Muziek

Lana Del Rey: Lust for Life review – topical tunes and retro bombs

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 04:00
(Polydor)
The singer looks outward on her fourth album in a state-of-the-nation address peppered with guest stars and pop history flashbacks

Most pop stars innovate every album cycle, a fraught hustle that is of a piece with this era’s frantic audio production values. That’s all beneath Lana Del Rey.

The ageless 32-year-old arrived at a languid sound, a detached authorial voice and a set of obsessions on her 2012 debut Born to Die, and her fourth album remains true to them all. One fine track sums up her entire oeuvre: the title of Summer Bummer reflects the consistently high mercury of Del Rey’s mises-en-scène; and there is usually a worm at the centre of her perfect peach. The rhyme reflects the way all this glossy nihilism is often delivered with a wink.

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Categories: Muziek

Sibusile Xaba: Open Letter to Adoniah review – unworldly and haunting jazz

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 03:00
(Mushroom Hour Half Hour)

South African jazz has a distinguished history that includes giants such as Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim, and lesser-known talents such as guitarist Philip Tabane, whose minimalist style is a major influence on this double-CD debut. Like Tabane, Xaba mixes fragmented lines with repeated phrases, all played acoustically to bass and drums, and integrated with high, scatting vocals. Of the two albums here, Unlearning and Open Letter to Adoniah, the latter is his response to a series of dreams and often as unworldly and haunting as that suggests. Tabane’s son, Thabang, plays percussion on Adoniah and has his own album forthcoming. A great tradition stirs.

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Categories: Muziek

Damian ‘Jr Gong’ Marley: Stony Hill review – timelessly consistent reggae

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 03:00
(Island/Republic)

Reggae royalty Damian Marley’s fourth solo album comes 12 years after its predecessor but Stony Hill remains in largely familiar territory. Polished production, rich brass and uplifting ensemble vocals bring to life insightful, often potent social commentary about the power of people, love, and medical marijuana. It’s not groundbreaking, nor is there anything as immediate as on 2005’s Welcome to Jamrock - but be it laidback classic reggae as on Medication, intricate, delectable floor-fillers (Upholstery), or smooth, bossa nova-infused jams (Grown & Sexy), Stony Hill is testament to the timeless consistency of Marley’s work.

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Categories: Muziek

Dizzee Rascal: Raskit review – the grime lord returns

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 03:00
(Dirtee Stank)

While Dizzee Rascal was busy infiltrating the mainstream with chart-friendly fusions, grime came back. Raskit – his sixth album – is the veteran MC’s back-to-basics response, some of it predictable but much of it riveting. “I was on the mic when you were in playschool,” he sneers on Ghost. A few tracks hark back to the genre’s early days, but Make It Last has little nostalgia for the shootings and back-stabbings. Tracks like Everything Must Go are very much in the present; Dizzee is scathing on the gentrification of London. Standout track Space, meanwhile, provides a masterful collision of echoey production and dense, rhythmic wordplay.

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Categories: Muziek

Daphni: FabricLive 93 review – euphoric moments from Caribou’s Dan Snaith

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 03:00
(Fabric)

Caribou’s Dan Snaith continues his trek from psych pop’s backwaters to the heart of the dancefloor with this mix entirely made from his Daphni project’s productions. This sort of tracklist narcissism would once have been ill-judged on club albums, but now that they have been overshadowed by not-mixed mixtapes and streamed playlists, it’s a spectacular act of generosity to give up 27 new songs to a DJ mix. Snaith’s joy at intermingling delicate melodies with steroidal rhythms and scything hi-hats persists, and he delivers several moments of handbag-dropping euphoria that will thrill whether you’re listening on a laptop or in Fabric’s room one.

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Categories: Muziek

Avey Tare: Eucalyptus review – brilliant, but infuriating, beats

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 03:00
(Domino)

Avey Tare’s second solo album starts with a simple strum and ends, via reflections on the qualities of coral, with strange whirring sounds and a cry of rage. Audacious, cryptic and meandering, Eucalyptus is both brilliant and infuriating, thanks mainly to the Animal Collective man’s refusal to ditch the half-formed workouts that litter this LP. When Tare reins in his more outlandish instincts, as on Melody Unfair’s rococo folk and the jumpy tribal pop of Jackson 5, he shows he is capable of producing songs as good as any in his band’s oeuvre. Best of all is the candid When You Left Me, in which raw emotion supersedes sonic quirks.

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Categories: Muziek

Liane Carroll: The Right to Love review – emotional depth, superb arrangements

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 02:59
(Quiet Money)

Liane Carroll’s talents, as singer, pianist and all-round musical force of nature, seemed to defy all efforts to capture them successfully on record. Until, that is, she began working with producer James McMillan. This, their fourth album together, displays a characteristic mixture of deceptive simplicity and emotional depth. Following the loose theme of attitudes to love, Carroll calls on songs by, among others, Stevie Wonder, Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and Hoagy Carmichael, whose I Get Along Without You Very Well provides the most touching moment. The arrangements and playing, notably Mark Jaimes (guitar) and Kirk Whalum (tenor sax), are superb.

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Categories: Muziek

Declan McKenna: What Do You Think About The Car? review – full of indie promise

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 02:59
(Columbia)

The debut album from 18-year-old Hertfordshire singer-songwriter Declan McKenna suggests that the “voice of a generation” hyperbole he’s already attracted might be a little premature, yet there is much here that impresses. He certainly stands out from his peers, his hook-laden indie coming with atypically socially aware lyrics, whether at a macro (Fifa corruption on Brazil) or micro level (the bullying of transgender teens on Paracetamol). There’s a pleasing maturity to his tunes, too, the verses of Make Me Your Queen echoing Roddy Frame at his best. The rousing Isombard is equally good, but the quality control isn’t maintained, his choruses occasionally sounding laboured. Still, there’s promise in abundance here.

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Categories: Muziek

Strauss: The Complete Songs 8 CD review – three great performers

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 02:25

Nicky Spence (tenor), Rebecca Evans (soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano)
(Hyperion)

This is the last in this superb series, devised by Roger Vignoles, of all Richard Strauss’s 174 songs for voice and piano. Those for voice and orchestra were excluded – until now. Vignoles argues the case for including the Vier letze Lieder, the composer’s famous farewell to life, in the piano transcription by Max Wolff and (only Im Abendrot) Ernst Roth. Strauss’s piano writing is already rich with orchestral colours, explored, relished, teased out wonderfully by Vignoles. In these four last songs, Rebecca Evans matches him in that particular ardent introspection Strauss demands. Nicky Spence is abundant (Cäcilie), soaring (Wenn) and tender (An Sie). Three great performers. Lucky Strauss.

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Categories: Muziek

Peter Fribbins: Dances, Elegies and Epitaphs CD review – clear, sinuous melody

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 02:15

Philippe Graffin (violin), Christopher Hart (trumpet), RSNO/Šervenikas
(Resonus)

This refreshing recording takes its name from the subtitle of Peter Fribbins’s concerto for violin and orchestra, a showcase for Philippe Graffin and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra that brims with vitality and clear, sinuous melody. Fribbins (b1969) takes Purcell’s Sonata in G minor as a starting point to reimagine the dance forms of one age for our own era. It’s an immediately engaging and satisfying addition to the violin repertoire. His In Xanadu for wind quintet is altogether more agitated and angular and yet no less absorbing for that, but it’s in his new Soliloquies for trumpet and strings, superbly played here by Christopher Hart, that Fribbins’s gift for long, searching and euphonious melody is most on display.

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Categories: Muziek

The World of George Malcolm CD review – nostalgic harpsichord heaven

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 23 July, 2017 - 02:00
(Australian Eloquence)

Born a century ago this year, George Malcolm became the leading harpsichordist of the postwar era, until his highly individual and compelling idiom was eclipsed by a new generation of period-style performance. Malcolm turned his Thomas Goff instrument into a multicoloured engine of dramatic and brilliant effects, employing hard-driven rhythms and rapid changes of registration to create wonderful sonorities. It was Malcolm’s rhythmic grip and superb musicianship that compelled attention: this collection from the 1960s brings together the ultra-high-speed Flight of the Bumblebee with serious Couperin and Bach, finishing with Templeton’s jazzy Bach Goes to Town, and Malcolm’s own riposte, a fugal hornpipe, Bach Before the Mast. Gripping nostalgia!

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Categories: Muziek

Tyler, the Creator: Flower Boy

Pitchfork - Best new Albums - 21 July, 2017 - 01:00

On Tyler’s sincere and most accomplished album, he gets to the essence of what he's been chiseling at: the angst of a missed connection, the pain of unrequited love, and navigating youthful ennui.

Categories: Muziek

Rio Mira: Marimba del Pacifico review – slinky rhythms, haunting melodies

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 20 July, 2017 - 14:00

(AYA)

Based in Esmeraldas, a town on the Pacific coast in the north of Ecuador, and named after a river that flows just over the border in Colombia, Rio Mira rework and revitalise the music of the slaves who were brought over from Africa, some of whom escaped to find shelter in the region. The region’s music has a unique style that has been granted cultural heritage status by Unesco, but there is nothing quaint or old-fashioned about this intriguing and enchanting band. Their distinctive sound is dominated by two marimbas – a xylophone-like instrument that has its roots in Africa – matched against drums and shakers, along with impressive call-and-response vocals and harmonies. The result is a set that ranges from Latin dance songs driven on by the slinky, rhythmic marimbas, to Aguacerito, an exquisite a cappella piece with a haunting melody based around some impressively high notes.

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Milhaud/Martinů: Complete String Trios CD review – stripped-back, quicksilver sound

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 20 July, 2017 - 13:45

Jacques Thibaud String Trio
(Audite)

Chamber music is a genre with which one can express one’s deepest feelings,” said Darius Milhaud; just listen to the tough, halting chorales of the Modéré from his 1947 String Trio to hear what he means. There are good reasons to pair the music of the Provençal Milhaud and his Moravian-Bohemian contemporary Bohuslav Martinů. Both gravitated to jazz-crazed Paris after the first world war, but neither forgot the special rhythms and songfulness of folk music from home. They headed for the USA in the 1940s (Milhaud as a Jew, Martinů as an exiled Czech) and wrote for small ensembles with nimble intimacy. This recording from the Jacques Thibaud String Trio gives everything an essential quality. It’s a sound perfect for French music, stripped back and quicksilver, but I also love their fearless way with Martinů’s jagged edges.

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Laucan: Frames Per Second review – a dreamy, come-hither folk debut

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 20 July, 2017 - 13:45

(Sunday Best)

As hotbeds of British folk go, Lewes shakes its bells loudly. Shirley Collins has long lived in the town, there is a huge celebration on bonfire night, and folk music is played in its pubs, clubs and a dedicated record shop. Townsman Laurence Galpin, AKA Laucan, dips elements of this music in more ambient waters, with fingerpicked guitars and fiddles adding textures to his songs. Tracks such as Up Tomorrow and You Give Way sound almost like offcuts from Jeff Buckley’s Grace, their multi-tracked vocals accompanied by birdsong and electronics courtesy of Andrew Phillips of the Ninja Tune duo Grasscut.

Laucan’s voice isn’t particularly beautiful in its lower register, but when it’s higher, it’s rather come-hither, and he delivers such lines as “sunlight pours through the doorway, picks out patterns on the floor” with appropriate dreaminess. It’s a pretty album rather than a potent one, but there is genuine ambition in this small-town boy’s debut.

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Categories: Muziek

Alexander Hawkins: Unit[e] review – dramatic improv with shape-shifting narratives

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 20 July, 2017 - 13:30

(AH Music)

Oxford-based keyboardist and composer Alexander Hawkins walks his own line between free-improv and contemporary-classical composition, when he isn’t touring as a world-music one-off with the veteran Ethiopian star Mulatu Astatke. A bold Hawkins balance of left-field dancefloor punch, abstract collective-improv sounds and cutting-edge composition fuels this double album, with one disc performed by the pianist’s regular sextet including Sons of Kemet stalwarts Shabaka Hutchings and Tom Skinner, the other by a 13-piece ensemble including trumpeters Laura Jurd and Percy Pursglove, and Danish free-sax original Julie Kjaer.

The small band sometimes echoes Ornette Coleman’s avant-fusion Prime Time group, notably on the infectious, pounding [C]all and its tightly hooky, soulfully tenor-wailing second part. The large ensemble inhabits more remote sonic and rhythmic territories, but Hawkins’ guidance – in his dynamic control, and loose arrangements for flutes, bass clarinets, brass, strings and percussion – steers an improvised music full of dramatic and tonally colourful shape-shifting narratives that are sometimes like superheated free jazz, sometimes like surreal street parades.

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Dvořák/Suk: Piano Quartets CD review – earthy themes of big-hearted beauty

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 20 July, 2017 - 13:30

Josef Suk Piano Quartet
(Supraphon)

There’s lineage here: when Josef Suk signed up for composition lessons with Antonín Dvořák at the Prague Conservatory in the 1880s, he landed himself not just a mentor but also a father-in-law (he would marry Otilie Dvořák in 1898). Suk wrote his First Piano Quartet under Dvořák’s tutelage in 1891; Dvořák wrote his own Second Quartet around the same time, and one is as youthful and excitable as the other is mature and assured. There are obvious links in the sturdy, earthy sweep of the themes and the intense dialogue between the instruments, and both have slow movements of big-hearted beauty. The Josef Suk Piano Quartet is named after the violinist (1929-2011) who was grandson of the composer Suk (and so great-grandson of Dvořák); they play with huge sound, loving detail and the kind of conviction and authority that comes from personal connection.

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Categories: Muziek

Telemann: 12 Fantasias for Solo Flute CD review – an articulate, buoyant delight

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 20 July, 2017 - 13:15

Ashley Solomon
(Channel Classics)

I restarted the first piece on this album about 20 times because the sound of Ashley Solomon’s opening note, played on a grenadilla wooden flute modelled on an instrument from 1750, is just astonishing. It’s so warm, grainy, broad and breathy that it sounds more like a low recorder than a modern flute. Telemann’s Fantasias were meant for instruction as well as performance; they are a test and a bounty for flautists, a tangle of freewheeling challenges that can easily come a cropper in lesser hands. Solomon makes them dance and sing, he makes them spacious. The articulation is immaculate, the rhythms are buoyant and the recording quality, done in big church acoustics, is immediate and generous. Solomon doesn’t play the whole thing on grenadilla – we get flutes of porcelain and ivory, both instruments made in 1760 and full of charisma.

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Categories: Muziek

Stanley Cowell: No Illusions review – surprise-filled set from overlooked original

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 20 July, 2017 - 13:15

(Steeplechase)

The 76-year-old US pianist and teacher Stanley Cowell is an intriguing but overlooked jazz original – good enough to partner sax legend Joe Henderson in the 1970s; a visionary co-founder of the Strata-East label (it recorded Gil Scott-Heron); and an open-minded but under-recorded composer. This surprise-filled set, made with a contemporary-sounding rhythm section and eloquent Washington reeds-player Bruce Williams, is all original, save for John Lewis’s gently lyrical Milano, which Cowell and Williams deliver as a jazz waltz of keening grace.

The electronica-intrigued Cowell adds harp or dulcimer-like sounds behind Williams’ soprano on the meditative Sunlight Shifting, and shivery hoots on the looping, minimalist Celestial Woman. Williams shows some expressive Ornette Coleman leanings on the spiky title track. Miss TE & O is a wilful tumult of march-time, salsa and pre-bop piano swing. Cowell might just be in for a fascinating third-age renaissance.

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The Pollyseeds: Sounds of Crenshaw, Vol 1 review – Terrace Martin's space-age soul

The Guardian - Albumreviews - 20 July, 2017 - 13:00

(Ropeadope)

For more than a decade, producer and multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin has served as a conduit between LA’s jazz, R&B and hip-hop scenes, the missing link between artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Kamasi Washington and Robert Glasper. His latest project uses some heavyweight jazz talents but takes us into more mainstream R&B territory, with decent neosoul numbers including Intentions (featuring Chachi) and You and Me (featuring Rose Gold) mixed with rather bland and soporific fuzak. It only threatens to get interesting when Martin adds some rough edges to the smooth jazz. Funny How Time Flies is a woozy, space-age soul ballad with a munchkinised Vocoder vocal that recalls late-70s Herbie Hancock; Your Space is a piece of quiet storm soul that pits singer Wyann Vaughn against a thumping, disruptive bass drum; Wake Up is a gospel duet for piano and soprano saxophone that recalls one of Chilly Gonzalez’s parlour-piano miniatures.

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Categories: Muziek

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