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My Pick on Top 10 Best Music Albums



have always been fascinated with music. Recently, I googled "music" and explored various knowledge sites. It seems that the word "music" came from the word "Muses" that means the daughters of Zues who are advocates of knowledge such as Literature, Geography, Mathematics and, of course, Music. Personally, my passion does include Music. Only yesterday I had a jamming session with a famous local composer, Ahmad Izham Omar. We played some Blues and Rock and Roll alongside the band members of D'Kechewas (Azhar, Iesta, Kamal and Eddy). Our favourite genres may differ but once the band members click together, they produce magic... music magic. As an extension to my love for music, yesterday (also), I bought a brand new electric guitar - an Ibanez SA Series - in dark sexy red. I call her Scarlet Ibanez. Scarlet will share jamming studio with my other acquisitions, Sabrina Gibson and Frieda Fender. These 3 females are the only females that my wife will not be jealous of :)

So, given this passion, I thought I might as well end 2014 with a blog post that is less technical, more cultured, no politics and explores the right side of the brain (mine) that sheldom gets attention. Hence, I would like to share with you my pick on the Top 10 Best Music Albums... the kind where you will like all the songs and not skip tracks. Of course these are biased towards my kind of genre, which is rock. The Top 10s, in no particular order, are:


1. ... and Justice for All - Metallica: Metallica has always been my favourite band. There is no wonder why I start the list with Metallica. To be honest, my favourite album from Metallica is Master of Puppets because of a few songs, namely, Master of Puppets, Orion and Welcome Home (Sanitarium). However, I do skip some songs when I play the album. ... and Justice for All on the other hand, gives me a fuller appreciation of an album. I can just let it play from track 1 till the end. I think this is because, by far, this album showcases the best of musical performance of all the individual musicians in the band. The infamous bass drum beats by Ulrich and the mind blowing chords arrangement by Hetfield just set the benchmark for Heavy Metal. This album was also the debut for their bassist, Newstead.


2. Appetite for Destruction - Guns n' Roses: I grew up in the late 80's and early 90's where Rock and Roll was still strong. At that time hip hop was creeping into the mainstream pop culture and rock was diminishing. The only surviving Rock and Roll bands at that time were Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and Guns n' Roses. This album showcases magnificent Rock and Roll with Slash shocking the world with his awesome Blues scaled solos on the Gibson Les Paul and a music wizard touch for Rock and Roll by Izzy Stradlin, it just makes it a complete shout when Axl clads those songs with his lyrics. 
 

3. Come Hell of High Water - Deep Purple: What can I say? All 80's and 90's rock bands must have had their references from their predecessors. Deep Purple goes deep into influencing many rockers. Not so much of Rock and Roll but what they represented was the epitome evolution into Heavy Metal. The mastermind, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, is a genius. While other guitarist were still exploring the usual Blues scaled Pentatonic on Minor to suit the Rock genre, he was already on an adventure to go beyond those scales and combining other patterns inclusive of arpeggios at a tremendous speed. I salute Blackmore. True enough, when I had my guitar lessons, Deep Purple's solos are some of the toughest to follow. This album is a live recording of a decent selection of their songs.
 
 
4. Celebration Day - Led Zeppelin: Enjoying Deep Purple was intense. It gets too technical. When you wanna get out of that zone and just wanna be relaxed, Led Zeppelin offers a soothing easy Blues Rock and Roll feel. It feels good when you can play along the guitar solos with Jimmy Page as his was the usual template. What makes them cool is the grove in each song. It is the kind of Rock that does not demand head banging but a hippie dance.. whatever that means. That is the sort of happiness that Robert Plant can offer to his listeners. Celebration Day is a live recording of a reunion concert of the band members (the dead drummer, Bonham, was replaced by his son). At an old age, they can still perform a mind blowing Rock and Roll saga.
 

5. The Pulse - Pink Floyd: At one point, I had enough of Heavy Metals and Rock and Rolls. I wanted an alternative source of music appreciation. At that time, alternative meant the Grunge bands like Nirvana. However, I chose to look back. When everyone was hypnotised by Rock and Roll, Pink Floyd was already branching into alternative realm just like how Salvador Dali went into surrealism when other painters were on their tracks for modernist expressionism. This is also a recording of a live concert that has songs from across all of their albums. Floyd's fresh outlook into music brings you to a fantasy journey. You need not move your body to appreciate it. Your mind does all the work. Truly magnificent. Kudos to their main movers Roger Walters and Dave Gilmore.
 
 
6. Rubber Soul - The Beatles: Having Izham Omar as my mentor in music cannot depart me away from his favourite band, the Beatles. Their genre may not be within my likings but the relevance of what they contributed to the mushrooming of rock bands across the globe is just phenomenon. Some appreciation are acquired taste. Some required a bit of convincing before you can say, "Ahhh,.. I get it!" So I decided to buy all the albums by the Beatles. My first impression was, wow, Pink Floyd was not the only experimental alternative band of their time, the Beatles was the epitome unprecedented trend changer. You cannot imagine how they can be ahead of their time. Given my taste in genre, I have decided to choose a darker, less fun fair type melodic numbers. Hence Rubber Soul.
 
 
7. Ten - Pearl Jam: In the late 90's, many alternative (Grunge) bands emerged. These are the usual 4-chords per song type music with distortions to hide technicalities and sometimes, the bloody guitarists went against the normal convention for guitar string tunning of E-A-D-G-B-E. In that ocean of alternative bands, Pearl Jam made their way up by combining both Grunge and Rock and Roll feel. This way, they captured both youth and matured audiences. It was quite delightful for me to have known about them as they provided a bridge between the old wave (Rock and Roll) and the new (Grunge). So far, Eddie Vedder is my favourite Rock vocalist because his voice offers the depth for songs that comes from a wide spectrum of genre. 
 
 
8. Live in UK - Helloween: Exploring rock uncovers many sub-genres. You have Rock and Roll for a start. Then Heavy Metal, Black Metal, Grunge Alternative, and there was Speed Metal. Having the melody and the groves were not the only attributes that give you the adrenalin rush. Speed is the new substance for youngsters. Helloween is speed like no other. Their songs are so damn fast and with that crunchy "distortion"ed guitar riffs coupled with their shrieking-voiced vocalist, you are set to fuel your momentum especially when running a marathon. Live in UK is a live recording of a selection of songs from their albums. The reaction of the crowd in that concert, as apparent from the recording, is just overwhelming. People sang along to numbers such as Dr Stein and Future World.


9. Blood Sugar Sex Magic - Red Hot Chilli Peppers: In my quest to diversify my music appreciation (instead of remaining in the myopic world of Rock), Funk was a good chapter to push me to the boundaries but not too far. It was a rewarding journey. I used to practise my drumming to Red Hot Chilli Pepper's songs because their colourful Funk breaks the monotonous structure that Rock had traditionally embedded. Thanks to the drummer, Chad Smith, Red Hot Chilli Peppers managed to secure its position as the leading Funk band. Over its life this band produced many good albums but none ever surpassed the popularity of this album. Every song in this album tells a different musical story but yet all portraying that unique selling proposition of a new age Funk advocate.
 

10. Son gs of Innocence - U2: U2 is an Irish band that accumulated fan base big enough to challenge Madonna or even Michael Jackson in the 90's. The albums that made them famous were Joshua Tree and, subsequently, Achtung Baby. For me, notwithstanding that my favourite U2 songs are from these 2 albums, I still find myself skipping one or two songs when playing them. This year, 2014, they released their new album, Son gs of Innocence. The album showcases fresh new sounds but yet, unmistakenably U2 predominantly as a result of Bono's voice, that familiar drum beats by Muller and Adam's heartfelt bass lines. The Edge, the guitarist/keyboardist, on the other hand, has matured in song writing producing the most melodic albums I have ever heard. Kudos.
 
 
There you go! You may agree or not agree with my pick but hey, it's my post and this is who I am..... a rocker!! Have a pleasant year end holidays and see you in 2015!



D'Kechewas 2012 Line Up Bazooka'ed Media Prima TV Screenings 2013


D'Kechewas 2012 Line Up Bazooka'ed Media Prima TV Screenings 2013


'KECHEWAS had Johan on Bass and Rhythm Guitars, Eddie on Drums, Iesta on Vocals, Izham Omar on Keyboards and Bass, Datuk Kamal on Percussions and Azhar Borhan on Lead Guitars. Our X-Man MZul was absent due to his study leave in the UK for Script Writing. We rocked the stage of Media Prima TV Screenings 2013 like we never did before. We even had special guest playing the bass for us, who else no other than the Media Prima big boss, Dato' Amrin. It was a night to remember. It was aesthetically fun. It was passion burning with the desire and love for music. It was D'Kechewas.

We hit the stage with an opening medley of Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Give It Away, Aerosmith's Walk This Way and a classic from Queen's Under Pressure. The trio medley gave the crowd a reason to stick around head banging like there was no tomorrow to appreciate music. Enough of a punchy opening, the band mellowed down into Every Breath You Take with Dato' Amrin leading the band with his bass lines like Sting himself playing the bass strings.

To light up the night, out of no where, Jacqueline Victor appears driving the crowd nuts and there was nothing else that we could do other than hitting a bluezy number of Give Me One Reason by Tracy Chapman. From the blues, we progressed into rock & roll manifested by Free's All Right Now, of course, still having Jacky on vocals. Jacky's voice was so mesmerising that something had to be done to reinforce that feel..... and with the wisdom of our keyboard wizard, Izham, Jackson 5's I'll Be There filled the air with Jacky's best ever live performance for that night.

The Jacky and GMD (Amrin) session ended full of flavour that it was appropriate to have some local taste to the explosive night. Iesta continued on with Search's Rozana and like Halley's Comet striking the Earth, on the second verse, Amy Search! jumped on board. Bloody'ell.... the owner of the song himself performing it - what an epitome line up! As we all know it, Amy Search is a big fan of the Stones (Rolling Stones),.. and what happened next, was beyond believe. The stage was rockin of Stone's Honky Tonk Women with everyone rollin and rockin. Truly a dream come true for a small jamming band like us.

Next with horns flanking us, we did a number on our signature cover for Wilson Pickett,...... Yes! Mustang Sally! Ride Sally Ride! ... and we were riding Sally all night long, we were. For some reason we've always enjoyed performing Mustang Sally and I think, we will continue to have this song on our list to mark our presence. As usual, Izham vetoed everyone with a song from his favourite band, the Beatles, doing a Twist & Shout and as you may have guessed,... the crowd was doing the Twist!! on the dance floor..... If that is not participation, I don't know what is..... Awesome! An ending with the Beatles have always been successful leaving behind a sweet after taste to the whole set.

The crowd began to shout, "We want more! We want more!". What more can we give? We had done 11 Songs, the most we'd ever done so far. Then we remembered that we used to fool around with some Hendrix in the jamming studio. So,.. Hendrix it is then. Izham abandoned his keyboards and was now grabbing the bass from Johan. Johan had to grab something else - the closest to him was a Gibson Les Paul,.. oh! whadda hell, guitar it is then. And with full of firing inferno, D'Kechewas bazooka'ed the night with Fire. The crowd was chaotic like it was the remake of Woodstock! Fuhh!! Hendrix never failed to crunch that raw feel in you, don't you think so? Everyone was tired and again, some sweet song that everyone can sing along had to be done for the real closing of the night. Surprise, Surprise, another Beatles - Hey Jude ended the concert..... and it was history that we all shall remember forever :)


 
The Bassist of D'Kechewas doing a Yngwie Johann Malmsteen teeth picking on the guitar

D'Kechewas 2011 Line Up Rocked the Stage at Media Prima Nite Live TV Screenings 2012

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D'Kechewas rocked the stage at Media Prima Nite Live TV Screenings 2012 Post-Party

'KECHEWAS once again stormed a night, this time at Media Prima Berhad's TV Screenings for 2012, "The Media Prima Nite Live", on Friday 28 November 2011. The band had the same line up as per previous appearance at Hard Rock Cafe Penang last year. As usual, the Sifu, Ahmad Izham Omar, led the band into what is said to be their best performance so far. They chose good songs relevant to the crowd. They modified the song arrangements to be more accomodative of the ambience and, they even added in some "retarts" (odd timing pauses) in between verses and choruses. The vocalists, MZul and Iesta, a magnificent duo, who exchanged jokes in between songs, did so tactfully to the extent that panties were flying in the air onto the stage - pink and black ones to be exact.

The music saga started with the intense and provocative drum beat from Eddy filling the air with adrenalin rush. The sound was familiar to the crowd where you could see some half-head-bangings happening. Azhar joined Eddy with the riff that only confirms the crowd's anticipation of the song,...... Are You Gonna Go My Way by Kravitz. Shortly, the keyboards, the bass and the percussions filled the air and off went Iesta with the lyrics sounding just as charismatic as Lenny Kravitz, if not better. (Video recording of this song in the U-Tube link below)

....... a concise, simultaneous and forceful strike of the note "C" by the guitars, bass and keyboards, coupled with the drum hit, simply gave a punch to a very rocking song. Kappowwww!



Just as soon as the first song ended, the Drummer went "One, Two, Three......" (Errrr... was it "Two, Three, Four..."?), and the whole band rushed into the intro for Crying by Aerosmith (In the above U-Tube link). The sweet, calm and melodic first few verses of the song sort of stabilised the crowd for a while but the chaotic floor went crazy again the minute Iesta hit the chorus. At one point Iesta pointed to Azhar shouting Azhar's name and that was when, the magnificent solo skills of Azhar manifested itself to the world. Towards the end, the first "retart" was done with Iesta's hand up in the air pausing every band member's urge to hit a note resulting in a total silence enveloping the air. The minute the hand stroke downwards, a concise, simultaneous and forceful strike of the note "C" by the guitars, bass and keyboards, coupled with the drum hit, simply gave a punch to a very rocking song. Kappowwww!

The band took their time to rest a bit while MZul and Iesta entertained the crowd with jokes and prize giving sessions. The band also took the opportunity to clear the stage from having panties lying around (thrown by the crowd). Then it was the time for another song when MZul shouted "We're gonna do a number from Stoooone, Templeeeeeeeee, Pilooooooooots....". The crowd went into the luna mode again when the vocalist, this time MZul, starts the ball rolling for an alternative, grunge and popular song Plush. It was a cool and smooth song that ended with a heartfelt piano playing by Izham.... but,.. it wasn't an "End",.... it was a "Beginning". A beginning to another song - a gimmick Izham loves to do.

The soft piano piece suddenly means a lot to the crowd when MZul started to sing Oasis' Don't Look Back in Anger,... at which point, Johan was already sitting down on the stage's front staircase with his hands up in the air waving left to right and vice versa, only to be followed by the crowd. The soothing verses of the song came to a profound rhythmic composure when all musical instrument started to make sound at the bridge of the song, into the chorus. The song ended with Izham's beautiful piano playing again except that this time, it was the true ending with no gimmicks. To set the stage for what was to come afterwards, three additional musicians came onto the stage carrying a trombone, a saxaphone and a trumpet.

Izham started the piano/keyboards with a soulful rhythm and shortly, drums and bass kicked in with the horns flanking the motion. The sound was a familiar one (to those who were there at Hard Rock Cafe Penang previously) and Iesta's words only confirmed it when he went "Mustang Sallyyyy...... " (A song by Wilson Picket). Iesta, MZul and Johan moved their bodies to the grove while Dato Kamal's voice can be heard for backing vocals. The entire band participated extraordinarily on this one as most of them seem to claim that this is their signature cover song (as naturally earmarked at Hard Rock Cafe Penang). To mark the special status, Izham had the horns section from the band (Audrey's) that performed earlier during the TV Screenings to join us. To add the gimmick, we had a "retart" on this one! The second Iesta reached "Now you come around, signifying a woman baby.....", the entire band went silence until he continued "you won't, you won't let me ride.. Mustang Sally...", the band rushed in at "Sally".

Next was MZul's dancing session. Mzul declared "I feel I wanna dance" and the band went funky with Prince's Kiss. Somewhere in the middle of the song MZul and Iesta did some "Piccadilly" dance moves but as usual, MZul couldn't resist dancing with the girls on the floor. He jumped down from the stage and started dancing with the crowd. Guess what, another "retart"!!! but this time, MZul took his time. It was a long silence until he went "Women not,..." at which point, Eddy struck the snare and the whole band was in action again.

The last number had to be Izham's choice. The leader chooses the finale. It is from his favourite band, The Beatles. The song was most appropriate to close the occasion with dignity, satisfaction and joy (except that the bassist suffered the most given the fast pace running bass for the entire song). D'Kechewas closed the night with I Saw Her Standing There.








The Bassist of D'Kechewas







__________


D'Kechewas are:

By order of appearance in the below photo from left to right:

Rhythm Guitars and Vocals: M.Zul
Bass: Johan
Keyboards: Izham Omar
Drums: Eddy
Lead Guitars: Azhar Borhan
Vocals: Iesta
Percussions and Backing Vocals: Dato' Kamal (not in the photo)

Plush

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Plush - Stone Temple Pilots

INTRO: [G A# C G] X 2

VERSE 1:
G D/F# F C Eb
And I feel that time's a wasted go So where you goin'
G D/F# F C Eb
to tomorrow And I see that these are the lies to come Or would you even care
D-C9-G/B-C9 D-C9-G/B-C9
And I feel it
D-C9-G/B-C9 D-C9-G/B-C9
And I feel it

BRIDGE:
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Oh where ya goin' to tomorrow
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Where ya goin' with the mask I found
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
And I feel and I feel when the dogs begin to smell her
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Will she smell alone

INTRO: [G A# C G]

VERSE 2:
G D/F# F C Eb
And I feel so much depends on the weather So is it raining in your
G D/F# F C Eb
Bedroom And I see that these are the eyes of disarray Or would you even care
D-C9-G/B-C9 D-C9-G/B-C9
And I feel it
D-C9-G/B-C9 D-C9-G/B-C9
And she feels it

BRIDGE:
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Oh where ya goin' to tomorrow
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Where ya goin' with the mask I found
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
And I feel and I feel when the dogs begin to smell her
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Will she smell alone

CHORUS:
G F
Where the dogs can find her
C/E Eb-G/D
Got time, time to wait 'til tomorrow
G F C/E Eb-G/D
To find her, to find her, to find her
G F
Where the dogs can find her
C/E Eb-G/D
Got time, time to wait 'til tomorrow
G F C/E Eb-G/D
To find her, to find her, to find her

INTRO: [G A# C G] X 4; Silence

BRIDGE:
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Oh where ya goin' to tomorrow
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Where ya goin' with the mask I found
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
And I feel and I feel when the dogs begin to smell her
Eb Eb-F-Ab-A#-A-F F
Will she smell alone

CHORUS:
G F
Where the dogs can find her
C/E Eb-G/D
Got time, time to wait 'til tomorrow
G F C/E Eb-G/D
To find her, to find her, to find her
G F
Where the dogs can find her
C/E Eb-G/D
Got time, time to wait 'til tomorrow
G F C/E Eb-G/D
To find her, to find her, to find her

INTRO: [G A# C G] X 4

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