Fav. Tracks: Wanderer – Joel Grainger

0L5C5121(pp_w1000_h666) Wanderer  – Another home.

We chanced upon this young man playing in the High Street in Winchester, attracted by a fairly large crowd and some interesting sounding music.  As he explained to his audience he samples his own sounds live and plays these back, through a pedal loop system, as an accompaniment, in the style that I first saw with KT Tunstall, except using a violin.  The sound, live, was exceptionally good and very entertaining, which led me to purchase one of his CDs.

The musical style is quite varied, sometimes melancholic (but maybe that is the violin), sometimes quite folky (especially on Cooleys Reel), even producing a faintly Indian theme on Gypsy Raag, but always well played and expressive.  He is a natural street performer, but this studio album is very good and shows off his talent very well.

I have chosen this track because it clearly shows how he uses the sampling loop station, but also provides a good illustration of his violin playing.  I like the slightly melancholic feel of the music as it seems to be telling a story in music.

Fav. Tracks: Jean Michel Jarre – Waiting for Cousteau

waiting_for_cousteau Waiting for Cousteau.

My interest in electronic music (now labelled Electronica) began with Tangerine Dream back in the 1970s and was increased by some of the sounds being produced by Brian Eno in Roxy Music and Robert Fripp with King Crimson and throughout the years I heard a lots of material by Jarre, but never seemed to get around to buying anything.

This album has changed that – I heard the music on YouTube and really liked the almost surreal, ghostly sounds – and so i have purchased an MP3 version.  It is one long (46 min) piece of music and so it is difficult to detail the sound from all of the composition, but there is a beautiful ambience to the music and the sounds used.  The album was dedicated to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who was an underwater photographer and film maker back in the 60s and this explains some of the sounds used, which are meant to bring to mind moving water and waves (I imagine).  However, for me this is just an interesting sound built from electronic synthesis and consequently a wonderful piece of sound-art.

Fav. Tracks: Tangerine Dream – Stratosfear

stratosfStratosfear – The Big Sleep in Search of Hades.

This album (vinyl) was the first Tangerine dream album I bought and it has always been my favourite.  I like all of the tracks and it is really difficult to pick a single one, but….

This track is very melodious and the opening, in particular, is really nice to listen to.  After hearing this track for the first time I was “sold” on Tangerine Dream thereafter.

Fav. Tracks: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Best of OMD

The Best of OMD – Enola Gay.

My interest and enjoyment of “Electronic” music started in the 1970s with Tangerine Dream (you may have to wait a while before I get around to that band, lol).  But OMD revived my interest and I bought a couple of their albums and then this collection.

This track is also very emotive for me and the subject takes me back a long time, to school in fact, where I made a presentation about the abhorrent use of nuclear weapons.  Enola Gay still presents me with terrible images from that presentation, but the song is also well written and emotive in its own right.  What I like is the odd sounds that open the song and the seemingly “too fast” main rhythm when it starts quickly gets you “into” the track.  But, what really works for me are the words – particularly, “the time is 08:15” as the image of the clock was in my presentation alongside a picture of penicillin injections after the radiation sickness!  But, enough of that I will get on my “high horse” again!

I still enjoy a lot of OMD music and this album is a good introduction to anyone who has managed to miss them so far.  I was also amused by the track “Genetic Engineering” since I have taught that subject for many years, but other hits and well known tracks are on the album.