Thursday, 31 March 2016

Two Types of Tradition

Yes, it's that time of the week. Again. And no, I still haven't Gone Out and Done Stuff (too lethargic, too uninspired, too reluctant to brave the weather, although it's nice and sunny today!)

Anyway, that aside, here's the new music I listened to this week.

This is a Yemenite folk singing group who hail from Israel. I heard about them through Emerald Street's emails (which I only get as a result of my mad month of entering hundreds of competitions) .
Their music is a real fusion of pop and hip-hop with a massive traditional Arabic folk vibe.
They sing in an Arabic dialect known as Yemenite, but I enjoyed it regardless of being unable to understand any of it (besides, occasionally on YouTube there are wonderful people who post translations in the comments. Failing that, there's always google).
I enjoyed listening to this act and think the music is perfect to play during a long drive on a sunny day, or when you want to dance around during a summer rainfall!
A-WA Official Website

So this was a Romanian act I found via, and it turns out it was started by former members of Negură Bunget, who I wrote about weeks ago.
I've embedded a music video here, but don't let the atmosphere of this song convince you that this is all this band is about. Dordeduh are a black metal band--other songs have the thrashing guitars, growly metal vocals and rapid drumming more familiar with the genre. If you listen to the song above and expect the rest to be similar, you're in for a shock.
The difference with Dordeduh is that they use traditional instruments alongside the usual kind of band setup (you can see these in the video above!)
It's interesting to listen through their music, because whilst some is really 'in your face' music you want to headbang to (well, I certainly had the urge...) other tracks are much slower and quieter, but nonetheless massively atmospheric.
If you want to know what they're singing, click the little YouTube button in the video to go to the page on the website--there are lyrics in the comments! (Seriously, I love it when people do that!)
Dordeduh on Facebook

This week's acts, despite being hugely different in genre, have a similarity in that both explore their roots to create their music--A-WA by singing in the near-obsolete dialect of their paternal grandparents, Dordeduh through the use of instruments traditional to their country.

Listen with an open mind, and enjoy!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Getting to Grips

Last November, after hankering after one for ages, I bought a DSLR camera...which I have barely used since. The days have been too dark and wet, and I seriously have not got to grips with it.

Which is why I was very eager to join in when Lilia (Paracosm of Lilies) started up a themed art/photography project, Delightful Aberrations.
Each week, there will be a selection of prompts which participants can respond to in their chosen medium (you can read more on the blog linked above).

Usually I'd balk at joining in with something like this, but the emphasis is on developing ideas rather than flawlessness, so though I've forgotten all the photography skills I learnt in college I can happily snap pictures without feeling too self-conscious!

Anyway, this week I went for the prompt concrete and this is the end result:

"Breaking Down"
This fence post is near my house. It's been in this messed-up state for years--basically the metal reinforcements have started to corrode, and the post has broken apart around them.

Admittedly I shot this today (the deadline for this week) after a week of procrastination and zero inspiration.
What can I say, my mind has been on other things.

I'm trying not to get frustrated learning to use the camera. It would be too easy to use the auto feature and let the camera do everything for me, but I specifically bought a DSLR so that I could control shutter speed, aperture, etc.

Some of the other prompts for this week were also interesting, and I had some other ideas in mind, but don't have the location/space/time/models/props to do them. I could have drawn instead, but my art skills have gone out of the window lately!

Next week, I hope I'll have more 'oomph' to participate!

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Singing Robots and Lion Explorers

Look at me, posting this early! (And failing at Doing Things other than lurking on YouTube...)

This week's selection for my music goal was part recommended by a friend, part recommended by YouTube (because sometimes, YT does recommend good stuff!)
...still, my friend was more on the mark...

Steam Powered Giraffe
With a name like that, you know it's gonna be promising, right?
It was my friend Lilia who recommended this act to me, and I'm really grateful that she did!
This steampunk musical project hails from the United States, and has built up an entire fictional backstory around their robot personas. Not many musical acts have their own lore!
The lineup has changed a few times since they first began, but all members are multitalented, not only through composition and lyrics but also through mime, acting and the element of comedy that slips into some of their performances. So the music is consistently fantastic, with some great harmonies!
Along with original songs, they've also covered a few well-known tracks, which turned out awesome.
I spent a lot of time watching their videos on YouTube, though this act has made so much music that I haven't had a chance to hear it all yet! Needless to say, I've full intention of buying some albums.
...I've probably written enough here to give the impression that I liked these singing robots, didn't I?
Good. Go give them a listen.
Steam Powered Giraffe Official Website

Galileo Galilei
This Japanese rock act was YouTube's suggestion! Being a fan of the genre, I'd heard about them in passing, but never listened to them.
...typically, I listen a month before they are due to disband.
Their music is what I consider pretty standard for a softer-sounding rock act; it's very easy to listen to, with catchy choruses and nice vocals.
The songs I listened to had a really nice, hopeful and upbeat sound to them, and some of the imagery used in their music videos - such as the one I linked above, which looks - is really appealing.
Lyric translation for above song
Galileo Galilei Official Website

I enjoyed the music of both the acts I've written about today, though Steam Powered Giraffe was my favourite. I'm such a sucker for strong imagery and concept!

For more of the acts I've listened to for this goal, check out the tag.

(And I'll do my best to post something that isn't music soon!)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Misty Mountain Yodelling

It's been another week where I've not done particularly well with the point of this blog (doing things). I have at least left the house, because walking is fun and good for me, but the only thing I've done worth blogging about is the listening for this goal!
029. Listen to 2 new musical acts every week for 1 year
This is week 11, and this time around I bring to the table two vastly different acts in terms of energy.

Sleeping At Last
I think this act might have been a recommendation, but I don't remember who from!
This is an emo/alternative act from the USA, which started as a band but is now a solo act. I struggled to listen at first, probably because the first song I heard was their version of 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)' (and I'm sorry, but it's Proclaimers or nothing when it comes to that song).
The original songs I listened to had a gentle, easy sound to them, and some really nice lyrics. The 'Micro Music Videos' on the act's YouTube channel are simple yet calming to watch: clouds in the sky, mist over mountains, etc.
As this music isn't to my taste, I won't be in a rush to listen again but I can recognise the talent and think their music is actually pretty accessible! It's something I can easily imagine popping up on ads, in films etc.
Sleeping At Last Official Website

I promised you a different energy level, didn't I? This progressive rock band formed in The Netherlands, and were originally active in the late 60s to late 70s, but (judging from my old friend Wikipedia) have popped up quite a few times since, and are still active now.
I heard this group on the radio this week and to put it bluntly, they sound insane.
Or as the presenter in the video introduces them, " of the most together and exciting groups going..."
Now, usually when I hear music on the radio, I don't pay much attention to it. It goes in one proverbial ear and out the other. This particular song, however...well. If you want to get my attention, clearly the key is to start yodelling.
Give them a listen. I guarantee you'll have a grin on your face by the end of it (even if it's a slightly confused one!)
Focus Official Website

This week's listening was a bit of a change from last week's. I wonder what next week will bring?

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Angels and Light

It's that time of the week again! For my music goal this week, I listened to one act of a genre that is usual for me, and one that was a bit different to the norm...

Vox Luminis
This Belgian ensemble specialise in 16th-18th century vocal music. Their harmonies are really beautiful and the performances sound so emotive and dramatic! This is perfect music to have playing if you want to sit and daydream or relax.
Not entirely sure where I heard about this act, but I'm glad I did, because their work is lovely.
Vox Luminis Official Website

Balaam and the Angel
The original members of this rock group hail from Scotland, though the band itself was formed in England.  Everything about the music and video screams the 80s (which isn't a surprise, since they were an 80s band, though judging from Wikipedia they reformed in 1991). I enjoyed listening to it, anyway!
As before, I'm not sure exactly where I heard of this band, but I'm pretty sure it was a recommendation!
Balaam and the Angel Official Website

So, I'm 10 weeks into this challenge, more or less 1/5 of the way through. You can see the other acts I've written about on the tag for this goal, and if you want to see more of any artist, I've created a YouTube playlist for the songs I've listened to--usually this is around 3 videos per artist.

I am always looking for new acts to listen to, so if you have suggestions, let me hear them! Any genre, and any era (so long as I can find them on YouTube!)

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Swimming with the Dolphin

On Wednesday, I was able to strike off another goal from The List!
13. Go swimming
My friend Sara had suggested it ages ago, but we kept putting it off--until now!

So I grabbed my old tankini (glad that it still fits) and a towel, and we headed off to this place...

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Trash People Party

This week's music involves a couple of acts I happened upon by chance...

sibile bashir
This is a crazy-sounding band from Japan! I don't know if the video I linked above is an official music video, but it entertains me. The song is 'gomi ningen' (essentially 'trash human being').  Their YouTube account has some cleaner-looking music videos but they're not really cleaner in content!
Their music has something of a manic sound to it, and their music videos contain strange imagery!
I think this is an act where you won't always know what to expect...
sibile bashir Official Website

Soho Party
I think I found this group through idly browsing! In case the video doesn't make it blindingly obvious, Soho Party were a Hungarian dance/pop group active in the 1990s. Their music is bouncy and catchy, really typical of the era and genre . I don't know if this is true for Hungarian chart music specifically, but it was definitely the kind of dance music played in the 90s in the UK!

That's my two musical acts for this week. For previous weeks, with music from other countries and genres, check out my tag for this challenge.