So I have decided to write a weekly or biweekly column on what tunes I am currently jamming. The one good thing about my job is I get to listen to music during my arduous work day. I work in a room with concrete floors and walls with three other people. Our music source is Pandora radio that one of my co-workers has an account with. He pays for it, so thankfully we don’t have any advertisements during playback. He also has an ok portable speaker/cd/aux in/out player. It’s speakers distort pretty badly if turned up too high but it gets the job done. Pandora works by playing different user created stations. So everyone in my department gets to have one radio station. Herein lies the rub. Pandora is a finicky thing. It has gotten better over the years but there are still some quirks. One of the old quirks was the thumbs up or down features. In the past if you make repeated thumbs up on almost every song it tended to play your station more often than people that didn’t thumbs up every piece of music that came on their station. Now Pandora plays every station in the order that the station was turned on regardless of the amount of times it has been thumbs upped. There is one individual in our room, I’ll call him coworker B, that has over 4000 thumbs up on all his songs. His station is mostly salsa music and Christian music. And so in the past I would have to hear tons of the same salsa music and Petra and Stryper (yes Stryper) songs everyday repeatedly. This irritated me immensely. And so I had to develop a unique hack to stave off some of the music I wasn’t enjoying, I did this by making the primary artist on my station the band Om.
Om is the rhythm section of the iconic stoner/doom band Sleep from San Jose, California. Their music is known to be really long, and drony. Similar to Sleep’s sound but with no guitar. Om’s lyrics are kinda chanted and they tap into an Indian/Krishna kind of motif. They do this with their lyrics which seem to be pretty random with reference to the BIble, Bhagavad Gita, and other eastern religious texts. They also use a small amount of flavor from musical instruments that are associated from this culture. I love listening to them especially at work. And the best part about them is the songs average at least ten minutes. So by selecting Om I have been able to effectively take up the space of 3 or sometimes 4 salsa and Christian songs which thankfully only last around three minutes. My other coworker is a classic Eugene hippie. We will call him coworker A. So most of the music on his station are jam bands like Phish, Widespread Panic, Grateful Dead, and Particle. His songs are usually pretty long. He also is into bluegrass like Poor Man’s Poison and Devil Makes 3. The latter I am totally burned out on but I have come to like some Poor Man’s Poison songs. My other coworker (C) listens primarily to Tool, Perfect Circle, the Mars Volta and some rap and 2000’s era alternative music. I usually catch myself enjoying most of his songs especially when anything related to the Mars Volta comes on. I, of course have pushed the limits on average lengths of songs as much as possible. I believe I got almost 40 minutes through a single Bell Witch song once before getting it fast forwarded by worker B. The song Mirror Reaper which deserves an entire blog post all it’s own for another day. Coworker B does not like my long, doom music and will thumbs down songs of mine that he doesn’t like or if the imagery is too dark or satanic and so as you can see the struggle is real everyday. A thumb’s down on a song in Pandora means that your station won’t play it for a month. However, this week I have been jamming some King Crimson at work and they are the band of the week that I am reviewing.
As with most bands on Pandora, if you just put the band on your station Pandora mainly just plays the “hits” or popular songs. I put the song Starless and Bible Black on it. So most of the songs I have heard by them on Pandora are songs off the album Red (1974) and the debut album In the Court of the Crimson King (1969). Of these songs I have heard and enjoy the most I’d have to say the song Fallen Angel is my favorite. I love the upbeat verses only to have that minor sounding guitar on the bridge and chorus come in. It changes the entire mood and feel of the song instantly. Also being a lyrics hound like me, I admire the imagery in them.
Tears of joy at the birth of a brother
Never alone from that time
Sixteen Years through knife fights and danger
Strangely why his life not mine
West side skyline crying
Fallen angel dying
Risk a life to make a dime
Lifetimes spent on the streets of a city
Make us the people we are
Switchblade stings in one tenth of a moment
Better get back to the car
West side skyline
Crying for an angel dying
I interrupt the lyrics as the loss of innocence that comes with losing a sibling. I just consulted wikipedia which describes the lyrics as a brother thats gets his younger brother to join the Hell’s Angels with him. He however later dies in a knife fight. The lyrics are a bit vague and random and I like lyrics that are written in a manner that leaves definition to be inserted or ones that simply fit the imagery being generated in my head. Other favorite songs from King Crimson that I love are, The Night Watch, Starless, Epitaph, Requiem, Moonchild mostly because of the movie Buffalo ’66 and the Larks’ Tongue in Aspic parts 1-4 instrumental series songs. However I think part III is my favorite. It has Adrian Belew and Fripp and the marvelous Bruford on drums. That lineup is probably my favorite one. I love Bill Bruford’s drumming so much!! His work on the song Starless is amazing. But the song I leave you with today is The Night Watch.. Fripp’s guitar solo in this is incredible!!! Hard to believe this was recorded just 3 years after I was born.
Welp I best mosy. Have a great week!!!