Punch Brothers, the alt-newgrass group led by virtuoso frontman Chris Thile, recently announced their plans to release a new album, entitled Who’s Feeling Young Now?, in February. This is exciting news – their first record, Antifogmatic, featured a wholly original combination of standout songwriting, intricate arrangements, and high-energy improvisation. To whet our appetites further, the group has made one of the new album’s tracks, Movement and Location, available for free download through their website.
Some time ago I posted a high-energy acoustic version of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, performed by the venerable Don Ross. I recently came across Ray Lamontagne’s take on the song, rounding out something of a stylistic trifecta – the danceable-electronic original, Ross’ instrumental, and Lamontagne’s coffee house. Enjoy.
Tonight commences Yom Kippur, the most consequential day of the Jewish calendar and the climax of the 10 Days of Repentance. For 25 hours, Jews the world over will fast and spend the bulk of their time immersed in prayer and reflection. As the sun goes down tomorrow night, the gates of heaven will close, and the fate of each individual will be sealed for the next year.
How does one internalize an event of such monumental importance? As Phish reminds us, music helps. Indeed, music, which features prominently in the Yom Kippur service, instigates a kind of sensual, emotional, and even intellectual ecstasy which many people might otherwise go a lifetime without experiencing. It has the capacity to alter one’s experience of time, to heighten his awareness of the permeable border between physical and psychological phenomena, to dull or even suspend his preoccupation with his embodied state.
This jam is based on a verse from the poem “Avinu Malkenu” (“Our Father, Our King”). Its rough translation is:
Our God, our King
Have compassion on us and answer us
For we are without deeds
Act upon us with righteousness and mercy
And save us
At the core of the The AV’s project is a belief that an unfamiliar approach to a familiar song – particularly one with minimal studio interference – can help a listener gain a more nuanced appreciation of the artistry and craftsmanship that went into its making. Thanks to Resonance, the new south-Florida trio consisting of husband and wife Michael (guitar) and Rachel (vocals) Isla and percussionist Eduardo Lis, this listener has gained that added perspective toward a band that has always somewhat eluded him.
Michael, who has a master’s degree in classical guitar performance (Eduardo’s is in ethnomusicology), explains the group’s attraction to Tool in terms of the latter’s expressive multimedia stage performance, their use of non-Western tonalities, unusual time signatures (apparently, Tool has deliberately made much of their music unmoshable), and dash of minimalism.
In this acoustic version of Sober, a song replete with cynical references to the Son and the fallen state of man, Resonance, itself adept with multimedia, paints on a film noir-esque gloss to help project just the right aesthetic absent Tool’s stage show. And the somewhat muted nature of the interpretation allows the semi-conscious desperation to bubble to the surface.
I can’t resist accompanying the video with a condensed version of the lyrics, which package a powerfully dark message:
Why can’t we not be sober?
Just because the son has come?
Trust in me and fall as well.
I want what I want.
Here in New York City, where everyone packs into such close quarters, its interesting to observe how directly people’s moods are affected by the weather. The past week has been cool and rainy, depriving us city dwellers of a portion of what in many years are the last weeks of summer.
In comes Geoffrey J for the save. His song, Holiday, is a 4 minute teleportation device to the beach of Venice, CA, where palms, gulls, and a harmonica allow the weather-challenged among us to keep our holiday hats on just a little longer.