S.O.W.S. “Pale On Pale” by Chelsea Wolfe

MUSIK       MODUS       S.O.W.S.
SONG OF THE WEEK SUNDAYS
APRIL                20                2014

PALE ON PALE CHELSEA WOLFE APOKALYPSIS

ApokalypsisInspired largely by black metal, Chelsea Wolfe‘s sonorous, bleak yet inspiring style is all her own. Songs like Pale On Pale are unique gems that provoke a broad spectrum of emotion. Wolfe’s haunting vocals and guitar drones summon the rapport of folk, the hum of death rock, and bleakness of black metal that create a truly hypnotic sensation.

Chelsea Wolfe was one of the many artists that I had the fortune of learning about through my brother. He has a vast taste in music and has influenced a significant portion of my interests. Chelsea Wolfe makes the kind of music that you float along with on a long road trip or on a rainy day. Pale On Pale specifically, is one of those songs that you find yourself listening to and end up humming to yourself days later. Her melodies have that tendency to float through your subconscious and leak out at the most unexpected times.

S.O.W.S. “You Don’t Fade” by Daughn Gibson

MUSIK       MODUS       S.O.W.S.
SONG OF THE WEEK SUNDAYS
APRIL                13                2014

YOU DON’T FADE DAUGHN GIBSON ME MOAN

Me MoanI am going to extend thanks for this weeks S.O.W. to L.A.-based public radio station KCRW. If you have not had the fortune of seeing any of their awesome studio sessions on YouTube, you are missing out. I encourage you to take the time to do so.

Pennsylvania native, Daughn Gibson was born Josh Martin. The rest is history. Writing music under his new name, Gibson’s songwriting is heavily influenced by his life as a blue collar worker. From truck driver to store clerk, he has done it. His music is a marriage of electronica, synth, hard country, and  Americana. What makes his music so infectious are his hypnotic rhythms, velvety baritone vocals, and Americana story-telling. His album Me Moan has all of the about. Since Daughn Gibson’s KCRW studio session of You Don’t Fade was my first listen, that is this weeks featured video. Enjoy.

S.O.W.S. “Kingdom” by Devin Townsend Project

MUSIK       MODUS       S.O.W.S.
SONG OF THE WEEK SUNDAYS
APRIL                 6                 2014

KINGDOM DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT RETINAL CIRCUS

Retinal CircusI can still remember the first time I saw Devin Townsend perform. He is not one of those performers you can easily forget. Of coarse, back then he was a different Devin. At the time, he was still with Strapping Young Lad. They performed at a small intimate venue in Bend, OR called the Domino Room.

Out of impulse, I recently looked into Mr. Townsend in effort to reminisce about that show so long ago. I came to learn that Devin Townsend has been a very busy guy in the years since and has long since moved on from playing heavy metal with “the Lads.” He has, in my opinion, pushed his writing to the next level. While the high energy of his music is still a constant, the content itself is richer and more dynamic. One key addition to the music are the vocals of dutch singer Anneke van Giersbergen paired with the more so melodic vocals of Devin himself. In the past his vocals were largely scream-based. The use of strings also contribute a unique texture to the new songs.

Retinal Circus is a live recording. The concert itself tells a story within the dreamworlds of a man (supposedly unrelated to Devin). The video link below contains the whole recording. Advance to 1:37:19 for Kingdom.

S.O.W.S. “Physical Education” by Animals As Leaders

MUSIK       MODUS       S.O.W.S.
SONG OF THE WEEK SUNDAYS
MARCH               30              2014

PHYSICAL EDUCATION ANIMALS AS LEADERS THE JOY OF MOTION

The Joy of MotionA new album from Animals As Leaders has been long awaited, at least for myself. When I first learned about the excellence of guitarist Tosin Abasi, I was hooked and enough was never quite enough. As usual I did some determined digging. Abasi is quiet an inspiration to the genres that he exercises in his music.

Prior to his headwind with Animals As Leaders, Tosin Abasi was involved with a band under the name Reflux. Acknowledging his skills at the time, Prosthetic Records offered him a record deal as a solo artist. Being a truly humble artist, he turned down the deal claiming that his level of skill did not warrant enough confidence to make a solo album. Soon after graduating from the Atlanta Institute of Music, Abasi reestablished contact with Prosthetic, formed Animals As Leaders and signed to the label. I found that this was an example of his rare character as a metal guitarist.

Combining Jazz and Metal worlds together, The Joy of Motion is a rush of the kind of melodic polyrhythms that instill bliss in any instrumental metal lover. Physical Education was my choice this week because it was the first taste that I had gotten from the album and is a beautiful representation of the rest of the songs. Listen and I hope you feel The Joy of Motion.

S.O.W.S. “Minnesota, WI” by Bon Iver

MUSIK       MODUS       S.O.W.S.
SONG OF THE WEEK SUNDAYS
NOVEMBER           29           2011

MINNESOTA, WI BON IVER BON IVER

In an almost unexpected way, Bon Iver‘s latest, self-titled album took the nation by storm. Pitchfork rated it a 9.5 out of 10 and credited it as Best New Album. The album featured a different sonority than was utilized in their 2007 debut album For Emma, Forever Ago, or even (my favorite) Blood Bank. This “new” sound for Bon Iver exposes a brighter, more hopeful demeanor.

A friend of mine, who had never heard of Bon Iver, Justin Vernon, or the unique vocal style that he produces, fell head-over-heels for this new record. This friend helped me to re-recognize and reestablish my favorite qualities in this band. The main two of which include (1) the unavoidable, hunting yet heart-warming wash of sound that is heard in each song, and (2) the awesome way in which Vernon turns a phrase. It is fairly evident that he really enjoys using cryptic language in his songs, as can be seen in his lyrics and song titles. Bon Iver particularly possess and highlights this cryptic nature through Vernon’s use of clever geography in the song titles. Vernon and I have that in common. I enjoy a good pun, turn of phrase, or riddle any day and that makes this album right up my alley. The album also has an awesome soaring energy that comes from the strong melodies and inspiring poetry–”Never gonna break, never gonna break.” Enjoy this energizing and captivating song from Bon Iver’s new album.

Also, in conjunction with their new album, Bon Iver produced an online video album to accompany the release of the CD. The video album is available for streaming in its entirety, for NO COST. This just goes to show how warm-hearted this band is. They produce art that is readily available to their fans, regardless of instant financial gain. Of coarse, this method of sharing music with fans does have the potential to motivate fans to invest in Bon Iver’s music, but that is neither here nor there. The video album may be viewed on Bon Iver’s YouTube Channel HERE.

S.O.W.S. “February MMX” by ULVER

MUSIK       MODUS       S.O.W.S. 
SONG OF THE WEEK SUNDAYS
AUGUST               8               2011

FEBRUARY MMX ULVER WARS OF THE ROSES

This album is a testament that the evolving powerhouse known as Ulver shows no signs of stopping. I bought this album in May of 2011, and it was my favorite listening all summer. War of the Roses is an emotional uplift from their last album Shadows of the Sun, which was written/recorded/produced during a norwegian winter. That time of year, when you are that far north, can have bizarre and beautiful effects on a musician and their output. Check it out for yourself. I grabbed this week’s video off of the Wars of the Roses mini-site. It is a promo clip.

S.O.W.S. “All I Need” by Radiohead

MUSIK       MODUS       S.O.W.S. 
SONG OF THE WEEK SUNDAYS
AUGUST              15              2011

ALL I NEED RADIOHEAD IN RAINBOWS

In Rainbows is a perfect example of music in the Pay-What-You-Want market. Upon it’s release on Radiohead’s website, the band offered it, available for download, only asking for the amount of payment that the downloader saw appropriate. In their words, “It’s Up To You,” and yes zero dollars was perfectly acceptable. While this was intended to turn a 100% profit for the band because the album was not tied to a label of any kind, it ultimately revealed that most fans, regardless of how dedicated they really are, were more likely to download music for “free” anyway, by more illegitimate means, such as torrent providers and P2P file sharing. The download site was eventually removed and after the physical release of In Rainbows, the album went Number One in the UK and United States.

For the record, while I received this album from my brother by copying the music off of his hard drive , I bought a physical copy soon after. I would hope that an experiment such as this would motivate listeners to look inside themselves and ask, “Is the music itself REALLY, ‘All I Need,’ or is there more to the art of a record than just downloads, mp3 files, and all I WANT.” You decide.

 

S.O.W.S. “IBM 729 II Magnetic Tape Unit” by Jóhann Jóhannsson

MUSIK       MODUS       S.O.W.S. 
SONG OF THE WEEK SUNDAYS
AUGUST               8               2011

IBM 729 II MAGNETIC TAPE UNIT JÓHANN JÓHANNSSON IBM 1401

Usually, I like to share my own ideas about the music I share with others. However, for my first Song of the Week, I would like to quote from the artist’s website. The best, or rather the most valuable opinions about music come straight from the source, the musician. While it is important to form our own ideas about the music that touches our lives, the sentiments that matter most are those of the creator. Jóhann Jóhannsson is one of my favorite contemporary composers, and he reign’s from the beautiful and pure country called Iceland. I received the following from Jóhannsson’s official IBM 1401 website. These are not my words:

“Jóhann’s stately and hauntingly melodic music has been quietly bewitching listeners for some time and his new album, IBM 1401, A User’s Manual – his most ambitiously-orchestrated composition to date – is sure to expand his audience still further.

Inspired by a recording of an IBM mainframe computer which Jóhann’s father, Jóhann Gunnarsson, made on a reel-to-reel tape machine more than 30 years ago, the piece was originally written to be performed by a string quartet as the accompaniment to a dance piece by the choreographer Erna Ómarsdóttir. For the album version, Jóhann rewrote the entire score, and it was recorded by a sixty-piece string orchestra. He also added a new final section and incorporated electronics alongside those original tape recordings of the singing computer.”

–Quoted from www.ausersmanual.org