PotD: Allotment Gardens, High Park

I’ve been lost in a sloppy mire of malaise and stress lately. I am sick of winter, sick of cold windy days, sick of dealing with the various vexations that seem to be coming more often than usual, and just generally down. As such, I haven’t been doing anything particularly noteworthy. Even posting this photo, which I had uploaded with the other one, was out of my depth.

Here it is. And here I go!

PotD: Stream, rushes, houses, High Park Winter.

I went to High Park yesterday morning. It was an eerie echo of a photo trip I took, jeez, probably about seven years ago. At the time, the park seemed to be in some unreachable nook of the city – it was maybe my second time visiting the place. But I bundled up and took my camera (then a Powershot S30, now a Canon 5dMkII) and shot whatever caught my fancy. Yesterday, I was dismayed in wandering around the park. The lack of leaves really made it difficult to separate a shot into any sort of meaningful order; everything just globbed together into a brown-grey barky blob. But after an hour or so of wandering around, I finally made it work for me.

It wasn’t until I got home and sat down with this image for a while that I realized how much I liked it. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but my ever-astute ladyfriend pointed it out. It’s got everything I ever take photos of: sad trees, houses, panorama-ness. Added on top of that a nice mix of an ordered elements of the houses and the stream and the bisecting line of the road set against the aforementioned brown tangle of winter-bare woods… well, I guess that’ll do it.

PotD: Mysterious pipeline

Last November. I’m walking north along a ravine in the east end. A wide stream, or small river, casually wends its way down to the lake. The river is very shallow, its flow invisible to my eye; the whole thing seems to be buttoning itself up for the incipient winter. After a few twists and turns and over a flood-damaged Toronto parks & rec brand bridge, the trail reveals a glimpse of something shiny in the middle-distance treetops.

A foil-wrapped pipeline is suspended twenty feet over the dirt path, pacing alongside a monument road bridge just to the north. Walking under major streets is a common occurrence in Toronto, shot through with memories of ancient glacial runoff, but I’ve never seen something like this before. Where is it going, and what could it hold? Sewage is most likely, but also the least exciting. Heavy water. Chocolate. Prison escapees. Internet. These are the things I wish I could glimpse rushing along through this inscrutable piece of infrastructure.

Closer examination yields nothing and I leave the pipeline to its business.

PotD – Rouge Hill, Dusk, Autumn

I was so keen for there to be a monumental wintry attack; a blizzard unlike any before. Thunder and lightning and howling gale-force winds pouring cubic kilometers of crushing snow across our unprepared city. But instead there was a light dusting and everyone stayed home for the day. It means it’s time for salt, for that grey-brown slurry soaking into the hem of your trousers, for it being too sloppy and slippery to get a good jog in.

I miss autumn. Plans tomorrow to go out and come to grips with this frigid bastard of a season.

MotD* – The Amen Break

While the whole song is pretty dang catchy, this post refers specifically to the drum break at 1:26.

I’ve been listening to the Hospital Records podcast for a few years now. It’s some of the most astonishingly effective marketing I’ve ever willingly, happily, absorbed. It’s hosted by one of the label’s co-founders, Tony Colman, and is a semi-regular dose of new music by producers in their stable, as well as other music from everyone from unknowns in bedroom studios to some of the pillars of the scene. All in all, a great show, and one that sheds some light into a subculture that I know very little about.

I had heard Tony possibly** use the word ‘amen’ to refer to some part of a track before, or about the popularity of an ‘amen’, or to point one out in the mix somewhere. Of course, trying to identify one particular part of a drum & bass track can often be difficult even when you know what it is you’re looking for.

Finally, I remembered to do a quick search on the subject and was richly rewarded. It’s a short loop from the song by The Winstons, originally sampled way back in the mid-80s and used in everything from NWA to The Powerpuff Girls theme. (much more info at the good ol’ WP) When I heard the drum break isolated it immediately sounded familiar, but now with all this added weight of knowledge, I’ll be hard pressed to gloss over it whenever it emerges in the future. Hopefully I haven’t permanently altered my ability to listen to a broad swath of music that I rather enjoy – I suppose step one is learning about it, and step two is learning to forget about it.

*First of all, the M stands for minutiae. I am open to suggestions

** his accent often obfuscates ambiguous words (to my colonial ears)

VotD : Human Planet Web Trailer

First things first, apparently John Hurt is narrating. No David Attenborough. Now, I don’t know Hurt’s voice from Tom Waits’, but I’m willing to bet it cannot beat Attenborough’s. The only two voices that I think even come close are David Suzuki’s, and possibly Ken Watanabe’s (but that’s in a different category, obviously). Ever since, at least ten years ago, ┬ásome random person on the phone complimented my voice, I’ve always toyed around with the idea of doing voice work for things – games? cartoons?. Like all of my random, entirely unbaked interests, I would have no idea of where to start. Are there courses? Should I learn to sing? Was that random person actually just losing their hearing and I actually sound like a mule on a megaphone?

Oh, and of course, I wish this BBC series would just exist on DVD already. Or perhaps just skip that step and move it directly into my brain.

SotD : Laura Veirs – Sleeper in the Valley


Lyrics adapted from the poem by the same name by Arthur Rimbaud.

Yet another unexpected offering from deep within the undercity of my iPod. I have no idea how these songs get in here but I definitely like it when they come out.

I’ve recently been lamenting the shortage of albums I enjoy as a whole. New ones, that is. Perhaps I’ve just become more discerning (let’s call it picky) over the years, but it’s an exceedingly rare full-length release that I want to listen to in its entirety. (I am reminded of some piece of internettery involving Sufjan Stevens calling into question the validity of the album format given the changes to the way that music is distributed, purchased, and consumed, but alas, cannot find a link.) Veir’s album is lovely and folky and by turns happy, tragic, haunting, or peppy. Something about this tenth track made it pop out – maybe the mental image of swooning crows; their feathered bellies stuffed to bursting with viscera, emitting rough little sighs and falling back onto tiny fainting couches.