Loving the Music - the Sound of May: 8th - 14th May 2020
This week we feature some excellent lockdown performances from some names you've seen before taking a quick trip to find the elusive Gotye, and round it off by being amused to death with Roger Waters. Sounds perfect!
This series of blog articles cover a week of mini-feature posts from the Loving the Music Facebook page and group. This makes it easier for our music-loving community to search through our ever-growing archive of songs, backstories and trivia.
8th - 14th May 2020 - Featured Musicians:
Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain - The Main Squeeze - The Kaiser Chiefs -
Gotye - Roger Waters
8th May: Happy Saturday everybody. I was looking through some of the lockdown music performances that I am happy to say are popping up all over the place. I've decided to share three of the day's best finds with you this evening.
I'm starting with my favourite ukelele orchestra and a regular to this page, The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain. Although saddened by the news of Florian Schneider's death this week, I can't help but think that this version of Kraftwerk's The Model would have put a smile on his face. It did mine.
The second lockdown performance comes from that remarkable Funk Rock band from Indiana, The Main Squeeze If you like clever arrangements, superb musicianship and some of the best covers out there, check them out on YouTube. Here they are doing what they do best and joined along the way with a lot of friends. Here's The Main Squeeze doing a lockdown version of With a Little Help From My Friends,
The Kaiser Chiefs take the closing slot tonight with a brilliant song about the lockdown, Oh My God. It's cleverly written, had a great melody and, after the lockdown, should be released as a single. It will be a chart-topper.
My heart goes out to musicians during these restrictions and I have the utmost respect for those who found a way to carry on bringing their music to us when we need it most. Wherever we can we need to help support them. Not only by money, most of us can't afford that, but by joining their social media platforms, liking their posts and sharing their music.
Anyway, here's the Kaiser Chiefs and the very clever Oh My God. As always, stay well, stay safe and stay sane. Happy Saturday. 😎
10 May: Sometimes it happens that you hear a track on the radio and think ‘I have to find out more about this artist’, only to find the artist has been around for nearly 20 years. This was the case when I heard Gotye's track Somebody That I Used to Know a few weeks ago.
Gotye (Wally De Backer) is a Belgian-born Australian and unbeknown to me is regarded at one of the ‘top 50 influential Australians in the arts’ by Australian News, although he has only made three albums since his first release in 2002 under his own name.
Gotye (pronounced Gauthier) is quite an interesting character as you’ll find out over the next few posts. Apart from being a remarkable songwriter, the video that accompanies the song is a masterpiece. Here’s Somebody I Used to Know from the 2011 album Making Mirrors. Enjoy!
The more I researched Gotye the more I was intrigued. Although he had achieved critical and commercial success, he decided to head in a different direction. In a 2014 online newsletter, he claimed that there would be no more Gotye music, although he did remain a member of the band The Basics who produced six albums during and after the Gotye phenomenon.
The second track from Gotye for today is from the 2006 Like Drawing Blood album. Here’s Hearts a Mess.
In 2015 Gotye developed a passion for an early synthesizer from the ‘40s, the Ondioline, of which only about ninety were ever manufactured and of which Gotye, at last report, owns eleven. Gotye became firm friends with the inventor, Jean-Jaques Perry.
Of the ondioline, Gotye said, "You can dial in an incredibly wide range of sounds on the ondioline, and the unique mechanics for playing it allows you to create sounds very sensitively and with a musical deftness I just feel isn't present on most other electronic instruments from the '40s – or decades since."
Gotye formed the Ondioline Orchestra and the sextet made their debut performance as a tribute to Jean-Jaques Perrey in November 2016. Perrey had planned to attend the tribute but ill health prevented it and he died at the age of 87 in May 2017.
Gotye still champions the Ondioline and regularly performs with the orchestra. I am closing today’s choice with a different side of Gotye and a performance of Prélude à la Rose and Cigale (The Cicadas of Provence), a piece he dedicated to his daughter who was born in 2018.
I hope you are all having a good Sunday. May the week ahead bring some good news regarding restrictions and lockdowns. Keep strong, safe and sane my friends. See you next week.
14 May: My earlier post about Pink Floyd has kind of set the theme for this Thursday, but rather than the band, I’ve chosen a few tracks from one of my favourite artists and albums, that being Roger Waters and Amused to Death. I hadn’t listened to the whole album in a while and the tone of the album suited today's mood perfectly.
For those non-Waters people, this is the third solo release from Roger Waters. Work on the album started in 1987 and it took several years to complete before its release in 1992. The concept of the album is that of an ape randomly switching channels on a TV. Sound odd? What emerges is one of the most powerful social and political masterpieces of modern times. On release, Allmusic described it as "a masterpiece in the sense that it brings together all of his (Waters) obsessions in one grand, but not unwieldy, package"
As the album was released with no ‘Official Videos’ I have tried to find the best of the fan videos on YouTube, and some of them are pretty quirky. Strangely, I’m starting with the closing song of the album. Why? Because it’s been one of those days! Here’s Amused to Death.
Roger Waters told Classic Rock in an interview “My view is that I've been involved in two absolutely classic albums – Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall. However, If you haven't got Amused to Death, you haven't got the full set”
My second choice from Amused to Death is the track he first wrote when he started work on the album in 1987 (5 years prior to its release), Perfect Sense. It’s a dark but clever song about a world where live commentary on wars is the main form of home entertainment (hmmmm...). If you recognize the wild Scottish yelling in the track, think the teacher in The Wall. Roger reincarnated his character for this little cameo. Here’s the well-named and very apt Perfect Sense.
The final Amused to Death track for today is another powerful statement; The Bravery of Being Out of Range. I think the title says it all.
This is a very special album to me that encompasses an era of great upheaval in my life. In its strange dystopian way, it got me through some very difficult times.
Maybe it made me see that there are far bigger issues than my own in the world – ergo - maybe revisiting those ‘magnum opus’ albums isn’t a bad idea at the moment! Again, this is a fan video but set to the soundtrack of a live performance and it really isn’t too bad. Thanks for indulging me this Thursday. As always, stay safe and stay sane. It’s a crazy world out there! 😎
I hope that you find these weekly recaps of Loving the Music mini-features make your musical world a little easier. Happy exploring! Join our Facebook Community here for a music group who does more than just post a link to a song.
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The Design Train is a social media marketing company run by music-lover Andrew Knapp, who also hosts the Loving the Music Facebook pages. The Design Train specializes in content creation on a wide variety of topics designed to compliment the client's objectives.
Words © Andrew Knapp
The author does not own the copyright of any of the videos used in the article