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Wednesday 9 November 2011

Poum Tchak day!

Today, as promised, drums!! (it's really better in French actually.... especially because there's no rimes in English.... erf...)

So, as I had some videos of talented drummers, I decided to share some with you and, because it's quite rare, I selected two videos of two talented girls. The first one is a great cover from Parabola (Tool.... of course) by Meytal Cohen (and, as a Tool fan, I was quite impressed, I have to say...), and the second is from Japan, Senri Kawaguchi! A 15 years old Japanese who is fucking amazing and, moreover, do something clean, proper and precise... Anyway, something I like a lot.


Tuesday 31 May 2011

Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions - Review

Arch-Enemy-Khaos-Legions.jpgHAHAHAHA!! It's out !!!!! :)

To be honest, it's been a while since I had not re-listen to Arch Enemy and suddenly, I learned that their new album was out and I wanted to see what they have become. No suspense, my opinion is more than positive, and it will surely be the highlight album of my next trip .... Because I like to link albums / songs to special events, then, it reminds me full of memories.... Anyway... All that to say that listening to me quite satisfied, but I'll speak about it later :)

And yes, because it was not obvious... I discovered Arch Enemy in 1999, at the same time as Children of Bodom (At that time my big question was especially "Who is making your guts swing the most, Alexi Laiho or brothers Amott, eh eh?"), when they released Hatebreeder I found the Burning Bridges by Arch Enemy. To be honest, I was more hooked on CoB. At that time, my heart already preferred something more melodic and less brutal than the Arch Enemy Death Metal, although my frail teenager ears (and mostly my guitar practicing) knew there was lot of talent in that band!
Short story long, Wages of Sins has not gone through my deck and I actually forgot Arch Enemy, until I saw this cover of the number 86 (precise, uh?) of a French Metal magazine, Hard N 'Heavy... hard-n-heavy_Arch-Enemy_Lacuna-Coil.jpg I vividly remember that moment, I clearly identified Cristina Scabbia (well, at the same time, there was written Lacuna Coil on the cover, so, that was a bit easy....).... And there was someone else, and just under, it was written Arch Enemy, basically, on the cover.... WHAAAAT?? Immediately I thought "Naaaaaaa, Arch Enemy!! What's that! Choose a blonde pinup, it looks too much mercantile to be honest... ugh! So she is charming, and so what? What will become Death Metal with that shopgirl looking! Huh, huh?! Bullshit!!!!". So, that what I thought... in summary.... So, I try to find piece of the new Arch Enemy album on the net (probably on WinMX or Napster .... Ah, ah, it's getting older eh?:)) And listen ... . And then .... Vlan! Nothing more to say .... I felt the shame on me .... I've been hit by a huge mega slap (I said something like "ouch ..." at the time). I took the time to make (to myself, obviously) a sincere apology to Angela Gossow and Arch Enemy for daring to question their integrity and talent. It was quite amazing. I still feel ashame to have to badly misjudged Angela, but, I was young and naive, since, I've learned to don't do it again!

Well, anyway, it was a bit too late though, I had already past on the dark side of the force and Tekno Hardcore monopolized most of my listening time.... So, despite Angela "The Revelation" Gossow, I still have not relapsed into Arch Enemy even though I always had Anthems Of Rebellion on my MP3 player since it was released (you never know, a little envy of Death, it does not control!).

Ok, so, it's fun to speak about my life, but chronic, meanwhile, it does not advance. It's enough, let's speak about our main topic, Khaôôôôs Leeegionnnnssss!!!!!!
So the album starts with a small piece of intro is called Khaos Overture.... I really like the intros of Arch Enemy, this one is composed of a few riffs and a little snare rolls that climbs to finish with a little intro to what constitutes "Khaos Legions" before moving on, without transitions, to Yesterday Is Dead and Gone.
Well, there was no surprises in fact, I had already seen the clip, I knew the song (clip is not bad but lacks some resources, unfortunately, and, a few more would have given credibility to the concept :)).
It's a quite violent tracks but very technical in the same time, then come on Bloodstained Cross, the Amott brothers unleash the hell, Angela give all she has... Ouarf!!! That's.... Wouhou! Very heavy, some breaks to calm the listener without ever releasing the pressure. Chorus melody, great job on vocals and, bam, it goes again without having time to breathe.
The album calms down a little (nah, just kidding :)) with We March Under Black Flags. Arch Enemy seems to have decided to put this album under the banner of freedom and revolution in its most anarchistic concept. Nevertheless, it's Angela herself who has confirming that the artwork (including album cover) is directly inspired by a painting by the French painter Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People, which has been painted in commemoration of the revolution of July 1830.
Next song, No Gods, No Masters ..... Haha! What I said! Nice, a little calmer, not my favorite track on the album. Then comes the shock of The Dead City. A beautiful sequence, very heavy piece, like the following, Through The Eyes Of A Raven. Those two do not sound quite original in terms of both voice and guitar. It remains mostly in the mid-tempo accompanied by really cool riffs.
It continued in the same vein with Cruelty Without Beauty, increased presence of synths (although, I like it....), can be a bit more violent than previous ones. Then, pressure falls with an instrumental track, We Are A Godless Entity before having this huge brutal piece called Cult Of Chaos! For me it's the anthem of the album, Wow! The Amott brothers are having fun, no doubt about it, there is everything in this piece, violence, sadness, hope, peace, rage .... All linked in a chaos of frightening precision.
With Thorns In My Flesh, we feel that the album is definitely passed to the next level, we still have a clever mix of rhythms in the songs, the breaks are well linked and all different. It is believed that it calms down again with Turn To Dust happens next, but that is, in fact, just a small respite that prepares us for the tornado Vengeance Is Mine which comes right after .... And then .... Ouch (again. ..).... Here, no question of release, it goes straight to the point, the only breaks are there to remind us that Arch Enemy decided to fill our ears and brain with their own wishes and talents!
We arrive at the end of the album, and the fourteenth piece, Secrets, which I find funny (yes, yes, funny :)), is struggling to keep the comparison with its predecessors in terms of energy but is very melodic and going very well (so much so that at some point I find the sound of In Flames ..... Well, I would not swear to fans of both groups, but as a fan of In Flames, there are passages in this track that I liked).
Bonus tracks, The Zoo (which I like very much too, one of my favorite) comes after a heavy piece that is listened to with pleasure followed by Snow Bound in acoustics ... Very nice to finish all this deluge of rage and violence that hit me.

In conclusion.... Really pleased with this acquisition, I have no regrets and it is even possible that I will have a glimpse on the previous albums!

Friday 22 April 2011

Making of the Legend

kenji_kawai.jpg Everybody (or almost.... ok, let say, a lot of people) while listening to the so specific first lyrics of the opening of film Ghost in The Shell (1995 - Mamoru Oshii) would say "Ha!!! Ghost in The Shell!!!".

Yes, but, behind the music, there's a composer (which is quite often forgotten in a movie... like the editors, the cameraman, engineers... I agree, there's too many people, you can not remember everybody...). So, this so peculiar songs is Making of the Cyborg by Keniji Kawai.
By the way, he is also the composer of the whole OST, which contains several "ambient" music, cold and nagging, where you can hear really interesting tracks like Nightstalker. This kind of ambiance make me think of Blade Runner or Neuromancer, it's usually a way to see a technological future, where everything is cold as a transitor (even if, actually... errrh, it's quite hot when it's plugged....)

Again, in 2004, Mamoru Oshii and Kenji Kawai are working on Innocence : Ghost in The Shell 2, it's almost the same recipe. There's still the famous Japanese choir singing parts of a Shinto prayer, drums, taiko, always this cold and dark atmosphere....

Of course, Kawai's career isn't only GITS, he is one of the most famous composer and there's a reason! He has been a colleague of Mamoru Oshii on several others project (especially Avalon, which is probably the most famous, at least, abroad Japan), he has also made the OST for different movies like Seven Sword (2005 - Tsui Hark) or Ring (1998 - Hideo Nakata) and other anime like Seirei No Moribito (2007 - Nahoko Uehashi).

I really love Kawai, first of all, he is the same as person like Danny Elfman or Howard Shore, he bring the working of an OST composer on the front of the scene. It has been really helpful I guess to help people to understand that the OST composing work is not a subgenus. It is an important piece between two different kind of art which is here to link the visual and the sound and make something coherent at the end. And, also, he is talented and he is 100% in his works and his projects, that's probably why I always found he's doing something which match perfectly.

Ok, so, one more time, I spoke quite a lot about Ghost In The Shell, and, I have to tell you... It's not the last time... Obviously, now, I have to write an article about Yoko Kanno, another talented composer who has made the OST on the two GITS series.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Yamato, the voice of thunder


Currently in live in Paris until March 27, I had to talk about them merely because it's in my top 3 of my most intense live musical experiment, everything include (no fuss, teknival, metal concert, festival, opera, philharmonic orchestra, free parties.... everything).

Yamato is just awesome, it's a big galactic slap...

So, let me introduce you Yamato. It's a Japanese taiko band, means, a percussion ensemble (as in Japanese Taiko means drum). The Taiko is a traditional instrument of Japan, it has been and is still used with theater pieces or religious ceremonies (and incidentally, according to Eiji Yoshikawa, it's a Taiko player who could have inspired Musashi's famous fighting style ... But hey, I'll speak about it another time). However, Yamato is not only percussion, they also include in their shows other traditional instruments and, also, they have an excellent mastery of the staging.

Besides the remarkable talent of the musicians and the energy they exude on stage, it's a real "alive" show, varied and beautiful that Yamato gives us. Intense phases where avalanches unfurl percussion are linked with quieter passages where we enjoy Shamisen of koto or shinobue . Everything is sequenced with humor, emotion, it's really terrific, they play with their guts ... It's just Dantesque.

There is a real symbiosis between musicians, the show is set as must be a show that has no right to indulge in the arrhythmia under penalty of breaking the fairy, but if the rhythms are engraved, artists' heart beat in unison with the public and the musicians indulge with humor and theatricality in funny small scenes.

Yamato is more than a spectacle of percussion, they make you heart beat with the rhythms of Japan, they give you an incredible energy that they carry around with them and distribute with passion. As I said at first it was, emotionally at least, one of my most intense musical experiences.
So obviously, I highly recommend it!

They're still in tour, they'll be in Netherlands and in Germany soon, do not hesitate to have a look on their schedule, if you have the opportunity to see them, don't miss it!!!!

And, if you are not convinced yet...