Saturday, June 12, 2004

BloG #12: JavaMusiK Musical Influences - Breadcrumbs picked up along the way...

  • Scroll down to see the BloG #12 Indie Artist Pick

    The JavaMusiK BloG #12 is going to take a detailed look into the musical influences of JavaMusiK. This may or may not give some background as to the development of the unique stylings behind the creations so far. This list is going to start with influences who have had somewhat of an impact, leading finally to the influences who have had a major impact on JavaMusiK.

  • The Beatles: Mostly an appreciation and respect for the group as a whole. JavaMusiK finds the story of The Beatles to be very intriguing and at times mystifying (Paul Is Dead clues, etc...). We find the creativity and propensity to grow as individuals, musicians and as a band to the point where their creativity led each member in different directions an intense part of the overall story of The Beatles.

    The following is a JavaMusiK perspective on each band member, not based on literal fact, but only from personal observations from afar:

    John Lennon - The painfully honest, raw unschooled talent. Always preferred to be a collaborator, whether with Paul, Yoko or any other musical icon who happened to wander into the studio during a session. The initial attraction for me as a listener to John's music in the early 70's was his combination of a beautiful melodic line, combined with lyrical content dealing on an intensely personal, sometimes painful subject matter all while seemingly dancing on the edge of a proverbial cliff. But more than that, was something about the production of John's vocals. If you listen closely, his vocals had a very faint echo in songs like Mind Games which, combined with the above listed elements, provided a very unique signature to his sound.

    Paul McCartney - The left-handed antithesis to John, who could smooth over the rawness of John's innovative concepts propelling them into wonderful pop creations. Often accused of being the AOR member of the creative team, Paul had a gift for giving his musical creations a timeless quality through the steady musical form and solid construction. Beyond the musical contributions to the band, Paul provided the ultimate leadership in the band through his sometimes arrogant, usually balanced, always grounded leanings. Whether it was providing a framework for a string quartet accompaniment, or a fabrication based on the blues, or an uptempo ballad, Paul's handiwork never failed to deliver the goods through strong vocals, intense delivery and crafty orchestration.

    George Harrison - Rightly or wrongly described as 'the quiet one' never getting his due in track representation on The Beatles' records, yet always providing the much needed subtle yet tasteful guitar handiwork over John's rhythm guitar, Paul's bass line & Ringo's beat. Some of the most timeless guitar lines have come from George's nimble fingerwork. It's no mistake that George had the first #1 hit following the breakup of The Beatles. 'If Not For You' and 'My Sweet Lord' are as refreshing to hear now as they were upon initial release. While the vast majority of the songwriting credit goes to Lennon/ McCartney, George's unique ability to provide fitting guitar work for each piece cannot be understated. When given the opportunity to offer up a track to The Beatles' records George sometimes would call upon his Eastern musical influences, such as in 'Norwegian Wood' or 'Within You, Without You' to provide a very different approach on some of his offerings. However, songs like 'Here Comes The Sun' and 'Something' put all the finer qualities that Harrison had to offer into classic creations that rank among The Beatles finer works.

    Ringo Starr - The loveable teddy bear of a drummer who has provided music critics much to debate about over the years. From the camp calling Ringo the greatest rock drummer to the camp on other end of the spectrum describing Starr as a below average beat keeper, one thing is for certain. Ringo offered color to the band beyond his drumming prowess in not only his 'cute one' image, but also his quick wit combined with his fun artistry in songs he wrote such as 'Yellow Submarine,' 'Ob La Di, Ob La Da' and 'With A Little Help From My Friends.' Ringo provided the casual observer a lighter side to The Beatles' image which may have made the group more attractive to an even more diverse audience than they would've had w/out him.

    Each member of The Beatles provided a set of essential elements that combined to make an appealing product which has proved to stand the test of time and afford subsequent contemporary bands a template to adhere to. This may prove to ultimately be the legacy underscoring their final legend.

  • Van Morrison: An Irish soul who sings & creates straight from the heart. His music has continued to get more beautiful through the years, gracefully taking on a more reflective theme as time pushes on. You would be hard pressed not find a more passionate white soulful singer.

  • Ludwig van Beethoven: Music with passion. Though not always drawn to music of the classics, I cannot help but be in awe as I listen to the masterpieces created by such a musical giant. Knowing the story behind this master musician makes the music so much more intriguing. I highly recommend 'Beethoven's Hair' as a read. It chronicles the tragic life of a great musician & discovers the cause and reason behind the many health issues, including deafness, which afflicted Beethoven.

  • Kate Bush: The first thing that strikes most listeners is her magnificent voice. Her keyboard wizardry combined with her dance/theatrics are not to be overlooked however. Kate Bush broke so much new ground during her prime in the early to mid eighties that it is not uncommon to hear many of today's female artists describe her as an influence. Her music always felt like a well choreographed three ringed circus - so much going on at once all in wondrous, yet sometimes disturbing/challenging harmony. It has been over a decade since her last release, but rumours are abounding of a new cd to be released in the near future. Count me among those who will be checking it out!

  • Peter Gabriel: Musical drama with a defined subtle imagery providing a spectacular theatrical backdrop to the sonic musical blessings Peter Gabriel has put forth. Music is offered up which often treads in deep waters often dwelling in subjects suggesting religious imagery, other times hinting a sexual undertone, yet always offering up a musical backdrop worthy of the masterful musicians Gabriel always employs. Often drawing upon African and Middle-Eastern influences, Gabriel's music has a mystical quality which can draw the listener into lyrical and musical depths not often experienced at once.

  • Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays: Jazz-based guitar mixed with piano which doesn't have that defined 'jazz' sound. It is more of an undefineable beautiful blend of hollow body guitar with piano. The solos often reach out beyond the form and speak to you with tenderness, building to a climactic crescendo just before dropping the listener off into another corner of their journey. Often drawing upon Brazilian influences, Metheny & Mays find ways to touch the sky during their musical interactions.

  • George Winston: Absolute precision. No varience, yet melodic lines which draw visions of angels and other heavenly hosts dancing through the aural landscape on the canvas of Winston's melodies. There is a brightness to his playing which feels like a door opening from a dark room cutting loose a great light for all the senses to feast on. However, the tones, while beautiful, often ring in a muted tone. Winston has discovered a signature sound which few can replicate, due to his technical prowess, combined with his unconventional experimentation into the audio realm of the instrument. Anyone who has seen and heard Winston live will notice a relaxed yet strict regimen in his performance. Winston is also a virtuoso on acoustic guitar, utilizing a slack-key technique.

  • Keith Jarrett: An improvisational piano genius. You can hear the ideas being formed as the music progresses. Amazing musical phrasing develops as the ideas flow into the river of complete musical seascapes. Intricate elements repeat with detailed precision, yet containing the slightest variation, building each time until the musical idea is complete eeking out a new corner within the vast journey Keith presents.

  • My music teachers: From my first elementary music teacher to my choir, band and orchestra directors to my private piano, voice & trombone instructors, each of these teachers have all imparted upon me a quality education that combined cannot be easily matched. Looking back, I did not always apply myself as much as I could've, but enough was picked up along the way to lead me here. I call that a good foundation.

  • Elton John: The first pop artist who captured the musical imagination of a childhood steeped in piano lessons and an introspective youth. With Bernie Taupin's lyrics brilliantly woven through finely crafted melodies accompanied by the songwriting talents of a piano playing singer, Elton John's music led this listener on a timeless colorful journey which has consistantly delivered the goods.

    At a critical time in my musical formation, I had become disillusioned and quit taking piano lessons for awhile. Having become fascinated with the visual imagery combined with the melodic voicings of 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' followed by the subsequent release of the wildly fun sounds of 'Bennie & The Jets,' suddenly 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me' took to the airwaves. Upon hearing the opening introductory notes to this song, I suddenly became captivated by piano keys again. I had to learn how to play that song! That is the one driving factor that led me back to piano lessons again.

    The previous story, followed by discovering that EJ wore spectacles too (like me) and made it a fun part of his image, followed by finally seeing his show live all combined to make this musical giant of a showman my biggest musical influence outside of my family.

  • My Mom & Dad: Time often gives one clarity and perspective that is not easily seen until the fog shrouding that reality has lifted. Upon looking back at my musical relationship with my mother & father, who were also my children's church choir director and Jr. High band director, I see a complicated, yet discerning education of my early training, all going back to my childhood with my parents. Beyond the technical training I obviously gained from their direction, I more importantly gained a discriminating ear for musical elements which, though sometimes seemingly misguided, usually lead to music of a more uplifting quality that I can only credit to the legacy paved by my parents' musical guidance imparted upon me.

    Looking back, I feel lucky to have been given the opportunity to take piano lessons through my childhood - an opportunity not available to all children by any means. This opportunity eventually led to the piano becoming a true friend. I cannot lay claim to the technical prowess of the musical influences listed above, but I can lay claim to a love and passion for the instrument. This is a direct result of the lessons and guidance given to me by my parents during my childhood.

    There you have it. Not a complete list by any means, but the more important standout influences are listed. This list may be expanded in the future, as there are indeed many more influences. Thanks for reading.

    JavaMusiK - Piano-Based Instrumentals from Western Slope, CO

  • A feature recently added to The JavaMusiK BloG has been to highlight an independent artist who we feel deserves our recommended attention.

  • This BloG issue's Indie Artist Pick is Michael James Moore - Christian Folk/Rock from Oceanside, CA.

  • Michael James Moore is a California-based singer/songwriter instrumentalist. In today’s music climate, it seems like you never truly get to know an Artist.  Even more rare is an Artist that tells their life story without reservation.  Enter Los Angeles, California born Michael Moore and you've found your man.  Michael James Moore is a unique artist in that; he reaches out to a side that many of us are guilty of trying to control without the influence of God in our lives.  Michael's debut album is merely the beginning of a relationship with an artist who reminds us that there is more to us than what we see in ourselves because there is a higher power that will provide, if we just let Him guide us.

  • We find it refreshing to discover an indie artist so willing to share his faith in his music. Michael James Moore has been a supportive and vibrant presence at the JustPlainFolks boards whom we have found to create music with an honesty on a personal level and very much worth a listen. Recommended listening from Michael James Moore includes Sail Away and Shadows Of Wings .

    Congratulations Michael James Moore!

  • Michael James Moore - Christian Folk/Rock from Oceanside, CA

  • If you are an artist or band who would like to be listed and featured in The JavaMusiK BloG, e-mail us and we will get you listed. All Featured Artist Picks are chosen from FriendZ of JavaMusiK.

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