In May of 1978, Brian Eno found himself subletting a flat in Greenwich Village in what would prove to be a fertile period for the man and his music. Within the next two years, he became a staple on the downtown scene, recording no wave bands for the epochal No New York compilation and collaborating with CBGB fixture Talking Heads on a series of records that moved their sound away from punk and toward a… more »
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"The way I compose music is that I hear it, and then I have to run and write it down," Linda Perhacs says, as we sit on the balcony of a friend's house in the Hollywood Hills. "It's coming this way, so it reflects the universe and God. If we're talking about the creative process, it starts here." She points toward the heavens, then brings her hands down toward her head. Perhacs is about to release… more »
The Relatives are a Dallas, Texas-based gospel funk act formed by brothers Gean and Tommie West in 1970, after Tommie had begun to write topical material in a gospel vein. Then in his mid 30s, Gean had already spent decades with regional gospel quartets, but yearned to connect with a hipper and younger audience. The Relatives merged a full, heavy funk group with a gospel quartet, resulting in an eight-piece band, like some genius gospel… more »
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In the past year, New Age music has begun to escape the lamentable late-’80s stereotypes — Harmonic Convergence, crystals, Kenny G — that have long plagued it. Last fall, Light in the Attic released a stellar compilation called I Am the Center that catalogued small-press New Age releases from the ’50s to the ’70s; Warp records reissued Laaraji; All Saints reissued Harold Budd. Articles popped up in Pitchfork and even in the New York Times.
One name conspicuously missing from this mini-renaissance is the California-born/Arizona-based Steve Roach. Much of… more »
2014 | Label: Asthmatic Kitty / SC Distribution
Los Angeles singer-songwriter Linda Perhacs’s debut LP Parallelograms languished in obscurity for decades before being embraced by a new audience around the time of the “freak-folk” mini-craze of the mid ’00s. Modern acolytes including Devendra Banhart, Ramona Gonzalez (aka Nite Jewel) and Julia Holter helped Perhacs reintegrate into musical life, and collaborate on her first offering in 44 years, The Soul of All Natural Things.
On the album, Holter and Gonzalez’s voices blend with Perhacs’s own in intricate mini-choral arrangements. These are sublimated, with the help of cavernous reverb, into a… more »
2013 | Label: Numero Group / SC Distribution
With its minimalist sounds and big ideas, New Age music nearly always promises more than it delivers. But whimsical excess is precisely what makes Greek-born, mono-monikered Iasos’s “inter-dimensional” creations more convincing than the average “Hearts of Space” radio spin. Celestial Self Portrait collects Iasos’s greatest hits from the ’70s, when he was translating what he has described as “crystal giggling energy,” as well as other gifts bestowed by angelic cohorts, into spacious sonic architectures.
More is generally more here. The twangy, swooping double-necked slide guitar of “Rainbow Canyon” is much… more »
La Notte was commissioned by the Norway Molde International Jazz Festival, from which this 2010 concert recording comes. The work, which blends jazz improvisation and new age meditation, is familiar territory for both the label and pianist/composer Bjørnstad (who is celebrating his 20th anniversary on ECM), but with a few twists. A tribute to Michelangelo Antonioni, it occasionally (as on the waltz “II”) partakes of the Italian filmmaker’s exuberance, offering contrast to the pensive beauty for which Bjørnstad is noted. Some movements of this eight-piece suite use a slightly larger… more »