I got mad when I heard about the breakup of the band Girls due to Christopher Owen’s leave. Not mad at him, but at myself. I regretted not seeing them live when they came to Argentina their one and only time. This sentiment carried on as I continued to think of of all the bands that have already gone past their time together. Here’s a short playlist of some of those bands I wish had never disappeared.
Nick Bertke, better known as “Pogo,” is making the kind of music that somehow manages to appeal to everyone’s imaginations. Having experimented with electronic music since he was ten years old, the Australian-born DJ goes back to his childhood and takes inspiration from the things he loved – musicals. From classics such as Mary Poppins and The King and I, to modern day movies like Harry Potter and Up, it seems there is no end to the possibilities that come with Pogo’s unique method of composing. By taking countless tiny samples, be they “textures, chords, effects, syllables, anything,” Nick mixes sounds into something completely dreamlike and nostalgic. “The use of music to tell story inspired me,” he explains, “and I always detected small sounds that I’d rewind the tapes to hear over and over again. It seemed fitting that if I loved these sounds individually, they’d make for a sequence or composition that I’d love as well.”
Having gained popularity through Youtube, after posting his first composition, “Alice,” back in 2007 (a harmonious mash-up of sounds from Disney’s Alice in Wonderland), Pogo developed a fan base that was completely unexpected. “I uploaded ‘Alice’ and let it sit there. Then all of a sudden it was everywhere, and I had a group of people wanting more.” And that’s exactly what he gave them.
Despite it taking anywhere from three weeks to five months for him to complete a track, Nick is constantly producing more and more incredible music, and learning more with every song. Since “Alice,” Nick has been commissioned by Pixar to produce songs for their movies, Up and Toy Story, as well as other major brands and studios. Nevertheless, Nick is determined to stay true to his own instincts and work only on what feels right for him, which is why he has to refuse his fan’s requests. “I’m not a DJ,” he stresses, “and if I made ‘Alice’ just to please someone else, it wouldn’t have taken off nearly as well as it did. The internet is a powerful way of getting your work out there, but you do need to keep doing your own thing. Just be you and chase your passion”.
Due to his ever-growing fan base and eagerness to experiment with working outside of his bedroom, Pogo has previously toured around America and Australia. However, due to the intricacy of his work, producing original music live is something that is perhaps near impossible, and instead Nick ended up spending his gigs feeling a little awkward. “I was just standing on a stage in the dark and pushing buttons,” he admits, explaining why he’s giving touring a break – until he feels his shows are more active. “If I do anything live again, it will be in the form of a proper show. Live musicians, dancers, backdrops, themed catering, the works.”
What could Nick dream of creating next? “Well, Star Wars is something very inspiring to me. It has the scoring of John Williams, the richness of the Star Wars universe, vibrant characters, and the earthy analog textures of an old film recorded on tape and celluloid…. But I mean, I could probably do a whole album around just one character, so… you’ll have to wait. Just keep your eye out for new tracks!”
Visit Pogo’s website, where you can buy his tracks for a voluntary donation, or simply listen to them on Youtube.
People can always been seen walking around with headphones on, in their own little world. The music you listen to, as you go about your day, can have a huge impact on your mood, frame of mind, and even how you carry yourself. But this also means that nobody from the outside has access into your own, personal sphere.
I asked a selection of students what they were listening to – some you may be surprised by!
Just when I thought of what to write about, I listened to Josh Tillman’s song “Barter Blues.” I always relate that song with the feeling of going to a place I’ve never been before – The North American Continent. I know a lot about this continent: about its geological history and everything the ground was made of four Giga-years ago. But I don’t know one person over there personally, nor have I ever driven down a road which ends in a red desert. This song feels like walking through an endless, North American landscape – a landscape that you won’t find over here in Europe. I hope I’ll soon be able to visit this continent and see if my visions of it have been correct or not!
I hope that the sunsets in North America, especially in the unsettled regions, are the longest ever. I see myself sitting on a porch and looking out at a summer evening. An evening which compensates for every little problem of the day, which makes you smile while your rocking chair crunches.
I don’t know where I found the photo above. Somewhere from the flickr-scape a few years ago.
Some songs have this ability to bring you somewhere else, some don’t. I only listen to those which can take me somewhere. There are also other songs that make me fall in love with places I don’t know, such as Beirut’s Balkan sound or Sigur Rós. Actually, I listened to songs by Sigur Rós while visiting the place this music belongs to, the Scandinavian continent, allowing my imaginations and memories of the song to be stirred by a real adventure. I’ll be visiting Iceland this year as well, and hope to make some new musical memories. Will somebody come with me?
It’s Valentine’s Day this Tuesday, but on The Juvenilia, we’re celebrating with a playlist of “Anti-Valentine” songs - songs about hating someone so much you love them, songs about love that is passionate, ugly, weird, or hurtful. Anything other than your traditional, sentimental, reciprocal love song:
The families that live next door to me seem to be ensnared in an ongoing string of odd situations that have led me to invent stories to explain their odd behavior. It’s impossible to know what is truth and what is fiction – I don’t really know them, after all. Is the couple with the huge age difference really a rich old man and his trophy wife? Is that motorcycle that shows up regularly at 2 am really the trophy wife’s hot young lover? Why do those people have a giant dollhouse in their front yard, yet can’t seem to afford to clear the jungle brush that is their front garden? And above all, what’s going on with that old obese lady who rides around in a motor chair with two kids and a dog riding on the back?
I may never know for sure, but I can always hope that the stories I invent are anything close to as amazing as the real explanations really are. Truth really can be stranger than fiction. I’m fascinated by the strange combination of magic realism and mundane reality that persists in all of our relationships with strangers, since there is always an element of imagination and fantasy in a relationship with someone you don’t really know. The song “Fiction,” written by Belle and Sebastian and used in the movie Storytelling, directed by Todd Solondz, always reminds me of this idea. The fairytale lightness of the song combined with its clearness is reminiscent of the feeling you get from waking up late at night and going outside by yourself to gaze up into the dark, unfathomable, starry sky.
This Year by The Mountain Goats tells the true story of a million seventeen year-olds – those lazy months before high school graduation and college, the anger and escapism in childhood bedrooms, and the long, meandering waiting game for something new on the horizon.
As a seventeen year-old myself, I don’t want to sing wistfully of childhood in that haze of dreamy nostalgia that’s been so popular in music recently. To me, being seventeen is still too much school and too little sleep. Being seventeen is feeling trapped in a world that seems too big for you. Being seventeen is a wash of confusion, anxiety, and occasional moments of bravado.
This Year gets that no matter how childish or trivial, moments of anger and sadness and frustration still feel blindingly real. The future seems to be both a stepping stone and an eternity away, and the present seems like some awkward limbo that won’t let us go. Our first moments of freedom are also our first moments of responsibility, fear, and loneliness. And the ‘firsts’ are definitely the scariest, but they are also the most honest, and can never be taken away from us.
As John Green wrote, “When adults say, ‘Teenagers think they are invincible,’ they don’t know how right they are. We need never be hopeless, because we can never be irreparably broken…. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. They forget that when they get old. They get scared of losing and failing. But that part of us greater than the sum of parts cannot begin and cannot end, and so it cannot fail.”
This Year’s lyrics are simple, beautiful, and real. So when I listened to this song in the final moments of 2011, I quite literally decided to sing along – “I am going to make it through this year / If it kills me.”
José González is currently living in Sweden, and I have to say I didn’t expect that! In fact he comes from Argentina…the world is mixing up! I just found this out by accident because I happen to be learning Swedish at the moment.
I saw José at the Appletree Garden Festival in 2011 with his band Junip. Great show!
“Hat det bra!”
This is him soundchecking at the Appletree Garden.
There is nothing I love more than songs with that midnight-rooftop feel to them. The ones that makes you feel like if you let go, you will drift off into space forever. The music that invites intimacy between you and nature, sunset, sunrise, staring at the sea or flying across the clouds – and gets better every time you hear it. This whole soundtrack has helped me see the other side of the universe.
This song has left a dent in my heart. It makes me feel weightless. Weightless – with no fear of depths, of endlessness. As if I’m observing the whole world from a tiny lighthouse, looking down and remembering when the sky was young, in a time before a beginning. I get overwhelmed with nostalgia looking back on memories that I’ve never even experienced. I love Space Jam. Whether I am in bliss, tired, lonely, angry or just numb with pain this movie/soundtrack brings me home. You go through so many different emotions and stages during a week (or even a day). From hungry to frustrated to ecstatic to livid back to hungry or tired again. So it’s obviously very difficult to find a song or even an album that covers that entire spectrum of emotion, making you reflect back on everything. But this song paints a beautiful landscape with the brightest palette derived from all those moods. It makes me feel as if everything’s falling apart at once, but everything is going to be okay. It teases me with oblivion, like an underwater ray of sunlight. It’s like walking through a dream. God’s breath disguised as a breeze on a hot day. If you captured eternity in a bottle and listened, this is what it would sound like:
“Ever since I was a little baby, I always be dribblin’ In fac’, I was de baddest dribbler in the whole neighborhood.”
Its deep harmonies torture the heart; meanwhile, the progressive drum beat really compliments the layers of everything else. Euphoria radiates throughout. Ambiance and beauty; loudness, the lack thereof, and space; continuity to your soul, led by an open road of emotions coated lightly with gentleness; the fading of forgetfulness and worldly clamor; the beginning of now. This is the music I have come so far to conquer and to explore, and is has helped me find the deep, never-ending spiritual connection that is me to this world. Barry White and Chris Rock have found a gateway to this, and for that I am thankful. Rare gems of sound such as this one take you beyond reality. For this, I am grateful.
“C’mon, Michael, it’s game time. Slip on your Hanes, lace up your Nikes, take your Wheaties and your Gatorade, and we’ll grab a Big Mac on the way to the ballpark.” – Numan