The Compostual Existentialist

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Christmas Music – Intro

Christmas eh? That period of enforced shopping and spending.

There was a time when Christmas meant nipping down to the local church, doing a few carols with a mug of warm mulled wine before giving up and having a sing a long in the local pub round the old Joanna.

These days Christmas is heralded by gaudily dressed shops in November and incessant repetition of God awful Christmas pop from the previous 40 years.

Long term readers will recall that I wrote about Christmas music last year (and even then before that!) during the Bah Humbug series. But Christmas music needs a whole series to itself. For the next 24 days, I will be selecting and discussing a Christmas song from across the decades. Some you will be familiar with, others probably not. So, in the interests of tradition, I give you:

The Existential Compost/Compostual Existentialist Christmas Advent Series 2014

These will be cross posted to Livejournal, the Music Project, Blogspot and to WordPress.

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Music Project – Album #48 –Abraxas –Santana

 

imageAbraxas by Santana

 

Sometimes I wonder if anyone is still actually reading these entries as I persevere to listen to my album collection in alphabetical order. But do you know? Part of me like to think that long forgotten LJ flisters might still be reading or random people might be coming across these posts many years into the future on WordPress. I also like to think that this is kind of a historical record and in a far off distant future scores of academics and philosophers are debating not only what I meant by vampiresses with comedy inflatable breasts but also why did I have such a massive cock collection of music and were people actually interested in this and if so why?

 

Ritual purposes.

Simple.

 

Anyway, as I plunge on through the “A”s missing out only a couple of two track EPs as they don’t really count as full albums (If you’re really interested they are “Abandoner” by some bloke out of Porcupine Tree and “Absence and Plenum” by Lux Interna who none of you will have heard of anyway. I was also wearing my khaki short sleeved shirt and there are 7 cards in the card holder on the mantelpiece) we arrive at an unusual choice.

I’d never heard of Santana until they appeared on a soundtrack for a film I liked. So as I liked one of their tracks I did my usual thing of downloading their entire back catalogue. Yes. It was getting a bit silly doing that. Anyway, Abraxas contains Black Magic Woman and Oye Como Va  which always makes me feel like I should be in some seedy Spanish restaurant in the 1980s. Surrounded by bullet ridden corpses having just survived a Spanish Mafia attack by hiding behind the fake plastic plant in the corner.

I know some of you guys like Santana.

Good for you.


Music Project–Album #44–A Thousand Roads–Lisa Gerrard & Jeff Rona

imageA Thousand Roads by Lisa Gerrard & Jeff Rona

A Thousand Roads is a film by Chris Eyre released in 2005. This is the soundtrack for it.

I’m very fond of soundtracks and there are many in my collection. Mostly they are of films that I have seen but this is one of 2 film soundtracks of films I’ve not seen.

I’m also very fond of Lisa Gerrard’s music including Dead Can Dance (but more about them in a later post).

So there’s two things: Lisa Gerrard and Soundtracks. What more could I want? Well there is a third thing. World music. I first got into World Music as a teenager when I was taken on a school trip to see the Gamelan at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool. Initially I was resistant but an hour into the performance I began to recognise repetitions, subtleties and changes in rhythm which none of my classmates seemed to appreciate. On the back of that experience I embraced World Music and, over the years, have collected some interesting music (again, more of that in a later post).

A Thousand Roads is a lovely mix of etherical wailing, tribal chants and haunting synths. A rare treat for travellers and explorers of the musical soundscape.


Music Project–Album #43– A Song for All Seasons–Renaissance

imageA Song for All Seasons–Renaissance

 

I first came across Renaissance in 2002 when I used to subscribe to Last.fm’s radio service.

 

In case you didn’t know, Last.fm supposedly checks what you listen to and then finds artists you might like and plays samples of their music mixed in with yours.

 

The song that kept being played was Northern Lights. It was one of those songs that made me think “Here! I’ve heard this before!”. It was more than probable that I had.

 

Keen to find out more, I spent a week downloading their catalogue and rapidly falling in love with their music. Bewildered by the fact that I hadn’t actually heard of them before that day.

 

They’re a mix of folk and prog. Prog folk? Maybe. Kind of like Fairport Convention meets Yes.

 

No..that’s not it.

 

It’s similar. But not.

 

Anyway, make your own mind up and, as usual, I would be interested to hear what you think about them too.


Music Project–Album #42–A Secret History –The Divine Comedy

imageA Secret History by The Divine Comedy

 

There is a certain sound that conjures up memories of the 1990’s. Granted, I spent most of the 1990s in a haze of solitude and unemployment. Indeed, I did not really venture much further musically than the compilation album Shine 9. Instead I spent most of the 90s listening to Mike Oldfield, Yes, Triumvirat and whatever I happened upon on my cassette tapes. Those were the days. Days of sitting round, doing nothing. Wasting time.

 

I suspect that The Divine Comedy’s greatest hits, this album, appears in my music library due to Gay Jamie who no doubt put it on one of his many MP3 CDs he wrote for me back in the early noughties.

 

The Divine Comedy are that sound. The sound of the nineties. I’d not listened to this album before I began this project and, apart from a couple of tunes I’d heard on the radio or in other compilations, I’m not all that familiar nor enamoured with the band or their work. I was also surprised by the fact that they wrote the theme tune to Father Ted. So that was a surprise when it started playing midway through the listen.

 

Anyway, I think I’ll just keep the tracks I like off this album and bin the rest.


Music Project – Album #40 – A Momentary Lapse of Reason

imageA Momentary Lapse of Reason by Pink Floyd

 

Oh you knew it was going to happen. This is the problem when you have 2 computers, one of which you use sparingly, and don’t sync them. Well it’s happened. The first one out of sequence.

So there I am, being diligent and thinking of you dear reader, and I think “I know, I’ll listen to the next album while I wfh”. What happens? I see this album. It begins with an A. A – M. Fucksticks.

I’ve already gone on to A-N.

Never mind.

So, A Momentary Lapse is possibly, in my opinion, the best of the Dave Gilmore led Floyd albums.

I came to Floyd rather late. I knew of The Wall but didn’t really have much of an interest in Floyd back then. It wasn’t until 1990 when Shitbag played me Animals and said: “You’ll never find these on CD you know”

A challenge.

So I nipped out to Penny Lane Records on Penny Lane and picked up this album along with Animals and Gong’s Angel’s Egg: Radio Gnome Invisible Part II just to prove him wrong.

Shitbag was a pink sweater wearing parsnip brain.

A Momentary Lapse is a nice “Background” album. It’s not in your face (though One Slip is a little brisk). I managed to do a good 51 minutes of work while it was on.

Music Project – Album #37 -A Radical Recital- Rasputina

A Radical Recital by Rasputina

Sometimes on a musical journey you unearth a treat. On one such foray into the musical world I was fortunate to come across this delightful live set which introduced me to the bands rather unusual works. On first listen I was hooked and listening to it again I’m still filled with warm squishy feelings and squees. Radical Recital is a good starting point for those interested in exploring Rasputina.

If you are unaware of Rasputina, which I suspect quite a few people are, they’re usually a trio of musicians, 2 cellists and a percussionist (onetime Brian from Dresden Dolls) who play a weird Country/goth/rock fusion. It works. I believe the genre is New Weird America. It would be interesting to hear your opinions…..