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Monthly Archives: September 2014

I’m feeling lucky

The ‘Shuffle Songs’ option on an iPod: a feat of genius or annoying in its predictably random choices? An essential tool or a pointless addition? Either way, it has highlighted songs I own but might never listen have listened to in my lifetime, and for that I thank it.

outkast2

How have I not heard this song until now!? As I sat in my chair, I could not help but lie further and further back as the music went on……and then the strings came in at 1.11. Then 2.45 happens. Thank you Cut Chemist for The Garden (taken from album The Audience’s Listening).

From soothing to boisterous, Hungarian fraudster Sarolta Zalatnay’s Oh Ha Millimos Lennek is a bollocking rollicker. Belting vocals drenched in reverb? Please.

Having had a troubled relationship with this outfit previously, it was nice for the tiny hard drive’s brain to pull out a corking Animal Collective track.  What Would I Want? Sky, taken from EP Fall Be Kind, draws you in with a lengthy, hypnotic introduction; the layered vocal melodies dropping in at 3.10 swirling round your head. ‘Tis lovely.

Getting your head around this one takes some going, but that’s the very nature of The Books. Tricky fret work, inventive sampling and bizarre speech excerpts marry into one unique musical mesh – Tokyo is taken from album The Lemon of Pink.

And finally, I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing when my iPod plumped this on. The layering and note choice of the backing track is so detailed and brilliantly laid out, a completely dark and freaky beat, fittingly backed up by a mad lyrical story………A Life In The Day Of Benjamin Andre (Incomplete) by Outkast, taken from the album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

Enjoy!

Sweden’s finest export

If I’m not careful, this could end up being a Cuneiform Records blog. Having become smitten with The Claudia Quintet, the independent label based in Washington D.C. have supplied the goods again. Goodness knows what else I could pick from this label, but if it’s anything like Mats/Morgan, then I’m going to make it my mission to become their main shareholder.

MatsMorgan

This Swedish duo are insane. Their music defies categorisation. A complete mish-mash of styles and genres, unbelievable musical talent in the form of keyboard and drums and a good dose of all out weirdness, this is music made for pure fun.

As I am reliably informed by Cuneiform’s website, Mats/Morgan have just released [schack tati], their first album in nine years. Rubber Sky is the opening track. It’s Battles, Acoustic Ladyland and Jazz From Hell rolled into one, and if it doesn’t hook you from the first second, then there is something chemically wrong with you. Even the creepy singing interlude.

I haven’t taken the following track off repeat since purchasing it yesterday – Sinus, from the album Thanks For Flying With Us, boasts a rather uplifting Nintendo melody (kicking in at 0.39) that has glued itself to my brain. The opening octaves are very familiar, but aside from that, it’s golden the whole way through.

There is more to Sweden than Abba and meatballs……………bloody love these guys. Enjoy.

Aaaaand, you’re back in the room.

I’ve never really known music to be hypnotising or mesmerizing. Perhaps I do not listen to enough house music. Having stumbled upon The Claudia Quintet though, I am now prepared to argue the case.

 

 

claudia quintet

 

To begin with, the blending of accordion with the usual assortment of jazz instrumentation (clarinet, saxophone, vibraphone, double bass and drums in this quintet) really heightens the sense of being transfixed by the music. It drooooonees in a pleasing manner, slightly haunting but not offending the ear.  Led by drummer and composer John Hollenbeck, The Claudia Quintet are hugely adept at the avant-garde free jazz, glued together with some quite astonishing rhythms.

One such rhythm bares itself in opening track, September 20th Soterius Lakshmi, of their most recent album September – Hollenbeck’s drumming is impeccable straight from the cheeky intro, each stab bang on the money, notes left to ring further on down the line. I’m an absolute sucker for such a track.

With a truly Zappa inspired motif, which rises through the registers as the song goes on, Keramag uses atonal unison lines to demand your attention. There are some beautiful piano inspired moments interspersed at 1.47, ascending trills from 6.33, but the best is saved for last: a luscious selection of piano chords from 7.21 that is somehow sad yet completely uplifting, the drums retaining their intricate nature but backed up by wonderfully simple accordion, clarinet and vibraphone.

Finally, also taken from the album September, September 18th Lemons is what constitutes for me the sense of being mesmerized. The melody is repetitive, but shifts a tone here or there every so often, thus morphing into one long passage. The double bass is plucked with absolute precision, following the robotic bass drum. What bumps one in and out of the trance however, is the subtle change in the rest of the drum kit throughout the first four minutes. The click of the rim, followed by the snare, the switch from the ride to the slowly opened hi hat to mark the shift in beat, and with no time to spare, the superbly abrupt switch to a rolling, closed hi hat beat, nicely rounded off in half time. It is completely and utterly absorbing.

http://grooveshark.com/s/September+18th+Lemons/6IEkmm?src=5

The Demon Headmaster has got nothing on these guys. Enjoy.