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.
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
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Philippe Lenfant de Dagobert - Suite Mégalique Apocalyptico Foulfuitique – Well, what can I say? His name sounds pompous, as does the hyperextended title of the album (and 20 minute opening track), and three guesses what the music sounds like? Imagine early Vangelis on... (1996) » Read more