Dream Theater – Honor Thy Father

Long time no see….

Life’s been really busy these days but I felt like sharing these post with you today.

I wake up at 5 a.m. everyday to go to work so, whenever I’m tired, coffee’s been a good pal đŸ˜€

The other day I was into some Mozart stuff when a friend from work sent me this song to listen to. No more coffee was needed. The smashing drums, the hard riffs…. pure energy! Got to love it

Have a nice week everyone đŸ˜‰

Jack of all trades

One Man Band

Hey guys and girls!

The theme for today’s post is multi-instrumentalists, ie, musicians that play more than one instrument. Furthermore, I bring to you other-worldly musicians that released albums where they played all the instruments present!

The first name that comes to mind is that of Mike Oldfield, who recorder the monumental album Tubular Bells in 1973, which apart from being his debut, was also the first album Virgin Records released.

This amazing album is composed of two ~25 minute parts that compose a unique song-album, and Mike plays all the instruments (with some help from a few session musicians and a choir), and the list is quite extensive:

Grand Piano, Glockenspiel, Farfisa organ, Bass guitar, Electric guitar, Speed guitar, Taped motor drive amplifier organ chord, Mandolin-like guitar, Fuzz guitars, Assorted percussion, Acoustic guitar, Flageolet, Honky tonk, Lowrey organ, Tubular Bells, Farfisa organ, Speed electric guitars, Concert timpani, Guitars sounding like bagpipes, Piltdown man, Hammond organ, Spanish guitar and Moribund chorus

The album sold more than 16 million copies, which is an astonishing accomplishment, if we note that the album is considered progressive, is instrumental and composed by two very long songs. Of course that the usage of the intro in the soundtrack of the movie The Exorcist helped, but even so… Mike’s popularity is such that even in this year’s Olympics opening ceremony he was called to accompany one of the segments of the show. But, enough words, here’s a live rendition of the first segment of the first part of Tubular Bells!

Pretty good, uh? If you want more, check the whole album here. I’ve pointed you to the part where a Master of Ceremonies enumerates a few instruments when they solo. Mike went on to have a very successful career, but Tubular Bells remained to be his magnum opus.

There are many other multi-instrumentalists who played all (or most of) the instruments in their compositions, such as

  • Billy Corgan, from The Smashing Pumpkins, who composed and played all the instruments on the song 1979 (well, he used a drum machine, but the song is still pretty good). The song went on to be their most recognized songs ever!
  • Dave Grohl, from Nirvana and Foo Fighters (mainly), composed and performed all the instruments on the album Foo Fighters, and only recruited musicians to play it live, what gave birth to his present band. Check Big Me, one of the songs in that album.

Of course I could mention thousands of other multi-instrumentalists, like Matthew Bellamy of Muse fame or Thom Yorke of Radiohead.

Hope I opened new ground for you to explore with this post, or, if you already knew these guys, that I reminded you of their awesomeness!

And our journey continues!

Last time I posted I left you in Australia, and Nuno has taken you to the Balkans and we’re going to cross the Atlantic today and land in Canada!

One of the greatest countries in the world, its music is most of the times overshadowed by their american neighbours, but, from time to time, great artists leave the maple leaf country and depart to conquer the world stages.

The current best example of such an artist is the band Arcade Fire. This amazing septet performs music in the indie rock category, but they are much more than that as this video proves đŸ™‚

But, when I think of Canadian music, my thoughts are immediately directed to Rush, the megalithic power trio that conquered the world in the 70’s with their 2112 record, with their out-of-this-world drummer (many times considered one of the best ever), their experimentalist guitarist and their high-pitched singer/bassist, which is also an accomplished keyboardist. But enough adjectives already! Here’s an excerpt of their 20 minute epic 2112:

Their style varied during the 80’s (very little bands didn’t change through the 80’s…) including more keyboards and sampled sounds. Two staple song from that era are Subdivisions and Distant Early Warning.

Of course there are a lot of other amazing canadian bands/artists, like Harmonium, Neil Young , Alanis Morissette, Bryan Adams, etc. But I decided to stop doing the 2-hour-long posts I used to đŸ˜›

Oh, I almost forgot, Pedro‘s post with Pearl Jam was our 100th post! Hurray đŸ˜€

Yes, Tolstoi!

Yesterday I was driving home and this song passed in my stereo (not strange, as I had it recorded on the cd :P). It passed me such an intense feeling, soothing and calming me. I found myself singing to the wailing slide guitar of Steve Howe, along with the amazing Jon Anderson, something I failed to do when they played live in Lisbon last year, as they unfortunately didn’t play this song.

This piece of music has probably one of the best melodies I’ve ever heard, as someone said:  “Yes is what God listens to when He needs a break from gospel music.” đŸ™‚

You probably understood the “Yes” on the title of this post, but why Tolstoi? Well, this amazing song is part of a 22-minute suite released in 1975 called The Gates of Delirium. This lengthy suite is loosely based on the novel War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoi, hence my reference. I won’t explain the book here, as I haven’t read it yet (I’m waiting for a friend to come back and lend it to me, right Catarina? :P), but Soon, representing a soothing prayer for peace and hope, is about the aftermath of the battle reported in the book.

Hope you liked it half as much as I love it đŸ˜€