Music Monday - W25|Y18

Welcome to the second installment of Music Monday! I have some heavily-hypnotic songs for you tonight. All five songs below will combat the weekday feels. I'm in a psychedelic-pop-dreamy-house mood, and you'll soon hear what I've been craving and found. I hope they all pique your interest! Let me know your favorite line, track, hell, even the album artwork. All I wanna do is music. 🙌✌✨🎶  

From my ears to yours,

ash 

 

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Cloud

Plays with Fire

 

 

 

Shana Falana

Cloudbeats

 

 

 

Video Age

Paris to the Moon

 

 

 

Ploy

=O

 

 

 

Loom:ngs

Fault Line

 

 

P.S. As previously stated last Monday, I just could not find the time to add commentary to each track this time around either. One of these days! Life happens. You get the gist. -VB

Swiss Sounds: Black Sea Dahu

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Zürich-based band Black Sea Dahu has given us quite the full tune. In Case I Fall for You brings so much emotion to the listener you may need to sit down for this one. If this is the first you hear of the band, I recommend you dim the lights, wrap your ears in headphones and prepare to let this harmonic and intense group subdue you until your insides ache.

Black Sea Dahu will release their debut LP entitled White Creatures on the 12th, October 2018.

Enjoy below. From my ears to yours,

ash

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P.S. Swiss Sounds is a title I thought up to showcase the talent based in Zürich, Switzerland, where I call my home. We may be a small country but there is more to us than chocolate and watches. The music scene is a melting pot here and always a surprise because most people think only of Yodelling or Rock/Metal music when it comes to the Swiss music scene. As you can hear above, there's so much more out there. Just dip deeper, immerse yourself in the culture and you'll find what I discover.

Music Monday - W24|Y18

Welcome to Music Monday! A weekly round-up to get you through the work week & well above the noise. Essential songs you might otherwise miss because they're off the beaten path. That's right, nothing mainstream. I'll recommend five songs you would have to dig deeper to discover. Songs I even missed for my monthly best lists. Mind you, the songs will have no limit to a release date. If you would like the latest releases, head on over to my New Music page for the latest. Now then, let's get into the music below.

From my ears to yours,

ash 

 

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SIAMAKI

Bare

 

 

Djinn City

Now Or Never

 

 

Nyxx

Nightmare

 

 

Lance Herman

White Dress

 

 

NYIKO

One U Luv

 

P.S. I was going to add commentary but I'm just so tired. Maybe next week. ✌

Philippe Meyohas - A Arte do Retorno

 

Meet Brazilian composer, Philippe Meyohas. He has a remarkable ability to adapt and explore his ever-evolving musical talents. He continues to shape and unfold an array of styles you cannot put in one genre. From Jewish Liturgical to Polyphony in Baroque and Contemporary Minimalist. To Traditional Folk and Rustic Brazilian styles. A key point to mesh culture and shift beyond convenient comfort.

 

Philippe's second EP, A Arte do Retorno, means The Art of Return in Portuguese. Inspiration Philippe says, comes from the incomplete work of German Composer, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750). A Arte do Retorno explores minimal instrumentation to express reflections on experimental classical works. 

Continue reading below. You will discover a more in-depth discussion. A conversation meant to dig deeper into the mind of a brilliant producer.  As you may realize by now, I don't care for the word "interview." This exchange is much more than slapping standard information and facts together. It is an opportunity to converse about what matters. The creative process. Enjoy.

 

 

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You started your second EP, A Arte Do Retorno, with a different approach from your debut EP, Alvíssaras. You can hear minimal and experimental elements throughout A Arte Do Retorno which is quite an evolution I must add. Was this your inner motivation or was it influence?

It was completely intended. After releasing a singer-songwriter EP hugely based on the Brazilian and the Portuguese folk song, deeply involved by its form, by its language, by its repertoire, my only wish was to break up with the song itself and with me as a songwriter. And I did it through the exploration of the compositional procedures of classical music, something that I was already into while arranging the songs. Then, unlike arranging a simple theme with a lyric, I’ve put to myself that I should compose a big and dense piece of music with only 1, 2 or 3 melodies, no lyrics, just implied harmony or tonal counterpoint or “post-counterpoint” of 2 or 3 parts. The minimalistic and sometimes modal features have occurred during the process as a reverberation of my musical interests at the time and maybe some perennial personal aesthetic tendencies.

To quote you, "The Art Of Return is not only a title very pretentious as it is also a pun." I'm curious, can you tell me about the individual reference or perspective that led you to this witty insight?

If I was a listener and I got to a musical release that named itself as the art of something, I would certainly find it the most pretentious and obvious name someone could possibly put in work. But “A Arte do Retorno” or “The Art of Return” is just a wordplay with Bach’s “The Art of Fugue.” Just like in his work but it in an extremely different way, I’ve dealt with polyphony in mine — not the most traditional or strict polyphony — and with the constant presence of the return. I can say the whole EP is actually based in a rudimentary rhythmic cell, that repeats and repeats, comes and returns.

I've gathered you became a composer so as not to present yourself. Does this mean you were a performer first? 

After releasing “Alvíssaras” I’ve made some tiny solo concerts during 2015, adapting the arrangements to just acoustic guitar and voice, playing its songs alongside “Terra dos Bravos” and “Nesta Rua,” a Portuguese and a Brazilian folk song which I also had guitar and voice arrangements. But I confess these were very painful experiences.

What are your primary impulses to compose music?

It may sound disappointing, but I consider musical composition as metaphysical art. What a composer does is basically articulating concepts, intentionally or not. There is no difference between what is physically and linguistically felt and what it is conceptualized about it. And I’m a very methodical composer. So the primary impulses for me to compose are just vaguely articulated concepts and every day during the composition I work on it. And naturally, during this development, my feelings and sensations flourish in the work.

Can you tell me one of your fondest musical memories growing up?

I guess the first song or piece of music that I have ever truly enjoyed, that have been kept in my mind, that touched me, etc. was the musical theme of Disney’s Tarzan by Phil Collins when I was like six years old or something. I didn’t know what was that before.

I very much adore the cover you've chosen for A Arte Do Retorno. In fact, track III reminds me of a pleasant and charm-like atmosphere. Can you describe the creative concept behind the album artwork?

This photograph has a really strong and important meaning to me. And the cover itself, simulating and old photo album, has to do with the title, with the “return,” with the nostalgia, something that I experienced during the composition.

As I previously mentioned track III above (which is my favorite), there are candid moments. I cherish the laughter and conversing toward the end. It makes my smile grow wider with each new listen. What can you tell me about track III? 

I guess “III,” especially the second half of it, is the most lyrical and intense track. Everything that precedes it is actually a big preparation. It’s common people telling me this track is their favorite. It was certainly the apex of me as a composer of musical narratives until now. And it’s just tonal music narrative. A very emotional tonal music narrative. Which ends with a cellphone recording with my mom improving a song with me.

Can you reflect on the relationships between yourself and the players of the music you compose? 

Victor and Murilo are just excellent performers. Not only technically but as artists that perform a score. And, of course, during the rehearsals and recording, I try all the time to go beyond the score with metaphors, explaining feelings that I have wanted to pass, explaining a big sense of the piece, etc.

Your music is on Spotify.  Some musicians choose not to be on Spotify or only decide to put up a few songs and want the listeners to buy the entire album. What’s your general perspective on streaming?

I can’t have any problem with that. All my music background was based on illegal downloads and streamings during years and years and years. Not only my background but to all my generation. Today I know a relatively big repertoire in music thanks to illegal downloads and streamings. Frankly, the best thing musicians could focus to earn their money is in concerts. Or in an academic career like me.

Do you feel it’s necessary for listeners to derive the meaning from your music? 

Absolutely not. It must be only a curiosity.

Say you were to ask a question of a musician you admire. What is one thing you'd most like to know and, most importantly, from whom?

I guess I would have questions to every composer or any composer that I could get in touch. Technical and artistic questions. But I think I don’t have a big and only one question to someone.

Lastly, you must choose a song that is not your own to conclude this chat, think of it as a closing theme.

Melodia Sentimental” by Heitor Villa-Lobos, during his “Bachian” times. There are really few themes that are so devastatingly beautiful to me as this one. And I recommend you Olivia Byington performance.

Philippe's Links

Social: FB 

Stream: Bandcamp | DeezerSoundcloud | SpotifyYouTube

Album Review: Before The Birds Start To Sing - Neo & Neo

Swiss indie-folk band NEO & NEO inspire beyond measure with their first album “Before The Birds Start To Sing.” Upon my move to Switzerland, I thought it'd be difficult to seek and discover Swiss musicians, but as it turns out, it's been a zephyr.

 

There is more to the Swiss music scene than yodeling and the Alphorn. You just have to dig deeper. Or other times, the musicians get in touch with you - which is the case here. I always appreciate when the artists turn to the fans. There is another Swiss band I put in the spotlight, Neo & Neo saw this on Facebook, and the rest is history. When you can easily connect with artists you listen to in this day and age and share the love of music together, it is an immensely humanizing experience. Well rooted and musically entwined. These are the layers in the music world today.

Without further ado, my latest review begins.

Before the Birds Start to Sing is more than a music album. It's an opportunity to feel authentic emotions and create new perspectives. Listen carefully to the lyrics; they're simple but enlightening in a universal way. When it comes to real folk music, it's about the stories. You want to burrow yourself inside every note, become the song and prevail. Neo & Neo reveal a powerful energy in their music which makes this album all the more memorable. Every song is created to be something tangible. You can tell Neo & Neo are not in a hurry and take each moment slowly to create a quality experience. You can also hear experimental sounds throughout the entire album. They maintain this sense of poetic light in a slightly dark room. You know, the sliver of a curtain slightly open while sunbeams sneak through and highlight particular parts of the table, an armrest or a vase. It's like every song blooms into a natural light at the end of an exhausted tunnel. 

Below, you will find my commentary about each song from "Before The Birds Start To Sing." I've listened to each track three to five times. (Or more, I lost count.) When I admire an album, I like to take my time. Not only for me but you, too. If you'd like to listen to bits of each song while you read, click here. Now, let's begin, shall we?

Wild At Heart... contemplative yet carefree at once. It encourages you as if you're on your way but not quite there yet. High spirits hang high or low at any given moment. Where to begin, where to start? 

I'll Never Learn... is an intense and serious love song. It starts slowly as a low tide and turns into a chaos of choppy waves. It's entirely crazy yet normal. Just as true love.

I Lost My Heart In San Antonia... makes you want to move to the dancefloor with its hypnotic chorus. It's a going for it and see what happens kind of tune. Meeting someone new and all the mish mash of feelings from San Antonia brought back home. To not know what might have been but always kept in wonderment.

Boxes From Holland... is slow and beautiful. Lovers you hold onto even when they're no longer yours. Lifelong memories in a frame of lyrics wait for the other side if ever to return.

Come Close To Me... has this lovely repetitive tone throughout the entirety of the song. A cinematic soul waits for a certain someone to take hold.

High Spirits... brings me to tears. I've been there, no, I am there quite often. It's that fight between the highs and lows of life. This song is my favorite track on the album.

My Only Truth... those rumbles of drumbeats are sure to get your adrenaline aflow and accelerate your heartstrings. A rhythmic energy of a song to stimulate the body and mind.

A Big Black Box of Questions... puts your body in a trance to get up, dance, tap your feet and clap your hands. If you want to feel good to the bones, listen to this one! Such a fine and lively tune.

Hotel Room... coffee blues and set my mind on fire. A classic folk my soul kind of song with a booze in hand. Along for the journey even if to say goodbye.

California Sun... a dependable song to walk out into the fray. Beckon and comfort. You feel the heat on your face with an ongoing sense of possibilities buried with each sunrise and sunset. 

Broken Glass... raw with dusty sonic trails. Such a rustic, all-ages sort of sound. No fluff, no gloss. A real singer-songwriter guitar gusto. 

Are you still here? Great. Wow, what a beautiful musical trip. Neo & Neo play music in a way that invites you along for the ride with them. They uplift and keep you curious. This band is the kind you don't realize you've sought but needed. That is why I am here, and you are reading this, to show you what you didn't find. A goddam beautiful album. Wunderschön!

Neo & Neo's Links

Social: FB | Instagram

Stream: Soundcloud | Spotify | YouTube

Support: Amazon | Ex LibrisiTunes