Singin’ Country / Jessica Lynne

I like intensity in any genre of music, and “Singin’ Country” by Jessica Lynne has intensity, and more. Jessica not only has the twangy golden pipes but also a ton of songwriting savvy as this song shows.

I usually prefer to review songs that the readers of this blog can hear without having to buy it. But this song was just too good and is definitely worth your 99 cents, so I made an exception.

The thing that captured me when I heard this song is how “refined” it is. It is under three minutes and on the minimalist side as far as the instrumentation is concerned. Yet it has such a solid build up in the verses and such a strong punch in the chorus.

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Speak Your Heart / Val D’Alessio

Val D'AlessioThose who know me know that I am not a “less is more” guy. I look for some intricacy, some eloborate design in all things to enjoy them. I really dislike songs with 3 unoriginal chords and a lazy singer claiming to be the “less is more”. There is a difference between laziness and minimalism.

Then every once in a while, I run into a work of art that is seemingly minimalistic yet emotionally deep and structurally intricate, only in a very subtle way. Speak Your Heart by Val D’Alessio is one such song.

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The Neverending Breeze / Hasan Ates

Some songs just make me happy even when I see imperfections in them. The imperfections may be due to a naive rush of raw urge to just make music, especially early in a musician’s career (or when he/she is new to a certain tool and just getting the hang of it). Despite the imperfections, the song ends up carrying such pure and raw energy and good will (towards making music) that it shines like a natural scene, unkempt and wild but soothing nonetheless.

Hasan, “Allamulax”, Ates (and his MySpace) is an electronica artist that have grown much more since making The Neverending Breeze. He once mentioned that when he listened to this piece recently, he felt such naivity in it that it made him feel “I would definitely not have made this song this way now” and yet he still felt happy with it. This probably happens to all musicians. On the one hand we look at our old work and notice our inexperience reflected in them. But we also are somewhat happy that, at that point in time that was who we were and part of us got captured in that old song and won’t be lost in time.

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All I Am / Divine Discontents

I was truly mesmerized when I first heard this song live from Secret and Chelsea. It was a rainy Redmond night at a local Open Mic. It’s hard to describe this music. It has a bluesy, jazzy chord structure and Secret has such a beautiful jazzy voice. I really think this piece will blow you away.

Funny thing is I don’t even know if there is a finalized version of this song anywhere online. The link I am giving you is to their reverbnation site and the track I am writing the review based on is called “Scratch/Guide trax for “All I Am ” “.  Well even the scratch tracks version is a kick ass song so I don’t care🙂

From the first second till the end the song carries so much conflict, so much bittersweetness, so much pain. It is not your typical “all-around-sad” song. It is much more sophisticated than that.

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Carry On / David Rix

This time I have a particularly delicious folk piece for you guys and gals. David Rix is a folk singer/songwriter from the Seattle area. He has a sense for catchy acoustic guitar riffs and a Dylan-like misty voice. Carry On is one of my favorite songs of his, and in this version he is employing the help of (mainly) rock producer/musician Chris Klimecky and country singer/songwriter Jessica Lynne. Expect reviews of tracks from these fine folks to appear in Song Dynamics very soon.

The piece starts with two acoustic guitars dancing around the base chord, but quickly jumps into the first verse in a few seconds (together with drum and bass). I am really a big fan of the verse chord progression. It is a relatively less used I – iii – ii – IV progression and made even more interesting by the actual guitar  riffs (the little fifth to sixth slide). The mix here involves a bare-bones bass + drums + 2 acoustic guitars instrumentation and this is a tasteful and utilitarian choice as in the second repreat of the progression, Chris and Jessica join in with the back vocals, adding to the harmonic texture.

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Sweet Curse / Revamp

I have to admit, hard rock / melodic metal has an undeniable place in my DNA. A palm muted distorted power chord immediately unlocks positive points in my psyche. Add to that my sweet spot for metal ballads and you can see why I am reviewing Sweet Curse.

Revamp is a band that I recently found out about. They are a melodic metal band with operatic female vocals (a great one in Floor Jansen) and occasional male growl. This form factor is something I generally like (also seen in Nightwish, Epica etc…). I found out about them through a friend mentioning Mayan (a new band formed by some Epica members). Floor sang on some tracks for them. It’s funny how music discovery works these days.

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First / Emir Diril

Emir DirilI wanted to start this blog with First by Emir ‘Drey’ Diril for a number of reasons. This track was made back in 2007 and it was the first piece for which I wrote an in-depth song analysis back in the day. So in a way this was the piece that got me started doing song analysis.

Emir Diril is a very talented young composer/guitarist. You are likely to see many more pieces from him getting reviewed here as he is one of my favorite composers. Definitely check out more of his stuff.

The track starts with a minimal but tasteful Japanese motif played with a Yangqin that starts to get some support from a western string section; first the violins then violas and cellos. I must say I really love the sudden jump back to the east at around 00:34 with the wind instrument (sounds like a Bawu but I am not sure) and the taiko drums coming back. Especially the build up of the bass moving from A to D starting at 00:45 is another piece of simple yet masterful orchestration. This build up gets even more epic with the addition of the chords played by the brass section at 00:59

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