[Music] Saigon Soul Revival – Họa Âm Xưa

2019 was a great year for a soul revival, and The Saigon Soul Revival end this trend on a very high note.  From their Bandcamp site:

Saigon Soul Revival has been on a quest to reawaken the raw, enchanting sounds of 1960’s and 70’s Vietnam; a time when passionate music resonated in Saigon’s streets and clubs with messages of love, heartache, hope and freedom. Amongst the turmoil of war, there was a rich cultural climate that fused popular genres of the day like rock, soul and bolero with Vietnamese music and lyrics. This fusion of sounds that bridged east and west became forbidden after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and almost vanished. Four decades later Saigon Soul Revival was born with the initial purpose of bringing these dormant sounds back to the stage. After numerous live performances over the last 3 years, the band has developed their own sound and now, with the release of their debut album “Họa Âm Xưa”, they are ready to share it with the rest of the world. The 11 track LP, including original compositions and nostalgic reinterpretations, blends traditional Vietnamese elements with modern concepts, featuring pre ‘75 and current artists, all while remaining firmly rooted in the “nhạc vàng” (golden music) of the time. Meaning “Old Harmonies”, Saigon Soul Revival is proud to present “Họa Âm Xưa” as a tribute to the artists and composers of the time that inspired them to create this marriage between past and present. 

[Music] Vainoras and the altar of the drill – Life​,​Love​,​Doomjazz

The more I hear doomjazz artists, the more enthralled I become with the genre.  It sounds as though jazz-noir combines well with a nearly ambient aesthetic.  Our latest case-in-point are the Australian group Vainoras and the altar of the drill.  This release appeared out of nowhere last night, and it has had my ears perked up ever since.

There is a mellow, spacious, yet creepy vibe flowing throughout the album.  It’s not unnecessarily noisy at all, which makes the experience much more pleasant.  This is music to think and fume to.

[Music] Richmond Avant Improv Collective – Chance Operations

As I finally had a long stretch of time where I could actually enjoy hearing whole albums again, I decided that RAIC would be Album Number One today.  What a revelation this one has turned out to be!

According to the collective’s Bandcamp website for this release, “Chance Operations was inspired by John Cage’s “Silence.” RAIC often brings together musicians who normally would never play together. For Chance Operations, twenty musicians from a wide range of backgrounds- jazz, rock, noise and world music, some with backgrounds in improvisation and some without – came together at Etching Tin Studios in Richmond, Virginia. The musicians’ names were written on different ping pong balls and then placed in a sealed container. In a separate container were balls with the number for the ensemble ranging from a duet to a sextet.”  Chance operation, indeed.

The album itself makes for eerie listening.  There is one track which stood out for me, “Irrigating An Arid World,” where shrieks, wailing and very sparse instrumentation make one feel like they are on a heavy hallucinogenic trip.  The spirit of John Cage having a heavily spiked mushroom tea with Sun Ra and, maybe, Cathy Berberian or Diamanda Galás, permeates this album.  The group have a new album coming soon, and I’m already looking forward to hearing much more from them.