SpinTunes #10, Round 1 According to Jutze

Here are my impressions from the first round of SpinTunes #10 (listen here!) – written and presented in the order in which I listened to the entries. The rating at the end reflects a) sympathy and b) nailing the challenge.

Gorbzilla – First Kiss: The ride cymbal is a bit too prominent in the mix. Otherwise, this is a good tune that suits the challenge/mood perfectly. It has this movie soundtrack feeling to it. The lead guitar in the middle is restrained enough to not distract from the romantic mood. The breaks come at the right moments. Good vocals, by the way. The mood reminds me a bit of “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Beatles (which itself suits the challenge well). 9/10

Governing Dynamics – Introvert Asks to Spend the Night: The big question here was whether I can still enjoy Travis’s music now that he cut his hair. The answer is yes. The song sounds a bit fast for a candlelight soundtrack. I might have prefered a more melancholic tune, yet it brings a smile to my face to find Governing Dynamics in a good mood. Rock on! 6/10

Jailhouse Payback – Another Line: A nice pop song with a bit of country here and there. The production sounds good (harmonica! slide guitar or pedal steel or whatever that is); the vocals are okay. The few minor chords in between spice things up in a nice way. 8/10

Pete Murphy – (I Wanna) Get It on With You: Whoa, professional production. Funky guitars. Soundtrack for a candlelight dinner AT A BAR. Judging from the title this is a bit more straightforward than most of the other entries. (What do I know, I’m only four songs into the round.) The rating is torn between a good fit regarding the challenge and a musical style I do not like that much. 6/10

Dreiviertel Drei – Gag Reflex: The music spreads a mellow summer evening’s atmosphere. Lyrically, mh, forget what I wrote about the previous song; this one here aims way beyond a romantic embrace. Consequently, things get creepy during the song. I wouldn’t want this hear this song during a date (or during a wedding or a funeral for that matter). The final twist got lost on me the first time I listened to “Gag Reflex”. Maybe it should have been featured more prominent. 3/10

Ominous Ride – Open Your Fire: The singing voice is quite low; maybe spice things up with more variation next time? The song starts out very un-intrusive. It takes up pace and ends up in Funkytown. Personally, I prefer the piano parts of the verses. All in all this is a solid effort. The lyrics contain no real surprises – which isn’t that bad for this challenge. 5/10

Pigfarmer Jr – Hold You Tonight: He: Here, have a seat; I’ll just put away that guitar. She: You play guitar? He: Well, a bit. She: Will you play me a song? He: Nah, I don’t know. She: Come on, please? He: Okay *sings this song*. The tune sounds a bit clumsy, but in the scenario I just described it should work perfectly. Nice bass notes towards the end. Charming lyrics. 7/10

Buckethat Bobby – Glad You Came: I find little I like here, sorry. I don’t think the vocal melodies suit a romantic evening. 2/10

Brian Gray – Just You and Me: There is a restless undercurrent that might distract from romantic endeavours. The vocals are great as expected. The breaks are a bit off; maybe I’m still too impressed by Gorbzilla’s entry. Anyway, Brian Gray does not disappoint. 7/10

Charlie McCarron – If You Need Romance: Soft, pop meets jazz. Certainly meeting the challenge. The singer seems a bit reluctant. The ending is, mh, too real to be good? 5/10

David J – Language of Love: Finally, a nice lyrical twist. The music is very laid back. This could have ended up way worse. (But also more to the point, tighter.) 5/10

Dex01 – Get Together: Blues is sort of a contrast to happily getting together music. The resulting song is nice and makes me wish I’d be more generous with my ratings. 4/10

The Buffo Yux Dudes – I Can’t Get Enough: The Buffo Yux Dudes explore their 70s pop roots. This song should help to ‘break the ice’, even if it’s just a relaxed talk about the strange sounds of the stereo. I’m very much looking forward to see Sammy Kablam get annoyed by this one. Meanwhile I’ll give it 2/10

Jutze – This Could Be the Night: I was trying to channel Chris de Burgh. My vocals suck, but I just had to do a ‘serious’ entry. I’m rather satisfied with the backing track production. ?/10

The Ken Kesey Fan Club – How to Seduce Women: Pigfamer Jr gone bad? Creepy stuff. Lyrically AND musically. It somehow underscores the difficulty of approaching this challenge with sarcasm. I find little to like here, sorry. 1/10

Atom & EV – Tarzan and Jane: Simple, primal, effective. At first the song is weird, and in between it gets a bit dirty. Nevertheless, I find the concept refreshing. The execution reflects the primitive story of (mutual?) affection. 6/10

Ben and the Angel Fish – Love’s Lost: Beautiful piano playing. The voice is nice, but its production is somewhat poor. I’m afraid, the song is too sad for the challenge. It’s not too sad for my taste, though. The challenge demanded a soundtrack for a candlelight dinner – NOT necessarily a song about a candlelight dinner. Consequently, “Love’s Lost” could work, after all. 7/10

Ben Taggart – The Story of Us: It’s easy to rate this one, but hard to comment on it. The vocals sound somewhat undecided. The guitar is lonely rather than romantic. The lyrics don’t stand out, go on a tangent or two. The song remains too plain to be sweet in my ears. In the end, it’s a solid effort but nothing I’ll return to when compiling a date CD. 4/10

Megalodon – Can’t Weight: Another song that’s more suited for a date in a bar than for a date at home. Bonus points for the saxophone – not an instrument I usually enjoy but the definite romance instrument, anyway. Moving the lyrics to space is a nice idea, one of the more successful attempts of humor in this round (in my opinion). In the end, it’s just my personal taste that prevents a higher rating, sorry. 4/10

Emperor Gum – Tianjin: This tune sounds rather bland to my ears. I’d consider this dating music only if it were played quietly – at which point almost all music becomes dating music. Okay, not all music. This is more a soundtrack for an old black and white home movie than for a candlelight dinner. Maybe for an old black and white movie about a candlelight dinner? 3/10

Julian and the Self – Love Is in the Air: High male vocals meet uninspired vocal melodies – is this going to be a progressive rock song? No, it’s not. It keeps lacking direction. A mellow acoustic guitar meets a hungry cat. The mood is consistent throughout the song, but (apart from the solid lyrics) I don’t see much dating soundtrack potential. 2/10

Taylor Rundell – Make a Move: Could be the sonical backdrop in a club or at a bar. The song doesn’t appeal to me. The lyrics leave a taunting impression on me. The mellow moments in between are a tiny bit irritating. Make a move, but hey, just relax? The production is all right. Certainly not one of my favourites, though. 2/10

Dr. Lindyke – Date Night: A song about a date rather than for a date – the mood is good. The performance is flawless (or rather quite appropriate), as I’ve come to expect from Dr. Lindyke. The tone of the lyrics might be a bit too offensive.  5/10

Army Defense – Sexiest Sex: Various stuff happens throughout this song, but I struggle to connect it to a romantic date. The electric guitar has a few nice moments. The lyrics have a hard time being subtle. Musically, I would have liked more direction. 2/10

Ross Durand – I Wish: A song about a date AND a song for a date – Ross Durand doesn’t disappoint. It helps that he has a great voice. The song develops in a nice, cozy fashion. The guitar playing is spot on, the additional tracks enhance the song without taking away from the main melody and overall mood. The part before the ending is a bit too loud, I guess. Then again, the actual ending is just beautiful. 8/10

Domingo – Escondidas: A song in Spanish (which I don’t speak) – tricky. It suits the candlelight dinner rather well. The middle parts a bit too dense. The vocals lose their emotion here. Anyway, the song could suit a date, so I’ll give it 4/10

Adam Sakellarides – All I Wanna Do: Sheryl Crow did it better, I’m afraid. This tune here aims at a similar groove. It should facilitate good feelings rather than romance. The ending, well, doesn’t really facilitate either. 2/10

Mariah Mercedes – As Charming as You: Jazz alarm. Strong vocals. Suitable lyrics. The song suits a cozy date, preferably late at night. A person who likes jazz would give this one certainly more than 5/10

James Young – In the Dark of the Night: Rock alarm. Pop rock. This song is probable suited for a drunk-at-the-bar-sort of date. I fail to see how it should draw two souls closer together. The lyrics attempt to link the song to romance. They just don’t stand out in any way. The wailing solo guitar sounds nice but the last thing you want during the date is the other person making eyes at a fancy guitar player, instead. 3/10

Kolton H – Binary Love: A computer love song that works to a certain degree. It suits an LED light dinner better than a candlelight dinner. The keyboard sounds and the computerized vocals make this song stand out from the rest of the field. I applaud the audacity but the actual song is too flat most of the time to elicit more than a nod. 4/10

Jurek Mika – The Mood for You: Sublety? No way! Not my cup of tea – no clear melody, monotone lyrics, lacklustering vocals. And way too much repetition. 1/10

Melissa Leona –  Rocking in the Waves: Finally, some more 80s drum computers. The production is a bit unbalanced: sometimes the vocals get buried, sometimes the piano becomes rather loud. Apart from this, the song has a subtle tension that suits the challenge. The change to major chords halfway through the song is surprising. I could do without it. Keep the tension and hope that the listeners find a way to loosen things. 4/10

Zoe Gray – Make the Most of It: A good balance between mellow and energetic. The higher vocals in the chorus spice things up before the title line gets back to a more subtle mood. The lyrics seem a bit crammed and over the top here and there. Less sarcasm might have improved the song. Still, it’s one of the better ones this round. 7/10

Red Watcher – Hopeless Dreamer: Do I spot a progressive rock vibe here? And is this a bad thing given that progressive rock is not suited as date music? Is it wrong to write these remark entirely as questions? The lyrics clearly aim at the challenge whereas the music relies on a beat I’d consider unromantic (3-3-2 claves or whatever you want to call it). 2/10

Edric Haleen –  2-14-11: The low voice is a bit creepy. Am I surprised that Edric chose a sarcastic/science-related approach? No. Would I have preferred a cheesy piano ballad? Hell yeah! Linking the song to Valentine’s Day is not helpful, in my opinion. The tune could have been way shorter, too. 2/10

Jutze 52 #3 – 79 Jahre

Eigentlich wollte ich das Lied so simpel aufnehmen, wie ich es im Video spiele. Aber am Ende habe ich dann doch E-Gitarren (gedoppelt), Akustik-Gitarren (gedoppelt), Bass, Rassel und drei Gesangsspuren aufgenommen – immerhin ohne Klick.

#3 79 Jahre

Sie war erst 79 Jahre alt
Wenn du weißt, was ich mein’, oho
Und der Blick in ihren Augen ließ mich nicht kalt
Wenn du weißt, was ich mein’, oho
79 Jahre
79 Jahre

Hinter ihrem Panzer waren Gefühle versteckt
Wenn du weißt, was ich mein’, oho
Und schon wenig später haben wir uns abgeschleckt
Wenn du weißt, was ich mein’, oho
79 Jahre
79 Jahre

(words and music by Johannes Schult 2015 Creative Commons by-nc 4.0)

Jutze 52 #2 – Black Skirt Girl

This is a jolly punk rock song, nothing more, nothing less. The video contains further trivia (no black skirts, though – sorry).

#2 Black Skirt Girl

I saw you at the basement show
On a Saturday night two months ago
And now I’m surprised to meet you again
In this record shop I visit every now and then
And I think I should warn you
‘Cause the record you hold in your beautiful hands is crap

Then suddenly you look up at me
Saying this one sucks, pointing at the CD
And you say you’re surprised to see me again
In this record shop in which your romance with rock once began
And you give me a smile, yeah
And I give you a smile in return and I say “Rock on!”

(words and music by Johannes Schult 2015 Creative Commons by-nc 4.0)

The Song of the Nightingale

Here we go again. It’s 2015 and I’m bringing back my 52-second songs! This one might grow into a proper Manticess song someday. The nightingale is, of course, a great singer who died. I did have one specific in mind while writing the chorus, but it’s probably better you think of whoever comes to your mind. In other news, I’m attempting to make a video for each song.

#1 The Song of the Nightingale

Suddenly there was silence where there used to be her song
Her feathers had been shimmering and her voice had been so strong
Now the nightingale will sing no more
The hand of death has locked her door
Still I know her spirit will prevail
When we sing the song of the nightingale

(words and music by Johannes Schult 2015 Creative Commons by-nc 4.0)

Lektüre 2014

A list of books I finished reading in the last 12 months:

  • Elizabeth Wein: Code Name Verity
  • Matt Forbeck: The Con Job
  • Jürgen Becker: Geld allein macht nicht unglücklich: Mit dem Mysterium des rheinischen Kapitalismus aus der Krise
  • Andrew F. Gulli, Lamia J. Gulli (Hg.): Letzte Ruhe
  • Ian J. Deary: Intelligenz – eine sehr kurze Einführung
  • Rich Wilson: Lifting Shadows
  • Keith DeCandido: The Zoo Job
  • Detlev H. Rost: Handbuch Intelligenz
  • Dieter E. Zimmer: Ist Intelligenz erblich? Eine Klarstellung
  • Dar Williams: Lights, Camera, Amalee
  • Christoph Weißenfels: Ischen Impossible
  • Timothy Zahn: Erben des Imperiums
  • Jack Ritchie: Für alle ungezogenen Leute
  • Frederick Forsyth: Die Todesliste
  • Paul McAuley: The Quiet War
  • Michael Marten: Drei Klausuren und ein Todesfall
  • Isaac Asimov: Ich, der Robot
  • Helen Fielding: Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Chris Hadfield: Anleitung zur Schwerelosigkeit: Was wir im All fürs Leben lernen können
  • Simon Garfield: On the Map
  • Timothy Gowers: Mathematik
  • Marc Lindemann: Unter Beschuss
  • Friedrich Dürrenmatt: Romulus der Grosse
  • Neil LaBute: The Mercy Seat

Dota live in Saarbrücken – eins der letzten großen Abenteuer unser Zeit

Dota Kehr spielte heute Abend zusammen mit Gitarrist und Kleininstrumentebediener Jan Rohrbach im kleinen Club der Garage in Saarbrücken. Es war ein hinreißender Auftritt voller Spiel- und Wortwitz. Grob geschätzt 150 Leute füllten den Raum gut, so dass den gesamten Abend über eine gemütliche Atmosphäre herrschte. In diesem Rahmen wurden zwischendurch auch zahlreiche neue Stücke zum Besten gegeben. Jedes einzelne davon gehörte zu den Höhepunkten des Auftritts. Entsprechend erwarte ich nun ungeduldig das nächste Album, wann immer es rauskommen wird. Passend dazu lud Dota zum dazugehörigen Crowdfunding auf die altmodische Art ein, sprich zum Kauf ihrer bisherigen Alben.

Aus ihrem bisherigen Schaffen wählte die auch als Kleingeldprinzessin bekannte Sängerin neben den meisten Stücken des aktuellen Albums “Wo soll ich suchen” allerlei Perlen, bei denen häufig Mitsingen angesagt war (“Kein Morgen”, “Ohrsteckermädchen”, “Astronaut”). Das Schöne dabei ist natürlich, dass die Musik kein plattes “We Will Rock You” war, sondern hochmelodische Liedermacher-Stücke mit peppigen Jazz- und Folk-Einflüssen. Jan Rohrbach unterlegte die Musik mit herrlichen Klangfarben, so dass der Auftritt nicht so eindimensional wie Lagerfeuermusik wirkte. Gleichzeitig haftete den Liedern kein unnötiger Ballast an, also kein wummernder Bass, keine hektische Lichtshow, keine Multimedia-Spielerein. Einfach gute Musik!

Die eigenwillige Stilkombination spiegelte sich auch im Publikum wider, in dem sich diverse Generationen und Geschlechter tummelten. Zwischen den Stücken entwickelte sich der Running Gag vom letzten großen Abenteuer unserer Zeit, das den Scorpions zufolge der Rock’n’Roll sein soll. So wurden dann Autobahnraststätten, Bonustracks, Mitschnipsen und Wackelkontakte zum letzten großen Abenteuer unserer Zeit gekürt, sehr zur Erheiterung aller Beteiligten. Dieser Leichtigkeit, dieser Freude stand in der Musik meist eine gewisse Melancholie gegenüber. Genau diese Mischung empfinge ich gerade jetzt noch einmal. Denn einerseits habe ich die schönen Erinnerungen an das Konzert, dem trotz Deutschem Kleinkunstpreis irgendwie der Geheimtipp-Charakter anhaftete. Andererseits möchte ich die Freude teilen, also der Welt diese faszinierenden Lieder über das verwürschte Leben nahebringen, auf dass Dota goldene Schallplatten bekommt und die Welt ein besserer Ort wird.

Übrigens brauchte Dota an diesem Abend noch nicht einmal darauf hinweisen, dass Fotografieren und Filmen während des Auftritts störend ist. Alle lauschten gebannt und niemand fuchtelte mit seinem Handy in der Luft herum. Sehr löblich! Hier noch die gespielte Setlist:

  1. Hoch oben
  2. Sommer
  3. Warten auf Wind
  4. Neues Lied (Da ist ein Monster…)
  5. Die alte Piratin
  6. Das Wesen der Glut
  7. Im Tausch
  8. Neues Lied (Ich hab die Blumen weggeworfen und die Katze verschenkt)
  9. Risse
  10. Neues Lied (Geld verdirbt den Charakter)
  11. Neues Lied (Bald fang ich wieder an zu kiffen)
  12. Neues Lied (Ich meld mich ab / Erdenbewohnerin / Es gibt Grenzen)
  13. Bis auf den Grund
  14. Kein Morgen
  15. So gut riechst du
  16. Ohrsteckermädchen
  17. Du musst dich nicht messen
  18. Konfetti
  19. Wo soll ich suchen
  20. Utopie
  21. Astronaut
  22. Alles Du

Lieder, die Phrasenmäher covern sollten

Phrasenmäher sind gerade beim Crowdfunden. Im Angebot gibt es dabei die mir liebe Option eines Cover-Songs, der im konkreten Fall preislich sogar im Rahmen des moralisch Vertretbaren liegt. Seit einigen Wochen (!) hirne ich nun, welches Lied ich wählen soll. Hier ist meine vorläufige Kandidatenliste:

  1. WIZO: “Brief/Telefon/Tür” – Eigentlich mein Favorit, aber das “Arschloch” im Refrain könnte deplaziert wirken. Wobei die Band stattdessen natürlich “Gänseblümchen” singen könnte oder “Angela Merkel”.
  2. Martin Sommer: “Drachen” – Sehr Liedermacher-ig, aber eben textlich nah an dem Charme von Phrasenmäher.
  3. Reinhard Mey: “Vernunft breitet sich aus über die Bundesrepublik Deutschland” – Ich mag die Live-Version viel lieber als das Studio-Original. Vielleicht würde die Band hier eine spannende Version kreieren.
  4. Reinhard Mey: “Zwei Hühner auf dem Weg nach Vorgestern” – Diese Stück dürfte auch 40 Jahre nach seinem Erscheinen pfiffig und heiter klingen.
  5. Alphaville: “Leben ohne Ende” – Obskure Mischung aus gutem Pop und futuristischem Text. Glaube ich.
  6. WIZO: “Anruf” – Tolle Melodien, kein Sinn im Text, ja, das würde ich gerne mal in einer Bandversion hören.
  7. Jutze: ??? – Oder vielleicht einen Song von mir? Ach nein, das ist zu narzistisch, zumal ich auch keinen passenden zur Hand habe. (“Fremde Leute”, ein bislang unveröffentlichtes 52-Sekunden-Lied wäre nett, aber ja, nett eben.)

Meet Pottörhead

Pottörhead is late to the party that is wizard rock (wrock). Pottörhead will face the challenge and drink up all the leftovers before diving head first into the pool. Crap, there was no water in the pool.

Anyway, here comes the “Happy Dementor“!

Conference Preparations

The German psychological association (DGPS) is holding its biannual conference next week. I will be there, giving a talk on Wednesday. This means that earlier this year I submitted an abstract, looked for funding, and registered. As always, it has been a long process with many gaps in between. Here is a – possibly incomplete – list of my preparations a few days before the actual event.

  • Compile the actual talk, practice the talk on my own (10 minutes), give the talk to members of our department (9 minutes 40 seconds).
  • Send slides to the organizers, back-up slides on two USB sticks as well as in my email account.
  • Be annoyed that slides are seemingly mandatory.
  • Buy train ticket.
  • Read the program, select interesting talks, compile a preliminary list of sessions to attend.
  • Get an impression of the conference site by looking at maps, if necessary print maps.
  • Check the local public transport system, print out timetables, if necessary obtain taxi phone numbers.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Make a packing list, take as little with me as possible, bring my conference ticket.
  • Print out the trivia like the city’s Wikipedia page for on board entertainment if travelling in a group.

Reading through this list I realize two things.

  1. This doesn’t look like a lot of preparation to me. Yet, I’ve often found myself being better prepared than most others.
  2. Maybe I should print out a set of my slides just in case.

Envisioning My Crowdfunding Campaign

If I were to run a crowd funding campaign for one of my musical endeavours, here are some likely perks (gosh, I hate this word):

  • Music as download (5$?)
  • Music as download and on CD (15$?)
  • Music as download, bonus music as download (20$?)
  • Music as download and on CD, bonus music as download (30$?)
  • Music as download and on CD, bonus music as download, Manticess – God Save the Writer CD (from 2010), Jutze – Vivien CD (from 1999) (50$?)
  • Music as download and on CD, bonus music as download, original hand-written lyrics to a Jutze of your choice (subject to availability; these are the lyrics written during the song writing process, each sheet is unique; some songs had no written lyrics, some were lost) (50$?)
  • Music as download and on CD, bonus music as download, plus I write and record a 52-second song about a topic of your choice (restrictions apply) (60$?)

Depending on the production, I might also add some sort making of footage, maybe for free, maybe via link in the CD, maybe a separate DVD (including some live songs?)