Posts Tagged ‘folk’

Two fleetingly beautiful musical moments. Recorded.


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A few years ago, I was going through a phase where I would listen to a considerable number of albums every day, in the hope of finding something that would resurrect the excitement I had once felt when listening to albums such as King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King” or, better yet, Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”. While my goal was somewhat clear, nothing seemed to work for me then. I was about to give up, when I read a review about an album that would soon flush away all the frustrations about not being able to draw any feeling from the music I listened to.

The moment I discovered Jeff Buckley’s „Grace”, my experience of music took an unexpected turn for the better. In many ways it was different from the two aforementioned quintessential prog albums (which I had often used as a measure for other music). However it possessed a sensibility and fragility that I had never found elsewhere. It was as if some ethereal creature from another world had decided to leave a sign of its presence on Earth, but remain anonymous by using Buckley’s voice and likeness. And this analogy, which might seem a bit far-fetched, might actually reflect to a certain extent Jeff Buckley’s influence on the music scene. Gone from the world far too early, a person of formidable talent, he did manage to leave a legacy, in the form of one album, that will send shivers down the spines of music lovers for… well, forever. I can’t really see it any other way.

It’s not easy to objectively comment upon an album one is so emotionally attached to, but I’ve decided that, after all, I’m not even going to try to write an objective review. No, this will be about the “Grace” that blew my mind away, sending waves of adrenalin through my body, literally F-ing up my psyche into sheer ecstasy (by ‘literally’ I actually mean ‘figuratively’, just so you know). But just to entertain the illusion that this is not my personal review, I’ll use the second person from now on. This should hopefully do the trick of getting you involved in the description I’m about to give.


The album opens with some quiet, otherworldy electric guitar harmonics and arpeggiated chordal work, subtly emphasised with a whammy bar and volume pedal. Then Buckley’s voice comes in. This is when you realise your ears are in for a real treat. The voice strikes you as gentle yet raw and you get a certain feeling that this is not where the surprises stop. And indeed it isn’t. By the second chorus, the voice starts to soar while the instrumentation simply explodes in a Zeppelin-esque manner. There’s tension and release, then tension and release again, and your brain slowly gets flooded with endorphins. Now you’re ready for what comes next.


The title track is simply amazing. Retaining some of the tension and otherworldliness of the previous song, it manages to take you new places with its slightly more constant and alert beat and Buckley’s vocals ranging from breathy to almost shouted. And here you start to get the sense of the singer’s incredible 4-octave vocal range.


‘Last Goodbye’ is somewhat of a pop song, which doesn’t mean it is any less enjoyable. The intro slide guitar riff, complemented by the catchy bass line (which gets repeated in different forms throughout the song) is one of the better moments of the song. The run through different tonalities and timbres makes the song interesting enough to belong on this nearly-perfect album.


‘Lilac Wine’ is the first cover on the album (there are two more: ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Corpus Christi Carol’). It is a serene and sensitive song and its sparse and quiet instrumentation leaves room for the singer’s perfectly-controlled voice. At this point you realise that there are many sides to Buckley’s musical sensibility.


‘So Real’ is one of the more powerful moments on the LP. The lyrics and the vocal melody blend so well that you cannot help but think of how it echoes the avant-garde experimentation on Tim Buckley, Jeff’s Father’s, album ‘Lorca’. Complete with dissonant guitar parts and controlled vocal disorder, it hints at the darker, more chaotic side of Buckley’s psyche.


‘Hallelujah’ is one of the few covers in rock history that manage to surpass the original. While Leonard Cohen’s version is indeed a wonderful performance, Buckley adds the depth of his own voice and sensibility to the song. While the dynamic variations in the song are subtle, there are so many hair-raising moments that it is as if you were enraptured and taken apart, neuron by overstimulated neuron, by Buckley’s voice – which, on this track, reaches its peak in terms of clarity and expressiveness. It is hardly imaginable how a song conveying so much pain and disappointment can have such an uplifting effect.


A composition more in the realm of soul music than anything else, ‘Lover, You Should’ve Come Over’ nicely highlights Buckley’s vocal ability, and the band’s instrumental prowess. Buckley’s voice is perfectly fitted for this kind of composition.


A reprise of a Middle English hymn, ‘Corpus Christi Carol’, with its peaceful instrumentation and ethereal vocal part, is a song that, while somewhat detached from the rest of the album, can bring the listener to emotional areas yet unvisited. Buckley shifts freely from his head voice to his falsetto voice throughout the song, which contributes to the feeling of otherworldly serenity.


The heavy ‘Eternal Life’ kicks in full blast, spoiling the effect of the previous song a little. The lyrical content is also powerful, while possessing a certain naivety. It’s a song that kicks your heart around as if it were a soccer ball in a room with walls only two feet apart. A good song indeed, but it somewhat pales in comparison to the final track.


‘Dream Brother’ closes the album in a vigorous and emotionally intense manner. Lyrically making reference to Buckley’s father’s absence during Jeff’s early life, this song is almost mind-altering. It is as if digging out the bones of hated memories and then pouring cement over them. The closing line – “asleep in the sand, with the ocean washing over” literally washes over your mind, sending shivers and spikes through your body. It is glimpse into Jeff Buckley’s vantage point – the tragedy, the pain, the fear, the disappointment, but also the joy and numinous ecstasy of his short existence.

Jeff Buckley’s album “Grace” is not just an LP that you listen to, it is an experience that pulls you in and doesn’t let you go until you listen to it again and again and again… Well it doesn’t really ever let you go. After hearing it once, your perception of music might never be the same.

Rating: 9.5/10

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Alexandru Andries – Bootleg (2)

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prima parte aici

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Alexandru Andries – Bootleg (part 1)


N-am mai postat de mult timp nimic pe aici asa ca m-am hotarat sa revin in forta.

Era 1978 sau 1979…sau 1977? in orice caz pe undeva pe acolo. Eu nu eram nici macar in proiect. Taica-miu a avut intr-o zi a acelui an indefinit niste oaspeti, pe niste prieteni de-ai lui, care au venit impreuna cu un tanar student la arhitectura, pe atunci necunoscut publicului larg, pe care i l-au prezentat. Numele sau banuiesc ca l-ati ghicit deja. Da, Andries. Printr-o intamplare fericita, taicamiu poseda pe atunci un junghi de chitara clasica, din aia pe care invata copiii sa cante, si la care urma si eu sa zdranganesc 20 de ani mai tarziu, si mai avea si un magnetofon. Ce a urmat a fost destul de previzibil. Un mini-recital marca Andries, din care nu lipseau unele dintre piesele care urmau sa il faca celebru precum Dracula Blues, insa si unele mult mai putin cunoscute.

fiind un tip destul de altruist de felul meu, vi le ofer spre auditie. calitatea inregistrarii lasa un pic de dorit, insa e scuzabil fiind vorba de o inregistrare pe o rabla de magnetofon care acum 30 de ani era vechi.

Iata primele 4 piese. O sa revin cu altele. Pana atunci, auditie placuta!

track 01

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de pe albumul The sea and the rhythm (2003)

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Nu-i deloc riscant cu-o nevasta model si o amanta discreta.

1. Universal valabil
2. Prieten
3. Suc de portocale
4. Drag
5. Cugetare
6. Cel mai
7. Simetrie
8. Mult
9. Necugetare
10. Imi place
11. Alegorie
12. La tine
13. Tricicleta
14. Prietena ta
15. Cum ar fi fost

Tapinarii sunt o trupa unica in peisajul folk autohton. Cu asta vor fi de acord si fanii, si cei care nu prea ii agreaza. Originalitatea a fost cea care i-a scos in fata, inca de la inceput. Debutul, cu videoclipul acela cu piticul care danseaza, le-a adus notorietate, din care insa au mai pierdut pe parcurs. Asta probabil pentru ca au inceput sa se ia prea in serios. Si-au concentrat foarte mult atentia pe albume ca intreg. Rezultatul a fost o suita de albume-sa le zicem concept, de o cu totul alta natura decat stilul lor caterincos de debut, care le venea asa de bine, mai ales tinand cont de faptul ca de mijloace muzicale prea ridicate nu au beneficiat niciodata. Din punctul meu de vedere aceste albume  (Ultimul super-erou si Un rege fara regat) nu prezinta nici un interes. Daca (presupunand prin absurd) vreau sa ascult balade lacrimogene, o sa caut in alta parte, nu la Tapinarii. Pentru ca altii pur si simplu le canta mai bine.

Asta e si motivul pentru care nu am ascultat albumul de fata pana de curand. Stiam ca e tot un fel de album-concept, numai ca de data asta era compus de Covei (cealalta jumatate a trupei Tapinarii, alaturi de Tanase). Intr-un final am zis sa il incerc. Surprins am constatat ca nu era nici pe departe atat de slab cum mi-l inchipuiam.

In primul rand se constata o intoarcere spre stilul ala mai neingrijit, mai „amatoricesc”, care ii da farmec unei trupe ca Tapinarii. Apoi, conceptul albumului (viata de cuplu) e tratat intr-un mod mai apropiat de ce asteptam de ani de zile de la ei. Sa nu uitam ca au fost acuzati pe vremuri de misoginie si probabil ca unele sprancene s-au ridicat acuzator si la auditia acestui album. Dar acum hai sa fim onesti. Ca o persoana perfect obiectiva, nici pe departe fan Tapinarii, o sa ii apar in cazul asta, pentru ca daca ce fac ei e misoginie, rezulta ca singura modalitate prin care poti sa nu fii misogin, e ipocrizia.

Viata de cuplu…„E peste media unui album Tapinarii, asta e clar. E si scurt, ceea ce reprezinta un avantaj. Nu de alta, dar cele cateva acorduri de chitara cu care ne-a obisnuit Tanase de 8 ani incoace, se epuizeaza destul de repede. Progresia povestii si versurile lui Covei sunt uneori misto, alteori insa frizeaza ridicolul („si intr-o zi va veni o zi cand intr-o buna zi…”)….sa zicem ca sunt licente poetice tapinaresti. Doar si Eminescu l-a coborat pe luceafar in jos.

In concluzie: mai mult decat ma asteptam de la Tapinarii, dar nota nu va fi mai mare de 6/10. Piese remarcate: Cugetare, Simetrie, Tricicleta.

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