Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Polish Ambassador - The Phantasmal Farm

I would like to visit The Phantasmal Farm and see what the hell is in that silo to make it glow like that. Today's albums cover art drew me to the album (which happens often) luckily upon listening, I was pleasantly surprised with this electronica, chiptune, glitch album (which does not happen as often). It's a busy album, so if you're going to study with this album be aware that there is a lot going on here.

The synthesizer takes the forefront in this album, and I'd be surprised if there were any other instruments on here. The Polish Ambassador makes the most out of the instrument, exploring a litany of sounds on this 14 track album.

The music can be heard here (or bought for 13.99): The Phantasmal Farm

I know the study album list has taken a turn to the electronic, its because this is what I listen to when I don't want to study. Electronica's upbeat tempo's help my internal metronome tick a bit faster, thus I read faster and LEARN FASTER...maybe that's not true. But I like to think it is.

Keep Rocking.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Zenodub - Cosmic

The newest addition in the study album series comes from Denver. Colorado. The album Cosmic by Zenodub combines dubstep, breakbeat and trip-hop styles. The dubstep influence means that this album has a TON of bass, so be prepared for it. But when finals get you down, and you need something to steadily power you along this is a good album to turn to.

The album can be found (and you can name your own price) here: Zenodub - Cosmic

Keep Rocking.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


While looking for a 4th study album I came across the work of Emancipator. I began listening to his first album, Soon It Will Be Cold Enough, and started to work. Within three minutes, I had to put down my books and just listen to the music. I sat and listened to Soon It Will Be Cold Enough all the way through and as soon as it finished I fired up Emancipator's second album Safe in the Steep Cliffs. After finishing the album, I started listening to it again. I have not been so impressed by electronic/trip-hop since I first heard DJ Shadow's album Entroducing. Safe in the Steep Cliffs features strong jazz and Asian influences and grows upon the success of the first album. The music is beautiful, and masterfully produced. On his blurb on the website bandcamp, Emancipator (Doug Appling) describes his beats as "organic"; I was unfamiliar with the term before listening to the album, but when I first heard the opening track, Lionheart, I began to understand. There is a purity to the sound that is uncommon in this genre.

I had to find more of Emancipator's music after listening to his albums, on his website I found that he was a part of a tribute project for Hydeout Productions producer Nujabes. Nujabes is the moniker for Jun Seba, the Japanese Hip Hop Producer and head of Emacipator's record label Hydeout Productions. Nujabes was tragically killed in a traffic accident earlier this year. Emancipator composed the song A Day by Atmosphere Supreme.

I enjoyed the music of Emancipator so much that I reached out to the artists with some questions. Luckily, he responded! So here for you all, an Ipod and Headphones first, an interview with Emancipator:

(I & H): First off, how would you define your music? Meaning, what kind of genre would you see yourself in?

(Emancipator)-It's electronic music production infused with live instrumentation. Experimental downtempo/trip-hop? Genre labels are tricky.

(I & H): Your music has been categorized as Trip Hop, what's trip hop to you?

(Emancipator)-I think my song 'When I Go' has a lot of traditional trip-hop elements. For example, a mid-tempo beat featuring rhodes, smooth bass and guitar licks, jazzy vocals, and ambient layers.

(I & H): How did you arrive at this style of music?

(Emancipator)-It's the music I want to hear. I have a classical violin background, played drums in various bands, and produced all kinds of dance music at first. I listen closely to all different genres too. My music is a reflection and combination of my musical past and all that I've heard.

(I & H): What sort of gear do you use to produce/write your albums?

(Emancipator)-I produce my music using Acid Pro and Reason, various guitars, keys, violins, voices, and a healthy library of oneshots and samples I've gathered.

(I & H): I've always wondered how instrumental/electronic artists come up with names for songs, can you explain your process on this?

(Emancipator)-My song titles are often undecided until the song is complete. Each song paints a scene in my head and that helps me choose a title.

(I & H): Do you have a favorite set of headphones?

(Emancipator)-I mix on AudioTechnica ATH-900's.

(I & H): What was it like to have the opportunity to work with Jun Seba before his tragic accident?

(Emancipator)-Jun was an exceptional, genuine person with a golden ear and great musical vision. He is one of my favorite producers of all-time. It was an honor to have been heard by him and have my music introduced to the world through Hydeout Productions.

(I & H): A Day by Atmosphere Supreme turned out beautifully, how was it working with all these different artists to produce the memorial album?

(Emancipator)-I had met most of the Hydeout family for the first time at the Nujabes tribute events in Tokyo last August. Having experienced that, this combined tribute effort is even more special and heartfelt.

(I & H): Finally, what's next for Emancipator?

(Emancipator)-Working on new music as much as I can this winter. Spring tour will be announced soon, so heads up!

(I & H): Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, my readers and I really appreciate it.

That concludes Ipod and Headphones first ever artist interview. EXCITING! I would like to thank Emancipator for taking the time to answer my questions.

I encourage all of you to check out his music at the links below:

This isn't study music, this is just good music.

Keep Rocking.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Billions and Billions - Billions and Billions

Study Album #3 brings us back to the USA with the self titled debut album Billions and Billions. Billions and Billions is the pen name for the Chicago artist Chris Katsaros who wrote and recorded the entire album.

Billions and Billions is an ambient rock piece totaling in at only 33 minutes. It's short, at times the volume and layering of the separate tracks (within one song) seems peculiar, and I am still left wondering about the sharp transition between Walking Growing and Knowing's distorted guitar riff to the echoing synth and clean guitar arpeggios of Ghost View. However this is still an impressive first album, and I look forward to hearing more from this artist.

The artist has made the album available at Bandcamp with another "name your own price" (free?) download. Check it out here: Billions and Billions

Keep Rocking.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tripolar - Tripolar

Study album #2 comes to us from the Chilean trio Tripolar. This self titled album features two guitars and a "BaterĂ­a" (drum kit in Portuguese). The band invites into their trio a bassist, keyboardist, violinist and a bit more percussion to hammer out their sound.

Fans of Explosions in the Sky will love this album. The band utilizes similar heavy guitar tracks, long crescendo's and the "epicness" found throughout Explosions albums. Spanish guitar influences can be heard throughout the tracks and add an interesting component to the music.

You can get the album at their website here: Tripolar

They have a name your own price with no minimum, so you can get it for free or throw a couple bucks their way. No judgment here.

Keep Rocking.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Orange Crush - Autumn Reflections

Study Album #1 comes to us today all the way from Norway! Orange Crush is the sobriquet of Norwegian native Karl Endreson. Orange Crush is signed with the label Archaic Horizons, a net label that promotes independent musicians. The album, Autumn Reflections, is great study music when you are looking for some simple naturey background instrumentals.

It's a simple album that flows really well together (Low Beats + Synthesizer = Autumn Reflections). You won't realize you've left the first song until you hear the last song end.

The album is available for free at their website here: Archaic Horizons

Enjoy it.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving Readers!

I hope everyone is a having a great time with family and friends today.

I, like countless other students, have spent a portion of my day at my desk studying for finals. As everyone starts the study rush, I thought it'd be appropriate to post some new study friendly music for all the law students (and anyone else) cramped in a study cubicle, drinking an inordinate amount of coffee and red bull. When I study, I like to listen to Post-Rock. So the music posted will mostly be in the post rock genre. I will try to get out a new study album (or playlist) every once in a while for ya'll to find and enjoy while working into the wee hours of the morning.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving and Keep Rocking!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Dear Kanye,

It's been a rough year for you. We all know that. You lost your Mum, the whole Taylor Swift Fiasco, South Park, Obama calling you a jackass and as you so eloquently put it on Gorgeous "I will never ever let you live this down". But despite all this you still came back and put together this new album and GOD DAMN. When I downloaded this album from Amazon this morning (for only 4 dollars!) I was kind of worried it would be like 808 and Heartbreak, a decent album but really not that memorable. But from the moment Dark Fantasy began I had to keep looking down at my Ipod to make sure this was actually Kanye West.

The lead song Dark Fantasy fucking. brilliant. Nicki Minaj begins with a mini monologue:

"You might think you've picked a scene
But you haven't
The real ones far to mean
The watered down one, The one you know
Was made up centuries ago
It made it sound all wack and corny
Yes, it's all full blasted boring
Twisted fiction, Sick addiction
Well gather round children
Zip it listen!"

This part of the song lasts only seconds, but in my opinion is the perfect intro to this album. After spending years in the background producing for other artists and being passed over by Roc-a-fella cause he didn't appear "hard" enough, Kanye has finally had the chance to produce his masterpiece. After defining himself in The College Dropout, Late Registration, Graduation and 808 and Heartbreak as well as a number of tracks accompanying other artists Kanye has established himself at the top of the hip-hop game. However, nothing he has done compares to what he has put together on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The monologue ends with a zip it! as to tell the audience to ignore everything else he's done and just listen to the music. Dark Fantasy asks "Can we get much higher?" and after hearing the lead song, you might wonder if he actually can. A beautiful choral harmony leads into Kanye's first verse on the album. It's fresh and intelligent and sets the stage for the entire album.

The album is EXTREMELY cocky, but I would expect nothing else from Kanye at this point in his career. The second song, Gorgeous lashes back at South Park with "Choke a South Park writer with a fish stick". Power takes on SNL "Fuck SNL and the whole cast. Tell 'em Yeezy said they can kiss my whole ass". These are only samples of the many retorts to negative press he's been gotten scattered throughout this album. This isn't just a diss album though, its incredibly well put together and as Kanye says "I know damn well ya'll feeling this shit".

However Kanye does know where he needs to humble himself a little, in Power he spits out "they say I was the abomination of Obamanation of Obama's nation; well that's a pretty bad way to start the conversation". Not really an apology, but as close as you'll get on this album.

So Appalled features Jay-Z, Pusha T, Prynce Cy Hi, Swizz Beats, and the RZA. This is a solid kinda generic hip-hop track. Jay-Z asks "How should I begin this; I'm just so offended; How am I even mentioned by all these fuckin beginners? I'm so appalled I might buy the mall just to show niggas how much more I have in store".The song is a familiar message from the top of the hip-hop community that they're up on top and "that shit is fucking ridiculous". While not the most original song on the album, it will still stick with you.

The album lacks the amount of skits that made up a major part of The College Dropout, but there is a brief skit on The Blame Game. I laughed out loud on this track (it get's a little more graphic then I want this blog to be) but its hilarious. Let's leave it at that.

So "Let's have a toast to the Douchebag's, to the Assholes" and a toast to Kanye West. This album is fantastic and I cannot recommend it enough. I know all the reviews are feeling this album real hard (a 10 from pitchfork, 5 stars from rolling stone, 9/10 on Spin etc.) But it's for good reason, this album is intelligent, cocky, catchy, and extremely well put together.

Kanye aspires to be the next Michael Jackson, a lofty goal but this latest album brings him one step closer to achieving that dream.

Favorite Track: Power

Grab your can's with the best bass and "Zip it, Listen!"

Rating: 40/40. Love it.

Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Today marks the day that the new Kanye Album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is finally released. After spending quite a bit of time sticking his foot in his mouth, Kanye finally sat down and tinkered together a new album (when the President calls you a Jackass, I think you put your life in perspective). I haven't had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet, but I wanted to let you all know that the album is only 3.99 for the Amazon digital download.

I don't judge anybody who gets their music by unscrupulous methods but at only 4 dollars this is an expenditure you can (probably) afford to make. When artists try to work with people by putting out their albums at low prices instead of charging the regular 13+ for their albums, we should encourage the practice.

If you've been following Kanye's twitter (I don't, I just don't get twitter) you've probably already got a taste of what this album has to offer. For those of you that haven't I've only heard good things about Kanye's newest musical adventure. So instead of that Caramel Mocha Latte this morning, take the time to visit Amazon and purchase the latest Kanye album.

Click HERE for the Amazon 4.99 download!

Enjoy it and when you get a chance to listen to it, post your thoughts in the comments.

Keep Rocking.

Girl Talk - All Day

If there is one thing I love more than music, its free music. Last week Girl Talk released his newest album All Day for FREE! If you haven't had a chance to download it yet you can still find it here:


It's probably a lot easier to download now then it was on the release day.

Gregg Michael Gillis, the mastermind behind Girl Talk, is a solo DJ that creates songs in a "mashup" style. For those of you unfamiliar with mashups (i don't know who you are though, havent you been wathing glee?) mashups blend together different songs by overlaying different tracks from various artists. Girl Talk has mastered this newly emerging art form and has released five albums made up of a litany of other songs. On this latest iteration Gillis takes music from all over the Top 40 and beyond and finds ways to make them fit together seamlessly (who would have thought Ante Up + Party in the USA would be so damn catchy?)

That's Right:

On the site to download the album, Gillis encourages his listeners to listen to the album start to finish. I recommend the same, it only gets better as it goes on. From Black Sabbath to John Lennon and everything in-between this album is truly masterful.


Hey all!

I doubt many (any) people come back and check this bad boy out, The Hiatus went on a little longer then I planned. My B.

But anyway, I am going to do a bit of "reorganization" of this blog. As much as I loved spending hours on end listening to new tunes and giving full reviews, I don't have the free time I wish I did to continue that format. So I am just gonna start sharing music that I am currently enjoying. From time to time I might slip back into my old ways and give a score to an album; but I can't do it all the time cause of the "studying" (remember I am a reluctant law student).

I'll try to throw together some grooveshark playlists every once in a while to share with you loyal fans so you can keep on grooving.

I hope you enjoy the new open ended format and again, sorry for the extended hiatus!

Keep Rocking.