Sunday, July 29, 2007

Moodswing: Review of an Eclectic Musician By: Lisa Brown

Moodwing's "Digging Up" available on Sound Therapy Records

As a music lover, I'm always on the lookout for new bands and musicians. I love the thrill of discovering, and getting the feel of, a new musical act before any of my friends. I love that moment when I get to share my new ‘find’, and watch the look on their faces as they respond to the music. So imagine how thrilled I was when I recently discovered a new musician who has some serious talent.

Moodswing is slotted into the ‘rap music’ category, but that's only a technicality. Moodswing is an artist who has experienced his share of life’s difficulties and who is now on a self evolutionary mission... fueled by therapeutic disclosure.

Different musical influences can be heard throughout his cd, Digging Up, (Sound Therapy Records). It's refreshing to hear a musician who doesn't believe in staying within one genre, but instead, uses whatever elements he feels he needs for a particular song to 'work'. With Digging Up, it becomes apparent that Moodswing’s songs go beyond simply "working".

There are many artists who earn a living with their music yet don't sound as professional as Moodswing. On his track, "Holiday", a female voice can be heard layered into the song, adding another dimension to the strong electronic elements. It has a ‘haunted’ quality to it, and the lyrics leave you feeling a bit hopeless.

Overall, Moodswing’s music is quite complex. There are several songs that lead you in one direction and just as you settle in, the song goes in a different direction. The melange of rap /electronic music is a welcome change for both genres. The track "Crash and Burn" brings a bit more funk, adding a ‘dirtier’ sound. As well, the song is both simple and complex. Although it sounds repetitive, the notes actually reverse upon themselves, making it sound as though it's being played backwards at times. This approach goes amazingly well with the lyrics, which speak of the problems of war and dangers of repeating past mistakes. While the message may suggest the path is simple and straightforward, the lyrics and music suggest the path is more complex, and requires re-evaluating our own past.

"Even Keels" leans toward the 'MC style' of rap. The music is quite basic, which is true to this style. I think that many listeners may initially view this as his weakest song, but I think that hesitancy comes from not being familiar with the genre. With 'MC style' rap, it's not as much about the music as it is about the artist’s rapping skills. As he reminds us, during this song, he doesn't have the professional, multimillion dollar studio to back him up. This song will succeed or fail depending upon the delivery of his words alone. Given this logic, it’s apparent that "Even Keels" is a success.

"The Gypsy" has some sick violins accompanying the vocals. When I refer to them as "sick", I mean it's a cool sound, but there's also something very disarming about it. If you've heard Nuttin' But Stringz, this is similar in the combination of hip hop and orchestral string instruments. But where Nuttin' But Strings has the violins carrying the tune, "The Gypsy" uses the strings to enhance his vocals. It's an interesting song because of the way the different elements are blended.

Moodswing is an apt name for an artist who can easily switch between electronic, funk, MC rap, violin/hip hop, and more. Because of this, I truly cannot pick a ‘favourite’ song. How do you compare the violins in "The Gypsy" with the funk of "Crash and Burn"? The songs all exorcize some inner demons, which are deeper than most due to the mainstream rap you hear. If you're on the west coast, make sure to check him out live, because you'll be in for a treat.

I'm a big believer in supporting artists such as Moodswing, because they are able to make whatever music they want without studio and commercial interference and/or limitations that keep them from sending their message. The result - music that is more pure, and has more heart than 99.9% of the dreck presently on our airwaves.

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Purchase/Listen to Moodswing

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