Tag: music

Gary Laney died without warning Friday, two days before Christmas. He was 47. The news was crushing. The shock hasn’t worn off, and I am flailing about in search of words.

His funeral is happening now in Baton Rouge. I wish he were here to talk about it with me. Gary’s presence here two years ago, the day before the funeral of our first editor in the daily newspaper business, was a gift to me from the cosmos. Now, he’s gone, and we are not having lunch together, not having beers, not telling Lake Charles stories, laughing and crying.

In a year of so much loss, Gary’s death is one of the hardest losses to bear.

We first met in the mid-1980s, when my journalism career was just getting started and he was a high school student with an interest in sports writing and newspaper work. He came up one day to the makeshift press box at Legion Field in Lake Charles where I was covering American Legion games, and on some level, he never left. Gary was like a friendly puppy, tagging along as I did my job. He was likable, smart, curious, full of questions, and eager to discuss sports, music, writing and many other subjects.

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shutterstock_111755141Photo by Jane Rix

A year ago, I didn’t know anything about the hang. Discovering the music of Matt Venuti changed that.

While researching Portland massage therapists, I stumbled upon Andrea Shuman’s website — and the only auto-play audio (or video) experience I’ve ever found soothing and not jarring. The music sample, I learned, was titled “Dove Supreme.”

After leaving the page of audio samples on Matt Venuti’s website to further explore his music, I enjoyed song after song, video after video. The hang is a fascinating instrument, and in Venuti’s hands, it’s spellbinding. Eventually, my clicks led me to a video featuring an iteration of “Dove Supreme” called “The Yolanda Trail,” which follows.

But, wait! The next discovery was “Bliss Attack,” which Venuti discusses on the video below.

A new song picks up the theme running through “Dove Supreme” and found in “The Yolanda Trail.” It’s called “The Yolanda Trail, Pt. 1,” and you can find it on iTunes along with the entire “Bliss Attack” album (it’s now my new ringtone). There are other links on Venuti’s site where you can find more.

One thing I loved about the background he provided how the “Bliss Attack” album came to be was that a fan of his music used that term to describe the effect it had on him. While I can’t say I would have used those words, I get it. The audio sample at the beginning of this post represents a place where I have gone to approximate mindfulness when I am unable to shut out the clutter and find it all on my own.

But perhaps my favorite part of that video is that it begins with those familiar notes from “Dove Supreme,” now “The Yolanda Trail, Pt. 1,” and a look at Monument Valley. The latter is one of the places I go to in my mind when we need to go away together. Last summer, after recognizing the calming nature of “Dove Supreme” for me during a stressful stretch of months, I regularly listened to it via my computer — which has a photo of Monument Valley as its wallpaper.

Call is blissful serendipity, maybe. Or kismet.



So, we’ve learned that statistical analysis shows that punk was not a musical revolution.

It’s time to cease those perpetual debates with your friends about whether Nirvana’s Nevermind was a musical revolution. Once again, science has done its job, and we can all stop having differing opinions on a subject that was previously thought to be open to subjective interpretation. According to the BBC, a recent scientific study has demonstrated definitively that pop music has been marked by exactly three revolutions, no more, and no less. So it’s time to cool it with that “Elvis changed everything” nonsense.Queen Mary University and Imperial College in London looked at more than 17,000 songs from the United States’ Billboard Hot 100 Chart, and found exactly three “music revolutions,” something which can definitely be quantified and logged as pure data. The scientists defined a revolution as a “period of extremely rapid change within the charts.” Evaluating a number of musical characteristics, such as timbre, harmony, chord changes, and how they shifted over time, these intrepid researchers were able to pinpoint exactly when these musical revolutions happened, and can confirm that, no, punk rock really didn’t change anything.

Source: Science proves there were exactly three pop music revolutions, so that’s settled · Newswire · The A.V. Club

Reading about this, I couldn’t help but remember a comment by a friend’s 13-year-old daughter years ago after she saw “Sid and Nancy.”

“I love the punk movement. It was really a romantic movement disguised by horribleness.”

I know I didn’t say anything that interesting when I was 13. Her mom told me she made the comment after seeing the movie and reading the following passage written by Colin McDowell in Harper’s Bazaar:

“Powerful enough to frighten old ladies in the street, punk was actually a romantic movement hiding its insecurities and fears behind a buccaneering, sneering facade.”

And really, doesn’t that pretty much describe all of us, in one sense or another?