David Ospina

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Balmorhea, Ludovico, and Ospina! Oh My!

All logistics aside, if americana/classical group Balmorhea, and Italian contemporary composer Ludovico Einaudi had a love child, it would be jealous of  Columbian artist, David Ospina.

Although it’s exclusively instrumental, Ospina’s music is very descriptive, meaning that it speaks not only to my ears, but to my imagination as well. In fact, I have a hard time just listening to it. One minute I’m sitting at my computer, the next I’m hiking through the Andes, or riding atop of an old-west stagecoach. With sharp-witted instrumentation, including various strings, glockenspiel, fluttering woodwinds, mandolin, and the occasional accordion, the Columbian’s only album “Instrumentos” has me longing for more (that, coupled with the fact that every song is much too short!). Luckily, according to Ospina’s MySpace page, we can expect a new release in February, 2011.

Scientific Universal Noncommercial

The S.U.N shines bright in The Underground…

As a former member of the underground hip-hop group UBU, Santonio Hughbanks (Scientific Universal Noncommercial, aka S.U.N) is no stranger to the world of hip-hop. At the age of a 16, S.U.N. presented hip-hop fans everywhere with their first taste of the spiritual nature, and consciousness of content, that would soon come to define him as an MC.

With the recent release of his album “Uni-verses,” S.U.N. uses a blend of Hip Hop, Afro Beat, and Soul to create a record that flows like one continuous song over the course of 22 tracks, with each track containing only one verse. It’s obvious that “Uni-Verses” reflects many of the same social and political events that other artists, spanning all genres, have tapped into and drawn inspiration from. Songs like Now Showin’ was written on the eve of the American invasion of Iraq, while Tryin’ to Get A Win considers the financial struggles of an artist in the post 9/11 economy.

Scientific Universal Noncommercial reminds us of what hip-hop originally set out to be: true, self-expression. Give him a listen over at MySpace.


BertycoX

In case you were wondering: Yes; I do have a strobe light in my living room.

Considering that BertycoX has roots in Ajaccio, France, it’s no surprise that they possess a strong Daft-Punk vibe. With dry, heavy-hitting, Four-on-the-floor, disco inspired beats, it almost feels like an obligation to dance along, and quite honestly, I’m happy to oblige; and with a rather extensive library, there should be no shortage of fun.

Now I must say, I am no stranger to the impromptu dance party. With that in mind, these guys will be a very welcome, permanent addition to my ever-growing “Pants-Off, Dance-Off” iTunes playlist. So head on over to Jamendo (which overall is a rad website that definitely deserves some serious exploration) to listen BertycoX, and if you’d like, download their tunes for free.

Happy Holidays!

As a christmas gift to you all, I give you the boys from both Tenacious D, and Flight of the Conchords, along with special guest Ricky Martin, performing a special holiday medley. Enjoy.

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Pornophonique

Gameboy meets lagerfeuer.

Get ready folks, because I’m about to answer an age-old question that has been eating away at the brains of humanity for too long to count: What do you get when you  combine two german nerds, a guitar, Space Invader samples, a Commodore 64, and an original Gameboy? Pornophoniqe.

I watched a fairly long-winded interview with the band, and considering that it was entirely in German, I basically learned nothing about them. A few key words/phrases did jump out at me though. Obviously, I heard the word “Gameboy” a lot, but not until I heard it in close proximity to the word “Cubease” did it really occur to me what was going on. For those of you who don’t know, Cubease is an extremely powerful Digital-Audio Workstation that fittingly, was first released on the Atari ST. Cubase, and the many other programs like it, are easily configured to be controlled by any electronic device, provided they have the proper hardware (called MIDI).

That being said, Pornophonique’s Gameboy must be heavily modified. My assumption is that Felix (the guy who “plays” the gameboy), is actually using it to control samples and audio plugins within Cubase, while Kai, the other member, strums his guitar, sings and “plays” the C-64 (which is most likely being run through Cubease as well).

Not only do they use some nerdy “instruments,” but they sing about some nerdy stuff, too. Their album “8-Bit Lagerfeur,” meaning “8-bit Campfire” in English, contains such titles as: Sad Robot, Lemmings in Love,and Take Me To The Bonus Level Because I Need an Extra Life.

Interestingly enough, every tidbit of information I could find about these guys was in German, but luckily, all of their lyrics are in English. While not nearly as obviously comedic, at times Pornophonique echoes such acts as Tenacious D and Flight of the  Choncords. At first listen, I heard a Jack Black-ish melody line, while instantly picturing Bret and Jemaine singing their hilarious tune The Humans are Dead.

And since no one can live off music alone, your eyes will get some candy too: Eight artists from the comic/graphic novel scene designed illustrations to the eight songs on the album. If you are interested, don’t hesitate to order your copy of “8-bit Lagerfeuer” from Pornoqhonique’s official website, complete with interchangeable covers in a white tin-box. Or if you’re like me (painfully poor), you can legally download the songs alone for free!

Warning: these songs are bound to sneak into your mind and stay there for a very long time.

Kendra Springer

“Lyrical piano music to uplift your spirits.”

With much of the world in great need of a spiritual lift, it’s a shame that musicians like Kendra Springer are not widely known. It’s evident that her goals are to promote relaxation, and prove the incredible healing powers of music. Now, according to her personal website, Kendra’s music can be heard on Whisperings Radio, which is the #1 solo-piano broadcast on the internet. Congrats to Ms. Springer, but how many of us purposely tune in? Hopefully more now that I’ve provided such a convenient link.

Although Kendra Springer’s music is nowhere near groundbreaking, I feel that it achieves what it sets out to; It calms the soul. I just finished listening to her latest album (entitled Hope) from start to finish and I must admit, I could fall asleep at any moment. If you’re ever in need of some serious “you-time,” my advice is to crank up a solo-piano stream, run a hot bath, add a bit of epsom salt, splash in a few bubbles, and climb in– glass of red wine in hand.

The Diablo Swing Orchestra


And we all thought the Kinks were controversial…

With such an original sound, I can’t help but be impressed by this group. I think I’d call them a modern metal band, but they do something different than the others: rather than draw inspiration only from other metal bands from the past 20 years, they reach back MUCH farther. As a result, when you take your first listen to The Diablo Swing Orchestra, expect to hear Jazz, every type of Metal possible (and yes, that includes the many variaties found in the ground), Flamenco (and if you listen hard enough Flamingo), Opera, as well as numerous other genres, all with orchestral undertones. In an attempt to help us all understand exactly why they sound like they do, get ready for a DSO history lesson that rivals the story portrayed in the movie National Treasure…

Shockingly, the Diablo Swing Orchestra has historical roots dating back as early as 1501! History tells the tale of an almost mythical orchestra that played like no other. With music so seductive and divine, the ensemble overwhelmed audiences all over the country. For many fans the orchestra presented them with a fresh view of life, and a new way to cope with everyday struggle.

In fact, they gained such a following that the church felt threatened. The church witnessed their influence over the people decrease, and as a result, began to depict the orchestra as treacherous, saying their intentions were anything but righteous. The orchestra’s extensive use of the then prohibited tritone interval (also heard in the opening guitar part of  “YYZ” by Rush), as well as their excessive lifestyles, were not looked mildly upon. During church services priests slandered the music saying it was an insult to Christ himself. However, when this attempt to reduce the orchestra’s popularity failed, the church began to use more desperate measures in order to regain its former power. The Devils orchestra became the slogan they used and the members were accused of being everything from devil worshippers to the spawn of Satan. My only question is, how the heck did they get so well known back then without a myspace page?

When even these efforts proved futile, the church ultimately framed the orchestra members for a murder and a ruthless manhunt ensued. For the following two years, the orchestra lead the lives of outlaws and were forced to perform in barns and outhouses (weird, those are exactly the type of venues my band plays), where only a strictly limited number of people were allowed to attend. I know from experience that time on the run can be taxing, and even The Devil’s Orchestra got tired of it. Eventually they decided to throw in the towel… but not without a bang. These bad-asses publicly announced their final show. The moment it was over, and in front of a crowd of thousands, the orchestra was promptly taken into custody, sent to prison, and eventually sentenced to death by hanging.

Before the sentence was carried out, all the members signed a pact stating that their descendants were being given the task of reuniting the orchestra in 500 years. In doing so, they were to continue the work of spreading thought-provoking music. Six envelopes were therefore sealed and given to trustees of the orchestra to pass on to family members.

Fast forward to Stockholm, 2003: By mere accident two of the original orchestra descendants meet in a music shop and began to discuss music. It later shows that they both have received a strange letter from some ancient relative containing instructions on how to reunite The Devils Orchestra. They become very excited and though some genealogy they managed to find all of the remaining successors in a period of three months. Together they answer to the name of Diablo Swing Orchestra and are determined to honor the legacy of their ancestors.

Check out some of their music here. Also, if you really dig DSO, you might enjoy the L.A. group Elvis Schoenberg’s Orchestre SurrĂ©al. I told you this would be dangerous…


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