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By Le Chupacabra

12 Episodes (+4 OVAs)
Brain's Base
Ages 13+

In 1931, the Flying Pussyfoot races off from Chicago towards New York, carrying dreams, riches and perhaps the odd stowaway or two. At an undisclosed time after this, the police wade through the remains of a train crash, finding two survivors. What exactly happened on the Flying Pussyfoot?

Discordant, shameless and brazen; Baccano lives up to its namesake (Italian for, you guessed it, 'noise') as one hell of a composition. Improvisation that would make jazz proud, an orchestration worthy of a Philharmonic and perhaps a little bit of funk to keep things a little insane: this one's quite the performance.

Non-linear storytelling is a bit of a rarity in the entertainment world. Brilliant when successful and quite frankly, rather painful to pull off, it's a jam session not undertaken lightly. So why is it that Baccano hits all verses with perfect pitch? Juggling what seems to be an exponentially-growing cast of eclectic personalities over a dozen chapters feels like it could go horribly wrong. However, Baccano goes to town with shifts in perspective, location and even time as it conducts a tale that actually began sometime in the 18th century.

Now, this isn't exactly the most ground-breaking story ever told - and it has no pretensions to such a throne. Rather, the captivating, rather loosely knit plot is all about bringing together these enigmatic artists and injecting some solid doses of serendipity, self-discovery and - in the case of the thief couple Miria and Isaac - sugar into their veins. The story hops along gleefully from this crazy duo to some rather sharply-dressed Mafioso types before it settles down for a while on a damsel in distress searching for her brother. What happened to him? He may have fun afoul of said Mafioso types. And there we go again as we follow the blood-stained path of an assassin who's being watched through the eyes of a mute lady in a fetching gown. Disconcerting? Definitely. But confusing? Surprisingly, far from it.

It's the strength of these performers that drives the narrative and engages the part of your brain that actually enjoys being engaged. The conductor stops long enough to develop each group, pair or individual, but perhaps not long enough for them to begin overshadowing any of the others. It's a precarious balancing act but, presumably a result of imbibing fairy dust, it works and it is an utterly glorious waltz. Favourites will undoubtedly emerge and perhaps, there could be that tiniest bit of regret that your personal picks didn't really get to be a little louder during the chorus.

Selfish qualms aside, with a ballad this layered you can't help but love it to bits. Since this is mostly set in an era soaked in some classic acoustics, why not take some time to talk about it. Fans of Guy Ritchie's 'Snatch' will recognise the way the opening anthem shows off its cast all to the tune of a jazz number that would do Cowboy Bebop proud. The rest of the album is a delightful mixture of jazz and blues with a tempo as that's as tempestuous as the cast itself.

So, why not put away those tickets for that heavy metal gig and settle down for the vigoroso beats of Baccano? It's really... incredible. There we go: ran out of decent musical terms.

“Feeling Vai's Vibes”

By M. Fayaad Islam

“For the Love of god”- one of his epic masterpieces. A construct of instruments that blends together, displaying the soul, complexity and passion of a true master. He managed to create a song that so gently toys with human emotions, pushing you from the edges of anxiety, to the midst of tranquillity. As he so befittingly named the song, he presented it to the world in the critically acclaimed album, so righteously named, “Passion and Warfare”. Steve Vai is truly the embodiment of awesomeness.

Steven Siro "Steve" Vai is an Italian American rock guitarist, song writer, vocalist and producer, born on the 6th of June, 1960. Learning from the celebrated master of blues and rock, Joe Satriani himself, Vai starts of his amazing career as a transcriptionist for one of the legendary fathers of modern music Frank Zappa in 1974. After graduating from the Berklee College of Music, Vai manages to blow Zappa away with some of his own compositions, earning a prestigious place in Zappa's line up, and frequently appearing on some of his most notable albums. While touring with Zappa, Vai occasionally asked audience members to bring forth their own musical pieces, so that he may sight-read them on the spot, for which Zappa often regarded him as his "little Italian virtuoso', and was listed in liner notes as performing "stunt guitar" or "impossible guitar parts". By 1982, Vai leaves Zappa's side as an acclaimed guitarist and releases his first album “Flex-Able”. In 1985, after working with some bands, he replaces the Yngwie Malmsteen as lead guitarist for Alcatrazz. Later in that year as he joined David Lee Roth's group, his status amongst rock audiences transforms as an image of a prominent guitarist to that of a rock legend, as he becomes a subject of frequent comparison with “Guitar-God” Eddie Van Halen.

However, it's not just with a couple of swift procedural guitar solos or heavy tone riffs that Steve Vai becomes famous among music lovers. His work is an intricate and amazing fusion between, rock, jazz and the blues, debated to be influenced to some extent by his funky blues playing teacher and colleague Satriani. Steve Vai frequently leaves his audience speechless with his elaborate compositions. The “feel” of his lead solos mixed in with a couple of amusing works incorporating the tremolo, wah-wah pedal and funky tone is what puts him a couple of notches above most artists. His work bolstered by his popularity makes him a frequent performer on the celebrated annual G3 concert hosted by his former master Joe Satriani. Such an auspicious spot is only reserved for the cream of the guitarists in the world, likes of who are Malmsteen, Petrucci, Gilbert, etc.

Along with sticking to his main trade in the music industry, Vai has also done his fare share of acting. His most notable movie was “Crossroads”. If you are searching for whether you have seen him on Brittney Spear's movie, then naive may be a word fit to describe you. The original movie was released back in 1986. In the climax of the film, Steve Vai demonically plays his instrument to fight of the hero Macchio, who's guitar work was also dubbed by Vai, in the most awesome guitar battle of all times. Along with working on a lot of other soundtracks for various movies, he manages to unite both music lovers and computer gaming enthusiasts by creating the epic Halo 2 soundtrack.

With his divine custom made “tool” Ibanez's JEM which incorporates his specially ordered monkey grip and DiMarzio pick-ups, Steve Vai sculptures 13 of his solo albums up to date with many more expected by rock aficionados and music lovers. In 1999, he made one of his finest contributions to the music world by creating his own record label called “Favoured Nations” with the intent to showcase what Steve describes: "...artists that have attained the highest performance level on their chosen instruments."

Winning three Grammy Awards, and gaining critical acclaim in his albums “Where Wild Things Are”, “Sound Theories” and even a golden record for “Passion and Warfare”, Steve Vai has most admirably earned his place to be regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all time. With his free style of playing and spirit, Steve Vai has manages to touch and influence many musicians around the globe. His fan base is ever so prominent in Bangladesh as well, with many young underground and mainstream musicians getting strength from his work. Even our famous Ayub Bachchu shows his devotion to the rock artist by carrying one of Vai's signature JEM series guitars decorated with the vine and flower artwork. Steve Vai has truly placed himself with the rest of the heroes on the epitome of humanity's culture.


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