Friday, June 15, 2012

April 2012 - Popular Music

Tori Amos
  • From the Choirgirl Hotel
  • To Venus and Back (studio disc)
  • Scarlet's Walk
  • American Doll Posse
  • Night of Hunters
  • Scarlet's Hidden Treasures
Melanie C - Northern Star
Crowded House - Temple of Low Men
Gotye - Like Drawing Blood
Gotye - Making Mirrors
Patty Griffin - Flaming Red
Elton John - Tumbleweed Connection
Joni Mitchell - Court and Spark
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot

April was the month that I jumped on the Gotye bandwagon.

Well, that's not strictly true, in the sense that I've had Like Drawing Blood for nearly 3 years.  So April was the month that I jumped on the bandwagon created by the massive success of his single, 'Somebody That I Used to Know' - as manifested by buying the album that it's on.

I'd been meaning to at least investigate the album for quite a while, but it just hadn't happened.  It was the news that he'd reached the number 1 spot in America (a very rare achievement for Australian artists) that finally prompted me to think, "why on earth have I still not listened?"

The first very pleasant surprise was discovering that Gotye has basically put the entire Making Mirrors album up on Youtube.  I'm not sure if I've said it here on this blog, but I'm saying it now: letting people hear your music can gain you sales, not lose them.  Because the second pleasant surprise I got was that the new album is not just good, it's better than its predecessor.  Making Mirrors plays an awful lot like Like Drawing Blood, structurally speaking, but everything is tighter and more secure.  The album has lots of interest and variety but it doesn't meander. To me it basically demonstrates the increased maturity of Gotye's musical judgement while sticking to his essential methods.

And they're very interesting methods.  The 'limited' edition of the album (which as far as I can tell is the only edition you can actually buy in Australian stores at the moment!) includes a DVD which gives a lot of insight into the way he collects and samples sounds and builds songs out of the ones that interest him the most.  It was genuinely worth watching. Whether it's whacking a musical fence and making a bass line from the available notes, sampling tiny fragments of Brazilian and Taiwanese records, or singing an entire song on one note before using technology to shove the notes into the 'correct' positions, this is a man whose techniques are at least as interesting as his results.

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