Transitioning from summer into fall is a slow time of the year. The days get shorter, darkness arrives before you know it. Hours tick by, half a blur but half a stairway with no end in sight.
Music’s role in life changes with the season. It plays a supporting role during the summer, but is quickly cast as a co-lead when the slowdown hits. Stow away that song ADD, and release the full album listen-throughs and endless mood playlists. Not to mention the high quality of KCRWs Eclectic 24 music feed. Talk about curation!
I’ve been going HAM on Spotify, turning over new stones, finding salamanders and getting those gems in rotation. Who would have thought that someday Burl Ives would share a playlist with Aphex Twin (quick note: if you haven’t listened to “Syro” yet…absolutely one of the best albums of any genre this year). One of my juiciest finds has been the debut album from Crystal Fighters, “Star of Love,” released by the London outfit in 2010. Not only is the music highly innovative and entrancing, but the band has one of the most fascinating back stories I’ve come across in some time.
Formed in 2008, the band is a musical project based on and named for an unfinished opera written by one of the members’ certifiably insane grandfather. After finding the opera randomly which cleaning out the ancient house, located in the Basque region of Spain, the band dedicated their intellectual and musical energies towards creating an album centered on the opera’s insights and traditional Basque music. I forgive you if you didn’t draw that exact conclusion from listening to their music, but there is no denying that the resulting sound is original and new (also now is a good time to drop a pic of this band…they are beautiful.)
Mixing traditional Basque instruments – including a beautiful pipe whistle – with manic, housey synths isn’t easy to do. Vocals at times mimic traditional chanting, always fluid and rapidly delivered.Their new album, Cave Rave continues the mission, but feels overwrought and sugary to me. Not to say it isn’t worth a listen! The story doesn’t get any more normal, but I’ll leave that to curious readers.
As we approach the harvest season, what do we never do? That’s right, drink “harvest” featured beers from your favorite secretly-corporate-owned “craft” brewer. What do we do? Dive into the stacks, get reacquainted with old friends and reflect on another year end approaching and a troubled world laid bare. Pained by a death across the world and one just next door, it can be hard to see many moments of light in the smoggy sky. Rally, my friends! You have enough, you do enough, you are enough. Be you to the ever present soundtrack.