Monday, May 25, 2015

050/100 - "Trance Soundtrack" by Rick Smith

Soundtracks that feature other people's music can be a bit hit or miss. Whilst I prefer to hear music specifically composed as backing, I do appreciate the placement of the right song to catch the mood.

"Trance", the accompaniment to Danny Boyle's film, features an exemplary combination of music specifically composed by Rick Smith from Underworld and tracks from Moby, UNKLE and M-People (yes, M-People). I really enjoy the sequencing of tracks on this release: both composed and chosen work well to build atmosphere and emotion, making the soundtrack stand well on its own as a delightful mixtape.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, May 24, 2015

049/100 - "Woman" by Rhye

"Woman" by Rhye is an extraordinary album: sensual and extravagant, yet heartbreakingly poignant; it feels like it was born out of necessity, the yearning necessity of a lover's mind; and of urgency, the need to capture those fleeting moments, to distill them for appreciation at a later time and place;

Singer Milosh and instrumentalist Robin Hannibal released "Woman" in March 2013 and it has haunted me ever since. This is music for couples: a post-modern Sade for the fixie set. But don't let that put you off. Dive into their delicious alt-R&B sound and do so accompanied.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

048/100 - "Regarding Henry Soundtrack" by Hans Zimmer

Hans Zimmer's soundtrack to "Regarding Henry" is an interesting proposition: a product of the early nineties with its fretless bass, jaunty air and jazzy vocals (from no other than Bobby McFerrin) it is a piece that manages to stand proudly on its own, a cinematic masterpiece that easily transcends the film it is intended to accompany.

This is unlike any other Zimmer soundtrack that I've heard: it lacks his trademark orchestration and instead has a distinctly easy orientation ... a laidback, romantic, soft rock kind of vibe;

I haven't heard anything quite like "Regarding Henry”, it is unique and very special.

Why only 100 words?

Friday, May 22, 2015

047/100 - "My Secret Passions - The Arias" by Michael Bolton

I have a secret passion. It involves the secret passion of one Michael Bolton. He loves his Arias and I love his love for these amazing songs.

I'm not an Opera fan and not really a big musical theatre fan, but I connect with these arias. They are snippets, the best bits of an Opera, and I'm probably guilty of some form of musical tourism: consuming the best bits that were chosen for me by a guide rather than finding them for myself. I don't care. I love the magical other-worldliness of this album, it transports me far away.

Why only 100 words?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

046/100 - "Awake" by Tycho

"Awake" by Tycho is a wonderfully upbeat release from the Ghostly International camp, one that puts me in a good mood whenever it comes on.

I love how music can enhance a mood like that and I think, in the case of Tycho, it is the attention to detail and real craft that's poured into the release: I would be very proud if "Awake" was my record and I guess that feeling transfers.

The best bit of "Awake" for me is Scott Hansen's layering of sound and, of course, his synths. Hansen makes listening to his music a true pleasure.

Why only 100 words?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

045/100 - “Mediterraneo” by Bruno Bavota

The perfect follow-on from “Illume” is the upcoming album - “Mediterraneo” - by one of my favourite modern classical composers, Bruno Bavota, who presents a delightful mix of solo piano and the more neo-classical combination of piano, strings and acoustic guitar; Bavota is an accomplished musician and his touch comes shining through in all he does on “Mediterraneo”.

There is something warm, light and relaxed about this recording that makes me very happy indeed. It exudes the spirit of vacation, of freedom and the spontaneity of rest - I cannot wait to listen to “Mediterraneo” while on the beach this summer.

Why only 100 words?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

044/100 - "Illume" by Jacob Pavek

"Illume" by Jacob Pavek is, quite simply, one of the most beautiful pieces of modern classical music that I have had the pleasure to hear this year.

Pavek is an elegant, expressive pianist who turns every note he plays to gold. "Illume" is his Faberge egg: a luxurious gift to the world, timeless and untarnished;

"Illume" is, for most part, just Pavek and his piano, and for me that would be more than enough. However, at certain intervals he adds strings to complement his effervescent piano playing. This works a treat and points to even greater things in the future.

Why only 100 words?

Monday, May 18, 2015

043/100 - "The Joshua Tree" by U2

When I consider the music that has built the foundation for what my preferences are currently, I have to acknowledge the power and timeless majesty of U2’s “The Joshua Tree”. From the anthemic “Where The Streets Have No Name”  to the simply baffling “With Or Without You”, this is one extraordinary release.

The emphasis on sound from producers Brian Eno & Daniel Lanois is simply remarkable, I believe it has contributed to my love of ambient soundscapes and guitar-orientated epics. The broad, open, cinematic quality of the sound has ensured its enduring appeal. I consider it a timeless classic.

Why only 100 words?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

042/100 - Henryk Górecki’s third symphony for solo soprano and orchestra

Henryk Górecki’s third symphony for solo soprano and orchestra - his Symphony of Sorrowful Songs - is a minimalist masterpiece that I consider one of my favourite pieces of music across all genres.

The version I have (1992 Nonesuch Records) was conducted by David Zinman and features the London Sinfonietta and Dawn Upshaw as soloist. From the waves of strings to Upshaw’s vocals something truly magical is expressed, something that touches my soul.

Through periods of great upheaval and doubt Górecki’s Third has been a loyal companion. Its languid, sorrowful tone gives me the space I need and helps me feel alive.

Why only 100 words?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

041/100 - "Battle Born" by The Killers

I never really connected with The Killers until I heard their song "Be Still" (taken from their album "Battle Born") used in a mix from the chap behind Slow Dancing Society.

The song stood out to me with its lyrical content and sorrowful tone. I did the decent thing and bought the album, paying less than the shipping for a second hand copy of it from Amazon. I have really grown fond of the electro-rock presented and Brandon Flowers' vocals are very special.

"Be Still" catches me off-guard every time I hear it. It is an exceptional song.

Why only 100 words?


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