Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Nice Random Tracklist

Here's a tracklist for the "Nice Random Mix," made available here a few weeks back. It's no longer available, but if you missed out, stay tuned for the next installment. If you got it, this might come in handy.

1. ONLY THE STONG SURVIVE - DJ Krush (with CL Smooth)
2. AEROSOUL - DJ Tommy Tee
5. MELODIUS THUNK - Andrea Parker
6. MIURA - Metro Area
7. (Unidentified)
8. NUMBERS - Kraftwerk
10. SLIDE AWAY - The Verve
11. RHODES - Monaural
12. AT LES (Russ Gabriel mix) - Carl Craig
13. BUG IN THE BASSBIN (Jazz Version)- Innerzone Orchestra
14. WELCOME TO OUR WORLD - Mass Production

Sunday, February 26, 2006

New Shots on Flickr

I just uploaded a bunch of old snapshots and some old flyers to flickr. Mostly Detroit related. Thanks to Trent for the scanning assistance.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Joey Harrison Has a Great Photo Blog

It's called "Eye Control," and it's now added to my links list. This is one example of what you might see there.

Inside the United Artists Building

Typical Office Space
Originally uploaded by Allan M.
Incredible. Here's a Flickr set of shots of the United Artists Building in Detroit, outside, but much more "interestingly," inside. Includes individual window series.

I'm also in the process of loading new old photos onto my page at Flickr.

Previously: Post Super Bowl Detroit

Science Proves Tolstoy Was Right

Recently I blogged an excerpt from Anna Karenina about how to make decisions (Tolstoy On How To Live). Science today is arriving where art tread 130 years ago. Malcolm Gladwell's new blog cites the article.

The Clock, Char-Broiled

This is The Clock restaurant in Hamtramck. I ate there after a few Detroit all-nighters. Nothing special I remember, really, other than this great sign.

When I moved to Grand Rapids, I thought I was seeing things when I came upon the exact same sign, exact same dimensions, for another Clock restaurant on the north side of town. I have no idea how, or even if the two places were connected, but it was the same damn sign.

I only went there once. Unfortunately, it was on business when the place was burning down.

Awfully pretty fire though, right in the middle of a windy June afternoon. All the smoke blew westward over the horizon as if it was on its way somewhere. You could see it for miles, and the local TV stations cut into their programming to show live pictures from tower-mounted cameras across the city. It looked from a distance like a jetliner had gone down. I think a lot of people hurt a little bit to see it happen.

I'll never forget the last time I saw that sign, rocking back and forth in the strong smoky wind, the translucent white missing partly, broken off by jets of water from thick hoses. In desperate defiance, it stood above the firefighters and the spectators who had come to watch the past die.

The Clock is dead, long live The Clock.


Originally uploaded by Joey Harrison.
People seem to love Frandor. I know I did. There are only a handful of pictures tagged Frandor on flickr, and this one is the best. The photographer, Joey Harrison, gives a nice little story about the place.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Giving Up Marijuana

This week BBC World Service radio aired a segment on its progam "Outlook," called "Giving Up Marijuana"
Giving Up Marijuana

J-Rock is a British rapper and music producer, whose group Big Brovaz has enjoyed a lot of chart success in recent years. J-Rock started smoking marijuana when he was thirteen, but last year, at the age of twenty-seven, he decided to stop. He tells Outlook about his motivation for giving up marijuana, and the most challenging moments he had to face.

The program is available as a Real Audio or Windows Media stream. The story appears at 26:43 in the 40 minute program. Not sure how long this will remain available on the BBC's site.

When I Was In College

When I was in college, I lived for a year in a house with 5 other guys. A small house. Far from campus. It had a mold problem in the basement, where my room was, and I almost burned it down once. It's not there anymore. It was only a few years after I moved out that I noticed it was gone. I guess it had been torn down, because there was a completely different house where ours used to be.

I used to take the bus to work across town at a used CD shop. I would walk the 4 blocks between our house and the bus stop in loafers, brown ones designed like saddle shoes. Even in the winter, often slipping, but never falling. I had a walkman that I listened to. I listened to lots of things, but especially a Guided By Voices tape, the second Pharcyde album, and the Pell Mell album "Interstate."

The CD shop was in a famous strip mall, and there was a little arthouse movie theatre across the parking lot. I saw "Suburbia" there one night, and when I got out the busses had stopped running. So I unlocked the store and slept behind the counter. I was a bad worker there, because I often spent over my budget when people brought in CDs to sell. But the owner was cool. Jeff was a card carrying member of NORML, drove a rusted out Trans Am, and dated a girl who worked across the hallway of the mall at the hemp clothes store. He liked Alligator Records a lot. He was kinda like "The Dude."

Next door to the shop was a Baskin Robbins run by an Indian guy. I'd go in there everyday and buy a Jamocha shake. Often one of his sons or his daugher was working. He was always really nice, and I remember one day when he had to close the shop because he couldn't afford it anymore. I was sad for him, and for myself because I couldn't have my shakes anymore.

The store front was a great skate spot. It had a few little planters and some sets of steps. During the summer, D and I would head out there to skate it after the stores closed. We were never really good, because neither of us had the nerve to try anything really dangerous. But it was on a nearby loading ramp that the author executed a perfect kickflip in front of friends who aspired to such greatness. Inevitably, we'd get too tired and sit on our decks, smoking cigarettes.

When the mall was sold to another developer, everything was torn down. The spots where I worked and skated are now a giant parking lot.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tolstoy On How To Live

"When Levin thought about what he was and what he lived for, he found no answer and fell into despair; but when he stopped asking himself about it, he seemed to know what he was and what he lived for, because he acted and lived firmly and definitely. . .

Reasoning led him into doubt and kept him from seeing what he should and should not do. Yet when he did not think, but lived, he constantly felt in his soul the presence of an infallible judge who decided which of two possible actions was better and which was worse; and whenever he did not act as he should, he felt it at once.

So he lived, not knowing and not seeing any possibility of knowing what he was and why he was living in the world, tormented by this ignorance to such a degree that he feared suicide, and at the same time firmly laying down his own particular, definite path in life."

- Anna Karenina (Pevear & Volokhonsky translation), pgs. 820 - 822.

Roland 303 - 101

If you're as bookishly fanatical about electronic music as I am, you might enjoy this presentation on the history of the Roland 303, the machine responsible for acid house music. Although it's not spelled out, there is an interesting subtext to this film. It is, I think, that when users are free to experiment without restriction, even, and especially, by subverting a tool's original purpose, the unintended and unexpected (by the maker) results can sometimes far surpass the original and intended function. By inference, freedom from restrictions in the use of technology is good and often inspires further innovation, a prime and obvious example being open-source software.

The filmmaker, Nate Harrison, makes a similar point regarding copyright restrictions in his film about the "Amen break," which has far outlived it's original context in a 1960's soul song to become a ubiqitous sample in hip hop and electronic music. Once again, hats off to Boing Boing for pointing me in the direction of the latter film, which led to the former.

*Photo taken from www.tb-303.org

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Derelict Detroit in Orange

Another post stolen from Boing Boing. I was just down near the Holbrooke/Caniff area over the weekend but unfortunately I missed the "tiggeriffic" ruins.

From a letter in The Detroiter:
Two of four locations have already been demolished. Of the four, the building on Dequindre, by the Caniff/ Holbrook exit, remains, as does the site that intersects the Lodge and Davison. There was no "D" on any of the façades, only burnt boards, broken glass, and peeling paint. Rallying around these elements of decay, we seek to accentuate something that has wrongfully become part of the everyday landscape.

So the destruction of two of these four houses raises a number of interesting points. From one perspective, our actions have created a direct cause and effect relationship with the city. As in, if we paint a house orange, the city will demolish it. In this relationship, where do the city's motivations lie? Do they want to stop drawing attention to these houses? Are the workers simply confused and think this is the city's new mark for demolition? Or is this a genuine response to beautify the city?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Michigan CAFO legislation

Gayle Miller from the Sierra Club writes:
House Bills 5711 – 5716 take the pro-CAFO and pro-pollution forces to new lows, guaranteeing that all CAFOs will be able to pollute with impunity, while victimizing family farmers and rural residents being poisoned by their waste. Among other things, the bills would:
Remove regulatory authority over most CAFOs from the DEQ. This would give a free pass to polluting CAFOs and eliminate any ability of citizens to take action to protect themselves from toxic air and polluted water.
Exempts all CAFOs signed up under the voluntary and ineffective MI Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) from regulatory action.
Require that citizens who have legitimate complaints about pollution discharges or poisonous air to actually pay the costs of the inspection of that complaint.
Require victims who file complaints against a CAFO pollution discharge or air quality violations to provide their name and address, which could be disclosed to the CAFO operator, potentially exposing the victim to harassment or threats.
Exempts discharges of CAFO waste by defining the waste as "storm water."

These bills are appalling. They benefit corporate polluters and victimize Michigan citizens and family farmers. CAFOs are exempt from the single business tax, exempt from laws that cover other corporate polluters, and they receive huge quantities of taxpayer money through subsidies. Animal Factories DO NOT deserve a "Get Out of Jail FREE"
pass. They need BETTER regulations, MORE enforcement, not less.

The Good Bills:

Senator Liz Brater will be introducing a GREAT package of CAFO bills on Wednesday, Feb. 22nd! This is the package of bills the Sierra Club has worked on for the last year. The bills would establish a regulatory framework that would provide higher performance standards for CAFOs, provide the resources for the DEQ to adequately enforce the regulations, and protect Michigan from CAFO pollution.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Atom Feed Enabled

My friend Adam just helped me start an Atom Feed on Blah Blah Blah. I hope it works okay.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Ray Barretto, 1929 - 2006

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cheney just pulled the trigger.

"I'm the guy that pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry." That's like saying "I'm the guy that held the handle that was attached to the blade that pierced the flesh of the guy that died." Seems to kinda fly in the face of the NRA's favorite slogan, huh? Have you ever heard a hunter say "I'm the dude that released the arrow that was propelled through the air by the tension of the bow and which struck the buck that I tied to the hood?"

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Eno, Byrne, Stereo MCs and Me

Synchronicity? Coincidence? Latent psychic ability? Well, I don't know how to explain it. A few nights back I was listening to last.fm and I had one of those lovely moments when you find the source of a sample. I recognized a bassline from an instrumental Stereo MC's cut called "What is Soul." It is sampled from a tune called "Regiment," which appeared on a collaboration album between Brian Eno and David Byrne that I never before knew existed. I immediately went to iTunes to look for it, but it's not there. Too bad. Two days later, same album appears prominently at pitchforkmedia.com. Looks like it's getting the deluxe re-release treatment. Coincidence, right? Who knows, but it sure made the hair on the back of my neck stand up.

Here's a link to a downloadable mix featuring "What is Soul." It is only available for seven days, and it may only be downloaded 25 times (not my rules) so get on it! Also features: DJ Krush/CL Smooth, Coldcut, Kraftwerk, ESG, Metro Area, The Verve, Andrea Parker, and more. It's called the "nice random mix."

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Tolstoy On Marriage

Another interesting passage from Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina"

Pevear/Volokhonsky translation, pg 767:
In order to undertake anything in family life, it is necessary that there be either complete discord between the spouses or loving harmony. But when the relations between spouses are uncertain and there is neither one nor the other, nothing can be undertaken.

Many families stay for years in the same old places, hateful to both spouses, only because there is neither full discord nor harmony.

Optical Illusion Rooms

You may have seen this on Boing Boing, but it bears reposting.

Monday, February 13, 2006


I recently installed an invisible hit counter on this here blog, and I'm exceedingly happy with the data it is providing me. I can find out not only how many visitors, but lots of other things as well. If you, like me, have a blog that no one ever comments on, this is a nice way to know that some people are reading. It's called Stat Counter, and it comes recommended by yours truly.

Last FM explained and compared

Speaking of last.fm (which is still on my speakers), Steve Krause has a nice explainer and comparison of it and another service called Pandora.

From Steve Krause : Blog:
Over the past week, there has been some blog talk (Fred Wilson, TechCrunch, David Porter) comparing music-recommendation services Pandora and Last.fm. I've been using both for the past couple months, making notes along the way with the idea that I'd eventually have something to say. That might as well be now.

Last FM

If you like electronic music and have a high speed connection at home, you should be on last.fm. It's currently rocking my world. Here's the recent playlist as proof:

1. The Cinematic Orchestra - Oregon
just listened
2. The Roots - 100% Dundee
01:18, 13 February 2006
3. Taylor Deupree - 15kv Channel Plate
01:14, 13 February 2006
4. Wagon Christ - Step To The Music
01:09, 13 February 2006
5. Radiohead - Bullet Proof...I Wish I Was
01:02, 13 February 2006
6. Engineers - Come in Out of the Rain
00:59, 13 February 2006
7. Ian Brown - Destiny or Circumstance
00:55, 13 February 2006
8. Hot Chip - Plastic
00:52, 13 February 2006
9. The Rolling Stones - Sympathy for the Devil
00:49, 13 February 2006
10. Bola - Sirasancerre

Rolling Stones on the Big Screen

If you're free on Tuesday, Feb 28th, you can watch the Rolling Stones in concert at the cinema. If you're lucky enough to live near one of the 150 screens upon which it will be projected, that is. I saw a preview for this at my local moviehouse last night, and I'd sure love to see it. The company that does this is called Big Screen Concerts, and it looks like they have some great stuff in the pipepline, including The Beastie Boys next month.

I think this is a much better use of this great nation's theatre infrastructure than as a venue to behold such work as "Final Destination 3" (which I haven't seen and don't intend to).

I also remember hearing about the B. Boys' recent concert video filmed mostly by the audience with cameras loaned to them by the band (most of which were subsequently returned, according to reports). Might this be the show to be shown across the country? I'm too lazy to find out for you.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Stereolab In Concert

A few of these came in the mail today. See you March 12th.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Midwest Product and Warren Harding

I was browing iTunes when I saw that the band Midwest Product has a new EP out on Ghostly Records. If you're not familar with MP, they're synthy, comparable to New Order. I was introduced to them via a great live performace a number of years ago at The Temple Club in Lansing. I haven't heard the new EP yet, but the first song is called "Swamp (Warren Harding Memorial Version)." My first thought was, "Warren Harding? How do I know that name?"

So, of course I googled. I found the results hilarious, and worth sharing. If you knew the name Warren Harding, you paid more attention in class than I.

From the page at www.things.org:
HARDING, WARREN G. (1865-1923)

Warren Harding was the 29th president of the United States. He was inaugurated on March 4, 1921.
Harding's administration was riddled with scandals. The conduct of several of his cabinet members brought considerable criticism against the president and the Republican party.

The "Teapot Dome Affair" was perhaps the most important scandal of Harding's administration. After jurisdiction over naval oil reserves were transferred to the Department of the Interior, secretary Albert B. Fall leased Teapot Dome to oil interests in exchange for a bribe. He eventually spent time in a federal prison because of his actions. The incident also resulted in the resignation of Secretary of Navy Edwin N. Denby, who had consented to the transfer of the reserves.

Warren Harding was also the man in office when Prohibition went into effect in 1919. Now why would Midwest Product be thinking about Warren Harding at this time? Hmmmmmm.

Whitehouse.gov also has an interesting bio:
Harding's undeviating Republicanism and vibrant speaking voice, plus his willingness to let the machine bosses set policies, led him far in Ohio politics. . .

An Ohio admirer, Harry Daugherty, began to promote Harding for the 1920 Republican nomination because, he later explained, "He looked like a President.". . .

By 1923 the postwar depression seemed to be giving way to a new surge of prosperity, and newspapers hailed Harding as a wise statesman carrying out his campaign promise--"Less government in business and more business in government.". . .

Looking wan and depressed, Harding journeyed westward in the summer of 1923, taking with him his upright Secretary of Commerce, Herbert Hoover. "If you knew of a great scandal in our administration," he asked Hoover, "would you for the good of the country and the party expose it publicly or would you bury it?" Hoover urged publishing it, but Harding feared the political repercussions.

This all seems so familiar, but I just can't put my finger on it. . .

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

MP3 VS. Vinyl

Tonight I was sitting at a typically late hour, with some nice electronic music playing, first Casino Vs. Japan - "Whole Numbers Play the Basics", and then I chose Ulrich Schnauss's lovely "A Strangely Isolated Place."I put down what I was doing, enchanted with the music, and wanted to put on the headphones. The results were hearbreaking. The Ulrich Schnauss was in mp3s (downloaded from iTunes) and the difference in fidelity was blaringly obvious in the headphones. I couldn't bear it and immediately scoped for a nice analog record I could put on to ease that pain.The selection is Thomas Brinkman's "Soul Center" album and it sounds great in my headphones.

And the winner, by unanimous decision, is Vinyl.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Jacob Robida's Myspace Page

Morbid curiousity got the best of me. The dude who went off with a gun and hatchet in a gay bar in Mass. and subsequently killed his girlfriend (?) and a cop has a page on myspace. It seems he was really into Insane Clown Posse. Funny, by looking at his profile, you would never have predicted it. Not.

Post Super Bowl Detroit

Writers at Slate say that the Super Bowl ball was in many ways dropped by Detroit and much of the its potential was squandered. The reasons why have a lot to do with the lack of accomodations downtown.
Also, from this article, it appears that the fantastic art at the United Artists Building has been removed.
From Slate:
Graffiti artists have also transformed the windows of the abandoned United Artists building into stained-glass paintings that were recently featured on the cover of Preservation magazine. In December, however, the paintings were removed as part of an effort to relieve blight. Super Bowl attendees who pass the building will now see just another empty structure.
(here's a link to Preservation Magazine)
In requiem:

click on picture above for larger view

click on picture above for larger view

Excerpt From "Collapse"

I'm reading Jared Diamond's "Collapse." It's a fascinating look at how past societies have fallen apart due to their inability to sustain their ecosystems, with a not so subtle hint that we are not invulnerable to the same fate. I'm only about a third of the way through, but the last paragraph of the fifth chapter (The Maya Collapses) sums things up nicely:
Finally, while we still have some other past societies to consider in this book before we switch our attention to the modern world, we must already be struck by some parallels between the Maya and the past societies discussed in Chapters 2-4. As on Easter Island, Mangareva, and among the Anasazi, Maya environmental and population problems led to increasing warfare and civil strife. As on Easter Island and at Chaco Canyon, Maya peak population numbers were followed swiftly by political and social collapse. Paralleling the eventual extending of agriculture from Easter Island's coastal lowlands to its uplands, and from the Mimbres floodplain to the hills, Copan's inhabitants also expanded the floodplain to more fragile hill slopes, leaving them with a larger population to feed when the agricultural boom in the hills went bust. Like Easter Island chiefs erecting ever larger statues. . .and like the Anasazi elite treating themselves to necklaces of 2,000 turquoise beads, Maya kings sought to outdo each other with more and more impressive temples, covered with thicker and thicker plaster-reminiscent in turn of the extravagant conspicuous consumption by modern American CEOs. The passivity of Easter chiefs and Maya kings in the face of the real big threats to their societies completes our list of disquieting parallels.
Now picture severe drought in the agricultural heartland, severely hampering our ability to feed ourselves. Food prices skyrocket, riots erupt in the cities, mass starvation? Chilling. Part 3 of the Book is "Modern Societies," and Part 4 is called "Practical Lessons." Recommended.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Aretha Franklin - "Young, Gifted and Black"

This is the Amazon.com review I was compelled to write yesterday.

I have to echo Tall Paul's comments above. I'm a dabbling soul fan, and a friend recently recommended "Rock Steady." When he asked me if I knew it I kept thinking of some other "Rock Steady." You know the mid 90's RNB-groove-one? It's by "The Whispers," Google just told me so. That's what came to mind when he said "Rock Steady." He gave me a funny look.

At the same time, it popped up in the great book Yes, Yes Y'all: Oral History of Hip Hop's First Decade. Aforementioned friend gave me a disc of mp3 music with "Rock Steady" on it. Now I understand that funny look. I fell immediately in love with it's funky soul, and it's quite possibly my favorite song at this moment.

So today I'm driving through town, and I see a funky red sign on the sidewalk reading "Estate Sale - Vintage Vinyl." (See last post - Estate Sale Booty) Lucky for me, it was my day off, and I resolved to stop in.

Inside a failed coffee shop stands its owner with some random "estate sale" detritus and 10 boxes of vinyl. You never know what you'll see in those kinds of boxes. Of course, there are the regulars: the apparently much loved and apparently much left such as Sergio Mendez and Brazil '66 (and/or '77), Sing Along with Mitch, the "Hooked on Swing" comps, and plenty of faceless instrument records with exclamatory titles like "Conga Brass!" or "Powerful Percussion!" But in between those, there's always something else, and if you're lucky, you find something great.

Today I was lucky. I found it: "Young, Gifted and Black," in "A" condition. Based on first listen and what the estate guy said, this record may never have been played before tonight. Apart from "Rock Steady," I hadn't heard it yet. Now I'm so grateful for the opportunity to have just heard this record for the first time.

Aretha is abolutely perfect. Thrilling. She soars on each song, hitting especially amazing heights on the title cut in particular. In terms of pure melodic precision, I can't think of a voice so, well, PURE, save maybe Ella Fitzgerald. I don't think the musicians and arrangements could be any better. Bernard Purdie on drums, Donny Hathaway on keys; these are good names to find. To top it off, this record (all but two tracks) have Tom Dowd at the controls. That means the recording sounds absolutely fantastic. I learned about Mr Dowd through a wonderful documentary I recently (still on the TIVO!) saw on IFC. In it are pictures of Tom and Aretha, probably from these very sessions!

For me today, upon the first listen of this record, it's as though the planets have aligned and this record is the result. That's just barely hyperbole. It truly delights me that there are still musical gems like this, 34 years old, that I can still experience with virgin ears. After the experience, I can say with total confidence that for any fan of black music (go ahead and get upset if you must, but you shouldn't), this album is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL.

(And Tall Paul is right, I think this record must be heard on vinyl for best results, and he eplained why well. So do yourself a favor and dust off the old turntable, your ears will thank you.)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Estate Sale Booty

Ran for 60 minutes today. Found an Estate Sale, sign said "Vintage Vinyl." I thought Estate Sales were ususally held after someone died, but this guy was there talking to me. He told me his sob story about the great building which formerly held a coffee shop "with perfect acoustics" that he could no longer afford to keep. Some developer wants to open a mexican restaurant there, and made him an attractive offer. He told me about losing everything in the divorce. I signed his petition to keep the building from being demolished and bought some records and a book.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

house mix 9.28.05

Mix Sessions: Installment 2
44 minutes

Tracklisting (Track - Artist - Release - Label):

1. It's Getting Bigger - Kevin Yost - Unprotected Sax EP - Guidance
2. Crunch - Demarkus Lewis - Fuzzy Slippers EP - Flat & Round
3. ????
4. Mindsmoke - JT Donaldson - Fist Fulla' Jeah/Lemon Drops EP - Fair Park
5. Snow Day (JT Donaldson Remix) - Justin Martin - Snow Day EP - Utensil
6. Can't Keep Running Away - Eddie Matos - Soul Clinic EP - 83 west
7. Breakin' Wind - 33 1/3 Queen - Volume One - Nu Groove
8. Well Well - The M. Pompeo Project - The M. Pompeo Project EP - Definitive
9. Divinity (B-Side) - Walt J - Divinity EP - Dow
10. Winter Breeze - Kenny Dixon Jr. - Soul Sounds EP - Soul City
11. Open Door - LoSoul - Open Door EP - Elevate
12. Delirious - DJ Q - 7494 EP - Filter

Recorded Sept 28, 2005 at 658 Lydia

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Einstein and Mozart

Lots of stuff in the news lately with Mozart's 250th birthday. I personally sat down with Milos Forman's "Amadeus" on the big day. In the Times today, there's a great essay about Einstein taking inspiration from Mozart's music. Apparently, Einstein was mildly skilled violinist.

From the NYTimes:
As a boy Einstein did poorly in school. Music was an outlet for his emotions. At 5, he began violin lessons but soon found the drills so trying that he threw a chair at his teacher, who ran out of the house in tears. At 13, he discovered Mozart's sonatas.

The result was an almost mystical connection, said Hans Byland, a friend of Einstein's from high school. "When his violin began to sing," Mr. Byland told the biographer Carl Seelig, "the walls of the room seemed to recede — for the first time, Mozart in all his purity appeared before me, bathed in Hellenic beauty with its pure lines, roguishly playful, mightily sublime."

. . . And just as Mozart's antics shocked his contemporaries, Einstein pursued a notably Bohemian life in his youth. His studied indifference to dress and mane of dark hair, along with his love of music and philosophy, made him seem more poet than scientist.

He played the violin with passion and often performed at musical evenings. He enchanted audiences, particularly women, one of whom gushed that "he had the kind of male beauty that could cause havoc."

. . .In his struggles with extremely complicated mathematics that led to the general theory of relativity of 1915, Einstein often turned for inspiration to the simple beauty of Mozart's music.

"Whenever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music," recalled his older son, Hans Albert. "That would usually resolve all his difficulties."

In the end, Einstein felt that in his own field he had, like Mozart, succeeded in unraveling the complexity of the universe.