A new year has arrived. So many beautiful albums happened to be released in 2016, many things are happening on the music scene all over the world.
Let’s start this 2017 by giving a listen to these astounding projects! Your ears shall be refreshed!
Amaterasu - Corima
A true delight for Zeuhl enthusiasts, a stunning piece of work, so soft and graceful; so aggressive and restless. It has a delicious way of unraveling, it transforms and takes you to unexpected places, it strikes like lightning and ripples playfully all about; it lurks and it flirts, out of the blue it explodes and blooms back ferociously. Glimpses of Magma and Univers Zero appear tastefully now and then. The album never ceases to be creative and lives up to Quetzalcóatl, another excellent album. Let yourself be splashed by their colorful frenzy
Boy 44 - Todd Clouser with John Medeski, Aarón Cruz and Gustavo Nandayapa
Disappearance, uncertainty, anger, despair: this project is inspired on a painful scar that stays latent throughout Mexican soil. This album is as devastating as it is beautiful. Boy 44’s verses are ablaze, scorched textures are turned into poetry while they swirl translucently. Medeski’s voice flutters chaotically about the piano keys, Cruz’s phrases are brilliant, tangible and contagious, Nandayapa’s percussions come and go, as soon as they seem clear, they vanish to change their form. Clouser’s words take you by surprise, they slap you right on the face: “You the brave!” (You’re depraved? Cause we are). “You cannot be purchased” he insists, he provokes “You are not produced by your consumption.” and so it marches along with a delicate yet addictive violence, it repeats itself and continues to grow, and as soon as you think you know where it’s headed, it changes it’s course, it captures that dreadful time in history, but it’s not over yet. Music calls for (r)evolution:
Crystal Machete - Wes Borland
We’ve never seen Wes Borland do something quite like this, it has a science fiction quality to it, you can almost see a foreign land emerging from the clouds, its plot unfolds slowly while it defines this glistening place, an empty city that calls out for exploration. Though we’ve seen him explore soundscapes with Black Light Burnsand we’ve been delighted with his furious collaborations with Queen Kwong,this is probably his most consistent work. Cinematographic, playful, surprisingly sweet; though sour at times, that’s part of its charm. This album is a lot of fun in between shrill landscapes and a dim theme that gently appears and hovers about the story in different shades. Here, have a taste:
Death by Water - Yugen
Francesco Zago accomplishes to translate poetry into sound, the very title is inspired by T.S. Elliot, the result is dazzling; this album is as delirious as it is chaotic. Their sound remains a fusion of avant prog, chamber music and symphonic prog, and is highly influenced by contemporary music. With a turbulent start, small phrases are fragmented, they respond to each other in a turbulent debris, they start overlapping in a delightful schizophrenia, playful, surrealistic, even humorous, it surrounds you: now we fragmentate along with it, and we burst, immerse in this sudden chaos that ends as suddenly as it began. This album evokes the movement of the sea with all it's immensity, a furious sea, at times a sea that stays still after the storm. It ripples and swallows, with a cadence reminiscent of high tides, this is one of the highlights of 2016. Dive in!
Horse of Colors - Hanggai
Thrilling and adventurous from the very start, these horsemen transport you to their inner homeland. These warriors are always on the move, they keep their tradition alive because they engage in dialogue with it, they transform it; you find yourself surrounded in an intrepid range of voices, there is no one quite like them. What they do is inspiring, they’re just all over the place, loud and clear. Their voices unite in an army, it’s contagious and one gets carried away into the mountains of Mongolia through their sound. Endearing too, they manage to draw golden landscapes before your eyes. Many ancient tales come to life during the record, memories to be fond of, battles to be fought… There is no use in resisting the urge to sing along, we must sing along. With bold turns and tender stops throughout this journey, one looks back to discover it was an adventure worth having and those battles were worth fighting for. Don’t let this album get away, Hanggai will go far, let’s ride along with them!
House In The Tall Grass - Kikagaku Moyo
Like silk, they’re smooth and elegant. Sunlight lingers down, it glows through the morning dew, tiny stars are multiplied and, by moving, they sing to each other in a kaleidoscopic dance. Daylight glides across the sky, time slows down, it follows the drizzly breeze. Exuberant, they’re a psychedelic delicacy. Somehow they remind me of Popol Vuh: their approach to sound, their mild and silken whispers, how their music seems to be taking place far, far away: away from time, away from gravity, you find yourself at ease, hypnotized by the flow of time, a gorgeous rhythm to pace about. Float away for a while, right here:
Kids Play With Monuments - Middle Waters
This debut is honest and introspective. Carlos Metta is from Mexico and Tal Engel is from Israel, despite the distance they found a strong bond in music, the result is sinuous, dark but soothing, like a sleepless night, when insomnia is silently interrupted by the ebb and flow of lucid dreams. At first, as you listen, you feel like an intruder, but you surrender to its tenderness and you let it in. It is a very intimate album on one hand, on the other it becomes personal to the one who listens, you identify yourself with the lyrics, the melodies and that’s why they hurt a little: memories awake and bounce in between the strings. She has a gorgeous voice that blends softly with his, it’s curious how their voices are both so serene and low-pitched. There is grieving, but in the end, there is also a light, balance can be restored. Here, click, and close your eyes for a moment:
Kubo And The Two Strings - Dario Marianelli
An outstanding film deserves a memorable soundtrack such as this. Laika Studios has brought to life four gorgeous films to this date, each one as rebellious as the last one; Laika has taken Stop-Motion to a whole new level and this is their second collaboration with Dario Marianelli. One of the attributes of this Soundtrack is the way it resembles a child’s perspective, the phrases are bright and innocent when they follow Kubo, it’s a thrill to see how they evolve from warm to strident and back along Kubo’s quest. A very important character throughout the film is Kubo’s Shamisen, a magical Shamisen that may bring inanimate things to life, such as paper that folds into colorful shapes: birds, little warriors, a galleon... Marianelli’s inventiveness and versatility are remarkable, he even made some gorgeous arrangements of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, featuring Regina Spektor, take a peek:
The Monolith Of Phobos - The Claypool Lennon Delirium
What a tremendous duo! One of 2016’s most thrilling releases, if you haven’t heard it, do not hesitate any longer, Claypool and Lennon are a match made in heaven! Lennon’s lyrics are simply overwhelming: “She’s always bored although you know that she’s drowning in stimulation” Claypool is already a legend.There is a distorted whimsicality to it, ingenious, ironic; from time to time a dense melancholy clouds up your mind and gets entangled to your thoughts: a mischievous psychedelia of opaque, and yet striking colors that parade from dance to dance, up and down, from shape to shape, they bulge and they shrink. To dance along is unavoidable. Whilst singing of postmodern sorrows, they have a strange taste of The Beatles going on, Sean’s voice disorientates you while it merges with Les’s… -Have I been here before? -you wonder. It’s a strange place to return to, everything has changed in it. The Claypool Lennon Delirium are happening now and our twisted and macabre times are calling for a sound just alike: “Don’t ever stop shoppin’, don’t ever give in, ‘cause if we stop shoppin’ the terrorists win”. My! They have an enviable chemistry, hopefully, they’ll keep on building delightful nightmares. Shake your bones to this one:
Strung out in Heaven - Amanda Palmer and Jherek Bischoff
And since it’s January already, what can we do but remember this world kept on spinning after letting David Bowie go towards the sky, into space. And since we’re remembering already, why not give a listen to this stunning tribute?There is a familiar warmth to it, maybe that’s what Amanda Palmer does, she makes you feel like home. She is so involved with her audience that she is not afraid of opening up completely and she allows us to be vulnerable too, to mourn, to overcome and to turn those fretful tears into gratitude. Is there something more empowering than gratitude? Her tribute is so electrifying that it leaves you suspended among the stars, orbitless; time stops for a moment and leaves you alone with your past; you discover the trace of time throughout your face, suddenly time is no more and, though it seems impossible, sound goes on (in outer space too!): music has managed to exist despite time. We start to orbit back to earth, slowly, while we embrace the loss and we land on our feet to walk on by; from time to time, we look up to the sky just to make sure we won’t forget. Bowie’s legacy will live on, along with Palmer’s. She’s also been releasing little jewels now and then, including this one (get ready to shed a tear or two) that she dedicated to the memory of her best friend, hold on tight:
Wreck His Days - Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards
The author of this album remains a mystery. An album dedicated to “all women throughout history who fought against hate and dedicated their lives to making a better world”.It starts with a steamy, mechanical flow that awakes slowly, to move entrancingly, that mist swirls and swells about, drifting from one genre to another. This album is perfect for a long ride on the subway, there is a sense of danger that never goes away. As we reach the second half of the album, it’s political speech becomes more evident: “Victory to all working people in struggle throughout the world.” Maybe someday we will conquer the rain, and that will be the day we stop getting wet, the day it rains upwards:
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS