Archive for the 'UK Music' Category

Manu Delago – Mono Desire

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

Artist: Manu Delago
Song: Mono Desire (Hang Drum Solo)
Genre: Instrumental
[Buy CDs][Website][MySpace]

Here is an instrument you don’t normally see too much of. The Hang Drum.

Very smooth sounding. Check out Manu Delago’s site for some other good clips, including one more solo and some classy group stuff. He is clearly a versatile and talented musician, and I really like the mood of the songs he does with the bass clarinet player.

The sound is a little low on this, and it’s a delicate melody so turn it up a bit.

The Pagan Spolkestra – SOIL

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

  The Pagan Spolkestra, soil, Open Arms EP, uk indie music, new weird uk america, rock, folk, psychadelic underground, ??????????????,

Artist: The Pagan Spolkestra
Song: SOIL
From album: Open Arms EP
Genre: New Weird UK
[Buy Mp3s][Myspace]

Some bands have a sound that grabs you because of their pure musical mastery, some have an indefinable aesthetic charm that wins you over emotionally; and some, you guessed it: have a winning blend of both.

From the beginning of the song “SOIL” off of their new “Open Arms” EP, The Pagan Spolkestra plays the musician card & charm card pair with a subtly-building prelude of woodwinds, strings, percussion, and fey vocal oohings. Then the saga unfolds with a vocal lead which is almost José Gonzálezian at points, surrounded by the varied and progressive folky rompings of the 15ish collective members.

All in all a very interesting group, one to keep the old eye on (especially since their next album will apparently feature guest-stars from The Arcade Fire, Xiu Xiu, Deerhunter, and more!).

Grammatics – Shadow Committee

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

  grammatics, shadow committee, indiepop, indie music, rock, underground, united kingdom, leeds uk music, mp3 review

Artist: Grammatics
Song: Shadow Committee
From album: Shadow Committee 7″
Genre: Indie Dramapop
[Buy Mp3s][Myspace]

I heard about the band Grammatics from a music recommendation thread on some Japanese site; and this song sort of makes me wonder why I hadn’t heard of them elsewhere first, and how long they will remain unsigned.

This group from Leeds, UK make songs with music more like plot lines than tunes, and both of the specimens on this 2-song album have more than enough creativity and polish to stand out in a crowd.

Modified Toy Orchestra – Freeno and Olaf

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Circuit bending is the art of short-circuiting children’s toys or other electronic low-voltage devices for the purpose of generating new sounds, which can then in turn be used in composing music. There is a strong element of randomness and experimentation with this process in that the resulting sounds created by the toys are largely unknown.

Modified Toy Orchestra, lead by sound artist Brian Duffy, creates music in this vein. Their philosophy centers around the idea of, “finding the surplus value in the seemingly redundant.” Toygopop, their debut album, was five years in the making. – It took two years to make the instruments and learn how to play them and an additional three years to compose the songs.

What’s surprising about Toygopop is its accessibility. In my observations, musicians with the mind to experiment to these sorts of lengths usually end up making music that falls under the category of noise. And unless you like to ask yourself questions like, “What is music really?” you’re likely to be put off. But Toygopop, as indicated by its name, is essentially an electronic pop album. An extraordinary electronic pop album.

The combination of playful melodies and the slight familiarity of the distorted sounds used to produce them is an aesthetic which is thoroughly unique and a joy to listen to. I wanted to showcase the song A Grand Occasion, but I couldn’t resist putting this concert video up. It is too cute and funny to pass up on. Here you get to see the toy conductors play their instruments to the backdrop of a short love story involving two stuffed animals.