Arachnophonia: Daft Punk “Discovery”

Editor’s Note: Our music review column “Spider Sounds” has had a name change and will now be known as “Arachnophonia”. The name has changed, but the idea remains the same — members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items from the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia comes courtesy of Music Library student worker Olivia (class of 2019), and features the Discovery, the second studio album by French electronic music duo Daft Punk. Thanks, Olivia!

Daft Punk

Discovery

Daft Punk - Discovery album art

Daft Punk have established themselves as legends in the realm of dance music since their 1996 debut album, Homework. They gained popularity quickly with their funky mix of French house music and mixing punk, funk, disco and rock elements.

In 2001, they released their album Discovery, in my opinion the best of their work. The songs “One More Time” and “Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger” have remained hits since their release, with music fans everywhere able to sing and dance along.

Single for "Harder Better Faster Stronger"

Kanye West’s use of “Harder, Faster, Better, Stronger” in his song “Stronger” only increased the duo’s popularity and widespread listening population.

Promotional material for "Discovery" (2001)

What is so great about Daft Punk is their ability to appeal to almost every type of music listener, spanning the separation of many different genres. Also intriguing and interesting is their rare appearance in interviews, television and photos with their robot helmets off, inspiring a sense of mystery and awe in these house music legends.

Arachnophonia: The Color Purple

Editor’s Note: Our music review column “Spider Sounds” has had a name change and will now be known as “Arachnophonia”. The name has changed, but the idea remains the same — members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items from the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia comes courtesy of Music Library student worker Susie (class of 2019), and features the 2005 cast recording for the Tony award winning Broadway adaptation of The Color Purple. Thanks, Susie!

The Color Purple

The Color Purple

This is one of the best cast recordings for a Broadway musical I have ever listened to. Often it can be difficult to understand the musical and truly appreciate it when you only listen to the soundtrack without ever seeing the show. The Color Purple is different, the plot, heartbreaks, triumphs, and best moments are all captured within the cast recording.

While listening to the “Opening/Mysterious Ways”, the listener can imagine being in this small town filled with gossip and hardships.
In the series of songs “Big Dog”, “Lily of the Field”, and “Dear God” the listener is experiencing horrific events with Celie and mourning with her. Even a person who does not have strong faith can feel the glory of God in the musical’s title song “The Color Purple”. And the strength Celie shows in her songs “Miss Celie’s Pants” and “I’m Here” can give any listener the strength to get through the toughest of times. This soundtrack gives listeners the incredible experience of listening to an amazing musical, but it also takes listeners on Celie’s journey to hell and back and her strength and wisdom can lift up anyone.

I recommend laying back, closing your eyes, and letting this cast recording take you on a journey that will surprise and uplift you.

Playbill - The Color Purple

Cover of the Playbill for the 2016 revival of the show — which won the Tony award for Best Revival of a Musical in 2017.

Arachnophonia: Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: Our music review column “Spider Sounds” has had a name change and will now be known as “Arachnophonia”. The name has changed, but the idea remains the same — members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items from the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker Colette (class of 2017), and features indie folk band Bon Iver’s second album. Thanks, Colette!

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

This album has been one of my favorites since high school. Two years after “For Emma, Forever Ago” was released in 2008, Bon Iver’s sophomore release was this self-titled album.

“Holocene” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The intro features intricately woven electric/acoustic guitars and vibes. While the beginning of the song is gentle and almost mesmerizing, by the time the chorus rolls around, the song picks up. The chorus lyrics are not your typical “pop” chorus:

And at once I knew I was not magnificent
Huddled far from the highway aisle
Jagged vacance, thick with ice
And I could see for miles, miles, miles

Justin Vernon

A wintry shot of Bon Iver’s frontman, Justin Vernon

“Towers” is also a favorite. This tune demonstrates the poetic nature of the group’s lyrics. The lyrics are a rhyming poem, which detail the process of falling in, then out of love. Some of my favorites include:

From the faun forever gone
in the towers of your honeycomb
I’d a tore your hair out just to climb back darling
when you’re filling out your only form
can you tell that itʼs just ceremon’
now you’ve added up to what you’re from

If you’re looking for a folk/indie album that’s not like the rest, check out Bon Iver’s “Bon Iver”.

Holocene cover

Cover for the 12″ single release of “Holocene”

Arachnophonia: Carlo Gesualdo “Complete Sacred Music For Five Voices”

Editor’s Note: Our music review column “Spider Sounds” has had a name change and will now be known as “Arachnophonia”. The name has changed, but the idea remains the same — members of the UR community can share their thoughts about items from the Parsons Music Library‘s collection. All links included in these posts will take you to either the library catalog record for the item in question or to additional relevant information from around the web.

Today’s installment of Arachnophonia comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker Erin (class of 2017), and features some sacred choral music by Italian Renaissance composer Carlo Gesualdo. Thanks, Erin!

Gesualdo

Complete Sacred Music for Five Voices

Gesualdo - Complete Sacred Music for Five Voices

If you’re looking for some relaxing study music, you should definitely check out Gesualdo’s CD of Complete Sacred Music for Five Voices!
This collection of choral pieces was written by Carlo Gesualdo di Venosa around the year 1600, and is entirely a capella. This specific recording from 1993 is by the Oxford Camerata, a group created for the specific purpose of making music from the medieval and renaissance periods more accessible. This music was written before more recent Western ideas of musical keys and common practice period chordal structure came about, so the way Gesualdo weaves chords and cadences together is very unusual and beautiful to my ears.

Gesualdo - Tenebrae

If you enjoyed this CD, I’d also recommend another CD of Gesualdo’s music that the music library carries — the Hilliard Ensemble’s 1991 recording of Tenebrae. The polyphonic style (or multiple voices singing different lines at once) of this piece is more on the darker/serious side because of the topic material (the Passion of Christ). The Latin text is translated in the CD’s notes in English, so you can follow along with it as well if you’re wondering what they’re actually saying!
It’s a really long and really gorgeous piece that always helps me find a sense of peace and relaxation amongst the craziness of college life.

Enjoy!

Carlo Gesualdo

Portrait of Carlo Gesualdo, principe de Venosa (ca. 1560-1613) by an anonymous artist

Spider Sounds: The Beatles “Abbey Road”

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of Spider Sounds comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker Gabriela (class of 2020) and features Abbey Road, the last studio album by the Beatles. Thanks, Gabi!

The Beatles

Abbey Road

The Beatles - Abbey Road (1969)

Abbey Road may have one of the most recognizable album covers in all of rock music.
It is known for depicting the Fab Four walking across the famous London street near the studio where the Beatles did most of their recording. Apart from the iconic artwork, however, Abbey Road’s production quality and track list are undeniably stellar.

The Beatles photographed in 1969

There are several stand out songs, like “Come Together,” “Something,” and “Here Comes the Sun,” which are individually famous and could be enjoyed on their own.
However, if you listen to Abbey Road from start to finish, it is almost as if the entirety of the album is one song. The transitions from track to track are so perfect, that the flow of listening is almost medley-like.

The Beatles - Abbey Road

An out-take from the August 8, 1969 photo session for the album cover.

The album also highlights the talents of all band members, with some of George Harrison’s most beautiful songs (“Something” and “Here Comes the Sun”), Ringo’s quirkiness in “Octopus’s Garden”, and of course, the amazing harmonies between Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison in “Because” — a song that barely needs instruments.

The Beatles - Abbey Road

Another out take from the album cover photo shoot

Abbey Road is my favorite Beatles record because it represents everything I think a record should. Abbey Road was the last album to be recorded by the Beatles, and throughout the last four tracks (especially in “The End Continue reading

Spider Sounds: Billy Joel

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker James (class of 2017) and features a greatest hits compilation from American singer-songwriter & pianist Billy Joel. Thanks, James!

Billy Joel

Greatest Hits Volume 1 and 2

Billy Joel - Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2

If your only experiences with Billy Joel are “Piano Man,” “Uptown Girl,”or maybe “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” — boy, are you missing out. We forgive you, but do yourself a favor and stop by the Parsons Music Library to check out Mr. Joel’s 1985 album, Greatest Hits – Volume I & Volume II.

Billy Joel performs his first show of his Madison Square Garden residency, on Monday, January 27, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

Billy Joel performs his first show of his Madison Square Garden residency, on Monday, January 27, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

We’re confident you will hear something incredibly thoughtful and provocative in nearly every track, whether it be in the melodies, timelessness, or even social commentary found in the lyrics. The worst thing that could happen would be gaining exposure to one of the most celebrated musicians of our time.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Moses Hogan

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item (or items) in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker Zach (class of 2017) and features African American pianist, conductor, and arranger of international renown, Moses Hogan. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Zach!

Moses Hogan

Choral and Vocal Arrangements of Moses Hogan: Volume One

and

Negro Spirituals

Moses Hogan - Choral and Vocal Arrangements Vol. 1

Moses Hogan is renowned for his captivating arrangements of spirituals and hymns. Capturing the essence of African American spirit that has endured adversity throughout United States history, Hogan appeals to the Christian tales that are so ingrained within Black American culture. Parsons Music Library has two albums featuring Hogan’s work: Choral and Vocal Arrangements of Moses Hogan: Volume One (CD) and Negro Spirituals (online resource).

Moses Hogan - Negro Spirituals

While the style of spirituals are fairly monorhythmic and repetitive, the harmonic layering and upbeat nature within each piece is unique and vibrant. Spirituals also have a tendency to use similar tunes throughout their history while allowing a personal spin on how they should be sung.

Walk Together, Children”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and “Wade in the Water” are all fairly well-known spirituals that Hogan uses to put his own musical interpretation as to how to capture the sentiment and history behind it. Many well known scriptures are also revisited through these two albums that help to encapsulate the ethereal nature behind spirituals.

Moses Hogan

Moses George Hogan, born in New Orleans, Louisiana on March 13, 1957, was a pianist, conductor and arranger of international renown.

Even if a person does not have involvement within the Christian community, the artistic merit and joyful feeling behind these works is infectious and notable. Music is a universal language understood by all, regardless of background, interest, or creed. Moses Hogan’s work is simply another voice in the infinite meanings behind the untranslatable essence of music.

Spider Sounds

Editor’s note: you can also find performances of Hogan’s works as performed by various UR Music ensembles like Schola Cantorum and the Women’s Chorale in the Music Library’s collection — just ask at our front desk!

Spider Sounds: Beyonce “Lemonade”

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Boatwright Library Faculty Member Irina Rogova, who is the project archivist for UR’s Race and Racism project. She has chosen to highlight Beyoncé’s latest album, Lemonade which was released earlier this year. Thanks, Irina!

Beyoncé

Lemonade

Beyonce - Lemonade

On April 23, 2016, Beyoncé released her sixth studio album, Lemonade, to mass critical acclaim. Leading up to the release, promotional materials alluded to some sort of release on HBO, though no details were given about what was actually being released—album, documentary, live show?

Considering the precedent set by her 2013 release of Beyoncé, which was dropped with accompanying music videos for all tracks with no promotion, fans speculation hit an all-time high leading up to the release. The Lemonade premiere on HBO was accompanied by a visual album which interspersed songs from the record with prose and poetry by London-based Somali poet Warsan Shire, and featured a wide cast including Serena Williams, Amandla Stenberg, Quvenzhané Wallis, along with the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner, all victims of racial profiling and extra-judicial killing at the hands of law enforcement officials and vigilante citizens. The album and its visual component weave a story which has been described as “every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing.”

Immediately following the release of Lemonade, fans and academics took to Twitter to contribute to a syllabus which would give context to the plethora of references and symbols used in the visual album. Connections ranged from black southern gothic traditions to visual references to Yoruba deity Oshun to audio of Malcolm X. The syllabus was eventually compiled and made available for download by Candice Benbow, who launched the campaign.
Download it here: https://issuu.com/candicebenbow/docs/lemonade_syllabus_2016.
The syllabus, made through collaborative efforts from over 70 black women, focuses heavily on work created by and about the experience of black women in the United States and beyond.

The syllabus was only one of the various intellectual endeavors inspired by Beyoncé’s Lemonade. Melissa Harris-Perry, bell hooks, dream hampton, Ijeoma Oluo, and countless other theorists, activists, and cultural critics have written on the album’s meaning and impact.
Find a collection of some of these pieces here: http://www.threemonkeysonline.com/beyonces-lemonade-ten-articles-on-queen-bey-that-are-actually-worth-reading .

Lemonade Collage - Boatwright Memorial Library

A collage of images from Boatwright Memorial Library’s Lemonade Syllabus display

During the first half of the Fall 2016 semester, a display of materials from the Lemonade syllabus was on view on the second floor of Boatwright Memorial Library.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Eva Cassidy “Songbird”

Editor’s Note: “Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Emily (class of 2017) and features a compilation of songs by the late Eva Cassidy. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Emily!

Eva Cassidy

Songbird

Songbird - Eva Cassidy

I picked the album “Songbird,” by Eva Cassidy. This is one of my favorite albums, because it
can find its way into almost any occasion, and makes you smile–and sometimes makes you cry. My mom would always listen to it in the car, and I’ve found it complements studying and cooking time, or can be a good refuge if you are stressed and need to zone out.

Eva Cassidy

Rather meditative and nostalgic, the tone set by the album is reflective of its publication. It was compiled two years after Cassidy’s death, in her memory. Many of the songs are from live concerts, and her introductions have been maintained, to give the listener not only a feel for the song they are about to hear, but for the character and spirit of the singer. Many of the numbers are recognizable, others more obscure, but for all, the experience will pull at a listener’s heart.

Spider Sounds

Spider Sounds: Bon Iver

Editor’s Note: Spider Sounds” invites members of the University of Richmond community to share their thoughts about items in the Parsons Music Library’s collection. The links included will take you to the library catalog record for the item in question, or to additional relevant information.
Today’s installment of “Spider Sounds” comes courtesy of Music Library Student worker, Liza (class of 2017) and features indie folk band Bon Iver’s second album, “Bon Iver, Bon Iver”. Thanks for contributing to Spider Sounds, Liza!

Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Bon Iver, Bon Iver

If you haven’t heard of Bon Iver before, you can already get a feeling of their music with a glimpse at this album’s cover artwork.
Bon Iver is an American indie folk band founded by the singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, who won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best New Artist and Best New Alternative Music Album for Bon Iver, Bon Iver.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

A promotional photo of Bon Iver frontman Justin Veron taken around the time the album was released.

Differentiating himself from the typical sounds of “folk,” Vernon combined chamber pop with an edge to create his own sounds from scratch. His soulful voice remains a unique characteristic that no other singer sounds like; he evokes an earthy virtuosic voice that you can easily get lost in when listening to his lyrics.

The album is composed of 10 songs, each representing a place. In particular, “Holocene,” is one of my favorite songs on the album because of its ability to trigger dozens of emotions within seconds. I would recommend listening to Bon Iver when you’re in a “chill” and relaxed mood or even when you’re studying, so come by the Parsons Music Library to check it out!

Spider Sounds