No longer as truthful as should be deserved, some names, places and events deliberately vague to protect identities that aren't mine

Sunday, 23 May 2010

7 minutes (or more) to save the world.

This is what I was halfway through the other day...

I have this theory. Which I'm sure now that I'm mentioning it, each one of you will be able to cite 20 different counter examples that prove me wrong. But oh well.

I have this theory that any band that produces a song greater than 7 minutes in length is automatically awesome. And that those songs themselves will be some of the best and most interesting work that band produces. As some undebatable examples of totally awesome >7minute works, there is Tubular Bells, Freebird, Sympathy For The Devil, Hey Jude, In-A-Gada-Da-Vida, and the full length version of Meatloaf's I Would Do Anything For Love. Of course, this theory loses relevance a little bit in the world of trance and remixes and various other genres of music, but nevertheless, I would like to share with you some songs & bands that I recommend you listen to, for I love them all in their own special ways. I cheat progressively more as you work your way down the list (more or less), so make your own judgements. I've provided youtube links where I can/if its a decent representative of the song.  N.B.  Whilst I recommend the music in the youtube links, I'm not necessarily stating the video is actually any good, some are fanvids *cringe*

Something Corporate - Konstantine
One of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands. I got through moments in my A-Level exams by singing the whole of this in my head. It passes the time nicely when you just can't think anymore and need to clear your head before 5 minutes (and let the oversized writers bump on your finger calm down - downside of humanities subjects). This has a personal resonance for me, as I can't help but connect it with my first love for some reason (we hadn't spoken for 3 years when it was released, so not that obvious), and it conjures a lot of imagery in my head. But regardless, I love the emotional variation of this song, it goes up, it goes down, it goes angry, it goes emo, it goes nostalgic, it goes in love. Maybe not so odd why it seems a good metaphor for things then... Something Corporate are my second favourite band, and I wish they'd regroup, but what with cancer and moving onto other projects, that's not likely anytime soon. I'm a big fan of piano driven rock, and if you like this, check out the lead's current project - Jack's Mannequin.

Counting Crows - Mrs Potter's Lullaby
The one downside of this song, is that I can't help but think of the Potters out of Dawson's Creek, but that's what I get for watching shit TV. Counting Crows are the band who perform Colourblind - the song's that's playing as Reese Witherspoon comes up the escalator at the train station to find Ryan Phillippe (we should all be so lucky) waiting for her in Cruel Intentions. They also covered a not too shabby version of Joni's Big Yellow Taxi with Michelle Branch a few years back, and perform the song Accidentally In Love, which is in Shrek, the second one I think. Anywho, this song is a nice big long story; I like story songs - hence why I'm a fan of Suzanne Vega. This song always seems a bit like The Graduate to me, but it's not wise to ruminate on the connections my mind makes.

Lifehouse - Revolution Cry
Okay so this is my favourite band. Not a favourite song by a fair few, but a very good song nonetheless. Full of hope, uplifting, but in a quiet and subtle way. This song works when I'm emo, and it works when I'm manic. I particularly like the lyrics in this, probably cause it speaks to me, in that way that all good music should do. And Jason Wade is very good at writing music like that. And actively avoids citing a specific meaning or relevance to any of his songs, even his own thoughts or influences on it, because he doesn't want to invalidate anyone's own personal understanding of the music they create. And I think that's a good thing. This is a revolution song in a way, but a revolution of the heart. And yes I just said that. And yes Joel, I'm shielding against astral bitchslaps.

Amanda Palmer - Delilah
First Cheat. The studio version of this song is actually 6.55, but the version I'm linking is about 7.30 (taking off some time for some end dialogue). I didn't used to be sold on this song, but then I don't think I'd properly listened to it. As Chris says, it's the harmonies that really make this song. And as AFP (Amanda Fucking Palmer to the uneducated) says about the girl backing her, "Holy shit that girl can sing!" Incidentally, the girl backing her is Georgia Train, half of Bitter Ruin, who I LOVE, really recommend, and I will be selling the new album at their launch shows over the next week :) Songs about fucked upness are always good, but a good song about fucked up ness is really great, and this says it perfectly. I know I've linked this in a previous post, but it deserves posting again, to hopefully introduce some of you to Amanda Palmer/The Dresden Dolls/Evelyn Evelyn.

The Mars Volta - Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt
So I couldn’t put the epic Televators on here, as its just not long enough, so instead, I’ve provided my second favourite song from The Mars Volta. Deloused in the Comatorium was a fucking epic album, and whilst I own it, I simply don’t know Frances the Mute well enough to comment on it. But for weird sound combinations as well as some truly impressive lyric writing featuring an obscure vocabulary of archaic, obscure, and made up by phonotactically accurate and perfectly intuitive words, nothing can beat these guys.

The Cranberries - Zombie (Camel's Hump Mix)
*SPOTIFY LINK - NOT ON YOUTUBE*  Okay so it’s a remix, but its a truly bizarre remix of a song that’s originally a protest anthem. Not every day you have that. Possibly one to be listening to on hallucinogenics, just because I imagine the array of musical festivities assaulting your brain might possibly produce some very strange results, especially as the song switches from the childish, to the freaky, to the dance, to the synthed, to the original sound sample mixed over the top. Incidentally you should check out the Cranberries generally – some good music did come out of the 90s, I promise you!

Loreena McKennitt - The Lady of Shalot
Yes, even Loreena made it onto this list. Her inclusion may of course, cause you to thus judge the entire list as not worth paying attention to, but it’s the risk I take. Personally, I was never one for the Lady of Shalot myth; I’m not one for anything connected with the British Isles history really, but I do rather like this rendition. It’s the large majority of the original poem, though not it in its entirety, set to music and sung, and I think it works rather well. Ms. McKennitt is someone who doesn’t release an album or record a song without doing a lot of research into it, hence why she switches over the course of her career from British folk history, to eastern trance, to an entire album devoted to the pagan sabbats, and I think this song shows that amount of research and consideration for the context of what she’s producing pays off on gambles like this. I’ve mentioned how I like story songs, and this becomes one very effectively in this version.

Genesis -Supper's Ready
Who doesn’t love 23 minutes of biblical imagery in their music? Okay so prog rock is definitely heading into the cheating section of songs that are likely to be longer than 7 minutes long, and arguably, this has several different sections that are in fact combined to make the 23 minute epic that is Supper’s Ready, but it is cyclic, it comes full circle from start to finish, and it does tell a consistent story in-between. Genesis are a musical feast. You cannot fault them. They pioneered so many sound techniques, synthesizing, mixing effects, and promoted the use of lasers in performance when it was still early technology during their heyday. Chances are you’ll already know some of the band member’s other solo work, or at least recognise them as big players in the music industry by name. Suppers Ready is one of the best examples of just how varied their music can be, how brilliantly put together it is, with smooth, seamless segues between each section that adjust according to the different tempos, beats, and senses of each piece. Nothing comes close to this kind of thing nowadays.
N.B.  This song, due to length, comes in 3 parts on youtube - the other 2 are linked off the first one that I've linked as the title

Genesis - Firth of Fifth
For those who want something a little shorter than a 23 minute assault of prog rock, Firth of Fifth provides. All the stuff I said before still applies, and Firth of Fifth still showcases the talent of Genesis at its best, though there is a little less variation apparent as this is a singular, more contigious piece, rather than the multitude that make up Supper’s Ready. However it’s still prog rock, it still goes all over the place, and it has one of the best intro pieces to a song ever.

Genesis - Dancing with the Moonlit Knight
Yes yes, more Genesis. This has a notably darker tone than either of the previous two in my opinion, more subdued, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t varied. It starts off morose and bittersweet, and builds up progressively through the track. This song has some amazing solos and instrumentals in it, from the disgustingly talented Steve Hackett, and it comes complete with dress up in live performance. I realise, I haven’t given any examples of the latter period of Genesis. That’s not to say there’s nothing worthwhile there, a lot is still amazing in ways that just can’t be put into words, but I am a classic-era Genesis fan, and so songs like Supper’s Ready and this one will always be my favourite works of theirs.

Dragon force - Through The Fire and Flames
This song shouldn't need introducing. Jack can play this on hard expert difficulty on Guitar Hero. Normally, I hate wanky guitar 'look at me and how good i am with my solo that you'll never be able to play cause it needs 13 fingers and 2 left hands' kinda music. But with Dragonforce, they recognise what they're doing, they don't do it to be pretentious, they do it to take the piss out of both themselves, and everyone else doing it. And I can respect that level of self awareness. Especially when it produces songs like this. It's also a really fun song to play on Audiosurf.

Infected Mushroom - Dancing with Kadafi
Psy/Electro I know, but this song moves around a lot, it doesn’t just repeat the same spacey or synthed sound, so it’s worth listening to. I love the eastern bit about 6 minutes in, definitely my favourite section in the entire song. If you like this, I recommend Cities of the Future. Dancing with Kadafi is awesome if only cause it combines so many influences into one track; Infected Mushroom are a band that travel a lot, they take musical rhythms from all over the world and incorporate it into their own music in so many different ways, and this song doesn’t just do it with one or two influences mixed into a more standard base, this goes all over the place, takes every influence it can, and produces some truly awesome music at the end of it.

Mind in a box - Amnesia
Credit for this one must go to Seany. He found the band, and told me to listen to this song and I've loved it ever since. What does it say to me? Hmmm, I can't quite place it to be honest, Truth? For lack of a better word. Definitely ideal played with decent speakers, and fairly loud. Ideally things should be vibrating violently. Preferably not your heart, though if you do manage to achieve that, please have a videocamera set up to prerecord. Both for my own twisted viewing, and the interest of the scientific and military communities

Astral Projection - Dancing Galaxy
Firmly in the world of trance now. This one is mostly for the geeks. It's a nice travelling song sure - with a band name like Astral Projection and a song title 'Dancing Galaxy' how could it be anything but, but this truly awesome thing about this song is the inclusion of the sound sample from David Lynch's film version of Dune. Whilst I dislike the film version, especially in its ending, and uberespecially compared to the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries, it does include much more of the prelude to Arrakis, where so many important and pivotal things occur in the book. Not really ideal for spacing out to, due to the included sound sample regrounding you every so often, but definitely a good chillaxin tune.

Hallucinogen - Angelic Particles (Buckminster Fullerine Mix)
Okay so its both a remix AND still in the world of trance, but if the inclusion of the words 'Buckminster Fullerine' in the title didn't make you geek out, then there's no hope for you at all and you might as well go make a cup of tea instead of reading my blog. Being trance, there's not necessarily a huge amount I can say beyond its nice to space out to, but you'd hope that really, otherwise its some pretty shit trance in my opinion. It's very soft and laid back, and if you feel like making an opium den, this song is pretty much your background music.

Hallucinogen - Gamma Goblins 1 & 2
Technically two songs, one of longer than 7 minutes and one shorter, but they're also two parts of a whole. If trance met the movie Gremlins, with a touch of the creepiness found in The Stranlgers 'Waltzing Black', this is sort of what would be the terrible yet great offspring of that biologically surreal and not entirely practical union. Best not to listen to this one in a darkened room whilst you're on hallucinogenics, or you really will start seeing things. So naturally, I have done this. Of course, I was seeing dragons and fighting my friend Jack for my life that night, so wierd goblin laughs were really the least thing I was concerned about, but I'm assuming your trips are slightly more stable and sane than mine, insomuch as hallucinogenic trips can be stable and sane. I also recommend the 'Its Turtles All The Way' mix.
N.B.  Part 2 can be found linked off the one I've provided, or a search for Gamma Goblins will provide on Youtube.  Make sure to get the Hallucinogen versions, and not the ones by Infected Mushroom

Of course, there were things that didn't get on here. Soundtracks and Classical music I completely ignored, despite how many good songs there are in them. It's very sad that Regret by Malice Mizer isn't over 7 minutes long, but I'm going to link them anyway, like I just did. Also Sigur Ros and Explosions In The Sky have music you should check out if you don't know it already, I just don't know their songs well enough to say much about them. But hopefully this has given you all plenty to go away and have fun with. Mostly Adam when he's avoiding revision.

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