Janel and Anthony — Where Is Home
(Cuneiform Rune 338, 2012, CD)
by Paul Hightower, 2013-11-16:This is Washington DC-based duo Janel Leppin and Anthony Pirog’s second album, and first on Cuneiform. Their eponymous debut from 2006 was self-produced and sold well at gigs, garnering loads of attention for this pair of busy musicians (this is but one of many projects they are involved with). This collection of instrumentals mixes Anthony’s diverse range of guitar stylings with Janel’s deep classical and non-European cello capabilities. She occasionally picks up a guitar herself, as on the leadoff track “Big Sur,” that blends Byrds-ish jangly guitar with energetically articulated lines that call to mind King Crimson. The songs serve as a sort of biographical journal of Janel and Anthony’s travels, either individually or from their touring experiences. Hence titles like “Auburn Road” and “’Cross the Williamsburg Bridge.” The listener will detect feelings of wanderlust, restlessness and ennui coming from the pieces, with a scope that rarely expands beyond the two musicians and an occasional backing track or two. Both have deep reservoirs of talent, demonstrated by traces of surf guitar wafting from “Leaving the Woods” or the looping soundscapes layered to form the dreamy vibe of “Stay with Me.” An expanded palette is explored on “A Viennesian Life,” including lap steel, harpsichord and Mellotron. But even in the bigger-sounding pieces, there’s a charming intimacy involved, as if these two are sharing their innermost thoughts and experiences. That they do this without a word being sung speaks volumes about the quality of the performances and the overall production. Highly recommended.
by Jon Davis, 2013-04-01:Knowing that Janel and Anthony play cello and guitar doesn't tell you much about what to expect on this album. While those two instruments are prominent on every track, the variety of sounds heard goes far beyond just those two. Guitars come in acoustic and electric varieties, and you'll also encounter keyboards here and there. Plus there's a wide variety of of electronic processing going on, some as simple as effects and loops, some probably farther removed from whatever the original sound sources were. Usually, the impression is more of a small chamber ensemble rather than a duo. Given the absence of a drum kit, there's a gentleness that comes through; while the music is not always strictly diatonic, the dissonance, when it appears, serves to add poignancy rather than discomfort. The musicianship is never flashy, never spoiling a mood with showy sprays of gratuitous notes. The pieces range from brief interludes under a minute long to one nearly eight minutes, and the longer ones often take detours into unexpected territory, such as the arhythmic cello-and-electronic-noises middle part of "Where Will We Go" which is bracketed by lovely melodic sections. But these two make it work, keeping the electronics from overwhelming the pensive mood. Janel and Anthony make music that knows beauty is often enhanced by its flaws, saved from being too precious and fussy by a little bit of chaos.
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
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
Syrius - Rock Koncertek A Magyar Radio Archivumabol – As best I can tell (my Hungarian is a little rusty) this release is an archive recording from 1975 that was originally a Hungarian radio broadcast. The band has a "big band" line-up,... (2000) » Read more
Steve Hackett - Out of the Tunnel's Mouth (Deluxe Edition) – Back in the day I was a huge Genesis and Steve Hackett fan, but I lost interest in Steve with his 1980 release Defector. Fast forward 30 years and it looks like either I have been missing out on some... (2011) » Read more