Miskatonic University Press

King Crimson, Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 20 November 2015

music reviews

One of the best concerts I’ve ever seen was recorded and is available for purchase: King Crimson at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on 20 November 2015.

I never thought I’d see them live. I’ve been listening to King Crimson for thirty-five years or so, since 92 CITI FM introduced me to rock back in Brandon, MB. They played the early Krim (“The Court of the Crimson King” and “21st Century Schizoid Man” and such) and tracks from the new Discipline like “Indiscipline.” (CITI also played Zep, AC/DC, Sabs, Priest, Maiden, the Cars, “Beat It,” Squeeze, SRV, INXS, ABC, Men at Work, Marley: one could believe in the freedom of music.)

But the band has a complex history, and Fripp suspends them for years on end. Then one day last year I saw that a three-night stand was coming! My friend G (who’s been a fan as long as I have, and had seen seen them twice before—once was great and once was excellent, he said) and I went. Tickets were $180 each—the most I’ve ever paid for a show, but I had high hopes, and they were met and exceeded. It was worth every penny. We were both amazed.


In front are the three drummers: Pat Mastelotto at the far left, with both hands up; Bill Rieflin (who also played keyboards—going from the complex Krim drums to keyboards on classic songs like “Starless” and “The Court of the Crimson King” is an amazing feat) with his back turned; and Gavin Harrison with his face obscured by a cymbal. The way they arranged things for three drummers, with them sometimes passing riffs from one to the other, sometimes playing things in unison, was entrancing.

In the back row, on a riser, from left are Mel Collins holding a sax; Tony Levin; Jakko Jakszyk; and of course Robert Fripp, whose band it is, far right holding a camera and taking a photo of the crowd.

Fripp sat on a stool, stage left, never moving; I think he played the same guitar for the entire show. He’s taking a photo after the show was over, when we were all allowed to take photos. It was announced before the show started that no one was allowed to take photos or do any recordings while the show was on: when Tony got his camera out, we could get our camera out. This was a great rule. Instead of everyone holding up cameras, and all their neighbours being distracted, everyone watched the concert. Mass concentration. Wonderful focus. I’d like it if more bands did this.

The liner notes say:

What made this show even more remarkable were the unfortunate events of the night before—when the band didn’t return for an encore after a concert that was plagued with audience photography from a tiny but repeatedly disruptive minority, making those of us involved with the band fear for the first time that it might cease to exist. In the online comments after the show, several people suggested that refusing to play an encore was an act of petulance. An alternative view might be that surviving until then end of the formal performance was an act of admirable retraint.

I thank Fate and Euterpe we were there the night we were, not the night before.

Krim ticket.
Krim ticket.

The set list included some songs neither of us knew (some of them improvisations, I guess), some we recognized but couldn’t identify, and some where we were elbowing each other saying “Hey, can you believe it?” After an opening jam they moved into “Larks Tongues in Aspic Part I” where Mel Collins on flute took a solo and worked in Moe Koffman’s “Swinging Shepherd Blues” and “O Canada.” I’ve never heard a visiting player pay so much respect to local music. Later they got into “Red,” “Starless” (what the end of the universe will sound like), and for the encore “The Court of the Crimson King” and “21st Century Schizoid Man,” which both of us never thought we’d get to hear live.

G and I both had high hopes for the show. It was far, far better than either of us had hoped for. We grabbed drinks after and spent over an hour telling ourselves, in many different ways, what a fantastic show it was. If you ever liked Krim, have a listen. If you do listen, remember that one of those people in the audience shouting and cheering and applauding is me.

Kawartha Sounds


I was on vacation at the cottage recently and made some field recordings (with an Olympus DM-620). Here are two (both CC-BY), each about half an hour long: one of sounds in the early morning and one of sounds in the night. This is what a Canadian cottage sounds like when you’re just sitting out there quietly letting things happen around you.

The morning recording (from 07 August 2016) has birds chirping, water hitting the dock, waves lapping against the shore, boats going by, and a dog barking in the distance now and then (download FLAC):

The night recording (01 August 2017) is mostly crickets chirping and (of course) waves lapping against the shore (download FLAC):

More and longer recordings to come as I listen and process them.

Bad-Ass Librarians

libraries code4lib

I saw this at the bookstore today and bought it immediately: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts, by Joshua Hammer.

I’ll try to do a review when I’ve read it, but in the meantime, anything about bad-ass librarians needs to be shared with all the other bad-ass librarians out there.


climate.change sonification

GHG.EARTH, a sonification of the atmospheric CO₂ readings at Mauna Loa, is live. Details.

One never likes to be thanked over much for doing anything


“One never likes to be thanked over much for doing anything. It creates a feeling that one has given more than was expedient.” — Anthony Trollope, The American Senator (1877).

Books are unconvertible assets


“I was impressed for the ten thousandth time by the fact that literature illuminates life only for those to whom books are a necessity. Books are unconvertible assets, to be passed on only to those who possess them already.” — Anthony Powell, The Valley of Bones (1964), the seventh novel in A Dance to the Music of Time.

Scott Hughes on Data Stories, LIGO sonification


I just caught up with a June episode of Data Stories that’s all about sonification: Listening to Data From Space with Scott Hughes. Hughes is an MIT astrophysicist who works on gravitational waves. You may have heard some of them turned into sound when the news came out recently about LIGO sensing two black holes spinning around and smashing into each other. He’s been using that approach for years. (Mind-blowing fact I read somewhere recently but forget where: this happens about once every fifteen minutes in the observable universe.) The Data Stories show notes include sounds and helpful links. Data Stories is a good podcast, with many interesting interviews, but if you’re interested in astronomy or sonification then this one is definitely worth hearing.

Koha on FLOSS Weekly

libraries code code4lib

Great to hear Koha’s Nicole Engard and Brendan Gallagher interviewed on FLOSS Weekly episode 236 talking about the integrated library system. Six (!) years ago Evergreen was on FLOSS Weekly episode 132, with Mike Rylander and the rich radio-friendly baritone voice of Ontario’s own Dan Scott explaining about the other free and open ILS written in Perl.

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