Sep 28, 2010

Ammonite - Reconnection

Reconnection by Ammonite


There's a sad story to this album; I have no idea what happened to Ammonite. These people sounded so awesome; the vocal lady was just so pulling. The calm, ethereal, flowing music, why did it have to end with just one album? Or maybe if they still around... I hope... Hope they release a new album soon!

But anyway, I digress. Reconnection is an album of immense magnitude in its execution. It is deep, full of emotion, and it just keeps you listening to that soothing yet somehow stressed voice. It's always yearning for a reply somehow.

And this is how the album starts, with a track called Sunset. Don't you normally start things off with a sunrise? Nicky, the vocal, begins to wrap me around with her voice, gently suggesting me to take the album and listen through it. A somewhat esoteric start to an album, especially with the sound effects in the background.

Then it transitions to Heaven, which initially starts off slowly, but soon picks up the pace. I can't really imagine the song to be literal kind of heaven, but it's closer to kind of an somewhat aggressive command telling me to calm down. Interesting, but hard to visualize. Could use it at a drag race, maybe.

Liquid Sun is more of an aggravated kind of sunrise. Ominous. Is that imaginable? Perhaps we're watching a sunrise during a tropical storm, contemplating things we usually do when we watch the ball of plasma rise out of the water.

Restrained Mind is, if I can put it, a very stretchy kind of song. It must be the sound in the back, it sort of slowly reverbs over the song. Maybe if I took some LSD and had to describe a song, this would be it. A song that tries to explode from my head, kind of.

Now, my favorite of the album. Rapture is the kind of the song that is just so mellow, but has so much emotion to it. So desperate, like drowning, slow and painful. It's a very moving song, and keeps giving me a heartache somehow. A must listen

Calm is a counter to Rapture, as the song is a very chill, gentle one. With the guitar playing and the keyboard, it really does make you feel calm. Almost... regretting? It's a very strange kind of calm.

Before you know it, we move on to Angel (hold on...). It starts relatively quietly, and moves onto a quite unexplainable imagery. I think if it was compared to having a guardian angel to hold on to, it might make sense, but it's a long shot. Enjoyable song though, if tad bit long.

Broken is definitely a song about being broken. Mentally. Maybe a song that, if it could, describes the state of the mind of someone who was in a relationship begins to manifest insanity? Somewhat agitating, but it's part of this album.

It changes completely, and we now have Open Road. A song that I think is about traveling, escaping from whatever was before. Not a pleasant journey either; more of someone who was being haunted from horrible memories, and wishes to discard it all.

Distant Love is hypnotic, and weirdly flows. Lustful, and confusing. It's sort of about how the person is finding out a need for themselves that they haven't noticed until now, yet they don't want to admit they do. As I said, confusing, with some kind of internal conflict.

Touch brings back to gentleness and reassurance tone. Like everything will be alright, again. What has happened won't happen again, and there's a new future, kind of song. That there will be someone to guide you. And at the end of it all, you do get to see a really bright picture, like just coming out of a dark cave to see the most radiant sunlight shining all around you.

The album finally ends Reconnection (outro). A song about remembering what has happened, and being a little nostalgic, even though it is a bittersweet memory. Wraps up the album quite well.

In the end, I think what this album was about is a story of a young woman, who has gone through the pains of a broken relationship. It starts off with interest, then excitement, mellowing to the partner, lust and pleasure, relaxation together, only to have something horrible happen. Perhaps the guy cheated. She clutches what she could and runs, away from it all, to find a new life. She finds a new love, perhaps someone she has met before, maybe in another part of the country. It ends with her reflecting on herself on how she went through it all, and while it was beautiful and hurtful, it is but a distant memory.

At least, that's what I think anyway.

Highly recommended for those who like to listen to a somewhat slower but energetic and emotional drama, with maybe a liking for some heavy electronic.

Sep 26, 2010

Soil & "Pimp" Sessions - Pimp of the Year

Ah, one of the most energetic and lively bands to follow. Soil & "Pimp" Sessions is not only hard to type out every time I try, they're also a jazz band with more on fun and power than even many rock bands I know of. Jazz is an amazing genre; it can be both so soothing and smooth, yet give me the urge to start ending the world.

Pimp of the Year is one of the albums that manages to allow me the latter. Filled with tracks of all kinds of magnitude, it's a sonic blast of immense density. From the get-go track Memai, it assaults your ears with what can only be described as pure love for music. I just love the ways the trumpet and sax go together.

Speaking of Memai, let's start with that. As the song starts with "I can't breathe, oh my God", the furious nature of the track just leaves you breathless. Can't even be described.

Before you know it, it moves on to Summer Goddess, and it's exactly that. It makes me think of the beaches, the sun, and all the fun you can have under the palm trees. Then the sax kicks in, ooh. The way the music just flows up and down reminds me of the waves. It finishes cleanly with select few notes of the piano, just right.

Following it, we have Worldwide, and it starts off from the previous piano notes. On a somewhat more serious tone, but lively anyhow, reminds me of a plot to take over the world in ways. Gently. Yet actively. Kind of a boss music, if the boss was insane.

Crush! is another energetic song, littered with various screams here and there (I have no idea what he's trying to shout. Actually, S&PS's Shacho, the agitator, does that often throughout their songs, inserting random words or phrases here and there. It's really unique, as it's not really lyrical, but adds something to the song. That said, honestly, this is one of S&PS's relatively generic songs. Listenable, but it's not something that pours out something new.

Sabotage on the other hand, reminds me of some kind of a spy action scene. Not the actual sneaking around of spying; by this I mean 007 style, coming out in the open and blowing things up, and hopping from cover to cover.

In a weird change again, Scoop Out turns out to be somewhat like Crush!. Another pacey song, but doesn't really give me anything. No, I'm not thinking of scooping ice cream out of a tub. It does have very weird twisting though, which I like.

Sahara does indeed remind me of a desert. A somewhat lengthier track from the album at just over 7 minutes, it feels somewhat exotic. It's the way the sax plays in the back initially, I think. Really brings out the feel. Can you imagine jazzing it up in middle of the Sahara desert? The original dry exotic feel drops from around third way in, but it changes to something else to listen to. Perhaps the sun got to them? It does come back around though.

Ha Hen (Splinter) starts off quite differently to other tracks. This is a much smoother offering from S&PS, starting off with the piano gently. I'm not sure what the picture is, but it's somewhat soothing, sort of a respite away from the harsher jazz previously listed.

The Black Widow Blues keeps up with the smoothness from before, but delves somewhat deeper. The bass is very prominent, and it moves the music here. A grumpy spider annoyed at having to wait for its next meal, perhaps. Definitely black and blue at the same time.

The White Widow on the other hand exchanges to a much more synthy kind of the previous track. Shacho says a lot here, but I'm not sure what. Feels almost like an intermission of a song, a gap between it and the next song. But perhaps calling it an intermission would have been a waste for its slight changes from The Black Widow Blues.

Back to the beat-filled music, I-rony is next on the playlist. The way the trumpet and sax plays does remind me of irony somehow, as if to taunt me. Very playful, like a little kid running around generally annoying everyone around.

Last Long is still keeping up the energy, but it does feel strained. I guess after an almost entire album of action, you gotta rest right? Hair of the dog style; just a bit less but more of the usual.

But no, you thought wrong, because here comes Satsuriku New Wave. Unlike any of the few previous tracks, this one stands out right back out to something completely unique. I didn't know there was a robot voice singing involved in S&PS! It goes straight back to what the album about all about; fun, moving, jazzy screamings all over! Perfectly ends the album.

I love this album. It has its moments of dull even when there's plenty of action around (perhaps I am getting too old for this), but it nevertheless delivers what I have always come to expect from S&PS.

Sep 25, 2010

Hiromi - Place To Be

Truth be told, I've always been a fan of Hiromi ever since I heard her group's album Time Out. The energy, the flow, and the way she plays the piano in a haphazard yet fluent style. Place To Be isn't the newest album she has released, but it's the one I think that shines her talent the most (not a little helped by fact it's almost all her playing it).

The album starts off with BQE, a frantic yet simple song that somehow reminds me of staircases. It feels like it keeps trying to reach a certain climax, but never really does. Almost feels frustrating, but it is rewarding in its own ways.

Choux A La Creme is as delicious as the title suggests. A very on-the-feet kind of tune. Honestly, it makes me hungry. Perhaps it'll go well in the daily morning routine, when you're rushing about the place trying to sort yourself out, maybe have a bit of fun out of it.

Sicilian Blue is another change of pace. A more somber piece, perhaps even nocturnal. Kinda to listen at night while sipping some good brandy.

On a whole another note, Berne, Baby, Berne! is maybe what arsonists listen to. Scuttling around, settings things alight on fire, and then just as quickly running away. A very energetic and flamboyant piece.

Somewhere is something closer to nostalgia. I am reminded of that time when as I kid, a forest nearby where I live where no one visited. Strolling through the quiet forests, meeting up with a small creek on the way, and just enjoying the quietness of it all. It's a very comforting experience, something to remember fondly of. Probably my most favorite track in the album.

Which brings me to Cape Cod Chips. Unlike what the title tells you, it doesn't actually remind me of fish and chips. Honestly, this song doesn't really remind me of anything. Just because of that, it's an interesting song in its own regard.

Islands Azores will almost be that song that starts off with that piano-hitting kind of sound. That said, it's a song that kind of reminds me of an island vacation. Not the kind where you sit around enjoy the sunlight; this is more of having a swimming race with the natives, pulling practical jokes involving jellyfish, and digging big holes as traps, kind of thing. Something I maybe did as a kid?

And I guess everyone has to have a cover of Pachelbel's Canon, right? Only real difference between this version and all others is that Hiromi seems to have placed something on her grand piano's strings. Something metallic, maybe a spoon. Nonetheless, interesting. But like well-done steak, kinda overdone.

Next three songs start with the same title of Viva! Vegas. Maybe Hiromi had a visit to Vegas and had some revelations from the neon light castles. In any case, Show City,Show Girl is that kind of song I'd think I could hear with people dancing with top hats and a cane. Very danceable.

Daytime in Las Vegas is maybe more for when the partying has ended, and everyone's taking it easy for the day. Perhaps idly sitting around a cafe, and having a small lunch with friends. A very contrast to what Las Vegas stands for, but maybe it signifies that people can't party forever? Maybe comes with a tinge of regret here and there from the last night.

Now, The Gambler is a really interesting song. I think it's a story about a gambler, who comes into a casino to really try his luck at a roulette. First time he tries, as a ball skips around, just doesn't quite make it. Saddened but not defeated, he bets yet again. This time, JACKPOT. Excited and in a courageous feeling of winning streak, he is now all over the casino floor, kissing everyone and betting everything he earned. Very lively song.

Place To Be is just like Somewhere; it's very nostalgic as well. But perhaps it's not actually about reminiscing; it's more of a new place to visit, finding different kinds of happiness. In the end though, you can't help but feel homesick. Lovely end to the album.

Overall, another fine addition to Hiromi's discography. A varied and wide range of mood swings, it's really an album I'd recommend for those who're looking for times gone past, new excitement, and general feeling of completion and fulfillment.