Hydrogen Jukebox and Solace

The soul yearns for peace in a time of crisis…

A chance encounter between minimalist composer Philip Glass and beat poet Allen Ginsberg results in the collaboration, Hydrogen Jukebox

Hydrogen Jukebox is a chamber opera, taken from a phrase coined by Ginsberg, from his poem Howl.

‘…listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox…’

Of the project, Glass said:

“In 1988…I happened to run into Allen Ginsberg at St. Mark’s Bookshop in New York and asked him if he would perform with me. We were in the poetry section, and he grabbed his book from the shelf and pointed out Wichita Vortex Sutra. The poem, written in 1966, reflected the anti-war mood of the times, seemed highly appropriate for the occasion. As a result I composed a piano piece to accompany Allen’s reading, which took place at the Schubert Theater on Broadway.

The reading went so well they decided to collaborate by creating a full-length work. A small orchestra and six voices with text compiled from Ginsberg’s catalog of poetry.

According to Ginsberg, “Hydrogen Jukebox signifies a state of hypertrophic high-tech, a psychological state in which people are at the limit of their sensory input with civilization’s military jukebox, a loud industrial roar, or a music that begins to shake the bones and penetrate the nervous system as a hydrogen bomb may do someday, reminder of apocalypse.”

The crisis state of Syria and the pending talks with North Korea that fills our airwaves compels the music of our heart to find solace and meaning from this past work. My personal mission today is to listen to and comprehend Hydrogen Jukebox. 

May the past genius of Ginsberg and Glass bring the soul peace.

 

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Johnny Cash: Forever Words – Available Friday April 6

Johnny Cash’s legend lives on in a unique collaboration project, Johnny Cash: The Music, Forever Words. 

The album co-produced by Johnny and June Carter Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, features music chosen from Johnny Cash’s handwritten letters, poems, and documents discovered after the deaths of his parents.

The album showcases Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s eldest daughter, who interpreted her Dad’s “The Walking Wounded,” marking just the second time that she has collaborated on a record with her half-brother John Carter Cash.

Filmed by David McClister at Johnny Cash’s childhood home in Dyess, Arkansas (part of the Dyess Colony Heritage Site and Museum).

“Determining the artist for each song was truly a matter of the heart,” John Carter Cash said in a statement. “I picked the artists who are most connected with my father, who had a personal story that was connected with Dad. It became an exciting endeavor to go through these works, to put them together and present them to different people who could finish them in a way that I believed that Dad would have wanted.”

Johnny Cash: Forever Words
1. Forever/I Still Miss Someone – Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
2. To June This Morning – Ruston Kelly and Kacey Musgraves
3. Gold All Over the Ground – Brad Paisley
4. You Never Knew My Mind – Chris Cornell
5. The Captain’s Daughter – Alison Krauss and Union Station
6. Jellico Coal Man – T. Bone Burnett
7. The Walking Wounded – Rosanne Cash
8. Them Double Blues – John Mellencamp
9. Body on Body – Jewel
10. I’ll Still Love You – Elvis Costello
11. June’s Sundown – Carlene Carter
12. He Bore It All – Daily and Vincent
13. Chinky Pin Hill – I’m With Her
14. Goin’, Goin’, Gone – Robert Glasper featuring Ro James, and Anu Sun
15. What Would I Dreamer Do? – The Jayhawks
16. Spirit Rider – Jamey Johnson

Johnny Cash: Forever Words is the musical companion to the best-selling “Forever Words: The Unknown Poems,” a volume of Cash’s unpublished writing edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and curated by John Carter Cash and Steve Berkowitz.

 

MoPop Founders Award 2017 Honoring The Doors

I have to hand it to The Doors management team. When they said there would be many Doors related events for the 50th Anniversary of The Doors they meant it.

Take a look at the MoPop (Museum of Pop Culture) in Seattle, Washington Doors event. I wish I lived in Seattle as I have been a member of MoPop in the past. If you love music museums this one is great plus it is also a Sci-Fi museum as well.

Founders Award 2017 Honoring The Doors
Thursday, December 7, 2017
MoPOP Sky Church

An annual fundraiser to benefit MoPOP’s programs, the Founders Award features legendary performers who have made substantial contributions to the field of music.

“The Doors are carnivores in a land of musical vegetarians.” – Tom Robbins

Still Photos in this blog post by Jim Bennett and Seattle Met

I’ve included the finale video but you can see the entire MoPop YouTube Channel Playlist here:

“Roadhouse Blues performed by The Doors guitarist, Robby Krieger with Carlos Santana, Cindy Blackman Santana, Krist Novoselic, Lukas Nelson, Micah Nelson, Zander Schloss, Tim Pike, John Denney, Jerry Cantrell, Exene Cervenka, and Brian Young.

Kitaro/Kazunari Shibata, More About Kojiki and the Universe

Realizing that Kitaro’s Kojiki and the Universe Live Tour is not destined to be performed at a venue near me, sigh, I did the next best thing. I purchased the Kojiki and the Universe DVD.

It is a beautiful series of music compositions set against rolling space photographs. We are but a mere speck of dust in the holy majestic universe. The images from NASA and other sources gathered by Kazunari Shibata (Kyoto University) display in breathtaking beauty on the 52″ HD TV mounted on the wall connected to the Sony Blu-Ray 7.1 Home Theatre system. The splendor of science prevails.

The collaborative experiment of merging music, Kitaro’s Kojiki and movies of the universe achieves that rare sense of wonder to compel us to discover beyond our planet.

Kitaro continues to expand my consciousness for which I am forever grateful.

 

 

Paul Simon, Collaboration vs. Apartheid

I recall when I attended community college in 1972 that I had protested against apartheid in South Africa. We wrote a petition to Polaroid against the use of their instant cameras as the photography medium for black South African inter-country passports. I bitterly opposed the suppression of rights in that country. Eventually apartheid was abolished.

Paul Simon faced controversy for seemingly breaking the cultural boycott imposed by the rest of the world against South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. In addition, some critics viewed Graceland as an exploitive appropriation of their culture. Following its completion, Simon toured alongside South African musicians, combining the music of Graceland and their own music.

My interest in this period of Paul Simon’s discography was reawakened when I saw CBS Sunday Morning. I was overjoyed to see Paul Simon’s world music instrument collection.

I listened several times to the 25th anniversary remastering of Graceland and decided to dive deeper with the Paul Simon documentary, Paul Simon: Under African Skies which examines multiples sides of the controversy that occurred. It has great concert footage and helps us to see the true common bond music and friendship can achieve.

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Dream, The Jon Anderson/Kitaro Collaboration (1992)

Studying Kitaro’s discography over the weekend has guided me to the collaborative music project, Dream released in 1992. It was an ideal discovery with a renewed focus on Jon Anderson’s creativity curve plus the affinity I possess for Kitaro’s music these past 40+ years.

Take  some time to dream along with Kitaro and Jon Anderson by giving a listen to their musical effort.

Two giants in contemporary music have joined forces to create one of the most awe-inspiring albums of the ’90s. Kitaro has taken his signature style into a new dimension of orchestral drama with three tracks featuring the breathtaking vocals of Jon Anderson, from Yes. Anderson, a longtime Kitaro fan, showed up on Kitaro’s Japanese mountaintop and hung out for a month. Their ensuing “marriage” of vocals and music is the result. Kitaro composed the music while Anderson wrote the lyrics. The songs revolve around the eternal theme of love, as in the transcendental romanticism of “Lady of Dreams” and the ecstasy of spiritual liberation in “Agreement”….This is a special album full of soaring emotion and spiritual upliftment. – Source: All Music