Collection Review: Alexander DeLarge – Selected Works (Demo Album)

A remnant of my neo-classical phase. I say phase, still to this day do I enjoy a few select artists, such as: World’s End Girl Friend, Yasushi Yoshida and Worrytrain. I downloaded this album back when it came out, back in 2012. It’s also a name your price, so if you like it, check out the Bandcamp. Alexander DeLarge is the protagonist of the critically acclaimed, ultra-violence, novel Clockwork Orange and he is also a neo-classical composer based in Russia. Today, I’m going to be re-listening to his album, Selected Works (Demo Album).

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This short album mixes together elements of, classical, of course, trip-hop, IDM and even glitch all rather well, which gives Selected Works, a very versatile and unique feel to it. At times the mixture of some angry glitching is at risk of breaking and destroying the beauty of the classical melodies. However, it simply bends it to the point of no return and then returns it to a fitting and wondrous return. This is most apparent in tracks like: Cellar Door, Nocturne and Last Record From Earth. It’s this flexible fragility that makes releases, such as this one, so interesting to listen to.

Alexander also manages to mix in little sprouts of post-rock, although this is most obvious in Last Record From Earth and Desolate Memories. In the former you have ambitious, explosion of sound, including guitars and percussion that add so much to an albums finisher. For Desolate Memories, the guitars are used as a backing instrument, to add another layer to the thickness of the sound that is being piled on. This does actually work; the guitar wails quietly away in the background while the piano leads you hand in hand through the growing drum loops and haze of music.

This haze, could swallow up listeners quite happily, were it not for the song that comes after, Nocturne. This song uses a very interesting and kind of jazzy lead piano with a drum loop that’s really glitched out. It sounds really cool, but it would have been nice to see this idea expanded on. Although the album is not bad, it would have been preferred if we could see this different side of the musician. The point is that this sort of music is very experimental and as such, you can use so many different things to keep it interesting. See Kashiwa Daisuke’s album 5.Dec for a stunning sound. To see this album, expand on the experimental ideas that it did have, briefly, could have really set this album apart from the others.

This small album does still have plenty to offer any fans of classical, IDM and trip-hop; it’s also a name your price album, so if you like what you’ve heard, you should give it a go. Check out Alexander DeLarge’s Bandcamp.

Will it stay in the collection?

It will.

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8 Albums For Studying Or Writing

It’s about 1am and you’re finally preparing yourself to do that most audacious of tasks, start doing some real work; detrimental to your physical health as it is. The lamp flicks on, the pen/keyboard is ready and you’ve got your supply of sugar, but what do you listen to? What album plays you off into the ungodly hours of the morning? Here is a short list of albums that I rate, specifically for situations like this.

Helios – Eingya

helios_mediumKeith Kenniff, the genius behind Helios and Goldmund, is an absolute wizard with all things soothing and ambient. His 2006 and six release Einya, will however always stay with me as his strongest album (as Helios atleast). Utilising blissful synths, gorgeous acoustic instrumentation and superbly implemented samples, Einya will see you deep into the abyss of the morning. Don’t expect to stay awake all night; your study plane will crash into bed, however, when it does happen, you’ll at least be at peace.

Recommended listening: Coast Off

Damien Rice – O

Damien_Rice_O_album_coverAnother release that makes me feel more vulnerable than I’m willing to admit, but Damien Rice’s, O, is perfect studying music, IF you have a bottle of wine. Damien sings the sad truths of love, commitment, time and disappointment; perfect for the self-pity that comes with the 4am crash. I had an internal debate between O and the other release, 9, but O is much more miserable and wonderfully acoustic compared to 9. That being said, it would be nice if I had more choice, but Damien seems to be selfishly wallowing around in despair and not releasing anything new; what a douche. Please note that if Mr Rice ever reads this I have nothing but unrequited love for him, seriously.

Recommended listening: Older Chests

Moonlit Sailor – Colors In Stereo

1314893847_moonlit-sailor-colors-in-stereo-2011All the tunes so far a wee bit too down-tempo for you? Let’s move things in the other direction for a bit then. Moonlit Sailor. These guys are four-piece Swedish act that make some of the most divine post-rock music I’ve ever heard. Colors In Stereo has everything you could want from a work album, amazingly uplifting tunes, lovely album art and a mentality of optimism that’s infused into the music. It won’t be long into this album before you’re feeling cautiously optimistic about your work. You may even feel, dare I say it, confident!

Recommended listening: Weekday Escape

65daysofstatic – We Were Exploding Anyway

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Not peaceful, not considerate, but breathtaking and powerful. The 2010 effort of Sheffield’s instrumental-rock legends sets itself apart from their early albums with a more vicious and (you could say), fake sound that lured them away from their post-rock roots. More synths, more drum machines and more boom, boom, pow! This album stands the test of time and proves that change can not only be successful for a band, but essential to keeping a sound fresh and stimulating. Expect to feel jumpy, hip and kissable (that album art man), while you etch down your innermost thoughts on that essay. And then delete them because you realise you were talking nonsense.

Recommended listening: Crash Tactics 

Bark Psychosis – Hex

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The slowest of slowcore that sets one of the most memorable music scenes you’ll ever listen to on an album. Bark Psychosis create this incredibly thick atmosphere of rainy late-night movie soundtracks in Hex and it becomes something you have to shake off after your listen, or you might take up smoking and standing in the rain to feel as if you’re in a scene from this album. Give it time and this album will become the soundtrack to your months of rain and solitude. Try to get that essay done and forget how gloomy Bark Psychosis make the world seem.

Recommended listening: The Loom

L’Orange – The Mad Writer

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L’Orange takes a bunch of samples from old movies, applies some sick beats, delicious textures and occasional vocalised songs that hit rather close to home. I didn’t pick this album because of how shamefully obvious it is, I did it because of how tip-fucking-top it is. I swear on me mum. Perfect for studying, this album has a thick smoky atmosphere that insists you crack open some whiskey to fully enjoy it. Every track on this album has an incredibly eerie mood that binds together samples from olde-time radio and movies like mad that makes it burst at the seams with personality. Pay attention and you might learn something.

Recommended listening (I couldn’t decide): The Mad Writer / The Imaginary Friend 

Faithless – Reverence

bigMy British is starting to show. Despite this absolutely mesmerising album only reaching the #26 in the UK charts on it’s release, some of it’s songs still went on to be absolutely massive. See Insomnia. What I think is really striking about this album is how fluently it rides the early trip-hop genre that was around during the early 90s. Faithless use the same big elements as Massive Attack, but go about it in a very different, and talented, way on some tracks and I think that that’s what helps Faithless stand out. Not to mention that the laid back nature of these songs lends itself perfectly to the student all-nighter; whether your partying or studying, this album can help you through it.

Recommended listening: Insomnia (The full version)

World’s End Girlfriend – Ending Story

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World’s End Girlfriend is the project of a single gentleman that just wows me. The albums put out by the mastermind that is Katsuhiko Maeda, are consistently beautiful, startling, strange and effective. The sounds of classical music, rock, funk, electronic and a whole handful of other genres are mixed seamlessly into this guys work. The album I choose though, Ending Story, is a more electronically/classically focused album. If you haven’t heard of World’s End Girlfriend, then this album is a grand place to start. Just be sure to bookmark your sanity; some of these tracks take strange to a whole new level and could roll you down to the looney bin before you finish that essay.

Recommended listening: Listening You

New Music Review: Megadudes – Postcards From The Past

The Megadudes first hit me with their mixture of rock and power-pop back in April, last year, with their tune, Garlic DadThe Megadudes are a combination of something that don’t take themselves too seriously and just enjoy the rock and roll that they provide the fans. Here’s a short taste of how this band does things:

And what have they provided fans recently? Why, a full length release that I’ve been looking forward to since last April. Postcards From The Past, is the debut full length release of The Megadudes and it’s a real corker that sounds as energetic, colourful and generally, as fun as a band’s first release should.

To get the band firing on all cylinders nice and early, the song Into The Crusher takes control with exciting hooks and loud and proud chorus’. It’s a short little number that enthuses listeners in the short amount of time it’s around with that same quick and to the pointless sound (not a bad thing) that the band are known for. Garlic Dad, will have a room reserved in my heart for years to come, simply because of how summer-like it sounds; heavy power-chord guitars, catchy vocals, funky bass and driven drums tie together this very striking and fun track.

So far, The Megadudes gel together elements of Green DayWeezer, and The Offspring, all successfully together, however, they do so with their own flair. It’s also very fortunate for them that their vocalist is rather unique. The vocals certainly set them apart as Chris Rodes sits comfortably in his range, never forcing his vocals to do anything they don’t need to. And it works. Fortunately, he does also experiment with where his voice is going, making things a whole lot more interesting that just a mumble here and a grumble there.

This One, makes the conscious decision to change up the pacing of things and mix things up with quiet, loud and interesting segments that segue seamlessly between each other; proving that The Megadudes play with more than a few cards held against their chest, including this knockout punch of a moment. And with the naughty solo at the penultimate moment, it’s also clear that they play with proficiency as well as a self-aware simplicity. For What It’s Worth, is another ace in the hole that plays hard to get with its rockier moments; it teases at the louder moments, but doesn’t give it to you, until you’re begging for it.

In These Ancient Streets, we get something different, the bass taking a hard lead and wonderful mixed vocals from Chris, pushing his voice for that aggressive extra bite that really adds a whole ‘nother layer to the mixture of an already interesting song. The same goes for Worthless Heart, it lets the guitars take a more relaxed spot at the back of the studio while the rhythm sections and vocals shine. But there is some nice guitar work here, duh.

With their first journey into the world of bands with full length albums, The Megadudes have managed to carve a scene with their fun, crowd-pleasing rock. Postcards From The Past is a strong first effort that holds up as a very successful first launch, setting a path out for these boys, now, we just stick close to our Garlic Dads, wait for the tours and new material with eager ears and wallets. In terms of what I’d like to see next time, I think some more progressive moments, just little spots to break up some of the rockier songs. We hear a lot of these in their Soundcloud material:

Go fourth Into The Crusher and get yourself a copy of Postcards From The Past.

You can check the band out on Facebooks, Twitters and you can buy Postcards From The Past on iTunes.

Feature Idea – Playlists That Mean Something

While writing a post about my months playlist, I wondered about a playlist of songs that held very strong memories for me. At this point, I had an idea for a project that I wanted to start.

The concept revolved around people submitting a list of songs that hold very special memories for them. I’m talking about songs that put you in a moment so viscerally, that all you can think about is that moment. Not sure why, but the thought of someone listening to a song and having it mean something besides an opinion, excites and interests me.

Think Post Secret, but with music. I want to do a weekly feature where someone submits a playlist and  a short explanation of what each song means to them. Obviously, they can submit this anonymously, or be published with a name.

I’d like people to submit via my email at: musicgleaner@gmail.com

So, if you’d like to contribute, I’d really appreciate it, if not, c’est la vie. I’ll follow up with more details if the project takes off.

To keep the post visual, here’s a picture of a crow in a suit with an umbrella:

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Playlist #1 March 2014

New sort of post for all you readers out there that are interested. These will be semi-diary like entries that revolve around the music I’m listening to at that time. They may relate to a date, a specific event in my life, or even a specific genre. I’ll let you know.

These are, however, my more self-indulgent posts, so feel free to skip if you’re not interested.

I’ll also try my best to link the tracks up, so you can see how spectacular (or not) my music taste is.

March’s Playlist:

Just a few tracks that I’m really loving right now. There’s no real order, as I usually whack my music player/iPod on shuffle unless I’m listening to a full album.

I’ve been feeling really nostalgic for home times recently, which explains around a third of this playlist, the other stuff, like Slint or You Slut!, are bands or tunes that I’ve just got into listening to. Very late to the Slint party, as you can see.

I’ll be heading home for a few days, so along with this post, there are one or two more lined up, so I don’t have to worry about making rushed content or anything like that. Because this is totally not rushed. Really, I just want to see if I can relax a bit and not have to give myself tons of work to do while I’m at home. Being at home is time for sucking blood red wine from your parents and raiding the fridge like some scoundrel, not stressing over a computer screen for x, y, z, or any other letter. That being said, I’ll be around to over-watch how things are going here, I just don’t want to have to make any new content.

Music is fun!

This post looks a little dull, have a picture of a guy playing two pianos:

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Speak soon kids x

Collection Review: Ceelo Green – Forget You (Single Track)

Well I’ll be damned if it wasn’t long before I got something that I despise. Me and Ceelo Green go way back to back in Primary School when I lent him a few quid for his lunch; to this day, he never repaid this poor student. Which is the only reason his music annoys me.

‘Really? That’s the only reason?’ Alright, that might not be entirely true. But really, this song and this guy just agitate me. Why it’s in my endless list of music, I will never know. It’s time to shine my torch of judgement over Mr Green.

Forget You was the leading single for Ceelo Green’s 2010 album, lady-killer and was, unfortunately, played a rather large amount. This could be thanks to the fact that the song actually isn’t bad. The only real reason I’ll slate this song is because of Mr Green’s voice. Everything else to do with the song is wonderful. The joyous instrumentation gleams in the background and the chorus booms with uplifting chords. While the music video is certainly very well characterised, with a charming sense of twee about it, I don’t feel it really affects the way that I see the song.

Still, all of this considered, I still find it a real task to love this song, while hearing this guy’s vocals at the front of shop, shouting and squeaking out the vocals. I have to give the man his props for his song-writing, but I just cannot enjoy this song.

Do we keep it in the collection?

Fraid not.

New Music Review – Atoms. – Atoms. EP

Hello everyone, it is once again time for something new to be inspected and judged by my watchful ears. Today, we have London-based six-piece, Atoms. Atoms. is an alt-rock band with occasional leanings of post-rock and even in a track or two on this EP, shoegaz-ie. Their sound is loud, quiet, electronic (sometimes) and ultimately accessible and are said to be for fans of: RadioheadMaybeshewillDeftones65daysofstatic and Explosions in the Sky, will enjoy their sound. At this point in their musical career, it’s definitely easy to see what they’re getting at.

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The EP starts with Fits and Starts. This opener swells with cello strings and irregular drumming that all just build and melds together with a sickly sweet synth which eventually, just swallows everything into this melodic piano. It’s all very movie soundtrack, moving and then guitars, strumming away to add as much texture as possible. The vocals that come in much later to the track add another layer to the track, but it’s difficult to hear them, this feels intentional, but it would be preferable to hear what our singer has to say. Already, we’re getting this idea of what kind of band we’re dealing with; a compassionate sound that utilises all layers of its sound to create this vast atmosphere.

Splitting Atoms gives the vocals a chance to vocalise themselves above the other instruments, which is a good thing too! This song feels tight, nicely put together and active enough to keep listeners interested, even with the gentle piano solo halfway through. Again, in this song, Atoms. managed to move from bar to bar of their music with elegance and feeling; meaning that you go from the careful guitar to the raw guitar in a matter of seconds. It all feels very prog-rock at this point, but not really flamboyant prog with intense sweeping guitar solos, but a more experimental side; the kind of college experimental.

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The next song is a considered slowing of the EP. 1.2.0 offers listeners a relaxing moment in the heavily textured EP so far. At least the start does. The build in this track, feels incredibly fun to listen to, with the instruments coming together and then pulsating out with the vocals. 1.2.0 offers my favourite moments from this EP, with the loud intro, the quiet break and then the crescendo back into the intro/outro; it all feels in place and very implosive, which is what a band like Atoms. are good at.

Howdowemakeitdie, is a suitable ending to this short little journey that Atoms. have agreed to take us on. It’s a slow, beast of a track that blows up like an aggressive drunk halfway through the night, but then simmers down and fades into sleep. The guitars take you home with a sweet and final shimmer of notes. Now you can breathe out and take in the journey.

For a first EP, Atoms. have done a brilliant job of characterising their sound, which is imperative for a band at this stage in their career. It’ll be interesting to see how they evolve over the next few months, until they release their new EP (hopefully in the summer, but we’ll see).

You can buy their debut EP for a name your price, price on Bandcamp.

And you can follow their Facebooks or Twitters.

Do we add it to the collection?

Dayum straight.