What I've Been Listening To
Blue Man Group, Audio (CD). The best show in Vegas that doesn't feature water-filled stages, Blue Man Group is an indescribable spectacle of light and sound. Audio is a "soundtrack" for their show, featuring their unique percussion-heavy, pvp-enhanced style of music. I like listening to it while I write, as it has a driving beat but no annoying lyrics to interfere with my concentration. I have no idea whether it sounds as good if you don't have mental images to go along with it, but there you are.
Blue Man Group, The Complex . As I've noted before (see above), I'm a big fan of the azure-painted trio of percussionist/performance artists. Their second album marks a departure from their pure reliance on instrumental (and quasi-instrumental) sound by including an array of guest vocalists/groups, including Dave Matthews, Tracy Bonham, and Venus Hum. These singers take on themes of isolation, loneliness, and alienation--perfect concepts to be explored by a group that's essentially anonymous and literally masked. The album also mixes in a liberal amount of humor, purporting at times to be a primer on attending a rock concert. Of course, you also get plenty of Blue-Man-style drums, airpoles, tubulums, and more. If you've never listened to Blue Man before, this album can serve as a bridge between familiar rock styles and the more out-there method practiced by the blue-faced gang. And if you're already a fan, you should definitely pick this one up. I also recently attended a performance on the group's "The Complex" tour, and it was an excellent show. Not quite as prop- and effect-laden as the Vegas show, but a great experience nonetheless.
Donnie Darko (Soundtrack). Not only is this one of the best movies of the last ten years that you've never heard of, it boasts a nice soundtrack that's recently been re-released as the movie gains cult status. The highlight is definitely Gary Jules' cover of "Mad World" (originally by Tears for Fears, but don't hold that against it), but the rest of the instrumental soundtrack makes for great listening. My only real complaint is that it's a bit short, but that just means I have to hit play more frequently.
Evanescence, Fallen (CD). I've had this in my car since coming back from GAMA in March. It's an odd mix of sounds--ethereal voices and hard-edged rhythms--but it works pretty well. The album doesn't display a whole lot of range of sounds, sometimes seeming like you're listening to just one long song. But since it's a good one, you don't really mind.
Sheryl Crow, c'mon, c'mon. OK, so this isn't exactly a new addition to my collection--I picked it up last year on my honeymoon for the long drive through the Nevada desert between Yosemite and Vegas--but it's found its way back into my rotation lately. The first four or five tracks are very solid, kicked off by the opener, "Steve McQueen" (and really, how can you go wrong naming a song after one of the coolest actors of the last 40 years), though admittedly the album gets a bit weak after that. This disc was in the CD player of Charles Ryan's convertible so often that it became the unofficial theme of our weekly (or twice-weekly) trips to Fatburger (and if you don't live in SoCal, Vegas, or on the east side of Lake Washington and thus probably haven't ever been to a Fatburger, I truly pity you).
All material copyright Andy Collins 2001-2008.