Friday Random 5: Hackathon IX edition

I’m bending the rules of Random 5 to bring you this hackathon themed random 5. Pray I don’t bend them again.

  1. Be Thankful for What You’ve GotMassive Attack (Blue Lines)
  2. Rabbit In Your Headlights – UNKLE (Psyence Fiction)
  3. Roads – Portishead (Dummy)
  4. Górecki – Lamb (I Still Know What You Did)
  5. Breathe – Telepopmusik (Genetic World)

Be Thankful for What You’ve Got: I love this version, but I feel like I’m harming my cred just a little bit to admit that I like the Yo La Tengo version even more.

Rabbit In Your Headlights: Featuring a Thom Yorke vocal and dialog samples from one of the most tortured early 90s movies ever, this shouldn’t work as well as it does. But it totally does. Something about the rhythm section, and the fact that this was before Yorke wrecked his cords.

Roads: I want to like this album more than I do. But I love the electric piano intro to this.

Górecki: There’s no better way to confuse me than to reference this song, because I’m never sure if we’re talking about the Polish composer, or the Lamb track that samples piano chords from the second movement of the Third Symphony. Still a great song, though I’ve always preferred the edit that appeared on the CD2 single back in the day.

Breathe – This is really the tail end of the time period, but I’ve always considered the 90s lasted until September 11, 2001 anyway. Great song, regardless of its use in a Mitsubishi commercial.

Veracode Hackathon IX

Wall of obsolete hardware
Wall of obsolete hardware

It’s the semiannual Veracode hackathon, so I’m behind on blogging. Again.

It’s that most wonderful time of the year—no, that other one. My company Veracode is hosting its ninth Hackathon this week, and it’s been interesting. The theme is 90s Internet Hackers, or as we say in my house, “Saturday.” Seriously: putting together the radio station was just a matter of looking in my iTunes library, and my programming skills aren’t too much more current than the 1990s. (Applescript, anyone?)

Between the bake sale, the people doing caffeine hacking at a table in the cafe, the puzzle hunt, and everything else, it’s … interesting around here.

Funkin’ for Bernie


David Byrne: Keep On Funkin’. Speaking of David Byrne and Bernie Worrell…

I was saddened to hear back in January that Worrell, who I’ve loved since falling upon his collaborations with George Clinton in Parliament, had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. Byrne participated in a fundraiser concert on Monday to raise money to help pay Bernie’s medical bills (aside: with Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Living Colour, Jonathan Demme, Meryl Streep, Rick Springfield, Maceo Parker, Steve Scales, Bill Laswell, Mudbone, Fred Schneider, Bernard Fowler, Leo Nocentelli, Ronny Drayton, Melvin Gibbs, Jerry Harrison, Screaming Headless Torsos, The Woo Warriors, Nona Hendryx, Sarah Dash, Nelson George, Marc Ribler, Paul Shaffer, and the Black Rock Coalition Orchestra in the house, I’d have loved to have been there).

Yesterday Byrne offered up a pair of remixed tracks of a song he wrote and performed with Bernie a while back. Is “How Does the Brain Wave?” the equal of Byrne’s early 1980s collaborations with Worrell, which include The Catherine Wheel and Remain in Light? Well, no, but they’re funky, so donate already.

The Catherine Wheel

I fell behind this week—thank our surprising April snow. So this is being posted on Wednesday and I’ll catch up.

David Byrne’s The Catherine Wheel is one of those works that pulled me all the way into pop music. If I had heard of Byrne or the Talking Heads before, it was picking up Remain in Light or hearing “Once in a Lifetime” on the radio. Then my friend Catherine gave me a mix tape that had “Combat” on it. I had to find more.

I turned up a copy of the CD after some searching (this was the early 1990s) and was hooked. I put “Ade” on a mix tape myself. And then I kind of forgot about it.

I went back last week and started listening to the album with new ears. It’s still amazing after all these years. A lot of insane Adrian Belew guitar, yes, but also some really crazy Bernie Worrell keyboard, and those drums…

And then there’s the performance context. The Catherine Wheel was composed as a ballet score for Twyla Tharp, and the video above has the whole blessed thing. I don’t know enough about modern dance to know if this is any good, but it pushes a lot of the same buttons for me that Home of the Brave does, and that’s a good thing. So enjoy.

Slouching toward spring

It’s April 4, the day on which we remember the passing of Martin Luther King, Jr. So of course it’s snowing. 

This has been a weird winter—very little precipitation, freezing days and 70° days. And now that spring is (calendrically) here, the weather is determined to make up for it. It snowed four inches before noon yesterday, then the sun came out and melted most of it. Now it’s snowing again, hard, and will for most of the day. 

I’m having a hard time getting in the mood for spring. Even the thought of going to Charlottesville in a little over three weeks to celebrate the Glee Club’s 145th doesn’t cheer me up. Well, much. I need this snow to be done. 

Friday Random 5: Catching Up Edition

Looks like, in my illness last week, I missed the Friday Random 5 and didn’t even remember it. Today I’m stuck at the car dealers again while they fix my air conditioning, so it’s time to write that catch-up post.

  1. Handel Concerto No. 4 in F: I. AllegroVirgil Fox (Virgil Fox Encores)
  2. Born Again – Mark Sandman (Sandbox)
  3. Listening Guide: Have You Seen the Bright Lily Grow – Sting (Songs from the Labyrinth)
  4. Ghost Train – Straight No Chaser (Best of BOCA: The First 20 Years)
  5. Lithium (Acoustic Version) – Nirvana (Lithium (Acoustic Version) – Single)

Handel Concerto No. 4 in F: Is there anything better than starting the morning off with organ music? No, I don’t think so either.

Born Again – Really just a one-liner, but what a one liner. “I hope I don’t get born again, ’cause one time was enough.”

Listening Guide – Have You Seen the Bright Lily Grow – while I appreciate the thought of providing audible liner notes, I really don’t like them cluttering up my iTunes library. I’m glad more albums don’t do this.

Ghost Train – I like this album for some of the tracks that provide an innovative approach to a cappella. This one is much more straightforward but very effective.

Lithium (Acoustic Version) – The lead single off the With the Lights Out box set, this is solo Kurt Cobain. Great track.