I finally figured out why The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” always makes me think about cats.

Specifically, cartoon cats. Every time Sting creepily intones “I’ll be watching you,” I have manic flashbacks to zany wisecracking felines on roller skates. But why?

I would ask people, hey, do you remember a cartoon about a band that gets sucked inexplicably through a mirror into a fuchsia-delic alternate universe and the music sounds like Sting? No, no, not Thundercats. The cats are, like, in a band, I think?

Can you believe, no one knew what I was talking about. KiddVideoEpisode8ScreenGrabedit.pngFinally, after literally years of wondering why my synapses were misfiring, creating such a bogus connection of aural and visual stimulation, I tracked the reason down, thanks to a dedicated search of the webs, and, especially, an especially dedicated site for 80s cartoons. After clicking and clicking and clicking I finally found the one I sought and it was as though all the open drawers of missorted information in the rows of mental file cabinets slid shut at once. That was the sense of closure I had after years of intangible seeking.

Keeping in mind that the cartoon – Kidd Video – was apparently watched by 0% people, according to my anecdotal data, lasted 2 seasons with limited reruns, according to Wikipedia, I’m amazed it made such a deep rivulet in my brain paths.

And then I found this. Entrance to the Flipside. I love that the Internet gives us a place for all our obsessions. This is lovely.

And now that I finally know what I’m looking for, commentary abounds on the show and its housing in people’s memories.

But the question is still unanswered. Why did my early childhood brain link this cartoon’s opening sequence and The Police’s chart topper, which I was definitely never cognizant of until high school or perhaps college? (My dad’s more of a Zappa fan.) What triggered this connection?

Scope “every step you take, I’ll be watching you” at 0:23 and compare it to “from my video to my radio” at 0:37. Whaaaat?! Two measures, five intervals, a span of a fourth, and off set phrasing, with a touch of timbral sameness in that both songs are solidly 80s fodder, and you have before you a lifetime of confusion and wonder.

And yet another instance of music having unintended, inexplicable influence on a developing brain.

The Polices’ gnawing, obsessive bass line, the lowkey, brooding delivery is fairly different than the hyperactive synthy teen pop/rock, but it’s casually similar enough that I’m not the only person to make the leap.

Of course, the melody is not dramatic, for the most part, which even Sting described as “generic, an aggregate of hundreds of others” so maybe it’s not surprising that a cartoon meant to feature music videos would show likeness to — maybe even glean a little shine off — the first song to really make a statement as a hit music video.

Well, waddayaknow? Yahoo Answers, of all places, to the rescue, sorta? That’s crazy. “Every Breath You Take” song/video was likely featured in an episode (though removed, apparently, from later broadcasts…and YouTube, and I can’t find out which episode it may have been). I’ve now, in my extensive research over the last few days, watched a few shows and I remember nothing of this. Not the fairy, not a single “plot,” not the music videos, though the cats, of course, and the Master Blaster send alarm bells. The only thing I remembered more than vaguely is that opening title sequence, and that this song always triggered a vision of cartoon cats. (The Copy Cats from the Flipside, I know now, though my vague-mindedness had linked to another 80s cartoon cat show: Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats (that’s where the rollerskates came in).) (I watched a lot of cartoons, with very little direction or discretion, in the 80s.)

I guess all this is a warning to be cognizant of what your children are exposed to (insert plug for Peg + Cat,* because it is the best cartoon out there right now and I love it more than my 3yo daughter does) because it may make them freak out decades later. And I’m definitely going to share the wonder of Kidd Video with mine as I revisit all 26 episodes. Happy Holidays!

*IDK I’m like some sort of “cartoon cat lady,” I guess.

 

 

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KCUR: Fountain City Brass Band

Fresh off a successful UK tour, the Fountain City Brass Band performs holiday favorites around the region. Read about it in my first contribution to KCUR, Kansas City’s NPR affiliate.

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Fountain City Brass Band rehearsing at Black Dyke Band and Heritage Center. Photo: Andrew Schwartz/Veritography.

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KC Studio Holiday Edition: KC Chorale

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KC Chorale has a full December. Read about the many opportunities to celebrate the season in song in KC Studio’s Holiday Edition (page 20).

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Blurb in The Pitch: Tatsuya Nakatani

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The Classical Challenge on KKFI 90.1 FM

On Wed Nov 22, Sam Wisman and I guest co-hosted The Classical Challenge, the classical music show on KKFI 90.1 FM Kansas City Community Radio.

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Sam is a veteran of the radio biz, having hosted the Monday edition of Jazz Afternoon for over a decade, but it was a learning experience for me. Making the playlist was more fun and much harder than I imagined, but we had a good mix of selections and had a great time sharing a few favorites and talking about music, especially since we hadn’t listened to each other’s selections beforehand. Here’s the playlist, though I regret have no transcription of our insightful repartee:

  • Lidia Kaminska, accordion. In the Forest. Tzigane Music.
  • So Percussion. Credo in Us (Phase 1), John Cage. Cage 100 Bootleg Series, Cantaloupe Records.
  • Margaret Leng Tan, piano. In a Landscape, John Cage. Daughters of the Lonesome Isle, New Albion Records.
  • New Trombone Collective. First Trombone Quartet, Saskia Apon. Collective, Etcetera.
  • Brad Cox and friends. Hong Kong Audio Diary, Brad Cox. Owen/Cox Dance Group Sampler, Tzigane Music.
  • R. Andrew Lee, piano. Soundings for a New Piano (6, 7, 8), Ann Southam. Soundings for a New Piano, Irritable Hedgehog.
  • Berliner Philharmoniker, cond. Herbert von Karajan. Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable,” Carl Nielsen. Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. Songs for Nobody, Kate Soper. Hushers, New Focus Recordings.
  • Kreutzer Quartet. String Quartet No. 1 “The Protestation Quartet,” Gloria Coates. String Quartets Nos. 1, 5, and 6, Naxos.
  • Bill Murray, Jan Vogler and Friends. Violin Sonata, Mvt 2 “Blue” with “If Grant Had Been Drinking at Appomattox,” Maurice Ravel, James Thurber. New Worlds, Decca Gold.

Learn more about The Classical Challenge and listen in every Wednesday for 9-11:30 p.m. with regular hosts Dr. Mike and Mark Andruss.

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The Pitch Monthly Nov 2017

The Pitch is the alternative newspaper in KC, published monthly. I’ve got a piece (pg 42) on the Kansas City Symphony’s Classics Uncorked “Future Favorites” – all 21st century music. Get it.

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KC Studio Nov/Dec 2017

Another dynamite issue of KC Studio is out.  I wrote about newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble’s 25th anniversary celebration and The Wires Alternative Strings Duo Solstice Concert.

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