Alt-J – An Awesome Wave ~ Me Myself And My Music

Hello, I am back again ūüôā Thank you for not letting me down and sticking to my blog. I really needed these weeks in order to focus on my upcoming exams. However, now I have more spare time to invest in blogging, writing and taking photographs – really looking forward to it. I wondered what this post should be about. And after giving it some thoughts, I realised that a new music review was due and why not presenting an album which I listened often while studying for my tests.

alt j an awesome wave music review

Album facts:

  • Release: May 2012
  • Tracks:
    • 1. Intro
    • 2. ‚̶ [The Ripe & Ruin]
    • 3. Tessellate
    • 4. Breezeblocks
    • 5. ‚̶ [Guitar]
    • 6. Something Good
    • 7. Dissolve Me
    • 8. Matilda
    • 9. Ms
    • 10. Fitzpleasure
    • 11. ‚̶ [Piano]
    • 12.¬†Bloodflood
    • 13. Taro

Alt-J or sometimes written simply as¬†‚ąÜ is an English indie rock band from Leeds. I have no clue who showed me this band or why I stumbled over them. Nevertheless, I bought rather quickly their first debut album on a vacation in London. If one had to describe their music style in a word it probably would be amongst others folktronica. What is folktronica you may ask yourself? I read it first on their Wikipedia site and I think that it describes very well their album An Awesome Wave. Folktronica is as you probably can already derive from the word itself a mix of electronica and some elements of folk music. Not all songs on this album are folktronica, but doubtless my absolute favourite track.

The first song called totally imaginative (ironic undertone ;-)) Intro starts with really soft tunes until further instruments set in. The monotonous voice lends this song something mystical. The rather slow beat is perfect for reading or studying. It will definitely set you into the right mood.

The next title I would like to elaborate on belongs to the more famous ones. Tessellate¬†creates a very similar atmosphere like the Intro. ¬†It reminds me a lot of Thom Yorke’s¬†¬†music style as it makes electronica decent for even non electronica listeners. It also has some dramatic tunes in the beginning which built up a certain tension.¬†It is a calm song which suits very well to the coldness of January.

Dissolve Me was to my astonishment even a little bit uplifting. It has a faster beat and  when you listen to it while learning you will receive a little motivation booster due to bright tunes. This track stands out because it breaks the monotonous and dull vibe created by the other songs.

What I genuinely enjoy about Fitzpleasure is the deep sound in the beginning. Moreover, this song changes during its 3 minutes and 39 seconds  music styles which make the entire song utterly diversified. It starts with some dubstep like tunes and then gets interrupted by almost intimidating basslines. In the middle of the song it even turns to a pop-like sound before the heavy bass and beats set in. The high voice of the singer makes this song very special.

And now to my favourite song, Taro. Normally, I would prefer powerful songs but this track has something very special to it. I made some research in order to figure out the background story of it. Apparently it tells us something about a tragic friendship/relationship between the two war photographers Robert Capa and Gerda Taro. Robert Capa who was Hungarian documented several wars with his camera:  the Spanish Civil War, the Second Sino-Japanese War, World War II across Europe, the 1948 Arab-Israeli War and the First Indochina War. He met in the year 1934 in Paris Gerda Taro who fled due to her Jewish background to France. It is not clear if the in the start only business relationship may have grown into more than a friendship. However, this story ends tragic because both sacrificed their lives for their work. In the year of 1937, Taro died as a tank crashed into a car on which she hopped on to photograph the wounded soldiers in it. She was only 26 years old. Capa died at the age of 40 during his work in Indochina in 1954 as he stepped on a landmine.

Alt-J turns this friendship in their lyrics to a deep and close bonded relationship.

Indochina, Capa jumps Jeep, two feet creep up the road…
A violent wrench grips mass, rips light, tears limbs like rags…
Burst so high finally Capa lands…
Him five yards from his leg, from you, Taro…
3: 10 pm, Capa pends death, quivers, last rattles, last chokes…
Left hand grasps what the body grasps not, le photographe est mort…
31415, alive no longer my amour, faded for home May of ’54

I especially like this song at is smooth, simple and the short Indian sound unleashed from the guitar makes this song extraordinary and unique.

This album is something very special as it combines several music genres and it still  able to maintain a certain style.

My rating: 9/10


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