Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Psychedelic Cowboy by John DePatie

I was very excited by this submission because John DePatie is a professional guitar player, a "sideman", and I really like guitar instrumentals that are well inspired (Joe Satriani is a bit of a god to me.)

The album opens with "Reggatta de Guitarra", an instrumental that seems as if it could have been created while vacationing in Jamaica. A little criticism: I didn't really like the melodic motif going up the scale as it sounded a bit forced, especially at the 4th iteration. Maybe it's a detail but that bugged me. The tone changes towards a more rock n'roll feel with "Jellyfish" while still maintaining a tiny bit of a reggae vibe (at least, at the beginning). The track evolves (always a good thing) and gives us, listeners, a nice melodic hook to sink our ears into. Then comes the title track, "Psychedelic Cowboy". It starts with an acoustic guitar which is soon accompanied by a vintage sounding electric guitar. That kind of transports us to somewhere on the west coast, maybe at the beach after surfing the waves. "Jaeljo Overture" brings the tempo way down. It features an acoustic and what sounds like a glockenspiel. The melody is incredibly strong, making this track my favorite of the album, so far. "Song For My Dad" sounds like an hymn with a drum track reduced to the bare minimum. It's a beautiful track. "Up To My Eyeballs" is a bit different as there's a bass that does a number at the beginning. The track evolves into a two voice tune, each voice or guitar with its own melodic line. "Wind Chimes From Jupiter" showcases some extravagant picking work and a melody that's just, well, inspired. That's another favorite of mine, right alongside "Jaeljo Overture". "Counting Sheep", the last track of the album, is, as its name implies, a little lullaby. A perfect way to end an album, any album.

The tracks in this album seem to evolve over time. That's a very good thing. They also have strong melodies. That's another very good thing, especially for this blog. This is much more restrained than Joe Satriani, no doubt, but it's not a bad thing at all. My favorite tracks in the album are actually the slower ones: "Jaeljo Overture" and "Wind Chimes From Jupiter". It is without a doubt a great little album.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Music for space travel vol​.​2 by [ the bleeping machine ]

This album is an EP, so it's on the short side of the listening stick with just four tracks (which are not that long, either). I've selected this album to appear on here for two reasons: 1) it's old school synth and 2) it's not overly layered.

It's a cross between spacey synth and 80s synth pop (with a sprinkle of the more psychedelic 70s stuff.) The heavily melodic leads which appear on the last two tracks are reminiscent of popular 70s psychedelic bands like, I don't know, Tangerine Dream, Yes, or Emerson Lake and Palmer.

If you like the sweet sound of vintage synthesizers and melodic leads with a whole lot of notes, then this is something you should definitely check out.

Make You See the Truth by Rushthethrone

Ok, this album is absolutely not a collection of instrumentals. It features an incredible vocalist and tunes you wish every indie rock band that comes along would write. I discovered this album on TheseAreOurAlbums, a sub-reddit I created on a whim mostly to discover new talents to feature right here, on this very blog. There are quite a bit of submissions and once in a while you stumble upon a gem, like this one.

The vocals and heavy hitting guitar work on some tracks are reminiscent of Dionne Farris's "Wild Seed - Wild Flower" album. What Rushthethrone are doing is a combo of rock and soul, just like when Dionne Farris teamed up with guitarist David Harris in the 90s. I love Dionne Farris and this album reminds me of her, that's all.

This might be the best non-instrumental album I've heard in a while on Reddit, the front page of the internet.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Highest Technique by .::neocognitron::.

I am really psyched to present this album that's actually a 68 minute long single track. It's synth galore reminiscent of the glorious 80s but it sounds super fresh.

The track starts with some female chanting (almost a drone) floating above some tight percussion and what sounds like the synth of doom. It's got a very Middle Eastern new age vibe to be honest. Not a bad start but not that representative of the whole thing. At some point (near the 4 minute mark), the beat tightens and the ride really begins when a really fat synth invites itself to the party. Another luscious retro synth soon takes over the lead role and you know right then that it's gonna be all good all the way to the end. There are lots of breaks and rhythm changes in this track, and all I can say is that it's produced flawlessly, never dull or boring (you'll find some glorious synthesizer leads a la Jan Hammer in there, and even some chiptune stuff.) The only thing that bothers me a tad is the ending of the track, as I think it deserved more than an easy fade out.

Enjoy the ride and let me know if you don't think it's one the best things you've heard in a while (I need comments).