Musical gems, part 3
|August 23, 2011||Posted by Joe Towse under culture, reviews|
Since the last post, I’ve changed the name, as I found the use of the term “underground” music somewhat limiting. This will allow me to spread across more genres, as I have only skimmed the surface of many. Anyway, here goes:
Miles Davis – Kind Of Blue 
Although debate will always exist as to which is the best album from this jazz/blues/hip-hop master (who also expanded at times into funk and progressive rock), this is widely regarded as the one above all the rest, a view that I agree with. A long, largely improvised (or so I believe) jazz manifesto based around several catchy motifs, this is pretty spectacular, and quite possibly the singular best album in the genre. Other Davis albums worth checking out include Sketches Of Spain (released in 1960), Bitches Brew (a 1970 album featuring heavy progressive tendencies) and 1986’s Tutu.
Antonio Vivaldi – Le Quattro Stagioni (The Four Seasons) [finished in 1725]
One of the most famous pieces of classical music of all time, and probably the singular most famous of the baroque era, Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi mastered the juxtaposition of the speed and complexity typical of baroque composition, with the key factor to all music from classical to noise; appeal. A problem many have with much of baroque music is that it is overly complex, and thus very difficult to listen to – this is complexwithout being overbearing, and instantly accessible, yet retains secrets for repeated listens.
Code – Resplendent Grotesque 
I couldn’t run this series too long without presenting this, one of my favourite albums of all time (certainly top three). This theoretically falls under progressive black metal, but includes influence from many genres, whether they be the eastern melodies which close out The Rattle Of Black Teeth or the influence of pop music, shown by catchy choruses throughout. Kvhost, the vocalist, manages to have great-sounding clean and harsh vocals coming from the same vocal chords – something very few can do (the bane of most metalcore, which this is certainly not).
Atomski Rat – Atomski Rat EP 
Atomski Rat from Serbia (the name translates to ‘Atomic War’) play a crusty style of d-beat (a style of hardcore punk, in case you’re wondering) – although their biography on last.fm claims them to be talentless, their songwriting chops are indisputable after being shown in aplomb here. It truly is wondrous for a debut EP; although it’s not hugely original (as shown by covers of Swedish d-beat legends Shitlickers and Mob 47 which could pass as originals), it’s done so well that it has to be greatly applauded.
N.B. I have included links to downloads for three of these albums; in these cases it is legal to do so, either due to expiry of copyright (the first two), or the fact that it is sanctioned by the band (the last).