Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Illumination – Mediaeval Baebes #608


While looking for something akin to Lisa Gerrard or maybe something a little darker than Blackmore’s Night, I stumbled headfirst into the voluptuous bosoms of the Mediaeval Baebes who, at the time of blunder, were scheduled to appear at the annual Mediaeval Fayre in Tewkesbury.  Eager to see them I tried, in vain, to convince Mrs Gnomepants v1.0 into going. Sadly her desire to walk around a field filled with reenactors and “beardy weirdies” (her words) all day did not appeal.

We didn’t go.

It rained.

Not only on my parade but also on the actual fayre so any disappointment I had was swiftly washed away.

Illumination is the sixth album from the band formed from remnants of Miranda Sex Garden who perform classical music in acapella style.  If, like me, you were hoping for dark, Dead-Can-Dance-esque gutter goth, you, like initially me, will be sadly disappointed. But if you’re looking for a kind of Latin singing version of the Spice Girls crossed with Lisa Gerrard, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s hard to pigeonhole Mediaeval Baebes though, they’re certainly not goth and I wouldn’t call them pop either more neo-easy-listening.



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El Duende Flamenco – Paco de Lucia [#417]

Elduende“I feel like we should be eating tapas”, New-Mrs-Gnomepants said to me during the research part for today’s album.

Of all world music, I find Spanish, specifically Flamenco music, the most dynamic, passionate and hauntological. My first introduction to classical guitar music and flamenco came from the time in my early to mid-twenties when I used to go round to a friends house and chat shite.

I’d met Min, a keen guitarist, when I was doing A Level music at Liverpool Community College in the nineties. We had similar interests and would frequently hangout to listen to music together. Sometimes Min would practice or show off his guitar skills and frequently this would include renditions of Asturias (Albania) and  Recuerdos de la Alhambra (Tarrega) which would please me no end.

Further to this, I think Spanish food is possibly the best cuisine there is in the world, especially tapas. So when I began entertaining guests in my suburban hacienda I would endeavour to recreate Spanish food such as paella and gambas pil-pil while setting the scene by providing a Spanish theme musically, which certainly helped with the presentation and the taste.

El Duende Flamenco is an album of traditional flamenco music played by leading flamenco artist, Paco de Lucia who died last year. Four minutes into the album, if you’re not stood in the middle of the room clapping your hands rhythmically, or swirling an imaginary skirt like a flamenco dancer, then there’s something wrong with you. I love this stuff it’s sharp, neatly timed and perfect. Not like the sickly margarine of modern music, which is manufactured, well greased and bad for your health in large doses.

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Classical Chillout – Various Artists [#278]

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 08.20.08Classical Chillout – Various Artists

And so I am now near the end of the week of compilations. Sometimes you get a week with a nice mix of artists, other times you get a week of crap. Sorry. That’s just the way it goes.

Today we have Classical Chillout. It seems that in the late nineties/early noughties there was a massive demand for Chillout. No idea why. It wasn’t exactly a stressful time. I guess it was just people liked to chillout. Possibly with drugs. Maybe with a bath. Whatever floats your boat.

Baths usually.

Anyway, today is Classical Chillout. A nice mix of classical music and modern chillout, which, if anything, I approve of, purely for the inclusion of Mozart’s Ave Verum Corpus and Fauré’s In Paradisum and Cantique de Jean Racine. Which is why it is in my collection; I was looking for songs I used to sing when I was in Bishop Eton church choir.

– Barber* Adagio For Strings 9:31
Satie* Gymnopédie No. 1 3:12
Jenkins* Adiemus 3:57
Sakamoto* Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence 4:46
Puccini* O Mio Babbino Caro 2:03
Albinoni* Adagio 5:48
Beethoven* Figlio Perduto 4:37
Pärt* Spiegel Im Spiegel 4:00
Delibes* Flower Duet (Lakmé) 3:26
Nyman* The Heart Asks Pleasure First / The Promise 3:11
Fauré* Cantique De Jean Racine 5:44
Ungar* & Mason* The Ashokan Farewell 5:06
Debussy* Clair De Lune 4:54
Allegri* Misere Mei, Deus (vv 1-4, 17-20) 5:44
Horner* My Heart Will Go On 4:19
Jeffes* Perpetuum Mobile 4:28
J. S. Bach* Concerto For Violin & Oboe In D Minor (BWV 1060 – II: Adagio) 5:52
Górecki* Symphony No. 3 ‘Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs’ (II: Lento E Largo – Tanquillissimo) (extract) 4:27
Vaughan Williams* The Lark Ascending (Opening) 6:21
Satie* Gnossienne No. 1 3:23
Reich* Nagoya Marimbas 4:51
Bruch* Violin Concerto No. 1 In G Minor (Op. 26 II: Adagio) (Opening) 4:21
Tavener* Song For Athene 6:08
Morricone* Gabriel’s Oboe 2:11
Armstrong* / Del Naja* / Vowles* / Marshall* Weather Storm 6:02
Morricone* Chi Mai 5:04
Fauré* In Paradisum 3:25
Catalani* Ebben? Ne Andrò Lontana (La Wally) 4:49
Vivaldi* Winter (The Four Seasons – II: Largo) 2:29
J. S. Bach* Piano Concerto No. 5 In F Minor (BWV 1056 – II: Largo) 3:24
Mozart* Ave Verum Corpus 3:22

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Album #99 – Asturias The Art of Guitar – Narciso Yepes

Screen Shot 2014-07-20 at 15.03.46 Asturias – The Art of Guitar by Narciso Yepes

Classical guitar is one of my favourite genres of classical music. It’s difficult to play and often rocking guitar people will cower away from Classical guitar music because they are afraid that their prowess at wanking guitars will be shown for what it is.  Guitar wankery.

Classical guitar sets apart the men from the boys and the women from the girls. It’s all well and good getting on stage and wanking away to Stairway to Heaven or pretending you’re Jimi Hendrix but, in my book at least, if you can’t do a galliard or a Saltarello then you’re about as good as me with a yogurt pot and an elastic band.

Yepes has compiled some good examples of Classical guitar here including Asturias and Recuerdos de La Alhambra (two of my most favourite guitar pieces). In doing so he has made a distinctive compilation of background music for those summer evenings sat on the verandah, overlooking the hacienda while you sip mojitos and swat away mosquitos.

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