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November 2020 Highlights

November 2020 Highlights

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ADDITIONS |November2020

Emma Donovan - Crossover

Crossover

by Emma Donovan and the Putbacks

Released 6 November 2020

Hopestreet

*****

Six years have elapsed since "Dawn" the last album by renowned indigenous soul singer and powerhouse vocalist Emma Donovan and critically-acclaimed Melbourne-based rhythm combo The Putbacks. That album is an Australian soul classic and un-surprisingly, their new album "Crossover" showcases the musical development of these artists within the similarly-evolving Australian jazz and soul scene, during the intervening years.

As ever, Emma reaches deep within her life experience and produces heartfelt songs that refer to her childhood, family, culture and especially her late mother. These include

"Yarian Mitji" (the album's standout track in my opinion), a beautiful song written by Ruby Hunter that is sung in the Ngarrindjeri language from South Australia and translates to "What is my story?"

Mob March" is inspired by the land right marches of the early 70s and the recent Black Lives marches. 

"Pink Skirt" is inspired by her grandmother: "the funny little things she did, the funny little things she wore, childhood memories of her, and being able to share that with her mum and her daughter".

"Warrell Creek Song", sung in Gumbaynggir language from the mid North Coast of New South Wales, tells a story of pain felt by Gumbaynggir mob after the first tugboats came up from the ocean filling up the creek valley with smoke.

In support, The Putbacks lay down powerful, faultlessly funky rhythms that draw inspiration from the classic soul with arrangements that will earn tham further respect from their peers within the neo-soul revival.

The band is:

Emma Donovan - Vocals
Simon Mavin - Keyboards
Rory McDougall - Drums
Mick Meagher - Bass
Tom Martin - Guitar
Justin Marshall - Percussion

Olafur Arnalds - Some Kind Of Piece

Some Kind Of Peace

by Olafur Arnalds

Released 6 November 2020

Mercury KX

****-

Olafur Arnalds describes his new album "Some Kind Of Peace" as "a journey of personal and creative growth, set against the backdrop of a chaotic world". “It's so personal that I'm still trying to find the words to talk about it,” Arnalds says. “I felt it was important that the album would tell my story in a very honest way" urging us to embrace all that life throws at us and above all to react, and contemplate, to find our own kind of peace.

Musically, the result is not a serious or precious as his description might have you fear. The ten pieces that comprise the album each run between three and five minutes, always allowing time for each idea to be fully resolved and moving on without delay or over-indulgence.

Guest artist JSDR (Iceland's Jofriour Akadottir) appears on the track "Back To The Sky"contributing Bjork-like funky vocals to the album's most memorable track.

The album-opening  "Loom" featuring electronic superstar Bonobo, is complete with a hooky synth melody and a synthesised child-like vocal conclusion. Further in, "The Bottom Line" features emerging German/Korean vocalist Josin whose haunting (Thom Yorke-like) vocals are offset by a mellow string backing.

Although presumably not written as such, this is an album that is perfectly weighted for the home-bound isolation that the pandemic has required. It's also mellow enough to be played as an ambient accompanyment to house-bound activity, but lively enough in parts to draw attention from time to time, like occasional sunshine breaking through the grey monotony of an otherwise cloudy day.

Tenderlonius - Ragas From Lahore Improvovisations with Jaubi

Ragas From Lahore: Improvisations with Jaubi

by Tenderlonius, Jaubi

Released 27 November 2020

22a

*****

In April 2019, Tenderlonious embarked on a trip to Pakistan to work with Lahore based instrumental quartet, Jaubi. Following on from the highly acclaimed, three track limited edition 10” vinyl release of "Tender in Lahore" this is the full suite of improvised ragas from a one day recording session in Lahore, Pakistan.

Tender tells the full story of how this recording canme about on Bandcamp, and I recommend you to it.

He concludes: "Through many hours of hard work and planning we arrived in Lahore on the 9th of April 2019, greeted with nothing but love and humility. Lahore is something special; full of positivity, care and hope. It was, thankfully, all a stark contrast to the negativity we heard about Pakistan before arriving. It was not long into the first day and that first studio session that we realised this trip would be a real awakening. Nothing whatsoever was written down during the recording sessions - no sheet music, no song titles. It was sincere. All egos were left behind and hearts and souls were open and poured into the music."

Many of the so-called east-west musical collaborations between European and Sub-continental artists are among my favourite recordings of all time. This includes Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin's "West Meets East" (Parlophone, 1966); Charlie Mariano with R.A. Ramamani and the Karnataka College of Percussion "Jyoythi" (ECM, 1985) ;Ry Cooder & V.M. Bhatt "A Meeting By The River" (Water Lily Acoustics, 2011) and Shye Ben Tzur, Jonny Greenwood and the Rajastan Express "Junun" (Nonesuch Records, 2015).

This new recording is a worthy addition to this formidable canon.

Archie Roach - The Songs Of Charcoal Lane

The Songs Of Charcoal Lane

by Archie Roach

Released 13 November 2020

Warner Music Australia

****-

"Charcoal Lane" was the debut studio album by Australian singer song writer Archie Roach, released in May 1990 and although it peaked only at number 86 on the ARIA Charts in April '91, it was certified gold in 1992. The album received three nominations at the ARIA Awards that year, winning two; ARIA Award for Best New Talent and Best Indigenous Release.

However it was the 25th Anniversary Edition (released November 2015) that demonstrates the importance and resonance of this album among all other Australian music of the period: that release included the (remastered) original disc plus new interpretations of all the songs by many of Australias most important artists, led notably by Paul Kelly & Courtney Barnett in a duet covering the title track plus Emma Donovan, Dan Sultan, Gurrumul and many others. Notably, Archie's late partner Ruby Hunter also features, with the inclusion of her own "Live At The Wireless" performances of many tracks.

Now, for the 30th Anniversay Archie himself returns to the songs as the inspirational, celebrated elder - including The Order Of Australia (2015), Victorian of the Year (2020) and inductee to the ARIA Hall of Fame (2020) and syrvivor of stroke and lung cancer.

As the album cover declares, 2020's "The Songs of Charcoal Lane" was quite literally "recorded at Archie's kitchen table" and the songs are deliverd in the order of the original album.

Midnight Oil - The Makarrata Project

Midnight Oil

by The Makarrata Project

Released 30 October 2020

Sony Music

***--

Midnight Oil's new release picks up the themes of the band's iconic 1987 album Deisel and Dust, this time in collaboration with a group of well-known indigenous artists including Garrumal Yunupingu, Jessica Mauboy, Dan Sultan, Kev Carmody, Troy Casser-Daley and others. ​

Despite the involvement of so may collaborators and featured contributions by guest vocalists Alice Skye (Terror Australia), Frank Yamma (Desert Man, Desert Woman) and rapper Tasman Keith (fFirst Nation), the remaining music is unmistakably Midnight Oil's with Peter Garrett's vocals dominant up front of the power unit, having lost nothing of it's roof-raising energy by the passing of time. Indeed, musically, this album might easily have been kept for release as a bonus disc to Deisel & Dust's for it's 30th anniversay, due in only a couple of year's time. 

Although surely well intentioned in support of noble causes, I feel it it was an unfortunate mistake for Midnight Oil to allow their own music to dominate the disc: revealing yet again how difficult it is for the rest of Australia to make room for the raising of indigenous voices, without patrony. 

It is even doubtful that this album will further the causes of Makarrata or appreciation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart: the Oils are probably preaching to the choir.

It would have been more efffective for Midnight Oil to have curated a broad compilation of original songs about Makarrata U Uluru, from a mixture of established and emerging indigenous artists.

Nick Cave - Idot Prayer (Nick Cave Alone At Alexandra Palace)

Nick Cave

by Idiot Prayer

Released 20 November 2020

Bad Seed

*****

Tragedy seems to cling to Nick Cave like an oil-soaked cloak: his early-career lyrical focuses on American Southern Gothic, Old Testiment themes was surplanted by the tragedy of his son's death in 2015, which became a major infuence on his remarkable 2019 album Ghosteen.  His return to the concert arena now restricted by a pandemic of truly Cavesian proportion, Cave booked the Alexandra Palace in London for a live solo performance that was streamed globally and "exclusively" to ticket holders online on 23 July 2020. The performance was filmed by cinematographer Robbie Ryan and although initially intended to be a one-time-only event, Idiot Prayer was released in extended form in cinemas on 5 November 2020 and as a live album on 20 November 2020. Idiot Prayer also serves as the final film in a trilogy, along with 20,000 Days on Earth (2014) and One More Time with Feeling (2016). It has been described by Cave as "its luminous and heartfelt climax".

84 minutes in duration, it is indeed a remarkable performance that dramatically transposes the powerful Bad Seeds music to solo piano. The emotional, often-ponderous lyrics of favourite songs like Into My Arms, Jubilee Street, Higgs Bosumn Blues, The Mercy Street transpose well to this intimate new setting, carried by Cave's earnest barritone. 

Although all these songs are dredged up from his back catalogue, these are interpretations that now seem essential: as if we are now hearing the songs as they sound in Nick Cave's head. Once again Cave has delivered one of the albums of the year.

Audrey Powne - Bed I Made

Bed I Made (EP)

by Audrey Powne

Released 22 September 2020

Audrey Powne Self Released

****-

Her own website audreypowne.com poses and answers the question "Who is Audrey Powne?".

"Who Is Audrey? Vocalist, trumpeter and songwriter, Audrey Powne is a prolific young musician and stalwart of Melbourne’s burgeoning jazz/soul scene who has turned her hand to many musical endeavours. 

Audrey is known to audiences fronting sweet soul band Leisure Centre and her dynamic, genre defying, electro funk project Au Dré.

Having recently re-located to New York, Audrey has spent the last 12 months working on this, her debut solo EP, alongside her busy schedule as a session musician touring the US and Europe with Grammy nominated country soul band The Teskey Brothers.

Her prominence and renown as a performer on the Melbourne and international jazz/soul scene has seen her receive wide acclaim from the likes of Worldwide FM and BBC Radio 6 presenter and tastemaker Gilles Peterson (who recently recorded her quartet for his record label Brownswood Recordings compilation record Sunny Side Up) and legendary BBC radio presenter Tony Blackburn who said of her debut single Flowers “…Have a listen to this. What a song and what a voice. I love it.”

Says it all.

Source:

Big Yawn - No!

No!

by Big Yawn

Released 6 March 2020

Research Records

***--

Big Yawn - South Preston Garage (EP)

South Preston Garage (EP)

by Big Yawn

Released 4 September 2020

Research Records

***--

Another emerging Melbourne electronic quartet, Big Yawn fluctuates between genres on their debut full length ‘No!’ and subsequebnt EP "South Preston Garage".
Big Yawn’s trademark is a musical pastiche, fusing together rich percussion and sweeping synthesizers that are recontextualised to produce a unique drum and bass sound.

Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange - ZFEX

ZFEX Vol. II

by Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange

Released 3 April 2020

The Jazz Diaries

****-

Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange is the meeting point of improvisation and dance music. Headed up by drummer Ziggy Zeitgeist, a staple of the Australian music scene, most prominently touring and recording with Melbourne Nu-Soul/future-jazz collective "30/70". Ziggy’s music has already been championed across the breadth of the jazz and dance world, with support from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Kamaal Williams, Byron the Aquarius and Alexander Nut just to name a few.

Growing up in Australia, with no real club culture in sight, Ziggy’s formative years were at the ‘bush doof’ - an outback rave where speakers were driven to remote lands and dance music would blast from the wee hours in the morning to the wee hours at night. This is what Ziggy describes as the playground of Australian Electronic Music. “This is our culture of electronic music. It’s about exploring the spectrum of consciousness and a connection with ourselves, one another and the land.”

Z*F*E*X is the synthesis of dance music in human form.

Source: Bandcamp

James Ledger - Hypnagogia

Hypnagogia

by James Ledger

Released 30 October 2020

James Ledger

***--


James Ledger describes himself as "an ARIA (Australian Recording Industry Award) winning composer with a breadth of work spanning contemporary, orchestral and electronic music".

His discography includes collaborations with Paul Kelly, Geneveive Lacey and others but the prolific body of his work is made up of  Orchestral and Chamber/Ensemble and Solo Instrumental  compositions since 2004.

The album title Hypnagogia is the lucid state between being awake and asleep.

Each track is loosely based on that theme.

In addition to synthesizers and drum machines, there is also electric guitar and pianos.

Ledger says "I'm now working on a second album. It's inspired by the Apollo missions to the moon".

Further reading: Resonate Magazine

Oneohtrix Point Never - Magic Oneohtrix

Magic Oneohtrix Point Never

by Daniel Lopatin

Released 30 October 2020

Warp

***--

Daniel Lopatin's new album "Magic Oneohtrix Point Never" was made largely in solitude because oof the COVID-19 pandemic and draws inspiration from his own early influences, the heart of which is his lifelong love of radio. He credits the freeform and college stations he listened to in his youth for his omnivorous musical taste. "Oneohtrix Point Never" is itself a mondegreen (a misunderstood or misinterpreted word or phrase resulting from a mishearing of the lyrics of a song) of the Boston adult contemporary station Magic 106.7.

Lopatin builds on radio's power to connect people through music even from a distance, and the way he combines all the facets of his music feels like going up and down the dial. 

Source: AllMusic

Elvis Costello - Hey Clockface

Hello Clockface

by Elvis Costello

Released 30 October 2020

Concord

****-


To be honest, I wasn't expecting much mopre from Elvis Costello's latest album than another tired release from a "legacy" performer trying to re-generate the old career through re-cycling of early-career highlights, at best under cover of new lyrics and / or production. In other words, nothing more than Midnight Oil, Bru=ce Springsteen, James Taylor and AC/DC have done in recent weeks.

But I was forgetting I'd been down this path before. 2018's "Look Now" (with Elvis Costello & The Imposters coming off a 10 year hiatus) was also a nice piece of work.

Pleasantly surprised, I have been challeged to understand why.

First, Elvis starts this album  in the most surprising manner with the arabic-sounding "Revolution #49"

Cold as stone, hard as winter
She turned to me and this she said
"Kiss me once and you'll remember
Lay with me 'til we're both dead"
The land was white, the wind a dagger
Life beats a poor man to his grave
Love makes a rich man from a beggar
Love is the one thing we can save
Love is the one thing we can save
Love is the one thing we can save
Cold as stone
Cold as stone
Cold as stone

Then all hell breaks out as the Elvis of yore surges back with "No Flag" and the "They're Not Laughing At Me Now" the first of many tracks that are filled his characteristic mix of phrasing, energy, lyrical barbs, confessional sincerity, narrative and confidence that  we love in the classic Elvis. But I had to ask: why do I find this album more convincing than (say) Midnight Oil's or AC/DC's?, after all he's not really breaking any new musical ground here really.

In the end I concluded it's all about his "intensity", "intent" and "craft".

Somehow, through the eclectic mix of songs and styles (and as Dylan does too) Elvis manages to convey the feeling that he's not trying to prove anything to anyone other than himself. Recording the album in live studio sessions in Helsinki and Paris, and involving collaborators of the calibre of Bill Frisell and Nils Cleine, Elvis avoids self-parody, even though many of these songs rely on familiar forms. 

It's an artistic highwire act that only the greatest seem to pull off: the ability to work on indefinately at the highest artistic levels, working to the edges of his limitations without appearing repetitive, lazy or worn away by the routine. 

Nels Cline - Share The Wealth

Album Name

by Artist Name

Released 13 November 2020

Blue Note

****-

For his third Blue Note release, "Share The Wealth", sonic explorer and guitar renegade Nels Cline delivers a potent and provocative program of spontaneous, uncompromising, and ultimately compelling music with an expanded edition of his long-running project The Nels Cline Singers.

The man whom DownBeat called “an epoch-defining performer and composer” is joined by saxophonist and punk-jazz iconoclast Skerik (Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois, Bobby Previte), keyboard marvel Brian Marsella (John Zorn, Cyro Baptista’s Beat the Donkey, Jon Madof’s Zion80), bass powerhouse Trevor Dunn (Mr. Bungle, John Zorn), longtime collaborator and drummer Scott Amendola (Bill Frisell, Charlie Hunter, Ben Goldberg) and Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista (John Zorn’s The Dreamers, Caetano Veloso, Paul Simon). Together they revel in swirling, evocative soundscapes brimming with ferocious skronking and uninhibited stretching on this dynamic album.

“This band has never even played a live gig together,” explains the intrepid improviser and secret weapon of the rock band Wilco. “So basically, the whole thing was an experiment. We recorded all these jams with the idea that I was going to take tiny fragments of them and create this kind of cut-and-paste, collaged, psychedelic record like an Os Mutantes record or something crazy like that. But when I listened back to these jams, I liked them so much that I wanted to keep them intact. And some of the most startling transitions, they’re not edits. They just happened in the course of these long improvisations in the studio, almost like magic.”

Source: Birdland Records Album Review

Roger Eno and Brian Eno - Mixing Colours

Mixing Colours

by Roger Eno & Brian Eno

Released 00 Month 2020

Deutsche Grammophon

*****

Their first duo album is the outcome of a fifteen year collaboration between brothers.
Mixing Colours journeys through contemplative sound-worlds in 18 ambient tracks.

In her review for the Guardian, pop critic Kitty Empire wrote"Mixing Colours ... is a double sound-painting made up of natural phenomena (in tracks such as Snow, Desert Sand) and colours (Ultramarine, Burnt Umber) that plays out as an intimate conversation. Fifteen years in the on-off making, its slowly unspooling, generative beauty feels like a balm for these anxious times.Most of these bejewelled instrumental tracks began with multi-instrumentalist Roger – the younger, less well-known brother, an experimental musician in his own right – on piano. His slow key strikes are bell-like. These compositional sketches would then make their way to Brian, who would work on them on the train, adding resonance. For all that, electronics are very much to the fore. This feels like an analogue record, each note having a furry aura. The eerie Obsidian takes a familiar church organ and repurposes it creepily. But by and large, the state is meditative, sometimes more austere, often less. Most startlingly, Wintergreen builds gradually to a peak that recalls Brian Eno’s old collaborators, Harmonia – minus the German band’s regular motorik beat, of course".

 

Source: The Guardian Album Review

Brian Eno - Film Music 1976-2020

Film Music 1976-2020

by Brian Eno

Released 13 November 2020

Universal UMC

****-

This compilation brings together 17 of Brian Eno’s most recognisable film and television works from the past four and a half decades.

During this period, Eno composed more than 20 soundtracks for film directors as emminent as David Lynch, Danny Boyle, Peter Jackson, Michelangelo Antonioni, Derek Jarman and Michael Mann.

He has also scored extensively for TV, including UK crime drama "Top Boy" for which he collected a BAFTA.

This collection features over an hour of classic Eno compositions, including some lesser-known gems and seven previously unreleased tracks.

Highlights include

  • "Ship in a Bottle" from Peter Jackson's"The Lovely Bones" (2009) which features Jon Hopkins on keyboards and Leo Abrahams on guitars,

  • "Prophecy Theme", written in collaboration with Roger Eno, for David Lynch's "Dune" (1984)

  • "Deep Blue Day" from Danny Boyle's "Trainspotting" (1998)

  • "Late Evening in Jersey" from Michael Mann's "Heat" (1995)

  • "Beach Sequence" from Michelangelo Antonioni’s last film "Beyond The Clouds" (1995) and most recently

  • :Decline and Fall" from Henrique Goldman's "O Nome da Morte" (2017)

John Scofield, Steve Swallow, Bill Stewart - Swallow Tales

Swallow Tales

by John Scofield, Bil Stewart, Steve Swallow

Released 12 June 2020

ECM

****-


Another first class release from the ever-reliable ECM label, "Swallow Tales" features the masterful trio of John Scofield (guitar), Steve Swallow (bass) and Bill Stewart (drums). 

For this release, Scofield celebrates the music of his friend and mentor Steve Swallow in an outgoing  and spirited recording, made in a day in New York in March 2019: “old school” style as Scofield says, but acknowledging that more than forty years of preparation led up to it.  

John was a 20-year-old student at Berklee when he first met and played with the bassist, and they have continued ever since.

“I love these songs”, says Scofield of the selection of Swallow compositions explored here, a broad range including classics such as “Hullo Bolinas”, “Eiderdown”, “Falling Grace” and “Radio”, as well as lesser-known works.

The rapport between Scofield and Swallow is evident in every moment. John: “Sometimes when we play it’s like one big guitar, the bass part and my part together.” 

Behind the drum kit, Bill Stewart, a close associate of Scofield’s since the early 90s, is alert to all the implications of the interaction. “What Bill does is more than ‘playing the drums,’” Scofield says. “He’s a melodic voice in the music, while also swinging really hard.”

Source: ECM

Ella Fitzgerald - The Lost Berlin Tapes

The Lost Berlin Tapes

by Ella Fitzgerald

Released 25 November 2020

Verve

****-


The Lost Berlin Tapes opens with Ella Fitzgerald bathing in rapturous applause as she launches into an energetic version of the Irving Berlin composition "Cheek To Cheek", to kick off an energetic performance for the ages. Fortunately for us all now and forever, after being misplaced for nearly half a century this March 25, 1962 performance wil take its place alongside her interpretive "songbook" albums of the music of Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart and Irving Berlin and "Live In Berlin" recordings from the preceeding two years: 1960's "Ella In Berli: Mack The Knife" (which contained her Emmy Award winning single of the title song) and 1961's "Ella Returns to Berlin" (released as an album in 1991).

Caterina Barbieri - Ecstatic Computation

Ecstatic Computation

by Caterina Barbieri

Released 3 May 2019

Editions Mego

****-

Caterina Barbieri is a Berlin-based Italian composer who describes her compositions as exploration of " themes related to machine intelligence and object oriented perception in sound through a focus on minimalism". Caterina says that she "explores the psycho-physical effects of repetition and pattern-based operations in music, by investigating the polyphonic and polyrhythmic potential of sequencers to draw severe, complex geometries in time and space." Using modular synthsisers and electronic effects, but seemingly influenced by classical, devotional and tantric forms, the results are hypnotic and mesmerising, reminiscent at times of the work by the early electronic artists of the late 60's such as  Wendy Carlos and Kraftwerk or minimilast composers such as Steve Reich.

Chris Smither - More From The Levee

More From The Levee

by Chris Smither

Released 2 October 2020

Signature Sounds Recordings

****-

"More From the Levee" is Chris Smither’s 18th album and it continues the milieu of his 50-year retrospective "Still on the Levee"(2014).  Reconnecting with his roots, Smither recorded the latter, a double album, in New Orleans at the fabled Music Shed. What resulted were 24 fresh takes on his songs with help from some very special guests including the legendary Allen Toussaint and Loudon Wainwright III. With his fingers as supple as his voice, Smither effortlessly delivered the other half of his signature sound on "Still on the Levee": the back-porch feel of intricate acoustic blues picking accompanied by his own boot-heel-on-wood rhythms. Two weeks with longtime right-hand-man and producer David Goodrich at the helm of the sessions resulted in an over-abundance of songs in the can. "More From the Levee" contains ten of these extra gems including fan favorites “Drive You Home Again,” “Caveman,” and a brand-new Smither original titled “What I Do.”

I must admit, I'm a newcomer to Chris Smither's music. It's like never having heard John Prine or Jerry Jeff Walker!

Well, now I'm  in happily in the loop and will be delving into his back catalogue.

Source: Bandcamp

Lambchop - Trip

Trip

by Lambchop

Released 13 November 2020

Label

***--

 Lambchop's "Trip" is intriguingly entertaining due to left-of-field song selection meeting with the kind of idiosynchratic interpretations that ony Lambchop can deliver. Acording to AD magazine Lambcop's Kurt Wagner was short on material and wanted to bring the band together. "Why not make a covers LP where each of Lambchop’s six members chose a song, no holds barred, and determined how the band would perform it? As November wore on, the song titles drifted in - a couple of Motown tunes, a George Jones classic, an A-side from an obscure garage band, an unreleased tune from James McNew (Yo La Tengo/Dump) and finally, the Wilco song “Reservations.” The band gathered in Nashville in early December to record the tracks, one title per day for six days, with a couple of shows booked in for the end of the week".

"Trip" opens with the droll, slowed down (13 minutes long, how is that possible?) version of "Reservations" followed by two raraties -  Earl “Peanut” Montgomery's "Where The Grass Won't Grow", originally performed bt George Jones and "Shirley", written by Jamie Klimek & Jim Crook and originally performed by Mirrors. Then follows a down-tempo, world-weary interpretation of Stevie Wonder's "Golden Years".

The mood brightens for "Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone", Holland, Holland, Dozier's chart-topping 1967 hit for the Supremes and the album concludes with "Weather Blues" the unreleased James McNew song - the album's only "straight' country song and arguably it's best.

Source: Aquarium Drunkard Magazine

Veneno - Ay Caramba (2018)

Ay Caramba!

by Veneno

Released 3 June 2018

Warp

***--

"Ay Caramba" is the energetic party-like album by Sydney's  latin music mainstays "Veneno". 

Founded in 1998 by brothers Cesar and Steve Marin as "Son Veneno", the band dedicated itself to raising the standard of Afro-Latin music in Australia. The early addition of singer/songwriter Carlos Velazquez lifted the project to new heights with a versatile mix of RNB, pop and soul, together with his domination of the Afro-Latin Sonero traditions, the band had found its unique and original voice. The following years were spent performing around the country, building a healthy fan base and establishing themselves at the forefront of the music industry in Australia. Their extremely high levels of musicianship and performance led to the band being recognised internationally, constantly invited to perform at major festivals and events. This momentum created the opportunity to collaborate with musicians outside of the Latin genre. The addition of talented young musicians Marcus Salone, Ricky Cancino and Jose Marquez enabled the band to incorporate advanced elements of Funk, Reggae, Jazz and Rock into their music.
The natural progression of composing together unearthed a new alternative sound.
While the Afro-Latin influences were still present, the bands original ‘Son’ influences had developed in to a brand new genre of music.
This evolution contributed to the band’s success, becoming the first Australian-Latin ensemble to make its mark in the global music industry. 

Source: Veneno Website

The Last Dinosaur - Wholeness

Wholeness

by The Last Dinosaur

Released 23 October 2020

Phases

****-


"Wholeness" is the recent release from UK artist The Last Dinosaur (aka James Cameron) and in a beautifully written Bandcamp essay ("album bio"), the writer Wyndham Wallace writes: “Though it’s a succinct 26 minutes long, WHOLENESS speaks to the heart with such intensity that it says more than many artists manage in a lifetime, not that you’d guess the stories behind it."  

The "album bio" deserves to be read in full, as it dives deeply into the personal origins of the music and seldom will you be treated to a more articulate and thorough analysis. (Follow the link below). It reminded me of a time when magazines like Rolling Stone & Cream were filled with deep album reviews and related writings  by the likes of Ralph J Gleason, Lester Bangs, Greil Marcus, and Hunter S Thompson.

The overall album narrative of "Wholeness" is inscrutably concealed, however the collection may well be approached as a succession of thougths, recollections and dreams, each transporting us to a reality of its own, before fading from consciousness or being perplexingly interrupted by seemingly minor externalities: the sounds of running water or rain, the cries of children. Having struggled to find the thread of conventional narrative within the fragments, I have settled upon the notion that the opening track, from which the album takes it's title is the key. Originally proposed by physicist David Bohm, the conception of "Wholeness and the Implicate Order"  seeks to resolve the paradox that arises in quantum physics, as to how matter may simultaneously exist in both static and dynamic forms.  Bohm conceived a world comprising the scientifically measurable (Enfolded) and the immeasurable and intuative (Implicate) orders. According to Bohm, in the Enfolded order “space and time are no longer the dominant factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different elements”. As a result he concluded that “a more basic connection of elements is possible.” It is this underlying fundamentalism, its primary causative nature, which defines the implicate order as “a harmoniously organized totality of order and measures", patterning and structured reality.

 

Indeed, I concluded that this is as apt a representation of the Last Dinosaur's album as I am likely to conceive. 

Sources: thelastdinosaur.bandcamp

 

Ausecuma Beats - Ausecuma Beats

Ausecuma Beats

by Ausecuma Beats

Released 20 November 2020

Music In Exile

****-

On their debut full-length, Ausecuma Beats encapsulate the spirit of this unique band; each track showcases the different talents of each musician and sonically explores what is possible when we join together and celebrate our differences. Ausecuma Beats are more than just a band, they are a community, a family, a frame of mind.

“Our role is to develop a new style of music. To learn how to share with each other. The other guys learn a lot from me, about Senegal, my culture. I learn a lot about them, about Mali, other West African states. We work to lift each other, to learn from each other through music.

Each has a different mentality, a difference experience. Everyone has experience from their journey before they came to Melbourne and to Ausecuma Beats.” - Boubacar Gaye

Ausecuma Beats are:

Edward George Croker
Chidambara Sonu Sangameswaran
Yusupha Ngum
Boubacar Gaye
Mohamed Saliou Camara
Rodolfo Hehavarria Despaigne Panga
Bassidi Kone
Luke Koszanski
William Carl Larsen

Source: Bandcamp

Kristin Berardi, Sean Foran, Rafael Karlen - Haven

Haven

by Kristin Berardi, Sean Foran, Rafael Karlen

Released 20 November 2020

Earshift Music

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Berardi/Foran/Karlen create music that brings together captivating melodies, lush harmonies and emotive collective improvisation. The sense of group empathy is striking, with a subconscious understanding of the flow between the voice (Kristin Berardi), piano (Sean Foran), and Saxophone (Rafael Karlen) developed through years of performances and a shared musical vision. Their new album HAVEN features guest Vibraphonist PASCAL SCHUMACHER, from Luxembourg, whose sensitivity and nuance brings a new level of texture and dynamic to this stunning band and music.

With only 4 instruments, the sonic world created on HAVEN is lush. Modern jazz, folk and classical elements combine in intricate, yet light and delicate arrangements, with each instrument taking a lead role. The 10 tracks on the album are split across musicians with Berardi, Foran and Karlen each contributing works. The opener, Berardi’s No Shepherds Live Here brings a sense of calm, yet tells an intense story. Complementing this Karlen’s Ripple and Handwritten sparkle, with the Saxophone and Vocals intertwining, and the piano & vibraphone creating layered harmonic textures. Foran’s works, Orbit and Rambling bring more rhythmic energy, with the insistent pulsing Vibraphone lines giving an almost minimalist aesthetic wrapped with a modernist jazz edge.
The intimacy of this work draws similarities with standout ECM albums from Azimuth, Gary Burton, and Anouar Brahem – But Berardi/Foran/Karlen define their own approach, and with Schumacher it’s a captivating world to be in. 

Source: Bandcamp

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