Jan. 31st, 2009

reileen: (music - proofread score)
Vienna Teng's music video for Gravity is - much like the song itself - beautiful, haunting, and not the same love song we've seen before. (I'm not even sure it would actually qualify as a "love" song, but it can be argued either way.) Gorgeous atmosphere, and Vienna herself looks mighty fine in that burgundy ballgown. I'm not entirely sure what to make of the video's seemingly straightforward-but-not storyline. My pet theory is that Vienna is just so damn good at what she does that *POSSIBLE SPOILER?* even the dead sit up and listen when she plays. (Vienna Teng: Necromancer! There's a music video idea. Everyone knows that everything is better with zombies!) *END POSSIBLE SPOILER?*

Meanwhile, the German Amazon page features a promo video of Miss Vienna for her Inland Territory album, which features short little samples of the songs from that album. I don't even know what to say - this new material is simply breathtaking. You thought Vienna Teng was amazing before? If you didn't, don't tell me, so I don't have to put you to death for blasphemy, 'cause I like y'all. This is where the really good shit is at. One of my main nitpicks with Vienna's albums (if you can call it a nitpick) is that the album recordings never seem to capture the energy of her live performances. From what I've heard of Inland Territory so far, however, it doesn't appear that I'll have a problem with that. (Though I don't doubt that, as amazing as these sample clips sound, seeing her perform these songs live will be even better, as it usually is.) If you have RealPlayer, you can also download 30-second samples of all the songs here.

Inland Territory will be seeing a February 6 release over in Germany. If I can spare some money, I'll probably try to get the downloadable album from the German Amazon website while I wait to buy the real deal on April 7, when it comes out in the US. I'm really, really excited to finally hear Vienna's new songs. I suspect I will end up crying upon the first full listen, both at how incredible the album is and how much farther I have to go before I can even hope to match that in my own music.

***

I've also been enjoying Yousei Teikoku's Iro no Nai Sekai mini-album, released on January 14. It includes five new tracks plus an off-vocal version of the title track. I hadn't been impressed with the song "Iro no Nai Sekai" when I first heard the TV-size version of it (it's an ending to an anime called Kurokami), but it comes off better in its full-sized version. Still, when it comes to the quiet tracks, I prefer "Tooi Maboroshi". "Destrudo" and "Alte Burg" are more along the lines of the previous singles "Schwarzer Sarg" and "Hades: The bloody rage", while "Valtica" sounds like a descendant of the techno/electro sensibilities of "Chinmoku no Mayu" and "Kikai Shoujo Gensou". Although I do happen to like "Valtica", it unfortunately also sounds almost a little too much like any generic electropop anime song - the gothic edge that's very much honed and sharp on most of their songs is a bit dull here. Still, overall, I'm pleased with this latest installment from Yousei Teikoku.

***

2009 is looking to be a good year for my music library. In addition to Vienna Teng's Inland Territory and Yousei Teikoku's Iro no Nai Sekai, I can look forward to:

-Alestorm's Black Sails at Midnight: Scottish pirate metal. Scottish pirate metal. That should be all I need to say about this. I mean, c'mon.

-Ghost Orgy's currently titleless album: This is such an epic band. They're like if you mixed together the best of Disturbed, Rasputina, and Evanescence. Their songs are perfect for rocking out to during Halloween, but if you're looking for a twist on gothic rock, check out Ghost Orgy. I really love Dina Concina's alternately sweet and screechy(...?) vocals; maybe someday I'll get that vocal versatility as well. (It also helps that she's Filipina(-American?) and smokin' hot.)

-Kanon Wakeshima's Shinshoku Dolce: Wakeshima's music, based on what I've heard from her two singles, is a little like Yousei Teikoku's, except that, musically, it comes off more neoclassical, probably because Wakeshima is also a cellist and the cello lines figure prominently in the songs. Wakeshima's vocals are also lower on the vocal register, which is quite well-suited to her cello work. She's produced by Mana, the guitarist for the visual kei band Malice Mizer, so I expect to see some interesting stuff from her.

-Lacuna Coil's Shallow Life: I wasn't really wowed by their most current album, Karmacode, but I still like this group enough that I want to hear what they've got lined up for Shallow Life. I admire Cristina Scabbia's vocals (even if sometimes I can't understand half of what she's saying - although the Wikipedia page for the upcoming album states that the band is working on making the English lyrics more intelligible this time around), and enjoy the dark, gothic sensibilities of their songs that doesn't rely on orchestral elements.

***

I've accepted, mostly, that I do not have the time or the money to be able to study abroad in Japan, like I'd dreamed for years. The Japan CTI winter trip doesn't look like it's happening, and it's really not feasible for me to do a summer study abroad trip. I cried for a good while when I realized this, but being able to complete my bachelor's degree by spring 2010 is top priority right now. I can travel to Japan (and to other places around the world!) later. Now probably isn't a good time to do any heavy traveling anyway, the economy considered. I can only hope it'll be better by the time I decide that I want to embark on a transcontinental trek.

I have had luck with contacting a second A&D advisor about my major requirements - I'm scheduled to meet her at the art building at 9:15am on Tuesday. Hoo boy.

-Reileen
it's just the radio, darlin'

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Reileen van Kaile

April 2010

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