Spotify Listening Link: K.Flay – K.Flay
Tehe... I typed "sportify" instead of spotify at first. Anywhos.
So, K.flay has come highly recommended by a few friends. She kicked off Bonnaroo this year, and was the first summer ticket I bought this year when I found out I couldn't make the festival itself - July is when I'll be making up for missing it.
Kristine Flaherty is from outside of Chicago and started her career while attending Stanford University. She's been traveling a lot, opening for people like Passion Pit, 3OH!3, and others, but always working alone. She says that she spent a lot of time just messing around, and it wasn't until her first mixtape that she felt an actual direction - a mindset; a direction. A lot of places note that her isolation is a central theme for her, which is scary and comforting all at once.
Final thing before we launch into the basement-produced, self-titled EP that's available on Spotify: The bio on the Roo app says "Flaherty may write about apathy, but she's anything but apathetic." Let's do this.
"No Duh" starts things up with some pretty interesting loops of a simple "la." She raps, if you didn't know. This kind of isn't the sound I was expecting looking at the pictures of this girl, but it sure as hell in interesting. The rapping is completely steady, and the breaths are calculated throughout - and she gets a lot out in-between. Pretty interesting. A little too close to Nicki Minaj for my taste, but just different enough to be much more tolerable.
She takes things to a different electronic level for "Messin With My Head." This time, there's a definite verse-chorus structure to the song, and it's based (seemingly) off a boy-girl story. She takes a stand though - "fuck you and everything you said - it was all lies, messin' with my head." Kind of a killer kiss-off song if I do say so. The beats amazingly looped, with just a really cool way about it. It's catchy, but not annoyingly so, like, it won't necessarily be stuck in my head later, but I don't hate hearing it again and again right now.
Heard an actually good song in a club lately? Me either, but that's because I haven't been to a lot of clubs lately. "So Far, So Maybe" would be a kick-ass club song with lyrics that are kicking someone's ass to the curb. I should pay more attention to the lyrics here - they're good and crazy. There' a chorus, of sorts. The only reason we know that at all is that it repeats and adds one voice. Otherwise, the lyrics are friging insane and move by fast enough to make you go, "wait, what'd she say?" and maybe laugh in the midst.
"Anywhere But Here" is sort of... boring? I don't mean to offend with that at all. I think it's just the video game beat in the background that I can't ignore, and it seems to drag the whole track down. I also think we got a little to used to partying with the other tracks. Usually I love tracks with this kind of theme - talking about flying away to somewhere else. This one's just not doing it though.
This is the first EP in a while that I find myself sad to only have one more track of to listen to - the mark of a really good artist, for a pleasant change. "Acetaminophen" has got to have some heavy effects running through those wires. There's no natural sound from a mic going on here until the verse, and even then, the sounds coming from the back are totally canned. Don't get me wrong - sort of cool. I don't think I'm in the right state to enjoy it properly - it's be better about 3-4 drinks in or so. But overall a good whatever-you-want track that's going to keep everyone moving for sure. This is just crazy!!
Added to My Playlist:
And that's all that she wrote, for this one at least. This was a really great taste of what this girl has to give. The music is so odd and different, but in all the good ways possible, and I am finally left wanting more from someone I've listened to an EP from. Can't wait to hear it all live in a month!!
- "Messin With My Head"
- "So Fast, So Maybe"
All right kids, we're kicking it in to high gear on the Bonnaroo artists kids! We've got very little time and a lot of ground to cover. Now that the schedule's up, I'll be including where you can find them this June.
First up on this race to the finish, we have Cherub. The Nashville Scene described their sound as "club-spawn, skull-shaking low end with a wall of guitars and talkbox pyrotechnics." The Bonnaroo app includes in their bio that this is a "sexy, avant-garde, electro-pop duo that is the dance love child of 80's funk and pop-music from the future." Whew, that's a lot to handle in one show.
Friday, June 8th, 1:00AM
The Great Taste Lounge
Slight sweet draw in at the start, and the voice starts up. It is just as described in some of the reviews - silky. His voice is just very, very nice, even reminiscent of Michael Jackson of the 80s. Slightly feminine, but the right way to enjoy. The song itself is "What I Want." Then the other vocal harmonies come in - it's slow and not at all dancey, but I'll hold out for that change at least one song. The pop element is huge in it, as the chords sing out of happy-go-luckiness.
"Dear Body" brings in the electronic element. Maybe this is one of those bands that does different things in each track, not really getting itself boxed into a specific area, and thus warranting all of those different descriptions. Not totally sure what the hell they're singing about here, but the musical elements in it are pretty damn cool. This is something we can move to! Oh, and there's the drug line. Oh man, yeah, this'll work for the Roo early morning hours...
Slightly more epic sound leading into "You, Me and Jodeci." And in enters the falsetto. -_-. Y'all had me up until then. I don't know about this one in general. I mean, it's probably the bedroom song of the album, but that's sort of imbedded in the lyrics, not the movement of the music. It's just kind of annoying and trance-y, and just not in a good way. Turn off, really.
"La Casa Del Obispo" is back to the dance beat. The falsetto is still there, but it works so much better when there's not that attempt at being sexy. Even the robotic effects are easier to handle than the previous ones. There's a definite funk angle involved here, giving an awesome groove factors to the whole track unlike anything we heard before. The dynamics of this one are really incredible - ups and downs, slows and fasts, they all work perfectly with the feel of the song.
I really like the beat already for "Xoxo." I don't completely understand the direction of the song - I think it's some kind of kiss-off. But this is a rare occasion when the song meaning holds less importance to me than the beat and melodies - which are kick ass. This is just really cool. Kind of adoring every moment here, and just want to have some fun with it all.
I totally read "Monogamy" as "man-oh-goh-me" for some reason, instead of the way it's supposed to be pronounced. My degrees say I'm smart - I never claimed it though. Anywhos, it starts off with lyrics that are reminiscent of 2ge+her, but I guess it gets better. It's actually more on his lack of ability to commit. Oooook. Only in this kind of non-genre sort of music would this ever be totally acceptable, lol.
The music leads right into "Roxxy" is absolutely gorgeous, and I don't normally say that in many areas outside of instrumentals. Then this odd, husky voice comes in, and it's just... man, can these guys just lay off of the seduction techniques? It's not hot in the least bit to have a distorted voice tell you he wants to lay you down, even if he tries some cute lines about your eyes. At least do it with a normal-ish voice.
"Doses & Mimosas" makes me laugh - just the title alone, plus the reference in my own head to Sunday brunch. Man, do I love Sunday brunch. Anywhos, yeah, there is a song here, promise. We go from that deeper odd voice to this higher-pitched odd voice. At least there are lyrics though - that's a happy difference from other similar musicians I've heard. Plus, that little electric synth kind of thing is cute. This is sort of an average song comparatively to the rest of the album, but you win some, you lose some, and some you just shrug off.
Dominic Lalli comes on board for "Hold Me," and it's another "love me" song, this time luring her into, at least, something a little more meaningful. This cool wooden-flute sound comes in between verses. If it were just taken down like an octave, the song would be this entirely funky delight to delve in to fully and with full body. The cutting through my head though is just not cool enough damn it. The sentiment is sweet-ish though: "Hold me in my sleep, hold me in my sleep, hold me forever."
"Lynndenberries" presents this delicious little African-esq beat that is just entrancing. His voice isn't quite as annoying this time around, even if it is still on the high sigh. The song is the most natural sounding electronic song I think I've ever heard. It's slow, but has a bass beat that keeps you interested in the movement of the whole thing. Love's a very sweet matter here, just about as completely honest as it can be (parental warning here: explicit descriptions, sort of). First time I've heard a song of this nature, though, that I would love to kick back and here again...
A very simple and familiar drum loop leads us into "All," featuring Natalie Prass. The electric keys that come in and layer on to create the full sound are light and airy, with some slight undertone of naughtiness beneath them. The lyrics sing "all I wanna do is be with you," which seems innocent enough, but that this point and with that lower register of tones played, I'm going to go ahead and say there's more to it. Also, Natalie has a nice, but far too immature voice for this.
"Don't Forget Me" is the final song. It kind of fantastically simple and relies on the lyrics more than anything to say something for the song. It's beautiful and honest and heartfelt. This is literally just a song asking that this is a person that remains in your memory. There's that element of ending for sure, but also the moments of moving on, reflection, and life in general. It gets a little trance on us, but it's appropriate in this odd little story-telling method.
Added to My Playlist:
Overall, this was so much fun and so good to listen to. There were lyrics that actually meant something, either by telling a story or displaying a real feeling. The music was right in oh so many places, giving the perfect combo of elements every which way they were needed. If I can manage to keep it together and stay awake, I need to be at the 1 AM show!!
- "Dear Body"
- "La Casa Del Obispo"
- "Hold Me (feat. Dominic Lalli)"
- "Don't Forget Me"
So, my 2012 Bonnaroo experience is now up in the air - sadly, that's the nature of things when you move and have to take work as you can get it. But until we know for sure, let's keep going on this lineup coverage, shall we?
Flying Lotus is an enigma to me. The most I know is that the name looked interesting when I first came across it.
For starters, this is the great nephew of Alice Coltrane, born Steven Ellison. Originally, you may have heard him writing beats for Adult Swim, prior to debuting with a full-length album in 2006 with 1983. This is classified as an avant-guard hip hop work. Think... well, I don't know what to tell you to think, because I've never heard any of the people that are referenced in this bio.
And th-th-th-that's all folks. Couldn't resist, sorry. But yeah, that's all the info I've got to work on. I mean, there's probably more, but let's go with that blurb and get down to it, k?
"Clock Catcher" is track number one and it starts off in the most jarring, bizarre way ever - a whole bunch of odd sounds (I think it includes instruments; there's definitely a harp in there), ranging from musical to electronic, but nothing that seems to be meant to be together. And then it suddenly ends. And I am suddenly terrified of what's to come.
It goes right into the second track, "Pickled!" This one actually has a beat, amongst the weird rocket launch sounds and screeching strong sounds. There's a guitar plucking some great scales throughout, and the backbeat is light but funky. If only the accompanying sounds were as appealing.
"Nose Art" actually made me laugh at first. There's something about that beat for some reason? There's also some laid-in vocals telling some sort of story. This has got to be the most intriguing track so far. The sounds are not human generated, unless you count hitting the buttons. I don't know - there's something obviously not electronic to this album, despite it being entirely electronic. There's generally no regular bass like we're used to hearing, and the elements are almost non-sensical.
There's a very nice use of... harp, I think, for "Intro//A Cosmic Drama." I'm beginning to think that, despite no note of it, this album is meant to technically flow altogether as one soundtrack to something. It almost works like a movie soundtrack, if it were to be played with A Clockwork Orange. Hmm... now there's an idea. There's just enough distortion for that to work.
"Zodiac Shit" (no lie, that's the name) comes right on in without any true shift into a new track. There's the bass I was wondering about, and it seems like we're getting a little more regular of a sound going on here. There's a bit of the cosmic sound the album was more-or-less based on creating, but it goes down to a lower moment, almost fading out. In the same track, a completely different beat kicks up and into what, in my head, should be a whole other song. Does. Not. Compute!
Oh fun odd drawn out buzzes, you totally don't make for decent music at all. "Computer Face//Pure Being" does have a sort-of beat and carries out like it's trying to be creative. Okay, okay, there is something relatively there I suppose. It gets better as the synth comes in and gives a melody of sorts to carry out the 'song' itself. Then it drops for a second, but everything comes back. This is like some really odd, computerized wedding march. Or maybe a funeral march. Can't totally place my finger on it.
"...And The World Laughs With You ft. Thom Yorke" was featured on "True Blood," so it must be good. No, I'm not saying that as an assumption. I'm saying that as "it better damn well be good." I have no idea where this played into the series, other than maybe where I've heard the voice before. It's definitely got that misty TB sound to it, just sort of floating over a lot of the 'music' behind it. Maybe it was in one of the club scenes. If anyone out there is actually reading this and can comment and help me figure this out, I'd really appreciate it!
I'm a little intrigued by the title, "Arkestry" for the next track. I mean, there's a lot of oddness going in, then this kind of cool drum line that picks up. If the damn squealing strings weren't such an issue overtop, the drums and later accompanying horns would actually sound pretty cool. The only thing keeping it from being decent is that small piercing sound that is cutting through my head like a knife. The rest of the track, while still not coming across as a full song (more like a warm up in one room), is some of the best stuff I've heard yet. Again though, a little over two minutes in, we get a pause and an entirely different song, which actually has a very old-time movie sound to it, thanks to the singing of the strings. I just wish this all made more sense.
"MmmHmm ft. Thudercat" has the lightest sound so far - something between raindrops and a light jazz club. I mean, it picks up, and there are minor distortions throughout the background ghostly notes, but for the most park, the song is gentle and pretty nice to listen to. If y'all have read my review on Bon Iver, you'll know I'm not exactly a fan, but saw the upsides to some of their work. That's about the same feeling I have here. It's tolerable, even likable, especially when put side-by-side with a few other select tracks. Even with the bizarre ending scats.
That weird ending does lead into "Do The Astral Plane" though, so it's not completely out of place - it just sounds like the album tracks were cut wrong. It sounds like some sort of traditional R&B song, if not for the distortion effects used. There's something done here that makes the whole song sound just slightly out of range - almost like you're under water. It's a really strange feeling, especially when the main beat is some completely clear. There's something that messes with your head just a little bit. And of course, odd sounds are coming into play, just to throw you off a little bit more. At least things sound fun in the studio.
"Satelllliiiiiiiteee" (and yes, I counted and got all the letters right) almost has an African feel to it, but I might be giving too much credit to this guy for having a direction. So let's just say there are instruments of traditional African descent utilized throughout the track. And rhythms. Eh, sorry, I'm just bitter. It may have something to do with the lack of lyrics, let alone direction, throughout the album. It all sort of drops off in favor of child-like bells into a fade out, then build up (yes, all in one track) of a funk song with some nice picking to it. Why are these grouped together? Why the hell not anymore?
A nice smooth sax makes most of the appealing sound in "German Haircut." The overlaid wind whistling sounds make it definitely sound of times long ago, perhaps in the 20's. This an old, abandoned, or at least downtrodden, bar, where this player is just trying to maintain something, anything, with the band. It does take a slight swing upwards, either out of anger and excitement, for just a moment, before the dream fades out.
"Recoiled" actually does compliment its own title pretty well. There's this gun click sound (which may be claps - sorry if I'm wrong). Every element within the track has that out and drawn back in sound to it. At least there's some sense of unity for this one. I guess that's something to be proud of. Yeah, we'll put that tic in the accomplishment category. They maybe go a little overboard, but hey, shit happens. The attempt is appreciated.
Bah. My roommates just got back from an Edward Sharpe concert, which only makes me hate sitting here with this 'music' so much more. *sigh* We're almost there. Next up is "Dance of the Pseudo Nymph." I'll give credit where it's do - there is a cool sound to this right off the bat. It's bizarre in a way, but kind of awesome and you can actually get a feel of movement throughout it. The beats overlap in a pretty cool way, with a nice use of varying percussion sounds. This one works.
"Drips//Auntie's Harp" falsely makes you think it's going to be some slow, tone-y song, but amps up pretty quickly. It's all electronically done, of course. I have to say, this is probably the most classically electronic sounding song we've come across so far. I mean, at least in comparison with the big names like deadmau5. Of course, he doesn't switch songs completely mid-track! For the love of goodness!! Pick a song, stop and the end of it, and start the next one - ON ANOTHER TRACK.
Literally the sound of table tennis and some shh's and a girl singing something I can't even wrap my head around. That's all I can get out of "Table Tennis" which features Laura Darlington. Who records this? This is avant garde if I've ever heard it - making your own definition of what music actually is. How in the world does this translate to a live performance? I already described it. I'm done with this one.
"Galaxy in Janaki" is the final song, and I am just downright excited by that. It's a fitting ending, where they seem to finally get something right and pretty. There's no attempt to use whatever is within arm's reach to make noise. There's no odd whispers of voices trying to tell us something that just comes across as creepy and indiscernable. It's just a mix of electronic sounds coming together in a semi-melodic jumble.
Added to My Playlist:
No one is ever allowed to tell me that I'm musically close-minded. Ever. I just sat through this and even found enjoyable tracks. Now please, if I can just get a decent rock album next time around... preferably one where it's more than button combos.
- "Nose Art"
- "MmmHmm ft. Thundercat"
- "Dance of the Pseudo Nymph"
- "Galaxy In Janaki"
*Side note - sorry for the lack of video commentary. It's late. I'm tired. And this was tough enough the first time around. The short clips I did see though look awesome and I'm sure make this all so much better.
Who hasn't seen this album cover sometime in the last year or so? This French DJ has made quite an impression on a pop world that seems to be gobbling up DJ mixes faster than the original songs can be written. Is there such a thing as remixing anymore anyway? I mean, I know there's literally tons of it, but not in the way you heard top 40 hits being done on Friday night radio back in the day. *sigh* I'm nostalgic for those sleepovers and blasting the weird versions of the Backstreet Boys you only heard on the party hours late on weekends.
This is a double-disc release, the first being the twelve collaborations, five of which you'll hear across the airwaves. The second album is electronic mixes entirely, six tracks long. As long as I don't have to hear "Sexy Bitch" (only a handful of guys from South Jersey will understand this), I'll be open to hearing the rest with a clear mind.
Follow along on Spotify if you're ready to party.
Oh yeah, this is gonna make me love this. We start off with Nicki Minaj & Flo Rida on board for "Where Them Girls At." Damn it, this was a good club song, if memory serves, before I knew that. Maybe I've heard a mix where she's taken out. Or just a mix without her rapping. It's an insanely catchy song though, and, if the hype lasts long enough, it'll make a serious clubbing song at the beach bars back home this summer. Ahhh, I take that back, the little bridge in there is incredibly obnoxious - maybe if that gets cut, it'll be easier to take.
What's interesting about watching performances of David is that he knows he's a recognizable artist in his own right. It's not just about the vocalists over him. You sometimes never see the DJ involved in the song. He makes you know he's there too. Okay, now that we're getting into the video, not gonna lie, this dancing is hil-frickin-larious. Nicki, not so much. Eh, okay, this all gets a little disturbing after a while.
This might be the first totally weird buzzing sound in music I haven't totally hated. "Little Bad Girl" is a song featuring Taio Cruz and Ludacris (so you know it's gonna be awesome). There's something about this one that makes it not only catchy, but genuinely fun. Okay, so yeah, it's a complimentary song about a girl, though maybe it's not totally a compliment. I don't know. Seriously, I'd love to do a study about why people like pop music - because we all have these little indulgence songs. Also, there's something about being a little bad. Annndddd that's as far as I'm willing to take this discussion in a blog entry.
Ah, performance videos. Always a good time. All kinds of digital madness going on throughout, full of lights and fun rave-y kinds of things. Yup, I need to get out. What is going on with David in this video? The looks on his face are downright funny. I guess he's... happy? the sun went down? Now is his time to shine!!
"Turn Me On" brings back Nicki Minaj. Well damn... I've liked this song for a while actually. I'm desperately trying to keep down my auto-tune walls on this album, because I know it's inevitable, and it's just what's happening in 'music' today. Dear god, we're turning things over to the machines. I would love to see what Belmont's curriculum is link nowadays. Skip the rap ears - accept that it's here. Otherwise, it's a really awesome song. The pause and breakdowns are perfect for the atmosphere it's meant for. Bring on the club, yo.
Oh my god, give me a break with Nicki, please. I do really love this song, but this was hard to watch, even with the cool life-given robot concept.
Whoa, no one mentioned Snoop Dogg was coming. He's here for a remix (?) of "Sweat." Yes, it's a near entirely about sex. Not that that's entirely a bad thing for a song - hell, it's a theme and concept at least. And for a dance, song, it works out well. That's what you want to see out on the floor, right? Ugh, I need to get out more.
But it's all been worth it, just to get to the best single to come off the album, "Without You," featuring Usher. It's a love song and a dance song all in one, and today you just don't see that often. The "Glee" slowed-down version is lovely and moving actually, bringing out the meaningful side of the lyrics. But, even with that backbone beat behind it, this song has such life and wonderful feelings throughout it. It could be for friends, or more specifically, for someone you love that much. It could be an apology, but I think it's just so much more of a song of appreciation for them and how they brighten your life. I heard it for the first time, I mean really heard it, after just a quick conversation with someone who I'm quite positive means the world to me and doesn't even realize it, but this will always be my song for them from then on.
Did you know that in a club, nothing really matters but the beat? Me either, but will.i.am assures us of that in "Nothing Really Matters." I'm sorry, but I have yet to like anything that has will.i.am featured as a soloist. This isn't as bad as that track from Nicki Minaj's album, but it's still just not great, and that's solely based on his voice. Good try though on that backing, David.
The reason we saw Chris Brown twice is thanks to David Guetta insisting on including him on this album. He and Lil Wayne appear for "I Can Only Imagine." And the only reason this was the song picked to perform was that either (1) Usher was unavailable to do "Without You," or (2) this includes a very recognizable, often-used, drop beat sound right in the middle as the music kicks up. Eh, it's a pretty good song for the most part though. Lil Wayne makes his little walk-on appearance (seriously, watch the video), and then we're close to done after some seriously cranked-up autotune.
Favorite moment: David Guetta's smile during this performance.
Almost didn't realize we'd moved onto a new song, "Crank It Up" with Akon. Whoa, where's Akon been lately? Just haven't heard that name in a while for some reason. It's another good club song, but like I said - I didn't realize we'd moved on from the last one. Not exactly memorable.Ugh, I would have stuck with the last concept. Next up features Timbaland and Dev with "I Just Wanna F." Uh huh, that's a real song! Lovely morals. Sorry, I was just brought up different where this matter is private, not out there for the world to see, er, rather, hear. I'm not really sorry - I just apologize a lot. Anyway, this song exists for those who want it. As for the rest of us, let's move on."Night of Your Life" features Jennifer Hudson, which is an immediate relief. I mean, weird that she's gone all dance-like, but it's cool. Let's branch out. And she makes him earn it, damn it. This is damn impressive vocally - but we all knew she could sing well, right? She brings it to a different level, which I think elevates her even more. Everything on here is pure from her, and David keeps it moving throughout with a great beat to make for an overall cool performance from the duo.Jessie J, someone could put out her own very good album last year, comes on for "Repeat." Again, we've got someone with a very good voice, and who has, so far, made a career out of doing interesting things with it. It's a cool concept for the song, given the title - she's done and he's still on girls just like her - he's stuck on repeat. The song moves at a faster pace for the backing, but the vocals take their own way, yet it all meshes together really well. There's a kind of strength coming out of the pain from him, as she moves on. He did bury her in that pain for a while though. Damn I need to stop listening to these things so late at night."Titanium" features our last singer for the album, Sia. It's a beat that I can only describe as a rising sun, because I think I've seen a video including something like this. Yeah, I know I'm talking nonsense for a second. This was an international single for which YouTube won't let us watch the video in the good ol' US. Whatever. Uh, my mind's being a little screwed with here as the tones come in and are vacuumed out (that's the only way I can explain what I just heard).Onto the electronic tracks! "Lunar" starts off the second disc and features Afrojack, I suppose mixing with him (it's late - I'm not looking it up). Definitely fitting of the title - if you can't imagine floating off to space with this playing, your nutz. And yes, with a z. The tonation goes up and down in a cool way, and he knows how to maintain a theme. A little Daft Punk influence perhaps? Eh, maybe. You can't beat the real thing though. "Sunshine," however, doesn't really sound like what I would have expected, given the title. I know, I know, that's not a requirement. Avicii worked this one with him. I swear I could sing "I throw my hands up in the air sometimes..." right along with pieces of this. There's a brightness to it as it continues, and I can't help hearing steal drums throughout."Toy Story" is all David Guetta, and it sends us into a video game, or at least the mood for one. He wasn't kidding about this party being an electronic song, er, disc. There's nothing natural at all about these sounds, which is a little irksome, but I have to say, I get more done during this kind of music than just about anything else. I don't know if it's the ability to zone out, or that I don't get caught up in the lyrics by just catching one good line, or what, but it's grown on me in the past couple of years.Afrojack is back for another collaboration in "The Future." This time we're being launched. Tehehe, this is kind of fun - making up games and scenarios for songs that may or may not have any meaning whatsoever. Like I said, this grows on you after a while."Paris" paints a portrait of a Parisian night club in my head, probably much like David's old haunts of the 80's and 90's. No real reason for that in particular other than knowing his background and hearing the title. It's just a generally decent crunk and wind song, and no I don't know where that description came from. I'm just trying to get throughout this like y'all, if you're even reading/listening. It's just steady enough to be on the obnoxious side though.Finally we have "Glasgow," which would be better if the up-swing of the beats didn't hit quite so hard. It's like a pang to the head each time. The one thing I do appreciate, though, is the use of different notes through the tones - there's a mood to each one that changes the story being told by the song.Added to My Playlist:
Great album for what it is, really. He gets the business and where it's going, so selling pop singers to this generation through mixes like this really works to his own advantage in selling albums - er, tracks, I guess (thank you downloading. UGH.). David Guetta keeps him own ideas in there too though, and was able to include influences and thoughts throughout that really create an album all his own.
- "Little Bad Girl"
- "Turn Me On"
- "Without You"
- "Night Of Your Life"
- "Toy Story"
An Australian electronic band is invading our ears today, with their third studio album. In interviews, the band commented that they wanted this to be a new imagining of what they could do with their instruments, stripping away the previous sounds. They recorded in an old warehouse in Melbourne, surrounded by old recording equipment and barely any internet access. By all accounts, it seems like much less of a synthetic sounds because of the use of vocal arrangements instead. In fact, vocals, editing, and mixing are the only big credits on the album for people involved, other than artwork.
So why do we care? Well, the album as a whole was nominated for a Grammy this year, so that's one reason. Plus, it reached #2 on our dance charts, so maybe, commercially, there is something to enjoy here.
Take a listen to the whole album on Spotify by clicking here.
So we kick things off with the one produced video I could find, "Need You Now." First though, the song itself. Actually, from the little I've been hearing while pulling videos, I can already say I think I'm going to like this a lot more than a few other dance ones I've been hearing. The beat's a little lighter, even if it is a bit more steady (which is usually an immediate turn off). And holy crap, there's singing. This is exciting. Like, Chromeo-level exciting (now that was an awesome show). The voice is a little droning, but I'll attribute that to his range for now. It's actually interesting as we're getting more into the lyrics - "I know we're going crazy, but I need you now." I could dig this again sometime.
"Take Me Over" comes in like a movie track, then this funky beat hits, with what I can only describe as a bongo sound from the drum circles at parties back home. Eh, shit, now I miss those parties. It gets more dance-y toward as it goes on, giving a good party beat. Dude's voice is still kind fo awkward, but it's working a little more with each number. Here's a live performance from last year's Coachella:
What almost sounds like an opening to a 60's based show (sorry, I've been watching a lot of "Mad Men" lately), we get into "Where I'm Going." Surprisingly, there's no drum credits to this album. Listen to it and see what I mean. There are some fun little groovy moments throughout, including the "yeah's" as the chorus is ending. And those "ooh's" are just priceless. You don't hear them in much music anymore. This exemplifies what they meant by using more vocal arrangements throughout this album.
"Pharaohs & Pyramids" is seemingly a little more electronic, at least from the get-go. Weird airy voice entrance, then picking it up with some electric drums. It's an okay track, though more fitting for the 80's era, or at least A Clockwork Orange. Seriously, if you're not hearing some weird throwback to Bowie, then I'm loosing my mind and/or hearing.
A little train sound comes in with "Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution." There's definite mixes in of tracks and snippets from shows, movies, etc. I actually had to check my video loading screen to make sure it wasn't some weird commercial bleeding through. Interesting little beat and melody on what sounds like a xylophone (never thought I'd get to type that, and got it right on the first try!). I'm becoming less into what we're hearing as this goes on, but I'm hoping that's just due to the voice kind of moving in a weird fashion.
"Strange Nostalgia For The Future" lives up to its name somehow in sound. There's just a lot of blurry off-handed notes coming in and out of the realm of hearing. It doesn't really feel like it lasts all that long either, though maybe I stopped paying attention for a minute. There wasn't a real strong use of prevalent voices here.
In an interesting use of drums, and I mean that in a way that the use is pretty steady and very rock-like, we get "This Is All We've Got." There's almost a Sgt. Pepper feel, or at least Across the Universe is being channeled through the process here. The field scenes, I mean, of course. Until we're very close tothe end and there's a little guitar carrying it. Then the voices fade us out.
"Alisa" kicks things off with a run. Again, I'm waiting to be able to tie moods of the songs to their titles, but maybe I'll need to give up that pipe dream. There is, again, a very 80's-esq feel to the song, with wafting notes off into the twilight (sorry - this kind of music gets me all poetic and whatnot). I like where it winds up going with the vocals in here though. The harmonies become more interesting, even if the words are less-than-understandable. Here's a look at a live performance in their native land:
Such an interesting mix of live band sound with electronic jazz beats in "Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat." The verses are so very different than the choruses, almost providing this end trippy feel as you listen. Ever get lost in an odd galactic way to a song? No? Listen to this with your eyes closed, at least, and I'm pretty sure you'll get there. It's just a good vibe throughout.
We end with a less-than-thrilling, yet appropriate wrap-up of the album, "Corner Of The Sky." It's just another song to me, nothing to write home about. It's got the same sound as a majority of the rest of the album, namely that middle portion that left me kind of bored or annoyed. But live, it's another story. It's actually something I'd love to check out sometime:
Added to My Playlist:
I started off pretty high on this album, loving mostly all of what it was giving. I think I got a little off somewhere along the line, getting bored for the most part. The beats are much more enjoyable than I expected or have experienced lately, and I'd love to see this live show honestly! There's a great energy to everything about it, and that lasts through each and every track. It's a respectably compiled album, and I really did enjoy it more than a lot of others I've sat through. I could deal with more of this, for sure.
- "Need You Now"
- "Take Me Over"
- "Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat"
Told you we'd get back around to this one!! It's nominated for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Again I say - watch the movie if you haven't. Musically, it's an awesome experience.
So this time, since it's only Daft Punk as the composers, I got the chance to look a little more into them and how this whole thing came to be. This was one of those acts I'd heard of my whole life by never truly listened to. A close friend of mine threw a copy of Discovery my way one night, and I think I listened to it about 3 times in a row, never skipping a track.
Yup, easily hooked, what can I say.
So how this soundtrack... this really awesome, slightly addicting soundtrack... came to be. The director of the film, Joseph Kosinski, along with Jason Bentley (music supervisor) approached and asked the guys to compose the score. Makes total sense, given the nature of the movie. Thomas Bangalter (one of the guys in Daft Punk - first time I've heard either of their names too) actually missed out on composing the soundtrack for Enter the Void since he was preoccupied with this. Another insane movie, in sort of a different way. Well, I guess I say that only having seen the first 10 minutes. But yeah, anywhos, he wound up just filling in as the sound effects director on that one instead.
The details of the soundtrack are pretty awesome. There's an 85-piece orchestra used, and it was recorded in London with conductor Gavin Greenaway. The whole thing as intended to be a mix of orchestral and electronic music, and that mark was certainly hit. The score that Daft Punk wrote wound up being arranged and orchestrated by Joseph Trapanese, who collaborated with them on the score for two years. God I want to work like that - complete devotion to the music of a movie, from pre-production all the way through final completion.
Gavin's comments on the work - I have to share: “It seems complicated at the end of the day, but it’s actually quite simple. I was locked in a room with robots for almost two years and it was simply a lot of hard work. We were just together working throughout the whole process and there was never a point where the orchestra was not in their minds and the electronics were not in my mind. It was a continual translation between the two worlds and hopefully we put something together that will be something different because of that."
I guess we should get into it, huh?
The "Overture" is basically a tone, which you don't even realize it happening until about 30 seconds in. Then slowly, we hear the film theme of the majesty that is Tron. Really, watch the movie - the whelm of the notes coming into the beginning have this awesome sense of epic-ness, like you know you're about to see something incredible. 85-piece orchestra here.
If you read my other review a few days ago of the remix album for this soundtrack, you may remember me saying that "The Grid" is a song I never get sick of, in any way shape or form. Jeff Bridges, steal my heart every time you crazy old fool. His voice was just so right for the kick-off here, driving us back into the old story and linking it to what's to come.
"The Son of Flynn" is, aside from that theme that kind of makes my heart race every time I hear it, where I believe the composers start to shine at their best. The electronic elements are starting to take center stage and be the voice over the instruments.
The same beat as the last song is given in "Recognizer," but in a completely different tone. It's a prime example of how the two portions of the soundtrack, instruments and electronics, worked together complement each other and can change the entire piece in their own separate way. There's a sense of danger here as we enter deeper into the story. And though I couldn't begin to tell you where this was placed in the movie itself exactly, the horns are a reminder that it doesn't matter. The music is it.
"Armory" frightens a little with these incredibly intense tones at the start. About 2 minutes in though, there's this slight background sound of the electronic rips we heard earlier. There's something hidden underneath in such a brilliant way.
I think right about now is when we start to see the root of the film's happenings with "Arena." Everything is sincerely kicked up a notch. Drums are brought in with this incredible intensity and overtaking power, giving a sound yet unheard throughout the rest of the score. It's almost like, oh, you thought you knew where this was going, but just wait... we've always got more.
"Rinzler" takes it further. There's an underlying tone and then these drums just... hit. And it's tough. It's incredibly tough. There's almost a comfort when the electronic elements come back in. It's not so much a battle - it's just one over another becomes easier to hear. Then it gets into this extreme build of strings and the drums are fighting back and... holy cow, I really just need to see this movie again.
In my head, "The Game Has Changed" is approximately where the second of the three acts sort of starts. It has tones just like "The Grid" and "Son of Flynn," and we're reminded of where we started, but also of where we've come from and through. Everything's picking up speed and intensity, but with a muffled, almost under-water feel to the ears. Yeah, everything's different now. The horns that provided a lot of the opening theme that was so great are trying to push through.
"Outlands" is something completely different. The strings have almost full control, while everything else is in the background. There's even a sort of positive hope to it, even when the undertones try to have a stronger influence and take over. Is this making sense to anyone else?
One of my favorite remixes was for the next track, "Adagio for TRON." It's just gorgeous. It's dark, in a way, but there's something about it. It slows down so much of the entire soundtrack and gives this extreme moment of zen and sadness.
"Nocturne" takes a continual downward turn in tones. There's a looming tenseness to it, and these moments where the volume steps up so much you think your heart or your ears are going to break - whichever come first.
The pace is picked back up for "End of Line," which garnered a Grammy nod in remix form. Time to step up and do something. Time to make a difference. The hero fights in this one. How much more do you want me to throw out there? The sense of determination is mighty here, almost like a call to arms.
And here we are, to the video released from the soundtrack... "Derezzed."
That was a fun re-visit to the movie. ^_^ Time to share something a little embarrassing... I thought Tron was made specifically by Daft Punk for a while. The immediate association in my head between the two just made for too much sense. Lucky for me, they made a video like this to provide extra wonderful confusion!
"Fall" is one of those, if you were watching it set to something on screen, you'd know that shit's going down. It's an absolute mood-setter for something that's about to come, no matter what it will or will not be.Another one that was remixed on the other album was "Solar Sailer." I'm listening to this album through headphones at a Starbucks, and this is immersive. Despite the speakers in this room being pretty loud, this track has a way of drowning everything else out. I'm not sure if its the tones in the background or the ominous and repetitious melody going on. But it's nice to ignore everything else for a minute.In a very Star Wars esq move, we get "Rectifier." Maybe my movie-buff friends will hate me for saying that, but all I can think of is the empire march or whatever it was. Impending doom. Dun dun dun...."Disc Wars" continues that theme, as though we're marching off to, well, war. The beat is steady and building as we continue into the track further. Those drums come back and are getting closer and closer. It's one of the more terrifying tracks in the score, and a lot to take in, but there's still that electronic Daft Punk theme that helps handling it so much. There may be hope yet.Unfortunately, we're not left with much hope for long, as "C.L.U." comes in to remind us. Even with this interesting electronic drumming, I don't think this track is meant to be on our side. The climax of the film has got to be happening right about now, but I was too engrossed a year ago to notice. "Arrival" starts off with those horns and the theme we loved so much at the beginning. They're slower, and more careful, but they're there, and it sparks some hope. It's an all-encompassing feeling of arrival, this time in triumph. There's even something extra, because of the journey taken and the destination being different than we could have ever hoped. Because, after all, who's to say that the end point can't be different for the better?Then, of course, we get the final in-film song, "Flynn Lives." Everything comes together and out of the grid, and we're on to life in a much different manner than expected. There's almost a sigh of relief in there, but with a bit of anticipation on what's next."TRON Legacy (End Titles)" is so completely Daft Punk - it's awesome. It's a great track of electronic modes and movie influences. It's a great summation of the music throughout the film and an homage to the guys that did it... by the guys that did it.The "Finale," something I wasn't expecting, almost feels like it leaves room for more. Is there supposed to be another one? Will Daft Punk star in it as I almost felt like they should have here? Will it be as awesome? Oh the questions... And oh the feeling of hating this as the final thing going through my headphones after this amazing score has been completed.
Added To My Playlist:
FULL SPOTIFY ALBUM LISTEN LINKWhat bugs me out a bit is that the soundtrack is only 58 minutes long - that means there may actually be silent moments in this movie. Weird. Okay, I'm going to go ahead and ignore that and pretend like I was surrounded by majestic music throughout each moment.This is really an incredible score when it comes down to it. They hit it right in just about every way, let alone the innovation of the music itself. The songs were written completely with the movie in mind, not picked later to fit scenes. The score and film worked hand-in-hand in a way unlike what you hear in anything other than the epics these days. It will be hard to beat this one for the grammy in question.
- "Overture" - Spotify, YouTube
- "The Gird" - Spotify, YouTube
- "The Game Has Changed" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Outlands" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Adagio for TRON" - Spotify, YouTube
- "End of Line" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Derezzed" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Solar Sailer" - Spotify, YouTube
- "Arrival" - Spotify, YouTube
- "TRON: Legacy (End Titles)" - Spotify, YouTube
New Music Tuesday!!!
Not familiar with the band name? Neither am I, not one bit, but I love the album title. It's really difficult to find familiar names with releases the first week of the year though, so we'll take what we can get. This one literally got released today!
They do have a MySpace (which has changed as a site dramatically since the last time I was on), which has no background or info on them. There's a Facebook page for a rapper by the same name that I'm pretty sure has nothing to do with them. And, surprise here, their website is under maintenance. For a band I've never heard of, they are not helping in the learning process. They're kind of brand new though apparently?
Fun times. I'm finding a bunch of Star Wars stuff instead. Welp, here we go folks.
"Action-Reaction" starts things and... hm. I don't hate it! There's a rock feel for sure, but it's not so dark I need to crawl into a corner to properly experience it. There's actually also this weird electronic guitar sound in there in some parts too, which is throwing me off a little, but, oh well. It's the kind of music I think any rocker would be into to an extent, but have a feeling of some discomfort.
Second, we get the track "All Systems Go." I think I know what's bothering about this music: the actual mix. The lyrics are as crisp as I wish, and everything sounds completely leveled out with each other instead of offering difference to appeal to the ears. And there's that electronic sound that's being mixed in as just one track to the entire recording - it's weird and feels really out of place.
"Send/Receive" was the track used as a preview by the label, and it's actually getting a little better. Instruments and sounds feel more balances, and I can hear the lyrics just a little better. There seems to be more emotion behind this that I think has been lacking in the voice as we progress here. The guitar is where all of the tension and passion arise from for these guys.
Next is "Magnified," and unfortunately, now we're back to improper mixing. The whole track just feel more monotone than anything in this genre ever should. I have to listen far too closely to the lyrics to appreciate them at all. Something should grab you somehow.
"Abort.Retry.Fail" is refreshing though. And, we finally have something to watch:
Ah, so we have a concept and visuals to grasp on to. I really do enjoy this song a lot more than the rest; it's musically a lot better than everything else, keeping you a little more interested in what's up instead of falling asleep. There's actual energy and we're moving for a change.
Unfortunately, we're back to the old in "The Departure," but at least the beat has picked up enough to keep a person interested. Melodies are being attempted in good faith, and maybe this means something for him. It gets a little dull, but we're making strides here people - little by little.
"Disconnect" is certainly taking us to a different place. I feel like this album started off heavy with rock sounds, and is transitioning into the electronic feel that was so hidden... ah, shit, nevermind. They went back a step. But hey, there are harmonies! We're getting somewhere. We're creating a sound that's no longer boring, but not quite interesting. It's there though. If only the muffled curtain around it could drop.
"Constellations" has a little hopeful sound, as I think it should with such a title. It's interesting how the main voice has been taken up in pitch as the album as moved on. Again, it's not mixed in a pleasing way, which I'm starting to think has something to do with the vocal reverb effects.
Almost through this whole thing, next up we've got "Runtime Error." It begins in a lighter place musically, but I can barely hear what he's saying, and I'm not buying that that was the intention. Bah, I really want to like this, just for the pretty piano overlay in a coupe of spots, but I also really just want to slink my head to the side and fall asleep. It's too easily done here. Not that I'm looking for excitement in every track, but just emotion of some kind would make all the difference.
Finally, there's "End Transmission" which seems to embrace the energy we've been craving all along - musically. It's like they've finally given it all that they've got. Except vocally. But now, I don't think it's their fault. Next time, guys, just turn the mic tracks up a little more!
Stuff I wouldn't mind hearing again:
It's not an awful sound for a band, but it's horribly mixed. Everything's muffled and the rock sound I think they're trying to get it lost by it. This could be better, and I bet they're much better live. Overall, I think it'll be interesting to see where they band goes with their future and what kind of base their able to develop. I'll keep an ear out. :)