Musical Arithmetic

Okay, so here’s the formula:

(A – B) + C = D

And here are the variables:

A =

Evanescence. More specifically: the original line up (as far as most of the world is concerned). I like Evanescence quite a bit, but that’s about 74.2% Amy Lee’s voice. The girl has one hell of a pair of lungs on her. I picked this particular song from the first album for reason which may become obvious later. For what it’s worth, I think Everybody’s Fool and Imaginary are a much better songs.

B =

Evanescence again? No. Well… yes, but the current line up. Specifically: Amy Lee herself. I picked this song from the second album (which is much better than the first) because it seems to have the most Amy Lee-ness in it. It doesn’t have an actual video, though, so alternatively:

B =

I figure having a deficit of Seether won’t affect the sum either way, so this works too.

C =

Former Irish American Idol contestant* Carly Smithson. Once again: A hell of a pair of lungs. Not an entirely dissimilar look, but quite a different vocal style, it would appear. Carly’s voice has a bit more blues in it, a bit more sultriness.

D =

We are the Fallen, the new band from Ben Moody, two other former members of Evanescence and Carly Smithson. Can you seen why I picked that particular Evanescence song? That’s more than a passing resemblance, style wise. There is a second reason I picked it, however. Carly has a less operatic voice, though, and a bit more range in terms of singing style. I love me some female fronted metal, so I’ll be keeping an eye on this band.

Okay, here’s another one which plays a bit better to her frankly spectacular voice:

D =

* That is: she’s Irish and was a contestant on “American Idol.” There is no such show as “Irish American Idol,” so far as I’m aware.

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Trailer Trash

Every once in a while, a film trailer comes along that I can’t seem to stop myself watching repeatedly. I like trailers in general, which is definitely part of the problem, but some of them really grab hold of me. Two good examples of this are the final theatrical trailer for the recent Star Trek reboot, and one of the trailers for The Two Towers (the one with the orchestral version of he awesome theme song from Requiem for a Dream, and words cannot express how disappointed I was when that music wasn’t in the actual film). You might be noticing a dramatic music related theme here, but visuals and dialogue are important too. It all has to click together. You’ve heard it said, I’m sure, that part (or even half) of the the pleasure of a present is in the unwrapping. Same thing, right here.
Which brings me back to the latest object of desire I’m metaphorically tugging at the ribbon of. It’s the shiny new trailer for Tron Legacy, long awaited sequel to the 1982 cyber cult classic. I have something of a weakness for stories which which turn computer programmers* into heroes anyway (I’m sure you couldn’t possibly imagine why), but everything in this trailer works for me.
There was an initial warning sign, to wit: one of the principle protagonists would appear to be the son of the original hero. Shit. Where have I seen that recently? But wait… Maybe he’s not a complete tool of a character, because I absolutely love the delivery of the one line line he really gets in the trailer. Bruce Boxleitner too, returning from the original, but then I already knew he could handle a bit of gravitas.
After a bit of initial set up, the trailer is basically all about the visuals, and what visuals they are. For a start, one of them is a visual of the gorgeous Olivia Wilde (13 from House). It all looks very cool and it all makes me very curious indeed. For some reason, I especially love the way the music distorts as the main title is revealed.
In case you hadn’t guessed: I’m quiet excited about this one. Let me know what you think.

* Apparently, “software engineer” is the more politically correct term, but screw you, I know what I am. 🙂

A Wind Blows Through…

I need a tape measure.

It isn’t the first time I’ve thought this in the past couple of days, and I expect to think it at least a thousand times more in the foreseeable future. The problem in this instance is that I can’t tell by eye if the bed and the two cabinets will fit to the left of the bedroom window.

Crap. I’ve gotten ahead of myself.

A week or two ago, my flatmate Bruce told me that he and his girlfriend, my other flatmate, Sabrina were moving on a pastures anew. They wanted their own place, and so March would be their last month month in our current flat.

Shit.

But no, after speaking to my very friendly landlord, I found out that I will not be tossed out on my proverbial arse, I will in fact be able to stay on for three further months, essentially at my current rent, and with the whole flat to myself.

Pretty cool.

So, of course, my thoughts naturally turn to important matters:

Where will I move all the furniture to?

Because, of course, you have to move the furniture around. That’s just what you do.

How will I implement the ideal centralised media and file distribution system?

This, too, is just something you have to do. If you’re a bit of a nerd, that is.

But what happens at the end of the three months I previously mentioned? Well… in a slightly terrifying display of domesticity, on my good lady’s return from working on her dissertation project down south, we pick up the lease of the flat.

It’s okay. She’s a bit of a nerd, too.

Serendipitous Nostalgia

Today I was walking home from work and absent-mindedly listening to music, when I noticed that that my supposedly shuffled iPod was displaying a definite preference for one band in particular. A band I haven’t really spared a seconds thought in some years. As I walked I hatched a plot a write a blog post regarding the nostalgia this inspired. So I arrived home and thought to have a look on youTube for some reference material to post…

There is a reason I have a marked preference for the combination of a heavy rock music and female vocals, and her name is Aimee Echo. In the late nineties she fronted a band called Human Waste Project with vocals which managed to be both sugary sweet and ragged at the same time. My youthful self took notice. My youthful self also attended a festival called the “Ozzfest” with his friend Rich and said friend’s father, where he found Human Waste Project to be a late addition to the bill. My youthful self promptly had the back of head damn near blown off by one of the best live shows he had (or was ever to) see.

As it turned out, that was to be their second to last show. Aimee Echo left the band, who sounded like this:

and formed a new one, called at first Hero and then theSTART, who sounded more like this:

Though I like this second song, I find that the raw edge is missing from her voice. This is probably due to the more electronic sound of the new band and thus the requisite multi-tracking of a voice I don’t feel requires it. The point is I don’t like the second band as much, not least because this is the only song of there’s I found which has much of a chorus.

So where was I… ah yes, I was searching youTube for content to post. What I found was a lot of presumably live videos. I saw one for “Dog”, thought “sweet!” and clicked. The video loaded. Aimee Echo was talking into the mike. “So a long time ago… there was a band in the nineties… called Human Waste Project… and we are them…”

Hang on… this is a new video… and then the opening riff gave me goose bumps…

I’m aware the sound quality is awful on the video, but here it is:

HERE

A bit of frantic web searching promptly revealed that yes, gloriously, the band were back to together. At least to some extent. They’d played two shows in 2008 (well… more like one and a half, since the first one was actually the encore from a theSTART show) and were rehearsing for a reunion tour.

It’s when things like this come together that I’m given to smile inwardly and think that perhaps there is someone “up there” who likes me.

For what it’s worth, another lady who had an (arguably stronger) effect on my musical taste is Sandra Nasic. So, for the sake of completeness, here’s a couple of videos of her singing with her (now defunct) band, “Guano Apes”, and another of her providing guest vocals on an Apocalyptica song.

Apocalyptica, in case you were wondering, are a group of Finnish ‘cello players, who once exclusively played Metalica covers, but now play original material. Here’s another one, this time with Corey Taylor:

I think that’s enough music for now. Tootles.

Is it still limping if you’re doing it with both legs?

On Friday night I went to the Silent Disco and danced away until 4 am. On the whole I think it was excellent. I think it (or some progression of it) might well be the future of night clubs. It was £10 entry, which might seem a little expensive, but is really no more than the entry to a lot of clubs in Edinburgh. The music was also quite mainstream, and not the hardcore dance I was expecting, which is good because I think his sort of thing is a lot more fun when you can shout along with the words. Especially when you can take of your headphones and watch everyone dancing away without there being any apparent music.

Then on Saturday I drove through to Dunbar with Helen and Dougal to attend a ceilidh for our friend Matt’s sister, who is leaving the country. What the hell was I doing there? I was invited mostly for my Y chromosome, since it was thought there would be a near overwhelming majority of female types present. This never in fact materialised, leaving me feeling that I was massively intruding (situations like this bring out the English in me to an alarming extent… I feel as though I can’t say “please”, “thank you” and of course “sorry” nearly enough). I had a really good time though, and enjoyed the dancing a lot… even though it’s the only ceilidh I have clear memories of participating in. Luckily I had a good impromptu dance teacher and I don’t think I embarrassed myself too much.

I stayed in Dunbar at Helen’s parent’s house on Saturday night and then went for long (well… more mid length) walk around the town the next morning, after a truly fantastic breakfast. Then I was invited to have lunch with Dougal and his parents, which was very pleasant. Still don’t feel I said those three magical phrases enough at any of those places, but all in all it made for a most enjoyable weekend.

Yesterday, though, I woke up and could barely walk. I seem to have strained both my calves, which really isn’t ideal. I suspect that I over used them during the weekend and know the muscles are trying to build themselves up. I have hyper-tense muscles in my legs (I think that’s the phrase the physio used), which on the one hand sometimes means that they resemble steel cables (which is nice), but I can’t even come close to touching my toes with my legs straight. I suspect this is a participating factor.

Ouch.

As a result of this I’ve been doing some work from home, as I suspect driving isn’t such a great idea just now. I could catch the bus in to the University… but… well… I just don’t want to. Writing up ahoy!

Here’s a bit more Swedish music for you, this time of a much more melodic nature:

Nevertheless, this is the same singer who appears on “Dead End” by In Flames, which is from the exact opposite end of the musical spectrum.

In search of shiny Swedish music

So in my last (none film review) blog entry I posted a video by a Swedish goth metal band called “Beseech” and then mentioned that they’d split to form two other bands.

I was bored waiting for code to run today and did a little digging. Seems there’s a bit more too it than that. The female singer joined formed another band called The Mary Major, which also has a male singer.

The male singer from Beseech is called Erik. He has a beard and long hair.

The male singer from The Mary Major is also called Erik and also has a beard, but has short hair and wears a hat.

But I am not fooled! Though he dons a disguise, my eyes do not lie! For it is he, the same Penniless Sitar Player! Wait… no… that’s not right…

Anyway. In my opinion they aren’t very good. They do have one song I like, though. It’s called “Split” and you can find it on their myspace page, here:

The Mary Major

Others members of Beseech formed a band called Those We Don’t Speak Of (TWDSO, henceforth), and their story is a little more interesting. Also, their music is better. Among the musicians who also joined the band was singer Sara Löfgren, an established singer songwriter. That interests me because it pretty much never happens here. Their home page seems to be down (I’ll try and shed some light on that in a moment), but you can find some music here:

TWDSO at MySpace

I quite like it. Not a lot of subtlety to be found, no, but there’s a propulsive quality to the music I enjoy very much. Also I’m a complete sucker for a powerful female voice over the top of a driving heavy rhythm.

But wait… there’s more. It seems Sara Löfgren left the band due to pregnancy and was replaced by another established solo artist. This time one Emma Varg, and you can listen to her here:

Emma Varg at MySpace

She also has a (mostly) working home page, here:

Emma Varg

…which says she is looking for new members to join her band… and that was circa February 2008. Also, no mention of TWDSO and a lot of media links are broken on the site. Confusing, no? I’ll come back to that, because first I want to talk about her music. Again, I like it, for much the same reasons as previously mentioned. There’s also a brazen quality to her lyrics I like… and the closest we get to that in the UK is the Sugar Babes singing “..who do you want me to be, to make you sleep with me…”

I find I really want to listen to this new band, but am a little starved of information. Emma Varg’s MySpace says that she’s taking over on a temporary basis until she gets her new band members, but another interview suggested she was a permanent replacement. I almost suspect this new band will have a different name, that would explain the missing / broken home pages.

I also learned a new Swedish music related word today: Melodeath. I have resolved to find out more about it.

Eclecticism

Seems the Facebook app does not do what it’s supposed to. Never mind, I shall content myself with the (better) WordPress interface. Maybe I’ll look into writing a Facebook app which interfaces with my RSS feed. That would be cool.

I thought I would write a music related post, since I found a couple of things on YouTube which piqued my interest. First an entirely serious one:

When I first heard this on the radio I thought it sounded so fresh they must be a new band. But no, they’ve been around quite a while, I even knew other songs by them. Unfortunately I don’t like many of them, but you can’t have everything. Apparently.

Next, something quite different. Helen played me this at a dinner party on Saturday night for the comedy value. I went looking for it on YouTube, mostly out of curiosity regarding the identity of the female singer, and found a live version. Promise me you’ll listen to at least some of it, and not just hit stop as soon as the guitars start. It might make you smile.

I think I genuinely like this. It helps that I actually like ABBA. I think they wrote really good songs. I also love cross genre covers, and this is definitely that. The female singer’s voice really works for me as well. I had a look for some of their other stuff, but it’s really not good, not good at all. It seems they split and formed two entirely new bands, both of which are a slight improvement, though.

Told you I had eclectic taste. Here are a couple more for your edification:

A soft one to start off with. Dido is so much better live. In my opinion her voice is perfect, but sounds overly processed on her recordings.

Bit of a heavier one, there. This is about as heavy as my taste in music gets. I love the singer’s voice, though. If you’re confused by this wait for the chorus. If you don’t have the pertinence for that, try this one by the same band:

See? The band, if you’re interested, are called “In Flames”. Look up a song called “Dead End” if you want to know what happens when a Swedish metal (death metal? pop metal? disco metal? death pop disco metal?) band collaborates with a Swedish pop singer song writer…

How about another soft one? Okay, but I’m going to get it from an unexpected place:

Yes, that was Slipknot. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

I’ll skew a bit heavier again, but not too far.

I’m a little disappointed that YouTube couldn’t supply “Father’s Daughter” from “Like a Bolt of Lightning”, but this will do.

I’m tempted to throw in a bit of Massive Attack, a bit of Evanescence, a bit of Killswitch Engage… but this post really could go on for ever, so I’ll stop it here.