Tagged: music

The State of New Music

All is well. If you can avoid televised singing contests (among other depressing purveyors of nicely packaged sweet nothings), you realize that music, genuinely new and never heard-before music, is being composed and produced and distributed at unprecedented levels. So much of it is good — in all that imprecise word’s manifestations. There’s the straight-ahead virtuosity...

“House Hour” (PoemJazz2)

“House Hour” is the second installment in the landmark “PoemJazz” collaboration between poet Robert Pinsky and pianist Laurence Hobgood. Everything that was good in the debut is even better here. Pinsky has mastered his instrument, transforming his voice from “peculiar” to “unique.” Hobgood’s musicality and virtuosity dazzles. And the production — the mix, the equalization, the...

KAZE: Uminari

The new recording from KAZE, a Japanese-French quartet — drums, piano, two trumpets — reminds us that all music is noise. Some noise, it seems, sounds better than others. On Uminari (a low frequency hum rising from the sea), the usual hallmarks of through-composed music (meter, melody, harmony) aren’t exactly absent, they’re just not terribly important....

Wake Owl

“The Private World of Paradise,” the latest from Wake Owl, is a trip. It’s trippy. It’s hippy. It’s hip. It’s the 1960’s. It’s now. Those who enjoyed Wake Owl’s debut EP “Wild Countrry” will find “Paradise” a sonic departure from indie-pop-folk. More like…hard to say. (And that’s good.) But the tunes are still subversively catchy,...

Kira Hooks

The Los Angeles-based Filipino-American singer-songwriter Kira Hooks has a beautiful life ahead of her. Based on her debut recording, “Elephant Heart,” twelve well-produced original songs that defy strict genre categorization — think “jazz and soul-inflected pop” — almost anything’s possible for this extravagantly talented musician. Hooks is a good writer, and a good instrumentalist. But...

Grand Fatilla’s “Global Shuffle”

The world music collective Grand Fatilla consists of Club d’Elf bassist Mike Rivard, electric mandolinist Matt Glover, accordionist Roberto Cassan, and percussionist-singer Fabio Pirozzolo. We mention this because the astonishing breadth of the group’s repertoire sounds like there are about 14 virtuoso musicians at work. Grand Fatilla specializes in nothing — except consistent excellence. On their debut recording,...

Tom Chang’s “Tongue & Groove”

Guitarist Tom Chang’s debut recording,Tongue & Groove,is an arresting, curry-flavored gumbo of jazz, contemporary classical, and South Indian Carnatic music. What this mélange sounds like is newness personified, a foreshadowing of the globalization of musical cultures. The sonic unfamiliarity doesn’t jar; it seduces. The title track opens with a 30-second vocal percussion solo that would make Bobby...

Poem: Too Many Books

Too many books Not enough readers Too many poems Not enough heeders   You say you want answers You say want leaders You pray for salvation At the Church of St. Peter   Ask for forgiveness Ask and repent Ask for an ending To ongoing Lent   Something like calm Something like grace Something to...

Dharma Gypsys, Volume Two

Reggae. World. Rock. Social consciousness. Dharma Gypsys, Volume Two is music for yoga, meditation and revolution — and for obsessive replaying. Created by celebrated yoga teacher and former death metal guitarist Daniel Overberger, the DGs are a collective of some of Hollywood’s coolest musicians, including one of our favorite jazz vocalists, Charmaine Clamor, who leads the chorus...

The North

The descriptor “easy listening” connotes saccharine elevator music, and “goes down easy” suggests diluted medicine. The debut album from The North, a Brooklyn-based piano trio, is called “Slow Down, This Isn’t the Mainland,” and the entire recording is indeed easy like Sunday morning and smooth as a polished seashell. But there’s nothing insipid or cloying;...