12/31/09

Band of the Week(and Happy New Year)- Jaspects

ATL based band: From their Myspace:
Born during the hip-hop movement, Jaspects integrates their youthful skill to progress music and build a bridge between musical genres. Formally trained alumni of Morehouse College’s music department, Jaspects’ goal is to produce an exhaustive musical experience that involves TRUE freedom of expression via musical and lyrical creativity.

Jaspects’ latest album The Polkadotted Stripe embodies Jaspects’ thesis as it interrogates the idea of musical, social, and political freedom. The concept of the group’s fourth effort procures from the world of fashion. Delving deep into research, Jaspects learned that the fashion truth bastardizing the marriage of polka dots and stripes is man-made. Therefore, Jaspects’ The Polkadotted Stripe inquires: “What is truth?” Upon much discussion and studying, Jaspects recognized that in most instances reality is well, relative. With that in mind, The Polkadotted Stripe defined is someone or something that debunks the notion of social standards.

“PDS’” single "Unifunk" is an example of Jaspects’ trademark genre-bending production. Techno meshed with soulful horns, a grooving bass line, and T. Brown's futuristic vocoder stylings engulf "Unifunk" and provide an opportunity for serious social commentary to entrench the listener during this dancer's delight. "Unifunk's" lyrics focus on the state of the world today and spread the message of unity through "universal funk" or "Unifunk."

Jaspects works to rescue the concept of musicianship while breaking down the structural constraints of hip-hop. The band promotes the idea that the culture of hip-hop can support an entity that focuses on musical depth without ostracizing the mainstream fan of the genre. Jaspects uses music as a change agent in ways pioneers such as Public Enemy, Erykah Badu, and Marvin Gaye have. The message conveyed by Jaspects remains consistent, "make your music mean something to the world at-large."

The collective operates out of Atlanta and consists of T. Brown (Memphis, TN), Jon-Christopher Sowells (Dallas), drummer Henry “HC3” Conerway, III (Detroit), Dwayne “Spacey” Dugger (Queens, NY), Stagolee (Aniston, AL), and King James (Stamford, CT). In addition to PDS, Jaspects has released three other independent albums: In ‘House’ Sessions (2005), Broadcasting the Definition (2006), and Double Consciousness (2007).

Individually, Jaspects’ works have appeared in the 2005 major motion picture “Hustle & Flow,” on Chamillionaire’s platinum albums “Chamillitary” and “Sound of Revenge,” on Carlos Santana’s “All That I Am,” and with platinum recording artists David Banner, Wyclef Jean, Big Boi (“Kryptonite”), and Mary J. Blige (“Just Fine”). Collectively, Jaspects has shared bills with: Dwele, Bilal, Mike Phillips, Herbie Hancock, Eric Roberson, Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, and rap phoneme Drake. Jaspects has also collaborated with Grammy-nominated artists Janelle Monae, PJ Morton and Anthony David, in addition to Kedar Entertainment act Algebra, and Good Music’s Fonzworth Bentley.

CNN featured four selections of Jaspects’ music on their 2008 documentary “Black in America.” Jaspects is a two-time selection for “Best Atlanta Band” by Creative Loafing newspaper (2007 and 2008) and “Future of Jazz” winners (2006 and 2007) for the Atlanta Jazz Festival. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts featured Jaspects in January 2009 as a headliner for the Millennium Stage Series.



12/30/09

Beth Hart-Mama

This is one of my favorite songs(I know I say that a ton...)Beth is really underrated.

12/29/09

Sometimes I hate when indie people get signed...

And producers polish up songs...sometimes the demo versions are better sounding to me..case in point..my favorite Sara Bareillis song: "Love on the Rocks"

Old version:


Album version:


Maybe it's subtle to everyone else..but it seriously bothers me...

Fairytale(circa 2006):


New version:

This never gets old...and I'm not the greatest Bach fan ever...


I always said if I wasn't a singer/pianist...I would be a cellist. It's my favorite string instrument...I like the warmth of its sound.

12/26/09

Still into guitar...



This is my fave Paco de Lucia piece..."Chanela"
Live version:


Studio version:

12/23/09

This is why I'm disappointed with the new Shakira album

Because stuff like this was on the last album and she was NOT gyrating in cages like an idiot...ugh.Just because it worked for Nelly furtado doesn't mean the dance thing is going to work for you. Don't stop being yourself...see what happened to Kelis?

12/14/09

"Classical" Composers that any real musician should listen to: Gustav Mahler

Mahler was definitely the first composer I ever fell in love with. something about the darkness of his intricate and multilayered melodies drove me crazy.I have never been more saddened at the lack of opera from anyone but him. He never wrote one.
Gustav Mahler (7 July 1860 – 18 May 1911) was a Bohemian-born Austrian composer and conductor. He was best known during his own lifetime as one of the leading orchestral and operatic conductors of the day. He has since come to be acknowledged as among the most important late-Romantic/early-Modernist composers, although his music was never completely accepted by the musical establishment of Vienna while he was still alive. Mahler composed primarily symphonies and songs; however, his approach to genre often blurred the lines between orchestral Lied, symphony, and symphonic poem(via Wiki).

I sort of hesitate to post this because it means so much to me. I know that it sounds bizarre, but listening to Mahler is when I finally "got" "classical" music. I heard in the infinite sonorities of his music the messages he was trying to convey as a composer. It taught me to be challenged as a listener. Mahler stretches tonality extremely far and yet never loses that very tonality that gives him structure. I respect Schoenberg...but I can FEEL Mahler.I feel like the dissonance has a purpose. I'm not quite sure how to explain it. But when I sang Mahler I knew every emotion I needed to convey even if I never knew any German. But that doesn't mean it was easily handed to me. It wasn't a literal translation of a story,it was an emotional translation.
I think to understand Mahler you have to be in the emotional space to accept what is coming. In other words, if you are not mentally prepared for it,don't even bother listening. If you don't like your music a bit more...meaty...don't even try.


Kindertotenlieder(Songs on the Death of Children) I sang this my senior year of college. I don't think anyone understood why I would want to sing a bunch of songs about Ruckert(the poet) children's deaths. Honestly, it wasn't about that. I found so much truth in the music. Yes there were some moments I couldn't sing without becoming so emotionally involved in the character that I could not carry on...but I think that experience is beautiful. I believe every performer should experience a moment where they see and hear nothing but the music. A moment where they just "are" the character. I think singer's have to think more like actors,because we are in a sense,actors who deliver our monologues to a tune. The best feeling in the world for me is when I become lost in character. When my thoughts,actions,breaths,and overall being become someone else's for just one moment. Sounds weird, but those that know what I'm talking about agree it's magical. It's like sleep walking...but being able to feel sensation.When I think about those feelings...it really makes me miss singing this stuff.


All of Mahler's lieder is amazing though. I sang the Ruckert lieder when I was a junior in college.





From Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen-words written by Mahler himself. Listen to the different emotions in just one song of this cycle.Last 2 movements. One of my fave Baritones, my fave conductor,one of my fave composers...what's not to love?!?


Close your eyes,crank this up, and just listen.Take long deep breaths along with the sway of the music.Thank me later.

Pink Martini - Una Notte a Napoli

12/9/09

Song:Great.Video:Not so much...



I need more of a plot than the last 45 seconds Cudi.
Signed,
Your girl,
Nik

11/1/09

Oh Kenna...why must you be so awesome?



Happy belated birthday Kenna! check out http://www.summitonthesummit.com and check out my widget at the bottom of the page!

10/28/09

Esthero-My Torture(avec orchestra)

Screaming with delight at this version! Esthero-Gone(avec orchestra!)

Band of the Week- Marbert Rocel

German based band, really nice.Their myspace.

Brighton Beach - Télépopmusik

Oh how I have been rejecting you blog!"Classical" Composers that Musicians should listen to: Erich Korngold

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (May 29, 1897 – November 29, 1957) was a film and romantic music composer. While his compositional style was considered well out of vogue at the time he died, his music has more recently undergone a reevaluation and a gradual reawakening of interest. Along with Max Steiner, he is often called the father of film music.(via his Wiki)

Even if you don't listen to all of this aria...listen to the last minute or so..gives me goosebumps...

Oh he wrote this when he was around 11...YES 11!!!!



See where John Williams got his inspiration?

Korngold was truly the last prodigy...I encourage you people that like to read to at least take a look at his Wiki if nothing else...he led a fascinating life, and is so rarely talked about.One of my favorite composers.

10/17/09

And Speaking of Gaga... Follow the Path





(Listen to the second verse...this song also has another vocal interpolated sample can you name it?)

(My personal fave..lol)

I don't care what anyone says...this chick is talented.



I wish she would release The Fame:Acoustic...I would buy it in a heartbeat.

9/18/09

I swear every other day I have a Little Dragon post...



And this is just adorable...I always love that part of the chorus...

9/16/09

Follow the Path

In honor of all the Beatles resurgence lately...



9/4/09

Film Geek Post-Guess Who's runing for SAG prez?!?

Pause in the regularly scheduled program(a.k.a music)for a film geek post. Do I have my SAG card(yet...)?Nope. But I a,m excited to see Ann-Marie Johnson(who I love) is running for SAG president! I'm sure some of you are like"Why should I care?" Because dolls, if she is elected, she will be the first African-American to hold the office! Brilliant I say.

8/29/09

New Little Dragon Video

Video for my fave song off the new album Machine Dreams.."Swimming"
Made by Yukimi's father Yusuke!

8/10/09

NEW LITTLE DRAGON!!!!




Through my own fortitude and luck I have been able to preview the new Little Dragon album. I.AM.GEEKED.OUT. I will say that the album is dope but I didn't expect any less from my favorite band of the last year. I've never bumped anything so hard in my car in my life.I will definitely write an in depth review of the album after the album is released August 17th. Purchase it please! Support genuine artistry,the full download will not be posted on this blog(I am a fellow musician...I just don't do that, sorry.). But to wet your appetite...here are some preview tracks I haven't seen on any blogs.

Swimming


Runabout



I am sad that the song "Tendencies" is not included on the album...oh well.

8/6/09

Possibly the best Follow The Path I've found thus far...





I'm sure some people wonder why I do the whole "Composers musicians should listen to" series well this my friends is why...

7/25/09

I am so mad this didn't make it on the album!

I'm always calling Eleckrik Red the reincarnation of Vanity 6 and darnit if this song doesn't have a sample from "Makeup" in it? Darn them for cutting it.


And darnit if I didn't find another awesome unreleased track...sad times...I still like the album though.

7/21/09

Current obsession-Stephen Sondheim











I'm including the instrumentals..it's the little things about these songs that get me...


"Most Popular song"

Follow the Path



7/17/09

Sometimes I have to switch it up on you...



Natalya dancing to this song:


Haife Wehbe version:

7/16/09

Classical/World/MT Musician any real musician should listen to-Kurt Weill

It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to pick one composer per month! I might pick two or pick one every week from now on...I'm not sure yet. There is so much music to be listened to!This week's music nerd's showcase(:))is a spotlight on Kurt Weill. Weill was a 20th century composer of many works, most prominently,stage works.Some of your favorite songs were probably influenced by him. Including The Doors' "Alabama Song" which was originally in the Songspiel Mahagonny and subsequent opera "The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny." Also, note:Weill plus Brecht equals amazing songs. Read more about Kurt Weill here.








My favorite Weill song...I need to find Sarah Vaughan's version and post it...it is perfect, but this one is pretty good.

7/1/09

Band(s) of the Week June 29-July 4,2009-DHUNDEE and Taylor Mcferrin

I've been in a stupor since MJJ died so sorry for the lack of updates! Anyway,since there was no BOTW last week(cuz MJ is artist of the millennium),there are two this week.First Artistof the week this week is DHUNDEE. I ADORE his music man. He is really talented. I want to sing for him!Call me!Check him out here and here.


Second Artist of the week is Taylor McFerrin(last name sound familiar?).He's awesome!Check him out here and here.