Thursday, February 2, 2012

Things I've Heard and Liked Recently: Leonard Cohen, Shigeto, some others.

I'm still processing my current relationship to music. I think this process is taking so long, and seems important to me, because music previously was such an important part of my life. And I think that's what's changed now -- it no longer seems as important, and, sadly, it no longer seems as enjoyable. Not that I don't come across something every now and then that stands out. Those occasions are few and far between, but here are a few things that I've smiled at recently.

Ghostly is an electronic-music orientated record label out of Ann Arbor, MI. Their location, as well as the quality of their music, led me to stick myself on their email list, which is how I came across one of their artists, Shigeto. He's also out of Ann Arbor and released his latest EP, 'Lineage', on Tuesday. I liked what I heard straight away, the instrumental tunes making think of trip-hop with a jazzy tip -- like something on a Ninja Tune compilation I owned years ago, but my memory's pretty hazy. Anyway, I think the EP is well produced, without the throw-away quality of some of the electronic stuff I've been hearing over the last couple of years. I think it's because there's an organic feel to it, and it doesn't sound like it was simply made on a laptop. You can hear samples here.

Leonard Cohen is, of course, a Very Famous Musician. But he's one of those musicians who I've always heard of and known about but never actually listened to. Until now. He's just come out with a new album, 'Old Ideas', and the Guardian has handily been streaming the whole thing. I quite like it -- I like the age to his voice and lyrics, and I think I can take him seriously because he's been around so long. Again, it doesn't sound like someone just doing it, just mouthing some meaningless cliched lyrics -- it sounds like someone who actually means it, like the lyrics matter to him. I especially like the first track, 'Going Home'. I think I will listen to some more Leonard. As long as it's up, you can check out the stream here. And just in case, 'Going Home' is below.

Those are the most recent things I've listened to and enjoyed. I've also recently checked out the best of John Lennon and the best of Fleetwood Mac -- both had good songs on them and were enjoyable for a time, but neither has really got me feeling anything. Especially when listened to in the car, I just don't have the patience for things so poppy (referring strictly to Fleetwood Mac there actually; didn't try Lennon in the car). Funny, cos the car used to be where I did all my listening. I even bought some music a week or so ago -- 'Some Girls' by the Rolling Stones, used. Heard it once or twice in the background at home, barely paid any attention. I should probably try a bit harder. What I've really enjoyed are some classical cd's I got from the library that are aimed at kids. I got them for my kid, even though she's young, but I was inspired when I learnt that David Bowie had narrated a version of 'Peter & the Wolf'; from there I went to the Carnival of Animals and anything else that sounded cool. Yet to get tired of any of that stuff! God, I feel old. Just to prove I'm not a complete codger, couple of tunes from the summer that I still like are below.