Chord – “Progression” – [Important Records]

Train Wreck   12/13/2011   12-inch, A Library

Chord “Progression” is a CD/Double LP combination piece that is about chord progressions.?? This is the second half of the 6 chords that are showcased on this album.The first 6 are on the CD and it is the intention of the artists that the CD and LPs be played one after the other as one entire album.Each member plays only one note of the chord that is the song title.Dm11 (pelagic) drones on for almost 35 minuets but sadly is split between side 2 and side 3.With such a well-created dronescape it is hard to tell that they are using only a single chord for each song.If that wasn’t enough, they stray from the drone on G6 (codal) and play a song where the chord isn’t played continuously. Thismakes it hard to tell that only one chord is being used, as there are beats and rhythms to it.This song is a testament to the artistry of Chord and how imaginative they are.

Starlicker – “Double Demon” – [Delmark]

Train Wreck   12/13/2011   CD, Jazz

Starlicker is three guys from the “Exploding Star Orchestra” who decided they wanted to be in a side project together.The beauty of these three is that there is no true bass instrument.The driving force is the rhythm of the drums instead of the constant scales of a bass.Rob Masurek (Cornet), who decided to get Jason Adasiewicz (Vibraphone) and John Herndon (Drums) together, wrote all the music for the album in only a day and a half.Listening to this is a little awkward early on with the lack of bass but they ease you into liking it quickly.By the end you start to wonder why there isn’t more jazz out there like this.The last track, 6, jumps out at you with this crazy and freakishly fast drum and vibraphone duet from left field.

Xambuca – “Joulupukki” – [Erototox Decodings]

Train Wreck   12/6/2011   A Library, CD

X A M B U C A, is a non-sensical arrangement of letters spelling out what most often confuse to be the Italian liqueur known as sambuca. In actually the name lacks any direct definition whatsoever, the similar spelling only a mere coincidence. X A M B U C A is not limited to any particular style or category of music and would like to establish that it not be limited to the confines of musical categorization. They formed in SF but are now in Asheville, NC. Joulupukki translates literally to Christmas Goat but is actually just the Finnish version of Santa. The entire album is drone or the same 30 seconds on loop and the songs go nowhere. That being said it is great listening material and can at times be rather hypnotic. When I was entering tracks I saw a note saying FPS music. I truly didn’t think about that while listening but it really could be in a video game. Mostly in menu or down time situations when you are walking from place to place. Defiantly not when any real action is going on though.

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Plaid – “Scintilli” – [Warp Records, Ltd.]

Train Wreck   11/30/2011   A Library, CD

Plaid is an electronic music duo out of London made up of Andy Turner and Ed Handley. Not only do they make their own music but they have done remixes for many artists, most notably Bjork who also has collaborated with them. Every song on this album sounds completely different. From dub step (track 2) to something that sounds like an homage to Dr. Who’s opening title (track 4), to a lyrical almost balletic piece (track 6). They even have a song called “African Woods” (track 11) that sounds like Miami in the 80’s. If you don’t know where to start with this release may I suggest “Upgrade” (track 12) as it sounds akin to something you would hear while watching TRON.

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KFJC Battle of The Surf Bands Vol 5 [coll] – [KFJC]

Train Wreck   11/21/2011   A Library, CD

Sixteen surf bands playing live at the British Bankers Club in Menlo Park for KFJC. This CD/DVD collection is two completely different sets of music on each medium. What tracks are on the CD are not on the DVD. I was expecting the DVD to just be a visual aid to the same songs on the CD. I was pleasantly surprised. All tracks are instrumental surf as to be expected. Every band came in with the standard Guitar, Bass, Drum set up with two adding Piano and one adding sax. Fast and loud is the way to go with surf and no one disappoints during their set. Each band kept the rooms attention and lead to a great atmosphere. Sadly live recordings can???t capture the room. VIVA SURF!

This was “The Eldorados” farewell show so give them some love.

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Brain Fruit – “1.1” – [Debacle Records]

Train Wreck   11/15/2011   A Library, CD

Brain Fruit is Christopher Owen Davis on Monomachine, Nord Modular G2, Super Bass Station and Jonathan James Carr on Korg Mono/Poly, Machinedrum, Schlagzwerge, Ebbe and Flut, Eventide Harmonizer H949. This is the debut album from two Seattle dudes. Chris studied electronic music and Jon is a classically trained pianist who “Make whatever music makes them happy.” Album was recorded and mixed live with no overdubs.

Every song is laid back with just enough of a tempo to keep you interested. 1.1 has strong drum beats, otherwise most tracks are dronish. The whole album made me feel like I was playing a FPS video game. Props for that. Play this if you want to live.

Train Wreak

Jones, Darius / Shipp, Matthew – “Cosmic Lieder” – [Aum Fidelity]

Train Wreck   11/15/2011   CD, Jazz

Darius Jones on Alto sax and Matthew Shipp on piano, create a 40 minuet long song made up of 13 tracks. Improv jazz quite possibly at its best. Not because it makes you yearn for more but because you don’t realize that it is improv. It simply feels more like an instrumental soundtrack to your life. This album was created as part of an ongoing 50th birthday celebration by Shipp and is the first time he has worked with Jones. Jones is Shipps Junior by 20 years but holds his own and gives the album a great mix of sound coming from 2 generations.

Pick a track and play it, you can get an idea of what the album is like from just one. Each track, however, is more akin to a movement in a classical symphony. Picking one part and expanding on it so that the entire album ebbs and flows rather then stops and starts.

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Johnston, Darren – Gone to Chicago – “Big Lift, The” – [Porto Franco Records]

Train Wreck   11/9/2011   CD, Jazz

Darren Johnston is a Canadian born trumpet player who moved to San Francisco in 1997. He has been traveling to Chicago two times a year for the past four years. Over this time he met the musicians he plays with on this album. Jeb Bishop on Trombone, Jason Adasiewicz on Vibraphone, Nate McBride on Bass and Frank Rosaly on Drums. The album was recorded in Chicago at Strobe Recording Studio and released on Porto Franco Records located in San Francisco.

Track 1 has a kind of noise jazz feel to it with lots of sounds that clash yet some how all work together. Track 2 has a very subtle almost Film Noir sound. Track 6 surprised me with a Big Band, swing feel. Some tracks 3,4, and a lot on 7 have moments of two instruments playing with each other, almost as if they are having a conversation where they talk over one another.

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