Category Archives: music

My Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number is 11

I am pleased to report that I have an Erdös-Bacon-Sabbath number.

My Erdös number is 3; has been for a while, probably always will be.  I wrote a paper with Mike Bennett and Nathan Ng about solutions to A^4 + B^2 = C^p; Mike wrote with Florian Luca; Luca wrote with Erdös.

A while back, I shot a scene for the movie Gifted.  I’m not on the IMDB page yet, but I play against type as “Professor.”  Also in this movie is Octavia Spencer, who was in Beauty Shop (2005) with Kevin Bacon.  So my Bacon number is 2.

That gives me an Erdös-Bacon number of 5; already pretty high on the leaderboard!

Of course it then fell to me to figure out whether I have a Sabbath number.  Here’s the best chain I could make.

I once played guitar on “What Goes On” with my friend Jay Michaelson‘s band, The Swains, at Brownies.

Jay performed with Ezra Lipp “sometime in 2000,” he reports.

Lipp has played with Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes.

From here we use the Six Degrees of Black Sabbath tool, written by Paul Lamere at EchoNest (now part of the Spotify empire.)

The Black Crowes backed up Jimmy Page at a concert in 1999.

Page played with David Coverdale in Coverdale.Page.

David Coverdale was in Deep Purple with Glenn Hughes of Black Sabbath.

So my Sabbath number is 6, and my Erdos-Bacon-Sabbath number is 11.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Leibniz on music

Leibniz wrote:

Even the pleasures of sense are reducible to intellectual pleasures, known confusedly.  Music charms us, although its beauty consists only in the agreement of numbers and in the counting, which we do not perceive but which the soul nevertheless continues to carry out, of the beats or vibrations of sounding bodies which coincide at certain intervals.

Boy, do I disagree.  Different pleasures are different.

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Farting princess

Not gonna lie, AB is into talking about farts.  She’s 5, she likes farts, that’s how it is.  We have a new thing where she is the “farting princess” and whenever she farts I say

Well done, your farting majesty!”

and if she farts again,

“All the farting kingdom is enjoying your royal fart!”

She also likes “The Monster Mash” so I wrote a fart-centered take on this song which she really enjoys.  Lyrics follow.

Continue reading

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R.E.M. live at the Rockpalast, 2 Oct 1985

Complete show on YouTube.  In case you were wondering what the fuss was about.

Cool song, bro

I was in Barriques and “Bra,” by Cymande came on, and I was like, cool song, cool of Barriques to be playing this song that I’m cool for knowing about, maybe I should go say something to show everyone that I already know this cool song, and then I thought, why do I know about this song anyway? and I remembered that it was because sometime last year it was playing in Barriques and I was like, what is this song, it’s cool? and I Shazammed it.

So I guess what I’m saying is, I’m probably going to the right coffee shop.  Also, this song is cool.  I’m sort of fascinated by the long instrumental break that starts around 2:50.  It doesn’t seem like very much is happening; why is it so captivating?  I think my confusion on this point has something to do with my lack of understanding of drums.

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Many Words, by Little Red Wolf

One of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard lately.  Came over the PA in Froth House.  What th– what is this thing, I must have it!  You know the drill.

This is by Little Red Wolf, a Madison band, who have a great new record, Junk Sparrow, recorded by Brian Liston at Clutch Sound, the same guy who did my audiobook.  Range!

Of course the strange piano note, the one that kind of insists despite everything that it’s the right note and thereby colors the whole song with its weirdness and stubbornness, is sort of the same one that Weezer uses to devastating effect in “The Sweater Song.”   And yet the two songs are completely different.  Though the latter is also very, very beautiful.  And now that I listen to both again there’s also something in common about the way the wordless aah-ahh’s are deployed, but it might just be that everybody in the world, whether AOR-indie or alt-country, loves Doolittle.

Wait, are there readers of this blog so young as not to have heard “The Sweater Song?”  Very likely.  So OK:

 

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Robert Lopez has range

My kids, like all kids, like to sing “Let It Go” from Frozen.  I’m OK with the song; I sort of object to the reference to fractals.  But I like it more now that I know the same guy who wrote it also wrote “Everyone’s A Little Bit Racist” and “The Internet is for Porn.”  Range!

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Boris Grebenshikov

My recent post about the Polish Beatles reminded me of my favorite Eastern Bloc rocker, Boris Grebenshikov.  OK, I don’t actually know if he’s my favorite, but I have never really fallen out of love with his unsuccessful attempt to crack the US market, “Radio Silence.”  He used to be in a band called Aquarium, which I remember the Soviet participants in the International Math Olympiad being really into in 1988.  They wrote “Aquarium” in Sharpie on our T-shirts so we’d know what was going on in Leningrad.

I’ve posted this song on the blog once before, but that was four years ago, so here it is again.  Bonus:  young David Letterman.

 

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Czerwone Gitary, the Polish Beatles

One good thing about flying LOT home from Israel (Chicago and Tel Aviv both have a lot of people of Polish descent, thus you can get from one to the other via Warsaw) is that you can learn a lot about rock in Polish from listening to the seatback audio.  How had I gone my whole life without hearing Czerwone Gitary, the “Polish Beatles”?

Here’s “Nie zadzieraj nosa”

and “To Właśnie My”

 

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Seether is neither big nor small

Eyes starting to glaze over from staring at book as I plow through almost-final revisions.  It reminds me of being in college and having a paper due, a paper that would benefit from having more time to devote to it than the three hours that are left before I have to go to class.  And in that spirit of the early 1990s and inarticulate anxiety, I am listening to Veruca Salt.  Why do I never listen to Veruca Salt?

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