Wednesday, July 15, 2009

NOT Difficult Listening.

I’ve heard a rumor that there’s a music store in Cincinnati that has a room designated as the “Difficult Listening Room”. I have a good idea of the music that’s routinely played in this room. As you know, I occasionally post music that could be classified as “difficult listening”. Well, I’d like to post some music that’s the opposite of that. Okay, just don’t call it “easy listening”, just easy to relate to. If you don’t know the band Guster, you should. They’re huge on the college circuit. They started out sounding a lot like an updated version of the Beach Boys, but they’ve matured into an excellent group worthy of more serious consideration. Nice vocals and harmonies, good songwriting, great percussion including hand beaten drums, and they're a lot of fun to see live. Warning: be prepared to be surrounded by a bunch of college-aged kids dancing and singing along for the whole evening.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Forty Years Old and Still Relevant

I recently watched an old Werner Herzog film and was captivated once again by the music of Popol Vuh. The group was formed in 1969 by keyboardist Florian Fricke, along with Frank Fiedler and Holger Trulzsch, The pioneering group made what I termed at the time, ethereal music, which would later be called ambient and New Age. Popol Vuh teamed up with Herzog and made several soundtracks for him. Their music is dreamy and subtly layered and they were early users of synthesizers. Popol Vuh’s later music incorporates elements of world music and explores the ambient use of ethnic instruments. All their recordings are great, but any of their soundtrack cds are a good place to start—especially “Aguirre, Wrath of God”. I think they sound as fresh and cutting edge today as they did 40 years ago. And it's obvious they had a huge impact on many of today's groups.