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Reviews: Various Genres


Review: Various The Portable Supersound

Label: Smalltown Supersound

The 12 tracks here encompass a broad range of styles and moods to augment your headspace in multifaceted ways. At one extreme there’s Arp’s tranquil pulsations and pastoral melodies (quite Cluster & Eno); at the other is the Lift Boys (Eye from The Boredoms) taking disco the furthest out it’s ever gone, with tablas, sitars, nipple gongs, and maniacally manipulated jet-engine roars. Read more » 

Review: DJ Rekha DJ Rekha Presents Basement Bhangra

Label: Koch

New Yorkers have enjoyed Rekha’s Basement Bhangra parties for a decade, but with her debut mix album, the London-born DJ fixes her sight on the rest of the country. Though a few names here would be familiar even to Middle America (the once-Jay-Z-remixed Panjabi MC and Wyclef Jean guesting on one of Rekha’s own tracks), bhangra–the combination of traditional Punjabi folk elements, especially vocals, and electronic beats–never quite achieved household-name status in the States. Read more » 

Review: Various Summer Records Anthology

Label: Light in the Attic

Light in the Attic continues to excavate Jamaican cultural artifacts recorded in Toronto during the 1970s, this time hitting pay dirt in the form of 15 hard-hitting roots tunes, culled from the archives of Summer Records, an obscure label run by Jerry Brown and co-founded by Oswald Creary of Half Moon fame. Summer favored gritty production values that recall Lee Perry's Black Ark and these exceptional tracks, taken from original master tapes, feature luminaries such as Johnny Osbourne, Bobby Gaynair, and Willi Williams, as well as Brown himself. Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Tommie Sunshine Presents Ultra.Rock Remixed

Label: Ultra

Here indie-dance DJ sensation Tommie Sunshine remixes 'alternative beats' by stapling generic, banging rhythms to alternative-rock hits of the moment-techno for the teen-recreation-center set. That method has been money in the bank for too many DJs and it lured many children into the devil's den of prog-trance. Sunshine grounds his mix in a post-electroclash way, as his "Brooklyn Fire" remixes subject the likes of Good Charlotte, P.O.D., and Fall Out Boy to grinding acid synths and sports-bar ambience.


Review: 4Hero Play With the Changes

Label: Milan

Six years after Creating Patterns, 4Hero's Mark (Marc Mac) Clair and Dennis (Dego) McFarlane return with their eagerly anticipated fifth LP Play With the Changes, perhaps a reference to how things have evolved for the duo over their noticeable absence. What remains the same is the pair's penchant for crafting soulful, complex songs for an expertly assembled group of vocalists, here including Jody Watley, poetess Ursula Rucker, rappers Darien Brockington and Phonte of Little Brother, and funk legend Larry Mizell. Read more » 

Review: Cougar Law

Label: Layered Arts

Produced by Tortoise's John McEntire, Cougar's debut LP Law is a nearly flawless example of intelligent musical design. The Madison, WI-based quintet seamlessly melds electronics and traditional instrumentation into an unclassifiable mixture of instrumental bliss that, while immediately listenable, grows in complexity with each successive spin. Read more » 

Review: Nine Horses Money For All

Label: Samadhisound

Nine Horses is the blanket moniker for David Sylvian's collaborations with brother Steve Jansen and Burnt Friedman, and Money For All is a mish-mash EP of new tracks, versions, and Friedman remixes from a variety of sympathetic artists like Stina Nordenstam, Atom TM, and Keith Lowe. There are interesting things going on here, not least in the subtle tensions between Sylvian's grace and sophistication and a more unexpected (and overt) sense of personal/political anger and anxiety. Read more » 

Review: Ollo The If If

Label: 12 Apostles

It's rare that a duo blends the heavily layered jamming of Can with the downtempo groove of Massive Attack, but Ollo succeeds with flying colors. On their second full-length, these Australian multi-instrumentalists serve up a handful of Kraut jams, incorporating spastic live drums, wah-pedaled guitars, and funk bass from space. If it's not the trippy guitar solos on "Summer Salt" that weave you into the boys' interplanetary web, it'll be the always-shifting synth pads that reel you in and take you under. Read more » 

Review: Tinariwen Aman Iman

Label: World Village

With fans ranging from Carlos Santana and Robert Plant to Thom Yorke, this band of Tuareg blues musicians from the Malian desert has turned local fame into international acclaim. This third record (translated: "water is life") is a brilliantly executed collection of electric guitars swirling amidst handclaps, background percussion, and the effervescent chants and vocals of their revolving cast of characters. At its center, vocalist/guitarist Ibrahim Ag Alhabib-whose history deserves a book of its own-growls and harmonizes with such passion that any intrigued mind will quickly open. Read more » 

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