Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Exit Motel - Hospital Man

Hear The Track Here

Last one out of the review bag this month just scrapes in under the wire from Soundclick newcomers Exit Motel. No idea what it's all about but there's plenty of info on their SC webpage or their own site from which I've gleaned they are a duo (Matt Clark and Rich Patmore to be precise) and hail from Eastern England. Their music certainly doesn't sound in any way English though; in feel this is steamy rock of the eternal kind. The only dead giveaway are the lyrics and the deadpan delivery used to put them across (think Cure and you won't be far wrong).

There are some remarkably good brit alt bands, and in performance terms, Exit Motel sound like they belong; having a very classy arrangement to back up the musical dexterity. There is a tremendous laid back feeling to the track which at first I found a little off-putting, repeated plays put paid to that though. Just a question of getting used to. The more I got into the track the more I had to hand it to Exit Motel for a terrifiic arrangement that gives you glimpses of past history from 10cc to - as I mentioned before - The Cure.

Coming from a live band, you'd expect a certain amount of cohesion, and that's certainly the case if Hospital Man is anything to go, Exit Motel have their own particular take on this genre and it's surprisingly fresh sounding. Definitely a band I would want to go out and see, they'd certainly make for a lively evening. As such Hospital Man is a worthy introduction to this band and although it's the only track available on Soundclick right now, I'm sure it'll be followed by many others. Hospital Man is a study in how to make rock that's light but still has plenty of bite, and an indication of how they may be newcomers to Soundclick but not newcomers to making their music. Well worth going for a listen, right now.

Alternative rock that works. Highly Recommended.

Charlie A - Aswang - Bad Times

Hear The Track Here

Charlie Amour (hence the A I guess) stumbled into my world last year with his 'record-the-babe' classic Bebee Bubba (July 2006), a wonderful peice of musical nonsense guaranteed to warm the hardest heart, The next track I heard, Broken China (January 2007) gave me an instant throbbin' wotsname the instant I fired it up. This track showed me that Charlie A isn't just a chuckle charlie, he's a very serious musician with a point to make and ammunition to back it up. Take this track, for instance, Aswang is the title of the film this is wriiten for, and this is a section called Bad Times... (sigh)

Charlie says it so much better (Ed: we ain't paying him).

The film is a suspense/ drama, documentary. In the early 1900's the Canadian government put a $500 head tax on Chinese Immigrant, this left a lack of women in gold mining towns. The Chinese Mafia (operating as a benevolent society) kidnapped women from S.E. Asia and forced them into prostitution. There is an actual case in Victoria of a Filipina women who was one such woman. The less attractive prostitutes were kept in crates and were abused by men. The Filipino community in Victoria created a rumour that this woman was a Mangkukulam (a witch) and cannot die until she passes on her power - therefore she still lingers. Our main character uncovers the story, and is led on a journey to restore the line that was broken and if you aren't intruiged to hear the music after that, you have no soul. This, mind, from a confirmed romantic who would believe any old rabbit you'd care to sell me.

(Ed: the really jarring thing is that he's perfectly serious. Picks up any old broken winged, tramp/hobo/baglady)

At just over two and a half minutes, Aswang - Bad Times is not going to tax anyone timewise. Moreover if you like a skilful blend of piano and strings (that's cellos, violins and stuff) then this will go down well with you. It's a bit more string driven though, despite the piano in the intro. It is indeed the kind of music I would expect in a film so on that score Charlie is covered, Much more to the point to me would be to see the film itself, and no doubt that time will come. Well up to the usual extremely high standard of work Charlie A has delivered in the past.

Excellent string drenched soundtrack. Recommended.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Christopher Martin Hansen - In The Hedgerow

Hear The Track Here

In The Hedgerow is CMH's tribute to the late, and very great, Michael Hedges], an acoustic guitarist much in the same vein as Chris himself. I have often likened CMH's playing to the work of Leo Kottke but the same comparison could be made for Micheal Hedges - although Chris would deny that he is anything like as good as either of these artists. I disagree vehemently and I've often told him exactly that. In truth, Christopher Martin Hansen is probably my favourite unsigned guitar player and has been ever since I first came across him a couple of years ago. At the time (2005) I had been hearing a lot of his work through (yet again!) Mike-K's Saturday Night Rocks show on Songplanet and did a quick thumbnail sketch of what I found on his site.

Since then Chris has become a Gilmore favourite, because I do love to hear a guitar played well and this is one guitarist I would urge everyone to hear; quality all the way. Chris is what I would call a classic guitarist, pretty much able to play anything but his own works are where he shines. The Road To Dublin, Dance Of the Spanish Maiden (with the aforementioned Mike-K) and the perfect Visions collaboration with Alderman and many more have found residence on my hard drive since then. It's a given then that I am biased towards this artist (and probably this style of playing too if the truth were known) so take it as read that I am a fan. Mind you, there are still lots of other people out there who haven't heard this fluid, experienced player and that's something that should be put right. Stylistically and technically, a couple of minutes alone with In The Hedgerow will show that you are either going to be in awe of this guy as a guitarist, or not. Doesn't detract whatsoever from the pull of his music and I'll bet this one would pick its way into your brain quick enough. A bit more of a straightforward guitar track this time, and to my mind much more reminiscent of guitarists like Kottke, Hedges et al; with a mix as deep as an ocean.

Obviously being a mostly acoustic guitarist with the edge in technical ability means that the music is definitely not going to be lauded universally, but the charm of his music and his excellence as a guitarist has won him many fans. But there's a slight departure in the works, and its an interesting one so read on... I first heard Delusions (on his Songplanet page) on Mike's show last week and fekk me, the boy went electric! At first I thought it was a 12 string but discovered that Chris was actually playing a Telecaster - all of course blindingly obvious with hindsight. At the time I was gobsmacked by the sound he was churning out and I remember thinking I should include it in this review. It's insistent pulse and intricate fills really filled out the usual wide-as-the-ocean mix Chris generally delivers. These two tracks do kinda match too, at least stylistically so grab a listen to them both and meet a singular guitarist.

No one like CMH. You read it here. Highly Recommended.

Maria Daines - Save Yourself

Hear The Track Here

I think most people expected that when Maria Daines (and partner Paul Killington) won IOMA's Artist Of The Year award in 2005, that they would take off into the real world music business and never be seen online again. Maria and Paul are made of much sterner stuff than that though and the reason for their almost complete silence throughout 2006 was because they have been working to put together a live band that would do them justice. As of the time of writing I have yet to see the band in action but believe me, it's only going to be a matter of time. After all, M&P were MY artists of the year that year too. So, the Maria Daines Band (as they are now known) consists of Paul Killington - guitar, Bob Bampton - bass, Maria Daines - vocals and Dave Whitley - drums.

It would be true to say that since those awards Maria and Paul have become pretty much everybody's darlings and that wouldn't be so if their music wasn't powerful, sophisticated and better than pretty much anything else you are likely to hear - especially in the Blues Rock field. Maria's voice is obviously the first thing you are likely to take notice of; a full bodied blues voice that demands you pay attention or it'll box your ears for you. The second thing you will notice is the absolutely flawless playing of Mr Killington and all. Give it time though, and all of the things that most of us love M&P for will show themselves; sharp, concise lyrics, a song that usually has something to say and a good time feeling that infects every single track I have ever heard from them.

Save Yourself is typical M&P fare, although Maria is showing a more mellow side of her voice than I have heard before but even the most cursory of listens will show you that everything written and said about this artist is true and then some. One of the things that has always impressed me about their tracks is the production nous Paul brings to the party; bigger tracks you will not hear - in any genre you care to name. His use of the stereo spectrum (particularly doing the kind of material they do) is quite startling and is guaranteed to jump out at you from note one, even with a track as laid back as Save Yourself. I heard this last Saturday on Mike-K's SNR show and KNEW I had to review it - principally because it's been fekkin ages since we've heard anything new from this source. Judging by Save Yourself, the wait has been infinitely worth it.

MUST HAVE (as if you didn't know). Stars in their own lunchtime ;)

TheSolitaireOne - I Let My Baby Go

Hear The Track Here

Or, if you frequent Soundclick's forums, you may know this artist better as songswriter. First time, as far as I am aware, that I have reviewed this artist, although I have read his reviews and forum postings enough times. I Let My Baby Go is classed as Straight ahead blues and that's pretty fine by my lights because I have been a lover of the blues for a long, long time as anyone who read my review of the Avalanche/Blues Forum track last month will testify. Moreover, while downloading this track, I noticed and played You Never Miss Your Water which is also on this page. The original track (by Lightning Hopkins) is one of my all time favourite blues tracks and to give him his due, TheSolitaireOne makes a splendid job of it.

For an artist to cite BB King, Howlin Wolf and Buddy Guy as influences should give you a clue that this is the blues, as authentic and nuanced as only the best blues can be. Or at least it better be because that's the downside of this thing called authenticity; if it doesn't feel real it isn't going to work in the same way. While it would be fair to say that I Let My Baby Go - or at least this version of it - doesn't quite match the sound and fury as played by the above sources or the quite extraordinary bluesy outpourings of Jimi Hendrix, instrumentally it pretty much hits the right spots.

In my books, that's a bloody good start.

It's in the vocal delivery where the facade breaks down, unfortunately, and that purely is a matter of personal opinion. I'm probably going to get lynched for this (Ed: is that worse than s-u-e-d?) but the vocal sounds too white bread to really cut the mustard. By all appearances, Arthur Park (aka TSO) penned this track and obviously scored it all out too - he says on his interview page that this is home recorded; despite the impression the crowd on this track will give you. I'm certain that the vocal would cut more in a geniunely live situation; it's very hard to do that in a more sterile environment. There's also a strangeness about the kick that worries me, almost as if the whole backing track is off by the slightest tad. Nonetheless, these are just musicianly niggles and won't amount to much in anyones eyes. All they will be interested in is that it IS the blues, at least in sound and texture.

Well performed blues that just misses the mark. Recommended if you like the genre.

DTRG - Back to You

Hear The Track Here

Question: when is a song not a song? When you never finish the lyrics to it, according to me ol' mate Dave (of OKL, preOKL and all other shades thereof) who - as it happens - is the sole prop and guiding light behind DTRG. Back To You is an instrumental with Muzak overtones, according to the same Dave source, and that - as we know - is a well known migraine inducer where I come from. Not then, a very good starting price, so you would have to be asking yourself right around now; well, what's in it for me? For sure, it's yet another slice in the multi-layer pie all those shades of OKL, but is it satisfying in the way that only One Kids Lunch (for it is they) can be?

Well obviously its not going to supply the usual lyrical puns I've come to associate with music from this quarter so it should be equally as obvious that if you can't stand instrumental tracks, best stop reading now. For the rest of us, there is some appeal to the track but it for sure is going to wear off pretty quick because it sounds exactly what it is: a track just itching for a real good solid vocal line. The production was pretty tidy with the exception of some very noticeable level drops dotted throughout the track, most people probably wouldn't splutter a thousand wtf's at their computer screen but I was ever a nit picker about picking the odd nit or two.

What is a nit anyway? (Ed: ewww, please, don't answer that).

So all respect to me mate Dave an' all that but it isn't the sort of track that is going to interest anybody outside of us musicians and - maybe, just maybe - the new collaborator that may take this artist up on this fledgling track. As the band interview comments say, these track are literally demo's; although they aren't in sound quality, merely unfinished. Musically, it's the kind of guitar driven rock that will be familiar to all One Kids Lunch fans, and you may get a kick out of hearing it (I did, but not for long) but outside of that, I don't think this will have many takers. On the other hand, it really cries out to be finished so emailing the artist constantly to get his act in gear may well do the trick.

Ciccie Malm - Allting är möjligt

Hear The Track Here

Most people who know me well know that I am a right surly sort. Not one to respond much because I think I pretty much say what I have to say through my reviews. Consequently I ain't too chatty anymore in forums, PMs or emails offering me massive sums of payola to give a favourable review.. (Ed: what is this boy on today??), and it's the rare ocassion where I am roused from me chair but here's one of them. Not only did Ciccie send me a PM but she also plastered a few mentions about her work in various forums so we'd all take a bit of notice. Normal way of going about things then yeah? Well, yeah but being the right surly sort I mentioned above, what am I now doing writing exactly that review?

Well, I had to listen, didn't I? Just in case, know what I mean?

The thing that really dinged my strings was that Ciccie is a Swedish artist and you know I have a soft spot for them. That persuaded me to pursue this and I'm real glad I did because the track I finally ended up with is exactly what I would have expected and then a tad more to seal the deal. The only real setback was that (as you can see from the title) it's all a bit Swedish, so I remain blissfully unaware of what the song is all about. There is a Henry Ford (carmaker, capitalist and industrial innovator, him wot makes cars) quote on the song lyrics page about attitude and I guess that applies to the track and it's content just as well because Allting är möjligt (can't keep on saying that, I'll dislocate me jaw) has mucho attitude.

The reason I like Swedish musicians is because they are all, to a man and woman, professional and accomplished - so much so that you have to ask yourself why they aren't signed. Well don't look at me to answer that because I've had a lifetime of that question and I'm still no wiser. It's a given then that (insert song title) is a slick, highly polished rock based track that'll knock your socks off if you know what you are talking about and will sound amazing to those who haven't a clue how music is made. This sounds like, and probably is, a professional studio production and sounds it in every way. Ciccie shows that she has the requisite vocal - how can I put this? - rock attitude to pull it off, in the process making this a track to savour whatever language it is couched in. Look for more from this artist, that's my advice.

Excellent pop rock, albeit in Swedish. Highly Recommended.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rude Corps feat Sir - Her Perception of Us

Hear The Track Here

A certain sheep bleated at me a while ago that I should listen to Sir and promptly laid a line on me (Ed: Surely that should say link?) to a track called When There's Just Me And You (March 2007) which said Sir was vocalising on. When There's Just You and Me turned out to be a veritable aural orgy delivered to your earballs with plenty of verbal vaseline supplied by said Sir. He turns out to be a hip hop rapper UK stylee and believe me I find nothing wrong with that at all. There is a grand tradition of this kind of sound in the UK and Sir - along with Rude Corps - are carrying that sound forward. That salacious slut (I refer to the aforementioned track) got a highly recommended from me for all its reckless ways, as well it should because I love the blend of poetry and rock from Linton Kwesi Johnson to John Cooper Clark. OK, before you all start climbing on my case about genre discretion and that Linton is reggae not rock, s'far as I'm concerned they are ALL beat poets of some description,

So nrrr.

Her Perception Of Us is a track - so I am informed - from Sir's upcoming album 'An Unrealistic Silhouette Of Dawn' and like the porn track (Ed: you have to stop doing that otherwise we'll get sued) the combination of Rudey's musical muscle and Sirs atonal, flat northern English delivery make this happen. I liked Just You and Me for the deft little touches that Rude Corps brought to the party and he's showing a lot of the same thing going on here. Yes, it's hip hop in nature but Rude Corps definitely take it into a slighly different direction from the usual tales of basic beats and riches n bitches... As I said when reviewing You and Me, this has a distinctly English feel to it that I find appealing but that's probably because I am English.

Americans may find this quaint, but a little difficult to understand; especially if your vocabularly doesn't stretch to more than three swearwords at a time. Compared to the sweat soaked torridness of the previous Sir track (Ed: ENOUGH already!!) Her Perception Of Us is but a gentle jaunt into the mind of Sir who is prepared to share with us his feelings about well, women really. Not that he has a one track mind or anything. Hey, I don't give a toss either way because it's the way he tells the tale, structurally held up by the sparse but effective backing track that mark them out. I can probably see that this may well be an acquired taste in the eyes of some people, but there's still enough here to be worthy of more than a second glance. Me, I look forward to the whole thing because this is one collaboration that definitely works for me.

Excellent UK Hip hop, with a twist.

Decollage - Guarana Flash

Hear The Track Here

So far, Decollage has a bit of a patchy track record with this reviewer, and that's not necessarily because her tracks aren't any good. In fact, they are perfectly presentable, especially when we are talking about experimental electronica which is one field where - pretty much - anything goes. There does, however, have to be some point to it though, a random series of sounds slapped together is not going to do it for me, or any other self-respecting experimental afficiendo. There is method and thought behind Decollage's tracks, but the last couple of tracks have singularly failed to move me to the extent that No 1 (November 2006) did, and that was the first Decollage track I was exposed to.

So, was No 1 just a lucky shot? or is there more to this artist?

I think the secret of Decollage lies in the birth of electronic music (at least the German variety) because her work owes a lot to that school and, taken on that level, is remarkably entertaining especially considering how long she has been at this game. Like Burp, Decollage harnesses percussive rhythms the way that other artists conjure up riffs - makes for a very distinctive sound, that's for sure. Guarana Flash echoes pretty much the musical path she has chosen to pursue and is (to my ears anyway) a much more satisfying listen than say Dragonfly eat Holland (December 2006) or Space Zoo (February 2007), I think because of that attention to the rhythmic side of things.

Having never experienced a flash of any kind (Ed: now that's a porky pie* if I ever heard one) I have no idea whether this is the musical equivalent of a guarana high but it's definitely a ways into strangeville; beware of the brown acid and that kind of thing. Nonetheless, after more than a few plays I find myself humming along - you'd never have believed it possible - but there it is. Certainly a much more accessible track than I have become used to from this artist - provided that you like the genre of weird:extremely weird in the first place. Still, Burp has made a career (audience laughs) out of being just as extraordinary so I see no reason whatsoever why Decollage should not join him - and this track would be an ideal starting place. So off you go.

Highly Recommended sonic mayhem (with added headbang).

*porky pie=lie (cockney rhyming slang, ancient English dialect)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Azoora - Desert Storms Demo

Hear The Track Here

Azoora blew my bollocks off (Ed: PLEASE tell me you are speaking figuratively!) when - after a considerable hiatus - they delivered Marzipan (March 2007) to my ears; a killer tune with a knockout production that absolutely demanded a Must Have rating. As it happens, it was the very first must have they have ever got from me - in whatever combination they work in (Bipolar, Azoora or various collabs) and I'd say it bodes well for this year provided the band don't go and take another year off. Actually, I say take a year off and obviously they didn't, but it's equally obvious that they haven't had the time to record and produce anything for online consumption. Yeah, damn that real world eh?? Whatever, if you think you know how good music could be on Soundclick, think again because with this one track Azoora raise the bar considerably. Don't take my word for it, have a listen right now...

We'll wait. [sounds of feet shuffling and tuneless whistling]

Azoora are Paul Loader (acoustic guitar/lead vox), John Purcell (electric guitar/production), Trudi Lawrence (backing vocals) and Ben Cockran on drums; all of them busy with other (real world) musical projects so it is to be expected that their online presence would be patchy, but their music most definitely isn't. I've played Marzipan to death since I've had it and - at this stage - it's almost a shoo in for a track of the year. Not bad going I'd say. Desert Storms builds on the awesome arrangement and production skills but the vocal this time is probably Paul Loader because it's a cast iron certainty it isn't Trudi. Although I found this track nothing like as immediate as Marzipan, it's real quality comes out with time and repeated plays.

Desert Storms has a lot of the sound and texture of the previous track too, which leads me to assume that these come from the same sessions; it has the same acoustic slant too - all of which endears it to me. See, I particularly like well made songs, and that is one thing I have always got from this outfit, and a class performance into the bargain. Sounding a lot like a lighter, but more sophisticated Silvertrain, Desert Storms takes a while to get on its feet, but the first couple of minutes are so lush and wide open that you'll be too busy checking out all the aural geegaws to notice that it's almost ballad-like. Then right around 1:56 the track finally starts jogging on the spot, and it's a revelatory moment. There's no doubt Azoora are making some achingly beautiful music that has so much heart and soul it brings tears to these old eyes, not mention intricacies for my ears to batten on to.

MUST HAVE alternative pop.

Silvertrain/Damien Project - Believe

Hear The Track Here

Another month another (not) Silvertrain track. In fact, John Brandon - the usual face of Silvertrain these days - has gone one further and got into a collaboration with another well known scene face; Damien Project. For those who have been around Soundclick (and the others sites we all seem to inhabit) both names are extremely familiar, I have been a Silvertrain fan of pretty ferocious dedication since 2003 and have known of the Damien Project almost as long. It's a given then that with John's songwriting abilities and Damien Project's extensive production skills that this should be something well worth bending an ear for. As John says in the song comments 'this is an epic track'..

Weeeell, let's see.

There again, a ST review wouldn't be an ST review without a certain amount of back story. John wrote Believe in his usual style (kinda rock ballad-y), recorded it at home with just a guitar and voice and I managed to get a listen to this before hearing the collab version which is fine by me. I like to see where a song goes. Anyhoo, Believe (the original) is pretty much what you would expect from this quarter; a solid song but not much else. I might have had a couple of good things to say about it but overall - as you well know - this isn't really my cuppa at all. Good job that the version I had only topped out at a minute and a half otherwise I would right now probably giving the poor guy earache (again). From the outset, the collab version of the song is recognisable, enhanced and accentuated with some splendid arranging from DP.

It's also a good deal longer, some five minutes or so, all of it full of some fine sounding music, although with one small caveat; you should probably like slow, weepy ballads if you go to listen to it. Having said that, the sheer work and attention to detail that Damien Project brought to this track is astonishing, developing what was essentially just a song idea into a fully blown track with some considerable gravitas. All this, and I really don't like the style at all. I do, however, like what Damien Project has done to this track from the stuttering strings at the end of every verse to the sublime spoken outro - all very rock, all highly listenable. Not so much a collaboration as a complete re-write. DP took the original idea John came up with and wrote an entire score around it and I do mean an entire score. I bet John had no idea this was heading his way, and I'm bloody certain he's glad it did. As it happens, so am I.

A great song but an incredible arrangement. Highly Recommended.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Assiah - In Falling Out

Hear The Track Here

At the hind end of the 1970's this old fart (Ed: he means him, not me) ran with a heavy mob. For my sins (and some intro from the Hawkwind circle) I was able to see some of the greatest heavy metals artists of the time from Led Zep to Ted Nugent and all stops between. I bet, for instance, that you didn't know that (at heart) the English pop band The Sweet were a closet heavy metal band? I do, because I was in the studio when the band were making Give Us a Wink and they fekkin ROCKED!! Of course it helped that most of the band members had already been members of several other notable HM bands. The reason I say this is not to big myself up - for me these are just memories - but to inform you that I have been into heavy metal a long, long time.

So it came as a bit of a disappointment when - after seeing people raving about Assiah and his brand of heavy metal on this and other sites, I reviewed Of Fire and Light (November 2006) and found it probably closer to prog than HM rock. It didn't stop me recommending it though - at least for all the shreddies fans out there because it was obvious that this is a guitarist who can wail when given the opportunity. Assiah states that In Falling Out is 'more of a straightforward rock song' so I guess that may go some way to curbing my rock animal instincts and - upon playing - indeed it does. After the first few plays it becomes impossible to deny that the base of the music has its roots solidly planted in heavy metal; guitars, drums and vocals are spot on both in sound and performance.

The fussiness of arrangement that spoilt Of Fire and Light for me is still present in In Falling Out but I found it more acceptable with this track, and I have no idea why. I think the reason is primarily to do with the way I started this review. There is - in the first vocal breakdown of this song - a marked Sweet-ish sound. Deft vocals helped of course, as does the harmonies but it's the solid rock of the backing track that really brings that reference to life. If you are familiar with the Give Us A Wink album then maybe you will be able to spot that too. So, if you are looking for a right good earbashing then look no further, this'll bang the wax right out of your ears in a single play, continued playing may however give you some substantial calluses. The track is classed this time as Alternative and in many ways that's an apt description because it is a mix of a couple of different styles, and a very good mix too.

Excellent classic rock with an alternative twist. Highly Recommended for rock hounds.

Alchemystic - Silently

Hear The Track Here

It was exactly two years ago when I wrote 'smart blend of styles' while reviewing my very first Alchemystic track Sands Of Time (May 2005). In the time since then I have every reason to believe that what I wrote then has been proved time and time again with a string of tracks encompassing some of the very best electronica/alternative that Soundclick has to offer. Don't - obviously - take my word for it, check out any track and it will show you that here is a serious musician, despite only starting a few years ago. Also in the time he has been here, Alchemystic has moved from being an up and comer to a fully fledged Honcho Dude to a great many people on this site, earning himself a string of Must Haves from me including one already this year - Cerulean Skies (March 2007). Cerulean Skies is a world track worthy of the name, and I should know about that, shouldn't I?

Just to show us all that he is no one-trick pony, the ol' Alchy gives us a hefty dose of classical this time round - and I don't mean classically inspired - I mean classical as in start-stop lush strings; breathless pauses and instrument overhangs; the whole deal. Admittedly it isn't a fortnight long, in fact it weighs in at a very insubstantial two minutes forty nine but what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in quality and texture. Exactly what I have come to expect from this artist. While it is absolutely for sure certain that no-one can keep up a string of dynamite tracks like Cerulean Skies, Silently will do as a fill-in for those oh.mi.god moments.

As always the most impressive element of any Alchemystic track is the authority he seems to bring to the table, whatever the genre is that he is working in. The same holds true here, because Silently is a lovely string driven peice, fit to be used as the soundtrack in one of the BBC's famed bodice rippers. I can see it now 'Heathcliffe!', Cathy! 'Heathcliffe!!' Cathy!!. Damn, I should stop this train of thought I am making myself horny :D. Anyhow, now I've dragged my mind back out of the gutter, I have no hesitation in recommending yet another Alchemystic foray into yet another genre that is new to him... The only question remaining is how the fekk does he do it??

Beautiful Classical interlude. Highly Recommended.

John and Lucie Collins - Men In Uniform

Hear The Track Here

Here's a track I have already reviewed once, but like last month's re-review of John and Lucie Collins' A Voice In The Night, this has been sufficiently updated to (hopefully) provide enough grist to my critical mill. Because of a new working connection with real world producer Art Munson, John and Lucie are finally getting the lush, professional sound their material needs to work properly. Or do they...? See, I don't normally like the genre(s) John and Lucie work in (pop, ballads, showtunes) and it would be fair to say that the music would have to be a bit above the Soundclick norm for me to be attracted to it. However, because of the quality of their music, lyrics and overall sound (particularly Lucie's vocals), they have captured my attention from the start.

It also should be said that there wasn't much wrong with their own producing skills.

I wasn't particularly taken by Men In Uniform the first time I heard it (I did an Overview of John and Lucie in February of this year) partly because I thought it sounded unfinished and - much more critically - I didn't think that Lucie's vocal really did anything to offset the lightness of the track. Moreover, in some ways, it sounded as unsure of itself as the track did. Not like Lucie at all, considering the stellar performances she has put in on other tracks. My opinion was, apparently, shared by John and Lucie and obviously they went back to work with it - aided and abetted by said Art Munson.

What comes out this time is the full power of the song, and it's a very different beast to the pale creature that whimpered in my ear back at the beginning of the year. More to the point, I think this is the very first track of this combination of musicians and producers that I have been able to spot what are undoubtedly 'professional' touches from the mind of Mr Munson. For a start, the track literally throws itself at you, sounding extremely girl-groupy and sassy as a Saturday night out. It also follows in a long tradition of American (more NYC really) tracks that started with the basic beat and lilt of a track such as Iko Iko and the rhythmic cadence that is the trademark of big city funk. All in all, what comes out of this new version of this track is slick, sassy, as dancey a track as you could wish for, in a production that is filled with neat little touches.

Top class funky pop. MUST HAVE

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Big Wheel - Prism

Hear The Track Here

I ended 2006 by stating that Big Wheel is definitely an up and comer on Soundclick and the three tracks he has delivered so far this year all keep up that high standard. The Yes Song (January 2007) is an excellent drums and bass workout that packs so much into its five minutes it'll make your head spin. Magic Organ (February 2007) was a chilled slice of electronica that - although dating back to February 2006 - sounded as fresh as yesterday and finally Curve (March 2007) was a masterful slice of chill-out which gained him his very first Must Have from me. It's a certainty that this won't be the last one I throw his way.

Now read on...

It's almost a foregone conclusion that I am going to like pretty much everything this artist throws at me, his production and arrangement skills are well up there. I've liked everything I've heard from him so far, and Prism is the latest in a long line of suave, sophisticated electronic workouts, almost this artists trade mark. This is an intelligent musician who understands the use of light and shade as well as musical depth, and almost any of his tracks will show this off to perfection but seeing as we are dealing with Prism here - it's a real good place to start if you haven't given the Big Wheel a spin yet. There again, almost everybody I know is into this artist, so I'm probably preaching to the converted anyway.

Should you have just happened onto this review and have no idea of who and what Big Wheel is, I'd suggest you click on the link and acquaint yourself with one of the very best electronic musicians that Soundclick has to offer, and you may as well start with Prism. It's a beautifully realised peice, sonically and musically; piano led and with such devotion to sound fidelity that it feels like the track is tonguing your ears as well as massaging them. Over the years I've come across some excellent musicians in this genre through SC's electronica forum and through these reviews, but none that moves quite like the Wheel does. A cool, cool tune and no mistake.

MUST HAVE chillage. (again)

Pete Arnold - These Things

Hear The Track Here

Pete Arnold was all over the Soundclick forums around the time I reviewed his Blues Bother (September 2005), and then he promptly disappeared until now. T'wasn't because I gave him a mauling about that track, although truth to tell, I didn't find it that exciting as I said at the time. In fact, I had a few good things to say about that track as well as Streets Of My Dreams a track from the same session that produced Blues Bother. Pete comes from a very musical town - Coventry - so I expected a certain level of musicianship, and both tracks showed that he has some fine chops. Blues Bother (as you may have guessed) being a straight ahead blues, but Streets Of My Dreams was a much more solid performance and production as well as being a livelier tune.

So from 2005 to 2007 in one bound and...

These Things carries on much the same musical route mapped out back in 2005; kinda rocky, guitar driven vocal tracks with a distinct 'home produced' sound. Still, very few of the tracks that I hear on the 'Click are much more than that, so given the general level, Pete Arnold should find listeners without much trouble despite that. No that anybody but a nit picker would ever notice the difference anyway. What Pete Arnold does, there is no doubt, he does pretty well, even though there is a certain 'laid back' feeling to the music that is often the case with musicians recording themselves. See, for my money, this song IS a good one, and it kinda demands as much fire from the vocalist as it does from the track itself and in both respects I ain't hearing that.

It's a shame really because all the parts are there, just not delivered with the right sort of conviction in my estimation. Pete says in the song comments that 'it sounds a little ragged in places, but that was the idea, I assure you'. To me it doesn't sound as ragged as all that (unless you are talking about the general recording quality) but it does sound like it needs a swift kick up the butt in order to start kicking some - if you know what I mean. As I say, a perfectly decent enough song but with a stilted, dated arrangement that makes it feel like it's dragging and a vocal that doesn't so much drive the song as lay lazily on top of it. After such a period between tracks I had expected some improvement, that improvement is in the song itself not in the process of getting it all digitized, which may well explain it's unwillingness to catch fire.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Antennaheadz - We're No Warriors

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Now called L'Antennaheadz for some Gallic reason, The Antennaheadz have been both a pain in my ass, and a source of some surprising sounds. A pain in my ass because they will persist in doing whatever they want and to heel with everybody else. That's just great, you might say, that's exactly the way it should be. In many ways, I would agree with you; but my view has to be slightly more wider to the outside world than that. See, regardless of what everybody says, ALL of us are here on Soundclick are on here for one reason and one reason alone: to promote our music. I know for a fact that the whole electronica: experimental genre is a big deal on Soundclick, but not, I am afraid to say a crowd pleaser.

More like music that people can hate you for playing. Niiiiiiiiiccceee.

Inspired by the work of Claude 'Deep Throat' Von Stroke, you would think that here would be an Antennaheadz track that wouldn't wander into the usual blind alleys, cul-de-sacs and dead ends they normally serve up to their listeners. Having just read that back, it looks as if I don't like this artist at all, and truth is, I actually do. A lot of that comes from the fact that my old friend Thomas J (The Men From San Deigo, Black Zarak and Station For Imitation) has a large part in the proceedings; it's also the reason why the music is often obtuse, bewildering, baffling and several other not so nice B words.

We're No Warriors starts promisingly enough with a decidely familiar four-to-the-floor, bongo filled intro that pretty much sums up the musical side of things because it doesn't go much outside this initial offering except some decent cutups at the end and some nice breakdowns in between. Exactly what you would want, I think, if you were searching out some electronic dance music so I guess on that score, the Antennaheadz have done exactly what they said - made a track that sounds just like something Vonstroke would do, except with a lot more roughness of sound and a propensity to experimentation that would never work in the straighforward dance manner of ol' Claude. Certainly a more accessible track than a lot they have presented to me, We're No Warriors will definitely please fans of the genre.

Wild and wooly electronic dance.

Nuff X - Making Waves

Hear The Track Here

In the nearly two years Nuff X has been around Soundclick, he has made many friends and fans - obviously more so in the electronica world than in general, but even there he is beginning to move out of the solidly electronic field to pursue other avenues of making music. He's been doing it very successfully too, clutching his 'glitch' niche to his breast, the man has come out with some dazzling tracks over the last year or so. Most of them getting at least a Highly Recommended from me and a couple coming within a C hair (think about it) of gaining Must Have status. So, there is much that James Bacon (aka Nuff X) can feel pleased about...

but that was then and this is now... :D

Making Waves is, in the artists own words 'a bit Portishead, ends up a bit NIN' which suggests that he is still pursuing the same trend as Undefined (April 2007), Heroic (March 2007) and I Didn't Come Here To Be Lied To (February 2007) set out beforehand. A little bit of electronica, a little bit of English northern vocals (mope-ll's even), and a LOT of technical jiggery pokery all of which comes out sounding like nothing you ever heard before - and therein lies the attraction for me for this artist. Dare to be different? Nuff X goes out of his way to be different - even from track to track. Making Waves carries a 'very early demo' tag but to be honest I don't think anyone would ever notice it if it wasn't pointed out. Sure, there is a little sonic roughness in the track, but that is often the case with this artist and it generally works well. Portishead isn't the first musical reference I got because to me this sounded more like The Cure than anything else.

That may, or may not, be a good thing. Depending on your mope factor I guess.

I thought that the Cure were a good live band, and made some good singles; and Nuff captures both of these aspects but I can see - after repeated plays - why he states it is an early demo. To be sure, some of the instruments are not particularly well defined, and there is a distinct muddiness in the bottom end of the mix; the vocals could be worked on somewhat to make them cut through more. However, underneath those quite superficial problems is an excellent, hard edged track that is quintesenntially English in style and feel and could well be one of this artists best tracks - given a slight makeover. No lyrics online, which is a shame, but hopefully when the final version is released this will also be remedied. In the meantime, no one but us nit pickers would ever see anything wrong with this, so go ahead take some time and have a listen if what I've said interests you.

Highly Recommended English cross between Alternative and electronica.

Terry Martin - Left Behind

Hear The Track Here

I know I make a point of not reviewing my mates, but whenever I do, as you now see; there is usually a good reason for it. I've just reviewed the latest Sylvan & Bonamici track because they have just returned to Soundclick after a years absence, and that's also a good reason. The reason I'm reviewing the latest track from Indiehitz CEO, Terry Martin is because a) it's actually doing great things and; b) he asked me. Left Behind comes in two parts (audio and video) - the video being of excellent quality, the music - said to say - less so. I have to add the caveat here that this is purely a personal view, because there is nothing technically wrong with either the video (which really is top class) ot the music. Merely the style it is couched in; a semi-soft rock ballad, and you know how peevish they can make me.

So, why is this track so special?

Neil Young started a site on the net called Living With War Today, and it has gathered some splendidly vociferious anti-war songs on it with some very familiar (to us anyway) names. Myridian, Lex Zaleta, Guy Michetti, Maria Daines, Nigel Potter and many other 'Clickers have tracks there. I tend not to get into online conversations about the state of the world at war, because I have better things to do with my time. However, I am a lifelong pacifist so that should give you a clue as to where I stand on the subject in general, individual wars are what I refuse to spend my time debating. So, having had all this speil, it should be obvious by now that Left Behind is a proud anti-war song based on the children of servicemen and women 'left behind' if they fall in the field of battle.

OK so far, no problems here, and then comes the music...

Obviously this track is going to ring more bells in the United States that it is most anywhere else because it is THE only topic of conversation of any importance there; it's also made from an American perspective musically being a cross between a rock ballad and a country tune. As such, technically there is nothing wrong with it - as you would expect from an old pro like Terry - but I have to be honest and tell you that it doesn't so much for me. Probably partly because of it's personal nature, but mostly because I really don't like the feel of the track. To my ears it is cloying; saccharine. You may indeed think differently and that's only right. I would however, suggest that you do check out both the track AND the video. Best to go for the video first though because it definitely helps the track to come over better. Taken on it's own, you may run into the same problems I did. Whatever you may think about this track, it is put together superbly with one of the sharpest mixes I have heard in a long while - and who else would feature a Flugel horn?? :D

Recommended anti-war song with a distinctly American bias.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fluidity - I Write Songs Not Cheques

Hear The Track Here

You know young John Paul Carroll (for it is he) has been doing very well by me of late; even more so than normal. Point in case: Negative Slant (April 2007) got a highly recommended from me and still sits there on my hard drive being fired up occasionally. Such is the power of a song, grasshopper. Especially when it comes from someone who thinks about what he wants to say. Fluidity almost has a sideline in auto-biographical asides in a number of subjects ranging from death to taxes; whatever it is, he's got a song for it. In common with Negative Slant, I Write Songs Not Cheques has a couple of spots which I didn't feel 100% comfortable with - at least at first.

More on that in a while...

The initial cause of that is the kinda/sorta middle eight/chorus which doesn't fit all that well with the straight ahead rockin that pushes the verses over the edge so well. The track changes it's whole tone going into this chorus, and for my money loses the appeal it builds up during the verses. It sounds a good deal better the second time around after the second verse; more seamless and closer (I think) to the core of the track. That core is hard, heavy and rocking in a way I haven't heard from JP in a while; if this retained any more power it would surely explode of its own accord.

Given time, as always with Fluidity tracks, I Write Songs... turns out to be a cracker song, even given this artists usual high standard; the only real blot being that odd bit around the first chorus and even that gets better with time. It doesn't feel any more (I can't believe I am about to say this) fluid with repeated plays, it is a definite disjoint in what is otherwise a storming track that John Paul should rightly feel proud of - despite what I personally think about its structure. As always with this artist, the production is top class and the performance is amongst the best I have ever heard from him. All of which, as I say, does tend to make the odd quibble less meaningful. Besides how could I resist a song with the lyrics 'You got your head jammed in the business end of a horse thats just about to bolt; You got your dirty fingers in too many pies to taste the sweetness from the salt; You got your assets and liabilities but the only thing I need is me; so I'll save my best for a better day, and I'll give you the rest for free'

Amen to that, brother.

Highly Recommended and a Must Have for Fluidity's many fans...

Shorthand Phonetics - Luck Is All

Hear The Track Here

Or Luck, Is All. (^.^;) to give it it's correct title. It doesn't seem like it's been almost three years since I reviewed Whistleblower AFAIK, this was the very first Shorthand Phonetics to appear on Soundclick. At the time, they were all fifteen years old (they were a six peice too), now a lot of time has passed and SP is now very much a one man show - that man being Ababil Ashari. Whistleblower had the 'recorded in ababils bedroom' tag attached to it and it is true that this guy has been the heart and sound of this Indonesian bands best tracks. Many of which have been lapped up by all and sundry despite the sound being rougher than a bears butt and played with more energy than skill.

T'is the songs, ya see. Can't keep a good song down, even if you try to bury it in the Mix from The Pit. Green Apple Garden, All Too Platonic and a great many others showed us that no matter what, they knew how to turn out a good song. Last month (bringing us bang up to date) I reviewed Chivalry Is Lost On Some People from the new SP album 'Apparently I'm In Medicine' which is also at the download link above which had the same hallmark dreadful sound but once again a terrific little song. The same, I am glad to say, can be said for Luck Is All which is a good job because the sloppiness and performance leave lots to be desired. Again though, if you give it time, you will hear the barest bones of what I think may well be one of their best songs ever.

That's the really surprising thing about SP, time and again they deliver these flawed oddities, which we puzzle over, dissect, pore through and ultimately grow to like enormously. For my money, though Luck Is All could have easily lost three of its seven minutes, and been sharper and punchier into the bargain. If that had happened, and Ababil cleared up the vocal somewhat, I think this would kill from a thousand paces. So there you go, you will go and listen to the track and you will immediately say 'what the feck is that guy raving about'. Well, just to give you a heads up, the first section is the best section of the peice and that only lasts three minutes. Give it a bit of time and the power of the song will show itself. IMHO though, this does need a serious looking at in terms of deadweight; the first bit yeah, the second could maybe another song.

For fans only, probably. Recommended nonetheless for the first part, which is excellent, if sloppy.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Timmy Sells His Soul - Hurting Cute Little Animals

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As you may have surmised just from the titles displayed above, Timmy Sells His Soul, is an Alternative artist who should not be taken lightly. Alter ego of Daniel Euphrat (Dross and others) TSHS specialise in weirdness but probably not much like the weirdness you may have been exposed to on Soundclick. When the heading tells you this is 'a bizzare collection of music' you'd better believe the warnings. Having exposed myself (ooer missis!) to both Dross and an earlier TSHS track - Good Little Consumer (September 2006) - I have to admit that I have a sneaking admiration for his dedication to the cause of chaos theory and its musical application thereof...

Understanding, of course, that I am a well known weirdo.

However, I'm not down with beating things that are smaller than me and I certainly hope no CLA were hurt in the making of this mad madrigal - otherwise I'll round to sort y'all out. Coming from a background coloured by the likes of Frank Zappa, Sun Ra, Capt Beefheart, The Residents, I can well see exactly where Daniel is coming from with this track, even if he has no idea who these people are. As such, I am going to lap this up with great delight because it's certainly the best musically I have ever heard from this source and shows only too well that his liking for dissonance and disorder has nothing whatsoever to do with his lack of musical talent, Hurting Cute Little Animals is a terrifically detailed musical track that for sure has it's odd side...

Not, this time, to it's detriment either...

Hurting Cute Litte Animals is a very free, but highly listenable, musical ramble in the rock style pioneered by the above named artists, so if you like their work, this track will go down a treat. If you came across this casually, I feel certain that if you got past the intro you would probably want to hear it through to the end. Given that it's a mere three minutes and change, it's certainly not going to tax you overmuch. It is worth that casual listen too, even up until now you've been thinking that this trck is not for you. There's a musical confidence on display here that I haven't seen from any of Dross, and only a little bit on the last TSHS track but one the strength of just a few plays I think this is going to become a keeper for this year.

Excellent experimental Alternative. Highly Recommended.

Cameron Pierce - Bittersweet Goodbye

Hear The Track Here

Although Soundclick hosts musicians from all over the world (and several others planets as well obviously) but there is a decided majority of people from the US and UK, as would be obvious. What wouldn't be as obvious is the amount (and quality) of musicians from Canada - a truly staggering amount, and most of it very listenable. Cameron is obviously Canadian too hence the pathetically weak link I'm trying to make. Nothing pathetic about Cameron's body of work though; both in his earlier incarnation as latmat or under his legal name. What you get is West-Coast tinged vocal rock composed, performed and produced to a high standard, the sort of music that does have appeal for me, and a great many others (think CSNY, Byrds, Neil Young et al).

OK, I KNOW not everybody will like it, but I do.

So much so, that Cameron has pretty much become a permanent fixture in my household - especially when I want to listen that will cheer me up just by listening to it. He's been pretty quiet of late, the last track I reviewed of his was Cold (September 2006) so a new track was something I could look forward to. Cameron wrote this track about his father getting sick and then passing away, and it's a sign of the man that he then turned that experience into a song. Long time fans will instantly like this track because it is infused with Cameron's many hallmarks; great song, singable harmonies, classic rock lineup and some excellent vocals - all courtesy of the man himself.

To it's disadvantage I didn't think it was anything like as catchy of some of his other tracks but given the subject matter, that's hardly surprising. Nonetheless, Bittersweet Goodbye is a ferociously upbeat track, determined to shed some light in life's dark little corners, and it does it very well - albeit with a sound that (if this were possible) sounds dated already. In other words, you will have heard lots of tracks like this, the only thing that keeps it afloat is Cameron's style and his take on life as seen through his lyrics. Mind you, one of the best things about Cameron's tracks is that they are incredibly radio-friendly and in that respect, Bittersweet Goodbye is no exception but for my part, I have heard this artist do better. Nonetheless.....

Recommended vocal rock.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

UniFaun - To The Green Faerie

Hear The Track Here

When I first started writing reviews out of Soundclick, it was a much smaller, more intimate place. It was a time when forums were a damn sight busier than they are these days. It was easy to spot the truly righteous musicians amongst them and UniFaun consists of two of that period's (ie late 2003) finer musicians; those incorrigible Swedes Nad Sylvan and Bonamici. Yep, stop rubbing your eyes in disbelief, the musical bar on Soundclick has just been raised substantially. Sylvan and Bonamici left Soundclick a while ago for Artist Launch and although I've kept up with the tracks I personally hoped that ultimately they would end up back here.

See? Dreams do come true.

Nad Sylvan was my very first Artist Of The Year (2003) and both he and Bonamici have a string of Must Haves from me, together and individually so I freely admit to huge bias towards these guys - despite them being rockers of the Genesis persuasion. Great musicians are great musicians I say and to hell with the labels. This applies ever more so because Nad and Bon have taken that premise and made it their own; at least if you judge by the six tracks they have on their site. Listen only at the moment, but for the paltry sum of 75 cents, you can own a peice of vintage S&B at the highest possible rendering (320kbps) and believe me this is one artist I actually WOULD pay money to have and to hold. Not only are Nad and Bon accomplished and adventurous musicians, they are also notable, seasoned producers (Nad being the ultimate perfectionist). It's obviously handy to keep the nit-pickers close, ya see...

I've actually had To The Green Faerie for a while now, because UniFaun is one of the very few artists I like to keep track of, so it's a given that I have played this track - like all their previous releases - to the point of destruction. One of the best joys connected with it is the lyrical smarts every one of their tracks exhibit, and To The Green Faerie is no exception - especially if you are a Genesis fan. That's the funny thing, I could never stand Genesis but I absolutely love what UniFaun do with it, regardless of what name they go by. Their music is complex, dense and takes weeks to work the bones out of them and this track is another in the most consistently impressive body of work it has ever been my pleasure to witness. Don't take my word for it, as good as you might find this track, there are maybe some others that are even more to your taste. Personally I'd recommend you hoover up the lot while you can. Nad Sylvan and Bonamici have always had tremendous potential and I think we should have a welcome back party immediatement....

UniFaun, different name, same great taste. MUST HAVE (even if you HATE prog rock

The Bob Lazar Story - There's No Trolley

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I knew that The Bob Lazar Story rang a bell and wasn't in the least bit surprised to find that I had reviewed them/him (one Matt Deacon to be exact) a couple of times last year. The music being prog rock is not the best of starts but TBLS has made a pretty decent job of making this much despised genre almost listenable again. I speak, of course, from a deep and bitter hatred of the whole prog rock look-at-me-I'm-wonderful routine. Clever musicianship does not always make for electrifying performance and it's all a bit noodly for when you want to get all jiggy jiggy with the nearest breathing female, but nonethless Double Turn Double Safe (July 2006) and ThreeFourFaster (August 2006) are not tracks that will disappoint even a casual listener.

Aaahh, but where's the stick-um? The stuff that keeps listeners glued to you...

OK, over to TBLS: 'In my mind's eye, when I visit the local fruit and veg store, I don't see the rank of trolleys that sit outside. That's the truth' is what he says the song is all about so that's certainly muddied the water considerably. Unless this is some arcane ritual, I have no idea what the man is saying here but hey, maybe I'm a bit slow on the uptake. The first thought that might spring into the forefront of your brain is that the artist may be off his trolley because There's No Trolley is not an easy track to cosy up with - especially if you are of a nervous disposition.

This is a track that takes off like a scalded greyhound and gives no quarter so it's a given that you are either going to like it or not, as is usually the case with the genre. It also feels a lot more experimental than previous tracks but that may well just be my imagination. As usual with this artist, the emphasis is firmly on the riff, and there's bags and bags to choose from despite the tracks puny two minutes and change. Having a few plays under the belt can always tame the wildest beast, as proved to be the case here. What came across initially as a prime wtf musical moment ends up reminding me of some of the best work in Hot Rats, a Frank Zappa classic from my misspent youth.

Oddly likeable oddity.

Lord Skye - To New Lands (Sailing)

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Lord Skye and his chosen genre (Games Soundtrack) has fared very well with me over the past year, despite my utter aborrence of the whole video games music thing usually. That is because he at least tries to bring something different to the party every time; some of which I've liked and some of which I haven't been so enthusiastic about but hey, that's the way it should be. See, the way I figure it is that if I can get something out of a track, someone somewhere will maybe think the same. Out of little acorns, an audience grows..

Speaking of always something different...

Last track I reviewed had a definite country tinge as well as its tongue firmly in its cheek; this time we are promised (and I quote) 'happy ship music' - and surprisingly enough that's exactly what you do get. How would I know happy ship music from a hole in the ground you may ask? Well, I have the experience, ya see; being of the boating persuasion. Actually, that's a bit too grandiose even for me. What I actually mean is that I played the pants off Sid Miers immaculate Pirates, and a couple of its imitators too and I know if I needed a soundtrack to a game like that, To New Lands (Sailing) would be well in the running.

While it ain't exactly my thing, there's no doubt that Lord Skye is progressing in leaps and bounds, and his confidence is showing in his music more and more. As I say, not my thing, but there is so much that I do like about the track that I have no hesitation about recommending it to you. Considering it weighs in at a puny, weakling time of two and a half minutes, it's a densely packed two and a half minutes that you will be unravelling for some time. Although I found the piano lead a bit too obtrusive the first few plays, it soon settled in properly. I loved the juxtaposition after a while, and it certainly added to that whole 'shipboard orchestra' effect. Certainly music of this type will be an acquired taste because of it's game-y nature, but Lord Skye pulls from enough other musical sources for it to be a worthwhile experience regardless of personal taste.

Yo ho ho and all that old bollocks. Recommended for boatheads and landlubbers alike.