Category Archives: videos

I’m pretty sure you need to hear this

PDX’s own Quadraphonnes, featuring Mary-Sue Tobin (soprano sax), Mieke Bruggeman (bari sax), and Ward Griffiths (drums) — all of whom have shared (and, if I have anything to say about it, will continue to share) their brilliance with the Industrial Jazz Group. The group also features Chelsea Luker and Michelle Medler (alto and tenor sax, respectively) and Leah Hinchcliff (bass). Each player in herself is all kinds of awesome — put them together and you get some sort of supernova.

Yet another reason to spend the rest of my life in Portland.

Some videos from the 4th

Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of beatboxing videos on youtube.

These are just two videos that are blowing my fucking mind as of lately. These videos are from the beatboxing world competition wildcard division. The first video is from Julia Dales (who actually won the category) and the second is from a Daichi who didn’t even place, but in my opinion could’ve easily taken first or second place. Both beatboxers have some amazing control of the entire envelope of each different sound.

The reason why I’ve been watching videos like these is because I’m trying to find some crossover applications to playing a wind instrument; specifically trombone. There are some literal attempts of applying the ‘beatboxing’ to wind instruments, such as the beatboxing flautist and some decent beatboxing tuba-ists (is it tubaist? I prefer tubist) on youtube. However, I don’t really think those attempts have really examined all the parameters.
But thats not really what I’m here assert/insert my opinion about…

Under the ‘related videos’ category on the aforementioned Julia Dales video is a video of what I originally thought was a 5 year-old Julia Dales beatboxing ‘Merica’s national anthem. Wrong. Its a completely unrelated little girl singing the national anthem in probably her parents living room. Which blows, ’cause I really wanted there to be a beatboxing prodigy. Damnit… But, after being mildly dissapointed at first, I was soon rendered speechless…then, I couldn’t stop laughing.

Don’t get me wrong. I know its a tough little fight song to sing. And I know she’s only 5. I know some of the lyrics are a little graphic… BTW, here are some translations of some other countries national anthems that are awesome-ly gory:


“We swear by the lightning that destroys, By the streams of generous blood being shed”

“When we spoke, none listened to us, So we have taken the noise of gunpowder as our rhythm, And the sound of machine guns as our melody”


“Mercenary swords, they’re feeble reeds. The Austrian eagle has already lost its plumes. The blood of Italy and the Polish blood it drank, along with the Cossack. But it burned its heart.”


“No freedom’s flowers return, from the spilt blood of the dead, and the tears of slavery burn, which the eyes of orphans shed.”

There are more at this link.

Anyways…I was laughing at the 5 year-old because of the musical humour of modulating at the end of each phrase, something at the beginnging of new phrase…Its so fucking funny to me. There’s also another funny video of a police officer really fucking up the national anthem:

On another topic of videos/songs I have been watching recently that are blowing my fucking mind is this:

Nick Cave’s “Mercy Seat,” live, with a little intro from Nick about the staying power of this AMAZING song.
This goddamn song has been stuck in my head for about a solid 3 weeks now. I cannot get it out of my head. I’ve had dreams of hearing it or singing. I’m trying to find as many different versions as I can. In the intro, Nick explains that its a song that the Bad Seeds (almost) always play at every show and that its the kind of song thats so good it can be played in many different ways and still remain effective. I agree. But, the lyrics are also pretty fucking good, Mr. Cave.

Friday morning videos

One of the drawbacks of getting older and more musically, uh, seasoned, is that after a certain point it becomes harder to find stuff that leaves you astonished. Not that anyone can ever hear everything that is out there, but when you listen to, study, and write music all the time, after a while you become pretty accustomed to the possibilities. Which is also not (at all) to say that music that follows your expectations is therefore necessarily “bad.”

It’s just that, for me, “astonishment” is the quality that moves a given song out of the realm of “the great,” and into the realm of “the stellar.” Astonishment is the thing I seek above all in my listening. It’s the thing most likely to bring on the euphoric rush (if you know what I mean). Yes, there are multiple other pleasures that I get from listening — the pleasure of abstract thinking, the pleasure of certain forms of familiarity — but this euphoric rush is the holy grail for me, and without it, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing.

And with that lead-in, I present the above video, from the British band Acoustic Ladyland. It has been one of the first things to astonish me in a long time.

I posted this on my Facebook account last night, prompting a brief exchange with Ian C. (trombonist extraordinaire, of Industrial Jazz Group, Tin Horn Justice, and, hopefully soon, blogging-in-this-space fame). An excerpt:

Rev. Ian Carroll at 10:54pm July 2
fucking awesome

Andrew Durkin at 10:57pm July 2
Possibly my new favorite band.

Rev. Ian Carroll at 10:59pm July 2
same here, dude. this is the type of band that makes you wanna drive 72 miles to the 24 hour record store (i wish) and buy the goddamn album…after hearing only 5 seconds of the music

Exactly. The thing is, I can’t really explain why this music made my jaw drop. (Incidentally, the rest of the album that this comes from, Skinny Grin, is excellent too.)

The tune is based on the simplest riff in the world. There’s a cool interlocking groove (listen for the keyboard part, and especially the piano re-harmonization at the end), but I’ve heard cool interlocking grooves before. Why did this one stand out? I don’t know. But it underscores something I am pursuing more and more in my own writing: powerful and provocative simplicity. (I’m not saying I’ve found it — “powerful and provocative simplicity” is, ironically, very difficult to attain.)