Snarky Puppy – Bring Us The Bright

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Modern fusion big band

Moods

Compositional perfection

Thoughts

They are almost like modern day big band featuring a big ensemble playing music in an orchestrated fashion. It's fusion in the sense that they draw from so many influences (rock, funk, jam bands, classical) while still staying true to jazz. My only fault is also the biggest compliment: their compositions are fantastic but can have the rehearsed stuffiness at times; missing the loose rawness of jazz I'm typically drawn to. They are so tight but I prefer their live studio albums as it adds that looseness.

As for individual tracks:

'Celebrity' is a great track, love the albums Dre g-funk from the keys line to the wompy bass effects.

Has a nice flow, 'strawman's' mellow beginning is a good example of this, drawing from jambands with quick guitar work and Herbie funky keys.

'34 klezma' begins with a yiddish rhythm and rich strings and piano, it's decadent in a classical sense.

Can't go wrong with a snarky puppy release

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Snarky-Puppy-Bring-Us-The-Bright/release/6447917

Listen!

Youtube

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pZdwTTZuOc

Spotify


Schema Info

Snarky Puppy – Bring Us The Bright

Description: Album Review of Snarky Puppy – Bring Us The Bright


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

iZem – Hafa

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Danceable global chilled out pop

Moods

A refreshing sun shower

Thoughts

Evidently this is the project of an electro producer though it doesn't feel like an electro record. The lead-off track is a jazzy pop thing I enjoy, not sure what language she's singing but it fits with the basic sax to set the exotic tone. 'Quiver' works with a detached feeling like Drake's music or certain portishead. The spacey 'kulala' is another standout, a swelling keys line and ping pong balls swirl around a peaceful vocal line.

This sits right on the border of the worldly music craze that's taken over pop production but iZem is on the interesting side, exploring the sound with organic instrumentation. It's as if this is an afro focused record that's been influenced by Drake, not vice versa. Vocalists aren't very distinct but I enjoy them, at least the language is varied. He's at his best with vocalists, not always an easy thing to do as a producer.

Meditative, transporting, fresh and enjoyable; recommended.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/iZem-Hafa-/release/9230946

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZrmeKnof44

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5v41wqHZYc

Spotify


Schema Info

iZem – Hafa

Description: Album Review of iZem – Hafa


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Machine Woman – When Lobster Comes Home

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

semi abrasive left field electro

Moods

"Camile from ohm makes me feel loved" is good, rest not so much

Thoughts

Not much to tracks 2 and 3, nothing to em.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Machine-Woman-When-Lobster-Comes-Home/release/10988544

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfw1JXt8dTI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnK3iISJv8U

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3BpyV6aQD4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fwNn69JHT8

Spotify


Schema Info

Machine Woman – When Lobster Comes Home

Description: Album Review of Machine Woman – When Lobster Comes Home


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

Centro-Matic – Love You Just The Same

★★☆☆☆ = Eh, fine

Sounds like?

alt bar rock Americana

Moods

Articulate bar-fly

Thoughts

pretty good with solid songwriting, I just find myself having less interest in traditional rock. I can't articulate a specific reason for why I don't like this record, it just plays like a boring drag and I wasn't a less to get through a second listen.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Centro-Matic-Love-You-Just-The-Same/release/1225270

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DS_20QTm3Tw

Spotify


Schema Info

Centro-Matic – Love You Just The Same

Description: Album Review of Centro-Matic – Love You Just The Same


Rating: 2 out of 5

 

James Ferraro – Far Side Virtual

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

vaporwave (new age synth and computer Muzak with a cynical twist)

Moods

A vaporwave classic, I'd like to logout now please

Thoughts

I'm not a vaporware historian but I appreciate the genre and it's cultural critique: taking the soothing elements of Muzak and warping them into this anxious soundtrack. This is a definitive vaporwave album and representative example of the genres aim. With just the right amount of maddening cheese, it doesn't feel like it's deliberate satire (well maybe on wifi sushi which is almost laugh out loud funny). He really captures the excitement that once existed about globalization's limitless possibility unlocked by the consumer. In hindsight we can see growth in corporate culture has just led to disappointment and further inequality, revealing an entirely new interpretation of this music.

As art I applaud it, its effective and immediate. To sit and listen to this as you would regular pop? I'm not sure it has that appeal.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/James-Ferraro-Far-Side-Virtual/release/7853044

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9ndKlm-G3s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRFn97NyURM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNhP6aoP6XY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w82omu5nrkk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIvR9rqae7Q

Spotify


Schema Info

James Ferraro – Far Side Virtual

Description: Album Review of James Ferraro – Far Side Virtual


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

The Nels Cline Singers – Macroscope

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

modern jazz with rock and free jazz ethos

Moods

Accessible experimental jazz for guitar shredders

Thoughts

Lots of guitar here. Earlier tracks are loaded with face-melting jazz guitar solos, with Cline coming out swinging; enlivened by percussive pushes. Middle tracks like 'red before orange' showcase his sweet tone.

Later tracks break away from structure, becoming more textural with bits of percussion and electronics. Really like the track 'seven zed heaven' which starts off with a swinging thing that turns into a tension building piece (Cyro's on this! Awesome weird percussive textures for this not familiar (see Hairy Mother intro).

Great album that rewards repeat listens.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/The-Nels-Cline-Singers-Macroscope/release/5631195

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoVY6M8fTXc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzQCQbso-dY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixk6zST2nM0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZXAIbKNA0o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZF2PaUA79ao

Spotify


Schema Info

The Nels Cline Singers – Macroscope

Description: Album Review of The Nels Cline Singers – Macroscope


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Portico Quartet – Portico Quartet

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

modern classic quartet with rock and jazz songwriting structures

Moods

Modern beauty

Thoughts

A true hybrid of genres incorporating everything from rock and electronic to jazz and classical. I'd say you're most familiar approaching this as a jazz album with classical influences. It's difficult for musicians to get that type of combination right but they pull it off in a patient way with effective touches of electronics and overall 'pretty' and 'contemplative' moments. It's richness would lend well to a live setting an I'd be really interested in seeing these guys live. 'Laker Boo' shifts out of the patient structure into something more aggressive and forward.

I like the ideas here but I'm not sure how much I'll revisit this album. I'm curious to see how they evolve, they have the potential for something truly great.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Portico-Quartet-Portico-Quartet/release/3455552

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpNXM-114WU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQH0GPL33uc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVLveOhrvG8

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

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

Spotify


Schema Info

Portico Quartet – Portico Quartet

Description: Album Review of Portico Quartet – Portico Quartet


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Magik Markers – Boss

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

Desert spooky kind of spoken word folk with tense instrumentation

Moods

Enlightenment

Thoughts

Enjoyable, reminds me of Sonic youth a bit. The aggressiveness and slight angularity is something I probably would've liked when I was younger but not something I'm as attracted to now, definitely reaching for chiller songs overall.

I like her spoken word lyrics. She's got a kind of all knowing confidence that works really well, it's hard to imagine these songs succeeding without her.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Magik-Markers-Boss/release/8170173

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwmUKg5Sp3Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUu60J19xpU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lA2cV-s8W84

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrYS9FW73EA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmYEZJ9r8VI

Spotify


Schema Info

Magik Markers – Boss

Description: Album Review of Magik Markers – Boss


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Florian Kupfer – I Feel You

★★★☆☆ = Good!

Sounds like?

deep lofi house

Moods

Rough LES basement electro

Thoughts

Overall I like the general sound here more than the individual songs. I feel these would work best in mixes, appearing as moments in some type of raw performance setting. All tracks utilize this slight distortion as if the drum pad got a small spill of beer on it and the effects are just slightly warped; things are coming through but something is slightly off. It's rough not so much in tone like industrial productions but in polish as if he's making this live; letting the drum machine go on for too long alone on lemming for instance. It's ultimately effective at building the tension through an uncertainty as it he figuring out how these tracks are going to work.

Really dig the first track with a moody mournful vocal that stood out with that distorted bass thump.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Florian-Kupfer-I-Feel-You/release/7327553

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0LVImlFDyg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNNVR4Q3I2I

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JdqOXhHd3I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1OdwGdo4Jk

Spotify


Schema Info

Florian Kupfer – I Feel You

Description: Album Review of Florian Kupfer – I Feel You


Rating: 3 out of 5

 

Lee Morgan – Search For The New Land

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

real good hardbop

Moods

Peak creativity

Thoughts

here's what allmusic said about the session:

"the musicians are in particularly creative form on the fresh material, and they stretch the boundaries of hard bop (the modern mainstream jazz of the period). The result is a consistently stimulating set that rewards repeated listenings."

Stray observation: I've never thought of hard bop as a ‘new thing’ but it was not so long ago.

Anyways, focusing on the title track there is definitely a strong creative current that all inventive jazz strives for. Clocking in at roughly 15 minutes it encompasses just under half the album. It has this stop and go kind of momentum with the refrain opening into each of the solos. Reminds me of in a silent way where the song unfolds in these wave type parts, layering on top of each other.

The rest of the outing is pretty good hard bop but never captures that same high. Still the stellar ensemble ensures hard bop fans will leave pleased.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Lee-Morgan-Search-For-The-New-Land/release/1597082

Listen!

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDfkkRa1VA8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2w909-pj3A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73rT4Gsh7nU

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oX73N9-hUeU

Spotify


Schema Info

Lee Morgan – Search For The New Land

Description: Album Review of Lee Morgan – Search For The New Land


Rating: 4 out of 5