For it is music that seduces/ and rapes the worldly/ just as it is materialism which rapes/ the moderately creative of their greatest powers/ Such music cannot touch the spiritual/ For to touch the spiritual is to be burned by its Fire! — Tisziji Muñoz, The Diamond of Heart-Fire-Sound On January 1, 1972, Tisziji Muñoz turned his back on music as a profession. By that time, the greatest electric jazz guitarist you've never heard had already been… more »
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Iranian composer Hafez Nazeri's Untold symphony opens with a bang — the Big Bang, to be precise. The first "cycle" of his ongoing Rumi Symphony Project, Untold is an attempt to represent the splendor of all creation. Nazeri, who was born in Tehran in 1979, claims to have invested upward of 5,000 studio hours in recording the work, which premiered in 2009. And Untold's opening moments — an all-encompassing cloud of percussive bass tones that… more »
For generations schooled in the sublime sounds of roots, ska, lovers' rock and dub, aggressive dancehall-dominated reggae has been hard to love in the past couple of decades. But in Jamaica, new acts like Kabaka Pyramid, Tarrus Riley and Protoje are resurrecting the island's mellower musical traditions. And in reggae's second home, the UK, a revival of vintage, vibe-heavy reggae is being led by the unlikely figure of Mike Pelanconi, a bearded white producer from… more »
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eMusic Reviews View All
2014 | Label: Crammed Discs / A Train
The fifth release in Crammed Discs’ Congotronics series challenges listeners to expand their boundaries and get down with the brutal sound of multiple electric likembés, the overdriven and distorted thumb pianos first recorded in 1978 by Konono No. 1. Where Konono consisted of members of the Kinshasa-based Bazombo tribe, the Kasai Allstars, who made their 2008 debut on Crammed’s In the 7th Moon, the Chief Turned Into a Swimming Fish and Ate the Head of His Enemy by Magic, consist of 15 musicians from five different bands and as many… more »
2014 | Label: Soundway Records / Believe Digital
Every song on Salvadora Robot, the new album from the spirited Colombian band Meridian Brothers, abounds with what sounds like dozens of musical parts fighting for space. Though “fighting” is too harsh a word for it — every sound seems to be wiggling, shaking and shimmying at once. The result is densely kinetic music that glows with effervescence and ease.
“Somos Los Residentas” tumbles through flurries of horns, acres of percussion and vocals that emerge in frantic blurts. It’s as if Talking Heads were sped up two or three times… more »
2014 | Label: Mixpak Records
Popcaan is a former protégé of dancehall’s most popular and vilified artist, Vybz Kartel, who recently received a life sentence for murder. In 2010, Vybz and Popcaan (and boss chick Gaza Slim) released “Clarks,” fete-ing the popular line of British footwear. It was the cherub-faced, sweet-voiced emcee’s official coming out, legitimizing the success of the candy-coated club hits he’d go on to release.
2014 | Label: Upsetter / Virtual
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but maybe you can remind him of the glories of his youth. Groundbreaking Jamaican producer Lee “Scratch” Perry virtually invented the dark seizures of dub in the first half of the 1970s alongside fellow sonic visionaries such as King Tubby but his last truly staggering record is many decades behind him, and his tiresomely eccentric live performances and interviews long ago passed the realm of self-parody.
At the age of 78 he seemed a busted flush, which is why it was such… more »