Viva Vivaldi

Did Vivaldi (1678 – 1741) compose anything other thank the Four Seasons? On my shelf I have a 40 cd boxset that isn’t 40 versions of the Four Seasons. In fact this boxset doesn’t contain his complete works either. He composed at a time when folks played music in their homes or heard it in churches. It was music for the masses & Masses, not for elitist concert halls & massive orchestras.

I do have multiple version of The Four Seasons though. As stand alone I have it by il Giordino Armonico which I heard on CBC. The sound quality amazed me – it is as if you are standing in the middle of the small chamber orchestra. I have Nigel Kennedy’s energetic romp through it. Also some fun jazz takes – Moe Kaufmann’s is  delightful & worth tracking down. Wendy Carlos’ Sonic Seasonings stretches it into the stratosphere. The Koto Ensemble version is also a delight.

The box set reveals the full extent of Vivaldi’s versatility as a composure with delightful sonatas for flute, recorder, violin, mandolin & more. All with complex continuo support, at times by organ, harpsichord or viola. There are some of his masses, motets, cantatas, concertos & songs. Even his transcription/adaptations of Bach. 

As I worked though the box set his influence on later romantic composers becomes clear. The final cd is La Senna Festeggiante which is one of his serenatas that is almost an opera. Like when listening to Mozart, you wonder

when did this man sleep. 



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The Silent Treatment

The Silent Treatment

no I have nothing to add

others have said enough

their need to be heard

is much more urgent to them

for them to hear anything

out of me or anyone else

<>

there’s no need for me to 

express myself

I’m quite content to listen 

to sort though the layers 

of this conversation

people talking over each other 

the louder the voice

the more important the message

<>

I have nothing to say

so let me remain silent

I’m not one to contradict

even when I don’t agree

nothing will be gained

by outshouting anyone

to share my truth

<>

it is clear the loudest voice

also conveys the most valid opinion

one that will echo forever

so don’t ask me to say anything 

don’t push the microphone at me

at least

not until

everyone else

shuts the fuck up

Recently I had a friend ‘B’ ask me for some advice about a situation & I said that had none. They asked why & I replied because they don’t listen. B was a little taken aback & as I explained B kept interrupting & I stopped & asked B why they don’t listen & B said because they were a rebel. Doing what people tell you makes you sheep. I said – then why ask me anything?

Don’t get me wrong it’s not as if I am free this behaviour but I have learned not to blame the rain for being wet. So I don’t complain that most people are not listeners. The American political scene is built on denying what others hear – the facts have become irrelevant. Shouting that that someone else is wrong has taken the place of being responsible for one’s own actions. Not taking responsibility is called being a rebel.

There’s a saying ‘would you rather be right or happy.’ Not that one can’t be both but often the energy of proving you are right isn’t worth the aggravation. Some time ago, thanks to those recovery defect steps, I realized that I was more interested in clever, cynical remarks than I was in having actual thought out opinions. As I curbed the need to be clever I actually began to hear people rather than listen till I had the right response.

One of best features of most 12 step recovery discussion groups it that we are encouraged to listen, commenting directly on what another member says is discouraged. members get to share without interruptions. On line once can go a step further by minimizing to audio only – you don’t even have to see who is sharing – all visual clues are removed & letting tone of voice resonate.


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Picture Perfect 115 

Picture Perfect 115

Where is my memory? I’m not that old or am I? No matter how many times I look at those children’s faces I can’t remember them all. The ones I know, it could have been a week since I saw them last. How eager there were to follow me. I knew by their eagerness they had something to escape. I was the one who could lead them back to safety. Back to purity.

Now these men. Men, it’s always the men, who want to find these children. Men who I saved them from. Men who think they are smart enough to follow tracks, to follow traces that don’t exist. Looking for clues in photographs. Ha. 

I had to laugh when I saw him looking at those pictures that showed him nothing. He didn’t know I was watching. They probably thought I was dead too, that I was too old to have read the newspapers, to see them on television. To see them walking down the street. 

I wanted to stop them that day. Tell them they were wrong, but let them be wrong. My memory isn’t that bad. I saw children’s faces that I didn’t recall. I looked. I stopped the flow of pictures with the pause button but the image was blurred. Maybe that was why I couldn’t remember. If I pause my memory those faces blur.

What good would it do to tell them they are wrong. I don’t want to distract them from the wrong or they might get it right. No, they will never find me. They don’t know where to look because there is no where to look. Even when they were looking right it all those years ago no one saw what was there. Stupid men who only saw what they wanted to not what I had hidden.

All this fuss about the damn carnival has pushed that past out of sight for now. Happy Hippo! What a cesspool of abuse it was but now it’s some sort of temple for happy childhood memories. Children lured in to take their money, to strip them of their purity. No one will dare reveal it was mire of depravity that preyed on the innocence of children. That’s not entertainment.

As Dan found a spot to stand with his sign that said “Limo for Mr. Peter Eastgate” he thought it would a fun way to welcome Peter & perhaps get his picture taken by the press in the airport lobby taking shots of the famous arrivals. There was a mini-red carpet set up with a special backdrop for celebrities still arriving for the event.

From out of the crowd Robert Warszawa came over to him. 

“Robert, what are you doing here?”

“Extra security. You know the Prime Minster is arriving this morning. He worked at the Hippo one summer.”

“Oh! That never came up in our research.”

“So you’re covering the pre-circus circus.” Robert asked.

“I’m meeting Peter.” Dan said. “I happy just to observe.”

“Security’ll cost the tax-payers more than they will raise with their gala.”

“Mr. Eastgate! Over here Mr. Eastgate.” Dan shouted when he saw Peter come through the arrivals gate. 

Peter’s puzzled face lit up when he saw that it was Dan calling to him.

Peter was made to stop for pictures that were taken before anyone asked who he was. 

“Wow!” Peter came over to them. “That was something.”

“Peter, you’ve met Robert Warszawa. My Forces boss.”

Robert reached out & shook Peter’s hand. “I don’t think we’ve properly introduced. You were able to get out of the Carafe?”

“Uh, yes?” Peter said looking to Dan.

“We’ve been keeping an eye on Mr. Daniels since the bomb attack.”

“You mean I’ve been under surveillance?”

“Think of it as protection. Speaking of which the Prime Minster is debarking.”

Robert stepped away and blended back into the crowd.

“Surveillance?” Peter asked. “You don’t tell me you were also a secret agent man.”

“Let’s just say parts of my work life are classified confidential. You car is this way.”

The lot at the Waterside already full. Dan drove around twice looking for a spot.

“Porsche. Porsche. Lexus. Lexus LX.” Peter practically shouted that last one. “My fuck! You sure you’re allowed to even be here? Is that a Silver Cloud? Am I going to need a tux for this event? All I brought was a change of clothes and that black harness you like.” He pulled up his tee shirt to show Dan that he was wearing it. “Set off the alarm at Pearson. Told them I was performing at the gala. The black jeans?”

A flower delivery van pulled out and Dan took the spot.

“We will be skipping the formal dinner.” Dan quickly told Peter about the most recent run in with John Kilpatrick. “I decided it would best if I wasn’t there. If he spilled a glass of water he would probably accused me of somehow doing.”

“Then jeans will be formal enough.”

“I have check for messages.” He handed Peter the card for the cabin. “I’ll be right back.”

George was dealing with an irate, well-dressed man, in his mid-50’s. Thanks to Jeremy, Dan knew the difference between off the rack; between custom made in New York, Paris, Hong Kong or Milan. This man was wearing condo’s worth of clothing. Maybe more when he caught a glimpse of the man’s watch and cufflinks as he slammed his open palm on the front desk.

“We’ve been to every hotel, piss-stained motel and flea-bag b’n’b within a hundred mile radius. You must have something. You fucking jack-off’s hiking prices on top of everything else.”

“Ah, Mr. James.” Clerk said over the man’s shoulder. “There are two messages for you. Plus these flowers, that just arrived.” He put a large floral display in a heavy crystal vase on the counter. “I didn’t have time to get it inot your cabin.”

The man turned and gave Dan a once-over and was clearly about to dismiss him when his eyes stopped at the Lifend camera. He looked at Dan face.

“Can I help you?” Dan asked the man as he read the card. They were from Jeremy.

“Not much anyone can do Mr. James.” George said. “Everything has been booked solid weeks. Good thing QTel had that reservation for the four cabins. I could have let them twice for twice as much, too.”

“What’s taking you so long, sir.” Peter came into the lobby with his tee-shirt off. He sat in one of the lobby arm chairs.

“Here, Peter.” He nodded to the flowers. “Compliments of the Jeremy Moxham.”

Peter picked the vase up carefully. “He must have had this Baccarat flown in for you. I can’t see any local florist carrying them.”

Dan couldn’t stop laughing.

The rich man was confused for a moment. He sat in the other lobby chair and began to text.

“George how many of the cabins is QTel using this weekend.” Dan asked quietly.

George checked. He leaned forward. “Only three. You have one, Baxter has one, Cameron and Stephanie are in the other.”

“Then let the gentleman have that one. It is the one with the crappy a/c,shitty TV reception.”

“If you mean 11b then you’re right.”

“Also the one closest to the highway.” Dan said. He turned to rich guy. “Mr. ?”

“Clarkson.” The man said.

“As it turns out I won’t be using all the cabins I’ve booked. I’ve cancelled my reservation for one of them for the next three nights.”

“That’s most … How can I thank you?”

“Don’t throw the TV in the pool for one thing. Tip clerk well too.”

“Sure.”

“Peter.” Dan commanded.

“Yes, sir.” Peter stood at attention. 

“Flowers to the cabin.”

“Thank you, sir.” Peter picked dup the vase and followed Dan out.

As he left Dan heard Clarkson ask. “Who was that?”

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Recap April 2022

The TOpoet.ca following blog grew with over 600 people get notification whenever I post a new blog! The WP map does show my hits have come from  countries around the world. The USA tops the world list is interest but that Mauritius (Bonjour abonnés mauriciens) & Ghana are in the top 10 is a surprise. As you can see by the top 10 posts That’s Not Funny (https://topoet.ca/2022/04/26/thats-not-funny/) tops the list. F**k Cancer is a post from 10 years that made a trip to the top 10! 

Picture Perfect: 114 sections, about 162,000 words posted so far with about 25,000 words left to be edited then posted. I also cut some 2000 words out this past week & figure there’ll be another 2000 to get chopped soon. So I could be done by the end of the summer.

Synchronicity often puts books together for me. Last month I finished Stephen Leacock’s London Travels eBook & next on that eBooks shelf was Sunlight & Shadow (1880) by John Bartholomew Gough (died 1886). He was a temperance orator! The book is his reflection on life in London as he brings his message & it is fascinating – & also a little sad as attitudes towards alcohol & poverty haven’t changed much since then. What is amazing is that his comments on being misrepresented by the press are still relevant, plus his ‘tips’ on speaking in public hold true for today as well.

Read ‘Johnny Would You Love Me If My Dick Were Bigger’ by Brontez Purnell – this is hilarious & highly recommended. Unfiltered Sedaris-like essays on the vagaries & vulgarities of gay male life. I laughed out loud often. Be prepared for explicit sex & language.

Enjoying Servant of the People – the eerily prophetic Volodymyr Zelensky series. The writing is fearless in its political attack, the performances are spot on, though as it turns out Zelensky wasn’t acting, merely rehearsing for the role of a lifetime. Here in Canada Vision has been showing it with English subtitles which I presume aren’t censored or mistranslating what is being said. 

I have been getting to one in-person recovery meeting a week. The return to meetings in Toronto has been slow even though the only requirement by meeting spaces is that we stayed masked. Like many I’m not comfortable with more than ten people in a large room, even when all are masked. A couple of the zoom meetings closed for their in person meeting but returned to zoom to run both. I think zoom recovery is here to stay.

Two visits to my dentist this month, so I’m not sure what my summer plans are after having that $$ turned into fillings. The other drain on my summer plans was a new TV, as the ‘old’ one was losing its plasma picture – it was like watching though a thin layer of smoke that was getting smokier by the week. We found it was impossible to find one without internet in its system 😦 Getting it set up was a maze of menus but once again we can enjoy full screen & amazing colour. 

After the winter of our discontent, coming up in May, a day trip to Stratford  to see Richard III. We will be driving regardless of this entreaty “A horse! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!”

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Stratford July 2021

With an upcoming day trip to Stratford to see Richard III here are some photos from a day trip there in July 2021 to get away. We didn’t see a show but booked tickets to see Three Tall Women in October. https://topoet.ca/2021/10/01/ah-yes-i-remember-it-well/

For recharging your car not your cellphone
safe from glory holes too
no pee peeking
wash your own hands
one of the outdoor stages
tarts at the Shakespeare Pie Shop
barn on the way home
rustic farm house
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Prine Prick At A Price

As a stand alone I have Lloyd Price’s Lawdy Miss Clawdy. It was one of The Essential Blue Archive series that were budget price compilations of early r’n’b artists. I knew the ‘hit’ from golden oldies but that was it. This is an excellent collection, the sound quality is excellent too. A fine voice & great New Orleans style blues, soul & worth having.

Another stand alone is Prick’s 1995 cd. I heard the song ‘Animal’ on a College Music Journal compilation CD & loved the guitar sound & the satisfying flesh ripping effect. The lp is aggressive without being pounding. Subversive songs & not a commercial success as the band didn’t care about radio or MTV appeal.

By John Prine I have lp to cd transfers of John Prine 1971 that includes ‘Hello In There’; Diamonds in the Rough 1972: includes “The Frying Pan” “Yes I Guess They Oughta Name a Drink After You”; Sweet Revenge 1973; as mp3 – Lost Dogs & Mixed Blessings 1995. His sound is labelled country-folk, sort of a less rock version of John Cougar Mellencamp. I loved his acerbic humorous merciless & sometimes emotionally stunning lyrics. A critics darling but never a huge public success. Maybe thanks to lyrics like ‘there’s a hole in Daddy’s arm where all the money goes.’

His songs are stories as opposed to let’s dance or I love you & ‘a note in the frying pan said she ran off with the fuller brush man’ His influence is seen in Mellencamp, Springsteen & Jackson Browne. Even Bette Midler has covered his songs! Diamonds in the Rough is a good starter if you are unfamiliar with this amazing songwriter.

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That’s Not Funny

That’s Not Funny

no one is laughing at you

sure

we all laughed 

when you started to speak

but that was a coincidence

not something intended 

to humiliate you

to mock you

to drown you out

we weren’t laughing

became of anything you said

<>

besides

we were laughing so much

we didn’t hear you anyway

it’s okay

there’s no need to repeat yourself

you aren’t that funny

really

no one is

<>

expect when they take it personally

when they are egotistical enough

to think they are the object of derision

merely because 

everyone is laughing

for no apparent reason

<>

no one saw you come into the room

we were already laughing

all so consumed

by our own smug sense of superiority 

of being in on a joke

that you would never get

we didn’t notice you 

<>

when you started to speak

we saw no need to stop

no need to listen

we only stopped laughing

when you didn’t laugh too

and now

the joke’s on you

There is a classic Mary Tyler Moore Show where giggles start at funeral – I think it was Chuckles the Clown. They attempt to suppress themselves but can’t. When someone asks what are they laughing at, the reply is more laughter & that someone is offended at being laughed at. Walking in the middle of a joke can be awkward but taking it personally or feeling stupid because you don’t get the joke is pointless.

TV has trained us to laugh only when others are laughing – almost all sitcoms rely on a laugh track to let us know this is funny, this is the punch line & it’s time to laugh. There is youtube site that shows shows without the canned laughter & you know some of those jokes are flatter than your TV screen or come across as mean, not as funny.

One of thing stand-up comics learn is timing – you don’t want the laugher at one joke to drown out the punch line for the next one &, one thing I’ve learned, people will laugh when you least expect them to so be prepared to slow down a little if you want the real punch line to get heard. Unfortunately movies can’t slow down so I’ve missed five minutes of dialogue after a joke because the of audience reaction. 

If you think your life has been a joke, you’re probably right lol?


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Picture Perfect 114 

Picture Perfect 114

Dan woke Saturday morning to loud knocking on his cabin door.

“One second.” he said as he shook himself awake. “Who is it?”

“Stephanie Carter.” was the reply. “I wouldn’t bother you but this is urgent.”

He pulled his pants on & opened the door.

“What’s so urgent?” he asked.

“I don’t know.” She was almost in tears. “But Harold Carmichael from QTel has flown in to talk to us.”
“Us?”

“The Cold East crew. He says we’ll be lucky to ever work again after what you did?”

“Did? What did I do?”

“Fuck! I have no fucking idea what this is all about. But he’s seen some video footage & well that’s all he’d say except he’d see us asap at the Regent.”

“Let me … get dressed anyway.”

“He also though you were at the Regent.”

“Whatever.”

A car honked.

“That’s Cameron with the rental. Come on.”

“Okay! Okay! Let me take a piss & get my shoes on at least.”

At the Regent Baxter met them in the lobby & took them one of the conference rooms. Jeremy Maxim & Harold Carmichael were already there with John Kilpatrick. 

“We’re all here.” Baxter said. “Now what is this all about.”

“Show them.” Kilpatrick said with a sneering grin as he nodded to a tech guy who turned on a laptop that had a TV monitor hooked into it.

I was the tail end of the press conference from the day before. It was Dan inviting John stage to talk about Carnival Canada. The camera followed them leave & one of them shouting “Back to you, John.”

“That was me!” Baxter explained. “Not Dan.”

“For once it isn’t about you Baxter.” Harold said. “But about Mr. James. Carnival Canada was strictly top secret. No one was to know about it until QTel made the announcement. No one. Yet here we have Mr James ….”

“Trying to make a fool of me once again. You trumped up nobody. First you steal my show idea, then make a fool of me on national tv & now this. After covering the civil war in Gualanda & getting, in case you don’t know, medal for heroism, I’m not going to step back from a fight with you.”

“I … I didn’t know that it was a top secret show. I’m didn’t even know Cold East episodes were being expanded to two hours each.”

“What!” Cameron said. “Since when!”

“How did you hear about Carnival Canada?” John demanded. 

“I told him.” Jeremy said. “What were you doing at the Cold East press conference John?”

“He was there to  make sure he got compensation for the idea.” Baxter said. “The idea for the series didn’t occur to me, & I repeat ‘me’ until after I had met with Dan for the first time. I checked his credentials & it was clear me he would be perfect to investigate these cases, for us.”

“But …” John began.

“I don’t recall consulting you about it.” Baxter continued. “What I do remember though is you telling me you were looking forward to a break at the wrap of season party.”

“That has nothing to do with this … breach of confidentiality.” John said. “Wasn’t there some sort of nondisclosure clause in the contact?”

“Only for people directly associated with the series.” Harold said. “Dan isn’t associated.”

“It is definitely my fault.” Jeremy said. “I mentioned in passing to Dan when we flew in the other day.”

“What happened after we left?” Jennifer asked. 

“Nothing.” The tech guy said. “I was part of that crew. Mr. Kilpatrick told what media remained that Mr. James was joking.”

 “Has there been anything in the press? On line?”Jennifer asked.

“I’ll find out.” Stephanie spoke to someone on her cell phone. “I’ll know in a minute.”

“Don’t bother!” Kilpatrick pushed the door to the conference room open. “Fucking the executive producer has privileges.” He glared at Dan as he left. “You’ll regret this you asshole.”

They stood in silence as the door shut.

“Breakfast anyone?” Harold said. “That seems to be settled.”

In the dining-room Jeremy steered Dan to a separate table.

“You haven’t returned my messages.” He said once they had ordered.

“In case you’ve forgotten this is weekend is a work assignment.” Dan took his pad out of his shoulder bag. “I have to check what’s scheduled for me today.”

“That’s avoidance. Is my interest in you that … unwelcome?” 

“No but there’s so much going on with there show, with my business. Its like a merry-go-round it only stops long enough for me feel dizzy. I don’t need anything more on it with me.”

The waitress brought their breakfasts.

“I could … oh shit …” Jeremy stared over Dan’s head.

Dan turned around. Della Kincade entered the dining-room & was walking direct to their table.

“Jeremy. The perfect breakfast companion.”

“Sorry Della but this is a business breakfast.” He held up Dan’s pad. “Before you go let me introduce you to Daniel James. Host of QTel’s Cold East.”

Dan stood to shake her hand. 

“Oh yes,” she said. “I have heard of you.” She glance around the room. “Oh there’s David, the PM’s right-hand-man.” She waved & started in the direction. “Nice to meet you. I guess it’s ‘back to Jeremy’ for you.”

“Sorry about that,” Jeremy said.

A teenage boy stopped at their table.

“I is him! I told you it was.”

“More of your fans.” Dan said.

“Can I get a picture with you.” The boy asked.

“I ….” Jeremy started to get up.
“No not you. Him. Back to you Dan we call you.” The boy was beaming at Dan. “My name is, you won’t believe this, but it really is John.” He shook Dan’s hand.

Another teenage boy came over the table. “Here take this Sam.” He handed Sam his cellphone.

“Okay.” Dan stood.

“Here’s the thing,” John said. “I just want you to say it.”

“Say it?” Dan asked.”Smile?”

“No. Back to you John. We’ll post it on my web page. Maybe it’ll go viral, you know.”

Sam held the cell up. “Okay.” he said. “Uh … action.”

Dan waited a moment then said his line.

“Wow.” John exclaimed. “That was amazing. You sound just the first time we heard it.”

“Yeah.” Dan said. “Life is sometimes amazing like that.”

“Thanks again.” The boys ran out of the dining-room.

Jeremy walked Dan out to the parking garage.

“You have any plans for after this?” Jeremy asked.

“I have a real job.” Dan said. “I honesty can’t wait to get back to my routine life. Things like this are fun, I guess, but I don’t feel showbiz is for me.”

“I don’t know about that I’ve seen roughs of the first couple of episodes & you are a natural.”

“No thanks. Once I’ve finished with Cold East that’s it for me & TV. I don’t think I want to be one of those talking heads either. You know those ones that show up in nearly any show being asked what they think about aliens building the pyramids.” Dan stopped to look the rental. “Fuck!”

“What!”

“Cameron drove us in for the meetings. We didn’t park in here.”

“Don’t worry I’ll that you get back.”

“Thanks.” Dan turned back to the stairs when Jeremy pulled him close & kissed him.

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Prince and Philip

I remember the first time I heard Prince. It was at the dance at an AA roundup in Detroit March 1982 … & the song was Little Red Corvette & the song lifted me right off the floor. I couldn’t wait for the lp to be released: became my album of the decade 🙂

I have as stand-alone or mp3: 1999 (1982), Purple Rain, Sign O’The Times (1987), Batman (1989), Diamond & Pearls (1991), Come (1994), Musicology (2004), 3121 (2006), The Very Best, Originals (2019).

I wouldn’t call myself a fan though. There are great tracks ruining though all his lps & often tedious romantic ballads that aren’t for me. The lyrics are sometimes sexually frank, even funny. Part of his initial reputation was assured by such direct lyrics like ‘masturbating with a magazine.’ He is following in the footsteps of iconic risky blues – ‘I need a hotdog for my roll’ ‘Papa’s got a big ten inch (record)’

His guitar work, when it isn’t submerged, is stunning. His songs for Batman are great & I was sorry so few of them got used in the film. I heard a track off 3121 that had me looking for it. The Hits collection is a good started for anyone, if that person exists, who is not familiar with him. ‘Originals’ are his recordings of songs he wrote for others that became hits for them.

To round out the mp3 collections I added: Marvin Gaye: Trouble Man (soundtrack), M.P.G. Marvin is one of Prince’s prime influences, so worth hearing. I love the Trouble Man soundtrack. Prince influenced many including – Pitbull. Here are his The Boatlift, Planet Pit – rollicking sexy raps with Latino underpinnings & music you can dance to. 

I also added a wild variety of other musical genres: Kruder & Dorfmeister: G-Stoned EP 1995: excellent trip-hop soul out of Austria; Boil The Kettle Mother: (Psychedelic Patchwork Volume 1) a fun collection of 70s psychedelic pop; Aphex Twin: Collapse EP: the master of electronica; Mount Kimbie: What Love Survives 2017: emotive trippy electronica; Electric Psychedelic Sitar Heads: one of series of cheesy sitar infused pop; Sevdaliza: Ison 2017; deeply emotional slow soul electronic; For A Few Fuzz Guitars More: guess what! A great compilation of vintage garage rock; finally, as a complete departure – Philip Glass: Solo Piano – not at all monotone & emotionless, in fact nearly romantic & very enjoyable but not music to masturbate to. 

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