Wrapped in Piano Strings
Radical Face - Wrapped In Piano Strings
One song I know I will never tire of hearing is this one. Ben Cooper uses accordion, strings, guitar and yes, piano strings to pull at your heartstrings. Gothic subject matter is in its abundance on Radical Face’s debut concept album where narratives are told from the perspective of a ghost.
The 2006 album Ghost is not short of its fair share of classic songs. Welcome Home and Glory are just two other highlights worthy of a listen if this type of chill is up your alley.
Emancipator - Minor Cause
Elegance and exotic soundscapes lather Emancipator’s new album Dusk to Dawn.
Nowhere is this more true than on the stunning opener Minor Cause. The music begins slowly and builds before blossoming into a fully recognised orchestral, electronic masterpiece. The strings alone make this song worthy of a listen, but Emancipator’s technological prowess transforms Minor Cause into a piece to be reckoned with. Highly recommended.
Download - Minor Cause
A Beautiful Mine (With RJD2)
Aceyalone with RJD2 - A Beautiful Mine
Picture this - the crisp silhouette of a gentleman in his 30’s, dressed in a sharp business suit, falling gracefully into oblivion between the towering high-rises of Madison Avenue.
Fans of AMC’s Mad Men should have little trouble conjuring up such imagery, which goes hand-in-hand with this string-sampling composition by Eddie Hayes and Ramble John Krohn (Aceyalone and RJD2 to you and I).
Hailing from opposite sides of the States (California and Ohio, respectively), the artists collaborated and released Magnificent City in 2006, of which this is the closing track.
The piece is built on a bed of drums and crashing cymbals, but who can forget that hook? For those of you who enjoy following a tune down the rabbit-hole, Enoch Light’s rendition of Autumn Leaves is responsible for those delightful strings. Light himself was also born in Ohio, which nicely brings A Beautiful Mine’s tale full-circle.
This is a wonderful track to wrap yourself in. Do as Don Draper would, and fix yourself a Manhattan while you’re at it.
Frank Ocean - Pink Matter Remix (Featuring OutKast)
Okay, okay, okay. This feature spot on Frank Ocean’s Pink Matter probably isn’t the type of collaboration most OutKast fans are looking for. It’s not upbeat, it’s not radio friendly or crunk and it is emotionally heavy. But that won’t stop me getting excited.
Frank Ocean’s signature melancholic crooning is dark. At times it is detached, at times it is despairing and vacant and all of these textures are observations made without really trying to decipher the ambiguous intelligent lyrics. Big Boi’s verse is straightforward, vividly depicting voyeuristic perversion and André 3000’s is somewhere in between the other two artists.
For the moment, this track is still available for free download by following the link below and navigating the (downward arrow) link.
Download - Pink Matter Remix
Alt-J (∆) - Taro
I had no idea how big Alt-J (∆) were as I was a little late to discover the band. The British quartet have received rave reviews since releasing their debut album An Awesome Wave in May this year. Needless to say, I came to discover that An Awesome Wave is indeed, awesome.
For those of you who have not already bought the album and begun worshipping the band, you should have a close listen of the album closer, Taro. The track is brimming with innovative production, middle eastern influences, a strings section and one of the most distinctive male vocalists to emerge from Britain this year (Joe Newman). The five minute slow burner has no dull moments with a sprawling, unpredictable melody and vocals that are hushed one moment and harsh the next.
I am genuinely mesmerised every time I listen to Taro. In this instance, you should definitely believe the hype when it comes to Alt-J (∆).
Download - Taro
Owen - An Animal
The dreamy song arrangements and finger-picking instrumentation on Owen’s latest album makes for a mesmerizing listen. The 9 tracks are well thought out, with Owen covering topics ranging from questioning God’s existence, ambivalence to others, itchy feet and everything in between.
An Animal is one of the darker songs on an album with a cello serving as accompaniments to Owen’s skilled guitarwork. The story has a sinister feel to it and it is told with honesty. I’d recommend this to fans of The Magic Lantern for the interesting structure. Lyrics below. Enjoy
I did my time, Endless days and nights
I paid for my sins so I could come back and sin again
I’ve seen the light, Burning hot and bright
It scorched my skin, I said f**k that and came back to sin again
I’ve been running like a convict across state lines
Looking for answers, An easy way out
An alibi, Free will for those who can afford it
The rest of us be damned
Free, I suppose, with help from your parents
But I can’t change who I am
I’ve got twenty eyes on you and no place to put my hands
I keep my secrets buried beneath us, under deep soil and stones
Maybe God will save my soul, but in this world I’m an animal with clothes on
An animal with needs
Eluvium - Prelude For Time Feelers
Whoever said that there are no great classical composers alive today? Well maybe noone said that, but in my opinion the absence of knowledge about contemporary classical music is almost as bad.
Prelude For Time Feelers is an evocative song that begins with a simple piano piece before an orchestra lifts the mood and continues to build right up until the climactic finish. The track was taken from Eluvium’s 2007 album Copia.
Sometimes you need to stand up and represent classical music. Next time, bump this in yo’ ride when you’re cruisin the hood blastin’ foolz.
Download - Prelude For Time Feelers (control-click & save)
Rhye - Open
The members of Rhye are keeping their identities secret. Apparently, both members live in L.A. and have European backgrounds. They both also are members of well-known bands.
Regardless of their previous musical endeavors, both members of Rhye have a musical chemistry and their debut single Open shows this. Open features strings, harps and etherial falsetto. These elements may have easily have let Open succumb to overproduction, but it maintains a simple structure and organic sound.
Share this track with a loved one or just keep it all to yourself.
Download - Open