Saturday, August 26, 2006

Glass Planets

I don't know where we were in time, but if it were a Sunday and he were home, I'd join my Dad in the livingroom to listen to music. We'd read or play chess and I'd pinch sips from his whisky. If winter kept us, there'd be a fire. I remember one time, while reading The House With The Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs, he put on Glassworks, by Philip Glass. It shook me. I'd never heard anything like it in my life. I'd always known I'd liked cyclical rhythm (I'd tried to throw a 'techno' dance party one year for my 9th birthday in England using Jon & Vangelis, it got booed off by my fat Greek friend Kerry: afterall, it wasn't MJ), but this was altogether something else entirely. I begged for more.. and so Dad dropped the Powaqqatsi bomb on me. The opener, Serra Pelada, immediately told me: this is the sound of marching orphans. Brass explosions, space-horns, child-choirs, worryingly brooding strings, mad percussion, eery samples from all over the globe: it's all here. Philip Glass, Powaqqatsi. Changed my life.

ps. another composer who really impressed me and John Williams is Gustav Holst. I remember one day in Canada my Dad being so excited to listen to the new The Planets he'd just picked up (I think by Andre Previn). You'll likely have heard Mars - The Bringer of War and Jupiter - The Bringer of Jollity has been butchered and repackaged into commercial snippets. My favourite is Saturn, that one rings. Use headphones or balanced speakers with bulldozers for subwoofers.


josina said...

The House with the Clock in its Walls?


Gustav Holst?

These words make me very very happy.

Anonymous said...


I still play Powaggatsi - in fact, it's in my car right now!

The Planets was a recording by your very own Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, with Charles Dutoit conducting.

I knew I was not drinking all that whisky!


Lindz said...

The Planets is one of my favorite favorite collections of music...also introduced to me by my dad. I like to listen to the whole thing lying on the ground with head phones, eyes closed. Mars makes me feel like I could conquer the world!

PS I'm coming into town Friday evening, probably around sixish...the Seattle crowd gave me your phone number but just in case will you email it to me, and also the address where I should drag my sorry ass.