Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Not your ordinary sunglasses

March 1, 2010

Sunglasses from Savannah, Georgia will be an exciting contribution to the music scene this year. What is interesting is that this collaboration between Samuel Cooper and Brady Keehn started through a film production. Their sound is fresh and a good example of “out of this world” music, but is incredibly difficult to describe. The crossovers and style are not something I have heard much before but are something to appreciate as music should keep expanding and explore new areas.

One thing for certain is that you can hear the hip hop influences, and I am not normally a fan of that genre. It is just that I have not found any satisfying music that is strictly hip hop related. However, this duo is offering an amazing crossover combining the unique aspects of both Hip Hop and Psychedelic music. The music isn’t constantly the same loop, and the melody progresses playfully which I fail to hear with Hip Hop. The beats are incredible and makes you want to move unconditionally even if you aren’t usually into spontaneous dancing patterns.

It is very pleasing to hear these styles and references come together so uniquely. This helps make them one of the most anticipating duo to look out for this year. I am certainly looking forward to the inevitable debut, but so far there is no news of such release. In the meantime before we unravel the mysterious future of these geniuses, lend your ears to these tunes!

Sunglasses – Referee

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The beauty of instrumental music

February 21, 2010

It is not often that instrumental music has a lasting appeal for me. This has something to do with howI see vocals as an integral part of music. I admit though that good instrumentation can cover up for bad vocals more so than the opposite. However I would like to say that the music benefits from having both sides integrated. Unfortunately a lot of instrumental songs I have come across tend to last eons, unable to find a fitting ending. Continuing this uninspiring endless journey in one sitting. The melodies don’t seem to have many exciting layers and easily fall into repetition without the aid of a vocal range.The instrumental composers that I find interesting have been film/video-game related which isn’t something I usually listen to outside the visual/engaging experiences.

However, now I have finally found an independent artist that is instrumental, and seems to hit the right notes with me – while keeping the music interesting until the end. He is far from being as complicated as I make music sound like at times. The music here is simple and colourful. Therefore I find it worthwhile to feature the first instrumental artist to have blown my ears away.

Musette is a project by Joel Danell who is based in Stockholm. His arsenal consisting of whistles, guitar, violin, accordion and piano, helps to shape these pleasurable melodies. Even if the music doesn’t have any singing vowels, his whistles are great. I would say his whistling quality is comparable with Andrew Birds. It is used beautifully with some range and vibratos. This sheer simplistic music with carefully composed instruments helps *to create a playful, fresh and beautiful experience. The songs are expansive and diverse. The latest album “Datum” is a shining example of what I’ve attempted to describe here. There’s no album I could recommend more than this one.

Musette – 23 Oktober

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Vampire Weekends second album

February 8, 2010


Vampire Weekend have been a fresh contribution to the music scene with their unique classic and african inspired music. The music world was taken by surprise with their self titled debut in 2008. which gained broad acclaim followed by many festival appearances. Since then, time has not passed for a long time before a new album came from the hasty slumbers. Now it will be interesting to see if this album is a worthy sophomore effort ,or just a rashful effort to cave in on fame to finance a posh dame.

Their latest newest release Contra has been out for a few weeks and we shall see in this review how well it fairs. The first thing you notice this time around is that there is less of the classical style of the first album. We hear more electronic sounds and effects this time around. Despite this minimal change the African inspired rhythms and tempo stand out more. The band’s style seems much more refined this time. I will try to describe what makes this album a departure from the debut and how it manages to stand on its own legs.

The opening track Honchata introduces playful African rhythms mixed with quirky styles intertwined with another. It gives a good indication of the style throughout the album. A strong first track is always a good start along with being an incredible catchy well crafted melody too. The electronic sounds and effects added are very welcoming and cleverly added. This distinct quality we are witnessed to here continues throughout the first half of the album. The songs in between are diverse and different from another which effectively keeps the music interesting. It is very common for bands to resort to using the same sounds, effects, style and opening in most of their tracks. Luckily here things are more varied, playful and interesting. The blend of contemporary styles complimented with afro-beats and classic touches makes this album fresh.

However there are a few setbacks that keeps this album from being a highlight of the year. Despite how original the band is with their style, some songs are easy forgettable and rather unimaginative. Some overdone styles and effects. These songs aren’t terrible by all means ,but very underwhelming and unoriginal in contrast to their incredible counterparts. However it does not get in the way for making this is a good album with some great memorable songs among some “filler”.

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The wonderful ukulele

December 14, 2009

There are countless variations when it comes to explaining how this 4 stringed instrument started its life. One of the most common conceptions is that the Portuguese brought their instruments to Hawaii; which ended up impressing the locals. In return, the locals produced their own instrument inspired by the Portuguese ones.

The name itself roughly translates as “jumping flea”. It is speculated that the name refers to how the strings are plucked; like a hopping flea. Personally, I have no desirable input when it comes to over-analyzing such a name. However I don’t think it is wrong to acknowledge that the ukulele can be like a “Jumping Flea” at times. Many people have the idea that the ukulele is a toy due to its size. The purpose of this article will be to showcase how it is more than a pitiful “toy”.

When talking about size it is rather ironic that people associate a small instrument with a “toy” ,but unaware of how the ukulele has 4 different sizes by today that vary.
Originally there was only the soprano, but overtime we have been introduced to the concert, tenor and baritone type. The differences between them aren’t really that noteworthy; other than the amount of frets and longer necks are increasing the differences between them.

Some unique differences:

– Concert can be seen as an “enhanced” soprano with a slightly louder and deep tone.
– Tenor tends to have more volume and a deeper bass tone on the G string.
– The baritone has a guitar standard tuning.

Due to the baritones unique tuning it has been said that it compliments jazz very well when adapting from the guitar. Otherwise most of the time the standard G-C-E-A tuning is used . There is nothing wrong about tuning the baritone the same way.

From the time of the invention of the ukulele in the the late 19th century, it was not until 1915 that it started it’s popular entry into the US. It first spread from San Franscisco and continued to cross the whole country. The popularity even reached the UK. The instrument kept rising in popularity and was adapted by some of the biggest entertainers (Cliff Edwards) at the time during the following decades. With the introduction of published chord tablatures of popular songs combined with the portability and inexpensiveness of the ukulele; made the instrument very accessible to both common people and musicians.

Now I would like to introduce some musicians who had an enormous influence at their time and helped introducing the ukulele to the people.

Cliff Edwards (also known as Ukulele Ike)

Nowadays Cliff Edwards may be recognized worldwide as the voice of Jiminy Cricket and the singer of the Oscar winning “When You Wish Upon A Star” in Pinocchio. However not many are aware that before that time he used to be known as an amazing ukulele player with a unique three-octave voice and a scat-singing style he called effin’. He has appeared in over 100 films and recorded hundreds of songs during the period of 1920s – 1960s. During his prime he manage to gain the nickname Ukulele Ike ,and was widely recognized for playing ukulele arrangements of popular songs. He also helped to popularize the instrument by publishing a collection of three ukulele arrangements.

George Formby

George Formby was an English entertainer who was a comedian and music performer. His career lasted from 1921 til his death in 1961. In these 4 decades he had managed to appear in 21 films, recorded hundreds of songs and made hundreds of stage performances.
He is known for a special rhythmic technique which has been called the Formby style with the aid of his banjolele (a ukulele crossover with a banjo type of body) and his unique voice. By 1939, George Formby was the most popular and highest paid entertainer in the British Isles and was estimated to be earning over £100,000 a year.
Even if he never performed in the USA he managed to get very popular in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. He charmed his audiences around the world with his down to earth personality with Lancashire dialect and cheeky humour.

Tiny Tim

Herbert Khaury (Tiny Tim) became a star and associated with the ukulele in 1968 after performing his own rendition of “Tiptoe Thru The Tulips”. He was a musical archivist with irreplaceable knowledge about music ,and recorded over 100s original covers of old songs with his distinct humour and style. He even adapted to contemporary music during his career and continued his unique take on 70s/80s songs. His voice was an exceptional case, varying from a deep baritone voice combined with a high vibrato falsetto. He might not have been the most technical ukulele player, but it was part of his style and performance. He helped to inspire many to pick up the instrument.