Friday, April 11, 2008

Magical (re)interpretations

Due to mp3fiesta's accessibility, calabash and epitonic's wide variety, and friends' good taste, I have been listening to some very good music lately. Like many fans I usually frown upon the release of greatest hits albums, usually viewing them as a money grab and preferring the "hits" in their original context; however, every now and then I am pleasantly surprised. I have been thoroughly enjoying Mothership, not so much because the songs were chosen by the surviving band members themselves, but because the re-mastering of the songs is magnificent. I have a newfound appreciation for the intricacy of Page's guitar work and Plant's high pitched screams. I cannot overstate the clarity of the recording; it's first class and worth many times the dollar I spent on fiesta. Even Stairway to Heaven, a song which has been forever tainted by too many plays as the last song at school dances, bristled with Page's fine guitar work. I now appreciate the band much more than the grainy 70's and 80's tapes ever allowed. Given the lower tones associated Jones and Bonham's work, the improvement is not as noticeable; however, they still drive many of the songs and I found myself air drumming and moving to the bass more than ever. Only the cowbell in Houses of the Holy made me wish for less clarity.

Lenny Kravitz has always focused songs around blazing guitar licks (sometimes with off-set bass lines), frequently blending the melody lines into them. He pulls this effect off well in his new album, It's Time for a Love Revolution, especially on songs, such as Bring It On, Love Love Love, If You Want It, and Dancin' Till Dawn. I think he must have been listening to a lot of the Beetles when he recorded it, because some songs have a Beetles feel, e.g., I'll Be Waiting, I Love the Rain, A Long and Sad Goodbye; Good Morning even includes McCartney's distinctive yell. Some of the songs, Bring it on and If You Want It, have religious overtones, but this is nothing new to Kravitz's music. Overall, a pretty good rock out session.

Since hearing Bach's Air put to beats on Buddha Bar - Ten Years, I've become addicted to this re-interpretation of classical pieces. Two outstanding albums, Mozart l'Ć©gyptian and Lambarena: Bach to Africa , do this well and are a delight to listen to. Mozart includes more of Mozart's famous melodies, which are played on Middle-Eastern instruments and put to voice in Arabic, while Lambarena tends to reinterpret Bach's music and the melodies are not as accessible.

I just found out that Bruce Cockburn and Romeo Dallaire's Child Soldiers No More concert is coming to Victoria on October 4th. This should prove to be an amazing evening; both men have a deeply personal message and exude talent. Dallaire's scarred journey is particularly compelling; no doubt I'll have a review of it in October.

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