Archive for the ‘Jacob Collier’ Category

SOUNDTRACK: JACOB COLLIER-Tiny Desk Concert #48 (July 9, 2020).

collierI had never heard of Jacob Collier until his recent Tiny Desk Concert.  He was an impressive fellow to be sure.  He has an amazing vocal range and he can play just about any instrument you can think of.

So it should come as no surprise that Collier’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert is over the top as well.

But even knowing all of that, it is a still mind-blowing.  Because he has seamlessly spliced four videos of himself together.  So you have four Jacobs in four outfits playing everything in a room that is full of instruments.

The set starts with “All I Need.”  Lead singer Jacob is sitting on the floor in front of a steel drum.  This Jacob also plays the melodica solo.  On the left is keyboardist Jacob who plays the organ and, of course, mid song switches to piano and back again.  On the right is bassist Jacob who plays some excellent bass–including a nice solo at the end.  Way in back is Jacob on drums.  You can’t see him all that well, but you can hear his contribution perfectly.

Polymath musician Jacob Collier has been championing this style of one-man-band music videos since 2012, singing every note and playing every instrument. His cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”earned him a devout YouTube following at the age of 19, and he hasn’t slowed down since. The London wunderkind owns four Grammy Awards already, including two at the age of 22 in 2017…. Now 25, and with nearly a decade of experience producing every aspect of his own music from his home, Collier is uniquely positioned to crank out his best work from quarantine. In this video, each of the four parts was recorded in a single take. Pay close attention ; it’s easy to get tripped up inside Jacob’s head as he arranges this Rubik’s Cube of a video production, which feels both like a magic trick and a no-strings-attached bedroom session.

Introducing the next song, one of the Jacobs (they fight over who is the actual Jacob), says that “Time Alone With You” is a little funky–hope you don’t mind.  It’s groovy bass line and smart snapping drums.   The end of this song is a wonderful musical freakout with a vocal section that leads to a series of four fast drum hits (including Jacob banging on the piano and some bass rumblings as well).  There’s even a jazzy breakdown (real jazzy bass lines) which allows one of them to whisper “jazz.”  Because even though he is super talented and a very serious musician, he’s also goofy (look at his clothes).

He’s in the middle of releasing his ambitious four-volume record, Djesse. The last song in this video is the premiere of his new single “He Won’t Hold You,” which will appear on Vol. 3, due out later this year.

When piano Jacob changes the mutes in the piano bassist Jacob talks about the record.  “He Won’t Hold You” song starts a cappella in four part harmony (with himself). He can ht some really deep notes and the harmonies are super.

The only problem for me is I don’t really like his style of music.  Which is a shame because he’s so talented, I want to watch him all day.  It’s just not my musical scene.

[READ: July 10, 2020] “Immortal Heart”

This is a lengthy, somewhat complicated and ultimately devastating story.

The story is quite long and it revolves around a woman and her Precious Auntie living in the Western Hills south of Peking.  Their village is called Immortal Heart and The Liu clan (her family) has lived there for six centuries.  They were ink stick makers. They had expanded to a shop in Peking–a sign of great success.

Precious Auntie was born across the ravine in a town called Mouth of the Mountains.  The village was known for dragon bones, which poor men collected from the Monkey’s Jaw cave.  Precious Auntie’s father was a renowned bonesetter and he used these dragon bones as part of his work.

Precious Auntie could not speak.  She communicated with the narrator. Lu Ling, through sign language which only the two of them knew.  Precious Auntie was rather naughty and their silent language allowed her to speak her mind freely (she disapproved of bound feet for instance). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: JACOB COLLIER-Tiny Desk Concert #869 (July 22, 2019).

I’ve never heard of Jacob Collier, but wow is he an impressive figure.

the North London 24-year-old can hardly contain his creative energy. It comes out in his wardrobe and most definitely in his music, but it’s not misdirected or out of control. These are intricate and precise compositions, like a ship in a bottle made of thousands of planks of wood, yet light enough to sail in a breeze.

He starts with “Make Me Cry.”  Collier plays a fascinatingly deep-sounding acoustic guitar (with amazing flourishes).  But the biggest shock comes when he sings.  He has such a deep sonorous voice.  The backing vocals (from Becca Stevens–who also plays the charango–and MARO on the acoustic guitar) are high–a real contrast to his voice. That is until he switches to piano (while still holding the guitar) and then his voice reaches the high notes as well. Drummer Christian Euman adds some nice xylophone bells to the song as Collier’s voice soars impressively.

After the first song he says “I’ve spent the last year or so making four full length albums [called Djesse].  I don’t know why, its quite exhausting. But its fun.  Each is it’s own musical universe.”  All three songs today are from Vol 2.

But another example of his excess is this:

This year he covered Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s “Moon River” by recording himself 5,000 times and working in 144 other vocal submissions, and then he printed and sold signed copies of his Logic Pro audio session for fans while on tour.

“Feel” opens with a simple drum pattern and everyone giving some gentle oohs before Jacob plays a slow piano motif.  Robin Mullarkey switches from acoustic to electric bass.  This song is a more jazzy composition with some lead vocals from MARO (Collier sounds great doing backing vocals as well).

Before the final song,”It Don’t Matter” he explains that he wrote this song about five days ago specifically for this event.  It starts with him making a fascinating array of sounds with his mouth–clicks, hisses and water droplets–and then adding percussive elements like the top of the piano. Then he plays a funky bass line on the tiny acoustic bass.   Becca Stevens gets a lead verse.  And the middle of the song has a melodica solo.

Virtually every combination of band members harmonizes at some point in the show. It’s reflective of his philosophy on music as a connecting tool, to use the instrument we all possess, which drew me to his art in the first place. And as if to make good on those beliefs and bring all of us into one moment, he invited the crowd to sing the final lyrics of the concert together.

The NPR employees are always good sports (and have good voices) so the end of the show is a good one.

[READ: August 1, 2019] “The Alps”

I noted the last time I read a story by Colin Barrett that he writes about Ireland and drugs.  This story was also about Ireland.  But not about drugs.

It’s also not about the Alps as you might expect.

In this story, The Alps are three brothers: Rory, Eustace and Bimbo.  Bimbo was 37, the other two in their fifties.  They claimed to be tradesmen, but none of them have a trade.  Rather they painted, wired, tiled and plumbed at a competitive rate.  They ate too much take out, and downed vats of Guinness.  They traveled together, they worked together, they drank together.

As they pull into Mikey’s pub, Bimbo sees a light up in the sky. It’s behaving strangely and for a minute I thought this story was going to be about UFOs.  But instead, Bimbo realizes it’s a drone surveying the landscape.  Its owned by Landry, a rich man with a lot of land. (more…)

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