Saturday, September 30, 2017

Sherpa- Tanzlinde (Sulatron Records ST1607-2)

Sherpa is a new Italian band. The band plays a very calm but cool sort of music with a bit of eastern inspiration.  The CD or LP features 10 tracks. The label neo-psych has been attached to them but not sure how accurate that is. The CD starts off with the track Dune. It has a beautiful and melodic guitar line and features Fabiana on vocals. He has a cool voice. Musically it starts to build up with some nice layers but the melodic thread drives the track. Dreamy at times. Robert W (presumably, Wyatt) is next. Lilla provides the vocal on this track. Slow, mellow, open sound with some nice use of chimes. Dubinuska features vocalists Aya and Ila and is a dreamy piece also, especially the way one of the voices is mixed. The bass, drums and guitar build this one up in a cool way. Reminds me of Ole Lukkoye a bit. The title track is next and features Fabiano again in this eastern inspired track.  One of my faves on the record.  Sherpa starts with a cool guitar line that is repeated over and over as the vocals and drums start to enter the scene. This track is a little psychedelic with the way the vocals are mixed and one of the more rocky songs. Magnetic White Tree is more mellow and dreamy but slowly builds up. Nice keyboards on this track. Loto starts with some slowly faded up effected guitar and drony dreamy keyboards. The vocal is very lightly sung in an airy way. Later the female vocal is sung like the Middle Eastern singers from Lebanon or Israel.  Big Foot has a start and stop rhythm to start and you really expect the band will rock this one out and a killer jam will start but it does not happen. It ends with a sample in Italian. Cool vibe though. Of Coke and Steel has a bit more drive to it before the dream vocal starts again. Ti builds up quite nicely but sounds a lot like some of the other songs with repeated guitar lines. Plot is the final track and starts with the keyboards, hand cymbals, spacey vocals and a bit of mountain glow.

I have really grown to dig this CD after 5 or so listens despite it not having any guitar or synth solos and quite short songs. My wife really likes this album a lot. Nice album to hear at home. Unless the band had amazing visuals, I think I would get pretty bored live with no solos and this mellow spacey vibe all the time. The band has a bit post rock styling without the huge dynamics (peaks and valleys).

Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand- What makes you Pray (WBR 53)

This pretty cool Austrian group is back with a new release. They release quite a lot of limited edition music. I really liked their last record that I heard Joyride quite a lot. This new one comes in a slipsleeve with a postcard, small insert and sticker. It features 9 tracks and is pretty spaced out at all times. It is not as guitar heavy as the last one.  It (Shine?) starts off with a echoy sound and very repetitive fuzzed out bass, slowly the guitar and synths enter the soundscape but still quite in the distance.  I have no idea what the order of the songs is. They are listed on the insert in a circle but where do you start? I have no read out on the CD player either. so I have to just describe it for you. After 5 ½ mins the dark vocals start (both male and female).  We are about hit the 10min mark and you should be scared by now.  The tripp ends at 12mins. Next track has a reverberating bass and some acid guitar mixed in the background (sounds like it is in another room) as it builds. Dark, psychedelic stuff. This one has more of a cool groove going but it dies out at 3mins.  A dark synth pad and drums drives you deep into the next place deep in the earth but with a little bit of a country twang guitar to start off. This one is a bit more happy. The female vocal is quite buried on this one but present. Reminds me of Ego's (White Hills) vocals a bit. The drive is quite intense on the next track and the female vocal more understandable. A nice acid rock guitar solo is thrown in along the electronic bass and drum beat. Now we enter into deep space. This track has a very deep bass that shook my floor but is very mellow and spacey. Cool. The next track about 3mins, was a fun one with a nice guitar. A distorted guitar and piano starts off the next track to change the mood totally. The final track has an industrial feel to the start as a synth gradually makes an appearance followed by the voice (Time passes by). Strange one. 

Fans of the dark stranger White Hills stuff will really like this album. If you are deeply religious, this might make you think about praying..

Nate Hall- The Center of the Earth (Self Released)

Nate Hall is the guitar and singer in US Christmas, a US heavy space rock band. Although it has been some years since US Christmas had a new release, Nate has released a lot of stuff on bandcamp and a few smaller releases on tape and other formats. He has one official album under his name, which I really loved. He was recently in need of money so I splurged and bought the entire discography on bandcamp which included this new full length album. At the moment this is only available digitally but a CD release is in the works.  He album has 13 very diverse tracks.  Night sky Humming starts off with a beautiful track. Acoustic and electric guitars.  Purple sounds like Nate is playing a banjo. This is a very slowly picked track. Nice and short instrumental. Bitter World of Dreams combines electric and acoustic guitars as most of the tracks on this album. Holy Spirit is a sort of tormented sound with a powerful electric guitar complimenting the acoustic guitar and lyrics. Winter Fingers is a slow and beautiful number and one of my faves on the record.  Because they are Strange features some sampled words by an Indian chief and is a dreamy experimental track that leads into the title track, The Center of the Earth, which features the banjo. Always is a strange drone experiment track with some a dark trippy feel to it, the way the vocal sits inbetween the drony parts.  Wet to slip this Skin features electric guitar and a pretty straight vocal. A solo is overdubbed after the vocal section, which returns afterwards. Circling Fall is back to acoustic guitar and electric and a nice laid back vocal that is double tracked or is that someone else??  Til the waves has a nice multilayerd and spacey vibe to it and some electric slide guitar with some delays along with the strummed acoustic guitar. Love the singing on this one. If you like his other material, you will enjoy this. Nate is true to his style but also not afraid to step out of the box and do something strange and unexpected.

Recorded and Mixed in August 2015 by Travis Kammayer at Fahrenheit Studio, Johnson City, Tennessee . Words and music by Nate Hall. Additional sounds by Travis Kammayer . Sampled words of Chief Dan George/Thomas Berger. Mastered by Brad Boatright/Audioseige. Art by Hush

Vokokesh- Bon Voyage, Mr. Tripp (Pure Pop for Now People FOR12)

This is a limited edition CD-R made in 60 copies. It features 3 studio tracks and 3 live tracks (2015).  Huxley’s Deathbed starts things off with some chaotic noise and then the guitar takes the lead and spaces out. There is some really crazy effects on the guitar and sometimes makes you wonder if something is wrong with the CD-R!!!!  Later it slows almost to a stop a few times and there is like a TV program or something going on in the background and they noodle about. We are now over 10mins into the strange trip.  The title track is a slow and spacey one with some cool delay guitar. Later Richard really plays a cool guitar solo. This track also goes well over 10mins. The last studio track is Take the slow Train, which has sort of strummed, noisy guitar to start and then the bass and drums kick in. Richard really kicks ass on this one and I love the bass line that drives the groove. The live tracks have a similar sound production and are more or less the same, that being, instrumental mainly guitar workout, freakouts with a solid rhythm section. Joe got his Gun is an instrumental version of Hej Joe! If  you are a fan of Richard Franecki’s guitar playing then you will really love this one.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sonashish- Sitar Recital by K.G. Westman (Bihaan Music)

Most of you probably know KG from his work with Siena Root and Øresund Space Collective but this is what KG does most of the time, that is, play classical northern Indian music. This is his first solo CD called Sonashish. It was recorded in India on April 9th and 11, 2017. The CD features two fantastic raga which also feature tabla player, Shri Jyan Swarup Mukherjee.  The first piece is called Raag Shonashish conceived by KG’s grand master, Pandit Rabindra Narayan Goswami. It starts off quite slow and meditative but then the tabla kicks in and the energy level slowly rises until it is quite intense. The ending, wow.. Transports you to another place.  Raag Multani. This raag is meant to be heard in the late afternoon or at sunset and is a pretty fast piece with intense playing from both players.

Both these pieces are presented in Alaap, gat in rupak tall and drut teentaal. This is information for classical students about the different passages the music will travel through (speed, etc..)..   Excellent album. I just wish it was longer. Check out a short piece from last summer below..