Kyoto Kyoto – Gaacher Blitz
Indonesian folk music, huh? That tiny reference will not be lost on anyone with a general knowledge of music, movies, and a wee bit of sense of humour. Before prog-rock became the kind of term that bands would be willing to send envelopes of money to magazines in a bid to avoid them from creating such associations, the most talented musicians were digging from inspiration frantically across the world.
Yes tried to recreate the Bible with Tales of Topographic Oceans and built an album so long and with so few songs that the fact that all the musicians in that band were sober at the time is simply mind-boggling. Prog-metal bands then attempted to introduce as many clever references to their Conservatory homework. Shredders played their guitar as if having studied swarms of bees. And, with the internet offering potential global distribution, bands began working every ethnic influence into a rock context. Usually, all those things are a mess.
Occasionally though, the result is very pleasant. Kyoto Kyoto’s Gaacher Blitz builds on the experimental nature of trying to integrate Scottish, Turkish and German music, but creates a mysterious, layered tune that sounds like it could blow the roof off a packed theatre, and also a soundtrack grandiose nature documentaries.
Louis Watts – Hey, Cowboy
“If you can dream it, you can do it!” That’s how one familiar slogan of self-empowerment goes. Supposedly humans are the only creatures capable of imagining abstract concepts. Supposedly we have been given this otherwise strange, easily shaken ability in order to guide us to construct bring to fruition complex plans.
Yet, while all those things sound like common knowledge we’ve used rock music, cinema, and other art forms as dream-pills. It may be odd to imagine people going wild for psychedelic rock bands playing 30-minute long guitar solos. However, then as now, the audience depended on this music to create a backdrop for their dreams. Supposedly many of the geniuses of modern tech learned essential concepts of lateral thinking from being fans of this kind of psych-rock.
Louis Watts’s Hey, Cowboy cuts to the heart of the matter in this respect. The song and video are directly pitched as “dream accompaniments“. The Neil Young style guitar, the slow pacing, and the dreamy visuals have an effect akin to hypnosis or to falling asleep in your favourite armchair while watching an old Western. Besides, Watts happens to be a hell of a guitar player, and none of the many notes played here sound wasted.