Thursday, December 16, 2010

WHAT'S YOUR MUSE? Yellow Ostrich

It's time for another edition of "What's Your Muse?"

The concept is simple: We ask a band/artist to choose a song that means a lot/the most to them. Then, they record and send us a video of themselves describing why they chose the song. Think of it like a collaborative video mixtape project.

In this edition, we hear from Alex Schaaf (aka the man behind Yellow Ostrich).

Photo by Sarah Mulligan

Yellow Ostrich is the brainchild of one Alex Schaaf, a Wisconsin multi-instrumentalist currently based in New York. Being adept on a number of instruments provides Schaaf the ability to envision music in great detail. It sounds as though, as a songwriter, he sees things on a wider scale; he demonstrates concern for how each note, chord, and rhythm will affect not only the overall song but also each measure and passing second. On top of all this, Schaaf is undoubtedly well-versed in all different styles of music and has strong pop sensibilities.

This year saw the release of a new Yellow Ostrich LP entitled The Mistress, which also happens to be one of the year's best albums. What really makes it stand out is Schaaf's use of his voice; it becomes the defining instrument of the album with its expressive range and depth. Through well-arranged harmonies and engaging melodies, The Mistress proves Schaaf has something special with Yellow Ostrich.

After the jump, watch Schaaf's "What's Your Muse?" submission in which he speaks about a song by one of the greatest songwriters of our time. The song he chose possesses much of the rich, dynamic instrumentation found in Yellow Ostrich. There are clear parallels between both musicians' creative, thoughtful arrangements. But as Schaaf jokes, it's hard to choose just one song that means the most.

The Mistress is currently available for a "name your price" download at Bandcamp. Download it. Do it! It will be released on vinyl through Afternoon Records on February 15, 2011. Pre-order here.

Elliott Smith - "Waltz #2 (XO)"

Yellow Ostrich
Official Site

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