Creativity in Collage – The Music, Art, and Approach of Santigold

santigold-album-cover

Despite her almost immediate success following her debut album in 2008, it was only recently that I first heard an entire album by musical artist Santi White (AKA Santigold). I say musical artist, rather than musician, because White has a hand in every aspect of her work. In addition to being a composer, she is also a gifted choreographer and spirited collaborator.

santigold-santi-whiteHowever, the best measure of her creative impulse centers on her introspective self-assessment as a collage artist.  In an interview with MOCAtv, she explains, “I always call my approach to creating collage. […] I make collage music, all my ideas; my influences are pretty much collage. I take bits and pieces of everything and put them together.”

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Grit & Soul – An Introduction to Pickwick

The six members of budding neo-soul band Pickwick have found themselves in a drastic change of scenery from their basement in Seattle to the stage at SXSW. It’s a pretty phenomenal transition considering that they only released their debut LP Can’t Talk Medicine earlier this month. But then again, their success makes sense.

Pickwick - image via thoughtontracks.com

Pickwick – image via thoughtontracks.com

Having listened to the album in it’s entirety, I was amazed to learn that it was recorded and self-produced in their living room. There is a lot to be said for that kind of initiative, but I also enjoy the idea that their songs were recorded where they were written. As for the tracks themselves, they range from soulful lows to energetic highs. Regardless, each one is a straight up pleasure to listen to. It’s almost a step back in time to an era when music was raw, unhindered, and most of all emotive.

Take a moment to check out “Halls of Columbia” – the opening track off of their new album. It’s a great introduction to what Pickwick is all about.

It’s also worth mentioning that Pickwick is currently gearing up to tour the US starting in April. Be sure to check their site for upcoming dates and locations. You won’t want to miss them live!

Soundgarden – “King Animal” Review

Chris Cornell – Photo by CC Hua (via thevine.com/au)

November 13th was a particularly good day for rock fans who enjoyed a simultaneous release of full-length albums from both the Deftones and Soundgarden. Naturally however, I only knew about the former. It turns out that I almost missed out on one of the more surprising musical releases of 2012.

As soon as I got up to speed that Soundgarden was back after a 16 year hiatus, I jumped on iTunes to buy their recently-released “King Animal” album – albeit with relatively low expectations. But what I didn’t anticipate was the band’s unbelievable maturation since the mid 90’s.

The band has always been progressive, but always under the aegis of nouveau-classic/punk-inspired rock. Songs like “By Crooked Steps” or “Attrition” fall in line with this established oeuvre, but the inclusion of unfamiliar stylings and genres throughout “King Animal” is a particularly striking improvement. Perhaps the best example lies in the continuous bluesy refrain of their closing track “Rowing,” which recalls the repetitive chants of African American slave songs both in harmony and subject matter. Ironically it is the most progressive song on the album, but it is complemented by the two preceding tracks (“Worse Dreams” & “Eyelid’s Mouth”), which also feature their own soulful and chromatic nuances.

All in all, the album is a great release that goes to show the potential benefits of taking time to do something right. It would be great if other musicians would show interest in growth of this kind.

You can listen to “Rowing” in the space above, but also be sure to check out the rest of King Animal. It’s easy to stream the album on Spotify or Grooveshark, but it’s also worth visiting Soundgarden’s website for more insights and information.

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