Archive for the 'Classical' Category

Album – Between Voices – Anti Atlas

Posted by admin on 2nd August 2008

I made a concious effot to get some reviewing done today. Got myself all geared up to do one set of reviews and ended up doing something totally different. I sat at my computer all fired up for something a little up-tempo and out of the corner of my eye, I caught glimpse of a CD I haven’t seend in a while. “Ah, Anti Atlas”, I thought, “I reviewed that one ages ago”. Something made me search for their name in my email and low and behold nothing came back, well nothing from me anyway. Ooops, nearly fell through the cracks, but nice recovery from me.

I put the CD on and memories from a year ago came flooding back, memories of my then newborn son. I used to listen to this CD, to unwind and relax. My mood suddently changed. I was no longer, wired for something fast and furious, I had a tender spot that need itching and this CD would do it nicely.

Opening with “Wait for Me”, this is most definitely down-temp, chill music. Back in my youth, this is the kind of album I’d have put on, after coming back, wired from a night on the town. Yes, I realise that makes me sound like some old codger, but that’s what we used to say and I can tell you, it’s not that many years ago. As the dawn began to rise and your mind was still spinning from the excesses of the night, this kind of music was the perfect lullaby to unwind and mellow out to. “It’s a Shame”, has the most wonderful vocals, courtesy of Gemma Hayes. They’re breathless, haunting and exceedingly sexy. In fact all 8 tracks here feature different vocalist from all over they world, and they are all exceptional.

“Cool is the Night” is just an amazing track. It has that effortless, flying through clouds feel to it. The vocals, this time are provided by Richard Walters and they wash over you, wonderfully. There’s an sound that features ever so delicately, on this track, which reminds me of the theme tune to the old 60’s TV show, the Persuaders I think it was, the sound was also featured quite a lot on another 60’s TV show, Prisoner, can’t think what the instrument is called, but it’s a string instument stuck by sticks.

Although there’s only 8 tracks on this album, it still adds up to nearly 40 minutes of music. All the tracks have that late night chill vibe and are each masterpeices in themselves. Fantastic stuff.

Conclusion : This is a great album, to wind down to. An essential addition to your collection, if you need something to take the edge off every day life.

Posted in Classical, Down-tempo, Lounge | No Comments »

Album – Beethoven – Opferlied and Symphony Number 9 – Philharmonia Baroque

Posted by admin on 13th October 2007

I have to make a sort of apology, before I even begin this review, as I’m skipping “Opferlied” altogether. Opera is really not my thing, and it wasn’t the real reason I got this CD in for review. The real reason is the version here of Beethoven’s masterpiece “9th Symphony” a piece of classical music that has been with me, in one form or another since I was about 10 years old. I say in one form or another, because I discovered this music quite by accident. That’s not to say I wouldn’t have discovered it eventually, but my first introduction was via a hand held computer game called Merlin, on which one of the activities was a free form music keyboard. What was really challenging, was the keyboard only hand 11 keys. One of the songs, printed in the manual was, yes Beethoven’s 9th, albeit on the highly recognizable bit. This is still something I bash out on a piano or electronic keyboard every time I pass one in a store.

Now let me state, I’m not a classical music snob by any means. Many of the classical pieces I love, I’d be hard pressed to name. Certainly the names of contemporary musicians performing them, mean very little, if anything to me, apart from the everyday household named artists. Suffice to say however, the majority of the performances I’ve heard have on the whole been quite wonderful, apart from a truly awful version of Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, by someone who shall remain nameless.

Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is broken down into 4 movements, the most popular being the 4th movement, sometimes referred to as “Ode to Joy” as it features a poem of the same name, sung by a soloist and accompanied by a full chorus. This is the movement that always manages to give me goosebumps and is one that is probably one of the most powerful pieces of classical music I can think of. It builds and builds into an almost, pardon the expression, orgasmic climax. This is not a phrase I use lightly, but one I feel really captures the whole mood. Some people may be put off by the male soloist and chorus, especially those that are not necessarily into classical music, but I really beg that you give it a chance, as it really adds to the immense power of the performance. At 23 minutes, it really is weighty movement but by far my favorite, the other three coming in at between 13 and 14 minutes. What really surprised me, and something I didn’t expect, was that this performance is live, something I must have missed on the sleeve notes and something that I didn’t realize until hearing the applause at the end.

I’m sure some people will be a bit confused as to why a classical album is featured on Indie Launchpad. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long while and indeed did start to do when Indie Launchpad was begin. Hopefully I manage to introduce some new ears to the delights of classical music. After all, it’s all around, especially in pop music and many people don’t even realize.

Conclusion : One of the most moving and powerful pieces of classical music, performed by a stunning ensemble of musicians. Sensational stuff and without doubt my favorite performance of this amazing work. Try to give this a spin at high volume to really swept up in the whole performance.

Posted in Classical | No Comments »

Album – …And the Moon Was Hungry – Morgan

Posted by admin on 20th August 2007

I have to be honest. I heard one track from the album via the Dark Compass podcast and thought, “That’s an interesting sound”. When I got the album in, I don’t think I was quite prepared for what unraveled from my CD player. Actually that’s probably an understatement. When I put the album on, I think my shy reserved side, had a stroke and my darker side got a bit overloaded. This certainly isn’t an album, you put on for light relief, or maybe it is, depending on what floats your boat.

Consequently, unreasonably or not, the CD dropped down in the review pecking order, not because it wasn’t good, but rather I wasn’t quite ready to review it. A good while passed and I found myself listening to the album again with fresh ears. As sometimes happens, with an album that jars me first time around, this time around I was ready, almost eager to get my teeth into it and it’s almost like my aural senses have been reborn.

I’m sure anyone who is familiar with Morgan’s work, will understand some people will find it aloof, almost unapproachable. I’m sure a lot of this is down to the almost dramastic (a word I made up, many moons ago, when I combined dramatic with drastic), theatrical underpinnings. At time it reminds me a lot of Kate Bush, but here there is a much darker side. This darker side feels very sexual, almost ritualistic. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an album for perverts, only that it has a very adult feel to it.

The album opens with “The King”, which probably isn’t the lightest way to open an album, but second time around, I found my self being drawn in, no not drawn in, more like dragged, but with my aural fingers letting go, without much of a fight. “La Mer Enchante” begins with the most gorgeous, operatic vocals. This is probably the track that should have opened the album. “Nice Day” is an interesting track, with a real sense of almost fragile sanity. Deliciously fractured.

The later half of the album, is a lot more relaxed, but it still has a quantifiably dark edge. The album rounds off with “Sonnet” a weighty 7 minutes, or there abouts.

This is an album that drags you in, roughs you up and then casts you aside, but you can’t help coming back for more. Delicious.

Conclusion : This is a difficult album to recommend. Not that I don’t whole heartedly love it, but it’s one that may take you a while to really appreciate. Well worth it though.

Posted in Alternative, Classical | No Comments »

Album – Bach The Concerto Album – Lara St. John

Posted by admin on 10th November 2005

  • Band / Artist : Lara St. John
  • Genre : Classical/Baroque
  • Sample Track Download : N/A
  • Buy CD :
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  • Rating : 9 out of 10

Sensuous, provocative, smoldering and that’s just the CD, Lara St. John isn’t bad either. OK, bad jokes aside, classical music isn’t something that’s usually associated with independent music. Usually people think rock or pop and that’s sad, as there is a huge amount of excellent classical music out there. I have to admit, after reading Lara’s bio, I felt somewhat guilty having never heard of her, but I’m sure classical music buffs are bound to have come across the Canadian born artists name before.

It’s great that there’s a lot more younger artists appearing, as classical music is usually the domain of gray haired older people, who wouldn’t know their Blur and Oasis from their Kaiser Cheifs and Killers. In fact the listening audience is usually the same, but, bit by bit a younger audience is being found and that’s certainly a good thing. The younger audience are bound to be intrigued to see a very attractive young woman playing the violin and boy can she play that violin.

I’m in no way an expert on classical music, but I know what I like. I also know when something isn’t very good and I can tell you I’ve heard some awful renditions of popular classics. This however is in a class of it’s own. The production is crisp and clear and the actual performances are flawless. In fact it’s hard to believe that someone so young can give such a mature performance. This CD contains 4 concertos, with a total of 13 movements. The CD runs at just under an hour and the flow is seamless.

This CD provides an excellent introduction to some of the lesser known (to me anyway) works of Bach and I’m looking forward to listening to some more of Lara St. John’s work.

Conclusion : This is definitely a CD I will be playing again and again. It will certainly be given several blasts on my stereo this weekend. That is, if I remember to take it out of my car stereo.

Posted in Baroque, Classical | No Comments »