Tag Archives: orchestral

Micachu and the Shapes with the London Sinfionetta – Chopped and Screwed

Micachu and the Shapes with the London Sinfionetta- Chopped and Screwed

This is a menacing moody dissonant masterpiece, with all the off centre features of Micachu and the shapes song transcribed into an orchestral setting. Not everyone can pull off dissonant in a satisfyingly musical manner, but Micachu and the shapes have the chops to pull it off. That said there are more than a few songs with vocals and a few hooks to hold onto.

I came to Micachu and the Shapes after hearing they were Bjork’s favourite band for a period of time. They are usually catchy melody driven dissonant pop songs. This album is anything but that, there are some recognisable elements but this is a true artistic departure from that known way.

Even from their elarlier debut album, you could tell they were super talented to twist such catchy pop songs in a way that didn’t distort it away from the song. I don’t find any weird for weirds sake posing in the way they put toether songs.

2011, through Rough Trade

There are some lyrics but they blend into a soundscape more than ever taking centre stage.

Mood –
While there are inherently menacing elements to a musical palatte that leans so heavily on dissonance. Paradoxically there is a warmth throughout the numbers on this album which are absolutely delightful.

Good to work to –
I find this album to be great for putting me into a mood that allows me to keep on going and block out the world really effectively.

I could possibly put it into the minimalist classical school. But that is most probably a misnomer, as the songs are only repetitve in theme for a length of time more similar to a pop album, than as opposed to something like Steven Reich or something like that.

The Artist/s – Micachu and the Shapes with the London Sinfionetta
The London Sinfionetta are classical muscians first and foremost, but they are part of a body that promotes new contemporary music. I had a quick look on the web and they seem to have played on lots of things, but they’re not like a band or something. They sound pretty darn fine to me though. You can go on their site and check out many of their other collaborations and listen and watch.

Micachu and the Shapes are
Mica Levi – vocals
Raisa Khan – Keyboards
Mark Pell – drums

Micachu and the sahpes specialise in differnet time signatures, distortion, non-standard tunings, found object intruments and generally putting a different slant on classic pop. This album is nothing like there standard though.

Other works
If you are curious about Micachu and the shapes they have an absolutely transcendent alternative pop album. Starting out with Jewellry which I think every household should have. It is such a sunny beautiful weird album you can’t go wrong.

If you are interested in hearing some mix tapes in a completely different style, there are several available online for free download

Where Can I buy it, and in what formats
You can find this album on iTunes and the link is shown below, there was also a limited edition album version on vinyl. This is one of my favourite albums, and it is just great to get into a different headspace.

The Verdict
Yes, it’s great, but maybe have a listen to it first at the iTunes link above and see if it’s your cup of tea

Philip Glass – Powaqqaatsi

Powaqqaatsi is a Hopi Indian word that means life in transition. Powaqqaatsi is a classical/world music soundtrack to second film in the Qatsi trilogy of films. It was designed to follow the transitions from natural to industrial world, which makes perfect sense when you listen to it.

The format of the movie means that it is designed to tell a story. I can only compare it to other movies that of a similar vintage in a style that was popular that tell the same kind of thematic story without story or traditional storytelling. My old favourite was Baraka. I’ve never even seen the movie and it works on me.

There are some really great sound effects used throughout this album, from pan pipes, deep voices, full orchestra including Brass, whistles, percussion, and acapella choir. The different sounds and sound effects make it a very effective collage to paint the background to your working while you work.

This album rolls over you smoothly like a wave. The peaks drive you along, and the troughs always give you a chance to regather your thoughts and consolidate what you’ve written. The whole album has an organic feel which is at times infectious and driving. The reason why I like it so much is that it drives me. I personally like repetition and recurring motifs, something Glass is also a fan of.  I don’t want to have to concentrate on something all of the time. With that said there is also a lot of variety on this album, as the director takes the movie in different directions. This is an album that worked for me on first listen. It is not an overly intellectual album you have to listen to several times before you get it in any way.

1988, with the film of the same name Powaqqaatsi.

No lyrics, or not enough to really distract you.

Meditative uplifting, speedy.

Good to work to
Fantastic, makes you feel positively triumphant. I also like the emotional palate of this album. It is at times contemplative, and at others upbeat and happy sweeping you along. This may just be my particular internal rhythm, but I don’t move all at the same pace. I move by fits and starts.

It is the kind of music I would especially recommend if you only have a set amount of time to write to. It will push you along and by the end of the emotional journey you will feel like you’ve got somewhere.

I can’t really describe anything this album is like. It has orchestral flourishes, percussive fiesta moments, middle eastern sounds, south american pan pipes and other things, spooky mystical moments.

The Artist/s
Philip Glass born in 1937 and still going strong. Some call him a minimalist, he prefers some other term which also means nothing to me. He is a contemporary of other musicians like Stepen Reich who went through the famous Juilliard musical store. He was also a well connected Fullbright scholar. He has experimented with other cultures and collaborated with people like Ravi Shankar, and exposed himself to other cultures most notably the Tibetans such as the Dalai Lama.

I have only seen Philip Glass once a few years ago in 2011, at the Sydney festival where he lead a quartet who provided the score onstage while an antique silent movie version of Dracula played to chuckles from the audience. At first it was hard not to keep staring at the quartet especially it contained the famous Philip Glass. After a while I along with most of the audience were engrossed with the movie only occasionally glancing at the quartet under the screen onstage as there music fitted seamlessly with the music.

Other works
A massive back catalogue of music. Philip Glass is a renowned soundtrack artist and composer. To be honest I haven’t explored his catalogue enough to be able to recommend anything else. I did buy his first album in this trilogy Koyaanisqatsi, but to my shame I have not given it enough a listen to have a firm opion.

Where Can I buy it, and in what formats
It’s old but you’ll be able to get it digitally, you may be pushing it to get it on vinyl.

The Verdict
Yes, oh Yes. Run out and get it straight away. I find this is a great energising album that definitely sweeps me away.