The Violin as Rock Instrument
As a kind of ruse to let me post lots of good music at once, I’ve compiled a collection of tunes that showcase the violin in a different light to the standard rock/pop fare that usually comes to mind when a band goes to work with an orchestra. Funnily enough however, all of these are solo male artists so I’d be happy if you could suggest some female artists in the same vein (I’d have posted Joanna Newsom, but she’s all harp, ain’t she?). Anyway here we go:
Andrew Bird and his Bowl of Fire have been playing and recording for years, but it was only when scouting out various sites’ lists for the top albums of 2005 that I came across The Mysterious Production of Eggs. It’s a fantastic array of tunes that shift the focus from strummed, stroked or plucked strings, electric and acoustic, whilst fronted by his seem.ingly effortless vocal. Oh yeh, it seems strange to mention it, but he’s not a bad whistler either.
Fake Palindromes is a rock song with sly rhymes and building rhythms before battering drums back up the whirling violins in the wordless chorus. It’s possibly the noisiest on the album, and it’s over before you know it, but I love it all the same.
Andrew Bird – Fake Palindromes Mp3 Expired [buy The Mysterious Production of Eggs]
Bonus MP3: Andrew Bird – A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left Mp3 Expired
[taken from andrewbird.net]
Owen Pallett is probably more heard for his work arranging most of the strings for The Arcade Fire’s album, Funeral, but if you went to any of the early live shows, you’d find he’s also a damn fine solo artist as well. On stage, he builds up the songs around looping samples, tapping and plucking rhythms before forming string quartets over the top. On record, he’s allowed more freedom and adds effects and instruments into the mix.
Either way it’s amazing, and The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead was one of the first songs I heard before seeing the live show and I still find it’s buildup and release fascinating. He has since recorded a second more expansive and more concise record in He Poos Clouds, but instead of a fresh cut off that, I’ve added a favourite live cover.
Final Fantasy – The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead Mp3 Expired [buy Has A Good Home]
*Bonus MP3:*Final Fantasy – This Modern Love (live Bloc Party cover Mp3 Expired
We now cross the ocean to an artist that actually shares a label with Final Fantasy, and one who also seems to relish a sort of otherworldly feel. Patrick Wolf enjoys revelling in electronics and adding a more harsher edge to his songs. Of course, a firm eye is kept on that killer hook as well as the atmospherics, well presented on both songs here.
The Libertine confusingly came out around the time of Mr. Doherty’s first foray into the public eye (and into the cells for that matter) and didn’t make quite the mark it should’ve done. Its galloping drum loop and punchdrunk violin line definitely made a hit with me, and I’m hoping new song, Accident and Emergency from the upcoming The Magic Position pushes him to fresh and inviting ears.
Patrick Wolf – The Libertine Mp3 Expired [buy Wind in the Wires]
Bonus MP3 Patrick Wolf – Accident and Emergency Mp3 Expired
I’ve been kicking myself for the past week for not paying more attention when my radio co-host (the wonderful Emily Andrews) was thrusting a vinyl copy of Jeremy’s EP, Other People’s Secrets down my neck, and also when we actually played the lead track off the record. Of course now, it’s come back to bite me as his new album, The Art of Fiction is gaining praise wherever I’ve happened upon it and he’s just finished touring it around the UK (again, I missed him last time, despite more protestations).
Dirty Blue Jeans was that lead track, and it’s everything a lead track should be. Excited violins stutter, drums pound, spaces are filled with trumpets and Jeremy forces his way through as the song breaks down with him singing _“I’m still in control!” before it explodes and finally contracts. It’s a wonder so many glorious sounds could be fit into three minutes but he manages it with great aplomb. And yes, the album is a corker.
Jeremy Warmsley – Dirty Blue Jeans Mp3 Expired [buy The Art of Fiction]
Bonus MP3 Jeremy Warmsley – I Keep The City Burning (demo) Mp3 Expired
[taken from jeremywarmsley.com]