Right then. I'm drunk, I ate way too much green bean casserole, no one reads this blog anyway, and I want to talk about music.
Let's start here, at the Concerito de Aranjuez. 1939, Joaquín Rodrigo. It's a stunning piece of classical music, and you might recognize the first movement if your mother also played classical guitar when she wasn't drawing with charcoal or certifying lifeguards. My mom was rad. Anyway.
Second movement, Adagio. It starts out deceptively simple, a few strums on a guitar, a somber melody on an English horn. The guitar picks up the melody, and that's where it really comes alive. We might make fun of a "Spanish guitar thing" in rock music but this is the real deal and it just shines. Rodrigo wanted to capture the gardens at the Palacio Real de Aranjuez in central Spain. And when the orchestra finally comes in strong it's really something else.
The piece has been quoted and covered in so many ways over the years. Let's go insane and jump into the 80s with Demis Roussos' Follow Me. Oh my god what is up with that bridge at 2:10? Andrew Lloyd Weber wishes he could write a song like this.
A lot of my drunken music binges end up with Yanni, but I promise that's not going to happen tonight even if it does seem like a natural next step.
Some of you might be thinking "I've heard this song, but I can't really place it." Are you an animu nerd? If so I'm about to blow your mind.
We're jumping next to Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence, soundtrack by Kenji Kawai. It's a gorgeous movie (though possibly the worst place to start with the Ghost in the Shell world possible—start with the first movie or Stand Alone Complex instead), and the song playing during the ending credits is a cover of Follow Me, sung by Kimiko Itoh. The opening is also pretty good. And as much as I like Yoko Kanno's soundtracks for Stand Alone Complex, fuck Yoko Kanno. But that's another blog post for another time. BAM. ANIME NERD HOLE.
So where do we go from here? Another android "assembly" with Björk's All is Full of Love? NOPE. Let's back up.
This is an absolute masterpiece of an album. And there's that Aranjuez melody again, right in the first few notes. If you're going to create an album that aims to capture Spain, why not build on the concierto that did so well 21 years ago? So good. But there's more.
Chick Corea was in Miles Davis' band in the 60's, but his take on Aranjuez is pretty different. After establishing the melody (oh man that electric piano sound) the piece is way more playful. It's jaunty, upbeat, fun.
One more. Chick Corea and Hiromi Uehara play together in just incredible ways. Their Tokyo Jazz Festival version of Spain is really amazing. Their playing is just so tight.
They have an album together as well, Duet, and it's pretty good. The recording is a bit weird because you can hear sounds of a dinner service in the background. I don't think that version of Spain is as good—it's a little overdone—but Place to Be is fantastic. Also check out Old Castle.
DING! My toast is done. And if there's one thing I love more than getting drunk and rambling about music it's garlic toast. Let's do this again. Some day I want to explain why I can't listen to A Perfect Circle's Thirteenth Step without playing Metroid.