Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The 2012 Musical Advent Calendar 

In the past I’ve made physical Advent Calendars packed with chocolates and occasionally a fun surprise, but I was never satisfied with the lack of craftsmanship or could never find a reasonably simple method of manufacture. This year, I’m embracing the virtual and hopefully virtuous.
“The World's Only Musical Advent Calendar that has hardly anything to do with Advent, Christmas or calendars.”

Here's the Playlist. Download it here. (122 MB. If using iTunes, import the tracks as you normally do and import the XML file as a playlist.)

The Passion According to Saint Mark: Death
Okay. You got me. The first track is an Easter theme. Think of it like a movie where they show the ending in the first two minutes, then spend the rest of the film tracing how we got there.

Anni Rossi
Anni Rossi's voice is as sweet as an Absinthe soaked sugar cube. This song seems turned on its head by a female vocalist and Rossi sounds vulnerable (and a little crazy) which is the complete opposite of Chrissie Hynde's version.

The Black Angel's Death Song
The Velvet Underground
Velvet Underground sound like the sort of band that really would influence everyone from Dylan, Bowie or The Stones in this track. That's the kind of gift that keeps on giving.

Life on Mars
David Bowie
You fell to Earth and landed in an orchestra pit without damaging your timpani. Luckily, you are David Bowie. The maestro counts you in and you start to sing…

I understand there are many talented performers who could write and sing the next Bond theme, but why in the name of all that is true in the Universe hasn't Goldfrapp ever been chosen. Probably because it would be too perfect, and such perfection on Earth would anger somebody's god somewhere.

My Moon My Man
If you are the satellite that moves the tides of Feist, then you probably deserve a song.

Come here. No, closer. Lean in. I have something I want to whisper in your ear. Shhh, quiet. Do you hear that? Of course, I can. You made me turn up the volume, then you cranked that song? Jerk.

It's Only a Paper Moon
Morgana King
It's only a paper moon, sailing over a cardboard sea… I always imagine one of those fantastically cheap and magical backdrops from countless Hollywood musicals whenever I hear this song. For some reason, it also suspends my dislike of the xylophone for about three minutes.

Sail to the Moon
Poor Moon, why does everyone think they can just hop on some kind of interstellar junk and float off to your silvern shores? There must be more abandoned sail craft between here and the Moon than between Cuba and Miami.

Red Sun
Final Fantasy
Tinkly tinkly tinkly keyboards. Like Marley's chains clinking up the stairs, here comes Owen Pallet. I have no idea what a single Final Fantasy song is about but I still want to be in that movie.

Night and Day
Thelma Grayson
Thematic necessity, plus it classes up this joint. Don't forget to tip your server.

Gilberto Gil and Jorge Ben
This is the only song in the history of the world that I want to be 11 minutes longer.

Lianne La Havas
I sometimes lie on the chesterfield and pretend Lianne La Havas wrote this song about our lurid and inappropriate affair.

Slippery When Wet
The Acorn
Shouldn't a song titled "Slippery When Wet", be, like, a Whitesnake song or something?

Sunshine Snare Hits
Chad Van Gaalen
Did you know Chad Van Gaalen makes all of his own instruments? No? But it makes sense after hearing this, right?

Lydia the Tattooed Lady
Groucho Marx
Nonsense. Absolute nonsense. The anatomy of this woman is impossibly convoluted.

In Particular
This song is in French, thus it is urbane and sexy sounding. Surprisingly, it's about irritable bowel syndrome. Sexy, urbane IBS.

Beyond Belief
Elvis Costello
If I had a time machine, first I'd kill Hitler (happy?), then I'd bring Elvis Costello back and introduce him to Elvis Costello.

Hwe Towe Hun
T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo
T.P. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo are having a party. I'm standing outside their place with some friends and we are dying to get in. My buddy's older cousin said he could get us in. He never shows. We leave and walk home dejected until we start singing this song, making up lyrics because we have no idea what it is about. It's the only thing we remember about that night.

The Outer Skin
The Hope Blister
Wait. Is that Kate Bush? No? Really? It should be. Why isn't it? Maybe this tune sounds a little like the soft, Euro-ethereal-pop of Enya but it stuck in my head.

Outta My Control
Fjord Rowboat
Surprise. "Shoe Gazer" rock from Toronto. I think they are just looking at a pedal board, not their shoes, but who can say?

Oh Kesario Hazari Gul Ro Phool
Daoud Langa
Oh man. I got so drunk last night. At one point I ended up in the middle of this crazy whirling dervish / gyspy (okay, "Roma") party. There was this little girl who belted out this song. I asked someone what it was called, but they handed me a bottle wrapped in rattan and that's the last thing I remember.

Delibes: Lakmé – Viens, Mallika, les lianes en fleurs ... Dôme épais, le jasmin
That's a rather long title for what is more commonly known as the Flower Duet. I know that this aria is so often used in film that it's become cliché. I call bull crap on that. Calling something this beautiful cliché would be like calling a sunset cliché or oh I don't know, the Grand Canyon. What is cliché is that I love this piece without knowing a damn thing about it.

Of course, I turned to Wikipedia:
“Nilakantha's daughter Lakmé (which derives from the Sanskrit Lakshmi) and her servant Mallika are left behind and go down to the river to gather flowers where they sing the famous "Flower Duet." As they approach the water at the river bank, Lakmé removes her jewellery and places it on a bench. A party of British officers, Frederic and Gérald, arrive nearby while on a picnic with two British girls and their governess. The British girls see the jewellery and request sketches: Gérald volunteers to stay and make sketches of the jewellery. He sees Lakmé and Mallika returning and hides. Mallika leaves Lakmé for a while; while alone Lakmé sees Gérald and, frightened by the foreigner's incursion, cries out for help. However, simultaneously, she is intrigued and so she sends away those who had responded to her call for help when they come to her rescue. Lakmé and Gérald begin to fall in love with each other. Nilakantha returns and learns of the British officer's trespassing and vows revenge on him for his affront to Lakmé's honour.”

Front Row Centre with Thaddeus Bristow
David Sedaris
David Sedaris reminds grade school children what theatre criticism is all about. Shall it be noted, that this is the only Christmas track that appears in the Advent Calendar. Job done.

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