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Friday Night Music Playlist No. 4

February 25, 2017

Tonight, I am listening to M83. The European synthesizer alternative pop group just has a thing about listening to their music that makes you either want to sit back and chill with some friends while gaming or get up and dance. My first experience with M83 was a few years ago when Tom Cruise’s movie Oblivion was in theaters. I knew then that they were going to be an underrated hit. Midnight City is one of the first songs I heard by M83 after I saw the movie. I looked them up on YouTube. I love YouTube for its diversity of music.

When I saw the video for Midnight City, it had that kids with superpowers kind of cinema feel to it. Growing up as a teen in the 80s it made me think of The New Mutants, which was one of my favorite comic books I read often. I like that the video of Midnight City left the ending open with a to be continued feel. The video was later followed up with Reunion, which was a continuation on the theme.

One thing I really liked about the songs, not just the videos is the vocals tied in by the instrumental rhythms and drum riffs. I have always felt that America has lagged when it comes to music, and European bands seem to be more progressive and creative in style, and ahead of the times. Please do not misunderstand me. I like my American music, too.

Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (2011), is an outstanding album. Although it is not always high energy and fast beats, it is energetically charged then somber and reflective, longing. In some ways I want to liken M83 to when I was growing up, and listening to ELO because they have that similarity, and I like songs with stories with feelings. Some songs just make you sit back and enjoy, others make you stop and think, and wonder what does it all mean? This album really surprised me when I first heard it, and I still enjoy listening to it. There are some French lyrics on the album. Umm. I think I will have to learn French now (I say that in fun, and all honesty. One day I want to visit France and see where my inspirations and artists have come from in the land of enchantment.) If you would like to know more about M83, you can read about them here on songfacts.com which is way more accurate than what I have shared with you. My review is more about how the album has inspired me, and a reflection on creativity.

Another Album I would like to share with you this evening is PHISH: A Live One (1995). I first heard PHISH when I was in my mid-twenties. I was taking a drawing class at the the time, and one of my classmates played this album while we worked on our drawings. It is a good album to draw from and relax. The album was recorded live, so you actually get the feeling of being there in the crowd and enjoying the music. In my opinion, this is a pretty laid back album. The first track, Bouncing Around the Room sets the pace for the the rest of the album. Although I have never been to one of their concerts, I would go if I could. Stash is a more instrumental track with limited vocals. What I like about this instrumental is the complex and playful solos, the echo and response dialogue between instruments and the crowd. It reminds me of a song you might hear in an old Disney cartoon where the character might break from story narrative into song. Either way, this is a fun song, and I especially like the playfulness of the guitars and drums. About 8 minutes into the jam, the music goes from playful to a more dark and chaotic tone. It almost sounds wreckless, albeit, it is wild. I think in some ways it reminds me of a scene of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when they are on the boat and riding through the tunnel and all craziness breaks loose. The song continues wildly, and you almost feel exhausted and breathless. I think its climax, the song leaves you feeling like you were on a wild trip, and then like that, the song is over. PHISH: A Live One is a two disc album. I do not think I will get to all of the songs tonight, and will save disc 2 for Friday Night Music Playlist No. 5. The fourth and fifth tracks I like a lot. Montana and You Enjoy Myself are complementary. Montana is more of a segue into You Enjoy Myself. The Interesting thing here is the sum of both songs is 22 minutes of listening pleasure total. You Enjoy Myself is entrancing, hypnotic, meditative, playful, cheerful and alive. It is cosmic. One of the things that stand out most on this song are the subtle percussion and piano and the valiant bass lines. I love the bass on this song. In some ways this jam is more progressive/jazz fusion reminiscent of such bands like The Yellowjackets, The Rippingtons and Spyro Gyra. I do not think PHISH would liken themselves this way, it is just the audio perception that I am feeling when I listen. There is a bit of dramatic flare and in your face kind of sound 6 minutes into the song when things start to get funky. It also, reminds me of The Dave Matthews Band,which is a little far fetched probably, but I like them, too. Overall, you cannot go wrong with PHISH. They are an energetically charged and hip jam band with cool grooves that sway the wayward soul back to good times.

 

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