Alquimia — Forever
(Prudence 398.6733.2, 2007, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01Alquimia, beginning with her album Coatlique — Goddess of the Earth back in the early 90s established herself as the premier female voice in the ambient/experimental field. A series of groundbreaking albums followed, including Wings of Perception and A Separate Reality, each different yet equally explorative, then collaborations with the likes of J.L. Fernandez Ledesma, Roedelius, and Zinkl. Anyone reading this review should be forewarned that the disc at hand has little in common with any of those innovative, pioneering releases of the past. Instead, her latest release is a collection of traditional and original Celtic flavored folk and gentle pop songs, with guitar or piano accompaniment and backed by light orchestration and string bass, with additional backing voices (sometimes multitracked, yet there are other backing singers as well), and occasionally spruced up with folk instruments for effect. If I could just forget all of the other more interesting things Alquimia has done in the past, I would have to say this is quite nice for what it is, albeit a little tame for my tastes. Her voice is still magical and powerful, and applied to these songs, she certainly does them justice. Most of the songs here are also presented in a stripped down form (simple piano or guitar accompaniment only) as MP3 files; to my ears, those are somewhat more engaging than the orchestrated versions. I'm hoping this is just a temporary condition, and that she will return to her more challenging and progressive endeavors in the future.
Related artist(s): Alquimia
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more