Twenty-fifth music presentation session for the blind and visually handicapped took place on 14 of July 2020 in the presentation room of Czech agency SONS (Czech Blind United) in Prague. I was really honored for very positive feedback from the previous 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 Haley Reinhart, Kamelot and Ulver
|01 – Haley Reinhart – Change (Live)||24.5|
|02 – Ulver – Little Boy||13|
|03 – Youssou N’Dour – Diamono (Generations) (Live)||15|
|04 – George Harrison – Almost Shankara||5.5|
|05 – Ava Inferi – The Heathen Island||12.5|
|06 – Audience choice #1 – Deep Purple – When A Blind Man Cries (Live At The House Of Blues)||11.5|
|07 – Kamelot – Sacrimony (Live)||13.5|
|08 – Floex – The Glasshouse With Butterfly Live Remix||11.5|
|09 – Blood Incantation – Inner Path (To Outer Space)||11|
|10 – Audience choice #2 – Camo & Krooked – Run Riot||2|
|11 – Bonus – Clarence Carter – She Ain’t Gonna Do Right||9|
During the previous 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 experiment within genres. 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’s a tradition we start with something heavy and energetic. I came across Haley Reinhart just recently, as my boss in Muzikus magazine asked me, if I could try to arrange an interview with her. Next to our common respect for talented and beautiful singers, I quickly realized I know her from her numerous cooperations with Post Modern Jukebox. She has an incredible voice and I would love to arrange a front cover interview with her for Muzikus. Wish me luck and please join me in congratulating Haley for a first position in the audience vote.
Next to playing artists who I am sure will resonate with the audience immediately, I also love to expand their horizons and play artists which expanded my music taste. Norwegian band Ulver is often described with a cult status and after digging into their discography and knowing their career path, it makes sense. It’s incredible to see they started as a black metal band, went through various avant-garde phases and now they play unique form of intelligent semi dark deep 80’s synth pop. Their latest album Flowers Of Evil was an amazing companion on my recent numerous individuals trips to nature, while we were on a ranch with my friends close to Plzeň (Pilsen CZ). I just love to totally dive into music and experience both extremely positive moments as well as dark and challenging phases which push me further personally. As I fully respect the rule not to play tracks from albums, which are not released yet, I am glad Ulver released a track called Little Boy, which includes all phases of my hourly trips.
Interview negotiations in the progress.
For each session I am trying to include a world music track. My choice was quite simple, as I came across this amazing track from Senegalese icon Youssou N’Dour. We all know him based on a massive hit 7 Seconds ft. Neneh Cherry. However, his respected album The Guide (Wommat) from 1994 includes much more. I was going through it, as a part of a preparation for an interview to promote his show at Czech festival Colours of Ostrava. It was unfortunately postponed due to current coronavirus crisis, but we could have enjoyed live version of Generations (Diamono), where he did some hell of a great work with an audience.
Sounding like Forrest Gump I would say: “When we got so far, why not to push it even further?!”. Czechs were always big The Beatles fans, but as I heard after the session, practically no one was aware of a spectrum of George Harrison’s solo work. I really enjoyed massive work in Czech Full Moon magazine on The Beatles, where they gave a solid space to George as well. Also, I was aware of his massive interest in Transcendental Meditation and Indian classical music. I very much enjoyed his debut solo soundtrack album Wonderwall Music, but I enjoyed one of the bonus tracks called Almost Shankara the most. If you do enjoy it as well, check also The Inner Light (Alternate Take Instrumental), which includes amazing interaction with Indian musicians.
For a fifth track, I picked one that I wanted to share with my audience for a very long time. When I was a teenager, I realized, I would need decades to get closer to a spectrum of knowledge of older fans, so I decided to try to be specialized in a certain music genre. I always loved female singers in rock and metal, and as I was very much into anything with female singers, I decided to specialize in this field. It was a very natural process and soon I collected hundreds of albums from artists and bands all over the world, including Japanese limited editions and demo tracks delivered to me by bands themselves. One of the best discoveries, which I still love getting back to was Portuguese band Ava Inferi. It was formed by ex-Mayhem guitarist Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen and Carmen Susana Simões, which cooperated multiple times with Moonspell. Their sound shows the best aspects of dark gothic atmospheric metal (there are number of fans of this sound in the audience) and I love returning to their last album Onyx from 2011 the most. Since I discovered it, number of years ago, a track The Heathen Island, became sort of one of my most favorite tracks to disappear from this world. The only problem is, I still didn’t manage to discover, from where they got excerpts from old horror movies, included in the track and fit perfectly. Let me know please, if you know that. Otherwise I will be still happy with the fact, I am not supposes to know.
Based on the tradition, before a break, there comes a moment for a first choice from the audience. A couple of days before the session, one of the local organizers and a very supportive fellow Roman Novotný asked me to play Deep Purple’s When A Blind Man Cries (Live At The House Of Blues ’98). I gladly followed his recommendation, not only because I knew there are number of Deep Purple fans in the audience.
After the break
After the break it is again very useful to play something fast and energetic. I immediately thought of US power metal band Kamelot. I am not a typical power metal fan. Or I would rather say, most of these bands do not click with me except for few exceptions as Blind Guardian, Eden’s Curse and Kamelot. I enjoyed number of their albums and I have a massive thing for their Poetry for the Poisoned album from 2010. I also fully respect their new phase with Tommy Karevik on vocals. Their latest live version of a track Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife) has everything Kamelot is capable of. It’s massive, epic but at the same time of the edge of cliché. As usual an amazing show with great guest singers. Something which even non-metal fans enjoyed: “It’s not my cup of tea, but it blew me away,“ I heard for multiple times in the end.
As usual, I also like to give space to Czech artists. I often present names, which deserve more international attention, however this is not a case of Tomáš Dvořák aka Floex. Over the years, he managed to build very interesting position worldwide, especially because of his soundtracks for games including Machinarium, Samorost 3 etc. Funny thing is, I heard about my countryman for the first time thanks to an Indian guitarist Keshav Dhar from Skyharbor. I would never forget this sentence from our interview: “90% of my music playlist includes Floex and Machinarium soundtrack is one of the best things I ever heard.” Keshav also sent me a video message, when I was doing a video interview with Floex for Czech TV Seznam. Live footages for the interview were backed-up from an exclusive “band’s” practice including a robot Josef and a live show from Prague’s Palác Akropolis. However it took a couple of months before the official recording of the show came out. Finally I had a track to present to my audience and they were again positively surprised by a spectrum of Czech music scene.
If Floex was a surprise, I kept one of my personal favorites for the end. I came across American space technical death metal band Blood Incantation through their amazing merchandise at Evil Greed shop and also for being in the lineup of Czech festival Brutal Assault. I have a taste for technical death metal only once in a while, but their latest album Hidden History of the Human Race totally clicked with me. Everything seems to be in the right place. Heaviness, melodies, arrangements, oriental elements and individual heavy built-up solos. However individual category is their atmospheric piece called Inner Paths (to Outer Space) with a breathtaking video. It fits both my space as well as meditation fascinations. Plus it’s a thing you can play to a general audience outside of extreme metal scene. They received a couple of new fans that day.
Towards the end it was a time for another audience choice and I gladly gave space to one of the kids of SONS manager Věra, who has a major credit for making these sessions possible. Her son included a track which no one expected, but I was really happy to expand the spectrum of genres and music tastes. It was a drum & bass track Camo & Krooked – Run Riot with a fan made video. I also loved his introduction of the song: “Whether I am having a good or a bad day, this sort of music gets me going.”
For a bonus track I usually keep a space for a special guest, a reaction to discussions or if some musician unfortunately died that day. In this case, I chose an artist which would be interesting for everybody and also balanced the age spectrum in the audience. I discovered Clarence Carter’s debut album through playing Mafia 3 and it’s a true music diamond. Overall sound, power of each track, plus so much wisdom in the lyrics. Next to it, it is also a great soundtrack for a romantic evening. The only challenging thing about this album, is to pick one track.
Next session is planned for 25th of August.