• KT Tunstall -- Tiger Suit

    Set 24 2010, 1h08

    I had been three quarters into the new KT Tunstall album when I was already conflicted whether I should let the awesomeness continue, or start experiencing it from the beginning. I can't remember the last time I was so excited listening to a new record. :D

    Out of 9 songs I had been at at that point, 6 were immediate favourites and the rest were showing real promise. The remainder of the album didn't fail me, either. Tiger Suit isn't yet officially out in my country, but I already know I'm going to buy it, most likely as a special edition, just like with the previous two records. Done, and as a special edition, indeed. The documentary rocks!

    Yes, I'm a fan and now I just can't wipe this stupid, happy grin off my face. :D Kudos, KT!

    Personal album highlights so far:

    Uummannaq Song
    Push That Knot Away (!!)
    Fade Like a Shadow
    Lost (!!!)
    Golden Frames
    Come On, Get In
    (Still A) Weirdo
  • The new Dream Theater album

    Jul 2 2009, 23h42

    It was a double surprise day yesterday. Not only had I learned that a new album by Dream Theater was out, but it turned out that the special edition had a vocal-less mix on a separate CD. Given that I still don't like progmetal-style vocals (I've long given up on Aghora), that was a doubly pleasant surprise. Normally, I wouldn't be all that excited about a DT album because of the vocals, but that second part of the news stirred things up a bit for me.

    I already gave Black Clouds & Silver Linings a tentative listen (starting with the instrumental version), but didn't yet have the time to dig in deeper. The initial impressions were OK, although, I have to admit, I had naively hoped for the listening experience to be something more along the lines of a Liquid Tension Experiment album. Sadly, this doesn't seem to be the case and you can definitely hear that this music wasn't meant to be instrumental. I actually felt a bit bored at times -- something I have never experienced while listening to LTE.

    But the jury is still out. I'm giving the normal version a spin as I'm writing this, we'll see how that one goes.
  • Aghora, Progmetal vocals and recommendations

    Jul 26 2008, 17h39

    Looks like I've finally found a decend-sounding female-fronted progressive metal. The band is Aghora and I've only just started to listen to their two albums, Aghora and Formless, so it's too early to say anything definitive, but so far I like what I'm hearing.

    The back story is that while I've been a fan of for quite some time, I never could bring myself to like the style of vocals usually accompanying this music. I just hate the sound of guys trying to sing soprano. ;)

    So I thought that maybe a progmetal band with female vocalist would sound better to me. However, most bands that I tried sounded too goth- or doom-metal for my tastes.

    Well, until now. :)

    And, by the way, this is due to the new (or at least newly noticed by yours truly) recommendation system.

    I really like it so far, it's way more useful (showing me similar artists which I've already listened to right next to the recommended one, etc.), plus the recommendations finally seem to make sense musically.

    I got some of the other stuff recommended to me, not just Aghora, but I'll probably write a separate post about it later.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughan

    Jul 2 2008, 2h58

    I've finally came around to checking out Stevie Ray Vaughan's music. I mean, more in-depth, since I've obviously heard the guy before, only until now it had been just bits and pieces, here and there.

    Yesterday I've found a 3 CD box collection in my favourite store, featuring the first three albums by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: Texas Flood, Couldn't Stand The Weather and Soul To Soul. It didn't take me very long to convince myself to buy it. :)

    I have to admit, though -- I'm not a huge fan of blues. Most of the time I get tired quickly and after a while it feels like I'm listening to the same song over and over again.

    And I wouldn't be perfectly honest with you if I said that it's been totally different with SRV.

    However, it was at least a *bit* different this time. Yes, the song structure is still 'tried and true' (i.e: boring), the vocals can be a bit cheesy sometimes, but this time there's a whole layer of SRV's guitar work to dive into. And it's a really deep ride.

    As an aspiring guitar player myself, I can't help but notice SRV's technique, expressiveness and, probably most importantly, imagination. It's easy to get carried away by the solos and suddenly think: "how the hell did he get there?" Definitely a piece of music to be inspired by, especially when the musical framework is so simple.

    As for technique, SRV's phrasing seems easier to get than Hendrix's, but still way out of my league. :) And it all gets even more ridiculous when you keep in mind his string gauge and realize that the guy is playing some pretty fast bending licks. Although that is something that you can get used to, if you practice a lot, I guess.

    Anyway, I still can't see myself as a huge fan of this music. I will, however, definitely go back to these three records. Maybe not as often as to my favourite artists, but those three CDs I bought yesterday are keepers. And I can't help but wonder what Stevie would play like today, if he were still alive.

    As a sidenote, it's really funny how Scuttle Buttin' sounds very much like Steve Vai's Jibboom. Obviously, it's actually the other way around, plus it's intentional, since Jibboom is a tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

    But until now I only knew this as a learned fact, and not something that you can actually feel and appreciate. :)
  • The End is Near

    Jul 13 2007, 12h27

    I've seen Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood in concert. I can now die happy.
  • The Way Up - Live

    Jun 1 2007, 23h53

    There's nothing like going to the record store to get Avril Lavigne DVD and walking out of the store with Pat Metheny Group DVD instead (they didn't have the Avril one).

    I got the live DVD documenting the tour after The Way Up. I started off with an interview with Pat Metheny, which proved to be quite informative. I especially liked the part when he was talking about tremendous effort all the musicians had to make in order to just memorize their parts.

    Mostly because it was helpful with relieving at least part of the shock that hit me when the concert started. I had no idea... I mean, I knew the record already, but it was a studio recording, besides, it seems that I missed at least a third of the stuff that's actually going on there. The complexity of this piece was breathtaking.

    There were 7 people on the stage and it seems that on average each musician used like 4 instruments. Even the drummer could be seen playing bass at one time, and the three guys in the back, I swear to god, they must have been playing at least 10 instruments each during the course of the concert. ;) Everyone was constantly busy!

    And I didn't even know you could do such things on the trumpet. At one particular time it sounded as though air was leaking somewhere in the middle of it -- light, delicate, distant fluttering noises, additionally processed by various delay effects. Amazing.

    Pat was using mostly his trusty electroacoustic Ibanez, but could be seen switching to his guitar synth a couple of times. He also used various acoustic, classical and electroacoustic guitars and I also noticed him playing on a 12 string guitar with a slide tube and an E-Bow. Curious combination, but it sounded great. :)

    I also liked how the band mixed classical instruments with more modern noise generating hardware. The keyboard player's main instrument was a Steinway & Sons piano with some kind of synthesizer on top, a Korg Triton on his left and no less than two laptops surrounding him. Extra bonus was colorful children cymbals at his feet. :)

    The bass player played upright bass with his fingers, but could also be seen using a bow a couple of times. And he wouldn't shun electric bass, either. I already mentioned the trumpeter feeding his trumpet's mike signal through various effects, but also he and his two colleagues in the back have been using a ton of percussion instruments, some acoustic and electric guitars and whatever else I've forgotten or failed to notice. Crazy.

    But there definitely was a method to this madness (insert your favorite "300" joke here). The performance was simply stunning. The Way Up was already one of my favorite albums -- you can tell, because the piece in its entirety is in my Top Tracks -- but now I think I'll promote it to my personal Pantheon. ;)
  • New Year's Musical Resolutions

    Jan 3 2007, 19h57

    I don't normally do this 'meme' thing, but today is my 'make one exception' day, so... ;)

    Here are my musical resolutions for the year 2007, in no particular order:

    • Actually start writing here :)

    • See Medeski, Martin and Wood in concert

    • See John Scofield in concert

    • See Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood in concert, if possible! :)

    • Finally start learning music theory seriously and systematically and practice more on the guitar. Learn some new songs! Transcribe!

    • Download/buy less, listen more. I have a huge backlog of stuff that I listened to a couple of times, loved it, but cannot even name my favorite track, or any track at all, because I would skip to something else too quickly. The Internet has spoilt me. :(

    Wish me luck! ;)
  • "What better time than now..?"

    Jun 9 2006, 23h46

    Until today I neglected to consider this space, mainly because I already have a weblog (written in Polish), which I already use to channel my thoughts on music, among other things. But recently I felt a need to pratice using Shakespeare's tongue a bit and I thought this place here will be perfect for this kind of activity.

    I can't promise any kind of original content, though. What I have in mind is translating to English whatever I write about music in my primary journal. Perhaps I'll even do it the other way: first write here, then translate to Polish and post there. We'll see.

    But now I'm off to do other things. See you soon!