Extremely short concert reviews

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:10 pm
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Quatuor Bozzini+Philip Thomas at Gallery 345 edition.

Mostly I went to this to support the Bozzini Quartet, who I had the pleasure of playing with at CAMMAC last summer.

The program was new music, two pieces built around the idea of formlessness. The first was a takeoff on a chaconne, with the ground bass instead played at the very top of the violin's range (the two violinists traded this role off) and the other three playing a short phrase over and and over with minor variation. The second was a piano quintet consisting of random notes played on the piano while the quartet played glissandos. For an hour. In theory, it was in two movements, but once underway, I could not distinguish them.

The composer of the quintet in the pre-concert talk said that he was trying to reach for the idea of a waterfall, which has motion but doesn't move. Mostly the effect it had on me was that I was bored. Heavily. Already I can barely recall anything about either piece, and I can't say sitting through them was particularly enriching. The material struck me as pretty pointless.

The Bozzinis were great, though. I suppose I can salute their technical accomplishment, even as I'm left to ask "but why?"

End of an era

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:48 pm
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Sold my 2013 MacBook Air today ("zadkiel", archangel of mercy). It was my severance package when Keek ran out of money in October of 2013 (said the CTO, "take your laptop home with you"). Not sure why I kept it in the first place, as I think about it. Barely touched it for the winter, then I started sitting out on the balcony with it, and eventually it became my primary computing device. Now I haven't touched Windows in nearly three years.

It went to my friend Sam as she embarks on the next stage of her film career, having just signed her first feature deal as an Executive Producer. Big step for her, and she was looking to get a Mac to be on the same technical page as her new colleagues.

Mostly I'm happy to finally find a good home for it. I haven't really had a use for it since I got the 13" MBP last fall outside of toting it when I was on-call because it was still lighter than my MBP, but I couldn't bring myself to sell it to a stranger.

My computers and computer-like devices are usually named for Judeo-Christian angels, mostly from the Book of Enoch, because the names sound cool and usually end "-el". There's also usually a pun involved in the choice.

I've also had azrael ("help of god", 2002 desktop), kerubiel (the four-faced prince of cherubim, 2009 four-core desktop), asphodel (a flower that grows in Elysium, not an angel, Dell Mini 9 netbook), raphael ("healing one of god" for a biomed company, Sciencescape desktop), gabriel (the messenger, router), bezaliel ("shadow of god", a succession of Android phones, when a hostname is required), raziel ("secret of god", media box), remiel ("mercy of god" for finally getting a steady gig, FCT 2014 Macbook Pro), arael ("vision of god", Chromecast), gamaliel ("reward of god", personal 2015 MacBook Pro), and zaphkiel ("knowledge of god", FreeNAS box).

I've also had computers named gutbucket, tomato, mccoy, essex, and the imaginative elogan-pc and elogan-mbp.

I will follow this advice

Sep. 18th, 2017 12:19 pm
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According to my brother, one should not bounce a chainsaw off one's knee as it is very hard on denim.

Murder Murder & Manslaughter

Sep. 17th, 2017 09:24 am
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It's hard getting into new music when you're old.

There's various reasons, cultural and perhaps biological, that make it harder to passionately love bands that you hear in your 30s and 40s as much as bands that you encountered in your teens and 20s. I do try to listen to new bands—and support them financially—as much as I can, but I often find that even when I fall in love with a new-to-me band, half the time it turns out they they've been around for 30 years and I'd just never heard of them. I just don't bond with new artists as much as I'd like to.

So when there is a band that's new and hits all of my musical buttons, I get evangelical. I'm gonna do that for a bit. About a year and a half ago, I clicked on a semi-random link (someone complaining about a thing) and accidentally heard a single from a Sudbury band called Murder Murder who described themselves as "bloodgrass" and played nothing but murder ballads.

How do I describe this band beyond that they're a phenomenally talented bluegrass band with a morbid streak as deep as a 19th gold vein on your rival's stake? If your favourite Nick Cave & the Bad Seed albums are Murder Ballads and Kicking Against the Pricks, you think Deadwood was criminally underrated, and you find goth-hipster-cowboy a compelling aesthetic, you will dig them.

One of the things about them is that after hearing all their stuff, I knew that they would be fantastic live. Of course, the main problem is that, in the short time I've been obsessed with them, they have played everywhere but Toronto. They have in the past, but they mainly seem to do folk festivals in towns I've never heard of. I mean, they're big in Sudbury, but that is a bit far to go for a gig.

They finally announced a Toronto show, the launch party for their third album. By the way, their publicity is terrible. It took some actual digging for me to find out things like "when" and "where" and "is this a thing that is happening for sure?" It appeared to only be advertised on FB, with no advance tickets, and some initial uncertainty as to where the venue was. But! Found all that out, dragged my mother, who does not like country music at all but enjoyed this almost as much as I did, and at last got to see them live.

I was nearly as excited for the opening act, based on the description alone. Manslaughter are an all-female collective outlaw band. I would love to link you to their stuff, but this was only their second gig. You can add them on Facebook, though, which has links to all the members' other projects.


They did not disappoint. They're a bit like Neko Case except that there are 4-6 of them (depending on the song/show) and I am in love. Their best song is called "Murder Murder" and is completely adorable and I just hope they release an album soon so that I can play it for you all.

Murder Murder, as predicted, were phenomenal. Intense, rowdy, punk as fuck, and just a joy to listen to. Their new album, which I am currently listening to, is as excellent as their last two. Beyond the novelty concept (which, don't get me wrong, I adore), they are just really, really musically talented. You should check them out so that I do not obsess alone.

murder murder
Crappy cell pictures are a Sabs concert tradition.

Anyway here's their latest single: And have two more for the road, just because they're two of my favourites and they played both last night.

ETA: Why is formatting in DW such bullshit? Can I not just embed videos and move on with my life?

because I care

Sep. 16th, 2017 09:01 am
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Project Lucifer: Will Cassini Turn Saturn into a Second Sun?

This is from a few years ago. I wonder what the people who thought it was plausible are doing now? Aside from presumably supporting Trump.

It's done

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:54 pm
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I have signed the paperwork, and accepted an offer to work for Facebook beginning at the end of October.

I've lived in Toronto all my life, with the exception of that time I lived in KW an hour down the highway. Moving to California alone is going to be a big change.

In my field (which is to say, systems administration, IT infrastructure, DevOps, whatever you want to call it), Facebook is one of the top places in the world, up there with Google, Amazon, and Netflix. Making it to the big leagues is hugely gratifying.

Of course, getting in the door is just the first step. We'll see what happens next.


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