“Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and music being correct, you can do whatever you want. So, nobody told me what to do, and there was no preconception of what to do.”
These words are spoken by the disco legend Giorgio himself in “Giorgio by Moroder” and reflect perfectly Daft Punk’s approach to creating Random Access Memories, an amazing and diverse album that could very well be the group’s magnum opus.
If you’re expecting dance floor-ready music with regular bass drops and heavy beats, you’ll be sorely disappointed. What you will get is an epic journey through the 70s, 80s, 90s and the future of electronic music, a newly-found appreciation for music you may not have heard in the past, and a fun and still infectiously-catchy album.
It’s been a week since Coachella, and I’m still missing the desert and music. This will be my last Coachella-themed post in a while, so I’ll just share some of my personal top moments/memories at Coachella 2013, in no particular order.
Intense dust/ dust storms
I’ll never forget staring into the horizon Friday night and just seeing dust clouds endlessly stretching out on our way back to the car. Much of it was caused by the huge crowds moving towards the parking lot after the last set, but there was quite a bit of dust in the air throughout the day at the walkways between the field and the parking lot. Thank goodness the field and stages were pretty dust-free, we would’ve developed smoker’s lung. I’m definitely bringing a mask or cloth or something for next year, plus some more eye drops.
Religious experience during the xx
About three-quarters into the xx’s set on Saturday night, I was kind of zoned out and enjoying the music when I had a religious experience of sorts. I find that I get flashes of insight when my dominant Ti (introverted thinking) isn’t active, which allows my Ni (introverted iNtuiting) to run free and think up really cool stuff. Hence shower and waking-up-from-sleep epiphanies. Anyway, I don’t recall exactly my thoughts during this particular experience, but I remember that it had to do with heaven and friendships. It was a very euphoric and calming feeling.
This is the third day recap. Read about Coachella Day 1 and Day 2.
The third and final day of Coachella – too soon! We definitely slept in today because we were exhausted from Saturday’s eight artists. Lunch at KFC (all-you-can-eat buffet) before heading back out to Indio.
Our first set of the day was the Lumineers. We found a good spot near the middle of the Main Stage crowd and enjoyed some folksy songs under the sun. After, we stopped by the Heineken Dome, which was completely air conditioned and had a live DJ spinning some beats. Quick dinner at the food court, and off to our next set.
Aileen and I decided to catch Vampire Weekend’s set – overall very enjoyable and the band played songs from their older albums as well as some songs from their newest album. We caught part of the Pretty Lights set after that while waiting for our group to meet up for Wu-Tang Clan.
Thomas Mars of Phoenix
Still speechless from Day 2 of Coachella. Had an absolutely amazing time, caught eight acts, and ended the night with the frontman of Phoenix singing about 10 feet from our group.
We started the day off with Dropkick Murphys, a Celtic punk rock band from Boston. I have to say, one of the best live performances I’ve seen yet, and my friends and I had a blast dancing to music tinged with bagpipes, banjos, and some majorly-distorted guitars. We were originally going to head out early to catch another set, but we stayed until the end because they closed with some of their best songs, including “Shipping Up To Boston.” Woah-OH-OH!
Bassnectar at Sahara Tent
Back again! Waited a whole year and I’m finally at Coachella with my friends, enjoying the (intense) sunshine and dust, listening to some of my favorite bands in the world. Day 1 was a fun but tiring day, and I wanted to share some of the highlights!
We arrived in the early afternoon and went through the typical lines for parking and getting into the festival grounds. Pretty painless, and soon we were catching the tail-end of the Stars set and the entire Metric set at the Main Stage.
Passion Pit was on next and they were definitely my favorite of the day. He performed a good mix of all his songs, old and new, but I think I enjoyed his older ones the most (“The Reeling,” “Little Secrets,” “Sleepyhead”). “Sleepyhead” was amazing. The entire crowd was singing along, and everyone was jubilantly dancing, enjoying the music, and having a great time. Now this is Coachella.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of one of the most acclaimed and beloved rock albums of the 20th century. The Dark Side of the Moon was released in Great Britain on March 24, 1973, and has transcended the generations, selling over 50 million copies worldwide and staying on the charts for 741 weeks until 1988.
The album as a whole is a beautiful, haunting reflection of human frailty and explores factors that could lead to insanity. The songs are about very universal topics, such as Time, Money, Us vs. Them.
Radiohead circa 2000
The past couple of weeks at my Radiohead DeCal, we’ve been listening to and discussing one of Radiohead’s most critically-acclaimed (and most “out there”) albums, Kid A. To add in some perspective, Radiohead were at the peak of their commercial and critical success when they decided to just stop playing rock music. They turned to electronic effects and drum machines, computer-altered voices, and abstract lyrics. The result changed the landscape of alternative music for years to come by making electronica-influenced sounds an acceptable part of the genre.
I hope discussing the first half of Kid A was as enjoyable for you as it was for us. For your third homework assignment, we want you to discuss why (or possibly why not) you think Kid A is a concept album. It’s totally fine to go along with the already established 9/11 theory or clone concept, although it would probably be pretty fun to create your own insane story behind the album.
Radiohead circa 1997
So I promised more Radiohead-related posts this semester because of my DeCal assignments – here they are. I thoroughly enjoy each assignment, and it’s my hope that by posting them on my blog, fans and curious people alike can get a better idea of Radiohead’s music. I’ve embedded the YouTube videos as well for your convenience – check them out!
For your next homework, we would like you to write a paper reviewing the b-sides Talk Show Host (The Bends) and Palo Alto (OK Computer) on any qualities you deem worth writing about. It would be great if it was in a style similar to music reviewers you like (whether that be Pitchfork writers, Guardian writers, AV Club writers, etc.). Keep in mind the context of these songs; Talk Show Host came out in ’96 and Palo Alto in ’97, when the musical landscape was much different than it is now.
Radiohead circa 1995
So this semester, I’m taking a DeCal (student-run class at Berkeley) on “The Music, Lyrics, and Art of Radiohead.” As some of you know, I’ve been trying to get into this class since freshman year, but registration/scheduling conflicts have always gotten in the way.
I’m glad that I’m finally in – it’s a fun and engaging class! We spend two hours a week watching various Radiohead clips on YouTube (music videos, notable live performances, and rarities) and just share our thoughts or interesting stories on the songs. We’re going through all the albums this semester, so it’ll be really cool watching the band evolve through the years.