Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 30 - Oats In The Water

So I don't know much about Ben Howard - but I know that I was watching the season opener of The Following when I heard a haunting song that I just had to find out more about. It turned out to be English singer/songwriter Ben Howard with the song Oats In The Water. Be prepared to be haunted by this beautiful song.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29 - SOS

Yup, I've played this song before. But that was before I heard Portishead's version. And their version is even better than Israelvis' version. But then again I love Portishead - I have since I first heard the single Glory Box from Dummy. They arose in the 90s and were quickly labeled trip hop, which was a genre that appealed to me. However, I don't know that I really can put their music in an easily labeled box. It's true that some of their rhythms owe a lot to trip hop, but they often have a dissonant and coarse guitar in their songs that breaks with the smoothness characterizing trip hop. But for me, the bottom line is this: It's damned good music. And so it is with  SOS, which they dedicated to recently assassinated English politician Jo Cox. This is the good stuff!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 28 - Magma

French metal band Gojira just released their sixth studio album, Magma, which quickly has become my favorite Gojira album. Part of the reason for that is that there aren't as many growling/screaming songs, but actually singing (I know, I am getting old - but truth be told, I am not a huge fan of growls used indiscriminately). It is also one of their more experimental albums, and that is really what gets me going with this album. I am very partial to the title track, which sprawls out a little in just the right way...

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27 - You Are My Sunshine

So today's song is a song that I don't know that I would've paid attention to it if it hadn't been for Christine. It is a song a lot of people already know, although this version bring something really new and special to it. I remember listening to this with  Chris when she was in the hospital during one of her many surgeries the spring. Today is her birthday, and I just want to wish I happy birthday to the woman I love with the song by Morgane and Chris Stapleton. I'll let the lyrics speak for themselves. This is You Are My Sunshine.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June 26 - Cockroach King

One of the newest prog bands I have started listening to is Haken. They have a new album out called Affinity, but for me, my favorite moment at this point still is the awesomely weird Cockroach King from their album Mountain. Haken is a British prog band, and I am simply going to let the music do the talking today.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 25 - A Change of Seasons

OK - I admit it. I am about 5 days late with this song, as the official first day of summer was on Monday. But it is a great song - the song that made me believe in Dream Theater again. I know I have talked about them before - and the song Home has already been featured. But A Change of Seasons was a huge factor in me realizing that Dream Theater actually could write songs, and not just musically masturbate their instruments over and over again. The form of self-gratification that you can hear in bands that are more technically proficient than is good for them is something Dream Theater does resort to, but they have just as many moments where actual emotions beyond lust towards their respective instruments come out of the speakers. Sure, there are elements in this song as well, but A Change of Seasons is a song well worth listening to.

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 24 - Echoes

Today's song, Echoes by Pink Floyd, is a masterpiece. It bridges the gap between Pink Floyd as a psychedelic band led by Syd Barrett into a more progressive band led by Roger Waters. The third transition was into a boring version led by Dave Gilmour, but we'll leave that version alone. For me, the Pink Floyd I know and love is the more progressive version led by an idealistic Roger Waters who wanted his lyrics to mean something. I see this version of Pink Floyd in a very yin/yang way, where Waters' very biting and edgy style is tempered with the softer, prettier, and more romantic style of Dave Gilmour - although in all honesty, all four members were integral parts to the whole that created a lot of amazing music.

While it is easy to refer to Meddle as a transformational album, it is really the last in a series of transformational albums released after Syd Barrett left. A Saucerful of Secrets, Ummagumma, and Atom Heart Mother preceded it, in the transformational period, and while you could hear their direction on those albums as well, it is really taking form on the song Echoes, which takes up all of side B and lasts about 23 minutes. To me, this song was also the blueprint for much of what Motorpsycho did around 1993, with songs like Demon Box and Mountain (and seeing them play Mountain live, they even quoted Echoes in there) - and when I fully realized this, I wanted to share it with as many as possible.

In 1995, I had my own radio show, Undertoner, where I looked at people behind the scenes - and threads that were harder to find. I had this brilliant idea that I would show where much of what Motorpsycho's inspiration clearly came from (and this was a side that I hadn't seen explored much before), and so I could devote the entire half hour to Echoes. I still think it was a brilliant idea - there are segments that could be faded down and left in the background while I talked - but my bosses at the radio station disagreed with me. The argument was that people tuning in would get bored and tune out again. I could not understand why anyone would do that - because the song is so great - so I did it anyway. Like I said, I still like the idea, but I am not sure my execution lived up to that. People weren't happy with me for that decision, but I stood by it. In the end it was decent, but not great - and so I have to admit that based on the execution, they were right. But I still believe that the idea really is good. Plus - who wouldn't want to dedicate 23+ minutes of their life to this song? I know I have done it more than once - and I am listening to it again as I write. That's how much I love this song.

Of course, their next album sold a heck of a lot more and is a lot more familiar to most people - The Dark Side of the Moon is considered a masterpiece, and rightfully so. But I can hear how that way of thinking started on Echoes (actually, it started before, but they were getting there with Echoes). It is also very interesting listening to their evolution in concert. The expanded versions of Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here has a concert from Wembley, I believe, that includes Dark Side, Wish You Were Here, and early versions of songs that ended up on Animals. Getting insight in their creative process this way has been invaluable to me. However, today it's all about Echoes. Richard Wright constructed the starting point of the melody, bassist Roger Waters wrote the lyrics, and the vocals belong to Dave Gilmour and Rick Wright, who also plays guitar and keyboards respectively. That leaves Nick Mason on drums. Today I bring you the studio version, but the live version from Pompeii is also very worth watching!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 23 - Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun

Sometimes side projects have interesting outcomes - and sometimes these outcomes come in the shape of cover versions. One of the prog bands I really don't have much of a relationship with is Fates Warning, but they tend to be rather big in prog/prog metal circles, and their guitar player, Jim Matheos, decided to get together with ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin More and then current (now ex) drummer of Dream Theater, Mike Portnoy to start the prog super group OSI. They included Sean Malone of slightly less known (but not less solid) band Cynic on bass and the very interesting intstrument Chapman Stick to record their first album, which was called Office of Strategic Influence. Mike Portnoy left the band following the recording of the album (although he played drums on their second album as well), so the band is really Kevin Moore on keys and vocals and Jim Matheos on guitar - and whomever they would want to include when they feel like doing something again.

Anyway, I really like the first album, and it has a bonus disc with three extra songs on it, two covers and one original instrumental. Today, the song will be a cover version of one of my favorite early Pink Floyd songs: Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, the first track on the bonus cd.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 22 - Me and Bobby McGee

OK - so today isn't prog, but it is good music and I can't pass this by. Today a great songwriter and artist turns 80, and I want to wish Kris Kristofferson a very happy birthday. My first encounter with his music was with Janis Joplin's Pearl album and the song Me and Bobby McGee, which sounds like it was tailored to her. However, he wrote it for Roger Miller (of King of the Road fame). Janis picked it up as well, as she was dating Kris Kristofferson until her death - but today I am bringing it to you as the songwriter himself performed it.

Actually, Kris Kristofferson has something in common with another of his partners in crime of the Highwaymen - Willie Nelson - as both of them got started as songwriters for others. Kristofferson's best known songs tend to be made popular by others, such as Johnny Cash singing Sunday Morning Coming Down and Sammi Smith taking Help Me Make It Through The Night to the top of US country charts in 1971. To me, his lyrics are spectacular - such as the line from The Pilgrim, which he wrote about Johnny Cash: He's a walking contradiction, partly truth and partly fiction. I love the way he turns a phrase - and some of that is also present in the song of the day, which includes one of life's most paradoxical truths (and I do hold it to be very true): Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

I really like Kris Kristofferson a lot, and I am very happy to be able to play Me and Bobby McGee today, on his 80th birthday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 21 - Voice of Treason

One of my favorite modern prog bands is Opeth from Sweden. They started out playing black metal, then moved towards progressive metal until they finally let the growls be before the album Heritage. Their latest observation is named Pale Communion, and it is a great album that grows and grows on you as you listen to it - unless you are too stuck in the idea of metal being one thing. They are so clearly rooted in 70s harder side of progressive rock, and I could not be more pleased with the direction they are taking. Then, of course, there is the news that they now have signed to Nuclear Blast Records and are working on Sorceress, which should hit the shelves, both digitally and in the stores this fall.

Opeth is led by Mikael Åkerfeldt, who is the only original member left. Since the beginning in 1990, he has been writing, singing, and playing guitar. Martin Mendez has been with him as the steady bass player since 1997. Martin Axenroth joined on drums after Martin Lopez left in 2005. In 2007, Peter Lindgren left to be replaced by Fredrik Åkesson, and finally, Joakim Svalberg joined in 2011 on the newest instrument to be added, keyboards, following Per Wiberg, who started as a touring member in 2005. Their metal fans have agonized over the musical turn they have taken, but Mikael Åkerfeldt follows his own vision, which to me is a hallmark of someone who is in it for the right reason: the music itself. Judge that for yourself when you listen to Voice of Treason from Pale Communion while we wait for Sorceress!

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20 - Starship Trooper

This past weekend, I got a chance to see my esteemed colleague and friend Dr. James Brown perform with his band Comments of Aether. They play great progressive rock - all covers, and just about all of it from the late sixties into the seventies. Many of the songs they played are songs I love and songs that already have been played as a song of the day, such as Firth of Fifth and The Court Of The Crimson King. But then they played Starship Trooper. Although it was a rough opening, they did a pretty good job with it - and when James put his feet on the Moog Taurus and let the bass notes rumble our diaphragms (maybe not quite loud enough for it, but it was felt), I felt the power of the song - especially the final part, which I had to be reminded that I love dearly. It was a great night out with good company from Alison, Chris, and her daughter Sam, and of course James and Andrea. It's time to get your prog on this week, and here is Yes with Starship Trooper to get us started.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

June 19 - Baby Please Don't Go

See what I ended up doing? I have to admit I was a little lose with the definitions of what constitutes a cover version - can someone cover themselves? However, it took me all the way back to where all of this started on Monday by today, which is Sunday.

I have to admit that I am very partial to this song. Baby Please Don't Go is such a great song - very, very blues based, but with lots of room to explore and go off in improvisational territory. Since we started with Harry Manx, ending with one of my favorite versions with Van Morrison and Them just seems very appropriate...

Saturday, June 18, 2016

June 18 - Gloria

Tomorrow you will see where this ends, but today, we will play one of my favorite songs. The Doors had a glorious version of it (pardon the pun - it started unintentionally, but I can't claim that anymore), but it was originally written by Van Morrison and recorded by them in 1964/65 (I was surprised to see how old the song really was). It is powerful as heck, but in the hands of Patti Smith, it becomes a completely other kind of monster. Infusing her own poetry into it, it takes the traditional garage rock song Gloria and elevates it into her personal spiritual realm. Please enjoy Gloria from Patti Smiths album Horses from 1975.

Friday, June 17, 2016

June 17 - Because The Night

So what constitutes a cover version? Today's song is really asking that question. When Bruce Springsteen was recording his Darkness On The Edge Of Town album he was in the same studio complex with Patti Smith, who was recording Easter, and they both used Jimmy Iovine as their producer. Springsteen wrote Because The Night, but Patti Smith ended up being the one recording it and using it at the time, so she has the originally published recorded version of it, and it went on to become her biggest hit. So the question is, can you make a cover version of a song you wrote yourself? I am leaning that way. I still feel Prince's version of Nothing Compares 2 U is a cover version of Sinead O'Connor's version - even though Prince wrote it. I am positive some of you will disagree completely - and that is perfectly fine. However, as the plan for this week materialized, counting Because The Night as a cover version becomes a really nice link in the chain.

Anyway, I really like Patti Smith's version, but when Springsteen released this live version on his Live box set, I really like the power he adds to it. Please enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 16 - Growin' Up

David Bowie recorded a lot of cover songs. His version of The Rolling Stones' Let's Spend The Night Together from Aladdin Sane is fantastic, as is his version of The Pixies' Cactus - and then there is the Pin Ups album. It is not great by any standard - I am not a fan of it, in case you couldn't tell (I think it's one of my least played Bowie albums, although some of the cover version are decent by cover band standards, they are not by Bowie standards...) - but the reissue has a couple of interesting tracks on it. The last song is the great The Port Of Amsterdam, which shows what great song interpreter Bowie can be - and then there is the song of the day. It is not spectacular, but Bowie and Springsteen came up together and were very aware of one another, and Bowie's version of Springsteen's Growin' Up is an ok song for today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15 - The Man Who Sold The World

While I still believe Nirvana was overrated, they were an undeniable force and a great band. I was already hooked when I saw and heard their unplugged show, and to me, this is the best Nirvana album. This is where you really heard the pain that always was there - Kurt Cobain has to my knowledge not sounded more vulnerable on official recordings than he did here. There isn't a weak song on the album. One of the songs that surprised me, and I believe it surprised a lot of people, was the cover version of David Bowie's The Man Who Sold The World, and that is the song of the day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 14 - Smells Like Teen Spirit

OK - so yesterday's version of Baby Please Don't Go set me off in a direction of cover versions. Now, Baby Please Don't Go is more part of a living blues tradition than a more modern cover version approach - while it was very common for musicians to take traditional blues tunes (also because of a much looser approach to song rights and following the pattern established with traditional music) and mold them more an more into their own style, the more modern approach to making music is more concerned with preserving recordings and the value thereof rather than passing music along organically from musician to musician. Also, when I got to work yesterday, I heard the music of Tori Amos playing Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit, which further inspired me. And, finally, I really like Russian nesting dolls. Ever since I got one from my farfar (paternal grandfather in Norwegian) as a little kid, I have had a thing for them. So I am going to try to make this work this way this week: Today we have Tori Amos covering Nirvana. Tomorrow, Nirvana will cover...? It won't be a surprise, really - given my fandom status of this artist, but still... And then Thursday that person will cover someone else. I will try to avoid tribute compilations - but I don't quite know where I will end up yet, so bear with me (it's not all mapped out yet...).

So, without further ado, here is Tori Amos singing Smells Like Teen Spirit!

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13 - Baby Please Don't Go

This is another song I really discovered because of Arve. Baby Please Don't Go is a classic that originally was done by Muddy Waters, but it has also been done by Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Them (Van Morrison), AC/DC and a slew of others. I think Arve found the Rolling Stones version of it. Today I am repaying the favor by playing Harry Manx' version of it. Harry Manx is a great guitar player and singer, and he often incorporates Indian ragas into his music - and the mix of blues and ragas is great. I have a live version on his album Road Ragas, but I really enjoy watching him play this as well, so I found a different clip this time:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 12 - Voldsfilm

Jan Are, Arve, and I would resurrect Coma and play together a weekend here and a weekend there, and it usually resulted in some sort of "demo" tape. Now, we did not spend a dime on studio time, but working at Radio Ung had its advantages. We usually recorded the music on the Philips Spatial tape deck strategically placed (we experimented with the placement so it would get as much clarity and balance between the instruments as possible) and then we recorded the vocals in the studio first onto reel to reel tapes, then back onto cassettes. Jon Inge would be in the studio helping Arve and I out with that part.

The myth of Coma has it that the reason we were able to get the kind of sound we got was that it was the Spatial stereo... Not quite sure about that, but for a DIY basement/garage kind of deal, it wasn't all that bad.

In 1989, we were asked to play at a triple birthday party. One person turned 18, on turned 17, and one turned 15, which meant that together, they turned 50. Our Philips D8310 came with us to document the performance, and one of the more rabble rousing performances was the song Voldsfilm (violent movie). I opened the song by stating that we'd been a little quiet until this point - and you can hear the rest for yourself. This is the live recording of Voldsfilm from 1989. I play guitar and sing, Arve plays bass, and Jan Are plays the drums.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 11 - Ye Liveliest Awfulness

Ahhh, to be young again... I got my first guitar when I was 13, I believe, and ready to take classical guitar lessons at the Trondheim Music School. I loved the lessons - and I even grew my nails on my right hand, always using an emery board on them to make sure they were nice and rounded and wouldn't hook onto the strings.

My lessons were weekly for one year - but when I came back for a second year, I had a new teacher who insisted I stopped playing anything but classical guitar and I said screw it. I think I went for one, maybe two lessons, and then I was done. But I wasn't done with music (although I had also quit the school band - clarinet was not the instrument for me) - I had joined the music/drama elective at my middle school, and I was part of the band there. Being the worst guitar player, I played bass. I didn't necessarily like bass as an instrument - that wouldn't come until later - but I was a part of something that really was enjoyable.

Arve was curious about music as well. I have already shared how I tended to give Arve a tape for every Christmas and birthday - and he was interested in learning how to play the guitar. Of course, being young and cocky I told him I both could and would. And, to my surprise now, I did. Except his mind works very differently than mine. I love framework and theory - and while I didn't have much grasp of theory, I did like the ideas of tonic, dominant, and subdominant chords with corresponding minor chords - and if I felt adventurous, a seventh. Arve didn't have these boundaries, so while I was stuck in a traditional pattern he blossomed and surpassed me by being unpredictable. Although I don't think I necessarily admitted it, at least not at the time, he did indeed quickly surpass me on the guitar.

When we turned 15, it was time for confirmation, which is more a rite of passage than a religious ritual in Norway. It is a societal expectation. However, neither Arve nor I believed in a god, so the traditional confirmation was out of the question. I chose a secular version of the ceremony, but regretted it as the learning that came with it wasn't what I wanted it to be at all. Arve, on the other hand, chose to not do it at all, and instead he got a Casiotone keyboard with a built in sampler. Not the high tech version, but more than high tech enough for a couple of guys interested in exploring and creating music.

So Arve and I started writing music as well. And we went from using the keyboard to using first two guitars, then guitar and bass. Then we realized that we needed a drummer, and I had already introduced Arve to Jan Are, and we were all good friends, so we started a band. Not one of those rehearsing all the time kind of bands, but one that would get together every now and then. And we wrote our own music. Listening back on the music, there is a clear evolution going on - but today, I am going to start at the end. From the very last time (so far) we played together and wrote new music, the title of today's song was actually taken from a horror roleplaying game: Call of Cthulhu (Cthulhu Now). The thought was to take the title, which referred to the ultimate cosmic horror, and then create lyrics further describing it. The result is pretty good, especially given the very poor recording equipment we used. I play bass and do the lead vocals, Arve plays the guitar, and Jan Are plays the drums - and all three of us contribute to the demented chorus. Please enjoy. There will be more musical illustrations and anecdotes from the brief and wondrous life of Coma.

Friday, June 10, 2016

June 10 - The Torture Never Stops

It's quite remarkable how a song title can get the pubescent mind interested. It's been about 30 years since I found Frank Zappa when Arve and I looked through my dad's record collection. I think I have written about how he used to tape music for a couple of guys at work - they would buy the record, he would tape it for them, and then he got to keep the record (I think he was the only one of them with a record player - and quite the receiver (Tandberg Sølvsuper 12, I believe). The stereo was really good, with great sound - although I later on wrecked the recording capabilities of the tape deck by running a bass guitar through it as an amp - not a good idea.

Anyway, the song The Torture Never Stops was found on the album Zoot Allures from 1976, and it features everything that was a Zappa trademark: great musicianship throughout, a great guitar solo, and lyrics that are nearly unlistenable for adults. The female screams heard throughout hints at misogyny, but I am not always certain that was his intention - he was too much of a deliberate provocateur. Anyway - the melody line is extremely compelling, so if you can listen past the screams and the lyrics, I think you can enjoy this. I did when I was 12 or 13, and I still do today. This song only features two musicians: Terry Bozzio on drums and Frank Zappa on everything else, including his role as "director of recreational activities" - although it is unclear who he directs.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

June 9 - Rise

Lately I have been reading Johnny Rotten's two autobiographies, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs, which primarily is about the Sex Pistols, and Anger Is An Energy, which is more recent and more all encompassing of his life and career. I have gained a new understanding of the man - and after looking at video footage of Sex Pistols, I have to agree with him, they were incredibly young. What's interesting with John Lydon - or Johnny Rotten, as he is better known as - is that he is unapologetic about not knowing how to play an instrument, yet he has a very clear artistic vision of what he wants to do with music. That he has been able to accomplish just that is a testament to how clear his vision is. Looking at his lyrics again, there are many things that I had missed that is starting to make more and more sense - and having read the books (ok - I am not done with Anger Is An Energy quite yet) just makes him more and more compelling as an artist. Because that is what he is: A performance artist.

Anyway, I was introduced to Public Image Limited, or PiL, by Arve, and so today I thought I would share the song that made me a convert in the first place way back in middle school - and it just happens to be one of Arve's all time favorite songs. I didn't know it at the time, but if you listen to the guitar right as he chants, "Anger is an energy," it is quite possible to recognize the guitar tone of Steve Vai, who was hired in to play on PiL's album Album (or Cassette or Compact Disc depending on what format you purchased it in). Rise is a great song, and may the road rise with you!

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

June 8 - Mexican Blackbird

OK - so I have to admit that I probably shouldn't have been surprised about Arve's interest in country music. One of the tapes I got him for a birthday or Christmas present while in middle school (don't remember which, but I am fairly certain I did - although this might also have been one he picked up himself) was Fandango, which had one live side and one studio side, and on the studio side, there was this one song that he really liked a lot (actually he liked them all, I think - this is an awesome album). The way he described this song, you could tell he really felt the sand from the desert, and he tried to get me hooked on it. While I like the song, I thought there were better songs on the album, but listening to Mexican Blackbird there is no doubt where he gets his country voice from. It is a solid song from a great album.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

June 7 - Texas

This past Saturday, June 4, Arve Hjalmars held a one-off reunion concert for most of the band's 25th high school reunion. Live footage from the show does not disappoint, and so today I thought I'd celebrate this country band from Trondheim, Norway - dubbed Substitute-Texas by Arve Hjalmar himself.

I still remember when Arve told me he was going to start a country band with friends from high school. I was scratching my head - country music was some of the furthest music to what I ever had in mind. But they started it up - Arve Hjalmars featured Arve Hjalmar himself on acoustic guitar and occasional vocals, Longhorn Man (Jardar Lohne) on vocals, Big Bad Bill (Truls Ryum) on guitar, Dakota Ragnvald (Karl Isak Skau) on bass, and Drunken Dingo (Jan Are Hansen) on drums.

That fall Arve and I started at the university together, and the first mandatory subject for all students in Norway at that time was a semester of philosophy (history of philosophy and formal logic) and an elective. A lot of time in philosophy lectures was spent trying to write country lyrics, but I don't know if any of them ever really saw light of day - but it was fun. And easy.

Anyway, through the years, Arve Hjalmars did have some live performances, including a memorable one at Knaus, one of the side stages at Studentersamfundet i Trondheim. They hadn't played long before the fire alarm was sounded, and everyone was shipped out. That concert is also legendary as Arve Hjalmar came out wearing nothing but his acoustic guitar for the encore The South (Seems So Far Away).

So today I think it is time to dust off the old cassette (yes, I have digitized it all as well - but Dakota Ragnvald has Youtubed quite a few of the songs from the demos) Honky Tonk Inferno, which was recorded and released in 1993. My personal Arve Hjalmars favorite: Texas (I think an argument can be made that it is more rock than country, but I wouldn't say that to the band's face - after all, they don't just play honky tonk, they live honky tonk...)

Monday, June 06, 2016

June 6 - Raining Blood

Today is June 6. That was the birthday of Damien Thorn in the 1976 horror movie classic The Omen. I still remember going with Jan Are to his uncle's apartment, and while we had a key, I clearly felt like we were sneaking in there to borrow the movie on VHS tape and watch it - and what a movie it was. Jan Are and I really enjoyed watching horror movies, and I believe The Omen was a favorite of both of us - for me it was THE favorite horror movie. I watched both sequels, but nothing quite could beat the first and best movie. It was directed by Richard Donner, who went on to direct Superman (the 1978 movie with Christopher Reeve) and the Lethal Weapon movies. But before that, he directed the movie that really set the bar for me as far as horror movies go. Oh - and watch the original with Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, not the remake from 2006 even though it stars Julia Stiles and Liev Schreiber.

To accompany this little memory, I decided to pull out Slayer, who Jan Are also introduced me to. And while it is tempting to play something from their album Christ Illusion, which was released on June 6, 2006 (wow, they are surely evil...), I am pulling a classic from the album Reign In Blood from 1986: Raining Blood.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

June 5 - Naima

Today's song is the final literary moment for now. Norwegian author Torgrim Eggen (who also used to play bass in The Cut, whose song In Dieser Stadt already has been featured as song of the day) wrote a book called Hilal in 1996 about a Norwegian boy who liked a Pakistani immigrant girl. Her name was Naima, and the main character will from time to time riff on John Coltrane's tune of that very name from the Giant Steps album. In my book, any excuse to play some Coltrane is a good excuse, so for a nice Sunday tune, here is Naima.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

June 4 - In A Silent Way

Today's song is really not a song, but a 20 minute long instrumental piece by the master himself, Miles Davis. This was, I believe, the very first Miles Davis CD I ever purchased, and I purchased it because I read a book by Ketil Bjørnstad, a Norwegian pianist, composer, and author, who musically moves effortlessly between jazz and contemporary classical music. After reading his biographies, it is clear that he got into music through In A Silent Way, and in one of his books, I believe it was Skumringsmulighetene, he describes In A Silent Way in such a way that I simply needed to hear it, and since this was in the days before Youtube, I had to purchase the CD. It was discounted, so it wasn't a big expense - although it certainly led to more purchases as I started exploring Miles Davis a little bit more.

I should say that this wasn't my first exposure to Miles - not too long after he died, jazz students at Trondheim Music Conservatory held a concert at the National Museum of Decorative Arts and Design in Trondheim, and I just happened to be about at the right time, and I was quite blown away by what I heard. But I really didn't go out and explore his music until after I read what Ketil Bjørnstad had written - so today it's time to enjoy In A Silent Way.

Friday, June 03, 2016

June 3 - When The Music's Over

While I can't say that I was introduced to The Doors through the book Beatles by Lars Saabye Christensen, it isn't far from the truth. The part about Strange Days isn't long, but it is very expressive, and it has stuck with me ever since I first read this great novel. Lars Saabye Christensen is a master of Oslo in the 1960s - that's when and where he came of age, and he has visited that time period over and over again - but I don't think he ever did it as well as he did in Beatles, which is a novel I encourage everyone to read.

His description of When The Music's Over culminates with the following statement: "The silence afterwards was overwhelming, even in the sitting room they had taken a break." When I heard When The Music's Over for the first time, I felt the same way.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

June 2 - Moon Over Bourbon Street

Music and literature has always gone hand in hand with me. I think that was one of the reasons I wanted to start writing a little bit more about music as it pertains to my life as well - not that what I am producing can be called literature in any way, shape, or form, but because I have always liked the way music weaves its way into my personal narrative. Sometimes, music has also guided me towards new literature, and I have to admit that Sting's Moon Over Bourbon Street is one of those songs. The song was inspired by Anne Rice's book Interview With The Vampire, which later was turned into a movie with Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in the starring roles. I had not heard of Anne Rice or this book until I fully listened to Moon Over Bourbon Street - and I was intrigued. I did spend some time in the world of Lestat as a result, and I actually enjoyed the movie as well. But it all started with a song on Sting's first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles from 1985, and I think it is a great song for today!

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

June 1 - Bibel

Since I wasn't able to find a version of Rock'n'roll Är Död by Imperiet, but had to go to Thåström's solo career to find it for yesterday's song, I thought I could revisit Imperiet as early as today. The song is another one of my favorites - this was a band I really got into in the late 80s and early 90s thanks to my very good friend Vegard. Out of all my friends, he was the one with the most alternative music in his collection. His record collection was about as schizophrenic as mine is - on one side you had the really slick and produced music of Mike Oldfield and Chris deBurgh, and on the other side you had the very roughly produced alternative rock and hardcore coming out of Trondheim's alternative music scene. And then there was Imperiet. He was my doorway to this great Swedish band. I still remember him talking about how great they were when they came to Trondheim on their farewell tour. I believe their last concert there was held on September 8, 1988 - and he was there.

I borrowed the albums and listened to them - and I fell in love with them. Some of them took longer to like than others, but eventually their two final albums, Synd (Sin) and Tiggarens Tal (The Beggar's Speech) became studio favorites, but it was the live albums that really hit me - especially the live part of their Studio/Live album, which I borrowed from Vegard until I finally purchased the CD myself. It opened with Rock'n'roll Är Död, and today we'll hear the closing track, which also is from the album Synd from 1986.