One of the musical features of this year has been the lockdown video. Been tons of great ones and here are three that spring to my mind today.
Scottish songwriter/composer C Duncan was one of my favourite discoveries last year although he was already on his third album Health by then. He produces beautifully rich electronic pop with layered / processed vocals with great chord sequences. Originally classically trained, he was recently able to compose the orchestral piece ‘Dance from a Distance’ for the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra to perform remotely as a replacement activity for the Youth Orchestra who couldn’t participate in their summer course and concerts due to C19.
For the curious, here’s the stunning track that got me into C Duncan – ‘Other Side’ from his second album ‘Midnight Sun’.
A feature of a good lockdown video is to include a family member. I did one with my daughter and it looks like I was in good company as so did Sean O’Hagan. I am a big fan of his band The High Llamas. Their sound seems to have its origins in the Beach Boys ‘Friends’ and ’20/20′ era albums. This is a sound I really like, full of charm, inventiveness, great songwriting and lovely arrangements. Sean’s solo album ‘Radum Calls Radum calls’ was another favourite of mine from last year and this lockdown video features music from that:
Whilst I would always say check Bandcamp first when checking out artists, I have to say the This Is The High Llamas playlist on Spotify is damn near perfect.
Kavus Torabi (of Cardicas, Gong, the Utopia Strong, Knifeworld) released one of my absolute favourite albums of this year ‘Hip To The Jag’. Sounding both futuristic and ancient, the songs are spellbinding, using a mix of vocals, guitar and harmonium (the main instruments for the live presentations) augmented by all manner of sounds/effects that bring this cosmic odyssey to life. He has made two lockdown live gigs available on his Facebook page:
He also wins first prize for family member involvement as his daughter wears an Eddie mask during an Iron Maiden cover. ‘Hip To The Jag’ is available on CD, vinyl and download at:
As well is a non-album digital track ‘The Sentinel’ from the same recording sessions: