Favourite Albums of 2012

2012 had a good lot of gorgeous music released. The following 10 records were the ones i listened the most and would consider my favourites.

#10 Cognitive – Soen

Kognitiv-disszonanciak00
Can’t say much about this album or band. Their music just took me at the very first listen.
Try Delenda

#9 My Head is An Animal – Of Monsters And Men

Of Monsters And Men - My Head is an Animal
Icelandic folk ballads quite difficult to stop listening to.
Try Mountain Sound

#8 Yhdestä puusta – Jukka Poika

Jukka Poika - Yhdestä puusta

Sunday mornings soundtrack. Warmth, beach, good memories… Jukka Poika.
Try Siideripissis

#7 Like I Used To – Lucy Rose

Lucy Rose - Like I Used To

Oh! This album is nice. Very very nice. Every single song.
Try All I’ve Got

#6 Valtari – Sigur Rós 

Sigur Rós - Valtari

Ermm… It is Sigur Rós. Enough said.

#5 Koloss – Meshuggah

Meshuggah - Koloss
If you search in the Oxford dictionary for the definition of “Thick”, “Bass” or “Heavy”, you will see yourself looking at a little picture of this album, Koloss.
Imagine a rain of sequoia trees, how would that sound like? Like this. Demiurge
And Koloss’ artwork is one thing to appreciate.

#4 Coexist – The xx

The xx - Coexist

#3 Resolution – Lamb Of God

Lamb of God - Resolution

What have they achieved in their seventh studio album? Another masterpiece, once again. Seven albums released, keeping the same style, and not getting boring or repetitive is not something that every band can do. Resolution is fierce.
Favourite band in the genre.

#2 Nocebo – Stam1na

Stam1na - Nocebo

I remember pre-ordering this album and waiting nearly two months for its arrival from Finland. I can say that this was my most anticipated album of 2012. The photos and writings in the album’s sleeve are way cool, and the short documentary making of, shows the whole creative process of the band together with Joe Barresi producing.
According to my Last.fm charts, i have listened to this album 1049 since its release, loosing only for my last and most favourite record of 2012…

#1 Given To The Wild – The Maccabees

The Maccabees - Given To The Wild

Given to the wild
Given to the wilder ways
While the ways of a child
Are whiled away

Of a weekend in Berlin

The end of September was coming closer, and with it, my travel to Berlin. Here is a short report…

Friday
Alarm goes off at 5:00breakfast, last check-check and off to the bus station. Our bus to Berlin departed at 7:07, was still dark and the first lights of the sun were just appearing behind the buildings ahead. The journey took about 3 hours, circa 290km of fields and more fields.

Arriving in Berlin with a bright sun up but still quite chilly, we walked to the nearest S-bahn and learnt our way to the centre. For someone who is not very used to using subways and trains (a.k.a. myself), the S-bahn and U-bahn can be quite confusing at first, but with a little time and effort (and perhaps, a helpful iPhone app), things get less complicated.
Brandenburger Tor station was our starting point, from there we walked around most of the well known places but also the small weird looking streets.

Walking around Berlin and seeing all those things i have studied about at school, seen in books, watched on documentaries or films was quite an experience…

Brandenburger Tor

Unter den Linden

Berliner Mauer

Berliner Mauer

Checkpoint Charlie

Berliner Dom

After around 6 hours walking and seeing things, legs were asking for a little rest, so why not take a nap on that nice and green grass in front of Berliner Dom? We still had 2 hours of waiting until we could check in at the rented flat through Wimdu, so we took the Berlin Bus line 100 which is the Berlin sightseeing tour for €2.30 and hoped to see some more things we haven’t before, but for some reason this one bus had to go a different way due to some traffic problems or something, still was a a good tour.

Back to the S/U-bahn and iPhone app, finding our way to the flat wasn’t so difficult.
Arrive > Eat > Shower > Sleep…

Saturday
More interesting walks, posters for some amazing upcoming shows and nice street art…

Berlin Street Art

Berlin Street Art

Berlin Street Art

Berlin Street Art

Berlin Street Art

…And a stop for some nice Falafels…

And well… Time was coming… Time to head to Wuhlheide to see some band called Radiohead and Caribou as supporting…
Getting there in good time so we could get a good spot. All in all, we stood up for around 5 hours, there was rain, rainbows and full moon… And Radiohead… Bloody hell. Was i Hyper?

Kindl Bühne Wuhlheide

Radiohead

Radiohead

Radiohead

Woah! What an amazing concert… And setlist…

Radiohead Setlist @ Wuhlheide Berlin 29-09-12 from setlist.fm

Sunday
Waking up still in disbelief, got things ready and left the flat at the check out time. Back to Berlin’s centre, we dropped off at Potsdamer Platz station and walked around that area…

East/West Division

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Just as you leave Potsdamer Platz station you can’t help noticing some quite high buildings around, and one of them is the Kollhoff tower. Paying a fee of €5 you get to go inside, use the fastest elevator in Europa, which goes 90 metres or 24 floors in 20 seconds, visit the cafe and have a really amazing panorama view of Berlin…

Kollhoff Tower

View of Berlin from Panoramanpunkt KollHoff Tower

And as the sun was going down, we decided to spend the last few hours we had left at the cold shore of the river Spree.
Hopefully i will see you again Berlin.

Sunset by the river Spree

-Maha

Of a first jet lagged week in German lands…

After 2h45 minutes flying, i arrived in Hamburg, at around 22:00. Found my backpack, put my jacket on and went out to meet my friend who was waiting at the arrival. We took the subway and decided to stop a few stops earlier to see if we could find something to drink and spend some time. We dropped off at Altona’s station and walked around, i could not help noticing how silent it was, i mean, very silent. Maybe it was strangely too silent for me because i spent the previous 24 hours or so, inside airplanes and airports… Oh well… So we continued walking at a dry and chilled night (14ºC), nice sights, different airs, many people on bicycles, bus stops showing a countdown for the next bus… stopped for a mandatory Kit Kat Chunky break and as we left the shop, i sighted a few posters on a wall across the street…

Rock Spektakel, Grave, Birdy, Pothead…

That is how i found out what i would be doing on the following Saturday, Rock Spektakel, Skindred together with Smoke Blow and a lot of other bands, many local bands, and many i haven’t heard about.

I also spotted this, which i believe to be owned by my good friend and bandmate Sapo Sabido. ;)

Um Sapo sabido. HA!

So, next morning, waking up at 11am, seeing sunshine (not really, quite cloudy) for the first time in Hamburg, i had a lovely cold shower, had brunch, put some layers on and went off to the city centre with my friend and city guide, Neele…

*hasfau*

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Binnenalster under grey skies

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Pointy ends of Chilehaus

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Rathaus

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Rock Spektakel poster

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La Confianza

We walked around the centre and visited a few interesting places, went into the Rathaus which has stunning and very detailed  architecture and massive old paintings inside, had a thunfisch sandwich at the Alster watching the angry looking swans going by and staring at your food, and then coming back and repeating the procedure until you either finish or walk away in fear. Also visited the Mönckebergstraße, one of the most busy streets in the centre of Hamburg, with many different sorts of shops, and street musicians…

Later in the evening, we headed to the Rathausmarkt where Rock Spektakel took place. Skindred was about to come up and the place was packed, got a good spot near the stage and enjoyed an awesome gig, with a remix of Star Wars’ Imperial March as intro. A couple of drunk german dudes pulled my dreads and asked if they were real and how long they take to grow, asked if they could feel them and it was quite funny to see their faces as i let them feel it and straight after i suddenly barked at their faces making them jump back frightened and laughing : )

Concert finished, subway back home… Tried to go to sleep but no luck, fell asleep at around 1:30 and there my cough and cold started. Yes, my first week was greeted with a cold running nose, and a dog-like cough : D turning the jet lag a little bit more challenging.

Next day, Sunday, and Woah! It was sunny, so we got on bikes and went out riding around 6km…

…down to the Elbe river and passing by this big and open park with ancient Ent-looking trees, the Jenischpark.

Jenischpark & Jenisch-Haus.

And finally getting to the Elbe, lots of people enjoying the, not so often, sunshine. Massive container ships coming in and out of countless harbours at the other side of the Elbe, tourists ferries doing tours… We got a spot near the Alte Schwede, drank some water enjoying the view and listening to some nice songs.

Elbe river and docks

Facts:
• Pedestrians/bike riders, do not cross the street when the pedestrian light is red, not even if it is 2 in the morning and it is cold and you can not wait to get home. You wait ;).
• Orange juice costs €3,20, and it tastes quite good, though, the amount served is very small. Kein Zucker, bitte.

Word of the day: Kaputt, meaning broken or ruined. KAPUTT! : D

Ate breve,

-Maha

Of 39 hours travelling

Tuesday morning, 7am, all packed and starting my journey. First flight, from Aracaju to Salvador, 30 minutes of duration, long enough to eat this single chocolate which was given by the staff. Arriving at Salvador at 8:15 feeling very excited, picked up my bag and went to find a good spot to charge my ,faithful but nearly dying company, the iPod and also eat something. Not long i walked and i found a good place just by an electric socket, the place was very empty due for being very early i guessed, so there i stayed for … hmmm… many hours. My flight to Lisbon was scheduled to depart at 17:25, so i headed to the queue at 15:30, as i walked i passed by this massive queue until i get to my company’s queue, there i was informed that my flight had a short delay of three precious hours, meaning that that massive queue back there was MY queue too. So there goes Maha, walking back to the end of the line (we’ve all been to the end of a line before, right?), walked, walked, and walked… Stopped, and waited, waited and … waited. After two hours and 45 minutes of short steps i reached the end of the line and done my check in receiving a R$30 voucher to spend as i wished inside the airport. I got new socks, Kit kat bars and water, because those three elements are never too much.

So hey, there was Maha again, waiting a little bit more. Walked around until i knew the airport ways by head and went back to find my “hot” spot, which was taken, together with all the sits in the food area.

I walked around a bit more until someone decided to leave, so i rushed and got the sit… Looked at my watch and it was time to go to the boarding gate already, dah! Went to the gate and saw that now the flight was scheduled to depart at 20:05… To resume this a bit, we only departed at 20:30, changing my whole plans of having lunch in Hamburg and spend the afternoon over there and so on…

Lisbon Airport

The flight to Lisbon was fine, one of the four sits near mine in the middle of the airplane was not being used, so half of my body shared it with half of this kid’s legs when sleeping. I slept all the way through as i expected. Arriving in Lisbon at around 9:00 (local time) and 31ºC, i shared another beloved and extensive queue with a whole lot of people to get our passports checked. At the counter, the bloke stare at me for a while, then to my passport… And ask the following questions in this same order. What will you be doing here? Where are you going from here? When will you return? Are you going to Oktober Fest? o.O ??? OK. 90 days visa.

Since i had my first flight delayed, my connection flight had to be re scheduled, from 7:30 to 18:15 :D ha ha. So i waited. Gosh, i love this word… But NOT!

Lisbon Airport

Anyway, i got to use Euros again, in this café. Had a tuna “triangulo”, and an orange juice… Then headed to the boarding gates and started reading a book. Time passed and i was boarding again, at the scheduled time.

Flying above somewhere in Spain

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Now i write from within the airplane, sun is still up and behind us, a while ago i had clear views of the land which seemed to be fields and hills, now it is more cloudy, but still a little visible underneath, we got to some higher mountains, i don’t know what place it is because the screens with the map is playing some food documentary… Just as the food is being served…

Hmmm.. Pear, Water and Twix…

I will go now and rest bit more , but before, some facts about orange juice:

In Salvador it costs R$6, tastes like orange juice

In Lisbon it costs €3,75 (the most expensive drink of the menu), and it tasted like boxed orange juice, even though i saw the real (?) oranges being squeezed. They also put sugar in it, so if you don’t drink with sugar, make sure to ask before.

Always have napkins with you.

-Maha

Of Sundays and Mondays…

Thinking back about my school time, one thing i remember clearly is how much free time i used to have. Our classes would start at 7am and finish at 12pm, after that, i had the whole afternoon and evening free to do my homework, hang out with friends, play with my band, climb trees, surf, draw my RPG maps and so on. I had so much free time that the weekends seemed like a big holiday, something to be celebrated with all the friends together, football at the beach, playing video games or doing short travels around the county.

Since i started working full time back in mid 2010, my routine has obviously changed a lot, but  since we humans come with a lovely perk called Adapt, it wasn’t a difficult task to get used. Monday to Saturday, waking up at 5:30am, starting work at 8am, finishing at 6pm and going bed at 10pm. I really like my work and by no means i am complaining about it. This is actually me, realising how i have praised Sundays for the past two years. Now, i do most of those things i used to do on my free week days at school time, but all in a single day, the Sunday. Ride my bike early in the morning, go surfing for a couple of hours, cook with my mother, play games, listen to music in the back room, walk around my town and lay on a rock to see the sunset. That’s  basically it. And i love it. All of that gives me a lot of disposition and will to wake up early on Monday and start it all over again.

I could not help analysing this after a chat i had with some friends and hearing one of them mentioning Sundays being a very dull and boring day with nothing interesting going on, and after this dull Sunday there is a Monday. And how she found it weird the fact i see Sundays and Mondays in a totally opposite way. But then, we all have different routines and things to do, days we enjoy more than others (?)… I don’t know.

What are your thoughts about Sundays/Mondays?

: ]

May’s Playlist

311 – Transistor
Andreas Vollenweider – Caverna Magica
Opeth – Heritage
Jukka Poika – Yhdestä puusta
Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid
Stam1na – Raja
Radiohead – Airbag/How Am I Driving?
Porcupine Tree – Nil Recurring
kaki King – …Until We Felt Red
Blackmail – Friend Or Foe?

Rhizophora

Sometimes we make plans about traveling the world so much that we end up forgetting the nice places around us, just a few streets away. Thinking about this reminded me of a few short trips i done around my town last year. On every sunday i would grab my camera and my bicycle and let the wheels take me somewhere i haven’t explored yet, this became a sunday habit and every week i would be looking forward to find a new spot for the next ride.

Camera and bike set, cashew nuts, dried apricot and water on reserve, onwards i went. I decided to go to the outskirts of the town, following a rarely used sandy road which would lead to where the mangrove meets the river. On the way i met with my mother and stepfather which decided to come along on their bikes too.

Where mangrove meets river

View from mangrove to the city across the river

Dead roots and Aracaju across the river

This area is not very far from town, but due for it’s difficult access, not many people adventure in these parts, leaving it untouched and quiet.


Even though not many people come to this part of the beach, it stills get damaged by the trash that people throw in the river, making the life of small creatures that live there a bit more difficult.


 


But still, another nice ride and discovery in a typical brazilian sunny day. And i plan to go back there in a few months to see how it changed.

 
How about you? Do you explore the unexplored just at the corners of your town? Share your experiences ;)

April’s Playlist

1 • Stam1na – Nocebo
2 • Oceansize – Effloresce
3 • Porcupine Tree – The Sky Moves Sideways
4 • Deftones – Deftones
5 • Pinback – Blue Screen Life
6 • Ravi Shankar – Bridges
7 • Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning
8 • Gazpacho – March Of Ghosts
9 • Cocteau Twins – Heaven Or Las Vegas
10 • Mark Lanegan Band – Blues Funeral

Grayscale São Paulo

This past weekend (20th to 22nd) i was visiting the city of São Paulo to attend to Steven Wilson’s last concert in south america for the Grace For Drowning tour. The last time i visited São Paulo was in 2004, for a tattoo festival, but somehow i don’t have many clear memories of those few days i stayed there, apart from seeing a lot of nice tattoos, great tattoo artists and meeting Derrick Green from Sepultura.

Arriving on late friday night didn’t give me much opportunity to walk around, instead, me and my travel mate Sapo, just hopped from one metro to another until we reached the house we were staying.

The next morning, woke up and looked outside the window to be greeted with a nice Paulista Sky…

Grayscale São Paulo

Grayscale São Paulo 2
Under that sky and a nice temperature of 17ºC, we decided to go out and have a look around at the few shops that remained open even though it was a holiday. We didn’t walk very far until our first stop to grab some coffee and head to Livraria Cultura. That’s where fun begun and that’s where we spent many hours of our day. Only there i realized it was Record Store Day and all records were on discount price, so i went on a hunt for some desired albums. An hour later and there was i, holding all these nice scented CDs, knowing i would have to leave some of them behind otherwise i would’t have any money left for the rest of the weekend. Ended up with these two gorgeous albums.

Treats From Record Shop Day

Opeth's Heritage & Radiohead's Amnesiac

Our next stop was at Apfel, a cosy vegetarian restaurant that offered many varieties and a friendly price. With our bellies filled with leaves and veggies, we went for a quite long walk at the Avenida Paulista seeing all sorts of things and people while a light rain poured on us. This same rain kept us company until it was time to head to the venue where the concert took place.

Walk, metro, walk, walk and walk a bit more, and there i was, seeing THE Steven Wilson and his amazing band performing a brilliant show a couple of metres from me and a not so crowded venue.
As i entered the venue, Bass Communion’s 16 Second Swarm was already playing through the quadrophonic sound system while Grace For Drownings photographs were being projected on the curtains just before the band starts…

Steven Wilson 1

They performed many songs from both, Insurgentes and Grace For Drowning albums, including the 23 minutes long Raider II, Abandoner, No Twilight Within the Courts of the Sun, Harmony Korine, Postcard, and my Grace For Drowning favourite, Like Dust I Have Cleared From My Eye. Also a brand new track entitled Luminol. As for the first encore they played Get All You Deserve wearing these really cool masks. And for the second encore, Steven came back alone to have a little chat with the crowd and perform Lazarus and Trains to leave me even more euphoric and in a state of disbelief.

When he definitely left the stage and the curtains went down, we listened to more Bass Communion to clean our ears, this time with A Grapefruit in the World of Park. Amazing concert.

Steven Wilson 2

Sunday. More rain. Long wait for the bus. And fly back home. A great weekend.

Grayscale São Paulo 3

Sapo e Yo

Sapo e Iolanda

Thanks Iolanda for hosting and taking us around, was great seeing you and Sapo for making me realize i shouldn’t miss this concert and for the great company.

Stam1na – Nocebo

Stam1na Nocebo 1

After two months of it’s release, Stam1na’s Nocebo is finally in my hands. Since it was my first time ordering something from Finland i was expecting it to take quite a while to get to Brazil and i wasn’t wrong, to be more precise, it was pre-ordered on the 11th of january through the finnish website recordshopx.com and arrived a little over two months of the date it was sent. But nothing wrong with that because every single day of waiting was worth and when it was delivered i literally dribbled of excitement. Nocebo is a beauty.

Stam1na - Nocebo 2

Since the day of pre-ordered, i told myself i wouldn’t listen to any Stam1na song until the CD was in my hands, and so i did, apart from watching the awesome video for Valtiaan Uudet Vaateet and listening to another song on radiorock.fi, which i couldn’t figure out the name in between all those finnish words, but now i see it is called Puolikas Ihminen, already a fav.

In this album i felt that Stam1na experimented even more than usual, especially with sound effects, but still kept their distinct identity. Producer Joe Barresi certainly had a great influence in these experiments letting the band go beyond the ordinary and forcing them to be a little crazier (if that is actually possible). Also, for the first time (if i am not mistaken), Stam1na features a track in english, Nomad, a great and fast paced song with a catchy chorus and a solo that reminded me of Steve Vai. Ei Encorea is another great track that i got hooked immediately, together with Rabies (a neck breaker), Puolikas Ihminen and Valtiaan Uudet Vaateet, which, the chorus gives me goosebumps every time i listen, for some reason. I didn’t have time (courage) to translate the lyrics yet, that will take a while, so i don’t know what they are about. The CD booklet features the lyrics but also some interesting writings in english, random quotes from each member of the band and some very nice photographs…

Stam1na - Nocebo 3

"Why remove a tattoo? Paint yourself with colours, tones, contrasts. Offer the grey world some medicine"

Since the first listen what caught my attention the most was the playing of the bassist, Kai-Pekka Kangasmäki, dropping some fierce bass riffs and lines, filling the spaces with interesting ideas and making them very noticeable, Puolikas Ihminen as a great example. Keyboard player, Emil Lähteenmäki, also done a great job with the chickens and ambiences.

Stam1na - Nocebo 4

I am honestly very pleased with this album as a whole, Stam1na done an excellent job together with Barresi. Nocebo is definitely going to stay on my playlist for months. Give it a try.

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