6 months ago
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Skagos is a band from Vancouver that makes really good atmospheric black metal. This is Ást, which is to my knowledge their first and only release up to this point besides a demo. The music contains the post rock elements that often make other bands in the genre boring trash, but this record doesn't fall into the same pitfalls that their contemporaries do. Sincere quiet passages and real aggression make this album a true black metal album in the sense of a return to primitivism. Highly recommended.
Also, it's only released as a cassette, and you know you want those tr00 kvlt points.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
I bought Full Circle by Towers on a whim, and it was probably the most pleasant surprise I've had all year. To call the album itself pleasant would be grossly incorrect, because one can hear 1:30 into the first track that this band is not messing around. Working in a stagnant genre (metalcore), it is surprising that this band has managed to create something this fresh. Heavy music is always looking for new ways to be heavier, but breakdowns, chants, and the like are boring and barely elicit any type of emotional reaction from the listener. Towers completely throw out that formula, instead introducing psychedelic elements and obscene amounts of dissonance. Guitar lines drenched in delay slowly fade, each new note colliding with the previous one, all while the singer (perfectly subdued in the mix) wails away.
Highly recommended and definitely in my top 5 for 2009.
(This is the official zip file that came with my vinyl copy. Bitrate could be higher, I agree, but I think the sludgy atmosphere benefits from the sound quality)
Friday, September 18, 2009
Olivier Messiaen was one of the most important composers of the twentieth century, mostly remembered for the Quartet for the End of Time, a chamber piece he wrote while in a Nazi concentration camp. I personally love that piece, but Messiaen had such a wide range of influences (birdsong, French Impressionism, Ancient Greek and Hindu music, etc.) that it is impossible to know him just from one piece. Although it is not easy music to listen to, one can hear passion often not heard in serialist music, stemming from his endless Roman Catholicism, as seen in the titles of his pieces.
This is a 4 disc set of his organ works played by Messiaen himself, so excuse the gigantic file size. It is not often that one gets to hear composers performing their own work, but these rare occasions offer a glimpse into the composer's music performed exactly as it was conceived.
I also recommend everyone find his Quartet for the End of Time, the timbral variation might be good for those put off by an organ's sound.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Ligeti is a Hungarian composer that anyone interested in modern classical music needs to hear. His groundbreaking Atmosphères is included, as well as Lontano, which resembles it. San Fransisco Polyphony is equally amazing, and Apparitions is good too. Concert Românesc is probably my least favorite piece on here, because it is nowhere near as adventurous as the other pieces, but it might actually be a good piece to start with if the first half of the album turns you off.
Definitely a great listen to widen your taste and see how influential this was. Keep in mind that Atmosphères was written in 1961.