New Year, New Staff Picks: February 2019

We’re kicking off the new year with our first staff picks edition of 2019, featuring albums and playlists we’ve been listening to so far this year. Each featured release has been handpicked by our staff along with a brief quote. Want to listen to the featured release? Simply click “Listen Now” in each review section. Happy listening!

“This month I’m listening to unCLASSIFIED’s ‘Shakespeare in Love’.  I love how the iconic works of William Shakespeare are utilized to bring music, literature, theatre, and ballet together in one playlistand a timely choice for Valentine’s Day!”
– Natalie | LISTEN NOW

“The artistic commitment of this youth orchestra (Orquesta Juvenil Universitaria Eduardo Mata) is outstanding. These musicians under the clever direction of Gustavo Rivero Weber contribute to make this fantastic recording, not only with some well-known Mexican pieces, but also on a wonderful world-premiere recording of ‘El árbol de la vida’, written for the great guitarist Pablo Garibay.”
– Philippe | LISTEN NOW

“I’ve really enjoyed listening to ‘Exclusive’ this month. The blend of the group coupled with some interesting choral repertoire selections that I had not been previously exposed to makes this my choice for February.”

“This album is a shockingly unique fusion of instrumental hard rock and classical music; songs from bands like Led Zeppelin, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Muse, and Dream Theater are performed by a bizarre combination of bassoon, double bass, Hammond organ, and drums. The inspiration behind this project, titled ‘The Oscillating Revenge of the Background Instruments’, is that all four of these virtuosic, classically-trained musicians are often overshadowed in ensembles simply because their instruments are generally considered to be ‘background’ instruments and typically play no more than supporting roles in the musical texture. Now, with this project, these so-called ‘background’ instruments are staking their claim on the spotlight; this is their revenge.” – Jesse | LISTEN NOW

“Valentine’s Day may be a corporate invention designed to boost sales in the gap between Christmas and Easter, but that doesn’t mean it’s not likely to affect someone who is feeling an absence beside them. This playlist is the perfect soundtrack for that moment when you need a good cathartic emotional outburst before stepping back up to be the unfettered fighter that you are.”

“My pick is a new release from Toccata, titled ‘Music for My Love Vol. 2’. My string orchestra piece, ‘Single Malt’, receives its premiere recording here. The breadth of composers on this release is staggering and I’m honored be included among so many fine names. Toccata proprietor Martin Anderson lost his dear partner, Yodit, in a brave battle with cancer. As a tribute, he asked some of his composer friends to compose works for string orchestra, with proceeds going toward cancer research and for the care of their young son. To date, more than 100 works have been written, enough to keep the project going for some years.”

“With this playlist, I’m looking forward to a much-needed summer road trip with that Kombi van!” – Jefferson | LISTEN NOW