I'm travelling since a few days and since I don't have access to a scanner to upload new guitar sketches, I decided to finally do something that I have in mind for a while, that is to diversify the contents of this blog by posting once in a while reviews of the last CDs I acquired. So here we go! Comments are welcome.
KAMILYA JUBRAN | MAKAN.
Kamilya Jubran is one of my good finds of 2009. That is not often that I would hear one song on the radio and right away order the CD, but that's what happened here.
Kamilya Jubran plays oud and sings contemporary arabic language poets. I probably wouldn't be so inspired by someone singing folk-style songs with just an acoustic guitar, but not only Jubran has a rare strengh and lyricism in her singing, but she has an extremely organic way to merge oud playing and singing, and also re-invent traditional middle-east music to create a really contemporary sound and feel.
I do recommand this CD to everybody curious and bored with easy pop music.
I had mentioned Jubran already in a post on the Guitar blog where you can see a concert video.
OK, another example of one song heard made me buy the CD. Holon sounds very ECM, on the good side of it. I always really enjoy counter nature mix of minimalism and baroque - here the baroque is in the almost funky jazz drive that supports ultra repetitive piano 'ritournelles'. I also like to feel the virality of electronic arts and culture on older medias, and in this case how machine made music feedbacks in a drums, bass, piano and bass clarinet jazz quartet to create a really emotional music!
There are a couple of songs that I could include in a DJ set that would make people dance for sure, while wondering 'what kind of crazy music is this?'
With this music that feeds both soul and body, this CD is just splendid, and also very inspirational: I played it to some musicians I work with to explain some ideas I had about layering of looped improvised modules, it worked very well!
I've been an early and avid listener of This Mortal Coil back in the day, and it made me dive into 4AD's music for many years (not completely over actually) since their very first single. There were some songs signed by Alex Chilton on the first album - quite my favorites - and for some reasons I was never inclined to know more about the original songs, like it would break the charm or something, or they belonged to a very foreign cultural sphere (same with Tim Buckley).
And then I heard lately the original Kangaroo by Big Star and it sounded like something I'm trying to do myself these days, a subtle melody with rough guitar arrangement and low tech recording. So it was necessary to know more and listen to the whole 1978 album on which it was first realeased. I don't like everything in this album - mostly not when they drop pop to do clumsy rock - but I think that I will start soon to explore the other sources of inspiration of Ivo Watts-Russel - it's time, I'm ready!
For a long time I bought most of my CDs after concerts, mostly from small experimental bands bringing their box of limited edition CDs to sale them after their shows.
This time I had to order it afterward (from Naxos, always cheap and always good), but still relaying on the strong impression made by the 8th string quartet of Shostakovich performed by the Eliott O. Quartet, a young people ensemble from Stuttgart. Their execution was not perfect but I was impressed by their mastering and understanding of Shostakovich's music, and anyway I prefer liveliness to perfection for this kind of music - and any kind of snobbish solemnity spoils music and turns it to mere bourgeois entertainment.
I lack the vocabulary of a musicologist to say something that sounds smart about this music but I do enjoy it a lot, it feels like the perfect combination of emotional and intellectual stimulation that can improve humanness in the listener.
I really enjoyed Jim Jarmusch's last movie The Limits of Control, and had the feeling that it was particularly due to its music, so I got myself the soundtrack, and the magic is still there. It is a strange combination of post-shoegaze psychedelic mostly by Boris and Sunn O))) and different kinds of Spanish traditional music.
In a way it reminds me of the soundtracks Pink Floyd recorded for Barbet Schroeder movies More and La Vallée, but the result stays more narrative and can allow the listener to recreate his own story while listening (Jarmush's story is anyway tiny and criptic, and easily forgotten).
The movie has been quite bashed by critics, but though it took me a long time to get in, at the end of it I was completely convinced... The same happened to me 20 years ago with Wenders's Wings of Desire that became after that one of my favorite movies ever...
I've been curious about Sunn O)))'s music for a while, I liked the idea that an experimental music band would create a niche in the metal genre, more based on their stage outfit that on the music itself I guess... And they created a real buzz in Berlin after performing at the Volksbühne a few years ago, also collaborated there with a dance company in which a friend was dancing...
Anyway, after the Limits of Control soundtrack, I chose Altar as a first CD to get to discover their universe - it's sometimes reviewed as their best opus... I was quite surprised to hear something so mild and ambiant, sounding like the 4AD stuff I was listening to 20 years ago, when I expected gloomy distortion and harsh sound. Not disapointed though, I quite like it and must listen more to get all the nuances.