• Music - Music Articles

    Salah Ragab and The Cairo Jazz Band – Egyptian Jazz

    How do such wonderful musicians get lost in the mists of time?  It boggles the mind, though I must say I’m happy to be living in an age of crate-divers and those who have the same passion of discovering music as I do. This particular artist, Salah Ragab, a military man who also was a swinging jazz maestro, is well-known to Sun Ra aficionados, but only to a few outside this select group.  It’s a shame, as this particular album gathers songs which mix together big band music, cha-cha-chá, Raqş sharqī, and melodramatic music which would fit well in an…

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    Culto al Qondor – Tannhauser Tor

    Repsychled Records is based in Peru, and has done great work documenting their psychedelic rock scene.  This particular one is a weird treasure from 2019.  Culto al Qondor bring the freakiest of Krautrock to South America with two 14-minute tracks of pure drone-laced music inspired by bands like Ash Ra Tempel or Amon Düül II.  Really good music.

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    László Hortobágyi – The Amygdala Expedition

    This is quite a momentous occasion for me, as áMARXE Records out of Galicia, Spain, release an album by Hungarian composer László Hortobágyi which has been shelved since 1989.  The album was programmed specifically for vinyl, and áMARXE are releasing a small edition of 250 copies, no doubt of high quality. The story with László Hortobágyi is quite an interesting one, as I used to work many years ago as an A&R manager for Tone Casualties, a record label run by the animator Gábor Csupó, he of Klasky-Csupo, who released such cartoons as The Rugrats and Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, among…

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    RHaD – Metamusic

    It’s one thing when you’re the impresario of a record label who consistently delivers astoundingly good quality.  It’s quite something else when you make music yourself that is as solid as any of the releases you so lovingly curate. RHaD (Research for Historical Audio Documents) is a side project of Raffaele Pezzella (better known as Sonologyst), and head of so many incredible boutique record labels.  This collection of tracks pulls together influences like radio transmissions, telephonic conversations, hi-fi test signals, old and forgotten documentaries, unknown field recordists, and threads these bits together into wonderfully coherent compositions made for late-night black-and-white…

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    Kimilia – Chants d’un temps, ანუ ადრინდელი სიმღერები

    I can’t imagine there being traditional music more pleasant to the ear than that of Georgian polyphony.  Whether it is in an ecclesiastical setting or around the dinner table, the Georgians are incredible singers, and this particular band, Kimilia, do a phenomenal job interpreting songs that go as far back as to the country’s medieval period.  Stunning!

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    Ikuro Takahashi – しりえないものとずっと

    An’archives, a French experimental music record label, has released しりえないものとずっと (Forever With The Incomprehensible) by legendary drummer and percussionist Ikuro Takahashi.  Takahashi has worked with the likes of Keiji Haino’s power-trio Fushitsusha, Seishokki, High Rise, Ché-Shizu, Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Kousokuya, LSD March and Nagisa Ni Te.  This kind of pedigree is unmatched in the Japanese improvisational music scene.  The album is volcanic in its power, full of thundering percussion which would equal, and in some parts surpass, many percussion based free-jazz albums.

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    叶尔波利 Yerboli – 哈萨克精神Kazakh Spirit

    China has 55 legally recognized minorities, each contributing to the mosaic of the country.  This particular project, Yerboli, comes from the Kazakh community, but it is not ethnic music per sé.  This is folk music, but with a slightly more mystical element to it.  Shenzhen-based Old Heaven Books released this album, and they boast quite a healthy catalog of this kind of music.  They are worth exploring.

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    Biliana Voutchkova – Seeds Of Songs

    This release is a double introduction of sorts for me; first, for the chance to finally delve into a full recording of the work of Biliana Voutchkova, an interdisciplinary artist, violinist, performer, composer, improviser and curator from one of the countries I most enjoy visiting, Bulgaria (though she is based in Berlin these days). Second, it is nice to see that Café OTO in London have opened a record label called Takuroku. Considering that the venerable café has hosted so many musicians of exquisite quality throughout the years, it seems fitting that they would give a platform to someone as…

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    Star Band de Dakar – Psicodelia Afro-Cubana de Senegal

    Cuba has a long, storied history of sharing a strong bond with many countries in Africa.  From the horrifying slave trade to the Cuban Communist “revolution,” culture and music have flowed back and forth between the island nation and most of the richly cultured continent.  This release from the now-legendary Ostinato Records documents one of my favorite bands, the Senegalese powerhouse Star Band de Dakar.  The music is a wonderful mix of their mbalax, one of the many native styles of Senegal, with rhumba and other styles to make an Afro-Cuban cocktail.  This is a joyful release – fun, danceable…