With the Art of Time Ensemble – let’s hope a DVD is released of this!
Sarah Slean’s 3rd single from her double album Land & Sea, which is still on for a review here in the near future, is called “Society Song”. Nice to see Sarah back on the angrier side of things again!
Sarah Slean has been posting video clips of the making of her new album Land and Sea, due on 27th September. Here’s a preview to “Life”, Sarah’s favourite song on the album
Sarah Slean has been working on her double album and half of it is now recorded. Entitled “Land and Sea” her website describes the completed Land CD as groove happy, which leads me to think more “Day One” than “Baroness”. Infact Sarah has been very busy as she has annouced she’ll be making another songbook where she will cover Bjork and PJ Harvey! That’ll be something definately worth while keeping an eye out for. Finally, she’ll be making all her previous albums sheet music available to buy soon too.
Living in the UK, I’ve not had the chance to see Sarah Slean live however a streamable live solo concert is one of the next best things. Listen to some beautiful piano and vocal renditions of some of Sarah’s best new songs by popping over here. Here starts a live DVD campaign!
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 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)
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)
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)
Following on from The Baroness, an album which was possibly the “safest” album Sarah has done to date, Sarah Slean returned at the end of 2008 with an EP entitled “The Baroness Redecorates” which seems to be a compilation of b-sides, out-takes and string arrangements.
It opens with “Parasol” which was the track released for download if you pre-ordered the original album. This has an old Sarah style about it. It really rocks out in the chorus and has that whimsical cabaret feel about it which so many of Sarah’s previous songs have had too. “Lonely Side of the Moon” is an altogether darker edge to it with its waltzing string background marching behind smooth piano playing. Sarah’s vocals are aching beautiful too. This song trumps most of The Baroness hands down.
“Modern Man I and II” begins with a minute string arrangement that is both technical and buoyant before a piano and string led ballad slowly unveils which harks back to her Blue Parade era for me. It’s beautiful and understated. “Compatriots” is a much more speedy affair with swash buckling waltz beat which once again features some excellent piano and string work. It reminds me of an acoustic version of “The Score” for some reason but doesn’t sound anything like it.
“The Rose” is a serene ballad that still has pace but really see’s Sarah’s high vocals shine through with some lovely pitch shifts and note changes. “Hear Me Out” has a great string riff to open with and the damp chords used and the atmosphere of the track really hit you. It’s an immediate favourite although the chorus is slightly more upbeat than the verses which is interesting. I could see this song working really well with a band rendition. Finally “The Disarm Suite” is a six minute string piece written by Sarah which is quite epic and film-esque. It would work great as a standalone piece or to a visual display. It’s more for fans of orchestral symphonies but everyone should be able to see something good in it.
This selection of songs have the edge over half of “The Baroness” for me. “The Baroness” works well as a single piece of work as its production keeps everything tightly woven together. However in doing that it took a fair chunk of character away with it. “The Baroness Redecorates” is more bare bones and less safe with its production and overall feel. Sarah’s fans should immediately pick this up, especially if you’re a fan of her earlier albums. A definite contender for best b-side compilation of the last few years.
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)
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
Last month was Higher Plain Music’s biggest month to date with almost 2,000 views in the month alone and two of the busiest days of the sites history. In December Sarah Slean topped the tables after threatening to do so for the past few months. However due to region restrictions we were unable to buy The Baroness Redecorates to review it so we will have to wait until its released over in the UK for download/CD release before we can do so. Nevertheless – Happy New Year and here’s Decembers top 10!
01) Sarah Slean (2nd Last Month/ 3rd Month on Charts)
02) Hiroki Kikuta (6th Last Month / 3rd Month on Charts)
03) Charlotte Martin (1st Last Month / 3rd Month on Charts)
04) Vienna Teng (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
05) Gackt (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
06) Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra (7th Last Month / 2nd Month on Charts)
07) Aoi Teshima (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
08) Julia Marcell (New Entry / 1st Month on Charts)
09) Stephane Picq & Pierre Esteve (Re-Entry / 2nd Month on Charts)
10) Joe Hisaishi (Re-Entry / 2nd Month on Charts)
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!
This weeks video vault comes from Sarah Slean and the song Day One which I didn’t even know there was a video for until about 5 minutes ago! It’s done in the same style as the artwork and the Mary video but its colourful and fun to watch. Have a peek here.
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.
Sarah Slean had said she cut many songs off The Baroness when she released it, now they appear to gave resurfaced with “The Baroness Redecorates”. Possibly the best b-sides album title in years, this seems to bring alive some of these songs although a song entitled “My Song” is still MIA. The seven tracks are either new or recorded with a string quartet and will be released on 9th December.
Tracklist as follows:
2. Lonely Side of the Moon
3. Modern Man I & II
5. The Rose
6. Hear Me Out
7. The “Disarm” Suite
A new stats fest at the start of each month begins as we give you the top 10 artists viewed at HPM. Of course it will change with their releases but its always very interesting:
01) Emiliana Torrini
02) Akira Yamaoka
03) Yasunori Mitsuda
04) Joe Hisaishi
05) Utada Hikaru
06) Pierre Esteve & Stephane Picq
07) Hiroki Kikuta
08) Sarah Slean
09) Lisa Gerrard
10) Hitoshi Sakimoto
So an interesting spread of artists this month!