Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Album Review: Scenes Through the Magic Eye by Rasplyn

Now, I'll just be blunt with the audience today. Hauntingly beautiful is an expression that's often thrown around a lot. Whether it's just a ghost that looks pretty, or a song that is so well crafted that it's disturbing...it's apparent that Rasplyn throws something unique at the celestial world of audible tones and strikes an unusual presence in the world of "hauntingly beautiful" music.


To be released through Mythical Records, "Scenes Through the Magic Eye" is a blend of ambient, neoclassical, and folk elements. I do say, with a name like Mythical Records, the majority of their material is exactly that. With all the tracks being longer than 4 mins, it's easy to see why each one will require ample to listen to appreciate just what exactly went into this. 'Priestess of the Goddess' clocks in at the longest track on the album and appropriately, it showcases of the immense detail put into the slight velocity levels of nearly all the string instruments and how that compliments the brass and bell instruments that follow suite.



The album follows a medieval path, and whereas most of the tracks are deep with dark, ominous vibes...'Open Door' shows a softer side of Carolyn O' Neill's solo project. About 2 mins in the track takes a much more mellow, gentle tone. It's a reflection of what has happened and what will come...

"You're waiting for a train. A train that will take you far away. You know where you hope this train will take you, but you don't know for sure."

This is the general vibe I get of this album. Your path seems uncertain, but whichever way you take, it won't matter. The audible ingredients in this avant garde, industrial, fusion based cocktail concoct a trippy experience that is bound to leave you in a petrified trance; while you might not remember every single detail, the whole picture is anything but a blur.

I give this album an 8 out of 10.

Carolyn writes:

"Rasplyn's "Scenes Through the Magic Eye" is Carolyn O'Neill's debut release on the experimental music label, Mythical Records. Rasplyn is the solo project of Carolyn O’Neill who uses her experience with classical composition and film to create mystical and visual landscapes with her music. Carolyn is a Chicago native who grew up playing the clarinet and organ. After playing in her high school orchestra for four years she went on to receive her degree in Music Composition from Columbia College Chicago. Her music is dark, but beautiful and filled with textured layers influenced by world culture and fantasy. Her style is transforming as she experiments with adding vocal elements into the environments she creates. Her debut album "Scenes Through the Magic Eye" is due to be released on Mythical Records on November 30th, 2014."

Thanks for reading!

Links:

Homepage: http://www.rasplyn.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RasplynCarolynONeill
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rasplyn
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rasplyn
G+: https://plus.google.com/110526813640647977151/posts

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Album Review: Hand Over the Heart by Rainstick Cowbell

It's hard to stay why 'Hand Over the Heart' has such an impact on my own view of music, but few can reach a similar level of raw emotional audacity. Whether you're listening to this album as another artist trying to gain influence or a listener who stumbled upon a musician who blurred musical lines: This album is something else. The various environmental noises, the quick guitar string pops, the vocalized percussion...it all adds up to something that feels like metal but acts like classic rock. As stated in the description of the band, Rainstick Cowbell prefers to go by anti-folk, and while I can't say I've ever heard of that genre before...the idea of it, sticks out very vividly.



But it's all more than that...

The amount of influences in this music, is astounding. I haven't talked to the artist too much, but the wispy vocals in some of the songs are very reminiscent of something I'd hear out of a Led Zeppelin album. Rainstick Cowbell tells a tale of a person whose voice punctures the limits of reality and warps the very fabric of space; throws it into your headphones for a very surreal experience.

There's a familiar yet, concerning random pattern to his songs. They start out soft usually with an aimless, sundry ambiance leading into a guitar riff that can also go into a number of different phrases. All of them have a different atmosphere, take a listen to this one:




Versus:



I can't say I've heard anything quite like this, but I can't - in good conscience - review this with insanely picky production standards that I've had in recent reviews. This album sticks out on its own solely for its musicality, emotional depth, and rough vocals that add a classic, almost analog depth to his tracks. It's different, yet recognizable...and Rainstick Cowbell does a great job of keeping my attention (mostly) throughout the entire album. The one issue I take, is one that probably isn't relevant, but the end track...

...makes no sense.

I'll let you in on a little secret. Most albums I review on this page, I'll do a test. It involves a pair of headphones, a music player, and a bed. If I can lay down and get through it without having to move at all, it's a great album. With pleasant tracks throughout the whole compilation of songs, it's very unsettling to hear an end track, that is static-y noise. It threw me out of the world I was in, the places I was going, the things I was seeing, and the vibes I was feeling.

Aside from that bit, this was a great album, one that surely deserves your attention.

I give this album an 8.7 out of 10.

Thanks for reading and now...

Links for everyone!

Home/Bandcamp: http://rainstickcowbell.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rainstick-Cowbell/463891770047
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rainstickcowbel
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/rainstickcowbell

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Album Review: 'Lounge For Intellectuals' by Paul Kremleff

I've always been a fan of chillout. Something about the vibes it gives off through most of the tracks I've heard in the genre...I can't quite put it into words. The ambient pads, mixed with a soothing bassline and a couple gliding arpeggios. Think of your favorite track you listen to, ask yourself how many times you would play it over without switching to something else. The term that fits closest though, would probably be equilibrium.


'Lounge for Intellectuals' is a 10-track CD by Paul Kremleff, a singer-songwriter from Moscow, Russia, emulates easy listening vibes while crossing the border into pop. A few of the tracks give off a very dance-y yet ballad feel. At "I'm Falling Down," I'm picturing over the top film soundtracks from the 80s, like...Top Gun.

The production is pretty good along most fronts and it's easy to tell where Paul excels. "4 Minutes of Contemplation" is an example. Call me a sucker for intro pads, but when the pads mesh with the already looping guitar, it's blissful. However, the negative of this album, which is hard to say for some tracks...is the vocals. Sometimes they're spot on. With " - & + ", you really get a Gary Numan vibe. The vocals fit in a way that it keeps the song going with a driving force.

This is a great debut from Paul. I really feel like with a little more effort put into the vocals things would've been a little different, a little clearer. The production values stand out as being a highlight of the album, and this definitely fits into the Easy Listening genre. With influences like Barry White, U2, and Jamiroquai...Paul showcases a multitude of multigenre tracks that are well worth your time!

I give this album a 7.8 out of 10.

Thanks for reading!

Paul Kremleff
Homepage: http://www.paulkremleff.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/paulkremleff
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paulkremleffmusic
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulKremleff
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PaulKremleff
Google+: https://plus.google.com/101329363715775170034/about

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Album Review: Synesthesia by Torelli & The Fuse

Welcome back everyone. Been a whole month since the last review and here we are again, with Torelli & The Fuse. Coming from Columbia, South Carolina this group has released two albums through Bandcamp. With some liberties taken from personal opinion, this band is reminiscent of the likes of Bastille, Sublime, and Death Cab for Cutie. It's relaxing, it's uplifting...it's a lot of things. Just listening to the first 4 tracks will make clear, this band strives for diversity. Some tracks you'll wanna dance and others, well, it's best to just relax and watch an intense thunderstorm. Chill.



14 tracks. Well, first off, that must of been a hell of a time-consuming production process. There's a interesting uniqueness to each of the tracks. A story to be told, each one with a intriguing drop, verse or chorus. It's catchy. I quite like the "call and answer" vocals that happen in "Confrontation (feat. Nadia)". It's compelling, heartfelt, and well produced. The feelings behind it project two lovers who can't meet yet place voice messages to one another. But on another note, the next song after will have you grooving; featuring an intricate rap vocal artist. It's such a diverse collection. I can't place it but it's different. The group has such an engaging way of introducing new transitions and utilizing so many elements from so many genres...it brings some new and delightful to the table.

Some of the more chill tracks really showcases the best of what this album has to offer, and more importantly best represent the title, 'Synesthesia'. Check out "People". While it starts out with a reggae-ish feel, it suddenly moves into a more upbeat chorus. The snare is a little awkward in the beginning, it's like it featured some EDM artist in the middle of a concert to give a new feel and interesting change up; keeping people interested. While I do have a few qualms with that segment near the first minute of the track, this is a fun tune.

A couple of the production values irk me a little bit. As "Blame Game" would appeal to all big house aficionados alike, the chorus segments feel a bit crowded. The buildup is great but when the drop explodes, the breakdown following feels thin. I feel like a bit more stereo separation and more distinction between some of the channels of audio could've easily been fixed with a little more mixing work. At the 3:44 mark, it feels like the delay between where the song cuts out and comes back in was just a little too long. But that's ridiculously absurd nitpicking. However, where the song ends, feels like the most balanced mixing wise.

It's easy to see where the Torelli's strengths lie. Smooth guitar, acoustic drums, a little bit of electronic incorporation and a strong bass line. Like I said, it's extremely well done in those regards. Everything sounds as it should, and all the instruments play their part in the arrangement superbly. My favorite song on this album has to be "Wild". It has soft parts, loud parts, and it explains everything of what I just stated. Plus at 2:44 it has a sort of orchestral feel, which instantly has my thumbs up. It just goes to show, you should always listen to every song completely, you'll never know what the artist thought of next. The idea for an amazing part of the song could've happened at any point. You just have to hear it out.

This is an album made for the people who are open-minded about music, if you're a passionate lover of just one particular genre it could go one of two ways. You'll either be glad you tuned into this and heard something uncommon for the first time, or look away because it doesn't fit into your agenda of musical input. Personally, I like this album and I do believe it's strong enough to warrant a couple of listens, to tell your friends, and to like on some random social networking of your choice.

I'm glad Torelli & The Fuse caught my attention with this, Bandcamp is an amazing thing. 'Synesthesia' lives up to it's definition, taking a variety of influences and attaching them together in a way that proves to be as much as it is progressive wholly as it is conservative individually. It's fresh to my ears, I see great potential for this group in the future. Give it a year or two, you'll see them on the charts up there with the best of them. A few, weak production traits doesn't distract from the genuine musicality that's presented here.

I give this album a 9.0 out of 10.

Thanks for reading!

Torelli & The Fuse:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TorelliMusic
Twitter: http://twitter.com/itstorelli
Bandcamp: http://torelliandthefuse.bandcamp.com/
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/torelliandthefuse

Sunday, June 8, 2014

"Nah I'm Talking 'Bout" G-Unit | Performed By Mack Benton

G-Unit, for better or worse, has been a staple of recent hip hop. Since their falling out in 2008, the artists had since gone their separate ways, creating their own images and releasing tracks through different labels. Now, here we are in 2014, and a new G-Unit track has been released. Despite the lack of The Game, this is one of the coolest tracks I've heard in a while. Having said that, there have been numerous takes on this tune, "Nah I'm Talking Bout"

This is where Mack Benton comes in.



Starting a bit smoother than the original, this track clocks in about two mins shorter than the original and while the beat remains the same, the addition of the new vocals is appreciated. The production is crisp and the singing sits at a nice pocket in the mix. Nothing feels out of place, it's a fluid ride from start to finish. The track is a lot more chill than the original, setting aside the hard gangsta rap style you hear for something more soothing and mellow. I can definitely say this is one of the more pleasant tracks I've come across. It's rap meets RnB, a classic combination that works really well for this remix. Considering this is just one track, I feel I should link another one of his tracks from his Soundcloud that really stands out to me.
 

Definitely give this artist a listen, you can find the rest of his social media links at the bottom.

Thanks for reading!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mackbenton
Twitter: https://twitter.com/yaboiimack
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/mack-benton
Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/mackbenton
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/mack-benton/id467860433

Thursday, April 10, 2014

EP Preview: 'I Am What I Am' by Mark Morrison

I must say, when I started this experiment of a blog years and years ago, I never anticipated I would reach the amount of musicians I have. Never in my wildest dreams did I picture I'd be writing something that someone could easily be persuaded to read. It's because of that, that - before I begin this review - I want to thank each and everyone of you that's come to this spot and taken a few moments to hear my rambling testimony, time and time again.

Now then, it's been 3 months...let's get started.



We receive a lot of requests from a fair deal of diverse artists around here; it seems only fitting a new artist is added to the list. Mark Morrison, a native of West Germany, is no stranger to the music industry. He obtained worldwide fame for his 1996 hit single, "Return of the Mack" and has since released two major albums: 'Innocent Man' and 'Return of the Mack'.

It's truly incredible for things to come full circle like this. I remember hearing "Return of the Mack" so clearly back in the single digit years of my life. It was one of the defining themes of my childhood; playing it once more only enhances the flashbacks of a time long since forgotten.

'I Am What I Am', definitely takes me back in time to the glory days of the 90's. Sitting in front of the TV, flipping through the channels and ending up on MTV to watch latest music videos from TRL (Total Request Live). Soothing yet dance-able; smooth yet intricate, this collection of tracks is high quality work. In the few minutes I had to listen to each track, nostalgia hit me like a home run at the hands of Babe Ruth. It was intense. The smooth production caught my ears immediately and I was sent into a melodic daze filled with sweet vocals, sophisticated sound design and satisfying percussion that I only wish I could've heard more of.



I can't say what the full album of 'I Am What I Am' is going to be like, but from each 1 min sample I listened to; having listened to previous works by Mark, I can tell this is going to be something fantastic. Rarely do I get the opportunity to express my appreciation for R&B as it's not one of my strong areas. Most times it doesn't click, but thankfully Mark Morrison has restored my faith in the genre, yet again.

This album isn't out yet, but it is available for pre-order on iTunes.
Releases on May 19th!

Thanks for reading!

Homepage: http://www.markmorrison.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/_markmorrison
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/markmorrisonofficial
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/markmorrisononline
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/i-am-what-i-am/id855318692

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Album Review: 'Youtubedemic' by SIC ILL


From the square waves represented in the first song, "iRepresent" to the phat beats of "Downtown Streets", there's no doubt, 'Youtubedemic' features a diverse range of audible content. This laid back, groovy, and fun compendium of slick and varied tunes has touches of Afroman and Gorillaz while maintaining a healthy dose of originality. As you listen more and more through the tunes, you begin to notice how many different sets of drums this artist goes over. Favorite tune so far is: City of Glass.



For those of you listening to this who are audiophiles, you might be turned off by the sounds used. The problem I sense with some of these tunes is that they feel a little cluttered; overwhelmed by bass. However, the creativity and arrangement of each tune, is enough to pull me through to the next track. It's a nice change, compared to most of the other rap I've been listening to; it gives it an authentic underground feel.

The way I look at it, production values and modern mixing is the icing on top of a cake. But sometimes, that icing can be laid on a little too thick and in turn would ruin the cake. Occasionally, you like that extra sugar but every so often, it's nice to take a step back and appreciate the baking process that took place.

I really enjoyed some of these tunes, and I'm glad I took the time to listen to it a few times over. It's creative, original, and it varies from tune to tune. For a free download, I'd say this is a nice find. :)

Thanks for reading!

Want some links?

Official Website/Press: http://itsmyurls.com/sicill
Twitter: http://twitter.com/SIC_ILL
Facebook: http://facebook.com/sic.ill.music
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/sic-ill/id418301629
YouTube: http://youtube.com/mrsicill
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/sic-ill
Bandcamp: http://sicill.bandcamp.com/

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