Monday, October 4, 2010

Dark Suites Music Reviews

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross- The Social Network OST(2010)

Review written by Steven M. Duarte

David Fincher has teamed up with NIN frontman Trent Reznor to score the new feature film The Social Network. This is not the first time that Trent has lent his music to a Fincher movie. A remixed version of Closer was played during the opening credits of the Fincher directed film Seven. This time around Trent was given the task of actually scoring the film.

What we end up with is a much more commercial sounding extension of the Ghost album that Trent put out under the Nine Inch Nails banner in 2008. The Ghost album was the soundtrack of my last semester in college so I am very fond of that album. While I do mention that this album has more commercial appeal I believe it was necessary. Where the Ghost album would have been appropriate for a horror or thriller film, this album fits appropriately with the subject content which is really about the founders of Facebook.

The songs while all instrumental never fall flat of being overally generic or boring. These instrumental albums are great for playing while doing some writing as they are very mellow and soothing at times to calm the nerves to get ready to do some writing. One notable track is the cover of In the Hall of the Mountain King. Trent really takes the track and makes it his own while not straying too far from the original.

Trent Reznor is a major figure in the music industry for his reluctance to give in to big record companies and his stride to give back to the fans. His last couple albums have either been free or he has given people the choice to pay what they wanted for the album. With the Social Network the digital download is a measly $5 bucks which is probably less than you spend on lunch, so do yourself a favor and get the Social Network.

1. "Hand Covers Bruise" 4:18
2. "In Motion" 4:56
3. "A Familiar Taste" 3:35
4. "It Catches Up With You" 1:39
5. "Intriguing Possibilities" 4:24
6. "Painted Sun In Abstract" 3:29
7. "3:14 Every Night" 4:03
8. "Pieces Form the Whole" 4:16
9. "Carbon Prevails" 3:53
10. "Eventually We Find Our Way" 4:17
11. "Penetration" 1:14
12. "In the Hall of the Mountain King" 2:21
13. "On We March" 4:14
14. "Magnetic" 2:10
15. "Almost Home" 3:33
16. "Hand Covers Bruise, Reprise" 1:52
17. "Complication with Optimistic Outcome" 3:19
18. "The Gentle Hum of Anxiety" 3:53
19. "Soft Trees Break the Fall" 4:44

--Steven M. Duarte

Freddie Hubbard- Blue Spirits (1965)
review by Nickolas Cook

This may be one of the most underrated albums by jazz master (and a very young one when his influence really began to be felt in the hardbop world), Freddie Hubbard. "Blue Spirits", from Blue Note, 1965, is an album filled with elan and beauty. Hubbard was all of 28 when he released this masterful blend of smooth and hard. There are moments on this album you can almost feel as if he were talking to you through his trumpet, articulations about his struggles and the things he'd seen in the big city before he was even 30 years old. There is such a trueness and perfection to the blend of soft and hard on "Blue Spirits" that it feels as if a man twice his age had created this set of masterful songs.

1."Soul Surge" - 10:24
2."Blue Spirits" - 12:14
3."Outer Forces" - 9:35
4."Cunga Black" - 5:15
5."Jodo" - 7:07
6."The Melting Pot" - 7:36
7."True Colors" - 9:53

(Learn more about this jazz master at his official website)

--Nickolas Cook

Mark Turner- Ballad Session (2000)
review by Nickolas Cook

In the wee hours before another desert sunrise, listening to Mark Turner's 2000 release, Ballad Session. At the time, it was only his 2nd studio release and he was barely in his early 20s. You won't find any Coltrane or Bird style sax acrobatics here, but there are plenty of emotive and poised moments of smooth jazziness mixed with an obvious love for the late 50s to early 60s Westcoast sound. It's just the title implies: ballads, easy on the ear and soul, grounded and beautiful phrasing. His timbre and tone are definitely those of a musician who enjoys space between the notes, something a lot of modern jazz musicians have forgotten to remember when constructing a song. The album is mostly covers but that doesn't mean Turner doesn't know how to make them his own, for the most part. And right now I'm having one of those rare zen moments as Turner works through his version of Miles Davis's Nefertiti just as the first rays of the sun are rising like honey above the mountain peaks. It is a good moment to be alive.

(Sorry, no videos available from this album, but there's plenty of material of Turner's work on YouTube and other video sites)

1. I Loves You Porgy 5:42
2. Some Other Time 5:27
3. Nefertiti 5:45
4. Skylark 5:55
5. No More 2:56
6. All Or Nothing At All 5:20
7. Visions 5:10
8. Alone And I 8:06
9. Late Lament 6:09
10. Jesus Maria 4:38

(Turner is currently a member of The Fly Trio. To check out his and their music, visit their home here.)

--Nickolas Cook

Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges- Side by Side (1959)
review by Nickolas Cook

This is an album that brings together, once again, one of the greatest duos ever in the history of jazz. By the time this album was recorded both The Duke and Hodges were international legends. The 'plus others' listed at the bottom of the album cover were most of Ellington's longtime band members, who, along with Johnny Hodges, were THE top players of their generation. Duke wrote\published\recorded a record breaking over 1,500 songs in his career. He was one of the most accomplished arrangers in music history and this album gives just a tiny taste of that genuis.
Hodges, who had released several classic solo albums prior to SIDE BY SIDE, later went on to do more duo and trio albums with the likes of Billy Strayhorn and others.
This is an album that celebrates all that is gracious and beautiful in jazz and the human condition, but never forgets how to swing, man. It should be in every true music lover's library.

1."Stompy Jones" (Duke Ellington) – 6:38
2."Just Squeeze Me" (Fats Waller, Clarence Williams) – 4:36
3."Big Shoe" (Jimmy Hamilton) – 5:37
4."Going Up" (D. Ellington) – 4:51
5."Just a Memory" (Lew Brown, Buddy DeSylva, Ray Henderson) – 5:53
6."Let's Fall in Love" (Harold Arlen, Ted Koehler) – 6:47
7."Ruint" (Mercer Ellington, Johnny Hodges) – 2:32
8."Bend One" (Hodges) – 2:59
9."You Need to Rock" (Hodges) – 5:52

(Visit these links to learn more about these great jazzmasters: Duke Ellington and Johnny Hodges)

We recently received a special video from one our favorite up and coming artists, MC SEX. Here's his video for his new song Mayonnaise and Ketchup, guaranteed to tittilate and disgust-- in a good way, of course. Enjoy!

--Nickolas Cook