Eight music presentation session for the blind and visually handicapped took place on 19th of October 2018 in the presentation room of Czech agency SONS (Czech Blind United) in Prague. After the last track, we went for Emma Ruth Rundle’s live show. I was really honored for very positive feedback from the first seven 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 Anneke van Giersbergen, Lacey Sturm and Paradise Lost
|01 – Paradise Lost – Fear Of Impending Hell||11|
|02 – Sólstafir – Sjúki Skugginn||6|
|03 – Anneke van Giersbergen – Amity (Live)||17.5|
|04 – Mammal Hands – Hourglass||7.5|
|05 – Habitants – Soul Traveller||9|
|06 – Pink Floyd – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Live At Pompeii)||3.5|
|07 – Ninet Tayeb – Superstar (Live)||9|
|08 – Lacey Sturm – Roxanne (The Police Cover)||13|
|09 – ArrowBridge – Happy||2.5|
|10 – Madder Mortem – Far From Home||9|
|11 – eR – Pořád Stejný||3|
|12 – Dirty Rudolph and his Inglorious Rock’n’roll Mates – War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)||3.5|
During the first seven sessions I have used number of songs which I truly love, therefore it is getting more challenging to come up with more and more 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. My guests surprise me each time with their preferences, which pushes me to pick “extremes”. I usually concentrate on prog rock or ambient jazz, but I am more than open to add everything from experimental metal through avant-garde electronics or lounge jazzy pop.
It has become a tradition I am starting a playlist with something energetic. It sets the mood, gets everybody’s attention and it also helps ambient pieces to stand out. British doom metal institution Paradise Lost was the first band I ever interviewed for a front cover article. Their latest albums are not less important to me and I just cannot get mad, when YouTube randomly puts them next. This relationship got much stronger this summer at Brutal Assault, where I spoke to band’s guitarist Aaron Aedy. From the planned fifteen minutes interview, it ended up as an-hour-long chat with somebody, I wish was my uncle. Fear of Impending Hell was a great start and owner of a bronze title.
Whenever I am describing some band, it is great, if they have a great life story. Icelandic post metal masters Sólstafir, which were stuck in a national black soil underground for ages, before they conquered our hearts, is a great example. Their tracks are always popular among the guests, but I have chosen less known track Sjúki Skugginn, as it was extremely helpful for me. You know those days: Feeling totally sh*tty and you just have to go out for a run. Doesn’t matter if it’s raining or not. At least there are some fallen branches, you can kick into, while running. I ran around the whole village, fighting laziness, random images in my head and catching a breath. For some reason, it was getting better during this track and as soon as unique guitar sequence starts at 2:03, I was practically flying in the middle of the last hill. Depression went away by 15%. That counts!
Anneke van Giersbergen or her previous band The Gathering are also very popular among the guests. I have used the opportunity of playing them a track from Anneke’s latest live album Symphonized. It was really hard to pick a track as I consider her the absolute best female singer on this planet. Naturally I was drawn to pick tracks as Travel or You Will Never Change. But the power of her performance of Amity, including the lyrics, just convinced me, while I was walking through night Prague. Live album comes out on 16th November 2018.
Do you know that feeling: “I wish I knew about this band earlier!” You know what’s even worse? To fall in love with some band’s music two days after they’ve been in your town. English jazz trio Mammal Hands are fascinating fresh impulse on the jazz scene, but I discovered them through Spotify two days after they played in Prague’s Jazz Dock. Next time I cannot miss their performance of Hourglass with breathtaking clarinet solos.
If we stay in The Gathering family, their mastermind René Rutten has formed a new band Habitants with local talents. His home band is still capable of releasing top class material, but time is an expensive commodity, when band members start their families. Creativity has to flow though and Habitants impressed me not only with a track Soul Traveller. To be honest, I was never a Pink Floyd addict compared to plenty of my male guests. And nothing really changed during my recent summer vacation, where I finally went through their whole discography, while reading Nick Mason memoir. But to be fair Live at Pompeii is spectacular.
After the break
Prog rockers in the audience love next to Pink Floyd also Steve Hackett and Steven Wilson. Therefore I finally picked Steven’s favorite vocal guest, Israeli singer Ninet Tayeb and her track Superstar. It reached me the most from her work yet, including her amazing voice and heavy melancholic oriental guitar phrases.
Another important lady of the night was Lacey Sturm. I played couple of tracks from her previous band Flyleaf in the previous sessions, but this time I wanted to give space to her solo band, which she formed after maternity break. Her cover version of legendary The Police track Roxanne is simply massive and as you could feel at the peaks, she didn’t lose anything from her vocal capabilities, including unique scream. She fits into these series well, as her inspirational life story includes drug past, suicide attempt and eventually finding god.
I regularly get requests for reviews and interviews from bands all over the world. Luckily, there are some great talents, so I gladly gave space to Indian prog metal project ArrowBridge. Additional credit goes to great lyrics and Dave Young from Devin Townsend’s band as a guest. Norwegian band Madder Mortem always played huge role in my life and I was extremely glad they won the first place in one of the earlier sessions. Since then they contacted me for a review and interview, but I simply couldn’t find space and time to support them when they released their latest album Marrow. This was one of the few things I can do to support them, to repay how much their music did for me.
I did an interview recently with the crossover metal band Up!Great from my hometown Ostrava. I know the singer, as she once came to my high school as a guest teacher bringing test on progressive metal. No joke. She was looking for impressions from students, as she was writing a study on this topic. It was the best test, I ever got on my table and I was writing like crazy as questions were stuff like: “Name albums from Opeth, Tool and Porcupine Tree.” We meet regularly since then and they managed to build their career to join bands as Jinjer or Infected Rain on their tours. Therefore I wanted to give space to their main songwriter Toma Rybola as well. During the research, I came across his earlier project eR. I felt it is so unfair that such a great music stay’s hidden in national underground.
And finally my good friends Dirty Rudolph and his Inglorious Rock’n’roll Mates which specialize at swing covers of well-known songs whatever the genre it might be. You definitely want to have these guys at your wedding or funeral. Video for Black Sabbath’s War Pigs cover coming soon.
After the presentation, we went to Emma Ruth Rundle show to Prague’s legendary club 007 with two guests. We were actually in the contact with Emma to come to the presentation, but she didn’t manage. There was not even enough time for her to see some of her friends, so we agreed to talk about next time. Both guys enjoyed the show very much and took picture with Emma afterwards, where she said: “It means a lot for me you came. My father is also blind.”
Next session is planned for 14th of November.