Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I've developed an obsession for Japanese underground music scene lately. Japan is quite a land of diversity, isn't it? All the Ayumis, Utadas, and Namies can battle for the number one spot on the national charts, and still there are plenty of undiscovered fields for those avant-garde, experimental artist to conquer.
Gutevolk is the moniker of Hirono Nishiyama, whose latest album entitled 'Tiny People Singing Over The Rainbow' (kawaii!) was just released in February this year. Her music is a blend of so many different genres that it becomes unclassifiable. It's folk-tinged, it's dream-pop, it's shoegaze, it's ambient, it's electronica, all mixed up together. It's navel-gazing yet never monotomous, it's pretty but engaging enough, it's drifting but sonically sparkling to hold your interest. More wonderfully, she sings mostly in Japanese so I don't have to worry about what the lyrics are about. Without the internet, outsiders like me could never have access to such unique music like this. 3.5/5 stars. For now, it's pretty hard to get a copy since it's only available over there, so sample a couple of tracks below. Tell me what you think, if you like it, there's much more to blog about from the land of rising sun.

Gutevolk - Dream Walker
Gutevolk - The Door To Everywhere

Official Website/Buy (at Japanese label site)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pink Martini

Like most people, the song that introduced me to Pink Martini was 'Sympathique' (and the clever educational video of it). I immediately fell in love with them, and seeked out for more. The Portland-based 12-piece band, with lead vocals of China Forbes, play this kind of big-band, loungey, classical, Latin-influenced cabaret music. Hard to pin it down, but it's all very soothing and easy listening. Their latest album, 'Hey Eugene', got a 3.5/5 from me. Though the fun is still there, I still felt as if something was missing, and I didn't really look forward to giving another spin again. However, it's great that they're still around after all these years.
'Everywhere' could easily be a song from those vintage musical movies shown on cable in the early hours, and the title track is classic Pink Martini. Enjoy.

Pink Martini - Everywhere
Pink Martini - Hey Eugene!


Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Midnight Mix: The Piano Under The Chandelier

Another late night mix, best to be listened to alone in a dark, void room filled with a stark silence. Five downbeat, meditative instrumental piano pieces. The first two is lingering, airy ambient. German-born composer Max Richter mixed piano and string arrangements to make a piece that deserves to be a movie score, and Craig Armstrong provides one that's already in a critically-acclaimed movie. To end the list is the Grammy-winning instrumental track from songstress Sarah McLachlan's landmark album in 1997. Enjoy.

Eluvium - Prelude For Time Feelers
(Copia, 2007)
Broken Spindles - Inward
(Inside/Absent, 2005)
Max Richter - Autumn Music 2
(Songs From Before, 2006)
Craig Armstrong - Glasgow Love Theme
(Love Actually, 2003)
Sarah McLachlan - Last Dance
(Surface, 1997)

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Epic45 is Ben Holton and Rob Glover. Their latest album, 'May Your Heart Be The Map' was out earlier this year on the UK indie label Make Mine Music. Their music is mostly-instrumental glitchy electronica fused with acoustic sounds, a tad experimental yet accesible, with quite illustrative track titles. Definitely a record for the morningtime. A lovely way to start your day/your season of falling leaves. 3.5/5.

Epic45 - The Stars In Spring
Epic45 - Winterbirds
Epic45 - We Grew Up Playing In The Fields


Friday, September 21, 2007

Readymade FC

Readymade FC is the one-man band of French multi-instrumentalist/producer Jean-Philippe Verdin. Though his sophomore album 'Babilonia' was released back in Jan 2006, it was only today that I had the chance to listen to it in its entirety.
His music is impossible to pigeonhole. Electronic textures? Check. Folky acoustic guitar? Check. Baroque pop? Check. Feist collaboration? Check. With so many influences and sounds wrapped up in one, it's an amazing album that's enjoyable from start to finish, one that I can be sure I will revisit for weeks to come. I dare you to listen to 'The Only One', featuring the vocal talent of Yael Naim, and not feel moved by the song. 'Bare Feet' is another highlight, warm and fuzzy. The right time for the cd would be the evening, when you just get back home from a long day at work, in need of some music to wind you down while you take care of the dinner.
A solid, overlooked gem of an album. 4/5 stars, indeed.

Readymade FC - The Only One (feat. Yael Naim)
Readymade FC - Bare Feet


If you have the time, make sure to check out the smart video for 'The Only One' too. (lyrics being displayed through various objects of a little boy)

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Bitter:sweet are Shana Halligan & Kiran Shahani, based in Los Angeles.
Sultry, sexy and hip-swaying, that's the sound they aim for. I can imagine their songs playing in exquisite lounges, full of glamorous-looking, martini-sipping women in designer dresses, and well-groomed, nicely-suited businessmen. In fact, they wouldn't sound out of place at all in a Bond movie, or some '60s spy films. Or as background music in a cocktail party.
Their debut 'The Mating Game' was released in April 2006 by Quango. Try one or two of the first tracks and if you dig them, just grab the rest. They're all guilt-free.

The Mating Game
Dirty Laundry
Bittersweet Faith
Don't Forget To Breathe
(The Mating Game, 2006)

Buy at eMusic/ or Amazon

Earlier this August, they released a remix album called 'The Remix Game', with the help from Thievery Corporation, Skeewiff, along with other dance producers. Some of the reworks are quite interesting, but none of them outsmarted the original, overall an okay play-by-numbers stopgap album. Here are some remixes for you to decide yourself.

The Mating Game (Yes King Remix)
Salty Air (Fort Knox Five Remix)
Moving Forward (Atjazz Remix)
(The Remix Game, 2007)

Buy at Napster

Bitter:sweet's MySpace


Toy is a Norway-based duo that makes playful, whimsical instrumental electronica. They use toy instruments and household item sound effects to create a childlike, cheery surroundings that ought to make you feel all jolly inside. Even the titles sound like those of colorful pop-up books. Fun bedroom music for both adults and children, or that child still hidden in you.
Their self-titled debut was released in 2006 on Smalltown Supersound. Check out two tracks below.

Toy - Rabbits Pushing Mower
Toy - Golden Fish In Pool
(Toy, 2006)

Myspace/Buy it at Amazon

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Midnight Mix: Night Flight

A themed mix, designed for those in-flight time you spend looking out of the window plane. Put these tunes on your headphones, relax, and let them put your mind at ease. Here we have an otherworldly, gorgeous hymn from Goldfrapp, one of the best tracks of her entire career, a short, soothing groove from David Snell, a tune from French shoegaze masters M83, The Books' sample-laden track, and the title track from German Ulrich Schnauss' latest offering. Enjoy.

Goldfrapp - Pilots
(Felt Mountain, 2001)
David Snell - International Flight
(Thievery Corporarion's The Outernational Sound, 2004)
M83 - I Guess I'm Floating
(Before The Dawn Heals Us, 2005)
The Books - Tokyo
(The Lemon Of Pink, 2003)
Ulrich Schnauss - Stars
(Goodbye, 2007)

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Hooverphonic's a renowned Belgian electronic outfit whose music I only discovered earlier this year. They were part of the '90s trip-hop scene, right up there with the likes of Massive Attack, UNKLE, Tricky... I have only listened to two of their albums, 'Blue Wonder Power Milk' and 'The Magnificent Tree', and on each of those two is a totally outstanding song that overshadowed the rest, though there are indeed other fine moments. 'This Strange Effect' is a classic of its genre. So grandeur and hypnotic it is that I can't believe that nobody has put up a video of Buffy and Angel slow dancing seductively to this tune on YouTube yet. 'Mad About You' is another mindblowing number, with dramatic strings arrangement and emotionally captivating vocals.
As I was googling them for catching up, I was surprised to find out that the band is still active and a new album, tentatively-titled "The President of the LSD Golf Club", will be out in Benelux in October 8, and the rest of the world in early 2008. Lead single 'Expedition Impossible' already got a video shot (which you can watch here), and based on first listen, they seem to aim for an edgier, live sound. Yes, the single's quite good, and now I'm definitely looking out for the full release this fall. It's just nice music like this is still being made. Be sure to also check out their excellent cover of Depeche Mode's 'Shake The Disease'. All 3 highly recommended.

Hooverphonic - This Strange Effect
(Blue Wonder Power Milk, 1998)
Hooverphonic - Mad About You
(The Magnificent Tree, 2000)
Hooverphonic - Shake The Disease
(For The Masses: Music: Depeche Mode (Tribute), 1998)

Their MySpace/Official Site

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I never learnt how to make a proper first post. Never really did. I couldn't even choose the right picture, so I just doodled something for 10 seconds and uploaded it here (as I can see now, it looked quite craptacular).
I don't know what to say either. Maybe something about why I start this, when I've already got another to handle, I suppose.
Well, here it goes. Over the last two years, I've been exposed to a whole new horizon of music, one that was previously unknown to me. As I go on, more and more keeps finding its way into my overworking ears, and soon I got caught up in left-field genres, in obscure records, in abstract melodies. So I started digging up cds from the past that I missed, looking out for the new ones and eventually making a few posts. Then I found out that my newfound obsession with this genre does not really belong to the vibe of the blog. It just needs a place of its own. So I decided to wait until my birthday, which is today, September 15, to premiere it and start posting what I want. It took me a lot of time considering the names and finally, I settled down with this one, The Bamboo Orchestra, which I find totally fitting for the blog. I wish I could say there is a profound meaning/interesting story behind the name, but there's just not.
If you like electronic/instrumental/post-rock/ambient..., willing to explore new experimental sounds and somehow suffer insomnia, then the blog is for you. If you like to visit Zeon's Music Blog in daytime, then this one is for late nights. It's all kinda hard to explain now, because it's 2 in the morning here, but as posts surface, you will get the idea. For now, what's a better way to cut the blue ribbon than with an excellent, appropriately-titled song from toytronica makers Psapp? Enjoy. More to come tomorrow.

Psapp - Hi (The Only Thing I Wanted, Domino, 2006)