Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Matt's Musical Corner Part 2: Jaga Jazzist - Toccata

Mention the word 'jazz' and you will make most people flinch. Mention the words 'experimental jazz' and you are likely to be placed in the stocks and publicly reviled. Before you begin to take aim with rotten fruit and vegetables let me explain why I believe experimental jazz to be life-affirming. This music carves its way into one's soul and sits there in stately majesty. The subtle crescendos lead you unwittingly into the very heart of these enormous soundscapes.

A friend of mine once claimed that every artist signed to the Ninja Tune Label was a triumph. Although I wouldn't personally make such lofty assertions, the statement is certainly true of Jaga Jazzist. Like their label-mates, The Cinematic Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist manage to weave patchworks of 'nu-jazz' bliss.

You don't have to wear Harris Tweed and teach Classics to appreciate this music. You don't even have to admit to your friends and family that you harbour a latent passion for such high-brow nonsense. Just click on the link below and let Jaga Jazzist consume you. It has given me a migraine to locate this link; select the second edit from the top.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Have Our Musicians Become Common Hussies?

It seems to me that band disloyalty has become gratuitously ubiquitous. Frankly, the levels of tolerated infidelity within most modern marriages are insignificant in comparison to the unclean urges which are dividing our musical community. No one so much as bats an eyelid when a vocalist and guitarist from rival groups suddenly commit the dirty deed together.

For those of you who fear that I may be on the cusp of an evangelical tirade, I am referring to that emerging habit which has infected many of our musicians: the side-project. Granted, side-projects have been an exciting idiosyncrasy of the music scene for decades but now they threaten to become so prevalent that the notion of a traditional band structure seems almost defunct.

Last month witnessed releases from two notable supergroups: ‘Monsters of Folk’ and ‘Them Crooked Vultures’. There is no denying that both of these albums are finely tuned gems but my question is this: Does the quality of the music justify placing a band on indefinite hiatus? Am I alone in impatiently lusting after some new material from 'Queens of the Stone Age' and 'My Morning Jacket'?

There is one man who, more than any other, shoulders responsibility for the fickle-minded attitude of today's rock aristocracy. Jack White has collaborated with more artists than Tiger Wood's has had mistresses. It is extraordinary how one gentlemen has managed to infiltrate our musical landscape with such authority. At a time when Meg White can finally attempt to fathom the complexities of percussion, Jack has been mercilessly upstaging her on the skins of his latest side-project, The Dead Weather.

Perhaps I should relent. Perhaps Jack White has discovered a happy equilibrium where musical differences may not necessarily preclude a band's downfall. In any case, we must concede that side-projects are no longer the novel exception, they are the rule. I, for one, am not yet convinced that this a healthy development.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Jabberwocky Pops: Chapter 1

Lindstrom & Christabelle - Baby Can't Stop
- Lindstrom is perhaps the king of the lengthy, ambient techno track. But this sounds like a retro tribute to Michael Jackson. Believe me, once you start shaking to this, you won't stop till you get enough!

Darwin Deez - Constellations
- Anyone feeling blue in the coming winter months should download this nugget of happiness immediately. Darwin Deez fuses a Julian Casablancas-esque delivery with some truly euphoric dance moves.

Wolf Gang - The King And All Of His Men
- Marina And The Diamonds' label-mate proves his salt on his latest single. Even if the song title seems to rip-off a Wild Beasts track with nearly the same name, there is no denying that Max McElligott has refined his song-writing craft.

Everything Everything - My Keys, Your Boyfriend
- I can only describe this single as Foals deciding to form a Barbershop Quartet. Interested? You should be!

Graham Coxon - Brave The Storm
- Britpop's favourite guitarist eschews his usual distorted riffing for some of the most beautiful figer-picking I have heard since Nick Drake decided he was depressed