Category Archives: Music

Kung Fu Piano: Cello Ascends (The Piano Guys)

I love the Piano Guys. I love pretty much everything they’ve ever done. But I think I love this video most of all. Maybe because I’m so stinking happy to see them cover a piece by Hans Zimmer and John Powell. And because they put a grand piano on the Great Wall of China.

THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA, PEOPLE. I MEAN, SERIOUSLY.

Last I checked, this thing had 574 dislikes on YouTube. Funny. Now we know how many deaf people watched the video.

I Wished to Make Them Better

“When Handel’s Messiah was first performed, a nobleman hailed the work as ‘a noble entertainment.’ Handel replied: ‘My Lord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them; I wished to make them better.”

– Nancy Pearcey, Saving Leonardo (p. 123)

For Your Listening Pleasure (2nd Movement)

It isn’t quite as grand as the first movement, but I trust you’ll find it no less interesting. Below are two talented artists I’ve been appreciating lately; I think you will appreciate them, too. So have a seat and let’s begin.

*****

670541881200.170x170-75Enter Caleb Hayashida. I like this guy. He’s got promise. And while his first release (Somewhere Along the Way) isn’t perfect, it does exhibit some fantastic music and solid song-writing. Worthy of special mention is “Starhymn”, a simple yet glorious ballad of praise, pulsating with genuine wonder. I like the rest of the album well enough, but I really, really love this song.

Caleb’s music is refreshingly different in at least two ways. First, the lyrics are generally more robust – theologically and poetically – than what you will find in the majority of Christian music these days. Second, the music itself is actually worth listening to. It doesn’t sound like processed cheese, nor is it obnoxiously overproduced.

The one thing that gave me pause was a line in “Rain’s ‘a Falling”, which has the singer beseeching Mary to pray for his soul. Um, no thanks. I have a sizable theological bone to pick with that kind of nonsense, and anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time will know exactly why.

Having given this caveat, I do recommend the album overall, and look forward to hearing what Caleb does next. You can purchase Somewhere Along the Way on iTunes here.

mzi.sfbcsjzn.170x170-75Then there’s Radical Face (aka Ben Carson). His 2011 release The Family Tree: The Roots is the first in a conceptual trilogy of albums about a fictional 19th century family, the Northcotes. Carson’s poetry is sublime, his storytelling even more so; there’s greater depth, greater character development in these three and four and five minute stories than in some novels I have read. Just try “Always Gold” if you’re a Doubting Thomas.

Carson limits himself to instruments that would have been available to the Northcotes in the 1800s. Mainly, it’s just his voice, the acoustic guitar, the piano, and a floor tom, but some songs also feature the banjo, strings, and hand-claps (the guy uses hand-claps like no other musician I’ve heard). As one excellent review describes it, the album is “stripped without being thinned”:

The music is visually evocative. Following this, he begins his unique style of layering, enfolding simplistic rhythms and riffs to create music that’s sonorous and thick without being muddied, with bursts of Ghost-esque clap-percussion sections that drive the songs. The Roots is full of those “lines” and “moments” that clamp around your head and then linger. There’s a comfortable balance of stripped Ben-plus-guitar acts with the brimming, full-eared climaxes. The voice becomes an instrument, not just a passage for the story words. He overlays singing to feel almost hymn-like.

Oh, and the whole thing was recorded in a toolshed. No, seriously. A toolshed.

You can get The Roots via iTunes or Amazon, but here’s the really sweet part: for a limited time, the entire album is available for free on Noisetrade. Beat that.

Soundtrack Review: Man Of Steel

610uHjOqRGL._SL500_AA280_Man Of Steel
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Deluxe Edition]
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Running Time: 1 hr. 58 min.
Released: 2013
Opinon Stars: ★★★★★

I know you probably get tired of hearing me say this, but it’s the truth: Hans Florian Zimmer is a flipping music wizard. Seriously. He’s one of the best there is at what he does, and on a scale of one to ten with regard to Sheer Epic Magnificence, his latest work – Man Of Steel – is a rock solid eleven. Emotion, grit, and grandeur collide in superheroic measures for nearly two hours; if that doesn’t put a smile on your face, I don’t know what will. You want heart? Here you go. You want excitement? Gotcha covered. A robust and memorable theme worthy of the Last Son of Krypton? It’s right here. As one fellow put it,

MARVEL: “We have a Hulk.”
DC: “We have Hans Zimmer.”

Standout Tracks:
– DNA
– Goodbye My Son
– If You Love These People
– Terraforming
– This Is Clark Kent
– Flight
– What Are You Going to Do When You Are Not Saving the World?
– Man Of Steel (Hans’ Original Sketchbook)
– General Zod
– This Is Madness!
– Arcade

A postscript, as my attempt to answer some questions you might possibly have:

Q. “How does it compare to John Williams’ score for the original Superman?”
A. I think I’ve decided it’s unfair to compare the two. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of Williams’ work there, but it fit Donner’s style well enough. Zimmer’s take is darker and more muscular, and if the previews we’ve seen are any indication, that’s precisely the kind of score Man Of Steel needs.

Q. “Does it sound like a rehash of The Dark Knight scores?”
A. No. Absolutely not. It sounds like Zimmer, of course – if you’re a hater, get lost – but there’s very little similarity between this and his other work for the DC Universe. One major difference is that Man Of Steel sounds far more enthusiastic and hopeful overall – which is good, since an uber-intense and moody score wouldn’t work for Supes the way it does for Bats.

Q. “Is the Deluxe Edition worth the extra moolah?”
A. Heck yes. You get half an hour’s worth of extra music. Do it.

“Take Up and Read” (Shai Linne)


Luther, Sproul, Trueman, Tozer, Ryle, and Warfield – just a few of the names mentioned in this epic (yes, epic) song by Shai Linne. Also keep an ear out for such classic titles as The Godly Man’s Picture, Chosen By God, Redemption Accomplished and Applied, and The Bondage of the Will. You can even catch the names of two excellent magazines: Tabletalk and Modern Reformation.

I’ve heard an avalanche of praise for “Fal$e Teacher$”, and every ounce of it is well-deserved; however, whenever I hear someone recommend it, I think to myself, But what about the rest of the album? Don’t stop with one song – listen to the others!

So yeah: if you love rock solid biblical theology wedded to great music and even better poetry, buy yourself a copy of Lyrical Theology Pt. 1. It’s fan-freakin’-tastic.