Kalabrese – Rumpelzirkus

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

Personal fun and funky electro (I guess discogs calls this left field electro?)

Moods

An electro record with feeling.

Thoughts

Reminds me of a slightly off kilter Lumio who shares the carefree fun quality of Koze. That description might sound cliche (and there's for sure a certain cliche cheesiness on these tracks) but there's a love and curiosity of life that's very alive in this music.

These tracks run long allowing you to get into the groove. I appreciate the songwriting, tracks are layered and evolve with a natural ebb and flow.

He’s become my goto artist for Friday late night working sessions in the lab.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Kalabrese-Rumpelzirkus/release/977370

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Kalabrese – Rumpelzirkus

Description: Album Review of Kalabrese – Rumpelzirkus


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Rap with an alt pop lean

Moods
Headphones on and taking in nu-NYC

Thoughts
I don’t know why, call it a natural curiosity, but growing-up I loved the radio and would spend hours taking in anything I could hear. I find pleasure discovering sounds and appreciate art that maintains this same dynamism. It’s reflected in a broader cultural awareness with my generation, whose been raised with the internet and the power of having humanity’s entire cultural output instantly available. So what do you do with it? You take your favorite parts and begin creating something new, sampling in other words.

I find this to be a representative album for today’s sample based culture as Banks, a versatile MC, floats effortlessly between pop and rap on this impressive set of alt-electro productions (think sampling today rather than the past). I appreciate rappers who are able to carve distinct sounds for themselves and feel this is a classic in the marriage of rap and electro.

Listening notes on specific time:
* 212 – immediately and undeniably great
* Idlest delilah / soda is glitchy greatness and a personal favorite
* ‘Gimme a chance’ succeeds as an OK pop song before switching into a gripping latin bit (maybe corny but I genuinely like it).
* BBD, ice princess, Yung Rapunxel take a turn into harder boomy beats that sound a little dated after the edm boom.
* Things drift off towards the end, but she soars on miss camaraderie. Not sure I’ve heard someone flow over edm so well.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Azealia-Banks-Broke-With-Expensive-Taste/release/6728221

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Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste

Description: Album Review of Azealia Banks – Broke With Expensive Taste


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Big, modern, swinging avant-garde jazz

Moods
Feeling.. technical

Thoughts
She’s been hyped a lot for her live shows here in New York and as my first introduction to her I can see why as this is a must hear for anyone interested in modern compositions. Meticulously arranged, this offers layers of strings, brass and rhythm executed flawlessly.

Hats off to the vision and level of playing. Nothing sexy here, its ‘dooty’ plain vanilla jazz but damn those are incredibly interesting compositions.

Side one is where it’s at. Rewards repeat listens.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Mary-Halvorson-Octet-Away-With-You/release/9341908

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Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You

Description: Album Review of Mary Halvorson Octet – Away With You


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Guitar driven classic rock

Moods
Collins Basement

Thoughts

The songwriting reminds me of prog rock due to a series of time changes and chops but at its core this is ‘classic rock’ through and through.

Songs are structured around Beck’s guitar playing and feature some great keys solos and impeccable drumming and bass. Beck’s style is fantastic: technical and precise while still maintaining a groove.

While later tracks like ‘scatterbrain’ kick things into full-on rock, I really like the easy-going, latin-tinged ‘she’s a women’.

Solid record.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Jeff-Beck-Blow-By-Blow/release/1929704

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Youtube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwUq8ZE3d7c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcGlc45uHOo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_9C5MUJVHQ


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Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow

Description: Album Review of Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Funky soulful jazz

Moods
Feeling Fine

Thoughts
Not crazy about the title track (though the guitar work is good) but the rest of the album is really good:
* ‘Piece of mind’ is hip and soulful with an easy free-floating vibe.
* ‘Lorans dance’ is a masterpiece and one of my favorite tracks in recent years: cool, nocturnal, soulful.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Idris-Muhammad-Power-Of-Soul/release/3643207

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Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul

Description: Album Review of Idris Muhammad – Power Of Soul


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Jon Hassell – Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Atmospheric ambient jazz

Moods
Nocturnal

Thoughts
Alright I need more of this. A spiritual successor to miles’ electric period but with a new world / ambient lean. Uneven on the first listen but liked the title track and courtrais (almost feel this borrowed a bass line from miles).

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Jon-Hassell-Last-Night-The-Moon-Came-Dropping-Its-Clothes-In-The-Street/release/1690867

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Jon Hassell – Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street

Description: Album Review of Jon Hassell – Last Night The Moon Came Dropping Its Clothes In The Street


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Idris Muhammad – House Of The Rising Sun

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Upbeat kinda groovy quick jazz funk

Moods
Having a good time with some smart ass music

Thoughts
I love Muhammad’s drumming which gives this an incredibly quick backbeat that only a true master can provide. Add in some punchy bass and solos that carry with energy and character, has a 70s grit to it.

The writing is great too, taking pop and turning them into jazz songs (really well done, not just half-baked covers) Sudan is a great piece where I feel the band gels more and feels slightly less arranged. (Admittedly the track I said to myself ok this is a really good album). I don’t want you know more is a greater closer. Bit new Orleans brass with a floating keys line and funky get up and dance drum beat, ends with the right energy.

Allmusic got it right:

But the complete disregard for the political correctness of “Jazz” itself, in order to get the deeply funky and soulful grooves across, is what makes this set so damn special and even spiritual in its inspiration. Jazz purists lost all credibility when they slagged this one off, caught as they were in tainted, even racist views of the past that made no allowances for jazz musicians to actually follow their time-honored tradition of mining the pop music of the day to extend the breadth and reach of jazz itself. Anybody who wants to believe that George Gershwin is somehow more important than George Porter Jr. is already lost in his own cultural fascism. Muhammad, who understands this better than anyone, pulled out all the stops here and blasted out one amazingly tough, funky slab. Brilliant.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Idris-Muhammad-House-Of-The-Rising-Sun/release/3429650

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Idris Muhammad – House Of The Rising Sun

Description: Album Review of Idris Muhammad – House Of The Rising Sun


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Makaya McCraven – Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape)

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Modern jazz with a strong hip hop bend

Moods
Evening warehouse jam

Thoughts
A fine example of jazz that successfully incorporates hip hop elements, typically these hybrids are reversed (eg Kendricks backing band). This has a dynamic energy to it, making good use of effects and electronics to keep things fresh. While it plays like a live album this was stitched together in post production which benefits the experience as something that’s just one big highlight. Exploratory playful, energetic, progressive: what jazz is all about.

Recommended tracks: ox tales, repetitive drumline pushes things forward with a soulful keys solo on top, King drive utilizes a James Blake pitched down vocal to extreme effectiveness on a track already utilizing off-time signatures.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Makaya-McCraven-Where-We-Come-From-CHICAGOxLONDON-Mixtape/release/12364402

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Makaya McCraven – Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape)

Description: Album Review of Makaya McCraven – Where We Come From (CHICAGOxLONDON Mixtape)


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Keith Fullerton Whitman – Playthroughs

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?
Ambient noise

Moods

Working

Thoughts
Excellent ambient, captures a mood and doesn’t let go. This is all done with guitar, think long ‘held’ notes.

‘Modena’ is an album standout and benefits from a traditional song structure.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Keith-Fullerton-Whitman-Playthroughs/release/73749

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Keith Fullerton Whitman – Playthroughs

Description: Album Review of Keith Fullerton Whitman – Playthroughs


Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Joy Orbison,Ben Vince – Transition 2

★★★★☆ = Quality release and suggested listening

Sounds like?

Energetic electro with effect laden sax

Moods

Club but still want to jam

Thoughts
Electronic music can sometimes feel too mechanical. Incorporating instrumentation into electronic productions is, generally speaking, a positive way to humanize the music while still leveraging the infinite possibilities electronic production can offer.

Enter here: a fusion record of top-notch Joy Orbison productions (hip IDM) and sax-playing by Ben Vince. While I think there’s room to grow in the electro/jam fusion space, I support explorations like this as it points to a direction I’d like to see music going. Sounds pretty good too.

More Info

https://www.discogs.com/Joy-O-Ben-Vince-Transition-2/release/11981490

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Joy Orbison,Ben Vince – Transition 2

Description: Album Review of Joy Orbison,Ben Vince – Transition 2


Rating: 4 out of 5