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BEATTOPIA

by William Hancock.

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simon lewis

Complimentary Audio Goodness.

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One of the classic old school tracks is a tune by Alannah Myles called Black Velvet (incidentally Lenny Kravitz wrote one called Black Velveteen). In the song there’s a line “Jimmy Rogers on the Victrola up high”.  Check out Black Velvet Espresso in Melbourne for a quality cuppa while your at it.

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In 1906 the Victrola model record player was introduced by RCA Victor. This record player had variable turntable speeds to accommodate the already wide range of records being produced at the time. Two years later Columbia Records introduced the first double-sided phonograph records. By 1912 cylinder recordings were on the way out and the standard playing speed was set at 78 rpm.

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For those out there who see music as more than just pop songs on the radio (or Victrola as the case may be), there is nothing better than a few free quality tunes to ramp up the collection. Some love records, some love mp3’s and some just love the thrill of searching for and then finding that little gem that takes over the next couple of days of audio space. Music. It changes the mind and brings in a lifestyle that could not exist without it. As if I need to even point that out.

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One of the companies out there that reflects this lifestyle is Bowers and Wilkins. High quality audio gear. If you head to their website and sign up for their newsletter, thus becoming a member of their Society Of Sound (It’s free), you will be pleasantly surprised to find a little gift of a complimentary download or two. And not just MP3’s. High quality files with top quality artists. Curated by Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and The London Symphony Orchestra. Check out John Metcalfe. Composer, producer, classical violinist, guitarist, pioneering A&R man and arranger to A-list pop stars including Coldplay, Peter Gabriel and Blur. He’s just released an album called Kites and Echoes. Amazing. A melding of Orchestral and Digital Production. Downtempo, strings, keys and a dubstep infusion. Theres a track called Sun available to all members in high-quality lossless digital audio FLAC file formats. Or for a nominal fee get access to their full catalogue and go crazy. Thanks to Simon Lewis from Amanaska for the heads up on this one.

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While I’m on the topic, another favourite album is from a Melbourne-based producer Eric Chapus (aka. Endorphin) called Embrace. An oldie but a goodie. There’s a site that’s got a free download of one of the classic tracks on the album called Satie 1. The site is called Song365, and here’s the link. Incidentally Eric teaches Composition and Music Production at The Australian Institute of Music.

Have an awesome weekend.

Will x

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Diana May Clark – The Other Side Of The Girl.

“Many Facets of International Style for Aussie Songstress”.

After singing on Delicate from Amanaska’s latest album Escape, Diana May Clark has unleashed a singularly undefinable album in terms of genre. With influences of rock, country, latin and world music all wrapped up in a pop style package this is an album that will appeal to the masses. Produced by Greg Arnold (now based internationally) from Things of Stone and Wood and virtuoso guitar by Diana May’s husband and collaborator Doug de Vries, this songstress winds her way through an internationally flavoured album including tracks titled Mama Africa, Vanilla vs. Barcelona, Batucada Bonde and Tango Noir. With a strong sense of self, a voice that is as adaptable as it is powerful and a passion that exudes from her very soul, the album smacks of a writer and musician that is invested in the core of the music. Diana and Doug travel to Brazil regularly searching for inspiration and enjoying collaboration, imbibing in the richness of the culture and transporting it back into stage shows performed across the world

Making a successful jump from interpreting Brazilian songs to pop in 2013 with her first single release Sunny Daze, achieving 6th place in the Australian Songwriters Association Awards and Top 5 at the 2013 Independent Music Awards, Clark had a string of single releases followed before blending into the new album. In 15 years she’s released 6 albums, 1 EP and 3 singles with more on the way.

With the voice of a siren, global musicianship and angelic composition The Other Side Of the Girl by Diana May Clarke is a whole new world of sound.

Freedom Deluxe – Amanaska.

“Downtempo Does Dance in a Blend of Tracks from Ambient to the Bridge”.

Tribe 2 is an Australian based duo from Melbourne, Australia. In July 2013 Simon Lewis (Amanaska) and Jono Callow (Rivertribe) released Freedom Deluxe. With an eclectic blend of world music and electronica the album merges instruments from around the globe.

While probably classified as a downtempo world music album the variety of track speed’s (bpm) range widely. Most of the counts sit above 120 and the double-time sections in several songs give us a dance edge, contrasting the resting count. The albums track selection is balanced by ambient tracks and atmospheric sections.

On Wayfaring Stranger tabla and sitar from India blend with the didgeridoo from Australia throughout one of the slower beat counts on the album (80 bpm). The lilt in the rhythm creates a relaxing line, juxtaposed by the double-time tabla sections allowing a bit of a boogie if required. Solid arrangement and production in the percussion beds makes up for a crisp, full and rich journey. Some of the fast chanting on this track seems to be derived from the unique way in which tabla masters in India pass knowledge onto their students. The rhythms are passed vocally using different syllables to inflect the different strikes on this very complex hand drum-set. These ‘lessons’ have been adapted into the vocal tracks of this song.

Apparently the two musicians came together after logging several sustained years of touring independently overseas, recording with laptops in some far away places including India, Singapore, UK and USA. Upon the decision to collaborate they unfurled a plethora of recordings collected during their travels and sampled them to create songs we hear on the album today.

The haunting Cherokee Morning Song with a male Native American tongue calling to the dawn, combined with deep, spacious synths paints an almost spooky mental picture of the rising sun. This track merges almost seamlessly with the delicately composed I Shall Not Walk Alone featuring a washed out effects over vocal renditions of Ben Harpers lyrics, breaking out of a magnificent choral chant. The flutes float beautifully over the same haunting deep-space synths we heard in the prior song, entwined with the didgeridoo and again contrasting two very different cultures. Atmospherics and tension abound with the double-timed percussion section binding us to the ground.

God of Wonders shares a sitar introduction before dropping solidly into a crisp and boppy tune highlighted by the addictive crack of the snare, sitar again soloing over the top. Flute floats in and the slight reverb of the toppy drums gives the didge room to move. 100 bpm feels a little slower than the carry this one gives us.

With the acoustic elements of Rivertribe combining with the electronic aspects of Amanaska, both fusing the world music element, this album gives the listener a pleasant and interesting journey through a collision between cultures. The indigenous sounds of eastern and the western instruments blend with well-rounded beats, a variety of different vocal styles and clean production to make for an album that has an up-tempo feel while embracing the slower genres.

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