Music Reviews

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. 

Usputuspud – “Live In The Shit” – [Nafs, The]

cinder   3/24/2023   A Library, Cassette

Digging around I found out that this is a solo project from MJR (Michael J Rogers), who also has something called Wildlife. This is 2 “side longs” of 10 and 15 minutes each. Lo-fi hazy droned ambient noise waving and wafting. Quivering reverbs and rhythmical essences. A pounding beat and zip zappy muffled electronics give track 2 more attitude, while track 1 is more floating ambient.

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

Fields, Lee – “Sentimental Fool” – [Daptone Records]

aarbor   3/21/2023   12-inch, Soul

Lee Fields is from North Carolina. Listening to this record it’s obvious that he’s been recording as a soul singer for over 40 years. This is his first recording on Daptone and it has the wonderful warm, analog sound you would expect and It’s on amazing orange vinyl. It has the sound, look and feel of a ’60s record. Even though I always expect polished instrumental playing from the Daptone musicians, I wasn’t prepared for Fields’ artistry as a soul singer. He’s over 70 and he’s still on top of his game. Every track is worth a listen. 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.

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