Archive for June, 2007

The Most Important Album Of The Rock Area

Wednesday, June 6th, 2007

Pepper-A
This is a few days after the anniversary, but hey, what’s a few days to forty years?

Forty years ago, on June 1st, 1967, The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (well, in the U.K. – here in the states it came out on June 3rd). It’s hard to tell if it’s their best album – about a half dozen of their albums are among the best rock albums ever – but the influence of this album on popular music is massive. Its timing was perfect; although everyone nowadays thinks June of ’67 was the height of the psychedelic era, but it really peaked months earlier. However, by that summer, the effects of the free-whelling social experimentation, drug experimentation, and honest belief in peace had permeated the youth culture. Students who had been waiting for classes to end to come to San Francisco finally could come (and therefore ruin the truly peaceful hippy movement that had been existing.

Nevermind the hippies. This period was most important for liberalizing Western culture and allowing for the multi-culture, mainstream-less society we enjoy today, where people can join what ever sub-, sub-sub-, and sub-sub-sub-culture they choose without ridicule.

Back to the album. There’s the gorgeous cover, the innovative inclusion of album lyrics (apparently a first), the pervasive artiness of the package (how about that cut-out mustache?). Sadly, that great sleeve and its contents are no longer available. Notice I haven’t said anything about the music yet? Sgt. Pepper is one big art project.

The songs on the album, however, are what makes this such an important release. It’s a rock album through-and-through, yet few songs can be classified as rock. It’s also a one of the best examples of a “concept album,” yet only three songs are in any way related to the ‘concept.’ There are thirteen songs on the album, but they’re all really compositions. Quite a few songs are slight in the sense that they can easily be throwaways, yet they fit perfectly with the rest of the songs. Finally, every song has a different style to it – even the title songs are different – and yet every song flows into the next. Chamber music to Indian raga to rag-top-insane-organ-whatever-you-could-call-it.

After Sgt. Pepper, the rock album was never quite the same. Artists really began to treat it as an art form in itself.

As for myself, my feelings for Sgt. Pepper are somewhat complex. The same time I listened to the album every night I was also reading The Catcher In The Rye, so my memories of both are intertwined. Also, while I enjoy the album as a whole the one song that really stands out is “A Day In The Life.” It belongs with the other classic songs from this period of The Beatles: “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” and “I Am The Walrus.” From the standpoint of technical mastery these four songs cannot be matched. More was innovated and there was more imagination involved than in almost all other pop songs ever produced. These songs are great for reasons almost entirely different from all of the other Beatles’ great songs: stuff like “Yesterday,” “Something,” and “She Loves You” will be remembered for their lyrics and musical tightness as songs.

Now that I’ve spent 565 words and said little of any weight, I still love The Beatles, their music, and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Too Much Monkey Business…Err, Information

Monday, June 4th, 2007

About three years ago I discovered newsfeeds; you know, those streams of data that allow any curious early adopter to be utterly overwhelmed with information from dozens and sometimes hundreds of websites, every time said websites update their main page.

Every time they update. Especially blogs, which are fine-tailored to funnel as much information as fast as possible.

In theory, this is brilliant. It makes solves the problem of having to remember to check one’s favorite websites (which on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, ranks just above safety needs). Theoretically, a person could just subscribe to their ten or so favorite sites and be done with it.

In practice, news feeds are addictive – there’s always a new update on some website out there…and waiting for updates becomes unbearable…so you subscribe to more websites. Then you figure, “what the hell, sometimes I need a gossip fix” and next thing you know you’re receiving daily updates on celebrity spottings in Manhattan; then minute-by-minute blows of Steve Jobs’ keynote; then receive no less than three hundred posts as users of Digg fight the site’s moderators to publish AACS decryption codes. All the while, BBC and CNN are updating their feeds with news as it happens, and Boing Boing keeps on churning out wonderful things. None of this is necessary at all – people used to get their news from a six-hour-old newspaper, then supplemented with an evening news show on TV…and yet, my half-hour ride on the train from work, where I have to do without my precious newsfeeds feels unbearable.

Well it did. Nowadays, I never get about 100 posts a day from the feeds I’m subscribed to with Google Reader…and I even feel that’s too much. But this is because I’ve come to terms with my information addiction. Honestly, I still suffer from “too much information” syndrome, only now I instinctively know how to find more and more and more and yet more and once again more information without needing to rely on websites to feed me. It’s the downside of having the talent of being able to efficiently find information – I can’t un-learn it, meaning if you give me an internet connection and a decent web browser (not even decent; I bet I’d be just fine with Lynx) and I’ll occupy myself for many, many hours*.

This comes to the crux of my situation. It no longer has anything to do with newsfeeds. I, meaning we, simply have access to too much information. Too many websites, too much history, too much culture, too many interesting people doing too many interesting things. What happened is that the world population has grown a great deal in the last fifty years, giving us more people making creative and interesting things. Add to this the ridiculously low barrier to entry in making things (think how cheap video cameras are); throw in the low overhead required to share these things (hello…how are you reading this? On a plane? From paper? That’s weird.) and the result is the absolute worst way to test the human mind’s ability to forget the things it sees and hears and experiences.

I’m talking about Google Search, Google Image Search, Google Blog Search, Google Trends, Google News, Google Reader (damnable enabler), Google Earth, Digg, Slashdot, Engadget, Daily Kos, Gawker, Defamer, Perez Hilton, Wikipedia, CNN’s website, BBC’s website, MSNBC’s website, Fox News’ website (sad, but true), The New York Times’ website, The Wall Street Journal’s site (if you can pay for it), YouTube, Last.fm, Pandora, Kottke.org, let’s not forget Boing Boing and MySpace, or Facebook, 43 Folders (ironic, isn’t it?), sweet Post Secret, every website that posts anything about Apple or its products, Apple’s own website…and those are the ones I thought of without any outside help.

Boy, was that cathartic!

The irony in all this, is I’m ranting about information using an invention that started the acceleration of information…a weblog.

Thank you for reading this far and putting up with my gratuitous linking, I think it helps get the point across**; but I have two more: Douglas Adams’ video Hyperland…I’m glad it the web of today isn’t as simple as in the video; and Hobbes’ Internet Timeline, my favorite timeline of the internet.

*Not in that way, mister!
**There is no point.

(Note: the title for this post came about because I tried writing “Too Much Information” when all I could hear was the title of one of my favorite Chuck Berry songs…and then unwittingly typed it.)

About The Title

Monday, June 4th, 2007

The few (by few, meaning less than five) people I’ve mentioned this site to have all had trouble with the title, Budaeli; in the sense of pronouncing the word and why in the hell would someone pick a title as obtuse as that.

…Explaining how to pronounce the title will be a little easier than answering the latter question.

Budaeli is pronounced “boo-DAH-LEE” with emphasis on the last two syllables. It’s a blend of the words Buddha, Daedalus, and literature. It was the best I could do at the time and now I like the result, so it stays. Besides I like the way those three words sound, so why not mash them all together? Creating the word made the process of registering a domain name much easier (of course, I own my own namesake domain, which redirects to Budaeli, but that’s more than a little boring for a domain name).

For those of you who wouldn’t accept that I came up with the name one cold day in December when playing with words: here’s why those specific three words are blended together.

Buddha is a word that represents my belief in mindfulness, living in the moment, and clarity of life. I don’t claim for a moment that I embody these ideas in my own life; only that they are a noble attainment.

Daedalus is not referring to the father of Icarus but rather the dedicated creator of the labyrinth and inventor of images. And an artist intensely jealous of rivals.

Literature – the simple addition to Budaeli. It refers to one of my two most deeply ingrained interests*. It’s part in the name of this blog will be more apt in a few days.

Please refer to this post when confused about the name and all that embodies. “kthx.”

*my other deeply ingrained interest is music.

Renaissance

Saturday, June 2nd, 2007

Budaeli.com is in a renaissance in the traditional sense: a rebirth. The original set up of Budaeli was poorly planned and even less well executed.

It may look vaguely familiar to the original design, but this is a wholly new site. New purpose, new goals, totally different content. New content will arrive on Monday.