I probably shouldn’t call these ‘hidden gems’ since I’m usually the last person to hear about anything however I found some lovely new music over the last month or two. Some of it is great to study to and some of it is absolutely useless as background music because it demands attention.
So, in no particular order:
1. O’ Children – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
I discovered this while listening to the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 soundtrack. It’s not actually included but I got it separately because I remembered it from the movie. I must admit, the first time I listened it did not really appeal but I think it’s one of those songs that rewards a second and third play.
2. The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Soundtracks – Alexandre Desplat
I finally got these and have been listening to them incessantly ever since. They are excellent to study to (I’m one of those people who can’t stand dead silence) and some of the tracks are also amazing in their own right. I would particularly recommend the first, Obliviate, in Part 1 and Lily’s Theme in Part 2.
3. Now the Guns Have Stopped – Karl Jenkins
I performed part of the suite this is from a while ago and found it rather unpleasant. Karl Jenkins has an irritating habit of taking about four bars of lovely music and then repeating the melodic idea with the occasional varied note for over four minutes. Certainly, it is an economical way of composing and means that he can produce long cycles and suites from surprisingly little material.
I must confess, however, that I do love this particular song. It’s particularly poignant when you consider the historical context and the effect that the silence of guns had at the end of the First World War.
4. Samson – Regina Spektor
I started listening to Regina Spektor last year but have recently rediscovered her on my Ipod.
5. The Call – Regina Spektor
Carrying on in the same vein, I’ve just started listening to this one again. I sung it last year and tried to avoid it while I was working on my own version but now I get to play hers.
6. Sunset of Gold – Lynn Hilary
I’m a bit of a sucker for nice voices and ballads so this one was always going to make the list. It’s from her solo album and, while it’s not all fabulous, there are some other nice tracks.
7. The Voice – Lisa Kelly
I’ve put The Voice in (sorry about the video quality) but really anything she sings is worth listening to. The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress and Caledonia are also stunning.
8. Ceremonials – Florence and the Machine
Like O’Children, this one took a while to get into but there are some really interesting tracks and it is good to play while cooking or cleaning (a beat is a good motivation).
9. Nightflight – Kate Miller-Heidke
Heidke’s previous album, Curiouser, was also good but I think I prefer the slightly darker tone on the new album. It’s one of the few albums I listen to straight through without skipping and but are a couple of tracks which really stand out. Particularly fine are Sarah, Nightflight, Ride This Feeling, In the Dark, Fire and Iron … and now I’m just listing every track.
10. Killing Bono Original Soundtrack
I’m not usually a fan of rock music but I really did enjoy this one. There’s a nice mix of stuff and some of the acoustic versions are absolutely brilliant. The acoustic of Where We Want to Be is one of my absolute favourites, particularly if I’m feeling a bit stressed.
11. The House That Built Me – Miranda Lambert
I’ve never liked country music but this one did appeal.
12. Wild Mountain Thyme/ Will Ye Go Lassie/ Purple Heather
This one I haven’t been listening to but I have been singing it. I first heard it at the end of the series The Human Body. In the last episode, they feature a German man who, dying of cancer, agreed to be filmed in his final months. Watching it as young kid, it was an early, and invaluable, lesson in how to accept the inevitability of death and in how to die with dignity. Wild Mountain Thyme was sung to him by a friend and his young daughter a few hours before he died. It is still the most beautiful and heartbreaking rendition I have heard.