Sixth music presentation session for the blind and visually handicapped took place 28. 2. 2018 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 five 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.
Photos credit: www.martinezzphotography.com
List of songs and their final scores:
Congratulations to Flyleaf, In The Loop and Riverside
|01 – Flyleaf – Arise||10.2|
|02 – Andrea Bocelli – Nelle tue mani (Now We Are Free)||4.4|
|03 – Anna von Hausswolff – The Mysterious Vanishing of Electra||3|
|04 – Bjørn Riis – Coming Home||4.5|
|05 – Riverside – I Turned You Down||7.75|
|06 – Alfa Mist – Keep On||2.2|
|07 – In The Loop – From The Flame (Acoustic Cover)||9.25|
|08 – Tides From Nebula – Siberia||0.8|
|09 – Daniel Cavanagh – The Exorcist||6.1|
|10 – Benny Anderson – Chess||2.25|
|11 – Nightmare – Serpentine||3.5|
|12 – Kalle – Birds||7.35|
During the first five 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 become a tradition I am starting a playlist with something energetic. It sets the mood, get’s everybody’s attention and it also helps ambient pieces stand out. American alternative rock band Flyleaf are close to me for many years, starting with their debut album, which I discovered through a Die Hard 4 movie soundtrack. I had a phase, when I was trying to be aware of every rock or metal band with a singer. It was amazing they even came to my hometown Ostrava as a support of Korn many years ago. As rarely anybody knew them, I felt they played just me.
I love to come back to their first two albums, where I did my best to collect all bonus tracks from their second release Memento Mori. Tracks Treasure, Circle and Arise mean a world to me. I am glad my guests loved it as well. Before I played it, I also mentioned they are Christian rock band and final part “Arise and be, all the you dreamed, all that you dreamed” helped me a lot during my recent job change.
I was thinking to include Andrea Bocelli already many times and I did it just now, because I was preparing questions for an email interview with Maestro. I have contacted Andrea Bocelli’s Facebook fan groups and offered my guests as well to ask a question or two, if they would like to. There were plenty and you can expect the interview to come out here late April. I have chosen this track as a big fan of movie Gladiator and it was also a great track for ladies, compared to plenty prog rock tracks, I often play.
I am always trying to expand the music horizons of my guests and Swedish singer and organist Anna von Hausswolff was an amazing choice. She was on a playlist already twice and most of the people remember her. During the third session, I was speaking about her guest vocals on recent album from black metal band Wolves In The Throne Room. I have chosen a tracks, which was currently available from her amazing latest album Dead Magic. It was also a great moment to rely on YouTube and turn the computer around, so the guests with partial visual handicapped can also watch a bit disturbing video.
Norwegian artist Bjørn Riis fits well into the taste of my guests based on these criteria: inspirational, quality ambient rock and gentle voice. He got few new fans, I am telling you and I gladly recommend his music as it is extremely useful for melancholic walks in the grayish days, to keep your mind revising current life phase.
Polish progressive institution Riverside was one of the bands, which one of the guest demanded upfront. Thanks to his email, I managed to check number of the tracks, which I have never heard before. However, my most favorite still stays the track I Turned You Down. I have also used this opportunity to tell guests the story of the band in short and recent loss of a guitarist. Their story was close to everybody, as we all experienced a loss of somebody very close. Wishing the band all the best.
I am not exaggerating, if I say I listen to Alfa Mist everyday for the past three or four weeks. This project was recommended to me by Jiří Horák, bass player from Czech prog rock band Fox Territory during our interview, where he said: “When you dive into the atmosphere of these tracks, peaceful and gentle universe builds up around you. There is no reason to rush. Don’t let the stress command you. This album will help you with it.” It’s extremely addictive, inspirational and peaceful. It also opened a door for me into the world of modern smooth jazz and artists as GoGo Penguin, Mammal Hands, Nick Hakim, Mac Ayres or Jordan Rakei.
After The Break
I keep bumping into this amazing Italian cover band regularly for the past few years. The reason is quite simple. We have practically the same taste! First it was Pain Of Salvation, then Tesseract and now they even did a cover of Phil Collins’ legendary track Easy Lover. I have picked track From The Flame from Norwegian band Leprous, because it is by my opinion the best they did. My guests also enjoyed the story, about the creation of this track. Even the authors were absolutely shocked they managed to release this cover in approximately 36 hours, after the original version was released.
Second Polish name on the playlist fits perfectly into the concept of these sessions. Tides From Nebula write beautiful post rock tracks and I had a great story as a part of the introductions. Everybody was laughing as crazy, when I told them about our crazy interview at Colours Of Ostrava 2017 about our childhood idols and current inspirations but we mainly got involved in a wild and girly discussion about pop music.
If I am supposed to pick one band, which is the most related to our presentation sessions, it would be British Anathema. They were part of almost each playlist, as I simply couldn’t resist. We also managed to arrange a magnificent evening for few guests, by bringing them to Anathema live show. Therefore, picking a track from Daniel Cavanagh’s latest album, which he also played live during that beautiful evening was more than natural. He ended up slightly under Top 3, but it was great to see practically everybody placed Daniel on their final picks.
During each session, I am trying to find also something for ladies, including an assistant organizer, who is a big Abba fan. I believe tracks as Dancing Queen, would not necessarily fit to our concept, but I came across a great interview from a colleague of mine with Benny Anderson about his latest album Piano. The album contains his personal collection of favorite ABBA hits. I also loved his comment: “I recorded this album to make an unique memory for my grandchildren.”
If we are going to extremes, it should also in the opposite direction. As I said to my guests: “I always believed, you guys prefer beautiful, ambient tracks, but suddenly the playlist is won by some really heavy band,” as it happened during the fourth session. Therefore, I decided to include one of my most favorite female singers Magali Luyten currently writing with French power metal band Nightmare. Maggy might not be a tall lady, but her voice is simply spectacular. Add some top class heavy melodies, as well as guest male vocals and you will get a track which doesn’t let anyone to rest.
It was truly magical, when one of the guests, asked me to help him with filling of the points at the end of the session where he said: “When you said Magali Luyten, I couldn’t believe my ears. I love her in Beautiful Sin, Virus IV and Ayreon. I am so glad, she is still active and I will get this album ASAP.” World is small…
During each session, I also like to support local bands. I might enjoy only few of the Czech artists, but slowcore due Kalle are a true treasure. They are active in multiple bands and always in the top ranks of Czech music awards. They were part of the recommendations from one of the guests and track Birds 28:26 from their latest album Saffron Hills is simply breathtaking.