Archive | November, 2011

James Blake – Limit To Your Love

28 Nov

I am supposed to do a lot of work at the moment, but my fellow blogger has inspired me so much with his music that I am going to squeeze this quick post in between my work. As you have read in the post before, my fellow blogger mentioned James Blake. An artist that is truly inspirational and makes very experimental music. On the album James Blake, by James Blake, there is a song called Limit To Your Love which stands out from all other tracks.

As I have stated once before, I am not a musician. So when I say i love a track, it is because it has some parts in it that I love. I will try to describe which parts these are and why they are so great for me, but I do not have the knowledge to say this in the right terminology.

Limit To Your Love starts with a piano. It is simple but very gripping. It catches you from the very instant. And right away, James Blake starts singing in his strange, high voice. You are taken away by the vocals and piano until around the 50 seconds mark, it waters away. An almost thunderous bass is becoming more clear and gets louder. And then the real bass kicks in. A wobbling bass that is reminiscent to a dubstep bass. But it stays a very slow, chillout song. Then, the vocals and piano take over again. The best part of the song is later on when, at the end of the song, there is a similar break as the one just described. At this point, when the track starts again, it starts with the bass, piano and vocals all simultaneously. This creates just the perfect part of the track. I wished it would last longer!

Erik Satie – Gnossienne no. 5

28 Nov

Last september dubstep artist James Blake made a mix for BBC’s Essential Mix. The mix didn’t contain a lot of dubstep, but as he said himself ‘most of it is music I listened to in the last year’. That was definitely a good choice and the result is a nice mix with great variety.

The opening song is probably the most unusual. It’s a solo piano song composed by Erik Satie: Gnossienne no. 5. The surprise of hearing this as the first song and the calmness that it spreads, did their work. It’s a beautiful, simple composition. It’s funny to hear that a song composed in 1889(!) still has influence on today’s artists.

No more words, just listen.

Regeneration Music Project

28 Nov

A couple of weeks ago I came across this interesting project, which challenged five different artists to create a song in a complete other genre then they usually do. This mix of their own background with these other genres resulted in some surprisingly cool songs.

The first one, and my favourite, is a song by Mark Ronson, who we all we know from his work with Amy Winehouse. Ronson brought together an interesting group of people, like Erykah Badu, Mos Def and Zigaboo Modeliste (drummer of the legendary funk band The Meters). With these people Ronson had to create a jazz song and he came with a swinging, cheerful New Orleans style song: A La Modeliste.

One of the all-time best hip-hop producers, DJ Premier, had to make a classical song. So he asked one of the all-time best rappers, Nas, to join him (with a little help of the Berklee Symphony Orchestra) and came with Regeneration. Of course, strings in hip-hop are used a lot, but I never heard classical music and hip-hop combining in such a smooth way.

Pretty Lights, usually making electronical music, made a cool country song: Wayfaring Stranger. The Crystal Method made an R&B song (with Martha Reeves!): I’m Not Leaving. Since I’m not really into dubstep, the ‘rock’ song Breakn’ A Sweat made by Skrillex was in my eyes the least successful.

Caribou – Melody Day [Ft. Luke Lalonde Adem & One Little Plane] (Four Tet Remix)

27 Nov

Caribou and Four Tet are both very good artists. In 2010 Caribou’s album Swim came out and it was very well received. In the same year, Four Tet came with the album There is Love in You which was also a very well received album. I would say that both albums are of the very best that came out in 2010. So when you put both of these artists together, the outcome must be good. And it is. Melody Day is a calm and relaxing song. Still, it has a groove in it that pulsates throughout. The song starts with a guitar melody that is repeated throughout the song. Later on, the pounding of a bass comes in, although it is not a dominant factor in the song. The vocals are though. What make these vocals distinct, is that you do not hear one singer, but a multiple of voices. You can hear both male and female vocals which produce a layered structure in the vocals.

A great work from two great artists. Give it a listen!

Early Hendrix

27 Nov

We all know Jimi Hendrix. We all know some of his classics, like Purple Haze, Little Wing and Voodoo Child. His guitar playing was a huge influence on almost every electric guitar player after him. All the Eric Claptons, Stevie Ray Vaughans and John Mayers would have been nothing without Jimi.

But like of all of us, Hendrix had to start right at the bottom of the ladder. Before he became the guitar hero as we know him nowadays, playing with his teeth or behind his head, he worked as a session musician. Actually, his musical career started in the army, where he met some important musicians that introduced him to the scene. As a session guitarist, Hendrix played with quite famous people, like B.B. King, Little Richard and Bo Diddley. The interesting thing is that you can really hear his transformation as a guitar player. On the early recordings he sounds like every other soul guitar player, but with the years he developed his own style which we all recognize. Listen to the songs Mercy Mercy by Don Covay, (My Girl) She’s A Fox by The Icemen and Move Over & Let Me Dance by The Isley Brothers. Makes me wonder if these guys knew how legendary Hendrix would become?

Coincidence or not, today would have been Hendrix’ 69th birthday. Happy b-day Jimi!

Stealers Wheel – Stuck In The Middle With You

24 Nov

Quentin Tarantino has a great music taste. Whichever of his movies you will watch, the soundtrack is always great. From the movie Reservoir Dogs, this song was one of the two that stood out. The other one was Little Green Bag by the George Baker Selection (it will probably get its own post in the near future). One of the reasons why Stuck In The Middle With You stood out, was definitely the scene in which it was played. If you have never seen Reservoir Dogs (you definitely should), let me tell you this (sort of spoiler alert!): Stealers Wheel, Michael Madsen, cop, razor, ear – Recipe for a lasting scene.

But the song is also great itself. Within twenty seconds the song is already at full groove mode. It starts with a guitar. Next, the bassline comes in. Clapping starts. Vocals. Yes sir. Nice vocals. Vocals that stay in your head. The result is a nice groovy song. For me personally, the guitar and the bass make this song so great. But listen for yourself.

James Figurine – Apologies (John Tejada Remix)

24 Nov

For me this is one of those tracks that you have heard a long while ago, maybe even listened to frequently at the time, but have forgotten about it later on. Just a few minutes ago I stumbled upon this track again and remembered it very well. I remember that I first heard it on a dj set by Gabriel & Dresden and it was something that just stayed in the back of my mind. It is a very relaxed song. Slow, deep and with a nice bass. The lyrics are, in combination with the melody, hypnotizing. Ideal for chilling. And you could learn something from listening to it to: Always forgive your friends!

Clint Mansell – Dead Reckoning

24 Nov

Clint Mansell is a multi-talented musician. Besides being a vocalist/guitarist and keyboard player for the rock band Pop Will Eat Itself , Mansell is also a film composer. And very good at it also. He has been the composer for films like Moon, The Rebound, Faster and recently The Iron Lady, but Mansell is most famously known for his collaborations with director Darren Aranofsky which resulted in the original soundtracks of movies such as The Fountain, The Wrestler, Requiem for a Dream (he composed Lux Aeterna, you will definitely recognize that) and Black Swan. Surprisingly, Clint Mansell has never won a major film award, like Best Original Score for a Motion Picture, for his work. As a matter of fact, he has only received a Golden Globe nomination for his work for the movie The Fountain (one of the best soundtracks for a movie, really). But yeah, a disgrace since he is one of the very best film composers.

The song Dead Reckoning however, comes from the original soundtrack of the movie Smokin’ Aces. A movie that is action packed to say the least and as an action movie is quite entertaining to watch. If you are looking for a high quality movie, this isn’t your thing. But still it has its moments that stand out from other mediocre action movies. And why? Well, because of the music of course. I have to watch the movie again to give a better and more grounded judgment about it, but since this is a music blog I will not do this.

The song Dead Reckoning is played at the very ending of the movie. The song is used to give the ending of the movie a more dramatic notion and it succeeds without a doubt. The song starts slowly with some string music. A little piano is heard. A guitar comes in. Slowly, very slowly the song builds. Tension is rising. The tempo rises. The guitar takes the lead. And then: emotion, drama and melancholy. All in the music. Great song, great composer, great scene, great ending.

Cirez D – Mokba

22 Nov

Cirez D. Cirez D is one of the aliases of Eric Sherydan Prydz who is best known for his alias Eric Prydz. While Prydz is commercially known for tracks like Call On Me, Proper Education (Ft. Pink Floyd) and Pjanoo, his Cirez D alias is a little bit less known. A little bit, because his Cirez D tracks are still being used in dj sets of dj’s like Sander van Doorn, Mat Zo and Richard Durand.

The track that stands central here, is the track Mokba. A friend of mine played this track when we were chilling the other night and this track blew me away. If you listen to this track out loud (and you should) it almost literally blows you away. The track begins with a drum and almost immediately you hear the melody rising. It builds up until around the one and a half minute mark and from that point it just gets crazy. When the baseline comes in, it’s just a bass fueled roller coaster until the end.

Back To Basics

18 Nov

In this time of mp3’s, iPods and torrent seeds, there are a lot of moments when I am missing listening to music. And I mean listening. Those moments when you buy a new cd and put it in your cd player for the first time and doing nothing but sit in your couch listening. Or those moments when I listened to my parents’ vinyl records over and over, all those Beegees, Zappa and Ry Cooder songs.

That made me decide to buy a turntable myself and start collecting vinyl. As a good beginning, I bought about eight records. Later I was surprised it was all black music. All soul, hiphop and jazz.

These are some of the records I like most. Just listen to some of my favourite songs. Sure you’ll like it.

Candy by Lee Morgan

Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters

The World Is Yours by Nas

Rocket Love by Stevie Wonder

War/No More Trouble by Bob Marley

Doing It To Death by The J.B.’s

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