Friday, September 23, 2005

Essentials #1: Garbage

Hi everyone...welcome to this new section, Essentials, where I present to you an artiste's absolutely best other words, their essential recordings. I've been wanting to do a section like this for some time now, and I hope it will help you create your playlists on your iPods or Zens or whatever mp3 player you have...or if you're still stuck in the stone age, you can burn these tracks onto a CD-R.

Anyway, much thought has been given into the selection of the best tracks of the artiste's career...and I mean only the best. It's doesn't matter if a song hit #1, but if it sucks, it's not going to appear here. Similarly, even if the song was not released as a single, it can appear here. The order of the songs is also carefully thought out. Ok you get the idea. So without further ado, here's the first edition of Essentials...enjoy...

The Essential Garbage
  1. Why Do You Love Me
  2. Stupid Girl
  3. Push It
  4. Only Happy When It Rains
  5. Temptation Waits
  6. I Think I'm Paranoid
  7. When I Grow Up
  8. Special
  9. Androgyny
  10. Dumb
  11. Hammering In My Head
  12. Supervixen
  13. Shut Your Mouth
  14. The Trick Is To Keep Breathing
  15. Queer
  16. #1 Crush
  17. Drive You Home
  18. Milk
  19. You Look So Fine

Friday, September 16, 2005

Concert Review: Klazz Brothers and Cuba Percussion

Concert: Klazz Brothers and Cuba Percussion
Date: 12th September 2005
Venue: Esplanade Theatre

I stumbled across this group while browsing the Sembawang Music Centre store at Orchard MRT, and immediately, I was hooked onto the infectious percussion beats and nice melody. I asked the shop owner what CD they were playing and he showed me the album. I ended up buying it later in the day.

It's not often that I come across an artiste that I have never heard before and buy their album immediately. This just goes to show how good their music is. It wasn't until much later that I realised that they were actually coming to Singapore, and I was very excited about it.

I went to buy their special limited edition CD package (containing their first 2 albums) bundled with a bonus DVD, and it entitled me to a 10% discount on their concert tickets. I then went to purchase tickets from the Esplanade box office. Naturally, I bought the cheapest tickets ($38), and I brought my dad along.

It was my first time at the Esplanade Theatres...I have been to the Concert Hall before. It was smaller than the concert hall, but similarly furnished. As a result, even though I was sitting at the furthest row on Circle 2, I wasn't too far away from the stage.

For those who do not know, the Klass Brothers are 3 guys from Germany, and they consist of the pianist, bassist (double bass) and drummer. The Cuba Percussionists are the bongo/timbales and conga players they met while they were on tour...It wasn't long before they forged a unique partnership, and they decided to stick together.

I must say that I was deeply impressed by all of them, as they all exhibited so much class and virtuosity at their individual instruments. They are all so skilled that I cannot tell you who is the best among them.

The timbales player had such even strokes it made you wonder if it was technically possible. It sounded like it was generated by a machine.

The drummer is also superb. The most memorable part was when he played a drum solo, and he kept his bass drum and hi-hat constant with a samba one-two beat...but his hands were slowing down, portraying a train coming to a stop. He then accelerated to represent it chugging again..and it's simply out of this world.

As a percussionist, I can tell you how hard it is to achieve "independence", where your 4 limbs are able to function separately from each other. It takes a lot of skill and concentration perhaps to do so. His feet were playing a constant beat while the arms were not. It's super super hard to do. Not sure if anyone else in the audience appreciated that.

Anyway, as for the concert itself, it was nearly flawless. They were tight as hell. And their music was full of weird timings and syncopation, not a straight beat. And they played together in perfect harmony and coordination. Amazing.

They also said that we were the first ever to hear their rendition of Mozart's Figaro, as they had only practised at their hotel lobby a day ago. I could tell that their entrance was a little wobbly, but for the rest of the song, they played it as if they had played it a thousand times.

I was also very impressed by the bassist when he performed a Bach piece solo, with accompaniment from the bongo player. It was filled with running notes from start to end, and he played it as if it were a violin. I have never seen anyone play the double bass (plucking) so fast before.

The bassist was their emcee, and he was humourous too. There was also audience participation as they urged us to clap along to the beat of the music. There was also a segment where the audience was supposed to repeat the rhythm of the shaker after the drummer.

Each member of the band was given a chance to showcase their marvellous skill, and they all performed outstandingly. They were clearly enjoying themselves, and I would say that we enjoyed ourselves too. In all, it is one of the best, if not the best, concert that I have watched and enjoyed. 5 stars without a doubt.