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19 October, 2014

The Contortionist : Language

Filed under: Listenings,New Music and Video — James R. Sutton @ 12:54 AM

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The Contortionist (US) – Language | Wikipedia

I believe that a person will only respond honestly to art, regardless of form, when it happens upon them at just the right time in their life. It can never be planned or forced. Although an artist may attempt at conveying a particular message or feeling, he or she can never now exactly how or when it will move the recipient.

When I first heard The Contortionist years ago, I wasn’t ready. Although I loved the band’s name, what they were creating at the time wasn’t on the same emotional path as I was musically. Back in August I landed on the Soundcloud post for “Primordial Sound” and the timing was absolutely perfect.

Whilst listening to this new album in its entirety for the first time, there were moments where I didn’t really understand how I was feeling. Some of the progressions, chords, and arrangement ideas moved me in ways I’d genuinely never experienced before. It’s these rare, unpredictable moments that inspire me to continually seek out new music.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think this recording was made specifically for me and at this exact time in my life.

27 September, 2014

New Music 2014 Pt. II

Filed under: Listenings,New Music and Video — James R. Sutton @ 10:49 AM

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Big Wreck (Canada) – Ghost | http://www.bigwreckmusic.com/

I’ve been a Big Wreck fan since their first album in ’97, having seen them open for Dream Theater in Hollywood that year. Ian Thornley is an incredible songwriter and to me it seems that his writing gets exponentially better with each album. I think that “Ghosts” is their best yet.

“Come What May”
“Ghosts”

Nili Brosh (US) – A Matter of Perception | http://www.nilibrosh.com/

This is Nili’s second solo album and it’s packed with mature and dynamic tunes start to finish. Although there’s an amazing list of personnel on this record, their contributions are not what carries it. Nili’s playing and composition skills stand very strong throughout.

“A Matter of Perception”

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Pete Cannon & Dr. Syntax (UK) – Killer Combo! | https://drsyntax.bandcamp.com/

I only seem respond to hip-hop that’s smart and delivered with a sense of humour, and everything I’ve heard from Dr. Syntax definitely fits the bill. “Killer Combo!” is his latest effort with Pete Cannon and it’s tons of fun.

“On My Terms”

Freak Kitchen (Sweden) – Cooking With Pagans | http://www.freakkitchen.com/

I’ve only known about guitarist Mattias Eklundh and his trio Freak Kitchen for a little over two years now. He’s got a truly original sound and never takes himself seriously. As someone who knows their last two albums very well, I think “Cooking With Pagans” is another positive step in the right direction.

“Sloppy”

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Intervals (Canada) – A Voice Within | Bandcamp

I discovered Intervals back when they were doing an all-instrumental thing. Adding vocals on this new, full-length album took their sound to a great place with long term potential. Anup Sastry’s drumming on this album is fantastic.

“The Escape”

Navene K (US) – Warrior / Secret Police | Mind | Bandcamp

I first heard Navene Koperweis on Animals As Leaders‘ second album. He has since moved on and is doing this solo drum & bass, live electronic thing that’s definitely worth supporting.

“Mind”

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Chris Letchford (US) – Lightbox | http://chrisletchford.com/

Chris is one of the guitarists in Scale The Summit and a music educator and writer. “Lightbox” is a unique approach to jazz that’s quite the departure from the StS sound.

“Rayless”

Anika Nilles (Germany) – EP | Chary Life | http://www.anikanilles.com/

Anika is killer drummer with great feel and a perfect ear for when chops are called for and when they’re not. Her playing is exciting and at the same time reserved and thoughtful. This EP and single are what I hope to be a prelude to larger projects in the near future.

“Alter Ego”
“Chary Life”

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Winger (US) – Better Days Comin’ | http://www.wingertheband.com/

I’ve always respected Winger and enjoyed everything they’ve released. Kip has put together yet another really strong collection of tunes and I’m thrilled that the band is still going strong.

“Tin Soldier”

8 August, 2014

Eluveitie : Origins

Filed under: Listenings,New Music and Video — James R. Sutton @ 8:59 PM

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Eluveitie (Switzerland) – Origins | http://eluveitie.ch/

It was Eluveitie‘s Slania album that first grabbed my attention in 2008 and I’ve been following them since. Of all the bands I’ve heard that blend metal with traditional instruments, Eluveitie do it in a way that never sounds gimmicky or forced. I also find their lyrics fascinating, which are mostly based on ancient Gaulish texts and invocations.

I follow the band on all of the usual social media sites and over the last month up to Origins’ release, there was a lot of promotional material posted including two video singles. Through willpower and patience, I somehow managed to avoid all spoilers. Prior to pressing the play button on the evening of release day, I hadn’t heard a single note.

I absolutely adore 2012’s Helvetios and my hopes were very high for Origins. Not only have the band matched the quality and dynamics of Helvetios, I believe they’ve taken the next step in both musicianship and production.

At the end of my first listen through the album, one of the first things that came to mind was just how inspired and exciting Merlin Sutter‘s drumming has become. I also noticed that the traditional instruments were more consistently featured, which is something I very much appreciate. I was happy to hear that Alexander Morton had returned as one of the narrators, and that Nicole Ansperger‘s playing as the band’s new fiddler, is a perfect fit.

Origin’s guitars sound better than ever and Chrigel Glanzmann‘s and Anna Murphy‘s heart felt delivery and storytelling had me glued to the lyric sheet.

Eluveitie‘s new album is everything I’d hoped for along with many pleasant surprises. This kind of quality work should be applauded and I genuinely hope that Origins is a huge success for the band.

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