How awesome is this? Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill band makes its US début and absolutely rocks it out. Mary’s voice is sublime, the music is stunning and that guitar… wow.
The adorable Laura Shigihara talks on her YouTube channel about the excellent Play for Japan Charity CD that’s being spearheaded by Akira Yamaoka.
The full tracklist:
Akira Yamaoka (Shadows of the Damned) | “Ex Animo”
Arthur Inasi (Harmonix) | “We Are One”
Bear McCreary (SOCOM 4) | “Maverick Regeneration”
Chance Thomas (Lord of the Rings Online) | “Rise Up”
Hip Tanaka.β (Mother) | “HVC-1384″
Inon Zur feat. The Lyris Quartet (Dragon Age) | “Remember”
Jason Graves (Dead Space) | “Necromancer”
Koji Kondo (Super Mario Bros.) | “Super Mario Medley On Two Pianos”
Laura Karpman (Everquest II) w/Lisbeth Scott | “Pine Wind Sound”
Laura Shigihara (Plants vs. Zombies) | “Jump”
Mitsuto Suzuki (The 3rd Birthday) | “Play for You”
Nobuko Toda (Metal Gear Solid 4) | “Reminiscence”
Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy) | “Every New Morning”
Penka Kouneva (Prince of Persia) | “White Cloud”
Sean Murray (Call of Duty) | “The Temple Stone”
Tommy Tallarico (Advent Rising) | “Greater Lights”
Woody Jackson (Red Dead Redemption) | “Moshi Moshi”
Yasunori Mitsuda (Chrono Trigger) | “Dimension Break”
“Play for Japan: The Album” will be released on iTunes in June, and I’ll make sure to tell you the exact date as soon as we know. 100% of the profits will be donated to the relief efforts in Japan
Well February 2010 saw our busiest month ever at Higher Plain Music as we hit a record number of views on the website. Thank you so much to everyone that comes to visit. One man completely dominiated though with 3 threads in the top 10 viewed and that’s Brendan Perry as the anticipation of Ark reaches feverpitch. It was also the first month when game reviews really notched up the hits with both winter games reviews grabbing 4th and 5th on the most viewed chart. Also with the new way the stats are made, I have over 700 unaccounted views, so please remember to click the actual posts for views to count! Here’s the top 10 artists and top 5 games of February.
Top 10 Artists
01. Brendan Perry (^)
02. Naoyuki Hiroko (Halo Legends crew) (NE)
03. Cris Velasco (NE)
04. Lisa Gerrard (^)
05. Garry Schyman (NE)
06. Jesper Kyd (RE)
07. Yoko Shimomura (NE)
08. Imogen Heap (v)
09. Panda Transport (NE)
10. Akira Yamaoka (v)
Top 5 Games
01. RTL Winter Sports 2010 (PS3)
02. Vancouver 2010 (PS3)
03. Musaic Box (PC)
04. Numblast (PS3)
05. Zoocube (PS2)
The next week may be a bit sporadic due to my own album being released this week but after that its back to usual!
Well first month of the new decade is behind us and it certainly was a busy one! Just about averaged a post a day (phew – new years resolution not broken immediately!) and site traffic rose after a quiet December back to normal figures again. However, top of the bill was a certain Lisa Gerrard with the news of The Black Opal’s release and the review of “Balibo” really setting the readers alight. Here’s the top 10 artist’s and top 5 games of the month.
01) Lisa Gerrard
02) Brendan Perry
03) Jesper Kyd
04) Musashi Hamauzu
05) Imogen Heap
07) Mike Reagan / Cris Velasco
08) Akira Yamaoka
09) Yasunori Mitsuda
10) Sarah Slean
01) Battle Tanks (PS3)
02) Winter Sports 2010 (PS3)
03) Vancouver 2010 (PS3)
04) Hyperballoid (Ps3)
05) .detuned (PS3)
Well the year is out and so we leave 2009 with our top 10 most viewed artists and here they are:
01) Lisa Gerrard: With more posts getting more than 150+ views than any other artist, Lisa Gerrard topped our most viewed list and she looks to stay high in 2010. Her Balibo soundtrack was amazing, and we’re still waiting for her 2009 album “The Black Opal” to arrive to review. Well done Lisa
02) Vienna Teng: Vienna went under the radar for me and is a surprise second. Her fourth album Inland Territory is absolutely stunning and we got our hands on her live DVD from a while back and loved that too. Hears hoping to more in 2010!
03) Brendan Perry: The anticipation for Ark continues and Brendan continues to clock up hits while we wait. Ark looks like hitting early 2010 and rest assured, HPM will be buying it on release day!
04) OverClocked ReMix: Well the biggest game music remixing project chalked up several releases but it was the FF4 project that really exploded over here grabbing the most viewed interview in 2009 with the project managers. 2010 will no doubt see tons of remixes for all and I’ll drink to that *glug*.
05) Akira Yamaoka: Well HPM did a lot of reviewing of Silent Hill soundtracks in 09 and that’s because the reviews always seem popular. Now Akira has left Konami (although Shattered Memories is still composed by him) it remains to be seen when we’ll hear of him next. Not too soon we hope!
06) Imogen Heap: Imogen actually had the most viewed post of 2009 with over 700 views of bizarrely the tracklisting for Ellipse. Sadly not as many read the review so that’s why Immi is down in 7th. 2010 looks like a year of touring so expect Heap to appear in the live vault!
07) Utada: This Is the One was one of pop’s best albums and was the third most read music review of 2009 and top of the non-game music reviews. Utada’s groove is definately on and maybe we’ll hear some more Japanese work in 2010.
08) Tori Amos: Tori strangely didn’t feature highly on the most viewed threads lists but constantly propped up just outside the top 10 and so ended up 8th overall. Abnormally Attracted to Sin and Midwinter Graces were fantastic albums that deserve much love and so 2010 should see Tori enjoy a break for a few months!
09) Hiroki Kikuta: The most read review of 2009 belongs to Hiroki and the Secret of Mana + Review that clocked over 500 hits. Hiroki was kind enough to send over one of his more obscure soundtracks which will be reviewed in 2010. Thank you Kikuta-san!
10) Christopher Tin: Sneaking in by just 2 views over Sarah Slean, Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns is simply devine and snatched the final spot on our top 10. Chris is a genuinely nice guy and deserves all the credit the albums recieved.
Top 5 Game Reviews
01) Battle Tanks (PS3)
02) Trash Panic (PS3)
03) Numblast (PS3)
04) Shatter (PS3)
05) Magic Ball (PS3)
Well November was a bit of a wash out for new posts due to my house move, but that didn’t stop November being the fifth busiest month of all time for hits! It was primarily down to one lady, Lisa Gerrard, who’s new album more than tripled the hits of the second placed artist. We’ll be reviewing all three new releases of Lisa’s this month.
01) Lisa Gerrard (2 months)
02) Tori Amos (^)
03) Brendan Perry (^)
04) Christopher Tin (v)
05) Hiroki Kikuta (^)
06) Imogen Heap (v)
07) Akira Yamaoka (RE)
08) Sarah Slean (RE)
09) Anonymous 4 (v)
10) Utada (RE)
01) .detuned (PS3)
02) Battle Tanks (PS3)
03) Numblast (PS3)
04) Shatter (PS3)
05) GripShaft (PS3)
Silent Hill 4 -The Room- once again see’s Akira Yamaoka throw himself and the kitchen sink at a bizarre mix of ambience, noise, haunting melodies and rocked out beats. This time round the ambience and noise have been put on a back burner however as we gear up for the most melodic assault yet.
Mary Elizabeth McGlynn returns with her achingly emotive vocals. They are first showcased with “Tender Sugar”, a slow but climactic almost darkwave piece with haunting guitars and a very low-res production – a trait that stays with us for the rest of soundtrack. At first I found the low-res approach a turn off and in some respects it still is – but if you listen to the whole thing all the way through, you don’t notice it after a short while. “Tender Sugar” is a stunning opener setting a new darker tone for the vocal pieces and sets up the listener perfectly for what’s to come.
“Waverer” is one of the more abstract tunes. A minimal drum, bass and warped echoing piano/guitar feedback hybrid swirl throughout the piece enticing you in further. “Fortunate Sleep -noone disturb her dead-” then slides in after a small noise interlude with a song that reminds me of “Forest” from Silent Hill 2 for some reason. It’s not very similar sounding but its in the same tone for me.
“Melancholy Requiem” begins the first real instrumental “song” with arpeggios of piano and some distorted keyboards and string implements. The whole piece has a dirty, edgy and uncomfortable feel to it – it encapsules the essence of Silent Hill completely especially as the song degenerates into discorded ambience – a trait again carried in many songs.
“Confinement” has a mean guitar and percussive edge to it and brings you back to the old guitar sounds of the original Silent Hill songs before “Drops of Shame” takes you on an eerie trip-hop ambient climb around the echoing room. “The Suicidal Clock Chime” is a short piece of humming noises and discorded clangs of a very broken organ by the sounds of things before “Silent Circus” returns to the trip-hop beats for a quirky tune that is actually quite funky and chilled out.
“Traversing the Portals of Reality” then returns to the more grungy guitar riffs of earlier tracks with a very b-movie stabbing organ sound that lends itself very well to rock music, as does the out of tune violins! Great work! “Into The Depths of Self Discovery” then gives us an unnerving “new age” track of keyboard delights that pulsates with echoing soft screams flying through the piece. It’s probably the closest the soundtrack comes to a properly laid out melody too in an instrumental song.
“Cradel of Forest” sees the return of Joe Romersa on vocals for an excellent song. His vocals came under a bit of criticism in Silent Hill 3′s Soundtrack however here they fit the song perfectly and actually made me appreciate “Hometown” much more. Mary gives us some backing vocals too in this catchy rock song.
“Resting Comfortably” is the only sub minute song but I adore it. Its just a circle of synthesized vocals (it sounds like it anyway) but my goodness I could listen to it for ages on end. Eerie and subtle it leads straight into “Nightmarish Waltz” with distorted vocals and drum loops before the essence of “Resting Comfortably” returns for “Pulsating Ambience” where the songs non-vocal parts are accompanied by disorientating percussive booming bassy boings, almost like an Indian Udu Pot but Silent Hill style!
Onto vocal track three “Your Rain” with Mary on full song with heartbreaking weariness before the anthemic chorus pounds through your heart. This one took a few listens before I really appreciated it but now its a firm favourite.
“The Last Mariachi” is a completely carefully mucked up song and shows genius is how to make something likeable out of non-tune before my favourite instrumental song appears. “Wounded Warsong” is all about building tension as the chords pull up further and further with grinding padded synths crawling you up with it. It gets me going every listen – pure class.
“Underground Dawn -Never Come-” is similar to the second track, trip-hop drum beats and random guitar ambience flows throughout before “Fever Chill” takes away the guitars for some banging around on vibraphones and keyboards. “Remodeling” is the last of the official instrumentals which takes you off on a fun paced tour de force of random sampling and noises which is what the series does best.
To finish the real soundtrack off we have two stunning vocal tracks. The first “Room Of Angel” is easily the most downbeat original vocal track for a game I’ve came across to date and for that it deserves a mention. The bond between piano, vocal and ambient background is electric and you can feel yourself losing your strength. Some may think its too miserable – I think its superb! Finally “Waiting For You ~Live at heaven’s Night~” is a bonus track that’s not live at all. Its unreleased and they have simply and somewhat pointlessly popped a cheering crowd in it – thankfully it doesn’t sound fake. The song is catchy and have great hooks – a good rock out grunge style with Mary giving it some welly!
The second disc features a spoken story in Japanese called “Inescapable Rain in Yoshiwara”. The reader speaks gruffy and performs voices for all the monsters leading to some quite bizarre and unnerving screeching and moaning! Of course it would be no fun it wasn’t set to all the noise that characterises the Silent Hill series.
Each chapter is given a note of the music scale and each one works in harmony with the next. The atmosphere is tense and I’m sure if it were in English, you could appreciate the disc a whole lot more. However even in Japanese you can immerse yourself as the reader gets well into the story and the ambience unnerves you.
So does it match the previous three soundtracks? In a word – Yes! This soundtrack took an awful long time for me to really appreciate. I instantly fell in love with 2 & 3, and the original soundtrack I believe deserves status purely on its bold statement of noise. It didn’t feel like collectively it held together as the balance of melody overcame the ambience and therefore lacklustureness random noises couldn’t hold their own.
Now however on a relisten while writing this review, I can safely say it deserves its place up with the first three soundtracks. A fine collection, a fine series – Well done Akira Yamaoka!
And so to August 2009 where we had a four way fight for the top this month, won by Imogen Heap whereby more people actually viewed the tracklisting after the whole album was posted as a streaming audio on the website and people didn’t actually listen to the album itself! However, HPM has not reviewed Ellipse (although I personally love it already) because I’ve ordered the two disc edition and want to hold on until it comes through.
Behind it was all go for OverClocked Remix, Module and Brendan Perry.
01) Imogen Heap (^)
02) OverClocked ReMix (v)
03) Module (NE)
04) Brendan Perry (v)
05) Utada (v)
06) Kento Watanabe (NE)
07) Akira Yamaoka (^)
08) Hiroki Kikuta (v)
09) Vienna Teng (v)
10) Baiyon (NE)
Top 3 Games
03) Magic Ball
Well was there really any doubt? OverClocked Remix absolutely smashed the charts with almost more views on OCR posts than the rest of the site put together! Only Imogen Heap’s track listing for her latest album Ellipse was able to pull in big numbers too. Interesting we had almost exactly the same number of visitors as June (14 difference) and it was our third most viewed month of the sites history. We did break one new record, our first day with more than 200 hits! August should be a great month too. Let’s enjoy the summer!
01) OverClocked Remix (RE)
02) Imogen Heap (v)
03) Brendan Perry (^)
04) Utada (^)
05) Vienna Teng (v)
06) Hiroki Kikuta (RE)
07) Akira Yamaoka (v)
08) Natalie Imbruglia (NE)
09) Patrick Wolf (v)
10) Dead Can Dance (v)
Top 3 Games Reviews
02) Trash Panic
03) Magic Ball
June missed being our most busiest month by just 21 hits so March 09 still holds the crown of busiest month – however for the first time ever one artist completely outrun everyone else by such a margin, their top post (our most viewed post this month) had more hits than the second, third and fourth busiest posts combined! Well done the Imogen Heap – everyone’s gone mad over the tracklist for Ellipse and we’ll be buying the album on release day so expect a sharp review on the day (provided its in shops – we couldn’t get a copy for Speak For Yourself in a store and had to buy online and wait). Patrick Wolf, Dead Can Dance & Vienna Teng’s album reviews all followed behind. Here’s the top 10 artists followed by the only two game reviews on site (we will be doing a top 5 game hits too). Congrats to Lisa Germano for making a new entry and Tori Amos, number 1 last month, dropped straight back out the charts again! June should be a busy month with lots of reviews not just here, but over on new site I Love Disaster Movies, which is another personal indulgence to another hobby of mine! Enjoy the summer!
01) Imogen Heap (1 Month)
02) Patrick Wolf (RE)
03) Dead Can Dance (RE)
04) Vienna Teng (-)
05) Akira Yamaoka (^)
06) Utada (v)
07) Brendan Perry (-)
08) Sarah Slean (v)
09) Lisa Germano (NE)
10) Yasunori Mitsuda (RE)
For the first time in HPM’s history there hasn’t been a clear-cut winner with two artists almost drawing for first place on the most viewed list. Tori Amos however nudged it just from Utada to take top honours for the first time. It was our third most busiest month with visitors yet it was our equal second quietest in posts. This will change in June with an action packed month ahead! Here’s the top 10:
01) Tori Amos (^) 1 Month
02) Utada (v)
03) Sarah Slean (^)
04) Vienna Teng (v)
05) Reiko Nomura (NE)
06) Akira Yamaoka (^)
07) Brendan Perry (v)
08) Seiji Honda (NE)
09) Hiroki Kikuta (^)
10) OCRemix (v)
We recently came across a YouTuber who plays sublime piano arrangements of Silent Hill and Tomb Raider tracks. What’s more, he’s also uploaded sheet music to learn his rearrangements. The Silent Hill arrangements are particularly note worthy for adding lots of extra flair. Jump onto his channel and take a look at sosogood – he is!
Slightly delayed it may be, but here are the top ten artists that have been viewed for April 2009 which saw a bit of a change at the top with Utada taking top step from Tori Amos, Vienna Teng & Sarah Slean! Congrats to everyone on the list and here’s to another great month which will be full of new content (and a bit more prolific than last month!). However, it was our second busiest month of the sites history despite it being one of the quietest in terms of new content. May will be a busy one!
01) Utada (RE)
02) Tori Amos (^)
03) Vienna Teng (^)
04) Sarah Slean (v)
05) Brendan Perry (v)
06) Dead Can Dance (NE)
07) OverClocked Remix (v)
08) PJ Harvey (RE)
09) Akira Yamaoka (v)
10) Hiroki Kikuta (RE)
Well March was a big month! HPM hit a new high for hits and we should pass the 20,000 mark at some point in April – not too shabby for a site that’s dedicated to music that’s half about alternative, largely unknown artists, and half about video game music. This month was all about two artists who went blow to blow all the way until the final days however OverClocked Remix became the most viewed artist of the month and should become the most viewed artist of our site completely if things continue! The release of Summoning of Spirits and the interview with the project managers combined beat of the review of Utada’s anticipated second English album. Tori Amos’ latest album announcement slipped her into third while Vienna Teng slides down to fourth. Here’s the complete top 10:
01) OverClocked Remix (NE)
02) Utada (NE)
03) Tori Amos (^)
04) Vienna Teng (v)
05) Akira Yamaoka (v)
06) PJ Harvey & John Parish (NE)
07) Sarah Slean (<>)
08) Brendan Perry (v)
09) Hiroki Kikuta (v)
10) Yasunori Mitsuda (RE)
Not since we reviewed Sarah Slean’s “The Baroness” have we had such a clear winner. Vienna Teng has by far and away our most viewed artist this month with previews of her fourth album plastered everywhere. Her top two related posts contain more hits than half the next artist’s post hits combined. So without hesitation – well done to Vienna (2 months now!) and here’s the top 10!
01) Vienna Teng (2 Months)
02) Akira Yamaoka (^)
03) Hiroki Kikuta (^)
04) Brendan Perry (^)
05) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (=)
06) Lisa Miskovsky (NE)
07) Sarah Slean (^)
08) Tori Amos (RE)
09) Ayumi Hamasaki (v)
10) Sitorimon (NE)
Two soundtracks in the same year, Akira Yamaoka has been busy with the Silent Hill series, and this is the sixth in it. Each soundtrack has bought something new. The original gave us the noise, the second gave us melodies, the third vocal pieces and beats, the fourth purposefully poor production and discordant chords and zero swirling ambience. This time around the shift isn’t so noticeable but in a word, Silent Hill Homecoming is about sound loops.
However the soundtrack opens with “One More Soul to the Call”, the biggest rock anthem that has been a mainstay during the series and is once again performed excellently by Mary Elizabeth McGlynn. This takes the traditional Silent Hill theme chords and gives it a stick of TNT, lights it and runs for cover. It’s an uplifting and reassuring opener.
“Witchcraft” follows with its downplayed cold ambience and piano led melody. It’s suitably depressing and macabre even when the electronic percussion joins in and sets you in for another eerie jaunt.
“Mr Joy” is ominous and eluding at the same time. It’s the bass drum that constantly thuds along with the atonal backing that makes the rapping and main tune all the more unsettling. “Cold Blood”, along with the previous two remind me very much of the ambient/beat tracks from Silent Hill 2. The rising piano and the backing keyboards are really lifted up when the drums come in and takes the track to another level. “The Terminal Show” continues with the same damp mood with piano, keyboard and drum loops. They are minimal but very effective.
McGlynn is back for “Elle Theme”. This song is not rock at all and is more empty and sparse. It’s like taking the previous songs and arranging them into a vocal piece. The vocals are excellent and the layering effect on all Mary’s songs works perfectly – and the chorus is infectious.
“4 Pattern” is the first real noise piece on the soundtrack. Coupled with the initial bass drum, its nice to hear that general ambience pieces haven’t completely disappeared as its what Silent Hill has always been about. “Snow Flower” is a beautiful track in many ways with its reversed sounds over heavy percussion. Its also very bleak but there’s a certain innocence to it too. “Attitude #70″ returns to the more abstract noise effects which continue to be a breath of fresh air and build up for “Regards” where percussion joins in along with bent radio samples for the best use of the abstract noises on the soundtrack.
“Total Invasion” is a tense track even if it doesn’t freak out. It’s percussion is heavy in the mix so the keyboard loops always sound like they are about to stop being nice and go run riot. “The Real Love” has plenty of discordant samples and loops playing around for an interesting piece as it builds up to its climax leaving “Voodoo Girl” to charm you with its weird drum samples which sound like the life’s been sucked out of them. It also sounds like a heartbeat gone wrong and that makes the track all the better.
“Living in Fear” is a stand out track for me as its one of the few that goes for it with its beats and detuned bass line. “Dreams of Leaving” too is a harsh track with all kinds of minor notes and chords for the ultimate strange/depressed effect and its also a track that never sits still with its arrangement.
“Who Knows” is all about the drums and piano inside echoes which back up a sample of woodwind and brass that is constantly repeated. This is the soundtracks “Wounded Warsong”, a song that repeats and just gets more intense the more you listen. It’s a sure-fire stand out.
“Slave 2 Death” is sparse but heavy with echoes and random notes being looped around which is still effective. “The Thing” interestingly has an almost 90′s pop track drum beat that sounds like its being played through a radio at the beginning. The track gradually builds on itself to provide the most slinky and hypnotic song on the soundtrack. “Dead Monks” rounds off the instrumental tracks in eerie fashion with high scat singing wrapped around some old skool Silent Hill ambient noises. It’s a crisp end.
Mary rejoins for “This Sacred Line”, the second and in my opinion stronger of the two rock vocal songs. This is because the chords are new and there’s a good build up to the rip roaring chorus and the guitar solo. The soundtrack closes with “Alex Theme” which is like Elle Theme in that is minimal – just beats, keyboards and lots of layered vocals. This song shows off Mary’s ability to completely own and carry off a song by herself and is possibly my favourite vocal piece since SH4.
After the slightly safe and not so eerie “Silent Hill Zero” soundtrack, this is absolutely a return to form. The vocal songs are fantastic, its great to hear some noise fests back in the mix and the general mood and simplicity all works. Another excellent soundtrack to the series which never falls below par and delivers.
This month was the most busiest month to date with HPM hitting over 2,000 hits for the first time! Vienna Teng & Ayumi Hamasaki’s new releases news were top of the agenda with Winifred Phillips’ latest release and inteview coming in quickly behind. Here’s this months top 10 viewed artists.
01) Vienna Teng
02) Ayumi Hamasaki
03) Winifred Phillips
04) Charlotte Martin
05) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra
06) Hiroki Kikuta
07) Akira Yamaoka
08) Sarah Slean
09) Emiliana Torrini
10) Brendan Perry
Well in the previous post we told you what we’d bought, now its time for our top 10 countdown. There were some excellent releases this year although we’ve bought less compared to 2007, however there wasn’t one release we did not like so everyone’s a winner (except the bank account). So without further ado:
10) Ayumi Hamasaki – GUILTY
Ayu went all rock for this years album and we head banged with her. With guitar riffs popping out your years and cute verses inbetween, who couldn’t love GUILTY. Standouts are Talkin 2 Myself, GUILTY, Marionette, Together When & Mirror.
09) Son Lux – At War with Walls and Mazes
Our first of two new artists we found this year in the top 10, we were hooked by the unique nature and cold music that made us emotional inside. We look foward to more and more from Son Lux. Highlights are Break, Weapon, Wither, Tell & War.
08) Yasunori Mitsuda – Soma Bringer OST
We must confess that the reason this is 8th and maybe not higher is due to the fact we’ve not spent enough time with it but Mitsuda always produces stunning etheral and mystical albums and we love them and the soundtrack is that good we couldn’t decide our top 5. A review will be coming early next year.
07) Sarah Slean – The Baroness
Possibly the highest charting disappointment for 2008, we felt the production and song’s were a little bland but bland for Sarah is still fantastic and in time we grew to love the album. Definitely a grower. Stand outs are Euphoria, Notes From the Underground, So Many Miles, Sound of Water/Change Your Mind & Get Home.
06) Wataru Hokoyama – Afrika OST
We only reviewed it last week but it’s that good it rockets in at No.6. The lush soundscapes and beautiful melodies earn it a place as one of best orchestral VGM soundtracks in recent memory. Stand outs are Savanna, Afrika, Safari, Big Five & Base Camp
05) Akira Yamaoka – Silent Hill Zero OST
While the games may get a bit of bashing for sticking with the same formula, Akira Yamaoka delivers another serving of empty, sorrowful, eerie ambience that makes you shiver, squirm and tap your feet all at the same time. Not as immediate as some of the other soundtracks he’s done, the songs gradually fester. Stand outs are Hole in the Sky, Theme of Sabre Dance, Drowning, This Wicked End & Wrong is Right
04) Julia Marcell – It Might Like You
A complete new artist for us to discover, we loved her debut album in all its demo-esque glory and look forward to enjoying her work in the years to come. Stand outs are Carousel, Outer Space, Fear of Flying, Dancer & The Story.
03) Emiliana Torrini – Me & Armini
Completely genre hopping – being barking mad in places while utterly devastingly beautiful in others, no one can master everything all at once quite like Emiliana. Good to have you back! Stand Outs are Jungle Drum, Dead Duck, Beggar’s Prayer, Gun & Birds.
02) Alanis Morissette – Flavors of Entanglement
We had been just passers by for Alanis until this album came out. Infectious, technically excellent, emotionally charged and completely compelling, this has quickly become our English album for 2008. Stand outs: Straitjacket, Tapes, Not as We, Limbo No More and Orchid
01) Utada Hikaru – Heart Station
Utada has yet to make a duff record and this, her fifth Japanese album (sixth overall) continues to show her as a natural talent. Stand out tracks are Stay Gold, Heart Station, Beautiful World, Take 5 & the bitter sweet finale Niji-iro Bus.
Congrats to Utada Hikaru!
Although it was a relatively quiet month for releases, it was the third biggest month in page views for HPM and with a review blow out of all the 2008 albums we’ve (well just I’ve) bought, December looks like being the biggest month for the website to date. Here’s the top 10 most read artists for December and congrats to Charlotte Martin who topped out with her excellent Orphans EP for being the most viewed post. In the brackets is their position relative to last month and the amount of months they’ve been on the chart.
01) Charlotte Martin (- / 1)
02) Sarah Slean (8 / 2)
03) Utada Hikaru (5 / 2)
04) Lou Cowell (- / 1)
05) Brendan Perry (- / 1)
06) Hiroki Kikuta (7 / 2)
07) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (- / 1)
08) Sarah McLachlan (- / 1)
09) Lisa Gerrard (9 / 2)
10) Akira Yamaoka (2 / 2)
~Last months most viewed artist Emiliana Torrini was just outside the top 10.
~More artists were viewed this month than last despite overall traffic being 120 page views lower.