Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Ronu Majumdar, Ry Cooder, Jon Hassell ‎– Hollow Bamboo (2000)

Genre: Folk, World, & Country
Format: CD
Label: Water Lily Acoustics

Tracklist:
1.   Vaisnava Bhajan
2.   Krsna Kantha Kandam
3.   African Queen
4.   The Charmer Of Braj
5.   A Day For Trade Winds
6.   Bay Of Bengal
7.   River Song
8.   Hollow Bamboo

Credits:
Bansuri – Ronu Majumdar
Electric Guitar – Rick Cox, Ry Cooder
Oud (Turkish Oud) – Ry Cooder
Percussion – Joachim Cooder
Tabla – Abhijit Banerjee
Trumpet – Jon Hassell

The world music bin at the record store is a depository for all non-Western sounding musics. From field recordings of Australian aborigines spinning bull-roarers in a ritual context to studio-produced fusion musics that use an occasional tabla sample for the sake of added exoticism, the world music category catches them all. On Hollow Bamboo, celebrated bansuri player Ronu Majumdar tunes into a few of the different bandwidths offered within the world music spectrum. With half of the tracks he grounds his playing in traditional Hindustani works. Accompanied by the penetrating tabla playing of Abhijit Banerjee on most of these cuts, Majumdar whips up stunning melodic gusts that swirl in and out of time with the tabla. The other four tracks are experimental collaborations with trumpeter Jon Hassell, guitarists Rick Cox and Ry Cooder, and percussionist Joachim Cooder. "A Day for Trade Winds," a song formed upon richly textured guitar drones, is the most successful of these four fusion tracks because guitarists Cox and Cooder lay back and let Majumdar develop subtle, yet sophisticated, melodies. "African Queen" is a less successful hybrid, due in part to the fact that Joachim Cooder's hand drumming drowns out the superior playing of Banerjee. Whatever the contributions of his collaborators may be, Ronu Majumdar's sensitive performance on the hollow, bamboo bansuri makes this CD a great listen, no matter what end of the world music spectrum you're coming from.
John Vallier / AllMusic

VA – Tudo Ben (Jorge Ben Covered) (2008)

Style: Samba, Bossanova
Format: CD
Label: Mr Bongo

Tracklist:
01.   Salinas - Tenha Fé, Pois Amanhã Um Lindo Dia Vai Nascer
02.   Elza Soares - Pulo, Pulo
03.   Wilson Simonal - Silva Lenheira
04.   Osmar Milito - Rita Jeep
05.   Wilson Simonal - Zazueira
06.   Osmar Milito - Quem Mandou
07.   Doris Monteiro - Se Você Quiser Mas Sem Bronquear
08.   Wilson Simonal - Que Pena
09.   Osmar Milito - Morre O Burro, Fica O Homem
10.   Os Originais Do Samba - Lá Vem Salgueiro
11.   Os Brazoes - Carolina Carol Bela
12.   Wilson Simonal - Crioula
13.   Sonia Santos - Speed
14.   Claudette Soares - Êles Querem Amar
15.   Os Increveis - Vendedor De Bananas
16.   Wilson Simonal - Brasil, Eu Fico
17.   Cyro Aguiar - Rei Do Maracatu
18.   Wilson Simonal  Resposta
19.   Elza Soares - Mas Que Nada
20.   Wilson Simonal - País Tropical
21.   Originais Do Samba - Cadê Tereza
22.   Zarijo - Fio Maravilha
23.   Os Originais Do Samba - Tenha Fé, Pois Amanhã Um Lindo Dia Vai Nascer
24.   Os Brazoes - Que Maravilha
25.   Os Mutreteiros Grilados - Cosa Nostra
26.   Os Originais Do Samba - Falador Passa Mal

The writer of Mas Que Nada, covered by the likes of Sergio Mendes, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Al Jarreau, and Taj Mahal - the source of inspiration for Rod Stewart's 'Do You Think I'm Sexy?', Ben is a enormous force in Brazilian popular music. 
Often described as the James Brown of Brazilian music due to his prolific output, he is the most sampled Brazilian artist ever with artists from The Black Eyed Peas to DJ Markylifting elements off his tracks. 
His song catalogue has also been covered by some of the finest bands in Brazil. This selection represents some of the more dance-floor orientated interpretations including mega rarities such as Cosa Nostra by Os Mutreteiros Grilados and tracks that even Ben himself never got around to singing like Rei Do Maracatu's Cyro Aguiar.
Mr Bongo

Yusef Lateef & Adam Rudolph ‎– Towards The Unknown (2010)

Style: Contemporary, Avant-garde Jazz, Modern, Fusion
Format: CD
Label:  Meta Records

Tracklist:
1.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: First Train
2.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: Southside
3.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: Reflections
4.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: Mysterious Affinities
5.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: Six Trees
6.   Concerto For Brother Yusef: A Better Day
7.   Percussion Concerto (For Adam Rudolph): First Movement
8.   Percussion Concerto (For Adam Rudolph): Second Movement

Credits:
Tenor Saxophone, Producer, Composed By, Vocals – Yusef Lateef
Arranged By, Composed By, Cymbal, Djembe, Frame Drum, Gong, Percussion, Producer, Sintir, Udu – Adam Rudolph

9 ottobre Yusef Lateef varcherà l'invidiabile soglia dei novant'anni. All'epoca di questa incisione, lo scorso 17 settembre, ne aveva dunque quasi ottantanove, e già questo ha del sorprendente. Lateef è in effetti uno di quei grandi del jazz che hanno sempre vissuto la vicenda-maestra della musica afroamericana su posizioni un po' defilate, periferiche, a dispetto di un rilievo notevole, non fosse altro - nel suo caso - che per la spinta offerta alla causa del polistrumentismo, materia controversa fin che si vuole - anche alla luce, magari, di certi recenti eccessi - ma nodale nello sviluppo del linguaggio jazzistico contemporaneo. 
Affermatosi a cavallo fra anni Cinquanta e Sessanta (quindi già alla soglia dei quaranta) con i fratelli Adderley, Lateef (al secolo William Emanuel Huddleston) s'impone come tenorsassofonista in qualche misura in bilico tra un fraseggio di marca hard bop e una sonorità più larga, di matrice classica. Le sue energie creative si sviluppano peraltro su un trittico di strumenti che include anche flauto (sul quale l'impostazione accademica cede di rado alle tentazioni dell'ipersoffiato) e oboe (utilizzato di regola nei brani più larghi e rarefatti). Il suo approccio rivela in ogni frangente un attento orecchio rivolto alla musica (così come del resto alla cultura tout court) orientale, tratto ribadito anche dall'adozione, accanto al canonico modello traverso, di tutta una serie di flauti di foggia esotica (cinese, arabo, e Ma-Ma, da lui stesso ideato). 
Towards the Unknown lo coglie appunto su questa molteplicità di strumenti (oboe escluso), oltre che alla voce, nell'ambiziosa (nel senso migliore del termine) suite predisposta per l'occasione dal sodale di turno, il percussionista Adam Rudolph (che ricordiamo già a fianco di Sam Rivers e Omar Sosa, fra gli altri, in lavori degni di nota), nonché nelle vesti di compositore nella suite con cui lo stesso Lateef ricambia la cortesia. 
A seconda della prospettiva in cui ci poniamo, i due coéquipiers risultano ugualmente determinanti per il livello (comunque eccellente) del lavoro: Lateef attraversando da par suo il concerto dedicatogli da Rudolph e costruendo a sua volta una partitura, di impianto decisamente "colto," magistrale per il collega; quest'ultimo, autore non meno apprezzabile, potendosi giovare di tanto interprete per il concerto da lui composto, ma rappresentando nel contempo, in quello a lui dedicato, un po' il sia pur minimo tallone d'Achille dell'incisione intesa nella sua globalità, nel suo confezionare interventi un po' troppo monolitici - sia nelle dinamiche che sotto il profilo squisitamente timbrico, il che non manca di stupire, vista la miriade di strumenti da lui "manipolati" - giustapposti come isole galleggianti entro la notevolissima partitura messa a punto da Lateef. 
Il quale Lateef, in "Concerto for Brother Yusef," offre una prova veramente maiuscola: un vociferante, umorale solo di tenore nel secondo movimento, tutto in duo col solo Rudolph (a cui non rende la pariglia nel suo "Percussion Concerto," di cui è solo autore), ripetendosi nel terzo, dove lo raggiunge l'orchestra (e la scrittura di Rudolph evidenzia tutte le sue atouts, di marca squisitamente "contemporanea"), per passare ai vari flauti in particolare nei due movimenti finali, fra l'elegiaco-sospeso e l'ipnotico-ancestrale. Un album magistrale.
All About Jazz 

Terranova ‎– Hotel Amour (2012)

Style: House, Tech House
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Kompakt, Kompakt, Algorythmik Records

Tracklist:
01.   Question Mark
02.   So Strong
03.   Hotel Amour
04.   Paris Is For Lovers (My Love)
05.   Make Me Feel
06.   I Want To Go Out
07.   Ain't No Thing
08.   Take My Hand
09.   Code Blue
10.   Boogie For The Dollar
11.   By My Side
12.   Avenue Wagram
13.   Prayer

Fetisch Bergmann and Marco Meister have both been permanent fixtures on the European scene since the mid-'90s, mostly as behind-the-scene producers. They first made their name via trip-hop-tinged and breakbeat-ish studio jobs for the forgotten likes of Cath Coffey, Ballistic Affair and Copyright and with more high-profile collaborations with people like Tricky. As Terranova, they developed a more personal kind of downtempo electronica with an urban twist (a sound epitomized by their 1998 DJ Kicks compilation). Terranova was always a collective effort, though—one that included in its ranks other Berlin partiers such as Filippo "DJ Naughty" Moscatello or Xaver Naudascher—and, as a result, early '00s albums like Hitchhiking Nonstop with No Particular Destination and Peace Is Tough came across as too disparate for their own good. On Hotel Amour, their first album after an eight year hiatus—and first offering on Kompakt—it seems Terranova's sound benefits from a renewed sense of focus.  
If you had followed the lead of the album's title track, you'd think the band members are indulging a weird, nostalgic throwback mood on Hotel Amour. And, when Billie Ray Martin starts doing her famous torch songstress schtick on "Make Me Feel" (a lead-footed mood reproduced on the "Code Blue" and "Avenue Wagram" interludes and on the more abstract "Take My Hand"), you could rightfully fear Hotel Amour is threatening to get all acid jazz on us. In that regard, "So Strong" is a more fitting introduction: just like its "By My Side" doppelganger and last year's "I Want to Go Out," the track is built around a light, ping-pong-like bassline that bounces without ever feeling aggressive or vexingly nervous. Khan's vocal presence is also fitting, his low-sung voice adding gravitas to otherwise schaffel-tinted, lascivious cuts. "Ain't No Thing," featuring the ever eccentric Snax, might be slightly more upbeat, but in typical Kompakt fashion (of late, at least), it also comes across as geriatric dance music at its most dignified.  
Then there is the rather exhilarating dance/pop hybrid "Paris Is for Lovers (My Love)," a Justin Timberlake cover that Fetisch and collaborator &Me originally released three years ago in collaboration with Tomas Høffding. That the album's penultimate moment is an acid house take on a modern R&B classic might feel irksome to all cross-pollination detractors, but it's hard to deny this track's—or the overall album's—immediate charms. Not unlike Gus Gus' underrated Arabian Horse long player for the label last year, and in a similar vein explored by Superpitcher during his latest, so-called voodoo house period, Hotel Amour doesn't cover new sonic ground. The dance floor corners the band does explore, though, are handled with sophisticated ease.
Stephane Girard / Resident Advisor

Otto Luening / Vladimir Ussachevsky ‎– Tape Recorder Music (1955)

Style: Musique Concrète, Experimental
Format: Vinyl
Label: Cacophonic

Tracklist:
1.   Sonic Contours
2.   Fantasy In Space
3.   Incantation
4.   Invention In Twelve Notes
5.   Low Speed


Originally released in 1955. One of the very earliest and most important examples of electronic tape music to be pressed on vinyl (alongside the Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française musique concrète compilations in France and Jim Fassett's comedic 1953 Strange to Your Ears novelty record), this privately pressed 1955 10" was released on a one-off label owned by businessman Gene Bruck to document a custom-made performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1952. This facsimile edition of this important LP archives remastered versions of the first recorded unison of Otto Luening and Vladimir Ussachevsky, a partnership that founded the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center at Columbia University in 1959, which would later count İlhan Mimaroğlu, Wendy Carlos, Dariush Dolat-Shahi, and Alice Shields among its graduates. The October 28, 1952, performance showcased the debut of the seminal "Fantasy in Space," based on resampled flute recordings that were manipulated on magnetic tape to create an otherworldly melodic composition, stylistically begging comparison with the early recordings of Kraftwerk (made some 20 years later) and bringing a palatable and tuneful alternative to the stark avant-garde experiments of the pair's French counterparts. The mechanical construction of the track was even "performed" on primetime American television to celebrate this groundbreaking approach to modern music. The record's full program includes further experiments with manipulated recordings of bells and woodwind instruments subjected to mechanical "augmentation, diminution and retrograding" to create pieces that "cannot be played with conventional instruments." In the following years labels like Folkways and Desto would also plunder this important session as a milestone in electronic music. For the purposes of this release Cacophonic have also included the seldom-heard 14-minute track "Poem in Cycles and Bells" for tape recorder and orchestra, which was recorded using the same techniques with the Royal Danish Radio Orchestra in 1956 and released via the Composers Recordings Inc. label founded by Luening himself in 1954 (employing Ussachevsky in an advisory capacity). CRI operated for 49 years, releasing records by Harry Partch, Alwin Nikolais, John Cage, and Alice Shields. Also included in this edition is an expansion of the rare 10" original artwork by legendary graphic designer Ronald Clyne, an early example of his work made before he became in-house designer for Folkways Records, rivaling the likes of Blue Note's Reid Miles for some of America's most iconic record sleeves.
Soundohm

Oscar Brown Jr. ‎– Sin & Soul...And Then Some (1996)

Genre: Jazz, Funk / Soul
Format: CD
Label: Columbia Records

Tracklist:
01.   Work Song
02.   But I Was Cool
03.   Bid 'Em In
04.   Signifyin' Monkey
05.   Watermelon Man
06.   Somebody Buy Me A Drink
07.   Rags And Old Iron
08.   Dat Dere
09.   Brown Baby
10.   Humdrum Blues
11.   Sleepy
12.   Afro-Blue
13.   Mr. Kicks
14.   Hazel's Hips
15.   World Of Grey
16.   Forbidden Fruit
17.   Straighten Up And Fly Right

Credits:
Bass – Frank Carroll, George Duvivier, Joe Benjamin
Drums – Bobbie Rosengarden, Osie Johnson, Panama Francis
Guitar – A. Chernet, Don Arone*, Everett Barksdale
Piano – Alonzo Levister, Bernie Leighton, Floyd Morris
Saxophone – Joe Solde, Phil Bodner, Walt Levinsky
Trumpet – Billy Butterfield, Joe Wilder
Vocals, Written-By – Oscar Brown Jr.

Allysha Joy ‎– Acadie : Raw (2018)

Style: Soul, Soul-Jazz
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Gondwana Records

Tracklist:
01.   Fnfl
02.   Selfish
03.   Honesty
04.   Know Your Power
05.   Desire
06.   Akala
07.   Doom
08.   Eagle
09.   Swallow Me
10.   Enate

Credits:
Alto Saxophone – Josh Kelly
Bass – Henry Hicks
Drums – Ziggy Zeitgeist
Backing Vocals – Danika Smith
Vocals, Keyboards – Allysha Joy

Monday, 25 March 2019

Foge Foge Bandido ‎– O Amor Dá-me Tesão / Não Fui Eu Que Estraguei (2008)

Style: Art Rock, Downtempo, Avantgarde, Folk, Experimental
Format: CD
Label: Turbina

Lado A - O Amor Dá-me Tesão
1-01.   Personal Contribution
1-02.   Mau Hálito
1-03.   Casal Boss
1-04.   Canal Zero
1-05.   Diz-me Se Aprovas
1-06.   Insónia
1-07.   Fechado Para Obras / Dans Une Autre Vie Misérable
1-08.   Discussão Canina
1-09.   Tirem O Macaco Da Prisão
1-10.   Touradita
1-11.   O Caminho Certo
1-12.   A Cisma
1-13.   Vida Adicta
1-14.   Borboleta
1-15.   Ninguém É Quem Queria Ser
1-16.   Chuva Doce
1-17.   A Dor De Ter De Errar
1-18.   A Canção Mudou
1-19.   O Mergulho De Regresso
1-20.   As Minhas Ovelhinhas
1-21.   Canção Da Canção Triste
1-22.   Falso Graal
1-23.   Um Tempo Sem Mentira
1-24.   O Lugar Onde Estou
1-25.   Mundo Exterior
1-26.   Eleva!
1-27.   Ainda Pode Descer
1-28.   E Pop?
1-29.   Insectos Adoram Ensaios
1-30.   Os Olhos E O Mar
1-31.   Nostalgia Hardcore
1-32.   Cocó
1-33.   À Sua Volta
1-34.   Canteiro
1-35.   Quando Eu Morrer
1-36.   Canção Da Canção Da Lua
1-37.   Noções Para Viver Sem Ti
1-38.   Sempre-A-Pensar
1-39.   Foi No Teu Amor
1-40.   Desce À Cama

Lado B - Não Fui Eu Que Estraguei
2-01.   O Canto Dos Homens - Conto
2-02.   Algo Bom
2-03.   O Mar Já Nos Olhos
2-04.   As Nossas Ideias
2-05.   Passaroco Motoqueiro
2-06.   Tu Não Tens De Mudar
2-07.   O Cenário Possível
2-08.   Guitarrinha
2-09.   Meu Amor Está Perto
2-10.   Minha Cisma Não Pode Parar
2-11.   Fartos Do Que Não Tens
2-12.   Como Diria A D. Carmosina
2-13.   Acorda Mulher
2-14.   Ai!
2-15.   Não Aldrabes
2-16.   A Lenda Da Verdade
2-17.   Olá Kit
2-18.   Onan, O Rapaz Do Presente
2-19.   Canção Segredo
2-20.   Lá
2-21.   Revelação
2-22.   Besouro
2-23.   Ninguém Está Bem
2-24.   Canal Zero Live Show
2-25.   Estou Pronto
2-26.   As Minhas Saudades Tuas
2-27.   Cinemavelho
2-28.   Uma Historinha
2-29.   Nada Para Esquecer
2-30.   Cabói Inglês
2-31.   Terceira Divisão
2-32.   A Sina Da Cisma
2-33.   Esta Merda Começa A Ter Piada
2-34.   Não Te Interessa Pensar
2-35.   Fora De Combate
2-36.   Libendai
2-37.   Eu Tentei Dizer
2-38.   Quem Sabe
2-39.   Xix
2-40.   Canção Da Canção Da Canção Da Lua

Saturday, 23 March 2019

David Sylvian ‎– Secrets Of The Beehive (1987)

Style: Ambient, Alternative Rock, Art Rock
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Virgin records

Tracklist:
1.   September
2.   The Boy With The Gun
3.   Maria
4.   Orpheus
5.   The Devil's Own
6    When Poets Dreamed Of Angels
7.   Mother And Child
8.   Let The Happiness In
9.   Waterfront

Credits: Brian Gascoigne - Orchestral Arrangements, String Arrangements Mark Isham - Flugelhorn, Trumpet Steve Jansen - Drums, Percussion Phil Palmer - Guitar (Acoustic), Slide Guitar Robin Sakamoto - Piano Treatments D. Thompson - Double Bass Danny Torn - Guitar (Acoustic), Guitar (Electric), Guitar Loops Steve Nye - Engineer, Mixing, Producer David Sylvian - Composer, Guitar (Acoustic), Organ, Piano, Synthesizer, Tapes, Treated Piano, Vocals

David Sylvian’s first four solo albums, newly reissued on vinyl, exude an intense but ambiguous loneliness. “I wrestle with an outlook on life that shifts between darkness and shadowy light,” he sings during his most forthright song, “Orpheus.” Throughout these records, he does battle—with his outlook, with his past, with his expectations. As a singer, he seems to avert eye contact, his peculiar baritone formal and serious, classically beautiful but wary of sounding that way. As an arranger, accompanied by masters of ambiance like Ryuichi Sakamoto and Robert Fripp, he gives himself room to wander. “The kind of people who immediately turn on a television when they are alone don’t enjoy my music,” Sylvian once observed. “It makes them terribly uncomfortable.” 
Before going solo, Sylvian found himself, like Scott Walker and Brian Wilson, playing the uncomfortable role of young pop icon. Commercially successful and critically loathed, Japan were a New Romantic group in which the inventive fretless bassist Mick Karn often outshone Sylvian, the dashing frontman. Japan formed while its members were classmates in South London, and their trajectory reflects the swiftly evolving taste of precocious teenagers. When they started in 1974, they sounded like the New York Dolls. (Born David Alan Batt, Sylvian chose a not-so-subtle pseudonym.) As they rose to prominence, they sounded like Roxy Music. Eventually, they discovered the avant-garde. 
That last touchstone was no phase; it has defined Sylvian’s career ever since. The sound that Sylvian explored as a solo artist—eerie, atmospheric, solitary—came into focus on Japan’s fifth and final album, 1981’s Tin Drum, and its sparse highlight, “Ghosts.” Where Sylvian’s best hooks had once come from pairing oblique phrases to new wave rhythms, he somehow found power now within the two syllables of the word “wilder,” melding them together with swelling vibrato. In a TV performance just before Japan broke up, he strips the song down to just acoustic guitar and voice, leaving long gaps of silence between each verse. “This whole year has been, like, drifting apart,” he tells the interviewer about Japan’s imminent dissolution. Speaking from the drift, he sounds confident. 
All of Sylvian’s solo music has luxuriated in that space. Post-Japan, he began collaborating with Sakamoto on singles like “Forbidden Colours,” his lyrical accompaniment to Sakamoto’s exquisite theme for Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence. By the time Sylvian released his solo debut Brilliant Trees in 1984, his group of musicians included Sakamoto, members of Can and Pentangle, and atmospheric trumpeters Jon Hassell and Mark Isham. The album remains his most immediate work, featuring some of his most memorable melodies (“Red Guitar,” “The Ink in the Well”) and daring explorations like the nearly nine-minute title track. It’s a remarkable opening statement, indicative of the singular world Sylvian was able to establish, even when surrounded by such rich talent. 
His next two releases—the entirely instrumental Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities and the double album Gone to Earth—are more transitional. The former is a strange hodgepodge of collaborations and soundtrack material. Still believing Sylvian’s appearance and cult of personality to be his biggest selling point, a video company asked him to participate in a documentary; Sylvian responded with an abstract collage filmed in Tokyo, soundtracked by new ambient compositions included here. The record is vivid and atmospheric (particularly Side B, the longform piece “Steel Cathedrals”), but it’s more like a blueprint for the collaborative work to come. This new edition—its first complete release on vinyl—makes this reissue series more comprehensive, but it remains an album more interesting in concept than practice. 
Gone to Earth is more essential. Split into an LP of traditional compositions and an instrumental companion, its scope summarizes where Sylvian had been and foreshadows his next moves. “That album was put together piecemeal,” he later reflected. “I ended up with this… incohesive collection of material that I somehow had to make sense of.” It’s a marvel how coherent it feels. Some songs border on noir balladry, like the gorgeous “Silver Moon,” while others are almost gothic, including “Taking the Veil” and “Before the Bullfight.” You can sense Sylvian peeling away the dramatic flourishes that made Brilliant Trees so bold. The ambient side, featuring guitar contributions from Fripp and Bill Nelson, offers shadows where once there were songs. 
If Gone to Earth feels like a labored portrait of the artist, then its follow-up was made on instinct. Released just a year later, Sylvian’s masterpiece, Secrets of the Beehive, arrived quickly. “Each track was written in one sitting,” he has noted. Sakamoto’s string arrangements appear mostly just to vanish, and Sylvian sings uncharacteristically from behind acoustic guitar or a piano. He is a kind of live vanishing act, a singer/songwriter dissolving into fog. “September” suggests a jazz standard until it’s abruptly snuffed out in less than two minutes. “The Boy With a Gun” and “The Devil’s Own” take on varied evils but resolve without a hint of redemption. Conceptually heavy but structurally light, Secrets of the Beehive seems to forecast a storm that lingers in the distance. 
The album’s quick creation involved abandoning pieces that had once seemed central to the work as a whole, and it does feel like a statement with the core scooped out. This only adds to its mysterious pull. During the brightest moment, “Let the Happiness In,” Sylvian sings over lapping percussion and a brass section that mimics foghorns. Through the dusk, Sylvian prays for the “agony to stop” as the arrangement opens into something that sounds like peace. “As a listener,” he has said, “I prefer to be taken through the stages of doubt before being shown the way out.” Few albums suspend you so completely. 
All of this, of course, can seem a bit bleak. This intensity subsequently pushed Sylvian to seek spiritual guidance and shake things up creatively. Following the release of Secrets of the Beehive and his first-ever solo tour, he focused more on collaborative work, from a pair of ambient albums with Holger Czukay and two excellent releases with Fripp to music with artists like Fennesz decades later. These four records, then, mark a distinct phase of his career—likely the last time his work would be received by a mass audience, establishing a path toward the reclusive future he dreamed of. 
In Martin Power’s biography of Sylvian, The Last Romantic, early manager Simon Napier-Bell recalls the young artist confiding, “I want to be a minor rock star.” It’s a humble, self-deprecating remark that rings true so many years later: His music remains a glowing source of solitude, all driven by a desire to be hidden but sought after—a celebration of all things lost and unnamed.
Sam Sodomsky / Pitchfork

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Rocky Marsiano ‎– Meu Kamba Três (2018)

Style: African
Format: Vinyl, FLAC
Label:

Tracklist:
01.   Munana (feat. Sagaz)
02.   Tola
03.   Tamu Juntu
04.   Kuenda (feat. Selma Uamusse)
05.   Nha Nomi (feat. Sagaz)
06.   Deste Lado
07.   Chama Chama (feat. Milton Gulli)
08.   Vem Dançar (feat. Prince Wadada)
09.   Oi Kompadri (feat. Karlon)
10.   Free Fallin (feat. Sagaz)
11.   Kuenda (feat. Selma Uamusse) - Beat Laden Remix
12.   Tola - Larry SKG Remix

Credits:
Guitar – Milton Gulli, Nelson Da Costa
Percussion – Antonio "Toni" Duarte
Scratches – DJ Nel'Assassin

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Mler Ife Dada ‎– Pequena Fábula (2003)

Style: Lounge, Art Rock, Avantgarde
Format: CD
Label: Universal Music Portugal

Tracklist:
01.   Novo Zuvi Zeva Novi
02.   À Sombra Desta Pirâmide
03.   L'Amour Va Bien Merci
04.   Erro De Cálculo
05.   A Elsa Disse
06.   Música Do Homem Que Anda (Walkman Music)
07.   Valete (De Copas)
08.   Choro Do Vento E Das Nuvens
09.   Sinto Em Mim
10.   Libertária
11.   Dance Music
12.   Xwe Xwe
13.   L'Amour Va Toujours Bien, Merci
14.   Coração Anti-Bomba
15.   Outro Dia
16.   Spring Swing (Excerto)
17.   Zimpó
18.   Zuvi Zeva Novi
19.   Pandra-Bomba
20.   O Último Mergulho
21.   Fake Jazzmen
22.   Desastre De Automóvel Em Varão De Escadas
23.   Alfama

Credits:
Bass – José António Aguiar, Nuno Rebelo
Clarinet – José Pedro Lorena
Drums – António Garcia,Bruno Pedroso
Guitar – José Garcia, Nuno Rebelo
Keyboards – Nuno Rebelo
Percussion – António Garcia
Vocals – Anabela Duarte, José Garcia, Nuno Rebelo
Producer – Nuno Rebelo

Mler Ife Dada ‎– Coisas Que Fascinam (1987)

Style: Lounge, Art Rock, Avantgarde
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Polydor, Universal Music Portugal

Tracklist:
01.   Zuvi Zeva Novi!
02.   Passerelle
03.   A Elsa Disse
04.   À Sombra Desta Pirâmide
05.   Valete (De Copas)
06.   Siô Djuzé
07.   Desastre De Automóvel Em Varão De Escadas
08.   Festa Da Cerveja
09.   Sinto Em Mim
10.   Pandra-Bomba
11.   Oito Doces
12.   Alfama
13.   Ça Me Fascine

Credits:
Bass Clarinet, Saxophone – José Pedro Lorena
Bass, Vocals – Nuno Rebelo
Directed By (Vocals) – Rui Reininho
Drums, Percussion – António Garcia
Guitar, Vocals – José Garcia
Vocals – Anabela Duarte
Keyboards, Vibraphone, Flute, Acoustic Guitar, Percussion – Nuno Rebelo
Producer – Nuno Rebelo

Monday, 18 March 2019

Itiberê Orquestra Família ‎– Pedra Do Espia (2001) (2018 Reissue)

Genre: Latin
Format: CD, Vinyl, FLAC
Label: Far Out Recordings, Jam Music

Tracklist:
01.   Na Carioca
02.   Bota Para Quebrar
03.   De Coração Aberto
04.   Forró No Encontro Dos Rios
05.   Curupira
06.   Arco-Iris de Som
07.   No Varal
08.   Toada Cigana
09.   Doce
10.   Vale de Luz
11.   De Repente
12.   Muito Natural
13.   Ao Pé Da Lareira
14.   Hora da Prece
15.   17 de Janeiro
16.   Pedra do Espia

Credits:
Acoustic Bass – Pedro Albuquerque
Acoustic Bass, Electric Bass – Mayo Pamplona
Acoustic Guitar, Electric Guitar – Luciano Camara
Cello – Maria Clara, Pedro Araujo
Clarinet – Luanda Bem
Clarinet, Bass Clarinet – Joana de Castro
Classical Guitar – Glaucia Aguiar
Cymbal, Pandeiro, Triangle, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Agogô, Surdo – Ana Leticia
Drums, Percussion – George Camara, Mingo Leahy
Drums, Percussion, Harmonica – Ajurinã Zwarg
Drums, Triangle, Percussion, Agogô – Roberto Rutigliano
Electric Bass – Bernardo Ramos, Bruno Aguilar, Pedro Christiano
Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass, Melodica, Keyboards, Cavaquinho, Voice – Itibere Zwarg
Electric Guitar – Tomaz Lemos
Flute – Leticia Malvares, Maria Carolina
Flute, Piccolo Flute, Bass Flute, Clarinet, Recorder – Aline Gonçalves
Guitar, Mandolin, Cavaquinho – Miguel Martins
Piano, Keyboards, Melodica – Joao Bittencourt
Piano, Saxophone, Melodica – Vitor Gonçalves
Saxophone – Vitor Medeiros
Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Flute – Sidney Herszage
Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Mellophone – Pedro Paulo Junior
Viola Caipira, Classical Guitar, Mandolin – Christiano Nascimento
Violin – Isadora Scheer, Renata Neves
Voice, Percussion, Guitar – Mariana Bernardes

Back in 1994, I recorded a broadcast on Radio 3 of Hermeto Pascoal live in concert with a big band made up of top London-based jazz musicians. It was part of The Hairy One’s European tour and my first taste of the music of a man Miles Davis famously described as “the most impressive musician in the world”. His regular bass player, Itiberê Zwarg, was no doubt part of the band in London. The apprentice had been playing with, learning from and absorbing the master’s notion of polyrhythmic, poly-harmonic and improvisation-rooted ‘universal music’ since 1977, the year after Pascoal’s most widely-known album, Slaves Mass. 
Some 24 years later, in 2001, Itiberê Zwarg led a workshop at the Villa Lobos School of Music with 29 of Rio de Janeiro’s (evidently) most-talented young musicians. Originally released that year on CD, the Far Out label has now resurrected this neglected treasure as a vinyl record, download and double CD. “Itiberê Orquestra Família make universal music,” Pascoal declared. “This family has fallen from the sky. Their music is excellent, a treasure chest full of harmonic, rhythmic and melodic jewels.” He didn’t go so far as to suggest that maybe the apprentice had surpassed the master, but I would argue that Itiberê and his young family of musicians have done just that – and arguably created the album that Pascoal himself has never quite managed. 
Listening to Hermeto Pascoal’s music can be a somewhat frustrating experience. The man is so creative and so prolific – this is someone who set himself the challenge on his 60th birthday in 1996 of composing a tune for every day of the ensuing year (the results were published in 2000 as Calendario de Som, “Calendar of Sound”) – that ideas seem to tumble out like a river over rapids. At worst, his music can border on incoherence. With Pedra do Espia, however, his pupil has created something genuinely coherent. All the more remarkable when you consider the running time of more than 90 minutes and the modus operandi used. Itiberê composed and arranged in real time, transcribing the Orquestra Família’s improvisations in the spirit of experimentation. 
Somehow it all hangs together almost effortlessly from start to finish. On the liner notes to the original release, the composer and orchestrator guaranteed that the collective product would be “surprising in its uniqueness, its harmonic richness, its exuberant melodies and rhythmic variations like nothing you’ve heard before”. True enough, perhaps, although there are echoes of a musical heritage throughout. It explores, for example, the same classical/jazz borderland that Moondog, Gil Evans and George Russell once did. There are moments, too, of pure Frank Zappa that wouldn’t be out of place on The Grand Wazoo or “Music for Electric Violin and Low Budget Orchestra”. The beautiful wordless vocals of Mariana Bernardes suggest Flora Purim’s take on something like “Midnight Sun”. The signature combination of voice, strings, woodwinds and percussion recalls Steve Reich at his pulsating, hypnotic best. And, of course, there are the constant echoes of the venerable grand master. 
There are 16 pieces on the complete album. Even though the opening “Na Carioca” serves as an initial ‘single’, it’s difficult to separate them. They are more like movements of a symphony than individual numbers, so it’s hard to highlight any one at a time. You have to listen to it as a whole and just let it all wash magically over you. Admittedly, over 90 minutes there is the occasional longueur, when you catch yourself drifting off. But then a sudden shift in tempo or a startling key change reminds you of what you miss if you don’t keep your eye on the ball. If such an ambitious music reveals the odd flaw, arguably something slightly flawed can be more interesting than perfection. Embrace this flawed masterpiece and you’ll be showered with earthly and ethereal delights; different ones every time you tune in.
Mark Sampson / Sound and Colours

A Forest Mighty Black ‎– A Forest Mighty Black (2014)

Style: Downtempo, Disco, Deep House, House
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Drumpoet Community

Tracklist:
01.   Because Of...
02.   A Tribute
03.   All My Lovin'
04.   Circumstances
05.   Suite For B-Boy
06.   And You Know
07.   Somewhere
08.   And I Still Grow
09.   Jade Knights, 2
10.   Untitled
11.   Vivement Dimanche!
12.   It's All Inside

Credits:
Mixed By – Carlo Rüdlinger
Mixed By, Written-By, Arranged By, Producer – Bernd Kunz

A Forest Mighty Black ‎– Mellowdramatic (1997)

Style: Breakbeat, Downtempo, Deep House, Drum n Bass
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Compost Records

Tracklist:
01.   Minigame
02.   Duel With A So(u)l
03.   Everything
04.   Tides
05.   Duo Trippin'
06.   Reflections Of A Fake Night
07.   The 9 To 5 (Is Killing Me)
08.   Fresh In My Mind
09.   Rebirth
10.   Till The End

Credits:
Mixed By – Claudius Frey
Written-By, Arranged By, Mixed By, Producer – Bernd Kunz

Monday, 11 March 2019

Yacine Boularès, Vincent Segal, Nasheet Waits ‎– Abu Sadiya (2017)

Genre: Jazz
Format: CD
Label: Accords Croisés

Tracklist:
01.   Dar Shems
02.   Disappearance
03.   Bahriyya
04.   Interlude I
05.   Takhmira
06.   Mirage
07.   Demian
08.   Qmar
09.   Nuba
10.   Resilience
11.   Interlude II
12.   Sadiya

Credits:
Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet – Yacine Boularès
Violoncello, Percussion – Vincent Segal
Drums – Nasheet Waits

Abu Sadiya, released in April 2018 by Accords Croisés, might first come across as a simple album. This is a repetitive music, part jazz, part classical, with its roots in the stambeli genre that is indigenous to Tunisia. However, after a few listens, there is power in this music. Yacine Boularès plays the soprano saxophone and bass clarinet, Nasheet Waits plays drums and Vincent Ségal plays cello and percussion. They are all accomplished musicians: nobody takes center stage here or is seeking extra attention. There is a careful interplay and exchange among these musicians who listen to each other. 
Yacine Boularès has contributed to jazz, classical, and also Afrobeat recordings with his band Ajoyo. Born of a French mother and Tunisian father, he grew up in France,. After playing in various musical genres, he has returned to his Tunisian roots. This is his best musical release to date. The stambeli is music that seeks to heal and put its listeners into trance. It has been described as “a music of peace,” by Salah el Ouergli, a well-known musician in this genre. It originates from sub-Saharan slaves of West Africa who were brought north. A stambeli performance is a rich interplay of sound, dance and song. Typically the music rises in intensity as night descends. The gumbri, a three-stringed lute, the shqashaq iron castanets, and the tabl drums are traditional instruments featured in this genre. Along with the classic rhythms, there is a modern dialogue here between the soprano sax, drums and cello. 
This album is based on the story of Abu Sadiya. He is a figure of myth and intrigue in Tunisia. During the stambeli performance a dancer in costume plays his role. The album starts out gently with “Dar Shems,” as the slow rustle of brush on drums and the sax notes weave elegant circles around each other. The cello plays a steady, purposeful loop. Picture Abu Sadiya, a West African hunter alone, haunted by the disappearance of his daughter. He dances to enable his daughter to return to him. By the third track, “Bahriyya,” the steady, elongated sax notes entrance the listener. This is a mournful sound, reminiscent of the cyclical nature of Ravi Shankar or Phillip Glass's music: The repetition pulls you in. 
Abu Sadiya's myth is pertinent to the present – to the tragedy of today's migrants. Yacine is quoted in the album notes as saying, “He [Abu Sadiya] incarnates the face of the migrant, the transformation of Africa. He resonates with who I am: a Franco-Tunisian who grew up in Paris yet stayed in touch with Tunisia. It's in New York that I resolved the fragmentation of this identity. The stambeli 6/8 and 12/8 rhythms are typical of the ancient Malian empire, and they went off to the north and Tunisia, but also to the West, the Caribbeans and jazz.” 
On “Takhmira,” Nasheed Waits dances his brushes across the drums. The drumming is haunting. The sax now flies more freely, recalling John Coltrane. 
Although Yacine is the primary composer on this album, the music would not as be as moving without the other two stand-out musicians. Yacine trained at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique of Paris and later at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary music. He met Vincent Ségal during a recording that they both worked on for Placido Domingo. Ségal, a cellist, is noted for his unique musical collaborations with Elvis Costello and Ballalake Sisoko. Nasheet Waits studied music at Long Island University and has been active in jazz since early in his life. 
Yacine described the musical interchange in a recent interview for Lincoln Center, “I think the quality of meditation that music puts you through develops empathy. Connection. A real connection, not just 'I’m going to talk to you because I need this from you.' I think as musicians, we're very lucky to have the time to meditate on ourselves and on other people's music and to develop this empathy.” 
At the album's end, the pace picks up on “Nuba-Resilience.” Nasheet uses his drumsticks – before he had used only brushes. The music is forceful. By the finale, the album has cast its spell, and one feels compelled to wander again through the music as Abu Sadiya has, searching for his lost daughter.
Dorothy Johnson-Laird / Afro Pop

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Trüby Trio ‎– Elevator Music (2003)

Style: Broken Beat, Soul, Future Jazz, Deep House, Drum n Bass, Funk
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Compost Records, Quality! Records

Tracklist:
01.   The Rhythm (Part One)
02.   Universal Love
03.   New Music
04.   Runnin'
05.   Jaleo
06.   Alegre 2003
07.   A Festa
08.   Make A Move
09.   A Go Go
10.   Bad Luck
11.   Lover Underground
12.   The Swingin' Feel
13    Cruisin'
14.   Satisfaction
15.   The Rhythm (Part Two)

He's given us the invaluable 'Glucklich' series, and now it's time for Rainer Truby's debut album, with his Truby Trio cohorts Roland Appel and Christian Prommer. As you'd expect it's a variety of postcards from around the world, resulting in one of the finest jazz 'n' breaks albums you'll hear this year.  
There's the easy funk of 'Universal Love' for starters, with Marcus Begg on vocals over a nice squelchy bass sound. Begg appears later on 'Lover Uncovered', backed this time by slick broken beats. Joseph Malik, now a Compost stalwart, vocalises 'Bad Luck', and the gorgeous tones of Wunmi add to 'Runnin's sexy groove. The most vibrant tracks for me are the ventures into drum and bass, with 'A Festa' opening initially on a slow beat before the main sound drops - fast and springy. Meanwhile 'A Go Go' is more of a breaks workout but keeps the feel-good energy flying.  
So if it's hot, you want to throw the windows open and put on a cool summery soundtrack - this is one you should consider.
Ben Hogwood / Resident Advisor

Alice Coltrane Featuring Pharoah Sanders ‎– Journey In Satchidananda (1971)

Style: Avant-garde Jazz, Modal, Post Bop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Impulse!, ABC Records

Tracklist:
1.   Journey In Satchidananda
2.   Shiva-Loka
3.   Stopover Bombay
4.   Something About John Coltrane
5.   Isis And Osiris

Credits:
Bass – Cecil McBee
Bells, Tambourine – Majid Shabazz
Design – Wallace Caldwell
Drums – Rashied Ali
Harp, Piano, Liner Notes, Composed By – Alice Coltrane
Soprano Saxophone, Percussion – Pharoah Sanders
Tambura – Tulsi
Producer – Alice Coltrane, Ed Michel

The 1960s saw an increased interest in Eastern spirituality, philosophy and music, which was seen and heard not just on the fringes but even in the most prominent places in popular culture later in the decade, particularly at the height of the psychedelic movement. Jazz musicians had experimented with the notion of Indian/Eastern music several years prior and tended to focus on the opportunities those styles could provide musically, rather than anything aesthetic. John Coltrane had developed a fascination for music of different cultures, notably Africa and India, incorporating different modes but often still performing the compositions with the typical instrumentation of a jazz band. Although receiving mixed receptions at the time, all of those moves made perfect sense given the era, with artists shifting focus and approach from bop to modal jazz – the new influences gave added possibilities and freedom as a soloist. Yusef Lateef displayed Eastern influences even in the 1950s, and by the early 1960s was performing songs (often blues based or standards) with more exotic instruments, not commonly heard on jazz records in the era. 
In 1970, Alice Coltrane expanded on these ideas and experiments with Journey In Satchidananda, the most renowned record of her career and arguably her best. The influence of Middle Eastern music is immediately obvious with the use of the tamboura, which lays a dreamlike, droning backdrop. The rest of the line up is far more typical, with piano, drums, bass, soprano saxophone and various percussion, but the performances are fittingly far from rigid. Bass lines are memorable, fairly simple, repetitive, and they fit seamlessly – functioning almost as if they were repeated mantras. That’s part of the charm for much of the album – repetition without being redundant. In addition to piano, Coltrane also adds her harp flourishes which are extremely effective on the title track in particular and sound much more integrated than they did on some of her previous recordings in a sparser trio setting. Pharoah Sanders plays saxophone, more in the vein of his late 60s/early 70s albums, as opposed to the unrestrained recordings of the mid 60s. 
The title track is a clear highlight and essentially sums up what’s to follow – built around the drone of the tamboura and a straight-forward bass line. Another standout is Isis And Osiris, notable for several reasons – it’s a live cut, with the other four songs being studio offerings. The tamboura is omitted in favour of oud, which provides a sonic contrast. It makes full use of its twelve minutes and develops into a piece more urgent, up-tempo and energetic than anything else that preceded it, without disrupting the flow or feeling out of place. 
The album is strangely accessible, especially when compared to her husband John’s music towards the end of his life and other spiritually inclined music from the era. It was Alice’s second release of the year, following the impressive Ptah, The El Daoud. At a time when many of jazz music’s big names were leaning towards fusion and beginning to use electric instruments, this bucks those trends and sounds all the more distinct for doing so. She would go on to release several more excellent records in the 70s, as well as sporadic releases until her death in 2007, but nothing quite as engaging and cohesive as Journey In Satchidananda.
Chrisjon89  / sputnik music

Pedro Santos ‎– Krishnanda (1968)

Style: Samba, MPB, Psychedelic, Folk
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Mr Bongo, CBS, Polysom

Tracklist:
01.   Ritual Negro
02.   Agua Viva
03.   Um So
04.   Sem Sombra
05.   Savana
06.   Advertencia
07.   Quem Sou Eu?
08.   Flor De Lotus
09.   Dentro Da Selva
10.   Desengano Da Vista
11.   Dual
12.   Arabindu

Credits:
Arranged By – Jopa Lins
Producer – Hélcio Milito
Written-By, Composed By – Pedro Santos

A cornerstone of Brazilian psychedelia, with a cover to match, the record bought in elements of folk, afro-soul and samba, bound together by a lyrical depth that reflected Santos’ own reputation as something of a philosopher. There certainly can’t have many records that grooved like this one while dealing with questions of morality, existence and ego. 
A virtuoso percussionist and inventor, the record also features a number of Santos’ hand-made instruments like the ‘tamba’ (electrified bamboo drum) and the mouth berimbau whistle. 
With originals going for silly money online, Krishnanda‘s stock has been increased by association, with everyone from Floating Points to Madlib and Gilles Peterson boosting it to legendary status. Quantic even called it his “favourite album of all time,” and althoguh they might be a tad biased, it doesn’t count for nothing that Mr Bongo have themselves called it “one of the best albums ever made, regardless of genre or origin.”
As ever, Mr Bongo have done a fine job in painstakingly reproducing the incredible cover art from the 1968 CBS original, and have given us a track to stream, which you can listen to below. Click here to find out more.
Anton Spice / The Vinyl Factory

Jóhann Jóhannsson ‎– The Miners' Hymns (2011)

Style: Soundtrack, Modern Classical, Ambient
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: 130701, NoTV-Records

Tracklist:
1.   They Being Dead Yet Speaketh
2.   An Injury To One Is The Concern Of All
3.   Freedom From Want And Fear
4.   There Is No Safe Side But The Side Of Truth
5.   Industrial And Provident, We Unite To Assist Each Other
6.   The Cause Of Labour Is The Hope Of The World

Credits:
Cornet – Niall Thompson, Tony Thompson
Organ – Robert Houssart
Percussion – Beth Steele, Ian Wynd
Trombone – Alex Trotter, Brian Gibson , John Bell, Steve Baxter
French Horn – Alan Tokeley, Callum Mackay, David Tollington, Graham Tedd
Trumpet – Alex Maynard, Ellie Lovegrove, Russell Jackson, Thomas Glendinning
Tuba – Eric Leckenby, Jeff Winter, Owen Wallage
Conductor – Guðni Franzson
Composed By, Arranged By, Producer, Mixed By, Electronics – Jóhann Jóhannsson

In his book, London Under, Peter Ackroyd notes that the world beneath our feet can "move the imagination to awe and to horror". But, equally, it’s a locus for prodigious triumph and catastrophic ruin, as this collaboration between Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson and American filmmaker Bill Morrison unequivocally shows. 
Taking the ill-fated mining community of Durham in northeast England as their subject, the pair has crafted a brooding, dark tribute focused on the appalling hardships of pit labour and the undeniable salience of the trade union movement in times of political cataclysm. Morrison deploys archival footage of the 1984 strike and the attendant running pitch battles with police alongside more genteel moments – charting the remarkable escalation of the prosaic towards the historic. Yet, despite the miner’s defiance, the eventual death knell of the industry had been sounded by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government and the flow of a community’s economic lifeblood had been staunched. In this light, The Miners’ Hymns becomes something of a fighters’ lament. 
As Morrison’s arresting imagery filters through, the only sounds heard are those provided by Jóhannsson’s highly emotive score. The potency of the pictures’ powerful message can only be fully comprehended by hearing their audio accompaniment. By returning to the brass arrangements of 2004’s Virðulegu Forsetar, Jóhannsson is referencing both the popularity and symbolic importance of the region’s traditional colliery bands, while evoking Elgar’s distinctive brand of Englishness. But these supremely evocative compositions also percolate in fuggy, swirling miasmas, recalling not only Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes, but also the catalogues of other artists forging ghostly cavernous sonorities below the Earth’s crust, such as Pauline Oliveros with her deep listening cistern operations and Oliver Beer’s explorations of the resonances inherent in Victorian sewers. Here dwells the belly of the pit, the occupational heart of darkness. 
While nowhere near as immediate as Jóhannsson’s string-based albums for the 4AD imprint – IBM 1401, A User’s Manual and the sublime Fordlândia – The Miners’ Hymns is far more complex in its use of dynamics while succeeding totally in its evocation of time, place and message. And those still seeking the attention-grabbing symphonies of before will no doubt get a suitable fix from the gloriously drilled The Cause of Labour is the Hope of the World, drawing to a rousing end this powerful testament to the plight of traditional labours and our nation’s working class.
Spencer Grady / BBC Review