Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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More On Music

There’s evidence that we stop enjoying novelty as we age. Check out this or this. This expiration date for enjoying new things seems to exist in animals as well as humans. It seems that this desire for novelty in humans and animals corresponds to when they seek mates.

It’s entirely possible that’s why I haven’t enjoyed new music for the last 5 years. Maybe I should just feel happy that I made it to 38 before I lost this part of myself. I think the most disturbing aspect of this explanation is figuring out how to disentangle my sense of identity from music. It’s been one of the most consistent and strong parts of who I am since childhood.

But there’s another explanation that I referenced in my last blog post. As noted my disengagement from new music started around the same time I started playing drums. And as I have cultivated a more sensitive sense of time, I am wondering if I can hear music that has digital time vs music that has human time, or music that’s been digitally synched to have precise and accurate time to the millisecond vs the natural variations in time that a human drummer can keep.

I stumbled upon this theory while filpping dials on the radio. I came across a song that I could not flip past even though I didn’t recognize it. After a minute of listening, I heard a subtle inconsistency on the drums that lead me to believe it was a live recording. The crowd noise that came in at the chorus confirmed it. And despite the recording not being particularly good or to my personal taste, I was engrossed. I cannot put words to why I was so captivated.

It only occured to me later, that perhaps I was captivated by hearing the slight variations of a human drummer. My theory is strengthened by my sudden interest in 70’s rock. While I had respect for Queen, Fleetwood Mac, Three Dog Night, and Led Zeppelin, I’ve found myself extrememly eager to hear them on the radio. Synching to click tracks didn’t become prevalent until the 80’s and 90’s in music production; technology to execute the synching wasn’t readily available until then. So, I suspect my sudden interest in 70’s rock might also be my ear longing to hear slight variation.

I am not alone in being hungry for human time. The trans godmother of electronic music says:

“I find it a great tragedy that the drum machine has replaced real drummers, become so omnipresent to many listeners that they accept the notion of a completely rigid, fascist beat–something that’s like hearing a pile driver or factory equipment. Someone recently closed his jazz club in Berlin after being successful for a lot of years, but he said he’s leaving it now because the current jazz/pop music doesn’t swing. And it doesn’t: quantized rhythm is rigid and mechanical. We’ve become robots, and it’s tragic.” -Wendy Carlos

This woman is fascinating. You can read the whole interview here.

For now I am going to lean in to my new found love of 70’s rock. Life is too short for me to force myself to listen to things that don’t inspire me. Is it because I am too old to hear new music? Maybe. Is it because my ears are tired of the fascist beat? Maybe. Does it really matter which? Probably not. I needed to shed more of my ego anyway. I’ll just look at this as a step on the path.


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MPMF17 Sunday In Pictures

Lightening thoughts. Flint Eastwood dresses and talks like the little girl in True Grit, except for all the cursing. She commands the stage like the most epic arena rock god. That show was a whole bowl of stuff that makes no sense together. That’s what made it something I will never forget. Go. Go see her crazy ass.

Charly Bliss was super stinking fun. Also, go, go see them. Urban Renewal Project has an army of horn players, and a rapper who will improvise a rap about whatever flotsam and jetsam you have in your pockets or purse. Familiar refrain. Go. Go see them.

It was fun to shoot, although I am terribly out of practice. I forgot how to format my memory cards, that’s how long its been since I’ve done any shooting.

It was great to see so many different acts. This location is no MPMF of old, but it’s a massive improvement over the parking lot. The line-up was great. My only suggested improvement for next year is to get more food trucks. They had some, but considering how limited the options for quick evening eats are around The Taft, I think a wider variety of trucks would help.

See you next year!

MPMF17 Saturday in Pics

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MPMF17 Sunday Schedule

First thing. Moving from the roasty toasty parking lot to The Taft and The Masonic Center is a big improvement. Second thing, It was a little weird to be in a daytime music fest inside. But, like I said this is hugely better than the parking lot.

Second thing. Good god Broken Social Scene is great. You know how talented musicians who play prog-rock-like stuff tend to have like thirty instrument changes and many minutes between songs to tune? THEY DIDN’T DO THAT THING. They literally passed 2 bass guitars around between members as they all switched out playing different stuff. They passed around a Fender Jazzmaster too. And! They clumped together the songs in which they were each on a particular instrument. OMG. Thank you for thinking of your audience, who doesn’t really want to watch you tune fifty times. THANK YOU.

Really, I enjoyed almost everything I saw yesterday. So, good on you whoever negotiated the line-up.

Here’s what I want to see today:

2:10 Coastal Club
2:45 Moonbeau – Taft
3:55 Sphynx – Taft
6:00 Automagik – Taft
6:30 LEDGES
6:50 Charly Bliss – Taft
8 Urban Renewal Project – Taft Ballroom
8:25 Flint Eastwood – Taft
8:30 Noname – Masonic Cathedral
10 BADBADNOTGOOD – Masonic Cathedral
10 Walk The Moon – Masonic Cathedral


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MPMF17 Saturday Schedule

How is it that The New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene overlap? HOW? After a run through of the bands this morning I have to say, this is probably the most diverse mix of music they’ve had in recent memory. Cheers to that.

One observation, sounding like The Breeders, aka woman led 90’s guitar rock, must be a thing. So many bands in that neighborhood. Literally ran by Filthy Friends in my listen fest and thought HEEEYYYY Corin Tucker inspired vocals. HEEEEYYYYY.

2:45 Blossom Hall – Skyline Chili Stage
3:20 Even Tiles- Taft Ballroom
430 Kid Stardust- Taft Ballroom
5:05 DYAN – Skyline Chili Stage
6 Preoccupations – Masonic Cathedral
6:30 The Cactus Blossoms – Masonic Ballroom
8:25 Frightened Rabbit- The Taft
9 The New Pornographers – The Taft
10 Broken Social Scene – The Taft
1130 Citizen – Taft Ballroom


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MPMF17 What I Will See

Alrighty, into the depths with this year’s line-up. Frightened Rabbit is spectacular. I’ve seen them several times across the years, and I have never been disappointed. Local acts DYAN and Kid Stardust will give you a worthy hour of great music. Automagic put up a rousing show at MOTR a few years back, that featured some rocking out in underwear. Sphinx, when I last saw them, was so kind as to honor my request for “What Is Love” and sent The Drinkery into a 90’s dance party. All your troubles will float away on The Young Heirlooms vocal harmonies. That about rounds out everything I’ve seen before and know and love.

Valerie June, Noname, Bedouine, and Mad Anthony (I know they play out here all the time, how have I not seen them?) are on my most anticipated list. My super human ability to listen to recordings and know how it will translate to a live show is pinging off the charts on BADBADNOTGOOD. I’ve not seen them, but I bet their live show will entrance me. Unfortunately, this will probably make me split my time between these folks and Walk The Moon.

Now then. I’m off to try and remember how to work my camera, and write up my schedule.

 


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MPMF17 What I Wanna See

I’ve been hoping to see Broken Social Scene and The New Pornographers for years. After what I felt was a less than stellar Bunbury line-up this summer, I was ratcheting down my expectations for MPMF. The MPMF announcement of the fest shrinking to two days and significantly less acts was counterbalanced by The New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene as headliners.

Walk The Moon is headlining too. Don’t interpret my lack of excitement to mean they aren’t a great live show. It’s just that I’ve seen them at least 10 times now. BSS and TNP are just all aglitter with the unknown.

I literally have today and tomorrow to talk about what I am pumped to see, so tomorrow I am going to dig deeper into the line-up. Big picture, I think this line-up has packed in a ton of diversity in terms of sound and tone.

The format is changing this year too. Last year we all baked in a parking lot, so moving to some indoor and some outdoor stages is welcome. The fest will be relocated to 5th street using, MEMI’s own, The Taft and The Taft Ballroom as venues. I’m happy, as I thought it a reasonable risk that MEMI would relocate to one of the other venues in their stable, Riverbend. God, I hate that venue. It’s massive, soulless, and very far away from my home.

A niggling thing I cannot do without mentioning:

MEMI, yes you, I know and accept the fest has changed. Fine. Please rename it. I think you can leave behind the disappointment you’ve faced from long-time MPMF fans by just wiping the slate clean with a new name. Let us have the name as part of our nostalgia for the fest as it was years past. And I bet most of us will move with you into the present and future.