Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Forecastle 2013

Zepfanman has finally seen (a fourth of) Zeppelin. Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters played at 7pm on the final day (Sunday, 7/14/13) of Louisville’s annual Forecastle festival. The performance was the icing on the cake of an epic weekend of music, with a set on the main Mast Stage between Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and The Avett Brothers.

Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters
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Best Albums of 2012

I’m always absorbed in music. There are innumerable ways to experience art in sound, so of course it’s impossible to quantify the quality of an album – although sites like AOTY are helpful as a general guide. This list is mostly personal preference, but with an ear to recommend both popular and obscure (mostly rock and jazz) albums to other music lovers. I have more to share about that, but let’s get to the list(s) first…

Top 6 Albums of 2012

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Cloud Atlas: The most epic film of 2012

Since seeing the film (twice) the week it came out in October, I’ve been entralled with the ideas presented in Cloud Atlas – in both the book (by David Mitchell in 2004) and the movie (screenplay and direction by the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer). I hate to give too much of a movie away, so I will simply encourage you to see this film if you’re interested in stories that mix genres and challenge your perception of the world. It’s also the fastest-paced 172-minute film I’ve ever seen. I’m currently a few chapters into the book, so I can’t say too much about it other than that I’m amazed by the heartfelt dialogue.

Cloud Atlas poster

Synopsis from the official website:

Cloud Atlas explores how the actions and consequences of individual lives impact one another through the past, the present and the future.

Action, mystery and romance weave dramatically through the story as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and a single act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution in the distant future.

A distillation of the book in the author’s own words:

Literally all of the main characters, except one, are reincarnations of the same soul in different bodies throughout the novel identified by a birthmark… that’s just a symbol really of the universality of human nature. The title itself “Cloud Atlas,” the cloud refers to the ever changing manifestations of the Atlas, which is the fixed human nature which is always thus and ever shall be. So the book’s theme is predacity, the way individuals prey on individuals, groups on groups, nations on nations, tribes on tribes. So I just take this theme and in a sense reincarnate that theme in another context.

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Last chance to see Led Zeppelin: This Tuesday

Before I get to my quick review, I’m happy to report that it’s not too late to see Led Zeppelin “live” (on the big screen). U.S. cinemas will be doing a reprise of the 2007 reunion concert, originally released in theaters on October 17th, this Tuesday (November 13th, 2012) at 7:30 p.m. I’m sure there will be other special showings throughout the world from time to time by the end of the year, as well. Check the official listings in your area.

Led Zeppelin, O2 Arena
Audience member photo, Led Zeppelin, London, 2007, by Paul Hudson (CC BY 2.0)
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Sonnet I by Fernando Pessoa

Whether we write or speak or do but look
We are ever unapparent. What we are
Cannot be transfused into word or book.
Our soul from us is infinitely far.
However much we give our thoughts the will
To be our soul and gesture it abroad,
Our hearts are incommunicable still.
In what we show ourselves we are ignored.
The abyss from soul to soul cannot be bridged
By any skill of thought or trick of seeming.
Unto our very selves we are abridged
When we would utter to our thought our being.
We are our dreams of ourselves, souls by gleams,
And each to each other dreams of others’ dreams.

35 Sonnets (1918, public domain)

I ran across Fernando Pessoa’s work less than a year ago while browsing the biography section of the library. The Penguin Classic’s cover photo of The Book of Disquiet drew me in, but I wasn’t prepared for the two minds of Pessoa contained within. Arguably Lisbon’s most beloved writer of all time, he invented the term “heteronym” as a way to write as an imaginary character (ultimately creating over 70 of them in his lifetime), each having his own style and voice. But aside from this unique aspect of Pessoa’s writing, the concepts he explores are what strike me most. I typically do not grasp the cadence and meaning of popular poetry; it’s a relief to read someone like Pessoa who uses simple language to describe the thoughts that pour out of him, literally as ink on paper.

A few album ratings – Part 2

Since the Rate Your Music feed doesn’t work, here is my second installment of a few albums I’ve enjoyed lately. If it’s rated a 7, that’s mainly because there are four or five tracks on the album that aren’t as good as the rest of the album – but I listen to the good tracks frequently.

******* Robyn – Robyn

********* Derik LaRon – Crash Radio 1

********* Loscil – Endless Falls

******** Pretty Lights – Filling Up The City Skies

******** Britney Spears – Femme Fatale

******* Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math

******* Maroon 5 – Hands All Over

********* Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome

********* Dada – Live: Official Bootleg, Vol. 1

******** Two Door Cinema Club – Tourist History

********* Tyler James – It Took The Fire (w/ review)

******** Alexandre Desplat – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

******** Various Artists – Ghostly Swim

********* Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy

1 Derik is not on Rate Your Music (yet), but you can follow him and his music on Twitter.

Related: A few album ratings – Part 1