Jewlia Eisenberg — Trilectic
(Tzadik TZ 7155, 2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2002-09-01
It’s probably stating the obvious to say that fans of Charming Hostess and (to some degree) Sleepytime Gorilla Museum are likely to enjoy this release as well. Eisenberg is one of the vocalists from Hostess, and all the current members of SGM appear here. The music has none of the heavy tendencies of SGM, however, and is nearly all unaccompanied voices. Eisenberg uses quite a variety of vocal styles, including tight Eastern European harmonies, bluesy melodies, and vocal percussive noises, so comparisons could be made to Les Voix Bulgares, Zap Mama, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and maybe even Ani DiFranco. Most of the songs follow the lives of Asja Lacis and Walter Benjamin, two radical Jews who lived in Moscow and other European cites back in the 1920s, when many intellectuals saw the new Soviet Union as an expression of philosophical ideals. Eisenberg has highlighted some of their more personal moments in addition to the political ones; one of my favorite tracks is “Eskimo Suit,” in which Asja wants an expensive fur suit, but Walter can’t afford it. The sometimes serious subject matter is treated with a light touch, never becoming overly sad or dramatic – after all, it’s hard not to smile when singers are reproducing rhythm parts. Some of the lyrics in English, many are not. After many listens, I’ve yet to hear a single false note, and I discover new details all the time (and that’s always a good sign).
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more
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