EIGHT PENCE CHAINS
Music is Matter
[Split Femur Recordings, www.splitfemurrecordings.com]
Octal: Book One
[Clean Feed Records, www.cleanfeed-records.com]
Country Moog / Nashville Gold
SOEREN KJAERGAARD / BEN STREET / ANDREW CYRILLE
Classic African American Gospel
[Smithsonian Folkways, www.folkways.si.edu]
FRODE GJERSTAD TRIO
Nothing is Forever
[Circulasione Totale, www.frodegjerstad.com]
Champions of Wonder
[Illegal Art, www.illegalart.net]
THE WRONG OBJECT
Stories from the Shed
[Savoy Jazz, www.savoyjazz.com]
BOBBY AND BLUMM
[Morr Music, www.morrmusic.com]
[Crammed Discs, www.crammed.be]
Wild Style - Original Soundtrack
[Mr Bongo, www.mrbongo.com]
BENEVA vs. CLARK NOVA
The Forest and the Zoo
[ESP Disk, www.espdisk.com]
[Dotnum Dunton, www.dotnumdunton.com]
AARON DUGAN + JEFF ARNAL
[Last Visible Dog, www.lastvisibledog.com]
SAMUEL BLASER QUARTET
[Between The Lines, www.doublemoon.de]
MARIE QUEENIE LYONS
[Warp Records, www.warprecords.com]
[Lal Lal Lal, www.haamu.com/lallallal/]
[Edgetone Records, www.edgetonerecords.com]
Live at the Knitting Factory L.A. - 14 November 2001
[Hip Priest/COG Sinister/MVD, www.mvdb2b.com]
CLIVE BELL / BECHIR SAADE
An Account of My Hut
[Another Timbre, www.anothertimbre.com]
Night Must Fall
[DC Recordings, www.dcrecordings.com]
Madrigali, 1° libro
Acts of New Noise
[Euphonium Records, www.euphoniumrecords.com]
[Southern Lord, www.southernlord.com]
Mother of Moons Bathing
Not For Nobody
[Digitalis Industries, www.digitalisindustries.com]
[Riverboat / World Music Network, www.worldmusic.net]
Centering itself around hip-hop, Eight Pence Chains and their release "Music is Matter" strikes a golden ten. Not a ten in any one category but a solid ten for overall effort. The music they produce drips with a slowly drying paint. Composed to Gavin Lyon and Stephen Edwards, the band looks into the future as they load their music with cooling beats and rhythms that are nearly static. All of this is packaged in a warmly glowing package that resounds with the call to life. Even when vocals are heard - as on "Equus Cabali", which features sultry vocalizing from Eva Lazarus - these are kept to a minimum and don't disrupt the flow of the music as such. Much calmness and plenty of trippy beats makes for an album that is handy to have around when the headaches of life hit you square in the face.
Second part of his Guitar Series for Clean Feed Records, Elliott Sharp this time around switches over to an electro acoustic "guitarbass". Basically, a custom-made instrument, which is more or less a hollow body electric guitar with an additional two bass strings. "Octal: Book One" is in fact more manageable than Sharp's take on Monk covers. His idiosyncratic ideas get filtered through a sharply-sounding instrument that gives off a rich variety of diverse sounds. Certain moments, you get an impression you're hearing a violin, while at others, you may mistake it for a strangely-tuned bass. His rapid, finger-snapping, psychotic slaps are fired off in random succession. Sharp wanted to allot a live, improvised feel to the record and the limited takes he allowed with every track worked their magic. Another proof of staying power of one, seriously under appreciated, master musician.
Music composer Gil Trythall must've been a nut-job. Who else can you think of who used the Moog to do covers of country tunes? That's exactly what Trythall did on two early 70's records, "Country Moog" and "Nashville Gold". Just an idea alone sounds crazy, but the results are even more nutty. Can you imagine Sun Ra going extra light on his Moog, with an addition of a cheapo drum machine effect emanating from his instrument? Well, neither could I, until the day I stumbled on this re-issue package. The guy has got a ton of verve to be covering standards such as "King of the Road", "Ode to Billie Joe" and "Tennessee Waltz". This music is much more than just pure kitsch. As the album's producers point out about one of the tracks, which were mastered from a vinyl 45 single, "We have decided to still include this track because of its obvious historic and artistic merit". Hallelujah to that!
Pianist and composer Soeren Kjaergaard surrounded himself in an imaginary musical world since early years of childhood. By way of self-produced cassettes, classical piano lessons, he was turned on to improvising. It was there that he felt his calling. Having released a number of records, Kjaergaard now releases "Optics", something that in my opinion, sees full realization of his own, unique style. For one, he favours a subtle approach. There isn't much forceful, over-the-head lines. He's really focused on soft shades and modest colouring. His sideman [though they should probably receive titles of co-leaders], bassist Ben Street and percussionist Andrew Cyrille are solidly supportive. Cyrille's off-the-wall punctuation and Street's solid picking ensure the leader has ample room to maneuver. Subtle with a particular focus on the lyrical side, "Optics" is bound to shine a brighter spotlight on Kjaergaard outside of his native Denmark.
If it's got a Smithonian Folkways logo on the cover, it's bound to be good. In this case, the record I'm holding in my hands is not simply good, but runs along the lines of exceptional. Spanning more than half a century, from early 50s to the present, "Classic African American Gospel" showcases the best in variety of gospel styles from some powerhouse singers. Not only singers, in fact, but bands, quartets and choirs are featured on the album. The raw power of Starlight Gospel Singers on "Oh Lord, I'm So Glad I Got Good Religion" is stunning, while Little Brother Montgomery playing piano and devoutly singing "Just Got Over at Last" is packed with power. Brother John Sellers and his 1959 recording, the very bopping "He's My Rock" exemplifies the true merging of soul with rock elements. So many highlights packed in a 77 minute package. Everywhere one turns, you get a sweet morsel of true, raw gospel power. Very devout in its energy of music, you can never underestimate the power of gospel! Flawless.
King of the shronk, Norwegian saxophonist/clarinetist Frode Gjerstad returns with his trio in fine style. "Nothing is Forever" marks a next gelling of the band that is a powerhouse live. Recorded live in Oslo last May, the line-up is static, with leader assuming dual role on clarinets and alto sax, Oyvind Storesund playing acoustic bass, while Paal Nilssen-Love plays the drums. Featuring three longer pieces and one clocking in at a mere 8 minutes, the music flows in a natural fashion. While in some cases, a climax is built-up early on, others feature multiple orgasms. Rhythm section gets some down-time, where Nilssen-Love is able to run through his drum-roll routine [along with mesmerizing cymbal crashes]. Gjerstad is his usual powerhouse self, running wild through cocky shrieks and complex runs on the sax. It's the more serene sections I like best though. When he settles into a groove near the end of "Is Nothing", you can pick out minute details of the other members of the trio. Choice selection from a master musician, who I hope will continue to develop this trio for years to come.
Moving eastwards to Sweden, we find multi-instrumentalist Erik Levander. For the most part, this musician has been releasing ultra-limited MP3 or CD-R only music, which means that "Kondens" is only his second proper album. His instrumental palette is quite wide, ranging from guitars, computers, clarinet, oud, harmonica, vibraphone, tape recorder, saw, right down to function generator and piano. It's not the "maximum" numbers [such as harsh "Kvad" or the over-the-top electronic glitch gyrations of "Tolvupop"] that grab me. Levander's strength is in subtleties. The ultra-minimal, drip-drip electric sound of "Hitta Hem" has a certain sense of delicacy that can't be denied. Add a few guitar strums and an atmosphere filled with water drips. [It's rather a shame that at the tail end, the piece turns in and demolishes itself with a barrage of noise.] I urge you to seek out the drifting atmospherics and the minimal caresses of Levander.
Many references have been made to Bersarin Quartett's self-titled debut. Some have called it cinematic, while others refer to it as ambient electronics. My vote lies split between the two versions as the music produced is really neither. Though it does share certain elements of both - sprawling open spaces on "Inversion" [which at times allude to someone like Tangerine Dream] and pure ambience of "Nachtblind", the release has an added element. There's a definite factor of story-telling woven in every one of the ten tracks on the release. It may be melancholic and full of gray sky landscaping, their music is overflowing with one element I need to get cozy with music of this type - warmth. It's this wool blanket warmth that invites me to revisit Bersarin Quartett's debut time and again.
Berlin duo M.A.N.D.Y. [Patrick Bodern and Philipp Jung] share a long-standing friendship. Through their days of shared interest in sports and music, they grew closer together, until one day they decided to let their common love for electronica take its natural course. Practice makes perfect, as they say and after many years of polishing their DJ and production skills [along with gaining crucial know-how in the corporate music world], they started the Get Physical imprint. Their live mix release for Fabric is an amalgamation of variety of styles they've infused their life with. There are heavy doses of electronica, house, acid, trip-hop and even some Brazilian salsa influence [represented by Yello's "Bananas to the Beat"]. Deadset, DJ T, Lopazz, Gui Borrato, Dubfire and countless others make this journey into minimal beats an overtly pleasant excursion. Your butt will surely work up a sweat and that's not just a promise - that's a guarantee.
Another couple that's been raising my eyebrows recently is one of Jane Dowe and Hank Hofler. With a moniker like Oh Astro, how can you go wrong? Ultimately, the duo draw inspiration from other people's source tracks to make music that is uniquely their very own. With Lionel Richie's "Hello" hidden deep inside of "Hello Fuji Boy", they whip up a densely-populated plunderphonic pop song. In fact, only glitches of Richie's original track are heard, but one must still wonder, what the copyright police will make of this? "Candy Sun Smiles", which features tid-bits of Electronic runs along the same lines. Examples such as these can be multiplied in every track on the disc. Fun, sunny and glistening with youthful energy, in taking split-second bits of the old, Oh Astro is keen at creating music that is fresh on its own terms. It could even be labeled as a new type of pop music, if that makes it more digestible.
Prog-rock fusion. How I love that phrase, let me count the ways? But seriously, Belgian quintet The Wrong Object have been prophesizing on the genre for years now. By the sound of things, "Stories from the Shed" is a continuation of their past work, taking the fusion aspect to a new level. I'll admit, I could do without Michel Delville's overtly pompous synth work [he's fine on guitars and I'll even put up with his vocals]. Otherwise, the band [guitar/bass/drums/sax and trumpet/flugelhorn players] is tight - sometimes even too tight. These pieces are written out to the very last details, which only makes me wish they could relax and let loose a bit more. I need to feel the musical element of taking chances. I want to hear someone screw up and play without the charts. In fact, this album would be miles better if the word improvisation was truly practiced between the members of the quintet. As it stands, it's a pipe dream waiting to happen.
For nearly four decades, Brazilian vocal-powerhouse Milton Nascimento has risen above and delivered the goods. His style of honey-dripping, sweetly melodic songs made the world take notice. With "Pietá", Nascimento pays homage to his mother. You can expect the same amount of tenderness in the songs; the same amount of loving care was put into the arrangements as well. Percussion is mid to light to emphasize guitars and wind instruments scattered throughout. Choruses are plentiful with a ton of guests to boot. Check out an insanely haunting and melodic voice of Maria Rita Mariano on "Voa Bicho" [Fly Bird] and his do-wop version of Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island". Stunning! In a nutshell, this is pop music from a far off part of the world to your cozy location. Immediately connects to the heart and music sticks in your head for days on end. Addictive as hell.
Whenever F.S. Blumm is involved in a piece of music, it's bound to be delicate, gentle and serene. It's with no surprise that we find his latest project - duo with Bobby Baby [Swedish chanteuse Ellinor Blixt] - "Everybody Loves?" to be a serene slab of music. F.S. Blumm's guitar contributions are sparse. His strumming is minimal in a way to better accentuate Bobby's vocal mastery. Bobby possesses a set of vocals that are serene, yet honest. They draw you in at once. On a piece like "Sea Song", she reminds me of a more cheerful Robert Wyatt, while on "In Future Present", the duo is doing a lovely, bare sing-along. This is pure pop bliss of the highest realm.
Third album by Brazilian musician DJ Dolores "1 Real" sees him step up to the plate and up the anti. This is a much harsher statement if we are to go solely on politics alone. Here, he tackles a variety of human indignities, evils of capitalism, extreme forms of idealism. He doesn't simply stick to one true and trusted musical format. Rather, he experiments at cross-genre mutations, to come up with break-beat Brazilian funk in one track, while on the next, he's mixing rave styles with indigenous Brazilian sounds. Large brass section ensures most of these tracks have a full feel, while a variety of vocalists keep things interesting by mixing styles from ballads to dance-floor favourites. "1 Real" is like a tall giraffe in a jungle of weeds. Excellent release from a guy already turning many heads on the other side of the big pond.
1983 flick "Wild Style" is a classic movie about New York graffiti artist Zoro. Quarter century on, it may not be the plot that may immediately stick in your heads, but the music that was featured. It was Grandmaster Flash's appearance in this classic hip-hop flick that sparked all the rage. Free-wheeling, free-form rap at its finest. Remember, those were the days of heavy scratching, break dancing and early hip-hop. Rammellzee and Shock Dell are featured on one track, while Fab 5 Freddy performs the classic "Down by Law" at the tail end of the album. Second disc features mostly instrumental takes of the tracks already included on the original soundtrack, though Kev Luckhurst's "Wildstyle Lesson" is quite decent. Otherwise, these are some solid, word-less beats that take you back to days when your hair was fuller and gray beard hair was just a figment of your imagination.
Last years "Flotsam/Jetsam" EP was a fantastic turn of events for the duo of Beneva vs. Clark Nova. Not only was it full of luscious landscapes, the duo also dealt heavily in hallucinogenic sounds. While the duo still dabbles in softer side of electronica, they're really turning their sights on the song form. The hushed "His Freefloating Affection" and the alien-sounds of "With Love, etc." feature the incredulously tender vocalizing from Therese Aune. Cacophony of birds and insects is sampled on "Social Wrist-Twisting", while "Two Men Being Hospitalized When Only One Had to Be" features an oddly-shaped beat sculpted out of verbalized phrases. Don't expect any sudden changes of direction or harsh break-beats for what Beneva vs. Clark Nova do best on their proper full-length debut "Sombunall" is caress the ears and soothe a tired mind. Real beauty for those willing to stretch out their hand and ask for it.
Tsurubami is the latest Acid Mothers Temple off-shoot project. Featuring guitarist Makoto Kawabata, percussionist Nobuka Emi and bassist Hiroshi Higashi, it becomes apparent early on in their "Tenrin" recording that what the trio is going after is complete and total annihilation. The first 18 minute track "Kakaru Henge No Yukusue Wa" features sharp pricks of Kawabata's guitar, which are repeated ad infinatum. Add to this a few raging solos and a rhythm section with a drummer who pounds the hell out of his skins, and you've got yourself a mean, hellish way to kill some time. The nearly 40 minute long second piece "Ten Nozomite Tsuki Idezu" takes a lot longer to arrive at its climax. Through a long, psychedelic section - full of whacked out guitars and primal drums, the piece arrives at a blues-soaked guitar solo, which then leads to the trio doing some metal-hammer, feedback laced mayhem section. An aural orgasm like you've rarely heard it before!
ESP founder Bernard Stollman was a lucky guy. Not only did he get to release some of Albert Ayler and Sun Ra's finer moments, he was also given a master of a Steve Lacy live recording. Story goes that back in 1966, Lacy gave him a master of a Buenos Aires concert. Lacy's quartet at the time featured trumpet player Enrico Rava, bassist Johnny Dyani and percussionist Louis Moholo. Consisting of only two 21 minute pieces, the band on this record is definitely one of Lacy's strongest outfits. Rava's horn perfectly complements Lacy's soprano sax cries, while the rhythm section is simply smoking. The Dyani-Moholo tag team is a dream duo. While Moholo howls with a ton of over-the-top cymbal crashes, Dyani's stance is more melodic, running up and down his bass with persistency of a madman. It's funny that for so many years, nobody seemed to notice the original tape was recorded out of phase. This fault was corrected for this reissue. "The Forest and The Zoo" is one Steve Lacy record that no serious jazz fan should do without.
Morgen Mittag makes music that could very well fit in with electronic game description. His [her?] music is that of early pinball machines, Arkanoid sound effects and Donkey Kong bleeps. All eleven tracks on the rather brief [27 minutes long] release point in the direction of someone who is obsessed with video game sounds. If "Astroplanten" doesn't sound like the soundtrack to Centipede or Space Invaders, then I don't know what does. For some, "Digiwatt Lydt" will serve as a novelty item, while for others, it will be a throwback to the years of their childhood. Best part about this release is there are two ways to obtain it - as a purchase through the label's web-site or as a free download.
New York based guitarist Aaron Dugal and percussionist Jeff Arnal have been playing as a duo for the last few years. It is only now, with the release of "Dog Day" that they make their recorded debut. First thing one notices is the direct, no-holds barred communication between the two musicians. While Dugal's approach is systematic - the way he pounds certain notes and phrases into submission - Arnal is a lot more flexible. It's his changing palette of percussion styles that allows him to embrace his partner more fully. Over the span of 45 minutes, the duo flexes its muscles to deliver some improvisation that is as honest, which is delivered without a stringentnet.
With an odd name like Renderizors, things can only look bright. New Zealand outfit is actually a collaboration between two other bands - The Renderers and Sandoz Lab Technicians. Though an almighty drone is a preoccupation of the quartet, there is a lot more to them than just that. Take tracks such as "Stranger at Your Party" and "Slow Motion". With its Meddle-era Floyd leanings, and guitar renderings, the band aims to create a spooked out surrounding. On "Weirder", MaryRose Crook sounds of "things getting weirder" in a tone that is lapsed with life. It's almost as if these are utterings of someone on their death-bed. "The Golden Guitar" has Crook return amidst an army of crunchy guitars. The cr?me de la cr?me is the twelve minute "Twister", where Rose is again deadly serious in her delivery, while the atmosphere is decisively on the psychedelic tinge. "Submariner" is a decisively morose record full of quietly pleasing turns at every corner.
New York based Swiss trombonist Samuel Blaser continues his quest in redefining his compositional skills on his quite delectable album "7th Heaven". Joining his quartet is guitarist Scott Dubois, bassist Thomas Morgan and percussionist Gerald Cleaver. Though he has appeared on more than twenty records by artists as various as EBU Jazz Orchestra, Lee Scratch Perry and Vienna Art Orchestra, his compositional side was under-developed on record. As such, this record lets his compositions breathe free. An almost half-an-hour long "Metamorphose Suite" allows all players to dabble in little side episodes of their own. All the while, the leader glues the whole thing together. His playing is rather pleasant, and for the most part, he doesn't like to step on his sidemen's toes. What's best about "7th Heaven" is the high level of communication between the players. I hope this record marks only the beginning of great things to come for Blaser's quartet.
There's very few things that I love more than cinematic music. This would be music that forces the listener to come up with the multitude of images for the plot it's trying to outlay in front of us. Crackle's "Heavy Water" release fits the cinematic mould quite well. Frank Byng and Nick Doyne-Ditmas are the brains behind Crackle. Between them, they play everything from bass, guitar, Hammond organ, cornet, euphonium, variety of percussion along with synths and samples. There is a very organic feel to the sound, with many of the numbers retaining a heavy dub tendency. Listener's ear is always on the details and the amount of space the duo put into the music allows those details to come through very openly. This is a fine release, one that comes through most clearly when the lights are out and imagination is working overtime.
Thirty-eight years after its initial release in 1970, "Soul Fever" from Marie "Queenie" Lyons sees the light of day. Shortly after its release in 1970, Louisiana native vocalist vanished into thin air. Having worked throughout the 60's as a support act for Jackie Wilson, Fats Domino, the Coasters, Jerry Lee Lewis and James Brown, she signed a deal with King Records to issue this album. Lyons possesses a set of vocals that makes her a potent leader. She shouts, yells, soothes, but most of all convinces the listener. This is the real deal. There are no feelings left untouched. You can't fake a feeling and from the get-go, Lyons is dead honest. See if you can't shed a few tears during her tender rendition of "You Used Me" or if you can't feel the passion on "Fever". Hear the frustration and anger on "Your Thing Ain't No Good Without My Thing". The brass section is pumped as it the rhythm section. Whoever mastered the record from original tape gave it the heavy-bass, warm vinyl feeling. "Soul Fever" is the real deal my friends. Get it now before it disappears into obscurity again.
Chris Clark's "Boddy Riddle" album from a couple of years back was a full-fledged monster. In detail, the producer outlined his theory of instrumental, heavy-beat music and drove hordes of people to go diving straight for the dance-floor. With "Turning Dragon", his beats have been taken off a diet of sorts and are not fatter than ever before. With samples running through the record, along with some delicious scratching, the guy is still able to maintain a melody line on these tracks. What's best is an almighty heaviness of the beat. It's persistent and it's everywhere. Clark doesn't let go of the premise of maximum beat satisfaction for a second. Don't get me wrong, there's still a bit of room for spaced-out, looser playing, as is evident on the free-floating "Mercy Sines" and the soul-licious "Ache of the North". With beats as luscious and dirty as these, who needs friends.
Heading west to Finland, we find Fricara Pacchu and their "Midnight Pyre" release. Starting his career as a rapper in The Backdoor Funkers, and moving his way through collaborations with Avarus, Rorererot, Slow Convulsion and others, he moved into psychedelia and free-form everything. Everything is actually a good term for his "Midnight Pyre" release as the guy throws in the kitchen sink into his music. Literally! Heavy elements of psychedelic sounds, some techno, rock, pop, experimental and noise are filtered through a tube of lo fidelity. What's amazing is how quirky these tunes are and how direct they are in getting their message across. Sure, it makes one wish there was a bit more focus, but then again, who cares. When the heart is in the right place, music can only come out as unabashedly honest as it does on "Midnight Pyre".
BoxDeserter is an eight piece put together by Detroit-based pianist and conductor Thollem McDonas. On "TwoRevolutions", he has gathered musicians from Columbus, Detroit and the Bay Area. Two works that are presented were recorded live in Detroit at the Bohemian National Home. Each one clocking at the 40 minute mark, there is a fullness and development to the music at hand. The players don't simply go through the notions. These are seasoned professionals who understand the art of improvisations, who have a keen ear for the most minute detail and who most of all, know how to take direction from their leader. Although there are a few spoken passages that deal with Portuguese colonization of Africa, the pieces work better without words of explanation. An utter sense of urgency and anger that comes across from the reed section [Hasan Abdur-Rassaq, Michael Carey and Marko Novachcoff] works wonders to get McDonas' heavy ivory poundings into high gear. It's these moments of clarity and conviction that drive the music on "TwoRevolutions" forward and upwards into the higher spheres.
Previously issued on the two DVD set "Access All Areas Volume 2", the music portion of "Live at the Knitting Factory - Los Angeles - 14 November 2001" may not be a revelation for most Fall fans. Those same fans are the ones who actually go to gigs instead of listening to a ton of [mostly bootleg] live issues the band has thrown at them over the years. While I could whine about the sound quality on this disc [it could use some work], I won't as in the end it's the music that counts. Mark E. Smith's profound gnarls and sneers are thrown around on "Cyber Insekt", "Cropdust", "Mr. Pharmacist" and "Antidotes" among others. The band is in high spirits as the guitars rage like hell-fire on top of the rhythm section. Bare-boned, raw experience or just another good day for The Fall on stage, the CD does the band justice and that's all that counts.
British shakuhachi player Clive Bell seems to have found a soul mate in Lebanese ney player Bechir Saade. Taking the title of their duo CD "An Account of My Hut" from a piece of prose written by Kamo No Chomei, the pair use a variety of extended techniques to put their point across. Main feeling one gets from their music is that of overt peacefulness and a state of rest. It's not that the music stands still, but rather that it doesn't particularly move into places of eruption, nor does it wander off into unchartered, murky waters. Though the state of calm prevails, there are still moments of improvised vitality here. The bursting, breath-popping, tongue-rolling can clearly be pictured as the duo rev up their collective engines on "Withered Leaves". Haunting, exhilarating but mostly calm improvisations that sees the two musicians become one single unit, "An Account of My Hut" is naked and honest music of the highest timbre.
After walking away from his previous band L'Altra, vocalist/guitarist Joseph Costra begins a new project. Simply titled Costra Music, for his debut album "Lighter Subjects", he has enlisted musicians as varied at Steve Art, Fred Lonberg-Holm, Marc Hellner and Aleks Tomaszewska. Sounding like a cross-bread between Pulseprogramming and a more delicate, latter-day Talk Talk, Costra Music speaks in whispers, rather than direct, loud-mouth directives. Costra's voice is humble, quiet, yet comes packed with an unspoken, brutal frailty. Gorgeous string arrangements flow over a soft rhythm section and subtle electronic programming that gives the music its vitality. I'll file "Lighter Subjects" under the lonely, manic depressive genre and will pull it out when that dire urgency prevails.
Taking the best elements from New York's no-wave and disco scenes, Padded Cell journey on into dance-hall land on "Night Must Fall". Former DJs, Richard Sen and Neil Beatnik put on a bare-boned show of dark side of disco. Don't expect many cheerful tunes here, but then again, don't be expecting any sort of gloomy beast. The duo sits somewhere between the ultra-hype and the morose, slow grooves. Their music sounds as if it was informed by either sci-fi films or ultra-minimal house and the dirtiest disco grooves. Addition of live instruments - guitars, saxes, bass, various percussion - along with vocals on a few tracks adds a sense of a real, live working band. The album will go over well on the dance floor with the night owls as well as those afraid of the dark.
German improviser/composer, pianist Klaus Treuheit is a largely overlooked name. Though he has performed with people such as Peter Kowald, Rudi Mahall and Ed Ware, his name doesn't often come up when pianists are discussed. This is really a shame for he has a way of playing that should be taken into account by any serious lover of the piano. Though his solo piano record "Madrigali, 1° libro" doesn't immediately point to any one key influence, inside the booklet he names three figures that are crucial in his own development - Art Tatum, Cecil Taylor and Carlo Gesualdo. Broken down into sixteen brief miniatures, the album sees Treuheit polishing off his style. With each piece, one hears him approach his instrument in a slightly different manner. Though he employs some pounding and even dancing across the keys in the style of Cecil Taylor, it's his moments of lyricism that I'm drawn towards. Quietly caressing the keys every which way possible, this musician also considers silence a key tool in his palette. It's interesting to hear how those bent, "missing notes" are slightly addressed. Very rich album, full of nuances, surprises and beautifully stated in every sense of the word.
"Acts of New Noise" is album number two for multi-instrumentalist Vincent Hunt and his crew. Adopting his usual Pure Sound moniker, Hunt plays bass, piano, mandolin, adds vocals, and mostly fiddles around with a ton of tapes, while guests Alan Brown, Keith Curtis, Rick Aitken are heard on vocals on one track and Simon Price uses his drill throughout. Though he has developed his sound on concept albums such as "Yukon" and "Submarine", here Hunt is much broad broad-minded. From a longish, backward tape piece "The Pull Out from Hong Kong", to "Love Your Pheromones (Be My Slave)" - a cut-up piece that features jungle music alongside an older A Witness piece - his ideas are all over the map. Hunt even makes sounds of simple bottles sound like something new and worthwhile. Mostly a mish-mash of tape, field recordings and messed up imagery, "Acts of New Noise" serves as a good introduction to the work of Vincent Hunt.
Highlight of Boris' new album "Smile" comes early on during the record. Featuring the trippy guitar work of Michio Kurihara, lazy psychedelia of "Flower Sun Rain" is simply tops. It epitomizes this Japanese band's potential if it mellowed out for a few moments. Then, only a few minutes later, with "BUZZ-IN", the band begins their usual slaughter of intense proportions. Heads fly off carcasses as they start to chop people up into little pieces. This is metal for metal's sake. Angry, full of guitar mayhem solos, drums that kick into overdrive and vocals that are outrageously loud and severely pissed off. Then, at the album's finale - 15 minute long "KA RE HA TE TA SA KI - No Ones Grieve" - while enlisting sunnO)))'s guitarist Stephen O'Malley, the band turns to play an anthemic number with real twists and turns. Vocalist Takeshi sounds extremely mournful throughout most of the piece, which makes me think this was meant to be a ballad or a tribute to someone who had passed away. Treat yourself today and "Smile" along with Boris.
Bohemian based composer Aranos is not someone who is easily put into any one category basket. You could put him into a quasi-classical bin, but then again his experiments are too diverse. I guess you could try and lump him into the ambient camp, but then he refuses to settle down and provide music that is calm enough to fit that genre. His latest project "Mother of Moons Bathing" catches him on the cusp of variety of categories. "Awaking Horns" starts the proceedings with repetitive, subtle clicks, which then moves into vocal improvised melodies on "New Boyfriend". Next piece "Some Clowns are Not Funny" pursues a wild, cacophonous cello improvisation. Album's strongest piece is the twenty minute long "Towards Glittering Warm Dumplings". With a subtle, boiling, popping sound, the music moves into the realm of an acoustic form of drone-inducing acid house. Limited to a bare 400 copies and packaged in the usual, gorgeous Soleilmoon art, this is a very rewarding album, which refuses to have a category attached on its front cover.
Guitarist Scott Tuma is probably best known for the days spent with the much-lamented, under-appreciated Souled American. Since then, he's performed with Boxhead Ensemble and Good Stuff House. Don't expect rock or country music to make appearance on his latest solo feature "Not for Nobody". This is Tuma at his creative high, though it's also Tuma at his most blatantly relaxed form. Featuring slabs of guitar, percussion, harmonium and banjo, his music is lo-fi, yet it stumbles on high standards. His picking is morose, delivered with much care and uplifting at the same time. Spiraling, complex picking on "Rakes" is as masterful as it is haunting. Album ends on a pensive high, as "Reprieved" has Tuma softly crying out to the heavens above. Like a traveler in a lone, dark forest, his music represents something other, something higher.
Hailing from Niger, Etran Finatawa is a band that is a combination of the tuareg and wodaabe people. Desert-based nomadic clans, the band clearly defines its music as that based in the hardships, the blues of the region. Six members in this ensemble play everything from bass, guitars, flute to a variety of African percussion. Ghalitane Khamidoune's lead vocals are tender, nearly sweet in their directness and way of persuading listener to go along for the ride. Words tell of pressing and everyday issues - animal rights, tributes to loved ones, cultural uniqueness, beauty of the desert. All the while, his guitar chops point the way to a more restrained blues style. Rest of the band gives off tender percussive rhythms that are closely aligned with the call-and-response choral sections. Very tender, quite emotive document, "Desert Crossroads" is for me this year's highlight so far in world music.
- Tom Sekowski
+ Accomplice Affair - Jezioro Wspomnien
+ Sekkutsu Jean + Kawataba Makoto / Sekkutsu Jean + Kawataba Makoto
+ Zdzisław Piernik/Piotr Zabrodzki - Namanga
+ The Limit - Reinventing The Sun
+ Woody -Selected Works 2002 - 2006
+ Rick Wade - The Good, The Bad & The Deep
+ The Vegetable Orchestra - Remixed
+ Soul Designer - Evolutionism
+ James Ruskin - Dash
+ Alexander Roland - Nada Irama
+ Prosumer & Murat Tepeli - Serenity
+ Pluxus - Solid State
+ Savas Pascalidis - Deep Red
+ Osborne - Osborne
+ Muting The Noise
+ My Favourite Things
+ The Mole - As High As The Sky
+ Jack Marchment - Corydon & Manjrekar
+ LoSoul - Raw Beauty
+ Frank Kusserow - Atomsplit
+ IMPS - Bring Out The Imps
+ Housemeister - InOrderToDance
+ Housemeister - Who Is That Noize
+ Chris Fuentes - Noir Seven
+ Fenin - Been Through
+ Electric President - Sleep Well
+ The Black Dog - Radio Scarecrow
+ Diamanten & Raketen II
+ Delon & Dalcan -Tanz
+ Classic Cuts - Mixed By Serge
+ Grand Cru 2008
+ Feeling Strange - Jennifer Cardini
+ Falco Brocksieper - Heavy Day
+ Boogybytes Vol. 4 - Mixed By Ellen Allien
+ Bobby & Blumm - Everybody Loves
+ Axel Bartsch - Kiss
+ Antonelli - Soulkiller
+ Alter Ego - What's Next?!
+ Muariolanza - Po drugiej stronie Przemszy
+ Satanicpornocultshop - Takusan No Ohanasan
+ Klangwart - Stadtlandfluss
+ Pedal - Pedal
+ Jasmina Maschina - The Demolition Series
+ David Maranha - Marches of the New World
+ Free Spirits - Out of Sight and Sound
+ Hamid Drake & Bindu - Blissful
+ Kaiser/Noyes/Park - Invite the Spirit. 1983
+ Sound of Feeling - Up Into Silence
+ Michał Jacaszek - Treny
- - - - - - - - -
>> EIGHT PENCE CHAINS - Music is Matter / ELLIOTT SHARP - Octal: Book One / GIL TRYTHALL - Country Moog / Nashville Gold / SOEREN KJAERGAARD / BEN STREET / ANDREW CYRILLE - Optics / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Classic African American Gospel / FRODE GJERSTAD TRIO - Nothing is Forever / ERIK LEVANDER - Kondens / BERSARIN QUARTETT - Bersarin Quartett / M.A.N.D.Y. - Fabric 38 / OH ASTRO - Champions of Wonder / THE WRONG OBJECT - Stories from the Shed / MILTON NASCIMENTO - Pietá / BOBBY AND BLUMM - Everybody Loves? / DJ DOLORES - 1 Real / VARIOUS ARTISTS - Wild Style - Original Soundtrack / BENEVA vs. CLARK NOVA - Sombunall / TSURUBAMI - Tenrin / STEVE LACY - The Forest and the Zoo / MORGAN MITTAG - Digiwatt Lydt / AARON DUGAN + JEFF ARNAL - Dog Day / RENDERIZORS - Submarine / SAMUEL BLASER QUARTET - 7th Heaven / CRACKLE - Heavy Water / MARIE QUEENIE LYONS - Soul Fever / CLARK - Turning Dragon / FRICARA PACCHU - Midnight Pyre / BOXDESERTER - TwoRevolutions / THE FALL - Live at the Knitting Factory L.A. - 14 November 2001 / CLIVE BELL / BECHIR SAADE - An Account of My Hut / COSTA MUSIC - Lighter Subjects / PADDED CELL - Night Must Fall / KLAUS TREUHEIT - Madrigali, 1° libro / PURE SOUND - Acts of New Noise / BORIS - Smile / ARANOS - Mother of Moons Bathing / SCOTT TUMA - Not For Nobody / ETRAN FINATAWA - Desert Crossroads
+ YOSHI WADA - Lament for the Rise and Fall of the Elephantine Crocodile
+ GORDON MONAHAN - Theremin in the Rain
+ SOLO ANDATA / SEAWORTHY / TAYLOR DEUPREE - Live in Melbourne
+ BORN RUFFIANS - Red Yellow & Blue
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Graceful Degradations: Variations
+ THE ADVISORY CIRCLE - Other Channels
+ YITZHAK YEDID - Oud Bass Piano Trio - Suite in Five Movements
+ ORLANDO JULIUS - Super Afro Soul
+ DEBASHISH BHATTACHARYA - Calcutta Chronicles: Indian Slide Guitar Odyssey
+ FREDERIC BLONDY / THOMAS LEHN - Obdo
+ GABLE - Seven Guitars With a Cloud of Milk
+ FUCK BUTTONS - Street Horrrsing
+ VARIOUS ARTISTS - Otherness / Periferico - Sounds from Beyond the Bubble / Blood, Muscle & Air - The Intimate Voice
+ GLOBE UNITY ORCHESTRA - Globe Unity - 40 Years
+ ERIC BROCHARD / JEAN-LUC GUIONNET / EDWARD PERRAUD - [on] / JEAN-LUC GUIONNET / TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA - Map
+ CIRCLE - Panic / Rakennus (Live)
+ BILLIE HOLIDAY - Rare Live Recordings 1934-1959
+ LEIF ELGGREN - The Cobblestone is the Weapon of the Proletariat / Is There a Smell on the Other Side? / LEIF ELGGREN & CLAUDE MELLAN - The Sudarium of St Veronica / MICHAEL ESPOSITO, LEIF ELGGREN, EMANUEL SWEDENBORG - The Summerhouse
+ ANNA JARVINEN - Jag Fick Feeling
+ KADAVER - This time...it's cancer
+ MALVINA REYNOLDS - Sings the Truth
+ ROBERT PIOTROWICZ - Lasting Clinamen
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WYWIADY / RELACJE
+ Arsenal of tracks - wywiad z Rickiem Wade'em
+ Smutek gra mi w duszy - Michał Jacaszek
+ CoCArt Music Festival 2008, czyli ulotne brzmienie obrazu