Sunday, 13 March 2011

In ma lugs

This won't be another pro-Android evangelical outpouring. However, since having picked up my Desire HD I've capitulated and purchased an all-singing, all-dancing Spotify subscription and I'm determined to get value out of it. With that in mind, I've been putting plenty of aural goodness in ma lugs.

Currently big in my headphones:

Beach House - "Walk In The Park". We've been canning the album at work for the last few months and it's a big winner chez Eoghan. The blissed-out, afterclub, post-rave "Walk In The Park" is the best if the lot.

Bach - The Well Tempered Clavier. Spotify isn't ideal for classical music, as it's not filed consistently; so you get plenty if rubbish recordings mixed in with the good ones. I've done searches for "guaranteed winners", and Daniel Barenboim naturally falls into that category. I've listened to Bach's epic several times over in recent days.

Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot - "Bonnie & Clyde". Obvious, maybe, but what a winner (am I falling for Sheenmania?) Getting played LOUD.

Freddie Hubbard - "Suite Sioux". The whole Red Clay LP is ace but this understated masterpiece trumps the true track as the standout highlight for me. It's all very low key, but Herbie Hancock's Rhodes and Lenny White's subtly brilliant drums form a platform for Hubbard. It's a perennial Eoghan favourite and I'm enjoying revisiting it.

Jane Bunnett - "Descarga a la Hindemith". I love Jane Bunnett, descargas and Hindemith, so its just as well this tune lives up to its name. Talking of jazz tunes influenced by 20th century eastern European composers...

Larry Young - "Zoltan". Based on a theme of Kodaly, this opens up into a driving modal killer. Solid.

Hindemith - 5 Pieces for Strings, op 44. Like so much of the best music, these were written for students. Firmly neoclassical in feel but smothered in harmonies that can only be Hindemith.

Stefon Harris - "Summertime". This brilliant jazzer can do no wrong, strictly for the heads, and I'm caning all his albums at the moment thanks to Spotify. "Blackout" (from the album of the same name) is an urgent, arresting killer but from the same album check out one of the best versions of the Gershwin chestnut you'll hear anywhere.

Ed Lincoln - "Catedral". The self-titled LP reissued by Whatmusic a few years ago is one of my all time favourites and it's getting rinsed repeatedly at the moment. Every tune is essential but "Catedral" is getting a real revival with me at the moment.

Grant Green - "Future Feature". Feel the funk! This is another instant winner, a little light to begin with but it opens out into full blown catchy big band jazz funk. Ace! Also getting heavy rotation (if that's the correct term with Spotify...) is "Let The Music Take Your Mind" from the Alive! LP, which is an instrumental funk blast.

Dorian Concept - "Tropical Hands". Electro heaven. On the flipside of the Trilingual Sex Experience" 12", this one's even better. The sorts of noises kids make between their teeth imitating a kazoo, with delicious midtempo beats lathered over the top. Big.

Mozart - Piano Concerto no 25. The late Mozart piano Concertos are getting a lot of airplay with mne at the moment simply because they represent perfect musical form. Not a note is wasted throughout, and while they spring few surprises, they show music "as it should sound". Don't get me wrong, I still love playing a load of Messiaen or Stravinsky, but if you want the classical format demonstrated in its purest, most perfect way, then this is where it's at. The jazz equivalent would probably be...

John Coltrane - "My Favorite Things". Why is this such a stone-cold classic? Is it the languid pace? The tuning fork purity of Coltrane's soprano solo? The understated brilliance of McCoy Tyner's extended outpouring of modal progressions based on the theme - one of the most enjoyable solos ever? The perfect balance and simplicity of the ensemble work? The answer, of course, is all of the above.

Shit Robot - Simple Things (Work It Out) (Todd Terje remix). Like the Beach House album, Shit Robot's From The Cradle To The Rave has been played a lot at work and the album sounds really fresh. Best of all, though, is Terje's thumping house remix of "Simple Things" which just builds, and builds, and builds...

George Benson - "My Latin Brother". Surely Benson's finest moment. Wicked drums, rhythm guitar and cello form a backdrop for Benson to cut loose for a solo of the highest calibre. It was surely this solo which Masters At Work hoped to replicate when they hired Benson to play on "You Can Do It (Baby)". I only knew the tune from a scratchy edited 7" version. The LP version is miles better.

Honor Blackman - "Men Will Deceive You". No, really. Utterly fantastic song from Honor. Also check out the version of this performed by Brady over the reggae sounds of Serge Gainsbourg's classic "Javanaise Remake", which is great in its own right. But Honor's original lick takes some beating.


Di Maggio - "Madame X". I heard this on French Radio London (does what it says on the tin...the music is nearly as good as Radio Nova) and it's brilliant. The album is worth checking out; in "Madame X" Mahlerian strings give way to an achingly lovely, deep track, with spoken vocals. Love it.

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