Category Archives: Music

Slow Music For Fast Times

Lately I’ve found myself spending that last few hours of my Sundays listening to Hearts of Space on WKMS-FM, our local public radio station. If you’ve never heard of HoS, here is an excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:

1474-1-hearts-of-spaceHearts of Space is a United States weekly syndicated public radio show featuring music of a contemplative nature drawn largely from the ambient, New Age and electronic genres, while also including classical, world, Celtic, experimental, and other music selections. For many years, the show’s producer and presenter, Stephen Hill, has applied the term “space music” to the music broadcast on the show, irrespective of genre. It is the longest-running radio program of its type in the world.

I vaguely remember hearing a few programs of HoS when I was in high school, before I had really discovered my affinity toward electronic music. I don’t remember why I stopped listening to it, but HoS eventually drifted from my awareness and was forgotten.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I was spending a late Sunday evening cleaning out my garage with the radio on and rediscovered it! Now I can’t seem to stop listening to it!

This marks the first radio program I have listened to on a consistent basis.

I think this also marks a subtle shift in my musical tastes. Where I used to favor powerful, driven electronic music when I was working, I’ve lately found myself settling more into slower ambient textures. Through Hearts of Space, I’ve discovered music that has been around for decades, right under my nose. It’s all been really exciting!

I’ll leave you with music from one of the recent programs, entitled “Cloud of Promise”:

Interestingly enough, I also found a totally unrelated but equally awesome song when searching for “forest for the trees”:

Yip Yip Family

Most of my generation who grew up in front of public television remember Sesame Street and its host of memorable characters: Big Bird, Kermit the Frog, Elmo, Bert & Ernie, Cookie Monster, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, The Count… Who can forget such gems as “It’s Not Easy Being Green” or “C is for Cookie” or “Rubber Ducky?”

As fun as it is to wax nostalgic with Sesame Street, I can’t say that I really enjoyed the show that much as a child. I was terribly averse to anything that felt like learning disguised as entertainment. My fondest memories from the show actually come from some of the more obscure characters such as the Martians, a.k.a. the Yip Yips.tumblr_mjtvxkvoiT1qb5gkjo1_500

The premise behind the Yip Yips was to teach kids about the properties of certain objects by looking at them from an alien perspective. Although this concept was by no means new or revolutionary, the Yip Yips were able to pull it off in a way that still makes me laugh today.

These were probably the simplest puppets ever featured on Sesame Street, controlled by only a pair of sticks. Yet I remember quoting them back and forth with my dad for years after, well into my teens.

Thanks to the wonder that is YouTube and some other kind souls who apparently thought the Yip Yips were worthy of preservation, my kids have now become subject to my crazy sense of humor.

So now, we’ve found ourselves going around in public saying dumb things like, “Book say Earth person have hands!” And the little ones oblige me by replying with the obligatory, “Yip yip yip yip yip!” It’s a strange feeling, to say the least – I’m so proud of them for having such offbeat senses of humor, but I worry that I’m going to make them as nuts as I am.

Unfortunately, Tabitha is not immune. While digging around for Yip Yip videos, we found one with a Yip Yip family singing a cute song that I didn’t seem to remember from my childhood. Of course, it didn’t take long before we all knew the words and started singing it back and forth, because it embedded itself in our heads. It’s getting as bad as Bananaphone was at first.

So, if you happen to see us over the holidays or any other time in the future reciting some ridiculousness back and forth, please don’t be alarmed. Don’t start making your way to the nearest exit while pretending to take an important phone call – all the while dialing 9-1-1. Just ask us what movie or show we’re quoting and we’ll happily show you what’s so darn funny on the nearest available interweb portal.

For more Yip Yip hijinks, check out what happens when they find a radio, a fan, a computer, and Planet Earth.

Pac-Man: Harbinger of Rave

Anyone familiar with the rave scene can find humor in the following quote. It’s absurdity was what made it so effective in 1989, however today it comes off as just plain ironic.pacman2

The irony here is that clubs and raves, quite popular in urban scenes, are characterized by their dark dance floors with laser and strobe light illumination. Techno music (also known as electronic music because it is produced entirely with drum machines, synthesizers, and other such sound-generating equipment, hence the “repetitive electronic music”) is played very loudly, and the aforementioned pills would be “Ecstacy,” the dangerous drug of choice for many club-goers.

I dunno. Maybe this is one of those things where if you have to explain the joke, it’s no longer funny…