Archive for August, 2007
Friday, August 24th, 2007
A month or so ago, I ran across an interesting-looking UK magazine, Rock-a-Rolla, covering various forms of experimental rock and jazz, but with a strong slant towards drone, ambient, doom metal, and that sort of thing. I ordered their latest issue (big feature articles on Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Sunn O)))), and liked it enough to take them up on a special offer they have that ends today: subscribe and get four free back issues. While it’s a little pricy for those of us outside Europe ($70/year for six issues plus the four back issues), there are few enough quality publications covering this kind of music that for me it’s worth it.
What I like about this magazine is that they are not afraid to be critical. I’ve always respected a reviewer who will straight-up tell you if he doesn’t like something (without being needlessly negative or disrespectful), and the folks who review for this magazine all seem to have that capacity. Looking forward to seeing more of their work.
Friday, August 24th, 2007
Well, my favorite current jazz musician, Tim Berne, has been pretty quiet this year, touring a bit and participating in David Torn’s Prezens project, but not releasing any new material (just a reissue of the great Science Friction stuff). Next year it looks like he’s going to be busy, going on four separate tours in the first four months of the year — including a reunion of Bloodcount!! It’s been a decade since that band has played together, and the best news for me is that since Michael Formanek is part of the group, they’ll be playing in Baltimore! I’m already getting excited for this show and it’s, oh, almost six months away.
Friday, August 10th, 2007
Newsflash: Seventh Records has put four albums up on eMusic, including two Magma live albums! The two albums are Théâtre du Taur and BBC 1974 Londres, though oddly the former omits the second disc (which consists of MDK in its entirety). The other two albums include one by Simon Goubert and one by Collectif Mu, with whom I am not familiar.
Hopefully Seventh puts some more Magma up in the near future — their albums would be particularly downloader-friendly in that many consist only of a couple tracks. I would love to round out my Magma collection with some of the more obscure live albums that I have no intention to purchase at anywhere close to full price.
Tuesday, August 7th, 2007
Long time no post (although it’s nice that I start feeling like I’ve been neglecting this after a couple weeks of not posting instead of, say, three months, as has happened in the past). This summer has kind of revealed to me how important live music has become towards keeping my interest peaked in music in general. In short, no concerts = less enthusiasm about listening to records. Which is kind of interesting considering that it was only in the past few years that I really started going to see a lot of live music.
In any case, here are a few things (in no particular order) that have been getting me excited lately despite the lack of live shows:
- Joanna Newsom - live at the First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA — a 90-minute audience-shot film of her performance last November in Philly. This is the most sublime thing I’ve downloaded from Dimeadozen in the past couple years. I wrote about it way back in January and I’m still enamored with it. Mike McLatchey thinks it’s pretty swell too. This is wonderful stuff; Newsom’s voice is toned down a bit and getting to watch her play her harp is a treat.
- Pulsar - Memory Ashes — yes, it’s the same Pulsar that released Strands of the Future and Halloween, a full three decades ago. As I posted on ProgressiveEars, this reunion album is nothing groundbreaking, and it borders on new-agey at times, but it also has some very nice Floydian moments. This is how some folks have described Gorlitz, which I have not heard.
- Dälek - Deadverse Massive Vol. 1 — only a couple listens so far, but for an outtakes album this is pretty damn good. There are some killer beats and soundscapes here, and the 17-minute shoegazer epic in the middle of the album is pleasantly engaging. Dälek is fast becoming one of my favorite currently active artists.
- Amarok - Sol de Medianoche — with a few exceptions, I haven’t found this as consistently engaging as Quentadharkën, but there are still some really beautiful pieces, especially early in the playlist. As far as symphonic progressive rock goes, these guys are still a favorite of mine.
- Vedres Csaba - Fohász — as a huge fan of early After Crying, it’s a little weird that I’ve never explored Vedres’ solo output, but I had been scared off by the “solo piano” stuff, thinking it would be boring. Well, it’s not. It’s gorgeous. And Vedres sings on some of these songs, too, and I love his voice. This is a compilation drawing from 4-5 of his solo albums, basically all of which I now want.
- Grayceon - Grayceon — they’re marketed as some kind of proggy metal, but to me they sound like indie-chamber-post-rock or something like that. The recording and vocals have a slightly amateurish feel but the compositions are great, taking full advantage of the band’s rather interesting cello/guitar/drums configuration. This is for sure a band to keep an eye on.
- Marc Ribot - Asmodeus — John Zorn’s Masada Book of Angels series can’t be accused of staying too tightly within the confines of jazz, what with every other album in the series falling completely in another genre. Asmodeus is pretty much straight-up power trio instrumental rock, and good rock at that. This series has been a bit hit-or-miss for me, but this one’s a definite hit. (Also, the news that Secret Chiefs 3 are doing the next Book of Angels record: hit!)
- From a Second Story Window - Delenda — one of Dave Kerman’s extreme metal recommendations, these guys are like a more extreme version of Opeth, combining rapid-fire grindcore riffs with the occasional clean vocals that are all the more effective for their rarity. The few tracks that feature brief clean vocals are definitely my favorites.
- Peter Brötzmann Chicago Tentet - Stone/Water — this is my first Brötzmann Chicago Tentet album, and the one that came with the highest recommendations from I Hate Music. And I can see why, because damn it’s awesome! I was expecting a near-unlistenable blowfest, but there are tons of nuanced moments. Fred Lonberg-Holm’s cello work is wonderful throughout, and Jeb Bishop on trombone also stands out for me.
Sorry for neglecting the site a bit in the past month, after the next couple weeks are over with I will have a lot more time to commit to adding reviews and blogging more regularly.