Saturday, February 7, 2009

For over the past couple of weeks I have acquired a large variety of music. The world of music is so expansive and diverse, especially in this digital age, that limiting oneself to the Top 40 or whatever they put on radio these days is simply not enough. There is so much music out there that is waiting to be listened to. Radio nowadays is becoming dull, filled with music that is way too commercial and lacking any soul. Thus I have dedicated myself to listen to wide variety of music, from all countries and embracing all genres. Here’s a sample of some of the CDs I have heard:

March of Zapotec/Realpeople Holland
by Beirut

Out of all the Indie bands I have heard, Beirut must be one of the most unique. Using completely unique instrumentation comprising of horns, ukulele, trumpets, cello, mandolins, and violins, they achieve a sound never heard of in the Indie/Alternative genre. March of Zapotec/Realpeople Holland is two separate EPs released in one CD, each EP have a completely different sound to the other. March of Zapotec is heavily inspired by Mexican Folk music and Realpeople Holland mainly has an Electronic/Techno flavor to it. Beirut does an amazing job at achieve two completely different sounds, if I didn’t know any better I would have thought they were made by completely different artists! March of Zapotec has a joy to hear! It had that big-band sound and I absolutely loved the combination of Mexican Folk Music with Indie Rock. My favorite song from Zapotec was La Llorona, a truly epic song with emotion and lots of vigor. As for Realpeople Holland it was a nice change from the strong and powerful music of Zapotec. Instead Realpeople’s smooth techno beats are relaxing and soothing.

“All it takes to fall

What a quiet world after all

Of the things that you guessed will come

What a moment it was a
fter all” -Beirut

El Camino by Salsa Celtica
El Camino by Salsa Celtica came up when after hearing an entire days worth of Salsa and Merengue, I wondered to myself if someone, who is not from Latin America, has made Salsa. In my search of international Salsa, Salsa Celtica popped up! Salsa Celtica is band from Scotland fusing two interesting genres, Salsa and Celtic/Irish music. Being a lover of both Salsa and Celtic music, I had to listen to Salsa Celtica. El Camino is Salsa Celtica’s most recent album. The album is mainly Salsa except they use a lot of Celtic instrumentation such as the bagpipe and violins. They maintain a quick pace, and the music is very progressive. This CD just wants to make you get up and dance! A riveting mix of the best of both cultures that one would have never imagined would have been combined. It borrows from the best of both worlds; the excellent and upbeat sound of salsa, the beautiful lyrics in Spanish (have nothing against lyrics in English, actually would like to hear it, but for now the best language combination with Salsa is Spanish) and the diverse and a combination of the both Celtic and Latin instruments. Salsa Celtica so far is one of the best Salsa I’ve ever heard! It has memorable lyrics, awesome instrumentation, and music is just irresistible to dance to. El Camino is a must buy for Latin music lovers or for anybody who just wants to have a good time.

“Me amorraste con tu mirar
Iluminaste mi ansiedad

Tú me encendiste sentimientos dormidos sin calmar

Tu mi curaste el Corazón partido”
–Salsa Celtica

Cafe Colando (Part One) -Salsa Celtica

Solo Piano by Philip Glass
Philip Glass has to be one of my most favorite contemporary classical musicians, his minimalist style is engaging yet tranquil. After listening to many of Philip Glass’ movie scores and hearing his song “Pruit Igoe” in the Watchmen movie trailer, I decided I had to listen to his Solo Piano album, where it’s just Philip Glass playing solo. While being a master composer he is also an amazing pianist. The longest track was Metamorphosis, a five piece composition. Metamorphosis is an excellent example of Glass’ genius, a deeply heartfelt and memorable composition, expanding your imagination and taking you to a journey through a vast musical landscape.

Fight with Tools by Flobots
Flobots is one of these rare bands that are able to mix rap, rock, violins all while having deep political message. Fight with Tools is an album that is explosive and powerful. The album contains very strong political themes in its lyrics, its hard hitting and makes a lot of sense of a world where we suffer through many problems; corruption of the political elite, wars killing thousands of people, and people dying of hunger worldwide. Our world has many flaws and has committed many mistakes but through love, knowledge, and cooperation we can surpass that. Flobots conveys this message through its music. Fight with Tools is not all political it also contains one of the most unique Hip-Hop I’ve heard. They just don’t stick to Hip-Hop but instead incorporate rock, funk, and classical. Anytime I hear Hip-Hop with violins, which is rare, it immediately captures my attention. Flobots in Fight with Tools manages to create a unique sound while adding a strong political message.

“There is a war going on for your mind, if you're thinking then you are winning” –Flobots

- Flobots

Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
by Devendra Banhart

After hearing the song Lover by Devendra Banhart randomly on the internet, I fell in love with this soft-spoken peaceful folk music reminiscent of the folk rock of the 60’s. Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon provides a beautiful mystic and sincere sound. It’s a voyage to the vast soundscapes of American folk music that might mystify unsuspecting listeners, like myself. The first song of the album, Cristobal, was amazing! I hesitated weather to continue to listen to the album or just put Cristobal on repeat, but I decided to resist the temptation and follow my ritual of listening to an entire album in one sitting. Next up was Samba Vexillographica which was an amazing mix of Samba and Folk. Then there was Lover which was a throwback to the funky psychedelic music of the 60’s. You can pop this song in any movie of the 60s or 70s and it will fit right in place. And lastly there is Carmensita, which has one the weirdest and funkiest music videos you’ll ever see. Joyful, funky, mystic, beautiful, calm, and creative are all words to describe Devendra Banhart’s Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon.

“Hay un mundo más allá

Otro mundo más allá”
–Devendra Benhart

“Music is the weapon of the future.” –Fela Kuti