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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Moving to New Site, New RSS Feed

Hey all, I'm finally making the move and upgrading to a real website:

www.mattmarksmusic.com

This is mainly for folks who are following this blog via an RSS reader - direct traffic to mattmarksmusic.blogpost.com will be automatically redirected to the new site.

Please update your RSS readers, my new feed is:

http://mattmarksmusic.com/feed

There's also a link to subscribe on the front page.

The new site is a big upgrade; it's still pretty bloggy - it's a Wordpress site - but there's some nice new stuff: a calendar of upcoming events, some cool pics, and a lot of tunes, surely some stuff you've never heard before.

So give it a look and thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"The more brutal it is, the better"

Yo, check out this awesome story in the NJ Star-Ledger about badass composer, and friend, David T. Little:
"I grew up very much outside of the classical tradition, not really knowing that it existed, not knowing that composers existed or that people still wrote music," Little reflects.

At first, classical music, particularly Mozart, felt foreign and false. "It represented this polite, neat, well-packaged culture which I didn't really relate to. Aside from the musical theater, I was listening to death metal, which was the opposite of that. It was aggressive, messy -- brutal is a term that's used a lot in that genre. The more brutal it is, the better."

"Classical music struck me as living in denial. You have this music that is so perfect and that's just not true, that's not life."

But as Little searched websites for ways to become a film composer and feverishly tried to follow their instructions, he came across recommendations for certain classical works. He started with Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring." Nearly every day for months, he spent hours listening to the composition. He bought himself a score and flipped the pages while listening to his cassette -- until he could follow Stravinsky's challenging notation through the end.

"'The Rite of Spring' was huge," Little remembers. "It was such a visceral piece. It was brutal in the same way that this extreme metal was -- it acknowledges the sort of underbelly or the non-enlightenment period sorts of things about humanity."


Ditto, man. The Rite was a major turning point for me too. It was also the first piece that I didn't feel ashamed to play for my non-classical musician friends (which vastly out-numbered my classical musician friends). When in doubt I'd try and convince them of how "trippy" it was, especially when in the correct state of mind (ahem...).

What has lingered of my Rite-ophilia has been an appreciation for the effective marriage of raw, tribal emotion and extreme precision. For myself, this evolved into a love and appreciation for intense electronica - jungle/drum 'n' bass, hardcore, breakcore; for David it seems to have developed into a love for intricate metal - death, speed, math-metal, etc. Even attempting to integrate these styles into concert hall is a daunting task, but luckily for David, it's less an act of integration than it is a natural fusion. A great example of this is Sweet Light Crude, a piece written for his rock ensemble, Newspeak (you can hear SLC and more here on his website).

Read the whole article, it's good stuff. And make sure to come check out several of David's pieces (including excerpts from his upcoming Opera, Dog Days, a collaboration with the wonderful librettist, Royce Vavrek) this coming Friday (7/17/09) at Galapagos Art Space.

Auto-tune the News 6



I don't know how to tell you how much I love these guys.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Rhapsody in Blue Remix

Hey folkies, I'll be performing a live remix of Rhapsody in Blue tomorrow (Wednesday, July 8th - 6:30) @ The Greene Space in NYC for the 85th anniversary of WNYC. If you're around please come check it out, tickets are FREE! :)

If for some reason you cannot make it - out of town, in hospital (really the only two acceptable reasons...) - you can listen to it live on wnyc.org. Broadcast begins at 7pm EST.

Now, if there's one thing I hate it's a straight-forward remix, so I'm a little notorious for making remixes that eschew the spirit and style of their source material, in favor for something completely different (quite often I'll take something simple and naive and make it dark and twisted - not too original I know, but I loves it!). With this source material, though, I completely respect and love it. In fact, performing a solo piano version of Rhapsody in Blue as a young teen in a recital was one of my first serious musical experiences. Irony seems a little out of place.

I'll give you a sample of what you can expect tomorrow. All of the sounds are from various recordings of the piece, with the exception of two: the Amen break, and a few 909 samples.

Enjoy:




It'll be a great show. Also performing will be Alicia and Jason Moran, Marta Eggerth, and Dave Burrell, performing music by Puccini, Antheill, and Jelly Roll Morton.

Check it out!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Birds With Arms

Yeah, I haven't really been blogging too much here of late. It's for a couple of reasons: 1. I haven't really been in the rantacular kinda place recently, where a morning's angst is translated into an epic blogpost either pro or con something on this Earth; and 2. I've been doing most of my micro-blogging on Facebook, thus the drastic cutback on the quick posts (YouTube videos, funny pictures, etc.).

But every once in a while, something on the internet is so glorious that I just have to post on it. Often it's the beginning of a wonderful new meme that will seem old, stupid, and crusty in about 3 weeks time. Well, it's not then yet, so enjoy!

Birds with arms photoshopped on them:







Looooove it!

-Something Awful

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Exaltation of Grace Budd

If you were at the awesomely wonderful New Music Bake Sale in April, you may remember a horror ballad of mine I sang with Ensemble de Sade, called The Exaltation of Grace Budd. Well, thanks to the recording expertise of Amir Khosrowpour (who was also rocking out on piano), you can hear it again (or for the first time!). Here you go:

The Exaltation of Grace Budd by Matt Marks:




The text is from a famous letter by the 1920s serial killer, Albert Fish, to the parents of one of his young victims.

Creeptastic!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bitchin' in the Kitchen

Happy Monday!



From Shock Treatment

P.S. I totally have a 70s Jessica Harper crush

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Just for me

I found this baby-tee in a 99-cent store. If anyone out there can make heads or tails of it I will buy you a beer.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Moral Absolutism on Fox News



I've often wondered if Shepard Smith's recent un-Fox News-worthy attitude was a result of his legitimate differences with the network - which seem to be growing - or simply a case of moral posturing, as I believe the case to be with Glenn Beck. It's tough to believe in its sincerity (I mean, he was the host of A Current Affair...) but this outburst seems to be free of pretense. He ends up looking a little foolish in this clip, but I sympathize with him. Torture is just fucking wrong, ok? Sometimes the debate beyond that - especially a biased one - does not really help matters. There have to be some things that are simply taboo in our society despite their inevitable gray areas.

In the torture debate, people often bring up the Alan Dershowitz argument: a bomb is set to detonate in a large city in an hour, we have the terrorist, does it make sense to torture him to find the bomb's location? Probably. Does that mean we should do it? No. This is a completely hypothetical question with no basis in history. Hypotheticals could be drawn up to question any one of our values, that doesn't mean we should base policy on fiction. Example: Is is ok to punch children in the face when they're naughty? No. But what if, this one time, this child was actually not a child and he had the Gary Coleman disease and you didn't punch him and then he stabbed you. Yeah, good point. Open season on punching kids? No. Punching kids is fucking wrong, case closed.

There are always opportunities for relaxing our moral boundaries and there are always justifications, but it really just comes down to sticking by those decisions. I never cut in line. And I actually kinda consider peoples willingness to cut in line to be demonstrative of a certain sociopathy. Does it make sense to cut in line sometimes? Of course. Would it benefit me on occasion? Yes. But I'll never do it, I simply will not allow my brain to go there. It's unfair and fucking wrong. That's all there is to it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Night Gorefest!



Somebody really needs to drop a death metal soundtrack over this.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

What I've Been Listening To

Tilly and the Wall - Bad Education

Trent Reznor Drops the Knowledge


(view original)

Here is a very cool interview for anyone who is interested in new business models for making money in music. NIN has probably the most progressive attitude for getting their music out there than any mainstream group, and they're still raking in the cash. It's fascinating to watch Trent Reznor geek the hell out about the "NIN brand" and revenue streams and all that. He's a pretty smart dude. Every musician would be smart to listen up.