|Records Opinion - October 2011|
|Friday, 21 October 2011 21:36|
More info about Chucho Valdes
This album exhibits a synthesis of Latin, Jazz, and African musics. Therefore, in his work, he often employs some of the musical fragments from those different cultural aspects that are functioned to give a contrast in its constructing dynamics (the melody, rhythm, and tempo). As an Afro Cuban offspring, this synthesis is not such a coincidence, most of all because of those three elements are emotionally and musically related to himself. In other words, he has such a strong ground to be the part of Latin Jazz, due to his will-power in exploring his roots culture musicality (Africa, New Orleans Jazz). That’s why we barely often find the alteration from a shade to another musical shade (African veal, Latin mode, etc), as in Chucho”s Step, Las dos Caras who happened to give him the space to explore and reinterpret. And also in Yansa for bringing the African ritual aspect. Valdes really did acknowledged how to utilize his Latin and African roots in exercising his reinterpretation as in Zawinul”s Mambo and New Orleans (A tribute to the Marsalis Family). That can be revealed by his choice of various musical instruments, the synthesis of rhythmic-melodic elements, and even by the ability to drift off his musical grip (Jazz and Latin).
Listening to this album, I imagine walking, running, jumping, going insane in the jungle, but with style. Wearing a suit and of course shiny leather shoes, sitting under the trees and enjoy smoking while drinking an ice lemon tea.
I like the whole tracks and its arrangement within this album. I could listen to the songs without breaks, either in an intense or casual way. The Piano sound (as the main instrument) and all other melodies from each instruments sound perfectly connected and at the same time they manage to ‘support’ each other. And it’s always fun to listen to music that ‘talks’ to me.
Cuban pianist/legend wants you to feel young again, and dance through his steps. With a heavy groove of Latin-jazz atmosphere, the great Chucho Valdez draws imagination in my mind about the ‘modern’ Cuba, a nation which I recognize only from its very popular revolutionary era in the late ‘50s. Latin-jazz, which derived from a mixture of American jazz and migrated African rhythm, is rapturously celebrated in this album. Chucho and his (young!) musicians are in their finest form, emphasizing on theme variations, brilliant improvisations, roots rhythm, and crystal clear recordings. To me, this album (released in 2010) is the best jazz album I’ve listened in the past 2 years. My favorite tracks: Well, all of them are. But listen close to “Las Dos Caras (Both Sides)”, “Zawinul’s Mambo”, “New Orleans (A Tribute to the Marsalis Family), and “Chucho’s Step”. Hotttt!!!!!!!
More Info about Agatsuma
Agatsuma is terrifcly concerned about performance character and the sound of his musical instrument, Tsugaru Shamisen in the music he performs. In his album Beyond, the merger of Shamisen performance and himself can be perceived by the accuracy, carefulness, and the musical performance cultivation either it’s a traditional (Baetnorae/ Tsugaru Yosare Bushi) or modern (Dawnlight, Tears..). In each Shamisen’s trum shows its self-power, defines every step and the musical utterance means. Despite of he only plays the traditional creation in Baetnorae, he discloses quality and characteristic performance in his music as a Tsugaru Shamisen musician who is firmly rooted. Basic improvisation in Shamisen tradition performance gives Agatsuma a possible discretion to use variety supporting instruments (Piano, guitar, accordion, snare drum). In this matter he shows his capability of exploring the musical tradition idioms and contemporary. Shamisen, the fretless instrument which has three strings also gives him a margin to explore the scale, the number of tones, and several music performance. Bachi (plectrum) also sustains Shamisen performance in Agatsuma’s hands to be more personal, intricate, accentuate, flexible to flow nice tones in either slow or even fast tempo.
The first time I Listened to it, I was immediately carried into an atmosphere, or a picture of Japanese ‘image’ that I know, because of the characteristics of his musical instruments, "Shamisen". The sound of this Japanese traditional instrument is very strong, and yet the album was packaged in a modern way, which makes it easy for me to enjoy it. This album may represent various expressions of me as a young man from the east: My spirit, my worries, my search for peace, my struggle, my pain, my growing-up process, and women of course.
I recommend everyone to listen to this album, and for musicians who want to engage in the world of "pop" music business by bringing its own identity and roots!
There are at least two reasons why I think Hiromitsu Agatsuma is one of the most passionate, inventive musicians in the world right now. First, he comes from Japan—a nation with heavy artillery of ‘hi-tech’ instruments—yet he chose Shamisen (Japanese plucked stringed instrument) as his weapon of choice. And just like a Samurai warrior, his technical (and aesthetic) mastery of this one authentic instrument is undeniable. He could “slay” those every bit of notes, rhythm, and emotions all at once, but serve them in a very humble, warm gesture. Simple, but highly effective. Then the second is the way he reinterpret both the modern and traditional sounds, and manage to make a wondrous blend between those two. Again, it may sound fairly simple and gray around the edges, but that is no longer relevant when it plays with such energy, passion, believe, and love. Agatsuma has a paradise of his own, and I’m glad I’ve got the privilege to visit such beautiful place. My favorite tracks are: “A Paper in the Air”, “Heartbeat”, “Shami’s Groove”, and “Thought of You”.
More info about Kepa Junkera
If we didn’t get acquainted with the relation of music and dance, moreover for not being familiar to Basque culture, sooner or later we could get bored listening to this album Leonan. But if we enjoyed it as we got associated with the dancing, that’s where the shade of its musical details would be showed up and make it got more intense. This kind of Basque music is contrary with alboka tools music group (single reed, double hornpipe) and the Pandero (tamborin), the folk’s companion dance that is performed in some Basque social occasions. In the evolution it absorbs the other musical instruments like trikitixa (diatonic button accordion). This group performs a homophonic major melodic plot, combines major alboka instrument and trikitixa. They lead the performance alternately. The use of Alboka in this music group is very dominant and conductive for having a leading characteristic of sound (provide accent, shape the tension and groovy tones), otherwise, trikitixa as a character of companion release (the tension); thus in exchange the role between those two instruments deliver the coherency of the contrary and it has a role to bold the colors all at once (when it’s played at the same time). The performance of these major instruments is sometimes act as a questions and as someone who answers, the leader and the follower perform the melodic pattern of Celtic culture with its narrative characteristic. The major music rhythm instrument is pandero, in addition to bendhit (frame drum), txalaparta (idiophone that has a beam shaped is made by wood or stone) and etc. This album is also included the other variety of Basque music instruments (such as txintxin, oaxacako pedarra, txalaparta, zarrabetea, etc) or from the other region musical tradition (tabla, tambura, mbira, kaxixi, flute and clarinet) as the essentials.
"What is this?" That entered my mind when I listened to this album for the first time. Like "Celtic" music met the "gypsy", the gesture of "middle east", and other forms of music that I don’t even know. Even in some tracks there are parts where electronic musicians might call it “sound exploration”, while I call it “weird” looking sound. But for some reason, there also many parts of this music that are close to my heart, especially with the vocal and the percussive sound.
I am impressed with this album. I think he almost doesn’t care about what is “happening” within the pop music “industry”. Well, with music like this, it surely means something for some societies, as much as it means to me.
It takes a special moment for me to finally fell in love with the music of one unique Keppa Junkera. This fine young musician (he plays accordion, sing, and composes all the songs) is not only echoes a sultry, spirited confessional sound, but he also takes me to a musical journey unlike any I’ve heard before (that is the land of Basque, a relatively small community based-country in the northern of Spain). Keppa’s technique and uninhibited approach to composition and interpretation blend an extensive array of accordion and vocals (oh, and not to mention the Basque’s unique language) with piano, percussion and wind instruments. He leads an exploration of his own and brings out a tapestry of sound that drags me right away into each layer. In rare situations like these, there’s no other way but to surrender and let the music talks. My Favorite tracks are: “Arrana-Karran”, “Barakaldotik Arratiara”, “Hamaika Kolore”, “Itxinako Behe-Lainoak”, and “Leonen Orroak”.
This movie reclaims a central musical theme that generally describes Pixote’s life and the poor children in Brazil. The life’s figure that is brought in this movie music theme focus on the shadows of ‘normal’ life outside themselves, and illustrate hopes to pursuit a life that they have been dreaming of.
At first, the tension and the intense atmosphere are drawn by strings and winds section performance. They respond each other as if they drag something heavy in a slow tempo. This matter describes life issue that is happening with the complexity.
The strings sections are perform at the low and high range of tones with rhythmic-melodic pattern back and forth that makes the tension goes in and out. The reed instruments respond to calm it down for a while, but it increases right away due to get overlaid by brass instruments. The Brass section is performs with low tones responds to each other like the chaotic swans which staggered step when they drag something with anger, confusion, and stiffness. Then the flute instruments plays the major theme (to calm down) among the crowded strings and brass (then it get weakened gradually), thus it obtains two shade of musical layers that is contrast to each other. But then the strings and brass pop in right away smoothly then it fades out, letting the tension presents when it comes to the story. This tension is greeted by the movie TV program scene with screaming, beating, hatred, and anger and it’s inserted with teenagers’ face expression figures and the violence that happens in detainee interrogation room. The violence situation and the chaos those are drawn in the first scene are well-delivered to express that there’s a deep and delitescent issue in society’s life. How the violence and the chaos’s life are drawn on the story plot.
The major music theme describes Pixote’s and friends’ mood that come in a reverie, or in daily activity. This atmosphere is related to nostalgic, hopes, and inner peace in those who are felt in confines of living in a jail. On Pixotes’s journey to the prison life, the major music theme is completely described, defines the relation of Pixote with the outside world he sees and what he will be craving someday. Either in another situation is related to his life’s process and when he shares the situation with his friends which is also very emotional and meaningful (although it ends tragically).
At the end of the Music theme brings Pixote to a freedom just like what he had been dreaming of. Visually, he walks on the railroad that gives an impression about the vivid direction in his every steps of life.
I honestly can’t remember how the music was when I’m watching this film. My mind didn’t go like this, "Wow, it’s nice music in this movie!", or "Wow, the effects are so detail!", or "I want to know who made the scoring!", I just remembered every moment that comes out in this movie: the acting, the setting, and the music. They were all just blend in to become one.
This film reminds me of many things. Some of them would be the fact that how lucky I am to live in a peaceful neighborhood, that a work does not depend at all with how much money we spend, and also reminds me of my friend, my advisor, my teacher, Serrano Sianturi who said, "Just by 1000 Rupiah (about 1 cent), we can still manage to do some cultural works…"
In the end, it’s all about me. Me, myself who will continue to create something useful, no matter what will came along the way.
It’s almost impossible to give opinions about this OST without watching the ground-breaking, brutally honest, yet a very beautiful movie. All of the songs are authentically captures the breath of Brazil’s Favela (considered as one the most violent places in the world) in a way that rich with historical influences, and contemporary Brazilian samba. The movie was about the struggle of a child (named “Pixote”) in an environment that gave him blunt perspectives about poverty, violence, discriminations, and survival. While most of the scenes were emphasizing the strong articulate dialogues, the presences of music are very well placed to fits within the drama. To be honest, I almost don’t believe myself that a movie could possibly be made and produced like “Pixote” do. Truly a movie (and its soundtracks) to savor.