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Sunday, November 30, 2008


UTOPIES (2006)
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Somewhere between jazz, Afro-Cuban, ambient - it's hard to classify, but oh-so-easy on the ears. Three amazing musicians - Didier Malherbe, Loy Ehrlich, Steve Shehan - play 26 different instruments, mostly of traditional African origin. Hyptnotic rhythms and captivating original melodies. A must hear.

1. Suave corridor
2. Baldamore
3. Brasero des soucis
4. Gardien de la nuit
5. Idalie
6. Centaurea
7. Toupie Tambour
8. Clef des brumes
9. Toupie valse
10. Hijaz
11. Parasol blanc 1
12. Parasol blanc 2


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Here is another great deal courtesy of Naxos, the budget label that has the full-priced competition running for cover. Here are Bartók's three spectacular piano concertos, played to a fare-thee-well by accomplished Hungarian artists who know the music as if they were born listening to it (which they probably were). Jenö Jandó has been the "house pianist" for Naxos, recording everything from the complete Beethoven piano sonatas to all of the Mozart piano concertos--and generally very well too. Here, however, he's on home ground. You expect these performances to be special, and Jandó doesn't let us down. The recording is quite fine, too.

Piano Concerto No. 1, Sz 83
1. I. Allegro moderato
2. II. Andante
3. III. Allegro molto
Piano Concerto No. 2, Sz 95
4. I. Allegro
5. II. Adagio - Piu adagio - Presto
6. III. Allegro molto

Piano Concerto No. 3, Sz 119
7. I. Allegretto
8. II. Adagio religioso
9. III. Allegro vivace


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That at the beginning of this century many an impulse for the development of fine arts, as well as literature, came from the Russian Empire—soon the Soviet Union—is no longer a mystery. And that there were in Moscow and St. Petersburg such developments, inventions, and ideas as far as music was concerned has also become common knowledge in recent years—and equally known is how most of these Russian/Soviet protagonists of a new art had to suffer for their ideas. (Steffen Schleiermacher)

Alexander Mossolov
5. Sonate

1. Lento Grave-Allegro Affanato
2. Elegia
3. Scherzo Marciale
4. Adagio Languente Et Patetico
Arthur Lourié
Two Mazurkas Op. 7
5. Lent, Languide
6. Essoré

Two Compositions For Piano
7. Berceuse De La Chevrette
8. A Phoenix Park Nocturne
Nikolai Roslavetz
Two Poems
9. Allegretto
10. Moderato
Three Compositions
11. Adagio Nobililissimo
12. Agitato Con Passione
13. Allegretto Grazioso

14. Prelude
Leonid Polovinkin

15. Revolt
16. Ukrain Folksong
17. Dance Op 30 Nr. 1
18. Waltz Op 30 Nr. 4
19. Lullaby Op. 30 Nr. 5
20. Foxtrot


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Although often unrightfully maligned by self-proclaimed "purists," Thelonious Monk did some brilliant work during his early- to mid-'60s stint for Columbia Records. It's Monk's Time (1964) contains some of the best — if not arguably the best — studio sides that the pianist cut during his final years as a recording musician. The album's title turned out to be somewhat prophetic, as Time magazine featured Monk as the cover subject for its February 28, 1964, edition. Interestingly, he was to have been profiled by the periodical the previous November; however, the assassination of then-President John F. Kennedy took obvious precedence. It had been almost a full year since his previous studio release, Criss-Cross (1963), and there had been a significant alteration in the rhythm section, which now incorporated the respective talents of both Butch Warren (bass) and Ben Riley (drums) as well as longtime cohort Charlie Rouse (tenor sax). From four sessions in early 1964, It's Monk's Time gathers four quartet and two solo sides, presenting the pinnacle of what these musicians offered stylistically as well as from the standpoint of presentation. There is sense of mischievous playfulness in Monk's nimble keyboard work, especially notable on the beautifully off-kilter unaccompanied opening to "Lulu's Back in Town," and the same practically impish quality also drives the solo performance on "Nice Work if You Can Get It." Both pop standards are prime examples of the bop pioneer's inimitable approach to arranging, and also provide an uncanny insight to his influences. Immediately evident are the styles of stride legends from the well-known Willie "The Lion" Smith and James P. Johnson to the slightly more obscure and decidedly frenetic playing of Cliff Jackson, as well as the ragtime approach of Walter L. Rose. The results are bound together in Monk's arithmetically advanced delivery and harmonic composition. The combo — especially Rouse — effectively supports and punctuates the tricky timing of "Stuffy Turkey" and the more aggressive bop of "Brake's Sake." The latter title also unleashes some tasty interaction between Monk and Rouse, sonically exemplifying their practically single-minded synergy. The concluding cut, "Shuffle Boil," is one of the lost gems of the artist's later work. It sports an effortless swing over a sophisticated and challenging melodic structure. Bassist Warren steps up to the plate, providing a supple and pulsating bed for both Monk and Rouse as they trade solos.

1. Lulu's Back In Town
2. Memories Of You
3. Stuffy Turkey
4. Brake's Sake
5. Nice Work If You Can Get It (Take 3)
6. Shuffle Boil (Retake)
Bonus tracks
7. Epistrophy (Take 1)
8. Nice Work If You Can Get It (Take 2)
9. Shuffle Boil (Take 5)


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Although nostalgia has allowed Monk's Blues to age more gracefully than perhaps the recording deserves, it remains an unfortunate fact that Thelonious Sphere Monk's final studio sessions were very poorly conceived. The idea of Monk performing with a big band was inspired nobly enough by the February 1959 performance at New York City's Town Hall, issued as Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall. These studio recordings fall far short of that classic live encounter. However, there are a few brief moments of inspiration that were not overcome by random blasts from the hollow-sounding horn section. The challenge of arranging Monk for big-band instrumentation fell upon Oliver Nelson, whose best-remembered works include an array of theme songs for television shows — Ironside, Columbo, and The Six Million Dollar Man among them. Many of the same techniques are likewise incorporated into the approach Nelson uses on Monk's Blues. Perhaps it is cosmically fitting that the sessions were held at Columbia studios in Tinseltown. There are a few write-offs. "Rootie Tootie" is destroyed by an overwrought brass section that completely drowns Monk. "Consecutive Seconds" — one of the two compositions penned by producer Teo Macero — is simply abysmal. If this was an attempt to get Monk to play soul music, it failed. It does succeed in sounding embarrassingly dated, however. Monk's genius shines through on some of the more sensible and sensitive arrangements, such as "Reflections," "Monk's Point," and the surprisingly tasteful "Brilliant Corners." The 1994 CD edition adds two performances not featured on the vinyl incarnation. "Blue Monk" features a stirring solo from Monk. "'Round Midnight" is a previously unissued solo side cut at the Monk's Blues sessions. The sheer brilliance in Monk's emotive and seemingly frustrated intonations may well be an exorcism for the sins of the rest of the album.

1. Blue Monk*
2. Let'S Cool One
3. Reflections
4. Rootie Tootie
5. Just A Glance At Love
6. Brilliant Corners
7. Consecutive Seconds
8. Monk'S Point
9. Trinkle Tinkle
10. Straight, No Chaser
11. 'Round Midnight*
*bonus tracks



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The Norwegian guitar and synthesizer duo Solefald (Cornelius Jakhelln and Lazare Nedland) were formed as yet another Norwegian black-metal project. Given the school's precedents, The Linear Scaffold (1997) was mostly irrelevant, and would remain their heaviest album. However, Neonism (1999) began to steer towards brainy compositions and philosophical lyrics, that eventually led to the increasing complexity and technical exhibitionism of Pills Against The Ageless Ills (2001), possibly their apex, and In Harmonia Universal (2003), works that evoke King Crimson's and Yes' progressive-rock. The quality of the band's music continues to evolve on Red For Fire, and is sure to a set new precedence in the extreme music realm.

1. Sun I Call
2. Survival of the Outlaw
3. Where Birds Have Never Been
4. Bragi
5. White Frost Queen
6. There Is Need
7. Prayer of a Son (Poem)
8. Crater of the Valkyries
9. Sea I Called

Saturday, November 29, 2008


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One of two sets recorded with a mini-big band in the early seventies, Waka/Jawaka is one of the most eclectic releases of Frank Zappa's hyper-eclectic career. The album's dual showpieces, the opening "Big Swifty" and the title track, combine dynamic horn arrangements and free-form improvisational experimentation (Think Miles Davis circa 1973), and the album's other two tracks, "Your Mouth" and "It Just Might Be A One-Shot Deal" blend elements of electric blues and country music. Perhaps the cover image of a sink refers to the kitchen variety. Recorded while Zappa was confined to a wheel chair following an onstage attack, this stew of diverse musical elements is best for the diehard fan and anyone with a taste for the unusual.

1. Big Swifty
2. Your Mouth
3. It Just Might Be a One-Shot Deal
4. Waka/Jawaka


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This mostly live set features Zappa performing with the popular Mothers of Invention line-up of the early 70's--including jazz-funk meister George Duke, Napolean Murphy Brock on saxophone, and Ruth Underwood on percussion. Highlights include the souped-up funk of "Pygmy Twylyte," burning renditions of favorites "Penguin in Bondage" and "More Trouble Every Day," and the hilarious monster movie tribute "Cheepnis." Duke steals the show on several tracks, and Zappa's guitar work and "master of ceremonies" showmanship is in top form.

1. Penguin In Bondage
2. Pygmy Twylyte
3. Dummy Up
4. Village Of The Sun
5. Echidna's Arf (Of You)
6. Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?
7. Cheepnis
8. Son Of Orange County
9. More Trouble Every Day
10. Bebop Tango (Of The Old Jazzmen's Church)



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Mixing electronic music with orchestral elements is certainly nothing new. It is, however, incredibly hard to pull off without coming across as somehow pompous, overblown, or even trite. But it’s not impossible, as the sublime work of Mexican artist Murcof demonstrates. And now techno legend Jeff Mills offers his attempt but with an added twist: it’s an entirely live performance.
‘Blue Potential’ is a live collaboration with the Montpellier Philharmonic Orchestra in a free concert performed in July of 2005 under the magnificent Pont Du Gard just outside of Avignon, France. The concert consists of fifteen orchestral reworkings of Mills’ tracks ranging from classics such as ‘Amazon’ and ‘Sonic Destroyer’ to more recent material from his soundtracks to ‘Metropolis’ and ‘Three Ages’. The arrangement is simple: Mills provides the rhythmic backbone with his trademark 909 percussive hiss and snare while the orchestra provides the melodic and harmonic elements.
the orchestral arrangements work well, offering interesting variations on the originals: ‘Entrance to Metropolis’ and ‘Daylight’ are particularly lovely, the orchestral introduction to ‘The March’ is suitably grandiose and ‘The Bells’ now features real bells. A good opportunity to see classy electronic music merge with a philarmonic orchestra.

1. Opening
2. Imagine
3. Man from Tomorrow
4. The March
5. Time Machine
6. Eclipse
7. Entrance to Metropolis
8. Keaton’s Theme
9. Daylight
10. The Bells
11. Gamma Player
12. 4 Art
13. Medium C
14. Amazon


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Gyorgy Pauk and Jeno Jando show remarkable sensitivity to each other, and their playing is a joy to hear. Their unusually passionate and spirited recording should not be missed. The coupling-a joyous, outgoing, gorgeously played Contrasts-seals an almost unbelievable bargain.

Violin Sonata No. 1, BB 84
1. I. Allegro appassionato
2. II. Adagio
3. III. Allegro
Violin Sonata No. 2, BB 85
4. I. Molto moderato
5. II. Allegretto
Contrasts, BB116
6. I. Verbunkos: Moderato, ben ritmato
7. II. Piheno: Lento
8. III. Sebes: Allegro vivace


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More aggression and jazz sensibilities from VdGG. A very organ dominated album, the saxes of Jackson are very subdued and play a much more minor role than on previous albums. Hammill’s lyrics never let up, either, he’s working at the same pace and with the same fury as in Pawn Hearts and their previous efforts. The rhythm unit is very tight and provide the foundation to great jazzy influenced music. There are many catchy rhythms and hooks in the music here, which was somewhat unheard of in their structure. Sure, there were some hooks in their music, but this album is filled with them. The aggression and angst that you feel in their music and from Hammill’s raw and powerful voice is a very predominant force.
Stand out tracks are Pilgrims, which opens with some beautiful organ work and some soft vocals from Hammill. It soon evolves into a rollicking jazz jam with more great organ work from Banton and some very precise drumming from Evans. The next track that stands out in my mind in La Rossa, which begins with very emotional vocals from Hammill and organ that slowly fades into the mix. The bass work from Banton on this track is also among the best work he’s done. And the final stand out track is the Still Life, which features some intricate piano work, and some very good work form Banton and Evans, as well as Jackson, who takes the forefront.
Overall, this is Van Der Graaf’s second masterpiece, the first being Pawn Hearts. No fan of this group’s collection is complete without this stunning collection of works that make up the album. It is my favorite VdGG album, and is a must have in my mind.

1. Pilgrims
2. Still Life
3. La Rossa
4. My Room (Waiting for Wonderland)
5. Childlike Faith in Childhood's End
Bonus track
6. Gog (live)


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After veering sharply from the blues inluences of their debut, This Was, Jethro Tull's sound quickly coalesced around jazz-tinged English folk influences and the antics of frontman/flautist Ian Anderson. But it was guitarist Martin Barre's swaggering riff off the title track of the band's fourth album that would become Tull's indelibly clichéd trademark--and the band's entrée into a long reign as arena-rock perennials. But there's a lot more to Aqualung than the riffage of that cut and its cousins, "Cross-Eyed Mary" and "Locomotive Breath." In an era when pseudo-Christian spirituality was a de rigueur, if cheap, musical commodity (from the overblown operatics of Jesus Christ Superstar to one-hit pop wonders such as "Spirit in the Sky" and "Put Your Hand in the Hand"), Anderson and company openly challenged the value of organized religion with a thematic album savvy enough to layer its thought-provoking lyrics between heavy strata of FM-friendly guitar bedrock. A cliché, perhaps; a landmark, no doubt. And a record many maintain is still Tull's finest hour.

1. Aqualung
2. Cross-Eyed Mary
3. Cheap Day Return
4. Mother Goose
5. Wond'ring Aloud
6. Up to Me
7. My God
8. Hymn 43
9. Slipstream
10. Locomotive Breath
11. Wind Up
Bonus tracks
12. Lick Your Fingers Clean
13. Wind Up
14. Excerpts from the Ian Anderson Interview
15. Songs for Jeffrey
16. Fat Man
17. Bourée

Friday, November 28, 2008



Paul Moravec was born in Buffalo, New York and subsequently attended the Lawrenceville School. He received his B.A. in composition from Harvard University in 1980; while there, he performed with the Holden Choirs. He won the Prix de Rome and studied at the American Academy in Rome after graduating. He then received the Master of Music (1982) and Doctor of Musical Arts (1987) in composition, both from Columbia University.
Moravec has taught at Dartmouth College (1987-96) and Hunter College (1997-98). He suffered from clinically-diagnosed depression that reached a zenith during the time immediately surrounding his departure from Dartmouth College, and underwent electroshock therapy. He is currently the chair of the music department at Adelphi University, and has contributed to what the New York Times has called a "renaissance" in a college that went through academic and financial difficulties in the 1990s.
In 2004, Moravec received the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his work Tempest Fantasy. This prestigious award raised Moravec's profile significantly, and he was appointed to several residencies. He was named the new honorary composer-member of the New York Composers Circle in September, 2006. He was also appointed the composer in residence for the 2007-2008 academic year at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
In addition to his Pulitzer Prize, Moravec has received a Composer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship, and the Charles Ives and Goddard Lieberson Awards in American Composition.
He has been commissioned by such ensembles as the Dessoff Choirs, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, and the Harvard Glee Club.

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From the evidence of the music on this disc, some of which brought its composer the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for Music, Paul Moravec has managed the neat trick of writing music that is conservative in style without affiliating itself with any specific style of the past. Although lyrical, it is too carefully controlled to be called Romantic in spirit. Except for the B.A.S.S. Variations on track 7, it largely avoids the referential tendencies of the neo-Classic school, and even in that work the sequence of textures grafted onto a basic variation structure is extraordinarily unexpected. It is not minimalist in the least but quite dense and demanding of the listener even as its basic language is accessible. Moravec's music is suffused with triads and with tunes based on triads, but there are a lot of each, placed into constantly evolving relationships and defining individual tonal realms in each work. The closest analogue from the past is the music of Ravel, who was also slippery when it came to categories; another comparison can be drawn to Brahms in the way the music invests craft and complexity into an essentially lyrical idiom. Moravec is demanding of performers in the same way as Ravel was, but the Trio Solisti, for whom these works were mostly written, is in tune with the challenges he sets. The technical opening Tempest Fantasy — the musical depiction of Shakespearean characters — is as familiar as can be, yet there is a freshness of spirit to each of its five movements. Among the four works on the album (originally released by Arabesque and now finding a good home as part of Naxos' American Classics series), Mood Swings, track 6, has received the most publicity. The title refers both to the work's stated aim of tracing the workings of the human nervous system (an unsupportable scientific conceit of a type that's still too common in contemporary composition) and to the swing rhythms that progressively develop over the course of the work. The illuminating booklet notes are by critic Terry Teachout, who has frequently praised Moravec's work, but the listener is apt to become absorbed in the music even without them.

Tempest Fantasy
1. Ariel
2. Prospero
3. Caliban
4. Sweet Airs
5. Fantasia

6. Mood Swings
7. B.A.S.S. Variations
8. Scherzo

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Paul Moravec's The Time Gallery, scored for violin, piano, cello, flute, clarinet, and percussion, explores various aspects of time--or more accurately, our relationship to it through the use of various time-keeping devices. The first movement, Bells: The Devotional Hours, begins in a ringing panoply that easily could find a home in Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov. Multi-layered clock ticking introduces the following Time Machine, while a human heart sets the meter for the mercurial Pulse movement. The finale, Overtime: Memory Sings, superimposes chimes over ticking clocks, setting the stage for the mysterious and meditative music to come. This and the first movement form the slow bookends to the piece, while the inner movements feature a bracing energy and rhythmic vitality similar to that found in Shchedrin's Carmen Ballet. Moravec's own musical language is generally tonal--and although it's not consistently melodic, it's always accessible. More than that, it's highly engrossing, especially in this stimulating performance by the ensemble Eighth Blackbird.
Protean Fantasy and Ariel Fantasy present opposite poles of motion: serenely relaxed in the former and nervously swift in the latter. Whatever the pace, both works require imagination and impeccable musicianship, qualities that violinist Paul Sheppard-Skaerved and pianist Aaron Shorr provide aplenty. Naxos' recording captures it all in clear, vivid sound. Now this is a disc of new music most anyone can enjoy.

The Time Gallery
1. 1-Bells: Devotional Hours
2. 2-Time Machine
3. 3-Pulse: The Feeling Of What Happens
4. 4-Overtime: Memory Sings

5. Protean Fantasy
6. Ariel Fantasy


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This two-disc collection gathers the results of two recording sessions from April and May 1961 with the John Coltrane Orchestra. As the title indicates, The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions includes both volumes of the work and relocates "The Damned Don't Cry" — originally issued on the Trane's Modes compilation — to this more chronologically sound release. On this collection, these recordings replicate the sequence in which they were documented. After a successful string of albums on Atlantic Records, Coltrane signed to the burgeoning and jazz-intensive Impulse! label — a relationship which would be kept for the remainder of his career. Shortly after reprising his role in the Miles Davis Sextet on "Teo" as well as the title track for Davis' Someday My Prince Will Come long-player, Coltrane assembled a 17-piece orchestra and began recording what would become known as Africa/Brass. Among the jazz luminaries contributing to these landmark sessions are: Booker Little (trumpet), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Julian Priester (trombone), Eric Dolphy (alto sax/bass clarinet), McCoy Tyner (piano), Paul Chambers (bass), and Elvin Jones (drums). Coltrane manipulates their power into masterful contrasts between the syncopated rhythms of "Greensleeves" or the full-out bop onslaught of "Songs of the Underground Railroad." The amazing virtuosity in Coltrane's solos has begun to show signs of the future direction his later avant-garde sides would take. The interaction with Tyner on "Songs of the Underground Railroad" is impeccable. Coltrane allows room for Elvin Jones and Reggie Workman to likewise engage Tyner for some high-spirited improvisation. This is a key work in understanding the path John Coltrane's music took in its final phases. The Complete Africa/Brass Sessions brilliantly documents this pivotal era in Coltrane's music.

Disc 1
1. Greensleeves
2. Song of the Underground Railroad
3. Greensleeves (alternate take)
4. Damned Don't Cry, The
5. Africa (first version)

Disc 2
1. Blues Minor
2. Africa (alternate take)
3. Africa


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Live at the Jazz Standard showcases trumpeter Dave Douglas — on cornet this time! — and his quintet performing live at the NYC club the Jazz Standard on various nights in December of 2006. Joining Douglas here are tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin, Fender Rhodes specialist Uri Caine, bassist James Genus and drummer Clarence Penn. Originally released as complete download-only sets on Douglas' own Greenleaf Label website, here Douglas has pruned the sets down to 18 cuts over two discs. Furthermore, he's also focused the album on original compositions never before released on album. In that sense, fans of Douglas' past work with this ensemble on such studio efforts as 2002's Infinite and 2006's Meaning and Mystery will surely dig this stuff as it essentially plays as an all new recording and not just a live documentation of the quintet. In fact, disc two focuses on compositions Douglas wrote while delving into the iconic work of innovative pocket-trumpeter Don Cherry and were initially intended for inclusion on Meaning and Mystery. This is soulful, visceral, moody and propulsive post-bop that often leans heavily toward late-'60s and '70s modal and free jazz.

Disc 1
1. Earmarks
2. Tree and Shrub
3. War Room
4. Indian Point
5. Cornet Is a Fickle Friend
6. Next Phase (For Thomas)
7. October Surprise
8. Seth Thomas

Disc 2
1. Meaning and Mystery
2. Navigations
3. Redemption
4. Little Penn
5. Living Streams
6. Leaving Autumn
7. Magic Triangle
8. Single Sky


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If my memory is right, I remember that Sólstafir was a Black Metal combo from Iceland, but as I hear this album I'm pretty sure we can't call this Black Metal. That's good because the grim, nekro, kvlt market is so saturated nowadays that when I receive any release I just pray to find something new and original within the disc.
Lately, I think someone has been listening to me up there because now my prayers were answered! I got a amazing Cd with remarkable music that definitively deserves a listen.
Sólstafir can't be considered a Black Metal combo anymore, their music lies within a wide range of styles, including of course, Black Metal, Post-Rock, Hardcore/Punk and Psychodelia. The result is a melting pot so powerful that you won't be able stop drinking from the crucible.
The album starts with self-confidence, a 20 minute track is not your common opener. Here and throughout the album drums guide the music and, needless to say, drumming is quite competent in here; tempo changes and non-traditional drum patterns are backed up by powerful distorted guitars, creating the "wall of sound" effect on the back.
Singing is another powerful asset of the band, the vocals can be a shriek-like scream or a deep potent voice that reminded me of Irish metallers Primordial.
The damn great thing about Sólstafir is that the music is non linear, you have a great deal of aggressive sections, but you have a lot of calm, atmospheric sections in each song (bearing in mind that songs are quite lengthy).
This Icelandic combo has created a album which resembles nothing I've heard before: the perfect mix of non-Metal elements with metal ones makes it a necessary album for any Metalhead looking for something that breaks the mold of pre-established genres. Sólstafir took the chance to do something different, and they greatly succeeded in doing it so. My hat is off.

1. I Myself The Visionary Head
2. Nature Strutter
3. Bloodsoaked Velvet
4. Ljósfari
5. Ghosts Of Light
6. Ritual Of Fire
7. Náttfari


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The band was in a state of turmoil at the time of this 1973 release - in fact, this would be the last album with the Mark II lineup (lead vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover left). The tensions within the band seemed to compromise the group dynamic, and for some fans, Who Do We Think We Are was not up to the high standard of albums like In Rock (1970), Fireball (1971) and Machine head (1972). As far as I am concerned however, I think that this is a fine album of hard rock, although admittedly, the inspiration seems to flag here and there.
The lineup on this album included Ian Gillan (lead vocals); Roger Glover (Rickenbacker bass); Ian Paice (drums); Jon Lord (Hammond organ, acoustic piano); and Ritchie Blackmore (electric guitars). The performances by all of the band members are great. I especially like Roger Glover's playing and the trebly, full tone of his Rickenbacker really makes the album work for me. Ian Paice also turns in a great performance and is very tightly locked in with Roger on this album - Ian is a criminally underappreciated drummer.
The seven tracks on the album range in length from 2'54" to 6'29" and mix elements of blistering hard rock/blues along with a smattering of progressive rock and a tiny bit of psychedelic rock. Although I like all of the tracks, highlights of the album (for me) include the opening classic Woman from Tokyo - I especially appreciate the spacey interlude. Both Smooth Dancer and Rat Bat Blue are scorching, riff heavy tracks that feature great Jon Lord solos. Place in Line is the most heavily blues-influenced track on the album, while Our Lady is somewhat lighter in texture and more melodic than the remaining material.
Once again, Rhino did a great remastering job and the package features great sound quality along with a 23 page book loaded with very detailed liner notes and publicity photos of the band. The bonus tracks include different versions of Woman from Tokyo, Our Lady, and Rat Bat Blue, along with several outtakes including Painted Horse (5'19") and an 11'31" instrumental track entitled First Day Jam. Overall, they are nice additions and should be of interest to most fans of the band.

1. Woman From Tokyo
2. Mary Long
3. Super Trouper
4. Smooth Dancer
5. Rat Bat Blue
6. Place In Line
7. Our Lady
Bonus tracks
8. Woman From Tokyo ('99 Remix)
9. Woman From Tokyo (Alt. Bridge)
10. Painted Horse (Studio Outtake)
11. Our Lady ('99 Remix)
12. Rat Bat Blue (Writing Session)
13. Rat Bat Blue ('99 Remix)
14. First Day Jam (Instrumental)

Thursday, November 27, 2008



Not only was Trust one of the few French bands able to cross their country's frontiers, but they also made it without having to drop their native language or their half-punk, half-heavy metal ethics along the way. And that's saying something. Formed in 1977 around Bernard "Bernie" Bonvoisin (vocals), Nobert "Nono" Krief (guitars), Yves "Vivi" Brusco (bass), and an ever-changing set of drummers (including Iron Maiden's Clive Burr and Nicko McBrain), the band came up up a mix of influences, the most obvious of which might be AC/DC (with whom they toured a bit) and early Iron Maiden. But if Trust was musically a shiny killing machine (thanks, mainly, to Nono's guitar playing abilities and firepower), a large part of their appeal came from Bernie's energy and socially concerned lyrics, which earned them occasional censorship. If their most famous hit remains "Antisocial" (covered in 1988 by New York thrashers Anthrax on their State of Euphoria LP), the early days Trust actually came up with a whole bunch of molotov cocktails. It was all about fingerpointing the greedy boss, the abusive policeman, the broadcasted lesson-giver, the hypocrisy-driven religious man, and singing for the weak, the poor, the abused. That may have been the key to their success, but it was sincere. The '80s quickly saw their popularity drop after the heights of 1979's eponymous album, 1980's Repression, and 1981's Marche ou Crève. Nono went on to became Johnny Hallyday's stage guitarist, and Bernie became a comedian and director (1997's Les Démons de Jésus being his most striking, cruelly funny effort). The band re-formed from time to time, to tour a little, release new tracks, and/or live albums and recently to release a new album that got very little support from their original fan-base.
Here are the first four albums from the band, the classics.

TRUST (1979)
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1. Prefabriqués
2. Palace
3. Le Matteur
4. Bosser Huit Heures
5. Comme Un Damné
6. Dialogue De Sourd
7. L'Elite
8. Police-Milice
9. H & D
10. Ride On
11. Toujours Pas Une Tune

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1. Antisocial
2. Monsieur Comédie
3. Instinct De Mort
4. Au Nom De La Race
5. Passe
6. Fatalité
7. Saumur
8. Le Mitard
9. Sors Tes Griffes
10. Les Sectes

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1. La Grande Illusion
2. Le Sauvage
3. Répression
4. La Junte
5. Misère
6. Les Brutes
7. Certitude... Solitude...
8. Marche Ou Crève
9. Les Templiers
10. Ton Dernier Acte

TRUST IV (1983)
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1. Par Compromission
2. Varsovie
3. Les Armes Aux Yeux
4. Idéal
5. Le Pouvoir Et La Gloire
6. Purgatoire
7. Le Pacte
8. La Luxure
9. Jugement Dernier

BONUS TRACKS (1979-1983)
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1. Darquier
2. Jack Le Vaillant
3. Limousine
4. Toutes Barricades
5. Show Business
6. Antisocial (Live)


SANGAM (2006)
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An unlikely star on the '60s rock scene who played "psychedlic jazz" on bills with Jimi Hendrix and the Grateful Dead before sitting out most of the '70s and early '80s to meditate and escape commercial pressures, saxophonist Charles Lloyd has in his "comeback" phase established himself as a far deeper and more interesting player. His 11th album for ECM, and his first live one for the label, Sangam introduces his new trio, featuring Indian tabla ace Zakir Hussain (known for his work with Shakti) and acclaimed young jazz drummer Eric Harland (heard on Lloyd's previous CD, Jumping the Creek). A kind of followup to Which Way is East (2004), Lloyd's epic series of duets with his dear, soon-to-depart friend, drummer Billy Higgins, Sangam roots the leader's flowing and soaring spiritual investigations in a vibrant and varied rhythmic attack. True to the album title (Hindi for confluence or union), the band feeds off each other exceptionally well, especially considering this concert in Santa Barbara was their first together. Lloyd has never had the most imposing sound on tenor, but pushed by his partners, he works up moments of Coltrane-like intensity and drive. With his expansive palette--he also plays alto sax, flutes and tarogato--he avoids the slow, monochromatic mood-making of many of his '90s efforts.

1. Dancing On One Foot
2. Tales Of Rumi
3. Sangam
4. Nataraj
5. Guman
6. Tender Warriors
7. Hymn To The Mother
8. Lady In The Harbor
9. Little Peace


OH YEAH (1962)
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After several sessions with Columbia and Candid, Charles Mingus briefly returned to Atlantic and cut the freewheeling Oh Yeah, which has to rank as the wildest of all his classic albums. Mingus plays no bass whatsoever, hiring Doug Watkins to fill in while he accompanies the group on piano and contributes bluesy vocals to several tracks (while shouting encouragement on nearly all of them). Mingus had always had a bizarre sense of humor, as expressed in some of his song titles and arranging devices, but Oh Yeah often gets downright warped. That's partly because Mingus is freed up to vocalize more often, but it's also due to the presence of mad genius Roland Kirk. His chemistry with Mingus is fantastically explosive, which makes sense — both were encyclopedias of jazz tradition, but given over to oddball modernist experimentation. It's a shame Kirk only spent three months with the band, because his solo interpretations are such symbiotic reflections of Mingus' intent as a composer. Look no further than "Hog Callin' Blues," a stomping "Haitian Fight Song" descendant where Kirk honks and roars the blues like a man possessed. Mingus' vocal selections radiate the same dementia, whether it's the stream-of-consciousness blues couplets on "Devil Woman," the dark-humored modern-day spiritual "Oh Lord Don't Let Them Drop That Atomic Bomb on Me," or the dadaist stride piano bounce of "Eat That Chicken," a nod to Fats Waller's comic novelties. Elsewhere, "Passions of a Man" sounds almost like musique concrète, while "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am" nicks some Monk angularity and "Ecclusiastics" adds some testifying shouts and a chorale-like theme to Mingus' gospel-jazz hybrid. Oh Yeah is probably the most offbeat Mingus album ever, and that's what makes it so vital. [The deluxe CD reissue adds three bonus tracks from the session, first released on Tonight at Noon.]

1. Hog Callin' Blues
2. Devil Woman
3. Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am
4. Ecclusiastics
5. Oh Lord, Don't Let Them Drop the Atomic Bomb on Me
6. Eat that Chicken
7. Passions of a Man
Bonus tracks
8. "Old" Blues For Walt's Torin
9. Peggy's Blue Skylight
10. Invisible Lady


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Synchestra, Devin’s sixth solo project outside Strapping Young Lad (the second as DTB), turned out to be a very enjoyable experience for the unique and legendary Canadian musician/sound whiz and band. He worked on this project stress-free and in typical Devy style, did practically everything from song writing to mastering and engineering. Synchestra is a thirteen song collection of Devin stylings, with five or six "big Dev songs" and is a very refreshing change from the rest of the DT catalogue; stylistically closer to Terria or Ocean Machine, yet like all of his projects, still very much in a world of their own. Says Dev, "The main difference being: Synchestra is not music that 'tells you what to do' ...more like it invites you in to be a part of it, and through relatively vague lyrical content and some quasi instrumental tracks, allows you to experience it without being besieged with uncomfortable or particularly strange lyrics... for once, a record that is heavy, epic, melodic, and joyful… and it’s fun to listen to". Old bandmate Steve Vai even contributes a guitar solo on the song Triumph, truly an honour for Devin to have him involved. Synchestra also features the usual Devin Townsend Band stalwarts: Ryan Van Poederooven (drums), Brian Waddell (guitar), Mike Young (bass) and Dave Young (keyboards) as well as other guest musicians and out of the ordinary instruments. It is indeed, an orchestra in synch with itself.

1. Let It Roll
2. Hypergeek
3. Triumph
4. Babysong
5. Vampolka
6. Vampira
7. Mental Tan
8. Gaia
9. Pixillate
10. Judgement
11. A Simple Lullaby
12. Sunset
13. Notes From Africa
14. Sunshine & Happiness