Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Advisory Circle - Mind How You Go

2005; 10 tracks

Mind How You Go is the debut electronic album of Jon Brooks, a member of the interesting
Ghost Box label.

According to The Wire, Brooks describes his music: 'Everything's fine, but there is something not quite right about it.'


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Kauan - Lumikuuro

2007; 8 tracks

Today is Christmas day, and I cannot imagine listening to anything other than this perfect, beautiful album - Lumikuuro. I listened to it last year at Christmas and it enchanted me from beginning to end. It is the first and, in my opinion, most fluid album by the Russian doom/folk metal band
Kauan. Kauan, in Finnish, means something like "a long period of time." The founding member of the band is Anton Belov, a very talented man who has worked in a few other projects (Inea, Strecosa, Helengard). Violinist Lyubov Mushnikova joined the band later on, with a few other session musicians to help orchestrate this god-tier music.

Lumikuuro, which means "Flurry," masterfully blends neofolk, classical, doom metal, and maybe even black metal. The perfectly placed distances between the darker, more doom metal parts and the softer, jazzier/classical sections make the album like a journey to be traversed and enjoyed. The variety of instruments and musical ideas are seemingly endless as well, and perhaps that is what catches me every time I listen. There is a melancholy beauty to be found at every corner of Lumikuuro, a radiant gleam of bittersweet light. I think "Koivun Ela" will always be my favorite track, but I'm growing more and more fond of the acoustic version of "Syleily Sumu."


Thursday, December 23, 2010


2006; 8 tracks

COLTEMONIKHA (コルテモニカ) is a Japanese electronica duo consisting of fashion designer/model Kate Sakai, as vocals, and producer/art designer, a member of Capsule, Nakata Yasutaka. This is their second "mini-album," after COLTEMONIKHA, and it is no less charming and ebulliant. I might not prefer this over their other release, but I'm really enjoying it right now... especially the track "sleeping girl."



Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ryuichi Sakamoto (坂本龍一) - Playing the Piano

2009; 12 tracks

坂本龍一, or Ryuichi Sakamoto, is a Japanese composer, musician, and actor.

Born in Tokyo in 1952, Sakamoto fell in love first with English rock music (he’s a big Rolling Stones fan) and then with French Impressionism. He was the founding member of the cult electro-pop trio, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and has worked collaboratively with figures as diverse as William S. Burroughs, Jose Carreras, Youssou N’Dour, Iggy Pop and the Dalai Lama. He has written vast opera music for the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and for the 400th anniversary of the city of Mannheim, Germany. Most recently he has become a dedicated environmentalist, launching a carbon footprint-conscious record label, Common, and his successful MoreTrees project in Japan and the Philippines.

But to European music lovers, Sakamoto is best known as the composer of epic film scores. Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Last Emperor, The Sheltering Sky, The Handmaiden’s Tale, Wild Palms, Little Buddha, and dozens more, for which he has been rewarded with innumerable awards. Among them an Oscar, a couple of Golden Globes and a Grammy. - Altsounds

Playing the Piano is a gentle, beautiful collection of jazzy, eclectic piano music. There are many different influences to his music, such as classical/jazz/etc. His playing is comforting and soft, melodic and able to hum along to. "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence" is an absolutely wonderful track, my favorite :3


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Popol Vuh - Nosferatu

1978; 10 tracks

Nosferatu is the eleventh album by German krautrock/folk band Popol Vuh. Coincidentally, it is the original soundtrack to Werner Herzog's horror film Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht. This is an incredibly mystic and luminous album, one that found me lost in thought as it took me through it's soundscapes. I've not heard many other Popol Vuh albums, but this was absolutely incredible - one of my new favorites, for sure. The serene, warm atmosphere of this album feels very like "morning sun rays," despite the slightly disturbing subject matter of the film. "Venus Principle" and "Mantra II" are the stand-out tracks (to me).


Monday, December 20, 2010

Joseph Haydn - The Complete Piano Sonatas

2008; 10 discs, 159 tracks
Jenő Jandó, pianist

Joseph Haydn was an Austrian composer of classical music, and is often credited as the "Father of the string quartet" and "Father of the symphony." He worked with many mediums, one of which being the keyboard, and became a leading figure of the classical period. His style is refined and unique, a fitting influence to the young classical composers such as Mozart and Beethoven. Haydn is often seen as a pioneer of classical music, one of the first to turn away from the confines of Baroque composing and produce elegant music of a more fine and regal quality.

Jenő Jandó is a Hungarian pianist and one of the first to record the complete Haydn sonatas on an actual piano, instead of a period instrument such as a fortepiano or a harpsichord. I haven't exactly listened to like 3 hours of another recording of these, so I took these as they were - as accurate and good as they can possibly be. If you've ever heard a Mozart or Beethoven sonata, don't expect these to be as dramatic. These are true pieces of the classic form written by a man of great taste and status. I'm no music critic, but Jandó does a very nice job of interpreting these simultaneously mature and capricious pieces, shaping them and giving form to seemingly plain material.

I found an interesting fact about the nature of the sonatas while looking this recording up:

"Haydn's music has been aptly characterized as being composed 'fur Kenner und Liebhaber' - for connoisseurs and amateurs. Many of these sonatas, ranging from the earliest to some late works, were written as teaching pieces with amateurs in mind. Other works were composed for the virtuoso performer. There is a similar range of intensity of feeling and musical complexity shown in these pieces. But in many of these works of whatever level, Haydn took the materials he was working with to write music of broad appeal. Taken as a whole, the sonatas show the slow, sure movement of a composer from rather slight, conventional works to music of great depth, feeling and originality."

Here you can find more information on the piano sonatas and the boxset. It's pretty difficult to tag these, as they have both a Hoboken number and a Landon marking. The Hoboken marking for Haydn's piano sonatas is "XVI," but that's not so important right now. I have included a correct tracklisting for the pieces in each of the links, so you may use that as a guide if you wish.

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
Disc 5
Disc 6
Disc 7
Disc 8
Disc 9
Disc 10

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vangelis - Blade Runner OST

2003; 2 discs, 33 tracks

So, yeah. I can't really imagine anything more glorious than this - Greek electronic composer and musician
Vangelis' groundbreaking vision of a work, the accompanying music to Ridley Scott's 1982 film Blade Runner. This is indeed the Esper Edition, a bootleg released in 2003 including some previously unreleased background music and clips from the film. Click here for more information on this edition.

I actually recieved this soundtrack as a Christmas gift 2 years ago, although I only just watched the film for the first time last night. I can't imagine why I put it off for so long. The soundtrack works seamlessly with the film, each scene perfected by the unutterable beauty of Vangelis' futuristic score. Mantric and hypnotic, this soundtrack unites sounds from a variety of cultures and time periods. It is every bit as colorful and magical as the film... synthesizers meet Middle Eastern-influenced jazz, the pattering of rain sweeps over the orphic cascades of modern classical music in a gentle, almost scientific, way. "Rachael's Song" is definitely my favorite song, though.

Disc 1
Disc 2

Friday, December 17, 2010

God is an Astronaut - All is Violent, All is Bright

2005; 11 tracks

In honor of the birthday of my friend, Danny (
Master_ov_Khaos), here is one of the most amazing albums in the universe and the first that we -both- liked a lot... I think. The track "Forever Lost" will always be our favorite song. :3

This is the second, and by far the greatest, album of the post-rock trio from Ireland, God is an Astronaut. This album is inundated with extremely melodic, powerful riffs and ideas. All is Violent, All is Bright is unlike other post-rock albums because it's concept is truly portrayed through music, each song mounting upon the other until the whole can be appreciated as a masterpiece of post-rock.

It might not be post-rock in the sense GY!BE is, but it's much more thought-out, musical, and pleasing than some of the stuff that passes as "post-rock" these days.


Blood Freak - Multiplex Massacre

2007; 13 tracks

Razorback Records is one of the premier labels for newer bands paying tribute to old school death metal, and Blood Freak's third and most recent album, Multiplex Massacre, is no exception. Blood Freak is a one-man thrash/grind/death metal band led by horror mastermind Maniac Neil, of Frightmare and Lord Gore. Blood Freak plays a catchy brand of thrashing death metal with horror b-movie subject matter, something that should catch your interest should you be interested in bands such as Ghoul and Carcass. It's fucking greeeat.

Download / Purchase

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Punch - Punch & Eyeless EP

2009; 16 tracks

Download / Purchase

2008; 6 tracks

Download / Purchase

Punch is a female-fronted San Francisco punk band playing fast and dirty hardcore in the vein of RAMBO, Mouthpiece, and Rorschach. The music of Punch is genuinely INCREDIBLE. Short, fast, to the point, these intense tracks are powerful kicks to the stomach and, as so eloquently described by, recognizable by a "fast, heavy sound with pulverizing breakdowns, intelligent song structures and absolutely plastering vocals." The vocals are definitely my favorite part... "If Not Me" off the s/t is a great track.

Lil B - I'm God

I seriously can't stop listening to this song.

What's wrong with me? :\

Estatic Fear - A Sombre Dance

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe - Pièces de viole

2005; 28 tracks
Paolo Pandolfo, viola da gamba
Thomas Boysen, theorbo and baroque guitar

Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe was a French composer and violist. To listen to these pieces through is an extremely somber experience.

The manuscripts used for this recording are the so-called Panmure and Tournus, perhaps the work of pupils who brought back home at least part of the master's corpus of compositions. Therein lies a large proportion of extremely idiomatic music for the instrument, always highly personal and full of unforeseeable twists and turns, verging on extravagance, which in that respects brings to mind the music of his Concerts à deux violes égales. A general atmosphere emerges from the manuscripts which fully contradicts the image of an artist given to obscurity and tormented by pain, complacently abandoning himself to solitude and suffering.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tobacco - Fucked Up Friends

2007; 16 tracks

Fucked Up Friends is an insanely, INSANELY awesome album. It is insurmountably yummy and fantastic and simultaneously mind-bending and dancey, funky, groovy, and
School of Seven Bells-esque, but x 10e12948. Please take a sip of the communal cup of ecstasy that is Tobacco.

By the way, this is the solo project of Black Moth Super Rainbow frontman Tom Fec, which might make you more excited, or it might not. I haven't listened to them as much as I should have, but w/e.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Teenage Larvae - Songs For Pigs

1993; 6 tracks

According to,
Teenage Larvae is a "side project of Kevin Rutmanis (Cows, Melvins) with David B. Livingston (God Bullies) and 'anyone else we can exploit or lure into the studio'. That includes Shannon Selberg & Thor Eisentrager (both also from Cows)."

Songs for Pigs, while it is totally unclassifiable, is fantastic. Give it a listen or three, disappointment is not an option.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Cows - Cunning Stunts

1992; 12 tracks

Absolutely incredible noise rock album by the Minneapolis-based rockers
Cows. They seem to be well known for their stage presence, as the lead vocalist, Shannon Selberg, has been known to hurl objects into the crowd and be all-around crazy. This raucous energy is perhaps most apparent in this thrilling, immensely enjoyable album of blues riffs, grunge-inspired noise rock, and fusion of sliding bass, bugle, harmonica, wail of a baby...(which starts the album off on a very interesting note).

The vocals might be my favorite part right now. On tracks such as "Mine," Selberg's voice lends itself to a croaking, raspy, shouting sound - much like that of Swans' frontman Michael Gira in the face-melting track "Beautiful Child." Not a second of this raw, beautiful masterpiece is to be neglected.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lungfish Live + 10 East 7"

Lungfish is a progressive/post-hardcore band from Baltimore, Maryland, fronted by the infamous Daniel Higgs and equipped with such outstanding musicians as Asa Osbourne, Sean Meadows, and Mitchell Feldstein. Their discography is fairly vast, each album changing in color slightly, building and building until the bitter end of their legacy...

Thank you to tsintskaro for these.

10 East 7"

1995; 3 tracks

A highly meditative release... The track "Go Simple" makes my life a litle better. It is a gem among Lungfish records.

To scrape the chattering lungs
Away from my skin
The beast and all it's hornets
Collapse in the popping air


Lungfish, Live at Upstairs at Nick's, Philadelphia, March 1998

1998; 13 tracks

This is a nice set, well recorded, of many tracks off of Artificial Horizons (along with some others).


Lungfish, Live at Brownies, NY, 11.12.99

1999; 14 tracks

This is a REALLY fun and amazing set. I wish I could have been there.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Current 93 - Sleep Has His House

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Harold Budd & Brian Eno - Ambient #2 - The Plateaux Of Mirror

1980; 10 tracks

Harold Budd & Brian Eno are two extremely talented musicians, as well as the leaders of modern ambient/neo-classical music. Brian Eno has worked in electronic music for the better half of the 20th century, while Harold Budd has worked as a consistent member of the shoegaze/dreampop band Cocteau Twins. The Plateaux of Mirror is a calming instrumental album full of soft, synthy piano melodies.


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jonny Greenwood - Norwegian Wood (Noruwei No Mori) Soundtrack

2010; 14 tracks

Beautiful soundtrack to Norwegian Wood, a film based on the novel of the same name by the amazing Haruki Murakami. 3 of the tracks are performed by the German krautrock group
Can, but the rest were written by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood.

No, I have yet to see the movie. Honestly, I am in no rush. The book itself was perfect, you should read it and listen to this. :o


Friday, December 3, 2010

Funeral stuff.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Benoît Pioulard - Temper

2008; 16 tracks

Temper is a very mystic album, a glance at the world through the eyes of an outsider.

Benoît Pioulard, an American experimental folk musician/singer-songwriter/writer/photographer, is the pseudonym of Thomas Meluch. This is his 8th release and 2nd full-length album on the Kranky label. Pioulard actually had a new album come out this year, Lasted, which I just ordered!

After two tracks of laid-back folktronica, Temper plunges into an entirely ambient atmosphere saturated with the signs and sounds of new life. Nature-based ambience and soundscapes surround Temper, as the folk/electronic elements weave in and out in a very casual, pleasing way. "Modèle D'éclat" and "Idyll" are my favorite songs atmmmmm. A good descriptive word for this album would be... enchanting.



Mark Fry - Dreaming with Alice

1972; 16 tracks

Mark Fry is a psychedelic/acid folk artist from the 70s. I don't know everything about him or this album, but Dreaming with Alice was recorded in Rome and England and is structured very interestingly. Every other song is another verse entitled "Dreaming With Alice" and starts with the same beautiful guitar notes...

This is such an incredibly beautiful and touching album, his voice and his guitar create such magical music. A trip beyond the world, a masterpiece of psychedelic folk.


Daniel Lanois - Belladonna

2005; 13 tracks

I didn't know what to expect with this when I first found it in a music thread somewhere. I decided it wouldn't hurt to try out a new artist, and it turns out my time wasn't really spent on nothing.
Daniel Lanois is a Canadian singer-songwriter who has worked with some "big" names, like U2 and Bob Dylan... Maybe that's what turned me off at first, but whatever.

Belladonna is an instrumental album of 13 vigniettes, differing in mood, color, and sound. It is just ethereal enough for me to enjoy it. Just enough.



Michel Legrand - Castles in Spain

1956 (2007 reissue); 17 tracks

I have no idea how to tag this, really. Spanish-influenced soundtrack classical with jazz, maybe? In any case, it is perfect - the exact kind of jazz music I've been looking for.
Michel Legrand is a French composer of film scores and occasional jazz music, as well as an accomplished conductor and musician. He actually did an album of Satie, as well, which I am very anxious to hear... (and find).

Castles in Spain is a perfectly lovely album of jazz melodies and reincarnations of classics, such as the beautifully done "Oriental" and "Andaluza," originally penned by Enrique Granados as collections of his "Spanish Dances." These two tracks are my favorite on the album, although each track is very Spanish in sound, rhythm, and performance.


Kiila - Silmät Sulkaset

2004; 8 tracks

Kiila is a Finnish folk/experimental group made up of about 6 people, give or take a few. This album is truly stunning, the first freak folk album I really loved upon the first listen. The opening minutes bring be back to the first time I listened to Supreme Dicks' album The Emotional Plague, a relatively tame, yet dissonant, cacophany of twangs and odd sounds. The similarites end here, however. Silmät Sulkaset soon builds into an atmosphere of impressionistic beauty and psychedelia, touching on many different elements of music and styles.

The ensemble combines electric guitar, hand percussion, bass, violin and wooden flutes, voice, melodica, accordion and electric keyboards with a traditional Finnish instrument, the kantele (a lap-held, strummed harp with the piercing metallic twang of mandolin). This album was breathtaking from start to finish, a journey I want to make again soon.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Agalloch - The White EP

2008; 7 tracks

There is no better way to start the frigid month of December than with
Agalloch. This EP, a partner to The Grey, blends the band's signature darkness with a slightly new element - neofolk. It is a masterfully made album, so beautiful and so cold.

"What begins with a sampling of the 1973 film The Wicker Man then spreads into an ethereal neofolk fable concerning religion, culture, children, morality, hindsight, and foresight."

The White further instills in the listener Agalloch's eternal theme... God is dead.



Monday, November 29, 2010

はにわちゃん - かなしばり

1984; 13 tracks

はにわちゃん, or Haniwa-Chan, is one of the many side projects of Japanese Percussionist/Musician Kiyohiko Senba. This vintage Japanese experimental album, Kanashibari (かなしばり), is a fusion of every sound you've ever heard in every world. It is not what it seems.


Dmitri Shostakovich - The Nose

2009; 16 tracks, 2 discs
Valery Gergiev / Mariinsky Soloists, Orchestra, and Chorus

This satirical opera shows a young (22, in fact)
Shostakovich at, perhaps, his most unhinged. The Nose was completed in 1928 and premiered in 1930. The opera is set in St. Petersburg. Based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol, its absurd plot revolves around the exploits of a pompous government official and his nose. After a visit to the barber, the nose absconds from the man's face and takes on a life of its own; the pretentious bureaucrat is reduced to desperation, frantically searching the city for his lost appendage. Although primarily a comic opera, The Nose touches on the struggle between the individual and society (here portrayed by a cast of over 80 characters), and is one of the most remarkable pieces Shostakovich ever wrote (at least to me).

Shostakovich began work on The Nose soon after the stupendous success of his First Symphony, which was written as his graduation piece at the Leningrad Conservatory and first heard in May 1926, before the composer turned 20 years old. His First Symphony, as we all know, is certainly one of the greatest looks into the composer's core personality, but The Nose broadens this perspective even further. The opera is full of alarming and incongruous but entirely convincing musical turns; virtually the only predictable thing about it is its lack of predictability. Shostakovich was undoubtedly drawn to Gogol's story for its satirical aspects, as many of Shostakovich's pieces could easily be viewed as satirial, mocking, and even subliminally rebellious.

This modern opera masterpiece is highly intense and passionate, a great listen for any fans of the more chaotic realms of music.

Part 1
Part 2

Alfred Schnittke - The Ten Symphonies

2009; 47 tracks
6 discs

There is so much to say about these mindblowing and hardly well known pieces by the Soviet composer
Alfred Schnittke and frankly I am not the one to say any of it. If you want to learn more about each one, I've found a few nice reviews while looking at individual recordings.

Disc 1:
Symphony No. 1; 4 tracks
Leif Segerstam / Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

Disc 2:
Symphony No. 2, St. Florian; 8 tracks
Anders Aby / Mikaeli Chamber Choir
Leif Segerstam / Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

Disc 3:
Symphony No. 3; 4 tracks
Eri Klas / Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra
Symphony No. 7; 3 tracks
Tadaaki Otaka / BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Disc 4:
Symphony No. 4; 7 tracks
Stefan Parkman / Academy Chamber Choir of Uppsala
Okka Kamu / Stockholm Sinfonietta

Symphony No. 5 (Concerto Grosso No. 4); 4 tracks
Neeme Järvi / Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra

Disc 5:
Symphony No. 6; 4 tracks
Tadaaki Otaka / BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Symphony No. 8; 5 tracks
Lü Jia / Norrköping Symphony Orchestra

Disc 6:
Symphony No. 0; 4 tracks
Symphony No. 9; 3 tracks
Owain Arwel Hughes / Cape Philharmonic Orchestra

Btw: The 9th Symphony, the composer's last work, is one of the most powerful and moving pieces of music I've heard in a long time. Schnittke’s ultimate symphony – actually his very last work – is a “Ninth” in a most unusual sense: Put down with a shaky left hand by an artist who had survived four strokes and was laterally debilitated, it is an impressive triumph of spiritual energy over physical constraints.

Disc 1
Disc 2
Disc 3
Disc 4
Disc 5
Disc 6

Monta - Where Circles Begin

2005; 10 tracks

Monta is Tobias Kuhn, a singer-songwriter from Germany. Where Circles Begin is a very lovely album, one that I will not forget. His pleasant, acoustic sound reminds me of both Sondre Lerche and Boduf Songs, but it's actually a great deal prettier. "I'm Sorry" is my favorite song.


Le Le - Marble EP

2009; 6 tracks

This is a fun and interesting EP from the popular electronic/techno group
Le Le, consisted of Dutch artists P. Fabergé (of De Jeugd Van Tegenwoordig), Piet Parra (the man who designed the cover of this and other Le Le albums, is also a fairly well-known designer/illustrator) and Rimeroni Vumani. It may not be as fully realized as their album Flage but the variety of European funk/techno styles is still present and as entertaining as ever. Woohoo for LE LE *heart*


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Dornenreich - Hexenwind

2005; 5 tracks

I consider this,
Dornenreich's 4th full-length album, the band's atmopheric/neofolk masterpiece. It is not "folk" in the way In Luft Geritzt is, nor is it black metal in the sense that Nicht um zu Sterben most definitely is. Dornenreich's sound has transformed and built upon itself yet again in a very exquisite manner, creating a breathlessly atmospheric album that is not confined to any one genre of music.

From the very beginning of the first track, "Von der Quelle," a mood is set for the entire 5 tracks that very truly adheres to the magnificent cover artwork. Interchanging neofolk acoustic melodies and artful black metal riffs create a landscape of misty Austrian hillsides and the foggy heights of mountains, not to mention the piercing voice of Eviga hissing and whispering and screaming and chanting all through the haze. Each track explores further the extent of this band's talent, which truly knows no bounds. The closer, "Zu Träumen Wecke Sich, Wer Kann," is probably my favorite Dornenreich track. It is one of their most beautiful, surely, but the atmosphere is so incredibly dark and so bitterly ethereal that it has made me cry (lame? maybe).

In Eviga's own words, "music is proof for the invisible world, the spiritual world. Air is invisible, but music can move the individual on a very sensual level. It’s also very important because the arrangement of time within music is really the language and being of the human soul which is travelling within music, and artistic expression in general, but especially within music" (source here). Despite being a fantastic band, Dornenreich proves itself time and time again that they really -get- music and understand the various effects it has on the listeners, creators, and those just passing through... This intimacy with the instruments and pure notes in the air is a very appealing aspect of Dornenreich's music, one that touches me deeply. Eviga's voice is wonderfully dynamic and intense, as if he is the only man in the world, singing from the depths of his soul.

To truly experience Dornenreich, I implore you to give Hexenwind a listen.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Anoice - Remmings

2006; 9 tracks

Beautiful debut by six-piece Tokyo-based instrumental group
Anoice. Classical, post-rock, ambient... it's perfect spring music. Or winter.



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Diary of Tortov Roddle

Monday, November 22, 2010

De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig - De Lachende Derde

2010; 15 tracks

Latest album from the Dutch hip-hop group
De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig. The entire sound of this album is a world beyond that of their previous albums. It is much more sophisticated and altogether a fucking amazing release.


By me.. Allie.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Valentin Silvestrov - Requiem for Larissa

2004; 7 tracks
Vladimir Sirenko / National Symphony Orchestra of Ukraine

Silvestrov's Requiem for Larissa is a poignant tribute to the memory of his late wife, a bitterly-wrought mourning piece that transcends his individual grief to strike a universal chord. Its seven movements are played without pause, utilizing a large chorus and orchestra, piano, and a synthesizer. Its text is the traditional, though fragmented, Latin Requiem, along with an excerpt from a grim poem, 'The Dream,' by the Ukranian poet Taras Shevchenko.

This last constitutes the haunting fourth movement, the sung words, a 'farewell to earth,' set to a slow pianissimo folklike melody that stays in the memory. The next movement, the Agnus Dei, includes extended Mozartian solos for violin, its postlude a moving depiction of unearthly peace. The final two movements are a reprised variation of what has come before, from the hieratic opening drenched in sorrow to a Tuba mirum that rages against the dying of the light. The last sounds we hear are the gentle rustlings of the wind, as Nature washes away grief. Silvestrov's sound world is unique, as is this modern masterpiece" - someone

"While Silvestrov's inspiration is the Latin mass for the dead so widely set in the classical tradition, this is no typical requiem. There's a 'Requiem eternam' and a 'Lacrimosa', but only a few isolated words are selected from the traditional text. There is no 'Dies irae', and no wonder, as who wants to think about one's departed loved one being judged? The work is generally symmetrical. The opening and closing portions of the work are typical of Silvestrov's late orchestral music, with that special lush yet grim lake of sound. At one moment in each of these two framing portions, however, we are treated to a beautiful bit where strings playing harmonics dialogue with flutes.

The middle section, however, will be for many listeners the emotional heart of the world. Here Silvestrov leaves behind the Latin mass and includes a setting of Taras Shevchenko's poem saying goodbye to the world." - Christopher Culver

Requiem for Larissa, for mixed choir & chorus, is a genuinely moving piece of modern classical music... I cannot express how beautiful this is.


Ween - The Mollusk

1997; 14 tracks

I've always overlooked
Ween due to horrible short-sightedness and stubbornness; this was a mistake. You need to listen to this album with a completely open mind, don't expect it to be perfect and don't expect it to be awful - just listen to it. Personally, I thought it would be juvenile typical 90's alt, but what I got was a stroke of brilliant semi-conceptual music with no distinct genre and moments of absolute beauty. There's some silly stuff on here too but it just works. "Pink Eye (On My Leg)" is my idea of a wonderful song :3


Lungfish - Artificial Horizon

1998; 11 tracks

Lungfish presents another chapter in the thinking man's modern rock. On this album, Lungfish continues a pattern of isolating crypto-philosophical songs with minimalist free-rock instrumentals. The resultant mood is somber and cathartic, focused and pointed, intellectual and freeing. Lungfish suggests simplicity as a gateway to melody, and poetry as a vehicle for intelligent observation. Single-mindedly, Lungfish combats obsession ("If love is all you hope to find / Love will ruin your mind") and chaotically they call for greater control ("Bridges crossing, bridges crossing land / Subterranean rivers seeping through the sand: Oppress yourself") over a deconstructed and unornamented rock groove. In essence, this is most likely my favorite Lungfish album aside from Feral Hymns :')

Push and pull, open and close
Ears and mouth and eyes and nose
Big and small, short and tall
Light and dark, rise and fall
(Tick Tock, Tick Tock)


Lungfish - Sound in Time

1996; 10 tracks

Although each
Lungfish album speaks volumes of dark, powerful poetry on its own, this very album, Sound in Time, their fifth, might be the most diverse and enjoyable album I've yet heard. It is an extension of the sounds heard on their earlier albums, but it also seems like a transition into the deeper waters of their discography... i.e. Indivisible, Necrophones, and Love is Love. I wish there was more I could say.

"Solid State" is such an epic track. I am using that word correctly and appropriately.


Malicorne - Nous Sommes Chanteurs de Sornettes (Malicorne IV)

1977; 10 tracks

Malicorne is a French folk/medieval group founded in 1973. Malicorne IV, their 5th studio release, is a beautiful "electric folk" album that needs many listens - one will not absorb every aspect of the music in a single listen (or even, perhaps, in many). There are so many different instruments and melodies and voices and sensations that can occur in these 40 minutes that it is by far one of the most interesting albums I've ever listened to. "Le Jardinier Du Couvent," a mesmerizing track, reminds me a lot of Debussy's "La Fille aux cheveux de lin." If you've never heard that, just know that it's innocent beauty set to music and given wings.


Boduf Songs - There is Something Hanging Above You EP

2009; 5 tracks

Boduf Songs is Mat Sweet from Southampton (UK). There is Something Hanging Above You shows a very minimalist side to the musician, although I haven't exactly heard much else from him. I fell in love right away with this album's enchanting, sad atmosphere consisting of, primarily, his voice and his guitar. I love the touching piano parts as well, but "Left Behind Like a Piece of Shit" is my favorite track.



Dornenreich - In Luft Geritzt

2008; 10 tracks

Austrian atmospheric black metal band
Dornenreich might still be my favorite group of all time. I prefer their earlier works in the vein of Durch Den Traum and Her Von Welken Nächten (a truly haunting album), but In Luft Geritzt, translated as "Carved in Air," is nothing short of a masterpiece. Abandoning their black metal roots, Dornenreich strips down to something of a bare minimal, but in no way "less," overall sound.

In Luft Geritzt is a neofolk album that wonderfully effuses all of that which every other neofolk album lacks. A raging, intense energy. It is present in Eviga's voice, Inve's mournful violin, and the frantic guitar's sheets of sound. With every track a new door is opened. The lyrics are especially evocative, as all of Dornenreich's are.



Stereolab - Not Music

2010; 13 tracks

This is UK-based electronic/indie group
Stereolab's latest album... it's a dose of wonderful motorik/krautrock flushed with electronica using English and French lyrics. It really is something special.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Emmanuelle Parrenin - Maison Rose

Popular Posts