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Music Reviews

Crossing, The – “Voyages” – [Innova Recordings]

Medusa of Troy   10/16/2019   A Library, CD

The Crossing is the artist, in this case, a professional choir that specializes in performing new classical music. Donald Nally is the conductor. Voyages is the title of the album, the two works that make up this album, and the underlying 6-cycle poem, composed in 1921–1926, as a paean by the poet Hart Crane to his lover, a Danish sailor. Robert Convery is the composer of the album’s first half, the choir singing his 1994 arrangement of Crane’s words a cappella, poems intact. Benjamin C.S. Boyle composed the second half of the album as a cantata, where stanzas are plucked from the underlying poem and the choir is accompanied by its in-house string ensemble, with soloists emphasizing particular passages. The first six songs, Convery’s a cappella arrangement, are sweet and melancholy and faint enough that you may want to pay close attention and have the poem in front of you to make out the words. In Boyle’s half, the strings tend to be dramatic, undergirding the emotion in the words and forcing the soloists to be more emphatic.

But which, if any, should you play? Convery’s “Voyages” is good for quiet but deep listening. Boyle’s “Voyages: Cantana No. 2, Opus 41” provides more obvious peaks and valleys for the listener. Neither quite reach the delirious, dizzying sweep of words and feeling as an out and proud statement of queer desire from a time where such a thing was punished by law and society. However, both compositions, and the album as a whole, are lovely.

Musicians of The Nile – Charcoal Gypsies – [Realworld]

aarbor   10/16/2019   CD, International

The Musicians of the Nile were discovered in 1975 and performed at the 1st WOMAD festival in 1983. They are apparently a part of the gypsy tradition. Listening to them the link to gypsy music is less clear. The tracks on this album are flutes and buzzy reed instruments which remind me of a homework assignment I had in an Ethnomusicology class once: to listen to a piece like this and transcribe it into musical notation. AArbor

Reflection – Morerroronus World, The – [Clear Records]

aarbor   10/16/2019   A Library, CD

On the Clear label out of the UK, Reflection is 2 Japanese brothers: Ichiro and Kenji Taniguchi. Their debut album in 1996 was Erroronus World, this album from 1997 is the remix album with offerings from such heavy hitters as Plaid, 4 Hero and Morgan Geist among others. Check out tracks 2,3,4,6 and 7. AArbor 

EEDIO – Hero – [Device Recordings]

aarbor   10/16/2019   12-inch, A Library

Bertrand Alix is EEDIO. He’s a producer from Chilhac, France. This EP is his 2nd from 2003. He claims that his influences include: Depeche Mode, Boards of Canada, Sigur Ros and Massive Attack. Check out B2 Modulation.

AArbor 

Ima – “Ende” – [Buh Records]

lexi glass   10/15/2019   A Library, Cassette

This cassette is the first official single from IMA, the local electroacoustic duo of percussionist Nava Dunkleman and sound artist Amma Ateria. Compared to the live recording of their performance at the 2017 Garden of Memory festival (in our library), Ende is a much darker and more menacing vision; IMA describes this work as the “beginning of awakening to the aftermath of destruction and devastation.” Over four short vignettes, Dunkleman’s percussion moves from delicacy to total collapse, while Ateria’s electronic atmospherics build a heavy sense of dread. “Flower of Dust” (T2) incorporates fragments of Japanese poetry that build on the theme of downfall. The tape ends too soon, but luckily IMA’s first full-length LP is due out later this year, and I look forward to hearing more of their consistently elegant work.

Presson, Lee and The Nails – "Last Request" – [Self-release]

Sir Cumference   10/12/2019   A Library, CD

KFJC is getting a pre-release of the latest release of the Bay Area’s own Lee Presson and the Nails. Lee goes full Goth Swing with this selection of spookier tunes (and a couple not-so-spooky) just in time for the Halloween season (the album will be released on October 25.) My favorite is the Mission Impossible theme mashed with up with Take Five (don’t tell me you never wanted to do that yourself!) A swingin’ version of the theme to Psycho is sure to get your toes a tappin’ just before you hit the shower. I’m sure anyone could find something to squeeze into a set or two…

Tejada, John – “Matrix of Us, The” – [deFocus]

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

John Tejada was born in Vienna, Austria, but now operates out of L.A. From 2000 this is his 2nd release. “Summer Spell” [1] has a warm, electro shuffle, while the spoken word and vocals on “Genetical Love” [2] act as a counterpoint to the piano and looped string section before the beat kicks in. “Disappear” is stringy synths w/ electro beats, and the deeper bass of “Can’t Tell Time Anything” continues the easygoing vibe. “reach for the Lights” [8] is a fun boogie. I liked this album better than some of his others.

AArbor 

Afro-Peruvian Classics: The Soul of Black Peru [coll] – [Luaka Bop]

aarbor   10/9/2019   A Library

Afro Peruvian music is a blend of Spanish, Andean and African traditions. The language comes from Spain  along with the preference for the guitar, and poetic forms like the decimaand the copla. From the Andes melancholy musical forms. From Africa the dance rhythms. Pantheistic religious are common to both the Andes and Africa. In addition to the guitar, 3 instruments are important to this music: the cajon and the cajita – both musical boxes and the quijada de burro – a jawbone with loosened teeth which vibrate when struck.  The instrumental intro of each track gives you a clue as to what to expect. Try 2,3,4,8,9,12, 13  You may want to compare the renditions of the songs of the same name. 

AArbor

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