• Music

    Amir ElSaffar – Inana

    Inana is the fourth album by Iraqi-American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar which came out in 2011.  The trumpeter starts the album with eight tracks dedicated to Inanna, the Mesopotamian goddess of sex, beauty, war and political power.  ElSaffar mixes microtonal jazz with Arabic scales such as maqam, which seems to be naturally suited to improvisation.  It’s an evocative album – warm, passionate, and exquisitely recorded. Sadly, there is only one track available to hear on the Bandcamp site, but I attach another track available on Youtube here. Personnel: Amir ElSaffar – trumpet, vocal, santour Ole Mathisen – tenor and soprano saxophone…

  • Music

    Various Artists – Gudelnaya Polyana – Solar Systo Togathering 2020

    Good music and good new labels are easy to find if you apply yourself.  Zhelezobeton is not a new label, per sé, but a lot of the bands they work with will be new to listeners who don’t normally follow what is happening in the Russian sphere of influence. This compilation is three hours of live recordings made by a variety of artists, including, intriguingly, an ensemble of 12-year-old noisemakers.  The future, judging by the standards of this comp, is in secure hands over there. Also interesting is where this compilation was put together.  It was held on the experimental…

  • Music - Spotify

    Alexei Aigui & Ensemble 4’33” – Palimpsest

    A debt of thanks is owed to Alexei Aigui, a friend of this blog as well as one of Russia’s finest composers and violinists.  He and his troupe, Ensemble 4’33” bring a sweeping cinematic album which will appeal to those who enjoy composers like Steve Reich, Michael Nyman, and also more interesting aspects of progressive rock (think bands like the Penguin Café Orchestra or even a far lighter Samla Mammas Manna, played with joy). I’ve spent a good deal of time these last few days listening to more heavy music, so Palimpsest is something of an indulgence for me.  It’s…

  • Music

    Various Artists – Unexplained Sounds Group – 7th Annual Report (Mid Year Edition)

    Our dear friends at Unexplained Sounds Group release consistently good ambient, post-Industrial and noise music compilations.  As we have reached the mid-point of 2021, Raffaele Pezzella and company have released what they (rightly) deemed to be the best of the year to this point.  From their Bandcamp site: Unexplained Sounds Group 7th Annual Report (Mid Year Edition) is the Summer edition of USG’s Annual Report series that comes out every year in December, to showcase the best 2021 experimental and avant-garde music. It includes veteran composers alongside younger but equally talented musicians from all around the globe. All musicians here…

  • Music

    The Lords Of Altamont- Midnight to 666

    From the ashes of local garage rock legends The Bomboras sprang, in something like a phoenix-like fashion, The Lords Of Altamont.  This particular album has been reissued by the Italian record label Heavy Psych Sounds, and as considered to be a rarity for garage rock music collectors. It was first pressed by the French record label Fargo Records, but the band hype was so strong at the time that the record sold out very quickly, and it remained out of print until now. The mix of biker rock, psychedelic rock and B-movie exploitation movie imagery made them a big hit during…

  • Music - Music Articles

    [The Spirit Of Progressive Rock] CD Review – Be Bop Deluxe – Life In The Air Age (Box Set)

    While doing a bit of research pertaining to my new position at a school in China, I took a bit of time to read a great review over at The Spirit Of Progressive Rock on a box set I’ll have to purchase before I leave the States. Be-Bop Deluxe were one of the premier art-rock bands of the 1970s, and its frontman, Bill Nelson, is still making music.  This box is massive, spanning at 16 discs (15 audio, 1 DVD)!  Why am I fascinated with this record?  TSOPR explains: This legendary live album was released in July 1977 and here’s…

  • Music

    ΠϢΑϪЄ – Sleep (שֻׁנָּה)

    I have a feeling that this Israeli psychedelic release is a hoax, and the label, ΠϢΑϪЄ (That Word), seem to admit the same.  However, on the music’s merits, it’s a pretty interesting slab of Middle Eastern-influenced psychedelic rock.  Eventually, the mystery of this album will be solved, but it’s nice to just enjoy the music and let it melt all over your brain for the time being.

  • Music

    The Ambient Drones of Bill Baxter – Dreamscape One

    I can’t say that I’m able to find any hard information on who Bill Baxter is, but he releases an almost ridiculous amount of music.  Amazingly, the quality is consistently high.  The tracks are very long, but they’re quite engaging on a pair of headphones.  If you want to learn more about this mysterious figure, you can check out his Facebook page.

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    Arthur Lyman – Island Vibes

    The ever-brilliant Aloha Got Soul Records is about to release a lost masterpiece of exotica. Arthur Lyman played vibraphone and marimba, and with these tools, nature sounds and some fine musicians backing him up, he managed to conjure up images of life in the South Pacific and Hawaii, which had just become our 50th state in the United States. This album was originally recorded on Broad Records in 1980, but it seems to have been forgotten, which is surprising given the explosion of exotica, easy listening and lounge music which occurred during the 1990s. As of today (July 23, 2021),…

  • Music

    Taennya – Natural Serenity

    Taennya is Tatyana Maslova, an ambient music composer from Novosibirsk, Siberia, Russia.  The city is home to some of my favorite musicians (including Roman Stolyar and Sergei Belichenko among others), and it looks like I have another musician whose works will be on my playlist for some time to come. The tracks are instrumental, with big, cavernous washes of sound.  As far as ambient music goes, this gives off a warm, calming feeling without being saccharine.  You will hear beats and voices here and there, and these help to guide you deeper into this enveloping sound.  A very engaging release.