Tag Archives: Arts

Slacking off…on my terms

For past few months, my activity on the blog has declined. I literally have made like 10 posts in over 6 months. A lot of fact is due to work and I’ve become obsessed with Netflix lately. I have to say I have caught up a lot with TV dramas that I missed out on during my college years.

I’ve joined meetup groups to meet professional individual like myself. Been to few meetup events that has been quite fascinating. One thing that hasn’t changed a bit is my love for attending live concerts. I’m due to attend another 6 shows till the end of the year. The biggest regret I have had is that I never kept myself up for reviewing shows that I’ve been to recently.

If you follow up my blog, you’d know that I’ve a YouTube channel dedicated to capturing live videos from the concerts I’ve been to. It’s my open library for everyone to approach me. My hope is to get invited on tour with bands to follow them around, and create a documentary on their tour.

I’m slightly off the topic here but I assure you I’ll be writing album reviews soon, and won’t have sporadic postings.

Till then, Ciao!


Zero

This response is to my previous journal entry. I have zero social skills…ZERO! Back in college days, things were a bit easy. But now, it feels like time has surpassed me. I do like going out and given my two recent meetup get together, I realize it’s hard to communicate at times.

I’ve been known for being reserved, not shy…just reserved. I guess you can say I don’t like taking chances. I maybe ok jumping off the plane without a parachute, but having a conversation with large group of people in a social gathering is never ideal.

I did however, enjoyed baseball game this afternoon, and I really hit it off with few new faces. I sure hope that I get to hang with Patty and her hubby Ian, whom I met on Saturday night. Patty is into live music, and her fav. band is Modest Mouse. Her music style in more so towards dance/electro but loves indie/alternative rock music as well. I hope to hang with her and her for live music scenes.

While on my way back to home this afternoon, Alison hopped into rail light as soon it was about to leave. We chatted about 15 mins, and she seems to dig that I’m into going concerts a lot. When I mentioned, I’ll be going to see 10 concerts starting from Sep, her reaction was priceless. I felt we got off the right spot as buds. She was even amazed that I love The Dandy Warhols, who are based from her hometown. I hope that I get to hang with her in future events, possibly going to music concerts!

Small step in places, if I can I have few more friends that I hang with besides that I already do, I’d be in good shape.


Life lessons

Life teaches you so many lessons. One of the best way it teaches us is through loss. Sometimes, you lose a lot, and are left to the bare minimum. And it is then that you rediscover yourself, because there’s hardly anything more left to be seen. Like a newly-wed bride who’s just taken off her make-up, the reality in the mirror is not pristine, but it is pure and beautiful.


The Joy in Mystery

The world around is beautiful, and mysterious.

Simple things like the snowflakes, the moving clouds, twinkling stars, diffused sunset colors and a baby’s smile arouse a feeling of awe and wonder. I enjoy being a witness to such special moments. Sometimes they bring in poetry, sometimes they inspire curiousity. Science is a tool for the latter, where models compete for description of things that are sometimes very subtle. Complex formulae sometimes obscure reality, especially for someone like me who cannot absorb without an image (and colours). However, intense (or rather, free) thought brings in incremental revelations. Moments where you see how the subtle is incorporated in to what looked obscure. Equations speak. Diagrams become animated. There is a great joy in understanding, quite similar to the joy of meditation… or the experience of watching sunrise at the Besant Nagar beach.

While there is a certain regret as to why I did not spend more time learning during my freshman year of college, I hope these moments will be more frequent now. There is certainly no greater fulfillment than one of complete understanding. And even infinitesimally small increments feel wonderful.


Murmur

R.E.M.’s first album is one that’s very good, very consistent and nearly impossible to tell the songs apart the first few listens. But that’s not a problem. This is the sort of album that you’ll like immersing yourself because the melodies are catchy and the atmosphere is engaging. The more you play it, the more closely you’ll want to listen to it. It won’t be long before you’ll be able to tell the songs apart. This is a very gorgeous album! These guys seem like they were supposed to be categorized as post-punk, but their jangly guitar style borrows more closely from The Byrds. The mood is very reserved and introverted, which was also a new thing back in 1983. The band’s characteristic sound is undoubtedly Michael Stipe’s sleepy, sandy voice, which somehow sounds rough and refined at the same time. I know that doesn’t makes sense, but that’s the best I can do to describe it. That voice is one of the great mysteries. If you don’t want to analyze it, you can bask in its pure pleasantness and hear it blend perfectly with the jangly instrumentation. Though he’s usually mumbling, so you’ll probably need a lyrics sheet if you even care about lyrics that much.

“Radio Free Europe” is a great introduction. Immediately, it immerses you into the thick atmosphere, jangly guitars and ultra-clean drum thwacks. Occasionally, we’ll hear a very plain piano pounding, and even more occasionally, there’s a glockenspiel sound. It creates an incredibly delicate atmosphere! Listening to the riff and that rumbling bass-line, it vaguely recalls punk music, but the intricate textures are so different and delicate that the comparisons end there. Moreover, you listen to it and you will probably find it immediately lovable. The melody isn’t that complicated, but it’s has catchy verses and an even catchier chorus. As soon as it’s done playing, you’ll exclaim to the stars that you just listened to a wholesome song, and you LOVE IT! The follow-up song is “Pilgrimage” and, amazingly so, it’s almost equally as good. You could say that about all the songs in Murmur. Amazingly consistent. (……Alright, I was taking some liberties about your taste in music, but what I described will probably happen. I haven’t yet met a sane or insane person who didn’t like Murmur. People who hate society love Murmur, people who love society love Murmur….. I think even space aliens love Murmur. It’s magic!)

The craziest thing about this album is that every single listener will have a different idea about what their favorite song is. (And most listeners seem to care enough about it to try to single one out.) The only way two people are going to have the exact same opinion for the exact same reason is if they’re in some sort of brainwashing cult! I have a very absolute opinion that my favorite track is “Shaking Through,” but there’s a very good chance that the person sitting next to me would want to slap me on the back of the head for thinking that. But I like the song anyway! It’s upbeat with incredibly catchy melody. Stipes’ gravelly mumble seems like it’s at its heights though a little uglier than usual. I have no idea what he’s saying, but I don’t care! His voice is a cool instrument! The guitars and pianos and drums are a perfect, earthly backdrop to it. They don’t try to show off, and that really helps the texture come alive.

I will say that “Talk About the Passion” is almost my favorite song. It was a photo finish. It’s not quite as upbeat, but the melody is great and just as endearing … it even has a more distinct chorus, and the guitar riff is quite a bit cooler. They even bring in a cello. It reeks of complete coolness. The last track of the album “West of Fields” is another massive favorite of mine. It’s even more upbeat than “Shaking Through” and just about as furious as they were willing to get. But they come up with a few really cool textures in there. The one-phrase chorus is really catchy, and they even manage to work in a gorgeous middle-eight section. “Moral Kiosk” is notable for the more-distinctive-than-usual guitar riffs, and the double drum rasps that pop up. And that makes it especially cool. “Catapult” is notable for its one-word chorus that has the charming tendency to stick around in my mind looooooooooong after it’s through playing. “Sitting Still” features a more-passionate-than-usual vocal performance from Stipe. “9-9” loses some points for its somewhat cluttered instrumentation, but gains it right back for sounding pretty mean at times without sacrificing the album’s overall vibe.

To further illustrate my theory about no two people being able to choose the same favorite songs, there are two songs in particular that I don’t care a whole lot for, but other record reviewers have singled out as highlights. “Walk” is a good song, but it seems a little too fruity for me.  I’m also not a massive fan of the atmospheric piano ballad “Perfect Circle” because it seems a little dull to me. But it really doesn’t matter, because all these songs are great. If you haven’t heard this album yet, I urge you to get it. You’ll listen to it, and I’m positive you’ll like it. And then you can play it to some of your friends, because they’ll like it, and then they’ll like you. This is a scientific fact.


Album Of The Year

Though more straightforward than past efforts, Album Of The Year still manages to remain the strange hybrid that could only be Faith No More. Actually, there’s a vast, echoed sound that’s unique to this album, which finds them playing to their strengths. By this I mean that keyboardist Roddy Bottum again occupies a position of prominence, and though his modernized synth sounds seem somewhat more gimmicky than in the past, Bottum still gives an impressive performance. Also, singer Mike Patton tones down the inane growling and shrieking that occasionally made listening to King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime a chore; here he shows off his many styles with aplomb, becoming the band’s biggest asset.

From the grinding guitars (courtesy of new guitarist Jon Hudson) of “Collision” to the celestial beauty of “Stripsearch,” the big riffs, futuristic keyboard flourishes, and anthemic chorus of “Last Cup Of Sorrow,” and onto the staccato riffing and rapid fire vocals of “Naked In Front Of The Computer,” Faith No More delivers a more consistent set than on the last album, whose peaks rose higher and which was winningly weirder. Acoustic guitars come to the fore on the soulful beginning to “Helpless,” but eventually the electric guitars turn up for a soaring chorus, only to be replaced again by a serene tunefulness before building to an exciting and desperate finale, concluding with Patton’s anguished cries of “help.” Bottum’s carnival-esque keyboards are interspersed with a thrash punk attack on “Mouth To Mouth,” while “Ashes To Ashes” is another effective track showcasing their idiosyncratic melding of coiled guitar frenzy, keyboard-led atmospherics, and Patton’s alternately beautiful and bellowed vocals.

Alas, there are times when the band tries to do too much at once, but jumping in and out of so many musical styles keeps things sounding fresh, and when Patton breaks out his falsetto croon on the r&b flavored pop of “She Loves Me Not,” it’s clear that there’s little that this band can’t do. Perhaps a few of the shorter songs (such as “Home Sick Home”) aren’t completely fulfilling and a case could be made that certain songs (such as “Pristina”) coast on atmosphere alone, but this turned out to be a fine finale for Faith No More, who broke up soon after this album’s completion. Perhaps it was because the album flopped, or perhaps it was simply a case of the band doing things their way to the very end, saying what they had to say (strong though it is, Album Of The Year shows few moves that they hadn’t already shown) and then disappearing.  However, there’s no denying that Faith No More’s  influence would live on forever.


King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime

Critics hailed the emergence of a highly original heavy metal force with The Real Thing, were subsequently baffled by the absurdly experimental but often brilliant Angel Dust, and finally got fed up with Faith No More with King For A Day, Fool For A Lifetime. With lyrics like “shit lives forever” and “I deserve a reward, cuz I’m the best fuck you ever had” it’s no wonder that pundits jumped off the Faith No More bandwagon completely, and lyrics definitely are a weakness. More than ever before, these songs succeed or fail because of singer Mike Patton, whose soulful croon elevates the dramatic mood pieces (“Evidence,” “Take This Bottle,” “King For A Day,” “Just A Man”), while his guttural growl makes parts of the thrashier numbers particularly unpleasant (“Cuckoo For Caca,” “Ugly In The Morning”).

Faith No More remain schizophrenic, but generally in a good way, though they underutilize keyboardist Roddy Bottum. For his part, temporary new guitarist Trey Spruance (recruited from Patton’s other band, Mr. Bungle) is a more straightforward player than Jim Martin (whose parting – documented on “Get Out,” which immediately sets the pissed off tone of the album – was apparently unamicable), but he’s really good too in his own way, and this album’s idiosyncratic charms and considerable character comes across over repeat listens. Indeed, for all its over the top flaws this is still a highly entertaining listen (“Ricochet” and “Digging The Grave” can be added to the growing list of classic Faith No More rockers) whose considerable r&b elements showed that their recent cover of  The Commodores’ “Easy” wasn’t quite as tongue in cheek as everybody had assumed.

The brassy horns of “Star A.D.” and the gospel choir of “Just A Man” are other neat new twists on an imperfect yet perfectly riveting album that really grew on me over time (Patton’s psychotic outbursts aside), the band ultimately weighing in with another richly rewarding effort.