Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pi Day

Today is March 14th, which can also be written as 3/14 or 3.14. This gets nerds all uppity because 3.14 are the first digits of the Mathematical constant Pi or π. Back in my High School days, at New York's finest Science and Math institution, this was more of a holiday to us than Columbus Day or even Festivus.

Today's song is definitely the most sensual recitation of a stream of numbers that I have ever heard. The  video has been spliced it up with scenes from the movie, Pi (some of which was shot on the block where I grew up) which is a pretty interesting film if you ever want to check it out. Just listening to the sounds of the pretty weird & weirdly pretty singer Kate Bush sing pure numbers really shows her dynamite range. Not a bad start if you want to further explore her catalog.

Click to make this Pi(e)

Kate Bush - Pi (π)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Blind Benny

Blind Benny is one of my favorite up-and-coming bands working the New York City scene right now. The brainchild of the gorgeous and talented Jade<3 and the equally gorgeous and talented Jonathan Carmelli.  Tomorrow, March 13th, the duo brings their celestial melodies to the Bowery Electric (Click here for tickets), where they will add to their sonic artistry by playing with a full band. This weekend I was able to speak with Guitarist/Composer/Arranger/Producer/Grassroots Every-Man  Jonathan Carmelli and ask him a few questions about where Blind Benny comes from and where they think its going.

Jonathan Carmelli and Jade<3 
EDAS: Last time we spoke, you guys were performing as Jade<3. Nowadays, you guys are known as Blind Benny. Other than your moniker, what has changed over the last year? 

BB: A lot has changed actually, and its evident on our new EP. With "No Honor" we have basically gone organic. No electronic instruments were used on the whole project, so as a result the new EP is warm and kind of timeless.

EDAS: That seems to be a sensible process considering many bands spend hours synthesizing in post production to get that "wall of sound," reverb-heavy, ambient thang that is so prevalent these days.

BB: Well, with our last EP we started a sound that we would like to continue and hone. Its like half electronic half organic. Ideally, we would love to marry the two and take it to the next level. With this record our primary focus was to make it scalable. We really wanted the songs to feel the same when we play live regardless if there are 2 of us or a whole band like there will be on Tuesday. Every song on this EP started with just a bare bones vocal and acoustic guitar track and grew from there.
EDAS: Being a twosome, how does the creative process go down?

BB: We are both coming at music from two different angles: I am coming from an alternative, rock, pop perspective and Jade<3 comes from the urban, pop, r&b world. We just write it up and whatever happens, happens. I may come up with an idea that is mostly rock, but when Jade<3 takes it she spins in the total opposite direction. The only place that we really meet creatively is with Pop. Jade<3 melodies and lyrics are always catchy and have great hooks and I tend to want to make the production tell that story simultaneously.

Finally I asked Jonathan, a fellow student of the world of music who emphasizes his versatile guitar playing, what he is able to contribute specifically. “My goal as a musician, producer, and band member is always, ‘How do I make this better?’ not ‘How to I inject myself into this?” and since Jade<3 already has her own unique sound, its easy to achieve."
Blind Benny

Directly below you can expierence for yourself the magic of Blind Benny. Come on through to the Bowery Electric tomorrow and see this great band play "No Honor" and just plain tear it up on the Lower East Side. If you can't make it, get their music and follow them on twitter to find out where and when they play next. Hope to see you guys there tomorrow night, I'll be there fo sho. Word is they go on at 9pm.

Blind Benny - No Honor

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Help Is On The Way

Don Robinson, sometimes known as the Rapping Bum, was a fixture of the, THE Ohio State Campus, walking up and down High Street amongst the studious ebb and raucous flow of young Buckeyes.  Some say he had been rapping up and those streets for over 20 years. That's so long, I actually wonder whether his mind began to process in rhyme. After he obtained enough money to buy food, I wonder if he ordered like that. It would probably prove difficult after a while, I mean what rhymes with Burrito?

It turned out he definitely wasn't a bum, technically he was a busker; and he had a home and from what I hear, a family. You could call him an independent artist who brought his music directly to the consumer on an intimate and high volume basis. Basically he walked up and down the street rhyming until you gave him money. He wasn't half bad either... Maybe in terms of true rapping, his flow lacked a little versatility; but in some ways, his throwback style of heroic couplets was a nod to Shakespeare.

The last time I saw Don Rob was at the day of my graduation. I knew I was coming back to New York City long-term so I just stood there, basking in his near-endless stream of street poetry. He touched on such varied and intellectual topics as sports, the economy, local cuisine, weather, politics, science, chivalry and Michigan Sucking. After what might have actually been 4 or 5 minutes, I slapped the few bills I had in my pocket into his hand and said, "Thanks." Regardless of what mood you were in, if you just failed a test, or got rejected at a raging kegger, somehow... just hearing his signature line, "Help is on the way" seemed to make it all better.

Word comes from C-bus that Don Robinson passed away this week, coincidentally during the same week of Biggie's Death 15 years ago. After scouring the internet I was able to find a youtube video of someone claiming to have bought one of his CD's. Obviously this song is called "Help is on the Way." Feels great to hear it one last time.

RIP Don, your help was always appreciated.

Don "The Rapping Bum" Robinson - Help Is On The Way