The First of Possible Weekly Updates That No One Asked For. You’re Welcome and Happy New Year!

Since we’ve had threats of snow this week, the kids and I watched The Snowy Day adaptation on Netflix. Ezra Jack Keats’s little book is one of my favorite children’s stories, and, to be expected, gets much altered in an extended animated version. It does capture Keats’s art and the atmosphere of his story, though I love the small world created in the original.

We also had this conversation:

5YO: “That’s Snow Peter!”
3YO: “Yeah!”
Me: “This is a movie of that book we like.”
5YO: “We have a big book with Snow Peter, a little book with Snow Peter, and now this? We have too many Snow Peters!”
3YO: “Snowpedoes! Snowpedoes! Snowpedoes!”

Some of the other pieces of the week:

Listening

I have two listening modes these days. One mode is for music that I can write to. The other mode is more about pleasure listening, finding new stuff to enjoy or just take in. I only operate in the second mode a few times a week if I’m lucky.

I’ve been listening to Charanjit Singh this week and his music falls into both modes. Unfamiliar with his work, I saw that he had been a session musician for composers like RD Burman. Singh’s work hits quite a range. I’ve been listening to these albums:

Instrumental Film Tunes (1975)
Synthesizing–Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat (1982)

Both of these records can function as background music, and both reward close listening. Instrumental Film Tunes is what you would expect from someone who was a session musician for RD Burman. The tracks feature interesting arrangements that sound easier than they are to pull off. They tend to feature the “East meets West” instrumentation that Burman was famous for.

Synthesizing seems like an uninteresting gimmick, but it’s much better than that. Evidently, it’s considered one of the first “Acid House” records.  Some may still find it uninteresting, but beyond it being a great recording for writing to, the electro disco beat keeps pushing me forward without being overbearing. I guess I need to check out some Acid House records.

As a sidenote, through Singh I discovered the world of Indian slide guitar. Sublime Frequencies put out a collection that’s a blast.

Here’s a Singh performance of a Burman track from it:


And this led me to Van Shipley, who I feel like has been recommended to me for several years and I just never checked his work out. Here he is in action:


Writing

I’m currently more than halfway through my first Test Prep column of the year and will post it soon. It’s about Friday the 13th (1980), a movie I find more interesting and fun to watch now than I did as a kid.

Currently helping a friend get through some edits of an essay of his that’s likely to lead into a larger collaboration. It’s about the South, identity, language, glossolalia, among other things.

Along with writing my current poetry manuscript, I’m also editing and revising poems to get started on the submission process.

Hope you’re having a good start to your year. I’m gonna go gnaw on a leftover candy cane.

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