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JAN JIRASEK/When the Soul Speaks: One of the big wheels of Czech sacred music steps up to an ultimate performance with some august performers in and of the realm for a set that takes sacred music to almost Goth places in it's intensity. Deep, ethnic stuff that cuts to the chase and pares down to the roots, if you're an old school Eastern European, this is going to hit home hard. And it's note perfect in vocal and music throughout.
(Navona 6205)

TOWER DUO/Crosswind: A pair of egghead envelope pushers that know how to wrap their sax and flute around a solid arts council grant show that there's more to it than pots and pans music, thankfully, no matter how outré they take it into the realm of sound. Focusing on contemporary hell raisers, this certainly isn't moldy fig Sunday afternoon music even as it does color outside the lines. Almost experimenting with sound as sound, left leaners have a sound to behold here.
(Ravello 8003)

MATTHEW BURTNER/Glacier Music: The spiritual scion of Bernie Krause, Burtner takes his musicians and mics to the glaciers instead of the to animals but basically performs the same sound synthesis as Krause--it's just here we get mountain rap as opposed to fish rap. No stranger to winning every award in sight for this kind of experimentation, anyone who has ever dug nature based recordings will dig this--especially since it's made from the real thing as opposed to cheesy studio recreations. The dandy sound of nature going up market from cheap seat recordings.
(Ravello 8001)

JOHN PSATHAS PERCUSSION PROJECT/ V. 1: If you want to quell your Steve Reich jones, Psathas competes with his younger self by going through his back pages and refashioning his past works for percussion. This is a player with a clear vision as this is a real bang without sounding like just a bunch of banging around. Charming without being precious, most of the time you really don't even realize this is all percussions. A top shelf taste treat throughout.
(Navona 6204)

PAUL LOMBARDI/:Pieces of Mind and Matter: A decorated string duet composer sets up five teams to tackle various pieces of his works created over this course of this century, and not all of them are violin and violin face offs showing he's serious about the entire world of strings. Leading with a progressive/romantic edge in his oeuvre, Lombardi gives the players a goodly share of white space so all can shine in the proceedings. Sunday afternoon music for the next stop down the line.
(Ravello 8804)

PHILLIP CHASE HAWKINS/Great Southern Land: Sounds like the writing of Brendan Collins and the playing of Hawkins are one of those matches made in heaven. With piano coloration by sidekick Maria Fuller, Hawkins has everything he needs at hand to make a creative, delightful recording that sails on smooth waters and walks that classical/instrumental line with an insouciance that makes it clear that labels are not the heart of the matter. This trumpet music set is a stellar way for Hawkins to trumpet his arrival.
(Navona 6199)

HAKAN A. TOKER/Messing Around With the Classics ;): Ah, the joys of being a member of the hoi polloi. You have to know how to construct before you can deconstruct and Hakan comes on like a gangbuster of a merry prankster---but does he ever know his stuff. The piano man takes the classics wherever he feels like, decides what a classic or not and serves up a total gasser throughout. Non stop piano fun, this set will insure there's no awkward pauses in the conversation when you have it playing in the background. A total killer anyone can and will enjoy.
(Navona 6202)

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA CHAMBER SINGERS/I Carry Your Heart: Recorded down the block from where P.D.Q. Bach used to hang out, this inspirational without being Jesusy record is the feel good record for those that want to visit the land beyond pop. Basing most of the material on love, with a little loss thrown in for variety, these voices come together in such a way that they meld as one and join together to lift you up. With no short cuts or easy way outs, this bunch stands and delivers. Well done.
(Navona 6203)

STAS NAMIN/Centuria S-Quark: A modern symphony inspired by a talk with Stephen Hawking and other just as tony eggheads, Namin set course for a work that could be properly realized by the rock minded London Symphony Orchestra and they make it happen. Existing somewhere between prog rock and classical classical, if you can sit still and enjoy a real listening experience, this set will take you to places you never dreamed possible. Killer stuff that never met a false note, this is a great ear and mind opener loaded with passion and verve.
(Navona 6200)

Volume 43/Number 68
January 8, 2019
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2019 Midwest Record

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