Let’s raise a glass to honor the musical renaissance! As someone who participated in the abundantly creative Golden Era from 1967-1975, I confidently assert that we are witnessing the dawning of a new age in music. Both artists and consumers reap wonderful benefits from music availability on the Internet. Today’s artists find a variety of low-hurdle distribution channels without signing contracts with major record labels. Consumers discover websites that offer sampling and purchasing options to expand their music collections. In case you haven’t noticed, check out these two sites to discover new tunes and groups: www.pandora.com and www.aurgasm.us.
Yet if your music listening is confined to mainstream radio, you may be missing many of today’s hidden treasures. Consequently, I accept the mission to give you solid recommendations to broaden your music libraries. Sample the CDs and tracks shown below’ll be glad you did.
UK trip hop, blues, electronica band
My oldest daughter, Caroline, intro-
duced me to Morcheeba after seeing them during her college days in Savannah, GA.
Morcheeba is generally recognized as a pioneering trip-hop genre band. Trip-hop emerged in the mid-1990s from experimental fusions of hip-hop and electronic elements often characterized by slower tempo and moody vocals (usually by female singers). Today, its hip-hop connections are hardly recognizable except for subtle slip-cue scratching of rhythms.
Other trip-hop flavored bands include Portishead, Massive Attack, and Thievery Corporation. But for me, Morcheeba generates the highest levels of endorphins through their sonic compositions.
For the past 14 years, Morcheeba’s founding artists, the Godfrey brothers, have woven their spell with a curious blend of down-tempo, loopy guitars, subtle, slip-cue rhythms, and seductively surreal female vocals featuring Skye Edwards. In my personal music collection, Morcheeba ranks among my favorite and most frequent downloads.
Andy’s Picks: In recent CDs, the band has tapped a wide array of male and female vocalists. To get started, check out the 2008 CD, Dive Deep and settle in with cult folk-rock singer Judy Tzuke’s tracks “Blue Chair” and “Enjoy the Ride.” Thomas Dybdahl leads with “Sleep On It Tonight” accompanied by haunting organ and acoustic guitar. The spell weaves and entices. By the time you hear the track “Run, Honey, Run,” you will be hooked, I guarantee it! Then, just for fun, go back to their original 1996 CD, Who Can You Trust? to explore their roots with Skye Edwards. For good examples of early trip-hop music, I recommend “Trigger Hippie” and the instrumental title track, “Who Can You Trust?” There is so much really good stuff here, it will take you months to go through it. Be prepared for a contagious experience. Your appreciation of the music will grow with each listening.
Opera to Relax
German duo avant-garde, ambient, improvisational collaboration
Don’t be distracted by the name; you
will not be hearing opera. This band is virtually unknown worldwide, yet is one of the most sophisticated, organic musical experiences. The husband-wife-duo (with guests) recorded a few CDs through 2006 and then disappeared. I can’t find any recent information about them.
OTR can best be described as improvisational, avant-garde, down-tempo music with steamy, seductive, ethereally whispered, spiritually-flavored lyrics sung by a female in English. Are you picking up on what I am laying down? Good stuff. They use environmental sampling (birds, water), spoken word, exotic percussion, minimalistic guitars, dreamy keyboards, and soft saxophone support. Try this music with a loved one, lights low, cuddled up by the fire, or on the back porch on a starry summer night.
Andy’s Picks: Try these tracks as a starter: “Radio Shamanistan,” “Oh, What a Crazy Day,” “Upon the Temple Bell,” and “From Life 2 Life.” I yearn for the day that I see new tracks from this unusual, charming musical collaboration.
You can hear Fringe Toast and Pirate Satellite on KRUU-FM 100.1 or online at www. kruufm.com. Next month, Andy returns with more picks!
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