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post #196 of 261

 

Rome: Die Aesthetik der Herrschaftsfreiheit (Per Google translate: The Aesthetics of Freedom from Domination)

 

Originally released as a triple album, all three discs are now available individually as standalone albums--though I still think the best way to digest them is to listen to them as they were originally released. Of course, listening to any triple album is also going to be an exhausting experience, and this album is no exception. Particularly if, like me, you don't speak German--while the German spoken-word interludes work wonders for the atmosphere, there are a lot of them, and they tend to stretch on quite long. That this is the only complaint I can make about a newfolk/martial industrial album that stretches on for two and a half hours and seeks nothing less than to be a thematically cohesive examination of anarchist philosophy, the relationship between art and politics, and the struggle for utopia, is, I feel, saying something. This is a Big Idea album of a particularly literate and political sort the likes of which you rarely see outside of punk (or Bob Dylan and Deathspell Omega), and its influences range widely, from Joy Division to Leonard Cohen, as well as drawing upon European military narratives (unsurprising, given that two of Rome's previous albums were concept albums about the French and Spanish civil wars). For fans of Scott Walker and Nick Cave at their most serious, ambitious, and uncompromising.

 

But if that all sounds like a bit much for you, then you can always just treat the whole endeavor as three separate albums of well-crafted, atmospheric, serious-minded, and occasionally genuinely beautiful Cohen-esque folk. Either way you approach this sprawling work (and indeed, Rome's discography as a whole) you're likely to get something worthwhile out of it, as long as you're an open-minded and adventurous sort. That said, I feel I should offer a disclaimer of sorts: many European neofolk bands, and Rome specifically, have found sympathetic ears among some unsavory types. Jerome Reuter of Rome has made it clear numerous times that the ideologies he espouses are not in alignment with these groups (neo-Nazis are a prominent one), and that he believes that insofar as Rome is a political group that its politics directly oppose those of the said unsavory audience. Still, it's an unfortunate fact of life that if you get into some genres of music (European neofolk, black metal) that you're going to encounter connections like these. The best thing you can do is to analyze the lyrical content and to make a determination about its value for yourself.

post #197 of 261

Keiichiro Shibuya + Hatsune Miku - ATAK020 THE END

 

There have been plenty of good albums that I've listened to this month, yet the album of the month is very clear. I had heard of THE END for the first time sometime during the summer last year, but based on a short one-minute sneak peek I'd seen I'd deemed it as something I thought I wouldn't be interested in. It seemed very avant-garde and abstract. But when YouTube decided to recommend a full video of the performance in Paris at Théâtre du Châtelet from November last year, I decided to give it a try. I ended up thoroughly enjoying every second of it. The video in question was recently taken down on request by the composer Keiichiro Shibuya himself, so you unfortunately won't be able to see it unless someone else decides to reupload the video.

 

But what is THE END? It is the world's first Vocaloid opera, devoid of an orchestra or a single human vocalist, constructed from multi-screen 3D images and computer-controlled electronic sound. The project was born out of collaboration between several talented young individuals including musician and artist Keiichiro Shibuya, director and scriptwriter Toshiki Okada, sound artist evala, composer and Vocaloid user PinocchioP, and illustrator YKBX. The only performers who appear on stage are the world's best-known and easily most popular Vocaloid Hatsune Miku, an animal character, and Keiichiro Shibuya himself. Miku's wardrobe consists of clothes designed specifically for the project by Louis Vuitton's artistic director Marc Jacobs and his studio team, making the opera very much reflective of out current times.

 

In the artist interview I've embedded below, Keiichiro Shibuya talks about how he thinks the opera is a "dead" art form. Even if I don't necessarily 100% agree with him and nor am I an expert on the subject by any stretch of the imagination, I can totally understand what he is saying and agree with him to a large degree. From what I've already told about THE END, you have probably been able to already gather that this project is a very modern take on opera. Despite all the steps taken to make the most cutting-edge and current representative that could possibly be made of a format that has hardly developed during the past couple hundred years, THE END upholds the traditional structure of arias and recitative parts. Even thematically it is about the classic motif of tragedy and death, although instead of asking "What is death?" the opera's star Miku ponders the question "Will I die?", which is only fitting for a virtual singer.

 

So if one looks past the futuristic aesthetic, at its core the opera is still very much rooted in the familiar traditional form of opera. I don't know what the general response to this work has been, but for some people it is probably too abstract and inaccessible. Others might deem it a childish attempt to make something deep and artsy without actually succeeding in creating anything with true artistic merit. I personally love it and the way it meshes together various cultural influences and the old and the new. It is very representative of our times, and a mediation on what the future holds. Music without any human performers, opera without a single flesh-and-blood vocalist on its cast, THE END is very much a work of art, harmony of technology and human creativity.

 

The best way to experience the opera would have without a doubt been to see it live either in Japan or France in 2012. If you can find a video of the performance online, that is the second best thing for the visuals are quite important, but the experience will never be the same. The opera was designed to be played through a dual-layered 5.1 system forming a full 10.2 system to create a unique three-dimensional acoustic experience. The work is also available on CD in two editions. The European single-disc version contains most of the programme with a few small omissions to fit the music within the limitations of the format. A limited edition two-disc version which I have is also available in Japan and comes housed in an impressive thick, LP-sized box and complete with a bonus DVD, book with interviews and art, as well as the complete script for the opera. Both books are both in Japanese and English, so the box set is a worthwhile purchase even for a person who doesn't speak Japanese. The European edition is available either through Amazon France or as an import via Amazon UK for nearly the same price. For the limited edition Amazon Japan is probably the best place to get it, although the album is also available directly through Keiichiro Shibuya's web store as well (I'm not sure if he offers international shipping). Sorry, no digital distribution to my knowledge. Maybe at some point in the future.

 

A relatively esoteric selection this month, but sometimes those are the best kind. This is very much a piece of art that I love and treasure.

 

Official site: http://theend-official.com

 

 

post #198 of 261

 

 
If you want to start your new year off with a fresh dose of 'get-up-and-get-at-em,' then look no further.
 
This disc from SoCal's Aloe Blacc was released late last year outside of the US, after the chart-topping success of his co-written single "Wake Me Up" (which is often contributed solely to Sweden's DJ Avicii). If you've ever heard anything else Aloe has done, then you're already privy to his throwback soul sound. Think Marvin Gaye meets John Legend. Rarely does he dazzle with Gospel-inspired runs or Timberlake-esque falsetto, but his voice just has something that draws you in. It's very organic and honest. 
post #199 of 261
Thread Starter 

Guaranteed to be a hell of a spring soundtrack.

 

 

Prokofiev (André Previn) - Romeo & Juliet 

 

This is one of my favorite themes of the thing.

 

edit: sorry it has been so long guys [and gals (hopefully)].


Edited by JIGF - 1/27/14 at 6:04am
post #200 of 261
Thread Starter 

Hey, I just discovered a great way to discuss the albums individually, while also maintaining the thread topic.

 

Open up a picture from the thread, and this will bring gallery view. In that view you can comment on each of the images on a one by one basis.

post #201 of 261

 

It doesn't quite approach the sprawling, near-perfection of 2008's monumental Deathconsciousness, but I have a hard time imagining that a finer shoegaze/post-punk album is going to be dropped this year. Bipolar and noisy music in the vein of Bauhaus--and crushingly depressing. If you like your music *black,* this is for you. 

post #202 of 261

Kongos - Lunatic  Very unique and nice variation of style and rhythm. 

 

Pronounced "KONGOS" - KONGOS is spelled like this: " K" for Cool, "O" for Awesome, "N" for Knowledge, "G" for Jenius, "O" for Artistic, "S" for speling

There's no "The" in KONGOS.

There is however a "the" in "THEre."

It's not KONGO's, it's not Congos, congas, kongus, kongas, or Jeff.

No relation to Cheick Kongo, the conga drum, the Kongo people of Africa, Donkey Kong, Kongos Norman, Kongos pizza, Kongos Club in Oklahoma, twitter.com/kongos, Kat Kongos, Lasse Kongos, the japanese class of battleship or Kevin Bacon.

 

lunatic.gif

post #203 of 261

 

Really into this album lately.

post #204 of 261

Michael Wollny - Wunderkammer XXL

 

This time around picking my album of the month proved to be rather difficult. However, ultimately Michael Wollny's Wunderkammer ended up emerging the victor, specifically the recently released "XXL" 2-disc collector's edition version. The two other extremely strong candidates, for those who are interested, were The Fantastic Diagram of Futuristic Playdreams by sasakure.UK and Gamak by Rudresh Mahanthappa.

 

I discovered the German jazz pianist Michael Wollny late last year and knew immediately that he was a truly intriguing musician. He is a man who constantly seeks to reinvent himself and take his music to places it's never been, places no one has been. The word you hear most often used to describe Wollny is "unpredictable". There are no rules in music, especially in jazz, and Wollny's each music project is a great example of this. He is constantly exploring new ground and revisiting the old through new eyes, which keeps his music very fresh and interesting.

 

On Wunderkammer, released in 2009 on the acclaimed German jazz label ACT, Wollny is joined by harpsichordist Tamar Halperin in creating truly enchanting music that is somewhere between minimal music, electronic music and modal jazz. Electronics are used on occasion and on the record the listener gets to hear not only piano and harpsichord, but celesta, harmonium and Fender Rhodes as well – Wollny often playing two things at the same time, which is nothing new for him. After only my first listen I knew this album would become one of my new favorite albums of all time, and I almost dare to declare it a small masterpiece – something which I am always very hesitant in doing, reserving the honor to only a handful of album on this planet. As I've said, I find the music truly mesmerizing. It will likely evoke different kind of feelings and thoughts in different people, but one could for example describe it as somewhat melancholic, perhaps slightly creepy at times, but also hopeful in its closing movement Kabinett I. I find true beauty within this music.

 

In 2012 at the German jazz festival in Frankfurt, Wunderkammer was performed live in its extended XXL form together with the magnificent hr-Bigband under the baton of Jim McNeely. The arrangements made for a big band ensemble are truly incredible and the performance was a tremendous success, earning a thundering 20-minute standing ovation from the audience, something which is unprecedented in the event's 60-year history. I tell you, if you love music, you should absolutely hear this album. It is magical.

 

You can listen to the album in its entirety on Spotify.

Original Wunderkammer: https://play.spotify.com/album/6NlmMEFESxHr09dbFDndEj

Wunderkammer XXL performed live with the hr-Bigband: https://play.spotify.com/album/6n8ObKRGa0MrIEG7xwlLaN

 

You can also watch videos for two of the "XXL" performances below.

  

post #205 of 261
post #206 of 261

Cool thread. There are several amazing albums that have come my way this month. If I have to choose just one, it will be:

 

 

I've always enjoyed Pat Metheny but this one is one of the best and exceptionally well recorded. The 24/96 version will floor you...

post #207 of 261

Brave by Marillion. What a masterpiece.

 

Here's the review I posted on my blog:

 

http://1week1album.blogspot.com/2014/03/week-7.html

post #208 of 261

 

Behemoth: The Satanist

 

...

 

Hail Satan! \m/(-_-)\m/

post #209 of 261
Anyone into Indie/Folk music should check out the new album from The Head and the Heart. The album title is called Let's be Still. Great sounding and easy to listen to. Highly recommended.
post #210 of 261
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seegs108 View Post
 

 

Running to check it out now.

 

thanks...

 

Just listened to several songs. I like it!!


Edited by MattTCG - 3/6/14 at 5:27am
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