But I do occasionally sin, I do have a musical past, and dip my musical ear in more modern stuff still. Mostly, this is due to listening to Pandora.com at work which is a kind of a digital radio with empathy; I can pop in a tune I like or an artist I appreciate, and it will play music of a somewhat similar kind. And sometimes it presents stuff to me that's new and that I like, which is what this post is all about.
Regina Spektor : I have no idea what music Pandora.com thought I had in common with regina, but one day she popped up, and I took notice. She's of Russian-Jewish background, but have lived in New York since she was about 10. She's a singer/songwriter/pianoplayer/guitarfiddler that comes up with the most amazing tunes, and she's not afraid of being different. And I think it is this "different" that I like so well with her; strange noises, pivots of musical direction, strange lyrics, using her voice as more than just a pretty voice (and she really has a pretty, strong voice). She's not afraid of letting the music be music, and that's quite refreshing; song structure follows the musicality of it, not some verse-refrain-verse-refrain-brigde-refrain-refrain pattern we're so sick of these days. Good stuff; here's a few videos ;
Happy Rhodes : Combine an amazing sense of feel with the voice markup of Kate Bush and Annie Lennox, you've got Happy; diverse yet uniquely Happy Rhodes music, with a voice that continue to amaze me by its range and clearity within it. I used to have a crush on Kate Bush, and maybe this crush is the continuation of it. Here's a fantastic live recording : listen out for where she switches voice register at around 2:10 without wffort, without it sounding wrong ;
Home Video : melancholic modern quirky. Not even sure why I like it. I don't think these guys are famous, nor do I think they will be, at least not in this configuration. I think they appeal to people who quite enjoy subtle melodic changes over longer periods of time, you know, those who also liked bolero, except with a modern beatbox twist.
Ambrosia : Tickles me with their Toto sound (I'm a fan of the older Toto, and a worshipper of the ground that Jeffrey Porcaro walked on), a band of the late 70's and early 80's. Look for their album "One Eigthy" which is produced by the faboulus Michael McDonald ("Yah Mo B There!", the Doobie Brothers) and features the amazing Richard Page of Pages and Mr Mister fame (of which I adore). Here's a video ;
Piano magic : Again a quirky creative modern sound. My last band before I got married and had kids were a band called "sundrunk" (yes, as in Nietsche) where I was producer, percussion, arranger, drummer, synther, whatever, and Piano Magic reminds me a lot of what we were doing. It's not so much a favourite kind of music as it's an interesting expression I enjoy listening to.
The Magnetic Fields : I've always loved Tom Waits. This is his more melodic cousin, more on the road than down the alley, yet as deliciously melancholic and bare, like a Waits younger brother that went back to school and kept his dayjob. And then moved on.
Various jazz : In my contemporary jazz channel I've really enjoyed Erik Friedlander, Alan Pasqua, Darek Oles and the norwegian jazz group Tord Gustavsen Trio.
Mellow and or electronic : Suzanne Ciani has surprised me with complex and melodic compositions. I'm mostly happy with my Tangerine Dream / Klaus Schulze / Vangelis / Kitaro setup and I've been looking for other things, but not much has popped up in this category.
There's also the occasional song by the occasional group / person that catches my ear, and maybe I'll talk about them in the future. Until then, enjoy the music, and I'll leave you with one of my all-time favourite Victor Borge pieces. I simply love this!