Album Review: “Epochal” by Matias Bacoñsky

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As promised I am back with another album review, but this is a tiny bit different.

You see, I was asked to check this release out and I am still wondering why I agreed because I had been asked over and over in the past two months to listen to this person or that and I always said “no” to them. Despite wanting to come back to doing more music reviews, I just don’t want another pop or indie artist. I want someone that creates music that I am truly interested in and right now, the genre is cinematic or epic music. So, that’s why I ended up agreeing to listen to Matias’s work with “Epochal” and I hope you all will enjoy what comes forth in this post.

Who is Matias Bacoñsky? Well he is an Argentinian pianist and composer for one. He has three other albums under his belt, so if you’re not exactly into this style of music, you should check out: “When The World Ends,” “Straight From The Heart,” and “Life and Death.” For this album, Epochal he is doing something unique, he was inspired to create a full on symphonic metal type of work with the addition of using a choir and has some electronical elements here and there too. Matias was lucky enough to work with two top singers in the symphonic metal world and they are: Marina La Torroaca of Exit Eden and Zuberoa Azarnez from Diabulus In Musica. So, now that I have grabbed your attention, let’s get into the songs, shall we?

We start with a great title, “New Dawn” and I like it when you begin an album on the right foot–no disability pun intended there!–and this was certainly a soft introduction as far as temple and overall sound. It had a mild earthily tone to it and I really enjoyed the pictures it allowed me to create in my mind. Next up is, “The Immortal” and as much as I wanted something very explosive, I liked the gentle build to that space I was originally hoping for, and it was somewhat subtle but again I enjoyed it. I loved the little breakthrough in the middle as I imagined myself bursting through something and flying around in the sky like a fairy. For a person who hasn’t paid that much attention to The Hobbit films, that’s all I kept seeing in my brain were images of elves and greenery!

Third in line is “A Second Chance” and no, that is not a typo! On this track, I thoroughly loved it because I thought you could hear the piano a lot easier without any other elements going on, but it was somewhat short lived because more and more things started to happen and the entire song built into a happier note. I thought the choir in the background was a tad bit much as it brought the vibe down into this mysterious atmosphere,, but it wasn’t too bad though! We move on to, “Reason To Believe” and even though we hadn’t made it too far in the album, I stopped trying to guess what each song would sound like because I was already one out of four. Anyways, I definitely sensed a shift with this track that we’d move on to the more serious take and I didn’t know if it was intentional but it was a simple turn of events.

“Breakdown” was next and it was the track featuring one of the guest artists. Zuberoa Aznarez of Diabulus In Música. I have dabbled through DIM’s music in the past but I was curious as to what Zuberoa would bring to the table. Her vocals are absolutely beautiful and soothing. She has a deeper sound to her voice and it is really powerful and yet quiet up against the piano and various bells in the background. She’s not really singing anything, I mean there are no words but you can certainly feel her presence on this song and it was very lovely! After completing that one, we have “Light On The Horizon” and it didn’t take me very long to make my overall judgements because I knew everything was perfect from the moment it begun. It was hauntingly mystic and I just couldn’t get enough of it honestly! There’s not much else I can say about it so we’re going to continue on with the list.

Our next track is called “Ambivalence” and this was another one that I noticed had a different take to it, although for me, it didn’t happen until the middle of the song but it started out with this slow almost icy way about it and then with the addition of the choir, everything became heightened and darkened at the same time. It was interesting because I wasn’t really feeling it as it began but once that door opened, my thoughts changed and so it was an odd one for me. We are nearing the end of the line and with the eighth spot, “Tree Of Life” was so pretty! I love trees in general, their way of ever growing below in the roots or up towards the sky. They are older than anyone of us, so I thought this was just gorgeous! I kept seeing the evolution of trees throughout the different seasons plus many, many shades of green too.

Next we have, “All In Vain” and despite telling myself to not judge on what it could sound like, the first words after looking at the title were “uh oh” so I was mentally prepared in case this one brought out my emotions a little bit. It did, but not in the way I expected it so that was good! The bells are notable and I have grown to appreciate them just as much as Matias’s piano skills! And finally, there’s “You” with Marina La Torraca of Exit Eden. From the moment it started, it was slightly dark and Marina’s voice is definitely higher and has a petite appeal to them so it lightens up everything and it was a fantastic finish to the whole thing. Normally, I would like to go off with a bang and thought it was different but strong at the same time.

As much as I adore music like this, unfortunately, I don’t listen to it like my heavy metal and pop records. I really thought it was enjoyable! I can definitely say without a doubt, “Light On The Horizon” is my ultimate favorite track. All of the songs were beautiful in their own ways but this really captured my heart and clearly hasn’t let it go yet and I am perfectly fine with it!

Have you listened to “Epochal” by Matias Bacoñsky yet? If you have, what were your thoughts on it? Do you have any favorites from the track list?

Album Review: “Cinematic Songs Vol. 7” by Tommee Profitt

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When Tommee Profitt comes out with something new, especially an album, you know I have to come out of hiatus for it. Fortunately, this isn’t the only review I am doing this summer. There is a big possibility you will get another when I come back for the end of July.

I didn’t even know it was coming out until about four days before it was released. As of the 20th of June, I still hadn’t listened to it because I kept going back and forth whether I wanted to blog about it, like as a proper album review, but since I hadn’t done one of these in so long that I literally almost vetoed it altogether. Thankfully, I changed my mind because I am in need of a cinematic binge, what about you?

So, let’s recap before we go too far into this post. Tommee started launching these clusters back in 2017. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but it might have something to do with the fact I never talked about volume six–I still don’t understand why I never did anything with it but I will say, it is still an album that isn’t as popular compared to the others for me. After that release, he took a mini break and worked with Fleurie (who frequently lends her voice and lyrics on past works) with their ‘Game of Thrones’ project “Gloria Regali” and then he devoted his time with Christian rapper NF on “The Search” (2019) and “CLOUDS MIXTAPE” (2021), but now he’s back with this bad boy, and I think we’re ready to get into it now.

The first track, “Who Will Save Us” actually features Fleurie, which honestly doesn’t surprise me. Tommee is known to work with both veterans in the cinematic world and some newbies too! I really liked the mild sounding of the introduction, it collides into Fleurie’s voice really well and even when the song explodes with this fierce power, neither one of these aspects are lost in the chaos. My only bad thing about is, it’s pretty short and I think I would have liked it more if it was a little longer and surprised me a little more too. Next we move on to, “Sinners & Saints” and this was the song that made me think we could be getting some new music by Tommee but I did not think an album would follow suit! I adore Beacon Light and I always feel happy and sort of lighter while listening to his songs and this one wasn’t any different. The one thing I wasn’t expecting was Moilba Mustapha and that country vibe coming through in the choruses. It is really good and definitely hits differently!

The artist Stanaj has a gorgeous voice! Personally, I am still obsessed with their track “Love Me” so I was thoroughly ecstatic to see them on here working with Tommee. “I Will Be Your Hero” really cuts you deeply with that slow beginning with just Stanaj’s soft vocals and piano in the background. You always know the song is going to be good if the piano is the main instrument–at least for me it always is! This song is so full of emotions and raw; it’s almost sexy in a way. Our fourth song is “Be Careful” with Laney Jones. I’m pretty sure Laney has been on the other albums but don’t hold me against that because I could be wrong. Anyways, I am in love with the music box lullaby start because it gives it a sweetly dark vibe and thankfully we glide into that feeling for the entire track. I need more of these type of songs honestly. I am surprised it was playing during the promos for the new Conjuring film that came out earlier last month.

As much as I didn’t want it the previous to end, we move to “Reign” with Anna Graceman. Now I will say, I don’t recognize Anna’s name nor her voice, but I like it. She has a soulful element that I didn’t think I needed until I heard it for this song. The track is very pop oriented but with her type of voice, it kind of gives off this bluesy vibe that isn’t overbearing by any means, but it is there as she hits those high notes towards the end. One thing I definitely approve of these albums–well, technically, I approve of a lot of things, but this is a favorite of mine!–s that he will include one or two instrumentals and with this installment, we get two of them. We begin with “Nocturnal Opus” and it definitely gives off that feeling it was created either late at night or after you’ve been up wayy over your limit. However, I really enjoy the eerie sound of the choir in the background. The entire track is spooky and wonderful. It ties in beautiful with “Be Careful” although they are two songs apart from each other.

“Powerful” is the one that I’ve been looking forward to the most as it has two of my favorites: Sam Tinnesz and Ruelle. These artists are very well-known in the cinematic pop world, as Ruelle has worked with the TV series Shadowhunters and Sam Tinnesz is basically everywhere now! I hear them all the time and it always makes so happy to see them getting all of this attention. The song itself is pretty mild but I honestly enjoy this seductive balance between Sam and Ruelle’s voices. They are both quite soft and it was nice to hear a beat match their octaves in this way. I had to listen to this one about three times to actually relish in it for a while. However, I had to go on and “Frontlines” was a nice sequel. It has another guest artist that has worked with Tommee before, Jessie Early. She reminds me of Ruelle but with an extra punch, I think Ruelle is very airy, dreamy sound whereas Jessie has a darker edge and is perfect fit on these fast paced tracks. I think my overall favorite element of this one are the string section near the end. They really make the song better!

The eighth record is called “Wake Up” and we have Xeah and this is so beautiful! I really adored the simple introduction, where its just their voice in that low, almost monotone sound and nothing else. We get a few lines like that but then it explodes and it is really strong and suspenseful in every way. The most interesting thing is, Xeah doesn’t have a lot of lyrics so the rest is instrumental, and it is super hypnotic. I thought this was the coolest one on the album, until I heard the next one. “Lament From The Grave” features Stanaj again, and I don’t want language Stanaj is singing but I love it! It kind of gave me like Hans Zimmer vibes because I’ve heard several tracks that are similar, so it was an interesting and new thing for not only me, but Tommee too, because we haven’t heard anything like this before. It sounds exotic and heartwarming at the same time though.

We are nearing the end of our time together; I hope you’re still with me.

I am such a sucker for anything with a little bit of moxie in it. “Welcome to my world” is definitely one of those types of songs. The artist included in this one is :LYRA, and I don’t quite know if they have been on previous numbers or not, but I like their voice. I feel like this could be great playing on the first episode of “Riverdale” new season this fall or perhaps the reboot of “Gossip Girl” It has a gripping but flirty sound and it is so good! Next is our final instrumental, “The Day Before” and I don’t know about you, but anything with these three words will have a sad element to it. You may not hear it at first but it’s there. I think it was really good, not at all crazy but perfectly balanced to showcase both a lighter and sort of panic atmosphere and it really works well with the final track, which is “Tragic” with Fleurie. It is a beautiful broken type of song and I really like these different sounds of bells going on in the background. It was the perfect ending.

I was honestly a little worried after I started this post, because I wasn’t sure I could do it anymore. I feel like I’m not the best person to review albums because I’m not great at describing things–I feel like I’m worse at discussing music. So, I took a big risk at jumping in with a Tommee Profitt produced album but I did it. I may never understand why I didn’t talk about volume seven but this one was really impressive! It was definitely needed after we went through in 2020, so I would rate it as six out of ten stars altogether.

Have you listened to “Cinematic Songs (Vol 7)” by Tommee Profitt yet? If you have, what song(s) was your favorite? What about the guest singers too?

June Playlist

Hello!

It is absolutely crazy that July starts on Thursday, like seriously?! I just embraced June for all its worth and we’re moving on to another month fast as lightning! I have to say, June was pretty good. The temperatures have been fairly high lately but I have figured out a system to hang out with our cats in the evenings. I think they enjoy it just as much as I do because they are super lazy around 5-7pm and they all want to love and I’m here for it! I’ve also found out that my cat Stormy isn’t the only one who enjoys belly rubs: Oscar and Nelson loves it too!

For music though, I have sort of shifted from like this dark pop aesthetic I’ve been in since the middle of March, to suddenly for the last couple of weeks, all I want is rock music. I’ve been listening to Sirius XM Octane like crazy and I’ve heard a lot of really good music on there to the point I have been sharing some of my favorites as part of my “Song Of The Day” Instagram stories in the evenings. And then recently, I decided to use my iPod again and I’ve been bringing back the good old school Kelly Clarkson and rediscovering symphonic metal as a whole, so I’ve been keeping things interesting, that’s for sure!

As for the monthly playlist, especially for this post, I really tried to shorten it but honestly there are a lot of tunes I was thoroughly obsessed with that I couldn’t take them away, although they are included in the Spotify playlist. I ended up creating a Top 30 because of my inability to choose my ultimate favorites for June.

Gettin’ Even by Seasons After
Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
Macaroni Salad by Niia
Muscleville by Kai Wachi
WYGD by Empara Mi
Peaches (Remix) by Justin Bieber featuring Usher, Ludacris & Snoop Dogg
Dark Side by Blind Channel
Ruthless by Nonpoint

Remedy by Savage After Midnight
Pure Evil by Like A Storm
The Devil by BANKS
Girls by Zella Day

A Girl Like You by Machine Gun Kelly x Travis Barker
Time Warp by Apashe featuring Sami Chaouki
I Care by Paul Hernandez
Parachute by Saint Chaos
Believer by Lea Michele
Your Betrayal by Bullet For My Valentine
Warrior by Atreyu featuring Travis Barker
Only Love Can Save Me Now by The Pretty Reckless
Deal With It by Ashnikko featuring Kelis
Papi by Isabela Merced
Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo
You Thought Wrong by Kelly Clarkson featuring Tamyra Gray
Astronaut In The Ocean by Masked Wolf
Talkin’ Bout by Loui featuring Saweetie
Right Now by Fire From The Gods
Didn’t Know Love by Celine Dion
Adios by EVERGLOW
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X

I know I might be a little early making this announcement but I have already started keeping track of various songs to include in my Summer 2021 playlist in September. There are some that wouldn’t surprise you at all, but they are a couple of special tunes that I think will make themselves known in the next three months. Have you already discovered your summer anthem for the year yet?

There have been some albums and EPs that I’ve listened to lately, that I thought I would share with you today. If you still enjoy the occasional dubstep genre, you should look into Kai Waschi as they have released a brand new EP a few weeks ago called “MUSCLEVILLE” and even though it only contains five tracks, it is really good! I don’t listen to a lot of dubstep and/or trap music anymore but I keep Kai around for those ‘once in a blue moon’ kind of days. The other artist you should consider is Tommee Profitt, although Tommee isn’t the main artist, he did produce every song on the album, so he is listed first before any of the guest singers. I’ve been thinking of doing a review of the new album: Cinematic Songs Vol. 7 but I already have a tight schedule for July so we will have to see what happens.

What were you listening in June?

Book Review: “The German Midwife” by Mandy Robotham

Well, here we are!

This is my last book review to be included in my “20 Books In 2020” reading challenge. I saw this one day while I was scrolling through KU and something about the cover just made me click it and read the blurb, and once I did that I was instantly intrigued with the concept. What if Evan Braun had had a child? This question would play with me while I was reading and after I had finished it.

If you are interested in historical fiction, especially if it is set in the depths of World War II with all of its ugly history dealing with an evil dictator like Adolf Hitler and of course with the aftermath of the Holocaust and its survivors. There are very few times that a book itself would read like if you were sitting in a movie theater watching it on the biggest screen and the volume blasted as loud as it can to pull you into it ever more.


51X-kIIkghLAn enthralling new tale of courage, betrayal and survival in the hardest of circumstances that readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Secret Orphan and My Name is Eva will love.

Germany, 1944. A prisoner in the camps, Anke Hoff is doing what she can to keep her pregnant campmates and their newborns alive.

But when Anke’s work is noticed, she is chosen for a task more dangerous than she could ever have imagined. Eva Braun is pregnant with the Führer’s child, and Anke is assigned as her midwife.

Before long, Anke is faced with an impossible choice. Does she serve the Reich she loathes and keep the baby alive? Or does she sacrifice an innocent child for the good of a broken world?


When I first started reading it on July 20th, my only note I put on the status update on Goodreads was “On chapter 6 and it’s already a doozy!” I am familiar with the hardships that the Jews dealt with during their time either hiding from the SS soldiers and being starved and worked to death in various camps all over Europe. While I was in high school, I took a course called “Novels” and we read Elie Weisel’s Night. This was the first time I ever read a book about a survivor’s time in the concertation camps and I literally thought I would never read a book from that time period ever again.

After reading about Enjeela and Malala’s stories escaping their war-torn homelands earlier this year, I figured I couldn’t necessarily talk myself out of not reading a book set in this time frame.

Our main character Anke Hoff, is the everyday woman in the mid-1940’s, she was young but trapped in the gray area of being a German but not supporting Adolf Hitler and The Reich. She was also helping all women–including Jewish–give birth to their children. The story is given to you in two different parts, so you begin with the character about Irena, a Jewish woman giving birth in a crowded and nasty hut full of other women, including Anke and her helper Rosa. You learn about the ins and outs of bringing a baby into the world and how Jewish babies were stripped away from their mothers and put to death for all to hear in the camp.

The second part of the story are these diary-like entries, they include dates and estimated locations. These tell the story of Anke’s life before ending up in the camps. You get to see everything that happens within a hospital before the war erupted and how she is captured by the Gestapo and eventually sent to a camp. At first, this section was my least favorite because I thought it would be too much information for the reader, including myself to separate while reading about her current living situation. However, it was in this part that talked about how the Nazi doctors and officials treated babies with physical disabilities. This is the reason why in my first note I said “it was a doozy” because I wasn’t necessarily expecting it, but while I was sad to learn what would happen to this innocent babies, it really gave me a sense of who Anke was as not only a midwife but a human being at this time.

In a way to luminate that Anke is a regular woman, the author set up a love interest, and I will be honest, I wasn’t much of a fan for it in the beginning, but when we learn more about Dieter Stenz, the quicker I was willing to overlook my initial reaction to him. As the story was ending and we learn what happens to him, my emotions were all over the place! It also didn’t help that this was the final book in my Goodreads challenge for the year. If you didn’t know by now, I finished 20 books in eight months!

The final thing I enjoyed about this story was that the author Mandy Robotham, is actually a real midwife. This made me really happy to learn this in the beginning because I knew she would include anything she has learned throughout her medical schooling and career as a midwife too. It also made me realize that everything that was discussed about childbirth inside the camps and domestic life in the 1930’s and 40’s could be true in some form despite the fact that the story is fictionalized. So, if you are interested in learning about midwifery, enjoy reading historical fiction and/or a good ‘what if’ kind of story, then you will love this book; if you decide to read it, please let me know your thoughts about it.

If you have read Mandy Robotham’s first novel “The German Midwife” or “A Woman Of War” as it was titled in the United Kingdom? What were your thoughts about Anke Hoff’s story? 

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Book Review: “City Of Bones” by Cassandra Clare

Hello!

I have been wanting to read this book for a long time. I remember when it first came out because I would visit the book section at Wal-Mart all the time and I was curious but not enough to consider reading it in the beginning, possibly for the fact that it is a massive book! It wasn’t until the film came out in 2013 that I found myself wanting to see what all the fuss was about, because there wasn’t a lot of happy people when it came out in theaters. I ended up loving it more than I thought, but I don’t usually watch the film version and then read the book afterwards, so I would watch it all the time until we had to get our DVRs updated and it was deleted in the aftermath.

I had hoped that it would appear on our movie channels in the last seven years but it hasn’t but I feel in my own bones that it might in the future now that I’ve finally read the book.

When I started doing my reading challenge, I had hoped that the book would be apart of Prime Reading because they usually have a wide range of fantasy books in their catalog but it wasn’t until we got KU that I found it and took full advantage of the opportunity.


055c57b555c80ebe15494ad70ad84e24When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder – much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air.

It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing – not even a smear of blood – to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk.

Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…

taken from Goodreads.

For someone who hasn’t watched the film in seven years and only seen a few episode trailers of the Shadowhunters show on Freeform, I had a very vivid images of all of the characters floating around in my mind as I read the book. It was a tad bit difficult to stop comparing them all together but I think it happened me lots on building everything else that was talked about in the story.

Once I began my journey I quickly realized why the book itself looked so large on BookTube, because the author made sure to describe everything for her readers to both see the amount of detail she created for her readers and understand how important it is to basically look beyond the lines, whether that meant a story itself, a person or building. I, myself, have never been good at creating lots of things within various scenes. This has always been my downfall, even in school, we had a standardized test every year and the section where it allows you to write long answers, I wouldn’t give anything to describe what is going on and I would fail that part every year. I had never seen so many words to help visualize the surroundings of what was going on with the characters.

As I was seeing the various structures in my mind, I was also enjoying the banter and bickering among the characters too. I really loved Clary and Simon’s friendship and the scene where they go to Magnus Bane’s house and the poor guy is turned into a rat, cracked me up! I feel like that was perfect because only a mundane would grab a random cup to drink at a warlock’s party! I think the perfect way to sum up how much Clary cared for Simon is shown when she discovers him missing from her backpack and they get ambushed at the vampire lair. Again, it was perfect and I ended up enjoying that whole scene the most I think.

Another character I loved more in the book than anywhere else was Hodge. He gave me serious mentor vibes, and every scene he was talking to Clary about the past or general information about a Shadowhunter’s life was so interesting. I felt as though I was Clary in those scenes and just absorbing as much information as possible, but I wasn’t planning on feeling betrayed when he stabs them in the back. I was genuine upset by it! And the entry of Valentine scared me as much as it had Clary. It probably didn’t help that I was seeing Jonathan Rhys Meyers in my head as I think he has the intimidating factor well-generated into himself. So, anytime he was in the same room with Clary, I was feeling nervous for her.

I really hope I am able to start on “City Of Ashes” soon because I want to know what happens next between Clary and Jace, especially after that big reveal at the end. I’m still fairly confused by that but I’m choosing to keep it to myself as I feel like anyone who reads this will think I just ruined the ending for them, so I’m stopping here.

Have you read “City Of Bones” by Cassandra Clare yet? If you have watched the film and show first and then starting reading the series, what were your initial thoughts about this story?

snowflake