• Music

    Yat-Kha – We Will Never Die

    Albert Kuvezin (Альберт Кувезин) is a legend in the ethno-rock and World Music community.  He was one of the founders of the band Huun-Huur-Tu, which brought throat singing into prominence.  He went on to form his own band, Yat-Kha, who I came across in 1993.  He was managed to meld together traditional Tuvan music (the region in Russia close to Mongolia and not so terribly far from China) with post-punk and even country music. On June 21, Yat-Kha’s latest album, We Will Never Die, is due for release as a download and will be available on CD and vinyl. The…

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    The Utopia Strong – The Utopia Strong

    The Utopia Strong are a band out of the United Kingdom which blew me away.  Praise to Chris Morley for alerting me to the band’s existence.  It sounds something like Krautrock or psychedelic rock which goes funky.  It’s almost as if you can dance to some of this material.  The musicianship is excellent, reminding me of Gong or groovier elements of bands like Embryo or even Neu!  It turns out that I was right to think this, as the pedigree of the band is impressive. Personnel: Kavus Torabi (Gong/Cardiacs/Knifeworld/Guapo) Steve Davis and Michael J. York (Coil/Teleplasmiste/Guapo) The Quietus Magazine also…

  • Music - Music Promo

    Mitchell Manburg – Laplace Resonance

    I have to say that this is a pleasantly weird EP by Mitchell Manburg, reminding me in parts of King Crimson’s early 80s era or other progressive rock bands of the time period.  It doesn’t have the incredible guitar work of Fripp and Belew, but lyrically, it feels completely in pace with albums like Discipline or Beat in some odd, familiar way. If you want to check out this album go here.

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    Gadi Sassoon – Multiverse

    Gadi Sassoon is an Italian sound designer and composer whose latest release comes from the venerable Los Angeles-based record label A Strangely Isolated Place.  I had only heard one track of his work before, this coming from ASIP’s 2020 Compilation.  Though impressive, it didn’t prepare me for one of the bleakest experiences I’ve had listening to ambient music I’ve had since, perhaps, mid-period Lustmord.  If you listen to this album on headphones, be forewarned: the sounds will reverberate in your bones for a while afterward, and I say this as a compliment.  The tracks swell and disperse in a way…

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    Zacharivna Pisnya Ensemble – Petropavlovka: Songs of Ukrainians from Kyrgyzstan

    The Zacharivna Pisnya Ensemble are made up of ethnic Ukrainians who reside in the republic of Kyrgyzstan, and have existed as a group since 1902.  Though some of their names have been Russified, they maintain their cultural ties to Ukraine via song. Antonovka Records have done astounding work documenting such ensembles throughout Russia and Central Asia, and they should be commended for maintaining such high quality throughout each release.

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    稷廬 / jì lú – 山與客聽 / Mountain, Traveler, Listener

    The Sichuan, China-based Jì Lú (稷廬) are a new project that has connections with one of China’s most innovated bands, Raflum.  The instrumentation on this album is sparse, but it makes for good listening, as bamboo flute and guitar seem to blend pleasantly. Some notes regarding the release: When talking about landscapes in the traditional context, it’s mostly about reclusion.  Although true recluses are rare, the mountains and rivers are always there.  Ironically,  the real landscapes are actually “horrible nature” instead of some leisure place.  The traditional landscape paintings are a kind of “tame nature,” which were described as “To observe with meditation, and lie down to experience” and “Sitting in the forest and spring instead of go to banquet” by ancient Chinese poets.  It emerge at North and South Dynasty, then become a game of finding the essence during the Five Dynasties and the Song Dynasty, and finally stuck in the static self-development after the Ming and Qing Dynasties.  The development of landscape paintings are just like how people detach with the nature and entering urban life.  This album is the continuation of this thesis.  In a time when the virtual reality are replacing urban life, we attempt to reinterpret this cliche with improvisation that based on the topic of “landscape.”  We also naming the songs by minutes and seconds instead of the traditional way of titling the songs, which is based on its imagery.  That creates interactive between the “teller” and listener, and reflects the beauties for individuals due to their own aesthetic experiences.  At this time, the distant, outmoded, cumbersome and vague image of landscape might leave a huge space for “starting again.” Instrumental by Liu Zhu (bamboo flute) /Qi Ya (Guitar) Recorded by Qi Ya at Ningbo、Hanzhou、 in 2016-2018 and Liu Zhu at New York in 2016 Mixed and Mastered by Qi Ya Artwork and Layout by Qi Ya Released by Pest Productions 在傳統語境中說到山水,多半關乎隱逸,真隱逸不常有,而真山水常有。葉公好龍的是,真山真水其實是「可怕的自然」,並非閒居宴坐的所在。山水畫作為一種「馴服的自然」,即古人說的「澄懷觀道,臥以游之」、「不下堂筵,坐窮林泉」,自南北朝鮮嫩的發端,五代兩宋的窮其理而後成為一種遊戲,到明清之後陳陳相因的體系內繁殖——其蓬勃發展的歷史反而是與人的身體離開自然山林而進入人工城市的歷史併行的。這張專輯也是對這一母題的延續。在人的身體都快離開人工城市而進入虛擬現實的環境下,給重複了上千年的「陳腔濫調」再增添一次重釋,帶著「山水」這一母題,以即興演奏的方式完成整張錄音。在曲目的定名上,也避開中國傳統的「意象命題」式標題,只以分秒為替代,在「說」與聽之間,帶著各自的審美體驗,進行一次互動,映照各自心中的佳山水。此時,山水形象的遙遠、陳舊、累贅和模糊或許又給「重新出發」以很大的空間。 演奏:六貯(竹管樂器)/ 栖崖(吉他) 錄音:六貯/栖崖 混音/母帶處理:栖崖 錄音時間:2016年04月至2018年11月 錄音地點:寧波 / 杭州 /…

  • Music - Spotify

    Tofa Jaxx – A Guy Like Me EP

    In normally more partial to listening to old, stripped down 60s soul than I am to hearing modern R&B, but this gem out of Tanzania, by way of the U.K., caught my ear in a most pleasant way. Our friends at Delicious Tunes do yeoman’s work spending time all over Africa, getting to know and working with musicians of astounding quality and getting them a proper release. Tofa Jaxx is one of these gems. Tofa’s vocals are sultry, and he can hold is own with any of modern heavyweights populating the top 40 charts, but what is especially interesting is…

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    Nicadrio Lee – Palette

    Aloha Got Soul is a record label out of Hawaii documenting the lost soul that was coming out of the state during the 1970s and 1980s, but this release is actually the work of a local prodigy called Nicadrio Lee who put this album together last year if I understand correctly.  It’s been hyped for quite a few months, but to be honest, I figured that it was merely some kid noodling with his guitar.  I am happy to say that I was terribly wrong.  It’s a rather sophisticated City Pop, all instrumental and very mellow.  Nicadrio is very good…

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    Makoto Kawabata, Richard Pinhas, Manongo Mujica, Juan Luis Pereira, Hiroshi Higashi – Alturas

    What we have here is an experimental music supergroup.  Makoto Kawabata and Hiroshi Higashi of acid-psych lords Acid Mothers Temple team up with the legendary guitarist Richard Pinhas (famed as the leader of the band Heldon, and still very much active under his own name).  Joining them are two musicians from Peru in Manongo Mujica and Juan Luis Pereira who fill out this psychedelic soundscape. For some context regarding this release, read these notes for the band’s Bandcamp site: When Acid Mothers Temple and Richard Pinhas visited Lima for the first time, in November 2017, to participate in the experimental…

  • Music - Spotify

    Corciolli – Valse D’Adieu

    The word seems to be burning at the moment.  All around, there is misery, anger and a sense of hopelessness.  One can either be consumed by it (and it’s been a battle not to be), or you can relax, listen to something calming, and get on with life. Corciolli is a pianist out of Brazil who also owns the record label Azul Music who specialize in releasing classical and world music. Some words from the label regarding this release: In a minimalist and stripped-down approach, VALSE D´ADIEU, new single from Brazilian film composer Corciolli,  stands out for its simplicity and spontaneity.…