Gato Libre — Neko
(Libra 103-040, 2017, CD / LP)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2017-05-28
The opening, requiem-like cut “Tama” that starts out the disc with a blast of warmth and beauty seems very appropriate given all the tragedies that have hit this ensemble in recent years. First it was the the sudden and unexpected death of bassist Norikatsu Koreyasu in 2011. Trombonist Yasuko Kaneko was invited in to join the band for their next release DuDu in 2014, but sadly in 2015 tragedy struck again, with the death of founding member and guitarist Kazukiko Tsumura. After a long period of questioning whether the band should even continue, amid the numerous other projects of the remaining members, bandleader and trumpeter Natsuki Tamura decided to have Gato Libre continue as a trio, along with Kaneko on trombone and Satoko Fujii playing accordion, in lieu of piano (her main instrument). Here on Neko, they present six new compositions for trio, and as you might imagine, without bass or guitar, this is probably the most unusual Gato Libre release to date, still very molodic as before, but this time somewhat more dreamy and mellow, with less of the usual East European ethnic and folk influences at the fore, though the music here still retains the elemental power that has informed their music from the beginning over seven releases to date. Full of rich melodic emotion and beautiful solos, the trio present something that is at once mystical and powerful, and transcends all musical boundaries.
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more
Audion Is Back in Business – Our esteemed colleague Alan Freeman has restarted Audion Magazine after a seven year hiatus. The new incarnation is available online on their Bandcamp site. Audion's history goes back to 1984, and included 58 issues up to 2013. Issue #59 is available now, and #60 is in the works. » Read more
Romantic Warriors IV – Krautrock (Part 2) Is in the Works – Zeitgeist Media, the people who have brought us the great series of documentary films chronicling the history of progressive rock, are working on the second installment of their examination of German music. Krautrock 2 will focus on artists from Münich such as Guru Guru, Amon Düül II, Xhol Caravan, Kraan, Witthüser & Westrupp, and Popol Vuh. » Read more
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more