood Prince on, and never really got back on. Note to self--big moments for secondary characters do not make up for slapdash explanations and holes in plot. Got home in time to watch a good part of RotK, and the contrasts slapped me upside the head. The characters in the Ring trilogy developed over the course of the films; Harry, Hermione, and Ron seemed to diminish. I don't like saying that, because I still love the films. But something went missing along the way to the end, never to be found.

Oh well.

Saw Yo-Yo Ma Friday night. He was delightful.

Tired now.
ksmith: (sean_smile)
Itzhak Perlman is a genius.

That is all.
ksmith: (sprout)
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the first tomato of the season!



It's a cherry tomato, obviously. A variety called Tommy Toe.

And after I photographed it, I ate it, Gentle Readers. It was quite good.

Currently out on the deck, fighting off the skeeters even though I have a citronella candle burning nearby. It's lovely despite the bloodsucking wildlife--hi 70s, clear sky, lower %RH. Last night wasn't so lovely. Storms pushed through, dragging a cold front after them. Lashing rains and high winds--I crossed my fingers that we wouldn't suffer a power outage. The lights flickered once, before the blasted storm even arrived, but stayed on for the rest of the evening.

The lawn is so lush, more like late June then early August. I'm still harvesting mesclun and have a hella lot more to eat. I may have to do what I did last year and cut the stuff en masse, bag it, and stick it in the fridge.

Should be picking the big tomatoes in a couple of weeks.

In other news, will be all strung out the next two days. Tomorrow night at Ravinia, Itzhak Perlman. Friday night at Ravinia, Yo-Yo Ma. Very much looking forward. Hope the weather cooperates.

A concert

Jul. 3rd, 2011 09:48 am
ksmith: (cracker2)
Went to Ravinia last night to see Joshua Bell and the Indiana University ::pause for a deep breath:: Jacobs School of Music Summer Festival Orchestra. The orchestra, a mix of students and faculty, opened the concert with "Sorcerer's Apprentice," then followed Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Ives’s Variations on America. I felt they did really well, and sounded great.

Then Bell took the stage. It's the 3rd time I've seen him at Ravinia, and they do love him there. He's very good. He played Bruch's Scottish Fantasy; it was the Ravinia premiere for piece, and he played the hell out of it. As usual, he received a standing ovation, and came out for a number of curtain calls.

Now while Bell has taken curtain calls at very performance I've attended, he has never played an encore. But he received his artist diploma from Indiana University, and hugged the conductor and a couple of the older musicians as though they were old, dear friends. So after coming back out on stage a few times and taking bows, he returned with his fiddle and started playing...something.

Then I started cursing under my breath because I'm no expert by any stretch and I didn't recognize the piece. "Hey, Bell returned for an encore and played...something." Then he got a few bars into the thing and a soft round of chuckles waved through the audience. Call it "Variations on Yankee Doodle Dandy." By the time Bell got through the plucking part, then played notes so high only bats could hear them...another standing O. More curtain calls. A couple minutes passed, and some folks started gathering their things and leaving while most of us gamely clapped on.

(Here's a You Tube video of Bell playing the piece at a class.

http://youtu.be/1WMa0J1oU_E

And here's a clip of Bell playing the piece in concert in Sao Paulo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8CfmfjXreE&feature=related )


And hey, Bell and the conductor, Michael Stern, returned, and there followed "Stars and Stripes Forever," the audience clapping in time. Bell played in ensemble with the rest of the orchestra, and it was fun and rousing and we applauded like mad until Bell left for good and the lights came up and the orchestra started gathering their gear.

I know encores are usually planned. Actually, I think Stern gave the game away at the start of the concert. The orchestra opened with "Star-Spangled Banner," and as he addressed the audience a few minutes later, Stern referred to it as "Stars and Stripes Forever." So yeah, the encores were likely planned. Couldn't perform pieces like those off the cuff. It was still great.

A concert

Jul. 3rd, 2011 09:48 am
ksmith: (cracker2)
Went to Ravinia last night to see Joshua Bell and the Indiana University ::pause for a deep breath:: Jacobs School of Music Summer Festival Orchestra. The orchestra, a mix of students and faculty, opened the concert with "Sorcerer's Apprentice," then followed Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite and Ives’s Variations on America. I felt they did really well, and sounded great.

Then Bell took the stage. It's the 3rd time I've seen him at Ravinia, and they do love him there. He's very good. He played Bruch's Scottish Fantasy; it was the Ravinia premiere for piece, and he played the hell out of it. As usual, he received a standing ovation, and came out for a number of curtain calls.

Now while Bell has taken curtain calls at very performance I've attended, he has never played an encore. But he received his artist diploma from Indiana University, and hugged the conductor and a couple of the older musicians as though they were old, dear friends. So after coming back out on stage a few times and taking bows, he returned with his fiddle and started playing...something.

Then I started cursing under my breath because I'm no expert by any stretch and I didn't recognize the piece. "Hey, Bell returned for an encore and played...something." Then he got a few bars into the thing and a soft round of chuckles waved through the audience. Call it "Variations on Yankee Doodle Dandy." By the time Bell got through the plucking part, then played notes so high only bats could hear them...another standing O. More curtain calls. A couple minutes passed, and some folks started gathering their things and leaving while most of us gamely clapped on.

(Here's a You Tube video of Bell playing the piece at a class.

http://youtu.be/1WMa0J1oU_E

And here's a clip of Bell playing the piece in concert in Sao Paulo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L8CfmfjXreE&feature=related )


And hey, Bell and the conductor, Michael Stern, returned, and there followed "Stars and Stripes Forever," the audience clapping in time. Bell played in ensemble with the rest of the orchestra, and it was fun and rousing and we applauded like mad until Bell left for good and the lights came up and the orchestra started gathering their gear.

I know encores are usually planned. Actually, I think Stern gave the game away at the start of the concert. The orchestra opened with "Star-Spangled Banner," and as he addressed the audience a few minutes later, Stern referred to it as "Stars and Stripes Forever." So yeah, the encores were likely planned. Couldn't perform pieces like those off the cuff. It was still great.
ksmith: (Default)
Am I the only one who thinks Ray LaMontagne sounds like Tracy Chapman? As in, when I first heard him, I thought throaty female singer?
ksmith: (Default)
Am I the only one who thinks Ray LaMontagne sounds like Tracy Chapman? As in, when I first heard him, I thought throaty female singer?
ksmith: (chrissie2)
To end your year on a rocking note...The Red Hot Chili Pipers.
(You can blame Steven D over at Booman Tribune)

ksmith: (chrissie2)
To end your year on a rocking note...The Red Hot Chili Pipers.
(You can blame Steven D over at Booman Tribune)

ksmith: (chrissie2)
Timesink that it is, but...

Target commercial on TV. Song snags my ear. Google "William Rast 2010 Target commercial." Find Adtunes page with info about the song. Buy said song on iTunes. Total elapsed time? Two minutes, tops.

Entrance Song by The Black Angels.

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