A musical post

Cover of Kate Bush's latest album, AerialThe long-overdue choons post! So far this year, there have a been a couple of real stand-out albums for me (both released in 2005).

Just before Christmas, Kate Bush released her eighth studio album, Aerial. This release was eagerly-anticipated, to say the least, and for most fans did not disappoint. I have been listening to the album a lot lately, especially disc two, A Sky Of Honey. It’s a beautiful piece of work, with all the amazing “quirkiness” you’d expect from Kate.

I find myself utterly mesmerised by the birdsong-esque segues between some of the tracks; this works more and more as the second disc draws to a close (e.g. piano and birdsong in Aerial Tal) until we reach the final title track, in which Bush makes very effective use of an otherworldly synth loop. Take note: this isn’t necessarily music to code to: I find myself repeatedly drawn-in (but then, I haven’t coded in a while ;-))

The arrangements on this album are flawless. Everything in its place, nothing overstated—a real master at work. Sadly, Aerial comprises one of the last examples of the late, great Michael Kamen’s work. Kamen contributed orchestral arrangements, and also conducted the London Metropolitan Orchestra. There is some beautiful work here.

Imogen Heap, Speak For Yourself album coverMy other choice is also a solo release from a female British singer-songwriter, Imogen Heap. I have already written about Imogen’s summer 2005 album, Speak For Yourself, but expect to hear more about her generally now that (a) she has a new distribution deal and that (b) she is releasing a single from the album, Goodnight & Go on the 8th May. Imogen has also been touring pretty hard of late, both on this side of the pond, and in the US. Take it from me, she is well worth seeing live: Hide And Seek is astonishing (real hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck stuff), she hits the high notes in (my current fave) The Walk, and storms with the band on tracks like Daylight Robbery. When I saw her, Imogen opened her show with an a capella version of Just For Now, complete with live sampling and looping. Fabulous.

Since the album was released, Heap has gone on to release b-sides and soundtrack stuff that continue to astound: Cumulus is a gorgeous instrumental—the word “epic” was invented for material like this—whilst the new b-side Speeding Cars is truly a thing to behold.

OK, I’ve been waxing lyrical for a while now. Soon I shall stop! But just let me say this: if you like Imogen’s stuff, pick up the soundtrack to The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe. Whilst she recorded a beautiful song for it, the whole soundtrack is superb, including lovely songs from Alanis Morissette and Neil Finn.

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I’m a software architect / developer / general IT wrangler specialising in web, mobile web and middleware using things like node.js, Java, C#, PHP, HTML5 and more.

Best described as a simpleton, but kindly. You can read more here.