Saturday, September 05, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 16. Strawberry fields forever/Penny Lane (Beatles)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #16, we find the Beatles, with the most impressive double A-side single of all time: Strawberry fields forever/Penny Lane (#1 in 1967). Both songs are as classic as they are different. Strawberry fields forever makes a strong claim to be one of the first prog rock hits. The theme of the song is that a lethargic, peaceful drugs-induced feeling is preferable to the harsh reality of the outside world. Musically, the song owes as much to producer George Martin as to Lennon itself. Lennon had composed and recorded two sections that did not fit together - so Martin slowed one portion down and sped up the other, and they miraculously fitted. To top it off, the song ends after a few seconds of silence with a stunningly original musique concrete style fragment. Less experimental than its flip side, the melodic stunner Penny Lane is one of the most beautiful songs that Paul ever composed. A little known detail is the sexual reference in the lyrics: the "fish and finger pie" segment, which is Liverpool slang for manual stimulation of as woman. It was sufficiently obscure to prevent the song from being banned from the airwaves though. Art Rock score for both: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, September 04, 2015

Impure by Brandon Seidler

Impure is an intriguing and important art project by American photographer Brandon Seidler. He shoots landscapes that have been affected by chemical pollution and then soaks the film in the same harmful chemicals that were found at the site. As usual, all rights retained by the artist.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

The basic truths of life

One of the best debut albums of the decade in my opinion. Singer/song writer Arlabecca (the artist name of Simone Lipschwitz from San Francisco) gives her comments on every day life hassles, from the banal to the profound. Always with great lyrics and haunting melodies, accompanied by her self on piano with a small jazz-style studio combo. Sample the title song on her Facebook page and you'll get a good impression of her style. Very highly recommended.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions: [1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Arlabecca. [2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album (from 2014 onward: any part of a random quotation will do). The random quote that came up was by Elizabeth Goudge: Most of the basic truths of life sound absurd at first hearing.. [3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Relaxed modelling, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Algerian 30 black and Corrina 50 red, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

The New Yorker turns 90

When the famous magazine The New Yorker turned 90 earlier this year, they had the brilliant idea to create a cover that is a modern age replica of the very first one.

web site

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Scream 4

Earlier this week, director Wes Craven passed away. In his memory, the best movie poster from his famous Scream series, the iconic mask doubling up as a knife from this angle. Rest in peace.

Monday, August 31, 2015

The British Library free images

Now here is a real treasure trove if you are looking for old images that are free of copyright: The British Library has started a Flickr site on which they have already uploaded over a million of such images. I link to the album page which gives a more ordered overview.

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Colourful water

A first for my wife and me (as Gallery LuS): by the end of this week, we will open the first exhibition that we have ever organized. 'Colourful water.....' is a solo exhibition of Cora Heerkens, whose work has featured before in this blog (here). We look forward to it!

Amazon

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Vogue September 1932

An early thirties' Vogue cover with a nice example of the Droste effect (the effect of a picture appearing within itself, in a place where a similar picture would realistically be expected to appear). No information on the designer unfortunately.

link

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 17. A whiter shade of pale (Procol Harum)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #17, we find Procol Harum's A whiter shade of pale. One of those songs everyone knows. Also one of those songs where the most outrageous wrong claims circulate on the internet. I wish I would get a euro for every time I have seen someone claim that this is a cover of Bach's Air. It is not, as a simple side-by-side comparison will show to anyone who has ears. The melody and the harmonies are akin to Bach though, and actually his Sleepers awake would be a stronger case to claim as an inspiration source. A world wide number one, and deservedly so. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, August 28, 2015

Curiosity

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced Photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member BrunoSousa for the Pixies 5 contest: creating scenes with wonderful mythical creatures. It is amazing how flawless the various sourced elements combine to a believable image - that incidentally would make a killer album cover for a seventies' style prog band. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Worth1000

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Splash

Another examples from my photography that shows that abstract images are almost everywhere. This one is just a splatter of paint on a white wall of a building under reconstruction. Perhaps not a personal favourite, but it got a good response on Flickr.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.0 mm
ISO Speed: 125
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Dream

One of the latest creations of my wife: mainly oil painting and a bit of mixed media on a round canvas. Once more an intriguing mixture of Western and Eastern influences.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

From Abe to Avshalomoff

In June 2015 I embarked on an ambitious project that will take me many years to complete: listen to each single classical music CD in my collection once again. I decided to take it a letter at a time, and I just finished the CD's of composers whose family name start with an A (image source). At the same time I made an overview of the CD's played, in a separate site (for the A, see here) - of course, compositions on CD's filed under composers with names not starting with A are not included yet. Neither are operas, that will be a separate undertaking.

This finished first part took the playing of 254 CD's, spread out over 63 composers. The 10 most represented composers starting with A in my collection turn out to be: Aho (Kalevi) 23; Alwyn (William) 22; Arnold (Malcolm) 22; Adams (John) 17; Atterberg (Kurt) 11; Arnell (Richard) 9; Arensky (Anton) 8; Alfven (Hugo) 7; Antheil (George) 7; Andriessen (Louis) 7. My favourite single composition in this batch would have to be Alwyn's harp concerto Lyra Angelica, my favourite CD is probably Malcolm Arnold's set of dances on Chandos. The most pleasant surprise was Arutiunian's violin concerto, the biggest disappointment (relatively) the seven CD's of Louis Andriessen's music. He is seen as a major figure, but his music does not appeal to me that much. I prefer his father Hendrik by far.

link

Monday, August 24, 2015

OrchestralPiece

My presence on Flickr has decreased dramatically in recent weeks, but this shot deserves more exposure. It was taken by my Flickr friend David Gumbrell (Auribins). Theme and variations would have been a good title as well. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 18. In the air tonight (Phil Collins)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #18, we find Phil Collins with In the air tonight (#1 in 1981). In hindsight it seems unbelievable how much progressive Genesis fans like me looked forward to the first solo album of Phil Collins. In the end, Face Value was disappointing, consisting mostly of straightforward pop songs, but the macabre hit single In the air tonight was of a much higher calibre. The song is rumored to be about a man who is drowning whilst another man watches without offering any aid, all of this being witnessed by Collins at a helpless distance. Actually, the song was symbolic for Collins' failing marriage. The instrumentation really makes it work, especially the drums that explode near its finale. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, August 21, 2015

Games without frontiers

Not one of Peter Gabriel's best singles to my taste, but a successful one, and the cover is excellent. It echoes the corresponding album cover (Peter Gabriel 3, "Melt"), and was undoubtedly also designed by Hipgnosis. More about Peter Gabriel on the linked Wikipedia page.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Shanghailus

An alternative site that should be interesting for those who would like to explore my wife's art beyond what I post in this blog. She recently started the site Shanghailus on Weebly, presenting her own views on her art. Clearly recommended.

web site

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The Dance September 1930

The magazine The Dance has featured a number of times already in this blog. Here we have another great Art Deco cover, with strong repetition and use of diagonal, The cover was designed by John Vassos.

link

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rolling Stone's 100 greatest songwriters of all time

Lists like "the 100 greatest songwriters of all time", recently published in an article by the Rolling Stone, will always be controversial. Overall they did a decent job though, although personally I still don't get the Dylan worshiping. Among the missing names, the ones that stick out most prominently for me are Tori Amos, Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. Still, fun to browse through.

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