Archive by Author

Burial – Untrue

12 Jan


Hey everyone. I’m going back to the UK for some moody electronic music. I’m not going to say much in order to sound depressing. Only just that I love dark wet lukewarm winters.

Burial released his award winning album Untrue in 2007 – his second full length album. He himself actually remained anonymous until 2008. He revealed his identity in order to accept his award and stated that he just wants to remain a low key music producer.

People say that he redefined dubstep. His music has elements of 2-step, ambient, and house. If you think you are about to hear dirty wobbles then please leave. Or stay. This is much better than any wobbles could ever be.

“Archangel” begins with one of the coolest beats out there. You try to wrap your mind around it, but you cannot comprehend what is going on. The vocal samples are cutup in such a manner that it sounds like you listening to a ghostly love-story. The way the pitches of the samples are altered create a mock-melody which when supported by the violin-synths creates a rather atmospheric experience.

The music is technically dance, so yes it does drag out with a repetitive beat, but don’t let that distract you from the small changes going on. The general feeling is what counts. The burning crisp in the background, changes in frequency, as well as changes in the vocal samples all make for the effect as if the song was angry and therefore ending  in a moody upset sort of way.

“Ghost Hardware” is one of the dreamiest dubstep songs out there. An ambient synth and female vocal samples introduce the beat. The beat again is unmatchable and this time random noises are included. My favorites are the bullet casings falling to the ground and the sound of the tape being ejected. The different vocal samples are what really shine here. He picked the perfect samples to make those important builds and then relieves them with the suddenness or the “Love you” sample. A very circular experience. Wait for the random Brittish man to speak towards the end because it signifies a pretty nice stall. All I can picture is floating in a dark tide.

Listen to this song while driving on a rainy night. Only then will you truly be able to appreciate this song as well as all of Burial’s music. Such complex music is far above any sort of simple wobbles and don’t be upset if you don’t understand it. You probably just don’t have the proper range of emotions.

And if you choose to challenge that then maybe listen to the song below entitled “Ego”. It’s actually a collaboration between Burial, Thom Yorke, and Four Tet and slightly more on the house side. Regardless, this song is how I got my superior sense of emotions and moodiness.

&)

-oko

P.S.

The Most Serene Republic – Population

5 Jan


Have we all heard of the terms Utopia and Dystopia before? The latter is a perfect society while the former is the opposite. A Utopia can be anything ranging from Heaven to being born rich while a dystopia can be anything ranging from the zombie apocalypse to being forced to watch the Jersey Shore. Obviously this is all relative. For example, some people may actually enjoy watching the Jersey Shore, in which case having to share a planet with such people can be considered a dystopia. Of course some restrictions apply to the entire concept, yaddy-yah, some more relativity, etc.

I have an important point to make about all of this. It’s actually an observation of the world and our culture. Think about every single dystopian movie or novel you have ever read or watched. Anything to do with the apocalypse, any type of horror, or just any world you would prefer not to be in will do. Okay good. Now try to think of every single utopian movie or novel you have read or watched. Anything depicting your idea of a perfect world or coming close to it would do. Ok now is just me, or are there significantly more dystopias in modern culture than utopias? It probably just means that we like to get scared. But does it also have any deeper implications? Can the stories that we surround ourselves with actually transform our course in history? How much does a novel like 1984 affect were we are today as a society?

This was just an observation I made, and something to think about.

*********

The Most Serene Republic is a Canadian rock group from Ontario. I would to talk about their second album, entitled Population. The only way I can describe this band is Indie. For all intents and purposes, this band shall be named the “apex of indie music” until further notice. Listen to this song.

“The present of Future End” opens with a gentle guitar line. This ends as a drone-pop with horns segment create the ground for a cool song. This part subsides to lyrics. The vocals in this band are an amazing mixture of three vocalists. It creates for a great listening experience as their voices phase in out, taking turn speaking the lines, while the other two offer harmonics. It pretty much approaches downright trippy if you ask me.

Also, you can’t possibly ignore the VOCAL SOLO at 3:25. I don’t know what else to call it, but all I know is that it sounds amazing. The song returns to the drone-pop with horns for an outro and the song ends well.

A strange piano riff and a sleigh bell play around. They give way to “A Career in Shaping Clay.” This song, for simplicity’s sake, is like the others. But one thing that I would like to address is the band’s drummer. This is a great song to appreciate how great drumming in an Indie band can completely make the experience. The lyrics in this song are actually slightly in slow motion, which creates even greater contrast for the drummer to work with.

The ending part at about 3 minutes throws in a beautiful amount of violin and some sort of gypsy flair into the mix. The solo is interesting and ends the song with the perfect amount epicness.

“Solipsism Millionaires” is my favorite song on this album. Another piano intro, but this time much quicker, falls away to some great vocals. The drumming and relaxed guitar strumming make the song sail until hitting a field of sudden cutoffs. The ‘La la la’s’ setup a climactic bout after which the song continues as if nothing had happened. This happens once more and the song ends coolly with some fast singing.

The professionalism of this band is evident and something characteristic of Indie bands. They don’t allow emotions obscure the vocabulary and excellent musicianship. Honestly this all that one can ask for. There’s nothing like some philosophically stimulating music for everyday easy living. And on that note, listen to this final instrumental piece of theirs and enjoy the rest of your day.

&)

-oko

P.S. That last piece is pretty much jazz. Indie is going places I tell you. I also know that this band has had releases since this one. You should go check them out.

Three Trapped Tigers

29 Dec


What is behind a strange occurrence? Like the logistics required? Does someone really watch you 24/7 just to make sure things happen perfectly, or is it something deeper and more sinister? Maybe all existence was set in motion from the get go just to witness these peculiar happenings. But what if they are simply what they are? Chaos exists to explain that it’s only freak chance which is responsible, to calm our worrisome minds anyway. The idea does cure my worries, but it definitely doesn’t help with my intrigue.

Let me all give you a semi-relevant example. A year or so ago, my friends and I found the band, of which I have written a review for you today. We watched the first music video I posted and it honestly unnerved me. Yes, I was under magic spells, and being unnerved is not the same as being scared. Besides, that is the job of some music videos, and this one even pertained to me in a creepy way (It really didn’t, I just thought it did at the time). Whatever, that is not the important part. I went home afterwards and began reading Digg (2 years ago is ancient, I know). What caught my eye silently horrified me. An article entitled “3 Tigers escape from zoo” honestly freaked me out (read: magic). Instant conspiracy theories clouded my mind and forced me to link my life to the music video even more so.

I really didn’t freak out, but I still couldn’t believe it. Everything about it was so precise. The timing, the number, the animal; It felt as if some part of the universe made these tigers escape just to mess with me. I ended up telling my friends as it made for a good story and wrote it down as I do with all strange occurrences. No I am not completely crazy, simply because I remembered the story on my own accord, but come on. Don’t tell me something like that has never happened to you.

*********

So with that in Mind, I bring you Three Trapped Tigers, a 3-piece from London (3 UK acts in a row, make a wish). They are a noisy instrumental math-rock band that features many strange synths and ridiculous beats. Before their first LP, they would release singles and EP’s, named simply with numbers. Here is “6”, and the music video is the one which I mentioned above. Take less than 5-minutes to watch it on your own before continuing on.

The song starts out with probably the moodiest progression of notes I have ever heard. I can’t begin listening to “6” without feeling a sort of sadness in me. At first, my magic induced self couldn’t place it, but now I know. It is nostalgia for cold cloudy days spent with friends, when strange ideas would come up simultaneously irking you and making you laugh.

The drums include someone hitting a piece of metal with another piece of metal. The entire song features beats which seem out of place, yet sound completely right. Even the drums have this strange almost mechanical feeling to them.

Exactly 1 minute in, the song changes tone. It begins a low drive and then proceeds to inspire hope in listeners, sort of like waking up in the morning.  The drummer makes his skill very noticeable, something which only progresses as the song becomes louder and happier.

A little after 2 minutes the song remembers the intro, and what could only be a fight scene ensues. The vocals are amazing, some of my favorite. No lyrics, but rather their voices are easily identifiable instruments and this makes the piece easy on the ears while retaining cool mystery.

The song fluctuates up and down until the end in spectacular fashion, bringing back the opening notes in perfect harmony. If you were watching the video, you also might be asking yourself “WTF?”

“Kids, don’t do drugs” can be a summary, but there is definitely something deeper in this. The strange Japanese costumes and weird looping fight scenes. The beginning with the arrows and the smoke box. Was the pear jealous of the octopus’s love? Was the smoke box his revenge? Or was it all just a simple tragedy?

I honestly feel that if the video was simply by itself or even with words, it would be nowhere near as strong. The music tells the story better than any sort of narration would, and overall this makes it a bizarre experience.

***

Now before you move on to the next weird trippy music video, listen to this beautiful jazzy piano piece named “5”.

***

Okay, good. Hopefully that cleared your mind. The band has recently, (2011), come out with a new album, entitled “Route One, or Die”. They stopped using numbers as titles, I guess in preparation for mainstream-ness. One particular song popped out at me, and it too has a bizarre music video, possible even more so than the first one.

I don’t want to talk about this song just yet. “Cramm” is probably one of the most intentionally trippy things I have ever seen. The director of the music video definitely sat down with the band and had a brainstorming session for purely trippy ideas. I can’t even fathom how this video is viewed from a magical standpoint (I will find out probably later tonight :D).

Musically, it is a refined version of the first song. Played out like a story, the music video was definitely created around the sound. A soulful tale between good and evil, with a harsh fight scene and an epic vocal climax, as any good story should be. All I know is that I envy that king man and his magic rainbow powers.

So this has been a short preview of Three Trapped Tigers. If you were on the island of Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands March of 2010, you may have actually seen them escape. They make great music and tell good stories.

&)

-oko

P.S. Back to strange occurrences, my favorite idea is that we do it to ourselves. We subconsciously set ourselves up to be vulnerable and then get shocked when our surroundings play out accordingly. After all, what is a strange occurrence but what we define it? Power Rangers.

Bonobo

22 Dec

Ever realize that something that you had previously addressed quickly actually has deeper implications? Like a feeling you felt in the past actually has a name which only now you are coming to terms with, something you previously refused to acknowledge or were too ignorant to do so? A clear example may be the feeling you receive from an acquaintance that you always thought acted quite strangely. It felt strange then, but maybe now thinking back you are hit with a sudden realization that, that person simply may not have liked you. I am not specifically talking about this example, but of all of such occasions.

You left something simply as a feeling in your mind, failing to put any words behind it to back it up. Usually this happens out a lack of necessity. You leave it in your mind and talking about it isn’t something you have to worry about. But what brings you back to it? Maybe it was actually brought up in conversation, in which case you stumble and improvise. Sometimes however you revisit the topic in your own mind, and this time because you are wiser, you name the feelings or ideas. But what brings you back there in the first place?

My idea is this: We as people think in spirals. If you consider any idea which does not directly affect your future, you are bound to forget about it until you return to that thought naturally. There is inherently a plethora of such emotions which one encounters on a daily basis, but individual ideas pop into your head as if on cue. Surroundings and situations definitely help speed up this process, as does experience, but it is also necessary to notice it. Realizing why you are thinking something at a given time and place allows you address it on a deeper level and help you grow as a person.

What is my point? The thinking mind has a design different from the non-thinking mind. I actually have no point with this other than that. Just practicing some philosophical writing I guess.

*********

Never mind anything that I have just written though. Today, I have for you a UK electronic producer by the name of Bonobo. He has been described as a pioneer of down-tempo music and his chill, beat driven music has received the attention of many major labels. These words are definitely well justified. This is the music that I listen to when I just want to relax.

This first song, “Recurring”, starts out like a lullaby. The beat allows the song to progress beyond that title and becomes an entirely new song. The cello like instruments that enter just as the beat slows down create a great relaxing tension. The song continues on, growing softer and more bassy until it eventually dies out with some more cello and some tribal vocals.

This song is great to have playing while you do work or just want to sit back and relax. Also it is a great place to start if you usually do not indulge in machine-made music.

This is actually the songs “Prelude” and “Kiara” combined, but they might as well be the same song. “Prelude” is essentially a very nice sounding piano-driven string segment. It fades away at the end to darkness and a heavy hip hop beat that is “Kiara”. The vocal samples which he introduces combined with the synths sound amazing together. A quick stall at 2:09 re-emphasizes the beat and the perfect use of claps. It also never seems to end.

The song continues on in what seems like a blur, one that is very well produced and a pleasure to listen to.

“Noctuary” opens with an eerie harp loop. The beat wastes no time and picks it up and carries it along like a river supporting a boat. The sounds at 2:10 sound like the boat has arrived at some foreign land. The entire song is like some dark and lazy dream. I think it is a very good show of proper beat making and also a case for the idea that beats can make pretty much turn any collection of sounds into a song.

This last song, as well as the others, is amazing in the fact that it seems to slowly evolve, gaining new parts but losing others. You can never tell what is going to happen next, no matter how many times you have listened to it. It gives it this feeling of being alive with some sort of musical spirit. Some of his songs also feature singers, which can perpetuate that feeling even more so, I’d imagine.

-oko

P.S. Okay, as some of you might have suspected, here is a song with a singer. Be sure to notice the heavy bass, because it’s pretty much almost dubstep. And the attractive shaman woman. Please don’t fail to notice her either.

Late of the Pier – Fantasy Black Channel

15 Dec

Hey everyone. I’ll be posting on Thursdays from now on. Some Gods were upset at me for doing work on Sunday.

Today I have a cool British synth-dance-punk band for everyone today. Their name is Late of the Pier and I’ll be showcasing some of the songs off of their only album, Fantasy Black Channel. Plus, all of their videos are really trippy.

“Broken” is the first song that I would like to type a few words about and it is also the first on the album. It starts out with an extended instrumental section that displays many of the band’s different styles of rhythm and instrumentation. It comes to a slow vocal driven interlude that completes the song. The rest of the song is your average alternative rock punk song. I feel like it gives you an all around feel for what else is to come. Make sure to pay attention to the solo and sweet electronic ending.

This song actually doesn’t have a music video. I promise the others will make up for that.

“Focker” is probably one of the best songs on this album in my opinion. The song starts out with an instrumental build and a hellish British-type scream of rage. The song is fast paced, sounding like a space themed side-scrolling video game. The lyrics essentially stop the music in a very punk way. The guy sounds like he is a crying rockstar.

The ending completes it for me. The slow “ahh-ahhs” make it sound like the song is going to end on some drab low note to make it all moody. But no, because a goddamn robot flies down from space and starts kicking you in the mouth. This ending synth line is what separates this band from the rest. Who doesn’t like to end a song on a rockin’ out note?

The music video is absolutely spectacular too. The beginning green room is the perfect amount of 80’s-style psychedelia with the smoke and black oozing goo. As the actual song transitions, so does the video, and lo and behold an actual robot does come down and start smackin’ the band around. That’s definitely how they got the idea for the ending.

“The Bears are Coming” has my favorite video of the songs. But first let’s talk about the sound. It’s sort of like a tribal punk ballad. The song transitions from happy weird to  slow soulful drives which make it complete. The synths are over the top and pretty much silly. Nothing more can be said in my opinion.

Now the video. It’s awesome how they have the four band members come rolling in each with their own unique posses. It allows each one of them to display their own personalities and it makes that much more of an attempt at being serious. The build-up is epic; this cube is spilling black ooze and spikes while animals look on with worried faces. Each of the four possesses a piece of the puzzle that will solve it. Once they insert the pieces…? Nothing. They are offered a treat. I’m also not spoiling the ending by saying that, because I want you to watch it for yourself. No hype or anything, but it’s a great metaphor to making music.

So this was my little bit about Late of the Pier. I think that they are making new music, and about to blow up. Literally.

-oko

P.S. I wasn’t kidding. Their heads are going to explode. &|

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