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Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Calm of Zero - Gentle sounds bring a storm of thought

Here we go again, a new post from the Indie Dunes team.

But firstly, I would like to thank everyone for reading and sending feedback to both myself and Fishy. Not many people leave comments on the actual blog pages but the amount of positive feedback in Twitter, both as public tweets and direct messages, for me is quite humbling. Even more so when we hear people are coming back to the blog, over and over. Best part is knowing the bands we have featured are having their music listened to from people that might not have stumbled across it. An old school friend messaged me saying she had read Indie Dunes and the post made her want to listen to the music. It wasnt her cup of tea, but thats the thing (in my eyes) At least she had an opportunity and listened. What more could you ask for!!!

Soppy but meaningful and important meanderings despatched. New music post time \o/

Here enter Calm Of Zero. 

Open up twitter to find someone has accidently followed me (thats how I feel).I always try to send a tweet to say thanks and follow back. Im not going to embelish what happened when I saw the profile picture. OMG factor, made my jaw drop, followed by feverishly pressing my phone to open the link on the screen. Within the first paragraph on Calm of Zero's website my first OMG instinct was confirmed YEP its them.


Calm of Zero are a duo playing some of the most captivating acoustic songs Ive heard in a long time. Springing up from the ashes (palagrised from CoZ website) from one of my favouite bands of the mid 90s Echobelly. You know I love my connections. Echobelly also played a part in Fishy and I becoming the friends we are today, in particular the track Dark Therapy. So as you will see later on, the coincidence continues to weave its way into this post.

This isnt an Echobelly post BUT it is important to acknowledge why Echobelly were more than just an exciting band with songs that made me want to bounce up and down. Loud guitars, with the most distinctive quiet voice which had to "get loud" for the message to push across the well crafted noise coming from behind. Thats why I held/hold Echobelly so close, there was ALWAYS a message. 

So happens, one that I connected with. Disassociation with my surrounding no matter how hard I tried to fit in. With feelings like this, a strong sense of social justice comes out in your belief system. Well it did with me. You bond, doesnt matter how flimsy the connection might seem to the outside world, its yours and you give it everything. "Everyone's Got One" is still one of my favourite albums 

Back to Calm Of Zero.

I believe it took no longer than a nanosecond to click the play button on the Soundcloud page, they say first impressions are lasting. I hope so, because within the opening bars of "Long Way Round" I was quickly enveloped in a calmness. I was lucky enough to stumble across a project called "Low Roar" late last year. The opening of CoZ musically reminds me of that. Sonya enters and her voice takes you down a gentle path to that special place where the world stops.

CoZ released the first Acoustic Sessions in 2011 a six song collection, and I cant find one song that doesn't send a tinlge down my spine. Recorded on a 6 and 12 string guitar with minor embelishments (website palagrism again LOL) Im not quite sure how Sonya's voice can be classed as a minor embelishment...(whispers quietly...i think they mean production and other instruments but Im being cheeky).

Fortunately, Ive found CoZ when they have released the second Acoustics Session, I say fortunately because I can hear the progression and growth between both releases instantly. There was a beacon shining on the final track of Session 1. Im pleased to see the style of the second Session has followed that beam of light. To my ear there seems to be more Asian sounds and influences moulded or flowing through the fabric of the tracks on the second release, its soothing to hear the different cultures effortlessly blending together. Neither outshines or swamps the other. Song crafting at its pinnacle.

The undeniable strength of both releases is Sonyas voice. There is such a beauty in the way she phrases the lyrics, its a journey. It really is a pleasure to listen to such a subtle expressive voice. The harmonies are perfect. Obviously I have a little bit in my memory bank to compare todays compositons to the magic I found in Echobellys tunes.

What stands out more than ever, is the maturity and experience in Sonya's vocals. Nothing could highlight that more, just listening to the original version of "Dark Therapy" and the recent acoustic session. Its haunting, and it sends shivers down my temples. This is where you can clearly hear, CoZ didnt just rise from the ashes of Echobelly, they evolved to something amazing that is hard to put into words. I'm thankful Ive found them or they found me...bizarrely LOL.

My favourite tracks of the two releases are

Session 1 "Salamander Sky" 

Session 2 "Snowflakes in Summer" 

There is something so simple and yet peaceful about acoustic songs. You can place them simply in any situation in life and feel connected to the human race. I've shared these tracks at the dinner table with my wife and kids, while we discussed our day. Or even sitting around a campsite with friends, or sadly like so many people in the world at this moment, huddled in a shelter with your loved ones being calmed by the gentle sounds, while their world outside is falling apart.

I hope you read this post, listen to the tracks and then search out the full releases on iTunes or Bandcamp. Because music like this makes me thankful I am alive.


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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Suzerain look into A Mirror now and I see a musical storm approaching.

My last three posts have been really interesting for me to write, and I hope you found them easy to read. Reading back, the music has been in the background of each post. @TEHI, about how music can cross all manner of obstacles and draw people of like minds together and produce something they never thought possible.

The XX, how taking that emotion that music bubbles to the surface, transforming them into a tool to teleport you to a space or time in your life where you came from, or sometimes even where you want to go.

Finally the @L_U_N_G_S piece, tying multiple fields of the arts together, then creating something eerily beautiful which can only be fully understood when the whole picture comes together, but each facet holds its own vital purpose and energy,leading your perceptions and ideas together, drawing you to the towards the other pieces, introducing you to a new friend.....

Today its back to why Indie Dunes was first brought to life by @fishiearchitect. Somewhere to exchange new music discoveries and share the excitement and enthusiam that comes with it. I dont think in our wildiest dreams could we have ever begun to imagine so many other people would be reading our words....

So lets rip into this post because from the opening few seconds of Suzerains "A Mirror Now", you will want to be thrashing yourself into a frenzied romp around the dance floor. Or do a bizarre head dance in the empty office you are listening to it in. Suzerain another band that has been introduced into my listening library by Twitter.

If I remember correctly, I received a DM, thanking "Indie Dunes" for supporting in indie artists and bands, with the promise of a little present if I provided our email. What did I have to lose.... A couple of weeks later, a link for Soundcloud appeared in the inbox, leading eventually to this post. Long story / short, I couldnt get the link to work (because im what is commonly refered to as a "technotard") but that was a good thing in hindsight.

Suzerain recently released the EP "A Mirror Now" Produced / Engineered by Grammy Award winning Steve Lyon. Which has WOW factor, but it means more when you hear the calibre of the artists he has worked with, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Nitzer Ebb, The Wedding Present and ummmm Sir Paul (everyone has a skeleton in the closet). Just hearing those names alone should make you feel excited about being introduced to Suzerain! I was!! 

Even the anticipation is surpassed after "Frenzy" comes thundering out of the speakers for the first time. The first single and understandbly so. Its an instant motivator, the bouncing bass and first words from Tom the frontman just make it impossible to stop moving. A "chainsaw like" slide guitar riff works in to grab your attention. I came to realise, this is one tight unit of musicians ready to give the listener 25 mins of pure enjoyment. 

On first hearing I must admit I thought to myself.....YUP lets start off with the strongest song lads. Half expecting it to fizzle out. WRONG STEVE. Every track is different but the same energy seething through it. The third track on the EP "Down to the Sea" is dripping with tension, building itsself into a track that screams "Crowd Favourite" when the chorus and guitars work themselves into the journey...

Each track on this 5 track release could stand the test of being a single, but their strength lie in complementing each other. Showcasing the bands versitility. Its a testement to the direction Steve Lyon has taken them down. What excites me about these songs is the prospect of seeing them preformed on stage. This band already have an impressive CV of live gigs most bands would be envious of, playing with and in support of numerous high end acts such as Stereophonics, The Cribs and Franz Ferdinand

I get the impression though, Suzerain aren't going to be happy playing "support" for much longer. Ambition isn't a dirty word, it is a must in the music industry. And from the small insight I've had into these guys, they have the talent and the drive to pull it together. Add a frontman with the charisma of Dave Gahan, Matt Bellamy rolled into one.... It is a can't lose situation.

There is so much more I could mention but I think its best that I let the music and energy tell you the story a lot better than I can. 

Enjoy and spread the word 

Steve aka @CrustyToon

PS. Ive mentioned before in previous posts that I like finding connections in music. Well so happens there is a nice one here. When I was young, reckless and a little fitter. I used to go mountain biking down very steep hills in the early 90s. One of the favourite CDs to get me all hyped up to was by a band called Senser, the album was Stacked Up. Its a classic in skating and street sport vids. So happens Suzerain and Senser are part of the FeedMeMusic stable of cool bands. I was pleased to find out that Senser are releasing a new tune soon, so stay tuned. Something else to keep the excitement buzzing in my veins!!

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