Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guest Blog-Steve Dolnack


A FINE PIECE OF AMBIENT MUSIC: Perfect for the cold and dreary winter months, ambient music provides the listener a wonderfully relaxing and meditative experience. Much of it eschews melody, rhythm, and other cluttered pop sensibiliites, and instead focuses on rich textures, repetitions, and subtly-changing patterns. Good ambient music a journey, an experience to get lost in. Of particular note are Global Communication's "8:07", Woob's "Wuub", Spectrum'sand Seefeel's "Spangle".

"BURNING THE GROUND": By and far my favorite music blog, DJ Paul T's Burning The Ground is an enormous collection of 1980s and 1990s maxi-singles. With a particular emphasis on dance and pop music, Burning The Ground is a treasure trove of remixes, extended versions, vocal dubs, bonus beats, and various other permutations of hundreds and hundreds of otherwise-forgotten singles. All of the releases are ripped from compact disc or vinyl by Mr. Paul T. himself, and each one is meticulously documented with a small biographical write-up, credits, source information, and an in-depth tracklisting.

DISTORTED OR OVERDRIVEN KEYBOARDS: A classic but tragically rare technique, distorted organs and synthesizers provide the crunch of a distorted guitar with the distinct attack and decay patterns of a keyboard-based instrument, and sound abslutely stunning. Bands like Suicide and The Screamers used these to great extent, approaching punk music with synthesizers in place of guitars (See Suicide's "Ghost Rider" or The Screamers' "Eva Braun"). Perhaps the most widely-heard (albeit oft-mistaken) example is the last 45 seconds or so of Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime", with an overdriven organ performing the melody atop a series of distorted guitar chords. The instrument's finest moment, however, is without a doubt The Velvet Underground's epic 17-minute "Sister Ray". Much of the song consists of bassist John Cale playing an organ through distorted guitar amplifier, and the result is enormous and overpowering.

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