Mos Def, electric Miles, and more

For some reason, I just can’t seem to really get into Mos Def’s Black on Both Sides. I can’t really put my finger on why, but if I had to guess, I think it’s because the production gets in the way. It’s too forward in the mix, and distracts from the actual rapping. Also, it tends to be quite choppy and stop-and-go, which makes it still more distracting. The whole affair, because the production is so loud and so distinctive, gets to be overbearing after a while.

After reading on the ProgAndOther list that Miles DavisAura is probably the best of his otherwise pedestrain 80s output (complete with weird time sigs, spacey synth work, and John McLaughlin), I picked it up on a whim today (also got the new Tortoise). I must say, I don’t much like it. The electronic drums really rub me the wrong way, especially when they lay into lame beats, as in the first half of “Orange”. Davis’ soloing is still great, but I can’t get over those goddamn drums. Oh well.

I was at an interesting party last night in which the music consisted of two guys improvising (quite skillfully, I’d have to say) on acoustic guitars, one on dulcimer, and one playing percussion with hardcover books and metal cups. It was pretty damn cool. Someone there mentioned that she always thought the dulcimer was a much, much better instrument than the guitar, with a sweeter, more soulful sound. I’d have to agree that it has a very pleasant timbre, but I wouldn’t say that it’s a better instrument necessarily. Hmm.

Recently I’ve been listening a lot to the new Mori Stylez album. It’s in a similar vein as their first album, but a bit more polished and with much more emphasis on the wind instruments. I like it a lot, but some of the compositions are still a bit too long. I’ll write a full review soon… it’s taking me a lot longer than I expected to digest the whole thing.

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