Thursday, November 15, 2012

COUNTDOWN OF 10 MASTERPIECE ALBUMS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED - #10 Black Celebration by Depeche Mode

BLACK CELEBRATION (1986)

Depeche Mode are my favorite pop band in the universe.  Martin Gore, the composer, writes music with a layer of sentimentality that is compellingly unique and beautiful.  Non-fans may be familiar with hits such as Enjoy the Silence, Personal Jesus, and Just Can't Get Enough (often being unable to attribute the artist to these songs).  I assure you that the entire DM discography is vital to academic study of both electronic music and psychological music theory.  Black Celebration is an album that has transformed my personality over the last several years.  Would you care to know why and how?  Continue.  

Can music implant false memories into the subconscious?  When I listen to Black Celebration as a whole album, I feel as if I am in the culture of 1986, despite the fact that I was not born until years later.  My mind literally believes that I am experiencing nostalgia.  I am known for my atheism/nihilism and lack of spirituality, so please do not think I am trying to profess some kind of new-agey idea.  There is just a mostly inexplicable experience that I have throughout the album.  I read a Depeche Mode biography that stated the band was very fond of reverb during the recording of BC.  I think the airy hall sound that attaches itself to the tracks has something to do with my strange reactions.  Please comment below if you share in these thoughts.  
Dave Gahan in Shake the Disease

Martin Gore in Stripped
Martin Gore sings more lead vocals on Black than any other Depeche album.  I always gravitate to his voice more than Dave Gahan, the usual lead singer.  This is definitely one of the major traits that pulls me to our particular place in the band's history (including the Shake the Disease single in between BC and the previous album).  Martin's voice is more powerful than anything we have heard previously in A Question of Lust, and his backing lines in Stripped are heavy on the heart (as that standard love metaphor!).  "Let me hear you speaking just for me" from Stripped is the quote I usually give to girls when I decide to break up with them for differences of sensitivity.        

I have always thought that Martin Gore sees BC as his first fully mature album as a composer and poet.  Generally, I go back and forth on Black and Some Great Reward as the definitive landmark from my musical perspective.  Lyrically, we interpret new surroundings.  Just what is a black celebration?  How naked is Martin willing to get for his fans (disregard the recording of Somebody - nuff said)?  His voice talks of his fragile side and losing your virginity.  "Let me hear you make decisions without your television" is one of the most philosophical Gore ideas of all time.  I always took it to be a Cartesian kind of means of discovering reality by ignoring assumed impressions from third parties.  I'll fight you if you say that this lyric is anything beneath outstanding.

Speaking of implants into the subconscious, I am currently listening to Christmas Island, a Black era b-side, for the 10th time in a row.  The melody is making my body generate an enormous amount of adrenaline.  How did I miss this piece?  Do not let the name tone down the merit of this composition.  It may have claimed the #2 spot of my favorite instrumentals after Just Like You Imagined by Nine Inch Nails.  There is so much more I would like to say about this album, but I primarily wanted to communicate that it is complex, sensitive, smart, sexy, ANOMALOUS, heartwarming, and heavenly to an atheist.  Discovering Black Celebration was one of the most beneficial moments of my entire life, and it continues to develop how I see myself in the world.  

-Sachem Orenda

Listen to Christmas Island here: www.youtube.com/watch?feature=fvwp&NR=1&v=XF63sxurQ4A        

Sachem Orenda's third album, Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge, is now available.  
www.sachemorenda.com


Monday, November 12, 2012

HYBRID SYMPHONY HALL CONCERT - “Wow” and other unintentional aspects of the musical experience


I almost lost track of my calendar, but it suddenly occurred to me that Allentown Symphony Hall had an upcoming classical concert.  Tears would have been falling from my face if I missed a show from the season.  Let us save those for the more physical tragedies in life!  During my calenderic time of anarchy, I have elected to incorporate an important artistic theme into all of my writings.  For Allentown Symphony's Americana concert in their 62nd season, I want to discuss the relevance of the unintentional sounds that infiltrate the music and provide a greater context to what an aural experience can mean. 

Classical music audiences tend to be respectful and are quiet when people are speaking (such as Sheila Evans and Diane Wittry) or performing.  The opposite of this would be something such as a Nine Inch Nails rock concert where the audience is screaming incessantly from the time before Trent Reznor takes the stage until well after the last song has concluded.  Despite this attentiveness from our high-art audience, it is still quite impossible to hear nothing but the orchestra.  Most obviously, if the music has a second of silence within a musical passage, you can hear various noises throughout the hall.  The Cagian (or Cajun) philosopher in me argues that any additional noises become part of the music (a.k.a. all sound is music and unintentional sound cannot truly be separated from the simultaneous interpretation of the vibrations).  A great instance of this is when I listen to Synthesized Socratic Police, an electronic music piece that I composed, in my car stereo.  There is a moment where I hold out a nonsensical vocal syllable of the “ooh” persuasion.  While playing loudly in my car, the speakers vibrate heavily, and I hear a vibrato in my voice that does not actually exist in the recorded sound wave.  I'll include the piece below, but be sure not to stop it during the 4'33” (John Cage pictured above) inspired section.        

Are my words ridiculous yet?  If not, please contact me for a better attempt at absurdity.  I will begin to apply my thoughts.  The program began with an intro of the Star Spangled Banner (with unquantifiable audience participation) and then moved on to Bernstein.  Bernstein's Overture to Candide was a short piece that sounded like old-timey film music and had gorgeous chord changes.  During the piece, I heard coughing, stomping, and other random taps from the audience.  This delighted me, but I wanted more unconventional noises to write about.  Time traveling - before the intro played, it was announced that Allentown Symphony Hall's name was changing to Miller Symphony Hall.  From the words of Gandhi, "SAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT"? 

One of the major highlights of the night was a double violin concerto by Mark O' Connor.  It began with some funky melodies that gripped my stomach like a ride at an amusement park and made me legitimately excited at what kind of art I was about to hear.  Chance would have it that O' Connor (as he was one of the two lead violinists) would tap his foot at times with the beat.  Oh yeah – Chance is the name of my friend that accompanied me to the hall.  Was this tapping written or unwritten?  The world is in the dark.  At intermission Chance asked me who I thought was better of the lead violinists.  It was funny because I was taken aback and told him that I had not even thought about it while I watched them.  This moment taught me about my achieved level of maturity as an artist and composer.  To me, this conversation also became part of the program. 

I was gifted with two amazing noises from the audience before the evening ended.  During an American in Paris by George Gershwin, I heard some type of percussive tap from an audience member during a rest that literally felt like a calculated sort of pickup note into the melody.  The other noise was an attendee verbalizing a “Wow” at the end of the Aaron Copland headliner.  It was instant as the piece ended and most everyone in the hall must have heard it.  It implanted thoughts into our head that mingled with our reactions to the conclusion of the theme song to “Beef, it's what's for dinner.”  Sorry Copland, I had to include that.  I longed for ceiling panels to fall off or for a cell phone to ring with “I'm too sexy for my shirt” but these sounds were the best I was going to get tonight.  I'll keep listening.  Try it for yourself!

Miller Symphony Hall concerts:  www.millersymphonyhall.org

Sachem Orenda's Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge is now available:



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I KNOW I SAID THAT SHIT WAS PRESIDENTIAL, BUT THIS SHIT IS UNBIASEDLY PRESIDENTIAL! - A Political Analysis of Chris Big Money's Beats


I can tell what you are thinking.  It is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.  This will go down in history as a historical firework.  Money Beats have arrived.  They were delivered from the Chris.  Thank you Based God (for allowing us to live long enough to hear this release).  I finally met Chris Big Money in September, and his description of the upcoming album, Money Beats, left me drooling in anticipation.    

Today's artistic principle is that an album has extremely important musical significance.  Digital music has led us further into a single-driven music world.  I have oft considered giving up on albums and pushing only singles in my career as a composer.  Chris Big Money taught me a lesson with Money Beats.  Let me explain, you interrupting ass!  Up and coming electronic music podcast, The TechnoPod, gave us the first glimpse at what Money Beats had to offer.  They played Passion (House Is The).  I was impressed with timbral qualities but reasonably unmoved by the composition.  Passion is the third track on the album, and it created fulfillment through contrast.  The musical context of the passage from the perspective of an album was glorious!  I now see full-length albums as the modern evolution of large-scale classical music pieces.  You can't understand all of Beethoven's genius in one middle fragment of a work.

The introductory dollar pulse is called All Your Money Are Belong To Me.  This amused me before I hit play.  I was drastically more amused afterwards.  There is no hesitation with professionalism or entertainment.  Chris SHOWS US THE MONEY right away!  I didn't even get to say "Give us the shit."  ...Belong To Me is funky, dubstepy, and god damn dance-tastic!  Additionally this is an amazing track of continuous excitement.  It gets better as it goes!  Damn damn damn can't write sentences ljdalfkjdlfksj I'm dancing in my damn damn chair lkjdalsfhdl as I listen to this mother FUCKING track!!!!!!! kdjalfsdkjflsakfjdsl.  

I've heard the powers of Chris Big Money in the past, but he took his game to a completely different island of sex, love, kitty kats, humor, and rock.  I'm literally dragging with time commitments because I keep dancing instead of thinking thoughts to finish this article.  Let's get back to da kitties.  Kitty Kat Swag sounds like it could be the most popular song of the album.  I won't spoil the lyrics, but they made me laugh out loud while sitting by myself in the studio.  Seriously check this one out (full album context preferred!).  

Vote Big Money!  There is still time!  A day of elections?  I was feeling a slightly different word while listening to these hoTT tracks.  Neva did I think such inspiration would invigorate my blood as I awoke this morning.  If you see it coming, it probably will not hit you.  Please feel free to email me (sachemorenda@gmail.com) your reactions to Money Beats.  CBM, thank you for your artistic contributions.  With all of that in mind, let the conservatives have sex and the liberals go to the hospital! 

-Sachem Orenda

Listen to Money Beats on Spotify or get the album on iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/money-beats/id572757132
Check out The TechnoPod here:   www.thetechnopod.com


Sachem Orenda's Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge is now available.
www.sachemorenda.bandcamp.com
www.sachemorenda.com



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NEW VICTORIANS - II


Ben Hardt has walked from Symphony to Victory.  I met this fellow back in my days at the University of Pittsburgh.  He was doing a sort of pop-rock with string players under the name Ben Hardt and his Symphony.  Despite the nice effect of the string section, it was a little too standard for my musical tastes at the time.  He was an exceptional performer/musician and a really genuine person so I logged him in my mind under R for "remember".  At some unknown point, Ben reinvented himself for the New Victorians.  

How frequently do you have a friend that posts an original song via Facebook/Twitter/Whatever?  What is the likelihood that you will listen to that track?  I would think there are minimal odds.  Discovering new music is important to me in my career, and I even ignore these at least half of the time.  Ben posted the piece Love and War (Tangled), and I almost skipped over it.  At the last second I was like "What the hell?  I can give it a quick sample."    I experienced sounds that changed my entire perspective on the way I was going to attack my day.  It was rockin'.  It was twangy.  It was a "fuck yeah!" of sorts.  The percussion, guitar, and vocals created a scene that was attractive and energizing.  My mediocre morning turned into a day of positivity.  That is the true authority of new music.    

I sent Ben a message or two and asked him if this was part of an upcoming release.  He said that the New Victorians just finished a new E.P., and he  gave me a download link.  II begins with a piece called Still Falls the Rain.  We hear a series of claps that create the foundation of the percussion.  This reminds me of Steve Reich's Clapping Music.  I find it a bit difficult to tell how much classical music is actually part of the composer's musical vocabulary as opposed to just a love for instruments that are traditionally orchestral.  You can judge that for yourself!

Love and War (Tangled) was going to be hard to match with the rest of the collection so I could not foresee what I was in for.  Ghosts In Machines solidifies a tradition.  The violin mini-melody is what grips me tightly in this song, but a synthesizer is utilized in many passages as well.  How appropriate for a Ghost in the Shell type of theme!  These Victorians surely are modern.  Maybe they can eventually become the New Wave Victorians.  That would be hot!  

Lastly, the final track of II, Letting Go, is one of the other stand-out compositions.  A mixture of emotional vocals, strings, piano, and synths creates a powerful ballad to finish a captivating album.  I'm not just reviewing a release here.  There is an important point out of all of this.  We have to remember the significance of listening to new music or experiencing new art in many forms.  The familiar is enjoyable, but only the new can change the course of your life.  You might have to sit through 10 boring tracks that friends of yours have made to get that one fresh experience, and those are some perfectly good odds to me!  We all need to support emerging musicians and experience new art to progress through our lives.  Extra note:  Depeche Mode are listed as an influence on the NV Facebook page.  I thought I heard some of Martin Gore's sentimentality in these recordings!

-Sachem Orenda   

Like New Victorians on Facebook:  www.facebook.com/newvictorians?fref=ts
Love and War (Tangled) is FREE here:  www.newvictorians.bandcamp.com
Sachem Orenda's Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge is now available:

www.sachemorenda.bandcamp.com

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

KEEP RACHIN' (THE SEQUEL) - Haircut Strike!


[WO]MAAAAN!  That felt like forever.  I was counting seconds from the end of Allentown Symphony Association's last classical season until the start of the current one.  On that note (pun!), I just had a sudden realization.  Summer is imperfect because it lacks orchestra.  I just solved the meaning of life.  Thank me later.  The latest concert had two stars, Diane Wittry and Conrad Tao, that led me down a path of inspiration for my new blog series - Keep Rachin'.  Last year we explored an ASA performance of Rachmaninoff so why stop there?

The evening began with the Overture to La Gazza Ladra by Gioachino Rossini.  Two snare players were positioned on the floor to attack a different sound direction.  They migrated to the stage and continued with the orchestra.  To me, it sounded like the snare drums functioned as the lead instrument.  This could be a psychological focus due to the fact that they were given the spotlight, but my ear believed that this was the obvious musical presentation.  Hmmm percussion as the lead instrument?  Where have I heard that claim before (cough cough Barren Lovers cough)?  I also saw another splendid example of Diane Wittry being an orchestral ba dass.  It's that rock and roll in her hands.  Wittry is the Hendrix of conductors.  'Scuse me if I say she's fly.

It's transition time!  After Rossini, there were some heavily romantic themes in a Symphonic Suite by Prokofiev.  Is music romantic because of a label or is it labeled “romantic” from involuntary human interpretations of scientific vibrations?  Forgive me for asking cliché questions.  We also heard a piece by Mikhail Glinka.  I turned to my mezzaninian neighbor and asked her what she thought of the pieces thus far.  Olga Tsurkis responded: “I may be biased because I'm from Russia and I grew up with this music.  Rachmaninoff is my favorite of tonights composers because of the emotional response that he elicits.”   I, sir Orenda, was coincidentally fortunate to end up at these particular coordinates (thank you, Dan + Natalia!).  

Conrad Tao entered the stage with a Keep Rachin' kind of aura.  He was an 18-year-old professional.  You could feel the jealousy of other men in their career struggles.  Possession of extraordinary discipline is the holy grail for artists.  Tao complemented the ferocity of Rachmaninoff's compositional prowess.  The piano concerto annihilated the previous works on the program.  It was more mature, majestic, and malevolent.  Olga's comment resonated with me as I listened intently.  Emotionally speaking, I was scared and vulnerable.  I cannot convey the incredible feelings that enhanced my life's progressions since this moment.  Allentown Symphony's audience agreed.  Applause was decadent and of great length.  It was truly the most intense and sincere reaction I have seen at the hall to date.  I turned around and snapped this glorious photograph!    

I like to refer to classical performances as "rockin'" for 2 reasons.  First, it annoys uptight classical music fans.  Secondly, rocking is a type of energy and attitude, not instrumentation or genre.  Actually, there are "3" reasons.  I want to bridge the gaps in musical appreciation for people of all ages and backgrounds.  Listen to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.  It's exactly what I would expect Sid Vicious to write if he were a classical composer instead of an angry punk.  You might say Igor is an anarchist with pen and paper (but the harmonic progressions and melodic themes are so controlled, Sachem!).  Speaking of defiance, I have been listening to much punk rock lately and have elected to go on haircut strike!  Yes, this is definitely relevant.  [Insert another great transition here]  I grew up on rock, electronic, and avant garde forms of music, but for some reason I attend every Allentown Symphony Hall seasoned concert.  Join me for the rest of the season, and discover the true reason patrons are magnetized (or Magnetoized) to this place.

-Orenda

Get tickets to Allentown Symphony here:  www.allentownsymphony.org
Diane Wittry's website:  www.dianewittry.com
Conrad Tao's website:  www.conradtao.com

Sachem Orenda's Apology for Popular Music is now available:


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

KNACK IT OFF, FRAG-FACE! - A less than reasonable eyewitness report on Zen for Primates


Lotta talk about these Zenful chaps in the Lehigh Valley.  Descriptions have been odd and attractive to an oddly beautiful guy like me.  They say you have never lived until you've seen Zen for Primates.  If I'm an unborn 24-year-old man, my mother's uterus must give her a lot of pain (thank you, Dan Mintz).  Zen were enjoyable and funny in the same manner that my mother's pain was not.

Just who were these Primitive Primate Prometheans?  Well, no one really knows the truth (bunch of nihilists in the audience that night).  I will explain my apparent experience.  The jazzy-comedic-strange-pop quartet consisted of violin, cello, sax/harmonica, guitar, and vocals.  Percussion ran away.  They was aight with that.

The frontman of the band was quite an amusing mammal.  T. Roth told some hilarious jokes in between songs and also mixed in his humor into the pieces themselves.  The audience loved him in his minor details.  I Feel Good was spoken with little to no emotion.  His humor was dry and alternative.  We likes, we does like that.        

An accurate measurement of place-rightness for an individual at any specific moment would have to be whether or not My Sharona is playing.  This was the opening tune of the concert at Allentown Symphony Hall's Jazz Upstairs series (an amazing gem in the culture of the valley!!).  I rated my life at 627 Orendas out of 642 Orendas.  Score.  Is you imagining that?

I spoke with Mike Krisukas, Zen's guitarist, after the show.  He explained that he was the primary songwriter, and he was a big fan of Frank Zappa.  Double points!  So I's mentioning to him that from the talk of the town, I was anticipating a more avant-garde performance.  Mike says to me:  "I expected this project to go into that direction eventually, but it just never ended up that way."  A strange feeling permeates within my flesh and tells me that this is directly correlated with the large popularity of Zen for Primates.  Care to join me at the next ZfP concert?

-Sachem Orenda  

Concerts at Allentown Symphony Hall:  www.allentownsymphony.org
Comedian Dan Mintz:  www.danmintz.com and www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUNJeffmLZE

iObject, the new single from Sachem Orenda's Apology,
is now available for free download:
www.sachemorenda.com/events.html
www.sachemorenda.bandcamp.com

Monday, September 17, 2012

SIGHTREADINGMASTERY.COM - An extraordinary benefit to the 21st-century musician


This is a bit of a one-off article.  I usually write about art, philosophy, and artistic events, but this is a special presentation.  Let us talk of a new tool for advanced musical development.  Ever want to become presidential at sight reading music for piano or another instrument?  If you are anything like me, you have wanted to do this for years but have always found it to be boring and tedious.  What if I told you it would be different this time?  Read on because you just hit the jackpot, sugar.

Evan Murphy created a website devoted to helping people with this problem that I and many other musicians have experienced.  The site is called SightReadingMastery, and it's a beautiful invention.  That's not even a metaphor.  Aesthetically speaking, SRM is the most perfect website that I have ever seen.  In the past, I have pulled up scores of music on my computer, but I have never tried to read from it.  I would always print them because I found it strenuous to look at it on my screen.  On Murphy's site, I feel compelled to slam the power button on my M-Audio Venom and go to the city (always been my preference to towns).  

I began playing with the beta version of SRM and found it to be a fun and simplistic experience.  I must stress the advantage of the simplicity.  The website does not throw frivolous information and extra pages at you.  It gives the musician what they need to accomplish his/her goals without the distractions of excessive content.  Evan deserves much praise for this ingeniously comfortable design.

After the initial trial, I began to explore the intermediate and advanced exercises.  I was lookin' and likin'.  The exercises become more rockin' and more enjoyable as the user's skill grows.  They are challenging in a really fun way, and you even get to learn techniques of different genres.  I played some classical, ragtime, and bluesy material.  One other aspect of note is that these lessons are not watered down in any way.  They are dynamically diverse from the beginning and also provide some direction for proper fingerings.  This is an exceptional and professional course to becoming a great pianist.  

From fulfilling melodies to surprising bonus exercises, you will have a blast at SRM.  Despite my aging iMac, I am always at ease as each lesson loads and plays flawlessly.  SightReadingMastery.com is currently available for pianists, but Evan informed me that other instruments may be accessible shortly.  If you are not a keyboardist, see if the layout fits your needs and subscribe to the Facebook or Twitter page for updates on other instruments.  I can't wait to have this groundbreaking resource for guitar and voice!

-Sachem Orenda                             


Sachem Orenda's new single, iObject, is now available for free download:
                                  

THAT SHIT IS PRESIDENTIAL! - a modest review of ServersDown



ServersDown?  I've heard that term before.  Up, I like it when it's up!  I always could relate to Norm Macdonald.  Brian Harrison decided he was going to experience rebirth as ServersDown, electro extraordinaire, and somehow delivered a third threat.  This threatening feat of engineering is labeled as the Future Times Four E.P. 

An eerie painting is represented in the opening track.  Fans of Electric Type will enjoy Harrison's style.  I would describe it as minimal sexno with an enormous projection of sound.  Yes, that shit IS presidential!  One presidential turn deserves another.  Architecture is Cool emerges from the second audio file (like when Some Great Reward is trying to seduce Playing the Angel).  Titles are like the mouth part of a child's face.  They can say it all (thanks again, Jack Handey!).  I cannot stress the perfection of Server's title.  The composition is a gorgeous edifice of cool.  There are only two other names that could have possibly fit this romantic profession.  They are: Creation is Presidential and Glitter Sluts ain't half bad               

Catchy melodies and consistent pulses ravage the air in SD's "assorted collection."  Alignment starts to make me move in my typing chair.  The percussion is not excessively dancetastic but the bass gets me.  Oh Brian,  I thought you knew nothing about me!  

Move has vocals from some Cassangy-thing.  Perhaps it is the human devotion to words, but this track stands way out.  Danceable, lovely, sexy, cute, yeah!!!  The synths begin to rock out, and a distinguished voice syllabizes (I tried to make up a word, but my sources say it already exists) proudly.  If you were looking for atmosphere, you came to the right locale.  

Say, that was a sexual experience.  ServersDown is new to the music world and is already kickin' on par with established artists.  Occasionally, music incarnates the sensitivity of a generation without years of effort.  Brian Harrison might be the next Paul McGranite.  Fuck.  The universe will not handle this well.  Let's not mention it.    

-Sachem Orenda

Links:

ServersDown official website:  http://serversdownmusic.com/
ServersDown on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ServersDownMusic
Paul McGranite:  https://www.facebook.com/PaulMcGranite
Electric Type:  http://officialelectrictype.com/

The Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge, Sachem's third album, is now available:



Wednesday, August 29, 2012

YEASAYER - Fragrant World


Shaman, my brother, convinced me to go to a Yeasayer show in 2010.  I did some slight research on the band before the concert and was fond of One and Madder Red from the album Odd Blood.  Beyond these pieces, I had mild expectations for the evening.  Yeasayer opened with Strange Reunions, and the musical experience that I endured was unimaginable.  Anand Wilder sang the melody, and he had the most impressive voice of any rock musician that I have heard to this date.  I developed a man-crush for Wilder, but I was thoroughly impressed with the entire band.  August 21st, 2012 marked the release of their third album, Fragrant World, so I thought we should explore.  

Yeasayer released two of the album tracks, Henrietta and Longevity, before Fragrant World was available.  Let's start there.  Longevity begins with an interesting synth that has a stripped feeling.  This serves as thematic material that returns in varying forms.  The vocal melodies are nice, and Chris Keating's voice sounds pure.  Although I do not feel compelled to give it many repeat listens, it is an interesting piece of music.  I identify Longevity as a good album track but not a greatly marketable single.

Henrietta is a completely different realm to walk within.  A cool shuffling melody leads into a very solid verse.  It makes you want to move, dance, fornicate, or anything else.  Chris Keating also sings this track.  His voice is not epic like Anand, but it is undeniably attractive.  "Oh Henrietta, we can lay around forever." is the repeating line in the song's gorgeous ending (the ending is actually the majority of the piece).  It sounds like Wilder and Keating are singing together at this point and they make you feel as though you are falling in love with dear Henrietta.  The ending builds with small percussion to a grandiose bass line and then more percussion.  Is this registering with you?  If ever you believed me when I said you should listen to a piece of music, you should believe me now.  Henrietta also does not sound like a normal type of marketable single, but it is one of my favorite instances of art in the universe.  She is beautiful.  

Fragrant World opens with Fingers Never Bleed.  The old Sayer kicks it off strongly.  Fingers is sentimental, which I find to be one of Yea's primary qualities in their discography.  Another example of this is Ambling Alp from Odd Blood.  At this point, I have still barely explained the genre.  I see the band as definitive electronic pop with clear degrees of originality and intellect.  Sometimes it feels like rock and roll with use of electric guitar and electric bass.  Others refer to them as "psychedelic" but that does not register with my ear as an accurate description.  Their third album refuses to stray from the genres they have used on the previous releases, but it is naturally progressive in new directions of sound-creation.  

I am going through my second full listen of Fragrant World as I finish this review.  New layers open up with additional plays.  This album is not the same kind of material that we have seen from Yeasayer in the past.  If you are looking for another Odd Blood, you may be disappointed.  If you are an individual that likes to evaluate musical composition and ingenuity, this is the place to reside!  The sexy voice of Anand Wilder (pictured above) is also a plus any day of the week.  

Listen to Henrietta:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo4rbhR_vsk
Fragrant World is available on Spotify  

SACHEM ORENDA's third album, Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge, is now available.

www.sachemorenda.com           

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

THE FULL STEAM - Yours Truly e.p.


The Full Steam is a progressive pop band that recently migrated from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles in pursuit of advancing their careers as professional musicians.  I had heard word of their existence before I left Pittsburgh in 2010, but my ear was still virgin to their sound.  Eric Downs, Full Steam's drummer, was a known player in our music community, and I desired to discover the current incarnation of his prowess.  The trio (Downs, Justin Portis, and DJ Huggy) recently released an e.p. titled Yours Truly (the bands previous moniker), and it rudely invigorates my nervous system.

Justin Portis leads the band with clear vocals and crunchy guitar playing.  The vocals are seamless for a front man.  His guitar riffs showcase a unique sense of simplicity while simultaneously conveying raw power.  They are surprisingly engaging in a fluid way.  Portis is also complemented by the phat strings of DJ Huggy's bass.  Bass gets more attention in the compositions of Yours Truly than it does in the standard rock band.  This provides a sweet vibration to the overall sonic product.  Huggy is a damn fine player too, if I may say so (it's my fucking blog, asshole!).  

On rare occasion, we meet individuals that have a quality or two that push us off balance, and they unknowingly leave an impression on our totality of thoughts.  For me, one such person was Eric Downs.  He was an extremely facetious guy by day and a dedicated musician by that opposite thing.  I witnessed his practice routine once or twice.  It consisted of complex exercises that he would ruthlessly tear through.  I learned the hard way that you will not have much luck getting his attention when he is in this state.  His universe became nothing more than a drum kit and his own body.  Any outside force was dead.  

Laundry Service is the most rockin' track on Yours Truly.  By this, I do not mean that it is the heaviest sound.  I find it to be the most beautiful of the five compositions on the release.  This beauty stimulates the "keep rockin'" trigger in my brain.  It's like my body is on fire, and don't you even fantasize the action of putting it out!  I'm going to burn for the art.  Additionally, Downs sings majestic backup vocals on this piece like that shit is presidential.  

Listening to Yours Truly is a reward for mankind.  Actually, I could have gotten away with saying that about any instance of music, given my philosophies of sound.  Are you reading this blog regularly?  Catch up, sucka.  Regardless, it's a fulfilling experience when you give The Full Steam your attention.  This is a talented trio that we all will be seeing more of in the nearest future.  Enjoy!  

Like The Full Steam on facebook:  www.facebook.com/TheFullSteam

Purchase or listen to Yours Truly:   www.thefullsteam.bandcamp.com 




Sachem Orenda's third album, Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge, is now available:  


Thursday, August 23, 2012

The "Ontological Shock" of E.T.


Electric Type returns with a new e.p. that threatens humanity.  E.T. is a nearly self-titled collection of tracks, pictures, and story excerpts.  If you liked what you heard with The Ghost in the TV e.p., you are in store for a furthering of Electric Type's natural progression through his life of sexy techno (also known as sexno).

The first track is rather striking for one of Electric's pieces.  90% of his music is instrumental but on Aerogance we hear some smooth auto-tune from Type Rider.  Rida wrote some lyrics that speak from the perspective of Electric Type and his self-proclaimed bright style of cosmic adventuring.  This is definitely a great place to start in the discography if you are not already an avid listener of minimal sexno.

Time Zone is another track that shows the naturalization of Type's music.  I meant the electric one, as there are 2 different types involved.  I think back to 16-bit days of el Sonic when I spin around to Time Zone.  The beat makes parts of my body move that I never knew existed.  This track will be getting the most replay in my library.  Check it.  

I Was Sleeping is a blatant lie.  It is much too articulate and quantified.  That is my only gripe with E.T.  He was probably even multitasking by drinking a Monster because this beat pushes!  The track concludes the e.p. as a 1:45am mellow profession  of love to the club kidz that dance until the last minute.  Da kidz appreciate and thank Electric Type with Monster and cupcakes.

A true Slepmaster of beat theory never regresses.  After the greatness of The Ghost in the TV, I was unsure how Electric Type was going to kick it up another notch but he always finds a method of electrifying by surprise.  You can download this glittering e.p. from the official website while supplies last!  

Download E.T. here:  www.officialelectrictype.com

See Electric Type perform with Sachem Orenda on September 8th!  




Sachem Orenda's culture-defying album is now available!


Monday, August 20, 2012

August 16th, 2012 - A,E,I,O,YOU DIG?


The Funhouse is the kind of venue that welcomes people of all calibers and oddities.  Word on the street said they now allow electronic-oriented musicians to perform as well.  This is a wonderful example of anti-racism in the arts of the Lehigh Valley.  Ignore my moderate nonsense.  I heard The Vowels play on this evening and it was bitchin'.

My genre for the duration was a kind of Indy that was semi-electronic.  The Vowels were comprised of a singer/electronic drummer, 2 guitarists, a bass player, and a keyboardist.  Their image was casual, their emotions were cryptic, and their rock was roctacular.  They would transition between chill/groovy and heavily percussive textures.  Sometimes we would get sexy synth bass or even some live synthesis.  These moments were my aesthetic favorites in much the same way that white girls are not.

Now I shall describe each musician individually.  Let's start with the string players.  Peter Fritz was the bass player and he had a full heartwarming sound.  His playing really pulled the whole band together and he was one hell of a cool guy to talk to after the show.  Blake Antrim was one of the guitarists and was very influenced by Modest Mouse.  He would transition to keyboard occasionally and mentioned to me that he "just uses his ear" to play keys.  Joshua Colon is the other guitarist and newest member of the band.  He had some incredible guitar licks that would make a messiah cry.  His melodies were catchy, interesting, and perfect on a worldly scale.

As for the electronic side of the noize, we had Jayson Simpson and Aaron Couture.  Jayson is one hell of a singer and was sporting a pokeball necklace.  Hmmmmm Pokemon-inspired electronic music...  where have I heard that before?  Jayson is also the most emotional character on stage.  His beats were hard and his vocals often became largely effected walls of ingenuity.  Aaron rocks two keyboards at once.  He shows off a slick Ensoniq and a lovely Korg.  Frequently, he is part of the rhythm section and forms the chord progressions that create the overall tonality of each composition.  In many ways, Aaron is the most integral and vital member of the band.  I would also love to see him perform some extra-flashy synthesis.

The Vowels handed out free CDs which contained seven tracks that are definably familiar after seeing them play live.  My favorite of these is Cold Marrow.  It has a sexual feel to it and lovable vocal melodies.  "Baby, don't let it freeze your bones" is the hook that won't leave me.  Go see The Vowels next time they are around and you will hear some friendly sounds that you never knew you needed.              

For Pokemon-inspired electronic music:  http://officialelectrictype.com/

SACHEM ORENDA's third album, Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge, is now available here:

www.sachemorenda.bandcamp.com

www.sachemorenda.com


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

THE APOLOGY OF S.O.C.


Two years of work and pain were necessary.  That is the apparent cost to create an album that approaches divine nihilism.  The actual cost is 2 decades of hyper-philosophical thought, over 10 years of serious musicianship, 2 university degrees worth of education, and countless conversations (quite crucial).  Personal friends of mine are aware of my frequent rants about new areas of music.  I never had (stressing the past tense)proof and for that, I apologize!

Studio sessions often brought me to my knees.  This music was scaring me.  It was the Ontological Shock of it all.  Am I a man?  Men have failed to achieve these mental projections.  The inability to rule out extra terrestrial contact is my only significant fear in life so what is this haunting entity?  

On this instance of Orenda, my genre shifts anywhere from African and Indian inspired hip/hop to avant-garde electro pop or even an unimaginable concentration of industrial reggae that came to me in a dream.  Thematically, we venture through the Demiurge concept, the purpose of an Apology, the expectations of society against dissidents, the objectification of men and women, and much more.  I offer these 6 focal points in order to solve my cryptic puzzle of lyrics:  

1. Johann is a liar
2. The Demiurge, a product of
3. Orwell's lunacy
4. I will be condemned, not unlike Socrates
5. Post-modern version of peace
6. If I succumb, this nihilist runs

I will no longer try to convince anyone of my musical theories.  People are often fallible but the music is tangible and will never lie.  I succeeded and we all have to live with what I discovered.  

-Sachem

Sachem Orenda's Apology for Popular Music and the Nihilistic Demiurge is available here:

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

3 EASY PIECES - Starring Nack Jicholson


This blog has experienced more activity in other dimensions.  Current dimension status:  I am slowly recovering from some work-related injuries and now believe that I have gained enough strength to communicate regularly.  I think it only purposeful to continue the notions of diversity that I have been screaming about for several years now.  The most relevant aspect to me is not culture, habit, or race.  It is diversity of human thought (although, let us not exclude all other species at this time).  The connexion of thought to good vibrations holds a vital place within me.  I vehemently disagree with the act of limiting these types of sound formations.  To continue, an analytical approach to three thoughtfully different pieces will follow.  5,6,7,8 by Andrew Head/Freaky Tea, a remix of The Sign by Miracle, and After the Rainfall by Diane Wittry are the compositions on the imaginary table.  

As modernists tend to say, Ace of Base are old hat.  New, hmmm such a strange lust.  Why do humans demand new?  I'm still reading Plato and listening to Gary Numan.  I always suspected I was alien though.  Ace of Base are Swedish aliens!  The Sign was a song that foretold of their takeover that was unexpectedly thwarted.  Perhaps they are still waiting for a Miracle.  Yeah, that's a stupid joke.  Miracle remixed the track and revitalized my nerve endings (not that you can relate to visuals of my alien physiology).  Listen to it (I even included a link!) and focus in at 53 seconds.  An enormous audio power hits you like the strike of Bruce Lee or the accidental hit of Brandon Lee.  Too soon?  Anyway, this track became my killer move at my first DJ set as DJ Dark Horendase so I assign it as body movin' material.  

Diane Wittry's imagination presented itself at an angle that questioned my balance.  After the Rainfall is a beautiful piece that begins as a miniature tranquil atmosphere and builds to a standard body of neo-classical greatness.  Later, the piece breaks down to a stripped moment that implies metaphorical nudity and shortly regresses back into a sharply dressed humanoid.  My first few listens of this work were integrated with my Tai Chi practices.  The music serves well as a means of clearing the dirt from your mind and remembering what is important to your life.  I find Wittry to be rather engaging because she is primarily a conductor (at Allentown Symphony Hall) and has somehow assimilated a strong basis for composition from directing countless classics with her orchestra.  My mentors emphasized that you have to compose every day of your life to learn how to write fantastic music but I frequently hear people argue that an artist's original work is his or her best.  Although composition can reflect the results of hard work, all it will ever be is a historical example of free-thought expression.  This is always beautiful to me and cannot be effectively compared amongst various artists.  

-Head at Pitt EM 
Freaky Tea is one of the monikers of Andrew Head, a fellow member of Pittsburgh Electronic Musicians.  If unfamiliar, Pitt E.M. is a student and community organization that I founded in 2008.  I had the pleasure of seeing Andrew perform at Electro Showdown 5 (feel free to ask me about this legendary annual event).  His performance made my green alien blood boil.  Chris Tucker and I were dancing in the audience and yelling "give us the *@#&" and he delivered!  Oops, I'm sorry.  That means "shit" in my native tongue.  5,6,7,8 is one of the pieces that he played at the Showdown.  Head often derives inspiration from music of video games.  When I listen to 5,6,7,8 it brings me back to my childhood days where I was playing Links Awakening and all of the old Sonic games.  I could even get Super Sonic, *$#@&!  My bad again, that means "sophisticated lady."  The melodies are extensive and vibrant or vibranium, whichever is cooler.  Andrew said several interesting things to me that I will list out of context:

1 - "Music can invoke certain mental images."
2 - "Composing gave me a new definition of self."
3 - "A major intention is to make an emotional impact on people."
4 - "Composing has been a good friend."

Make what you will of this on your own time.  I'm about to give an Apology.  

-Orenda

Listen to The Sign remix - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAFuoTzZs3M
Listen to After the Rainfall - http://www.dianewittry.com/aftertherain.html
Listen to 5,6,7,8 - http://freakytea.bandcamp.com/

Download the new single, BARREN LOVERS, by SACHEM ORENDA with one click at www.sachemorenda.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

TRANSGRESSIONS AND MUTATIONS OF PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVE AS THE HUMAN AGES


College was the point in my life when I began to formulate concrete perspectives and morals on everything from war to music.  I attempted to remove as much bias as possible from my rationality and break my thoughts down to intellectual atoms.  Spelunking took place in caves that the usual mind would never explore.  Sadists deserve my sympathy, marriage should not be a large social concept, "born this way" is irrelevant, "chose this way" is the key to unlocking supra ideas, and god possibly exists.  Unbeknownst to me, I was not building an unbreakable ground for walking pleasure.  I was practicing the ceaseless act of philosophizing.    

Some readers may scan the above and observe that I am stating nothing new or profound.  Why should you continue reading?  That's a good Socratic question.  Hmm...   only one way to find out.  Leave if you are bored.  The Orenda Variable of fucks given is less than or equal to zero.  Back to the point, I am making an analogy to the obsolete concept of motionless activity in Zeno's Paradox.  If we continue philosophizing on matters that we have already decided upon, only to further transgress or mutate to another plateau of undisclosed elevation, how is life possible for the creative thinker?  Death provides no closer proximity to truth or pride in the actions of the self.  

How does the human woman or man improve?  We seem to retrace and change with age but ascension is never confirmed.  Philosophy acts as a shield for the ignorance of earthly existence.  "I think, therefore I am" resounds with such naivety.  There MUST be some concept that fulfills this idiotic human-creature.  

Art.  It is truly worthy of it's own sentence.  Art transcends scientific, philosophical, and spiritual thought.  It is intangible AND can fuck your mother.  

All humor aside, did I mention that this blog was about love?  

-Orenda

BARREN LOVERS single now available for free download at www.sachemorenda.com



Tuesday, May 15, 2012

GO TRIO – Three Men of Various Ages


Another occurrence of live jazz music pulled me to Allentown Symphony Hall.  Perhaps the unconscious universe must have some clout Without Regard to desired faith.  I arrived with no preparation for the performers and discovered that my entertainment for the evening was Go Trio with Jeannie Brooks.  Ignoring chronology, my brother decided to come into town to visit me on the day of the performance.  Shaman hates jazz with a passion.  Even if jazz were the name of my pet hedgehog, he would still hate it.  I had every intention of enjoying this situation.  

Reasonably Conservative Jazzism was the term that I applied to the musicians after they began.  The key area of R.C.J. is the reasonableness.  The energy of the Avant Garde is not solely dependent on complete shock.  Is this making sense?  The point is that an incessant search can only fail due to circumstances of death.  Eric Moe taught me that the intellect will appear in the music somewhere.  Don't give up and above all else, “Don't Panic.”  

Jeannie Brooks joined the trio after some introductory music.  I would call her an “entertainer” if I wanted to convince people to attend one of her shows.  That would probably win them over.  Her voice  packed a hard bite and expressed itself diversely.  Was this real or was it Manorexia?  Was this fate or was it chance operations?  Was this madness or was it one of Jim Lee's creations?  If you picked up on any of those three referAnces, we should be friends.  Around this time, I was  questioning Shaman on what he believes about music.  He told me that he thinks that music is good based on the “feeling” that it gives you.  File under R for “Remember”.  

Gene Perla led the trio with some magnificent bassism.  That is not to be confused with distaste for other instruments.  My brother described him as “a bass player that always wanted to play electric guitar because he is really getting into it at times but it's not [noticeably] doing anything [extra].”  Gene's right-hand man was a pianist by the name of Sean Gough.  Sean was my favorite musician of the group.  The possibility exists that I might be slightly reverse-bassist because I love to play piano.

I dashed over to catch Sean after the conclusion.  This was the best part of the night.  First off, I have to mention that Sean looks remarkably similar to one of my best friends in the entire universe.  See picture and compare it to the legendary and lethal Paul Mcgranite.  Doppelganger Paul, go back to queen Doppelpoppelus.  Sean and I had an instantaneous connexion.  We talked for no more than five minutes but discussed life at 24, talked of the joys of live music, and fist bumped over Sun Ra.  In reference to said fist bump, Sean said:  “That is probably the only time this has ever happened.”  We both laughed ferociously.  Lastly, I asked Sean what he liked most about music.  He talked of “the feeling it gives you.”  Have I been missing the point all of these musical years?

-Spartan out

Note:  strange experiences may occur while writing blogs at Symphony Hall.


Monday, April 30, 2012

ALLENTOWN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 2011-2012 SEASON - “In dearest conclusion”


Lehigh Valley became my residence at the end of November in 2010. I was well aware of the existence of Allentown Symphony Hall before I ever stepped foot in eastern Pennsylvania. I was able to experience classical music from two different seasons at this point in time and I am constantly amazed by each event. Enjoyment of live music is not necessarily based on the virtuosity of the musicians. There are literally millions of complex factors that contribute to every output of live music. There is no possible human calculation to know if a performance will win a majority of an audience. U2 in Los Angeles, California is not comparable to a moment of traditional native music in a small town in Mongolia. The point is, you never know what you are going to get and that's why sifting through countless live performances will expand your values and intellect beyond belief. If you do not agree, I challenge you to go to 10+ live performances over the next three months and then have a conversation with me over lunch (no joke, message me at sachemclark@hotmail.com).

Let's discuss the final two concerts of the symphonic season and then summarize the year. The first of these is highlighted by an original piece, a guitar soloist, and Beethoven's 6th Symphony. Philip Rothman wrote “Timeline.” This sequence wasted no time! It was painfully intense on the first beat. The melodies were profound and traditional. If I can enjoy something traditional, it must be articulate! It led to a long serene section and then ended with more ferocity. It was a scary-calm-scary as hell type of classical structure. The keys may be less relevant. Rothman and I connected over our love of the “Rite of Spring” after the show. We both had similar experiences of mind blowedness upon our first listen of Stravinsky's “Analgesia” if Raymond Watts' magnum opus proves a good analogy here (hint: it does). The soloist was truly notable as a guitarist but the interesting thing is that my guitar student accompanied me to this performance and did not care for him. Like I said, you never know how each individual will react. Beethoven's 6th Symphony, end thought.

The finale of the concert series was all about them damn planets! At least, that is what I had expected. This program would arise long of my expectations. Oversit? The ever-lovin' Michael Toth played a Debussy piece all by himself. His piano playing was highly emotional and never let me feel too shy. When music changes you as a whole person, there is no conscious decision. Michael, thank you. Your gifts are excessively generous. The Mannheim Rocket by John Corigliano was a shocking area of the set list. Do classical musicians ever change the set list like rockers? I like fun (yay!). Corigliano wrote something that was out of the ordinary for small-town orchestras. I really commend Diane Wittry for letting this groovy thang breathe some tasty oxygen. Oh yeah, The Planets by Gustav Holst was pretty good too. Maybe you should just come hear this stuff rather than read me all the time :).

Throughout the season, I was permitted to hear a famous red violin, watch a young Rory Lipkis become a man, have a handsome English gentleman force me to like Mozart and then question my statistics about Depeche Mode, meet and connect to fellow composers, and spend time on Mars. I felt like a Stranger in an exotic locale. I strongly encourage all to visit www.allentownsymphony.org and become a subscriber for next season. I'll even let you sit by me so we can laugh and enjoy together. You'll recognize me as the 24-year-old blond hair/blue eyed beauty with an ear piece and a notebook. Come say hi next time!

-Sachem Orenda (www.sachemorenda.com)

Friday, April 13, 2012

February 17th, 2012 - ERIC MINTEL QUARTET “You have a good ear.”


Each of these blogs have been recorded during indeterminate nonsense-time. They have been experienced in something insultingly similar to the actual time. Let us move to February 17th of this year. I wandered to the Rodale Community Room at Allentown Symphony Hall and sat down for some smooth jazz (the original musical choice of the Mohawk group of indigenous people). We were all here to see the Eric Mintel Quartet and were informed that they recently performed at a white house. That is my usual criteria. If it's good enough for the commander-in-chief, it's good enough for Commander Kool. Perhaps that should be the other way around.

The Eric Mintel Quartet consisted of Eric Mintel on piano, Nelson Hill on saxophone/flute, Jack Hedgyi on bass, and Dave Mohn on drums. These four gentlemen tore it up. They said “hey you, I dare you not to enjoy this onslaught of sound” No one had the courage to respond. A friend of mine approached me during intermission and said “they are what I would call one talented group of mofos.” I cannot recall if he actually said the abbreviated version.

In the beginning, I felt energy from Eric, Nelson and Dave but it took some time for Jack to win me over with the bass. At one point he was playin' dat solo that you always dreamed about and then he was showing me some sadness in his chord structure. Eventually he started swingin' that bass like he drunk with jazz. I found Mr. Hedgyi to be most appealing in the way that he bonded with his instrument. It was clear that he loved his bass and was not afraid to show it. He was sexy and he knows it.

Eric Mintel was very open about spending some time to answer my questions after the performance. I asked him about his writing process and his response was interesting. Eric told me that he often learns through performance. After a show he will reflect on different passages that came to fruition and rework them in his head. He will start humming melodies on his drive home and then record them on his smartphone so that he does not forget. Alike to me, he dislikes scoring out music. It's always great for me to hear when successful musicians work around that in the high art scene.

As our conversation continued, I realized that Eric and I had much in common. I was asking him about his chord patterns and how they subtly allude to some scary realms. He said “You have a good ear.” John Goldsmith, you ever see that complement coming my way? Yeah, neither did I. Moving on, I asked him what he listened to lately. Eric told me that he tends to not listen to any jazz. I was stunned for a second and then he proceeded to explain how he did not wish to be influenced by other music. His intellectualism was being cultivated from within. When I was about 16 or 17 years old, I had a similar conversation with my father. He kept telling me that I needed to listen to various guitarists and bass players but I exclaimed that I did not merely want to be an amalgam of existing ideas. It was not my intention to be under the influence or what have you. After this conversation occurred, I have desired to watch Eric play again. If you are curious, visit their website @ www.ericmintelquartet.com

-Orenda


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

SAM & NICK - "Subconscious Integration"

Enjoy.  This is the lone command that Christopher Tucker and I loved to give to citizens of the City of Bridges.  Few could receive it correctly but they all lusted after it.  We would walk for miles, hang out in strange places, and spark conversations that attempted to make people happier.  We would call each other up and say "yo when is the next enjoy day?"  I have no idea what the long-term results were for others but Chris and I enjoyed every minute and if you are reading this, I reflect on these events regularly and miss you dearly from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Why was the enjoy concept vital?  Human beings tend to act alike.  Perhaps we were hoping to transmit through [insert future concept here].  Hold that thought.  The title claims that this is about the acoustic duo known as Sam and Nick.  Everyone knows that C.T. and S.O. are CLEARLY electric.  

Sam & Nick are singer/songwriters from Lehigh Valley.  Sam Hoagland sings intensely while Nick Wilson rips up some jive guitar licks.  I could end this here but please, may we continue?  If the universe were ever silent, I would take that silence as a yes.  I will also receive the fabricated concept of silence positively.  S&N have become the tangent.  Speaking of them, I played a show in Allentown, Pennsylvania and they were first on the lineup.  Everyone in the audience loved what they witnessed.  Contact was made after the show and another performance was coming up two weeks later.  

Sam and I had a conversation when I picked up my ticket for the encore.  Need I stress the importance of buying tickets and attending the performances of your friends/local favorites?  Support artists.  Most of them give free music these days, it is the least you can do for their hard work.  Returning to topic, I asked Sam about her views on music and composing.  She emphasized her interest in expressing current and past feelings.  A particular energy and emotion was what she wanted to portray.  I drilled her with questions about how she conceptualizes the process and intent of putting a piece together.  What was I looking for?  It was some sort of exaggerated hope but we accidentally stumbled upon an area that engaged me.  She stated that she believed composition comes out of all types of music in your life, whether you realize it or not and additionally draws from all of your knowledges and memories.  If you know me, you should have guessed that I would have said something off the wall after a pause of thought such as "Let us call this:  Subconscious Integration." [Realization Point] We both decided that we liked the term and continued onward.  This woman could follow my unique conversation style and completely won me over with her intelligence (far too rare of a task in my current community).  By the time I made my escape, Sam extracted my full respect.  I was anxious to re-experience her art.  

A few days later I roll up to some strange joint that purported itself to be a music venue.  I talked to Nick and Sam (see how I switched that up a bit?) briefly, met a few people, demanded some shy hearts, and entered the building.  Before the music, I spoke with the members of Mansions, one of the touring acts at the show.  I bought their album because they were great people and the drawing on the cover gave me maddening pleasure.  A future review of this album is inevitable.  

When the two stars entered the stage, we all gazed intently.  Without hesitation, they beautified the sound space.  It began with my demands.  "Heart Shy" is the track that I had remembered most from the first Sam & Nick performance that I attended.  My ear has a strange reaction to the chorus melody.  It is not exactly a brilliant melody yet it somehow shines into a fist that thinks I'm G. Zimmerdude (too soon?).  There was a cover of "Wagon Wheel" by BD and the OC.  The genre worked fine but I reacted quite indifferently in comparison to their originals.  Replication of feeling is drastically inferior to the pure message of a writer.  The audience loves you the way you are.  You have no need for the music of other composers.  All of Nick's guitar riffs are legit and he does some great backing vocals in the mix of it all.  I am rather fond of his musicianship.  Sam is either angelic or she sold her essence for one hell of a voice (errr that joke was an accident).  Together, these two majestic individuals have the divine ability to touch the audience with sentimentality.  

I caught Nick (with a fragging net!) after the show.  He had "chill rocker" written all over his face.  We talked about his other punk band and "Bonzo Goes to Bitburg" by the Ramones.  What a blast from the past!  It took the both of us to fully remember the title of that song.  Nick said he mostly writes musical ideas that "sound good" to him.  I get this response frequently from rockers.  Is this not a watered down presentation of what you think?  Mankind needs to elaborate on this "good" sound.  Then again, Jack Handey does say that "Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Basically, it's made up of two separate words — "mank" and "ind." What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind."          

How does this lengthy article fit together and conclude?  Enjoy.  Sam gave me a CD of their work.  I threw it into the Oliver Queen.  I couldn't get enough of it just like Depeche Mode always said.  I didn't want it to end in much the same way that you do wish this article to end by now.  It made me feel energetic and happy.  I have been living far away from my family and friends for over a year now.  Most of us end up in difficult life situations like this eventually.  Every day that someone or someones can make you truly enjoy your life is a great fucking day.  Practice the Tucker/Orenda command of enjoyment and life will get better for everyone through means of Subconscious Integration.   

-off to Pittsburgh for the weekend...        

Excerpt - Deep Thoughts With Jack Handey, http://www.deepthoughtsbyjackhandey.com/