As a musician I figure I have something to learn from just about everything I listen to. My music intake is enormous and I really feel a need (obligation?) to process all of it. I'm going to start posting thoughts of all of the new stuff I get to give myself a new slant on that processing. So let's jump right in!
808's and Heartbreak
Kanye West is one of those brilliant artists who manage to bring innovation to pop music and is lauded by critics and audiences alike. I dig his stuff, I'm not a huge fan but I do have "Late Registration" and I really like it but I don't seek out everything he does. When "808's ..." was released a lot of critics wrote it off since Kanye sings for almost the entire album and runs his voice through a Vocoder (a Vocoder is an effect that makes your voice sound like its run through a synthesizer, its a very trendy sound these days). That actually intrigued me but not enough to pick up the record. Then while in Hawaii my sister's boyfriend told me he recorded it on Oahu (thus the name as 808 is Hawaii's area code) and I figured I would check it out to see if I could find any island influence. I don't hear any direct influence but I do dig it. I like when you can hear artists experimenting with stuff, it really brings you in to the creative process. He might overdue the Vocoder a bit but there is actual songwriting here and the production is pretty creative. It's moody and atmospheric at times while still dropping some serious beats.
And speaking of Vocoder! Bon Iver's release last year "For Emma, Forever Ago" is still in heavy rotation on my iTunes so when I heard a new EP was out I had to snatch it up. The acoustic, melancholy mood of "For Emma ..." is still there but you can tell the EP is made up of tracks that didn't quite fit the concept of the other record. Good songs though. The final track is A Capella yet run through a Vocoder which is a blatant experimental departure from anything else recorded but one I like as well.
The Pearl Thief
2 months ago