Thursday, December 20, 2007
LOW-FI SUBTLE ACOUSTIC BEAUTY FROM FLORIDA
ARTIST``````````````IRON & WINE
ALBUM``````````````OUR ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS
COMPILATION BY VALENTIN
I first heard Iron & Wine on their excellent collaboration album with Calexico called "In The Reins" which i also recommend.
I intentionaly selected this album (not the debut one) because talented songwriter Samuel Beam (the guy with the beard) managed to keep his gorgeous, intimate living room sound while shifting from his home studio production to proffesional studio equipment. While some question this change in sound quality, I only see it as a normal reaction to a massive positive response to his music. Some new band members are added and this can be heard in small enriching details such as sampled Native Indian chants and simple percussion beats in the backround. The most important improvement on this album is Samuel's voice - it is recorded so well that sometimes it seems that he is singing right next to you.
Simple and emotional, this album has that tiny, intimate precision that lots of indie lo-fi bands today search for.
SHORT BIOGRAPHY AND ALBUM INFO:
Iron & Wine is the stage name for one Samuel Beam, a Florida native who made his name by releasing lo-fi tapes in Miami. The name Iron & Wine is taken from a dietary supplement named "Beef Iron & Wine" that he found in a general store while shooting a film.
On Our Endless Numbered Days, the follow-up to 2002's stunningly good Creek Drank the Cradle, the sound of Iron & Wine has changed but the song remains the same. No longer does Sam Beam record his intimate songs in the intimate surroundings of his home. Instead he has made the jump to the recording studio. As a result the record is much cleaner, less cocoon-like, certainly more the product of someone who has become a professional musician and not someone who just records for fun on a four-track. However, all Beam has sacrificed is sound quality. The sound of the record is still very intimate and simple, with very subtle arrangements that leave his voice and lyrics as the focal point. Luckily all the technology in the world can't affect Beam's voice, which still sounds like it comes right from his lips into your ear as if he were an angel perched on your shoulder. His songs are still as strong and memorable as they were on Creek, no drop off whatsoever in quality.
Our Endless Numbered Days is very subdued, thoughtful, melodic, and downright beautiful album and the new sound is more of a progression than a sudden shift in values, production or otherwise. Anyone who found the first album to be wonderful will no doubt feel the same about this one. Heck, you might even like it more.
DOWNLOAD IRON & WINE HERE
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
ONE OF THE MOST TALENTED MULTI-INSTRUMENTALISTS TODAY
ALBUM``````````````A SMALL REPRISE
COMPILATION BY VALENTIN
This is THE ONLY American-patriot-religious-to the heaven and back musican that I like. He is probably one of the most talented younger american musicians today and still has a lot to cover. Enjoy his talent (while it lasts?).
This is my "Best Of" selection. Its not official, just so you dont get confused.
Sufjan Stevens is an American singer-songwriter and musician from Petoskey, Michigan. Many consider Stevens' music to be lyrically focused and instrumentally rich. Lyrically, it often relates to faith and family. Stevens has enjoyed wide critical success in the United States.
He is considered part of the folk revival in indie pop, but his influences are very broad. His music has been likened to electronica and the minimalism of Steve Reich. Stevens originally announced plans to make a concept album for each of the 50 U.S. states, having begun the series with Michigan (2003) and Illinois (2005).
THIS GUY IS ONE OF THE STRANGEST SLEEPTALKERS EVER...
ALBUM````THE DREAM WORLD OF DION McGREGOR
It's sad that a man with such a rare "talent" (curse?) has to be promoted on personal blogs, myspace pages and stupid fan-forums which nobody acctualy visits. In short - Dion McGregor is a very strange man that talks OUTLOUD while asleep.
Dion McGregor dreamt out loud, fully narrating his vivid and often bizarre dreams, which were recorded by his roommate from 1961 to 1967. By his late '30s, McGregor's sleep talking had grown beyond the usual mumblings of somniloquists, he was speaking out loud and clear. McGregor was raised in NYC, but moved to Hollywood after dropping out of college. By 1953, the aspiring song lyricist was back in NYC, collaborating with Bob Cobert (who later scored for the Dark Shadow T.V. series). In 1955, he met Mike Barr, and the two began collaborating exclusively as songwriting partners.
BEAUTIFUL, SLUMBERING COMPOSITIONS
ARTIST``````````````THE DEAD TEXAN
ALBUM``````````````THE DEAD TEXAN
If you like Stars of the Lid as much as I do you should get yourself this fine album. Adam Waltzie (The Dead Texan in question) made only a slight departure from that famous Stars of Lid's drone minimal sound. A bit more guitars here and there and a tiny portion of recognizible voice layers make this album different enough.
A solid, wave riding piece of solo work.
The solo entry from Adam Wiltzie -- best known as one-half of Stars of the Lid -- comes under the nom de rock the Dead Texan and exists as less of a song cycle than an imaginary movie score. Accompanied with a DVD of seven videos made by filmmaker Christina Vantzos only asserts this notion, but Wiltzie's guitar-based art is equally if not better suited to stand on its own. Beautiful, slumbering compositions get peculiar titles like "The 6 Million Dollar Sandwich" and "A Chronicle of Early Failures." If the lush, piano-flushed "La Ballade d'Alain Georges" is the finest of the instrumental tracks, Wiltzie's two intimate vocal pieces (the organ-bolstered "Glenn's Goo" and the ambient shoegazer-ish "The Struggle") are easily the disc's highlights.
ONE OF THE STRANGEST AND MOST BEAUTIFUL ETNO-WORLD RECORDINGS I HAVE
ALBUM``````````````IF I'D BEEN BORN AN EAGLE
One of the strangest world-etno mixes I've heard so far. They sing in their native language (Tuvian) which of course I dont understand but somehow it all sounds warm and familiar. Some people cannot listen to them because at some moments they sound "far out there", somehow "not-human" and "paganistic".
Their themes are uniquely simple but at the same time emotionaly complex experiences of Night and Day, Love and Hate, Human Conversations, Human Desire for Eagle's View of Earth, Surrounding Landscapes and Strange Lights in the Sky (Aurora Borealis).
Instruments and melodies they produce are a mixture of russian, turkish and mongolian folk, buddhist and shamanic throat singing wrapped in the finest western production skills.
The beauty of this album is that there is no avantgarde experimentation (this is straightforward etno music) and yet some songs remind me of some western experimetal-ambient artists. In years after this album, the band started rock-oriented collaborations with a number of western artists and for me - killed everything they made on this epic recording. Fortunately I managed to save this album on some of my oldest mp3 disks so here it is:) This album is probably the most interesting etno-world music on this planet. A must have.
Where they come from:
The republic of Tuva is one of the least known and most curious corners of Russia. The Tuvans are nomadic pastoralists by nature Buddhist and shamanist by religion, Mongolian by cultural heritage, and Turkic by language.
The remote region of Tuva, one of the new countries formed with the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., has produced one of the world's most unusual vocal groups, Huun-Huur-Tu. Masters of the throat singing style of xoomei, in which a vocalist produces two or three notes simultaneously, the group has been warmly by an international following. According to Jazz Times, "a rustic joyousness and unadulterated expresiveness come out of these musicians". Analyzing Huun-Huur-Tu's music, The Chicago Tribune, wrote, 'it is unfamiliar yet very accessible, an other-worldly but deeply spiritual music that is rooted in the sound of nature". Dirty Linen took a similar view, claiming, "this music is both very spiritual and down to earth, grounded in a strong sense of place, yet its appeal is universal." In addition to recording their own albums, the members of Huun-Huur-Tu have contributed their unique vocals to albums and/or performances by Frank Zappa, The Chieftains, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, The Kronos Quartet and L. Shankar and Ry Cooder's soundtrack of the film, Geronimo.
Huun-Huur-Tu's third album shows the group broadening the scope of its music. As the ensemble members themselves point out, there's a great deal more to Tuvan music than throat singing, although it might well be the form that grabs a listener's attention. This is their attempt to show both the historical and contemporary colors of Tuva, with old melodies but also many from the last 30 years that have become a part of the national consciousness. And they also explore the inevitable connections between Russian and Tuvan music. But throughout it all, the rhythm is that of the horse, which is that of Tuva. That's not to say they've made a turn away from their trademark throat singing. It's still here, and still gloriously otherworldly, but at the same time incredibly accessible and completely human, with plenty of passion and all the soul of the best of Memphis.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
KRUSHING BEATS AND SAXOPHONE WASHING. AAARGHHH...
ARTIST`````````````DJ KRUSH & TOSHINORI KONDO
My favourite Krush album and dare I say - his greatest. I consider this to be one of the best and most intimate albums in the entire trip-hop genre (which I generaly disrespect). This is pure instrumental krushingness from Japan's most respected trip-hop duo.
Pure pleasure and a must have.
Anyone who remembers trumpeter Toshinori Kondo's work with such thorny avant-gardists as John Zorn, Derek Bailey, Fred Frith, and Peter Brotzmann's Die Like a Dog Quartet may be a bit taken aback by the extreme accessibility of his collaboration with pioneering turntablist DJ Krush. Much of the music on Ki-OkuKondo's muted trumpet line on "Mu-Getsu" sounds an awful lot like something Chris Botti would play, while the duo's instrumental take on the Bob Marley classic "Sun Is Shining" comes off just a little bit muzak-y. On the other hand, "Ki-Gen" and "Ko-Ku" both find Kondo using synthesized treatments in a way that evokes Jon Hassell's work with Brian Eno, while on the latter DJ Krush layers slightly menacing keyboard washes beneath Kondo's unassuming trumpet lines. This is one of those albums that reveals more with repeated listens; if it sounds too easy at first, listen again -- there's lots of interesting stuff going on beneath what sometimes sounds like a merely pleasant surface.
DOWNLOAD KRUSH HERE