Mariah – うたかたの日々/ Utakata No Hibi

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

Experimental new wave rock

Moods

New age meets post punk in this highly accessible piece of experimental music

Thoughts

Yasuaki Shimizu was involved in some interesting music during the early 80's that has held up well to the test of time. Mariah is one of the better entries with easy to appreciate melodic elements and an overall positive energy.

His particular brand of experimental music has a similar sound – part worldly, new wave, post punk, krautrock's rhythmic chug – that weaves together in a rich sound.

'Hana ga saitara' borrows this energetic string bow pull, sounds like a ship and it's sort of disorienting. Lyrics here remind me a lot of some straightforward talking heads songs.

Something about this remains very "future", a forebear to vaporwave but so much larger. The result is magnificent and something that should be heard.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Mariah-%E3%81%86%E3%81%9F%E3%81%8B%E3%81%9F%E3%81%AE%E6%97%A5%E3%80%85-Utakata-No-Hibi/release/7490374

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UIBLA-PuUw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRgLhEGEetc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEHL6WBH_qk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4xdyQAq6rs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh2PU74kRXY

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Mariah – うたかたの日々/ Utakata No Hibi

Description: Album Review of Mariah – うたかたの日々/ Utakata No Hibi


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Donald Byrd – Ethiopian Knights

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

Sounds like?

jazz with funk rock chops

Moods

Top notch jazz-funk

Thoughts

these are long cuts that give way to extended jams. Patience is rewarding:

'the emperor' is funky strum guitar and groovy picking bass line gives way to solos from xylophone and Byrd on trumpet. It's great.

'Jamie' is a brief chilled out piece in comparison, gospel like at times with the organ.

'Little rasti' brings back the groove where things are ever so slightly dirtier (think as if it were the late show at a jazz club as opposed to a cleaner early show on 'the emperor'). Things kick off with a drum solo and then get into a groovy set of solos this time include Wawa guitar, keys and of course a very confident Byrd.

I'm hard pressed to think of better funk rock jazz from this or any of the era. On par with Miles and a must for fans of the genre.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Donald-Byrd-Ethiopian-Knights/release/890204

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtKcvoeO2vA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhiYaTLP8xM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAycZvJwtIA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=av4j96aEDAA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PvHQGXdvbDc

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Donald Byrd – Ethiopian Knights

Description: Album Review of Donald Byrd – Ethiopian Knights


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Tom Rogerson,Brian Eno – Finding Shore

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

Keyboard and general electronic noodling

Moods

A soundtrack for those euphoric and reflective moments

Thoughts

There are some interesting bits but nothing cohesive as individual songs or as an overall album. Not quite ambient, not quite solo keyboard, feels undecided and suffers as a result.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Tom-Rogerson-With-Brian-Eno-Finding-Shore/release/11258667

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SroYdHuv9z8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZri_BOuRy0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBgvXNRxEsU

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Tom Rogerson,Brian Eno – Finding Shore

Description: Album Review of Tom Rogerson,Brian Eno – Finding Shore


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Quincy Jones – Walking In Space

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

soulful jazz arrangements

Moods

big band jazz-funk

Thoughts

Arrangements are rich and instrumentation as good as any with exceptional guitar work (best displayed on the bluesy standout 'love and peace').

However it's missing a certain rawness the great jazz-funk of the era holds, limits the appeal.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Quincy-Jones-Walking-In-Space/release/2560746

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWoqvBFeCrI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ebvHk62DUtA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJgTzLsvCKQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXQ4r4y3Wdc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aASXNyc6xmY

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Quincy Jones – Walking In Space

Description: Album Review of Quincy Jones – Walking In Space


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Shy Layers – Midnight Marker

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

jazzy electro pop rock with vocoder

Moods

A record that puts me in a good mood: chill with a pop, happy but not cheery, loose while tight.

Thoughts

all around enjoyable, strikes a nice balance. Has the precision of jazz and electronic but maintains a loose feel. The vocoder lyrics add a nice touch: never trying to steal the spotlight but adding an accessible hook. This record succeeds with it's songwriting and leaves rewards got repeat listens. It's presented simply but is an intricate production.

Philip Sherburne did a nice write-up for Pitchfork on this:

As before, Midnight Marker’s breezy melodies and lilting grooves make for a nice, chill listen—good morning-coffee music, cooking music, countryside-drive music. But this is nothing like the studied, stoned remove of anything you’ll find filed under “#chill” on any streaming service. His synths have real bite. His drums, recorded with real sticks on real skins, are enviably muscled. Walsh has said that one of his takeaways from both highlife and funk was that the guitar could function primarily as a percussive instrument, and he continues down that path here, backing up more melodically outgoing riffs and runs with plucked pulse and flicker.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Shy-Layers-Midnight-Marker/release/12081230

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYuYnAdVZ7Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFwx4Ay70CU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28GZ8Nomy1w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbCAdmysIT0

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Shy Layers – Midnight Marker

Description: Album Review of Shy Layers – Midnight Marker


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Octo Octa – Where Are We Going?

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Energetic electro

Moods

Cerebral yet fun

Thoughts

enjoyable mash of some of favorite styles. Has the energy and flow of a set at times though these are extended cuts. Fleeting moments of freedom brings to mind a fun 'bouncy' dance night out, love the playful loop backs.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Octo-Octa-Where-Are-We-Going/release/10025434

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T4ogb-eWoY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiOz3JQqBgc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MM4ssluYUtc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOL4pW-rGZ8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ECG3HWEqiF0

Spotify


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Octo Octa – Where Are We Going?

Description: Album Review of Octo Octa – Where Are We Going?


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Michael Mayer – Immer

★★★★★ = Classic, essential listening

Sounds like?

Minimal house

Moods

One of the finest minimal house mixes ever is now on YouTube!

Thoughts

Michael Mayer's immer and fabric mixes were eye-opening to me in terms of what mix is capable of. Taken alone the tracks on Immer aren't anything special – bit of bounce here, bit of ambiance there – stitched together they become this incredible cohesive entity. The subtle shifts are perfectly timed and show a mastery of songwriting even when it's all borrowed sounds. I love the sparse emptiness of minimal, there's something so alienating yet comforting about it. Immer has a sound I can only describe as grey, like the weather in Berlin or the film tone in those Nordic crime dramas.

Mayer's skill here is largely reliant on his tasteful selection and vision for this mix which is executed perfectly. Kompakt is an impressive label but Immer is in a league of its own, forever indeed.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Michael-Mayer-Immer/release/34646

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PeTIa1yGao

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Michael Mayer – Immer

Description: Album Review of Michael Mayer – Immer


Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Actress – Splazsh

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

Accessible experimental electro

Moods

Deep dank dark club music

Thoughts

this isn't gunning for the dance floor but it would work really well in certain 'dance' settings. Thinking smoke machines, deep, rhythmic.

It conjures up bad sound systems with tracks that have this bloated bass like you're listening to a dj through the basement floor of a club. Maybe that's the point: It's club like music presented out of context, from far away. Detached as an observer. The whole thing feels hazy, like it's filtered through something. weed maybe… i dunno but there's a separation between the listener and the music.

He's pushing electronic music forward in his own way, I suspect this will age well. At 10 years it still sounds relevant.

 

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Actress-Splazsh/release/2281630

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0FmZReUWXU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcnRT-m9MYo

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqUzSq1MVh0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h0bJUbcBP_c

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqQFMjUySio

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Actress – Splazsh

Description: Album Review of Actress – Splazsh


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Anthony Naples – Take Me With You

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

spacey shimmery electro with a pleasant beat

Moods

Cerebral

Thoughts

Upbeat with a downtempo dubby reverb. Has a nice flow. Tracks are short with new ideas ebbing into one another, like this approach compared with other producers who sometimes let an idea play on for too long.

Solid record.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Anthony-Naples-Take-Me-With-You/release/13076529

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1Fp2r4eCXY

Spotify


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Anthony Naples – Take Me With You

Description: Album Review of Anthony Naples – Take Me With You


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Mansur Brown – Shiroi

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

jazz with an electro hip hop vibe

Moods

Hip future jazz for sad night owls

Thoughts

Nocturnal record overall. There's a certain sadness in Brown's guitar playing. On the title track it can be haunting, letting notes ring out into forever; kind of like a technically proficient version of the XX. Other tracks, 'God willing' and 'me up', pick up quicker with an 808 like rhythm. The sound is defined by the bass players prominence in the mix, gives the album a funky urban thump.

It's a great style but as an LP it gets monotonous. I think with some songwriting focus and additional instrumentation this could go from good to great.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Mansur-Brown-Shiroi/release/12800537

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsHIrqYdacI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pOB6Wk22zG8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8KNlanLKXWI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kxvVtHEe-U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tvvCtys708

Spotify


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Mansur Brown – Shiroi

Description: Album Review of Mansur Brown – Shiroi


Rating: 3 out of 5