Saturday, November 6, 2010

Jam of the day: "Halleluwah" (and puzzles!)

Artist: Can
Song: "Halleluwah"
Album: Tago Mago
Released: 1971
Label: United Artists

This post is partly an excuse to mention some non-musical stuff I've been doing today and also to give props to my friend Sean for introducing me to this band. I've been on campus all day solving puzzles as part of Microsoft's College Puzzle Challenge. It's an all day event with 27 puzzles of various difficulties and styles leading up to one metapuzzle. Standings are based on the time required to submit the answer to the metapuzzle, which we did not too long ago, leading to a 33rd place finish out of 420 national teams, and a 3rd place finish out of 45 teams at CMU. Woo hoo!

So yeah, since 1:00 pm we've been in the grad student study room on our laptops with our brains and fingers racing. It was quiet in the room for a while, which I'm kinda not really used to (if I'm walking, I have my iPod; if I'm in the office, I have my laptop playing; if I'm at home, I have my record player) but I let that go for a while to get the puzzling juices flowing. But later on, I felt a post-coffee crash coming on and needed something to pick me up until the appointed dinner time rolled around. "Let's see..." I thought to myself, "I need something upbeat but not too distracting, something driving but not overpowering, something ... Aha! Can!" This song, in particular, was perfect. It's 18+ minutes of awesome percussion and groovy guitar, kinda long and droning but still upbeat and exciting and it never gets boring. Seriously, if you have some task to accomplish and need something in your ears to keep you going, this is your fucking song. My friend Sean tells me he used to play this song on loop when he was "working in the lab", whatever that means. The video below has the whole song, but the last four minutes are some other random thing, so cut it off around the 18:21 mark.

The whole record is fantastic, really. If you know it already, kudos, and if you don't, it's probably been influencing some of your favorite artists without you even knowing. Check out all of their records. I've heard a few of them and look forward to experiencing more. "Vitamin C" from Ege Bamyasi (video below) is another one of my fave songs, partly for the way he says "vitamin" that makes it sound like a new word, vitamency.

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