In this issue:
• Halloween Free Loops
• Criminally Overlooked
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New Halloween Free Loops
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Download in Members Only section » "Criminally Overlooked" Music Recommendations
Hey folks! It's been so long since I've written a column, and I have missed it. But you know, life is what it is and sometimes writing this column, which I love has to take a back seat to life's other priorities. What I do discover is that when I don't write or read the column as my guest contributors have done a most excellent job of sharing their music loves with you -- I really miss listening and writing. So this week I am keeping it short and sweet. Well maybe not too short , but I am trying to focus on a few artists at a time and not to overload the reader and listener with too many as I have done in the past. But as you can tell from the length of this one, I have failed miserably!
Before I get into the meat of the Criminally Overlooked, I must properly thank all my friends and fellow contributors who have contributed to the column of the past year. Initially, the column started out as just my thoughts on some of the music here, but I really wanted it to be more than that. I had hopes of it being a way to have members contribute and share their thoughts on some of the artists here, and 'lo and behold the Criminally Overlooked evolved. So Chris, Trevor, Rebecca, David Bowles, David Ball, Art, Bernardo, John, Mike, Stephanie, Wally, George, and Rich-- thank you all for all you've done for the site and for the column. Here's looking forward to many more from you all!
Now on to the column.
On the premier episode of the Criminally Overlooked on iCompositions Radio, I played a great tune by AdamStolterman and mentioned that I would be writing about him in the near future. Well the time is now!
I discovered Adam last year when he first joined the site. One of the first tunes I heard from him was "Soon Rain Will Fall" and I was just dumbfounded. This youngster is only 21 and he writes with the voice of a much older man. When he sings about "Waiting for tides to turn around, watching the skies grow darker,waiting for the candle to burn out, watching the stars grow brighter. In front of me a storm I can see..." you get the feeling that this young man has experienced quite a bit in his 21 years... He is somewhat reminiscent of James Taylor to me with his melancholy lyrics and beautiful acoustic guitar work and minimal but pristine arrangements. Don't be confused, he is not to be thought of as a James Taylor wannabe. Quite the contrary in fact, Adam's truly unique. His narratives on his postings are wonderfully innocent too. I think that is part of his allure, for while he has a sense of world weariness to his lyrics, his vocals and delivery have a lovely innocence about them.
I think a good example of this is his superb "This Tornado." Talk about a intense! The beginning is very much a sonic precursor to the intensity that makes this song a must listen on this site. The distorted vocals complement the distorted guitars that work so well in the intro and throughout. With lyrics like:
Do you see that glass fall to the floor?
(The crashing sound that goes out and then it is no more)
The shattered pieces cuts time and space
(Time seems to stop, reality for me begins to change...)
This tornado is starting to spin
And finds home right here within me
I can't shake this feeling crawling under my skin
That that that
Something is wrong
I can't believe we've been fighting this for so long
Pretty dark huh? But intense. And his delivery is perfect for this song. I love it. I hope you do too. It's a pretty powerful tune.
Not every tune from Adam is sad/melancholy though. I find his "Treehouse" to be very joyous. His delivery is a cross between singing and rapping and it works. In his notes about the tune, he mentions that one may think this song is about drugs. But it's not. It just about about a treehouse. And a really cool one at that. Again lyrically it's beautiful:
Check it out it's unreal
you gotta go up there for a closer look to really feel the way we feel
see how cool this is, did I mention we built this
and try not to fall cause if you fall you wouldn't be hurt but you wouldn't get up at all
Yeah we'll go higher and that's no bluff
you said we'd reach the top, but that's not far enough
See the sun is setting like a golden crown
we're never coming down
'cause we got lights all over
Now excuse me a moment while i pray to the god named Leif and give him a smile, will you be okay on your own for a while. No that's a long story, actually let's move on to the next tree shall we?
Way up here, we don't have to care
see how far we'll go, we left you below
Way up here, we don't have to care
The problems we know, are way down below
Way down below.
Such lovely imagery.
"Metaphor" is also a great tune. An intelligent experiment. A long line of metaphors. But very clever use of lyrics to great music.
"Sunlight Lemonade" is also another real winner. More electric with some great edgy guitar riffing, it's a really killer tune. I love his production also. Lots of good bottom end on this one too. And again, great lyrics.
"The colors in my eyes they seem to fade out
Growing more cold
Think Im coming to an end
And I'm gonna let myself freak out..
But I still got control
I still got no rules but my own to follow
I walk through the limitations
It's all just in my imagination"
Adam wants us to guess what this song is about. I say it's about parkour, the (martial/performance) art that he practices. According to Wikipedia, "Parkour is a physical activity which is difficult to categorize. It is not an extreme sport, but an art or discipline that resembles self-defense in the martial arts. According to David Belle, the physical aspect of parkour is getting over all the obstacles in your path as you would in an emergency. You want to move in such a way, with any movement, that will help you gain the most ground on someone/something as if escaping from it, or chasing toward it. Thus, when faced with a hostile confrontation with a person, one will be able to speak, fight, or flee. As martial arts are a form of training for the fight, parkour is a form of training for the flight. Because of its difficulty to categorize, it is often said that parkour is in its own category: "parkour is parkour." I think this discipline is evident in his approach to his music.
A few years ago, when i lived in New York I used to frequent all the record stores in the West Village to the now extinct Tower Records and J&R Music World (still one the best resources for music) on a regular basis then walk across the Brooklyn Bridge to my old apartment nearby. Let's just say that my addiction to music was a pretty severe one. But I did discover some pretty cool artists there wandering the aisles from A to Z... One memorable artist was the incredibly beautiful and talented Anggun. She's Indonesian and apparently a huge star there as well as on the club scene in Europe. I had no idea who she was. I just saw the face on the CD and I stopped dead in my tracks. I must admit that the photograph of her caught my attention first and foremost. The CD was on sale, for $7.99 and I bought it right away, figuring to myself "what have I got to lose?" Well for starters it would have been $8 and change- the equivalent of lunch and a subway ride to and from work- so it was a lot in those days of constant deep poverty. But I bought it. Like I said, I had an addition to music. I went home and put the CD into my stereo and became totally enthralled by this gorgeous woman's voice. She had a deep sexy voice and the entire CD was so excellently produced that to this day, I still play it, and her voice still gives me the shivers.
So why am I writing about Anggun here? Well we have a few artists here that are from Indonesia and the nearby islands, and the next artist is someone I have been meaning to write about now for a few weeks also. Her name is Argales (well it's really not Argales but you know what I mean). Like Anggun, she has a really killer and sexy/exotic voice and like Anggun, she is undeniably very pretty too! Making some unique music is her thing for sure. She has done a lot of different genres and all of them are truly unique and worth your time. If you like dancing and dig House music, her awesome "Class House" is definitely some great booty-shaking music. I love how she mixed this one with some great bass in there and some cool rhythm guitars to accentuate the background pads... tasty!
Same goes for "Fair Enough". Some cool disco grooves. Hey don't knock disco. It's the same stuff you call dance today...
"The Chaos" is another great track too.
These are all standout tracks to me. I really love the excellent "Dancing In the Sky." She has it listed under inspirational. I was a little confused, with it being in that category at first, but after you listen to it, it makes perfect sense to me. It certainly is inspirational. The same can be said for the really beautiful "Sarang Alap".
Argales is truly multi-talented. She makes these great compositions, but one of her real strengths to me is her fantastic voice, and nowhere is it more lovely than her performance on the awesome collabs between her and Slupper called "Longing" and "Quiet".
Another great collab with Argales is the excellent "Journey Into Mind" with Filmscorz,and guitar55. An excellent foray into cool blue jazz. Just like something Miles Davis would have done. Excellent music to just chill out to.
Another wonderful collaboration is the moving "Jesus Blood," that she did with the always impressive bibanova, another artist I need to speed some time listening to and writing about. It's a religious tune, but even if you're not a believer, you can still see the beauty of this song and the performance.
But my personal favorite song by her is the absolutely beautiful "Kau Yang Kucari (Selama Ini) - You Are the One I've Been Looking For". I know that she wanted to do it in English at one point. But it is so lovely in Indonesian, why mess with a perfect song? The exoticness of the language as well as her deep mature voice just makes it a really great listen.
Another fantastic artist from Indonesia is tondylubis. Tondy has been here a while, and I remembered looking at this photo of a guy with a twin guitar and instantly had to check him out. And I have to tell you, boyI was glad I did! Tondy makes some really great jazz. His song to his wife, at their wedding is the sentimental and really smooth "I Love You (For Marie)". He has vocals in both Indonesian and English and it's a really wonderful listen. When he sings in English he reminds me a lot of Robert Lamm and Bill Champlin from Chicago. The way those gents to harmony vocals, to me their influence is evident is his harmony vocals.
Another excellent into cool smooth rhythms and Tondy's lovely fretwork is his "Perkici Fun." You know, here in the US a lot of the smooth jazz we hear is really quite awful and boring. But like anything sometimes you have to sort through a lot of rubbish to find the gems. Yes it is true, there are some great Smooth Jazz tunes out there. Tondy's music is like the best of this. But it also a lot more than mere "Smooth Jazz." It's adventurous and melodic and fun and is everything that great jazz-- regardless of what type of jazz-- is supposed to be. His way too short but really quite great "Cobain Deh/Would You try?" is one such song. It's a 7/8 tempo and features his usual beautiful acoustic guitar and also, some really nice bass. and you know how much I love bass!
In the same vain with odd timing--6/8-- and lovely melodies and fine guitar playing is the also exceptional "Lepas/Free". A song that to me is a great Sunday afternoon drive type of tune.
Finally, "Akustic Aljabar" is his most popular, with over 1060 listens (as last count). This 2-year old gem is still standing up against time and winning. It really is a splendid tune.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's Criminally Overlooked. Again, please let me/us know how we're doing-- both with column and the Radio Show. Your input is what we need to continually make them better.
Happy listening and...