floatingleaf: (hutz)
Still working on updating my music collection. <3 Yesterday, I accidentally discovered this glorious piece of insanity:



Goran Bregovic, better known as an international film score composer than as a former rocker from the former Yugoslavia, in cooperation with Eugene Hutz, best known as the Ukrainian Gypsy punk rocker from New York.:D I had no idea they wrote (and performed) two songs together - though they are obviously a perfect artistic match, in many ways. Too bad they didn't do an entire album...

I'm too tired for a proper post tonight, but I just wanted to share this, because it made me LOL and basically turned a gray, murky December Sunday into a world music dance party.:) If you are too new to this journal to remember any of my enthusiastic posts about Hutz and his band Gogol Bordello, just take my word for this right now: I am a HUGE fan. *points at icon* ;D

(And a link to their website, just because: http://www.gogolbordello.com/)
floatingleaf: (gothic)
So, like I mentioned, several of my favorite musicians have new albums available for download on Soundike.com. One of them is Mirel Wagner. Her first album came out a few years ago, and captivated me instantly with its unique style. This - second one - is even better. She is clearly maturing as an artist, honing her seemingly effortless ability to create a powerful atmosphere with very minimalist arrangements (in most of the songs, the only two instruments you hear are her deep velvet voice and an acoustic guitar). She is, without question, my favorite type of singer/songwriter: one who can tell rich, complex stories with very few words. A true poet of amazing depth. Fortunately, I found some clips on YouTube, so I can illustrate my point.:) Here's a live performance from a Seattle radio station:



This is actually one of the "happier" songs on this album. A few others are very, very dark (just like on the first one). Looking at that fresh, young face, you can't help but wonder how she can possibly have lived long enough to have such intimate knowledge of so many aspects of human suffering. But since I have come to believe in reincarnation (and I have; which probably deserves a whole separate post, much like several other topics I haven't had a chance to touch upon in this journal so far), I can only conclude that she is an old soul.:)

Case in point - another excerpt from the same live performance:



And one more. Just a sweet little lullaby... or is it? More of a seductive epitaph, perhaps. At any rate - two minutes you will never forget:

floatingleaf: (crave)
This is just a FYI post. I have a new favorite singer. Wendy Rule. She's from Australia, and her music is simply magical. To quote her official website: Wild, passionate and empowering, Australian Visionary Songstress Wendy Rule, weaves together music, story and ritual to take her audience on an otherworldly journey of depth and passion. Drawing on her deep love of Nature and lifelong fascination with the worlds of mythology and Magic, Wendy’s songs combine irresistible melodies with rich aural textures and a rare personal honesty to create spiritual music. For once, this marketing blurb actually doesn't exaggerate.:) Here's a sample:



Just listen to THAT VOICE. It's fucking intoxicating. And some of her songs truly are a religious experience. She has a whole album titled Meditations on the Four Elements, which consists of precisely that: deeply calming, atmospheric soundtracks for the contemplation of air, fire, water and earth. Funny I should discover that just as I am beginning to explore my own interest in meditation and pagan spirituality. I wasn't necessarily looking for a guru or priestess... but it looks like I might have found one anyway.:P
floatingleaf: (violinist lestat)
Looks like it's been a while since I went crazy over a music band. I don't usually click "play" when people post music videos on Tumblr... but I did this time, and it was a case of instant fascination. The band is called Huldre. They play Scandinavian folk metal, and they're from Denmark. Their debut album, Intet Menneskebarn, was released in 2012. They don't seem to be well known outside of Europe, since my initial Google search didn't bring up much... but eventually I found their website: http://www.huldre.dk. You can listen to a few tracks for free on there, if you're interested. Strangely enough, I couldn't even find them on iTunes - until I clicked on the iTunes link from the band's website. That's when their album suddenly turned up in the store. It has now been purchased, downloaded and synced to my iPod - presumably to be played to death over the next few days.:)

So what's so special about this band? To me, it's mostly the vocals. Or, rather, the perfect harmony between the vocals and the instrumental arrangements. In a lot of similar bands, the overall effect tends to be ruined (for me, at least) by a male vocalist who shrieks as though he was being flayed alive. Here we have a strong, powerful, but clear female voice with amazing range, carrying gorgeous melodies that enhance the primal sound of traditional instruments (the hurdy-gurdy OMG). It's pure folk, served in metal sauce.:) Not the other way around. So, high points from me. Oh, and the lyrics are in Danish, too - which, again, sounds more authentic than the ubiquitous (and often poorly translated) English. Very refreshing.;)

In other random announcements, the new conditioner I just bought at Whole Foods (Nutrafix Hair Reconstructor by Giovanni) makes my hair look AWESOME. Now all I need is a facelift... and I can almost forget which birthday I celebrated last week.:D

Oh, and my most popular piece of Aragorn/Legolas fanfic on AO3 has reached over 3,000 hits. I mean... I can't even. I thought LOTR fandom was mostly dead by now, except for the dwarves. Just knowing that people still read A/L so much makes me almost wish I could write it again... *nostalgic sigh*

And just a tiny reminder to self before I sign off: never ever boast of the fact that your sinuses have cleared. You should know by now that as soon as you say that, they instantly become congested again. It's either due to the cold, or the heat, or the humidity, or the change of seasons, or the dust, or the pollen, or any other random trigger you can think of. There is always SOMETHING. Boil or freeze, rain or shine, the mucus production never stops. It's a fact of life. Get used to it. *weary sigh*
floatingleaf: (music)
OK... here goes another Muse video. This one is actually fan-made, and it won a competition launched by the band. Pure genius. I couldn't resist sharing.



This is how the world works, and it needs to end. That is all.
floatingleaf: (Rossetti with harp)
You know how YouTube would "suggest" similar videos to the ones you're watching? Even if they're not really similar? In this case, there was one feature in common: the song was in French.:) I clicked on the pretty girl out of pure, shallow curiosity... and boom. Her voice pierced my insides with inconsolable longing.;) She sounds almost too angelic, too perfect, to the point where it borders on the saccharine... almost. But not quite. Or it doesn't quite cross that line for me, at any rate. You're welcome to judge for yourselves:



Wikipedia says she's a French singer, born in Paris, but of Algerian, Indian, Cambodian AND Egyptian descent. Ooookay. Sounds pretty uncommon - which is right up my alley. I just downloaded the full album (which appears to be her first one) from Soundike.com for $1.20. And it's all enchanting. They classify her as "Oriental pop" or "R&B", which sort of fits in places - but for the most part, I would say she's a French version of Enya.:) Which, from me, is a compliment.

Don't mind me, btw. I frequently self-medicate with music. I seem to be going through a French phase at the moment. It may or may not be coincidental. And just because I gush over something like a giddy schoolgirl, I am not automatically happy - but I am coping, and that is good enough for now.
floatingleaf: (music)
I wasn't planning on another post this weekend. But I must have spent hours today stalking this Stromae guy all over YouTube... and I absolutely HAVE to share this video. It's got to be one of my favorite songs of all time. Like, on my personal Top 40... or something. The amount of raw emotion this guy puts into his voice gives me the shakes. And there are English lyrics provided... which adds a whole another layer of awesome. <333



Of course, it's a heartwrenching song about a breakup. I have always had a soft spot for those. Or at least since my mid-twenties. Can't think of why..... *massive snort*
floatingleaf: (bridge)
So, I spent most of yesterday with the two friends mentioned in one of my recent posts, playing tourists in our own city. First we went to the Art Institute of Chicago, for the Magritte exhibition. I hadn't been to the Art Institute since 2006, so I took my time revisiting the permanent exhibits as well. There is a ton of interesting stuff to see in that place. We were there for a good few hours... Then we had late lunch/early dinner at the famous Exchequer Restaurant, which is nearby. After that, we strolled towards Lake Michigan and settled ourselves on the waterfront to wait for the 4th of July fireworks display. Which wasn't as grand as we expected, but still... I had never actually been to the official Navy Pier 4th of July fireworks, so there goes one item to check off the list of obligatory things to do in Chicago.;) After the show we all needed to use the loo, and there were no public restrooms nearby... so we went to the Miller Pub (another famous Chicago landmark) for desserts. I had an obscenely giant piece of tiramisu (which both my friends were happy to help me conquer, LOL) - and Agnes had a shot of cinnamon-flavored whiskey, which we also shared (it went perfectly well with the cake, I might add). By the time I got home, it was well past midnight...

I do hope we are going to get together more often in the near future. It feels good to hang out with people who pretty much take you as you are, with no veiled judgments or unrealistic expectations. Yes, we are all middle-aged women with various silly quirks and a lot of baggage. We are far from perfect and we know it - but we respect one another. No ego trips, power games or high drama acts in sight. What you see is what you get, from each of us. I always appreciated that, I think... but now I appreciate it more. For reasons, as some people like to say. *wry smirk*

Oh, and my friend Adriana introduced me to this awesome singer/songwriter/performer from Belgium - Stromae. He sounds like a modern, gender-fluid version of Jacques Brel. Simply delectable:

floatingleaf: (meadow)
I just realized I never finished my 30-day-meme - the one I've been doing, on and off, since 2010 - and there is only ONE topic left to finish it, and it just so happens that the topic fits with something I felt like sharing anyway. So, in the vein of happy coincidences, there you go.

Day 30 – One last moment, in great detail )

On an unrelated note (or perhaps not really), I have been rediscovering one of my favorite bands. The Waterboys. I just realized I only had an old, creaky cassette tape with some tracks from that legendary first album, Fisherman's Blues. So I looked them up on my fave download site (Soundike.com), and found a few gorgeous songs I had never heard before. Including this one:



I have a feeling a few people on my flist might really love it.:D

And another one - a live performance this time, because it's amazingly vibrant in this particular clip:



The sensual and the spiritual, combined. The very essence of the universe. I must be attracting some incredibly good energies lately for some reason...;)
floatingleaf: (vampire OTP)
We had another massive snowstorm last Tuesday night. So massive, in fact, that I didn't make it to work on Wednesday morning. Public transit just wasn't up to the task. *sigh* I did make it two thirds of the way there, eventually, but then was faced with the exciting prospect of waiting about an hour for the next bus... and so I hopped on the train back home instead.;P At that point, I was able to say that I had made and HONEST EFFORT, and felt no guilt about enjoying an unexpected day off.:D Which was, incidentally, a blessing, because I'd been up until about 2 a.m. the previous night. Unintentionally, of course - it's never intentional with me, I swear. It just HAPPENS. The fandom discussion on Dreamwidth was just too stimulating... LOL. [livejournal.com profile] burnadette_dpdl can attest to that. We both happened to be participating at the same time, seeing each other's comments pop up as we refreshed the page... and so, inevitably, at some point around midnight I received a text message telling me that we really should go to sleep.:) To which I replied that I honestly had no CLUE how it got to be so late... or something to that effect, LOL. And that I had actually meant to go to bed early that night, not having slept too well the night before. To which I received the following reply: SAME HERE EXHAUSTED WANTED TO GO TO BED EARLY AND THEN I WAS HELPLESSLY AT THE MERCY OF THIS ADDICTION.:D So yeah... we took some time discussing this obvious problem we have, and other things. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (violinist lestat)
Well... looks like my obligatory weekend post will be very brief this time. I meant to make it last night, but somehow that didn't happen. What did happen was cooking, catching up with some comments, organizing iTunes playlists, and Tumblr. Today was laundry, more traipsing around the interwebs, and a pleasant phone chat followed by some texting. Anyway... the VC community over on Dreamwidth is livening up again, due chiefly to the fact that we are starting a group discussion of The Vampire Lestat next week. Yay!!! So I may be more active on there than I am on here from now on. Also, there may have been another bout of pseudo-RP going on via text message last Thursday, which became quite intense. In a good way. But we just got to the point where we had to stop. Uncharted territory... LOL.

So, that's my news in a nutshell. And before I sign off, here's a sample of my recent music discoveries. Or, to be precise, re-discoveries. I finally dug up some of the CD's with music saved from my old computer... and while I was at it, I downloaded a few more tracks by this awesome band. Artrosis. It's Polish black metal, or gothic metal, or darkwave... or whatever you wanna call it. In one word, it's beautiful. Seriously... check out the vocal. If there is a heaven, that's what the angelic choirs should sound like... for me, anyway.;)

floatingleaf: (violinist lestat)
Ahhh, Gods... life is a whirlwind of crazy at the moment. Work is getting hectic, and it shouldn't be, not at this time of year - I wasn't expecting that, and I do not approve. *scowls* We have a fucking PHONE CALL PROJECT (my favorite thing, right next to pushing a boulder up a steep hill, or poking myself in the eye with scissors, or... well, you get the picture). I may not actually feel suicidal because of it... but I am certainly pissed off. I almost wish the boss hadn't returned to the office after her surgery; it was so blissfully quiet while she was gone...

That's the bad crazy. The good crazy is my new enthusiastic VC friend, who is almost single-handedly trying to revive the semi-catatonic fandom, and doing a pretty good job of it, too.;) Read more... )

Oh, and another thing before I sign off: I've been itching for some new music, and I've found a perfect cure for that particular affliction.:) Abney Park. As recommended by [livejournal.com profile] meathiel. I just finished downloading over 40 tracks from Soundike.com. They are AWESOME. I have a feeling I'll be playing them to death over the next few weeks...:D

Here's a lovely fanvid to illustrate my point:



So thanks again, Kerstin. And feel free to throw more recs at me, whenever. Your taste in music is exquisite...;)
floatingleaf: (rockstar lestat)
Again, just a brief check-in because I feel bad about not being a very active LJ-er of late. I do read my flist, by the way - but I'm afraid I won't be doing much commenting in the forseeable future, unless someone posts something that absolutely REQUIRES a comment. Like I mentioned before, there has been a lot going on at my favorite comm over on Dreamwidth; and I'd rather invest my time in keeping up with that, because that's where my heart is at the moment.:) Read more... )
floatingleaf: (migraine)
Okay. The weather continues to be ridiculously cold. It was supposed to get hot by tomorrow, but I don't see how that will happen (then again, for all I know it might, because nothing will surprise me anymore). I had some sort of crisis this morning where I just felt sick and tired of it all and utterly unable to make myself do anything. My energy levels were pitifully low, and the simplest everyday decisions seemed beyond my mental capacity. Yesterday I took care of laundry, so all I needed to do today was buy some groceries and fix some lunch food for work. But first I had to figure out WHAT I wanted to make. And I just couldn't decide, for the life of me. I paged through my entire cookbook collection, and somehow nothing seemed appealing. Besides, I was FREEZING and just didn't want to deal - so I burrowed under the duvet and just sulked at the universe for a while.;) Finally, late in the afternoon, I dragged myself out and purchased the ingredients for a light, quick and simple dish, which I then threw together. And that's it. All I've managed to do with my day. But at least I did SOMETHING... which in the morning didn't seem very likely to happen.

Btw, I just saw online that upstate New York had SNOWSTORMS this weekend. Yep. Snowstorms. On the last weekend of May. Bad enough that some highways had to close. No comments, really. Like I said, I've lost the capacity for shock. I'm just sort of blinking dazedly here. *blink blink*

Oh, and my allergies are beginning to escalate - which usually happens when the hot weather arrives. So perhaps this means it WILL be hot. Or perhaps it's just a belated reaction to the insane amounts of dust I must have breathed in while cleaning the place on Saturday (the floors were incredibly filthy, I have to admit). At any rate, I started taking Allegra again - which no doubt contributed to my general lack of energy.

Also, I was going to make some profound anniversary post to commemorate the TEN YEARS since I started this journal... but that would take way more time and brainpower than I seem to have at the moment.:/ So yeah... fail on that front as well. Maybe I'll manage to say something deep and inspiring when I reach my thousandth LJ entry.:) (Which will also happen very soon, btw.)

But before I sign off and burrow under the duvet again (which seems to be my favorite activity these days...), let me share the one thing that brought a smile to my face on this murky afternoon. Read more... )
floatingleaf: (dreamy)
Bullet point update, because that's all my grey matter seems capable of at the moment...

1) The weather keeps acting confused. It was really nice and warm for a few days, but then it got cold, wet and gloomy all over again.:/ Then the sun came out, but hasn't brought any warmth so far. I wore my winter jacket yesterday and today. Unsurprisingly, the heating in my building was turned off during those few warmer days - and I don't think it's coming back. It's nearly the middle of May, after all. Usually, they shut it off sometime in April. I have my little space heater on at the moment, but it isn't doing a hell of a lot to keep me warm...

2) I managed to injure myself in a really stupid way. I tore a strip of peeling dead skin off my left heel, exposing a raw, sensitive spot - which caused me to put my foot down sort of sideways for the next 2-3 days, in order to avoid putting too much pressure on that sensitive area. Which, in turn, resulted in somehow messing up my knee.:/ It doesn't quite hurt, but it feels slightly swollen, and decidedly less flexible than the right one. I can walk OK on a flat surface, but I am sort of limping while going up or down the stairs.:| By the way, this reminds me why I don't wear high heels; if I am unable to comfortably rest my body weight on my entire foot, my knees get fucked up. I'll be sure to keep that in mind as I get older... *scowls*

3) I just finished going through the entire discography of Charis Alexiou on Soundike.com. Took me close to a week. )
Charis
floatingleaf: (music)
Again, the weekend sort of ran away with me. But I've been extremely distracted. See, I am going through another massive mp3 download phase.:D It's almost like a sudden bout of crippling disease; I can go without purchasing any new music for months, but once I get started, I often end up discovering a dozen new bands/artists within a week, acquiring endless hours of downloads and basically just getting high on it all, to the point of teenage-like giddiness and prancing ridiculously around the room. *headshake* It's a good thing Soundike.com still sells mp3's for $0.15 per track.:) (Which is definitely one of the reasons behind my giddiness - there is practically no limit on how much music I can download at one go, LOL.) Btw, it all started with the promotion they had last weekend, where they temporarily lowered the price to $0.10 per track.:D Now they're back to $0.15, but I am on a roll, and I still have nearly 50 bucks in my account on there (the more money you load into it, the more extra credit they give you, so it really pays off to put in $50 or more at once, if you can afford it).

more music-related ramblings under the cut )
floatingleaf: (crave)
Ehhh... my brain is just not cooperating this weekend. I thought I had so much to say, and I was going to make a long post last night... and then it just didn't happen.:/ Could be because there was TOO MUCH going on through my mind. I am in a classic premenstrual state of frenetic mental overdrive and high-strung emotions, and I have those endless paralell monologues bursting out of my skull that just go *POOF* when I try to write them down.:/ If that makes sense. Or rather, I know it doesn't, but that's just how it is. *sigh*

So, first I wanted to write about how suddenly the weather changed and how absolutely lovely it was to walk outside without a jacket. Then I wanted to write about the movie I watched on Friday night, because it was epic, and Heath Ledger was in it, and he just absolutely blew my mind. But I just ended up going through his profile on IMDB, reading all the interview quotes, and getting all gushy and emotional and wanting to cry because he's dead. So then I just wanted to post some of the quotes, and talk about how awesome the guy was, and how he would have made an absolutely PERFECT Lestat if he'd had the chance. Because OMG I can't even. But then I got distracted, because my favorite mp3 download site had a promotion that ended this weekend, and I had been meaning to look for some new music... and before I knew it, I had acquired a brand new obsession. Voltaire. As in, Voltaire the musician. This guy: )
floatingleaf: (crave)
And now for something completely different. Here's what I accidentally discovered while looking up something online. A new promising talent on the European music scene. Ifi Ude. Born in Nigeria. Raised in Poland. Currently working on her first album. Btw, this video was produced - in Poland - by an avant-garde film company run by two sisters with obviously Vietnamese names. It's such a small world, non?... *blinks in amazement*



Looks like my old country is moving forward.:) This is the aesthetic of a new, colorful, multicultural universe. This is the future. Oh, and I love her voice, by the way. *hums along*
floatingleaf: (rockstar lestat)
Well, a few more things before the weekend's over. The next week will be more of the same at work, so I may not feel particularly chatty in the evenings. Just saying.

Also, I do recall wishing someone had written a story that would include "missing scenes" from Interview with the Vampire. Well... someone did. I am reading it right now. Read more... )

And before I sign off for the night, here's my latest music addiction. Linkin Park. Yes, I know. A bit of a departure for yours truly. I never quite expected to like something that even vaguely resembles rap... LOL. But here it is, and it seems perfectly attuned to my emotions of late. You know, acting all calm and collected at the office all day, while there is a veritable storm of insecurity and frustration raging inside... it feels more or less like what this song is about:



At any rate, it feels good to be expanding one's musical horizons.:) Not that there aren't a few absolutely gorgeous ballads on their latest album, Living Things. My favorite one is probably Roads Untraveled... but I couldn't find a video for it. Anyway... I'll shut up now, and go to bed at a reasonable hour for once. *yawns*
floatingleaf: (crave)
Looks like taking tomorrow off was a very smart move. That winter storm I mentioned... it's probably going to roll through the area sometime tonight/tomorrow morning. Today was just wet and dreary, for the most part, but now the wind is really picking up. No snow so far, but I can feel through the cracks in my ancient windowframes that the temperature is dropping. Freezing rain is definitely one of my LEAST favorite things to be outside in, so I'll be more than happy to stay home until it blows over. Grocery shopping can wait until Saturday, which is supposed to be sunny and dry. Tomorrow I'll probably clean the place, decorate my tree (my evergreen potted plant, that is, which does a pretty good job of pretending to be a Christmas tree - I wouldn't bother getting a "real" one, I have no room for it anyway), dye my hair (which is long overdue), watch a movie... Then, either on Sunday night or Monday morning, I'll be heading over to my parents' house for two days of appalling gluttony.;D I'll let you know how well my stomach handled it this time.:P

Also, did I mention I can hardly wait for my new Lacrimosa CD?... I have managed to resist downloading the album so far, but of course I've been listening to samples on their website, and checking out videos on YouTube. For some reason, they are immensely popular in Mexico (though not in the US, as far as I can tell) - so there's a ton of fanvids of their songs with Spanish subtitles. Here's one of them:



I know the English lyrics sound a little awkward at times - that's pretty much the only thing about Lacrimosa that's not utterly perfect to me, btw. They're probably trying to be more accessible to an international audience - but I think including English translations of the lyrics in their CD booklets (which they've always done) is more than good enough for that purpose. Besides, you don't really need to understand every word in order to appreciate the music. Personally, I'd rather understand less than listen to lyrics that obviously need some corrections. But I'm famous for being a grammar nazi.;P Btw, I feel the same way when Polish rock/metal bands try to sing in English, with mixed results. Sometimes their original lyrics are quite good and ambitious, while the English versions sound awkward and simplistic. How is that supposed to be helping the band's image? I have a feeling it's the same way with Lacrimosa - when I read the translations of the songs originally written in German, I can tell they have a lot of depth despite the linguistic imperfections; but the ones written and sung in English are not nearly as interesting. That's just the lyrics, though; the music is unfailingly gorgeus throughout, and in the end, that's what really matters...

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