The Number Twelve Looks Like You – Mongrel

Posted in Rock on September 2, 2011 by evilpacman18

 Mathcore; 2007

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I love this band. They just recently broke up but they were truly great. It’s all so fast, so crazy. Experimental, like all Mathcore, but there is so much more melody in their music. They aren’t JUST a display of virtuosity and speed on all instruments. They’re too musical for that. “Experimental” recently has come to be defined more by unique rhythms, and the actual tonal parts of most experimental bands amount to atonal clusters. And while I really love a lot of that stuff, 12 is refreshing in their Latin music-inspired interludes, and their sensible chord structures. Still, their line up includes Jon Karel, as underrated as any drummer since Zach Hill, he’s as musical as Stewart Copeland, has as much sense of rhythm as Steve Shelton, and has as much speed as Brann Dailor. The vocals may be harsh for some but there’s sections that are sung and talked as well, maybe people will find those more enjoyable. In Jay Walking Backwards, the mandatory “pretty intro” isn’t just a nonsensical part of the song that lessens the unity of the song as a whole, it’s actually an important part of the song, about a third of its length, and it leads into something greater than these things normally do. Grandfathers’ “pretty intro” is a bit more unnecessary. These vocals are actually really good if you have an ear for it. One more great thing about this album, it stays consistently good the entire way through. You may think that El Pinata Del Muerte will be the album’s high point when you hear it but The Weekly Wars is far better and the last song, The Try, has some really interesting 90’s Prog Metal (think Spastic Ink) melodies. I’ll rephrase, this album isn’t just consistent, it starts off at a high point and finds ways to get higher. I highly suggest looking up Jon Karel’s drumming on youtube. Your mind will explode in a good way that doesn’t make you die.

1. Imagine Nation Express
2. El Pinata de la Muerte
3. Jay Walking Backwards
4. Grandfather
5. Alright, I Admit It… It Was a Whore House
6. Paper Weight Pigs
7. Sleeping with the Fishes, See?
8. Cradle in the Crater
9. The Weekly Wars
10. The Try (Thank You)

Stand-out tracks:
The Weekly Wars
The Try (Thank You)
Jay Walking Backwards

-Jerry

Pierre-Laurent Aimard – György Ligeti Edition 3: Works for Piano (Etudes, Musica Ricercata)

Posted in Classical on August 24, 2011 by evilpacman18

 Classical; 1997

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As with any Classical album, the pieces were written a while ago and the recordings probably took place over several years. It was just released in 1997. Ligeti is more well known for scoring several Stanley Kubrick movies, most notably, 2001: A Space Odyssey. He wrote Classical too including the first two books of Etudes and the Musica Ricercata pieces included in this section of Aimard’s near complete recording of Ligeti’s keyboard works. (Ligeti continued to write for piano up until 2001 so more pieces were made after this recording was released, it’s possible and likely that Aimard recorded new pieces after they came out but I’m not sure)

They’re avant-garde and experiment in different aspects. These are pieces that examine the science of music. The 11 pieces in Musica Ricercata for instance begin with a first movement where the composer uses only two different “pitch classes” (all the notes on the keyboard with the same name, so in this case he’s allowed every A on the keyboard, of which there’s probably 7 or 8, I’d have to count next time I’m sitting at one), A and D. In the next piece he allows himself 3 pitch classes, E#, F#, and G this time. Only by the final piece is he allotted every single note on the keyboard. The etudes aren’t nearly so confining but they do have parameters assigned to them. L’escalier du diable (The Devil’s Staircase) is constantly moving upwards. In Desordre (Disorder, obviously) the right hand only plays white keys and the left hand only plays black keys.  Even with each piece being a very different and very interesting experiment, Ligeti’s signature sound is present. I can’t give you the theory of it, I’m not that knowledgeable, but in listening to the other pieces I hear a lot of similarities to The Devil’s Staircase, which is the piece on the album I listen to the most.

As always with Classical, it’d be far too tedious to type up an accurate track list.

Stand-out tracks:
L’escalier du diable
Der Zauberlehrling
Desordre

-Jerry

Tyler, the Creator – Goblin

Posted in Hip-Hop on August 16, 2011 by evilpacman18

 Hip-Hop; 2011

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Trying the shorter review thing.

Tyler’s always talking about the bloggers he hates so much so I had to take the chance to become one of them. I’m not gonna call him Horrorcore though, he’s too self-aware. For a song like Goblin, I can connect on a personal level because of that. He thinks he needs help but his friends think he’s kidding and maybe he’s just being dramatic. He’s not insane but his thoughts are so all over the place that it does feel like he has a personality disorder at times. It’s long for a Hip-Hop album and may be hard to listen to in one go, especially since the middle tracks are weaker than the beginning and end. Yonkers is pretentious although the first line tells you everything you need to know about the song. It’s an exercise in paradoxes and is more clever than most will realize, which is the only thing it tries to do. Tyler is like what Eminem was 11 years ago – edgy and controversial but not that serious and everyone loves it. He won’t get AS big as Eminem did but he’s definitely mainstream. He kills his friends where Eminem killed Kim. He issues a Random Disclaimer where Slim Shady put out a Public Service Announcement both of them appear right before one of the crazier songs each rapper has put out. Adam Hawkins of Blind Idiot God, an instrumental Metal band from the 80’s, said that when he listened to Metal he thought “Great energy but boring chords!” Tyler thinks the same of Hip-Hop and his production is different from most other Hip-Hop, although not at all to the point where he’s gonna earn any credit as a great composer. His rapping is more about word choice than rhymes. You could call him Abstract Hip-Hop with more focused lyrics.

1. Goblin
2. Yonkers
3. Radicals
4. She
5. Transylvania
6. Nightmare
7. Tron Cat
8. Her
9. Sandwitches
10. Fish / Boppin’ Bitch
11. Analog
12. Bitch Suck Dick
13. Window
14. AU79
15. Golden

Stand-out Tracks:
Goblin
Golden
Yonkers

-Jerry

An idea

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9, 2011 by evilpacman18

I was thinking, I would be a lot quicker in posting albums if I hadn’t set a standard on how much I write per album that I don’t always feel in the mood to meet. My main reason for not posting so often is not knowing how much I can say about whatever it is I’m listening to. So. Should I continue posting like once a week (or slightly less as it’s been a week and a half since the last one) or should I post more often but be less detailed about what I’m posting? I’d probably still write a short paragraph and definitely still leave stand-out tracks but I could post like once every two days or more if I didn’t have to write much for it. Drop a comment.

Vladimir Ashkenazy – Prokofiev: The Five Piano Concertos

Posted in Classical on July 30, 2011 by evilpacman18

 Classical; 1997

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I’m just a kid that tries to listen to as much music as I can and I write about it for fun. I’m not gonna mar these masterpieces with my unprofessional, juvenile opinions. Just listen to them. It’s 5 piano concertos on two discs, the 1st, 4th, and 5th are on the first disc and the 2nd and 3rd are on the second disc. In chronological order they’re in D flat major, G minor, C major, B flat major, and G major. Not even gonna pick stand-outs. Really. Listen.

-Jerry

Prince Nico Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz International – Sweet Mother

Posted in Folk on July 24, 2011 by evilpacman18

 Highlife; 1976

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You have to hear this. I’m gonna stick it in the Folk section because it’s traditional music, which (and people tend to forget this) is what Folk is. It’s music of the people for the people. Not Iron & Wine. Not DeVotchKa. Not Mumford & Sons. They play a genre. Folk has become one, but this is it in its purest form. Nationalist, unique, positive, it is a labor of love dedicated to a people and their ways of life, their beliefs, and all the other quirks that make up a culture. This is a paradigm of music f0r a culture – a paradigm of Folk. It is Nigerian and you’ve probably never heard anything from this genre before (I’m kind of a hipster. I bet you didn’t know Highlife was a genre). This is the music Vampire Weekend and Paul Simon and whatever Afropop-inspired Western stuff you can think of ripped off. The guitars are driving and they’re a number of them playing harmoniously at any given time. Not to mention most of the vocals are harmonized, in a way that’s different and better than most of the harmonizing we hear in our every day Rock & Pop. The songs are long, joyous (even the sad ones, which I’m not sure if there are any on this one but as an example listen to Lake Nyos on their Sweet Family album), and cover topics from respect for one’s mother to the fact that nobody knows what tomorrow may bring. Each song is sung in very broken English, except for Christiana which is sung in some native language I haven’t looked up the name of. Is Nigerian a language? Honestly, his apparent lack of competence with the English language and the tone of some of the songs makes a few of these tracks mildly comical. But this is feel-good music. Laugh during it, laugh at it, it doesn’t take away from the quality.

I’m quite interested in the music theory behind these compositions. This is a VERY unique genre. Even Folk music from various regions of the world can tend to sound similar. For instance the heavy brass instrument focus in both Mexican and Balkan Folk leaves them sounding similar on occasion and yet they’re culturally very different. But African Folk is like nothing else, in other traditional music or in any modern music, except for the stuff that blatantly steals ideas from it. Instrumentally, the guitar players seem to be talented. These long songs have several guitar solos, and the trumpet solo in Shakara School Girl is the first instrument solo that comes to mind that’s not guitar. There might be more.

Sweet Mother is one of Africa’s most popular songs.

1. Sweet Mother
2. Wayo Inlaw
3. Peace Movement Social Club of Nigeria
4. Aki Special
5. Christiana
6. Shakara School Girl
7. Olu Ugbo (Operation Feed the Nation)

Stand-out tracks:
Sweet Mother
Christiana
Aki Special

-Jerry

Cassie – Cassie

Posted in R&B/Soul/Funk on July 17, 2011 by evilpacman18

R&B; 2006

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The opening track and most popular song on this album, Me & U, is a profound commentary that understands on a human level (as opposed to the not so human relationships many singers’ lyrics are about) how relationships between two people with different views on the amount of physical intimacy allowable at certain stages of this relationship are able to play out and how the two compromise because of the love they have for each other.

Just kidding, it’s really about how good she sucks dick. I didn’t realize it was something to be skillful at. You wouldn’t expect it to require much more than competence. You do remember this song right? Everyone had heard it when it came out. With its minimalistic production (done by Ryan Leslie, who’s featured in two of the later songs) and perfect harmonizing. Unfortunately, she kind of disappeared after that single. Not many people heard this album, I’d wager. We can blame Diddy and Bad Boy Records for this. Their signees get almost literally 15 minutes of fame and then fall off and don’t make it to a third album. Did you know she has a new album coming up? Yeah, me either, until I heard Me & U being played on the radio at some store I was in and decided to look her up after I realized I loved the song. I’m listening to it in its entirety for the first time as I’m writing this. It’s got all your modern female R&B/Hip-Hop staples. The ballades. Spelling “you” with a single letter for no apparent reason. The song that’s blatantly about sex even though it’s trying it’s hardest to pretend to be a metaphor about sex. The song where she raps a verse. The song where a featured rapper raps a verse that has nothing to do with what the song is about (also Yung Joc rhymes “ish” with “fish” in it). The autotune song. The Latin influence song. The song that sounds like sunshine and happiness. Every song is produced as minimally as the first, maybe because Ryan Leslie is a crappy musician or maybe because he’s got a brilliant ear. None of these songs sound blank. There is space but there is no emptiness.

Obviously she’s no hugely talented singer. She would be just another Bad Boy signee if Me & U wasn’t so freaking amazing. Her second album is coming out and maybe I’ll be one of the few people to care about it. She’s got a good voice and a good producer. I’m worried about her next album because it won’t have Leslie doing every track. Honestly he makes this album more than she does. Also the bass line he wrote for Miss Your Touch is fantastic. I should listen to more of his production.

1. Me & U
2. Long Way 2 Go
3. About Time
4. Kiss Me feat. Ryan Leslie
5. Call U Out feat. Yung Joc
6. Just One Nite feat. Ryan Leslie
7. Hope You’re Behaving (Interlude)
8. Not With You
9. Ditto
10. What Do U Want
11. Miss Your Touch
12. When Your Body Is Talking
13. Can’t Do It Without You

Stand-out tracks:
Me & U
Just One Nite
Miss Your Touch

-Jerry