365 Day Music Project Week 8
Here we are, month 2 of this project! It's safe to say the habit is solidified at this point, and I'm happy it is leading to more active music listening during my week. It's been a fun journey so far, hopefully some of you have been joining in at your own pace!
Natural State by SEER
So from late 2013-2014, I performed with a Grand Rapids trip hop/indie group called Mizpah, a fun project for me to learn how to better interact with electronic elements and have better stage presence. The group disbanded, but not without releasing a full length debut, "Aporia," which can be found on the Music tab on this website. What does Mizpah have to do with SEER? Both are led by Benjamin Geisert, who continues to fuse artistic vision with solid production and electronic music.
The Chicago based group drops a solid release, the combined vision of SEER (Geisert) and Jommis (Jesse Forde). It's surreal, industrial electronics that toss in some solid beats, flowing vocal lines, and a sonic thread linking the experience together. It's an album I could zone into while working as much as it is an album to blast in my car rides. Definitely excited to hear their next release and check out more of the scene they are involved in.
Sacred Words EP by Suicide Silence
This EP for me is like a gaming company putting out DLC to keep people invested for the next release. It's Suicide Silence beyond their latest album, breaking in their new vocalist and breaking down more slamming riffs. They continue to perform strong and delight fans at festivals all around the world, and this group continues to scratch that deathcore itch I have every now and then. This band was one of the first "heavier" metal acts I was exposed to, and it lead to a myriad of new sounds. If you're already a fan, you've checked this release out, if not, it's not anything amazing by their standards. It's based around one track, add in a remix and live version of the song (and instrumental), and then add two more live versions of songs on their recent full length. Sometimes you gotta just hype the fan base with an appetizer to what's coming for the main course.
Ancient Mechanisms by LV
This release was 100% picked because Tigran Hamasyan played on it, so good on this artist first of all good on this artist for wanting to collaborate with such a great musician. Outside of my fanboy listening of Tigran tracks, I enjoyed the vibe on the album. Electronic, ambient, grooves with weird instrument sounds layered, and some great danceable beats to ground some of the avante garde elements. Not much else to say other than I want to check out more of this artist!
Senpai EP by Sithu Aye
Playfully tongue-in-cheek, this anime-music inspired EP is catchy, very focused, yet very musical in what it is trying to accomplish. It's a fun release, and even though it's 3 tracks it's still a fun listen! Here's the artist explaining a bit about each track:
"'Oh Shit, I'm Late for School!' follows that now classic trope of running to school for a piece of toast in your mouth and the electro-pop style is one that is very often used for slice of life or romantic comedy anime.
'Senpai, Please Notice Me!' tries to capture that tried and tested trope of falling in love with your high school senpai, one that is used so much in anime that it became an internet meme.
And finally, "The Power of Love and Friendship!" is meant to represent the vibe from battle anime, where even if you're badly losing a fight, just remembering that you're really good friends with everyone will spur you onto victory.
This EP is unashamedly cheesy and cliché and I make no apologies for it, because it was incredibly fun to make and if it conveys even a fraction of the enjoyment that I get out of anime to you, then I consider this EP a success."
Family First by Mark Guilana Jazz Quartet
One of two listening examples from this artist this week, Mark Guiliana is such a solid musician and a creative force behind a lot of awesome projects in the East Coast jazz scene. I first saw him play with Donny McCaslin's quartet (also featured this week), and now I get to hear a release of all original music! This album is a flurry of great acoustic playing, taking bold steps and playing around with rhythm all over each track. It's for the jazz nerds as much as it is the jazz enthusiast!
Fast Future by Donny McCaslin
What can I say? This is another stellar release from this group, a combination of creative jazz elements with cool sounds and impeccable musicianship. Each member in the quartet has been featured on magazines covers, in other fantastic projects, and each of their names is synonymous with a fantastic album. You'd be doing yourself a disservice of you didn't listen to this artist, and I definitely encourage you to start here and work backwards through these artist's catalogs!
My Life Starts Now by Mark Guiliana
So what makes this different from his quartet album? It's got electronics and guest artists! Plus it isn't the same base quartet of musicians from the other project. It's super groovy, tastefully blending acoustic and electronic elements into a modern jazz album easily at home with seasoned jazz listeners and young musicians looking for some inspiration. Go listen, go enjoy some great music, and try to deny the creative forces involved on this project!