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Posts Tagged ‘Danielson’

In my lifetime I have been blessed with the opportunity to know or at least to be exposed to various people that have a magic in them that necessitate a portion of my devotion – my heroes.  Among them are people like my father, who taught me the meaning of selflessness, hard work, and patience, my grandfather, who taught me what it truly means to be a servant of God, Sgt Grumbles, who has impacted the way I relate to God, myself, others and to art more than any other single person, and people that I don’t know personally – people like Bob Dylan, John Gardner and Elliott Smith.  Among those people at the top of my list of heroes, Daniel Smith stands out as the most inspiring and influential.

Daniel Smith is truly a unique character.  It’s difficult to be indifferent toward him, that is to say he is a polarizing person.  There’s a quality to his personality and the way he expresses himself that will either turn you on or turn you off, but will never leave you indifferent.  The process and product of his imagination are not something I can easily express in one post.  In 2006 a documentary was released, “Danielson, a Family Movie (or, Make a Joyful Noise Here)” documenting the progress of Daniel Smith’s artistic expression since the  founding of the “Danielson Famile,” a band literally consisting of Daniel and his siblings.  Daniel was an art student at Rutgers and his professors insisted that the visual and performing arts were to be kept in their respective galleries and conservatories.  Daniel wouldn’t have it, and since 1994 he hasn’t had it.  He’s continued to press forward even after fifteen years of mediocre (at best) success.  The sincerity and devotion with which he creates is what captures me most.

I could go on and on about Daniel and the opportunities I’ve had to meet him/see him perform, but I’d rather introduce you to the man.  And if you’ve already been introduced you ought to watch anyway.  This video, which was posted on the Danielson site yesterday, is a great summation of much of what Daniel Smith stands for.  Take a look:

WV Project Series 2009: Danielson from Weathervane Music on Vimeo.

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One of my greatest secret interests is the music video.  I would tend to shy away from such an admission in light of the sheer wretchedness of what we often see on MTV, VH1, or countless other music television stations that have arisen over the years.  Music videos have become so uninspired, oftentimes more interested in conveying an image that builds up the artist as a superhero, a martyr, or a sex icon.  And when a video does employ any sort of storytelling, it is all-too-often meaningless, narcissistic, and void of any substance.

I always keep my eyes open for the artist who can capture a profound image, a profound concept, and a profound sound.  I am obsessed with engaging art in exhaustive ways (using as many senses as possible, and let’s consider the mind a sense for the time being), and it wasn’t until recently that I realized some of my favorite recent music videos have been directed by one person.  I’m talking about music videos that make you fall more in love with the sound because of what the images and ideas passed to you though the music video medium enrich the individual song with, enhancing your experience.

Even if you’ve not heard of Patrick Daughters it is possible that you have seen one of his very uniquely styled and directed music videos.  Some of my favorites are below.  Please enjoy.

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

If you’re interested, this MGMT video by Eric Wareheim and this Danielson video by J. Christiaan Palladino are incredible, as well as anything by Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, etc.

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Greg has done an excellent job of raking in this year’s best (at least in his highly-informed opinion) albums.  That’s great stuff (I’m only speaking generally because I actually have a more negative review for Coldplay’s Viva La Vida), but how much of it will we be listening to in two years?  Because music is in-and-out so frequently I’ve composed what I consider the best albums of 2008, though none of them were released this year.  Lend me your ear eye.

If you or I were to look at a list of our favorite albums from two years ago it would probably be different than the list we would make today.  I’m suspecting a lot of the albums that I considered my favorite from two years ago have lost ground in my personal rating and that is not to say that the latest albums have replaced them.  What I’ve found is that through recycling the music I listen to I sit with an album longer and it really grows on me.  For instance, I first heard Elliott Smith’s Figure 8 in 2001.  Since then this album has been climbing its way up my list and I considered it my favorite album of 2005 (even better than Come on Feel the Illinoise!, the quintessential indie-folk hit that year).  If Greg’s picks were subjective, mine will likely be hyper-subjective.  This whole thing also has to do with the fact that the music I listen to usually gets to my ears one of three ways: by way of NPR/KCRW, by way of associated acts (i.e. I heard of Sufjan Stevens because he once played in Danielson, an earlier favorite of mine), or by way of a highly sophisticated (and elitist) filtration system consisting largely of Greg Stump.

With all of that said, I must also add that I have not purchased much new music from this year.  In fact, as I look at my computer the only albums I see in my iTunes library from 2008 are Ratatat’s LP3, Danielson’s Danielson Alive EP (free online), and Danielson’s Trying Hartz.  I’m not against new music, but I suppose that after sampling I wasn’t compelled to buy many new full albums this year.  That is not to say that I’ve not grown in my musical breadth: according to my “date added” information in my iTunes library I’ve added more than forty albums to my iTunes this year (and it’s not over), thus I’ve purchased more than forty albums this year (buying used music on Amazon is incredible).  So out of the albums that I’ve purchased this year here are my top ten.

non20081

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