Florian Arbenz advised me several months ago that this album was coming down the pipe, and after hearing some tracks he kindly provided, I was pretty excited to hear what he and American saxophonist Greg Osby were up to. As it stands, the two have been working together off and on for well over two decades, and you can hear it in the flow of this album. What I did not expect, however, and what made for a very pleasant surprise, was the collaboration with artist Stephan Spicher, who is credited on the album cover, but you really need to see the videos (a sample can be seen here) to appreciate his contribution to the album. I expected to hear Osby and Arbenz work seamlessly together, and I wasn’t disappointed. The album does not have an overwhelming, “crowded” sound that some jazz albums to. The musicians give each other plenty of space to let themselves roam, never straying too far from the center, but giving a feeling of a pleasant wander in the park.
As far as contemporary jazz goes, this album has been the best, for my ears, that I’ve heard in 2020. It’s worth picking up.
Have 25 years really passed so quickly? I can still remember working at Aron’s Records with some of the best music buyers in Los Angeles at that time, getting introduced to artists like Aphex Twin, μ-Ziq, and all sorts of Acid Jazz compilations. Then came Kruder & Dorfmeister’sG-Stoned EP.
My first reaction was based on the record cover, naturally. I though, “Meh, a couple of clowns aping Simon & Garfunkel.” The reaction may have been caused by actually listening to Bookends just a few days before. Thankfully, one of the buyers insisted that I hear it, and it left me blown away. It opened a world of music genres I had heretofore never had access to. Trip-hop, drum & bass, downtempo, the horribly-named electronica… All of this was new, exciting, invigorating music, and these two lads from Austria seemed to be at the forefront of these movements.
The boys never lost their touch. They would continue on remixing so many classic albums, even going mainstream for a moment working with Madonna herself on a rather fruitful track collaboration.
2020, this most weird and horrible of years, ends with a very pleasant surprise. As it turns out, a lost album managed to turn up. It is, to no one’s surprise, titled 1995, from the year the album was probably recorded and then forgotten about.
I have heard only one track from it, called Johnson. It sounds like a great continuation of that G-Stoned EP mentioned earlier. It’s rich, meaty, dark and chilled music. For those of you who pine for the days of early trip-hop, your fix has arrived.
You can enjoy a track from 1995 called Johnson below:
Consider purchasing the album here, or wherever you feel most comfortable buying your vinyl or digital downloads. For those interested in the track list, here you go:
1995 tracklist: 1. Johnson 2. Love Hope Change 3. Swallowed The Moon 4. Spring 5. Dope 6. King Size 7. Holmes 8. Don Gil Dub 9. Stop Screaming (only available on physical copy) 10. Morning 11. White Widow 12. In Bed with K&D 13. Ambiente 14. One Brake 15. Lovetalk
Prog River Records is releasing some very obscure, but absolutely crucial, progressive rock gems from all over the world. This particular release comes to us from Belarus, where the group, the legendary Pesniary, melded folk-rock with prog-rock weirdness and a tinge of psychedelic rock, sounding something like early Frank Zappa / Mothers of Invention at times.
Their popularity was so strong in the former Soviet Union that they were granted a shot at touring in the United States in 1976, proving to audiences that Soviet Rock was something to take seriously.
The lyrics are based on the works of Russian and Belarusian poets, including Yanka Kupala. This is quite a charming work.
Diasiva are a band out of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who are producing a great interpretation of IDM that peaked in the 1990s. It’s amazing to think that this should be a nostalgic release, but this is fresh-sounding to me, especially since I haven’t heard this style of music regularly in nearly 20 years.
This release comes as a very pleasant surprise! Arturo Stàlteri (Italian bio) is a pianist and composer of incredible ability whom I came across at least 30 years ago when finding a record by his early project, Pierrot Lunaire, who release a couple of progressive rock masterpieces.
This new album (and I’m not really sure if it is a reissue or something that was sitting in the vaults for 40 years) compares well with minimalist composers influenced by Eastern culture like Terry Riley, Philip Glass and La Monte Young.
This really is a minor treasure. I’d be very interested to see if Stàlteri has a few more hidden albums waiting to see the light of day.
Today has been a good day to start working on a few projects, potentially a more professional podcast complete with investment in decent equipment, so I started going through older links and MP3s I had in my hard drives.
The disc digging led me to a release from 2016 from American expatriate composer (now residing in Poland), Jeff Gburek. He has been featured here before, and is one of our favorite active sound artists. This album serves as something of a travelogue of Poznań, Poland, perfect for our rainy day here in Brno.
For my taste, the best composers allow me to close my eyes and imagine a film to match a great soundtrack. Jeff never fails at providing me with this opportunity to make such images in my head.
This release came out of nowhere for me. Well, that’s not entirely true, because Takuya Kuroda‘s name was dropped on the recent edition of Bandcamp Weekly, and I was impressed enough by his Miles-like fusion pulses melded tastefully with hip-hop of fine quality, a mix that seems to be pleasant to my ears these days.
Kuroda‘s based out of New York, and his playing is fresh, innovative, occasionally weird, and serves as a great foil for his collaborators to underpin.
Our old blog friend István Csarnogurszky of Silent Island (and so many other stellar projects) has a new album out, and it is a continuation of his mellow, cosmic guitar playing inspired, possibly, by everything from psych and post-rock to four-to-the-floor rock licks. Gentle, meandering (in a great way), a nice album to just get lost in the clouds with.