Thursday, 11 September 2014

Why Breaking More Waves Is Taking A Break

Back in 2011 Breaking More Waves ran a series of blogs written in the singular first person to reflect the more intimate and personal nature of the writing, rather than the plural ‘we’ we have used for a number of years. The posts were called Music That Made Me and as the title suggested they were autobiographical, describing influences and memories from our past and how music is intrinsically linked with many of the experiences in life. The songs featured weren’t necessarily ‘the best’ in terms of the usual frames of reference for critical appraisal, but tracks or artists that were important to us.

Ironically having completed the project, spending 42 weeks wallowing in nostalgia, our conclusion was that irrespective of the rights and wrongs of seeking out the newest freshest shiniest new tunes, sometimes at the expense of older music, it was what we felt most passionate about.

One of the posts in the series ( 8th out of 42 – you can read it here) was soundtracked by the song Please Forgive Me by David Gray. It talked about friendship and about how great friends didn’t need to pass judgement on each other – instead they accepted and took pleasure in each other for who they are. We all make mistakes, but good friends are able to accept that and move on.

The person who inspired that philosophy lives 1000’s of miles away from Breaking More Waves in New Zealand. This weekend we both leave our respective countries and fly out to San Francisco to meet each other in person for the first time in what must be getting on for a decade. 

Good, solid, real friends are hugely important - they influence who you are. That’s why Breaking More Waves is taking its longest ever holiday – to spend time with someone very special.

Unlike the ‘big’ blogs (we use the word ‘big’ in inverted commas because we’re sometimes surprised how few plays of songs some of these supposed big blogs actually generate, we suspect their size has more to do with the number of tracks they post and how certain music industry insiders perceive them as being ‘cool’ or influential) Breaking More Waves isn’t written by a large team of writers, or even a small group. It’s just one person. We like it that way, it gives a consistency of character. However, it does mean when we take a break and haven’t pre-written posts to cover the time we’re away (which we have done sometimes in the past ) or continue blogging on holiday, the site stops. This is one of those times.

Breaking More Waves will return sometime towards the end of September. For once, music is taking a backseat.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Some Thoughts About This U2 LP Business & Creating The Digital Trash Market

Some basic thoughts about this U2 album business, which we tweeted earlier, but thought it was worth expanding a little.

Here at Breaking More Waves we’re fans of U2. The greatest and most life affirming gig we ever went to was a U2 show. We know it’s not cool to like U2, it’s never been cool to like U2, but you can’t take the fact from us that we like them, no matter how wrong you might think we are.

It therefore follows that we were actually pleased to receive a brand new free U2 album (which whilst not being their best – it’s no Joshua Tree or Achtung Baby, it certainly isn’t a duffer like the unmemorable No Line On The Horizon was either).


There’s some worrying stuff going on here.

Let’s look at that statement from  Apple and U2.

They have said that they have an ongoing partnership to ‘transform the way music is listened to and viewed’

So what does that mean?

It appears that Apple are moving towards a model of giving people free albums either by automatic downloads or them being ready to download via iCloud, irrespective of if the user wants them or not. There’s no opt out clause here. Apple aren’t the first media company providing an online service that has decided that customer choice is not an option. Facebook are already doing it and it seems sadly that Twitter is beginning to go that way as well with the likes of promoted tweets, meaning that users are unable to curate their own content.

So what’s next? 

In the future will iTunes bombard us with free albums we don’t want? It seems like a distinct possibility.

Then, will Apple offer a ‘no digital trash’ service at a premium price? Essentially if this happened we’d be paying more to get less. 

After all albums by big artists these days are nothing more than adverts for other bigger income generating products such as tours. So why not just treat the album like an advert and if you don’t want to hear that advert you have to pay to not hear it. It is after all what Spotify already does. 

This is the problem. We’ve all come to expect everything for nothing and live in a world of information and consumer overload. In the future will we actually have to pay to get less?

Is that idea a bit odd and just a bit scary? It would be like someone throwing their rubbish into your garden and then asking you to paying to stop them doing it. Is that idea just round the corner? Maybe it will never happen, but the signs are there that it could.

Oh, and for the record 5 of our favourite U2 songs are Numb, The Fly, A Day Without Me, Where The Streets Have No Name and Bad.

U2 - The Fly

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Rozes - New Waves

Everything is coming up roses, or rather Rozes has come up with Everything, her debut track and one that immediately puts her in the electronic pop (with a vague touch of R’n’ B production) camp. It’s a very big camp at the moment, but this one has developed her own bit of space – we’ll even forgive her for the bad spelling, after all how on earth are we going to find on her on Google otherwise?

What we like about Rozes in particular is her vocal. It has a certain kooky left of centre sound to it; the sort of voice that you might have found singing in some alt-folk band perhaps, but instead she’s battling it out with the production as she gives it some heartfelt emotion. In fact it reminds us a lot of Ellie Goulding – which is not a bad thing at all. It may not be boundary pushing (but how much pop really does that?) but it’s too good to discard just because it sounds very of the moment.

Everything is free to download from the Soundcloud player below.

Rozes - Everything

Kacy Hill - New Waves

If like us you sometimes like to read the blurb about an artist before you press play (and you're reading this so we assume you do), your mindset has probably already been prejudiced before you listen. Here was the thought process we went through with Kacy Hill before our ears did the work on her debut track Experience:

Good Points

1. We’ve seen her described as ethereal. We know it's a word that music journos and bloggers like to use a lot, but generally we like ethereal stuff. So we’re off to a good start.

2. She has freckles. Yes we know this has nothing to do with the music, but then pop music has never just been about the music. Anyway, has anyone proved there isn’t a direct correlation between good music and freckles? No, exactly – so until there’s scientific justification disproving our theory, this might actually be a valid reason for thinking that Kacy might be good. 

3. She has the initial K. This is very good. Why? Because we have a weird warped thing for artists with names beginning with K and L – it’s utterly illogical – there’s probably some deeply disturbing psychological reason for it, but we’d prefer not to analyse that, the results might scare us. 

4. She’s described her song as being ‘inspired by the intricacies of being human and our ability to think into detail and absorb meaning behind subconscious and conscious action,’ which sounds a bit pretentious, but we want our pop stars to be pretentious. After all who wants a pop star describing their song as ‘inspired by working in the supermarket and painting my dining room magnolia at the weekend.’ 

5. Experience has been compared by others to Broods and FKA Twigs, which sounds interesting.

Bad Points

1. There’s some PR blurb floating around about how she got into writing music accidentally, which is a bit like saying you started cooking some spaghetti bolognaise accidentally. Eg: It's a load of old bollocks.

2. The song was produced by Jaylien Wesley. This strikes fear into our hearts as Jaylien co-wrote Scream and Shout by Will.I.Am and Britney, a song that is a tragic crime against pop. (Sorry Britney if you’re reading this, you’ve done a few classics, but this wasn’t one of them.)

Somewhere In Between Points

1. She’s already been an underwear model, which means the internet is awash with pictures of her butt cheeks. We’re not really sure if we want to see pictures of pop star’s butt cheeks, but we guess that’s ‘the modern way’ (and we say that with a slightly forlorn sigh).

2. She’s also been a dancer – on Kanye’s Yeezus tour. 

Then we listened

We pressed play and didn’t worry about the spaghetti bolognaise or Will.I.Am anymore – because this is a slightly leftfield, slightly minimalistic electronic pop song, that certainly sits close to the FKA Twigs school of oddness, although perhaps lacking some of the warped sophistication and possessing none of the eroticism of Tahliah Barnett’s work. There’s more artiness to this song and its accompanying video than we might have expected (a good thing) and the more it's played, the more compelling it becomes. We're not sure if this is just a side project before Kacy gets back into modelling, but if there's more to come, but we'll be listening with interest.

Kacy Hill - Experience (Video)