Fernwood — Almeria
(no#, 2008, CD)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2008-12-31Fernwood is the new all-acoustic instrumental creation from Gayle Ellett of Djam Karet and Todd Montgomery who play all of their music by hand on instruments constructed from wood. On Almeria, their debut release, Todd plays Irish bouzouki, sitar, mandolin, and guitar while Gayle plays Greek bouzouki, ruan, harmonium, oud, guitar, bulbul tarang, gobijen, dotara, organ, Rhodes piano, electric 5-string bass, and upright bass. I’ve never heard of some of these instruments but the resulting symphony of acoustics is incredible. And when you think of Djam Karet, this music is about as far away from them as you can get. Gayle and Todd, drawing upon their 30+ years as musicians, weave a colorful tapestry of sound demonstrating what talented musicians can achieve by returning to the basics. Almeria is strongly cinematic, crossing many cultures and presenting traditional instruments in new and interesting ways. The frail and haunting compositions touch on the spiritual, every now and then recalling Florian Fricke and Popol Vuh. Some of my favorite tracks are “Hungarian Holiday,” “East Window,” and “Nightingale.” This delightful journey through pastoral, European, Asian, and middle-Eastern music is over far too soon. So you may be left thirsting for more, and the good news is that Todd and Gayle have already begun work on a second Fernwood CD that they plan on releasing in the first quarter of 2009. Almeria is a breath of fresh air and is a welcome addition to today’s electronic and synth dominated music.
Glenn Branca RIP – Experimental guitarist and composer Glenn Branca has died at the age of 69. He was known for compositions featuring large ensembles of guitars, and for the use of feedback. He founded his band Theoretical Girls in the mid-70s as an art-punk answer to what he saw as the increasing commercialization of punk music. His compositions were highly influential, with such figures as David Bowie, Thurston Moore, and John Lurie among his fans. » Read more
OBEY Convention XI Set for May 24-28 in Halifax – As the 2018 festival season rapidly approaches, we’d like you to be aware of a real treasure of diverse and creative music that’s going to take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next month. The OBEY Convention is on its 11th outing, and features a wide range of artists from around the world. From avant-industrial noise to experimental takes on Classical Chinese music, from chamber jazz to doom metal, from ambient soundscapes to Canadian First Nations drumming, you’d be hard pressed to find a festival with more variety in sound anywhere in the world. » Read more
Close to the Rain Festival in Bergen Announces Lineup – Now in its second year, the Close to the Rain Festival of progressive music is scheduled to take place in Bergen, Norway, on June 7 - 9. They've got an amazing slate of bands lined up, including such powerhouses as Anekdoten, Major Parkinson, Arabs in Aspic, Tusmørke, and many more. » Read more
Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington and Oregon. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more
Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more