Explosions in the Sky

Listening to Codes in the Clouds this week galvanized me to find similarly majestic and inspiring music. I needed to escape. And I found quite a few bands that are new to me and whose CDs are now winging their way to my living room. One I’m really keen to hear in particular is Explosions in the Sky. For more than a decade this four piece instrumental rock band have been creating music that, in their words,”immediately grabs your attention and gets to your emotions”. And the songs I’ve heard so far do exactly that.

Despite having played together for so long they’ve only just released their first video. It’s truly gorgeous. And here it is. Plug in the headphones and take a trip…

Bach’s Secret Messages

Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin have always been miraculous. This year’s recording by the young German violinist Isabelle Faust is an absolute revelation and one of the finest I’ve heard. Below is a clip from youtube. It’s not the finest on the disc but there are only two on the site. Whilst listening to it you should read the article at the link below the video.

The link takes you to the, ‘Music, Mind, Spirit’ website. This is a music retreat and charitable trust that examines the impact of music on our emotions, well-being and development. I’ve never visited but have always been fascinated at the power of music to move us so profoundly. The article investigates the secret codes or messages that Bach may (or may not according to how sceptical you are) have hidden in his music. Whether utter bunkum or not – it makes for intriguing reading, especially when listening to the very works that are meant to contain these bedrocks of faith.

Enjoy finding the codes amongst the notes…

Here’s the article on Bach’s secret code (an embedded recording starts to play automatically so if you are listening to the video above you’ll need to stop the embedded clip on the page)

http://www.musicmindspirit.org/new_bach2.html

The Boxer Rebellion

So – it’s been a while. Thank you for all the emails regarding the blog. It’s been a hectic few weeks hence the lack of new posts but thought I’d drop by and post a couple of songs that have been sending tingles down my spine the past few weeks, especially ‘Soviets’. They’re from the album ‘Union’ by The Boxer Rebellion. Enjoy.

Play track: Soviets

These New Puritans – Hidden

So – have been very quiet on here of late thanks to my broadband having been down and not being fixed with anything even approaching the vaguest notion of speed by BT.

So I have been consoling myself all week by listening to the staggeringly good new album by These New Puritans.  Called, ‘Hidden’ it’s experimental to say the least with the album almost overloading on ambitious effects.  Pounding a melon and cream crackers with a hammer to mimic the sound of a human head being smashed and sampling knives being sharpened and B&Q chains sounds all rather overtly aggressive but whilst there is a militaristic backbeat to the album’s percussive elements it doesn’t slam you about the ears – it just sounds very, very driven.  With a 13-piece band with woodwinds, pianos and a distinct lack of guitars, oh and a children’s choir and Japanese taiko drums, surely it must be overblown and pretentious and too full of itself to deliver on the promise of such wonderfully eclectic instrumentation?  Well, yes – it is slightly pretentious but does it deliver?  Oh yes.  Yes indeed.

Here’s their latest video and I urge you to go and try the album – it’s unlike anything else in the mainstream you’ll have heard in years.  It’s really very, very good.

Peter Broderick – And it’s Alright

So last Friday I posted some music to sleep to by the remarkable musician Peter Broderick and I thought this Monday I’d cover a little more of his music because it’s definitely worth hearing more of.  Hailing from the US but now living and recording in Copenhagen (or Berlin – accounts seem to differ on where he actually is but location’s not all that important really is it.  So I’m not sure why I even mentioned it except it seemed a good intro at the time.)  Anyway, this ferociously talented musician is only 21.  21!  And yet his music belies any age; its seemingly effortless simplicity masking a deeply complex and evocative body of work that is well worth seeking out.

I think ‘And it’s Alright’ is one of the loveliest songs I’ve heard recently – it’s like a big hug.

The Temper Trap and Wild Beasts

So for this Monday here’s a couple of songs/videos by two great new(ish) bands: The Temper Trap and Wild Beasts.  Both have a lead singer who sings in a falsetto but with very different and thankfully unmannered results.  I love The Temper Trap’s debut album, “Conditions” whilst Wild Beasts’ cd (also their debut) “Two Dancers”  is a more patchy affair – I think the song below is the best on the album.

There are a few reviews out there of these two releases so I won’t offer a critique, I’ll just let the music do the talking: