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JASON RINGENBERG/Rhinestoned: One of the godfathers of Americana comes back even stronger than his last outing with a set that digs so deep that you almost aren't even sure what to call it. Rocking country folk with deep lyrics and a beat you can dance to? There's no shortage of sound and fury as this set progresses and kicks ass throughout. One of those sets that just leaves you dropping your jaw in awe, if you think this scorcher has left you sure what to expect from him in the future by the trails of his past, you're really in for it here. The whole genre just got a great kick in the pants.
(Courageous Chicken 18)

ASIER POLO/Bach Cello Suites: Even if you're the most newbie classical tourist, there's plenty of the stuff you already know from various commercials. Two cds of a man and his ax as played by expert hands, these six suites are material you never get tired of, and this set is sure to keep you awake. Purely two platters of instant class any ears attuned to classical music will love.
(Ibs 182020)

DOM LA NENA/Tempo: A nifty taste of some foreign sophistication as this cellist fuses classical vibes with saudade attitudes for a collection of miniatures that take you through various variations of time and time signatures in a way that will take you down the rabbit hole to dimensions you never imagined. The modern version of head music, this is delightfully new and different.
(Six Degrees )

STEVE HILL/Desert Trip: About time this decorated Canadian guitarist got some well deserved recognition this side of the border. With chops honed over the last 27 years, that might explain why this set arrives so fully formed and devoid of tropes no matter how hard you look for them. Inspired by going to Coachella and getting taken by the desert, this is way more than a blues man inspired by the hunt for hell hounds on his tail. It's just plain totally bad ass. If you ever hung out at the acoustic college coffeehouse,, you'll get it immediately. Hot stuff.
(No Label 119)

AL MUIRHEAD QUINTET/Live from Frankie's & the Yardbird: The grand old man of Canadian jazz might play these oldies with no dust on his trumpet, but once again, he lets you know loud and proud that he's not going gently into that good night. With a swinging crew in tow, he lays down so killer straight ahead jazz--much of it right out of the book he helped right. A live set that continually make s you wish you were there, this is jazz almost any jazzbo will enjoy. Killer stuff.
(Chronograph 92)

ANNICA BANKS/Up Front: After paying the dues, putting in the miles and not letting anything stand in her way, reggae singer Banks makes her over due debut with a set that's firmly in the reggae camp but it's pushing the boundaries pretty damned hard. Delightful in it's difference, this is a smoking set that announces the arrival of a talent that's been hiding in plain sight for way too long. Simply smoking.
(Raw Vue 83)

WESLEY FULLER/Seven By Seven: It's kind of fun quantifying something that no metric really exists for. Taste in music is all subjective anyway so what happens when you just push the boundaries of computers and acoustic instruments and mix it all together to see what happens. Certainly, this can be mistaken for egghead music, but it actually goes somewhere else. This sounds like what the "Big Bang Theory" gang listens to for fun when the girls aren't around. Certainly, this is the definition of out sound.
(Neuma 122)

ROBERT MORAN/Buddha Goes to Beyreuth: Wagner wanted to write an opera about Buddha but never got around to it. A composer from Philly picked up the ball and ran with it many years later creating something that turns much of what passes for contemporary classical on it's head. With stuff like this lurking in creative heads, you don't have to pass off something like "Rent" as contemporary classical and opera for modern times. A mixture of new and familiar, this takes choral/.vocal work to totally new places. This really fills a creative gap.
(Neuma 136)

FUSE ENSEMBLE/Numbus: A couple of art chicks put their heads together to come up with a work about a priest and his acolyte creating a love child. Almost a multi media presentation, if you know your way around NPR, you will find your way around this set with ease.
(Neuma 131)

JAMES CALDWELL/Pocket Music: It's not pots and pans music, it's almost a bookend set to something like Bernie Krause's "Fish Wrap". Caldwell took things he found in his pockets over the years, fed the sounds he could get out of them into a computer and created a set of fully composed, experimental/avant garde pieces. Fun stuff that you never know where it's going to go or take you, this is for when your ready for something completely different.
(Neuma 135)

JUAN J. G. ESCUDERO/Shapes of Inner Timespaces: Sounding somewhat like space music, this could be a good entry point for someone that wants to find out more about what acousmatic music is all about. Trust me, we've come a long way since those early Moog patch cords. Since you can do anything, and a knowledge of physics will do as much for you as a knowledge of music, you could easily hear this set playing at a planetarium auditorium as well as anywhere else. Well done out there stuff for righteously out there heads.
(Neuma 134)

KENNETH GABURO/Conducts New Music Choral Ensemble Live in Concert 1967: Just supposed Singers Unlimited were doing those 50s kind of Christmas airs in the Star Wars cantina--and doing it over 50 years ago. Taking vocal music to electronic realms, and doing it experimentally back then, Gaburo opens doors in your mind that really wouldn't be opened until now. It ain't hipster stuff but it really is crazy daddio.
(Neuma 124)

Volume 45/Number 100
February 8, 2021
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2021 Midwest Record

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