For quite some time now, every Thursday has brought the publication of a review looking back at an album in McLatchey's Second Tier, where our friend Mike visits or re-visits one of his favorite releases. Today marks the start of the next tier, which once again will feature classics from a wide variety of styles, from jazz to classic prog to electronic to death metal — and many places in between.
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-12-22
For this series, we'll simply go in alphabetical order by artist, more or less. There's no sense letting petty rules get in the way of good music, or good music writing. We're starting off with an ambient gem from 1999, Altara from A Produce and M. Griffin. In the weeks to come — who knows how long it will take? — we'll see such artists as Agitation Free, DFA, Miles Davis, East of Eden, and Agorophobic Nosebleed, as well as well-known progressive groups like Yes, Genesis, Camel, Banco, and Änglagård. So check back every week (or more often, since we have new reviews on every other day as well!) and see what Uncle Mike has to say. When an artist has more than one title in the list, we'll throw them out the same day to save time.
In general, we are always focusing on new releases and reissues, since that's what you'll find available now, but there's more to good music that just the new, so it's good to take time for remembering the best of what past decades have to offer. Some of the new reviews revisit things we've reviewed before, so you'll get an additional viewpoint on those — sometimes from another writer back when the music was new, sometimes from Mike himself, so now you can see how views change (or not) on music over the decades.
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
Martin Velíšek & Už Jsme Doma - Jaro, Peklo, Podzim, Zima (Spring, Hell, Autumn, Winter) – This upstart Czech ensemble occupies firm Rock in Opposition territory, with honking horn fanfares over rhythmically tricky power chord riffs. However, this generalization doesn’t quite work... (1999) » Read more