Fifth music presentation session for the blind and visually handicapped took place 13. 12. 2017 as usual in the presentation room of Czech agency SONS (Czech Blind United) in Prague. I was really honored for very positive feedback from the first four sessions, therefore I prepared a playlist based on visitors’ preferences and also added some pieces to expand their musical horizons. You can find the background of this story in an article about the first session here.
List of songs and their final scores:
Congratulations to Karnivool, Ulver and Junius
|01 – The Last Internationale – Killing Fields||6|
|02 – Mastodon – Cold Dark Place||0|
|03 – Katatonia – The Racing Heart||5.4|
|04 – Leprous – The Valley||2.5|
|05 – Agent Fresco – See Hell||2|
|06 – AlithiA – Sacrifice||3|
|07 – Junius – A Dramatist Plays Catastrophist||6.8|
|08 – Karnivool – Alpha Omega||9.5|
|09 – David Bowie – Starman||6.7|
|10 – Long Distance Calling – Out There||3.5|
|11 – Ulver – 1969||7.4|
|12 – Diablo Swing Orchestra – Knucklehugs Arm Yourself With Love||3.2|
|13 – Bonus (Warrel Dane – Brother) RIP||4|
During the first four sessions I have used number of songs which I truly love, therefore it is getting more challenging to come up with great songs. Luckily there are many that I come up based on listeners’ feedback or from my current journalism or personal experiences, which I share in between songs.
It has been proven to me over the past couple of months, it is great to start with something energetic and catchy. The Last Internationale’s track Killing Fields has been my addiction for a number of weeks and a perfect morning song. I was also extremely excited to have a chance to see them live in Berlin, as a support of Royal Thunder. Unfortunately, they didn’t make it that “far” together on that tour. On the other hand, it was proven as a great opening track.
I believe, it is not needed to introduce mighty Mastodon in metal circles. However, members of general public usually can’t digest their wild menú. On the hand, their recent EP called Cold Dark Place sounds more as a soundtrack for slightly dark fairy tale. Therefore it was worth trying spreading their music into completely new audience fields. On the other hand, Swedish Katatonia are a band I wanted to play to my audience for a long time. One of the reasons is, they are loved by all male members of my family. It is rare example on which my AOR dad, ZZ Top uncle and melodic death metal uncle agree on. They are true masters of mature melancholic metal and it was pleasant challenge to pick a single track.
Leprous 2017 EU tour package before break
I picked next trio of bands after seeing them all live in Prague late November last year. Norwegian Leprous are close to me for couple of years and numbers of their fans are rising rapidly. I even had some friends traveling to Prague to see them live again. On the hand, we were quite sad, they didn’t include track The Valley, which we are able to sing together as teenage girls. Therefore, I used this occasion to hear it on full sound. Their main support band, Icelandic Agent Fresco are also experiencing quite rapid career growth. I tend to recommend them to wide range of my mainstream pop/rock fans as rougher Imagine Dragons. Next to that I also wanted to include a track from another support band of that night: Australian Alithia. I like to give space to bands, which my audience would never hear in their daily lives. But crucial reason was Alithia’s genre spectrum. They manage to squeeze into their metal “opera” number of genres and vocal styles including growls, but also rap and such a gentle male vocal, it reminded me of East 17 boys band, with all the respect.
American post rock band Junius has also been on my wishlist-to-play for a long time, as I am their fan for years. They music has been here for me in many moments of my life, but they fit the best into tasty melancholy moments. I remember enjoying this track, while I was waiting in the middle of nowhere, waiting for a bus late night on the edge of Prague, standing in a rain. For some reason, I felt great. I have also decided to play their track shortly after Katatonia, as in 2012, there was a rare chance to see them live in Europe, on their combined tour. I wanted to bring my father and my two uncles, but there was a massive snow storm on the way from Czech Republic to Poland, so no luck at that time. Who knows, this story might have brought them few extra points to achieve third place.
After the break
Australian Karnivool are with all honesty absolute greatest to see live. I will never forget their performance in Prague’s club Palác Akropolis in 2015. It was practically religious experience, where even tough guys were crying and passionately singing each note. It was an incredible show, with also very emotional encore. But massive feedback from the crowd brought them back again to play track Alpha & Omega. It was total explosion of all generated emotions and something impossible to describe. Album version of this track is amazing, but I prefer even more this breathtaking and gradating live footage. During that days’ session, there were more guest with visual handicap compared to blind, than usual, so it was the first time I turned around the laptop screen and played this live footage to my audience.
For the past couple of months, I do enjoy memoirs of legendary music journalist Lisa Robinson called There Goes Gravity: A Life in Rock and Roll. Great stories about The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, John Lennon but in December 2017, I was reading her stories about David Bowie. Next to that, few days before that, I was watching again movie The Martian with Matt Damon, where this track was used. It was quite funny, David Bowie was for most of the guests the only name they knew, when they arrived at the first place.
German post rock band Long Distance Calling are very popular participants on the playlist and I have used unique chance to play to my guest something non-released yet. Don’t worry, there was no lawbreaking, because they posted track Out There from their February 2018 album Boundless few days earlier on 8. 12. 2017. Out There is an amazing track, with gradating middle part. Here I asked my guests to imagine flying over the mountain, as the official video hints. I did that, as they asked me in one of the first sessions: “Feel free to tell us, what to imagine, while we are listening.”
Norwegian band Ulver has always been a total mystery to me, whether it were they black metal early days or avantgarde electronic experiments. I fell in love with their music desperately, with their quite recent album The Assassination of Julius Caesar, which was recommended to me by Fernando Ribeiro of Moonspell. Their electronic ambient synth pop mixture fits perfectly into my taste and I believe it is worth checking by anybody with open mind.
If you have a feeling, your audience might need some refreshment, Swedish bad boys Diablo Swing Orchestra are a perfect choice. Their wild mixture of metal, Balkan rhythms and swing brought smiles on each guest’s face and they were begging for more after the Knucklehugs (Arm Yourself With Love) track ended. I couldn’t say no, so I played them a bit from second track The Age Of Vulture Culture, which is total Balkan ride at the beginning.
However, The Age Of Vulture Culture was not the bonus track I played that day. I always leave this spot open, just in case, I manage to invite some guest or leave it for a last moment inspirations. Death is truly not the most positive source of inspiration, but Warrel Dane’s (Nevermore, Sanctuary) death announced worldwide practically in the middle of that day’s playlist, was a strong impulse. To honor his legacy, I picked up a track Brother from his only solo album Praises To The War Machine released in 2008. It is extremely dear to me and practically my most favorite driving-a-car album. It was very emotional moment and final applause at the end of our session was dedicated to Warrel. RIP.
Next session is planned for 21st of February 2018