Music Reviews

Islandman feat. Okay Temiz & Muhlis Berberoglu – “Direct-to-Disc Sessions” – [Night Dreamer]

aarbor   4/15/2023   CD, International

A spectacular direct-to-disc recording featuring outstanding Turkish musicians young and old. Folktronica meets percussion genius on a unique one-take recording that finds Turkish downtempo specialist Islandman jamming with legendary percussion innovator Okay Temiz, and contemporary saz virtuoso Muhlis Berberoğlu. Islandman’s subtle and responsive beat-science and Berberoğlu’s scintillating agility on the saz, Temiz’s visionary rhythm force leads the session into unknown territories of improvised future-folklore. Temiz showed up for the session equipped with an eclectic mix of homemade instruments including an electrified flute made of industrial bathroom piping, and a shaker with a contact mic wired to a wah-wah pedal. He put all these instruments on a table, and he put a stereo microphone left and right. Then he grabs one of his instruments, and he moves around the mics to create a live ambisonic sound – a very open space. He’s not afraid of the physics of sound, or the technology of sound recording – he always wants to be very edgy. All the tracks here have folk song melodies in them and all are from different regions of Turkey. They have different senses of rhythm, specific to the regions. The coolest new record I’ve heard this year. AArbor

Tapes and Topographies – “Season of Loss, A” – [Simulacra Records]

whngr   4/6/2023   A Library, CD

Not Dark Ambient

Soothing drones in roughly five minute installments. Peaceful and pacifying, there is nothing here to test you. Nothing abrupt, nothing strange, and very little to distinguish these torpid tracks from one another excepting the only one with vocals (track 1, “Band Waves”), in Deutsch, that opens this meditative, sleep inducing, alpha wave extracting album. 

Tapes and Topographies is one Todd Gauthreaux aka Atomic/Gautreau (Tear Ceremony, Crushed Stars, Sonogram), prolific soundsman with over 60 releases under his belt (-3 to saving throw against sleep/paralysis).

Dallas, TX – 2021

Rich, Robert and Formentini, Luca – “For Sundays When It Rains” – [Soundscape Productions]

aarbor   4/5/2023   A Library, CD

In February 2022 Luca Formentini Italian guitarist and and composer, who creates ambient, electro-acoustic and experimental music spent 3 days with Robert Rich at his new house in Carmel. Rich had just finished setting up his studio just a few days before Formentini’s arrival so they enjoyed a spacious, fully equipped and perfectly tuned room as they recorded the foundations of this album. They wanted to record as many guitar tracks as possible to create a library of sounds which could later be used as ideas, or inspiration as they crafted these tracks. Formentini ended up playing some unique old guitars which had been originally owned by Rich’s father, a guitar connoisseur. Rich played keyboards, flutes and other instruments. The sound is, as you would expect from Robert Rich, electro-acoustic and ambient. This is music to meditate to on any day of the week. AArbor

Harnoune, Rabii and Kuhl, V.B. – “Gnawa Electric Laune II” – [Tru Thoughts]

aarbor   4/4/2023   CD, International

Moroccan Gnawa-master (maâlem) Rabii Harnoune and Frankfurt electronic producer V.B.Kühl combine traditional North African Gnawa music with funky, soulful modern rhythms: Gnawa meets beats. “Aisha” [11] is a tale about a mythological female figure renowned as the greatest woman of all time. “Laafou” [5] is about the end of suffering for a particular singer, and “Koyo Koyo”, [9] a term for the righthand man of the Gnawa master who learns to play the Qarqaba (a/k/a Krakebs, an iron castanet-like rhythmic musical instrument). Jilani”[2] ‘crown of knowers’ tells the story of a leader in Sufi philosophy, while “Samaoui”[3] explores the sanctity of water in Africa and “Gazelle”[6] is a homage to a famous piece of desert music that deals with love of the beloved. One of my favorite releases from last year! AArbor

Biluka Y Los Canibales – “Leaf Playing In Quito 1960-1965” – [Honest Jon Records]

aarbor   4/4/2023   CD, International

Another amazing release from Honest Jons! “Biluka” is Dilson de Souza, who leads a kind of tropical chamber jazz while making music using leaves from a ficus tree. Dilson was from Barra do Pirai, in the Brazilian countryside. He moved to Rio as a young man, where he worked in construction. He recorded his first record in 1954, for RCA Victor. This record was originally recorded for the CAIFE label from Ecuador (this is a reissue).

Dilson played the leaf open, resting on his tongue, hands free, with his mouth as the resonator. Though a leaf can also be played rolled or folded in half, this method allowed for more precision. A picked ficus leaf stays fresh, crisp and clean-toned for around ten hours. He could play eight compositions, four at each end of the leaf, before it was spent. He plays trills and vibratos effortlessly, with utterly pure pitch, acrobatically sliding into notes and changing tone on the fly.

In [track 11] Manuco, he leads Los Caníbales into a mysterious landscape on a rope pulled from an Andean spaghetti western. A leaf, a harp, a xylophone, and a rondador (an Ecuadorian pan pipe) are joined in [track 3] Bailando Me Despido (Dancing As I Say Goodbye) by a saucy organ, doing call-and-response. In [track 8] Anacu de Mi Guambra, Biluka shows his full range of antics, including some melodic hiccups. He is one of a kind. Don’t Miss! AArbor

Radio Amazonia [coll] – [Eck Echo]

aarbor   3/29/2023   A Library, CD

Radio Amazonia is a compilation from Berlin’s Eck Echo label. Eck Echo is the Andean god of abundance. All the music released on Eck Echo is electronica from Central and South America.This collection is mostly from Peru, curated by talented Peruvian artist Daniel Valle-Riestra a/k/a QOQEQA. The name RADIO AMAZONIA comes from a remote education program based on AM radio airwaves for the families of the communities in Maynas and Loreto-Nauta in the Peruvian Amazon. The collection showcases up and coming musicians. Don’t Miss! AArbor

Legrand, Erick – “Mes Amis” – [Self-released]

aarbor   3/29/2023   A Library, CD

“Mad Erick” Legrand was French-Algerian and active in the Camden noise scene when he met Nina Walsh. Since his passing she has released a number of collections of his work. This one showcases 14 lovingly selected vignettes of his “out thereness” and absolutely belongs in the KFJC library. Think of this as a graphic novel soundtrack to the socio-political turbulence raging in 2022. Mes Amis displays Erick’s colossal influence on Nina Walsh and Andrew Weatherall while continuing to open the doors to his unique creative methods and world view. AArbor

Earthen Sea – “Ghost Poems” – [Kranky]

cinder   3/24/2023   A Library, CD

Solo project of New York-based musician Jacob Long (Black Eyes, Mi Ami). It’s dreamy lo-fi ambient excursions along the ghostly empty sea. Drifting and wading through soft melodies. Instrumental electronics, oozing haze & reverbed drips of echoed waters. Swelling synths and wandering tones. Chilled, mellow downtempo vibes. 

Rubber O Cement – “Glass Fangs Ringing During Sack Mass” – [Self-release]

cinder   3/24/2023   A Library, CD

Wacky crazy noise project from bay area nutter, Grux. His live performances are not to be missed. It’s a full on visual show, with cardboard tanks, puppets, spinning parts, and of course giant puffy costumes. You can fiind him tethering together the greats at The Lab in SF. Also from excellent projects such as Commode Minstrels in Bullface, Caroliner, Speculum Fight, Faxed Head. His packaging of his media is always unique as well, we have one of a dirty painted shoe at home… Anyway, this release is actually a little different from what I’m used to hearing/seeing. It’s 2 tracks – both are super dark and creepily crittery messings of random objects most likely found around the room. Itches, scratches, skitters, scrapes, shakes. Strings, some electronics, it’s pretty random. Live improvs, as there’s clapping at the end. 

Balkan Taksim – “Zali Zare” – [Self-released]

aarbor   3/21/2023   CD, International

Balkan Taksim are Sașa-­Liviu Stoianovici and Alin Zăbrăuțeanu from Bucharest, Romania. Their sound is Balkan psych meets bass, breaks, and synth electronica, with a touch of groove. Very stylish electronic psychedelia which explores rhythms and sounds from every corner of the Balkans gently fused with electronic beats and tribal basslines. You can dance or whirl to all 4 of these tracks. Love this! AArbor

Madlib – “Madlib Medicine Show No. 3 Beat Konducta In Africa” – [Madlib Invazion]

aarbor   3/21/2023   CD, Hip Hop

Madlib takes you to Africa. Like the Beat Konducta in India, this is 43 short tracks of mostly instrumental hip-hop album produced by Madlib, inspired by and based on African records of the early 1970s: obscure and independent vinyl gems from afro-beat, funk, psych-rock, garage-rock and soul from Africa. This release is a part of the the Beat Konducta series as well as the Madlib Medicine Show series. Medicine Show from 2010-11 was intended to be a monthly series with the odd month releases featuring Madlib’s production work, while even months showcased DJ work and mixing skills. AArbor

Haldeman, Tim – “Open Water as a Child” – [Woolgathering Records]

carsonstreet   3/21/2023   CD, Jazz

Open Water As a Child, by saxophonist Tim Haldemanwas originally conceived as a one-off concert for the Ann Arbor Jazz Festival. Tim says of the work, “The concert was a love letter to our friends and neighbors in Flint, who’ve been enduring the tragic results of the total failure by those ‘in power’. I needed a way to express my anger and sadness, so I reached out to some friends. The musical arrangements are loose, leaving space for the musicians to improvise. Recently my favorite thing about playing music is to explore how a piece can grow unpredictably into something new. What I wrote was a launching pad for the musicians. I wanted to hear what everyone would do with it.” Minimal, quiet with poetic readings on some tracks. You’ll feel as if you are in a beat cafe.

Noertker’s Moxie – “Pantomime In Billville” – [Edgetone Records]

carsonstreet   3/21/2023   CD, Jazz

In 2001, Bill Noertker formed Noertker’s Moxie as a vehicle for his thematic compositions. Since then he has composed over 150 pieces of music and has released sixteen CDs, including the soundtrack for Curious Worlds: the Art and Imagination of David Beck and the extended suites Sketches of Catalonia; The Blue Rider; The Druidh; and Tricycle. The pieces herein are Noertker’s reflections on his travels, his encounters with art, his penchant for poetry, his love of Catalonia, his sense of wonder at words, his fondness for the tritone, his fascination with film. Sweet – play it.

Galper, Hal – “Ivory Forest Redux” – [Origin Records]

carsonstreet   3/21/2023   CD, Jazz

Pianist Hal Galper and guitarist John Scofield have come together beautifully despite their differences. Scofield’s 1979 quartet release, Rough House featured Galper, along with bassist Stafford James and then young drummer, Adam Nussbaum. In essence, the groundbreaking pianist had found a partner who simply allowed him to be himself. Galper’s 1980 release, Ivory Forest was supposed to be Scofield’s next offering, but he was unable to release it in his name following his signing with a different label. Galper became the de facto leader of the date, an easy adjustment considering that he had composed all four original compositions on the album. Hal Galper along with John Scofield, Wayne Dockery and Adam Nussbaum – hard to beat.

Frankel, Danny w/ Cline, Nels and Goldings, Larry – “The Interplanetary Note/Beat Conference” – [Self-release]

carsonstreet   3/21/2023   CD, Jazz

Danny Frankel says of this album: “I want to talk about my new record, The Interplanetary Note/Beat Conference, with Nels Cline (Nels Cline Singers, Wilco) and Larry Goldings (who’s played with Jack DeJohnette and John Scofield). I started planning the recording a few years back. I was on a tour and spontaneously I’d write an idea in the back of the tour book on the blank pages. I’d write down an image real quick, like, “Let’s pretend we’re driving in a car in Israel in 1967.” (That became “Gypsy Cabster” with theatrical electric sitar, nutty ’60s drumbeat, and Teischord electric keyboard.) On that song I solo for eight bars towards the end, and I tried to capture the phrasing of a drunk poet. My friend Pablo calls this recording a psychedelic organ trio. Money Mark says he likes to clean his house while it’s on! It’s all good.” This is notes on the back of a napkin music. Jazz with some psych, some ambient and some experimental.

Bipolar Explorer – “In The Hours Left Until Dawn” – [Slugg Records]

carsonstreet   3/21/2023   A Library, CD

Bipolar Explorer are an NYC-based experimental dreampop trio featuring SummerSerafin (vocals, spoken word), Michael Serafin-Wells (guitars, vocals, bass, organ, synth,melodica, tape loops, percussion, spoken word) and Sylvia Solanas (backing vocals, spokenword – English/French). The band’s eclectic sound has continued to evolve as they began contributing to the UK’s storied experimental radio project, The Dark Outside. More experimental pieces began appearing on the band’s albums with compositions that folded in field recordings with new instrumentation and tape loops and woven together with their existing ambient, spoken word and shoegaze-y anthems resulted in recordings more thematic, or as the group has taken to calling them “dreamscapes”. In The Hours Left Until Dawn weaves together these strands of experimental, ambient, spoken word, field recordings sprinkled with instrumentation and shoegaze-y compositions.

Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quartet – “Where Here Meets There” – [Self Release]

carsonstreet   3/21/2023   CD, Jazz

Mr. Ho’s Orchestrotica Quartet led by vibraphonist, percussionist Brian O’ Neil categorizes itself as travelling to a future moment where American music is as exotic as its past. Hence, a persuasive declaration as the band combines Eastern modalities with cool jazz grooves and world music. They also delve into the annals of American popular music by performing three Gershwin compositions and one comp by jazz vibraphonist Cal Tjader amid several group-penned originals.

Atlantics, The – “Flight of the Surf Guitar 21st Anniversary Edition” – [Atlantics Music]

carsonstreet   3/15/2023   A Library, CD

In 1963 The Atlantics were at the forefront of surf music in Australia, with their classic surf instrumental “Bombora” sitting for eight weeks at No. 1 in the Top 40 charts.
In 1999, in response to a growing demand from surf music enthusiasts around the world, The Atlantics – Peter, Jim, Bosco and new member Martin, got together in the studio for the first time in thirty years to recreate that surf pounding sound that made “Bombora” such a classic. The result was Flight of the Surf Guitar. Featuring seventeen tracks, comprising fourteen all new originals, together with brand new recorded versions of three of their most popular songs, “The Crusher”, “Rumble and Run” and of course, “Bombora.”

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble – “Hypnotic Brass Ensemble” – [Honest Jons Records]

aarbor   3/15/2023   CD, Jazz

The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble is an eight-piece, Chicago-based brass ensemble consisting of eight sons of the jazz trumpeter Phil Cohran. Their musical style ranges from hip hop to jazz to funk and rock, including calypso and gypsy music. The brothers were raised in a house where music was a constant element of the household. Phil Cohran’s “Circle of Sound” held rehearsals in the living room and put on live shows in the adjacent loft/theatre called the “Sun Ark”. The brothers were obliged to wake at 6am and play their horns before and after school. As adolescents, they played around Chicago as the Phil Cohran Youth Ensemble. Later they played in the subway and on the street. Here they are joined by such luminaries as Tony Allen [6], Malcolm Catto [1,2,11,12], and Damon Albarn [13]. This is their first full length from 2009. All tracks worthy. AArbor

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