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Category Archives: Instrumental

So much choice, so little time

Seeing as you’re lucky enough to be reading this, I’ll let you in on my trade secrets behind sourcing music.

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So, which sophisticated and elaborate method do I reveal first?  Let’s see now…..there’s the old trawling through magazines technique. We have the tried and tested method of scouring record label websites. A stone cold favourite – clicking on the ‘Related’ section of the iTunes store. Has anyone heard of Songkick?

As you can see, highly original and groundbreaking stuff which, in all honesty, has served me well. However, it has come to my attention that I have potentially been going about my leisurely business like a prime chump. Lo and behold, Bandcamp Discover has opened up a whole new world to me.

You pick a genre, then a sub genre, and off you go into an overwhelming selection of signed bands, unsigned artists, amateur groups, bedroom virtuosi, one man/woman crusades, and so forth. And the price of this? With the age of ‘pay what your mood dictates at that exact point in time, dependent on weather, respect for the industry and general moral upbringing’ truly upon us, you can get away with paying two pennies for an album of certified goodness.

Let’s take ART the Band, hailing from Toronto. Though they require you to fork out a bit more than the 67p you accumulated over six years in your long forgotten 0.3% savings account, it’s still a bit of a steal for some furiously fun music. Snippet tracks Connor Made Housecake and Dinosaur Factor sit opposite each other, dragging you between a comfortable rut of a groove and technical aptitude. Tokyo Sexwale is exactly what its name implies.

 

Mr. Moods, of Laval, Quebec, plants their music firmly in the ‘name your price’ section, so this literally is a steal. Bringing to mind Bonobo, Mr. Scruff and Clifford Gilberto, Jazz Reinvented conjures a soothingly dirty charm using its crackly electronica jazz.

 

Enjoy!

Windy mcbindy

Ah Chicago, you have thrown up something great yet again. Aside from Maps & Atlases, and Billy O’Neal, we now have Monobody.

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It’s nimble, tricksy, and bloody infectious. Peppered with little funk melodies, jazz interludes, and what could be Jazz From Hell outtakes; we have a winner.

Enjoy!

Keys keys keys

If there’s one thing I should be doing right now, it’s learning the piano. Not taking out the washing, not religiously checking my fantasy football team’s performance, not thinking I should probably get on with the traditional Sunday activity of ironing one’s trousers in preparation for work. I should be learning how to play that magnificent instrument.

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Unfortunately, two problems stand staunchly in my way: firstly, I don’t own one of the bloody things. Secondly, I’m inherently lazy. So, instead, I will celebrate the music that it creates. I may be covering trodden ground from previous blogs in some cases, but what’s the harm in that? Additionally, I’m going for a shot to the arm rather than poignancy.

Over the year of 2015, I have embarked on an absolute Prokofiev binge, purchasing his catalogue in healthy doses. One piece that particularly sings to me is this, the shortened Vivace piece of the fourth piano concerto in B flat. It is completely masterful, never taking a moment’s breath as it flutters through your ears; I can but exhale in deep satisfaction once it has finished.

Picking a single Neil Cowley tune is a hugely unfair task, but the mammoth We Are Here To Make Plastic neatly sums up his outrageously versatile playing style. Just ensure you make it to 2.44.

Ah, Erroll Garner. You absolute beast. Live jazz piano that will bring you out in goosebumps.

It’d be rude not to tip the hat to a wee bit of ragtime, and this Alexander Peskanov version of Scott Joplin’s classic Maple Leaf Rag is a joy to behold.

As is Morton Gunnar Larson’s turbo charged version of Jelly Roll Morton’s Finger Breaker.

Well, I could go on, and I will with those Japanese tinklers mouse on the keys. Plateau is nothing short of a roller coaster.

My favourite piano piece of all time? As stated in a previous blog, Polonaise in A flat major, op. 53 ‘Heroic’ by Frédéric Chopin, played by Vladimir Horowitz. Majestically wondrous and awe-inspiring, I don’t believe it will ever bore me.

Enjoy!

Library additions

Earn money – spend money – tune abundance.

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American heavyweights Battles have served up their third album, La Di Da Di, following what seems like an eon since Gloss Drop. Though their music has noticeably failed to reach the heights of debut album Mirrored, what they lack in melody and cohesion is swept away by the superb drumming of John Stanier.

So while we have this……

…..it unfortunately does not quite live up to this.

Nevertheless, the new album is worth a good listen.

Purchased just this second from those good people over at Cuneiform Records, Le Rex are living Swiss proof that a string free society could be a good thing.

With their full length debut album, A Beautiful Life, out this winter, Let’s Talk Daggers have very quickly become a favourite of mine; I await the album with hyper eager anticipation. For people who enjoy simplicity.

Should you wish to help them out by pre-ordering their album (always a good thing), there is a very short amount of time with which to do so: http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/letstalkdaggers

Arrivederci.

The dull and the downright dazzling

In the past week, I have been on somewhat of an album splurge. Here is what I’ve accumulated.

Yes! What an opener to an equally exceptional album. Spanky Wilson & The Quantic Soul Orchestra really need no introduction, producing the bass heavy and brass looping ditty I’m Thankful (Part 1), with delicate guitar and THAT voice.

The subject of my first ever blog, Field Music released their latest offering, Music For Drifters, only yesterday. Having had the pleasure of witnessing the album in its entirety live at the Islington Town Hall back in 2013, the Brewis brothers have laid down on record their instrumental soundtrack to the seminal silent documentary Drifters. As ever, it serves to demonstrate the breadth and intelligence the duo possess when composing.

Also officially released yesterday, Creation (East L.A.) from Quantic presents The Western Transient is a world feast. I have been told by a chap who I hold in very high esteem that the track is a ‘bit dull’…………I would argue otherwise.

There seem to be a few versions kicking around of this fantastic tune (the Planet Records Archive, Vol 1 cut I cannot seem to find), but this slower version of Perpetual Langley’s Surrender packs just as much punch. The vocal is simply wonderful.

And finally, also the subject of one of my previous blogs, Quopern by Sax Ruins has undeniable and unbridled joy in its main motif. Typically of the duo, it veers off into mind melting territory, perhaps not one for the soothing of a headache. Still, it’s bloody good.

Enjoy!

EEEUUUURRRGGGH, RIFF.

I’m sorry, but sometimes, you just need a brutal song with an unashamedly grab your crotch tendency. It’s not new to the table, but it is exactly what Animals As Leaders Tooth And Claw does, taken from the album The Joy Of Motion.

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Two eight string guitars and drums – we have perfectly distorted metal tones, stereotypical double kick everywhere, twin harmonies just on the right side of cheesy, and then, at 0.52, a crushing breakdown of riffing on a glorious single detuned string. It’s bloody great. Even the opportune guitar solo is fairly restrained and tasteful, a casual sweep here and there. An odd, mobile phone-esque interlude completes the balls to the wall oblivion.

The rest of the album? Sure, it’s does what it says on the tin (Para Mexer is particularly worth checking out for its nylon goodness), but this track reigns supreme.

I hope your head blows off.