Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reviews: Sophies World, and Yes, Airports.

Book Review: Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder

I've actually only read one other book like this in my life. _Ishmael_ by Daniel Quinn. As a textbook of philosophy, this is a work that would easily satisfy any course of Philosophy 101 in college. Gaarder takes the river of thought from the beginning of human thought to almost the present day (as present day thought is not easily seen through the minds of historians) in a flowing narrative of examples, reality-bending tricks, and metaphor.

As a novel, the characters are vividly constructed, and while the reality of the situation is odd, at best, the realization that it's "just a book" plays wonderfully into the ideas of Berekly in that, reality, and the world as a whole is "just a dream." The interplay of book and reality, of book being reality, and the "Neverending Story" effect of stories and realities within realities, makes the book one to be read multiple times. As indeed, the facts and ideas in this book cannot be understood in just one reading. It is a book that investigates the totality of life, and finding more questions than answers, cannot help but leave, at the end, you wondering about reality itself.

Music Review: Mr. Squirrel's Yes, Airports EP.

One of the things I appreciated most about the book above is the way Gaarder weaves reality and fantasy, bending the real world to demonstrate the malleability of reality and the way we perceive it. The master of this craft can use words much as a painter would use a paintbrush on a canvas, creating and playing with words until the work is just right. Ray Bradbury did this quite a bit, especially with Dandelion Wine. An artistic marvel.

In a sense, this is what Piers is doing under the name Mr. Squirrel. I can picture him, late at night, in a studio with piano, guitar, synthesizer, Pro Tools, and any other various instruments, creating a sound and a rhythm that fully comes from within the mind, swimming up through some vast subconscious sea. Much like a painter would a blank canvas, or an orchestra director would do with his baton.

The "Yes, Airports EP" is four tracks of trance type music, which is basically repetitive chords and beats that wax and wan, much like breathing does. The best Trance music exactly imitates the tempo of breathing, makes the tune more internal. There are such pieces that I have heard...very relaxing. Some of Timid's pieces on OCRemix, for instance.

Anyway, each of the four tracks are taken from a specific emotion, or feeling, which can easily be identified in daily life. For the first, the first seconds sound like an Airport, but then rescinds into a percussive section of Indian and Disco music, along with a child's record that one would hear in Elementary school. A very late night, indeed. Perhaps the mix of thoughts in a dream... or whatever.

The second deals with the Early morning, which works really well, especially with the lyrics, "I've got to get this right, I only got this time..." maybe a late night session, tension, emotions, all mixed up, but of course, an undercurrent of the relaxing flow of the music above it.

The third piece, Nothing but Pebbles, is probably the weakest track, mainly because the percussive nature seems to stop the overall flow. (Yes, sort of like pebbles, so I get it, but...) It started working for me around the 3:50 mark, when the melody and the rhythm seemed to easily coincide with each other.

The last track, Macchu Picchu, is wonderful, on a personal level, because I love Meso-American stuff, and the exotic and mystical lost city of the Incas is very well personified with the sci-fi tones, the Spanish guitar track, and the Incan flute. Was the Incan civilization visited by aliens, as the tracks on the Nazcan plain might seem to indicate? The romance of the lost civilization is one that will draw people to climb the steps of the abandoned city.

Overall, a great first album. It's worth listening to his other works, available on Myspace, Soundcard...etc... You can easily find those tracks, and links to purchase this album (and the second one, which I haven't listened to, yet) here:

No comments:

Post a Comment