Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Anime

Anime has been a favorite form of entertainment of mine since I was a child. At first, I did not know what I was watching was anime, with such shows as Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z. After awhile though I learned of anime, and branched out to such shows as Mobile Suit Gundam, Ghost In The Shell Gundam Wing, and of course Cowboy Bebop my favorite anime series.


















I also began watching anime movies such as Vampire Hunter D and others. My favorite anime
movies of late however, are the movies of Miyazaki. Miyazaki masterfully crafts interesting stories, with fantastic journeys made believable by his incredibly grounded and realistic characters.





The artwork in Miyazaki's films is also beautifully crafted, showing the dedication of him and his studio, Studio Ghibli.
Many people believe anime is solely for children, this is not true. Anime originated in Japan, and the best anime is still produced there. Japanese movie makers do not have the resources of Hollywood, so many turn to the anime format to better display their vision to the audience.


Some productions which would clearly have been produced as live action movies in the U.S are Akira and Metropolis. Both of these are clearly not for small children and the characters in both display realistic emotions and desires.
Anime is an important and wonderful art form with many great stories to tell.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Dusk of Summer Break



My summer vacation is about two-thirds of the way over, and I am unfortunately beginning to feel the coming pressure of the beginning of a new academic semester. I will have to move in early, on August 6th, in order to begin band camp the next day, which will last until August 14th. This is a relatively short time compared to other colleges, who must rehearse much longer during the summer and during the school year. This band camp will undoubtedly be my last one, as even if I go an extra semester or year, my scholarship will no longer be in effect, and I will be focusing on my major, History.
I have practiced very little throughout the summer, as it is very hard to do so with my brother always playing the guitar, and dogs that seemingly squeal in pain from my playing, though I have discovered that it is not because my playing is bad, because they squeal equally at Coltrane, Getz, and Charlie Parker. I will soon begin to practice once more in order to assure that I have adequate skill to get through next semester's music classes, because at this point, ironically, a good bit of the classes I must take are for my music minor. I also have a piece on the clarinet, Wilson Osborne's Rhapsody for Bb Clarinet that I must have ready by the time school starts.
As my summer break time diminishes however, I will attempt to savor every last minute of it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Star Wars




Last weekend I watched the original Star Wars Trilogy, (episodes IV through VI). This set of movies brought to mind how I originally became entwined in the Star Wars galaxy.

Long ago, when I was a child, I began my fascination with Star Wars. I watched the original Star Wars trilogy on VHS tape, and then the special edition in theaters when they were released. The original trilogy opened a vast new universe to me. The universe allowed me to dream and enjoy the movies along with the later expanded universe including various books and games. Although I love the characters of the movies, the universe created by George Lucas is to me much more important.

Lucas's creation allows talented authors such as Kevin J. Anderson, Alan Dean Foster, Timothy Zahn, Roger Macbride Allen and many others to express themselves in the universe of Star Wars, and to share their vision with the audience. For instance, Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy was to me riveting and peaked my interest for months and endeared me that much more to Star Wars. Anderson edited many Star Wars novels including Tales From Jabba's Palace and Tales of the Bounty Hunters, he also authored many other Star Wars novels. There are many other wonderful authors in the Star Wars universe as well as these.

Along with the books video games have also been made set in the Star Wars universe. Some of my favorite of these are: for the Nintendo 64: Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron, and Episode I Racer. Some of my favorite Star Wars games for the Xbox (and PC) are Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel.




Thursday, June 11, 2009

1 vs. 100



Recently I have been playing the 1 vs 100 beta extended play on xbox live, a multiple choice trivia based game. This game is a fun game, and a great way to exercise your knowledge of trivia. In the extended play beta version of the game there is no 1, which the 100 would be competing against in the original version and I assume the beta live version. In the extended version, again, you can have up to four people in your party whom you can talk to and see their score as you play. You are also however playing with thousands of people at the same time, and when they get an answer wrong and you get it right it increases your score, so the greater number of people who get a question wrong, the higher the score of those who got the question right. I would highly recommend this as a great game for anyone.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ko Ko (orignally written by me on August 19, 2006 with edits)

video


Ko Ko.

A scaldingly fast work derived from the chords of Cherokee, this piece is entrancing. The head begins with a complex phrase played by Dizzy Gillespie on trumpet and Parker on Alto Sax, that is later understood when Cherokee's chord changes come in. When Cherokee's chords are reached Dizzy switches to playing the chord changes on the piano behind Parker. Bird then begins his astounding 128 bar solo. It is astonishing in its phrasing and perfection. During his solo Parker manages to throw in the clarinet solo from "High Society". Ko Ko ends with Dizzy and Parker finally converging after a Max Roach drum solo.

Stan Getz- It Never Entered My Mind

Stan Getz was a saxophonist with a beautiful sound, and a great musical imagination. His sound was silky smooth, and the perfect compliment to such genres as Bossa Nova. Below is a video I made, and was unable to publish on Youtube. The video contains various clips of Getz coupled with the piece It Never Entered My Mind, with Getz playing the tenor saxophone. This piece is one of my favorites by Getz, and really captures his wonderful style very nicely. I have also recently uploaded this video to my Revver account here.


video

Music (written by me on March 2nd 2007 with some new edits)

-The invisible hand that shapes our thoughts and emotions, that leads us to acts of pure romance and aids our hands in unmired violence. It pushes our soldiers to the front with courage, and lays them to rest with honor. It celebrates the joining of two people and leads them to create new life. Music inspires new thought, pushing the greatest of minds to new heights. Music encourages exploration to the farthest reaches of the galaxy, and human soul. Music is the fabric that interweaves our lives, and provides the audible expression of emotions too deep for a human to communicate through words. Music is the translation of the experience of life into sound.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Barbershop


I have been interested in barbershop harmony for quite awhile. I have long enjoyed the harmonies produced by the Buffalo Bills in "The Music Man", and the music of the Dapper Dans of Disneyland, (as seen from YouTube videos. When I found murry537s multitrack barbershop tag tutorials (here is a link to his page, you can type "classic tags into google and find a pdf file of all tags with music, or visit a nice website which has many tags including classic tags, and downloads of individual sound files for each part, e.g. "lead, baritone, tenor, bass" here is the link.), I found them very interesting.
Today I made my first multitrack barbershop tag, Happy Trails, and put it on Youtube here, as well as posting it to my blog.


video


I know it is not of very great quality, but it was fun to make, and a good musical exercise. I may do more multitrack barbershop tags in the future, but I will try to make them with betterquality.