Thursday, December 30, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
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
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
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
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
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.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
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.
Friday, December 17, 2010
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.
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.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
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 Last.fm, 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.
Monday, December 13, 2010
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
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
According to Last.fm, 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
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 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.
A highly meditative release... The track "Go Simple" makes my life a litle better. It is a gem among Lungfish records.
Away from my skin
The beast and all it's hornets
Collapse in the popping air
This is a nice set, well recorded, of many tracks off of Artificial Horizons (along with some others).
This is a REALLY fun and amazing set. I wish I could have been there.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
"Have pity for the dead / Sleep has his house…"
Sleep Has His House conjures a hallucinatory landscape ripe with symbolism.
Haunted, otherworldly, and more obviously personal than anything David Tibet has ever created. Tibet's harmonium roots his half-sung, half-chanted poetry. An overwhelming entreaty for compassion. - weird brother
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
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
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
I'm going to my grandfather's funeral tomorrow and driving there tonight. I made a mix for the trip there and back and... during. Peace.
02. Kiila - Kateet Linnut
03. Kakao - Zheleznodorozhnik
04. Vangelis - Rachel's Song
05. Hymie's Basement - Lightning Bolts and Man's Hands
06. Hooray for Earth - Rolling Nectarine
07. Idaho - Hearts of Palm
08. Donawhale - 눈 내리는 소리
09. Paavoharju - Puhuri
10. Aidan Baker & Tim Hecker - Auditory Sprits
Thursday, December 2, 2010
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 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.
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.
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 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
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.
Lungfish is a progressive/post-hardcore band from Baltimore, Maryland, fronted by the infamous Daniel Higgs and equipped with such outstand...
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