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Re: On being complete nerds

Below is my top-ten rotation of CDs in my current listening.  It's funny 
just a few years ago, I was under the influence of the UCSD Music 
in that I snobbishly avoided any music that I or the professors and 
students would consider "not innovative/creative enough".  It's taken some
time to open my mind and not be ashamed of liking the music I like. :)

1. Over The Sky (Vision Of Escaflowne Original Soundtrack 1).
2. Vision Of Escaflowne Original Soundtrack 2.
3. Vision Of Escaflowne Original Soundtrack 2.

These first three feature the work of Yoko Kanno, my favorite soundtrack
composer.  Most of Kanno's work has been in Japanese anime projects and
video games.  Vision Of Escaflowne is an epic fantasy TV series that was a 
in Japan.  About two thirds of the music feature Kanno's orchestral writing
which seems to reflect a John Williams (Star Wars, the Indiana Jones 
etc.) influence.  Either that or she drew from many of the same sources as
Williams (Holst, Wagner, Stravinsky, etc.)  The rest of the music of these 
three CDs are some pop songs and instrumentals (some inspired by various
ethnic forms such as Indian music and others of a more electronic nature 
making use of some interesting production ideas).  Some tracks even have
a Steve Reich influence.

4. Maaya Sakamoto - Grapefruits

A solo Japanese pop album by the voice actress of the main character from
Vision Of Escaflowne.  This features the more pop-oriented writing of
Yoko Kanno, who also produced this album.  The music makes me occasionally
think of Donald Fagen (the "romantic" songwriting half of Steely Dan) or
the Beatles when they started producing songs with string and horn 
The last track is U2-ish. I love Sakamoto's voice.

5. Pat Metheny Group - Imaginary Day

This latest album is a real breakthrough for Pat and the gang.

6. Mike Watt - Contemplating The Engine Room

Just started listening to this one.  It's supposed to be a punk rock opera
about three guys in the engine room of a boat.  So far I like the sparse 
production which really brings Watt's bass playing and voice and Nel 
mutant jazz-punk guitar to the fore.  Cline sounds like Orange County, CA's
answer to Mark Ribot or some of these other crazy NYC downtown guitarists.
He's definitely got his own sound, though.

7. Gustav Holst - The Planets

Never fails to blow me away how much "Mars, Bringer Of War" makes me think
of the Death Star (from Star Wars); particularly the scene where Han, 
and the rest of the gang in the Millenium Falcon are being tractor-beamed
into the evil Imperial space station.  When one listens to Mars and the
rest of the piece, it becomes very clear where John Williams got a lot of
his ideas. 

8. Modest Mussorgsky - Pictures At An Exhibition

Not much to say about this classic.

9. Bela Fleck And Friends - Tabula Rasa

Bela Fleck jamming with tabla players, a Chinese violin player, and an
Indian slide guitarist who plays a guitar with sympathetic strings.
He keeps getting called the "John McLaughlin of the banjo" - and this 
doesn't help at all since some tracks will remind McLaughlin fans of 
Shakti -
but I get the feeling he's not trying to imitate McLaughlin at all.  He 
happens to be a fantastically talented player who loves music in all its 
forms and isn't afraid to do a lot of genre hopping and to do it with 
So what if he does a lot of odd-meter stuff on this CD and on the Bela 
and the Flecktones albums? :)  Lots of great interaction between Fleck and
the other musicians.

10. Al Green - Greatest Hits

Yeah, the beer commercial ("Still In Love With You") prompted me to pick
this one up.  Because of my past snobbery, I missed out on a lot of good
R&B like this one.  I love Green's voice.

Paolo Valladolid
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