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Archive seems to be a Pink Floyd-inspired prog-rock band. Now, to say that I don't like prog-rock would be an understatement; I could count the number of songs in that genre I've liked on one hand and still have fingers left over, and I've listened to a lot, due to my (so unfortunate, I think at times like this) taste in friends. But. None of them sounded like this, addictive and eerie and really very new. New not in the things they do - their sampling is reminiscent of trip-hop bands and their guitar riffs at times sound rather heavy-metalish and they have arrangements that remind me a lot of jazz records - but the way they do them, how all these things sound so right in the songs they're in, so natural and amazing.

Seriously, I can't recommend this album enough.


Again

A 16 minute work of emotional genius. I never thought that I'd have the patience to sit through a song this long, but this turned out to be no trouble at all. The song essentially picks up a theme and builds on it in a way that's very hypnotic and strange and beautiful. It starts off softly and slowly, picks up a low beat about five minutes in that spirals out, gets so spooky and hard and on the verge of discordant, and then it all gets quiet, a small beeping like that of a heart monitor, the line slowly evening out, and then, after the end, the cymbals crash, and it starts again in a way that leaves me feeling both emotionally wrung out and elated.

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AR Rahman move over. I think I've found someone new to put on my pedestal.

Sanjay Gupta is a strange, somewhat delusional character. He claims his movies are highly original, calls them works of art that push the envelope when in fact they're nothing more than pale knock-offs of western movies. Maybe this was why it took me so long to listen to his songs - I figured his music would be just as derivative. But, ohman. Gave the soundtrack to Zinda a listen yesterday, then Musafir, and. His stuff completely blows my mind.

There're two versions of each CD - the lounge version and the club version, and usually designations like this put me on guard, because most Indian club songs and remixes I've heard aren't very good. Indian music producers have this tendency to throw random western elements in their songs to try and make them seem hipper and cooler (MORE WID IT KAY), with the result that the whole thing sounds tacked on and stupid. But whatever the producers here are doing, more often than not it works, in such a way that it seems, at the same time, both completely natural and revolutionary, and then they do it again in the next song, and then again in the next. It's amazing.


These two songs are from the soundtrack of the movie Musafir.

Saki (Psychedelic Insomnia Mix)

Lyrics by Dev Kohli, produced by Vishal-Shekhar, sung by Sukhwinder Singh and Sunidhi Chauhan. A mix of traditional and techno and rock IN A WAY THAT WORKS. *still kind of blown by that* sakis were what they called women that served drinks in wine houses. This song has lyrics that I adore (in no small part because I'm a huge proponent of the "to love is to be at war" school of thought). This is no sappy love duet - both the man and the woman can be hard and cutting, and the atmosphere of the song reflects that.

lyrics )

I love the beat, the guitar riffs around two and a half minutes into the song, the back and forth that immediately follows between the woman and man (ishq ke galiyon main na jana... ishq to mera khuda hai aashiq mera naam hai), especially the way the guy draws out the last syllable, his voice spiralling up. It works so well, and the only place aside from hindi songs that I've heard that done is in operas.


Rabba (Lounge Version)

Produced by Anand Raj Anand, lyrics by Dev Kohli, sung by Richa Sharma. There are traditional vocals, a steady techno beat and ambient backtrack. Rabba means god, and the girl is saying, in the first verse:

let no one come into my life
if someone comes don't let them leave
if they're going to give me tears
then don't let them make me laugh before



Will do his album Zinda next.


*ishq: passionate love
**aashiq: passionate lover


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Naervaer is a Norwegian band consisting of Terje Sagen and Jan Transeth. Their sound is spare and evocative, reminding me of jagged cliffs against gray skies or campfires in the night. The tracks ranging from purely instrumental to trip-hoppish to having arrangements and vocals reminiscent of Leonard Cohen. According to Terje Sagen, when they were making their music, "Mood was the key word. Don't force it out - let it come naturally, and the reflection of the mood will be pure." I could picture their music as the soundtrack to a coldly beautiful movie, characters moving in wide open spaces, a landscape that seems to dwarf them.

So far they've released only one CD, Skiftninger. Both these tracks are from that CD.


92-Tid-99
An instrumental track, spare and lonely.

Dose Dager
A simple, rather lovely track, with a slow, steady beat, what sounds like the keyboard, guitar, and Norwegian vocals. Falls somewhere between ambient and alt rock.

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Lets see if I can get into the habit of updating this journal regularly again. First, another ambient band. According to Amazon, Balligomongo is the product of producer Garrett Schwartz, a keybordist-programmer. So far the band's released only one CD, Beneath The Surface. The songs sound like some of Conjure One's more synthpop tracks, with strings, electronic beats, and female vocalists (and lyrics that can get maudlin at times). The soundscapes vary from overproduced and predictable at their worst, to smooth and beautifully ethereal.


Lost
Privilege

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From what I can tell, there are two pillars holding up the economy of Ibiza, tourism and chillout CDs. I'm not quite sure why this works as well as it does, because after a while all chillout music starts to sound the same, the tracks blending into each other to create an almost indistinguishable soundscape, but then again, I am posting about an Ibiza chillout CD, which makes saying that a tad disingenious.

The artists featured here, Royksopp and Groove Armada, to name a couple, are the usual suspects (though there is the Radiohead WTF factor here too), and the tracks are good as background music, or something to drift off to, because the rhythms are constant, the melodies for the most part soothing and repetitive and unobtrusive.


Zero Gravity - Moondial (Lunar Module Mix)
What I thought was the catchiest track on the CD, and probably my favorite.

Spacial - Aisha's Dream
Pretty and soothing, representative of many of the other tracks on this CD.

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Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, in Azure Ray, make the most melancholy music, minimalist folk pop with soft, melodic vocals. Their songs are perfect for rainy days, for when you want music to gently sink into.

The following two songs are off their November EP.


november

And now my sorrow seems so far away
Until I'm taken by these bolts of pain
But I turn them off and tuck them away
till these rainy days that make them stay


for the sake of the song

Well, maybe she just has to sing, for the sake of the song
And who do I think that I am to decide that she's wrong.


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Amethystium is the product of Norwegian producer Oystein Ramjford. Its songs have mellow, ambient backtracks that wouldn't sound out of place in an Air album, and vocals that vary from ethereal to gregorian to tribal. Where the band really shines, in my opinion, is in how smoothly all these things are blended in, how natural the progressions of the songs is, the layers and depth in each of the tracks.

These two tracks are from Odonata, their first album.


Opaque
Starts out on an atmospheric, mysterious note, and gradually other ambient tracks are mixed in, and after that sanskrit chant vocals, producing a fantastic blend.

Ethereal
In my opinion, the title describes this song perfectly. One of the more mellow, trance-groove tracks on the album.

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Conjure One is the brainchild of Rhys Fulber, formerly of Delirium and Frontline Assembly. Their first eponymous album is one of my favorite albums, and they recently released a new album, Extraordinary Ways.

I didn't like Extraordinary Ways as much as their first album, but I still can't say that I was disappointed. Conjure One has a distinctive sound that I've grown addicted to, trip-hop and synth-pop samplings with a lush, exotic ambiance and vocals that range from ethereal to operatic, and while the overall quality of this album is more uneven than the first, on that score it delivers.

These are the first and last tracks.


Endless Dream
A collaboration with Poe, one of the more synth-popish songs on the cd, reminiscent of Make A Wish.

Into The Escape
This song has a more exotic flavor, and the arrangement is weirdly beautiful.

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