Can I Have A Million Minutes of Your Time?
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


The Langley Schools Music Project - "Sweet Caroline"

1. My grade seven class had a mock trial for Louis Riel in which I played the unenviable role of prosecutor. Needless to say I lost, despite my impressive rhetorical flourishes and nearly comprehensive knowledge of Canada’s early legal system. No stenographer was present, and so no record remains of what is now likely the closest thing to a realization of my mother’s dream: that I become a lawyer.

2. In the mid-seventies a young B.C. music teacher started a program where kids played pop songs en masse/in class. The teacher, Hans Fenger, did well to choose songs such as this one or the Beach Boys’ “In My Room,” whose subject matters seem more appropriate emanating from the mouths of babes than from the adults who wrote them. The songs were recorded in a gymnasium in one take each.

3. Metallophones are great. Name someone who doesn’t like metallophones and I’ll name someone who’s a phoney and liar (you!). Iannis Xenakis and Carl Orff were both huge fans of metallophones. They actually toured as a metallophone duo for a while in the fifties until petty bickering over gas money and who should get the blonde vs. brunette ended their relationship on less than good terms. All this just as Xenakis got really into set theory, and Orff turned his attention to early adolescent education. The latter preoccupation yielded the Orff metallophone, an instrument with removable bars so that kids can play them without worrying about wrong notes.

Playing music involves a constant struggle between thinking and feeling. The otherworldly quality of song that might be described as “feeling it” has great power, but can also - when focused on to the exclusion of all else - alienate the listener and obscure the interactive aspect of the artist-audience relationship. Orff metallophones can help kids (who tend toward the feeling horn of the dilemma) find a balance, or at least feel the music without losing track of its harmonic elements. Rhythm, as can be heard here, remains a problem.

The sound of the Orff metallophone ringing out in the chorus is breathtaking. Three gingerly played notes rise up above the din, fill the gymnasium, evaporate.

4. The kids play with a sort of square wave dynamics. They clearly view dynamics as a binary game, either gentle and quiet or angry and very loud. In the choruses everything goes wrong, the drummer is not close to being in time and the singing is really quite poor, but the song never falls apart completely. The kids hang on to each other and make it through together. The sheer volume of their choir, reverberating in the gym, makes them bigger than they are, which is the best thing a kid can be, and so I really do believe them when they sing that “good times have never been so good.” [Buy]


Nedelle - "Good Grief"

I arrived at the Destroyer/Magnolia Electric Co. show at 9pm on Sunday. Accompanied by a friend (I don’t want to name drop, but it was my editor, Max Maki), we had to be early because we hadn’t bought our tickets in advance. When I asked what time the show would start, the doorman (I think it was Ernest Borgnine) said that Nedelle would go on at 9:45. Several thoughts ran through my mind:

1. Who’s Nedelle? I’ve never heard of her. I bet she’s no good.
2. That gives me 45 minutes to run down the street, purchase a piece of pecan pie and a chocolate milkshake.
3. I bet Max is going to want some of my pie or a sip of my milkshake. I wonder if there’s some way to ditch her.

I arrived back at the venue after consuming what little pie and shake Max left for me. It was 9:46. Nedelle had already played. Her set lasted under a minute. Unless Ernest Borgnine lied. I really trusted him.

Nedelle is an extraordinary singer. She sounds like Joni Mitchell singing Motown. And her songs are very strange. She has that rare gift that allows one to write piecemeal songs whose parts sound organically linked. Her songs stop and change directions, make about-faces, sonically contradict themselves, but never feel wrong or forced. Too bad I missed her.

Good thing that Destroyer was absolutely mind-blowing, despite what Dan Beirne might have you believe. [Info]

Posted by Jordan at March 31, 2006 4:54 PM

Headed to see Destroyer & Magnolia Electric Co. open for Mates of State here in Atlanta in about an hour. Will be my first time for all three bands, so I'm looking forward to it. Really like the Nedelle song, will have to check her out.


Posted by d-mac at March 31, 2006 6:38 PM

i first heard of nedelle when i found out she was opening for destroyer, one of my favorites, and magnolia elec co., a band i had been meaning to see for a long time. unfortunately, i ended up not attending the show, but i still have that great nedelle record to show for just hearing about it. "good grief" is one of my favorites, and so is "oh no."

Posted by Bethany at March 31, 2006 8:03 PM

im in love with max maki.

Posted by Anonymous at April 1, 2006 2:58 AM

Ooh that Darondo track is sweet, thanks.

Posted by dymbel at April 1, 2006 9:27 AM


this morning was the best because greg made me one eyed jacks and i laughed out loud at your post. i once got to do a mock trial but they made me be a juror. fucking bullshit. anyways, it's pouring and i have a badass essay to write. but at least the morning started out right.

Posted by jess hartrick at April 1, 2006 10:51 AM

you made us both laugh out loud.

Posted by damadapa at April 1, 2006 2:52 PM

I did the Riel trial in Grade 10 for this geeked out advanced socials class. We were the defence and for my closing arguments I only focussed on how hungry the Metis were. We won.

The Langley School Music Project is everything that's right about music and schools.

Posted by Thom at April 1, 2006 8:28 PM

Your .mac account doesn't work

Posted by Anonymous at April 2, 2006 10:22 AM

We've just crossed over .mac accounts and thus everything prior to today is now offline. We're gradually migrating the past 14 days' worth of music over.

Posted by Sean at April 2, 2006 10:56 AM

I saw her maybe a year ago. I work for a large-ish venue here in Tucson and she was opening for someone I forget. But she saw that we had Magnolia lined up in a couple of days and she left notes for them all over the place. And she insisted that I wear one of her tour shirts the day Magnolia played so they would think it was cool/funny. I dunno.

Yup. She has a nice voice indeed. And she's very cute and nice and funny. And all smiles after a handful of free drinks.


Posted by Jason McHenry at April 2, 2006 11:55 AM

nedelle also sings on john vanderslice's most recent album...

Posted by j at April 2, 2006 10:51 PM

For the past few days I've been able to download just about anything except these two songs, I wish there were a way I could hear these...

Posted by Michael at April 5, 2006 6:35 PM

Ditto what Michael said, friends. No Nedelle or Langley Schools. Can we repair?

Posted by Yoshi at April 6, 2006 1:42 AM

Links should be working now.

Posted by Jordan at April 6, 2006 1:32 PM

Thanks, "Sweet Caroline" made it totally worth the wait, haha.

Posted by Michael at April 8, 2006 6:11 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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