Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cameron Pierce - Young Lost and Lovely

Hear The Track Here

When Cameron put this track forward he said 'an attempt at something different' and if I was paid a buck for each time I've heard that, I'd be a very rich man. Much more to the point, this from an artist who I have known for years as a cheerful, light songwriter with a most definite sound. The amount of Cameron Pierce tracks that have stuck to my hard drive isn't even funny so when I see it from this artist I definitely expect something - whether it's different or not is obviously open for debate. A debate shown the door within the first twenty or so seconds of Young Lost and Lovely.

First off, he seems to be wearing extremely tight trousers.

Obviously he's making good use of the toys at his disposal and one of those has to be either a vocoder, autotune or whatever. The best thing I can say is that he avoided the dread fate of being dubbed Alvin, of the singing rodents fame - which is often the fate of tracks using the technical gubbins I have spoken of above. There again, considering his normal line up of guitar, bass and drums, that's all been replaced from the electronica shop so the track wallows in sweet sweeps, synth lines and other keyboard licks. There is an actual guitar solo, but don't blink because you'd miss it.

I know I advocate reading the lyrics while listening to tracks I review, it's even more important in this case - unless you have an Advanced Degree in High Eunuch or the hearing apparatus of a dog. Now I'm a sucker for artists who dare to be different and when they pull it off it is soooo worthwhile. As is Young Lost and Lovely once you put the words Cameron and Pierce out of your mind. Once I listened to it a few times, it's obvious who is singing this electronic pop song, and when you read the lyrics it becomes even more so. A serious song, Cameron says in the song comments and I would have to agree. With a serious treatment too, especially considering the gap between where he was and where he is now.

Excellent electronic pop from an unlikely source. MUST HAVE.

Anthony Nicholosi - Everything

Hear The Track Here

Anthony Nicolosi - a new Soundclick name to me btw - doesn't pick an easy subject to write about, that's for sure. He says 'it's a song of desperation - like most of my songs'. Had I not heard the track more than a few times before I came across my first introduction to this artist, I would have assumed I was in for a heavy duty bout of sub Leonard Cohen to wrassle with. As it happens, Anthony cites the Beatles, Dylan, Pearl Jam amongst his musical influences and I think he should add Tom Waits to that list too, at least according to Everything.

Anthony Nicholosi is an Alternative folk-rocker in reality and Everything fits into that genre perfectly; a lazy, laconic vocal delivery and music so laid back it should be horizontal. Living in a world of unsigned one man bands, as I seem to, you get to notice the limitations a musician is working under and - I hope - usually compensate for it. As always, what I look for most is a song; a good song. Those, my friends, are well thin on the ground - especially this year for some reason.

So, as far as those limits go, like most home produced musicians there is boominess to the track although I don't think most people would notice. There is also a tendency when doing material like this that 'it's just for fun'. So it is, but not unfortunately when you release it (Ed: upload actually) and then ask for a review. The bar is scarily high in pretty much every genre; especially on Soundclick where there is a big audience for folk rock. As it goes, except for the boominess and the almost too lazy delivery, Everything is actually a pretty decent track - especially if you like folk rock.

Workmanlike folk rock. Saved by the song. Recommended,

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Can't Stop The Daggers - New Road Acoustic Demo

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I've made a couple of sensational finds over the last year, the first being the wonderful Azoora and another being Can't Stop The Daggers - and they have been known to team up. I'm a sucker for accomplished musicians and competent (or inspired preferably) songwriting skills and both these artists have that in abundance. As you can tell by it's enticing title, this is not the full monty, as it were. Essentially it's Jon Partelow (Oh HIM...) playing the bare bones of a song on an acoustic guitar and singing his little heart out.

Everybody go ahhhhhh....

Inspired by current world events New Road shows exactly what I was saying about musical and songwriting skills. Sure, if you want to get real picky there are a couple of audible fumbles but fer fekks sake, listen to how sharp and clear everything is. Bear in mind also that is a demo so it's not expected to show much more than the basic structure of the song but I think if this were from some singer/songwriter presented to me as it is, I would have some very good things to say about it - most of that technical; great guitar sound, wonderfully warm vocal treatments and neat production tricks.

Ahhh, but I know what happens when you let Chris Chattom, Jon, Emily Schalick, Lionel Luchessi and Ben Dumbauld (the full Can't Stop The Daggers lineup) loose on a song. Go take a listen to Do Driving Fast (March 2008) for a classic example of what I mean then come back and listen to this excellent song. Lots of Americans are daunted by their governments activities (and don't even get me started on the English ones) but there aren't many who can write a taut, provoking song about their views and that is what is at the heart of this track.

Excellent, if bare bones, Indie song. Highly Recommended.

Pilesar - Beef On Fire

Hear The Track Here

Whether it be on thin ice or a razor edge you will always find someone who is 'out there', compared to the rest of us. They seem to thrive on it. Surprisingly enough our musical world has a few of them too; or at least lots of wannabes and a few very fine practioners of the art of skating on thin ice. My own personal favourite - and has been for a while is American musician Pilesar who I consider a prime figure in the weird and wonderful department. The one thing that can always be said about this experimental artist is that he definitely tries harder than most. Of course, what with him being experimental and a certified musical looney, there is bound be be a hefty wodge of 'wtf!' hanging out with it.

Always best to wear protection I say.

Considering I think that his more outre tracks are much more my interest, I do like his musical compositions to, especially the live material he has been coming up with lately. Beef On Fire is apparently a remake of an older tune but I'll take whatever I can get, know woorai mean?? Pilesar's musical tradition comes through Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart, strained through The Residents and Ween, and perfected on the mean streets of Maryland; which is bound to lead to a bit of chaos here and there. If either the terms alternative or experimental bring you out in a nasty rash then it best to avoid someone as free as Pilesar.

As well being extremely odd, Beef On Fire does supply an awful lot of neat parts too, and its those that finally won me over to the track. There again, I am a big fan of this artist so I am obviously biased but those names I mentioned are much revered in certain sectors and IMHO Pilesar is a very worthy successor. The track features all sorts of sounds along the way as you get musically assailed by what sounds initially like some '60's TV theme, written by madmen and performed with all seriousness. After it's sucked your brains out and introduced said beef into the picture, it goes romping off as if mad cow disease were but a mere propaganda ploy on behalf of our masters.

MUST HAVE for Pilesar fans, and yeah, you too I guess.

Fluidity - Lost and Found

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Given that the vast majority of musicians I know, it's amazing how many of them are one man bands. Much more to the point, in this plethora of individuals, how does one chooose? As usual, by ears and preferences. I am a rock man, always was always will be so one man bands like Fluidity are exactly right for my own preferences. I've known this new Zealand based musician for a couple of years and got very used to his particular style; a very Antipodean take on the genre. If you like the sound of bands like Spilt Enz and Crowded House then Fluidity will definitely ring some bells with you.

One of the hardest things to assimilate, in my case, was JP's distinctive vocal performance - definitely an acquired taste and Lost and Found is a classic example of why. When I am reviewing tracks, I am listening to them while going about my daily business so it isn't until I sit down to write the review that I usually read other information - including lyrics. In the case of Lost and Found I had a high old time trying to figure out what John Paul was singing about - and in what language. It wasn't until I read the lyrics that I understood what was going on. Phrasing is a state of mind as far as this boy is concerned.

Mind you, credit where credit is due, in Fluidity's case it usually works out. Mind you, that kinda sloppy treatment is not what I normally get from this artist, so I have to put that down to my own preference. Not to my mind as strong as some of his other recent tracks, it's still a pretty good picture of what a Fluidity track consists of. Well worthy of a listen or two but if I had to choose something that really typified what he does best, this wouldn't be it. Mind you, as you would hear, for a one man band he can sure kick up a lot of good ol' rock noise.

Recommended Antipodean rock.

Mike-K - Harmony

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Every Saturday night, regular as clockwork for the past two years, I have spent the time lounging with my friends and peers - usually getting sillier by the minute - chatting with all and sundry and listening to some of the finest music on the planet - all free and all of the time. Yeah, yeah Gilmore, but so ferneking wot? Wot, my little philistines, makes Saturday nights (from 1AM to 3AM my time) essential listening? Mike Kohlgraf is wot, and his Saturday Night Rocks show (Now based at the new Mixposure site) really is essential listening. Especially if you want to know just how good [i]this[/i]scene is - and believe me you have no idea just how good it can be. Mike is converting people by the shedload so get your butts over there and paaaaarrrttttyyyyy....

No, I do NOT need to get out more.

As well as being a highly discerning DJ, Mike the K is also an excellent musician/producer in his own right, as my many reviews show. Having said that, he doesn't exactly work in genres that float my musical boats but hey I have a broad enough mind to float anything for a while. Harmony, surprisingly enough, is not Mike at his usual mellowness; the boy done got down and dirty on us. Well of course not really, o gullible ones, it's not in Mike's blood to rock out on his own material but this is definitely one of the rockiest tracks I have heard from him. And, with certain exceptions I will explain presently, Harmony is a standup job as I would have expected from the man himself.

This isn't, however, all the man himself. He's got a new peice of kit and I think I definitely see it's fingerprints on this arrangement and IMHO I don't think it always works. Let me see if I can explain. To my ears there are noticeable pauses at certain junctures in the track (usually when the arrangement changes) and that makes it jar for me. It may well be that these (admittedly miniscule) gaps are intentional but I can't see why. Still being the picky buttwipe I am, that may just my own interpretation of what's happening. As it is, I don't think most people will notice anything so nerdy as that, they will either like the track or not. Given the excellent work between guitars and sax lines on this track, the odds are in favour....

Recommended soft(ish) Rock instrumental.

Nuff X - Sting In The Tail

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For those who have had the good fortune to know about Nuff X, this has been a very good year indeed, as indeed was 2007. It's always gratifying when an artist finds his stride and Nuff found his surprisingly quickly. Mind you, a large part of that was down to the music this electronica musician produces. For sure, there really aren't many electronica artists who can be said to have their own sound/style but Nuff does. Having said all that, most of the last few releases from this quarter have been highly sophisticated, and very listenable IDM (Intelligent Dance Music seeing as you axed (sic)). It's earned him a string of highly recommendeds from me so it's a fair bet I like him and what he's doing now.

Sting In The Tail is a track entered into the E/N/D compo running on Soundclick's electronica forums and, that being the case, there are probably some onerous rules attached to its construction. Usually it's a restriction on the amount/sort of sounds you can use, or it has to be in a certain style or - highly difficult this one - it has to be finished in x time. Having done some of these myself in the past, it can sound like a rush job or limited in some other way. Of course, if you know what you are doing you can make pretty much anything work - and that's what these compo's are about. Sorts out the men from the boys as it were. So what does Nuff make of it then? After all, we all know he has a distinctive taste for the weird but lively...

Sting In The Tail is certainly more extreme than some IDM you may be used to, and that may be down to either the compo rules or Nuff's sense of the sonic universe he inhabits. I'd personally say that the track was more experimental than IDM but - in my case - that's a good thing because I like Nuff best when he is exploiting his own particular penchant for slicing and dicing sounds like some crazed TV chef. In that respect Nuff X fans will clasp this poisonous viper to their bosoms, although I fear that for most people the wtf factor may play too big a part. Nonetheless, it's definitely hardcore nuffcore and that suits me - and a lot of other - just fine.

Highly Recommended sonic silliness. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Conory - Long Dark Hallway

Hear The Track Here

Even if I wrote my review rules four miles high in a yellow brighter than ten thousand suns, someone will still leave a link to an audio stream and - as usual I'll watch them wither from inattention. It wasn't quite the case with Alternative artist Conory, but close enough for me to get all bent out of shape. There was only one track on download from his page, and it wasn't the one I'd been asked to review (I Can't Help It), which was still listen only. Needless to say I growled a lot, downloaded the track and determined to ignore the first request and review Long Dark Hallway. Not a good start to a review right enough but when I started to listen to the track I soon decided I may have been a tad hasty.

Not an unknown factor in my life.

Fact is, Long Dark Hallway is an absolutely knockout track and a great song - especially if you like the prog rock tradition which the arrangement most closely resembles. Except there don't appear to be any wild and wooly guitars, an absence instantly noticeable. I think it's the reason why the track made such a big impression on me, because it gave a whole new slant to music that - to be honest - I usually avoid like the plague, Pomp rock/prog rock, I would harumphh spontaneously, it's all the same - big hair, big themes and no brains. Until that is I met some of the more recent versions of the genre, especially Nad Sylvan - which this reminds me of to a huge extent.

Think kinder, softer Nad Sylvan/UniFaun and you'd be close to getting a handle on this track. If it sounds as if I am talking like I am from Uranus, don't be alarmed. What I mean, simply, is that this is an intelligent, melodic and intricate peice of music that will take a while to digest. It's also amazingly good, and a very, very different sound; fresh and entertaining. I did, in fact, listen to I Can't Help It and liked that also for many of the same reasons I liked Long Dark Hallway. If you like Nad (or even Nigel Potter come to that) you will love this track. You may need to give it a few listens for it to really register but I do recommend that you do, the song is sooo worth it. I'm keeping it.

Excellent Alternative, nice twist on an old genre. Highly Recommended.

Fear 2 Stop - Smokin

Hear The Track Here

Just above this track on Fear 2 Stop's Soundclick page is a track called Rolling. Rolling? Smokin? I wonder what they could mean. Anyhoos, this is not exactly a new Fear 2 Stop track, but a reworking of an original track released in 2002 but seeing as F2S have surprised me more than once or twice I'll give it a go. One of the very real benefits of the net way of life is that musicians like us can keep reviewing and renewing our 'back catalog' as indeed I have been doing lately. Strange that I'm also working on material from 2002.

Weeeee weeeeeee scary....

For those who don't know this Texan three peice, their taste veers from extraordinary dancey electronica to the most ear splitting dissonance known to man, The real debate, before you listen to one of their tracks is which fevered path this one is going to emerge from. Even though it messes with the ol' chaos engine a bit, overall, it's a surprisingly easy listen first time out and that isn't always true of this band's prodigious output. Just one thing though, by the end of the review process I am sooooo hating the hi hats in this track; it's incredibly repetitive.. Yes, I know a hi-hat is supposed to be repetitive but the word has two distinctly different meanings.

After the obligatory number of plays it's obvious that Smokin isn't going to win any major prizes, as good as it is. The problem is that it will only appeal to the already converted, nay diehard, fan, and even then on a 'yeah, nice instrumental basis' Fear 2 Stop have delivered some seriously distinctive music to Soundclick and that is the bar I have to hold them by. For a cool electronic ramble through kinda/sorta dancey phases Smokin is very good but considering the reputation of this band this feels lightweight.

Cool electronica with a weird edge. Recommended.

Steve Altonian - I Want To Get To Know You

Hear The Track Here

A very strong find for me this year is Californian singer/songwriter Steve Altonian. Tell Me Why (January 2008) started off the year beautifully and its mixture of country rock was just what the doctor ordered. It was also, by the way, my first Must Have of 2008. New York City Cowboy (June 2008) also got its own Must Have and that is why I made such a bold opening statement. Tracks that have that rating are musically and technically perfect (or as close as makes no difference) but must also do something further and Steve Altonian's track do that and then some. The warmth and style of the man comes complete with a telling songwriting ability and a usually faultless production quality.

Both of those tracks became Soundclick Number Ones so that and the stats he's built up in a very short time should show you that this is a serious musician. Therefore the only choice before you is whether you would like the music or not and I am most definitely a fan, even if the material veers towards the balladic deep end now and again. If you do love country rock at its finest, that I Want To Get To Know You will click every single box for you, as it seems to have done for a great many others.

Considering the very short time Steve has been active on Soundclick, he has made a considerable impression and this is a track that can only add to his reputation. All of Steve Altonian's tracks are extremely radio friendly which makes me wonder if he is pushing his tracks on some of the online radio stations I know for a fact would gulp this stuff up. It's all about quality at the end of the day, if the song and performance are up to it then it will make an impression regardless of style or genre.

Highly Recommended country pop.

A New Left - Midnight Maneuvers (Feat. Ten Fold)

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I first came across New Jersey based Hip Hop producer A New Left when I reviewed Copasetic (May 2008) which also featured Tenfold . Can't say I was that excited about what I heard on Copasetic, it was all a bit too derivative for my tastes. Despite all appearances to the contrary, I do in fact like hip hop a lot, but I suppose I am a bit hard when I think that the track either isn't any good or even - as in that case - a bit lack-luster. Making hip hop (especially when good equipment isn't available) can often be a noisy, disjointed affair but hey if the track is there even someone as dumb as me can see its worth trying because of that.

For my money, a lot of the drag I felt on this track initially, made me compare it to Copasetic but a couple of plays soon dispelled that impression. Sure it has some of the pitfalls but - on the whole - this is a much more adventurous prospect. Not sure how this musical track came about and there is no information whatsoever on the song but it's a slick peice of kinda/sorta jazzy licks set you a fairly pedestrian beat. The suspect, I feel, for the initial impression of the track dragging the first time or two I heard it.

Rap, in my experience, is a personal preference and again one I have liked for many years so I'm probably super critical about what I like and don't like. A New Left hasn't done that to me yet, but the way things are going it may become a problem. As interesting and varied as the musical backing is, the rap doesn't really push the same buttons. Quite why that is, I'm not sure, but I did think a lot of the flow wasn't really quite on the money. There again, this is an overtly commercial kind of rap delivery, and I'm definitely not much of a fan of that. Ultimately it's that mismatch between music and rap that did the track in for me though.

There again, what do I know?

Essence - Towers Are Gone

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Firstly, abject apologies to both Essence and Dan Michaelson, the two talents behind Towers Are Gone. I'd somehow left their name off my final review list and only noticed it a day before Essence so politely reminded me. I can be forgetful that's for sure and it's best to get a reminder than not. Especially from the lady herself, you can scold me anytime ;) In case you have no idea who I am brazenly frilrting with Essence is a willowy singer/songwriter from MP3 Unsigned who I have reviewed from time to time - usually in a collaboration. In this case, Dan Michaelson supplies the musical track with Essence delivering vocals, lyrics and final mix. Must admit that I hadn't heard of Dan before but this Texan has apparently worked with Essence on other things.

This is the second track Essence and Dan have worked on (The Ocean Tamed the other) and both have a similar piano-led arrangement. Taste is the name of the game here, and certainly Essence's usual playing field of Dance doesn't get a look-in Tell you what, if you like this you will undoubtedly like The Ocean Tamed too so there's the link. I do like a good piano peice and Towers Are Gone is pretty much nothing but, as a peice it could well stand on its own and get serious attention.

Essence has become an excellent songwriter and Towers Are Gone is a classic example of that. Lyrical content and vocal performance only add to the tracks considerable poignancy. You may have noticed this track because of the title and put two and two together and made 157, so let me put you straight. Towers Are Gone is a reference only to the feeling of devastation and loss that accompanied the event, and Essence in using it in a (I think) personal way and it certainly works. I love the little backing vocal touches she has added to it too.

Terrific song AND it's a piano ballad. Highly Recommended.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pretendo Game Project - Final Fantasy 7: Flowers In Her Church

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If you've plugged yourself into this review because of the Final Fantasy title, I should state right away that - even though I like anime - the whole Final Fantasy thing left me cold. Mind you, the endless variations of FF's Tifa Lockhart leave me anything BUT cold. That however is another story and a fairly filthy one at that. So least said, the better. Pretendo Grame Project (Pretendo=nintendo, geddit??) is - in fact - another disguise adopted by Patrick Lew who you may also know as Audio Roit or even Band Of Asians. My first encounter with Pretendo GP was with Sonic 1:Scrapyard Zone (June 2008) and was impressed with what Patrick had come up with. This despite my well-known hatred for Game Music Soundtracks in general. I'd rather be playing the game, know what I mean? Especially playing with this.

(Ed: behave, Gilmore, behave...)

I think most of my problems with 8-bit game music is that its something I did a long time ago. As I hope I made clear before, I think Patrick isn't doing too badly at it. I found I could recommend one track, lets try another. Again, if the FF thing passed me by, so did the music so I have no idea whether this is an accurate rendition. Patrick assures us that this is an 'extended version of the remixed Final Fantasy 7 game music from the Original Soundtrack' so there ya go. The real problem with this kind of music is the 8-bit rendering, which leaves much to be desired if you like you sounds well rounded. Think about all the console game music you've heard. The trick of it is to invest lots of time in constructing simple but memorable phrases and repeat until sick to death.

So the first that pokes up in my mind is what a bloody awful sound it is. Putting that aside as a limitation of the genre, other than the central plucked figure that holds up this almost five minute track, the sounds used are often sharp to the ears (the strings especially) but it IS true to the genre. As such I can certainly see this doing well as part of (say) a game soundtrack but even so it's going to be something of limited life simply because of what it is. Yeah, yer game nut will be in there like Flint but most people would pass this by after a couple of notes. Doesn't mean to say this isn't a good job though, again Patrick caught what he was supposed to. It's all a matter of personal taste, I guess.

Recommended Game Soundtrack remix.

Between Worlds - Sacred Dreams Scene 2

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You wouldn't have thought that the music of Between Worlds (kinda spacey, new age electronica) and I could find much in common because I despise most of the genre. What makes Between Worlds different from the usual dreck is twofold: experience and taste. I reviewed Between Worlds Overture (June 2008) and found that's its combination of ambient and classical married to the usual faultless production could win over even this old curmudgeon. One of the things that is blindingly obvious from note one of any Between Worlds is that this is a musician who knows what he wants and gets it - whatever you may think of the genre. In my books, that always worthy of a looksee.

So, lets looksee.

Sacred Dreams Scene 2 is a collaboration featuring Chris and Drew Campbell - yet another POP talent. Essentially, Between Worlds wrote and recorded the initial track (a typical BW track, he comments) and then passed it on to Chris and Drew who added guitar and vocals and - as BW comments again - put their own spin on it. And what a spin it is. This track is like a slap in the face and NOTHING like I expected. See, again I like what Between Worlds does technically but I'm not always comfortable with the content. I've been living with this firecracker for days and it seems like forever. The combination of those two artists is dynamite.

Now bear in mind here that we are talking about something that technically has to be described as a ballad, at least in the main. It has it's rock side right enough, but it is a ballad at heart. As such, it should have me running screaming for the nearest heavy metal venue, but it's kinda/sorta Wings feel caught me and wouldn't let go. Moreover, at the bottom of this impressively presented track is a fine song. That and the rock solid mix and production are sure attention getters and I would have rated this even on a casual listen. The sort of track that should inspire you to check out both artists in their own right.

Excellent pop track. Highly Recommended.

Dawn Sinclair - Golden Years

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I was only thinking to myself the other day that I had reviewed loads of Dawn Sinclair tracks but always by other people, which is not really the same thing at all. As you can gather, Dawn is a lyricist/songwriter whose tracks do have a certain something about them, all least the collabs I have come across anyway. We are talking about LOTS of those here. Dawn has worked with Dawn Diamond, Mykyndred, Andy F (more than once), Deggsy amongst many others so she's a busy busy lady. She just missed this month's signup by a day and given what I said above, I thought I'd slip her in anyway and sod the expense.

I know, it's sickening, isn't it?

Golden Years is a track from the upcoming Two Dawns 1 Day album featuring Dawn Diamond, a singer/songwriter from Fife, Scotland who is a firm favourite over at Soundclick. Another lady I have enormous respect for both for her songs as for his voice. I've always found the Scots accent melodious, especially the eastern side and Dawn sings this particular track in a lovely warm burr that sends shivers down me spine. Nothing whatsoever to do with the Bowie track of the same name, this track is a folk tale where Dawn Diamond is joined by Indrek Kald on fiddle with music and production by Juri Rosenfeld. Dawn Sinclair supplies the all important lyrics and they are as usual excellent.

Put all that together and you have an excellent rock folk track that fairly brims over with taste and authenticity, and that always goes down well with this reviewer. Fact of the matter is, I am a bit overwhelmed by this track but that's only because I have a personal love of this particular style and I never get to hear enough of it. It's folk authenticity is what does it for me, but you may be gripped by the excellent performance from all concerned or the open, clear mix - there is plenty to choose from. Most of all, Golden Years is a great song in a long and honorable tradition and I for one welcome it into the fold (and my hard drive).

MUST HAVE folk tale. Yeah. Really!!

Alberto Farah - Tiger Temple

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There really aren't that many musicians I know or write about that can truly say they are well known, and that's not a bad thing but shows that Internet fame is not anything like the real thing. Alberto Farah is a Brazilian musician who can make that claim with justification, having contributed to material aired on the BBC and other TV channels. He is as well known for his jazz as for the other forays he makes into World (which is where I know him from) and even Classical peices. I know of him though Soundclick (where he is known as Promusico); an excellent, accompished musician. btw, Tiger Temple is on both sites even though this review request came through Popspace.

Ooops, too much information.

As you would imagine, Tiger Temple has more to do with the East than anything Latin, at least for the first section of this track As someone who spends inordinate amounts of time looking for great, authentic sounds, I am dazzled by the amount of them the intro contains. The same holds true with the rock/jazz/funk section that makes up the larger part of this track, although with a more Western slant. The music is wild, as percussive as rifle fire with more than a nod or two towards Carlos Santana. Alberto explains on his Soundclick site that this is a collaborative effort between himself, producer Riccardo Vieira and guitarist Luis Carlos so the one word that will apply is quality.

From the wide open spaces of the East to the steamy rhythms of Latin America via early American jazz, mix in some rock backline and an equally fiery lead guitar and you have the world encompassed by Tiger Temple. Now personally I love anything that stretches the envelope but there aren't many who do it with such style. In my opinion, the stark difference between the two sections is the real highlight of this track, closely followed by some awesome performance and a solid, rich mix. And if that combination doesn't make for a good time, something ails you...

World class World music. Highly Recommended.

MD-1 Project - World Eclipse

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When I first saw this track while downloading it, I noticed that I was being slipped a Dance track - and this from a usually impeccable source. Yes, awkward and idiosyncratic would also fit the bill when talking about the musical output of one Ricky Mancini (aka he of the Projects; MD-1 and Stella Polaris). Over the couple of years I have been listening to this very different musician, I've noticed a hardening of his own personal take on what fits in a track, and all the better for it I say because - no matter what genre he takes on - it's a fair bet that it isn't going to sound like anything else. Mind you, it doesn't matter what I think anyway - the man seems to have a permanent number one slot over at MP3 Unsigned.

As you know, I am extremely leery of anything that smacks of dance but I embraced this track like a long lost brother within the first minute or so. That's how much dance it contains. MD-1 Project is an artist of the sardine school (as am I). Nothing to do with the widdle fishies, but a musician who thinks that every single space should be filled by something. Not, as you might think, to clog the track up with sound. A wise producer creates their own silent space, Grasshopper. Nope, but to give the listener (that's you and me folks) plenty to gawp at as we pass through the track. It's one of the things I have grown to most like about this musicians work, that attention to detail.

What about the awkward and idiosyncratic you say? Well, listen to World Eclipse and you will soon get the picture. A percussive treat with a slamming bass section that blows me away every time I hear it. When I first played it through my big sound system I feared for me woofer. Whatever else you say, MD-1 Project is a master at peicing things together that have no right to been seen together, especially in public - and yet it all works wonderfully. World Eclipse is challenging and that isn't something I often get to say about anything dance-y but as I said before, this is Ricky's own highly warped view and I like it this much (opens arms wide).

MUST HAVE Dance, with some wicked twists.

Iannai - Would You

Hear The Track Here

I don't know, would you? Iannai has made a very favourable impression on this reviewer, and all in the space of two tracks which is not bad going. Made a few friends too, as he is active on Soundclick's forums which always helps in getting the message across. I first came across this Contemporary Christian artist with Just Enough For Me (May 2008) which a bit too smooth for my tastes, I was still able to highly recommend it for its quality and production. Scattered Peices (June 2008) veered in an altogether different direction, a sharp, concise, very rhythmic peice of IDM that got a Must Have from me. This has been a lean year for Must Have's so far so it's nice to add another to the collection.

Would You is yet another genre change, this time to Classical - or as close to it as possible. After all, to be really classical you would have to be a) white; b) male or c) dead. 'Reminds me of Debussy at one point' Ianni says in the song comments, and he is definitely all three. Debussy that is, not Iannai. Tell you what, lets get off that subject entirely. I wouldn't claim to know Debussy's work by ear but I'll take Iannai's word for it. As far as my (obviously) philistine ears are concerned it's a nicely conceived peice and - as usual - very polished production.

Can't say I am a great fan of this style but again Iannai shows that he has the chops in whatever genre he seems to put his mind too. Three tracks, three very different styles. The more you hear Would You, the more it becomes clear that this has classical overtones but to my ears there is a lot of spacey new age in there too. As such, this is a very decent bit of chillage material, and a lot more interesting than most new age I've heard. I suspect that people will latch onto this track too but again it's not really my cuppa. Don't let that stop you, or the endless tags I seem to have appended to this artist. :D

Highly Recommended Contemporary Classical/New Age

SaPhFiRe - Free Me

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Although I'm very familiar with her many MP3 Unsigned forum postings, I think this is the first time I have reviewed any of Saphfire's music. There are only two tracks on her MP3 Unsigned page, Free Me being one of them. I have to say my heart sank when I saw the Dance tag, and even sank a little further when I heard the first few bars of Free Me for the first time. She seems such a nice influence on the usual MP3 Unsigned roughhousers, surely she wouldn't make me bang on about 4-to-the-floor and nails to the head for the entire process? You know how narked I can get when presented with some of the old Whoompah Whoompah (Ed: I think he means the sound you get from discos from the outside. Not, as far as I know, a sexual reference although with Gilmore you never can tell.)

As I say, this is a track you will have to spend a bit of time getting to know and when you do that you will understand what I have to say about it. Free Me is some distance from most things I'd label dance, it interests me in ways that yer normal dance track couldn't even begin to get close to. That's because although the base of the track is obviously pretty standard, what Saphfire is doing over it will ensure that it gets heard outside of the genre. She has a dusky, light vocal style the works well with that rhythmic bass.

Mind you, the music isn't the point of this track, the vocal and the lyrics are.

Consequently then, the music isn't up to much and that is the main reason I had to grow into the track. When you realise that the main fireworks lie in the clever use of vocal samples (the opening section and elsewhere) and the the almost scat, almost talk main vocal. It's that combination that comes to haunt you, and is the real hook of the track. All production and music is from the lady herself and on the strength of this I'd say she has a style developing that will bear keeping an eye on.

DJ Crusade & Bassmom - Artist Overview

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As you know I try and avoid the rawer edges of the electronica/dance genre(s), not really my speed at all. On the other hand I do have a marked liking for the Gabba sound, which a lot of electronica owes a big debt to. Techno, trance or other genres leave me cold but when you start slamming around at 160bpm and up, things get very interesting. Some of the most challenging compositions I have worked on have been around 180bmp or so, and at that speed cohesion goes pretty damn quickly; unless you are a bit fly with it.

The reason I dredge this all up before you is because Bassmom asked so nicely for a review, and obviously spotted an Old Softy immediately. I have to admit that upon investigating some of the 47 tracks on their webpage, most was just not my style at all. Not because I felt that Crusade or Bassmom were doing anything wrong, just aimed at a different market and - judging by their stats - they are not doing to badly at it. A lot of the initial tracks I listened to were interesting but didn't get more than that, then I happened upon Take Me Higher, the track which inspired my first paragraph. Tracks like Dance Club Remix and Synergy would certainly sound great on the dancefloor but didn't hold me (a well know wallflower) the way that Take Me Higher did. It's a classic study in Gabba, even if unknowingly and definitely a track to savour if you like life in the fast lane.

The problem with people asking for reviews is that it forces you to be honest and in that respect, I probably wouldn't pay for any of these tracks. There again, as I say, I am not the market this is aimed at. However, I think I am enough of a musician to know when something works and all the tracks I heard on the page work in their own way. Try Lithium for example, an excellent peice of electronica that will have you guessing all the way. Listen to enough tracks and it quickly becomes clear that DJ Crusade and Bassmom have a quirky way of getting at it that definitely sets them apart.

Excellent Hardcore Electronica. Recommended if you like the genre.

Eric Oberg - Prosperous Dude

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Deep in the bowels of Chaos Central (that's my computer) is a small dark room. That room is kept neat and tidy by the most anal man on the planet ie me. It's a special place ya see, because it's the archive for every single review I have ever written; a necessity when you review at the prodigious rate I do. See, you mind tends to go a-wandering after a while and it's only down to the bells ringing that signal its time to consult that special room. Erik Oberg rang the most ferocious of bells and it took me a while to track down why. Erik was one of the very first reviewees when I first moved my reviews from another site to Soundclick in early 2003, and my review of Exotic Tuesday was reasonable enough....

So why three years between tracks?? :D

Erik knows, and obviously that amount of time is going to render any past review redundant anyway - which is probably all to the good. In fact, I found it quite refreshing to approach this as if Erik were a new artist because the difference is remarkable. Prosperous Dude is a nice slice of rock pop that has at its heart a very decent song and a sturdy, effective production that sets it out from the crowd. Lot of work and thought gone into this track and it shows in every note and vocal utterance.

Someone made a comment that it sounds like Moody Blues but I'd have said the Kinks in their heyday and latterly, Blur all of which Prosperous Dude refers to in one way or another. The performance and arrangement are the best part of the whole deal, if I had to single anything out but that's a bit unfair. This is a whole track, a living, breathing entity that will shed a little light into anyone's life. And at a mere three minutes and change it's criminal to pass it by. Let's hope its not another three years before another release from this musician and watch me now when I say....

MUST HAVE rock/pop

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mahmood Fahim - Movin On

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I think Mahmood Fahim must be a very frustrated guy right now. He sent me this track what seems like weeks ago but things have been so busy, he's been bumped and bumped but no more!! Yaaayy. For those still at the 'who he?' stage, I first encountered this Bangladeshi guitarist when I reviewed Nischup Protifolon (Quiet Reflection) (June 2006) and obviously a bit of time has passed since then. Just in case I had been real naughty and abusive, I went back to read the review to make sure the long gap between tracks couldn't have been because of what I wrote.

Huh, the ego on me eh?? :D

I liked that track, although I can't say I was delighted with its very MOR feel, not my bag at all. None the less, there was no doubt in my mind that - as a guitarist - Mahmood certainly knew his stuff. In the intervening time he has added a couple of new tracks to his page, Movin On being one of them. The song comments describe it as 'instrumental rock guitar in the likes of Joe Satriani'' and I think that's a very fair description. As such, it's a fine guitar instrumental showing again that the man knows how to shred.

As I pointed out in my last review though, being a good musician is only half the battle. Sure, other guitarists will undoubtedly get into it, but a larger audience may not be readily available. There again, like many of us, riches and bitches are not the main reason for doing this for Mahmood. In which case, I'd say fair enough, if you like guitar instrumentals - especially of the Satriani school - then this is right down your street. Mixwise, I found a couple of the levels questionable (the left cymbal for example) and for my money a bit more time could have been spent widening the backline sound but that's probably just me being picky. No pun intended of course (Ed: Yeaaahh right....).

Recommended for Shreddies.

Activeminded - My Star

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The problem with being a parent, especially a musical one, is that you want your children to follow in your footsteps and - usually - guesting on your tracks too. I know several combinations like this, some with grownup children and some with children much younger. Such is the case with Activeminded's new track, dedicated and featuring Madison the daughter of Tony (aka Activeminded). Funnily enough, although I know this guy quite well over the years I can't remember whether I've actually officially reviewed any of his music. I've certainly heard a fair bit at one point or another....

Electronic ambient has never been a favoured genre for me though, although I have found the odd gem or two in my time. One of things I do remember about the tracks I heard (I think in an online session on the old/original POP site) is the quality of the sound and performance. It's obvious from the first notes of My Star that Activeminded is very serious about how the finished product should sound and as the track progresses through the first couple of minutes there is plenty of stereo panning and wonderous sounds to gawp at. Definitely a track to space out to though, there ain't going to be a lot lively about this BUT the panning... That's one of my reasons for not liking the genre.

Can't fault quality and performance though regardless of genre or style, and I'm sure you'd agree that Activeminded shows just how good things can get, and if you like the genre then say nirvana buddy because I just found your new favourite track. Even though the track comes in at a very relaxed six and a half minutes, there's so much going on in there that the time won't register that much. All in all, an excellent slice of electronica - ambient or otherwise. I know what I'm going to be looking for the next time I have to recommend a chill-out.

Excellent Ambient. Highly Recommended.

Greybrow - Dancing on the Manic Fringes

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Now here's a name I haven't come across for a long time. For those Johnnie come lately's who have no idea who Greybrow is, a couple of years ago this guy was all over MP3 Unsigned like a rash. Since then things have been very quiet so it's good to welcome him back. As he explains on his webpage, Dancing On The Manic Fringes isn't a new track but a reworked, remixed older track although I can't remember hearing it before. The last track I did review, Brainstorm (January 2007) was his usual brand of experimental electronica and got a Highly Recommended from me, as most of his work does.

One thing that you can count on is a pleasant listen, experimental it may be but it's not as harsh or uncompromising as some experimental music I could name. Oh God, he's going to hate being called 'pleasant'... What I mean is that Greybrow tends more towards the sound of say, the Chemical Brothers than Stockhausen and that was the first musical reference that struck me when I first this track. As usual it is full of odd little sounds, all tweaked to within an inch of their lives; always a feature of Greybrow tracks and one that I always find appealing. More so when I've been subjected to other forms of 'experimental', know what I mean? I know which kind I prefer.

I'd be hard pressed to state that there is a tune here, or even a theme as such. Much more of a soundcape than I've heard from this artist before, Dancing On The Manic Fringes, meanders through it's five plus minutes of life rather than a more structured route. While there are Chemical Bros influences, the main tenor of the track also evokes some of the more esoteric work of the Pink Floyd, if you can imagine what that sounds like you would have a fair idea of whether you would like this or not. I do, but I am biased because I like quality and this artist has that and some.

Recommended Experimental Electronica.

333maxwell - What

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Now with a name like that, regular readers will already have heard some bells ringing. It's been a while but I last came across this 'greatest faux band in the world' was the later part of 2007 when I reviewed The Leads and Lags of Elevator (November 2007) and Kiss You (December 2007). Both were jazzy kinda tracks, but very well done for all that and I remember thinking at the time that this artist needed watching. Since then, of course, Chas Holman (aka 333maxwell) seem to have fallen off the face of the Earth. Nothing, probably to do with my reviews but you just never can tell...

Strange world out there.

In my review of Kiss You I wrote 'There is a degree of sophistication evident in both the performance and production' and that was my first thought as I listened to this the first time. That impression is only reinforced with continued plays and I really recommend that you give this track enough time to sink in. It isn't - for sure - something that I would normally have said worked together but, like all this artists tracks, it has its tricks. Considering that Chas is a plank spanker (Ed: I think he means guitarist but you never know with him...) he seems not to feature it too much, although it certainly has its moments on What.

Like all of his tracks though, lots of elements are introduced and the track generally develops through those elements; t'ain' quite jazz, t'ain't quite rock it's some weird Frankenstein concoction of both. Sounds well hair raising on paper (or whatever) I know, but it's certainly a treat to listen to. What is actually a song, and a good one at that; a breath of Lou Reed, a dab of Bowie, some extremely effective brass builds and a busy piano line shout out 'quality', 'originality' 'listenabilty' It's a bit of a ballad, so be warned bu damn, it doesn't matter this is a terrific song and an good performance.

Highly Recommended. Pop rock whatever....

Larry Ludwick - Nod's Ascent To Dave

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Now I'm not one for dabbling with things oleaginous and I freely admit that the words 'new age' or 'smooth' do induce the same queasy feeling, so you would think that I couldn't find any music containing those terms to suit my taste. Well, not quite true because thanks to Soundclick's amazing diversity I actually have been able to find artists in most of my least liked genres that I would give time to. See, I'm not completely heartless, but the one thing that does count with me is to make a track with authority and confidence whatever the genre. That soon sorts the wheat from the chaff. Soundclick's Critics Corner forum users are already aware of this guy and his trenchant reviews, but what of the music behind the man?

Well, shut up a minute and I'll get to it....

Billed as 'free flowing jazz' and a tribute to 'a jazz friend Dave Bridges' sounded like the kind of thing I would like well enough (I have a like for jazz of all descriptions - except probably smooth). Upon encountering this track I initially had visions of one of my all time horrors: a Kenny G soundalike. Needn't have worried though because the track opens up quickly enough to show you that there is much here that is worth a listen, not the least of it being the very clear, well-balanced mix and yeah!! attention to the bottom end. Gotta love it.

Don't let the 'free jazz' tag put you off because it's actually very palatable and - as our ears can testify - nothing like the squawks, screams and minor flatulence of some of the harder school. I think that's where the Kenny G comparison comes from, the sheer listenability of the sound itself. Nothing like as irritating or as pompous of course, and in Larry's hands - with some lovely piano peices - a very good track indeed. Better if you like the jazzier side of life, but worth a listen nonetheless if you've got a moment or two.

Class Jazz. Recommended.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ron Gragg - Bang Bang

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Presumptions are the bane and curse of my life. No matter what the subject is, my mind will automatically start tallying all the negative connotations, long before starting on what might be right about it. Like most people I get sucked in by labels many of which fill me with such presumptions and predjudice. One of the worst in that line is the term 'Christian Rock' in which I have heard incredibly bad (cringe-inducing lyrics, lack-lustre very MOR musical style) and wonderfully joyous (Cam's Even Song, One Kid's Lunch et al). Now it looks, with a few little niggles, that I am going to add Ron Gragg to that growing cadre too because despite those niggles Bang Bang is an excellent track.

I've been aware of Ron for a while but this was the first time I'd ever heard any of his music and his easy approach and his deft touch with songwriting caught my ear, even though some of the more technical aspects of the track were jarring. Musically, Bang Bang is a kinda/sorta Louisiana lope, the kind of track you associate with the USA's Deep South and its many roots in the blues. One of my favourite musical areas as it happens, and one of the reasons I found this a track I could get close to. Vocally, he sounds quite like Eric Clapton, which suits this style of material perfectly so by all rights I should be rating this highly right?

Weeeeeeellllll (waggles hand)

In every respect, the track delivers. It's a good song with some decent, albeit restrained performance from the man and a clear, if slightly flat and linear mix. All well and good to showcase the song right enough, but what's so wrong with it? OK, here's a scenario: Ron records in his bedroom/closet/kitchen/bathroom within hailing distance of a great many of his family and/or neighbours. Many of us work with the same restrictions but it can lead to the music being, how can I put this?, restrained. In this case, glaringly so. How is it that such a strong, proud song could sound so timid? Ron has a terrific voice that sounds as if he should be belting it out, but knows he can't. That is the overwhelming sense I get from this track but hey, I'm the kind of nerd who would notice something like that. Ignore my carping and at least go and have a listen to a very decent track indeed.

Slightly flawed, but nonetheless, excellent song. Recommended despite those flaws.

Charlie A - Aswang: The Chase

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As a reviewer of pretty much everything, I do get things I am not particularly into. Nowhere is this more so than in Film Soundtracks, usually because they just plain aren't. Soundtracks that is. What they are are peices of music that could be used in that manner. Consequently I have reviewed a phenomenal amount of film soundtracks but only in the case of Charlie A is the genre classification absolutely true in every sense of the word. Charlie Armour wrote the entire score for Aswang, a suspense drama/documentary about Chinese people slavery in Canada in the early 1900's. You will find the film website here

As a matter of fact, I reviewed Aswang - Bad Times (May 2007) and liked it's string drenched atmosphere and if you know me at all, you will understand what an achievement that is. Me and strings (violin, sweet and sickly type) don't get on too well. The Chase, however, doesn't commit such Gilmore torture, what strings occur in the track not only sound right they add enormously to the sense of impending doom the track conveys more than anything else.

Obviously with a plot that goes 'Daila (Rosalynd Roome) is seemingly attacked by someone or something. Maria (Janice Santos Valdez) searches for her in the darkness' you would expect there to be a bit of tension and drama in there somewhere. Charlie lays it on thickly right from the get-go, and considering that the entire track doesn't even add up to a couple of minutes, still manages to convey much. Again though, for this reviewer, the main pleasure in listening to tracks from this musician is in the sounds and textures he uses so well.

Excellent brooding soundtrack (albeit a bit short!) Highly Recommended.

MarkoBoko - All I've Got

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Another new name to me, this time from MP3 Unsigned. MarkoBoko is a one man band who specialises in Trance which, as you know, is not my favourite genre. Still I don't ever think that predjudice has interfered any with reviews from that genre in the past. OK, so I may not like the style but I can tell what kind of things the musician likes, and what kind of ideas he/she or it bring to the party. In this particular case Mark (for it is he) is a fellow Fruity Studio user and I know only too well what that piece of software can and cannot do. So, let's get the music on....

First impressions, no matter what they say, definitely do count especially online where the average attention span is less than zero. On that score, All I've got made enough of a dent to register with me right off the bat, although I did find some of the tunings a bit dodgy. Not sure whether that's my ears or the musicians take on what is/isn't musically kosher. As usual with tracks from this genre, better prepare for a long haul because it tops out at just a hair over six minutes long. Fine if you like the genre obviously but that may be off-putting for some of the more gnat brained out there.

So, what do you get? To be honest, I felt the production was flat, seems to my ears that there could have been a lot more tonal quality happening here. Moreso because the arrangement (given the genre) is about as sparse as it gets, which makes the final minute or so drag a bit - at least IMHO. To be fair though, MarkoBoko makes a point of telling us that this track is waiting for vocals, which I am sure will change the whole equation. In the meantime, should you thrive on the genre, come get some.

Workmanlike trance.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

-LMS- - Best Friend

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Best Friend finds Miami based rapper -LMS- in mellow mood. Mind you, considering the quality of the tracks he has released this year and last, he's entitled to get all warm and cosy every once in while. Kicking back, smooching the ladies, nothing wrong with that. Can't say the softer side of hip hop has been one of my favourites otherwise my nose would get to grow a further inch or two, but when it's done properly, it does get past me. As far as I am concerned, so long as a track treads that fine line between cool and yuk, I can indeed appreciate some softer (read lotsa women like that stuff) rap.

Just a bit of a surprise to hear it from LMS is all...

There again, the one thing that has become apparent, to me and other people who know of him or his work, is his dedication to making it sound right. This track is produced by Beta Control which accounts for the difference in technique although it's still recognisably the man himself on the vocals. Beta Control is also a Miami native on Soundclick here, whose hip hop is from the jazzier side of the genre which has always found much favour with me, especially when carried out with some fidelty. LMS and Beta Control share song credits on this track although the original was uploaded in May 2007 and this version is very recent indeed.

I kinda liked the rough edges and odd sounds of the original, and LMS has calmed both those oddities and the jazz overtone that singled out the original. For sure, he's keep all that stuff in there, just given it a much more pointed production and focused it on the rap alone. Now I like this rapper, and I have done for a good while and he just keeps getting better, even on a track who style I don't like as much as others. I'm certain his many fans and listeners will take to this like ducks to water and so will you if you have an ounce of hip hop sensibility in your bones.

Excellent hip hop. Highly Recommended.

Cam's Even Song - We're The People

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When I tell people that music has saved my life more times than I care to count, most people don't believe me or just think it's part of my usual hyperbole. Not so varmint. Absolutely true as it happens. See, I grew up in a time when the music was inspirational, instructional and enlightening, as well as being great fun. I grew up in and a part of that worldwide phenomenon and am left increasingly dismayed with the long comedown from that particular high, at least judging by the state of today's music. Yeah, yeah call me an old fogey, and you are right. It doesn't make me any less right either. I praise God daily for the timely arrival of the internet and musicians such as Cam Bastedo (aka Cam's Even Song) who keep that flame alive.

Songs, with meaning and conviction. There's a t'ing.

Given that We're The People is billed as a Christian rock track, it certainly doesn't sound like any of that variety I have heard before, including Cam's own forays into the genre. There again, given the length of time I have spent with this track, I'm totally convinced it doesn't sound like Cam either. In fact, if I had to take a stab in the dark, I'd say that Cam has been taken over by a short, purple-wearing pop pixie whose name I've forgotten for the moment but I'm sure you know only too well. All I'm getting when I try and put my finger on it is a mental picture of Prince Charles and that is to upsetting to contemplate. So, he sounds like whatisname then. Which, considering Cam's usual melodious, almost country brand of pop, is a massive step away from where he was.

So, did he funk it up or wot?

Tell ya what, all long term fans will experience the same 'eh?' moment I did, simply because it's so radically different, the intro being almost experimental in sound and feel. It really gets into its stride about halfway through and from then out, it's a much more coherent beast altogether. This is a track that should really be given time and patience to work its magic on you, and make no mistake it IS magic. Nowhere is that magic more evident than in Cam's vocal performance. I know it's Cam, but this is a Cam I never heard before and I want to hear much, much more of. On this track Cam takes on shades of Prince, The Stones and all points everywhere else and it's brilliant. I know I am bound to say that because I am one of this musicians biggest fans but HEY, get a load of what he's doing now....


Pharmacopoeia - Three Minutes of Three Days

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Nice to start the month off with a completely new name (at least to me). Better that then the usual hodge-podge of miscreants, ne'er do wells and the merely delusional I usually deal with on a regular basis. That isn't, of course, what I normally call reviewee's but hey I feel cranky today. That's probably because I need a pharmacopoeia just to keep the ol' black dog from the door. Specialising in 'hallucinogenic psychedelic music' Pharmacopoeia are obviously living up to their name. Do a little digging, however, and a very familiar name lumbers into view. Daniel Euphrat is a name we know from his work with Dross (also on Soundclick), the other member of this duo being one Gareth Ortiz-Timpson (member of Baggage Claim apparently.

If Daniel's name (or Dross for that matter) struck you with a sense of foreboding, then I should explain that up until now Daniel has been a master of noise (or experimental, depending on where you stand I guess). So it's a given that anything he is involved with is a bit off the beaten track, and in some ways Three Minutes does fill that description but considering some of the output I have heard from this quarter this is tame indeed. Not tame as in 'fall asleep' but tame in terms of content because it's a standard prog rock track with some nice little quirky chord/rhythm moves.

Well surprising then, considering the mayhem I was expecting that what I got to hear, I thoroughly enjoyed. Yep I KNOW I hate prog rock with a vengence but see that's the beauty of this track; it's a bit of everything. Obviously being a guitarist myself helps my appreciation and ultimately, I think that is who this track will appeal to most, That's a shame though because with it's licks and retro tone this is one track that does stand out from the average guitar/rock track. As basic as it is, the way these guys carry it off is worth a listen or two, especially the intro.

Strangely addictive guitar rock. Recommended.