SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1481

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:21 pm

Regarding what you said about the tracks being short though, G-Man, personally I've found that it's part of the album's charm, and I typically view the whole album as one whole piece consisting of many little parts that fit together. It's a grower though. I think the first time I ever heard it, if I was rating it based on my current system now, I'd probably have given it a 3.5. It was around listen #10 or so over the span of a few years that it really started to knock my socks off. My appreciation and love for it has grown ever since. It's incredibly immersive.

One of the reasons I chose this album as well instead of a different IDM album is that a common response I get when I've recommended or shown people my favorites in the past is indifference to how inhuman, cold, detached, etc. electronic music is. I don't personally feel that way about any of them, and I don't even view those descriptors as negative, but based on feedback regarding this album, I do think this one is relatively more approachable and "human" to music listeners who aren't crazy like me binging weird electronic stuff on a regular basis. I'd say part of its accessibility is due to the shortness of the tracks; nothing gets overly repetitive like other electronic music often can.

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1482

Post by MovingPictures07 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:47 pm

Random trivia about Flying Lotus and Cosmogramma:

- Flying Lotus is the stage name of a music producer named Steven Ellison. He also is a DJ, filmmaker, and rapper.

- Ellison is the grand-nephew of the late jazz pianist, harpist, singer, and composer Alice Coltrane, the wife of jazz legend John Coltrane.

- Cosmogramma contains a healthy mix of both sampling (for example, "Arkestry" includes a sample of experimental jazz musician Sun Ra and His Arkestra, while "Drips/Auntie's Harp" includes a sample of his late grand-aunt Alice Coltrane's "Blue Nile", among many others) and live instrumentation (harp, strings, bass, drums, sax, keyboard, and trumpet).

- This album was initially conceived out of Ellison grieving his mother's illness (hospitalized due to diabetes complications) and death (she died a few months before the album's completion and release). He used to bring his laptop to record various field recordings when visiting his mother in the hospital room. One of my favorite uses of sampling on this album is Ellison inserting his recording of his mother's respirator and vital-sign monitors in the album closer, "Galaxy in Janaki", as a tribute to her.

- The album title comes from Ellison mishearing "cosmic drama" as "cosmogramma". Ellison said of the title: "My aunt had an Ashram in Agoura full of devotees... And I was listening to one of her recorded discourses talking about how once this earthly experience is over, we won't be wearing our costumes anymore..."

- The album includes contributions from Thom Yorke (who sings on "...And the World Laughs With You", which is why I always think that song sounds like a collab with Radiohead), Thundercat (who is known for his solo career and guest bass performance on Kendrick Lamar's widely-acclaimed To Pimp a Butterfly), Laura Darlington, Ravi Coltrane, among others.

I could gush about this album for too long.

It's a 5.0 without hesitation. One of my most treasured without a doubt.

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1483

Post by nutella » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:34 pm

This is pretty cool and I enjoy listening to it (lots of cool sounds/beats/mixing/samples/etc) but it's not really leaving a huge/distinct impression on me so far. I have listened to FL before and generally feel that way about his music -- it's fun but doesn't astound me or leave a lasting impression. I'll give it another couple listens though and try to figure out a rating.
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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1484

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:03 am

I had heard Cosmogramma once or twice before and liked it. I still do. I tend to appreciate any album as diverse as this one, particularly when that pursuit of diversity doesn't end up sounding forced and convoluted. There's a purposeful structure to this thing and it all works well together. I wouldn't say it has gripped me tightly, and I don't really draw any emotion from it -- but it's a good sound. 3.5 stars.
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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1485

Post by speedchuck » Wed Dec 06, 2017 6:32 pm

6. @G-Man - Chuck Berry - Chuck Berry Is on Top
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Jumping right in. The beat is infectious, the older music cheery and catchy, but I'm not a huge fan on the reliance on background singers.
The second album throws me more into what I was expecting. Twangy, twisty guitar riffs and an unrelenting beat that pulls the piano and geetah together. It's kinda hard to describe this music because, even having not heard the album, it's something I've heard a hundred times any time a movie wants to have a retro soundtrack.
Can't help but tap my heel to the music.
One thing that bothers me is when music gets too repetitive. A few parts of this album do that sort of thing. Mostly with the lyrics, but also with the main riff of Carol. It's mitigated by how short most of these songs are.
This may be rock and roll at it's roots, but I don't often get to hear electric guitar and actual honest-to-god piano in a song. I always hear guitar with synthesizers, keyboards, and organs. Not piano. I appreciate the sort of dueling solos between the two.
There is some variety on this album, but when I cam across it, I found myself split. I like variety. But I also like the 'rock' side of the heavier rock and roll tunes. The variety always goes in the opposite direction, especially near the end of the album.
3/5

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1486

Post by nutella » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:14 pm

for my second listen of Cosmogramma I'm taking down some brief track-by-track reactions bc otherwise I won't nail down my feelings about it. most of this will be gibberish/very general/not fancy reviewing words hahah
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1. Clock Catcher - the good good sounds. love it
2. Pickled! - even more fun sounds. also love it.
3. Nose Art - I'm not usually a fan of the, idk what you call it, the very staccato/cut-off sounding style of electronic music, so this track is lower for me
4. Intro//A Cosmic Drama - pretty, feels like it should be evocative of some kind of scene but can't settle on what.
5. Zodiac Shit - feels a bit more generic/standard electronic music, meh
6. Computer Face//Pure Being - meh. I like the end I guess
7. ...And The World Laughs With You (ft. Thom Yorke) - could easily be a TKOL- or AMSP-era B-side. Love it
8. Arkestry - the first half of this with the drums reminds me of something idk... jazz sample is good, haunting vocals at the end feel separate but nice
9. MmmHmm (ft. Thundercat) - longest track on the album at a whopping 4:14, wow! not getting much out of the vocals/lyrics. they feel trite and out of place and I'd rather just have the background instrumental stuff that sounds like the rest of the album
10. Do The Astral Plane - dank beats yo. can't decide how I feel about the scatting. the rest of it is decent low-key bounce-to-the-beat fare, would definitely enjoy it a lot more under the influence of some green herbs
11. Satelllliiiiiiiteee - weird funky vocal effects that I'm generally not into. as with a lot of this album, this track has nice enough beats/sounds but doesn't really stand out at all
12. German Haircut - pretty I guess
13. Recoiled - I like this one quite a bit actually, it's very pleasant, I guess in the same way that I liked the first two tracks
14. Dance Of The Pseudo Nymph - ditto. this track is awesome. love the handclapping sounds and everything
15. Drips//Auntie's Harp - beautiful orchestral bits/harp sampling, and especially given the context MP explained this is lovely
16. Table Tennis (ft. Laura Darlington) - very clever!! I hope/assume that's an actual recording of actual ping pong (sure sounds like it), that's super cool. the vocalist and echoey-ness sounds very ethereal and floaty. goes well with the harp parts before, during, and after it in the album
17. Galaxy in Janaki - good closer, it feels very fast-paced and busy compared to the previous track but in a good way. it's fun, I like all the different timbres in it.
ok, so to summarize, I really liked the first two tracks, and I really liked everything from 13 to the end -- that's a great stretch. everything in between is pretty meh to me. Overall I'm feeling a 3.5.
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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1487

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:28 am

Submissions so far:

JaggedJimmyJay - CunninLynguists - A Piece of Strange / 2005 / Southern hip hop / 16 tracks / 54:19 / YouTube, Bandcamp, and Spotify

speedchuck - Rishloo - Feathergun / 2010 / Prog Rock / 11 tracks / 58:15 / Youtube and Spotify

nutella - Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, Stuart Duncan, Yo-Yo Ma - The Goat Rodeo Sessions / 2011 / Bluegrass/Classical fusion / 11 (+2 bonus) tracks / 57:18 (without bonus tracks) / Youtube (though this playlist seems to be missing the last track for some reason as well as the bonus tracks but they can be found separately) and Spotify (also missing bonus tracks :( they're really good though and I'm used to them as they're on the CD edition that my mom owns)

MovingPictures07 - Ryoji Ikeda - dataplex / 2005 / Microsound / 20 tracks / 55:31 / YouTube and Spotify

Epignosis - Kansas - Somewhere to Elsewhere / 2000 / Progressive rock / 11 tracks / 68:09 / YouTube and Spotify

Remember that everyone is eligible this time.
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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1488

Post by Epignosis » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:45 am

Kansas- Somewhere to Elsewhere

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1489

Post by G-Man » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:46 am

I'm going to be old-fashioned and sit out for this next submission round.
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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1490

Post by speedchuck » Thu Dec 07, 2017 10:23 am

Epignosis wrote:
Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:45 am
Kansas- Somewhere to Elsewhere
Fantastic suggestion. I had this one on repeat a few years back.

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1491

Post by speedchuck » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:05 pm

7. JaggedJimmyJay - Crowded House - Woodface
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Alright, alright, I'll confess. I do not like The Beatles. Never heard a song by them that I liked. I mean genuinely like, not "meh, this is okay but boring." The Beatles bore me. When I saw that JJJ said this took the significance and place in his music experience that the Beatles took for most people, I began to worry.
But then Chocolate Cake happened. And two songs later, my fears have been all but erased. My mind hasn't been blown or anything, but every song I've come across gives me the same regard that my favorite songs in average genres give me. Ew, rough sentence there. Let me explain. Country music is bland to me, especially the slower ballads. There are outliers that I love. Soft pop is boring. There are outliers that I love. And so on. This album feels like a compilation of songs that just WORK, even if the genre is something I would never touch. Listening intently gives me an emotional connection to some songs, and others just make me smile. It's good.
Of course, I like the rockin' tunes better, because I'm a young hothead. The opening song tops most of the ballads for me.
I think this is the first album I've listened to that had nothing annoying in it. The "Whoa"s in Beneath the Brine, the vocals in world music, repetitive bits in Chuck Berry, and so on. While this music doesn't hit me as something I could just love forever and forever, I also have no reason to dislike it. That alone puts it above 3 stars, and almost to 4.
Maybe it was just because it was the first song, but I don't think I heard anything that topped Chocolate Cake.
3.75/5 (not sure whether to round up or down)

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1492

Post by Boomslang » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:43 pm

MovingPictures07 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:15 am
Cosmogramma is one of my favorite albums of all time. A truly exhilarating and unique slice of electronica. Hope you all enjoy it.
Making a concerted effort to be more present on the forum, and figured I might as well start with this. And boy howdy, am I impressed. Feels like I'm staring into a well, with constantly shifting lights at every single different depth of the well. He does a beautiful job of separating out the frequencies, giving each a distinct sonic profile and momentum. The beats are also consistently surprising within the usual 4/4 meter.

My own personal taste keeps me from giving this a 5, because I miss having anthemic banger melodies. (Deadmau5 and Daft Punk, anyone?) But taken on its own terms, as an frenetic piece of sound installation art, it's groovy. Also, the video for "Zodiac Shit" is one of the first things I saw while in a... significantly altered state, let's say, and it's just as impressive in regular mind.

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1493

Post by MovingPictures07 » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:27 pm

Boomslang wrote:
Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:43 pm
Feels like I'm staring into a well, with constantly shifting lights at every single different depth of the well. He does a beautiful job of separating out the frequencies, giving each a distinct sonic profile and momentum. The beats are also consistently surprising within the usual 4/4 meter.
That's... a really cool way to put it. :slick:

Good to see you back again, curious to hear your takes on some others as well when you get the chance. :beer:

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1494

Post by MovingPictures07 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 3:02 pm

speedchuck wrote:
Mon Dec 04, 2017 1:30 pm
38. MovingPictures07 - Flying Lotus - Cosmogramma
Spoiler: show
Within the first 30 seconds I've been greeted with retro gaming vibes, asian styled music, and various electronic wibbly-wobblies. I have to start the thing over to make sure this is what I heard. Answer: Yes, but there's more!
At least the second song reminds me of gaming sountracks from the early 2000s. Frogger 2, maybe (muh childhood!). Some VVVVVV in the more digital-heavy parts, but still with more substance/style. This is really neat background music, constantly changing and moving and (my favorite word) warbling. I usually have trouble finding good background music outside of soundtracks. Mostly because I'm not into/know nothing about electronic music.
Everything stays that way till Intro//A Cosmic Drama showcases some soft (electronic?) strings and whimsical mood-setting flourishes. Very different than what came before. That mood-setting high feeling continues into the next track. Computer face brings us back brings us back.
I doubt I'll have much esle to say about this album unless something changes. The electronic parts make me feel nostalgic for some reason, and the softer, more moody parts are genuinely good chill mood setters. I do prefer the electronic pieces more, but I can see myself saving this album and putting it on in the background. Not while writing, though. Wouldn't fit my type of writing.
I do have another thing to say. This album is like onions. There are so many laters, so many pieces to the music. It has depth, but it meshes well and doesn't get confusing or overblown.
...And The World Laughs With You has singing, which surprised and pleased me, and a clicking sound in the background, which hurt my ears and made me turn the album down.
I keep thinking I'm done commenting, and then new things are introduced. I underestimated the variety, it seems. Arkestry is more percussive than anything, but pulls together the mood-setting and electronic bits from before with a little sax. It's a little too unfocused for my taste, and anything with that ambient (staticy?) noise in my headphones bothers me. Ends well though.
I appreciate the artistic choices in most of the music tracks, but based on the music videos, I have to wonder if they're marketing this to people that are high? I don't understand that kind of culture or their videos. I just kinda get that vibe from the way it looks, and it sort of taints my perception of certain songs. But when I close my eyes and listen to the music alone, it sounds good. So idunno.
Satellite would be better without vocals IMO. Just didn't jive with me.
From my single listen, I give it a 3.5/5. Were it not for the couple of songs that hurt my ears, I'd have given it a four. Enjoyable background music with enough meat to focus on if I'm listening attentively. Pleasant. Varied. Good.
I noticed in your review, speedchuck, something that has continuously eluded me in my music-loving years. I feel it might be an interesting avenue of discussion, and anyone can join in (not just @speedchuck): What exactly constitutes background music?

At least for me personally, I'm not sure I'd ever feel inclined to make the distinction, yet I hear people say that all the time (either that they prefer to or can only listen to something as background music). What makes a piece of music "background music", and is something being background music a desirable or undesirable thing?

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1495

Post by speedchuck » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:26 pm

Background music is music I can play in the background while
-reading
-playing video games
-playing board games
-writing
And so on. What makes music like that?

1. No vocals. Or, in some cases, easily forgettable or repetitive vocals. Vocals I don't care about. If I get more focused on the vocals than what I'm doing, it isn't background music.
2. Not too complex. For the same reason as vocals. I get distracted by the off-time beats and complex musicianship and fail to focus on what I'm doing.
3. In some cases, I will call something background music if it seems like music I would like in the background of a videogame. With Cosmogramma, I even specified the video game. After further research, it wasn't a perfect comparison. Cosmogramma is much better.



4 (optional): Something that pumps me up. I could put in the background to make me want to exercise (I need all the help I can get).

It's not an insult. It just means that the music is often instrumental, likely groovy, and isn't too focused on breaking time signatures or cranking out wicked solo breaks and experimental limericks.
If that makes sense. Cosmogramma is new, different, layered and extremely variable. But it fits my criteria, and I've listened to it while writing.

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Re: SAW [Week 38 - "Cosmogramma"]

#1496

Post by speedchuck » Mon Dec 11, 2017 10:17 am

Any discussion of BGM? New songs? :P

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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1497

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:39 pm

Week 39: CunninLynguists - A Piece of Strange

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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1498

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:45 pm

A Piece of Strange is one of my favorite albums in hip hop, perhaps as high as the top two or three. I'm glad to be able to bring it to SAW to continue the recent trend toward diversifying the set here after the likes of Drake and even the Charlie Brown jazz album. This album is very much aligned in the conscious, political portion of the hip hop spectrum, and though it does at times embrace the harsh lyrical nature that some people struggle with -- it's a necessary component of the passions being expressed here in my opinion. Moreover, alongside Outkast these guys are the best evidence I know of that hip hop music need not be perceived as a battle of the American coasts. These are southerners, and they're fantastic.
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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1499

Post by MovingPictures07 » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:23 pm

speedchuck, thanks for elaborating, that makes sense to me. :beer:

A Piece of Strange is a good album for sure. It'll be cool to revisit. Looking forward to it.

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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1500

Post by nutella » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:45 pm

Hey, what's Arthur Brown doing here? XD

For reals though I'm really enjoying this so far. Haven't been paying super close attention on the first listen but it's enjoyable for sure
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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1501

Post by speedchuck » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:51 pm

Spoiler: show
I'm throwing all of my album reviews into the first post I made in this topic. That way I can avoid derailing discussion.

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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1502

Post by nutella » Wed Dec 13, 2017 7:22 pm

OK this is easily one of the best hip-hop albums I have ever heard, both musically and lyrically. I've been following along with the lyrics and annotations on Genius and this is.... this is good shit. The themes and stories and messages, the samples and instrumental bits and the delivery, everything about this is awesome. 5 stars.
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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1503

Post by Boomslang » Wed Dec 13, 2017 9:07 pm

JaggedJimmyJay wrote:
Mon Dec 11, 2017 3:45 pm
A Piece of Strange is one of my favorite albums in hip hop, perhaps as high as the top two or three. I'm glad to be able to bring it to SAW to continue the recent trend toward diversifying the set here after the likes of Drake and even the Charlie Brown jazz album. This album is very much aligned in the conscious, political portion of the hip hop spectrum, and though it does at times embrace the harsh lyrical nature that some people struggle with -- it's a necessary component of the passions being expressed here in my opinion. Moreover, alongside Outkast these guys are the best evidence I know of that hip hop music need not be perceived as a battle of the American coasts. These are southerners, and they're fantastic.
Well said. Finished my listen earlier, and I was struck by how easily they incorporated different voices throughout the album. "The Gates" feat. Tonedeff was probably the best example of that, with absolutely seamless back-and-forth between two perspectives. "America Loves Gangsters" feat. Tim Means also employed the guest star to wonderful effect, expanding the themes of the first two verses into full geopolitical reality. And I listened to Immortal Technique a lot in college, so great to hear him as well.

Easily 4.5 stars. I can see this creeping up on repeated listening and studying the lyrics.

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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1504

Post by G-Man » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:50 pm

Hiding this inside a spoiler tag so as to not disrupt the current discussion. My apologies again for being away and falling behind again.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
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Thanks to growing up in the age of the VCR, I could watch the 'classic' Christmas special movies any time I wanted during the Christmas season. Rudolph, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Grinch (not the Jim Carrey abomination), Frosty, The Year Without a Santa Claus (represent!), and A Charlie Brown Christmas were all on constantly when my dad didn't want to watch something. My mom grew up with these films and she loved sharing them over and over with us. I also grew up before the sad decline of the Sunday comics, so Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang are a part of my DNA.

What's interesting is that my love for this album really only began five years ago when it was reissued and sold for cheap in music stores everywhere as a holiday stocking stuffer must-have and I requested it. The sweetness and genuineness of A Charlie Brown Christmas comes through in this score. And yet, the success of the Charlie Brown series of TV specials owes a lot to the music, which sets a unique attitude and vibe that is instantly nostalgic. The music doesn't call to mind exact scenes in which the tunes appear like some soundtracks do but it evokes the experience of the movie itself, which I think is a special quality.

This is one of those albums that I can't just pick three from. Most of these tracks stand alone well but also flow together so seamlessly that I can't separate them. I spent two straight weeks listening to this album in the car. My 2-year-old can now identify "Chahlee Bwown moosic" when she hears just about any of these songs. As I said before, it's one of the few Christmas albums I find end-to-end essential. I love it.

"O Tannenbaum" adds hipness to an otherwise bland song. "My Little Drum" is one of only two takes on "The Little Drummer Boy" that I even like (possibly due to the fact that the claymation TV movie was equal parts creepy and boring). "Christmas Time Is Here," both the vocal and instrumental track are quintessential winter and/or Christmas pieces. It's the kind of piece you want to play over old, audioless home movies of the kids ripping open presents while you sit and drink hot cocoa.

The original tracks are superb and the jazz-injected Christmas standards are a refreshing take on songs that get abused by countless recording artists for the sake of a Christmas single. The two tracks that stick out as oddballs to me are "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" and "Für Elise." The former because the shout-singing is a little grating. The latter because it's not connected to the season at all.

I could talk about the specific elements in each track but we've already moved on and you guys already know I love this album. I feel a little bad now that my top three albums so far are all my submissions but perhaps that shouldn't be surprising.
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JaggedJimmyJay
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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1505

Post by JaggedJimmyJay » Thu Dec 14, 2017 3:26 pm

I'm pleased that y'all have enjoyed the album so far. Thanks for giving it a listen! :)
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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1506

Post by MovingPictures07 » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:24 pm

Relistened to A Piece of Strange again today. Excellent album. I was a bit torn (between 3.5 and 4.0), but I ended up giving it the strongest possible 3.5. :beer:

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speedchuck
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Re: SAW [Week 39 - "A Piece of Strange"]

#1507

Post by speedchuck » Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:15 am

I did not expect to like A Piece of Strange, not knowing the genre at all. So far it's fantastic. It looks like it's going to be a 3.5 or 4, but I'm only a few songs in. I may not finish in time, but I just wanted to say thanks for submitting it!

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