December 2, 2022

Quiet Storm

 Time for another gonzo blog post. Online edition.

Fucking... I hate the idea of a metaverse, but I think the people who are into it, might be on to something. I've spent the majority of my life online, and a LOT of TIME on it. Even though I travel to an office, I'm on a computer, everyone is. Literally all business is done online, so it makes sense to want to make that environment as comfortable as you can, even if it is all a facade  Before all that I was always online at home and for personal reasons.

Spotify just recently did their "Wrapped" where everyone gets to see how their 2022 was. I had an interesting musical year, I have to say. My top 5 artists were as follows:

  1. Jackie Gleason
  2. Method Man
  3. TOOL
  4. All Them Witches
  5. King Buffalo

😂. I'm the only person on the planet right now who has Jackie Gleason as his number one listened to artist for the year. Even more comical that Method Man is sandwiched in between Jackie Gleason and TOOL. Here's the proof:

Interesting though that my top songs do not include any Jackie Gleason songs... So I'm curious to find out how the hell they actually calculate that shit. I wonder if each screen was a different team or different people, and if they were just tasked with using some of the metrics and making sure that the name made sense with the calculations.

No big deal though. I enjoyed all of the screens. I do every year. Top genres was one of my favorite screens overall. Turns out that my number one genre was a genre of music that I've never even heard of berfore! "Psychadelic Doom" is apparently a fucking thing... I've always known it as "Stoner Rock" and just "Metal," sometimes "Doom" if it's a band that takes more from Black Sabbath than they do from Led Zeppelin or King Crimson. I just called it "Stoomer," or--in other words--Stoner Doom Metal. So it's interesting to see "Psychadelic Doom." I can't really argue with the title though. I'm down for that label, it does actually fit a lot of the stuff that I listen to.

This year was particularly good for that style of music. 2022 has definitely ended well for that style of music for sure. Elder just released their latest album, Innate Passage and I've had to add at least one of their songs to the Stoomer playlist. It's a much better album than Omens for sure. The Big Scenic Nowhere does take the top slot though for earlier in the year. The one song that you will not find on that playlist though is Tyler Childers' Feathered Indians. I have a whole other playlist for that type of music. What I do need to put together is a playlist of Swing and old Jazz, that's one of the genres that I've really come to enjoy the past couple of years.

The passing of my wife and I's grandparents in 2017-2018 was a huge mental shift. Loosing an entire generation of people all in the span of a few months, I actively began to think of, and consciously commit to memory, all the different stories they had shared with me and the fond memories that I had with them. One of the things that they had in common was old Jazz, Swing music from WW2. One of my grandmother's favorite musicians was Tommy Dorsey.

My parents never get out of the house, they have never been the type of people to "go out," they're homebodies. So it was interesting that they decided to go for a long weekend in Rachael, NV. This was probably better than a decade ago. One of the reasons they never went anywhere was because they didn't want to leave my grandma alone by herself. They asked me to hang out with grandma and make sure that someone was there to put in her eye drops, so I obliged. We ended up listening to a bunch of swing music; Gene Krupa, Tommy Dorsey and his brother... One of my aunts had gifted grandma a Bose radio. Those things were pretty fucking cool back in the day; small, and they did have amazing sound. I don't mind my Creative speaker set, it was a gift and they still have amazing sound (I would like to look into a sound card... But I don't think those are really a thing anymore.) Anyway, I digress. Hanging out with grandma was actually pretty fun. Apparently, back in the early 40s you could hop on a train from upstate, ride into Manhattan, and get fucked up on $2.00. Not only that, you got to see some of these guys live. Because Spotify has renamed one of my favorite genres, I think it's only fair that I give "Swing" a new name... Really though, it's a special sub-segment of Jazz. I'm really only interested in the albums that were recorded with more modern equipment. All the music that was recorded in the 50s by these guys; specifically Tommy Dorsey, is fucking amazing, and it's not the music that you typically hear as a sample of what Swing was like. The 50s were when my grandparents on both sides had my parents and settled down.

I had to own this album; The Fabulous Dorseys in Hi-Fi Volumes 1 and 2.

But, I suppose that I'll leave you with some Jackie Gleason, so you can see why he was one of my top artists on Spotify... The 1950s have an interesting effect on Jazz that I feel is often overlooked by most people who study music, and who are interested in the specific genre of "Jazz" or "Swing." It has a really melancholic feel to it, but there's so much passion behind it too. Music, Martinis, and Memories is one of the greatest albums to express the kids who were born in the 20s and grew up during the Depression, and then had kids in the 50s. The Honeymooners was popular because it entertained the kids and he was a household name. I could be wrong about that, but this album in particular came out before the TV show.

Headed into the New Year, I need some new music to learn about... So, you might be wondering about the title of this piece. Well, to bring it back around to the whole "metaverse" idea; I got the name from a friend of mine whom I only know online. We've never met in person, but we've chatted on webcam before and we've done a couple podcast episodes together. He shared his top genres from Spotify as well, and one of them was called "Quiet Storm". I was immediately intrigued by what the hell a quiet storm was, and how that would be expressed musically.  Turns out that the genre is inspired by a Smokey Robinson song by the same name. 

Spotify has an AI playlist called "Quiet Storm," it seems to be a changing playlist, and it's different for each user who accesses it, but it seems to contain mostly music that can otherwise be described as old school R&B, or some softer, more disco, funk type of music, the real evolution of that classic Motown sound from the 1970s. 

My particular playlist has a bunch of people on it like: Ms. Lauryn Hill, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, The Whispers, The Delphonics, and The Main Ingredient. Not going to lie, I have fallen in love with the album Euphrates River by The Main Ingredient. I know for a fact that I actively avoided listening to them when I was younger because I wasn't a huge fan of Cuba Gooding Jr., or I didn't want people to think that I was just listening to Sr. BECAUSE of how popular his son was. Seriously though, Jr.'s daddy has some fucking pipes on him! "Summer Breeze" is a jam, and it's a master class in instrumentation.  Who knows which songs are going to be on this playlist when you access and read this blog post. Hopefully Spotify hasn't fucked it up too horribly... I'll probably work on compiling a bunch of the new songs and old favorites that I find into my own playlist. Honestly, I'm half tempted to just throw some of this stuff on to the end of my already-existing Motown playlist. The stuff that I'm liking from the Quiet Storm playlist are all the songs that remind me of The Manhattans and the Temptations and bands like them... Baby Huey and the Baby Sitters even.

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