Dutcher Snedeker

Pianist, Sound Engineer, Booking Agent

365 Music Journey Week 5

This week was not without it's challenges for listening for sure. I had a week of working a job til 2:30 pm and then heading downtown for a 5-7 pm outdoor concert every day for the most part. Take that exhausting week of music and add a few late nights this weekend rolling into another work week, and you have a recipe for a very drained Dutcher. Some of the writing suffered, and some of the albums definitely deserve a second list for sure to really have the music sink in further. 

So here is my week's offering from this past week, sorry to those who expected a drop for Sunday, but we will be back on schedule this weekend for sure. This week had a lot of releases that can be found on Bandcamp, from indie rock to jazz electronics to ambient hip hop to hang drums and double-necked acoustic guitars. It's a nice variety all found in one great location, hope you enjoy! 

Two Fold pt 1 by Haywyre
This artist caught my attention with one of his YouTube videos shared on my newsfeed, blending some sweet jazz harmonies with some tight electronic production. Like I’ve said before regarding jazz, it’s such a malleable style, and it definitely allows more room for an artist to create something with greater presence. Haywyre is definitely an artist I’m going to follow up on, he’s got a good thing going on with his music.

This release came out in 2014 and it shows an attention to combining distinct, contrasting musical elements within each song. Electronic vs. acoustic, organic vs. synthetic, simplicity vs. complexity, all dancing within a classical and jazz influenced style weaved into an electronic music sound. All too often we dismiss the work of people with sound musical training crafting something in an electronic space, seeking the purely electronic musician stitching samples and crafting musical materials solely in an electronic space. However, when you have an artist like Haywyre, who is clearly at home in the realm of classical and jazz, creating electronic music with the same craft as a purely electronic artist, you get something with more punch, more direction, and with a much better flow to an album release. I’m definitely a fan, and if I had more electronic music like this I’d probably listen to this genre more often.

We Are the Drum by Kendrick Scott Oracle
This album dropped towards the end of last month, and it’s such a cool album. It’s hard to articulate an album like this from only one listen, but I can tell you this: awesome rhythms, great melodies, some sweet harmonies, a thread of awesome music expertly crafted and performed by some top level musicians. The title track above shows a powerful force behind Kendrick Scott's music, one that sits comfortably in varying rhythmic meters and bursts forward with a soaring melody line flying across a rich harmonic sky. You’d be doing yourself a disservice ignoring this new album, and especially if you haven’t listened Kendrick Scott and are craving a new artist in today’s jazz scene. Go listen to it now!!!

Secret Space by Secret Space

This group is newer to me, but I found out about it through a friend’s promotion of the group. His name is Dean Tartaglia, a mutli-instrumentalist who studied music at Ohio University and previously part of the duo indie rock group Silent Lions, who played a show at Mulligan’s with Mizpah the year I was involved with the group. He’s got a focus, he’s got a vision, and his new project is signed to Equal Vision Records! It was cool checking out this album, as it showcases the group’s grunge, psychedelic rock sound with such strong delivery. I have the song linked above stuck in my head for sure, and the rest of the album is just as fun to listen to. Can’t wait to see more from this band!

Since there were no live performances of the album music up yet, I thought I would share this: a clip of Daniel Waples and James Winstanley (The Hang Drum Project, a duo of traveling hang drum performers showcasing the instrument) playing in a village in rural India, just in case you thought the release lacked some sort of cultural reference. 

Sunset in India by Hangin Balance

This is the latest release from Daniel Waples, a UK HandPan player that I got acquainted with from his Youtube videos. I hadn’t even known about the instrument until then, and seeing this flying-saucer looking steel-pan cousin percussion instrument in action was really cool. Such a cool tone, and some cool possibilities for sound. It’s very similar to a hang drum in its construction and performance approach. At kind of reminded me of drumming inside the “hamburger” playground equipment in elementary school.

This collaborative album features the Waples with DK musician/producer Lars La Ville, and it definitely has a distinct India vibe to it with its instrumentation, song styles, and harmonic/rhythmic palette. It’s a cool collaboration that both showcases La Ville’s creativity in accompanying Waples’ handpan playing while also showcasing Waples’ mission to show the versatility of the instrument. It’s great for somebody looking for world music that doesn’t sound like a generic CD you’d sample in Target or glance at waiting in line at a coffee shop. It’s got solid production and some cool creative choices, so check it out!

Run Towards The Mountains by Ian Ethan Case
This guy is a monster on acoustic guitar, mainly because he is often seen slapping, tapping, and strumming his double-necked acoustic Ovation guitar on stage. His compositions show a variety of sounds and styles the guitar is capable of playing while staying tasteful with his technical display. It isn’t mindless shredding nor is it one approach, mesmerizing to watch. In addition to solo, double-necked acoustic works, he has some recorded tracks that are performed live with looping and layering to create even more vibrant, involved songs. He’s such a cool artist, and for those that love more involved acoustic guitar playing will really dig this release!

So the Flies Don’t Come by Milo

This album was definitely a trip, a random choice from this past week’s Bandcamp lineup of popular releases. The album is a tapestry of lyrics woven from spoken word and rhythmic rhymes and stitched together with the fluid, organic backbeats that drive mood more than typical snare hits on 2 and 4, also including elements of jazz and ambient electronics. There is a method to the madness, buried deep within strong poetic delivery and accented by guest artist responses and very distinct backing tracks. It’s an album you’d expect to unearth on Bandcamp, and it’s one that got airtime on this past week’s “Bandcamp Weekly” radio podcast. It’s definitely for fans of hip hop looking to find something with personality and not something constructed solely to deafen drivers in custom car audio speakers. As one bandcamp reviewer put it, “Channelling his spoken word flow and cerebral wordplay over jazzy and intricate beats, milo has created a collection of tracks brimming with attitude, aggression, and insight.”



New Bermuda by Deafheaven
Already, some of you are thinking “oh great, another Deafheaven critique” or are so deep into their new release you can’t hear anything above the music you’re blasting to immerse your household environment. Those who know me well know that I don’t get the Deafheaven hype: I’ve listened to the critically acclaimed debut, “Sunbather,” noticed their rise to popularity from underground to NPR, saw them live supporting other acts I wanted to see, and I still came away with questions more than definitive answers. Many say they “changed a genre” by combining elements of shoegaze, black metal, punk rock, and thrash. Many are already typing feverishly to correct my supposed misinterpretation of their favorite band, which is fine by me (every has an opinion). Maybe I come from a lack of understanding of that specific underground scene where they were conceiving Sunbather and New Bermuda, but all I can do is offer my interpretation from listening.

This album is different, yes, and it does more to both reinforce my negative association with their music as much as it does to strengthen the arguments of their supporters. Each track is a patchworking of different genre styles, all fitting together to highlight their various influences as a group. For fans of their music, this is a way to highlight their ability to link together such different genres into a cohesive sound. It’s a way to show that the energy of thrash metal and punk, the drive of black metal, and the ambience of shoegaze can be linked.  For me, it feels disjointed, as each track is long enough to include several style switches without really feeling like a single song.  I liked some of their ideas, and they definitely have improved in terms of capturing the sounds they want to convey, but sometimes I felt that the tracks needed a break that wasn’t a genre shift while the track was still running. Clearly they know something I don’t with their continued success, but I’ll definitely keep my eyes on the group over the years to see what changes (if anything does). Who knows, maybe live each track hits the ears differently?

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