Kamelot “Haven” – Highlight 2015

Kamelot 2015

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When I discovered Kamelot a few years back with “The Black Halo”  and then “Ghost Opera” little did I know how much their music would influence me. I could speak for hours about Kamelot, or in this case write. I never thought in a million years that I would one day listen to that kind of music, but it is now impossible for me to spend one day without listening to Kamelot.

HavenI loved (still do) Roy Khan’s voice and the drama he’s brought to each and every Kamelot song; so when the amazing Tommy Karevik stepped in for the album “Silverthorn“, I am sorry to say that I refused to listen to it… until I did, of course, and got hooked.

As soon as the band announced the coming out of “Haven“, there was this pinch in my heart that did not ease up until I finally received the album at home and held it. As usual, my husband and I waited until it was the weekend to listen to it… excruciating wait! Nonetheless, well worth it. It was then Tommy who put me under the Kamelot spell; it was still Tommy who brought tears in my eyes and shivers through my entire body as he sang “Here’s to the Fall“. Every Kamelot album has its own signature and strength, but with every new one they are getting closer (to what? I haven’t the faintest…), so I can say without a doubt that they’ve outdone themselves with “Haven“.

Why did we wait? TRADITION of course! Kamelot’s music is “sacred” in our family and therefore, we have now this habit of playing a new Kamelot CD very loud in the living room while sharing a glass of wine and thus listening almost “religiously” to the album a couple or more times… we usually do not utter a word but for the occasional “wow!”, “hmm!”, “cool!” accompanied with the unfading smile on our face and the glimmer in our eyes. Kamelot equal magic to me and they are a constant inspiration, sometimes when I write, some other time when I think and am trying to win an argument with myself, yet other times, they can inspire in how I look at the world. Music is a universal language and they are speaking it to perfection. Even though perfection does not exist, as some say, I tend to believe that there are as many types of perfection as there are human beings…

You have already noticed that I have just named the singer (former and actual). The thing is that I cannot tell you how good each and every one of them plays because it is obvious, you hear it as well as I do without me pointing that out. The singers have that particularity, though, they deliver my truest and most faithful companions with the eloquence they deserve: WORDS. Kamelot, however, is a musical entity and it works its magic so well because of these particular members: Thomas Youngblood, Sean Tibbetts, Tommy Karevik, Oliver Palotai and Casey Grillo. Visit Kamelot Official Website.

You can buy Haven everywhere now… so just go to your favorite shop, it’s worth every penny.

Beyond the music, Kamelot has this chaotic aesthetic about them that they unfailingly offer us both musically and visually. The latest proof of that (if you do not count the pictures and artwork) would be with both videos of “Insomnia” and its sequel “Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy)“. I have not yet worked out the visual interpretation of the lyrics, but that might take me a while longer. These videos are some kind of short movies with a dash of gothic science fiction; the darkness within is toned down by smoothed out pictures and visual effects (if that makes sense to anyone). As I said, it is a chaotic aesthetic that strengthens both songs very well. On a social media, someone (a fellow Kamelot fan I think it was) said something that got me thinking (yet again). He was wondering about the conclusion of the videos… I see very well a conclusion with one of my favourite songs from “Haven”: “Revolution“. We’ll just have to wait and see, until then enjoy the music.

Listen now to Revolution on Spotify:

For those of you who haven’t the faintest about Kamelot’s music, here is a link to “A Beginner’s Guide to Kamelot

Easter under the influence of dogs

Easter 2015 will always remain a very special one for me although I believe that most of you won’t understand why it was such a big deal. Another truth is that most of you know how crazy I am about dogs (of all sizes), therefore this post won’t come as news, or as a surprise, it might actually even be a bit boring. For you, in particular, please either bear with me or just click away this week, it’s ok.

Far away from the truth

My husband and I recently moved apartment two doors away. Our  old place is now occupied by a very kind woman and her two long-haired chihuahuas. I know what you are seeing right now, either a brat like Paris Hilton carrying her dogs in a handbag or an old lady with two neurotic rats. If it is so, then you are so far away from the truth that it is hilarious. My neighbor JB has been super friendly from the start and very trusting too; her two dogs, Torsten and Smilla, are just like her. It is said that dogs are the human’s mirrors.

For the funny anecdote, Cesar Millan‘s old show “Dog Whisperer” had an episode entitled “Chihuahuas from Hell“… Torsten and Smilla are the complete opposite of that, so it is fair to write that they are THE “Chihuahuas from Heaven.”

Torsten and Smilla - Chihuahua from Heaven

Torsten and Smilla – Chihuahua from Heaven

Pet sitter

Sleeping after the long walk from Friday

Sleeping after Friday’s long walk

A few months ago, JB asked me if I wanted to watch her dogs on Monday evenings while she would go to the gym. I agreed to it without hesitation, happy to help and get the company of her two dogs. The first time was quite funny, for the dogs became quite restless until my husband and I sat in the same room with them. The pack was gathered and Torsten and Smilla finally relaxed. I watched the dogs a few Mondays after this, and then one day here and there. JB had peace of mind as she could do what she needed without feeling guilty about leaving her dogs. It has been a win-win situation for both parties every time.

A couple of days before Easter, JB asked me if I would consider taking the dogs over the weekend. I told her that I would ask my husband if he minded to which he replied that he was perfectly alright having the dogs over. We, therefore, took them from Thursday to Sunday.

Uneventful yet memorable weekend

Shorter walk on Saturday with Torsten and Smilla

Shorter walk on Saturday with Torsten and Smilla

Torsten and Smilla are blood relative (Smilla being Torsten’s granny), and they are so well behaved, cute and funny that I told JB she would have to teach me how she raised them when the day for me to have my own dog should come. Torsten is a bit more pig-headed than Smilla, but all in all it is very easy to have them off leash outdoors and still have them follow us. Friday morning, we went on a walk for almost two hours around the river nearby our neighborhood. The paths were very muddy and icy sometimes. As we came back home, we just carried the dogs upstairs straight into the bathtub. I tell you this, these guys like to be pampered. They slept the rest of the day, agreeing to get up to go pee and eat. Friday was actually very eventful for the two smallish dogs. In the morning, before the walk around the river, they met two neighbors: an English Bulldog and a Cocker Spaniel, I think they were. That went well, but the dogs became very excited when they saw Torsten and Smilla whom, I believe, have very little patience for such behavior. In the evening, they met one of the new neighbors: Bongo, a young, excited Rotweiller-Boxer mix. Gorgeous and friendly, Torsten and Smilla did not see his friendliness with a keen eye and warned him a few times with their “pipping” that he should calm down around them. Nelly, our neighbor’s F.‘s French Bulldog was just as excited as Bongo and she was actually provoking him into playing. The difference in size was quite amazing, Nelly did not bother at all though. F. told us that she was in fact not feeling well that day… hmm! How would it have turned out if she had been feeling well then?

Most gratifying feeling

The thing is that I feel relaxed and unburdened when these two fluffy beings are around. I live in the moment, the stress disappears and a sense of real purpose fills my heart. I am honored that JB trusts me the way she does and entrusts her “babies” to me. There is nothing more rewarding than having a dog sharing one’s life and JB has given me a taste of what it would be like if my husband and I had a dog. Until we do, this is a good compromise and I am most grateful to JB; but, you know what, after just four days, the apartment feels quite empty.

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AIRSTREAM – Kingdom of Isolation

The magical world of music

I find there is always something magical with new music. The waiting is unfailingly building up my expectations and excitement in discovering new melodies, lyrics, and musical dynamics. I could, of course, write this about any album that I am privileged to receive in my mailbox. Airstream is, therefore, no exception to the rule, even more so since I have been looking forward to listening to “Kingdom of Isolation” for weeks and for very special reasons too.

Debut album “Kingdom of Isolation”

Airstream - Kingdom of IsolationAirstream is a newly formed rock / hard rock band who recently released their debut album “Kingdom of Isolation”. I cannot hide the fact that I was a bit disappointed when I first listened to it through our Dali Skyline 1000 speakers, but it has nothing to do directly with the music. I simply felt that the musicians – both as individuals and as a band – and the music deserved a better production. “Kingdom of Isolation” could have been more dynamic that way. Those speakers are unforgiving in such cases.

This being said and out of my way, let’s talk music shall we. I have to warn you though, if you are looking for insight on what the album sounds like, that is to say, what other bands Airstream can be compared to, you are reading the wrong review. Besides, this is NOT a review but rather the reflexions of a music enthusiast after a few listenings of “Kingdom of Isolation”. My French favorite singer/poet Francis Cabrel wrote, in his adaptation of “Rosie” by Jackson Browne:

Faut pas dire à qui je ressemble, / Faut dire qui je suis” which literally means:
Don’t say to whom I look like, / Say who I am”.

This is what I intend to do as I write about Airstream debut album “Kingdom of Isolation”.

“Kingdom of Isolation” – track by track

Are you kidding me? Do you really think that I am going to tell you why I like each and every track? This is too much of a subjective exercise and it is best that you listen to the album yourselves to build your own opinion; more importantly, experience the music without any influence from yours truly!

Suffice it to say though that I first got hooked by “You had the World In Your Hands” (8:06 minutes, for once I picked the longest song) and “Addicted” (with a similar theme as the latter, I think); these two songs have the extra spice talking to my goosebumps and made me lend an attentive ear. Kee Marcello, one of my favorite guitarists plays on “You had the World in Your Hands“, and he is as always brilliant… but guess what… he is not the reason why I love that song. I think that it is one of the most creative pieces on the album. The lyrics have this recurring theme that I find in my favorite bands new material lately (I only wish “Kingdom of Isolation” had lyrics in the booklet). Besides the lyrics, the light – yet melancholic – touches of the piano  give the song all its emotional dimension, contrasted with the powerful guitar solo that brings in the drama of life and complete the track nicely.

“Kingdom of Isolation” reminded me of…

Pun intended, of course!

As I look back when the band Europe took a break in the 90s, it opened my world to new music and I remember the feelings I had then when I played a “new” band at the time. Everything sounded great and made me very happy.

This is precisely what Airstream reminded me of. The music itself is not extraordinary and yet it is. The type of creativity the band shows talks straight to my spirit – there are some contradictory feelings within the same song, which I find amusing and inspiring. “Oh Mother Oh Father” is a weird little gem, slightly progressive and fun to play – on repeat despite its 7:40 minutes.

Generally speaking “Kingdom of Isolation” has catchy melodies, just enough darkness, some drama and a dash of humor which makes it a very pleasant album to listen to… not to mention prestigious guests appearances such as Thomas Larsson and Kee Marcello – the cherry (-ies) on the cake.

In Airstream‘s own words from the title track, remember this:

“You can be a hero, you can be a king, you don’t need anyone, you can be anything”

Magic is still alive!

Airstream is:

Staffan Karlsson: lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards
Micke Höglund: bass guitar, backing vocals
Mathias Brask: lead guitar, backing vocals
Tommy Moon: drums, vocals

Follow Airstream on Facebook
Listen to Airstream on Spotify

Photo: Chrestian Willhans

Photo: Chrestian Willhans

Journey from utter chaos to sigh of relief


Not disciplined dog

That is not discipline… that is hidden chaos

When Cesar Millan (one of my heroes) disciplines a dog that he is rehabilitating (or not) he lies the dog down until the dog relaxes… just like another pack member would do. 

– How do you know that the dog is relaxed and has given in? 

The cat knows

The cat knows… he’s got the sigh of relief from doggie

Quite simple really: it is when you hear the animal give a deep long sigh.


Well, I am not a dog…… but I can relate to the sigh… Indeed, I have, yet again, been struggling with my inner demons…

– Why, thank you very much for that, precious!
– Yes, thank you! Such a good friend you are…
 You see, what did I tell you?
Anyway, the struggle went on for months until it became pure chaos and I could not find the exit – as usual. The thing is that life is a huge influence, whether you like it or not… or a bully. 
– Now, that is not politically correct!
– Catscious’s right, for once, you should not joke around with that word…
Look who’s talking; I mean really, you are going to give me lessons on what word I should – or should not – use… You! The two perfect “bully-angels” hammering me over and over until I am too fed up to fight back?
– Now, wait a minute missy!
– We are no bullies and we are not hammering nobody…
– We’re just joking around.
Then be quiet for a change I am trying to make a freaking point!

From Utter Chaos

As I was saying, life IS a bully because until you do what you are supposed to do – be it full-time or not – it won’t let you rest. It will keep nagging at you, push you around, laugh at you even.
– No way, life’s not like that. SHE is the good cop!
Hmm… in my case, life has chosen the weirdest, chattiest, most annoying characters as “bullies”: ONE would not have been enough – no, sir! – No! I’ve got two of them stuck in my head and they can talk for hours and I am not allowed a word… so I speak at the same time: it is such a hubbub that nobody understands us and we don’t hear anybody. In other words: UTTER CHAOS!
But I am not here to complain, on the contrary… I have to tell and share my “aha! moment” with you. Hopefully, you’ll find it interesting; if not, you can just skip the reading and go straight to Gollum’s clip fighting himself; right on topic I’d say.
I used to say that what I do is not who I am. This basically means that what I do has taken over who I am since I started working about three years ago. As a faithful reader, you have undoubtedly noticed that I am around but I don’t write much anymore. This put me in a situation where I no longer have control over who I am therefore it has put me into a slightly depressed state of mind at times. I have tried to convince myself that I do not like what I do because it is not who I am, but it does not work that way. One does not need to exclude the other which took me a while to realize.
– What are you talking about?
– She is babbling again…
– She wants us to feel sorry for her.
– She just needs attention and now she is talking about herself again.
Alright, alright! “Give us a chance precious”!
– Funny…
– Well, go on then!
I have come to my senses, or rather my senses have kicked me hard and long enough on the head for me to wake up. I actually like what I do, even though it is not always a stroll in the park to work in customer service. I like it though because it gives me another kind of purpose that does not only revolve around my person. It helps keep my narcissism at bay and this is healthy.
– It might be so, but…
– You mostly forgot about us and it hurts.
Sorry you guys, but what’s wrong for you is right for me… and let me add that this might be a positive way of having you grow into better versions of yourselves… therefore, I can be a better version of MYSELF.
– A bit presumptuous thinking…
– You are assuming that you can influence US even though, we all know that it  is the other way around.
Is it really?

To Sigh of Relief

Anyhow, I am fine with the fact that I like what I do; however, I need to find the right balance to allow who I am to thrive. I am still working on it, but the fact that I am writing to and with you is proof enough that I am on the right path.
– Right, right, right…. you are repeating yourself.
Freelance writing as a full-time profession is – or was – very appealing, but the market is looking for a type of writers I do not belong to. In order to belong, I would have to change my way of writing and possibly thinking. It is doable, mind you, the only problem is that I like the way I write and the way I think… I am not willing to sacrifice this to fit in. For the first time, I have acknowledged this and feel good about it. No matter what being a freelance writer means, I am one even if I do not make a living out of it. I am not earning a penny out of my writing, but I get something far more substantial: YOU, the reader.
So, I was driving to work, and these thoughts started popping up. I felt a big smile on my face and I said to myself – and to Hope and Catscious, my other “me:s” – I like my job; I like what I do, but I won’t allow it to define who I am. However, who I am has gotten richer because of what I do. The SIGH OF RELIEF that came after that was my “aha! moment”. Get it? I have been fighting a concept “what I do” believing that it was plan B and that plan A “who I am: the writer” had to come first – mainly due to the letter order… what if plan B actually was plan A all along, to allow plan A – which really is plan B – to be? I have to do what I do to be who I am and who I am to do what I do… gosh it’s good to be back!
The other day, my husband told me something that strengthened this epiphany: “I used to say that I have still not lived the best moments of my life. I realized, however, that I was already living the best moments of my life ever since I’ve met you.” He called me while on his way home to tell me that because he could not wait to tell me. Oh, shocking! I feel exactly the same way and probably became conscious of it while having my “aha! moment” too.
Finally, we all are, to some degrees, a bit schizophrenic. I believe that it keeps our creativity sharp and alert. Hope and Catscious – my “bully-angels”, my “inner-demons”, my Gollums – are me… and I am Hope and Catscious… and we are a Clark!
Thanks for reading,
Until next time!

Europe | a love story

Only young twice : historien om Europe (pocket)I have recently finished reading the non-official biography of Europe “Only young twice: historien om Europe” by Mattias Kling. It is a well-written book, and a page turner for sure. It left, however, some kind of bad taste in my head and it kind of pissed me off. I don’t care about what the members of Europe have done or not; how they behaved or misbehaved. I mean nobody is perfect and it is the way it should be. I got mad because of what was said about the music. After “The Final Countdown“, they had to come up with more hits but somehow not another “The Final Countdown“… when they did just that with “Out of this world“, it was not enough. “Prisoners in Paradise” was what? too heavy, too far from “The Final Countdown“, yet again, I think I also read between the lines: pathetic. Okay and Bye-bye! They came back in 2004 with an amazing album “Start from the dark“, and it was too metal furthermore, it arrived too late on the market since such music was ancient history… never enough… well, let me tell you a story… this is what Europe’s music did for me.

A love story gone sour

This is no surprise for those who know me, Europe is clearly my favorite music band – has been so before the split-up in 1992-ish and has won me over once more since the come back in 2004.

Wings of Tomorrow

Love can be a very tricky feeling for hate is always part of the mix, like the dark side of ones heart that one would wish to hide away forever but cannot for it would unbalance our very nature. Between Europe and I, it has been like that… at first, growing towards unconditional love until the free fall to oblivion… the music that I had loved so much – and by extension, those playing it – suddenly started disgusting me.

The Final Countdown (song)Carrie (song)

Old records tend to break which is exactly what happened to my heart. This did not happen when the band split up but much later though. Let’s start succinctly at the beginning. I discovered Europe thanks to my mother who bought me “The Final Countdown” single. I have literally listen to it until the disc broke down… I had one of those snap disc portable record players and I listened to both sides of the single, until it would not play any longer. “On broken wings” kind of saved my life too… a few months later, I heard “Carrie” as I was on holidays with my cousin and grand-parents.

The Final Countdown (album)

I got the single but I do not remember how… a month later, I was at one of my aunts’ place (my mother’s eldest sister); she bought me the LP “The Final Countdown” and this is how it all started.

Cover of "Out of This World"

After this I waited for the next LP “Out of this World“, which I bought (thanks to my little brother who saw it on the rack at the supermarket) and knew by heart within a week – especially “Tower’s Calling“. The next album was slow to come out, so I bought the ones I did not have: “Europe” and “Wings of Tomorrow“. The latter was my favorite until “Prisoners in Paradise“. I was then sixteen years old.

Prisoners in Paradise

I cried my eyes out when the band split up… for some reasons though, I could not believe that the musicians would completely stop playing, so I started being on the look-out for a sign from any of them. It is how I began following their careers and discovered a music world that I had completely ignored before. I like to think that Europe’s split up led my step towards my husband, so it could not have been such a negative thing even though they went through many hardships… hardships are not always bad for they make one grow.

Before I met my husband, I met Ian and John L. in Parma, Italy. After this, all hell broke lose in my head… I was realizing that my life was centered around Europe and not me… I grew angry at each and every one of them – I thought – when in reality, I was mad at myself. I broke free a few months after Parma’s convention.

Break Free and Got to have faith

My 16+ years love story with Europe was finally over… I knew they were on their way back but I had decided to rebel and go against the current. During all the years I had followed them, I widened my network of contacts and one band leading to another and another until my husband to be found me. Very romantic story… really!

Cover of "Start from the Dark"

Last Look at Eden

Cover of "Secret Society"

Europe came back in 2004 with a very heavy album “Start from the dark“, which I absolutely adore. I must, however, confess that I only listened to it closely in 2005. It was my wake up call album, the little extra nudge for me to feel the changes I needed to make in my life (see video). They have grown as musicians and especially as people. This is what makes their come back a brilliant one. “Secret Society” and “Last Look at Eden” show how much they have matured and how much fun they are actually having. The latest mentioned has woken some senses I did not think I had, which in this case gave me a strong taste for melodic/progressive metal (just in case you need a label of some sorts here).

Last year (2012) Europe released their 4th album since the come back (9th counting the ones before the split up). “Bag of Bones” has more soul and is more of a classic rock album. It was received with a lot of enthusiasm which is great since it is a great album. Unfortunately, I cannot say that the album has grown like the other three though; my favorite is probably “Firebox” because of the punch it has. I wrote a review Bag of Bones.

Journalistic behavior

The book I would have liked to read would have talked about music and how the artists felt when they made it… Mattias Kling, as I understand it, is a very good journalist in his field and has written a few books already.

I thought I’d be a professional reviewer of some kind, or maybe a journalist who’d get to interview artists such as Europe. I am so glad that I am not. Be objective! Always ask questions! Always doubt! It feels like being an art-journalist is comparing the work of an artist in order to find as many faults as possible, because it cannot be good… arts and in this case music has to be criticized and brought down when it does not follow a standard, a market. I am glad that I am not a journalist, that my objectivity is not influenced by what people think art should be but by what art makes me feel.


Europe: Bag of Bones – magic for the senses

Like an arrow… straight through the heart.

I was ecstatic when I heard Europe was back in studio last year to record their new album. The first time I heard the title “Bag of Bones“, I thought to myself: did I not see the adaptation of that Stephen King’s book on TV? It became very clear that I was hooked from the start… although, not done listening to the previous unbelievable great album “Last Look at Eden”. Anyway, months have passed, teased by the band’s video blog and later on by the promo single “Not supposed to sing the blues“, my anticipation was built up by a very talented marketing team indeed!

Listen to samples from Europe’s website

A few weeks before the official release of “Bag of Bones” I therefore pre-ordered a signed copy and got in on Christmas Day, in April. I have listened to it – about six times – yes, no big deal… I know, but I came home in the middle of the day, after my school exams. I’ll play the honesty card, my anticipation went flop at first when I heard “Riches to Rags” (only at first though… it just needed to grow on me a little and “I never felt so alive“). My attention got caught again by Ian Haugland who set the beat on “Firebox” telling me: listen up, this is new! Gotta listen to the nice drummer, right… This song is everything I like: melodic, yet fast and heavy (at times)… it speaks also to my oriental roots – from my father’s side – therefore to my heart and soul. I cannot really relate and yet, I do a great deal.

“Wow!” was my first reaction to almost every songs… I hear you, I have to elaborate. I am not going to give you a guided tour of all the songs for I am sure you are very capable of doing so yourselves; although, I have to admit that the title song “Bag of Bones” has blown my mind quite a lot, which pushed me to put it on repeat for a while. When did Joey Tempest begin to sing that way with such a soulful and bluesy voice? Since when has the band ever felt like such a harmonious unit? Don’t get me wrong, they did feel like that before too… but here, they did something more that spoke directly to my goosebumps.

Listen to samples from Europe’s website

This album is a neat classic rock creation and its influences are undeniable – I hear a bit of my old favourites Zeppelin, Deep Purple to name only two. “Drink and a smile” is a nice little surprise… short too – that’d count as a downside, by the way, because the music stops too early for my taste – there is still the repeat button that I can press. The band seems to like short on this album, for the very good instrumental piece “Requiem” made me react like: “what? is that all you’ve got? where’s the rest? – more please!” (or something like that). However, it works wonders as some kind of prelude to the track “My woman my friend“.

Musicianship speaking… I cannot say much, others already did that better than I ever could. All I need to know is how happy the music makes me feel when they play it: do I need to smile bigger than I already am for you to see?

This is great rock music and just like the previous albums, I will not ever grow tired of it. Bag of Bones has most definitely found a home into my heart as “Bring it all home” wraps it up softly.

I warmly (and enthusiastically) recommend Bag of Bones, Europe’s 9th album released April, 24th 2012.

Listen to samples from Europe’s website


Tracklist: 01. Riches to Rags (J. Tempest/ J. Leven) – 02. Not supposed to sing the blues (J. Tempest) – 03. Firebox (J. Tempest / M. Michaeli) – 04. Bag of Bones (J. Tempest) – 05. Requiem (M. Michaeli) – 06. My woman my friend (J. Tempest / J. Leven) – 07. Demon Head (J. Tempest / J. Leven / J. Norum) – 08. Drink and a smile (J. Tempest / M. Michaeli) – 09. Doghouse (J. Tempest) – 10. Mercy you mercy me (J. Tempest / J. Norum) – 11. Bring it all home (J. Tempest / M. Michaeli)

Europe’s line up for the “ignorant”:

Joey Tempest: Vocals
John Norum: Guitars
John Leven: Bass
Mic Michaeli: Keyboards
Ian Haugland: Drums



Europe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is no news to anybody who knows me, my favourite band is Swedish rockers Europe, and this since – “woof” – 25 years… I am feeling a bit old suddenly… gotta need a cane soon. Well, anyway, my “fan-status” has evolved over this time thankfully but something remained a constant, how happy the music makes me. It can be “invisible” happy or “jump-like” happy or just peaceful happy. In other words, it is a very primal and internal feeling that I absolutely recommend…

Unfortunately, with the Internet and the possibilities of ordering stuff on line, I – like many others – became lazy. Consequently, I miss something primordial to discovering new music: the anticipation… even so when it comes to Europe. I remember going to music shops and going through all the trays, thus making sure I had not missed something new – or even old and rare for that matter. The anticipation that runs through the body while searching, the thought that I was going to discover something that would stun me… I miss that.

I don’t miss the nineties though, not even when it comes to Europe’s music. I cannot miss it because they make new music again since 2004… One year before, I had started my new life which is a nice and feel-good analogy (for me at least). No nostalgia here… just fond memories.

Back to the point… the anticipation for that particular album, I have felt it (for music, I mean) maybe once or twice before – since I buy music on line. It is very special to wait… for, waiting is the major part of the anticipating process. I am at one of the last stages, where I can imagine when I’ll see the package in my mail box… holding it up in front of my husband with a big smile saying “It has arrived”, then rushing to the kitchen and opening the package. I’d fight with the childproof plastic wrapping around the CD-jacket, finally hurrying back to the living-room and changing the CD in the player… sitting beside my husband, the anticipation would go crescendo as I discover one track after the other, not wanting the music to stop.

Discovering something new in general is an amazing feeling… in our western societies, we do not wait any more… everything has to go so fast. Things need to happen at once and we want to have everything at the tip of a mouse click. The anticipation therefore fades away… soon, for many, it will be an endangered feeling…

This video ” Not supposed to sing the blues” kept my patience in check… and built up my anticipation for Europe’s 9th (4th since the band reformed) album “Bag of Bones” ^_^


Last Look At Eden, by Europe

Europe’s new studio album “Last Look at Eden” was released today in Scandinavia… and if, like me, you are lucky enough to have come by this disc… you might have reacted just as I did: “uh? what? cool… wow!”
Granted, this is not much of a review and I am about to explain myself…  Well, John Levèn said about “Last Look at Eden” (on the band’s official website): […]an album that shows that Europe are still getting better and better.” Mic Michaeli says something interesting too: “The 70′s meets the millennium.
After listening to the music many times, and pondering about how the band feels about it… I finally decided that I liked… loved it. More importantly, I think I can for once explain better why.
It took me a few years to have “Start from the dark” growing in me and it had become probably my favourite album… I liked “Secret Society” at once, but it was over-shone by its predecessor… I know, weird… Today, I know I will not be able to say that any more about “Start from the dark“…
Last Look at Eden” took its place. Referring to what Mic said, I do agree… I heard on this album, many old Europe sounds (from before the split up). For instance, I heard a little bit of “Yesterday’s News” on track 11: “Run with Angels“ ; a bit of  “A long time coming” & “Government Man” on track 3: “Gonna Get Ready” ; a bit of “Prisoners in Paradise” as an overall old lingering sound. Keep in mind though that these are very light touches of “old Europe” that I hear (you may not agree!)  The difference today is that the music is richer and the lyrics… well, let’s say that they suit me way better today.
 So, when Europe came back, they threw everything that made them different from how they used to be (and play) as musicians. It took them two albums to explore only their new musical possibilities. “Last Look at Eden” brings back the Europe spirit that we all know and mixes it with their musical and human growth. To quote John Levèn again: “Europe are still getting better and better.” Finally, when one listens to “Last Look at Eden“, one could say sometimes: “that riff could have come from a Deep Purple or a Richtie Blackmore’s album”, hence probably the quote from Mic: “The 70′s meet the millenium“.
Still on the band’s official website, Joey Tempest is talking about John Norum’s bluesy feeling when he is playing the guitar… though to tell you the truth, I had never noticed that aspect (no offence John)… On “Last Look at Eden“, John is playing with more feelings and bluesy touch (on some tracks) that I have ever heard him play before. That was one of the hugest and greatest surprises I had from the album.
Another surprise hit me as I played on though… curious as I was, I followed the progress of the album making on Europe’s blog… However, I had forgotten all about the Czech national symphony orchestra (which they use on four tracks)!!! That was a fantastic surprise to my ears, not only because of the orchestra and not because I noticed the orchestra at once (I actually did not). I grunted like in the beginning of this review when I first heard track 8: “No stone unturned” (I here a little bit of Ritchie Blackmore there or Rainbow) ; the melody is one that I had not been accustomed to with Europe despite the influences I hear in it. They all play marvellously, though I must say Mic’s keyboard playing made me listen even more closely. In short, one of their best creations if you ask me.
Of course, they serve us very well indeed with the powerful and emotional ballad “In my Time” that ends the album majestically. Just like “The Prelude” followed by the title track “Last Look at Eden” just make us want more, which the rest of the album gives without a glitch.
What can I say except that Europe outdid themselves with “Last Look at Eden“… there are absolutely “no stone left unturned“. It is musically brilliant, where old and new spirit of the five musicians combine perfectly. Highly anticipated album for which the expectations are, no doubt,  just as high all over the world… “Last Look at Eden” is no surprise, yet it has probably become one of the best surprises of the 2009 rock scene.
Europe mp3 store (non-Scandinavian customers might have to wait though).


The written words of books vs the “silver platter” pictures of films

429374_315922208457052_872422255_nThis is not a post about books being better than movies because that notion is actually very subjective. It is not either about whether I like books better than movies, I need both to sustain me. This week’s post is about imagination vs images served on a silver platter by movie makers.

– Wait a minute!

– So it is about books vs movies…

It is not!

– You’re kidding right!

– Just read back what you wrote for Pete’s sake!

I know what I wrote and I was not finished introducing what the post was about before you cretins interrupted me.

– No name callings!

Oh, my bad… you two crazy mini-me:s. Is that better?

– About the same…

Anyway, this week’s post is about MY imagination vs. ready-made (by others) pictures.

Fragonard_La liseuse

Fragonard_La liseuse

I’ve had interesting discussions with my husband about books and their adaptation to the big screen. The most recent example was “Ender’s Game“. I have not read the book (started though) and I did not like the movie. My husband, however, did read the book and hated the movie. He explained to me how, as he read the book he could make up his own images of places and characters; he retained these pictures and erased the movie’s from his mind. This is a fascinating notion to me because I am not like that.

You see, when I read a book I barely see the places or the characters. Usually, descriptions – no matter how well-written they are – give me very little pleasure for all I can see are either huge empty grey spaces with tiny (in terms of size) things and people or small spaces with spots of details here and there. I never see the whole picture. This is where movies come in handy as they fill in the blanks. Books give me sensations. I will smell a fire burning (whatever kind it is in a story), but I will not see if it is a fire in a hearth or a forest… ok, I’ll be able to make the difference, but I might just describe both types of fire the same way in terms of smell. Then, I will certainly talk about what I feel or perceive from the fire, but I won’t see it clearly.

Imagine a gigantic globe made of glass, empty and gray! Everything I read, if I do not have a visual reference, will end up crowding the globe in a very chaotic way. As I

As I read “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” before I watched the movie, all I saw were feelings and various colors related to these emotions. Of course, I could picture the characters thanks to the movies preceding the last book by J. K. Rowling, but barely the places that I had never been served on a silver platter before. The same goes for “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien.

– Well, not all books were adapted to the cinema or the telly…
– Fortunately, we should say!
– How does it work for you then?
Everything I read is like this: descriptions are gray and crowding a small spot (that way I keep everything in my field of vision); emotions and feelings are colors, heartbeats, and body perceptions such as shivers, things crawling under my skin, etc. but mostly shivers and goosebumps.
– You’re missing a lot then!
I do not get the full experience of the book, and yet I love reading.

The more I read a book, the better I can see the world it describes but if no motion picture has been made, the images are never the same for each reading… confusing! It might be the reason why I have such difficulties writing my own fiction stories despite all the ideas invading my head.

– Also, why you are so into movies…

I am looking forward to watching the BBC adaptation of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norell by Susanna Clarke. I have read that book maybe five times and every time I see different settings.

How do you read… reader?
What do you see when you read? or do just feel?
Do you get the full experience of a book? or just bits and pieces like me?