VideoMusicStars http://videomusicstars.com Independent Music News Headlines Mon, 27 Jun 2016 15:17:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Anne Marie Bush: “Unzipped Remix” – immerse yourself in the intoxicating sounds http://videomusicstars.com/anne-marie-bush-unzipped-remix-immerse-yourself-in-the-intoxicating-sounds/ http://videomusicstars.com/anne-marie-bush-unzipped-remix-immerse-yourself-in-the-intoxicating-sounds/#respond Mon, 27 Jun 2016 15:17:11 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12246 The new EP “Unzipped Remix” by Anne Marie Bush hit the clubs on June 24th, 2016. This is the 3rd release from Anne Marie’s trilogy album – the first EP was the smooth RnB Collection, the second was the Club Collection, and the third is the Remix Collection. “Unzipped Remix” is available on all digital and streaming platforms.

anne-marie-bush-unzipped-profileAnne Marie worked the clubs and studios in Los Angeles for 8 years, where she collaborated with a variety of top shelf producers and writers including:  Narada Walden, Bill Champlin, Tamara Champlin, Michael Caruso, Greg Phillinganes, Robert Palmer, Peter Roberts, Terry Wollman, Bruce Gaitsch, Janey Clewer, Britney Spears, Brian Mann, Richard Niles, Ken Larish etc.

Her songs have won numerous awards and have also featured in a number of TV series and feature films, including “Feel U” in the film “Every Day” starring Helen Hunt and Liev Schreiber, directed by Richard Levine.

Far from being a copy-and-paste instant starlet, by Anne Marie Bush, is steadily establishing a foothold in the dance and pop isle, aided by breathily-voiced EDM smashes like those featuring on this EP.  “Unzipped Remix” can be described as a “big sounding dance EP” and the sounds certainly are big here – banging drums, throbbing bass lines, wall to wall synths and Anne’s silky, sexy vocals which turn every track into an earworm.

Aside from the grandiose “Feel U (Club Remix)”, there’s the unassailable “Midnight Bomb (Electro House Remix)”.  Anne’s playful touch is palpable on the dance-floor crusher “Secret Code ( R.E.l & Aviram Moreno Remix)”, while “HiTech Chick  (In Secret Funky house Remix)” is full of smart and sassy robotic vocal effects. However it’s the club anthem “Feel U (REPROJECT HOUSE REMIX)” which represents the pinnacle of big room power.

Anne-Marie-Bush-unzipped-coverAnne Marie Bush’s unmistakable voice cuts through the phat bassline and four-to-the-floor beat, adding some of the best moments to be found on this EP. Melodically, and with its catchy chorus, this track could easily settle itself on any Top40 Chart.

Super sexy and surefooted, this Danish born songstress doesn’t go over the top to try to be different; she’s just naturally different and very talented. All you’ll want to do is immerse yourself in the intoxicating sounds Anne and her crew produce – first and foremost, that ethereal, tantalizing vocal.

Second, the lush and shimmering production: The sweeping, melodic touches, the more rhythmic moments, and the stunning remixes that pushes each song throughout the EP. “Unzipped Remix” is just the kind of EP where you can lose yourself on the dance-floor. And if you check out Anne Marie Bush’s videos, who knows what else you’ll lose. There’s really not much else to say than, Check this out!

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEYOUTUBETWITTERFACEBOOKLINKEDINGOOGLE+

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THE STONEWALL JACKSON & DONNY RICHMOND DUET – NOW #1 in 3 DIFFERENT DECADES!!! http://videomusicstars.com/the-stonewall-jackson-donny-richmond-duet-now-1-in-3-different-decades/ http://videomusicstars.com/the-stonewall-jackson-donny-richmond-duet-now-1-in-3-different-decades/#respond Mon, 27 Jun 2016 11:06:17 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12243 When recording stars Stonewall Jackson and Donny Richmond first had their “Jesus Is My Lifeline” Christian/Country duet released in 1996, it became the longest running National #1 hit in the history of the Music City News and Gospel Voice Charts. Ironically, at the time the song first hit #1, it knocked one of Donny’s other songs, “What Will He Say”, out of the #1 spot.

Donny & Stonewall recording in studio

Donny & Stonewall recording in studio

“Jesus Is My Lifeline” then went on to win numerous Awards, including Vocal Event of The Year, and the Legendary Achievement Award, presented to Stonewall and Donny on the Grand Ole Opry.

In 2006, on the recording’s 10th Anniversary, it was re-released, and once again reached #1 throughout Europe, on both the Euro Contemporary Christian and the Country Charts.

Now, in 2016, “Jesus Is My Lifeline”, has once again rocketed up the Charts. The recording has been certified at the U.S. National #1 spot on the international GTE Music Magazine’s Country Gospel/Christian Country/Bluegrass Gospel Charts, for the July 2016 Cover monthly edition.

This means Stonewall and Donny’s recording of “Jesus Is My Lifeline” has now become a #1 Chart Hit in 3 Different Decades, a music history milestone!!!

Stonewall & Donny - Vocal Collaboration of The Year Award.

Stonewall & Donny – Vocal Collaboration of The Year Award.

Also, the recording quickly reached the #2 spot for the June 2016 monthly international Airplay Express Downloads Chart, and is climbing additional international charts.

This adds to the history making careers of both artists. The veteran Stonewall is known as a cornerstone, along with Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, of the hard driving “honky tonk” sound of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

When his “Waterloo” single crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Charts, he became one of the first country music artists ever to appear on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand national TV Show. He was also the very first artist ever to record an entire album live at the Grand Ole Opry.

Donny Richmond is known for being at the forefront in the development, during the 1990’s, of the contemporary genre of music now known as “Christian Country”.

Donny Richmond, Stonewall Jackson, Garth Brooks, unidentified lady, in studio for "Stonewall Jackson & Super Friends" Album

Donny Richmond, Stonewall Jackson, Garth Brooks, unidentified lady, in studio for “Stonewall Jackson & Super Friends” Album

During the genre’s formation, Donny was arguably it’s most publicized artist, in print media and on TV, and has received numerous Awards including the Living Legend Award from CGMA in Branson USA, Artist of The Decade, and Entertainer of The Decade.

“Jesus Is My Lifeline” by Stonewall & Donny is included in the historic album, “Stonewall Jackson & Super Friends”, recorded during the 1990’s, which includes over 50 of country music’s all-time best loved performers, such as Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Tim McGraw, Charlie Daniels, and Roy Acuff in his last studio performance.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEITUNESYOUTUBE

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New music video by London based electronica project Armada Named Sound – “NY” http://videomusicstars.com/new-music-video-by-london-based-electronica-project-armada-named-sound-ny/ http://videomusicstars.com/new-music-video-by-london-based-electronica-project-armada-named-sound-ny/#respond Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:58:10 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12238 New music video by London based electronica project Armada Named Sound“NY”, is performed by producer Spiros Maus and vocalist Marta Karis, shot at The Joint Studios, London.

Armada-Named-Sound-CoverArmada Named Sound is a diverse and innovative electronic music project, in the sense that it embraces all subgenres of electronic music under the same name. London based producer Spiros Maus is the mastermind behind this project, composing, arranging, mixing and producing everything, and collaborating with various singers/performance.

Visuals are a very important part of this project, and talented director Chris Mavridis has taken care of all the music videos. After the release of the “Starchilden” EP, a debut album is in the making. The fresh new single from the upcoming album is out now, which is entitled “NY”.

OFFICIAL LINKS:

Official Website: http://www.armadanamedsound.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/armadanamedsound

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfFURVALERhmE6i3tKi9UQA

Twitter: https://twitter.com/armada_baby

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/armadanamedsound

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/armadanamedsound

 

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Morgan Wilson: “Fine” – follow the melody and open your heart http://videomusicstars.com/morgan-wilson-fine-follow-the-melody-and-open-your-heart/ http://videomusicstars.com/morgan-wilson-fine-follow-the-melody-and-open-your-heart/#respond Sun, 26 Jun 2016 12:21:19 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12235 Morgan Wilson is one of the few young artists that cover all the angles within her songs. From the music to the lyrics, she leaves no stone unturned. She is melodious and exquisite in all that she plays and sings, sometimes under the form of an electrifying and powerful song (“Clue”), and sometimes under the form of a simple ballad (“On The Brink”). Her lyrics mean something, the harmonics and dynamics in each song is outstanding.

Morgan-Wilson-banner

the single banner

To sum up, within her songs, this artist is made of beautiful contradictions – she is complex, she is simple, she is confident, and she is fragile, and her latest track “Fine” is the one that shows it the most. If you want a song that is a real sample of what Morgan Wilson can emotional achieve within its confines, this is the one – she is “Fine” on the outside, but maybe not so ‘fine’ down on in the inside, within the context of the song.

Morgan’s songs are written from a place I can resonate with – life has its ups and downs but well, that’s life. No bitterness, no angst. Just love – gained or lost. The lyrics and the words she uses, her phrasing, where she lilts hits me as being uncontrived, effortless, spontaneous. There is naturalness in the manner her songs move from the verse to the chorus.

The imagery and language she uses makes me appreciate the poet in her. But what touches me most is how her voice and artistry feel, flowing from the heart first and only secondarily from the mind. There is a strange inexplicable timelessness to her melodies, very catchy, and just a slight touch of melancholy. You will find all of this within the confines of 5 minutes on “Fine”.

Morgan Wilson

Morgan Wilson

Is her songwriting precocious, how can someone so young know all this? But more than anything else for me it is her vocal styling that is like few other contemporary singers – her phrasing is never the same twice, highly intentional in their fusion with the rhythm and melody, and always perfect in carrying the lyric and the song. I am truly slayed. I kept repeating the song, thinking that Morgan Wilson was too good to be true.

Her vocal range is powerful and yet restrained. She can sing in a lower, smoky register and she can belt her heart out in a gorgeous, effortless soprano voice that will give you Goosebumps all over. That thing that makes Morgan Wilson so special though, is she knows how to write a pop song. She can write a verse, a memorable melody, a hook, a catchy or an emotional chorus, and then a stunning bridge, and she also plays guitar as well. She has that unique talent to turn what seems like a simple pop song into a timeless ode to whatever subject it is she is affronting.

As she explores emotion she shows us her ability to manipulate sound. “Fine” is pure beauty in the age of the superficial, where the music is paired to the emotions they’re meant to induce. If you are reading this review and think me a bit over zealous I challenge you to listen to this track. But really listen and allow it to capture you into the story Morgan Wilson has written. Follow the melody and open your heart. It’s an amazing journey that you will not regret.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITEFACEBOOKTWITTERINSTAGRAMYOUTUBE

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Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders: “Little Johnny” – brooding colors and shades http://videomusicstars.com/billy-roberts-and-the-rough-riders-little-johnny-brooding-colors-and-shades/ http://videomusicstars.com/billy-roberts-and-the-rough-riders-little-johnny-brooding-colors-and-shades/#respond Sat, 25 Jun 2016 23:48:47 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12230 If there’s one thing you can say about Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders, it’s this: he’s got taste, style, and chops. Billy’s last album, “Go By Myself”, was so good it felt like sinning and getting away with it. One hot roots rock classic after another delivered with all the nonchalance of a connoisseur. By the time I got my tremulous hands on the new track “Little Johnny”, there was only thought bouncing in my head, ‘will he be able to top that?’

The Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders alt-rock, blues and country style is so embedded into his music that enjoying Billy’s songs often means paying attention to the fine print, the way he works subtleties, the deftness with which he manipulates the familiar. On the face of it, “Little Johnny” seems like retreading old ground, albeit with more bluesy and percussive innovation this time around. Then the backdrop slowly began to creep to the fore.

Billy-Roberts-and-the-Rough-Riders-Little-Johnny-coverThis track, you’ll soon grasp, is all about sound and mood. And there it gets personal, because what you get out of this music has a lot to do with what you put in. If you pay a little more attention, you start appreciating the subtleties of Billy’s music. It’s almost familiar, but in the way of a dream that disappears when you reach out to grab it. The way the bass guitar is pushed forward, so you really hear it. The way he doesn’t play a single extra guitar note, only those that matter – it sounds casual. It’s completely premeditated.

This is Billy Roberts’ most swirling music to date, never has he been so intoxicating, so deceptively deep and yet so precisely elaborate. This is a different beast from “Go By Myself” altogether. Whereas that album thrived from the directness of the songwriting, “Little Johnny” weaves an intricate tapestry of sounds, brooding colors and shades, all riding on a disarmingly naive blues melody.

And there’s the vintage guitar-work: a bewitchingly wicked interplay of simultaneous rhythm and lead notes that is more sophisticated than anything Billy has done before. Over this pulsating sea of sounds, you get the best of his moody, laconic singing rasp – sheer brilliance.

Billy Roberts and the Rough Riders sows and reaps within the space of three minutes and 40 seconds on “Little Johnny”, delivering what is one of his most accomplished platters, one of his most tasteful songs yet. Dark, robust and perfectly understated Billy has taken his style a step further: while the old seeds are firmly rooted, this veers away from the playfulness of yore towards a more urgent, and heavy-laden sound. Is the best still to come?

OFFICIAL LINKS: Artist Website – Reverbnation – Bandcamp – YouTube

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Peter Block: “A New Beginning” – Flawless! http://videomusicstars.com/peter-block-a-new-beginning-flawless/ http://videomusicstars.com/peter-block-a-new-beginning-flawless/#respond Sat, 25 Jun 2016 20:55:33 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12227 New York born composer, songwriter and performer Peter Block inherited his grandfather’s 1926 Steinway piano and began writing at an early age. He has since go on to perform in Manhattan at venues such as Catch a Rising Star, Dangerfield’s, and Improvisation, opening for such greats as Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Jerry Seinfeld. And to this day he still owns his grandfather’s piano.

If well-written and elegantly performed adult contemporary music is your thing, it’s hard to beat Peter Block. Chock full of catchy and tender songs, just as intelligently and impeccably written and performed as anything that Elton John and Billy Joel has delivered to us, “A New Beginning” is an album to drool over.

There is no questioning the album’s merit and worthiness, or its rightful place in the upper hierarchy of Adult Contemporary music where it belongs. It is a masterfully created piece of art that so rightfully deserves any success and praise it may receive.  This is an album that can appeal on many different levels – the pastel tones and lusciously layered music makes this great to play as background music with the dial turned down just a notch, but the lyrics are very thoughtful and will offer tons of pleasure to those wanting to give this album their undivided attention.

Peter-Block-ProfileThen just switch the dial up and tune into songs like “Spend All My Nights”, “Open Door”, “This Is Real”, “Desert Into Rain” and “And Everything After”, and be swept away by the sheer power and intensity of Peter Block’s soaring vocals and the superb musical arrangements.

Each song has its own distinct style, as Block somehow makes his voice go from delicate and understanding to strong and passionate in the very next line. He is able to blaze across any tempo or mood with ease. Listen to him groove through a funky beat like “Everyday”, or a strummed and picked guitar tune such as “Suppertime”, and then the rhythm and soul track “This Is Real”.

This is Block at the peak of his melodic craftsmanship – something very hard to believe considering Peter had an accident in 2005 and broke his neck. Subsequent surgery injured his vocal chords and it wasn’t until he traveled to Germany and received an artificial disc replacement and later on got stem cells put in that miraculously repaired his otherwise permanently damaged vocal chords.

While the production is very much contemporary on “A New Beginning”, the flavor of the music itself fully maintains a classic feel.  This is timeless, ageless music that just could never be tossed aside. Producer Richie Cannata who has worked with Billy Joel for years, as well as many others such as Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and The Beach Boys among others, has done a superb job in supplying just the right sound and musical atmosphere for Peter Block to immerse his talents into.

If I was forced to describe this album in only one single word, it would be ‘flawless’!

OFFICIA LINKS: WEBSITEITUNESAMAZONCDBABY

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CeladonCandy: “Celadonia” requires your attention to be fully enjoyed! http://videomusicstars.com/celadoncandy-celadonia-requires-your-attention-to-be-fully-enjoyed/ http://videomusicstars.com/celadoncandy-celadonia-requires-your-attention-to-be-fully-enjoyed/#respond Sat, 25 Jun 2016 14:40:51 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12223 Formed in 2010, CeladonCandy is currently Paul Allgood (Vox, Sampling) and Jorge Rangel (Programming, Keys). The alternative electro-pop duo are releasing the 10-track album entitled, “Celadonia”, which is due out on the 5th of July. If you’ve been combing through today’s electronic music looking for just a little bit of substance and a slight taste of yesteryear’s new wave synth sounds, you may have just found it with CeladonCandy. Paul Allgood and Jorge Rangel have somehow repackaged retro sounds and taken in new directions with the help of today’s technology, and it sounds like they have unearthed a whole new vibe. They have a keen sense for melody, which paired with their entrenched connection to electro sounds, creates a really cool synth affair.

What we have here is not your loud, crass, overrated pop-dance-techno album. “Celadonia” is something truly special that utilizes brilliant compositions and instrumentation, successfully personifying a seemingly unattainable, illusory alternative soundscape. In a sea of bland, irritating, unmitigated auditory garbage, CeladonCandy’s latest effort transcends genre to become a categorical classic. Literally anyone with any musical preference should find something to love.

The album cover

The album cover

They move from crushing uptempo tracks like “Socialist” and “Sweet” to melancholy slow-burners like “Snakes”. The closest I could come to explaining their sound to a friend was saying it sounded like a blend between Peter Gabriel and Depeche Mode. They have Gabriel’s lyrical depth, and his melodic soundscapes, while they also carry an iota of Depeche Mode’s dark, industrial synth sounds.

Headphones were actually invented for sonic experiences like this. From the opening notes of the first song, I got sucked in. Then I got hit with a curveball: Paul Allgood’s voice. When I first heard him sing “Undercutter” it gave me Goosebumps. The man can sing, and I don’t mean hitting all those funny notes like an R&B crooner. No, what Allgood does, is climb under the skin of every song, turning it inside out until the seeping raw emotion shows right through.

The best examples might be “Irritant” and “Snakes”, which are probably my favorite tracks on the entire album. These are considerate, heartfelt songs. For this reason there is almost an alternative-rock flavor, augmented by the frequency of Paul Allgood’s distinct voice.  Jorge Rangel gives you a better picture of the album’s continuum, implementing related timbres to make everything work within his massive synth soundscapes.

“Celadonia” is complex lyrically, textually, and rhythmically. On the first listen, it is a lot to take in all at once and it requires your attention to be fully enjoyed. An album like this demands to be treated as a reflection of an artistic existence, and features the sonic vehicles with which to fulfill that existence. There is no denying that this is an ambitious electronic album with great songwriting, incredible musicianship, and impeccable production quality.

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITE

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ZiON: “Life” soars above it all! http://videomusicstars.com/zion-life-soars-above-it-all/ http://videomusicstars.com/zion-life-soars-above-it-all/#respond Fri, 24 Jun 2016 09:31:50 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12220 Many may put off by his excessive use of the N-word on the “Life” but something special is brewing underneath the shock and awe tactics. There is a hint of it in his production choices. There is a hint of it in his surefooted, commanding voice — one of those voices that seems born for performance, a mature force that contrasts his temper-tantrum lyrics and production style.

ZiON aka Yung $eal has just dropped a track which is a testament to just what he is trying to exhibit. “Life” sees Zion coming out swinging about real life struggles, social status and being on the grind. The song is hard-hitting and on point lyrically, while Suijin’s production holds up perfectly under the flow.

ZiON

ZiON

The choice of minimal breezy production is a one of the high points of the track, which one can only hope ZiON will continue to revisit and refine as he moves forward in his career, because it’s just that impressive.

Not only that, the lyrical content tackles a surprisingly complex social issue, as ZiON manages to approach controversy with both introspection and the humor and clever metaphors that will most probably become his lyrical trademark.

He writes about soaring above it all and not giving a damn about what anybody else thinks. He forms part of that group of artists who undoubtedly are among the most inventive, clever and recognizably distinct underground emcees we have nowadays.

ZiON gives the impression of someone who is not one to swim with the tide and certainly doesn’t with this latest offering. However the track is fairly easy listen to, with its stylized production and ever-changing pace, and it provides a glimpse into the mind of a smart, obnoxious, creative force that clearly isn’t short of ideas to bring to life and risks to take. ZiON knows precisely which buttons he is pushing.

OFFICIAL LINKS: SOUNDCLOUDTWITTERINSTAGRAM

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Dubbrich: “Black Flag” – layered with meaning! http://videomusicstars.com/dubbrich-black-flag-layered-with-meaning/ http://videomusicstars.com/dubbrich-black-flag-layered-with-meaning/#respond Wed, 22 Jun 2016 12:11:25 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12217 Dubbrich, Born Arron J Collins in Los Angeles, California is an American rapper – producer noted for his smooth, uplifting sounds and life-inspiring lyrics. He lived in Lancaster, California during his childhood and teenage years where he found his love for rap and poetry, writing his first song at the age of 13. In 2010, he moved to Los Angeles to pursuit a College Degree in Technology and Computer science meeting Pakkafella, Packpistol and MTG, who would become his producers and mentors.

Dubbrich

Dubbrich

In piecing together his new album, Dubbrich has largely abandoned the usual hip-hop structures in favor of a cosmic electro sounds. Any changes that he has made, though, serves a greater purpose — evidence that he’s one of the most restlessly creative underground artists in music today.

“Black Flag” tests any number of limits, celebrating man’s potential for triumph, recognizing how completely things can go awry, and condemning the scars accumulated by American historic and commercial actions. While the album is a lyrical landmark above all, there’s no missing that it’s a rich body of work all around.

“Black Flag” is endlessly inventive, featuring songs within songs, use of extended metaphor, and, of course, Dubbrich’s explosive flow patterns. It makes sense that an album of this level contains no musical boundaries. Dubbrich’s thoughts are all over the place – from tackling subjects like LA gang life to personal struggles and housing corruption schemes – from the lows of depression to the highs of artistic confidence, there is nothing as thematically prevalent as Dubbrich’s urge for struggling black Americans to rise above it all. Essential Tracks here include, “Black Flag” Produced by Jinsen, “Broke” Produced by Sticky Icky and “Stone Cold” Produced by Zoman.

Dubbrich-Back_CoverDubbrich is enamored with his people and promotes the message of self-betterment. It’s dead-serious stuff, but there are still songs here that allow you to relax a little…just a little. “Black Flag” is one of those pieces of art that comes along like once in a decade, so layered with meaning, so knotted up with intent and resonance, treating issues and themes that can span eras.

It’s the sort of album that deserves to be really listened to, and worked out for oneself. All expressed in Dubbrich’s quite astonishing box of voices, flows and personas, we take a journey with him that begins with inspirational doses of pride and positivity from the opening title track.

And this album continues to astonish, inspire and remain hugely affecting all the way through, with tracks like “What Do You See” Produced by Uncle Dez, “Everything” Produced by 1990 Sounds and “The Sell” Produced by Freeze CVP. What does it all boil down to? “Black Flag” is an album with more to say about contemporary America – the country’s commercial and political structure, the vast inequalities dictated by money and skin color and pretty much more than you’ll read in any of the so-called history books and daily news chronicles.

Dubbrich has a way of accruing and gently layering his deliveries and messages rather than bludgeoning the listener – all of which will leave you energized and uplifted!

OFFICIAL LINKS: WEBSITE – TWITTER – SOUNDCLOUD – APPLE MUSIC – SPOTIFY

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Hollow Water: “Rainbow’s End” sculpts some of the most sumptuous soundscapes http://videomusicstars.com/hollow-water-rainbows-end-sculpts-some-of-the-most-sumptuous-soundscapes/ http://videomusicstars.com/hollow-water-rainbows-end-sculpts-some-of-the-most-sumptuous-soundscapes/#respond Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:50:01 +0000 http://videomusicstars.com/?p=12214 “Rainbow’s End” is a 12 track concept album by Hollow Water, made up of Huw Roberts (Guitars) and Alan Cookson (Keyboards). For the first time Hollow Water have brought in a vocalist, Mark Lock, who has sung the songs written by keyboardist Alan Cookson. “Having a singer on board completely changes everything,” says Alan.  “Mark loves multi-layered harmonies and this elevates the music to a different level. Mark has taken some time out from his own project called Maintain Order.” Other changes that that have been introduced on the new project, includes the use of various session musicians such as the legendary Jair-Rohm Parker-Wells on bass and Siros Vaziri of the metal band Billion Dollar Man on drums.

Hollow Water

Hollow Water

Listening to this “Rainbow’s End” reminds me of being a kid and so enchanted with my wind-up toy that I took it apart to see what makes it go. The band that Hollow Water has assembled here is really tight, and in the faster numbers you can appreciate how well the performers mesh together, as in the opening track, almost like an exercise, as the guitar lines begin to overlap and grow more complicated, then shift an accent or skip a beat to continually liven things up – wonderfully listenable.

“Mirror’s Frame” is one of my favorites though, two contrasting moods dominate, a hyperactive burbling bass, a very metallic-sounding guitar chiming in and downward cascading of drums, offset by the verse, keeping the same pulse, but with the instrumentation pared down and Mark Lock’s smooth, gliding vocals soaring above – a rest, and then it’s into the controlled chaos again, saxophone and all!

Honorary member Mark Lock Lock, as lead singer seems really right for this collective as well; his voice conveys a real intentness, whether it’s from the charge he gets from the other players, or the lyrical poetry he’s made to deliver – “Gathering Sunbeams for the Future” contains a lexicon of tight rhymes, – “We’re gathering sunbeams for the future, Energy for your computer, All of the gadgets you favour, Tablet, hoover and your shaver. We’re saving the planet for your children, Green power for your new kitchen, Appliances you may find useful, Necessary or even crucial.” A vocal exercise that is lyrical medicine easily digested for Lock.

All around, this is an ambitious project that is most accessible; great for guitar and keyboard freaks. There’s not one song on the album that disappoints, and they’re all terrifically executed. For all fans of progressive rock, or those who appreciate stellar musicianship and production, add this recording to your collection. Featuring skilled musicians, it is an exercise of precision turned into art. It is stunning in its complexity and layered sound.

The band logo

The band logo

Huw Roberts on guitar revels in this arena as he gives us some extremely creative six-string work. His smooth transitions and intense biting tones are the perfect complement to the tight arrangements. Add to that the talents of keyboardist Alan Cookson who sculpts some of the most sumptuous soundscapes and you have a recipe for the absolute destruction of the conception that rock music is simplistic or just ear candy. For those old enough, this kind of sounds like Robert Fripp meets Keith Emerson – eclectic prog rock to say the least!

At times vibrant, frantic and delicious – “Rainbow’s End”, Illusions & Delusions” and “Immortal Portal”, and then more introspective, controlled and unflappable – “Trick of the Light”, “Solar Beacon” and “The Quantum Mechanic and the Map Collector”, the songs are all trussed together by spoken word interludes, while the album is correlated with a booklet containing the song lyrics and comic book descriptions.

“The Light Dimension”, has Lock’s voice at its best, and is another one of the more listener-friendly songs on the recording. Huw Roberts seems to be slamming the song forward as it bursts into high gear; his amazing guitar work intertwining with Alan Cookson’s dizzying keyboard notes. The recording finishes up with the track, “We Changed. This World Didn’t”, where these fine musicians strut their stuff in the truest meaning of the word. If there is a theory for the evolution of rock, then this signals the second apex since the seventies.

This album proves that the chaos of sound is a mere illusion. The instruments, the music arrangements and lyrics are outstanding. “Rainbow’s End” is intelligent, complex, technical, diverse, and unique progressive rock, in an era which has seen the rock genre turn into 3-minute pop songs with a simple dropped E tuning. Any serious rock fan, especially of progressive music should be looking elsewhere. And that ‘elsewhere’, dear friends, is Hollow Water!

“Rainbow’s End” Album Credits:

Voice talent: Velvet Jones, PG Bailey, Tarnia Jones & Darren Deans

Bass guitar: Jair-Rohm Parker Wells & Damjan Kapor aka Stryfer

Drums: Siros Vaziri

Guitar: Matt Quistorf, Federico aka Mrfedmusic

Lap Steel Guitar: Steve Giddings

Saxophone: Nate Madsen, Ilia Skibinsky

Graphics: Christian Paris & Aidan Kelly

Mixed and mastered by Joel Evenden

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