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๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ - this week: Snake - Kate Stanton, 12 Below

Welcome all to ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connollyย - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of ๐™‰๐™š๐™ฌ ๐˜ผ๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ ๐™Ž๐™ฅ๐™ค๐™ฉ๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™๐™ฉ playlists.

๐™Ž๐™ฃ๐™–๐™ ๐™š - ๐™†๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™Ž๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ฃ, 12 ๐˜ฝ๐™š๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฌ

Charles is instrumentally deceptiveโ€ฆ

The song is called Snake. So therefore Iโ€™m going to write my little intro on snakes. But of course. The way they slither. The way they slide and worm across just anything. Those scales reflecting light at every angle. That warning tongue that rasps with knowing arrogance. A snake is scared of nothing. It is cold blooded in all ways. And while this image of a snake in movement may make most shudder, there are people who are almost turned on by it. To the extent that they start to take on the dark characteristic of this quick-witted reptile. This type of person can be referred to as a snake. A person that lies and deceives, only for their own selfish gain. In fact, I have changed my mind. This kind of person is so off-putting to me, that I would rather not give them this attention, for they deserve none. So, in fact, I will NOT be talking about snakes. But of course NOT. Apologies to those who were just starting to get into it. Sorry to deceive - what a snake-like thing to do!

I will in fact be talking about musical instruments. Oh boring boring boring. Or: geeky geeky geeky. But I think it might be neither. Firstly, what counts as a musical instrument? Does it have to be something so defined as a trumpet? Or could it perhaps be simply something that makes sound? I prefer the idea of the latter. Sure, it is simpler to just say a guitar is a guitar, and that is an instrument, but I feel this might be a stunted, pedestrian view. For example, back in the 50s, teenagers couldnโ€™t afford proper instruments, so they tried to make their own. Hence the birth of the tea chest bass (or previously, washtub bass). This consisted of a wooden box, a broom handle and a thick string. Not quite a proper double bass, Rickenbacker or Hofner, but a damned sight cheaper. It also gave a distinctly different sound, and it led to the genre of skiffle. Therefore to me, this is a welcome addition to the ever-evolving list of instruments. Be it, a rather crappy one for a rather crappy genre. But who am I to say what is crappy and what is nottyโ€ฆ Basically, to me, anything that makes a sound could be thought of as an instrument.

But let us for now set our eyes and ears on the more usual musical instruments. My absolute favourite instrument is also what I believe to be the best/greatest instrument, and the most versatile. It is also the cheapest. In fact, it is completely free! Can you guessโ€ฆ? Thatโ€™s right. Itโ€™s an old battered guitar you found on the side of the road. No no. While it might have its charm, I wouldnโ€™t consider this to be the best - and certainly not the most versatile. The instrument I am talking about is completely invisible. So, any REAL guesses? Iโ€™m sure youโ€™ve got it. Yep, itโ€™s the human voice. It is quite literally limitless. Well, okay. Some of you may feel you have the voice of a frog. And ONLY the voice of a frog. In which case, a visible instrument might be for you. But the ones who CAN sing, oh what a gift you have been given. What is the range of this instrument? Well, as much as you can muster, of course! And the tone? Whatever you please! And yet each and every one of us will have a unique singing voice. Unlike two Fender Strats made in the same factory in the same year (please donโ€™t argue this - you get the idea). And it is this originality in voice that for me sets it apart from any other instrument. That, and the fact that it is just so much more personal than any chunk of wood or hunk of metal.

BUT!! Many of you might be thinking I am cheating by choosing the voice as the best instrument. Fine then. I will look at โ€œnormalโ€ instruments. The question of the โ€œbestโ€ instrument can (and will) be discussed and argued long after we are gone. So I will concentrate on favourite and most versatile. When it comes to versatility I stumble upon an immediate problem. This is because there are relatively few instruments that can manage more than one note at the same time. In fact, it basically comes down to the guitar and the piano (no arguments - I know one can manage double-stopping on a cello, but itโ€™s not the same - you know what I mean). Soโ€ฆ The guitar can manage vibrato. The piano cannot. One can bend or slide from one note to another on the guitar. One cannot on the piano. One can pluck harmonics on the guitar, but not on piano. One can achieve the most unusual fret buzz and other such fun sounds on a guitar. Not on the piano. One can plug the guitar into an amp and distort it to buggery. Although this technically can be done if micโ€™ing up the piano, it is really not the same. So I think you have guessed. My favourite instrument isโ€ฆ Thatโ€™s right. The piano. Wait, what?? Yup. Despite all these things, the piano is at the top of my list. And all this, despite the fact that I canโ€™t really play the piano, and yet while not at any kind of virtuoso level, I can play the guitar. So why the piano, I hear you cry? Well, because I still feel it has not been used to its full potential. The guitar has been played in just every way one can think of, and many more ways you are incapable of thinking of. But I feel predominantly, that the piano tends to be used for jazz, classical or simple pop backing. I feel there is so much more to be had from this big bugger of an instrument. Surprised? I know EYE am.

And it is this reason that I felt an immediate attraction to this weekโ€™s pick for my Corner. Please welcome two fabulous artists who just keep getting better with every release: Kate Stanton and 12 Below, with their latest single, Snake. One might call this release a collab, but I like to think of them as a duo. Like, one artist. This is because this is not their first release together. It is not even their second or third. It is their fourteenth together!! So when I hear mention of one of these artists, I think of the other as well. They came together and stuck like hot glue. And it makes sense. This way we get the best of what each does, combined. Both Kate Stanton and Torsten Bernewitz (12 Below) write the songs together (assuming their writing credits are correct). I suspect the arrangement to be mostly Torsten doing the production, and Kate doing the singing. But this could be wrong, as I have my limits with research (not to mention time). The twosome are always dependable and reliable in terms of quality, but Snake manages something different. Something new. Something so naturally exciting in its exceptional originality.

The word โ€œexcitingโ€ might conjure thoughts of speed and even perhaps freneticism. But here, this is a different kind of excitement. The piece is quite slow and mellow (at least at first), but there is something ominous and thrilling. The feeling that something is going to happen. And happen, it does! But not yet, not yet. Steady on. Hold your horses. We begin with a tightly clutched guitar riff (think Eminemโ€™s Lose Yourself) - instantly satisfying. Within just two brief rounds, Madonna joins us in stereo! Well, okay. Kate joins us, with an uncanny resemblance to Madonna. Double-tracked and hard-panned left and right. Instant width. Kateโ€™s voice is just delicious, and so totally REAL! I know Torsten (still 12 Below) has influence from just about everyone in music, but he has occasionally singled out Brian Eno as an influence. I can clearly hear this in his soundscapes, for it is at this moment that he subtly brings ambience to the background. It drifts in through an open vent. This is pro stuff. But very soon the bass and light but solid drums are with us. It comes at a supposedly odd and unexpected place in the bar. And that is one of the hidden brilliances of this song. The timing. Or rather, the shifting time signature. As far as I can tell, the verses are in the signature of 6/4. Meaning, instead of counting the usual 1, 2, 3, 4 (and back again), one is actually counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and back again. But this is so well disguised! It might give some the feeling of unease, in being less predictable, but for me it is simply newness!! It is this that excites me.

โ€œBut, butโ€ฆ You mentioned the piano! Where is the piano??โ€ - well, Iโ€™m getting to that. Up to this point, the piano has been subtly punctuating upbeats in the verse. It is part of the tapestry of the song. I first want to talk about the 4/4 (I think!) chorus. It blasts with heavy guitars and PROPER drums, rather than the light backbeat of the verses. Kate turns into Hayley Williams from Paramore! I suspect that the verse drums are programmed and the chorus drums are live. But you never can tellโ€ฆ The guitars might actually be synth guitars in the chorus too, but I couldnโ€™t say for sure. The thing is, just as the guitars start to fade away, it is like watching sheets of rain turn to drizzle and become translucent again. Revealing the piano as the lead instrument. Suddenly the feel and even genre starts to change. This is where Eno shows his full face and Kate Bush springs to mind. And the band, Elbow. It particularly reminds me of my favourite song of last year: The Court by Peter Gabriel - an absolutely astounding song, if you havenโ€™t heard it (make sure to pick the Bright-Side mix - for there are 3 mixes available). There is also a bit of MY music in there somewhere! Not literally, but something about the piano and general feel - canโ€™t explain. Basically, comparing Snake to my favourite song of last year is high praise, and I mean it to be so.

This piano really makes the song for me. It is not being played in the usual way. It is all about the rhythmic aspect of it, and the tone. The piano has the most incredible tonal range. If it doesnโ€™t, then it is simply not a very good piano. The creamy high notes and the anger of the lows, make for something so totally complete, capturing just about EVERY emotion we as humans are capable of. But aside from the piano, another thing that really struck me about Snake, was the use of dynamics. Most artists these days seem either too afraid of going quiet, or simply incapable of it. Or, they wouldnโ€™t know when or even WHY to go quiet. There is no power without contrast. PLEASE ignore the loudness war. There is no such thing anymore. One thing I wish to come back into the music industry is a quality war. Or even, a talent war!! What Kate Stanton and 12 Below have achieved here is quality, through talent. I listened to MANY tracks by many artists before eventually settling on this one. And several of these tracks were perhaps louder - this did nothing to me. What matters is the music. And an obsession with loudness throughout can truly screw up the sound and give you a headache. Without this competition of instruments battling for first place, one can actually HEAR the instruments. And what gloriously played instruments they are. Including that wondrous voice! Snake WILL grab your attention, but donโ€™t worry. Itโ€™s not poisonous.

On the subject of instruments, I have a big fat question for you. Or rather, two. What do YOU think is the โ€œbestโ€ instrument? What is your favourite instrument? Let me know your two answers in the comments! But donโ€™t forget to mention your thoughts on the song. Itโ€™s a special one.

Apologies for not talking about snakes. I know little about them, so I didnโ€™t want to come across as a complete asp.

Listen to ๐™Ž๐™ฃ๐™–๐™ ๐™š on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Spotify playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™Ž๐™ฃ๐™–๐™ ๐™š on the ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ป๐—ผ๐—น๐—น๐˜†โ€™๐˜€ ๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฟ Apple Music playlist HERE!

Listen to ๐™Ž๐™ฃ๐™–๐™ ๐™š on YouTube HERE!

Follow ๐™†๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™Ž๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ฃ on Instagram HERE!

Follow 12ย ๐˜ฝ๐™š๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฌ on Instagram HERE!

Follow ๐™†๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™Ž๐™ฉ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ค๐™ฃ on TwiX HERE!

Follow 12ย ๐˜ฝ๐™š๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฌ on TwiX HERE!

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432 views152 comments


Mar 24

Really great read keep up the good work as always ๐Ÿ’ฏ๐Ÿ”ฅ


Dope song "Snake" and lovely review #CC


Mar 24

Awesome review. Great music


Sunday catch up - Time has not been a friend of mine this week. My fav instrument has to be - the guitar (and means the bass guitar too ๐Ÿ˜‰), and the 'best' - piano. The voice is both :) But I โค๏ธ the drums ๐Ÿ˜‚

Very intriguing track. I also immediately thought of Eminem but soon it was overshadowed by this arty installation of a song. I love how the gravitational attraction of the foundational one chord is pulling back the guitar riffs and piano bursts. It's like the song is trying to break free but that one power chord won't let go. It is soooooo coooool. Brilliant playing and of course, singing. Kate and 12 below has createdโ€ฆ

Replying to

Ah yes. Time. You've been busy celebrating love. Which is frankly a better use of your time, let's face it. I love what you said about the song trying to break free. Great image.


Iโ€™ve had a busy but productive week, yet feeling like I have been missing out on something up until now. Just getting to catch up on The CC review for this week. As always, Iโ€™m never disappointed. I love the twists and turns which make the reviews enjoyable to read. I love the song very much. The relaxing tempo of the song is just what I need to ease into the weekend after a long week. Kate Stanton did a wonderful job on the song Snake ๐Ÿ

Replying to

Pleased you got around to it, Steve. As to the relaxing nature of the song, it's deceptive. Hidden darkness around every corner...



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