This is a fascinating jazz experience made richer by reading the liner notes as you listen to the 60+ minutes of jazz diffusing throughout the David Ireland House (which is an art installation created by the late artist David Ireland) in the Mission District of San Francisco. Greenlief composed this map-work, which, if you look closely at the album cover, is just that–a score based on the jigsaw pieces of maps of Bellingham, Washington, where Ireland grew up. The live performance was based on the score, but also on the conversations among the musicians placed in various locales of the house, along with the ambient noises such as sirens coming from both the inside and outside of the house. Greenlief set up in the entryway with his sax where he hoped to be able to hear the gongs, percussion, contrabass, violin, voice, tuba, and electronics emanating from different rooms in the two-story house. This is an ineffable aural treat.
“Like the Night” is the translation of “Come La Notte”–and the sounds of this Italian “garage-pop” duo definitely give off the nocturnal vibe. I put “garage-pop” in quotes because it is as good a label as any, if you have to put a label on it. China Now is the percussionist and vocalist, and Leo Non is the guitarist, and together they create an atmosphere that does sound like their experimental night club Bad Peace. The pace picks up with the last track on Side A, and the first track on Side B sounds like surf guitar at the beginning. I encourage you to experience the music for yourself before boxing it into any genre.
Schrock’s songs on here will please anyone who enjoys electronics, synths, and music that flows sometimes like a river and other times has a more staccato beat. They have been characterized as dream gaze and futuristic, and there are certainly elements of both on this album. Listening to it is like feeling a refreshing wash of cool air on your skin after a blistering hot day. Enjoy.
Ruben Vale is the composer and musician creating the absolutely lovely music on this album. Portuguese but based in London, Vale has constructed a haven of simple beauty, where piano and other sounds surround you and pluck at your heartstrings in a way that suggests more a coming together than a disintegration, unless it’s a breaking down of barriers. These soundscapes are comforting in a quiet, epic way.
Lugubrious music perfect for midnight hauntings from ghosts who mean no harm. Marilu Donovan’s harp and Adam Markiewicz’s violin and vocals combine in unsettling fashion to create a somber atmosphere that will echo long after the last musical note has sounded.
Minneapolis composer Brooks offers us three tracks featuring Bang on a Can All-Stars and Contemporaneous (both of which are New York City-based ensembles). Each of these works, one considerably longer than the one preceding it, is lively, jaunty, cutting-edge, intense, and adrenaline spiking in the same way you would imagine the sounds of New York City to be. Sonic dissonance that resolves into a creative amalgamate as individual as the listeners taking it in. It will inspire passion, just as the title of the third track promises.
Hazy vocals float up through pleasant synth fogs and transport you to a simpler time where mellow pop vibes suffuse your consciousness and relax you. It’s easy to see Donovan’s influence on Tomas Dolas (Mr. Elevator) and his music. There are some slower songs on here, and they’re fine, but try “Alone Together” and “Anywhere” first.
There is a simple beauty to these songs composed and performed by Canadian cellist Foon. She is as adept at creating the mellow soundscapes of tracks such as “Ocean Song” and “Pour” with her piano, voice and drones as she is with her signature cello (heard to great effect in “Ocean Song”). We have releases by Esmerine, one of her finer collaborations, in our library, and this is an excellent addition as well.
Metzger’s creativity permeates this release, from the modified 23-string banjo he designed to his compositions and arrangement of Debussy’s “Beau Soir.” The tone might be guessed from the album’s title, which means tombs, but even “Sepulchre” is not as doomy as you might expect it to be–there is a hopeful intensity to each of these compositions, and they last long enough leave you feeling satisfied.
What sheer loveliness this album is! Haslinger, composer, keyboardist, guitarist, former member of Tangerine Dream, has created a scintillating aural delight for us with this one. Violins, cello, violas, bass, guitars, piano, keys play our emotions quite nicely. Exit Ghost itself sounds like staticky radio on top of s synthy bed. I love this.
Adele H is an Italian experimental vocalist and percussionist (as may be gleaned from the picture of Rome on the album cover). Grant Corum joins her on drums, flute, and harp on a couple of the songs. Her voice is pleasing and the songs are mellow and spirit-expanding. The track titles mirror what the songs sound like. Enjoy!
Bubbling, energetic electronic happiness emanates from both these tracks, the first of which was inspired by a place in Japan badly affected by an earthquake after the music was written. Play it to honor the place, play it to raise your spirits, play it to free yourself from the cage you may be in.
This blast from 1978 (re-released in 2017) is a sonic treat from Zurich-based musician Spoerri. The liner notes are short and a must-read so you can learn how Spoerri went from piano to sax to synth and electronics. The space-themed songs are treasures that would add a nice touch to any show.
These are lovely, spare, melodic atmospheres that are warm enough to bring tears to your eyes. The words printed in the booklet insert offer poetic guides to what you are hearing, and occasional vocalizations seem like features of the overall ambience. There are sounds of piano, bells, and electronics, and it is all beautiful.
The Kleefstra Brothers hail from the Netherlands, with Jan writing the lyrics and Romke offering his guitar and effects. Other musicians join them to create the atmospheric sounds on this CD that are hinted at by the track titles. The vocals are like a voice-over to a fascinating film that is rather dark and haunting. A lot of people will appreciate this.
Mikidache makes this Comorian music from Madagascar the treasure that is is. His rich vocals, percussion, guitar, and oh, yeah, the fact that he wrote most of the songs make them the amazing, uplifting works that they are. Accordion and flute are among the instruments that bring this traditional Malagasy music to your ears. Enjoy every minute.
This is a collection of absolutely whimsical and delightful sounds from Ghostwriter (aka Mark Brend) and Michael Paine, every track of which leaves you with a distinct and nostalgic feeling. At any moment you may find yourself laughing or crying with the exquisiteness of the instrumentation, which uses celesta, dulcimer, found sounds, flute, marimbas, piano, synths, xylophone…So gentle and pretty and atmospheric. Just lovely. Listen and see for yourself.
Named after their father, Njava, whose name means “lightning,” this band of three brothers and two sisters (who came from 15 siblings) had its origins in Madagascar and then moved to Belgium. The sisters are responsible for the majority of the rich vocals, while the brothers provide the amazingly upbeat instrumentation (Dozzy has the chops on guitar). The title track, Vetse, means to hope, to feel, to laugh, to share, and I can honestly say that most if not all of the tracks on this CD inspire this sentiment. I dare you not to dance.
Nietzche and Huxley were early influences for Canary-Island-born Segura, and his intentionally off-the-beaten path musicianship reflects this. Eschewing the crass econony-driven music industry, Segura seeks to express his scripts with instruments. He uses guitar, Roland B3, percussion at times, and at other times ambient silences. On A2 and B3 you can hear the tribal beats that call to mind what it must be like to live in the Atlantic Ocean halfway between Spain and Africa. Segura’s primarily unreleased tracks are an expression of this unique artist’s vision. Read the liner notes and experience Segura’s unique perspective.
Folk music, Donovan, the Beatles, and Joni Mitchell all form the musical tapestry that makes up the fabric of Japan’s first female singer-songwriter. Sachiko learned to play the guitar in an informal way, and she composed her lovely music that same way. This is the American release of her one and only album that came out in 1972, right after she headed to the United States. People kept playing it in Japan, so that when she returned decades later to sing the songs live, the fans compared her to E.T. and could barely believe this “cool lady” was responsible for the music they knew and loved. Read the liner notes as you revel in this mellow beauty that has thankfully been restored to us from obscurity.
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