Mahogany Frog — Senna
(Moonjune MJR048, 2012, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2013-11-13I've been hearing about Mahogany Frog for a few years now, but Senna is the first of their releases that I've heard. It starts with a stuttering keyboard part that morphs into a slow procession of chords on keyboards backed by skittering electronic percussion. The piece builds over the course of several minutes, adding in electric guitar, drums, and more keys. A distorted slide guitar enters dramatically, giving a vaguely Floydian tinge to the mounting mid-tempo pulse, and then, about three minutes in, suddenly the band slips into double-time for a frenetic close to "Houndstooth Part 1." "Part 2" builds its way up from a fuzzy 7/4 riff on the bass, with guitars and keys making a firm declaration of prog-rock intentions. The keyboards, which include some very unconventional sounds, are particularly effective, providing a classic sound without actually using typical instruments. There's a string sound that's heavily phased, and something a bit like an old Vox organ compressed and flanged, and something resembling the fuzz Lowrey organ from early Soft Machine. The arrangements also include occasional environmental noises, imparting a touch of psychedelia. Often music with such high degrees of processing applied to the source material can sound sterile and lifeless, but Mahogany Frog manage to make every part sound organic but twisted, as if heard through an inter-dimensional gateway from some other realm not quite like our own. This totally unique combination of elements is masterfully shaped into one of the finest and most progressive (adjective, not genre) releases I've heard in some time.
Related artist(s): Mahogany Frog
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more