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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Better Late Than Never - Music At Work Part Two

Okay, this has been a rough week for me. Hence the late update. Work continues on the next book in The Omniverse, and I think the first act is coming along nicely.

Likewise, Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind has been making sentimental appeals to my conscience, and I will complete work compiling the eBook for that one, this spring.

I've been listening to a lot of motion picture scores, lately. Something about instrumental and symphonic music appeals to me when I write, lately. The scores to The Matrix series of films are among my favourites, as are the scores to Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan and 2009's reboot of Star Trek. Massive Attack's soundtrack for Danny the Dog (AKA Jet Li's Unleashed) is another great one. But lately, what's been pulling me in is the original score for The Watchmen, a movie which, like V for Vendetta before it, I preferred to the source material. That's right: I liked the film versions of Alan Moore's greatest works over the comics. So sue me.

Anyway, although I had to reorder the tracks on The Watchmen to sequence with events on film and move the Philip Glass tune Prophecy over from the original soundtrack to the score in order to fully enjoy it, I have to say I have been obsessively listening to Tyler Bates' work for the film as I work on The Aeons' War.

When I work on Nevermind I prefer Grunge and Classic Rock, and there will be a column about the extensive playlist for that project well before the eBook launches.

For now, I owe you guys a music review, don't I?

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune

Certain musicians die, and then their recording careers suddenly explode. This happened with Elvis, Tupac, Jimi Hendrix of course, Frank Zappa, John Lennon and many others. Most of the time, these posthumous works come out within a few years of the musician’s demise. A couple of notable exceptions have albums come out regularly, for decades after their untimelies.

Jimi Hendrix is one such exception to the rule, having had 11 releases come out since his death. ‘Valleys of Neptune’ is the latest in a long line of living dead music from the original Seattle Guitar God.

To sum up this album, let’s discuss what “posthumous” releases are generally made up of: previously recorded tracks that were left off of previously released albums. That means these songs were, originally considered to not be good enough for release. But when you’re talking about the caliber of material created by a musical artist like Hendrix, what wasn’t considered “good enough” then is still a hell of a lot better than a lot of the Rock music that gets put out today.

The songs of ‘Valleys of Neptune’ are either previously unreleased material, or formerly only on bootleg or inferior-quality resurrections. A lot of them are also new versions of previous Hendrix releases, such as the opener “Stone Free”, as well as “Fire” and “Red House” There’s also a fantastic instrumental cover of Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” That just seethes Hendrix.

This is top of the line material; whether you’re a new or returning fan, ‘Valleys of Neptune’ is quintessential Hendrix, and well worth the 13 year wait since his last posthumous release.

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune
Steve’s Rating: 10/10