A few years back I read Daniel Levitin's "This Is Your Brain On Music" and have recently turned the last pages of his follow-up "The World In Six Songs". Both are excellent, deep but easily digestible books balancing science and personal experience to provide insight into how humans and music have evolved.
Towards the end of "Six Songs", Levitin mentions several tracks which have had a resounding impact on him. I will not revisit each here, rather encourage anyone interested enough to read the book to absorb his thoughts in context. However, I do need to confess prior to this I had never heard the music of one artist he mentioned - Alex De Grassi.
I'm sure some readers of this post will be amazed by this, as I have since given myself a quick education and learned that De Grassi is a Grammy nominated artist who has been recording since 1978. Crikey, how did I miss that...?
I recently listened to his 1998 album The Water Garden, which fortunately for me was perfectly accompanied by rainy weather as I drove earlier this week. A perfect combination.
If you, like I, had not yet heard Alex De Grassi, I recommend doing so.
Especially if it's raining...
When I was growing up, it would be rare to hear a song on the radio without a guitar solo in the later half somewhere. It was an opportunity to convey emotion, energy, technical proficiency or all three and for me personally it was always welcomed!
In more recent times it seems the guitar solo has been overthrown. By either nothing at all, or even worse, the vocal / rap break. Oh dear. Yes, it may be argued that this is just a sign of the times, a changing of the guard, and that the modern equivalent is the vocal break. But really – while sometimes there is technical proficiency or novelty in the rhythm of the vocal, it seems more often than not this “art” is lacking the energy or emotional element that made guitar solos great.
As I type I’m reminded of the brilliant sax solos of the decade prior, a staple of the 80s pop sound. Give me a burning sax solo or rocking lead break over an autotuned “here today, gone today” vocalist any time.