Music for 9/29/21!!! Space Afrika, Vladislav Delay

@@@ Space Afrika: Rings (Dais, 2021) Off the weekly email from Crack Magazine. Driven most notably by a reverse loop sound as well as some static blasts (all good) the voice(s) here are super reverbed out not in an effort to make the tune epic but to evoke distance and for abstraction. It’s got a bit of r&b to it, especially in the intimate vocalizing between the two singers but it all unfolds against a post-apocalyptic backdrop. I’m checking out the first track, yyyyyy2222, and it’s following a similar formula; a tiny bit of funk and r&b, a bit of way out reverbed vocals, a fair amount of industrial sounds. There are some tunes on here with spoken word parts and a bit of distorted indie bass but overall the formula is as described. Some really nice looping here, imho.

@@@ Vladislav Delay: Rakkn (Cosmo Rhythmatic, 2021) Same here, Crack Magazine! Here we have a more aggro, industrial style of electronic music, certainly not Nine Inch Nails glam horny boy industrial electronic, but there’s machines and siren action going here. He brings in what sounds like some sort of conga part, not congas for real but conga like rhythmic driver style. I don’t think I like the squealing siren that much but the rest of it starts to pile up and screw itself into your dome. The last third really cranks up the arrangement, bringing an urgency to the track that I find really engaging and pleasurable. The energy comes back down at the end as the tune is spent. I like this, it’s different and the components here (mostly mechanical and metallic) are assembled really well. Not every passage is slamming but it moves and evolves. This may be a bit austere and rough for some listeners but I found some good stuff in there.

Music 9/28/21!!! L’Orange, Henry Threadgill

@@@ L’Orange: Coffee (Mello Music, 2021) I really like this label, they release some really creative records. This track is number 6 on the record and it sports a combo platter jazzy/hip hop flow. With upright bass and sax but also a bit chopped and looped for your listening pleasure. I’m not sure we’re gonna see an MC here or in other tracks but I like the sounds. Flute at the end and let me peep another track. I switched over to the first track and this is why I dig this label — instead of an MC each tune has a Spanish speaker starting up in Spanish and then an English translator of the Spanish language while the guy keeps on and all happening while the sounds play. Nice job L’Orange, excellent job in fact. Just tryin’ to make a liar out of me that strategy is not on the second track, there’s a chopped up soul singer droppin’ a lot of ooh, baby. There’s creativity afoot here and I’m psyched to listen more closely to this record when I have the time. Peep this.

@@@ Henry Threadgill: Happenstance (Pi, 2021) Huge Henry Threadgill over here. Love the tuba, Threadgill’s playing of course, less of a fan of the nerdy guitar tone (personal preference), don’t love the drum sound but like the drummer. The first tune is an 8 minute banger that builds. I clicked through to the second track, the title track of the record and I like a bunch of the passages here. The sound of the record works against the music a tad, it’s quite sterile and without saturation. Threadgill is an American treasure and I’m more into the playing as this title track moves on partially because he’s at the center of the action. Some of Threadgill’s records have been super raucous affairs and it takes a bit of time to get used to the spacious version of this ensemble but the mood is very understandable.

Music for 9/27/21!!! Kiefer, Mas Aya

@@@ Kiefer: When There’s Love Around (Stones Throw, 2021) Today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email. The video clipped below is for the track titled as such off the record titled as such. It’s a chill r&b sitch with mellow keyboards and a bit of jazz fuzion feels. Around 1 minute in it goes full band with the drummer hittin’ it and the energy rising. I like the playing all right but I like my jazz to be rocking or on fire. Let me check a couple of other tracks. I’m checking out the second track called I rememberr this picture and it’s the same formula. I like the playing all right but the smooth tones and vibes make me feel like I’m rocking a Wilco record.

@@@ Mas Aya: Momento Presente (Telephone Explosion, 2021) I think there’s a lot of action in the electronic music part of the music biosphere and as I hear the opening of this track which opens the record I’m thinking this is going to be some Latin flavored electro that builds from some rando flute playing and starts bringing in the drum machines and more flutes and it’s quite messy and ba-doing there’s a synth bass and some 808 type handclaps. Simultaneously it’s electronic and pretty ambient and world-ish music. The looseness of the arrangement here is unique and enjoyable to me. A long Spanish spoken word section comes in and it’s on. These are all pretty hefty tunes weighing in between 5-8 minutes with a variety of tones. Thus far it’s been wooden flutes on all three tracks I’ve peeped so that’s a core component and I’ve enjoyed the third track 18 de Abril the most of what I’ve heard.

Music for 9/26/21!!! Nao, Esperanza Spaulding

@@@ Nao: And Then Life Was Beautiful (Little Tokyo/Sony, 2021) The opening track of the album and both listens are from this week’s All Music notable release email. Nao’s voice is unique, with not a lot of lower frequencies and she’s got a swirling, slighlty trippy arrangement going here. It’s a pretty cliche vocal hook — and then life was beautiful. Lots and lots of vocal tracks here and a stuffed mix. If you listen to the lyrics it’s almost a self hep video. “Take a second to breathe it out, and then life was beautiful” — that’s the vocal hook. I listened bottom to top here and I definitely feel more here than from Esperanza Spaulding’s vocalizing but I would acknowledge that I get annoyed with super detailed or over singing. I find the backing vocals clutter-y and clouds out the high quality arrangements here.

@@@ Esperanza Spaulding: Formwela 7 (Concord, 2021) My generic feeling about Ms. Spaulding is that she’s technically brilliant and short on my soul and a bit too proggy and highbrow for my taste. This track is no exception as she sings over a sparse piano and the lyrics are kinda nerdy. When the band comes in it’s accompanied by a large percussive sound that sounds a bunch like an old spring reverb. She is definitely working this tune dynamically as she puts out a lot of energy at its peak and builds it from that small piano part with almost whispered vocals. ‘Hearing is a labor like reading, hearing is a labor like keeping still, hearing is a labor like seeing, seeing for real.” That’s essentially the chorus of the track. Ultimately I judge music by if and how it makes me feel, and I’m a bit surprised by how little I feel when I hear Spaulding perform. It’s too precious and a bit bloodless for my taste.

Music for 9/25/21!!! The Shivas, Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine

@@@ The Shivas: If I Could Choose (Tender Loving Empire, 2021) Both of today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email. Oy, this was slotted as garage punk and what I’m hearing is some medium energetic alt country indie business. I’ve been ripped off and deceived, naimsayin’? Nice guitar work and tongue in cheek singing with ironical lyrics it’s well executed and enjoyable, it’s just not garage punk. Garage punk is a label a lot of folks enjoy pimping because it has a rough, macho feel to it combined with the wiseass punk attitude. Due to my music listening thoroughness I’m peeing the first track and it’s got some classic rock in it, a bit of Beach Boys and a bit of Alex Chilton, but alas…..

@@@ Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine: A Beginner’s Mind (Asthmatic Kitty, 2021) I’m a bit prejudiced against Mr. Stevens as he’s a New York Times kinda icon and gets, in my opinion, a level of interest in his music that he doesn’t deserve. This collaboration album is no exception — it’s very literate and very beautiful but also a bit detached and over intellectualized. Instrumentation is mostly piano and voice with a little string action. The Apple Music blurb says they would watch a movie in the evening and write a tune the next day, oy a schoolboy’s exercise in creativity. Let’s just disconnect and issue forth sweet smelling farts for the masses to inhale and admire. My problem here aren’t even the songs but all the ideas and concepts that bring forth these types of songs. Let me conclude this by putting forth the idea of contrast — here we have a strictly beautiful thing here, nothing mixed in there to show the complexity of other things besides beauty.

Music for 9/24/21!!! Lime Garden, Susana Baca

@@@ Lime Garden: Pulp (So Young, 2021) Off a LIne of Best Fit a buncha weeks ago. Slotted as UK pop it is pop but being the UK where tastes are a bit more developed than here in ‘merka, pop can have rock sounds and it might even rock a bit, which this does in the chorus. Definitely way more guitar than what you would hear in U.S. pop it’s a classic quiet and building in the verse with a medium explosion in the chorus. Female singer, nice guitar work, poppy production to be sure. My problem with pop rock is the watered down result — if it’s halfway rock presented cleanly it’s not rock and it’s on the periphery of pop. I guess I don’t see the point.

@@@ Susana Baca: Sorongo (Real World, 2021) Off this week’s WRIR playlist email. This is a pre-release track from a veteran. A quick GooglePimp reveals that Baca is 77 and she’s the former Minister of Culture in Peru. That’s the kind of joint I would enjoy being part of, a flavorful joint. My first thought is that this sounds mostly like salsa but with a different feel and with hammered keyboard sounds. Another GooglePimp search is saying she’s the leading proponent of Afro-Peruvian music so salsa has a lot of black music in it so I’m considering myself mostly on target here. I like this, the production is pretty clean and modern so it’s not fire music though I’m guessing live she can burn the house down. Pretty solid stuff for a 77 year old and cubicle dwellers should check this out.

Music for 9/22/21!!! RP Boo, Matthew E. White

@@@ RP Boo: All My Life (Planet Mu, 2021). I think I got to today’s listens via last week’s All Music notable release email. This is an electronic release from a Chicago veteran of the scene and the track clipped below is the opening track of the record. He’s got multiple layers of percussion going, some straight and some working against that straightness making everything crooked even as other parts are presented straight. I really like the rhythms but I’d like more from the rest of the mix, oh here it comes. Part of the reason I checked this record out is it’s the same label that released Jana Rush’s Painful Enlightenment record earlier in the year. That album just bangs and bangs and bangs. This is a more polite affair focused more on the dancefloor than the darker vibes of Rush’s record. I do like how Mr. Boo threads his rhythms and brings hip hop flavors into his tracks.

@@@ Matthew E. White: Let’s Ball (Domino, 2021) Some white boy disco funk faithfully recreated in a late ’70s/early ’80s fashion. Extensive use of the cowbell, which is a huge plus, you can’t fuck with the cowbell. It’s a full mix with some nice guitar work, a fair amount of percussion and some weird/not weird singing stylings from I’m guessing Matthew E. White. The perception that maybe the mix is too full and that it detracts from the song’s mission is a personal one and if it’s over the line and just a bit extra, it’s not by much and there are a lot of sounds here that I like. If I liked the singer more I would dig the track more. I’m giving a quick peep to the opening track, Genuine Hesitation and given that the record is out on Domino everything’s gonna have a twist on it. This opener is part rock, part dance rock with some retro synths but less overtly funky than the video clipped below.

Music for 9/21/21!!! Sarah Davachi, Nala Sinephro

@@@ Sarah Davachi: Border of Mind (Late Music, 2021) Off this week’s 10 most reviewed albums via the Pitchfork. It’s electronic business and the track clipped below is the fifth tune on the record. It opens lo fi with what may be dirty cello bowing or a synth. And a lot of tape hiss, or hiss, who knows if it’s tape, I don’t know what it would be if it’s not tape. It’s probably tape hiss. I did a bit of google pimping around and I think this is a pipe organ recorded pretty distantly. I switched over to the album opener because I was getting a little nappy and the opener is a plucked string thing with some really nice and minimal processing in places. A sort of streaky, cloudy remnant after the plucks. I like this a whole bunch more than the first tune I checked out. It’s called Chorus Scene if yer interested. I like minimalist music but I’m not sure why I’m not connecting to this much.

@@@ Nala Sinephro: Space 1 (Warp, 2021) Slotted as jazz but Warp usually traffics in the electronic business. I hear harp which I like, but then the bird chirps, oy the bird chirps. I don’t think that’s a pitch shifted harp, that’s a synth bass and that’s my favorite element of the tune thus far. There’s a fair amount of glitching and processing and the harp is mixed pretty low in the mix and not recorded in a super high def manner. It’s basically a bed of mellow ambient sounds with harp noodling over the top. I like the elements, it’s pretty background-y. The next tune brings a straight jazz flow with a drummer and a piano player while the harp continues to be processed. It’s okay.

Music for 9/20/21!!! BICEP, Yung Singh

@@@ BICEP: Light (Ninja Tune, 2021) Reworked club music I got to via the online UK music magazine Crack. There’s some big ass blurb on Apple Music about how these guys rework their tracks 6 times or some such but this is pretty straightforward techno with the innnovation using processed voices over the beats to create a bit more uplifting flow. I like the sounds that I’m presented with here while I wish there was a bit more going on in the arrangement. The anchoring synth has just sorta sat there the whole time with no pitch shifting, granular synthesis, yadda yadda yadda. I”m checking out the opening track and there’s more action with a jump sped up video game synth but they use the same stacked/processed vocal thing which is core to the listening experience.

@@@ Yung Singh: The Punjabi Garage Bundle for Charity (N/A, 2021) I also got to this via the UK music magazine Crack. It’s a remix with pretty strong hip hop flavors as well as strong South Asian flavors and some lounge keys I find very well placed. Regular readers know of my love of the mashups of disparate sound palettes and Mr. Singh is keeping it hopping. He’s switching back and forth between a South Asian singer and some breakbeats then to UK MC for a bit and then back. I like it a whole bunch without jumping up and down, I give it a B+. There’s a second track on this Punjabi Garage Bundle for Charity and the vocalizing is even hotter with a funkier arrangement. This one is fire, check it out, it’s called Manj and it’s a remix as well.