Tag Archive: HorizonVU Music


Elk City
Everybody’s Insecure
Bar/None Records

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Elk City’s Ray Ketchem (drums) and Renée LoBue (vocals) are back with “Everybody’s Insecure” their first release since 2008. The hypertalented duo have teamed with guitarist Sean Eden, keyboardist Carl Baggeley and bassist Martin Olson. The band has most certainly held on to its brand of eclecticism melting together shades of rock, pop, jazz and a bit of soul. The album earns high marks for both virtuosity and strength with the scale pretty much in balance between the two. Ray Ketchem deserves special recognition for outstanding production work, and one simply cannot overlook (overlisten) Renée LoBue’s extraordinary vocals, which are so essential to the recording’s melodic shapes. “25 Lines” is posted for a listen below, but there are other standout tracks such as “Ride the Slide” and the album’s title track “Everybody’s Insecure”.


Gloria
Oîdophon Echoram
Ample Play / Howlin’ Banana

Visit Gloria at Facebook and Bandcamp

The French band, Gloria, is back after their 2016 release “In Excelsis Stereo”. If you’re familiar with the band, the new six-track recording “Oîdophon Echoram” will no doubt be in line with expectations. It’s true that the group is to some extent framed by psych-garage, but that seems a bit too narrow. In fact, the group is quite eclectic, and pinning them down one way or another doesn’t seem entirely just. Okay, go with psych-garage, but you can’t help but pick up on the texture. Moreover, the female vocals make it hard not to think back to pop “girl groups” from the 80’s and the early ’90s. Have a look and listen to “Heavy” which is the lead track from “Oîdophon Echoram”. You’ll have a pretty good sense for what to expect from the rest of the album. Check out Gloria. It’s definitely worth your time to have a listen.


Joan Baez
Whistle Down the Wind
Razor & Tie

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“Whistle Down the Wind” is the American folk icon’s first release in ten years and what she has pronounced to be her last album. In speaking about the release, she has made clear that the election of Donald Trump, gave new life and impetus to her wanting to compose and effect change through her music as she has done for decades. The album, the first-rate production work by three time Grammy-award winner Joe Henry, authentically captures Baez’s seasoned vocals. For the most part, the recording, which features compositions by Tom Waits, Josh Ritter, Anohni and Mary Chapin Carpenter, leaves one feeling skeptical or unsure toward America’s future, but in the end, we sense that there is some promise of hope in the final track, Tim Erikson’s “I Wish the Wars Were All Over”. It’s a bit sad, particularly for those who well-remember Baez from the 1960s and 70s, to think that she is taking a curtain call with “Whistle Down the Wind”, but this is an album that is emotionally genuine inspiring action in the face of social dishonesty and injustice.


Screaming Females
All at Once
Don Giovanni

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Screaming Females, Marissa Paternoster (guitar vocal), Mike Abbate (bass) and Jarrett Dougherty (drums) have once again teamed with producer Matt Bayles on the group’s seventh album. “All at Once” follows the 2015 release “Rose Mountain” with a more mature recording showing off the ability to cover a broad space in terms of genres and diversity ranging from the pop-punk “I’ll Make You Sorry” to the weighty and thunderous opening track “Glass House”. Covering a broad space is not intended to suggest that there’s room to take a leisurely sonic walk. There’s plenty of movement from start to finish. Screaming Females has successfully stretched the idea of post-punk showing off experience and confidence without losing the dynamics, passion and outright force that put them on the music map.


Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Help! My Voice is Trapped and Can’t Get Out!
by Sally

s your voice locked in a room – somewhere deep inside of you? More than locked, it can feel like there are no doors or windows in this room and that your voice will never be allowed to break free. The voice is apparently inaccessible. But is it really locked?

And yet, you have to sing. Something else inside of you needs to sing to express yourself, to feel powerful and happy and free.

I often hear private students make statements like this…

“I can’t find my voice and I don’t even know how to start looking. I feel like it’s trapped in a room somewhere.”

How sad to feel that way. How wonderful though when you realize that you feel that way about your voice. Wonderful because if you can feel it, you can fix it.

You are not alone. I’m going to tell you about 2 of my private students who suffer from these same feelings.

First, is a student who is a fierce and confident dancer. She’s insanely good! She’s been on national TV many times and teaches dance all over the world. This woman is also a very good singer and songwriter.

So as her voice teacher I asked her to get into her dancer character to do the lesson to give her that same fierce confidence. Her reaction really surprised me. She became, for the first time in my association with her, shy and embarrassed.

What??? You dance as this fierce, confident character but don’t allow yourself to use that same star quality to sing? Curious. She has not claimed her power as a singer.

That’s how deeply personal singing is to the singer. It also illustrates the many beliefs about expressing yourself that you may not be aware of at all.

This is also why people love to listen to singing. Singing communicates the deepest emotions. Singing expresses Truth. And when your singing voice is free it’s the best feeling in the world!

Another private student tells me that he feels like his voice is trapped in a “room” deep inside. Somehow he has come to believe that he’s “not allowed” to access his brilliant natural voice.

Borrowing a concept from new thought leader Marianne Williamson, you may ask…

“Who am I to claim my power as a singer?”

That’s not the question.

The question is, “Who are you not to claim the power of your natural talent? Who are you to not develop and share this vocal gift?”

Diminishing yourself, diminishing your musical gift does not serve anyone. In fact, it robs you and all who love to listen to you of the pleasure.

How do you overcome the habit of keeping your voice trapped?

– Watch your thoughts about your voice. Your thoughts a powerful force that cause a response in your physical body – your instrument. (Read more…)

– Figure out where your voice is trapped. Breathe into that spot to open the door to freedom. (Read more…)

Get vocal training with a knowledgeable voice teacher.

– Create a character who is a fabulous, confident singer. See yourself as that character. Become that character to learn exactly what it feels like to be a confident singer.

– When you sing, check out how it feels to sing as your fierce, confident character.

– Practice, practice, practice!

I love what I do every day – empowering the voices of singers worldwide. When a student tells me that I have helped them set their voice free, that I gave them the key to unlock their voice, that’s the biggest thrill for me.

I remember what it felt like when my own voice was trapped inside and I did not know how to set it free. That’s why I developed Sing Like You Speak™. And it’s very gratifying to witness how the Sing Like You Speak™ technique and my teaching is setting voices free all over the world!

Join us on the road to vocal freedom!

For many more tips and much more practical vocal training, join the Sing Like You Speak™ Academy !


Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet
Landfall
Nonesuch

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Visit Kronos Quartet at Facebook

Laurie Anderson and Kronos Quartet have partnered to produce a superb and exceptionally intelligent 1 hour and 9 minute (30 tracks) recording. It is which is nothing short of excellent. “Landfall” relates the story of Hurricane Sandy found on Anderson’s very personal experience with the storm, the flooding and the great destruction. Anderson is well-known for her performance art has turned to what is narrative music in the sense that it meets the understood criteria, i.e, the music guides the listener, not only with respect to the story, but with respect to feeling or mood as well. this is not simply “background” music. These tracks take us through emotional moments alert, fear, and anxiety working along side with the Kronos Quartet, well-known for excellence in innovation and experimentation working in genres which extend from minimalism to contemporary classical. The Quartet delivers on the complete disorder and confusion attached to the storm. Taken as a whole, Anderson’s narrative, the violins, viola and violincello of the Quartet as well as special effects create sublime texture taking you on a sonic journey not to be missed. For the educated ear, there is much to consider, e.g., not only texture, but counterpoint and dissonance. If you feel compelled to simply “sample” the recording, go to the 9:38 minute “Nothing Left but Their Names”. It is early in the year, but “Landfall” is clearly in the running for HorizonVU Music’s best pick for 2018.


Louise Goffin
Good Times Call
Majority of One

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Louise Goffin has released “Good Times Call”, a single that’s sure to lift you up smiling. You’ll recall that since 2002, she’s recorded “Sometimes a Circle”,”Where You Lead” with her mother Carole King, “Bad Little Animals” and in 2014, and she recorded her sixth studio album, “Songs from the Mine”, featuring Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp on the single “Watching the Sky Turn Blue.” Over the holidays we joyfully received “New Year’s Day” featuring Billy Valentine. Louise has an affinity for recording songs that are just incredibly winning and pleasurable. “Good Times Call” is pop/pop-rock that’s got a great beat, melody line, and hey, it’s fun. Surely you afford .99 cents in exchange something happy!


Sally Morgan wrote the book on contemporary vocal technique – literally. Sing Like You Speak™: Simply and Naturally. SLYS™ is specifically designed to restore the effortless vocal production that is natural to the human instrument making your singing powerful, joyful and free. Sally has been successfully training singers for more than 30 years.

Your Body-Your Instrument-is Smarter Than Your Mind
by Sally

Your body is smarter than your mind. Your body is your singing instrument. So why does singing seem to be so difficult? Sing Like You Speak™ is here to teach you it ain’t necessarily so.

Breathing is completely natural. You are reading this, so your breathing is working – you are alive.

And yet when it comes to singing, we second-guess or even doubt the body’s natural ability. We actually override nature by overthinking the process and relying on the mind to ‘figure it out’ instead of trusting the natural process of breathing and phonation. We actually invite the mind to participate in a perfectly natural process.

Does this sound familiar?

You take an inhale and you immediately think, that isn’t enough air to get through the phrase! So you push and pull at the muscles of your abdomen to “help” your singing process.

But guess what? You run out of breath even faster!

That’s what happens when you take a subconscious process – breathing – and make it a conscious process.

The purpose of your inhale is to open the whole instrument. It is to open your resonators, release the jaw and larynx and open all the way down to the lower back and abdominal muscles, thus activating those powerful muscles that will naturally work to propel breath and sound easily through your open instrument.

When I was developing Sing Like You Speak™ my contemporary vocal technique, I could not ignore the fact that singing is natural. And if singing is natural and breathing is natural – what makes singing so difficult?

Makes singing difficult…

Voice teachers who tell you to manipulate and force the physical instrument

Trying to imitate most singers recorded after 1997 where the singer has been recorded (first was Roy Vedas Fragments of Life) and then a sound engineer has manipulated the voice for better pitch, tone quality, rhythm. You are not listening to a voice but to an electronically altered sound that cannot be imitated by the human instrument.

Myths or false thoughts about the effort involved in singing

Trusting the mind and not the body

Sing Like You Speak™ always uses the natural physiological process for simple, healthy signing. Your inhale is to open the instrument. Done right, releases the jaw, tongue and larynx, opens resonators and activates the very intelligent low abdominal and back muscles. That sounds like a lot to do but it can be achieved with one thought.

When I have new voice students who has studied voice with another teacher in the past there’s always a conversation that goes something like this.

Student: That’s it? That’s all you do to inhale?

Sally: Absolutely! A simple opening inhale.

Student: But how do I get enough air to sing a long phrase or to sustain a pitch?

Sally: With a simple opening inhale. It seems you want to feel how much effort you are using to breathe.

Student: Of course. The effort tells me that I’ve gotten a good inhale.

Sally: Aren’t you taking lessons to learn how your singing can be effortless?

Student: Well, I didn’t really believe that it could be easy. My last teacher taught me to push out on the inhale and pull in like crazy to exhale.

Sally: Yes, that’s typical old-school teaching. Let’s experiment with a simple, opening inhale.

First step is a simple, opening inhale…

Align your instrument collarbones wide, head on top of the body
Release the jaw and tongue
Feel as though you are opening your instrument all the way to your bottom
Blow the breath out and simply observe how the abdominal and lower back muscles are working – just observe to not interfere.
Use the above breathing process for our experiment proving how brilliant the body can be. No pushing or pulling of belly muscle allowed!

Experiment 1

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying an FFFFFF
Observe what muscles are working
Experiment 2

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying a VVVVV (be a motorcycle)
Observe what muscles are working
Experiment 3

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale saying a ZZZZZ (be a bumble bee)
Observe what muscles are working
Experiment 4

Perform a simple opening inhale as described above
Exhale sighing an MMMMM
Observe what muscles are working
What did you observe?

If you were able to perform the simply opening inhale then with each experiment you felt a different set of muscles working. The physical intelligence of your instrument chose which muscles to use. Your physical intelligence simply knows what to do. Your mind cannot possibly figure out how to use different muscles for different consonant sounds.

I love the fact that my physical intelligence takes over the singing process when I allow it to. Taking the process out of my mind and putting it into the body where it belongs lets me focus on the music, on phrasing, on character, on enjoying the massive vibration of my sound and having a blast doing so!

For many more tips and much more practical vocal training, join the Sing Like You Speak™ Academy!


Hollie Cook
Vessel of Love
Merge

Visit Hollie Cook at Facebook and iTunes

We’ve zeroed in on Hollie Cook’s third album, “Vessel of Love” as this week’s pick. Whether you want to categorize Cook’s work as roots, rock, reggae, or “tropical pop”, it really doesn’t matter. Her enticing vocals are very smooth and creamy making this release every bit worth adding to your collection. You can have a look and listen to “Survive” posted below, but there are other outstanding tracks. In particular, check out “Stay Alive” and “Lunar Addiction”. Producer Youth (Martin Glover) worked on the album bringing his exceptional competence with dub and electronic music. Go for it!


Starcrawler
Starcrawler
Rough Trade

Visit Starcrawler at Facebook and iTunes

If you’re out for smack-you-in-the-face rock, Starcrawler’s self-titled release is just what you need. Arrow de Wilde is frontwoman, and while she’s been recognized for her raucous stage performances, the album gives her vocals a chance to break through on their own, which they do beyond doubt. Her power delivery brings to mind the better days of Courtney Love and she has plenty of power so as to not lose coherence surrounded by the muscle provided by band members; Henri Cash (guitar); Austin Smith (drums); and Tim Franco (bass). Yes, there’s plenty high-powered, raw energy rock with shades of soft metal and post-punk to make you jump up-and-down. The opening track, “Train” will bring you on board with tough and loud, but go on to “I Love LA” and “Full of Pride”, which are softer without loss of delivery and give the band what you might find to be a core identity. The album’s closing track “What I Want” is rock-rock featuring Arrow’s reverbed vocals accentuated by power chords and Smith’s drumming. Finally, multi-talented Ryan Adams deserves credit for having produced the album. If you’re thinking about the first download of the year, go for “Starcrawler”.


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