Friday Random 10: May 4

  1. Rachel’s, “Even/Odd”: Rachel’s is a very classically-oriented post-rock
    ensemble – violin, bass, woodwinds. They’re absolutely brilliant. “Even/Odd” is a short, extremely rhythmic track with an interesting pulse with an almost siren-like string lead played over it. Very, very cool.
  2. Rush, “Spindrift”: Rush is back! They released a new album this week. It’s a
    much better work than their last effort (which wasn’t bad, mind you, but it wasn’t as
    as good as it could have been). It actually sounds a lot more like older Rush than
    most of their other recent work. Really good. Not spectacular or anything, but definitely quite good. This track has a nice edge to it, dark chords, very classic
    Lifeson guitars, a strong Geddy Lee bass lead driving things. Peart is rather non-descript on this track – he’s got that almost inhumanly perfect timing as always, but he’s not
    doing a lot that catches my attention.
  3. Marillion, “The Invisible Man”. The opening track off of Marillion’s last
    album. It’s an amazing song, one of the best they’ve ever done. I can’t listen to
    it without getting chills. Just the first 30 seconds of it is enough to start me
    shivering.
  4. Porcupine Tree, “Fear of a Blank Planet”. Porcupine Tree also has a new album out in the last couple of weeks. It’s one of their best, which is really saying an awful
    lot when you realize how good their catalog is. This is the opening track from the album. Very typically PT: interesting rhythms, dark chords, interesting transitions, and a great contrast between very smooth soft vocals and hard-edged instrumental lines.
  5. Lunasa, “Mean Fomhair”: would you believe, a bagpipe solo? Ok, so it’s not the awful scottish greatpipes that you probably think of when I say bagpipes – it’s the Irish Uillean pipes which have a much less grating sound to them. And it’s played by one of the worlds greatest Uillean piper’s, Cillean Vallely. But it is a bagpipe solo. And it’s great.
  6. Edgar Meyer, “Concerto in D, 2nd Movement”. Edgar Meyer is one of those musicians that just make me sick. He plays this incredibly awkward instrument (the double-bass), and makes it look like it’s easier to play than a basic violin. And he can play anything on it – anything from Bluegrass to Rock to Jazz to Classical. He can play the Bach cello suites on his bass better than any cellist I’ve ever heard can play it on a cello. And he’s an amazing composer, who’s practically redefined the repertoire for
    the bass. This track is him performing the part of the Concerto for double bass that he wrote.
  7. Moxy Fruvois, “Spiderman”. Interesting timing, given that the new Spiderman Movie is just coming out. This is Moxie Fruvous doing their incredibly silly version of the old theme from the Spiderman cartoon show. “Spidermans master plan, build his own little spider clan. In the woods, now they’re troops, fighting for special interest groups”. How can you not love a song making fun of low-budget superhero cartoon with lyrics like that?
  8. Tony Trishka Band, “Woodpecker”. Tony is one of the most talented musicians
    I’ve ever gotten to know personally. He’s a banjo player who pioneered the Banjo
    as a serious Jazz instrument. (Bela Fleck is one of his students.) This is a track off of his first album with his own Jazz fusion band. It’s very typical of Tony’s playing. As much as I love Bela Fleck’s playing, he’s still got a lot to learn from Tony in terms of how to make Jazz really work on the banjo. Tony just pulls out all the stops – using some of the pentatonic rolling tricks Bela is known for, as well as some fitting some more traditional bluegrass rolls, and some single-string work.
  9. Explosions in the Sky, “Catastrophe and the Cure”. Great rock-oriented post-rock.
  10. Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, “Nokh A Gleyzl Vayn”. Klezmer/Jazz fusion. Yeah, really, I’m not joking. Shirim is an amazing bunch of players who can move seamlessly back and forth between very traditional Klezmer and Bebop – but they’re most at home playing something in between. This is a traditional Klezmer tune played Shirim style.
  11. Miles Davis, “Deception”. What can I say about Miles Davis? One of the most
    amazing, influential musicians of the 20th century. One of the creators of an
    entirely new genre of Jazz. Every note he plays is virtually perfect. You could spend
    hours just listening to one little track by him, and still not absorb everything that
    he did to make it so perfect.

0 thoughts on “Friday Random 10: May 4”

  1. Mark,
    Any comment on the sound quality of the new Rush CD?
    Vapor trails had some nice songs but was so compressed that it’s pretty much unlistenable to me.

  2. Eric:
    I got the new Rush from iTunes, so I can’t really say whether the CD has compression artifacts. My copy definitely *does* have artifacts, but they’re not too bad. The version I downloaded from iTunes (which is the 128K lossy compression version) sounds better than the 256K rip I made of Vapor Trails. Given the wierdnesses of compression artifacts in audio files and the subjectivity of it, that observation might by totally worthless, but it’s the best I can do.

  3. about Edgar Meyer: most bass players can play the Bach cello suites as well as any cello player (well… of similar levels of skill/talent), they aren’t really that hard compared to some of the stuff out there. This does not take away from the fact that he is an incredibly talented musician.
    and the bass isn’t particularly awkward (to play, that is. It is really awkward to move around/store)

  4. Klezmer?!? Fantastic! And being Canadian, I’m also a big fan of Rush and Moxy Fruvous. You also managed to pick out my favourite line from that tune!

  5. The compression artifacts you refer to in your reply to Eric are the result of compressing the size of the audio file. I’ll bet the compression effect Eric refers to is compression of its dynamic range during mastering, which is a crime against music that is prevalent on too many CDs these days. Takes the life right out of them.

  6. “Marbles” is beautiful.
    Maybe Neil Peart has overcome his own ego. I think he just wanted to flow with the music, which is very appropiated for a CD like S&A.
    I like S&A very much, even more than TFE. I hope Rush will come again to south america in this tour.
    Fernando

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