Tuesday, 19 June 2007

New acquisitions: albums by New Order, John B and Jenna G

I now have some new albums to add to my collection, with some being 80's pop (New Order) which I already have a lot of, and the other two artists in the Drum and Bass style, which I do not have very much of aside from Kosheen's first album, which didn't in fact include very much of the style. Admittedly, neither of the two artists (who appear to be reluctant to use their entire surnames, for some reason) are particularly typical of the genre. John B is known for adding a dash of Trance and more recently Electroclash to his tracks, both of which I am obviously in favour of, although that said I haven't heard his newer music, so I hope he manages to pull the latter off (trying to imitate the sounds of the 80s is hard when many of the original musicians were so good).

Jenna G on the other hand is actually a drum and bass singer. Now it's very rare for this sort of thing to reach my attention, so I assume that it's rare across the board. Much of the d'n'b that I have heard has been instrumental and very minimal (this often means it's going to be boring), so I was very intrigued by her. Judging from initial listens to her album, it's quite good, and in most cases avoids becoming repetitive, always a challenge for dance music, and I like her voice. It doesn't quite remind me of the vocal drum and bass Kosheen used to make, such as "Slip and Slide (Suicide)" which I have memories of hearing on my clock radio way back in 2000 (and which got me into that band) but it's just as infectious, I believe. Now if Britain could produce more music like this, then we would certainly be competing with the stale American "urban" music which seems to be rather popular, as I have previously lamented with reference to UK Garage. However, the small amount of British "urban" music that I have approved of (with my little knowledge of how music works) never proved to be too popular with the masses, and the artists in question have lost most of the shine they once had in order to try and actually sell some music, so I hope this doesn't happen to her. I don't want me and my flatmate to be doing our young fogey act again in a few years time if she appears on a music programme on the television. (We're both known to occasionally act like old men when discussing certain things. Top of the Pops was the best programme for bringing this out of us).

Friday, 15 June 2007

Opinion of: DJ Tiësto

I'm going to occasionally discuss outright some of the people who make the music that I listen to a lot, the games I play and maybe even beyond, to the books I read. I'm starting with DJ Tiësto because he was probably one of the first Trance musicians to attract my attention. This was because of his remix of "Silence" by Delerium and Sarah McLachlan about seven years ago (in fact, nearly exactly seven years ago, I was definitely still at secondary school). That remix was very good, although I do think that the rather less critically-acclaimed remix by Airscape has aged a little better. After that I tried to find other music by or remixed by him. His first artist album, In My Memory, was an affair of mixed quality, with the attempts at bringing some classical aspects into trance on one song ("Majik Journey") being interesting but imperfect, two of the three vocal songs being quite good ("Battleship Grey" and "In My Memory") and with one of the straight melodic trance tracks, "Suburban Train" (which is what I really want from Tiësto really) being brilliant. Quite a lot of the rest was fairly uninteresting. One cannot make an album out of tracks that might work in a club if they don't feel like songs, and too many of his others just don't go anywhere and are too long. His second album, Just Be, is more consistent. Again, it's no masterpiece, but it's definitely better. This time he's got the classical that becomes trance track bang on ("Forever Today") I quite like the vocal tracks on this one, and he's made the instrumental ones shorter and now they actually have a structure. I'm not sure if his take on "Adagio for Strings" beats his fellow Dutchman Ferry Corsten's, as it's a bit too dark and could do with bringing the melody to the fore (actually that's a fairly common problem I have with the Tiësto tracks that I don't like so much) as that piece was never written to fade into the background. I haven't got Tiësto's third album. I have one song from it, entitled "Dance 4 Life" which features Maxi Jazz, the rapper from Faithless (who is my favourite rapper by a huge margin, and Faithless are my favourite band). It is however a very poor song. Neither of these two men are living up to my expectations of them, and this has put me off buying the new album.

It is Tiësto's remixes which really make his name. There are far too many to mention. The ones I can think of at the moment which I have enjoyed are the aforementioned "Silence", Faithless' "Tarantula", Lost Witness' "Song to the Siren", Airscape's "L'esperanza" and this new one I've just found, "Mer noire" which appears to be by Cirque du soleil's musicians. I don't know what the original of that sounds like, but the remix is great.

I hope he becomes more consistent with time. Admittedly he's not so young anymore, but that's true of most of the artists I will mention, to be honest...