CD review: Loonie, Birdy, David Garrett
After hit-maker Bassilyo, fellow battle rhyme star and FrancisM disciple Loonie takes his place center stage unleashing an eight-song EP which he describes as “a preview of bigger things to come.”
A first listen will reveal however that Loonie’s next move will undoubtedly be a huge one of Godzilla proportions. As it is, “Ultrasound” is already big on content, music and attitude, with the lithe rapper laying claim to the twin crown of “halimaw ng mickropono at hari ng tugma.”
Loonie’s collaborators on his little adventure include SinoSiKat?’s Kat Agarrado, who provides soulful balm to the lounge jazz excursions of “Abante” and fuzz rockers Greyhoundz whose metal juggernaut sends Loonie out of his comfort zone in “Ang Bagong Ako.”
Slotted in the middle of the disc, “Pilosopo” (featuring Smugglaz) is the EP’s centerpiece with Loonie acting like a street corner shaman mocking those who take his rapping at face value and dispensing peace y’all, then dissing haters and critics in the next stanza. The accompanying music just tinkles in the background and it’s the pummeling rhythm that drills his point home.
The song spotlights Loonie’s uniquely mercurial talent and while the braggart in him sometimes shows through, it will leave old and new fans looking forward beyond this richly-rewarding preview.
In 2011, 15-year old British singer-songwriter Birdy aka Jasmine Van Den Bogaerde released an album of quietly moving covers of contemporary pop artists from The National to the xx. Now 17, she puts out her proper debut in which the melancholic undercurrent of her covers album spills over into 11 self-penned pop and folk compositions.
It’s as if a simmering energy inside (see album title) fuels her confessions of guilt, fear, indifference and loathing. That internal fire leaks out only in small doses reflected, for instance, in lines that go: “If you use your words as a weapon /Then as a weapon, I’ll shed no tears”(‘Words As Weapons’); or the unvarnished admission of weakness in ‘Standing In The Way of The Light’, with only piano riffs to punctuate her quivering voice.
Birdy is a teenager and actually sings like one, but heart-tugging songs like “All you Never Say” and “No Angel” deliver the same conviction and potency as the more experienced and wizened singers of our time. Think a blues-driven Adele or a folkie Celine Dion.
Perhaps, in her youthful age, Birdy still sees the promise of a brighter tomorrow to keep Fire Inside from spiraling into self-lacerating Goth or a list of death wishes to wayward lovers.
The songbird has taken flight and a mournful sky’s the limit.
Violinist David Garrett produces typically invigorating covers of other people’s songs and poignant renditions of his own arrangements and those of classical composers too. His last album simply titled Music is a restatement of what made the original songs so appealing. The trademark sweeping melodies take even higher flights of fancy on wings of Garrett’s preferred instrument of seduction.
“Viva La Vida” is as good a place to begin as any. The follow up “Cry Me A River” simply inflates the starting mood to a joyous climax. “Whole Lotta Bond” extends the exhilaration at the crossroads of hard rock and original soundtrack.
Garrett also does Bach, Chopin, Celtic music, Michael Jackson and Queen, the last two items seeming in search of decent hooks to be in elite company. “Human Nature” and “We Will Rock You” hardly evince the kind of poignancy a violinist can squeeze from a pop or rock song.
February has come and gone but love is all around so this two-CD compilation of love croons from famous, soon-to-be famous and just out there singer-songwriters should be a welcome salve against the onslaught of love notes, love triangles, love radio and all that ridiculous crap.
Plus you get to meet and listen to some pretty cool oddballs: Gabrielle Aplin, Damien Rice, Stacey Kent, The Bird and The Bee, and Emi Fujita in a 36–song sampler that unlike root canal, gifts you with painless inserts of jazz, indie, country, samba, rock (Jet!) and amalgams of these generic genres. Acoustic love for all reasons, y’all.