Music

Tune In: The Art of the Videogame Soundtrack

Garrett Hartman

“Devil Trigger” is the battle theme for one of the game’s three protagonists Nero. “Devil Trigger” stands in stark contrast to the series norm with a sound that can almost be described as EDM. The song has an explosive, energetic attitude to it that matches the chaotic action associated with Nero’s fighting style. The female vocalist gives the piece an overall pop feel; however, under the surface, a solid hard rock base accompanied with hard rock backup vocals is reminiscent of songs from earlier games in the franchise. 

Music Journalist Ben Fong-Torres and the Glory Days of ‘Rolling Stone’

Ben Friedman

In the documentary Like a Rolling Stone: The Life and Times of Ben Fong-Torres, Fong-Torres recounts the feeling of flipping through the jukebox at his father’s restaurant stating, “Inside jukeboxes, there was no segregation…Rock and Roll was an equalizer.” Music gave voice to the disenfranchised as a form of protest. These principles of rock and roll shaped Fong-Torres’s writing sensibilities, making him a rockstar journalist within the music industry.

When Duke Ellington Played Carnegie Hall

Joab Jackson

The mainstream press was quick to celebrate the concert and Ellington’s legacy, but danced around the merits of “Black, Brown, and Beige” itself. Praising the piece for being jazz’s longest-running tone painting, Time magazine concluded nonetheless that the composition “often seemed too ambitious. Likewise, the New York Times, while admitting “Black, Brown, and Beige” had “many exciting passages," stated that it was the shorter dance numbers where Ellington, as a bandleader, "seemed most himself."

Who Are You Calling a Sellout?

Garrett Hartman

This is not to say artists shouldn’t be criticized and that the origin of a piece of art doesn’t matter, but rather that authorial intent doesn’t necessarily define a piece of art in and of itself. The meaning one takes away from art is extremely personal and has much more say in how it affects the real world than how it was made. This all ultimately trails back to the classic bout between high and low culture – a conflict that  often boils down to a battle over cultural capital.

New Film Pays Homage to Gospel Quartets and Their Evolution Into Rock ‘n Roll

Ben Friedman

Its subject matter is endlessly fascinating, and the interviews Clem captures are special relics of musical history. The stories provided are engrossing. Clem has a clear adoration for the subject and his passion transcends the screen.  The biggest issue with How They Got Over is simply that Clem’s scope is far too ambitious for such a short runtime. In covering everything, nothing feels particularly significant.

Capturing the Music Scene of the Pacific Northwest

Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith is a Pacific Northwest-based photographer and documentary filmmaker. She has been working with local artists, nonprofits, and community organizers to help them share their stories and connect with their communities since 2017. As a music photographer, Smith has covered national touring artists, including the Polyrhythmics, Allen Stone, and ZZ Ward, as well as local favorites like Kim Archer and the Thunderpussies.

Are Virtual Festivals the Future?

BPT

Producing a virtual event is standard fare for many large, medium and small corporate marketing teams, but big, consumer events had yet to realize virtual success until well into the pandemic era. Moment House produced a virtual Justin Bieber show from a hotel in Beverly Hills on New Year’s Eve, and stand-up comedians like Kevin Fredericks are hosting larger audiences than ever virtually. But a virtual festival? Is that even possible? Popular film festival SXSW went virtual this year and mega-media company OZY just wrapped its annual OZY Fest.

‘Sparks Brothers’ Pays Homage to Quirky Genius of Musical Duo

Forrest Hartman

The Sparks Brothers is as entertaining as it is informative, and music lovers should leave the film both appreciating the Maels’ contributions to pop music and admiring Wright’s ability to tell their story. Furthermore, the folks who – like me – came into this project unaware of the band will, no doubt, spend a few hours digging through its rather impressive back catalog. Not every movie leaves me with new downloads in my music library, but this one certainly did.

Rock Has Another Trick Up Its Sleave

Garrett Hartman

On Fidlar’s latest album “Almost Free,” released in 2019, the title track is an entirely instrumental blend of funk and big band music. A track like this seems to contradict the Alt Rock angst they call back to however it seems to fit into the album perfectly. Similarly, SWMRS “Berkley’s on Fire” and “Lose Lose Lose” use groovy basslines and interesting rhythms that separate them from the standard order Alt Rock, but still have enough attitude and Punk guitars to be described as anything else. It feels almost disrespectful to compare these bands with each other because of their undeniable individuality.

 

New Book Reminisces About Jazz Legend Louis Armstrong’s Big Band Years

James Fozard

Armstrong’s dual career as a jazz player and vocalist continued through the remainder of his life. He sang with other jazz legends, such as Ella Fitzgerald and in cameo music roles in movies. He continued performing with his group and core members, Barney Bigard, Jack Teagarden, and Earl Hines into the 1950s. Armstrong was also immensely popular in Europe, often referred to as America’s Jazz Ambassador. He is said to have considered himself a “performer of music.”

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