Friday, 31 May 2013

New Music Friday! - Michael E

It's our favourite day of the week again at Musical-Things - New Music Friday! Today, we are going to let our featured artist Michael E help us to transport you into the weekend by soothing away the stresses of the week. Read on...

Bio



As a child, Sheffield native, Michael E struggled with the classical music he was taught to play on the piano. At the time it simply did not resonate with him. It was only in the early 70’s with the Motown era that music began to speak to him in a more profound way. He joined various cover bands and toured the Euro/American Navy and Air force bases in Germany, Italy, Spain playing keyboards and percussion.

As a means to support his family and continue his love of music he continued as a solo pianist at home in Sheffield.

He also started composing his own music for solo piano at a time when the age of digital recording had not arrived. When it did, he realised he could complete a full arrangement, playing all the parts enabling him to conjure up wonderful sounds, haunting melodies and explore so many musical landscapes. Michael was well and truly hooked and it was almost like a new beginning for him. In 2006, Michael E was finally in a position to dedicate his life to the pursuit of his musical dream. When the chance came along he grasped it wholeheartedly and has never looked back.

What we think.

We at Musical-Things are very big fans of chill out/lounge/ambient music, so listening to the taster to Michael E’s Little Blue Planet was just a joy. This music is all about the aural atmosphere, effortlessly transporting you away from the physical into Michael E’s sound world. His mix of stimulating but unobtrusive percussion sets the perfect scene for all occasions – from listening on a stressful journey home from work to lounging in the garden on a sunny day with a glass of wine. With names like ‘Summer Song’, ‘Turquoise’ and ‘Breathe in breathe out,’ it is hard to resist being taken in to the titles, which are clearly reflected in the music.

There are beautiful acoustic piano moments in which it is difficult to avoid being drawn into the melody, as the strings seamlessly balloon behind it providing effortless support. These moments contrast well with the more ethnic inspired tracks, where tribal calls and vocals are blended with multi-layered electronic backings with bursts of acoustic instrumentation keeping it fresh and varied. Michael E uses a variety of instrumentation through out the album, from classical and jazz to more unusual natural sounds and ethnic instruments creating an amazing eclectic mix when combined with the electronic elements.

So what is our conclusion? You do not need to be a fan of chill out and ambient music to enjoy the music of Michael E. You cannot fault his precision and careful construction of peaceful harmonic spaces, which would entice even the most conservative listener. In his mix of everyday sound effects, subtle percussion, stereo mixing and production, Michael E has created a soundscape that you will find hard to escape from once you lose yourself in the tranquillity. But this is not uninspiring tranquillity where the listener’s brain becomes unengaged. Michael’s music merely provides the right musical environment to enhance the listener’s mental space and allows every aspect of the music to seep into the listener’s aural crevices.

Have a listen to the taster below and hear for yourself...



For more information on Michael E, check out his Soundcloud, Facebook and Myspace. Michael E’s album Little Blue Planet is available to buy on iTunes now.
Are you soothed by Michael E's music? Let us know by dropping us a line below.

Friday, 24 May 2013

New Music Friday! - Rixa White

Happy Friday all! It's the day of the week we have all been waiting for and which is even sweeter this week due to the extra bank holiday Monday day off. Who doesn't love a long bank holiday weekend? With weather predictions looking much improved and the prospect of four consecutive lie-ins ahead, it is time to start off the long weekend right with New Music Friday. This week's special guest is multi-talented Rixa White. Read on...

Bio.


Rixa White

Rixa White, the former spirited online entrepreneur hid his identity, transformed his destiny, returned to his roots and followed a new path in life through his music. As a self-taught Pianist, Keyboardist, Composer and poet, he was never an alien to music world as he started to play at age 6 and composed his first recitals when he was 14.

In 2010, he created Silentaria Electronic music project which is a reminiscence of musical projects like Vangelis, Jean Michel Jarre, Kitaro, Yanni, Enigma and Era.

Rixa White combines Electronic, Contemporary Instrumental, Ambient and Progressive Rock genres and adds his unusual methodology in sound design and music production to create his unique music entirely in his personal studio with softwares and electronics. His music is mainly instrumental and when there is vocal (human or robot), even female vocals, he generates it from his own processed voice.

Nowadays, if not traveling, you can find him developing new gears and features for his music, composing new melodies for Silentaria or writing a new poem to share with fans and friends.

What we think?

Rixa proves that the art of creating beautiful melodies in music is still alive by effortlessly producing them throughout his music. His style, largely instrumental, seamlessly blends classic electronic sounds such as synthesizers and drum machines with more acoustic elements. Rixa’s pieces, which are each accompanied with a poem (on his YouTube channel), takes the form of contemporary program music with the music representing the narrative of Rixa’s poetry. This makes it particularly powerful both musically and emotionally.

This is particularly the case in ‘Sabine’, where the piano holds the main melody whilst a string countermelody weaves in and out, binding the piece together. The harmony is simple and so is the rhythm, leaving the melody somewhat exposed but totally in its element. As the texture grows, the intensity increases as the additional sound effects add a magic to ‘Sabine’ that reflects the romantic description Rixa himself attributes to the piece.

There is an old school electronic vibe to Rixa’s music; the instrumental quality reminiscent of movie soundtracks from the 80s. But it is this quality of mixing the old with the new that makes Rixa music so interesting to listen to. His music touches people’s souls and with tens of thousands of YouTube listeners attesting to this, we also agree that Rixa make beautiful music.

Here’s an excerpt of ‘Sabine’ for your musical enjoyment…



Sabine and other Silentaria tracks are available to buy on iTunes.

Are you a fan of Rixa White's music? Drop us a comment and share your thoughts.

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Monday, 20 May 2013

Mayor's Music Fund Sponsor a Scholar Campaign - Help share music with a child


Most of us have had the opportunity to learn an instrument at school. Not all of us were good at it, some of us didn’t even enjoy it, or didn’t get to play the instrument they really wanted to play. But to many, playing an instrument as a child was a time of pleasure and creativity, unmatched by rival activities or hobbies. For some of those who were good at it, it became more than child’s play; a job or career, a cherished hobby to hold on to through the dramas of life. 

Now imagine being given just a taster of playing, getting the buzz from learning your first few notes, starting to fall in love with creating something special – only for it to be taken away from you. Removed just when the fundamentals of musicianship are beginning to develop; as your talent begins to flourish.

This is the reality for many children in London whose socio-economic circumstances act as a barrier for their musical talent and whose musical potential regretfully lacks the financial backing needed to progress. This injustice, which is seemingly increasing due to cuts in government spending on arts, is not about to change, that is unless more of us who have been fortunate enough to be touched by music help.

The Mayor’s Music Fund are currently running a crowdfunding campaign to raise enough to sponsor the music tuition of just one child. If everyone who reads this gave just the price of a music lesson to their campaign, they would be one step closer to reaching their goal and giving that one child the invaluable gift of music. Why not give back some of the enjoyment you had from music to someone otherwise will be unable to? Music is said to be the greatest gift a person can give, so please give generously and share the campaign with everyone you know!


Other ways you can help:

Friday, 17 May 2013

New Music Friday! - Xova


Another installation of New Music Friday for you today. We know the weather hasn't been great recently (at least not in London), but we're hoping the vibes of today's featured band Xova will get you in the mood for the weekend and maybe even bring out the sun!
Read on...

Bio.



X.O.V.A. are multi-racial band, fusing their rock-reggae base with the breadth of the modern world – ska, pop, dubstep, blues, Motown and folk, infused with protest and pain, but also hope.

The band have had headline and festival dates including some prestigious support slots with legendary bands like The Skatellites, and a home town Birmingham Town Hall Xmas gig with ’The Beat’ who they are now working on a collaboration track for release in 2013

2013 see’s them heading off to the USA, as NBC TV New York, flew in to film them in December 2012 to feature them on the Jimmy Lloyd Singer Songrwiters showcase, which started airing April 27th 2013 on NBC and most USA networks. They had UK support slots with The Spin Doctors, and The Selector, and also confirmed their own dates in between. They won a place at the massive ’ISLE of WIGHT Festival’ 2013 as one of the best of 2700 unsigned bands in the UK who entered.

They have also just completed filming a movie based on the infamous NO11 Bus route and the many musical influences that have inspired the band along the route. The film features cameos from the likes of UB40, THE BEAT, WONDERSTUFF, FUZZBOX, MUSICAL YOUTH and many more, this will be released early in 2013 and accompanied by 11 webisodes on the bands website.

The latest release THE SOHO RD SESSIONS, came out on Itunes Late 2012 and has the lead track of “9 LIVES” which is accompanied by a quality video directed by Alex Kyrou [Tim Burton asst], this has helped get the band NATIONAL UK RADIO airplay on BBC 2 [Alex Lester] and BBC6 [Tom Robinson] where Tom commented ’This Is one of the tightest bands I have heard in a very Long time’

Regional Radio’s such as BBC WM INTRODUCING announced them as ’BEING ON THE CUSP OF BREAKING THRU’ in 2013… Q RADIO, SCRATCH Radio, and many others now coming on board to support, including some great press from the likes of ”ECHOES MUSIC MAGAZINE” (The U.Ks Essential Black music monthly) who rave about the band.

Debut album “Synchronise Your Leader’s” is due to released in the Spring/ Summer 2013

What we think?

Xova have a great live sound; listening to their track ‘9 Lives’ it’s almost impossible not imagine hearing it at a gig. Whether it is the great production of the track or just the perfect combination of  live instrument, particularly this digital music era, ‘9 Lives’ screams real music.

The intro launches the listener into myriad of musical surprises, first being their fabulous old school horn section. Decorating the ska rhythms throughout with powerfully funky riffs and licks, brass takes centre stage with gusto – a musical choice we greatly approve of. Not since the days of funk have we been treated to such rhythm!

Another comes in the form of the crisp but soulful vocals that serenade the listener, bringing in an R&B vibe. This along with the band being in perfect sync bring a fresh sound to the well established reggae genre. Fusion has well and truly been achieved in Xova’s careful but playful mix of genres, influences and vibes.

Our conclusion? Xova is a musical melting pot not to be ignored. With their fresh take on old sounds, they are just what the UK music industry need to revamp the humdrum and groove in to the summer, if summer ever comes…In the meantime, why not check out Xova live at one of their upcoming performances? See below for a taste of what you will experience…



See Musical-Events to find out when Xova will be gracing a stage near you...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Monday Message - The Color Run: Help Stand Up to Cancer

In lieu of our usual Song of the Week post, today we wanted to highlight a really worthy cause that we will be supporting and hope that you will be too!


Friend of Musical-Things, Phil Maguire (and friends), will be taking part in the Color Run this year to raise money for the cancer research initiative, Stand Up To Cancer. With 7.6 million people dying from cancer a year*, cancer is an issue that none of us can afford to ignore. Check out the video below for some interesting statistics...



Phil and the girls will be documenting their journey at thecolorrundiary.wordpress.com so why not take a look and give a couple of quid to a worthy caused. Remember, every little helps!

Visit www.justgiving.com/ahuegoodwomen to donate.
*statistics from World Cancer Day website

Friday, 10 May 2013

New Music Friday! - The Koniac Net

Happy Friday!!!! As the weekend is upon us, we thought it only fair to take you into it with some fabulous new music!

Today we introduce to you The Koniac Net a great indie/alternative act hailing from Mumbai, India. Intrigued? Read on...

Bio:

The debut album, One Last Monsoon, was written & performed entirely by songwriter David Abraham, and primarily recorded in his bedroom - an apt environment for an album that plays like a love letter to the Indie & Alternative genres, and the artists/bands that allow these genres to thrive.

The Koniac Net has been compared to artists such as the Stills, Smashing Pumpkins, Toadies, Death Cab For Cutie, Matt Pond PA, Marcy Playground, and even Chris Isaac . The album not only pays tribute to the genres these artists represent, but at the same time breathes new life into the Indie genre. 'One Last Monsoon' is for all intent and purposes a mixed tape for the Indie & Alternative music fan.

Songs from the album have already gained airplay on over 80 radio stations across 27 countries. Upon receiving numerous requests to tour internationally, the Koniac Net transformed from a one-man-project to a 5-piece band in June of 2012.

What we think:

The Koniac Net have perfected good music with their faultless combination of amazing vocals, catchy (but not simplistic) rhythm and easy on the ear harmony. Listening through each track on the album, you cannot help but fall in love with front man David Abraham’s flawless voice as it completes every track with its hypnotic loveliness. The production is perfect with Abraham’s getting the mix between musicality and catchiness just right throughout.

We have to admit, there are no favourites when it comes to this album; each track has its own style, attraction and feel which makes it almost impossible to favour just one. But for a first listen, why not check out 'Maggie (A Song for Brad)', a fun little track which we definitely had on repeat.

This tracks it all about the beat. The rhythm throws you at times but not in a tricky way – the song’s playful nature is too inviting for you to be anything but entertained by it’s rhythmic games. As it seamlessly switches between a regular 4/4 feels and the slowed down jam-like 2/2, it all culminates in a fantastic guitar outro with Abraham’s subtle ‘na-na’s unobtrusively completing the full sound. Plus, what’s not to love about a 3 minute track where the last minute it almost completely instrumental?! Genius!

Check out their amazing video to another album "favourite," (we really cannot just pick one!) 'This Time Around'


Definitely one of our albums of the summer, One Last Monsoon is available to buy on iTunes and Amazon Music now!

What do you think of the Koniac Net? Let us know by commenting below!

Want to be featured in New Music Friday? Send details of your music and a sample of your material to info@musical-things.co.uk.

Monday, 6 May 2013

M-T Song of the Week - Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams - Get Lucky


Happy Bank Holiday all and a special welcome to the Sun who has finally decided to join us in the UK! We have a smasher of a Song of the Week for you today, inspired by our big yellow special guest with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams sending out their musical summer vibes with ‘Get Lucky’.

Now, there seems to be a trend occurring with our Songs of the Week with ‘Get Lucky’ being another toe tapper, head nodding tune that is sure to invade your music player this bank holiday. If you can listen to Niles Rodgers truly infectious disco guitar riff without a single bodily twitch then we commend you!

Centred on a simple four-chord progression that is repeated throughout, ‘Get Lucky’ avoids monotony by entrancing the senses. As the seamless melodic flow lulls the listener into a hypnotic summer dream, the listener cruises through various musical events and summer scenes.

The instrumental, which begins the song and reappears at intervals throughout, is really the foundation of the track. Its central elements being the guitar riff, bass, drum kit and low-key synths, set the casual laid back feel as the slow 4/4 beat is accented by the off-beat guitar strumming.

Pharrell’s featuring vocals, which are almost synonymous with summertime after his string of summer hits in the 00s, deposit a dose of cool to the track with his unique voice and falsetto transporting the listener along the journey to the party.

The party really starts towards the end of the track as we are treated to a brief fix of what Daft Punk are really about – electronics. Reminiscent of their Millennium hit ‘One More Time,’ DP’s digitally distorted vocals officially deliver us to destination dance, as they replace the riff with their signature sound of synths, auto tune and compression before bleeding back into a return to the former easy-going vibe.

Imagine sitting in the garden with a glass of Pimms and your sunnies on, or cruising through the streets of London with the windows down – this song is definitely your accompaniment. Make the most of the sun while it lasts and enjoy below!



Daft Punk's album Random Access Memories is out now! For more info check out their website