Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Thursday, March 19th, 2015

Music: 06 Bluegrass, Beehives and Beautiful Ignorance

Adventures in Music

The Osbourne Brothers

Back in the sixties, there was an explosion of bluegrass festivals- gatherings of fans and musicians in an open air venue to relax and enjoy music together. They were informal affairs. People would bring a picnic lunch and lawn chairs and sit in the sunshine enjoying The Dillards, the Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs or Roy Acuff. The performers even encouraged fans to bring along reel to reel tape recorders, and you can find hundreds of these incredible live recordings circulating in the mp3 trading newsgroups.

This clip comes from another “must have” DVD that vividly captures that exciting scene… Bluegrass Country Soul.

The Osbourne Brothers: “Rocky Top”, “Ruby”

When I watch this clip, I’m transported to another time and another place. Those beehive hairdos would be hilarious in any other context, but here they seem right at home. A lot of hipsters look down their nose and make fun of “hicks” and “trailer trash”, but I see great beauty in this stuff.

My friend John K once described this old time country music to me as “beautiful ignorance: the high lonesome sound of an injured animal all alone in the woods, not knowing why he hurts or whether it will ever stop.” My God! My heart stopped when he said that. Beautiful ignorance! What a wonderful way of putting it.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Adventures in MusicAdventures in Music

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Adventures in Music.

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Music: 05 A Scenester and a Square

Adventures in Music

Frank Oz and Jim Henson with Rowlf

Music isn’t intended to be kept to yourself. You have to share it. I love chatting about music with my friends and getting excited about new discoveries. It’s a lot of fun. It’s clear that the folks in this clip feel the same way.

Jimmy Dean and Jim Henson’s Rowlf, “You Are My Sunshine”

I mentioned before how upset I was to find out that “The Jimmy Dean Show” DVDs were out of print. It was a really important show- the first country-western music show in prime time. But it was also the first nationwide TV series to feature Jim Henson’s Muppets.

This clip is brilliant. Henson is a drop-dead genius. Since he passed away, the spark of life and vivid spontaneity of the Muppets’ performances have faded away with him. The characters all seem to be lip syncing to a prerecorded track now. But it wasn’t always that way. Look at the brilliant feeling of ad-lib and give and take between Rowlf and Jimmy Dean in this clip. Also, keep in mind that the puppet is operated by two people- Henson operates the mouth and one hand and his wife operates the other hand. The complexity of co-ordinating that sort of co-operative performance is totally erased by the vivid performance. Animators can learn a lot from puppeteers when it comes to creating a living, breathing character.

The best way to learn about music is to hang out with people who know more about it than you do. A lot of my best friends are musicians and I’m constantly learning new things from them. Music sure is fun, isn’t it?

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Adventures in MusicAdventures in Music

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Adventures in Music.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Music: 04 Rhythmic Innovations

Adventures in Music

Dave Brubeck
(Cover by Artzybasheff)

One of the things about “bad” music that drives me up the wall is unimaginative rhythm… boom, boom, boom… everything on the same beat… sequencers repeating the same simple patterns over and over again with no variation. It’s downright inhuman. That said, most popular music from the past 100 years or so seems to invariably fall into standard 4/4 time. The interest is created by the way the musicians work around that familiar beat.

But some musicians go further… In rock music, Frank Zappa experimented with all kinds of time signatures and musical forms. In Jazz, the innovator of this unique concept was Dave Brubeck. Brubeck’s album “Time Out” had music in a variety of time signatures, none of them typical. It’s probably his most famous album- odds are you already have it.

Dave Brubeck Quartet (with Paul Desmond) live in Belgium 1964

Animators can fall into rhythmic ruts too. It’s hard to create a spontaneous and textured performance by plugging together the same old formulas over and over. Some of the most original animators, like Jim Tyer, never approached the same action or pose the same way twice in their entire career. For them, forcing themselves to do something they had already done before was impossible.

If you love jazz as much as I do, get over to Amazon and get a pile of the Naxos Jazz Icons DVDs. They’re incredible.

Stephen Worth
Director
Animation Resources

Adventures in MusicAdventures in Music

This posting is part of a series of articles comprising an online exhibit entitled Adventures in Music.