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Modern Jazz Quartet: Pyramid

Rating: 8.1/10
Rated as
: Album
Album Status
: Genre Recommendation
Released: 1960
Specific Genre: Cool Jazz
Main Genre: Jazz
Undertones
: Third Stream
Label: Atlantic

1 Vendome 2 Pyramid 3 It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Swing) 4 Django 5 How High the Moon 6 Romaine

Cool, but not loungy, progressive, but not sonically avantgardistic

There are no fundamentally weak releases in the Modern Jazz Quartet’s catalogue, but which albums would you recommend as their absolute top picks? That’s no trifling matter. Discounting their live albums, Pyramid is a slight contender among their studio work, with its focus on sophisticated vibraphone-and-piano duels that draw their power from subtlety bordering on inconspicuousness. The Modern Jazz Quartet had entered their phase as elderly statesmen, and alongside their (in my view) epochal Third Stream Music, they were ready to further test out the possibilities to turn their jazz quartet format into a chamber music style that could have potentially broken loose from either jazz or classical – yet without strings or clarinet, they end up on the slightly conventional side of cool, sneaky swing once more.  

As such, this is a terrific jazz release: cool, but not loungy, progressive, but not sonically avantgardistic, minimalistic, but not sparse. It works just as well as background music as it does for an intense listening. Given the fact they barely seem to touch their instruments, these guys put down one mean swing.

Youtube Comments Out of Context: Seventh Week

  1. I believe in science.  I also believe in the limitations of science.  I believe science can explain all the questions we might ask of the natural world.  I also believe science is bound by natural laws.  It can’t explain the metaphysical.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in the metaphysical, but that’s a matter of belief, not fact.
  2. That gotta be fake. Some skinny kid doing a reverse crab walk probably. If it was real, it would be a world wide story. Ghosts are 100% real.
  3. Preposterous! Here’s some words of wisdom for you comment posting idiots. You people think your opinions are so important and that you possess some natural-born expertise. But take it from ME, a REAL expert, when I say your comments are even more stupider than you people making them. Now I have a lot of experience, so when I say something, it counts. That’s because I’m very important and I know what I’m talking about, unlike feeble-minded you. I see you want to retort by posting a reply, do you? PSHAW!!! You can’t post a reply to me because you’re speechless, and you’re too AFRAID. Besides, no one wants to hear your stupidness anyway. Do you know who I am? I have 9 black belts, 15 Masters degrees and a PhD in Applied Arithmetic. That’s right, you know I’m way better than you, and all my fans and supporters will gladly tell you how great and awesome I am! Have you seen my power level? It’s over 9000! You know what that means? It means I have more than 9000 units of POWER. It also puts my total adjusted force rating at 22000! That’s more than triple, so you don’t want to make me mad because anger is my middle name, and I give love a bad name, which only makes me angrier. Remember: He who laughs last, laughs last. So, go ahead, I dare you to write a reply to my comment. I DOUBLE dare you to write a reply to my comment. But I know you won’t reply to my comment because you’re all too AFRAID.
  4. Das wir crepès besiegen?
  5. How about stop being selfish. When you feed and maintain every cow on Earth and have the power to enforce it. I MIGHT stop eating beef. But don’t bank on it.
  6. no i’ve heard from many women, they love feeling sexy. feeling sexy may also attract men but its most def. for feeling sexy.
  7. Insects are still meat

T.Raumschmiere: Blitzkrieg Pop

Rating: 1.6/10
Rated as
: Album
Album Status
: of No Interest
Released: 2005
Specific Genre: Electroclash, Electro-Punk
Main Genre: Electronic, Electronic Dance Music, Punk
Undertones
: Techno, Dance-Punk, Industrial
Label: novamute

1 Intro 2 Sick Like Me 3 All Systems Go! 4 Untitled 5 Diving in Whiskey 6 Rumpelkammer 7 A Mess 8 A Very Loud Lullaby 9 Der Grottenolm 10 3 Minutes Happiness 11 An Army of Watt 12 Patridiot 13 Blitzkrieg Pop

Honestly? It depends, you see.

Wobbling electro-thumps with fast-paced, violent shuffle beats between punk and techno, cackling aggressive sound effects, screamed vocals – okay, this supposedly comes from those dark underground caves with stroboscopic red lights and angrily painted faces, but translated into a very harmless mid-sized dance club environment. Why does this sound so much tamer than what 1980s industrial had to offer, while desperately doubling up on everything that seems so neat and dangerous when the older, cooler kids with their very scary skull-tattoos and their rattling teeth do it?

Of Monsters and Men: My Head Is an Animal

Rating: 2.1/10
Rated as:
Album
Album Status:
of Zeitgeist Interest
Released: 2011
Specific Genre:
Indie Pop
Main Genre:
Pop
Undertones:
Indie Folk, Indie Rock, Folk Rock
Label:
Record

1 Dirty Paws 2 King and Lionheart 3 Numb Bears 4 Sloom 5 Little Talks 6 From Finner7 Six Weeks 8 Love Love Love 9 Your Bones 10 Lakehouse 11 Yellow Light
[Bonus Tracks: 11 Yellow Light 12 Sinking Man]

The son was an okay guy

How many ways are there to make a twee sort of indie folk pop epic and larger than life after Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons? In a style where cymbal clashes, the constant excited punctations of “HEY!”-choirs and the mandatory sudden shifts in dynamic from soothingly picked acoustic guitar / accordion / glockenspiel to thunderous brass sections have become stereotypes within half a decade, the debut of this band unadvantageously plays as if they had been veterans at this game for years, shipping in another one of those sure things to please the fandom. Aside from trivial melodies, they display musical skill, clever instrumentation, impressive performances – it’s all on point and we all should wish they don’t get stuck in the corner of epic indie folksters that self-imploded some short time right before or after the release date of this.

Morphine: Cure for Pain

Rating: 10/10
Rated as: Album
Album Status
: Backdoor Classic
Released: 1993
Specific Genre: Alternative Rock, Jazz-Rock
Main Genre: Rock
Undertones
: Blues Rock
Label: Rykodisc

1 Dawna 2 Buena 3 I’m Free Now 4 All Wrong 5 Candy 6 A Head with Wings 7 In Spite of Me 8 Thursday 9 Cure for Pain 10 Mary Won’t You Call My Name? 11 Let’s Take a Trip Together 12 Sheila 13 Miles Davis‘ Funeral

I think it’s time for me to finally introduce you to the Buena Buena Buena Buena: Good good good!

If you missed Morphine, you missed out on a cultural branch and attitude connecting the defiantly subdued rebellion of the 1950s’ cool jazz with the brawling counterculture grandeur of rock. A fully developed band from the start, Morphine had cut out the curious niche of “low rock” with the mature jazz stylings of their debut Good, yet with their sophomore strike Cure for Pain they created an instant classic. The ingredients are the same, but compared to its subdued predecessor, Cure for Pain is a behemoth of groove and sweeping melancholia based in a jaded sort of bluesy jazz-rock with a beatnik’s cloudy fantasy of a rock cellar. Simply put, Morphine tried to make music for cool grown-ups with cool grown-up ailments like hotel bar seduction and cognac affliction, amidst a scene of anxious grunge kids, and they succeeded. This couldn’t have worked at the time other than going for a niche audience right away.

Morphine’s sound was and is unique. The potential of each element is caught at its most exciting in these tracks: With a surprisingly sharp and punchy tone, the compositions treat Sandman’s bass as a lead instrument as well as the bedrock of their groove (I’m not quite sure how), the two-string bass constantly shaking things up with its earthquake boom and its slinky underground slide. Jerome Deupree is one of the funkiest, most loosely swinging drummers in rock music (let’s not forget the equally great Billy Conway featured on some numbers here) and Dana Colley’s saxophone work is staggering – at will freewheeling (“Head with Wings”, or the upbeat roadtrip favourite “Mary”), confrontational (the aggressive stomp of “Thursday”) or ominously foggy (“Miles Davis’ Funeral”, or the trippy and hypnotizing come-down of “Let’s Take a Trip Together”). Sandman’s voice, much like his bass, has two strings and many frets: the beat sexy low-life or the gravelly soothing crooner, and he slides up and down the full emotional register of this potentially restrictive set-up.

Making the most out of a fixed set of possibilities, it is one of the few albums where practically each of the songs has been my favourite in a certain phase of my life, with „Cure for Pain“ being an ultimate anthem of anyone who’s remotely familiar with obsession. What makes this work is the mastery of a simple recipe with diversity in attitude, mood and emotivity: A record that can be equally depressing as it can be soothing, that is as hedonistic as it is mature – like a very peaty Lagavulin. It took me a few listens (even after already having been converted to the band), but once you get hooked, there’s no turning back.