Category Archives: music

Gödel, Escher, Bach

I just finished reading Gödel, Escher, Bach by Douglas R. Hofstadter. I’ll wait for you to at least read the wikipedia description of the book.

Done? Ok… The main surprise for me was how many seemingly unrelated topics the book touches. Logic (Gödel), graphic art (Escher), music (Bach) to start with. But also mathematics, molecular biology, genetics, philosophy, zen buddhism, formal systems, artificial intelligence, programming, recursion and self-reference, various paradoxes, and much much more.

It is easily the best book I’ve ever read, although I can’t claim to have understood everything. If you want to borrow my copy, I’d be glad to help (the book is sort of expensive and really hard to get in Czechia).

Louise Attaque

I haven’t written a post about music for a long long time. I wanted to write about Nightwish’s “new” album Dark Passion Play, but since it can be summed up with “pretty good album, too bad the new singer’s voice is nowhere near Tarja’s” and since everyone and their dog already knows Nightwish, it wouldn’t be too enlightening.

In January I was searching for some good French music (since I like listening to French language) and so I asked scurge (I’d really like to link him, since he’s starting a go school, but sadly he has no webpage yet — anyway, if you are looking for a go teacher, check out “scurge” on KGS (he’s way stronger than the kgs 4d he has)) for suggestions. He told me to try Louise Attaque and remarked that they are “a bit weird”.

So, yes, Louise Attaque are a bit weird, but they are also absolutely awesome. Their music is pretty original, I’ve never heard anything similar before. And I can listen to their songs over and over and over and over and over and…

They have released three albums so far:

Louise Attaque
This self-titled album is their first and in my opinion also the best. J’t’emmene au vent is my favourite Louise Attaque song (it also has a cool video). Other extremely good songs are Ton invitation, Les nuits parisiennes and Fatigante (funny changes in rhythm and speed all the time).

Comme on a dit
Also the best album. I haven’t listened to this one as many times as the other two, but I’m trying to catch up. The best song here is La plume, people say it has a clever text — I think it’s about time for me to start learning French. Other notable songs include (but are not limited to) Tu dis rien, Sans filet, Tout Passe, Comme on a dit and Du nord au sud.

A Plus Tard Crocodile
Their last album is not as fantastic as the previous two… nevertheless, there are several pretty good songs: Revolver, Oui non, Nos Sourires (except the last minute, which is horrible) and Depuis Toujours (the best song from the album, imho).

Oh well, at least I managed not to list all the songs from each album. :-)

Pink Floyd: Time

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way

Tired of lying in the sunshine
Staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long
And there is time to kill today
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun

And you run, and you run to catch up with the sun, but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

Every year is getting shorter
Never seem to find the time
Plans that either come to naught
Or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone
The song is over
Thought I’d something more to say

Home, home again
I like to be here when I can
And when I come home cold and tired
It’s good to warm my bones beside the fire
Far away across the field
The tolling of the iron bell
Calls the faithful to their knees
To hear the softly spoken magic spells.

Probably my favourite Pink Floyd song. The lyrics are slightly related to certain events that happened in my life recently. ;)

Helium Vola

Helium Vola is a German Darkwave or “Electro-Medieval” band, at least that is what wikipedia says. But the article is a stub and there isn’t much more info. There is a bit more on last.fm, but nothing special. Amazons has a few good comments on the album.

After searching for half an hour or so, I even managed to find Helium Vola lyrics. This page has no pagerank and I am not sure anymore how I found it, anyway, I am pretty sure it’s about the only page with complete Helium Vola lyrics (as you will see if you search for snippets of the text). Quite funny that the main page of something as wonderful as Lyriki (they have shitloads of lyrics and no ads whatsoever, as opposed to all the lyrics sites which are virtually cluttered by ads) has only PageRank 2. Gotta share some google love…

And now for something completely different: my impressions. My first most favourite song was of course…

Omnis Mundi Creatura

Omnis mundi creatura
quasi liber et pictura
nobis est in speculum.
Omnis mundi creatura
quasi liber et pictura
nobis est in speculum.

Nostrae vitae, nostrae mortis
nostri status, nostrae sortis
fidele signaculum.

This is not the full lyrics, just a highlight… The melody is very catchy but it can get on your brain a bit after a while…

Les Habitants Du Soleil

Les habitants du soleil jettent sur nous un regard impassible
Nous appartenons définitivement á la Terre
Et nous y pourrirons, mon amour impossible
Jamais nos corps meurtris ne deviendront lumière

I completely love the atmosphere of the “sun inhabitants”, especially the male voice “nous apartenons definitivement a la terre” contrasted with the female voice… extatic.

Je Chante Par Couverture

Je chante par couverture
Mais mieulx plourassent mi oeil
Ne nul ne scet le traveil
Que mon pouvre cuer endure

Very captivating song, repeating the title over and over, yet it never gets boring. :-)

Next great song is Do Tagte Ez, however, it’d be a bit difficult to pick up part of the lyrics (it has no refrain), definitely the most “magical” song of the entire album (where most of the songs are rather magical). And I can’t omit mentioning Selig, which is the last song of the album, and has an extremely catchy and merry melody.

And in case you are now wondering how comes that some lyrics are Latin, some French, and some German… all the lyrics from Helium Vola are based on various medieval texts (feel free to google them to find out more).

Amarok

The creators of Amarok say “rediscover your music”… and I did.

I always thought that having playlists and just opening them with any simple player was enough for me, but now I thought I might try to use something more sophisticated. I tried Rhythmbox, it was simple, clean and working but nothing astonishing. On the other hand, I competely fell in love with Amarok.

Although Amarok is a qt application (I strongly prefer gtk and I don’t use any other qt ap, but Amarok is so good that I don’t care), I fell in love at the first sight. It’s a bit slow, but it has many nifty features like grouping/searching by various criteria, album cover preview, complete lyrics and info about author/album (it downloads all that from the internets, very kewl) just one click away. It can also pop up a small window with info about the coming song. The window is transparent and you can choose where it pops up. It will disappear after a short interval (set by you, of course).

And they get bonus points for this message:

One of Mike Oldfield‘s best pieces of work, Amarok, inspired the name behind the audio-player you are currently using.

Go ahead and rediscover your music too!

Nightwish

I only very recently discovered Nightwish (their official site is also worth visiting). The trick is that they have a real singer – Tarja Turunen (well, she’s not their singer anymore, but the past albums are sung by her). I’m not going to just copy wikipedia here (go read it yourself) so I’ll add my subjective opinions about the albums:

  • Angels Fall First – their first album, I really like it, the best songs are Elvenpath, Beauty and the Beast, Astral Romance, Angels Fall First, Eramaajarvi
  • Oceanborn – most the songs are a bit too fast but good nevertheless, particularly good are Gethsemane and Moondance (czesc kotasz); Sleeping Sun is one of the best Nightwish songs that can be found on new releases of this album or as a single
  • Wishmaster – nothing except the Wishmaster caught my attention on this album
  • Over the Hills And Far Away – only few songs, the good ones are Over the Hills And Far Away and the cover version of Astral Romance
  • Century Child – there are some good songs: End of All Hope, The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast; and there is one excellent song: Feel For You (I can listen to this one on repeat over and over again)
  • Once – this album was a complete hit and contains many great songs: Dark Chest of Wonders, Wish I had an Angel, Nemo, Planet Hell, Creek Mary’s Blood, The Siren, Dead Gardens, Kuolema Tekee Taiteilijan

Now they are getting a new singer instead of Tarja… I don’t want to say they can’t find anyone this good, but at least it will be very difficult.

Classical music

I’ve been listening to some classical music lately, so here are my impressions:

Tchaikovsky: Nutcracker and Swan lake, both are great, the music is very lively.
Mozart: Requiem, ultimately boring, I didn’t like it at all.
Vivaldi: Some concert, well, better than Requiem (if that means anything).

But, Tchaikovsky rulez…

You got to lose to know how to win

Aerosmith: Dream on

Every time that I look in the mirror,
All these lines on my face getting clearer.
The past is gone,
It went by like dusk to dawn.
Isn’t that the way?
Everybody’s got their dues in life to pay.

I know nobody knows,
Where it comes and where it goes.
I know it’s everybody’s sin,
You got to lose to know how to win.

Half my life’s in books’ written pages,
Live and learn from fools and from sages.
You know it’s true,
All the things come back to you.

Sing with me, sing for the years,
Sing for the laughter and sing for the tears.
Sing with me, if it’s just for today,
Maybe tomorrow the good Lord will take you away.

A very good song, I can play it over and over and never get bored. The lyrics is also enlightening, sometimes you can learn more from fools than from sages and you definitely got to lose to know how to win, which applies not only to go or other games, but to life in general.

Dream on, dream on, dream until your dream comes true…

Supertramp – The Logical Song

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they’d be singing so happily,
joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible,
logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
clinical, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world’s asleep,
the questions run too deep
for such a simple man.
Won’t you please, please tell me what we’ve learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am.

Now watch what you say or they’ll be calling you a radical,
liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won’t you sign up your name, we’d like to feel you’re
acceptable, respecable, presentable, a vegtable!

I found this song in a similar way as many other good songs – by listening to a radio and looking for original versions of various shitty remakes (yeah, remakes are always shitty, but the Scooter’s remake of The Logical Song was kind of funny and I liked it as well). I like the text but I’m not really sure about the vegetable part (which is spelled as “vegtable” in some versions of the lyrics and as “vegetable” in others), is it there just for the rhyme or is there a hidden meaning? (the hidden meaning might actually be that it is there just to rhyme, if you understand what I mean)