Jan Bang — ...And Poppies from Kandahar
(Samadhisound sound cd ss018, 2010, CD)
Sonic sculptor Jan Bang brings his formidable sampling skills to bear on this internationally star-studded disk. His large palette of extracted sounds varies dramatically from solo vocals to guitars and even orchestral samples; it just about includes anything from trumpet player Arve Henriksen’s pastel tone on “Self Inquiry” to Sidsel Andresen’s unique phrasing. David Sylvian’s credit for providing song titles indicates his presence on the recording; tone and mood are everything. The pieces hover between songs and loose ambient backdrop attributed to the composer’s delicate hand. Loops and experiments are represented well on tracks like “The Midwife’s Dilemma,” which carries an unsettling sampled vocal. It also features a precious rhythm track, sounding a bit like classic Eno using some of John Oswald’s Plunderphonics approach. Moods can shift imperceptibly, as heard on the Arabic-tinged “Passport Control,” with both trumpeters Jon Hassell and Henriksen as well as guitarist Eivind Aarset. The ambient textures spread across the disk impart smoky atmospherics, slight tension and mystery. This is apparent on songs such as “Heidegger's Silence” and on “Abdication and Coronation,” where trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær renders a serene melody line in front of a waltz-like bass line. Clearly this is high order improvisation and composition where the boundary between both is purposefully blurred. Highly recommended for fans of David Sylvian, ambient Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel’s Passion soundtrack, Jon Hassell’s last ECM recording, and the burgeoning Norwegian jazz scene.
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more