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Kretek – "Car Samba" – [Downsall Plastics]

aarbor   4/14/2021   12-inch, A Library

Kretek is a pair of Belgian musicians Olivier Abbeloos and Maxime Lenssens. Olivier is a DJ with several aliases, who has played with a bunch of musical outfits. Maxime is a drummer who can be heard playing in a variety of bands and in the European jazz scene. He also has taught in African and Asia. As Kretek this is the 2nd of 3 releases they produced on Downsall Plastics, this one is from 1998. The 3 tracks have very prominent driving drums, with Drum Fire, the longest being the most aggressive. Despite Samba in the title – these are not dancey tracks although they are well worth a play. AArbor

Nephew Lagoon – "Naked Fuse" – [Self Release]

aarbor   4/14/2021   A Library, CD

Nephew Lagoon is based in Michigan. This is their latest project [self-released 2021] which contains 5 extended pieces rather than the brief sketches of the previous releases. It’s kind of a dreamscape of disconnected thoughts loosely flowing in and out of each other, with synth explorations and Negativland-esque sound bytes and news clips. There are clear references to the COVID pandemic on track 5 weddow [and the lack of sufficcient health care, loneliness and isolation]. AArbor

Afro Yaqui Music Collective – "Maroon Futures" – [Neuma]

aarbor   4/14/2021   CD, International

The Afro Yaqui Music Collective describes themselves as “a postcolonial big band dedicated to activating the histories of resistance and collaboration between African diaspora and indigenous peoples..the voices of pan-Asian revoutionaries and working class allies have… added to this chorus which celebrates the radical legacies of Maroon Societies — multiethnic societies built by escaped slaves.” They sing in various languages, play instruments from East and West, and clearly articulate messages completely relevant to the world of 2021, while paying tribute to some musical forebears. Core messages: replace the current reality with one that is Ecosocialist and Matriarchal. Despite their unapologetic political agenda the music is excellent. AArbor

Como Mamas, The – "Get an Understanding" – [Daptone Records]

aarbor   4/14/2021   12-inch, Soul

In 1959 Alan Lomax visited Como, Mississippi and recorded some “porch sessions” with Miles Pratcher and his friends. In 2005 3 guys returned to Como on a trip to the South to film a documentary about local musicians. They discovered the angelic voices of Miles Pratcher’s granddaughters Della Daniels and Angela Taylor who with their friend Ester Mae Smith became The Como Mamas. This live recording was made on June 4, 2005 at their church. The stories of these 3 women are classic: poverty, hunger, clothing from flour sacks, ruined dreams… their singing helps them deal with the trials in their lives. They sing like angels. AArbor

Ah-mer-ah-su – "Star" – [Dero Arcade]

aarbor   4/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

Ah-Mer-ah-su is a (Black) Transgender Woman from Oakland. This is her debut release from 2018. It’s 13 tracks: 3 spoken word and 10 music. The spoken word tracks are 3 different (trans? pre-trans?) people talking about how they feel about who they are and how life has treated them. The album showcases Ah-Mer-Ah-Su’s imagination, audaciousness, and her personal journey to self-acceptance. She says: “I think the true issue is that trans people are often dehumanized, and our experiences are Othered. People in power choose not to disseminate [our] message to wider audiences, because they don’t see themselves in transgender creatives. They believe that music from LGBTQ artists are specifically for LGBTQ people. Once people realize that they can identify with someone else’s experience, regardless of their differences, we will have more diversity in the music industry.”

The spoken word tracks are very authentic. The music is a bit heavy-handed, not subtle at all. The record itself is beautiful raspberry colored vinyl. AArbor FCC on track A1

Here’s a Billboard interview with Ah-Mer-Ah-Su: https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/pride/8468535/ah-mer-ah-su-interview-star-album/

Spectrometers, The – "Dead Soul Music" – [Decasian Records]

aarbor   4/7/2021   12-inch, A Library

The Spectrometers is Fred Duverge. This is his first release from 2008. Curiously it is the only release on Decasian Records. Discogs describes the music as: leftfield, electro, experimental, minimal, industrial. Leftfield – which btw means unusual, quirky or weird – yes definitely, not like other artists. Experimental, minimal, industrial – yes. Electro? – occasionally. I liked the B side better – slightly more tonal. What do you think? AArbor

Kompakt Total 18 [coll] – [Kompakt Schallplatten]

aarbor   4/7/2021   A Library, CD

From 2018 another very fine compilation from Cologne, Germany’s Kompakt label (based in a record store of the same name and owned by Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer and Jugen Paape). What I like about these compilations is that usually each artist gets only 1 track – so they’re picky about what’s included. There are artists who are already in our library (Gui Boratto, John Tejada, T. Raumschmiere, Terranova plus the label owners) and ones I wasn’t familiar with. Dig in and enjoy! AArbor

Yaz and Miko – "Late Spring Ep" – [Ascend Recordings]

aarbor   3/31/2021   12-inch, A Library

Yaz and Miko are DJ Yaz (Canada) and Tarik Alj (from Morocco) now both working in Canada and founders of the Edit Recordings label. This release from 2002 is among their first. Described as tribal and techno, it is pounding beatsand none of the subtlety and melodies which Tarik Alj
weaves into his own music. AArbor.

Leila – "U&I" – [Warp Records Ltd]

aarbor   3/31/2021   A Library, CD

Leila Arab is an Iranian-born music producer who moved to London in 1979. She played keyboard and sound engineered for Bjork’s eaerly releases before releasing her own first album on Rephlex Records (Aphex Twin’s label). This release on Warp from 2012 is her 2nd for Warp and her 4th overall. The sound is heavy and dark with much diversity from track to track and little consistency throughout. I’m left wondering why she made the choices she did and wishing for more consistency. Typically, I preferred the instrumental tracks [6,9,10, 13] AArbor

E-Dancer – "Heavenly" – [Planet E Communications]

aarbor   3/31/2021   A Library, CD

E-Dancer is Kevin Maurice Saunderson – one of the bright lights of Detroit Techno. Born in Brooklyn, Saunderson went to high school in Belleville, MI with Derrick May and Juan Atkins. Heavenly from 1998 is considered his seminal album -it’s a classic. You hear his house roots, funky machine beats and humming baselines. It’s an abstract, Motor City Afro sound. The remixers are a veritable who’s who of Detroit Techno: Carl Craig, Juan Atkins, Kenny Larkin, and D-Wynn. In recent years Saunderson has gone back to the E-Dancer moniker releasing 2 more albums under that name. AArbor

Fuse Ensemble – "Nimbus" – [Neuma]

aarbor   3/17/2021   A Library, CD

The Fuse Ensemble is a concept-based new music/new media performing ensemble. Each season a concept is presented, giving voice to new music composers and creating musical happenings with visual elements of live, interactive video and/or kinetic installations. Nimbus is a collaboration between composer Gina Biver and poet Colette Inez. It is a set of 7 miniatures for electro-acoustic chamber ensemble, spoken word and soprano. Colette was the lovechild of a Roman atholic priest and a young French scholar assigned to assist him. Colette was abandoned by her parents and here she contemplates her parents’ hidden affair: forbidden sex, lust and religion shared in unapologetic poems, with music and ambient sounds. Arbor

Blake, Michael – "Hellbent" – [Self-released]

aarbor   3/17/2021   CD, Jazz

Michael Blake is a saxophone player from Canada who has lived in the SF Bay Area but spent serious time in New York playing with artists including The Lounge Lizards (1990-1999), Charlie Hunter, Medeski, Martin and Wood and many others. He has released 15 albums, this is a live album from 2010. Blake wrote all the tracks here and is joined by Steven Bernstein on trumpet and slide trumpet, Marcus Rojas on tuba and G. Calvin Weston on drums. The best part of this recording is its playfulness and sense of humor. AArbor

Berk, Ernest – "Electronic Music For Two Ballets" – [Trunk Records]

aarbor   3/17/2021   12-inch, A Library

Ernest Berk was born in Cologne, Germany. He was known as a pioneering ballet dancer, teacher and electronic music artist. He went to England and started a dance company there. This album is consists of the scores for 2 of his ballets: Initiation and Gemini. Initiation is about “modern youth’ and its ritualistic behavior, being “initiated” in order to belong. Gemini is about a young man falling in love with identical twin sisters. Forget that these are ballets. This music can be used for many other purposes and will appeal to a broad audience. Berk created an electronic sound suited to his experimental dance style – it is abstract and great listening. Towards the end of his life Berk gifted his entire collection of work to the Historical Archive of the City of Cologne – most of which was destroyed during the construction of an underground railway. These 2 recordings come from an original which the family had. AArbor

Villard, Michel – "Les Musique Des Films De Charlie Chaplin" – [Disques Vogue]

aarbor   3/17/2021   12-inch, Soundtrack

Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin was an English comic actor, filmmaker and composer who rose to fame during the silent film era. His life was a true rags to riches story as his childhood in London was quite impoverished. His best known character is “the Tramp”. He directed and produced his own films, also wrote them, edited them, starred in them, and wrote the music. On this album you’ll find music from: his silent films: The Kid (1921), A woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), The Circus (1928), City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936), his first sound film The Great Dictator (1940) which satirized Adolf Hitler, and his later films: Limelight (1952), A King in New York (1957) and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967). AArbor

Copy – "Chosen Atmospheric Pieces" – [Gold Robot Records]

aarbor   3/3/2021   12-inch, A Library

Copy is Marius Libman from Portland, OR (who now lives in SF). This is his most recent musical release from 2016 on stylish silver vinyl. His style is playful and retro sounding with a very analog synth sound as if he’s trying to create 8 bit computer music. Each track is an instrumental gem. Some tracks are lusher sounding, others more glitchy – each one has its own unique personality. You can’t dance to it but it’s definitely worth a play! AArbor

Aparicio, Jaime Delgado – "El Ambajador Y Yo" – [Vampi Soul]

aarbor   3/3/2021   12-inch, Soundtrack

Looking at the album cover you would think that this record is a bit on the dark side, but not very dark. The film is from 1966 and that explains the sound which is very enjoyable but not too challenging: mostly jazz, with some surf, a bit latin and rock. The composer is Jaime Delgado-Aparicio of Lima, Peru – a graduate of the Berklee School in Boston. Just enjoy this – it’s a guilty pleasure. AArbor

Armenie – "Armenie: Musique De Tradition Populaire Et Des Achough" – [Ocora | Radio France]

aarbor   2/24/2021   CD, International

This is a compilation of 26 tracks of Armenian folk music. The first 16 teacks are love songs, work songs, legends, laments, historical songs, songs of emigrants, marriage, funerals, lullabies… Tracks 17-26 are “Music of the Ashugh“. An Ashugh is a combination musician, poet, song writer and story teller (like an itinerant bard). This music dates back to the 17th century. Sometimes these songs relate historical events or extol the merits of particular people. Their principal theme is usually love. These songs are accompanied by the kamantcha (a 3-stringed viol), the kanun (a zither), the tar ( a lute) and/or the doudouk (an oboe-like instrument). AArbor

Dickey, Whit Trio – "Expanding Light" – [Tao Forms]

aarbor   2/24/2021   CD, Jazz

Whit Dickey made a name for himself as the former drummer of David S. Ware’s famous quartet. Since then Dickey’s musical contributions have gone well beyond his work as a drummer. Dickey is also composer. In recent years he has been recording with small groups. Here he plays with a new trio: his long time collaborator alto saxophonist Rob Brown, and an amazing young bass player, Brandon Lopez. Dickey described the experience of recording with his new trio as “incessantly and mightily grabbing the dragon by the tail, and not caring.” In other words, losing oneself to intangible inspiration, wherever it may lead. The result is a visceral ferocity that is very appealing. AArbor

Kinny – "Idle Forest of Chit Chat" – [Tru Thoughts]

aarbor   2/24/2021   A Library, CD

Kinny whose name off stage is Caitlyn Simpson, released this full length on Tru Thoughts in 2009. She was born and raised in Canada and her family heritage is a mixture of Jamaican, Native Canadian Indian, French and Swedish. Trained as an opera singer her singing style and attitude is more jazzy soul. Here she partners with other label mates to create some tracks with a spunky attitude. “Forgetting to Remember” will always be my favorite but the other tracks are also very fine. AArbor

Fuller, Wesley – "Seven By Seven" – [Neuma]

aarbor   2/17/2021   CD, Jazz

Wesley Fuller died at the age of 89 as this, his first full length release was about to be pressed. He was a pioneer in the field of electroacoustic music. His music combines acoustic instruments (piano, violin, viola, flute and percussion) and fixed media (formerly known as tape). It illustrates the development of electroacoustic music over the decades – from 1970s-era analog synthesizers housed in institutions to living room digital studios. He described his approach here by saying “…the computer is being used as a composer, and it is, if you will, a kind of collaboration between composers.” AArbor

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