Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2014 Moments in Music!

I've been slow with any 2014 'best of lists' so here instead is my 2014 playlist as far as I can recall from my 'go to' pile of CD's. Those who follow such things can check out previous lists for 2013 and 2012 - gosh that sounds so old now doesn't it!

1. DAVID SYLVIAN: Gone To Earth (2006)
2. KARL JENKINS: River Queen (2005)
3. JOHN BARRY: Mary Queen of Scots (1971)
4. JOHN BARRY: Out of Africa (1985)
5. DEAD CAN DANCE: Anastasis (2012)
6. DEAD CAN DANCE: Wake (2003)
7. DOUGIE MACLEAN: Essential Too (2013)
8. LONDON GRAMMAR: If You Wait (2013)
9. KATE BUSH: Ariel (2005)
10. KING CREOSOTE: Scotland With Love (2014)
Mmm, another eclectic mix of soundtracks and old favourites with just a sprinkling of contemporary-ish albums, guess that says a lot about me! Still really enjoying David Sylvian's re-mastered double Gone To Earth album which seems to suite any mood. It originally came out in 1986 and, not being a Japan fan particularly, I missed his solo career only 'discovering' him much later through the excellent Everything & Nothing (2000) retrospective. I'm still short of a couple of early releases while his later work became too experimental for me after Blemish (2003).

I do play soundtracks a lot and find myself listening to classic FM  more and more these days - along with BBC 6 Music of course! River Queen was a Classic FM discovery and is great background music with some stirring moments. The movie it comes from is an odd beast, starring Samantha Morton and Kiefer Sutherland in Victorian New Zealand and the turbulent Anglo-Maori wars. It doesn't quite deliver on its promise but is interesting and both it and its music are worth tracking down.

Through Zulu of course I've always been a John Barry fan with his short Somewhere in Time soundtrack a clear favourite but I finally caught up with his lavish Out of Africa and lessor known (to me) Mary Queen of Scots soundtracks this year, enjoying them both. Out of Africa is a very watchable movie with music to match, although the CD mood is slightly spoiled by a soft-rock number tacked on! I've not seen Mary Queen of Scots for years but the music has it all, bagpipes, recurring themes, stirring motifs even Scott Walker on vocals and has been a delight. It was though very difficult to track down the whole album with a shorter version (without Scott Walker!) more readily available.

Still enjoying my Dead Can Dance brace of albums and last year's London Grammar with this year's big new discovery (to me!) Kenny Anderson aka King Creosote and his From Scotland With Love tv/documentary soundtrack album. I guess this is his most commercial offering but its been the reason for me to finally embrace his music and I've just picked up his acclaimed Diamond Mine (2011) album with Jon Hopkins so not a bad thing - maybe a bit like David Sylvian, I get there eventually!

My other favourites were the two artists I saw perform live in 2014, Dougie Maclean and of course a certain Kate Bush! I've been lucky to see Dougie many times, (I think this was the 6th!) and its always a joy to hear and meet him - he normally pops out afterwards to chat and sign CD's etc. He was in demand last year with his famous Caledonia song performed en masse at Glasgow's Commonwealth Games ceremony so this was a special treat.

Much of course has already been said and written about Kate Bush and her totally unexpected return to the stage after some 35 years or so! The performance was very, very special and it was a privilege to witness. Needless to say Kate did not pop out afterwards for a chat but she did seem to enjoy herself and be truly astonished with her rapturous response she received. The show was the excuse I needed to revisit her albums with Ariel, which formed much of her setlist, a favourite.

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