Armonite — The Sun Is New Each Day
(Bandcamp no#, 2016, DL)
by Jon Davis, Published 2016-10-04
The Sun Is New Each Day starts with a double-bass drum blast and the first thought is, “Oh no, another prog metal clone!” But the next thing you hear is a violin backed by keyboards, and the impression changes. As the music goes on, you realize that there’s no guitar (or if you read the credits in advance, you knew it already). The overall style is amped up Romantic Classical music with few touches of Twentieth Century or later. From time to time there’s a slightly bluesy lick on the violin or a repetitive pattern on a synthesizer, but it’s always sweetly tonal, reminiscent of 80s video game music as much as anything. The percussion sounds add to this impression — although a drummer is credited (Jasper Barendregt), it sounds so precise and dry that it might well be programmed. The two proper members of Armonite, Jacopo Bigi (violin) and Paulo Fosso (keyboards), are both skilled players who avoid the trap of merely showing off their technical abilities. It’s hard to fault the compositions or performances, and my only complaint is that it sounds a bit on the sterile side, without a lot of human feeling added. I’m going to put this down to the production, which is slick and modern, but has no real atmosphere, no sense that (aside from the violin) human hands created the sounds. The lovely tune “Le Temps Qui Fait Ta Rose” provides a welcome relief, featuring only acoustic piano and overdubbed violins.
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