Hammock

Been over a week since I last blogged, been dealing with Uni work at the moment. Should be getting back on track now. This is going to be another Discovery of Music blog post, this time about one of my all time favourite ambient/post-rock bands. Hammock.

Album: Raising Your Voice…Trying To Stop An Echo

Such a weird album cover, it’s like the jacket is a rock in a weird way :s

It was a tricky choice choosing my favourite album. I was torn between two albums, and funnily enough my favourite songs are from both albums as well, so I was torn between the two for them also. But I think I made the right choice when I decided to go with “Raising Your Voice…Trying To Stop An Echo”. The album is a very ambient based album, more ambient than their other albums, but it has that post-rock flare in it. The lead guitars with tons of reverb is such an effective tool for this kind of music. One of the main things I love about this album is its use of panning. The way I prefer to mix music is to not have it so that the band or artist is in front of you and you’re listening to them. Instead, I like the listener to feel like they are PART of the music. Hammock do just that. It’s so easy to close your eyes and lose yourself in this album. The panning helps so much with that, having the stereo field very wide and having guitars and synths flying all around you. Best examples of the more obvious panning is in songs like “When the Sky Pours Down Like A Fountain” and “God Sends Us A Signal”.

Another comment about Hammock is their name choices of songs. They are such metaphorical genius’. Titles like “Startle The Heavens”, “When The Sky Pours Down Like A Fountain”, “Sparkle and Fade”, “Chorus of Trees”, such creative names and they sum up the songs SO well. My favourite song on this album is easily “I Can Almost See You”, I have to mention this as although it isn’t my all time favourite it, is a favourite. It uses such a typical chord structure to hook you in but with this it builds up so well. And when the piano comes in..man I lose it a bit..such a beautiful melody. The vocals smooth in so nicely, and again with that panning, they do it so well with the overdubs. DEFINITLEY worth a listen, and it’s great to put on in the background when doing work or playing a game.

Spotify Link: Hammock – Raising Your Voice…Trying to Stop an Echo

Song: Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save Your Life

Departure Songs: The album this song is featured on

“Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save Your Life ” is a more post-rock/ambient song, and the album it’s on is definitely a more post-rock album. This song is quite commonly on the top of my ambient playlists and song queues. I’m a sucker for songs that build up so well to the drums in a progressive manner….and no dubstep is NOT an example of that even though it can be easily compared, but that’s a blog for another time.  I’m also a sucker for songs with big string orchestra sounds, and with the way the song closes with the expression on the violins and violas, I again so easily lose myself to this music. I love how open the song is to interpretation as well. Emma and I had a discussion about what the meaning could be about this song. I liked Emma’s interpretation of how people are so keen to live forever, but is that really living? Surely it would be better to live 100 years and be happy with just those years than keep on living life over and over again? But that’s a VERY big question. But back to the song, I feel that that is what this song is trying to say with the lyrics, which are quite hard to understand so I’ll post the lyrics at the end of this blog, and overall progression of the song. The way the song moves with the slow build up to the drums, guitars, synths and vocals, and then slowly finishing with the sweet slow strings at the end. It seems that this song could be an interpretation of life itself. Or what life has the potential to be…..I’m digging in too deep here, but that’s what I find good ambient music like Hammock can do. It leaves you to interpret what YOU want the song to be, with no obvious hooks or lyrics to try and persuade you a meaning. The meaning is more open.

So with that in mind I hope you go away with a new way of thinking about ambient music. What I would love is that if anyone makes it all the way to the end of this blog….or reads it at all… you go away and listen “Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save Your Life” and then comment on what YOU think the meaning could be. Did this song touch your soul like it has mine and have an interpreted meaning of the song, or do you think “ambient music is boring, why does this guy keep going on about it, why can’t he talk more about Bon Jovi?”. Anyway, I look forward to hearing your comments.

Lyrics

“It takes so long for you to realise,
ten thousand years won’t save your life.”

Spotify Link: Hammock – Ten Thousand Years Won’t Save Your Life

Thomas Newman

Was listening to some Thomas Newman today so I decided that this would be the day I talk about Thomas Newman.

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If you haven’t heard of him, he is a film score composer and has done such films as Finding Nemo, American Beauty, Wall-E, Skyfall and others. He is my favourite composer. Almost all of his compositions I can recognise from his distinct composing style. I find that he is so good that a few films I went and saw specifically because he composed the music for and some of the time I didn’t even enjoy the film, I just listened to the music. 

Soundtrack – A Series of Unfortunate Events

Obviously the film itself isn’t fantastic, I do actually really enjoy this film, I love the filming style and come on, Jim Carey is epic. But the main reason I love it is because of the soundtrack. It is by far my favourite Thomas Newman soundtrack because I can listen to it from start to finish. Such songs as ‘Chez Olaf’ create such a fantastic perspective on the Count Olaf character, and the Baudelaire Twins is equally as brilliant creating their characters together. ‘Lovely Spring’ is such a fun song also, a song I commonly sang with my friends back when this film first came out. But the song that really gets me is ‘The Letter that Never Came’ a truly beautiful song, fantastic melody, great arrangement and the almost brings a tear to my eye. Fantastic soundtrack.

Link to soundtrack via Spotify – http://open.spotify.com/album/3APjdBSpcHFNPYwQwlUZlb

Song – Nemo Egg

Bit of an obvious one but it really is his best song. The duration is only 1:16 but it goes to show, a great song doesn’t have to be long to be great. The melody on the piano and the build up of ambiance in the background with strings creates a perfect theme for Finding Nemo. When I first purchased this song, I would sometimes loop it for when I was going to sleep as it was almost like a lullaby to me. Music that touches your soul in some way becomes very personal to you, whether it’s because of lyrics, or because the way the music flows together makes you feel something special. Nemo Egg is one of mine. And I thank Thomas Newman for composing such a beautiful piece of music. Even if it is only 1:16 in length.  

Link to ‘Nemo Egg’ – http://open.spotify.com/track/0VEf913GDXMlb196o6VOCV

Bon Jovi

 

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I thought I’d start out my blog with my all time favourite band. Bon Jovi. I’ve been listening to Bon Jovi since I was 13 and was the first band I ever went crazy about. Bon Jovi has meant many things to me, their music has inspired me in many ways as a performer, composer and overall musician. In fact, the majority of learning of the guitar was from watching live videos of Richie Sambora playing Bon Jovi concerts. 

Album: These Days

My favourite album has to be These Days. The reason I recommend this album above all the others is because it isn’t expressed as being the best album because it has the most hits, in fact not many of their hits came from this album. I enjoy this album the most because of it’s writing style, lyrical content and overall production sound. The mix on each song is amazingly well balanced and effects added work perfectly to compliment the songs. A few notable songs are: 
Hey God, This Ain’t a Love Song, Hard Letting You Go, and My Guitar Lies Bleeding in My Arms. These are the songs that best high light the overall sound of the album and I hope you agree that these songs sound fantastic.

Spotify Link to album – http://t.co/pGO7WUnaOM

Song: Dry County

My all time favourite song by Bon Jovi (and possibly all time) is Dry County from the Keep the Faith album. This is the longest song by Bon Jovi being the length of 9:52. This song is a very personal song to me it is a song about inspiration and escapism. The overall mix might not be fantastic so generally the reason I love this song so much is the lyrical content and musical composition. When I heard this song live in 2011 at Hard Rock Calling Festival, I swear I nearly cried. I shouldn’t leave out that Dry County also has probably one of the greatest guitar solos of all time by Richie. 

Link to full length song on Spotify – http://t.co/ZJeUWfWpfZ
Link to shorter single version on Youtube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ja1aHnj7Wk