Posts Tagged ‘Cuneiform Records’

What’s spinning, July 17 edition

Sunday, July 17th, 2005

It’s list time, because I’m insomniatic. I am currently discovering or rediscovering:

  • Aka Moon - Guitars
    pleasant, accessible Belgian avant(ish) jazz, the basic sax/bass/drums trio plus three guitarists, that hasn’t quite sunk in with me yet
  • Scott Amendola Band - Cry
    less pleasant but still accessible West Coast US avant jazz built around a cover of a Bob Dylan song (that is actually my least favorite piece on this album)
  • Il Berlione - Il Berlione
    crazy Japanese prog/fusion occupying a middle ground somewhere between Happy Family and Tipographica in terms of complexity and wacked-outness
  • Dälek - From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots
    aggressive avant/underground hip-hop on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label, with a seriously abrasive 12-minute noise experiment right in the middle of the song order
  • Daniel Denis - Les Eaux Troubles
    second solo album from the Univers Zero bandleader. Better than Sirius and the Ghosts, his first, with a more fully fleshed-out sound
  • Dungen - Ta det Lugnt
    fuzzed-out ’70s airy-fairy Swedish psych album from… 2004. Neo-prog for hipsters!
  • Faun Fables - Family Album
    schizophrenically eclectic “folk” with SGM frontman Nils Frykdahl, fronted by an impressively powerful and versatile female vocalist
  • The Flying Luttenbachers - Systems Emerge From Complete Disorder
    love the title… brutal prog at its noisiest; definitely less accessible than Infection and Decline, but maybe that’s just because there’s no Magma cover this time around
  • Hail - Kirk
    as Alex Temple once said… Susanne Lewis (Thinking Plague) makes a lo-fi indie-rock record
  • Nazca - Nazca
    like Univers Zero circa 1313, only from Mexico, all acoustic, and not as good; this bored the crap out of me when I first heard it, but it’s finally growing on me
  • Various - Unsettled Scores
    two-disc compilation of Cuneiform artists covering material by other Cuneiform artists… neat!
  • Zs - Zs
    dual sax, dual guitar, dual drums attack, not nearly as aggressive as you might expect given its brutal-prog heritage; often has very much of a somewhat dry chamber-classical feel

I’ve been on a CD-buying binge and some the fruits of it are above. Others listed above are albums I’ve had for a while but just haven’t quite connected with. Some reviews will result, to be sure. Right now I’m particularly taken with Il Berlione and From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots. The latter is a hip-hop album so be warned, although it is definitely notable that Dälek is one of the more experimental underground hip-hop artists out there, and last year released a collaborative album with none other than Faust — an album that I have not yet heard, but remedying that is a priority.

The New York Times on prog

Sunday, February 27th, 2005

There’s a great article in the Sunday New York Times this week about The Mars Volta’s upcoming Frances the Mute, and about prog in general. The author name-drops the usual groups like Dream Theater and Rush, but also mentions Cuneiform Records as well as post-rockers Mogwai and Sigur Rós. The review of Frances the Mute itself is very positive — I’m going to have to check this thing out; I was reasonably impressed by the band’s debut full-length, De-Loused in the Comatorium, though I didn’t think as highly of it as a lot of folks — but the comments on prog in a broader sense are also great. For instance:

Until recently, neither fans nor mockers admitted that progressive rock could also provide some of the same thrills - speed, whipsaw changes, sheer pummeling impact - as punk. That’s why many of prog’s musical twists migrated elsewhere in the 1980’s and 1990’s: the odd meters to hardcore and thrash metal, the dissonance to primitivist art rock, the convoluted song structures to indie rock and its proud subset of math rock.Prog may have been hopelessly uncool, but it was nothing if not alternative. Despite its brainy reputation, at its core it was a rebellion against ordinary pop. By any objective reckoning, it was also deeply demented. Who, after all, would labor over a suite in 13/4 time pondering the meaning of free will when the way to gigs and hits was with catchy love songs?

Nice to see prog not only not get a bad rap, but even actually garner praise, even if indirect, in a (very) mainstream publication.