Perpetuum Mobile and the Ecstasy of Gold

For years, I would hear this one song in commercials and never knew what it was. But it would show up from time to time, usually somehow technology related. It sounds a little like Philip Glass. If you heard it you would recognize it right away. So tonight I was watching TV and a commercial came on for the restaurant Carrabbas and there was the music! I hoped it wasn’t too new to Google and searched the internet, knowing there are sites where people identify music in commercials. The answer popped up in no time! And from the responses this post got, I wasn’t the only one that had been looking for the name of this for a long time. Anyway, I’d never heard of the song or the group. The song is “Perpetuum Mobile” and it is by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra. You can see them playing it on YouTube. That led me to a YouTube video that makes a movie out 200 pictures that a pretty woman (girl? she can’t be that old) has taken of herself each day, set to Perpetuum Mobile. Penguin Cafe Orchestra has some other videos here and here. They made this one using a dial tone (not my favorite).

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Philip Glass and Akhnaten

I’ve been a fan of Philip Glass for probably fifteen years or so. One of the CD’s of his that I own is called Songs From the Trilogy, with the Trilogy being three operas he wrote during the 70’s and 80’s, the first called Einstein on the Beach and the last called Akhnaten about an Egyptian pharaoh (I guess that’s the only kind). Einstein on the Beach is probably the most famous because it was whole different take on opera and classical music in general. However, of the songs on the Trilogy CD, the ones from Akhnaten are probably my favorites. When Susan and I were considering buying season tickets to the opera, one thing I liked was that they were going to do an optional fifth show at Emory University and it would be Akhnaten. I still hadn’t heard the whole opera, just the four songs that made the CD.

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Grant’s Mix

Today I went up to Athens with Mom to see Nicole and the soon-to-be Park Avenue Cashins, see the new house, eat hamburgers, and drink beer. Before I went I made a CD for Grant of some 21st century music and other stuff that I like. I hope he likes it. I didn’t have much time to figure out the best song order or even necessarily pick the best songs, but it should still be good to listen to. Franz Ferdinand’s “Michael” is probably the weakest track, but since the last CD I made for Grant and Jami had “One-Eyed Fiona” on it, I didn’t feel like I had a choice. Now that I listen to it again I realize I should have included a more representative selection from M. Ward than the classical piece by Bach that I used. He’s kind of like Tom Waits with a guitar. Anyway, if any of that sounds good to Grant, I can make another CD with more from that artist.

  1. The Killers – Mr. Brightside (2005)

  2. Spoon – The Beast and Dragon, Adored (2005)

  3. The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army (2003)

  4. Franz Ferdinand – Michael (2004)

  5. Modest Mouse – Float On (2004)

  6. The Killers – Change Your Mind (2005)

  7. Ben Folds Five – Lullabye (1999)

  8. Spoon – The Way We Get By (2002)

  9. Fat Boy Slim – Praise You (2000)

  10. The Strokes – Is This It (2001)

  11. Iggy Pop – The Passenger (1977)

  12. Franz Ferdinand – Jacqueline (2004)

  13. Liz Phair – Polyester Bride (1998)

  14. Rusted Root – Heaven (1996)

  15. The Strokes – Someday (2001)

  16. M. Ward – Well-Tempered Clavier (2005)


In my excitement to find out more about The Killers I didn’t end up watching the rest of that episode of Austin City Limits. Sunday night I watched the next act, an Austin-based indie band called Spoon. In the AllMusic entry for The Killers they had Spoon listed as a similar artist, so I thought I might like them too. They are pretty different though. Whereas The Killers have a definite Cure and Oasis influence, Spoon has more of a Elvis Costello sound, though more like “Watching the Detectives” than “Alison”. I think they sound at least a little like X though not rockabilly like X could be, more like “Blue Spark,” at least with the songs they were performing which came from their current CD Gimme Fiction. On other albums they have a little different sound, but I like the spooky funky blues sound of these songs, particularly “The Beast and Dragon, Adored” and “My Mathematical Mind”. Those titles make them sound geekier than they really are.

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The Killers

Austin City Limits is a live music show on public television. They have pretty good taste and the show has been around for a long time. Based in Austin, they seem to spotlight a lot of Texas bands. Lyle Lovett has probably been on a lot, Stevie Ray Vaughan was on it. They had The Pixies when they got back together. So if something seems remotely interesting I’ll try to record it. (For a while another PBS show had a similar lineup of well-chosen talent called Sessions at West 54th, but it disappeared after a couple of years.)

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Mom’s Mix

In celebration of Mom’s birthday and without any Wynnona to offer, I made her a mix CD. It is based on some of the songs I got around the time I made Dad’s Mix which consisted mostly of pre-rock 50’s songs. I really don’t know what Mom would like any more than what Dad would like, but I put some later pop songs like Captain and Tennille, Righteous Brothers, and Neil Diamond on this one.

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eMusic conclusion

Just a brief follow-up (see first and second posts). I finished all my downloads. I looked in the Soundtracks section and found Charlie Brown Christmas. That’s a good one so I downloaded the whole album. I also found Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. I remember liking the the different themes for each character so I downloaded the whole 20-minute track. Honestly it was disappointing, not really a complete work but just those few themes over and over again plus the narration of the story. Other than that I continued as before, downloading a few more Pixies B-sides, Peter Murphy, Pavement, Rancid, Charlatans UK, The Church, and NOFX. It’s a challenge finding 100 songs you will like, but I was very pleased with discovering Pavement (“Grounded” “Cut Your Hair” and “Trigger Cut”) and NOFX (“Bob” and “Linoleum”) and I like some of the Peter Murphy tracks (“Cuts You Up” “Sweetest Drop” and “Low Room”), Pixies (“Manta Ray” “Dance the Manta Ray” and “Into the White”), and Rancid who have a strong Clash influence (especially on “Time Bomb”). If you’re interested in trying the service out you don’t have to buy Dockers. They offer a free month with 100 songs to anyone with a credit card.

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eMusic (cont.)

I’m a little over halfway through my 100 free songs from Dockers and eMusic (see first post). It’s been a challenge to find things I want and also a lot of work researching groups that I might like. Because they have so few artists you’ve heard of you pretty much have to stumble across them by finding a few bands and then seeing the recommendations based on what other people have downloaded who downloaded songs from that band. Then I go to and see what they say about them and which albums they like and which are the best tracks from those albums. Then back to eMusic to see if they have that album. Sometimes they will only have early or later albums when the band wasn’t as marketable and was on a smaller label. For instance they have some very new Rickie Lee Jones but not her famous stuff from the 70’s and 80’s. Still, I downloaded a nice cover she does of The Beatles’ “For No One,” which I’d never heard of but sounds better than the original.

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