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Posts Tagged ‘jazz’

The evergreen jazz merchant-cum-voodoo warrior Dr. John is probably the type of person who you could file neatly under ‘Seen It All’. It was perhaps a surprise, even with his long track record, that 2012’s Locked Down  LP was as free, easy and palatable as it came to be. Written, recorded and produced heavily in conjunction with Black Keys’ mainman Dan Auerbach, the album is one that sees the 72 year old doctor grab a new lease of life with both hands.

Tracks such as “Revolution” and the record’s eponymous effort show a certain fire; understandable for a New Orleans native who will have looked on in horror as his hometown was almost swept away. However, it’s “Ice Age” that stands out the most. A subtle sense of anger and exasperation pour out of the Dr’s mouth, taking aim at those who like “smoking crack and final blunts” and who “ain’t got a cent”; those who fiddle as Rome burns. Maybe it’s a missive against the parts of New Orleans that have been slow to recover. Perhaps it’s a rant against the wider world. It doesn’t matter, as such themes are very pertinent wherever you are. That’s the saddest thing of all, but if anyone can ease you into the gloom with a message and rhythm, then it’s this guy.

**  The Stream has reached its end, but the entire album can be ordered here.

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Trioscapes consists of Between the Buried and Me bassist Dan Briggs, as well as Walter Fancourt (tenor saxophone/flute) and Matt Lynch (drums). Initially, the band formed in order to create their own rendition of the Mahavishnu Orchestra classic ‘Celestial Terrestrial Commuters’. However, after a few rehearsals and a single live show, they decided the music was too demanding and fun to perform and that the project should continue. Eventually they had enough material for their first full-length album, Separate Realities, and so they entered the studio during the first week of October with Jamie King in Winston-Salem, NC. Trioscapes combines elements of 70s fusion with progressive rock, dark syncopated grooves, a flare for the psychedelic, and an unabashed love for both quirky Zappa-ish melodies and thunderous abrasive trade-off lines.

For the next two weeks, we have the distinct pleasure of streaming the eleven-minute title track from the album. It’s hard to describe what the band have managed to do with just bass, percussion and saxophone (along with a few random inclusions along the way), but it is definitely as catchy as it is technical. The press release mentions Zappa as an influence and I’m not familiar with most of his work, but I can say that the bass/drum/sax combination definitely reminds me of a few of the instrumental parts on the self-titled Mr. Bungle album (which also mention…

Prime Meridian Album Art

Sometime in 2009 I drifted away from music fanaticism. People who read this site might remember when I contributed album reviews and music criticism as a staff member and not emeritus. Similarly I had a couple of composition projects I was working on around that time that moved from amateur to professional (in aspiration only) and then to shelved before I could finish the mixing and mastering process. I have no interest in dredging the depths of my hard drive to complete these sessions, but I do think it’d be nice to share the demos.

The music is guitar-centric but is best identified as trip hop if only for the chill but detailed drum patterns. I wanted the textures to be pretty languid throughout so I sampled a lot of Javanese gamelan (a closeted love of mine) and combined this with an amazing drum kit library shared by a buddy who some of you may know as PSY/OPSogist. Compositionally I was heavily influenced by him as well as similar artists like Team Sleep, Blue Sky Black Death, DJ Shadow, and Xiu Xiu, among others.

Hopefully there’s a track or two in this collection you enjoy. Though the whole album is meant to have a flow (I’m an artíste bro), if you only have time for one track check out “These Arms.” It’s definitely the most energetic song on the album and I haven’t heard of anybody who thinks it’s scrubby (yet). Thank you!

-Nick…

Howdy. You might have noticed something that something fairly big is about to start in South Africa, and as a European I am duty-bound to spend the next month waffling on and on and on about it. It’s great, though, because the World Cup offers us a chance to do many things, like laugh uncontrollably at France, get drunk at 2 in the afternoon, tell a room of journalists to ’suck it and keep on sucking it’, and research other countries in the hope of finding another stereotype to chant about. So why not do it here? I’ll bet that 95% of the people on Sputnik own songs from, at most, 6 of the countries participating (and that’s accounting for your token J-pop albums and weirdly popular outliers like Laibach).

So where better to start than the hosts?

One of these men is called Macbeth Sibaya. Awesome.

South Africa’s music is unique amongst that of Africa in the way it has permeated American culture, largely thanks to Paul Simon and his massively successful Graceland; indeed, when the average person tries to imagine African music, from any part of the continent, it’s almost certainly the monophonic vocal harmony of Ladysmith Black Mambazo they picture. It’s an odd stereotype, for sure, but it’s one that’s ensured that they were, and perhaps still are, more famous in the US than they were in their home country.

Yet Ladysmith are a one-dimensional representation of…

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