Thursday, March 28, 2013

Friday Feature: Holm.

Drumming since he was 10, making his own music for a few years now, being inspired by ambient music, then getting into jazz hip hop and now... still trying to find himself musically. But hookers, uhm, I mean who cares that Boston's 18-year-old J. Thatcher May wont' probably ever be able to define himself with one genre- the different type of beats he crafts are just consistently so good.

Personally, I find his name somehow interesting. J and a period. Period. I think I'll just call him J. May from now on. What is equally interesting is his 365 Beat Project. When I realized what the project is all about, I thought he was crazy. Brilliant. Crazy. How is someone able to be continuously creative for such a long period of time- and make it work? I could somehow imagine J. May staring at his laptop screen thinking of what to do next every now and then. But I guess if you've got the talent and drive, everything will fall into place.

Another thing that came into my mind was Julie Powell, you know the girl who blogged about cooking all of Julia Child's recipes in 365 days? So, maybe we could call J. May "the Julie Powell of music".

Anyways, before I forget, his artist name is Holm. and you can check out his 365 Beat Project here.

And here are a few of my favorites of the newest beats. All are free to download!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Shelf Nunny - The World Around Me

Last spring I featured Santa Cruz-based producer/musician Shelf Nunny aka Christian Gunning, who almost a year later approached me with some new music he had released. I have to admit that when listening to his latest album The World Around Me, it left a question mark on my face. Luckily not in a bad way- I was just simply stunned as it felt like there was a completely different artist conversing with me. The music or at least the opening tracks were not how I remembered Gunning. Of course I could hear similar beats, as well as the rapping I got to know him for on the newest one, but as Gunning would confess The World Around Me is more of an album for himself as opposed to the debut being a party album for selected fan groups. It also happens, like most of us know it, that when you create something in order to please no one else but yourself, you create something way more unique and magical.

This is what happened with The World Around Me.

The process behind the album, in general, was to have a completely different approach than with the debut. Gunning wanted personally to make all the beats himself and threw in a decent amount of pure instrumentals too. In addition to the rapping skills, he managed to prove he can sing as well with cooled out hip hop ballads like My World and New Life. The conclusion I could draw of this is that the sophomore is basically a showcase of Gunning’s versatile talent. “I guess this album had a lot of me personally needing to prove to myself things I needed to prove […] Maybe there was some subconscious doubt going on, and this album was as Jay would put it, a musical way of "brushing the dirt off my shoulders".

Gunning had been on a mellow sleepy chillstep vibe, which he’s kept through the whole album. Although, a month into the progress of the album, he got together with his soon-to-be fiancée, who displayed him a fair amount of dubstep she was into, unlike Gunning himself. However, he did produce a heavier tune Pretty Wobbles as a jokey ode to the more melodic and mellower dubstep tunes, which he ended up liking. Obviously, it wasn’t too hard to notice that the new-found love had inspired him in more ways.

It's cheesy to say, but I somehow, some way, ended up falling in love with her and feeling all these romantic emotions about her that often make me seem like a housewife but hey- if that's all I've got to complain about, I think I'm doing pretty good. These cheesy emotions I was/still am feeling are what inspired the lyrics to the song My World. And there's plenty of other ways that I don't feel comfortable talking about :].

While talking with Gunning, a mutual interest was discovered- love for the late indie rocker Elliott Smith. In fact, for my absolute delight, one of my favorite tracks of the album ??????'s  was created around a loop of Smith’s Angeles song. Actually, when it comes to sampling, Gunning is fond of making them sound as different from the original. With straight loops, on the other hand, he says “[…] I've tried to stay away from doing that because people can sue you and stuff if they want. Plus you can't really sell shit if you're sampling someone. I mean you can, but I'm just paranoid and would rather stick with the method I've got so far”.

Another album favorite of mine Grand Theft Audio reminded me of a Timbaland- produced Aaliyah track, so I had to know about the amazing tune’s background.

Oh G.T.A. G.T.A G.T.A it's funny that it reminded you of Timbaland and Aaliyah, cause those are both two godly names to be compared to. But I actually didn't sample Timbaland or Aaliyah in this one. I used a sample of this Busta Rhymes and Mariah Carey song called I Know What You Want. I stretched the sample out nearly twice as long as it originally was and did some tricky computer things like filtered it and reversed it at parts. But if you listen to the original song, and then listen to mine, you'll be able to hear the part I sampled. But thanks for the Timbaland and Aaliyah comparison! That's a first!

Even if it’s been only a short while since The World Around Me was released, Gunning has already started to feel nostalgic.

I'd have to say this is probably the most special album I've ever made- in my mind. Each and every track on the album is sentimental to me in its own way. It will be interesting to see where my new album goes, and where my direction of style and genre ends up, but who knows! All I can say is, I plan to be doing a lot more vocals on the new album, and I plan on having them be as fresh as a polar bear's toenails, and that's a promise ;)

I can definitely see how Gunning has grown from his debut, which he’s continued without a doubt even more after the second release. How exactly? Well, I'm sure that his biggest fan, "Grandma Nunny", will be the first to find out.

The only other thing I'd like to share is that Jaleh has a very nice blog she's running here, and I owe her one for all her help. This was a fun little review and hopefully there will be more to come. - Shelf Nunny

You bet.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mind Gym

I was a book worm kid. 
Who spent a lot of time in the city's stuffy library. 

High school started. 


And then.
George Michael. 

I guess it's safe to say I'm back to my roots. 
It's very safe to say I'm happy about it.

No more school books.
Though, they were educating.
But compulsory.

The C word makes you cringe.
The F word doesn't.

Everything is more fun.
When it is for fun.

21st century moving images fooled quality control.

Social networking.
Social not working.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.
Says Richard Steele.

Good fats prevent memory loss.
They make your heart stronger.

Good words prevent memory loss.
They make you remember you have a soul.

Hoping for Salander to survive in the streets of Stockholm.
Growing with Coelho everywhere in the world. 
Talking about Kevin.

Safety defined by me.
Woolen socks.
A cuppa.
A book.

How do you know that?
My grandfather said.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Feature: John Davey

Whenever you hear people talking about good songwriters, they look into the past to find them without even taking a second to think about the contemporary ones. The same thing happens with hardworking musicians-  thanks to social media, kids nowadays believe they can succeed by just creating a Facebook page and sharing some tunes on it every now and then.

I'm absolutely delighted to have discovered someone who not only is an exceptionally talented songwriter, but also a hardcore DIY artist. From West Lafayette, Indiana, John Davey is simply a pop folk genius.

For almost six years now Davey has been doing the thing he loves- making music and performing it. The written songs are often a reflection on the time he's spent on the road and the toll it has taken. In A Whelming Tide, Davey's debut album released last summer is a perfect example of how to make an album, which works as an entity. If only had I heard it last year, it would have been on my top 2012 records.

What I love about Davey the most, though, is the patience the guy possesses. It's way too common that aspiring artists are in a hurry to share their music with others- and most of the time the music is just not ready. Davey, on the other hand, takes his time in crafting the tunes, and not only when they're perfectly mixed shares them.

Now, that is worth the wait.

thanks to and the giraffe for the recommendation.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Habemus Papam

I never liked the last pope. For me he was like a step father I didn't want. Some think his resignation was bad for the Church's reputation, I think him being there and making those controversial statements were bad. Plus, he looked like the bad guy from Star Wars. Enough said.

Before the new pope was chosen, I had the feeling that things will be better this time. I'm not the only one surprised of the pick, mainly because of his age. Additionally, when he stepped into the balcony, he looked too ordinary and blank- I expected him to hold his head up high and have a big smile on his face. Simply, I wasn't convinced. Until he opened his mouth. Not understanding much of what he said, though, I still sensed that the right decision was made.

They say this man from Argentina is extremely humble and caring about the poor. Even the name he's picked for himself, Francis, shows where he's coming from and where he's going to. The loved St. Francis of Assisi was known as a wealthy man, who gave up all his fortune to serve the poor and his deep affection to animals and the environment. People joke that the new pope would go ahead and give away all the priceless treasures the Vatican holds. With them you could probably feed all the poor. How I wish this would happen.

I've always wondered why the Vatican is built the way it is and all the luxurious things it possesses, since Jesus did stress the importance of modesty. Perhaps, this is the reason why we now have Pope Francis I.

The unjust distribution of goods persists, creating a situation of social sin that cries out to Heaven and limits the possibilities of a fuller life for so many of our brothers.

Let's see now how he will match up to John Paul II, who cared about the youth, and yes, supported the right team.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Covering your ass: The Carpenters Special

The last time I did a covers blog post was a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. This is only the second time I'm doing one, and already it's a "special". Maybe, I just might go ahead with the special ones from now on (but first you need to write them more often!). Let's see.

Since The Carpenters were known for sampling and covering others' music and making them umm...better, I've listed a few right here.

Let me know which versions do you prefer!

1. Ticket To Ride

Originally by The Beatles, Ticket To Ride is actually the duo's first single.

2. This Masquerade

Originally by Leon Russell, This Masquerade has been covered and performed by several other artists as well, such as Shirley Bassey and Sérgio Mendes.

3. A Song For You

Another Leon Russell song covered by many, perhaps most famously by Elton John. But you simply can't beat Richard's arrangement and Karen's voice. This cover hits the hardest, maybe due to the reason that she's actually gone.

Monday, March 4, 2013

February ´13 Music Box

The shorter the month, the more songs uploaded. Here are my February favorites.

1. iremembertapes. - I Met You
This new track is a mixture of 80s dance and 90s euro dance, and it actually works. #ElectronicMusicIsKing

2. HAIM - Falling
I already see them in the very top of  every single music site's "Top 2013 Everything".

3. James Blake - Retrograde
Another album to be waiting for...

4. ME - Vampire!! Vampire!!
Damn catchy and the voice of Luke is brilliant. Yes.

5. Alkaline Trio - The Torture Doctor
Hey! Ho!

6. Darwin Deez - You Can't Be My Girl
First I was like "damn VeVo", but then I was like " aa, haha".

7. Crystal Fighters - Separator
An interesting tune from the Londoners. Like they say themselves we like many styles.

8. Iron and Wine - Grace For Saints And Ramblers
One of my favorites getting jazzier every second.

9. Franco and the Dreadnought vs. James Gill - ?
Only now I noticed that this track doesn't have a name, but it doesn't matter, cause it's good.

10. Tree feat. Shelf Nunny & Kirsten Rosenberg - Tully
Great to have Tree back, this song and video is rather dope.

11. Shelf Nunny feat. HOLM - Wave Of Phases
Equally dope as the previous one.

12. Fun. - Why AM I The One
Featuring the band's determined suit case.

13. El Perro Del Mar - I Was A Boy
Simple, but lovely.

14. Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra - The Bed Song
The Bed Song is one of my favorite songs by Amanda Palmer, but you have to watch the video. Pick of the month right here. #tearjerker

What were your favorites of February? You can comment below, on Facebook or tweet to @InJallusWords