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Posts Tagged ‘Mori Stylez’

Mos Def, electric Miles, and more

Saturday, February 24th, 2001

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.

Weirdness at ProgressiveWorld

Monday, April 10th, 2000

The latest update of ProgressiveWorld includes an overview of Devil Doll by John Bollenberg, a decent reviewer that has been flamed on a number of times thanks to his poor Usenet etiquette. Eager for any information about this enigmatic band, I checked out the article and an odd sense of deja vu crept over me. I did a bit of searching and found almost the exact same article, dated 1995, at this fan site (click “writings” and read the 1995 article). A bit suspicious, I reread the article at ProgressiveWorld and found that the last bit was new, with more info but written in a very different style. Additionally, the “original” article has a link to another interview on the same fan site, whereas in the ProgressiveWorld article that link doesn’t exist for whatever reason (my overly suspicious guess would be: to cover up the location of the original article).

It’s certainly possible that Mr. Bollenberg penned the article in 1995 and just now added a few new sentences and submitted it to ProgressiveWorld, of course. Still, the whole thing smells fishy.

There was a huge Ultimate Frisbee tournament at Yale this weekend (26 schools, 40 teams, 500-600 athletes), which is why there were no updates. The party Saturday night featured a live band, Mori Stylez, from whom I wasn’t expecting much, but they surprised me pleasantly. They played a pretty hot brand of funk-fusion, including a great short-version cover of Herbie Hancock’s famous “Chameleon” from Head Hunters, in which Hancock’s infectious keyboard groove was translated into an even more funkified bass line. Instrumentation was guitar, mandolin, bass, drums, with the guitarist doubling on bassoon and the mandolin player (mandolinist?) doubling on clarinet. Wind instruments were barely audible but added a neat dimension to the music.

Unfortunately I was unable to stay for the entire set, given that I had to wake up at 6:30 the next morning to get ready to play. Also, I don’t know why I didn’t pick up their CD, considering it was a scant five bucks (!); I’ll mail order it and perhaps review it here should I decide that it’s close enough to the fringes of prog to merit interest from the prog audience. In any case, it was a surprisingly good experience.