Saturday, January 28, 2012
There are some albums or songs who are special to a person. In fact, some people define themselves with them. I'm not going that far anyway, but I have a list of songs which define and collectively create the notion of musical love in me.
Tourist is the favorite album of many people. You don't need to guess why, it's a fabulous album all around. Starting with "Rose Rouge" the album encaptures millions of feelings along it's tracks. It is the pinnacle of Jazzy House and some more. You can never, and I mean never ever get bored of this album. But... Yes I love the album. OK. Yet, I adore, devour, get enriched and enlightened by "Sure Thing".
Not so many songs have this effect on me. The main point is it is extremely simple more like the symphonies of Beethoven. There are surprises, yet you feel like you knew that was coming. There is not a single wasted note. Everything seems where it should be. To be enjoyed fully. Just like life itself. This is life. "Sure Thing" is life. The guitar solos, the notes, the highs and the lows, the gentle strokes, the sudden silences and chaos. I love it.
The album is close to perfect, yet it already enholds perfectness. People try to write songs close to the beauty of the songs on this album all their lives and fail to do so. That is why these albums of beauty, art, love and human ingenuity should be given highest priority in a "What to do before I die" list if there is such a thing.
PS. The video of "Sure Thing" is also beautiful, but cannot do justice to the song itself. Anyway you can just get a view here. I strongly suggest listening on vinyl.
To buy this record:
@ Music Stack
Thursday, January 19, 2012
I don't think much need to be said about the man in question here. Therefore it is better to skip the chit chat and get on with the real deal. So here it is. This box set of 6 LPs is actually the sum of 3 prereleased collections of Jimi Hendrix's live recordings. The original series was named Jimi Hendrix - Guitar Giants Vol. 1-3 each as double vinyl. They were released via the out of business German Babylon Budget label.
One thing is for certain and that is these records date back to the early days of Hendrix's career. The main point standing out for me to say this is the music style. Most of the box set consists of Rock N Roll with some Blues Rock tracks here and there. Of course there are gigantic solos, but they don't seem to be as accomplished as the ones later in his career. Hendrix seem to be on the verge of being recognized here rather than playing "I can play whatever I want" style. After a little bit of a research, I've found out that these records belong to the dates 1965-1967 and cover either live or studio recordings.
It is important to point out that this doesn't make the set less worth listening. Actually we have all listened what came out of Hendrix in the latter stages and this has been a breather with an insight to where he really came from. For instance he not doing all the vocals for one thing. He lends vocals to god knows who (Maybe Curtis Knight since the dates fit) and concentrates on his guitar. "Don't Accuse Me" is such a track and he plays beautifully in the background showing his true Blues skills alongside. He no doubt gives a clearcut profile of his original beliefs. You can just as well understand that even if he didn't go into Blues Rock and opened new styles for tons of guitarists, he could have been a hell of a Blues guitarist if he stuck by it. However, just to prove me wrong, the next track on the record is "Hush Now" (This one is Record 3 Track 2 since there is another one on Record 5 Track 2 which is much milder, but also has a good solo) and it is oooooone hell of a Hendrix track directly suited to his abilities. His solos are divine if not better. This is pure Hendrix. Even in his later stages, he didn't have many chances to surpass this one. I've no idea if this version of the track was ever released on CD or available somewhere, but if not, search it, find it, devour it. (Hey, I've done the searching for you. You can find another version of the "Hush Now" here with a good insight on those days)
Well well well. There are also some tracks which are extremely familiar to the general listener like the ones which Jimi learned furing his early day visits to UK where he was alredy famous for his talent. These tracks include "Satisfaction", "Day Tripper", "Bright Lights, Big City", "Twist And Shout". There's also a track called "Walkin' The Dog" where Jimi starts and ends the song with the tune which plays while bride is in the walkway of the church. All in all this is a box set which is a pure joy to anyone's ears and have been especially to mine. Oh, before I forget, the sketch of Jimi Hendrix on the cover of the box set is totally artistic.
To buy this box set:
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Dead Can Dance has always been a striking group (Based on a duo) with a very unique voice of it's own. It's not that their chant like neoclassical songs are feeling cozy to the ears of regular bred religious/classical music appreciating societies of ours. It is mainly the way they have adjusted the very intimate relation between simple melodies, a gloomy atmosphere or background music and extremely good vocals.
Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun is their best album to date, but that is for my taste of course. After having an important change within the group, bringing such an album to life is amazing. "Anywhere Out Of The World" is the best track you can imagine to start the album. "Windfall" is effective, yet doesn't come close to the "In The Wake Of Adversity" where Brendan Perry really creates the miracles in vocals with a truly melodramatic music in the back.
Brendan Perry is dominant in terms of vocals on the A side of the album while Lisa Gerrard is on the B side. I don't know if this was specially designed, but it creates that feeling for sure. When Lisa Gerrard starts with a beautifully crafted gazel like piece in "Dawn Of The Iconoclast" it runs through your veins. Then comes the crown of the album "Cantara" which is gothic in essence and divine in performance with being the most uplifting of the album if I can use such a wording. It leaves you totally stunned.
Actually this album marks the change in DCD and their move forward as a result. The following two albums, The Serpent's Egg and Aion have put them on a very good position within the musical world and their style was clearly appreciated accordingly.
To buy this record:
@ Music Stack
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Just a couple of weeks ago, I have reviewed one of the soundtracks of Michael Nyman which he has composed for Peter Greenaway's film "Drowning By Numbers". It was an exceptional work which was built over Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola and orchestra. Now time has come to review a collective of these soundtracks. This box set includes four works of Michael Nyman which he has composed/reworked for the films of Peter Greenaway.
The related films are The Draughtman's Contract, A Zed And Two Noughts, Drowning By Numbers, and The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover. Frankly I will not go into very much detail as it would take a really long time to cover all three soundtracks (Drowning By Numbers is already reviewed). There are some similarities between the soundtracks like The Draughtman's Contract was also derived from another composer's work. All tracks on that soundtrack are reworks of Henry Purcell's songs. One difference to the composition technique was that in this album, each track was reworked from a different piece while in the case of Drowning By Numbers, all tracks were reworks of a single piece.
All the albums have a dark, yer energetic feeling to them. Death comes to mind more than once on any given soundtrack while rapid flow of movements can be witnessed. The most flamboyant of them all in terms of energy is A Zed And Two Noughts and even that soundtrack has some parts with real thick air to it. Heavy emotional settings have always been a strong side of Nyman and all throughout these soundtracks, we can view it to full effect. One thing that is missing can be named as watching the films alongside. This is actually of great importance due to the composing style of Nyman himself. Music and the film are quite inseperable from each other when he is the subject.
Nyman is known to be a composer who wants to have a say over how the music will be positioned in a film. Greenaway also comments that Nyman has bargained for the position of his music since he has been a firm believer that music and the scenes should totally blend into each other. Only one song in all these four albums have been recorded prior to making of the film and that was due to the need for the song to be sung in a scene. Otherwise, Nyman solely wrote the pieces for the movies itself. In all these aspects, we can find obvious similarities between Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. This may also be the reason why they are overly efficient and effective in the music they write for films. Hence this box set is a collection which needs a special place in any collector's "first things to be saved during flooding or fire" list.
To buy this box set:
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
British Blues is a subgenre of the general arm and developed during the 60s and 70s in UK. It all started slowly, but due to the persistance of the pioneers, it spread fast like a giant octopus and covered whole UK in a short time span while paving the way for immensely successful groups like Rolling Stones, Cream, Fleetwood Mac, Ten Years After, Bluesbreakers etc. However their effects were felt on a much wider circle ranging from Rock to Folk and even Electronic Music. Quarter tones became a lifestyle in UK.
Actually British Blues is somewhat rather different in it's essence from the original. Blues originated from a musical concept of quarter tones and is the twin of Jazz in this sense. With the slavery, African music went into US and started developing there having met with European instruments. Out went wood drums, in came real drums, guitar etc.
Blues was in the blood of the AfroAmerican people in US. "Whites" didn't regard it as real music in the beginning due to stupid racism crap. However, British Blues was a learned experience where people listened to records of the American Blues artists and commenced in their own way. It is not like the original, but it is original in a different way.
Of course early bands of Alexis Korner and the likes of Bluesbreakers, Rolling Stones all relied heavily to material written by these artists from US. Later came the 2nd generation when this learning process was more natural and more songs were written. But British Blues was never pure in the sense that it was always mixed with UK musical backgrounds which was mainly Rock. You don't get to listen similar songs to Robert Johnson, Bukka White, Blind Willie McTell, Leadbelly or even Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. There are similarities to Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Albert King, and also again other 2nd generations. The main reason for this is the early Blues artists were always mixing themselves up with Folk and were extremely different in style to others. Music was extremely simplistic and not as important as the lyrics which had to tell a story. European understanding was and still is the other way around (Not saying lyrics are not important, but rather less).
Bluesbreakers's album Hard Road is a British Blues album. It contains Blues elements, yet still has a life of it's own. The mood is mainly positive as in New Orleans Jazz. Guitar solos are often as is jamming. Having said the differences, it is also important to point out that Hard Road album is a milestone in British Blues and is one of the top 50 Blues albums I've ever listened. Actually the recording members are almost the strongest of the bands career with John Mayall, Peter Green, John McVie and Aynsley Dunbar. Actually Peter Green would earn his spot after Eric Clapton departed to create Cream. With Clapton, it was the Bluesbreakers's strongest line up. No offense to Peter Green.
The album is dated 1967 which is quite the end of the early stage in British Blues explosion and most of the songs were written by Mayall and some by Green with 2 exceptions from B.B.King. Album is simple, original with very good solos and a really established sound. It clearly shows Peter Green has done well to fill most of Eric Clapton's whole. This album can be named as one of the first albums to create the way for British Blues to flourish internationally. It also started an era where American and British Blues musicians started cooperating on both sides of the Atlantic. John Mayall soon started touring Europe and US with The Bluesbreakers while Eric Clapton took on consecutive US tours with Cream a couple of years later while all these tours were extremely successful since the music was Blues, but it engulfed various aspects where the "Whites" found close to themselves and embraced.
To buy this record:
@ Music Stack