JOSEPH SHEEHAN/Songs of Lake Volta: A delightful world beat date that almost sounds like a mash up of a bunch of stuff but is really inspired by Ghana and the inspiration it gave Sheehan and his crew in Kinetic. A set that would not be hurried into existence, it's floats as nicely as the breezes it sonically captures. Feeling like it's an effort that wasn't an effort as it seems to come straight from the heart, contemporary instrumental fans will dig this as easily as world beaters. Solid stuff.
NADA RADULOVICH-CULLEN BRYANT/Unexplored: Proving that Detroit cello and New York piano can come together without filling the air with funk, this cello celebration tackles some deep works by cats you wouldn't have thought would still have a few things tucked away for world premiere recordings. Kicking it off with some failed Tchaikovsky encounters that didn't pan out (mysteriously) and moving on from there, this might not be head of the class material back in the day but it's a first class cello recital today. Loaded with the right touch as well as the right notes, this is a fine ear opener throughout.
MIND & MACHINE/Organic and Electronic Works V. 1: A pretty wild sampler of six cats on the move that seem to be programmers as much as they are musos. The sound of a techno future that feels inspired by "1984" as well as the direction of current events, this is a mind warp on what they said about Muddy Waters being the sound of the punch press that fueled the economy of the urban migration. Music to eat Skittles by and sleep under your desk? Be ready and be steady because the future it will come---and this might be the sound of it.
FUSE ENSEMBLE/3 The Music of Gina Biver: She doesn't look like an art chick that would show up in a dress made of meat but I guess looks can be deceiving. A highly personal and unusual album that goes way beyond even hippie, drug fueled experiments of the 60s, it just show to go you that you'll never know where someone can have a dark side that pops out unexpectedly. A progressive classical side to shoe gaze pop, this is certainly not a date for the feint hearted. Prepare for a sonic walk on the wild side.
MICHAEL WITTGRAF/Manifold: This set rests somewhere between Leo Kottke and Kevin Kastning and got made because the two Chicago cohorts behind it finally decided they had amassed enough guitar music over the last 20 years to fill an album. Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm hearing a lot more Blind Joe Death here than I am Segovia, and left fielder that I am, I like it. Solid stuff for undefined guitar fans that like it high and outside.
STEPHEN YIP/Whispering Fragrance-Chamber Works of: Contemporary Asian classical music that feels like haiku, while many of these pieces were written very recently, you can hear the echoes of another era loud and clear. With just too much egghead beat into the mix for this to come across as opium den music, those that dig the vibe from the far east will get lost in this set. Not a walk on the wild side but a stroll through a mélange of different times and places.
DOUGLAS ANDERSON/One at a Time: Solo instrumental works decanted over the last 40 years are what this retrospective is all about. A deep thinking cat that never gives you what you expect even when you think you know what's coming next, Anderson pulls off the difficult with grace that doesn't quit. It's just you and him and you can feel safe putting your trust in
Anderson to make it all work.
FLARE/Society of Composers V. 32) The organization that encourages young composers to go the distance trots out their latest group of cats on the rise. Facing the future with a realistic sense of what it will take to bring new ears into the tent, this sampler has a lot of cohesiveness to make you forget there are a lot of different hands on the wheel--all deserving of their shot. A smart and tasty view of good things to come.
Number 41/Number 260
July 18, 2018
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2018 Midwest Record
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