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jason on 03/22/2011 at 06:44PM

Emergency Songs

Apocalyptic times inspire apocalyptic music. And while the FMA is home to plenty of outright doomish sounds, we also occasionally find some nice overlap with endtimes vibes seeping into the pop music realms.

Emergency Songs, the new concept album by Monk Turner + Fascinoma, envisions a before/during/after earthquake scenario in the artists' hometown of Los Angeles (something that is inevitable according to geologists).

Despite the dark and depressing subject matter, it's a beautiful, optimistic, vibrant record. And quite eclectic too, from the gallopping country-tinged "Where's My Horse" to "Whatcha Doin"'s acapella gospel, most of the production is sparse with a spotlight on the haunting vocals of Fascinoma (aka Alanna Lin). But amidst the post-disaster airiness, there are some really refined arrangements on Emergency Songs courtesy of The Emergency Choir and a whole slew of guests on guitar, piano, violin, sax, and trombone. The whole communal recording process is documented on Monk Turner's wordpress.

The album is such a pleasant listen that it weren't for lyrics about disaster and "blood on the freeway," it might not seem so apocalyptic at all. In fact, the theme seems to be more about transcendence than doom; about appreciating life because it won't last forever.

When a terrible disaster struck Japan just days after the release of Emergency Songs, Monk Turner wrote an interesting post describing the dilemma he now faced in promoting the album he had just spent so much time on, lest it be perceived as opportunistic. Meanwhile, a group of South Korean video producers found the album here on the Free Music Archive licensed with the NoDerivatives clause, so they reached out to the artists asking to use "Start Again" as the soundtrack for an inspirational video, titled "We Love Japan"

At times when it feels like the world is really ending, it is really inspiring when people are able to come together through music and art. There are many benefit concerts (I know a bunch of people are heading to Maxwell's in Hoboken NJ for a Yo La Tengo benefit tomorrow). True Chip Til Death has organized a 90+ artist benefit compilation called Chip In: Japan, and really, who doesn't love the idea of chipping in through music? If you have suggestions of how to do this please share in the comments.

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