When You Were Young: School of Rock

Universally, it is accepted that everybody loves 3 things: bubble wrap, birthday clowns, and nostalgia. This column aims to play upon the sentimentality inherent in every reader by paying homage to a key “retro” pop culture item.

This Week’s Throwback: School of Rock

school-of-rock-cd-cover-photo-you-will-not-believe-what-the-school-of-rock-cast-looks-like-now

Some movies are good for a single reason: the script is well written or it has sweet special effects or it stars Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny, etc. Other movies are like School of Rock (directed by Richard Linklater, the genius behind Boyhood) and are great not for a single reason, but for a multitude.

The greatness of this movie begins, but does not end, with the following premise: a down on his luck enthusiastic, sweaty, hairy, talented and charismatic guitar player Dewey Finn, after being kicked out of his band, is living with his substitute teacher-friend, Ned Schneee Ned S. and Ned’s girlfriend, played by Sarah Silverman. His band members replace him with a guy who wears this shirt.  Also, that guy’s name is Spider.

One day, Dewey, referred to from here on out as Jack Black, receives a call from a local school asking if Ned will substitute for a teacher who has broken a leg.  Sensing a decently-compensated opportunity, Jack Black accepts the job. Continue Reading


spotify

Blogify: Mornings

Mornings are hard. With daylight savings time, they’re getting darker. It’s cold outside. No one really wants to go to class at this point in the semester. I repeat, mornings are hard. Some tunes sometimes make them slightly more bearable.


Students who do cool things: Dolapo Akinkugbe ’16 (DAP)

10688296_10152954081769305_8560266950448391832_o

DAP–that’s pronounced ‘D-A-P’–is a junior at Brown; he’s also a student who does cool things. A producer first and a rapper second, DAP has established himself as a force to be reckoned with, and is rising in his renown on campus and off. After studying for two semesters at the Berklee College of Music during his gap year, Dolapo came to Brown. An enthusiastic piano player since he was a child, DAP has a natural predilection for bringing different sounds into his production style. He matches this with his flexible lyrical delivery (“flow”) and many ideas about the world and his place in it.

A couple of Fridays back, DAP rocked a crowd at Aurora in downtown Providence. The following Monday he dropped his fourth mixtape, GoodBye For Never, which demonstrates his versatility as a musician (he casually produced every track on the album, by the way!) and great ability as a lyricist and thinker.

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with DAP and asking a few questions about his music and plans for the future.

Who are your main influences?

Kanye West immediately comes to mind, simply because he’s a complete artist. I also think he’s the best performer of all time, alongside Michael Jackson, and maybe James Brown, Beyonce. My favorite songwriter is Drake, the best rapper and lyricist in my mind is Kendrick Lamar. And I’d say Ab-Soul is the most intelligent rapper. I can tell that he’s both book smart and street smart.

And then I’m influenced by anything immediately around me, like A$AP and Gucci Mane, and I’ve taken influence from The Beatles and Motown, Stevie Wonder. For example, I’m going to a Stevie Wonder concert in a couple of weeks, but in a few days I’m going to Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Bibby and Jeezy concert. And I’m also going to YG and A$AP Ferg. So anywhere I get inspiration from I take it.

What are you studying at Brown?

Classics and I’m hoping to double concentrate with Music.

Continue Reading


Blogify: What We Write To

Ever get writer’s block? So do we–like, all the time. To help get you over the hump, here’s a playlist with BlogDH’s favorite songs to write to, which we keep distinctly separate from what we listen to when we study. Writing is a sacred act: we use music to enhance those divine moments with our Moleskins. While studying, on the other hand, we use music to pretend we’re… not studying. You know what they say–write drunk, edit sober, and make sure you’re listening to the proper music all the way through.


03-022b

We have a University Organist and no one can take that away from us

That Brown possesses the largest remaining operational Hutchings-Votey organ in the galaxy ranks in the top five things you hear on a prospective student tour, somewhere between “there is no typical Brown student” and “No, I didn’t see Emma Watson on campus” (Ed. – We should write that up). While most Brown students never saw Emma Watson, many Brown students do go to an organ concert or two during their undergraduate careers. If you have yet to see the organ in action, don’t miss tonight’s Midnight Halloween Organ Concert. For most of Brunonia, however, knowledge of the behemoth that resides inside Sayles above the imposing portraits of old white guys stops there. Most people don’t even know what a Hutchings (or a Votey) is! Last month, we sat down with Mark Steinbach, Brown’s University Organist, to clear a few things up ahead of the annual Halloween concert. It’s safe to say we got more than we bargained for.

I caught up with Mark Steinbach after one of his organ lessons. I showed up in Sayles at 2:57 for a 3:00 p.m. meeting, and he gave me a polite yet stern request to wait downstairs while he finished with his student. You’re really getting your money’s worth with him, apparently. Once he had finished teaching, however, he dove headfirst into our meeting. I guess you kind of have to be all-in on the organ once you’re that good at playing it. We began with a tour of the inside of the organ.

Pipes. Everywhere.

Pipes. Pipes everywhere.

Continue Reading


Alvin Lucier: Some spatial characteristics of sound waves

Last night, in Grant Recital Hall, a cellist held one continuous note for over 10 minutes. Written down in black and white, that doesn’t seem it would be that much of a feat, but to see it performed live was intensely mesmerizing.

One woman, Laura Cetilia, sat with her cello in front of several glass vases. These vases, suspended above the ground, contained microphones tuned to pick up various frequencies emitted from her instrument. As the piece progressed, I realized she was not holding one pitch, but continually adjusting the pitch slowly enough that it was hardly distinguishable. Occasionally, she was accompanied by the wave of another sound caused from just the right frequency being captured by one of the glass vases.  I broke my stare to survey the room and found I wasn’t alone in my trance. There were only a few empty seats in the hall, and zero people checking their cell phones.

Alvin_Lucier._Photo_by_Bob_Antaramian_1600_1073_90

This performance was part of the Colloquium series sponsored by the Multimedia and Electronic Music Experiments (MEME) department here at Brown. It was followed by a talk and Q&A with Alvin Lucier, the composer who wrote Music for Cello with One or More Amplified Vases and several other famous pieces that explore the physical and structural nature of sound.

Lucier has taught at Brown twice, but is known mostly in academia for his 43-year-long career at Wesleyan. As he spoke about the process and intent for the creation of his work, he name-dropped several musical pioneers as collaborators and friends. Among them: John Cage, Philip Glass, and Steve Reich. (No sweat if those names aren’t familiar, but I cannot recommend MUSC0200 enough if you want to find out who they are.)  Continue Reading