Archive | September, 2013

PanFlute salesmanship

29 Sep

This sign states everything you need to know about the Panflute. (I always thought it was called the pan pipe.) I saw this at Spaceman Music in Ottawa. A great store by the way.

Weekly Vinyl – Ceramic Hello

29 Sep

The absence of a canary
Ceramic Hello
This is a strange one. I have no Idea how it ended up in my collection. It is electronic music. Kind of pop but not really. It has compelling elements in it but none of the songs really stand out.
It seems to be a post New Wave concept album. Some songs clock in at half-a-minute — Converation between Units, which is a rollicking carnival like tune. Some are less but most are in the standurd un four minute frame.
I love the sound of the old synthesizers. I love the rawness of the electronics. There is no sampling, no digital sheen. It is electronica — but a dirty electronica. There are no crisp metronomic beats. This is a brooding album. Unfortunately the vocals are heavily processed and it is difficult to understand what the man is on about.


Weekly Wine – Solas

25 Sep

SONY DSCOsborne Solaz Tempranillo Cabernet Sauvignon
13.5% ABV
$11.45 (LCBO)

I guess times are hard in Spain. This bottle used to be under ten bucks. It is two bucks more now and is the first wine in this series that crosses the ten-dollar threshold. This wine is dry and has an initial dryness which blossoms into a dry mouth quickly.  I seem to recall that this wine was better — more pleasant to quaff on a fall day.
I suppose the financial crisis in Spain is taking a toll on the vintners — prices going up and the quality going down. They did redesign the label but that is hardly worth the cost. I don’t mind shelling out the extra few dollars but I want a nice wine. This wine is a bit of a disappointment. It used to be one of my go to wines but now it is off that list. This is not a nasty undrinkable wine — it just literally leaves a bad taste in my mouth. For this price, and below, there are better more pleasant wines.

Fort Henry

22 Sep

It is weird standing on an top of a 180 year old fort looking out over a modern city.
It is strange to think that the fort will still be in place while those high-rise apartment buildings will
be demolished when they reach the end of their life. They really don’t build them like they used to.

Weekly Vinyl – Sibelius

21 Sep

An Hour with Sibelius
Berlin Symphony Orchestra

I got this well used record years ago when I read somewhere that Mike Oldfield was a fan of Sibelius. I got two or three records but I pulled this one out to listen to.
The music is very sentimental. It is sweeping and rolls on and on, undulating in a vastness of melodrama. It doesn’t grab me at all. I was listening for a hook. A period of music where there is drama and tension. Not so much.
Is it me, or is this music? Should I be listening to this on a cold wintry day staring out into an abyss of white emptiness? Is the mediocre Spanish wine that I am drinking while listening having a bad effect on my aural sensibilities?
I read the liner notes and it promises, “Gradually the music works up to a great climax…”

I was waiting for this.
But alas, it never came.


Weekly Wine – Farnese

18 Sep

SONY DSCFarnese Negroamaro
13.5% ABV
$8.25 (LCBO)

Just as I think I won’t find any more bottles of wine under ten bucks out pops another. At $8.25 it must be a bargain.
Not really.
Even though I was distracted when I took the first sips of this wine, I immediately got a feeling that something was not spot on. It is the immediate flavour.
It is quite harsh, abrupt. Unforgiving.
I took another sip. And another. A bigger sip. Then a gulp.
Nope — I was not getting used to the wine.
It is not exactly bad homemade wine but close.
I let it breath a bit. The edge was still there — it is not going away.
I’m not sure if it is the sulphites or the type of grapes used to make this wine, but something is giving this wine a bucketful of character. You might not like the character but the price is definitely tempting.
The label however is a very classy and modern looking which makes the temptation even greater.
I was tempted once, but I won’t be again.



Berlin church

15 Sep

This is the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche or Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church in Berlin.
The church was bombed during the war and never rebuilt to serve as a monument.
I like the mix of the new and old that is in this image and in Berlin itself.

Weekly Vinyl – Islands

13 Sep

King Crimson
What an interesting hodge-podge of sound. It is at once as delicate and fleeting as a puff of wind and nasty and harsh as an early morning contractor using a circular saw. There are many styles of music here — each one trying to assert its dominance.
But none do — and this is a problem with this album.
As the album side would finish I would try to think of what I heard. And no thoughts occur. So I listen to it again and again. Nothing. It is a good album And it must be noted that all the music is frightfully well executed, however it does not really have a musical direction. It is like some of the “free jazz,” interludes that crop up here and there in the songs. Nice noodling but where are you going.

Weekly Wine — DB Chardonay

11 Sep

SONY DSCDe Bortoli Family Selection Chardonnay
13% ABV
$7.95 (USA)
Got this in a bargain bin lot in Virginia Beach. The wine store was part of a pizza joint. The servers were friendly but in reality were there to service the lunch customers with pizza and stuff.
At first taste the wine has a shock of acidity. It is not bad but it is something that I am not used to as the white wines I usually drink are lighter and not to acidic. This is a heavier white wine, flavourful and thankfully not sweet.
It is a very pleasant wine and it should be insulted for being in the bargain bin. What an ignoble place for this wine. I have partaken of wines for many dollars more that would wish to be as good as this.
I have not had much white wine from Australia before as I like the Pinot Grigios from Italy as my light cool summer wine drink, but this wine certainly hits all the positive marks. Since I found this in the bargain bin, I’m sure betting now that the others that I pulled out will be just as fine.

Phones not here

8 Sep

This was taken at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Thankfully I was not there looking to use a phone.
I was there to use the bathroom. The bathrooms did not suffer the same fate as the phones.