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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Music Reviews

    Music Reviews

    Belle & Sebastian
    The Life Pursuit

    Belle and Sebastian’s The Life Pursuit speaks to you in a personal way. When I woke up at 9 in the morning and realized I’d have to skip class to write this review, I felt a little guilty.
    The album opens up with the lyrics, “”Morning prayers took the girl unawares/she was late for class and she knew it.”” I couldn’t help but think Stuart Murdoch, the Scottish band’s vocalist, was singing that line just for me.
    Belle and Sebastian has a special talent for making its songs personal to every listener. Stories about teenagers and students are easily relatable, and the casual way they’re recounted reminds you of hanging out at your best buddy’s house talking about school, except your best buddy is a rock ‘n’ roll star and can craft a melody so catchy that even John Lennon might be a little envious. Belle and Sebastian makes instant pop classics in a way that’s both original and timeless.
    Murdoch’s instrumental voice represents the best of English rock. At times, it resembles a poppy and happy Thom Yorke, but most songs retain a distinct melodic wispy sound.
    On this album, Belle and Sebastian breaks from previous efforts and concentrates on producing sugary and simple pop tunes. The band has been criticized for apparently lacking depth and sincerity, but it makes up for it by producing catchy tunes that stick in your head after only one or two listens.
    If you enjoy bands like Of Montreal and The New Pornographers more than The Mars Volta, this band is just for you. You’ll probably also like Belle and Sebastian if you’re a student, have any trouble waking up in the morning, breathe air like a sentient being or just like music in general.

    Fivespeed fails to shift out of neutral
    By Luke Mihalovic

    Up-and-comers of the Phoenix rock scene, Fivespeed, deliver a run-of-the-mill mix of enchanting choruses and played-out guitar riffs in their latest album Morning Over Midnight. The first track, “”Fair Trade,”” is a surprisingly beautiful equilibrium between the sounds of Authority Zero and Jimmy Eat World, but as you keep listening, the merit of each track begins to decline with a cunning resemblance to the U.S. stock market of the 1930s.

    Fivespeed
    Morning Over Midnight
    (Virgin Records)

    The depths of Morning Over Midnight offer tracks such as “”Wait Forever”” and “”Misery Loves Company,”” which are redundant, drawn-out and seemingly compel the listener to hop on his own five-speed and ride it off a cliff. There is no doubt that the first few tracks offer a vibrant, uplifting experience, but with the lack of originality, you’d be better off saving your change for the next posse of Phoenix rockers.

    Flamenco: Part culture, part art, all style
    By Susan Bonicillo

    Flamenco, the iconic performance art of Spain, has it roots in a number of different cultures.

    The Gitano people of Andalusia Spain are credited with its formation. In addition, Moorish occupation of Spain, along with Jewish influence, have both contributed to the overall style that is flamenco.

    Despite its distant origin, native Tucsonan Chris Burton Jǭcome brings this art form close to home by emerging as one of the premier flamenco guitarists in the United States. He also serves as musical director to Calo Flamenco, the largest professional flamenco dance company in the nation.

    Now a Phoenix resident, Jǭcome will bring the sights and sounds of flamenco to the Berger Performing Arts Center tomorrow.

    Growing up in the northwest side of Tucson, Jǭcome attended Canyon del Oro High School before moving on to the UA. He eventually graduated with degrees in both music and Spanish literature in 1996 and 1997 respectively.

    Jǭcome began playing the electric guitar at 13 and went on to study classical guitar technique at the UA.

    It was after graduation that Jǭcome decided to move to Seville, Spain for a year to learn authentic flamenco technique.

    The experience caused him to unlearn many of the classical guitar techniques that just didn’t apply to flamenco. In addition, flamenco in its natural habitat is learned through diffusion rather than formal training.

    “”When I went to study with these people, they don’t know how to teach, they just show how they do it and you have to interpret,”” said Jǭcome.

    As a musical form, flamenco involves a high level of interaction. The dancers conduct the musicians for changes in rhythm by specific foot patterns and cues. Working off of each other and taking turns at the lead sometimes causes embarrassing moments, in Jǭcome’s experience.

    “”It was just one of the things you learn trial by fire. You put yourself in that situation and then catch on,”” Jǭcome said. “”You learn much more quickly when you get embarrassed like that. It’s pretty good motivation to get better really quick.””

    “”As far as a musical form, the tricky thing to explain is the cultural part of flamenco,”” Jǭcome said. “”There are a lot of guitarists out there and they play harmonically what is flamenco and they might sound flamenco. But they don’t know how to accompany the dancer and singer.””

    For Martin Gaxiola, artistic director and creator of Calo Flamenco and one of the dancers involved in the upcoming Tucson performance, flamenco is every bit about the communication and melding of a mass group effort.

    “”The essence of true flamenco is a celebration of life and the experience of this folk art form,”” said Gaxiola. “”As a part of their socialization and getting together for community, they created a song and dance.””

    As a child, Gaxiola was always surrounded by Mexican folkloric dance, and he would watch his older sisters take flamenco lessons without participating.

    Testing out different artistic avenues from theater to choir to percussion, Gaxiola took up every other interest except dance, though he always loved it.

    Gaxiola finally explored dance while finishing up an accounting degree at ASU at 21.

    “”I knew that flamenco was something I needed to do,”” said Gaxiola. “”Once you find something you’re passionate about you have to follow it. You just can’t walk away.””

    Gaxiola credits the balance in his life to his dual roles as accountant and flamenco dancer.

    “”(Flamenco) is more of a way of life and not an art,”” said Gaxiola. “”There is no disconnect from my life and when I get onstage. It’s who I am. Through the improvisational structure, you’re expressing yourself. You never do the same thing twice onstage.””

    Chris Burton Jǭcome, Martin Gaxiola and members from Calo Flamenco will be performing original songs from Jǭcome’s newest album, Flamenco. The performance will be held at the Berger Performing Arts Center, 1200 W. Speedway Blvd., tomorrow at 8 p.m. Tickets bought in advance are $22, while tickets bought the day of the performance are $25. Tickets can be purchased at Antigone Books, CD City, Enchanted Earthworks or online at www.rhythmandroots.org.

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