Aug 242017
 

Today was designated as International Strange Music day by contemporary US composer Patrick Grant whose works are a synthesis of classical, popular, and world musical styles that have been performed in concert halls, film, theater, dance, and visual media. He is known as a producer and co-producer of live musical events including a 2013 Guinness World Record-breaking performance of 175 electronic keyboards in NYC. The question for me comes down to: “What counts as ‘strange’ music?” The lead video here uses the theremin as the background music giving the suggestion that “strange” means eerie or spooky, but I think Grant meant something more like “unusual.” Here is the gist of the question: “Unusual (or strange) to whom?” Grant uses gamelan, microtones, synthesizers and so on to create layered soundscapes that some would consider strange, but gamelans are not strange to Balinese or Javanese people, and microtones are the norm in many world music styles. I think it comes down to taking the day to appreciate music that is strange or unusual to YOU. For me that’s a mighty tall order. I’ve spent my entire professional career traveling the world to listen to and record music from out-of-the-way places. I’ve yet to go to Tuva to hear throat singers, but it’s on the list – and I guess I would call it strange music:

I could embed a bunch of videos here for you to sample but I am mindful of disk space on my server so I’ll be a little frugal. Here’s some links instead.

This is Chinese brothers who make musical instruments out of fresh vegetables:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N7qiwu46hrA

Here we have an extraordinary musical instrument that runs on thousands of ball bearings:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvUU8joBb1Q

I’ve always found Baka women from Gbiné singing their traditional Yelli songs to be mesmeric, but you have to listen for a long time. They keep it up for hours.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cATZe_jlc9g

Javanese gamelan has been a special love of mine for over 40 years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFrOAJMpryQ

I’ve always had a thing for the musical saw too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmft674XPC0

Your turn. Post your favorites in the comments section.

I will give a musical recipe for homemade flavored Doritos in a second, but first one of my all-time favorites, the Taco Bell canon:

Now the Doritos: