Archive for David Lang

Songs from the Vault

The last installment of Songs from the Vault was a brief sortie into the world of dream pop.  This time round we’re going to go on a far more eclectic journey, embracing jazz, contemporary classical, dubstep and more, so belt up…

First up, and in memory of Tomasz Stanko who died earlier this year, is Terminal 7 by the Tomasz Stanko quintet.  This track is from the quintet’s 2009 album Dark Eyes.  If it sounds familiar, it may be because it’s the theme to Homeland.  It’s a dark, melancholy and hypnotic piece, perfect for the TV series.  Hopefully, the Homeland connection brought and will continue to bring more listeners to Stanko’s door…

Sticking to our darkened path we turn to Burial (aka William Bevan), a South London-based dubstep artist who was anonymous for the early part of his career, despite success and critical acclaim.  The track in question is Kindred, off the 2012 EP of the same name.  The Wikipedia entry for this EP includes a great summary of this tune, so I’ll spell it out here.  There’s not much more I can add…

NME’s Ben Hewitt wrote that “all the highfaluting talk is justified: the EP’s title track is a 12-minute depth-charge that crackles and fizzes dangerously, imbued with the same knife-edge tension you feel when trekking across London at night.”

Next up is Memory Pieces 1 composed by American David Lang, and performed by pianist Andrew Zolinsky.  The memory pieces in question are tunes dedicated to friends of Lang who’ve passed on.  Memory Piece 1 is titled ‘Cage’ and dedicated to the avant-garde, minimalist compose John Cage.  It’s a solo piano piece and one where where each note played is struck numerous times to create a collage of overlapping sound.  I don’t imagine it’s to everybody’s taste but one is struck by the openness and tension within the piece, while retaining it’s musicality and emotion…

I want to stick with the John Cage thing but mix things up a bit.  The next track is Triplicate/Something Happened That Day by DJ Shadow from his 2006 album The Outsider.  The track starts with a sample of Cage’s In a Landscape, which Cage composed in 1948.  It’s not the best track on the album but a track worth noting given the Cage-DJ Shadow connection…

Seeing as I’ve gone from David Lang to DJ Shadow via John Cage, I’ll continue with the connection game.  Last up is Lonely Soul from Unkle’s 1998 album Psyence Fiction, which was produced by DJ Shadow and James Lavelle.  Lonely Soul was written by DJ Shadow, Wil Malone (who did the string arrangements on Massive Attack’s Unfinished Sympathy and The Verve’s Bitter Sweet Symphony), and The Verve’s Richard Ashcroft, who sings on the track.  Listening to the track you can really hear what each writer brought to the party. It’s a great mix of Shadow’s trip-hop, Malone’s strings and Ashcroft’s vocals.  I remember the album being a disappointment at the time of the release, perhaps because it was so hyped-up.  Nevertheless, the album has some killer tracks including Lonely Soul, Rabbit in Your Headlights (feat. Thom Yorke) and Be There (feat. Ian Brown)…

I hope that you enjoyed this more eclectic edition of Songs from the Vault and that there was something for you.  Let me know!