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Record of the Week

This category contains 300 posts

James Finn - Live at the Via Della Pace (Gingko Leaf)

Where are you, James Finn?

Trainreck - Train Keeps a’ Rollin (self-released)

Easily “the discovery” for me at this year’s Deep Blues Festival that just wrapped yesterday, KM Williams has been doing his thing longer than most of the 70-odd other acts on the schedule. His repertoire ropes in a fair chunk of the idiom’s history from Blind Willie Johnson, Son House and Fred McDowell to [...]

Eric La Casa/ Jean-Luc Guionnet/ Philip Samartzis — Soleil D’Artifice

For this, the first release on Swarming label, Eric La Casa, Philip Samartzis and Jean-Luc Guionnet recorded Soleil D’Artifice in 2007 to investigate all kinds of ends in improvisation and in experimental music. Their meeting was in the interest of the possibilities in sound mechanics, some areas previously known, and some bound to be [...]

William Kapell - Plays Brahms and Prokofiev (Music and Arts)

This is a remastered version of two monuments of the piano concerto repertoire played by one of their finest proponents. The short-lived William Kapell recorded these performances of the Brahms first and Prokofiev third piano concertos for broadcast in 1953 and 1949 respectively. The Brahms was conducted by Mitropoulos and the Prokofiev by [...]

Radu Malfatti + Taku Unami - Goat vs. Donkey (Taumaturgia)

Released earlier this year, Goat vs. Donkey documents a collaborative performance between Radu Malfatti and Taku Unami, who met up in A Coruña, Spain, late last November. A nice turnaround in an area of music where it’s acceptable (fashionable?) to release recordings three to four years after their initial commitment to tape. The [...]

Dropp Ensemble - Safety (either/OAR)

As with other projects led by Adam Sonderberg, ie Haptic, Dropp Ensemble (pronounced “drope”) allows for the inclusion of kindred musicians without the logistical or financial burdens that come with session music. Since 2003, Sonderberg and Salvatore Dellaria have been making music with numerous artists by way of mail and data transfer, with the [...]

Hector Berlioz - Requiem, op. 5

SWR Radio Symphony Orchestra, Stuttgart/SWR Vocal Ensemble, Stuttgart, Toby Spence, Tenor
Roger Norrington
The team of Norrington and Hanssler has proven to be a fantastic one! I only became aware of the combination last year, after hearing the label’s superb set of Beethoven symphonies, Norrington’s second cycle and an absolutely essential listen.
Like the Beethoven, this [...]

Tim Buckley - Lorca (Elektra)

Divorcing itself from all but the slightest impulse towards traditional song form, Lorca presents the listener with a jazzy, if sometimes meandering, mélange of musical soundscape, over which Tim Buckley’s multi-octave voice is free to soar unhampered by constraints of popular taste. On the heels of his most commercially successful Long Player, Buckley entered the [...]

The Black Keys - Chulahoma (Fat Possum)

The only Black Keys album I own, but not because of any aversion to their other work. There’s just something special about this one, an EP devoted to the songs of Junior Kimbrough. Dan Auerbach, the guitar and vocals half of the Keys, spent countless hours shedding to Kimbrough’s records in his late teens and [...]

Porter Wagoner - The Rubber Room (Omni)

A countrified, pompadoured progenitor of Tom Waits, Porter Wagoner was also a true American original. He built a personal music empire in the shadow of the Grand Ole Opry and did it by mining some of the rawest and weirdest emotional ore in the history of music. This Omni compilation taps liberally from that particular [...]

Various - Shake Your Wicked Knees (Yazoo)

Significant chunks of the celebrated Yazoo catalog have unceremoniously left the shelves and it doesn’t look like they’re due for restock any time soon. The chief culprit is likely the continuing supply of “gray market” box sets coming across the pond from European freebooters like Proper and JSP. What those sets have in the way [...]

Miguel A. García - armiarmak (RMO)

The last several days, busy as they’ve been with work and home-related duties, I’ve enjoyed multiple opportunities for quality, undisturbed listening. While such a luxury comes only in phases, it’s even rarer that I can put a tentative playlist together that will truly play itself out. But playlists can quickly grow stale. [...]

Edip Akbayram (Shadoks Music)

Edip Akbayram rose to stardom in the rubble of the first wave of Turkish rock music influenced by Western progenitors like Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin. This German collection is scant on annotative particulars but the two dozen tracks appear to be pulled from his first two albums and a handful of singles all cut [...]

Steve Lacy - Early Years 1954-1956 (Fresh Sound)

Here’s a pick prompted by a recent dust-off of the Soprano Summit ROW by Bags reader j.c. It’s an expanded edition of a now obsolete single disc compilation. Chipmunk-cheeked Steve Lackritz (excise the “c” and you have the German for licorice) was under the spell of Dixie and swing styles at the time. He doubles [...]

Susan Alcorn - Curandera (Majmua)

mm-8
There is no acceptable explanation why the pedal steel guitar, the most immediately expressive and naturally listenable of string instruments, does not have wider exposure in the US outside of mainstream music. Not counting the earlier likes of Hank Garland and Buddy Emmons, an examination of the pedal steel’s usage in improv-steeped idioms reveals [...]

Stephen Scott – Vikings Of The Sunrise (New Albion)

Corvallis, Oregon’s Stephen Scott is one of those composers who, by self-carving a niche through the exploitation of a singular means of expression, has both gained my unconditioned admiration and confined his artistic persona quite far from a deserved mass recognition. On the other hand, those in the know are already acquainted with Scott’s amazing work [...]

Various - Vintage Music From India (Rounder)

My cd addiction was still in its relative nascency in the early 1990s. Limited to the resources of a penny-squirreling college student, the consumer restraint exercised was largely out of necessity. Those were frustrating times not the least because of the Rounder label and its vast catalog of Pre-War ethnic music compilations. With crack ethnomusicologists [...]

Miya Masaoka – While I was walking, I heard a sound… (Solitary B)

Sound artist and performer Miya Masaoka’s installations are much renowned, a couple of them even featuring insects walking on her naked body. Apart from this extravagant cross of entomological curiosity and physical art, she writes music that puzzles and fascinates at once, ranging from orchestral improvisation to reinterpretations of Thelonious Monk’s tunes with Andrew Cyrille and Reggie [...]

Eddie Pennington - Walks the Strings… and Even Sings (Smithsonian Folkways)

Kentucky thumbpicking of the sort popularized by Merle Travis is far from a dying art thanks to Eddie Pennington and others of his thoroughly-enamored ilk. Shades of Chet Atkins and Joe Maphis also color Pennington’s fret play and his songbook is tilted toward ditties favored by those departed luminaries. Twenty in number, the set taps [...]

Alemu Aga - Ethiopiques 11: The Harp of King David (Buda Musique)

One of the more esoteric titles in the grand Ethiopiques omnibus, at least in terms of relative Western influence, this volume is also one of the most memorable. The “Harp of King David”, also known as the beguena, is a 10-string lyre similar to the Indian tampura in fundamental design, but possessed of its own [...]