Thursday, 24 November 2011

Guest Blog: Maarten Boos on Colin Stetson

I have always had an idea that I would like to have guest bloggers on my blog at this point. So here is the first one Maarten Boos talks about Colin Stetson, one of the most exciting musicians I have seen in a long while too. Enjoy!

Music from composition, composition from instrumentation. This simple line of thought tells an essential truth about the solo artist that cannot be ignored. Music takes up actual, volumetric space, wherever it takes place. The fewer people behind it, the greater the amount of skill required to fill it up. A musician who manages to take a single instrument and somehow makes it fill up this void with full, complete composition, possess true musical genius.

I first heard of bass saxophone player Colin Stetson while reading up on Bell Orchestre, a six-piece instrumental band from Montreal, several years ago. It was a particularly memorable phase of the past decade during which I came to realize most of my play lists were near entirely Canadian. Bell Orchestre was, at the time, a purely instrumental side project of Arcade Fire. Colin Stetson has in fact played in both bands. His track record includes a series of impressive collaborations with various artists, including musical dramatist Tom Waits and new wave pioneer David Byrn.

Weapons of choice? Saxophones, ever increasing in size and gravitas, strewn with arrangements of microphones that record everything from the clapping of valves and the beat of his fingers to the multitude of sounds he makes with his throat and mouth. These sounds are lost in any type of conventional recording and can really only be heard live.

Colin scavenges sound, then amplifies and mixes it into arrangements that are beyond anything currently available on recording. The result is complete, full composition, including an identifiable bass line, percussion, melody and more. So much more. Simply put, if you are listening to his music and happen to be unaware of what's going on, you are very unlikely to assume all of these sounds originate from a single bass saxophone, recorded without looping in a single take.

The year of 2008 marked Colin Stetson's first album of a planned trilogy, New History Warfare. It has overseen the maturation of his distinct musical style. New History Warfare, Volume 2: Judges released this earlier year has reaped the fruits of that process. There is a strong sense of interconnectivity and story present in this album. Like the first part of his trilogy, several tracks include sections of speech, this time from performance artist, musician and vocalist Laurie Anderson. While speech may come off as a strange choice for a solo album, it works out beautifully.

New History Warfare literally speaks in volumes and I will definitely
be looking forward hear to the final one.

Maarten on twitter

Thursday, 17 November 2011

New music: Little Fish

Sometimes music really can grab you, and I have always loved music that sounds like it is played by people who play like their life depend upon it. Little Fish is like that. I was touched from the first moment as the song came through on It made me go, what's this? And that doesn't happen to often. I really liked her voice, but at the same time for some reason felt a bit sceptical. But then I found a link to their YouTube page, and OH MY what a front woman Julia Sophie Heslop is. She has fusioned PJ Harvey, Nina Person and Skin into one. This is music that is dead or alive, that make you run around just scream along with the lyrics because her intensity comes through so strongly. So.. Enjoy! And oh! Who doesn't like a girl that can play guitar well too? Ha?

Official Homepage

Monday, 14 November 2011

Great covers: Bear McCreary - Battlestar Galactica

And now, just a quick blog post from in between exam writing! My boyfriend found this and it's just brilliant for Battlestar Galactica fans and accordion fans alike :) Enjoy, people! :)

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Great covers: Big band covers of Radiohead

Not surprisingly, I have heard many great covers of Radiohead-songs over the years and posted a few here as well, but this is the first time I have heard a big band do it. And this is just plain and simple very very cool. I love all the details of these songs, so it's very exciting to hear how they have incorporated them into their versions, but at the same time put their own touch to it. I also think that signifies good songs, when they can be translated into all kinds of genres and still sounds fresh and is interesting to listen to. Great stuff and proof of the presence of genius. And how proud one must feel to be celebrated with great covers like these. Enjoy and have a nice weekend. And I am sure more will come in time.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Great music videos: Ok Go - This Too Shall Pass

I am almost out of words! It's been a long time since I have laughed so much that I cried in the beginning of a music video and then cried because it was beautiful overwhelming beauty at the end of it (around 2.27). I always cry at great marching bands. Enjoy! I hope this will make your day better! It sure did mine. And OK Go, genius people. Always amazing videos.

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