tootling, sadly
by Julian
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.


[Ed. - Julian Smith is my longtime roommate and dear friend. Born in Cambridge, he came to Canada in his early teens. Now he's a fine writer who moonlights as a musical thug with the Ceremonial Guard. This fall he will be joining me on my European jaunt. Volapuk is a great band, and "Cry, Want" is highly recommended.]

Such is the force of Sean's enthusiasm for music that, after having lived with him for three years, my tastes in pop music have become almost identical to his own. My favourite songs tend to be his also, so when he asked me to guestblog I didn't know what I could say that wouldn't sound redundant or amateurish. In the end I decided to stick to what I know best and write about songs featuring my own instrument: the clarinet.

The Jimmy Giuffre 3 - "Cry, Want". This tune is haunting. If I were a ghost, I'd play this music as I drifted through the steerage of a rotting ship. You can hear the swelling of waves in the piano, the creaking of timbers from the bass. It's lonely here. There's emptiness and lots of space. This is jazz come loose of its moorings. The piece is from an album called Fusion from 1961 (re-released along with Thesis as the double-album 1961). The clarinetist is Jimmy Giuffre, a much-overlooked free-jazz pioneer who got his start playing for the army (like me). On piano is Paul Bley, a Montrealer by birth, who would later give the first ever live performance on a synthesizer. On bass is Steve Swallow, who became one of the top electric bassists in jazz and was once sampled by A Tribe Called Quest. [buy]

Volapuk - "Technova". This is joyful, mischievous music. It'll trick you into dancing and then change time signatures so you fall on your bum. Then it'll prance around laughing with a twinkle in its eye. It's got clarinets, a cello and a piano, a pulsing electronic beat and European folk melodies. There's lots of banging and hitting of things and there's a strange whipping noise near the beginning, suggesting a sadistic streak to the track. But it's a kind of amoral sadism that's ultimately a lot of fun, like Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. This track is from Polyglot, the third album from this quirky, playful French trio. [buy]

Posted by Julian at August 26, 2004 12:30 AM

you guys even have the same taste in similes and metaphors

Posted by esco at August 26, 2004 4:08 AM

I think paul bley had a daughter who ages ago put out this really odd, cute album named after her cat. who must be long since dead. does that ring a bell? I could look it up but I'd rather ramble about it.

Posted by gretchen at August 26, 2004 6:12 PM

That Jimmy Giuffre 3 song would be great with a beer.

Posted by Tuwa at August 26, 2004 8:47 PM

love jimmy guiffre. he did some with MJQ, also a favorite. i am glad to encounter him here. this would make him less obscure.

Posted by c_cinq at August 27, 2004 3:18 PM

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about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
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.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny