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ha’fway 2012

4th Jul 12 (Wed) 3 comments

Happy 236th birthday, United States!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So, here are my faves of the first half of 2012… and outside of the Top 5, it’s all kind of random order on how I feel today… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end (click album art for sound samples):

Artist Album (style)

  1. OSI Fire Make Thunder (glitch prog)
  2. Fiona Apple The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do (jazzy pop)
  3. Peter Mulvey The Good Stuff (indie songwriter playing standards with a band)
  4. Damien Jurado Maraqopa (indie rock)
  5. Celldweller Wish Upon A Blackstar (electronica)
  6. Sigur Rós Valtari (ambient icelandic)
  7. Emily Wells Mama (chamber hip-pop)
  8. Floratone Floratone II (jazz)
  9. s/s/s (Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, Serengeti) – Beak & Claw -EP- (interesting)
  10. Storm Corrosion (Steven Wilson & Mikael Akerfeldt) – Storm Corrosion (ethereal proggy departure)
  11. John Zorn The Gnostic Preludes (jazzy experimental)
  12. John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio (Mike Patton, Trevor Dunn & Joey Baron) with John Medeski – Templars (noise rock)
  13. Earth Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 2 (drone)
  14. The Chance Brothers Growing Concern (indie rock)
  15. Regina Spektor What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (pop)
  16. Ani DiFranco Which Side Are You On? (folk pop songwriter)
  17. Buckethead Electric Sea (gentler instrumental guitar)
  18. Bad Veins The Mess We’ve Made (indie rock)
  19. Cosa Brava (Fred Frith, Carla Kihlstedt, etc) – The Letter (rootsy jazz adventure)
  20. David Krakauer plays Masada Book Two Book of Angels, Vol. 18 (Pruflas) (klezmer jazz)

I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet) and whatever “et cetera” that the cool kids are listening to these days; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.

The 2nd half of 2012 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, Mike Patton & Luciano Berio’s Laborintus II, Ben Folds Five’s reunion studio album, Ric Hordinski’s Arthurs Garden (physical CD, though the download came out a bit ago), the Dusted debut from Holy Fuck’s Brian Borcherdt, Erin McKeown’s kickstarter, and I’ve heard rumors of a new Nellie McKay disc for the Fall.

Favorite concerts of 2012 (so far):

  • Penn & Teller and Cirque’s Zumanity in Las Vegas, Jan 18th & 20th
  • Secret Chiefs 3 in Eugene & Portland, Feb 6th & 7th
  • Nellie McKay’s I Want To Live! in Eugene & Portland, Mar 2nd & 4th
  • Puscifer in Portland, Mar 14th
  • Seun Kuti & the Egypt 80 in Eugene, Mar 18th
  • Radiohead in Seattle, April 9th
  • Roger Waters presents Pink Floyd’s The Wall in Portland, May 22nd
  • Beck in Bend, May 27th
    (click pictures below for review links)

~Dan – np: CelldwellerWish Upon A Blackstar

EARTH’s Dylan Carlson – Wonders from the House of Albion

14th Jan 12 (Sat) Leave a comment

The frontman from sludge/drone/doom metal pioneer’s EARTH is coming out with a solo album via Kickstarter

(Dylan on the far left)

Dylan Carlson is creating his first major solo project outside of earth.  There will be a limited edition lp/dvd/book and cd/dvd/book (500 of each format) and a special pressing of 150 copies (lp only) with personalized ex libris by Simon Fowler (who will also do the cover and end papers). The illustrations will be by Kiyo Lappalainen. The limited edition books will be pop-up style. There will also be an open edition with regular flat printing in a cd booklet and flat lp printing.

The recording will combine field recordings from various megalithic and other sites of human/fairy encounters across the UK, also the use of ritual and folkloric magical practices. The expedition will be filmed by Clyde Petersen. These recordings will be layered with Dylan’s interpretations of classic Scotch-English ballads about human/fairy encounters from early modern England and Scotland (15th-18th century). It will also feature guest vocalists to sing the songs.

This is not being done through a label, as earth’s output has, but is a labor of love/obsession of Dylan’s. Being primarily of Scotch-English descent, this is an historical journey to his personal and cultural past, embracing music/folklore/the occult dimension and history. This is also result of personal experience’s of ‘the other side’. His blog has details, if interested. The field recordings will be accomplished in April-May of 2012. The rest of the recording/mastering will be finished in summer and early fall, the artwork is an ongoing process, already begun. Dylan is planning to have it all done for a May 2013 release. Join in the restoration of magic, a return to a world of spirits. Where all objects have a will of their own and a language they speak in, and we have learned how to speak with them again. It will be titled “Coleman Grey presents Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion.”

You can join in on the Kickstarter HERE.  Despite the May 2013 release date, this project needs funding by February 12th, 2012.

~Dan – np: Frank ZappaBurnt Weeny Sandwich

* Favorite Instrumental Albums of 2011 *

31st Dec 11 (Sat) Leave a comment

As I start this post, I will say that this is all very subjective and really put together for my own purposes.  I’ll also state that, yes, some of the music below does have some vocals (i.e.- the Goddamn Electric Bill & Mike Patton CDs).  For the most part, it’s sequestered to a track or two on a long CD of mostly instrumental goodness.  My list, my rules, and/or my breaking of the rules.  With that being said, all of the artists below tend to be in the jazz and instrumental frame of reference anyway.

As said before… I’ve been buying less music… or, at least a lot less mainstream (major label) music. This is also my fourth year now that I bought more instrumental CDs than vocal CDs. I think as I get older, I am drawn more towards jazz and other instrumental forms of expression. Hopefully my spilling out of music that I like finds interest with someone else. But if not, thanks for stopping by… check out the artists’ webpages, Facebox pages, yadda yadda yadda. Some of these also made it on to my 2011 Mix CD (free streaming/download).

OK, now on to the best of what’s hit my ears this year…

Product Details Cyro Baptista’s Banquet of Spirits plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 17 (Caym) :: The Masada Book two series is some of my favorite music coming out of Tzadik.  Banquet of the Spirits is the touring band of Latin percussionist Cyro Baptista, a long time Zorn collaborator.  Each track touches upon a different world tradition, steeped in Zorn’s klez-jazz score.  Lyrical and moving and fun!

Artichaut OrkestraT For Teresa :: Featuring four young musicians  from Toulouse, Artichaut Orkestra mix jazz, klezmer and classical music, blending rock energy with improv.  This is their debut record, and I’m definitely looking forward to more coming from them in the near future.
Curtis MacdonaldCommunity Immunity :: To be honest, this was an impulse purchase.  One of my favorite record labels is Greenleaf Music – founded by my favorite living trumpet-player Dave Douglas.  I was picking up some new music from DD and figured, “eh, what the hell!”  I was impressed with Curtis’ melodic compositions and emotive alto sax playing.
MogwaiHardcore Will Never Die, But You Will :: Stunning double-disc set from post-rock’s Scottish kings.  I’ll still probably forgo seeing them live again (too loud, beyond their needs), but they put out some amazingly beautiful music.

(3 CDs)
John ZornNova Express / At the Gates of Paradise / A Dreamer Christmas :: Three discs made the cut of the six Zorn releases in 2011.  Nova Express combines quirky atonal classical lyricism with a touch of the cut up techniques of Naked City and virtuosity of the Masada songbook. Zorn scored this for Joey Baron (drums), Trevor Dunn (bass), John Medeski (piano), and Kenny Wollesen (vibes).  Paradise features the same band as Nova Express, brings some Medeski organ into the mix and adds more of Zorn’s “mystical” ambiance.  The Dreamer Christmas album was an oddity for me.  Why would a Jewish jazz musician put out a Christmas album?  Because he can!  The Dreamers is one of my favorite Zorn-assembled ensembles: Joey Baron (drums), Cyro Baptista (percussion), Trevor Dunn (bass), Marc Ribot (guitars), Jamie Saft (keys), and Kenny Wollesen (vibes).  Very accessible, but not smooth jazz!  Adventurous!  Mike Patton joins them on the final track for a croon-y “chestnut roasting.”  The holiday album was also put out as a 12″ vinyl and a 7″ single – both with gorgeous artwork and design by Chippy.
yMusicBeautiful Mechanical :: The yMusic Ensemble had a kickstarter earlier this year for their debut album – with songs composed by Son Lux, Annie Clark, Shara Worden (aka My Brightest Diamond), Saraha Kirkland snider (who penned a favorite album Penelope last year), and Gabriel Kahane.  Their string-heavy, indie chamber rock approach excites me.  Being the musical backdrop for My Brightest Diamond’s All Things Will Unwind album (my #2 vocal album in 2011) doesn’t hurt.
Peter Mulvey & David GoodrichNine Days Wonder :: Peter Mulvey has toured all over the US and the world for about 2 decades.  Some of the first times I saw him in concert, he had “Goody” with him on backing guitar.  They don’t get a chance to tour together much lately, but they did find some time to hole-up inside a studio to write and record some instrumental guitar duets.  While I love Peter’s vocal storytelling, it’s nice to hear his and Goody’s instrumental interplay tell a different story.
Goddamn Electric BillJazz :: GdEB is the one-man brainchild of Jason Torbert.  He hits the spot for organic electronic meets post-rock for me.  Ambient at times, melodic other times.  His latest work has featured some vocals, but he’s primarily a groove-induced soundscape kind of guy.  Chirps and glitches, too.  Excellent stuff!
The Dead Kenny G’sOperation Long Leash :: The Dead Kenny Gs is a duo started by saxophonist Skerik and drummer/vibes Mike Dillon in 2004.  shortly thereafter, they started adding Brian Haas, keyboard genius, when he is able, as well as Brad Houser, bassist from another Skerik band – Critters Buggin.  They push through the jazz/rock minefield to fight “injustice, cheese, and dishonesty in music, and society.”
TalkdemonicRuins :: Portland-based chamber-indie-post-rock… goodness.  So much sound from two people.  If you’re in Portland, they’re playing a big NYE show tonight… if in Eugene, they’ll be through our way (at Sam Bond’s) on Feb 24th.  Not to be missed!
Mike PattonThe Solitude of Prime Numbers :: I had to put this album as #13.  This chiefly instrumental album is a tribute to the book (by Paolo Giordano) and film of the same name.  The score is 16 tunes spread out over a 53 tracks, with the only tracks with content being 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29, 31, 37, 41, 43, 47, and 53. *slow clap* Clever, Mr. Patton!  For people who bought the CD, you can thank me for entering in the info to CDDB (t’was a pain).  The score/album fits more with his prior score for A Perfect Place – more accessible when compared to Patton’s usual schizophrenic output.  The packaging design is also brilliant – a gorgeous die-cut leaf that fold outwards.  I’d always recommend getting physical releases from Ipecac versus the digital download version.

Garage A TroisAlways Be Happy, But Stay Evil :: Skerik, Stanton Moore, Marco Benevento (who replaced Charlie Hunter) and Mike Dillon make their way through Oregon quite a bit.  They are a sight to see – you don’t know exactly what kind of show you’ll get, but it’s definitely a fun time.  Fun, groove-oriented “new jazz.”
Explosions in the SkyTake Care, Take Care, Take Care :: If not jazz, this list is also overtaken by post-rock.  it’s a love of mine, and Explosions in the Sky are one of the best in that game.  Epic, sweeping guitars crashing over a hearty drum & bass end.  This is another album where I’d recommend the physical edition – the  case can be unfolded to form a model of a house, where if viewed from the inside, the view from the door of the house is overlooking a tornado across a plain.

Erik FriedlanderBonebridge :: I started 2011 seeing Erik perform his John Zorn-penned Volac album in its entirety… brilliant and moving.  Later in the year, he came out with Bonebridge – a new band/concept that takes his Broken Arm Trio (with Trevor Dunn & Mike Sarin) and adds slide guitar player Doug Wamble to the mix.  What you get is a perfect chamber-Americana-jazz album.  I hope there are more where this came from…
Kevin Moore – Shine (Küçük Kıyamet Soundtrack) :: Kevin Moore’s main projects are the trippy/sample-heavy Chroma Key & heavier prog collaboration band O.S.I. (with Jim Matheos). Shine is the soundtrack to the 2006 Turkish film Küçük Kiyamet (“Little Apocalypse“).  It came out in early 2011 after a successful Kickstarter in 2010.  The next album from O.S.I. comes out in February 2012 on Metal Blade.  I can almost guarantee it will be my Top album of 2012, and I haven’t heard a shred of it yet.
ReptetAt the Cabin :: This Seattle-based jazz sextet is fuuuuuuuuuun – both on record and in the live setting.  I wish the distance on I-5 between me and them wasn’t 5-6 hours, as I’d see them far more often if I could.

Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, Dan PhelpsModular: Sonic Explorations :: Gorgeous soundscapes from Matt Chamberlain, Viktor Krauss, and Dan Phelps.  The Modular Project is the collaboration of the aforementioned musicians working together to “discover what the spontaneous and organic manipulation of sound can yield. Inspired by the world around them, they set out to discover what it might sound like when continents shift, clouds form, and roots push through soil.”  The track, “Everest,” features one of my favorite cellists – Eyvind Kang (who has worked with Secret Chiefs 3, John Zorn, Bill Frisell, Mike Patton).  It’s a great mix of cello, vibes and soaring atmosphere.  The album is only available digitally or on vinyl (it’s a luscious triple-gatefold!)…

(3 CDs)
Dave Douglas – Three Views: GPS Series – Rare Metals, Orange Afternoons & Bad Mango :: Originally released as the “Greenleaf Portable Series” (download only), these three different releases in 2011 finally got a proper physical (boxset) release.  Dave’s prolific writing comes out with different bands on each record: Rare Metals features Dave’s most recent band Brass Ecstasy; Orange Afternoons features a specially put together quintet with Ravi Coltrane, Vijay Iyer, Linda Oh, and Marcus Gilmore; and Bad Mango paired Dave’s trumpet with So Percussion’s marimba, drumset, glockenspiel, musical saw, toy bells, shruti box, crotales, and more.  Three very different records tied together with Dave’s fantastic playing.

Tides From NebulaEarthshine :: This Polish post-rock group won my heart in 2009 with their debut, Aura (in 2009).  They continue to tease me with emails or news that says “tour” until I open and can’t pronounce the names of the cities that they’re hitting.  Drat!  At least their music will keep me company!  Earthshine is perfect for those fans of Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, and the like… and seeing as it beat out both those groups on my 2011 list, well, that should tell you something as well.

Michael KelseySubmerged :: Michael Kelsey is a HUGE amount of what I miss from the Midwest music scene.  He’s a musical genius – rarely paralleled on the frets.  Seeing him live (which I did any chance I could) was a site to behold.  His records do their best to capture his virtuosity, but they usually fail to capture his energy, too.  Catching fire in a bottle is tough.  Regardless, this one is a gem and also marks his first all instrumental affair.  Check him out, and if you live within a state or two from central Indiana, I count you a lucky one.  Go see him if he stops by your town.

Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 :: More riff-oriented and melodic compared to the prior drone doom albums, Earth bring a cello into the mix for the first time and create an ominous soundscape that is both elegant and dreadful.  The follow-up, Angels & Demons 2, comes out in Feb 2012… and you can almost guarantee it’ll rise to the top of my list next year as well.

Note: Ric Hordinski’s Arthur’s Garden (which made it on my 2011 Mix) is technically a 2012 release, hence its absence above.

Where do I get most of these jazz and other instrumental releases?  My #1 favorite source for jazz is Downtown Music Gallery in New York.  Manny and Bruce and their great staff are superb… and being the official distributor for John Zorn’s Tzadik doesn’t hurt my affection for them.  I usually do a monthly Tzadik order (if the releases strike my fancy), and they have a ton of other non-Tzadik jazz and avant-garde releases as well.

And, no, I’m not affiliated, I don’t get a commission, and beyond my initial “big tax refund / gotta get caught up on Zorn order of 2005,” I haven’t gotten a discount with DMG.  I just love and support what they do.

Enjoy the New Years’ weekend!! Be safe! See you in 2012.

My Other Favorites of 2011 Recaps:

~Dan – np: Trent Reznor & Atticus RossThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

ha’fway 2011

6th Jul 11 (Wed) 2 comments

Happy belated 235th birthday, United States!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So, here are my faves of the first half of 2011… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end (click album art for sound samples):

  
  
  
  

Artist Album (style)

  1. Murat Eyuboglu & My Brightest DiamondLetters to Distant Cities EP featuring the words of Mustafa Ziyalan (spoken word/indie rock)
  2. Over the RhineThe Long Surrender (folk-americana)
  3. RadioheadThe King of Limbs (anti-radio rock)
  4. David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion) – Strange Negotiations (indie rock)
  5. dredgChuckles and Mr Squeezy (modern progressive)
  6. EarthAngels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (drone metal)
  7. Tides from NebulaEarthshine (postrock)
  8. Garage A Trois (Skerik & Co) – Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil (groove jazz)
  9. Kevin MooreShine (Küçük Kıyamet Soundtrack) (movie score)
  10. Explosions in the SkyTake Care, Take Care, Take Care (postrock)
  11. ReptetAt the Cabin (horny jazz)
  12. Goddamn Electric BillJazz (organic electronic)
  13. Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will (postrock)
  14. Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom – Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes (instrumental klez-rock)
  15. Tres Mts (Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam & dUg Pinnick of King’s X) – Three Mountains (rock supergroup)
  16. Eisley – The Valley (modern rock)
  17. Michael Kelsey – Submerged (Midwest guitar virtuoso)
  18. Trey Parker & Matt Stone / Original Cast Recording – The Book of Mormon (sacrilegious broadway)
  19. Elysian Fields – Last Night on Earth (lusty indie-pop)
  20. Iron & Wine – Kiss Each Other Clean (whispy indie rock)

I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet)… the new Hiromi, Gangpol & Mit, and whatever “et cetera” that the cool kids are listening to these days; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.

The 2nd half of 2011 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, (including The Dreamers Xmas CD & the Rovo Sax Quartet collaboration), Secret Chiefs 3 Book of Souls (maybe), Maynard James Keenan’s Puscifer (2nd album), some digital releases from A Perfect Circle, the doomy Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Opeth‘s 70s throwback album, Porcupine Tree frontman Steven Wilson‘s 2nd solo album, My Brightest Diamond is wrapping up one in the studio (will it be out in 2011?), Ani DiFranco always has something coming out (it’s been a while though), probably something from one of Mike Patton‘s other bands (Fantômas live DVD, Tomahawk’s 4th album, more?), and I’m sure another dozen or more that I’ll dig from Tzadik.

Favorite concerts of 2011 (so far):

  • Erik Friedlander plays John Zorn’s Masada Book Two – The Shedd, Eugene, Jan 8th
  • Reptet – Luckey’s, Eugene, Jan 14th
  • The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl) – The Woods, Portland, Jan 28th
  • Nels Cline Singers – Doug Fir Lounge, Portland, Jan 30th
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Crystal Ballroom, Portland, Feb 18th
  • U2 – Qwest Field, Seattle, Jun 4th
  • A Perfect Circle – The Schnitzer, Portland, Jun 29th
    (click pictures below for review links)

~Dan – np: Secret Chiefs 3Book M

2011 anticipated albums

30th Dec 10 (Thu) Leave a comment

So, the year end recaps are in process (instrumental list maybe later today or Friday) … I needed something to fill the gap… here are some artists who are expecting to release new material in 2011 (some are carryovers from 2010’s anticipation), all of which I’m looking forward to…





Kevin Moore‘s Shine (digital out now, CDs en route), dredg has one due at the end of March, Over the Rhine‘s The Long Surrender, Earth‘s Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1 (in February), Iron & Wine‘s Kiss Each Other Clean, Mogwai‘s Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will, Reptet‘s At the Cabin, My Brightest Diamond‘s as of yet untitled (she’s in the studio), a bunch of new stuff from John ZornDerek Webb‘s Democracy Vol 2 (10 cover songs for 2011), maybe the Secret Chiefs 3 will finally release Book of Souls (it’s their “Chinese Democracy”), Eisley‘s The Valley, Jelly Jam with Ty Tabor of King’s X/John Myung of Dream Theater/Rod Morgenstein of Dixie Dregs, Goddamn Electric Bill‘s Jazz, A.N.M. featuring Doug Pinnick of King’s X and Jimi Hazel of 24-7 Spyz, Ken Andrew and Co’s Digital Noise Academy (maybe), Silverchair are working on one (didn’t hit in 2010), Radiohead have put in studio time in 2010 (maybe something out by year’s end), Glen Phillips likely has a few in the hopper (RemoteTreeChildren #2?  new Toad?  new WPA?  new solo?), Opeth is in the studio, Steven Wilson with Mike Portnoy & Mikael Akerfeldt (of Opeth) too, Sufjan Stevens tribute album (due out in March), more chapters from Celldweller‘s Wish Upon a Blackstar, new tracks from Billy & Maynard’s A Perfect Circle, Mike Patton‘s electronic Fantômas or Peeping Tom #2, and… Ani DiFranco – I mean, it’s inevitable… right?  Well, not always, she totally missed 2010 (as of now, no studio albums out in 821 days / 257 since a live EP on Record Store Day 2010).

Plus many more great albums due out in 2011, I’m sure.

~Dan – np: Kevin SmithRed State of the Union (podcast)

Earth’s new album

4th Dec 10 (Sat) Leave a comment

Sludge metal, drone craftsman Earth come back with a new album in February called Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1.  This follows up their stupendous 2008 album, The Bees Made Honey in the Lion SkullAngels/Demons comes out on Southern Lord, and frontman Dylan Carlson and percussionist Adrienne Davies brought in former Nirvana cellist Lori Goldston and K Records artist Karl Blau to join the lineup.  Classic 1993 album Earth 2 producer Stuart Hallerman is again at the controls.

  1. Old Black
  2. Father Midnight
  3. Descent to the Zenith
  4. Hell’s Winter
  5. Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light 1

This album is definitely high on my anticipation list for 2011.  They’ve been around for a long time, but I didn’t get into them until 2008 with Bees Made Honey…, and then I saw them at WOW Hall in June 2008.  Brilliant show.

~Dan – np: My Brightest DiamondShark Remixes

obliquity of the ecliptic

24th Dec 09 (Thu) 1 comment

obliquity of the ecliptic is the
reason for the season.

On today, tomorrow, and the next 180 or so days, have a wonderful day that is now longer than the day before.  If there’s anything else going on this weekend… well, have fun.  Hopefully you are warm, fed, and with loved ones.

Oh, and if you celebrate Christmas, here’s a traditional Icelandic Christmas song for you, covered by Sigur Rós [courtesy of SR’s official webpage]:

♪♫ ég fæ jolagjöf
jólajólagjöf
einn pakka frá afa og ömmu
og líka frá pabba og mömmu
♪♫

And finally… don’t eat the red snow…

~Dan – np: Dave Douglas & Brass EcstasySpirit Moves

PS- the quote at the top of the page is an adaptation of one of Mr. George Hrab‘s funny tweets

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