Posts tagged ‘jazz’

May 25, 2010

Weekly Music Pick – Sting & Emmanuel

From the PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) special, “Chris Botti in Boston”, which is a series of very jazzy covers of songs both obscure and famous. A cover (?) of the Sting classic, Shape of my Heart. Considering Sting was singing as well, it’s iffy if the performance can be considered a cover or a re-worked version. Here’s another “cover” of another Sting classic: “If I ever lose my Faith in You”.

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July 7, 2008

Web Finds: Weekend Music

This weekend’s worth of posts was delayed due to… the Great Muse. Yes, that’s it, the Great Muse called me out and bombarded me with inspiration. I was so high, i was on cloud nine…

Ahem. Anyway, a friend of mine is very much into music. And we aren’t into just music, we are into all sorts of music. Opera, progressive rock, reggae, electronica, jazz, metal, you name it, we were playing it. On youtube that is. I have 0 musical talent, besides appreciation. We spent the entire Saturday evening sharing youtube links on great music that will probably never reach the shores of this fair island, or in the case of local bands, will probably never gain air play on radio. Don’t believe me? I’m gonna share those links with you. Hang on Dorothy, ’cause Kansas is going byebye.

First up, America’s got Talent got its stars, got its duds, but 2007 had Cas Haley. Stars are good within the limits of their craft. Cas rewrote the limits of his craft. Here’s his first performance.

That settles reggae.

Song title is Flim, by Aphex Twin. It’s not bad, but a bit bland, because of the repetitive chords with little break in the monotony. Here’s another version of Flim.

Improvisational jazz piece arranged for a 3 piece jazz setup. Group is known as The Bad Plus, their wiki is here. The band’s homepage is here.

The great thing about live instruments compared to electronics is that it imparts a greater “live” feel to the piece. The Midas touch, if you will. Electronica is computer based, which makes the rhythm very accurate. It also makes a piece feel dead. It is a great wonder that humans have the most sensitive sense of rhythm, they can subconsciously feel the slightest variances in beat, even if they can’t clap a 1-2 beat. It is said that John Williams’ crowning achievement in scoring for Stars is taking a full string orchestra, and turning it into the precise robotic war machine that is the Imperial March.

The next featured song comes from another singing competition, this time it’s Britain’s got Talent. And it’s a genre most people won’t be caught dead with. And it’s sung by a phone salesman with Carphone Warehouse.

Yes it’s opera. In fact, it’s an opera made famous by 1 of the Three Tenors: Luciano Pavarotti. Nessun Dorma is the piece that starts the final act of Turandot, an opera that depicts a prince as he tries to court the cold Oriental princess Turandot (pronounced without the “t” sound at the end btw). This opera is also famous because it is an incomplete opera, the composer Giacomo Puccini having died before he could finish the last act.

Paul Potts went on to win the competition, unlike Cas Haley, who ended up runner up. On a side note, his biggest competitor was a 6 year old girl, Conney Talbot. This was her preliminary round.

Now this blog is heavily tilted towards anime, so it stands to reason that at least 1 song should be from an anime right? Yes, but it’s not some typical J-pop song sung by some high pitched adolescent female. To clarify, I like J-pop; but i do wish sometimes that they stop trying to hit the upper registers every other stanza. To add value, i have taken a very well done AMV parody of the original OP. Feel free to guess what is the anime, though it will not be much of a challenge for anyone who keeps in touch with anime often. I will reveal the answer below for those who did not watch it before.

The anime is Death Note, which was a wildly successful manga that was serialized from 2003 to 2006. By itself, it sparked a new revival of interest into gothic fashion, particularly gothic lolita styles, in mimicry of Misa, a character in the manga. For those wondering, the parody is from Biohazard Outbreak, the Resident Evil multiplayer game that never took off.

Ok opera, , reggae and metal are cleared, that leaves 1 last one. Here we go.

Toe is a Japanese progressive rock band formed in 2000. 1 thing you notice about them is that they have no lead singer. Vocals, when there are any, are done by guest vocals. “Wait a moment,” I can hear you say, “How can they be a rock band without a rock singer?” Vocals are the single most defining part of any rock song, they break up the monotony of the chords, separates different sections from each other, and they simply give “soul” to the song. Lose vocals and the song falls apart. True, and not so true. Listen to this.

To quote Prog Archives: They released their debut EP, “Songs, Ideas We Forgot” in 2002. The world didn’t saw another release of the band until 2005 when they released their first full-length album, “Book About My Idle Plot on Vague Anxiety”. The band incorporated some new instruments into the mix like acoustic guitars and rhodes piano with this release and in 2006 they released another EP, “New Sentimentality”, which saw the band in the same direction as their full-length album. Toe. has toured with many bands in the past years. They’ve been opening act for post-hardocre acts like Envy and post-rock artists like The Mercury Program, The Album Leaf and Pele.

Toe’s band webpage can be found here.