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This is a new section I want to start on the blog. It’s similar to what was previously done under “Music that slipped through the cracks”, but instead will include all media (music, movies, literature, etc.) and generally try and be things you may not have heard of previously. I’m going to try and do this a lot more than the music reviews of albums everyone seems to already cover (“Did you hear the new Bieber album? That shit is tiiiiiight.”).

Beats On Canvas

Beats On Canvas

Where to start on this one? I guess the easiest place is to say that Beats On Canvas are a group from the Montreal area who “transpos[e] visual mediums into musical soundscapes.” Make sense? The trio has taken individual paintings by Marc-Bernard Philippe and then created largely instrumental tracks for each one. For example, “Doki”, the first track, is light, airy, and reminiscent of pre-Modern Japan (the Philippe painting that accompanies “Doki” is an impressionist work of a kimono-wearing, fan-waving couple). Each track has an entirely different vibe, just as Philippe, as a self-taught artist, isn’t bound to one style, invoking allusions to Dali, Picasso and the French countryside impressionists.

When holding the liner notes and listening to the music (remember doing that as a kid!?!) the full project that Beats On Canvas are attempting emerges and draws one in. The album on its own merit is a great listen and highly recommended to those who appreciate modern instrumental music. Don’t believe me? Did I forget to mention that Beats On Canvas were nominated for the 2010 Juno Award for Instrumental Album of the Year? And if you like name dropping, rising Montreal musician Patrick Watson lends his hand remixing the track “Good Spirit”.

Names of Stars

Names of Stars

This definitely fits under the “road less traveled” category, if only for the comments in the band’s email to me, pertaining to their travels, saying they’ve been “testing…material in foreign markets, touring the ‘spine’ of Central Asia from India to Siberia on camel-back and occasionally yak-back…”. That’s just awesome. I think I might need to do something similar to promote the next novel. I wonder how well English literature is appreciated in Tashkent?

Names of Stars, despite their camel riding ways, are a L.A.-based band that play indie-guitar pop-rock (I know that offers nothing and everything as a description). I know it’s lazy making comparisons, but I’d say they’re in that ballpark between Augustana and Phoenix (not too shabby), providing great beats that hipster kids can sway to. Some stand-out tracks on the album include “What Is This Place?” and “Love In L.A.”

Tidbits:

-This week I watched A Serious Man, finally catching up after Oscar season. Great Coen brothers movie, as expected, though still filled with much confusion. For example, in the first five minutes, questions I was left with include: What is a Dybbuk? Is he a Dybbuk? and What does this have to do with Larry Gopnik?

-Did you know Richard Cheese is still making music?

-Working my way through A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. It’s a f-ing brilliant book. If you want a philosophy lesson and a laughing fit at the same time, get your paws on it.

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