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Video Spotlight: Melissa Pierre-Louis - "Earthquake Song" (for Haiti)

This post will be a little different than my normal posts, in that there is currently no freely downloadable version of the song that it focuses on, but I think it's understandable given the circumstances.  I'm certain that you are aware of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti last week, and also of the numerous relief efforts that are currently underway.  Haitian-American artist Melissa Pierre-Louis has rewritten the words to "Touch Someone", an original Christmas song that she released last month (and which I actually posted about on my Free Christmas Music blog - please see that post if you would like to download that version of the song).  The new version, called "Earthquake Song", can be viewed on the Operation Touch YouTube channel.  It is hoped that this song and video will help people to reach out to the people of Haiti.  I am sure that anything you can do, whether it be making a donation or just sharing this video with others to help increase their awareness of the situation, would be greatly appreciated by those who need it.  Please do whatever you can to help!


Song Spotlight: Smashing Pumpkins - "Widow Wake My Mind"

Hmm, nice.  Looks like the widget that the Smashing Pumpkins have created for Teargarden by Kaleidyscope (which I added to my post about "Song for a Son" last month) automatically updates when new songs become available. Which is kind of a roundabout way of saying that the album's second song, "Widow Wake My Mind", was released on Monday and can be downloaded directly from the band's official website.  I really like the odd-time guitar riff that opens the song, as well as the different keyboard textures that underscore much of the song.

At the current rate of one song every 41 days, the entire 44 track album should be complete by sometime in October, 2014.  I'm sure that will change as more songs become available, but it's still fun to think about what a huge undertaking this album is.  Happy listening!



Song Spotlight: Grayson Matthews - "All You Need is Love" (Blackberry commercial song)

I was planning to start the year off by writing about some great video game music that I'd found lately.  Last week's post about the Machinarium Bonus EP was the first step in that direction, and I had another excellent album that I wanted to write about this week.  However, when I went back to the site I downloaded it from, I noticed that that album was only the tip of a very large iceberg, so I'm going to take some time to listen to at least some of the new music I've found there and give it a more comprehensive writeup.
For now, I'd like to post about Grayson Matthews' cover of The Beatles' "All You Need is Love".  This song is currently being featured in an ad campaign by Blackberry, and the full version can be downloaded from the Blackberry website.  I like this version of the song, even though there seems to be a great amount of negativity about it.  It doesn't feel anything like the original version, but I think that's mainly where its charm lies - the original version will always be there for anyone who wants to hear it, but it's nice to hear an artist try something completely different every once in a while.
Whether you're a Beatles fan, a Blackberry fan, or you just like cover versions in general, I think this song is definitely worth a download.  Either way (or even if you don't like it), I'd love to hear your thoughts about it.  Do you think songs like this should be used in advertising, or should they be left alone?  Would the ad have worked better with the original version of the song in it?  Happy listening!


Album Spotlight: Machinarium Bonus EP

Happy New Year!  I hope that 2009 was as good as it could have been for you, and that 2010 is shaping up to be a good one as well.  I'll do my best to ensure that the musical side of things is at least interesting.  I'd like to start off with a little EP that was released back in November: the Machinarium Bonus EP.
Machinarium, for those unfamiliar with it, is a puzzle adventure game that was released last fall for multiple operating systems.  It has been widely hailed as one of the best independent releases of 2009, and after having played through most of it (I'm still working on the rest), I can easily see why.  The hand-drawn graphics are gorgeous, and the gameplay is extremely engaging - as soon as one puzzle has been solved, the little robot character proceeds to another location, which is often bigger and more complex than the previous one.  It reminds me (very favourably) of some of the older adventure games I used to play like Day of the Tentacle, The Dig, and Sam and Max Hit the Road, although with more emphasis on puzzles and brain teasers in addition to the inventory-based gameplay of those games.  The free demo on the game's website that gives a good taste of what it is like in case you'd like to experience it firsthand.
Those who purchase the game get a free MP3 copy of the entire soundtrack, but like the demo, this bonus EP is completely free for anyone who wants it.  There is a nice variety of music on its five tracks, from the jazzy, percussive "The Robot Band Tune" (a song which comes together piece by piece in the game), to the absolutely grooving "Pipe Wrench Dubstep", to the more mellow and atmospheric "By the Wall".  I haven't heard all of these songs within the game yet, but the ones I have heard are actually incorporated into the game extremely well, serving as little rewards for solving some of the longer puzzles.
If you're a fan of video game music at all, this EP is well worth checking out (and you may want to see some more free video game music that I've featured in the past).  Let me know what you think about the music, and also the game itself if you decide to play it.  Happy listening!