Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Album Review: Glasfrosch - Aubades & Nocturnes

I love when I discover new music that challenges my listening habits. I love it even more when that music refuses to fit nicely into any one style of music but straddles multiple genres simultaneously.
The two albums in question here are really one album divided up into two parts. The music is cinematic in scope and will transport you through space and time if you just close your eyes and let it. Glasfrosch is essentially the brainchild of Justin Ashworth however full credit needs to be given to everyone playing on these albums without who I'm not sure this album would have been able to come to life. There's elements of Jazz, Rock, Electronic (eek!), Ambient even Classical at times (to these ears anyway). If you are after an album of three minute pop tunes then look somewhere else, but if you want to hear music that is so much more than this then look no further than these two sister albums produced by this group of stellar musicians.
There are so many various moving parts to this music that I would recommend you make listening to it an event. Set aside time in your day, remove all distractions and really listen to what is on offer here. While essentially trying to create a mood this is no mere background music to be played in a local cafe while you sit sipping your coffee on a Sunday morning. This music commands and deserves your undivided attention. The production on here is also worth mentioning, with so many parts it would be easy for the various elements to become muddled and indiscernible but everything you need to hear is clearly audible and sits perfectly next to/underneath/on top of (and every other dimension also) one another. This music is a living breathing entity.
I think perhaps the best way to describe how one should listen to these two albums is with the quote by Timothy Leary who said "turn on, tune in, drop out"

P.S. If you like what this guys hear I would recommend checking out the album by Ghost Note Project which is available for free download here

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Song review: Joanne Shaw Taylor - Wicked Soul


For those of you who might have missed it, Joanne Shaw Taylor released a new album called The Dirty Truth late in 2014. When it was released I was super excited as I had thoroughly enjoyed her previous full length releases and couldn't wait to listen to it. Somehow though I just never got around to it (more fool me!) until last night when I heard her new single Wicked Soul.
Let me start this review with the awesome new single Wicked Soul which tells the story of a relationship gone wrong (isn't that what all memorable songs are all about?). A bluesy ballad with some blistering guitar work where she channels the great Stevie Ray Vaughan I was left stunned at the end of the roughly 4 1/2 minutes that the song goes for. 
While the guitar work shines on this song it also clearly obvious that Joanne knows how to play for the song and while you can hear that she can shred with the best of them, there is not a moment where the guitar work is overdone. As has been said by numerous people in the past the notes you don't play are just as important as the ones you do and this is a lesson Joanne has clearly learned and taken to heart. Add to all of this some soulful organ playing which sits in the background throughout and which fills in the gaps purposefully left open and you have yourself one hell of a tune that holds up just as well the 10th time you listen to it as it does the 1st. 
Lastly the lyrics of the song and the Vocal delivery really paint a great picture also and leave you feeling like the like the person singing them has really lived them which is the sign of a truly great singer.
As for the rest of the album you have touches of country, Texas blues and Chicago blues style shuffles. Other highlights include Feels Like Home and the title track The Dirty Truth where the guitar work shines just that little bit more than the rest of the album. 
Yet another quality release by perhaps the first of the new breed of female blues artists let's hope she continues to release music of this calibre long into the future.