Monday, 16 September 2013

Musical Minutiae

Songs are all very well, but sometimes you just want to 'rewind' and hear a little bit of a song again and again; some bits -

Artist: The Smiths

Title: Pretty Girls Make Graves (from The Smiths, 1984)
Moment: 'outro' begins at 03:02
Duration: approx. 38 seconds
Description: Johnny Marr's beautiful little three note melody in the outro of this great song is a million times better than the tunes most people base whole songs around. Morrissey presumably liked it too, it seems to have influenced both The Lazy Sunbathers and Hold On To Your Friends from his great Vauxhall & I.

Artist: Ihsahn

Title: M (from Das Seelenbrechen, 2013)
Moment: beginning of guitar solo (beginning at approx. 02.06)
Duration: approx. 30 seconds
Description: This album is full of amazing moments, but the wholly unexpected entry of Ihsahn's Dave Gilmour-esque bluesy solo after a sinister atmospheric/electronic intro is immensely powerful.

Artist: Depeche Mode (from  A Broken Frame, 1982)

Title: My Secret Garden
Moment: bass noise at 0.08
Duration: 1 second
Description: The intro to this classic, cheesy synth-pop song mainly consists of some very chiming noises, but among them is this one note, pure, clean, warm electronic noise.

Artist: Falkenbach

Title: Hávamál (from Heralding the Fireblade, 2008)
Moment: Wise ones have spoken... (2:10)
Duration: approx. 12 seconds
Description: Vratyas Vakyas' superb setting of the gnomic words of Odin to music is powerful and atmospheric, and the acoustic break with Vratyas' perfect heroic vocal is the perfect break in the wall-of-sound of electric guitars, choirs etc.

Artist: Blondie (from Plastic Letters, 1978)

Title: Fan Mail
Moment: Debbie Harry's growl at 2.19
Duration: approx. 4 seconds
Description: This unheralded song is a masterpiece anyway, but the moments when Debbie Harry's 'in my ears a bell keeps ringing' becomes a strange growl that blends in with the guitars and synth is just great.

Artist: David Bowie

Title: We Are The Dead (from Diamond Dogs, 1974)
Moment: 0:00-1:09
Duration: 1 min 9 seconds
Description: From the first note up until it starts to build for the chorus this is just one of the greatest things Bowie has ever recorded. The sparseness of the sound with churchlike organ and spectral, echo-laden vocals makes this a masterpiece of understated menace and atmosphere. The chorus isn't bad either, but it doesn't sustain the drama created by the song up until that point.

Artist: Edgar Winter Group

Title: Free Ride (from They Only Come Out At Night, 1972)
Moment: Intro
Duration: 9 seconds
Description: The unadorned guitar intro played (I presume) by Dan Hartman and Ronnie Montrose entirely captures the spirit of happy, funky, post-hippy American rock in the 70s. The whole song is great but the intro is probably the best part.

Artist: Gene Simmons

Title: Burning Up With fever (from Gene Simmons, 1978)
Moment: outro (2:52 onwards)
Duration: approx. 1 min 40 secs
Description: Gene Simmons' '78 solo album has a surprising plethora of great songs in a variety of styles. Burning Up With Fever is funky rock featuring Jeff "Skunk" Baxter of Steely Dan/The Doobie Brothers on guitar. Already a great, loose, fun song, Gene makes it even better by bringing in the great Donna Summer to do some  untrammelled sexy vocals as the song fades out.

Artist: Hardingrock

Title: Huldreslåtten (Bygdatråen) (from Grimen, 2007)Moment: beginning of fiddle solo
Duration: approx. 8 seconds
Description:  This  beautiful song begins with nature noises before Knut Buen starts to narrate the story with minimalistic musical/vocal backing. Then at 01:37 he begins his amazing solo on the hardanger fiddle. The whole song is a masterpiece of atmospheric music, but the entry of the fiddle is the most powerful moment, and one of the best on an album that is excellent in all respects.

Artist: Iron Maiden

Title: Revelations (from Piece of Mind, 1983)
Moment: entry of guitar riff (00:29 - 00:37)
Duration: 8 seconds
Description: Maiden rarely play a rock riff as such, but when they do, they make it count.

Artist: Jonathan Richman

Title: Important in your Life (from Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers, 1978)
Moment: guitar break (0:56 and again at 2:27)
Duration: about 10 seconds each
Description: The whole song is just a lovely piece of timeless tongue-in-cheek sentimental whimsy, but  the point where Jonathan Richman announces this simple little guitar break and it happens is just perfect.

Artist: Starofash

Title: Crossing Over (from The Thread, 2008)
Moment: beginning of first verse after intro at 0:53 - 1:03)
Duration: 10 seconds
Description:  The key to this song's greatness is the way the excellent lyrics are enunciated clearly without sacrificing the expression and feeling behind them.

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