New to Me: Newly-found music gems (Vol IV)

Ah yes—the joys of diving into the Murfie shop and finding something surprising! Not everything we find is brand new. In fact, it’s especially fun when we discover music for the first time, only to find it’s been around a while! Here are some examples.

Brandon found Momentum by Joshua Redman Elastic Band

Momentum“I’ve been a Joshua Redman fan since 5-ever (because that’s more than 4-ever), but just recently found this album. It includes awesome covers of Led Zeppelin and Ornette Coleman tunes, and collaborations with Flea and Questlove. The album is all over the place; bizarre yet totally cool, and I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys funky jams!”

 

Andrew found Aphex Twin

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“I had heard of Aphex Twin before this spring, but I had no idea what his music was like. I recently gave it a listen and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not generally a huge fan of electronic music, but I was intrigued by the wide variety of styles he incorporates into his ambient works. Though his album covers can be distracting (apparently Richard D. James has a penchant for faceswapping) some of his tunes make great background music for hunkering down and focusing on work.”

Steve found Awake by Tycho

Tycho“I stumbled across this the other day while seeking out new ambient music for programming. Turns out they were playing in Madison that night! The show was sold out :( But the album is still awesome. The title track puts me in a great mood and helps me focus hard on whatever I am doing.”

 

Kayla found Whokill by tUnE-yArDs

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“I’m late to the tUnE-yArDs bandwagon, but so glad to be on it! I found this album after hearing the song ‘Powa’ recently (total credit goes to Andrew!). I enjoy Merrill Garbus’ dynamic voice. She goes everywhere from a breathy lower register to way high-in-the-sky notes. Her music is quirky, catchy, and fun. Just what I needed.”

Have you discovered something that’s not all-that-new? Take a look and let us know what you find in the comments!

Staff Picks: Pat’s Picks

Everybody loves to listen to music at work, especially here at Murfie. Our office is equipped with the Sonos System, so we can stream music right from out own Murfie accounts while we plug away. Often times when the tracks are coming from me, people will wonder what the noises are that are coming out of the speakers. Some things are new, some are older, but most is a little bit different. 

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Four Organs – Phase Patterns – Steve Reich
Steve Reich’s piece Four Organs starts with very short notes on a single chord. Over the course of the piece these notes grow in length by anticipating the chord and trailing after it, causing a general deconstruction of the chord and changing the way it sounds and feels. It is performed by (as you may have guessed) four organs, accompanied by a Maraca. If minimal and repetitive music are your bag, check out more of Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Terry Riley. 

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Ascension – John Coltrane
John Coltrane is a household name. What is not as well known is some of the music he made in his final few years. The early and mid-60’s was a time that many musicians, including Coltrane, started to take jazz in a new direction. Ascension is a transition from more conventional jazz into the world of free jazz. This album does not have tunes so much as it has an alternating pattern of collective improvisations and solo improvisations. Without being constrained to chords or a form, the musicians are able to express themselves in new and unconventional ways. The world of free jazz is huge, and musicians continue to add to the tradition. Check out names like Ken Vandermark and Ornette Coleman.

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Tago Mago – Can
Can is one of those bands I wish I would have discovered long before I did. Tago Mago mixes groove and weird as good as any band before or after it, but sounds nothing like anything before or after. This album is from 1971 and has been described as highly influential by many artists even today. This is a good album to play loud.

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Black Angels – Kronos Quartet
Here the Kronos Quartet plays two of my all time favorite quartets. George Crumb’s Black Angels and Dmitri Shostakovich‘s String Quartet No. 8. Being the Kronos Quartet, they deliver these pieces with a mastery not known by many other groups. Black Angels is an interesting string quartet in that is calls for amplified string instruments and glasses and tam-tams to be played by the members of the group. Crumb uses the numerical values of 7 and 13 throughout the piece.

Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 is one of the most emotional pieces on the earth. Dedicated to “the victims of fascism and war,” this twenty or so minute piece projects extreme sadness, anger, and eventually acceptance.

48501-largeTrout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band 
One of Captain Beefheart’s Commandments for guitar playing included practicing in front of a bush. He instructed guitarists to “Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grain piece of bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush doesn’t shake, eat another piece of bread.” This album is incredibly challenging for the first few listens, but over time it begins to make sense. It is regarded as one of the best rock albums of all time, and it was added to the National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress in 2010. “A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?”

This Week in Music History (April 11th-17th)

 

The story continues, and Henry’s tradition lives on! Learn up and boogie down!

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4/11– Setting up a bittersweet moment on this day in 1994, Nirvana‘s final studio album In Utero was certified double-platinum by the RIAA, while on the same day a Seattle, WA coroner ruled that lead singer Kurt Kobain’s death was officially a suicide.

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4/12- Making history on this day in 1999, Shania Twain became the only female artist in music history to sell over 10M units with back to back albums: The Woman in Me (1995) and Come on Over (1997).

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4/13Willie Nelson is always stirring up some sort of trouble! On this auspicious day in 2005, Willie had his attorney send Texas state senator Gonzalo Barrientos a (presumably polite) letter declining to have a toll road named after himself. A toll road? Nelson told the Austin America-Statesman, “I’d put my name on an electric chair, too, but I don’t think that’s be too great a thing.”

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4/14– Whether Chuck D and crew knew it at the time, they were making history in 1988 when Public Enemy‘s second album, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, hit the streets hard, loud and unapologetic.

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4/15– Sir Elton John is often and lovingly out in front of charitable efforts. On this day in 2006, he’d “cleaned out his closet”  and raised nearly $1M for his AIDS foundation by selling over ten thousand articles of clothing at the “Elton’s Closet” sale in New York. Not sure we can conceive how BIG that closet must have been ;-).

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4/16– Avant-grade jazz musician Ornette Coleman was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music on this day in 2007 for his album Sound Grammar, which was the first work of jazz to receive the Pulitzer honor.

39874-large4/17– The iconic Johnny Cash performed at the White House on this day in 1970 at the invitation for President Richard M. Nixon. Following the performance, the president and first lady spent hours with Johnny and his wife, June Carter, touring the White House and enjoying each others company immensely – with nary a mention of politics.

Oh, you wanna own any of these gems, or hear ’em in lossless format? Well whaddya know, we just so happen to have them for sale! Right now these titles start at just $1, so get ‘em before they’re gone!