Thursday, 27 September 2012

A Tribute to Andy Williams.

This time I am not reviewing a record because instead I am doing a tribute to Andy Williams who passed away yesterday of cancer aged 84. We learnt that he had died today when we saw it in the paper during Behind the Headlines which is a newspaper group we do here at the Gate and I thought it was a terrible tragedy that he had died because it's a shame to lose such a nice character and good singer.
         I first heard of Andy Williams at my Auntie Maud's Christmas parties in Rainham in Essex where she would always play the song Butterfly (which you can see a video of at the bottom of this tribute) because it was one of her favourite songs - I always used to enjoy my Aunt Maud parties because all my relations were there and we would sit round and drink (I was only allowed a shandy though because I would only have been young), listen to music on the radiogram and eat ham and pickle sandwiches. This song reminds me of those parties so I have always liked it and his other songs too like; Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You, Moon River and Music To Watch Girls By.
          So, Goodbye Andy from me Peter and Arlo (who helps me with these reviews) and all us here at the Gate and thank you for all the hits you made, I think you were a great man and I will miss you.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Fis - The Commons

Fis - The Commons (Exit Records)
This time I am reviewing a mini-lp of electronic music from a man called FIS who is from Wellington which is the capital of New Zealand and from the pictures I've seen looks very nice. I don't think I have heard music from New Zealand before so I am looking forward to doing this review a lot. The record is called The Commons and it is a limited edition of only 250 copies that has six tracks on it, is see-through instead of black like a usual record and sounds very modern to me and very strange to listen to.
New Zealand looking very nice.
          The first song on the record is called Club Track and starts off sounding a bit like the record is a bit warped except it isn't. Then after that warped sound stops somebody says "It's a club track." and it gets louder and there is electronic organ and fast drumming like you would hear in a disco club and noises in the background like running water, it all sounds very nice. In the middle the drums get all quiet and the music goes all soft but then the drums come back and it all gets louder again - I liked this song a lot and I think it would sound very good at a disco to dance to and I think this is why it is called Club Track.
           The next song is called Steeper and is different from the last one because it is not as fast. This is a strange song and sounds to me a bit like a slow train journey maybe. The reason it sounds like a slow train journey is because the drums and strange whistle sound a bit like a slow train going along the tracks - when I'm on a train it goes fast though and I don't think they have slow trains anymore which is a good thing I suppose because you can get places more quicker on a fast train. This is a very nice song and I enjoyed it very much even though it sounds a bit weird.
              The last song on this side of the record is called We Cross Tracks and this one starts off sounding a bit the same as the last one but then changes a bit and it seemed to me like music made on a building site by construction machines and people banging scaffold pipes, I thought this one was very good too and very interesting.
             Wise Man is the first song on the second side and it starts off sounding like a snow blizzard which is a bit strange because I don't suppose there is much snow in New Zealand because it is a hot country. After the blizzard noise there is a strange noise that sounds like somebody sawing something and some drums and a weird voice saying something that I can't make out. This is quite a slow track and not really like anything I have heard before so it is hard to describe but it is very good.
          After the Wise Man song is a song called The Commons which is another slow one but maybe not as slow as the last one. This one has a drum beat and a funny noise in it that reminded me of the electronic machines you get in hospital to test your heart. There are other noises in this which sound like planes taking off and also a noise which reminded me a bit of parrots in the jungle.
A Patupaiarehe on a New
Zealand stamp.
          The next song also reminded me of the jungle because there is very fast drumming in it like you would hear in Africa. This song is called Patupaiarehe which is a very strange word that I've never seen before so I looked it up on the computer and found out that a Patupaiarehe is a spirit thing from New Zealand that lives in the forests and mountains and is sometimes hostile to humans which means it is sometimes against humans like us, probably because they don't like us very much. There are sounds like  growls and moans that at first I thought sounded like a zombie but after learning what Patupaiarehe means I think it might be the noises that one of these spirit things makes. This is a very good, very exciting song that I thought was a excellent way to end the record.
               Overall I would say that I thought this was a very nice to record to listen to because is very strange and not like anything I've heard before. I think other people will like it too when they listen to it. I would give this record 10 out of 10.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Sam KDC - Symbol 8

Sam KDC - Symbol 8 (Auxiliary)
This time I am reviewing a twelve inch single by Sam KDC called Symbol 8. It is an interesting record because it is not black like ordinary records because it is silver instead and I think it is very nice to see a silver coloured record because I've never seen one before. There are three songs on Symbol 8 and they are just called Symbol 8.1, Symbol 8.2 and Symbol 8.3 which is a bit weird because it's not like how other people name their songs but that's okay. I don't know much about Sam KDC to tell you and when we tried to look up about him we couldn't find much information except that he makes electronic music which I knew already from listening to it - we did find a picture of him though and I thought he looked a nice lad but a bit like a hippie.
Sam KDC standing by a coal mine (I think)
           When Symbol 8.1 starts there are noises like people singing but they sound like they singing in a tunnel and it's all echoing and then some nice, soft piano starts playing. Then, after the piano, the electric drums start and they sound a bit like african bongos and there are also others noises which sound a bit like your tummy rumbling, after a bit the people singing come back but they sound like they are in the back of the music, I liked how all this sounded. In the middle of the song it all goes a bit quiet and then the music all come back and then it all ends up with a sound like water leaking. I liked this tune a lot, I thought it was nice and calm and I think it would be nice to listen to at night when I've had my tea and am relaxing.
            The next tune, Symbol 8.2 is even more relaxing than the first and sounds a bit like the music in a old film from 1956 about aliens called Invasion of The Body Snatchers, I liked this one too because I like science fiction films. My Aunt Betty used to like science fiction films too and we used talk about them together all the time, I think my Auntie Betty would probably like this music but I haven't heard from her in ages so I wouldn't be able to let her hear it. Here is Invasion of The Body Snatchers so you can see what I mean once you have heard the record, the music I am talking about is the music at the beginning.
           Symbol 8.3 is on the other side of the record and this another quiet, soft tune with more lovely piano and quiet drums like finger-snapping and noises like birds singing or the sound of monkeys far away in the jungle. There are more of the echoing voices on this and I thought this went very well with the music because the music is echoey too. About halfway through the song it all seems to stop and then come back with more drums which sounded a bit faster but it was still all very soft and relaxing. I thought this song was very nice indeed and I enjoyed listening to it with a coffee whilst I did this review.
            Overall I would say that this was a very relaxing and very nice to listen. I think other people who want some music to relax to would like this as well. I would give this record 10 out of 10.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Mala - In Cuba

Mala - In Cuba (Brownswood Recordings)
This time I am record reviewing a box of 4 records called Mala in Cuba, it is called Mala in Cuba because all the music on it was made by a man with rastafarian hair called Mala (who is from London where he makes electronic music called dubstep) after he went to Cuba to listen to Cuban music and to meet up and play with Cuban musicians. I think it is a very good thing for Mala to have gone to Cuba to make music and I reckon he would have probably liked it there as it's always good to go on holiday and see new things and meet different people. Here is a video that Mala made to explain why he went to Cuba for you to watch so you can see why he did it:
          I don't know too much about Cuba except that it is in the Caribbean and that they make big cigars there and that it is a socialist country and that Fidel Castro was the leader there for a long time though I'm not sure that he still is. At home I have a Pathe Newsreel DVD from 1959 which shows about the revolution they had in Cuba and what Cuba was like before Castro when Batista was in power. The newsreel said there were lots of casinos there before the revolution but I don't think they are there any more because Castro got rid of them. Although I know a little bit about Cuba I don't know anything about Cuban music so I hope that I will learn a little bit about it while I am doing this review.
           The first record in this box has three songs on it and the first of these is called Mulata which I looked up on the internet and found out is the spanish word for a woman with one white parent and one black. The song starts off with piano and then some drums and then the piano stops and the bass and more drums start and then the piano comes back afterwards. This is a nice slow track that is very mellow and a lovely way to start this record.
            The next track is called Tribal and it also starts with piano but when the song starts it has more drums on it and it is a little more faster than the first song. The drums sound a bit Spanish to me because it reminded me of Salsa which is music for a type of dancing that they do in Spain - Cuban people are a bit similar to people from Spain because the Spanish founded Cuba a long time ago and took their music with them. I think it is interesting how Mala has mixed the Spanish sounding Cuban music with his own music and I think it works very well indeed.
             The next song is on the B-side of this first record and is called Changuito and I didn't know what that meant so we looked it up and found out it is the name of a famous Cuban Percussionist who plays on this song - you can read all about him here and see a video of him here. The track begins with drums that sound a bit like saucepans but are really some drums called timbales which are the instruments played by Changuito and then a big bass comes in which reminded me of some of the reggae records i've listened to recently for my reviews. This is a quite noisy tune with sounds in it like car horns beeping in traffic but it is noisy in a good way and I think this would be a very good tune to dance to at a discotheque.
              The second record in the box begins with a song called Revolution so I suppose it must be about the revolution that I talked about before. A revolution is where the people of a country get fed up with their government and so get together and get rid of them. I think that this is a good idea that people can do that because sometimes governments can be a bit rubbish so it is a good thing to get rid of them - I think the government here in England is no good because they keep cutting money from disabled people like me and that it would be a good thing to have a revolution here but I'm not sure this will ever happen. This is another fast song with drums which reminded me of marching so maybe it is supposed to sound like people marching to the revolution. I thought this was a very good song indeed.
                The next song on this record is called Como Como and it is a bit different from the songs I have heard so far because it has singing on it and so far all the songs have been instrumental. This is a bit more mellow than the last couple of tunes and the voices sound very nice on it. I think this would be a nice tune to listen to while relaxing with a drink and smoking a cigarette or I suppose one of them big Cuban cigars - I've never smoked cigars though as I only smoke Benson & Hedges cigarettes but maybe I will try one some day.
               The last song on this second record is called The Tunnel and it starts off with a noise like cars going into a tunnel but then the reggae sounding bass starts up again with some Cuban drumming and later some deep sounding piano and a noise like scraping wood - I liked this song a lot and it is another one that I think would be good to dance to at a disco.
                The third record begins with a tune called Ghost which starts off with drums and people clapping and this goes on for a while before the tune starts properly, this is a slower song than the last couple and it reminded me a bit of music from films, maybe it would be an African film because the drumming and the clapping makes me think of African tribes and the music they make. I thought this was a very good song indeed and I enjoyed clapping along to it even though i'm not much use at this type of clapping.
                 The next song which is called Curfew is another one with lots of piano in it and at the beginning it reminded me of music that you would hear in old ballrooms. There is a lot of piano on this record so I think they must play the piano a lot in Cuba - while we were doing this review we looked to see if we could find Cuban piano music and found this video with lots of different Cuban piano players on it which I thought was very nice:
The piano is not the only interesting on this song though because although it starts of sounding like old ballroom music it changes and sounds a lot more like modern dancing music, I liked this one a lot because of this.
              The last song on this third record is called The Tourist and it is another slower, relaxing song that again made me think of the music that people used to dance the cha-cha to. The cha-cha is an old dance and when I looked it up up to do this review I was surprised to find out that it is a Cuban dance and I was quite pleased with myself because I didn't know that before and just guessed it. I think it is interesting that Mala made this modern tune that sound like a cha-cha tune because maybe it will help people who listen to it learn about Cuban music and dances which I think is a good thing.
                The next record in this box is the last one and has two tunes on it and the first one is called Change. This song starts off with piano that i thought sounded a bit like someone who didn't really know how to play hitting the same key over and over again but then there are other piano bits in it that sound more better so I don't think whoever can't play but was probably just pretending. There are lots of other instruments in this song like lots of drums and something that sounds like a trumpet and maybe a violin - there is lots going on in this tune and I liked it a lot.
                  The last song in this box is called Noche Sueños which means night dreams and on this one a singer called Danay Suarez sings in Spanish over the top of  Mala's music. Because it is in Spanish I didn't know what she was singing about because I can't speak Spanish but she has a very nice voice and I thought this song was pleasant to listen to and a good way to end the record.
             Overall I thought these records were very nice to listen to and I thought it was an interesting to mix the Cuban sounds with more modern sounds. I hope it sells lots of copies and makes Mala very famous and I hope lots of people get to listen to this music so they can learn a bit about Cuba like I did - I would like to go to Cuba myself one day and look around at the things there and listen to music like Mala did. I would give this record 10 out of 10.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Various Artists - Piko's Yodelin' Beat Presents: Rock 'N' Roll People Vol. 2

This time I am reviewing Rock 'N' Roll People Vol.2 which is a record with a lot of people on it because it is a compilation record. The bands on it are mostly from Munich, Germany which is where Seb is from who works at The Gate and Seb is on it and so are a lot of his friends. I'm looking forward to reviewing this record very much.
          The first song on this record is by Box Codax who I have reviewed before - Box Codax are a band that has Manuela in it who comes to The Gate to help people do art, she is a very nice person and good to talk to and we all like her at The Gate. This song is not like the other songs I've heard though by Box Codax because this one doesn't have any singing on it and instead has violins and other instruments on it doing a tune which reminded me a lot of the music in Donna Summers' Hot Stuff which you can hear here:

              I don't know why the music on the Box Codax song reminds me of Hot Stuff, it just does and this is funny because it also sounds like a song from the Middle East and Hot Stuff is a disco song, I liked this one a lot.
              The next song is by a band called Smokers which is a funny name for a band - I am a heavy smoker so I like this band name; I smoke twenty cigarettes a day and I'm still around and I don't think I have cancer so I think I will carry on, I like smoking anyhow and I'm too old to give up because I'm 68. This band sound a bit like Kraftwerk who were also from Germany and who made keyboard music about trains and cars. When we were looking for Kraftwerk songs to listen to at the Gate while we were doing this review we ended up getting distracted and singing The Model instead - here is a video that my friend Francis took on his phone: 
 I liked the song by smokers because it reminded me of Kraftwerk and I like Kraftwerk.
              The next song on the record is by Mr. Vast featuring Pacífico Boy. Pacífico Boy is also sometimes called Piko Be and he is the person who got all the bands together to do this record, he also came to The Gate once to play a concert for us which was very good, I like Pico Be - I don't know who Mr. Vast is though. The song that Mr. Vast and Pico do here starts off with an instrument which sounds like a ukelele or something and then the singing starts and other instruments, It is a very good song but I didn't understand what was being sung about because the singing is in spanish (I think) but I still thought it was good.
             After this is a song called Untitled Rock 'N' Roll People but it doesn't tell you who the song is by. The song is lots of music and somebody who sounds a bit like John Lennon saying Rock 'N' Roll People Vol.2 over the top so I guess it is a bit like an advert for the record or something, which is interesting.
The inside of Cafe Montparnasse
where Pete ate snails for the first time.
              Next up is the Lunsen Trio doing a German reggae song called Babylon Must Phalle. The Lunsen Trio are Sebastian who works here at The Gate and his friends Nick and Hank. When I was doing this review Seb explained that the song is about the Pompidou Museum which is a Museum in Paris and since I was going to go to Paris I decided to see if I could go to it but unfortunately I couldn't make it which is a shame.  I did get to go on a bus tour though and I saw the Eiffel Tower all lit up at night and went to the Cafe Montparnasse and had snails for the first time - I thought the snails were very nice indeed. Back to the song though and I thought it was very nice indeed and especially liked the shouty vocals which reminded me a bit of how people sing in pubs when they are a bit drunk.
              After this song is a song by Das Weisse Pferd who are a band that I have reviewed before and liked very much and which also has Pico in it doing the singing. The song is very lovely and I liked it a lot and for some reason it reminded me of seagulls at the beach but I don't know why.
              The next song is called Gran Ganga and is by Pedro Almodóvar and Bernardo Bonezzi and it starts off with a noise like the waves at the sea-side before the music starts properly. This song is a Spanish type song and you you could imagine a flamenco dancer in a long white dress dancing to it. This song ends side one of the record and is a very good, fast tune that I liked a lot. We found a video for this song when we were looking it up to see if it was a famous Spanish song so here it is so you can see it:               
             On the other side of the record the first song by Tom Wu is a cover of the song Venus in Furs. I have heard the song Venus in Furs before because it was on an advert for Dunlop tyres, it is a very good song and I think Tom's version of it is very good indeed because he has made it sound a bit like a disco record. 
              After Venus in Furs is a song by Hans Platzgumer feat. Pacífico Boy called Pieces of our Minds and it is a very soft, slow song with Pacífico Boy singing "this is a masterpiece" with an echoey voice and after this is a song by Angela Aux called Oha Le Huliah. This song starts off with a woman screaming and then starts up with a funky little tune with voices going "aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh" over the top and then some great electric guitar and then it ends.
              The next song is an Instrumental by a band called Majmoon and is called "My Neighbour Doesn't Have A Cat" which is a funny name for a song and it started of reminding me a bit of The Shadows but then got a lot more rocky with loud guitars and big drumming. This is a great song that I like a lot.
            Next up is a song by a band called The Marnies who sound a bit like one of those sixties girl bands like The Supremes or Bob B.Soxx & The Blue Jeans who did Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. I like these sorts of bands a lot so it is good to be reminded of them. The Marnies song is called Apartment and in it the singer is asking somebody to come to her house. I like having people over to my house too and when they do we usually sit in the garden and have a cigarette and a coffee and a chat, it's always nice to have visitors.
               After The Marnies is a track by Parasite Woman called Honk. This is another instrumental track played on what sounds like an organ and it reminded me of Cherry Wainer who was on Six Five Special which is a music program that was on in the fifties which I used to watch with my mother and father when I was a teenager. Here is some video of Cherry Wainer so you can hear who Parasite Woman sounds a bit like: 
          After Parasite Woman there is another instrumental by a band called Electronicat which is an electronic music track. I don't know too much about electronic music but it is very good to listen to because it is different from other music I usually listen to. This track would be very good to dance to with your girlfriend at a disco or at a party.
           The next song is by Tagar and it is a bit different from the other songs because it is a noisy, fast, shouty rock song with squealing guitars - I liked this one very much.
            The final song on this record is called Rasta In Da Tekke and Seb told me a Tekke is where Greek people used to go to smoke hash and that makes sense because this is a very Greek sounding song. I liked this one because it is a noisy, fun song that I could imagine people doing quickstep dancing too, I liked it and thought this was a good way to end the record.
            Overall I thought this was a very good record with all sorts of different things on it that were all very good indeed. I would give this record 10 out of 10.

To buy this record E-Mail Piko here.