08 December 2008

Pepsistuff/Amazon music download reviews

I will admit right here, right now, that I fell subject to the whole PepsiStuff promotion! Here's the thing, I didn't pay a dime for the points. It was all legal, don't worry, don't worry. I'm cheap, but not THAT cheap. In my fury of collecting these priceless nuggets of digital musical tidbits, I found some good tracks, and some that I wish I would have left out. There were quite a few that I knew I wanted before I pressed "Save" to the computer and others that were just a complete stab in the dark. SO, in keeping with the spirit of this blog - here goes a few reviews of the tracks I downloaded.

1. The Hop - by Radio Citizen (album: Berlin Serengeti): This bouncy little morsel hit my audio canals from the great website called Pandora. Not to get too bogged down in hyperbole, but this is just a fun song. The jazzy vocals give a smoky, R&B vibe with the distorted, dropping organ melody driving the tune with turntable beats riding shotgun. I am always excited when I hear a song that grabs my attention, gets my head bobbing, and keeps me pushing replay just to hear the different nuances over and over again. Of all the downloads I scored from Amazon.com, I'd have to places this one square on top.

Rating: 5 out of 5

2. Love Song - Lily Cushman Culhane (album: One): Here is one of those songs that sounds like it has a lot of possibility. It starts out with some cool minimalistic jazz piano loops formulating a nice experimental sound. It flows into a cool chorus section and then morphs into a sweet dub guitar pushing the melody along. All of this flows well until a minute and a half is left and the song seems to lose its focus. "Yes, this is my love song" gets stuck on repeat which leads to a pretentious ending. I can handle the song, but my wife on the other hand just despises it. Would I recommend it? If it was just the first half, then Yes. But here is what I'll say - if you like cool experimental trip-hop, then take this little tune for a spin. If overbearing repetition chafes your hide, then don't even bother.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

3. Hayling - FC Kahuna: I know some of you are probably chuckling at me for speaking about how repetition and techno do not go together... well, in the previous review I'm speaking about one song.

The point (IMHO) of techno is simplicity and repetition!!! Hayling, from FC Kahuna, is an example of great use of "theme and variation" in techno music; especially downtempo/chillout/trip-hop. Let me head off into Tangentland (TM) for a few about how I feel repetition is wonderful in techno! Caveat: this isn't based off of anyone else's recollections, scholarly intrigue, or from something logical. This is just me merely bloviating about a topic, and hopefully I'll salvage some sort of credibility while doing so. When I think of great repetition in techno, the first couple of songs that pop into my head are "Sandstorm" by Darude and "Revenge of the Black Regent" by Add N to X. Here, both examples take a basic melody that makes you move, i.e. like the plot of a good book. Then they build on it, make it viable, and call it their own. Add in some catchy keyboards, wonderful vocals, or even some snappy breaks (another great trip-hop example of this would HAVE to be Wax Taylor (see "To Dry Up," "Our Dance")), and Frankenstein's baby boy is born! The melody is life to the song. The add-ons are the experiences. The choruses, lyrics, etc, make it all the more fulfilling. I love repetition. I even like Lily Cushman's song, but I have to be in the mood for it.

Okay, back to the task at hand. The lyrics to this song are so simple, yet so penetrating.

Don't think about all those things you
Just be glad to be here.

So simple, and yet almost misplaced. Definitely words for a motivational poster, I'd say! The melody makes a few subtle changes, yet stays true to form. All in all, a great pick from the Pandora box!

h/t: auralgasms for the lyrics.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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